Dear Friend and Reader:
Sunday, I posted a note about the Varuna-Eris square, an aspect between two of the newly discovered, very slow-moving planets that was highlighted yesterday by an exact quarter-Moon. Though I’ve written relatively little about Varuna, I thought I would take a chance and get reader input on this aspect and the phase of history it represents, spanning 2008-2012 (please check the original note for background).
The context was last week’s battle by Tea Party Republicans wherein they threatened to shut down the federal government (including withholding pay from members of the military) if funding to Title X programswas not eliminated. Miraculously, Democrats didn’t budge on this one, and late Friday night a law was passed keeping the government in business for another six months — leaving Title X alone for now. We can be sure the discussion is coming up again soon.
I got about 20 emails, all of them alert, aware and informative. Many offered well thought-out ideas about the patriarchal order of society and what this does to women and to everyone. Truly, I was amazed at the depth of understanding and insight into the themes these planets represent, and I got quite an education reading them all.
In today’s edition I would like to share the wisdom of your fellow Planet Waves readers. They are presented in approximately the order that I received them. I’ve excerpted the longer ones, made some minor edits for clarity and taken out the email mannerisms in some to give the text a consistent look. If I’ve omitted anyone’s emails that is my error.
To open up this fairly long article, I’ve asked Sarah to come up with photos from the Grandmother Land in High Falls, NY. She’s done a magnificent job researching the Book of Blue library. These photos you see presented are her selections. With each photo is a link to a larger size in case you would like to put it to some creative noncommercial use. (And prints are available.) Anatoly, our webman, has assembled the whole package and copy editing is by Jessica and Amanda.
You’re invited to send or post this page anywhere. I get the feeling we’ve tapped into a deep discussion that is ready to happen — and that is in fact happening. Please don’t forward the page — rather, use this link and send or post the URL.
Eris is here to teach us to return to the roots of our identity. I do not mean identity as an abstract concept; I mean identity as the direct experience of self and of existence. … How do we identify these cast-off parts, and what do we do with them once we find them? Moreover, how do you relate to others — your partner, your friends — when you’re changing and accepting things about yourself that they don’t accept about themselves? What if you’re asking questions others are not asking? What if you notice things that nobody else seems to notice? What if you’re looking for answers but nobody is willing to raise the questions? — efc
This past Friday when I had called my 84-year-old-father, normally thoughtful, generous and kind (I thought), he blew up, hollering and yelling to me that my 32-year-old pregnant daughter is a rotten, disgusting person with no values and will NEVER talk to her again. She had written him a very loving letter (she read it to me over the phone before sending), explaining how they were going to get married this summer, but now the baby comes first. Dad actually hung up on me while he was yelling, which has never happened before between us. My daughter and I are both shocked, and now I am considering how to approach him at all.
I love your angle that these are folks who suffered that same oppression/abuse and are now trying to get a little power from ‘doing unto others’. That fits perfectly into the themes Alice Miller has written about in her books for years (The Drama of the Gifted Child, The Truth Will Set You Free, For Your Own Good, Free From Lies). Choose almost any of her books and you get a taste of how children who are shamed and abused are taught that the beatings, deprivation, denial of pain are all done in the name of love and protection and so they continue to perpetuate the abuse — so much of it sanctioned by schools, churches, society. How can any woman (or any man who ever loved a woman) NOT be shouting in the streets for the heads of those who call for these actions? And, you nailed it, not only NO abortion, but no birth control, no sex education and absolutely no funding for those babies who are born but cannot be lovingly cared for when their mothers are forced to birth them. Add in a little of Peter Levine’s work (Waking the Tiger, In an Unspoken Voice) and you get a clear picture of how the pre-natal hatred and fear is passed into the very cells of these children who are unwanted long before birth, and carried out in their actions decades later.”
I have been thinking a lot about the war on women and why it’s been heating up. I am teaching a feminist theory course this term, and I had assigned Jessica Valenti’s The Purity Myth even before the current atmosphere developed — my students are also doing a project for Planned Parenthood that was arranged months ago but could not be, it seems, more timely.
Anyway, I’m not sure that I have anything incredibly new to add to what I know you already think about, but Valenti’s book is interesting and would be a quick read if you haven’t yet come across it. She relates all of the ongoing issues — anti-choice agenda, increased violence in porn and media, abstinence-only curricula — as a basic fetishization of chastity and, with it, of young girls.
