Dear Friend and Reader:
Before I visited Buchenwald, I visited Ilvers Gehoffen.
Everyone has seen photos of concentration camps, but you would not recognize this one. It’s set in a neighborhood outside Erfurt, where the Holocaust is said to have begun. I know there are several places this is claimed to have happened, though the first government killings of anti-fascists were right there, in April 1933, within 12 weeks of when our old friend Adolf ascended to power.
When I was living in Germany, I had a guide who took me and a friend there. We had to ride a few trams to get outside the main city, and where we arrived reminded me of the desolate and crumbling Bronx. From the Google Earth photo above, it has apparently had a facelift.
Soon after the Third Reich began, an open yard in the middle of the residential neighborhood was turned into a torture center. It was located right next to a cinema, where well-heeled people came for entertainment, as prisoners hung from posts with their arms stretched behind them. As my guide showed me around the ruins of this place, there was activity in windows five floors above: people were pulling curtains aside and peeking through blinds, looking down at us.
They knew why we were there.
Here is how I reported my experience contemporaneously, in the summer of 1998:
We walk around the block to the right, and behind the row of houses is a large and mostly-vacant city lot. There are a few dilapidated buildings and a lot of old bricks lying around with weeds growing. The metal company’s building is behind a fence; there’s also a brick building that looks like an old slaughterhouse you might see along the lower west side of Manhattan. This was it, this whole place. We are standing in what we believe was the very first Nazi concentration camp.
Normally we are used to seeing the terrible results of the Holocaust; these are the humble and all-but-forgotten beginnings. I doubt whether any other Americans have come here. The warehouses are indeed surrounded by numerous apartment buildings. Bernhard explains that there was an exercise yard for the prisoners, which we are now standing in. And here, he said, as we walk, was a very popular cinema where the good citizens would watch movies right next door to where prisoners were being tortured. We ponder this one for a while. At a little café across the street from the ruins, the Marmara Imbis Turkish Bar and Café, people are drinking coffee on the street.
The psychology becomes very clear. Put the thing where everybody can see it and hear it. And naturally, nobody will complain. And if you lived in one of these apartments, on a hot summer night when the windows were open, you certainly might want another pillow to bury your head. As we walk around surveying the scene, taking photographs, faces start to appear in those windows and eyes stare at us. I know that they know exactly why we are here, and the way they are gawking at us their anger is clear. We are acknowledging what they must somehow both deny and yet live with every day of their lives. Nothing changes here.
Atrocities in Plain Sight
Today, we are dealing with atrocities in plain sight. They are being reported on the nightly news. Children are being separated from their parents, as part of an intentional program allegedly designed to dissuade illegal immigration. This excuse makes no sense; it is an obvious lie, and anyway, it’s not working. People are coming from even worse conditions than they meet in the United States.
Children of migrants, after being separated from their families, are being housed in conditions unsuitable for livestock, which public health codes and FDA regulations say must at least be fed and washed.
Quoting a New York Times reporton the child prison in Clint, Texas: observers “found children as young as 8 caring for infants they didn’t know, and toddlers who had relieved themselves in their clothes because they had not been put in diapers.” This is corroborated by other witness accounts, and I have heard worse.
My take is that the Trump administration is using this as an opening to the 2020 election campaign, since there’s a constituency that would indeed be favorably impressed by this kind of conduct. You might ask yourself how, and why, people with children, who love and care for and are attached to their kids, and by all other indications are respectful and intelligent people, could possibly think it’s a good idea to torture people from neighboring countries, paid for by your federal tax dollars.
If you’re thinking, ‘that’s not so bad, it’s not Auschwitz’, I would ask you this: how bad does it have to get?
The theme of my six-month tour of Germany, with my then-lover and collaborator Maria Henzler, was to figure out just how this could have happened in the Nazi era, so recently (then, only 53 years earlier) and in a culture so similar to our own: how it could all take place in plain sight, with everyone fully aware of what was unfolding.
We’ve all heard the stories of the people who pretended not to notice the stench of the crematoria. Well, that’s not so weird if you know that people addressed the problem of a torture center in the middle of their neighborhood by burying their heads in an extra pillow.