The argument is bigger, but that’s the nutshell version. No one much cares if an older woman is chaste or not; no one is out there protecting my middle-aged virtue. It’s all about “saving” the young girl, the “powerless” girl who actually embodies the potential destruction of the order (Eris and Varuna both in this, and of course you’ve covered some of this in your writing about Eris and the “castaway woman”). Valenti argues well that in this attempt to ostensibly reduce female sexuality, all eyes are actually on female sexuality, which emphasizes the idea that a woman’s worth is about her sexuality.
My students responded really well to Valenti’s book, most of them getting increasingly pissed off about the world that they are coming of age into.
To ban abortion and other rights is a step backward. Women threaten those that love a good fight — war. Many use intuition and men find that mysterious and unknown so women are the wild card. They can’t be controlled and men are frustrated by their sense of freedom and independence. Even in health care women are the last to be studied. If women were respected once again as we were hundreds of years ago, men would know the definition of heaven.
I’m getting a strong sense that this stuff is connected to the balance of masculine-feminine energies. The powers that be: religions, PATRIARCHAL institutions are battling on a psychic level. They know what’s happening and they are trying to put an end to it with basic psychic assaults, vis á vis women’s health. You, among others, are talking about the balance. This is the way they plan to do battle with the upcoming changes. Pillage the Earth, deny the Divine Feminine, makes sense. Can you speak to it astrologically? I believe your recent columns describing present energies give a good indication.
This is exactly the stuff I’ve been pondering the past couple of days. I plan to bring it up in therapy this week, and looking into Varuna and Eris some more might just provide some external perspective.
I’m observing how and why I do this, and it’s not fun or pretty awareness or analysis, but that smells like the right track. My knowledge of Varuna is old and basic as other figures, from oral tradition stories and not updated/filtered by newer information. And only new info on Eris. This is important material and avoidance isn’t gonna heal it, but it has a lot of toxic and painful elements, so the reactions and sense can be intense and unpredictable, and warding off excess/additional trauma and pain may be the reason for some reluctance to heal and further perpetuation. Diving in, treading, watching, sensing, withdrawing, etc. They are not steps/responses/actions to be deemed successful or not based on the instant reaction that may occur. This is when I ask myself what success means to me.
The process of engaging with and dealing with these hot-button issues must not be so scrutinized and controlled. It’s about water, isn’t it? Anything done with consciousness, or the myriad of steps in the waltz, including the hesitation, fumbling, practice, trials are the ways we try to engage with the water. Of course most of them suck or we’d be in different waters by now, but compassion and patience for the human (also my) condition are what keep me working with this despite it being the crap it is. So, authentically speaking, I’m just a little woman trying to interact with this and a lot of other material and pulp helps keep it real: I’m in love with the common people.
What helps me with anything these days besides art is to stop hurting/allowing self to be hurt as soon as awareness manifests, and that’s the surest way to not hurt the other.
I dare say in the Garden of Eden the snake did a great job of becoming beguiling, subtle and spinning the truth — as you so wonderfully illustrated with the likes of Karl Rove. It seems women have no place left to go. If the devil as an angel was so beautiful in heaven and sweetly sang, then upon being cast down was beguiling and enticing on Earth, what space is left for women to occupy?
Reality, rawness, sobriety and agape love? Unfiltered, truthful relations, even if that means sex and no marriage? I really think that the marital institution is a relic and unrealistic model under its present iteration and support system — or lack thereof. The global success of using sex as a weapon tops anything going on in Japan — as far as being a tool of human destruction. The beautiful splendor of women just is, ‘we’ have to revel in it, exalting ourselves through it. Men and women have to stop defining womanhood so erroneously and unrealistically. Is woman just made for man and man for woman, straight, no chaser? Are yin and yang supposed to co-exist without intersecting/disturbing each other (other than through pregnancy and eventual birth)?
Do both sides reside in this world as a cohesive unit creating good through meaningful and conscious interdependence, rather than common-law dependence?
Inquiring minds want to grow.
I can’t help but think the War on Womanhood is a replay of the Christian Patriarchal vs. The Pagan Naturalists. Since the beginning of Christianity, women have been demonized for their ultimate power of creation (through birth) and rhythms with the natural world (Moon/menstrual cycles). These “mysteries” threatened male power (as well as the female ownership of property, since her bloodline was traceable), so to demonize the feminine witch put the power back in the hands of the male.
Sexuality as a natural and joyous state was part and parcel of that natural world, so the repression of that expression is the first line of control. A common pagan practice was for the woman to mark a man’s neck with her menses, so to quench his “bloodthirst” and stem the need to kill. Today, the conservatives are driven by this bloodthirst in all they do. It is their primary source of fuel.
Since America was founded on a Puritanical ethos, the baggage of that attitude dominates to this day. The current conservative agenda wishes women would stay pregnant, poor and quiet. If you are too busy raising your unplanned pregnancies, battling your health problems, or dependent on a male partner’s support, you are much more easily manipulated and can’t find your powerful voice.
In short: powerful women scare the hell out of them. But if they continue down this path, they may find the old adage, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” may burn them. Let them light that fire, and see how powerful we truly are.
To me the Eris story points to a deeper issue: why is it that we discount our own inner wisdom and capitulate ourselves to our youthful follies? Our inner male king is just not very good at owning his own maturity… he acts like a wanton teenager most of the time, and “we” accept this… Why? We continue, as a species to continually do what we know is NOT right, just to see if we can get away with it and live our little hedonistic, greedy lives. Why is this? I feel that partially it is because we in our development as a species, we needed to have flawed and imperfect and frankly, tragically fucked-up archetypes to be ruling our collective trans-personal unconscious for the last age, because we were evolving. After all, if the king of the gods could pretty much go out and do as he pleased, just because he was the king, then why should we, as a collective, try to do any differently? And this gets us right to where we are today. With characters like “The Donald” thinking he is good enough to become our “king”… and why not, he’s the perfect stand-in for Zeus, is he not? And we don’t question this… why? Because this has been the best we could dream up for our highest archetypal planetary selves.
Don’t remember much about either Eris OR Varuna (early pre-Upanishads??). But — regarding the attack on women, women’s health, and women’s autonomy, well, we in the trans community are well acquainted with patriarchalism. I would venture to guess, that the demise of a structured patriarchy is part of this crossroads we are approaching. For at least the last 2-3,000 years, perhaps more, women have, by “Western standards,” been relegated to second-class status, particularly by what has become Western religion. Although, there was even gender classism in classical Confucianism, and even amongst some early Buddhists and others in the East. All tied up with patrimony and possession.
Considering that women outnumber men on the planet, it may be that the balance, or screw, is turning. But this kind of change will not happen without a fight, and you can bet that we haven’t even come close to seeing the last of this kind of bigoted discrimination. I was amazed to see the Republican Women’s Caucus support the attack on Planned Parenthood, even thought they dodged every conceivable query respecting specifics about women’s health.
I’m a new subscriber, and I found this update particularly interesting. I’m 35, married with two children. Two years ago I began a long-neglected journey of awareness into my femininity, something I’d ignored and shunned for many years due to old physical and psychological hurt. Having children in 2004 changed that, and I began to reconnect with the life-giving and generative side of myself. When I became pregnant with our third child in the summer of 2009, my husband, whom I had always considered supportive of my personal growth, and whom anyone would call supportive of women’s rights, flipped out. He became angry and defensive, and changed overnight into someone I couldn’t recognize. He didn’t want the baby, and the reasons he gave were all about his career, the size of our house, the amount of money we had. Things that I could barely bring myself to care about. Things he’d never cared about until the world economy began peaking in 2006-2007. Ultimately he bullied me into aborting the baby. This event, unsurprisingly, tore our marriage apart and brought to light many issues concerning the power dynamic of our relationship.
I’ve struggled these past twenty months to understand why things went the way they did. I work outdoors, taking care of an estate garden, and I enjoy the connections to life, regeneration, renewal, growth, and reproduction that my job and motherhood allow me. That two people who had loved one another deeply for eighteen years could suddenly part ways because of one person’s deep discomfort with those forces was shocking to me, no less because he’s a landscape architect and has always had a great love of gardening. The new difference between our life goals is something most people explain away by citing the basic psychological and physiological void between men and women, but I really think my husband found something more deeply threatening about my journey. It’s interesting to consider that while I was tapping into forces so much larger than myself, he was doing the same, and that in him they became so sinister. The time span of 2008-2012 is telling.
I think the contradiction points out the hypocrisy. They don’t value life. It’s just a form of power and judgment to hold over women.
Once those un-aborted children are born, where does their humanity reveal itself then? It usually doesn’t. At least that has been my observation over the years. Their behavior and actions — or lack thereof — contradicts the so-called desire to save a new life.
If they valued life, they would behave differently. I had a very vivid (and probably my last) yelling match with a pro-life middle-aged man when I was 20 in the middle of a Sesame Street retail store. What got him to shut up? A question, “How much time have you spent with a child this week?”