Godwin’s Law: Lest We Remember
Have you ever heard of Godwin’s Law? It’s not so much a law as it is an internet precept, involving the tendency of online arguments to eventually degrade into a comparison to Hitler or the Nazis, and the person who makes that comparison loses the argument. I am now making that comparison.
Many of us were troubled when Donald Trump began his election campaign promising to rid society of “bad hombres” — alleged rapists and drug dealers and gang bangers — by which he meant Mexicans and Central Americans. That made a lot of people nervous, such as the ones who could see through it.
Locking up little kids and not providing adequate food, clothing, bathing or toilets, we are a long way from bad hombres, and well into the territory of ethnic cleansing. Everyone south of Texas has been declared non-human, as are those who made it into the Promised Land of the United States of America; the land of ‘give me your hungry, your tired, your poor’.
You might think, gee, this is new and novel. However, you can practically close your eyes in the history section of any library and randomly grab any book and come up with such a thing. And dare we remember that the United States of America was built on murdering the “savage Indians” and that Cortes slaughtered the Aztecs and that American-styled slavery was itself genocide — and now we have a great country.
Few Slave or Indian Memorials in the U.S.
Unlike in Germany or France or the Netherlands, we have nearly no memorials to the Native Americans or the Africans brought here as slaves. There is no “lest we forget,” because forgetting is imperative. In Germany, Buchenwald is preserved and revered as a memorial. The gates are never locked, in honor of the camp having been liberated. We have no such equivalent here. [Note, at press time, we have just learned about this museum in Montgomery. If you know of any others, please let us know and I’ll write about them.]
I am typing this article on ground where Native Americans and African slaves were owned, used and/or killed, and a block from the courthouse where Sojourner Truth argued for the freedom of her son. I live in one of the oldest communities in the colonies. There is an unmarked slave graveyard a few blocks from here.
So there is no big surprise to any of this; what is stunning is that anyone is tolerating it — today.
Burying your head in a pillow or claiming not to smell burning human flesh on an industrial scale: that was for the German citizens of the 1930s and 1940s, the ones who had to be marched by United States soldiers through the concentration camps to get a little closer to the smell of death, and see the bodies stacked like cordwood. That’s how thick denial can be.
But not us. Not people like us. Not us latte-swilling liberal hipsters or work-a-day Republicans or whoever.
Well, I’m not so sure, and I’ve never been so sure. I was especially not so sure after speaking with many Germans and asking them about what happened, and they really could not explain it, even though it was their grandparents. All people would say, over and over again, was that they were “ashamed.”
And I want to add this. I am an outspoken person and I’m rarely afraid to express my sincerely held, grounded in reality opinions. Talking about this makes me nervous: the people I might alienate, or who are going to try to convince me that I just don’t get it. My former Holocaust Studies teacher is a Trump supporter. He’s worried what the Arabs might do to the Jews; we cannot have another Jewish Holocaust. I’ve asked him what he thinks of the child prisons in Texas; if he answers, I’ll let you know.
We who might speak up have reason to be nervous. In Ilvers Gehoffen on Feldstrasse, there is a plaque dedicated to four murdered anti-fascists in the Erfurter Resistance Warriors who were imprisoned in April 1933, less than three months after Hitler took office. At the bottom of the plaque is the inscription that, “Their lives should be an example and obligation to all of us.”
Friday, we celebrate the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, which is counted as a feat of civil rights. This is significant because during the Nazi era, gay people were among the first to be rounded up and taken to the camps. In Paris, the Marais, a gay district, was the first to be emptied out. So while we’re celebrating this historic event, we might consider how people are being treated today, right now, in our own country — or Stonewall was a hollow and meaningless victory.
The News and the Weather: Eclipses in Progress
Let’s consider the current astrology. Most of the news involves the first eclipse pair across the Cancer-Capricorn axis in nearly a decade. This is likely to accelerate the political process, as the second eclipse (partial, of the Moon) occurs right on top of the Saturn-Pluto conjunction.