He looked stunned and walked away. Other customers clapped. I never felt the need to prove my point again.
I live a very unique and purposeful life. The family theme is one of feminine repression. My mom was the eighth kid; her mother was twenty-eight years old and still had another child who died in infancy. My grandfather was an alcoholic ogre who was abusive to all five girls. I have reason to believe that he molested at least the younger ones. My grandmother took her own life at the age of 45. At the time my mother was just graduating high school (the only one who did). The suicide was a family secret to me that surfaced in 2000 when I was 56 years old. Were we having Cancer eclipses then?
The pattern of feminine repression is still in play with my cousins, only much subtler. I am the only granddaughter to have had a daughter and she has had all boys. Perhaps the pattern stops with us?
My personal experience is that I can see a pattern of repressing my expression that reoccurs. I own and integrate one “issue” and awhile later something else surfaces.
Although I am not sure I can properly articulate my thoughts, but reading your email hit me like a freight train. A few months ago, this image of just what you are describing appeared and sat on my chest. It is the ultimate control. And just to take it one step further we are living in a country where in many states if a woman chooses to have her very-much-wanted baby at home with a midwife, she can go to jail (or, more importantly, her midwife can go to jail)!
I have so many anecdotes and instances I could reference in my personal life experience, but this mom of two needs to mentally regroup. I have been doing a lot of inner work around this
specific topic and sending out a great deal of light and love to the universe. I hope that love is magnified, there is a lot of healing to be done so that we can all contribute in this revolution. I am a firm believer that this new world we are radically moving toward will be elevated by those who with pure heart can help others expand and reach the abundance that exists for all, instead of greedily squeezing it into the pockets of a few. Very soon I think that way of being will simply no longer work. Women are that key.
One aspect of the marginalization of women that seems to be verboten is the importance of nurturing. Success for both sexes is defined according to typically male traits. Women, like men, are valued for how much money they contribute to the family, how successful their careers are, how rational and logical they can be.
I have seen some studies that say corporate America is seeing some “value” (i.e., money) in women’s ability to communicate and work together, which is something. But it misses the question of what is family and how do children become healthy whole adults? It takes something besides academic achievement and a safe, clean daycare. Children (and all people) need to be loved and nurtured. You can’t get that from video games, institutional daycare, TV or even Facebook.
With an economy that requires two full-time incomes and belittles the role of raising a family, no one is home to do the nurturing. The result seems to be a society that has a lot of personal issues with self-acceptance, self-esteem and honest communication that spills over into trying to judge and control others at all levels.
The implications for the environment are obvious. Nurturing is bad, so nurturing the planet is bad. Corporate profits are good.
We can’t talk about these issues without being accused of wanting to send women back to the kitchens and out of the boardrooms. That is not what I am saying. Women deserve economic freedom and equality, but does it have to come at the cost of the last bastion of nurturing in our society? And it is not just women, family in general is no longer valued. Other countries do a better job, from parental leave to generous vacation time.
A linchpin aspect if ever there was one. Varuna is, of course, very old (pre-Vedic) broad (the name roughly translates as “to surround”) and even pan-cultural (Uranus and Neptune and probably others are derivatives).
It seems to correspond to the concept of being as (if I understand him correctly) Martin Heidegger approached it. So big and all-encompassing that it is difficult, if not impossible to contemplate from a detached perspective. There is also the idea of Varuna as the arbiter of integrity and authenticity.
The square to Eris would seem to imply that action is required to be whole. To have one’s identity consistent with one’s being. Other than the Moon, of course, the Sun and Sedna are in play. Also, Burney, the asteroid named after the young lady who is said to have named Pluto. Which puts Pluto-Charon into consideration, hence all the Aries Point activity and, well, it seems that Mr. Heidegger would have enjoyed discussing this aspect.
Unfortunately, I am not of the same intellectual capacity as Martin Heidegger. Fortunately, as you have mentioned, this is a slow-developing aspect. Perhaps that is the saving grace that will allow all of us the opportunity to grow and evolve into the whole beings that our epoch will require of us.
As soon as I read your piece our little political drama of the past week created a sort of aha! moment. And I had been reading up on Varuna last week for some reason.
It involves the ice road trucker, Alex. Alex is a funny guy, but in his humour there is subtle racism and the fury of Catholic righteousness. He’s a big guy, a pioneer, a rough guy in a rough land. He is a personality, a maverick, and…a Conservative. He’d likely be a Tea Bagger if he lived in the states. I could go on at length about Alex but it’s best just to watch Ice Road Truckers. Frozen-water god.