Eclipses take place when the Moon and Sun meet along the ecliptic, whether at new phase or full. Eclipses occur at the meeting of the planes of reality known as the lunar nodes, so we have the description of a multidimensional event. Think of an eclipse as a many-leveled alignment to which you can tune your consciousness or trajectory. They are chutes or wormholes in time, and it’s possible to ‘ride’ them as you follow and work with your astrology.
The July 2 total solar eclipse in Cancer comes on the heels of Mars making its way through this sign, which is still at the anaretic stage (very late degree) as of this writing, about to enter Leo on July 1, a day ahead of the eclipse. Mars joins Mercury and Juno in Leo. Mercury stationing retrograde in Leo on July 7 will stir up an interesting conversation and shake out some missing elements of truth like loose change falling out of someone’s pants pockets. (Collecting your coins, and keeping them in a jar, is better feng shui.)
The kicker, though, is Robert Mueller testifying before two different subcommittees of the House of Representatives on July 17, just one day after the partial lunar eclipse in Capricorn. The American public is going to get to see and hear from the former special counsel at length for the first time — the man who ran the investigation against Pres. Trump’s potential involvement in the Russians messing with the 2016 election.
Trump has portrayed Mueller as being halfway between Che Guevara and Charlie Manson, when in fact, he’s an ex-Marine officer, Eagle Scout type, by-the-book federal prosecutor who has loyalty to the law and the nation itself. The American TV audience will now get to see a disciplined, thoughtful guy speaking in an even tone, like he understands something about the issues. The television element is crucial in that nothing is considered real until it’s shown in video format, preferably broadcast over a network or three.
Saturn-Pluto Conjunction Activated
For this eclipse, timed with the Mueller presentation, the Moon passes through the Earth’s shadow right in the neighborhood of the Saturn-Pluto conjunction, the 2020 aspect that is now spinning the world on its finger. If you think of a lunar eclipse as pulling back a veil, then we are going to get a look at what this astrology might contain. It’s a partial eclipse so we will get a partial view, though it will be enough to give us a clue what outcomes are developing.
The Saturn-Pluto conjunction takes place as a one-time event (no retrogrades) on Jan. 12, 2020, and itself inaugurates the presidential election year, and a major phase of American history: the peak of the United States Pluto return.
The Saturn-Pluto conjunction is a once-per-generation event. Think of it as akin to the new phase of the Moon and the Sun, only a slow cycle of two heavy-duty planets, marking the turns of history. The most recent conjunction was Nov. 7, 1982, at the dawn of the “Reagan revolution.”
The most recent opposition, similar to the full phase of the Moon (and the Sun) began Aug. 6, 2001, and arrived with the 9/11 incident. These aspects can have effects that last years or decades; they often represent the most pivotal turning points in history, and we are in the midst of one now.
So we are looking at a world-changing event one way or another, though it also has many people personally feeling the heat: the sense of imminent change; the spring-loaded pause before the lurch forward; the fear of the unknown and unexpected; the sense that something is coming, and wondering whether we can really handle it.
Well, that’s a good question. Can we handle the lives we have today? Look around at the people nearby and ask yourself who actually cares — starting with their own life. I mean who really cares. Because if you do, you need others who do. Integrity requires support. On this plane of reality, we cannot take it for granted.
Planet Waves Monthly Horoscope for July 2019 (#1252) | By Eric Francis Coppolino
Aries (March 20-April 19) — The past month or two looks like your life has been the scene of nearly nonstop strife. In an odd way, you knew that this was centered with you, and yet there were others who seemed to be provoking you, making a compelling case for the energy coming from outside of you. All in all, I reckon you have at least determined that you’re sick of people holding power over you, at the expense of your ability to influence the events of your own life. Make a careful study of all that happened, and determine your exact role. This is more for your own forensics than anything else. As for what is ahead: events early in the month can conspire either to challenge your confidence in such a way that you feel compromised, or inspire you to take the creative risks you want and need to take, to assert yourself in a bold and courageous way. You are not the child who grew up in your family home; you are well beyond that, though it’s easy to get dragged back into your old insecurities, and the emotional manipulation of others. To create, and to create yourself, takes courage; nothing else gets the job done. Courage is an old French word that means coming from the heart. This is what it takes to be yourself in the current environment, where there are so many influences that say all you need is a little gloss and a little grease and you can fool the whole world. You want to fool nobody.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — There is a subtle message coming from your solar chart, which you may recognize. It involves your relationship with the technology you use, and how it changes how you experience yourself. By “experience yourself,” I mean your relationship to your own consciousness: your thought process, your memory, what you externalize that was previously only deeply personal material. In other words, what are you saying in online environments that you would never, ever have said 10 or 20 years ago — and why are you saying it? This is not merely about technology or devices; it’s about what they do to you, what they do to who you think you are, and how you relate to yourself and others. I reckon you are onto these issues to some extent, though I suggest you bring them to the foreground. The forthcoming solar eclipse is a factor that gives you unusual ability and added leverage to change your mind, along lines you know you want to. You face many questions about what to do with old, outmoded beliefs. Those, too, have a trend of controlling you in ways you have surely noticed by now. You might say the forthcoming astrology is a moment of truth, in a time when the truth is the only thing that rightly matters to you. Over the next month or so, you will be reclaiming many things about yourself that you seem to have surrendered, though your greatest fortune is held in your ability to be utterly and only real with yourself.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — One of the peculiarities of Gemini involves a lot of ebb and flood where your finances are concerned. There is constant fluctuation, and it’s not easy for you to create a stable situation for yourself. This is a matter associated with having the sign Cancer as your 2nd house or solar house, associated with your personal assets. But what is really fluctuating? An argument could be made that your perception of your value is what is rising and falling, and this drags your bank account along with it. Sometimes known as self-esteem, though I am partial to the term self-respect, since this is a matter of re + spect in the true sense of the word: to see again, and in this case, to see yourself “again” (meaning, maintain an awareness of who you are and what you have to offer). There is more, though: you need to work with the predictable elements of your life (in the spirit of a tide table), and know what is coming and when. Your cycles are not as unpredictable as they may seem, though you need to study the patterns. Here is the thing about commerce: it requires many other things that begin with the prefix “com” — community, communication (and mutual trust and friendship). If you are going to be competitive, you need to choose wisely and remember who your friends are. Yet there is one thing worth more than anything, which is your word. It must be your bond. It must be your gold standard, or else you have nothing.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Events of the past two months (associated with Mars transiting your sign or rising sign) may have spun you around so many times, you don’t know if you’re dizzy or not. There was a little bit of everything: a trial here, a tribulation there; a confrontation here, a moment of truth there; a challenge here, a breakthrough there. Overall, this was about the quest to be persistent, consistent, true and correct. All in a day’s work for the astrology you’re under. Now comes something new: a total solar eclipse in your birth sign. This happens July 2. The most recent pattern of this nature took place in 2009-2010, and current developments may be reminiscent of that time. Anyway, here’s my theory about this eclipse, and the corresponding one in Capricorn two weeks later. This is a point of realignment for you. You have concentrated power to make adjustments to your innermost being, which will then ripple out into your relationships. Part of this process will be intentional, and an aspect of what you do will be intuitive. It will help from the outset to work with the idea that you want to use what you have learned. Some of what you have learned (in part, from a series of confrontations and also, more creative intimate encounters) is who you are and who you want, and need, to be. Eclipses also relieve pressure, and you’ve been under plenty. Let the momentum carry you; keep your hand on the rudder and your eyes ahead, constantly scanning from side to side.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — There is either cruelty or communication. One will supplant the other. There needs to be a high standard for what constitutes an exchange of thoughts and feelings. The first thing to be cautious of is any form of scorekeeping. If you notice you’re working from a list of grievances, I suggest you put it away and listen. More than anything, track your own expectations for the relationship. Where do they come from? Are they grounded in reality, or are they based on presuppositions? You might take the exactly opposite approach: what can you offer to serve the situation? Note, the answer to this question is, itself, not predicted by much of anything except what is right. And it’s based on what the situation calls for, rather than what you think is appropriate. So therefore, it might turn out to be bringing more of yourself to the relationship, or less. To know that, you will need to listen, and listen to yourself. Meanwhile, whole new prospects in life are calling you: from the look of your solar chart, there is something new and unusual that you want to devote yourself to, with your time, your body and your soul. This is described by your astrology as something that is vocational or not necessarily profitable, rather than a career kind of thing. It’s the deeper calling than what is merely professional, and it will mean more to you. This does not insinuate it will not in some way support you financially, though at the moment, that’s beside the point.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — The world you will see when you look around is a reflection of the one that you contain within you. This is almost always true; one spiritual aphorism I’ve often found helpful is that projection makes perception. However, at the moment, this message is taking a specific form. You are coming up against certain inner limits to your creativity, ones you would be happy if you transcended. There is a dichotomy described by activity in the two other earthy signs. Capricorn, which covers your most creative and dynamic house, is at maximum density, which may feel like you’re having an implosion of some kind. If you’re an artist in any sense of the word, this may be a challenging time for you, though I assure you that you’re capable of your best work now. You will need to go deep into yourself and take a risk with what you express, which means doing something where you feel like you’ve got something to lose. In Taurus, an alignment of Uranus, Vesta and Albion is pushing your horizons wider. You may be seeing tremendous potential — outside of yourself. That’s really a description of what you are personally capable of. It is, therefore, an excellent exercise to envision the world a better place; to recognize the excellent work of others; to imagine what is possible; to look all the way out to the horizon and be curious what’s beyond it. I would remind you that thanks to those little pocket computers, we tend to live hideously myopic lives. Stretch yourself out of this like it’s all that matters. You are not your IP address.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — You are the person who frames your reality. That’s basically what you are: a walking, talking concept of existence, which you then experience. The spiritual books all drip with this idea, which can be annoying as all get out. However, Logos, a long-term visitor to your sign (a Kuiper object, part of the Logos-Zoe binary pair), says that you are the ground of consciousness you stand on. In order to demonstrate this, you will need to investigate your reality, and do some experiments. In particular, notice the way people, circumstances and events take on the significance you give them, which comes from you. Therefore, practice giving these things different meaning. You could start with the greatest purpose of all, an experience that offers you learning and the potential for growth. Most people you meet will be out to get ahead, or be out for themselves and themselves alone. Be vigilant against any trace of these things. Making progress in life is a good thing, though the kind of progress matters a lot. Your success must be meaningful. Your life is not your image or who you impress. I know this is a radical thing to say. It’s not about your bank balance or (borrowing from a Grateful Dead joke) whoever has the most tapes when he dies wins. You are a deeper person than your society and your social environment let you recognize. You are, at this time, being called into deeper relationship experiences, which are about going in, rather than up or over. When you are with someone you care about, turn your awareness inward. Feel, listen, share. Keep going.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Recent activity of Mars in the past month suggests that (like your water sign cousin Cancer) you may have been through the wringer the past two months. It was something special to behold, and to experience: Mars making aspects to Chiron, Saturn, Pluto, the lunar nodes, as well as Eris, Logos, Makemake, Salacia, Quaoar and Pholus. (None of these are asteroids; they are all slow-moving modern planets. I will link a few articles at the bottom of the horoscope in case you missed them.) And what exactly did you go through? What did you learn about how you use your power? What did you learn about how you use language? Most of all, what did you learn about projection? By that, I mean assigning to others what is really in your mind and your feelings, a concept I suggest you do some quiet reading about, given the current state of your astrology. You have now changed modes entirely: you are in your ‘rock the world’ state of being. There are those times when you recognize your potential and you utterly groove on all that is possible if you apply yourself to your life purpose. However, I suggest you take it easy on the ambition and aspiration thing, and allow certain unfinished processes to play out. Now is the time to evaluate all of your goals, cross some old and outmoded ones off the list, and add one or two truly meaningful ones. During Mercury retrograde (the last three weeks of July), you will be reviewing some of the territory you crossed in May and June. Be careful and thorough about this. Make amends where necessary.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — For someone as intent as you are on leading a self-determined life, you certainly get jerked around emotionally by others quite a bit. Never the twain shall meet, as the poet Kipling wrote long ago. Yet it is only experience that will teach you this. Early in the month, you may find reason to call into question a certain emotional connection that you have with another person. Based on recent past experience, this may not be an easy ride, and it may be calling on you to question the nature of your commitment. Remember that such is not something made for you; a commitment is something you make and uphold yourself. This is true on any day, at any time during any phase of the relationship: your commitments are your business. You can keep them, you can end them, but more than anything you must evaluate them. What do you give, and what do you gain? Who benefits? I do not mean to reduce the complexity of human relationships to what might seem like a cash transaction, but in the end, relationships are transactional: there is giving, receiving, gaining, losing and exchanging — of something. There are important factors in your astrology that currently make it difficult for you to see through the fog. Yet you have moments of clarity, which either arrive as the sudden dawning of awareness, or asking yourself a question so compelling that you have to stop and think about the answer. This is right about where you are today. Use this rare opportunity well.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — At the moment, everything has to come back to you. Rather than assigning responsibility or accountability to any circumstance, relationship or situation, take it all on board. Your whole existence begins and ends with you; your participation in the world makes the world what it is, to you. So forget about all of them for a while, and consider the nature of the changes you’re going through. Granted, this includes Pluto, which has been likened to a caterpillar spinning itself a cocoon and melting, having no concept what it’s about to become. You are deep in that process now. It’s not possible to know, or even fathom the future. Yet you can trust your process. You can also trust that you’re in the demarcation zone between the past and the future, by which I mean your whole past and your whole future. This is the Saturn-Pluto conjunction, which plays out between now and Jan. 12, 2020. While there is no rushing this process, you can be grateful that it proceeds as gradually as it does. And by the way, you are not a caterpillar; you are a human with full sentience, the power of observation, the ability to respond, and the power of decision. Therefore do all of these things, each in its turn, and allow your process to unfold. One last thought: It is probable that certain events over the past two months have given you a clear idea of what you do not want. That is important information, though only if you use what you know.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Two issues are up this month; they’ve been up for a while, but now, the bell rings. One is how, and whether, you take care of yourself, meaning your health, your rest, your nutrition — and your emotional wellbeing. Second, closely associated, is your association with aggression. This has been an issue in recent weeks, through much of the spring and longer, and it’s taken a toll on you and potentially your work-based relationships. You may be thinking that none of this was necessary, and if so, you’re correct. You’re under a lot of pressure right now. There is energy moving in your direction. You get to decide what to do with it. Do you direct it where you want, like a martial artist, or do you let it slam into you? There is a similar issue with your use of language, which is the forum for nearly all controversy these days. It will be helpful if you set all use of language in any potentially controversial situation on a 24- to 48-hour delay. Sleep on things for a night or two, including what you hear. You may develop a tendency to hear the things people say to you in the worst possible light, when really, they meant something else, or intended a different inflection of meaning. Therefore, slow down and contemplate your moves. You need to have a clear set of strategies, which you follow in a focused, disciplined and intentional way. You may need support. Get some advisors you trust. You don’t need to do what they say; rather, you only need to take it under careful advisement.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — It has not been easy for you to get a grip this year, though you’ve accomplished more than you may think. Jupiter, your ruling planet (from classical astrology), is in its best possible position — in Sagittarius, in your 10th solar house, which is giving you a sense of your true potential. However, Jupiter is square Neptune in your own sign, which is making your potential about as easy to grasp as a greased eel. There is also a clarity issue (see Sagittarius for another take on that), which is to say it’s not easy for you to discern what is real and what is not; what you want and what you don’t; who is helpful and who is not. Here is a clue: you need very basic criteria for these things, which you apply sooner rather than later. However, the second half of the year tends to bring an upswing for you. The Sun has moved in your favor, and there’s about to be a total eclipse in the most daring, dynamic angle of your solar chart. This represents you being willing to take a chance on yourself of some kind; it represents an opening; and most of all, it describes you moving into one of those deeply intuitive phases of how you relate to your own creativity. Set your priorities carefully. You will have abundant energy going forward, which can only be drained by misunderstanding, pointless controversy or wasting your time on goals that are not specifically relevant to you. Therefore, focus your priorities. Know what you want and what you need, resolve to create that and that alone, and stand your full height as you walk through the world.