Sandy Lee is a territorial Member of the Legislative Assembly and after ten years of being an MLA, she was finally given a portfolio — Health. (Often the outcast in an all-male assembly.) Sandy has campaigned hard for past national Liberal candidates. She is well-known for her red fashion statements. Really. And her bungling approaches to the health portfolio, generally. (She’s been given a pretty rough time considering some of the crap her male counterparts have pulled over the years — and gotten away with, I might add.)
When our national government fell a few weeks ago, and an election was called, Sandy became the Northwest Territories’ Conservative candidate. (It seems the Libs wanted to increase their chances of a win by backing a male former-premier.)
Alex had an issue with Sandy’s switcheroo. In his usual style, he announced that he would likely run as an independent, to fully express his outrage. While out canvassing the neighbourhood, Alex happened to knock on Sandy’s door. They had a 30-minute-or-so conversation. Alex came out a full supporter of Sandy’s. He’s a Conservative again. And he has faith that Sandy will represent them well. There’s a nice picture in the paper. Alex has his arm around Sandy. She’s not wearing a red blazer. The background is blue. Alex looks proud. Sandy’s looking a wee bit pale and defeated.
I’m thoroughly confused. But, hey, the Ice Road Trucker has spoken.
I have studied patriarchy like a med student studies a cadaver, so when you invited our thoughts on the Eris-Varuna square, I had to respond.
IMHO, the over-arching polarity we are struggling with in politics and the world — especially the politics of relationship — is the battle between patriarchy and enlightenment. Not matriarchy? Yes, not matriarchy. If we would rather not go through another 26,000-year trench fight to expose the horrors of matriarchal psychosis, we need to come out of this battle with an integrated consciousness. We need to arrive at a synthesis of our polarities, to create a higher neutral in a plus-vs-minus logos.
If I understand the energies of Eris and Varuna correctly, the long square says several important things:
a) Patriarchy is in its death throes, has been since 2008, its excesses being writ large and ugly;
b) The Tea Party is the new face of the Patriarchy; and
c) Women can be extremely effective patriarchs! Sarah Palin, and before her, Phyllis Schlafly, are prime examples.
When Patriarchy burrows into a woman and she internalizes it, makes it her own, the soul sickness comes out with a special nastiness. The pain she inflicts on other women is greater than most men understand, partly because the gender betrayal cuts so deeply, and partly because it is often augmented by jealousy. When that happens cruelty can have a venal spin, as seen in the girl-to-girl hate email that drove a high school student to suicide last Fall.
The Tea Baggers are Patriarchy personified. They will say anything, convince themselves of anything, spew anything at all, no matter how false and outrageous, that makes them feel better about their greed and bigotry. Obama’s a Muslim. More tax cuts for the wealthy. Wall Street is over-regulated. Immigration is mongrelization. Obama is Hitler. Obama’s a communist. Hell, even they don’t believe it all, but it helps them the way it helps a bear to stand up and growl ferociously when threatened. What really pisses them off is the fact that Obama is smarter than they are, and he’s a black man who doesn’t act all slave-y. It infuriates them. They’ll never admit it, and they’ll draw a gun on you if you suggest it, but that’s exactly what’s going on.
Your PW note about the Eris-Varuna square is great news to me. It says that the scourge of patriarchal psychosis is being brought up for review and transformation. You know how it is when you get a new handle on a thorny life lesson — probably one you thought you’d handled in your 30s — after it comes back a decade or so later in a new form, usually in sync with a major transit? I believe the human species is going through just such a whole-life review, right now. I feel like we are being forced by Eris-Varuna to look at our patriarchal psychosis, perhaps for the first time with a hope of healing it.
The intensity of those transitions can get thermonuclear, especially for us sensitives. I look at the political situation and see that we are in a review of the Inquisition, complete with reincarnations of Grand Inquisitors (Rove, Beck, Limbaugh) along with minions (Gonzales) and sadists (Cheney) frothing at the mouth to torture some victims (Guantanamo)?
Even the South has come back to divide a nation like it did the last time Neptune graced Pisces, only this time with Uranus-Pluto and Eris-Varuna. Once again, we are dealing with the mentality that Harper Lee wrote of in her 1960 opus, To Kill a Mockingbird. Obama is the sacrificial Negro, Tom Robinson and the Tea Baggers are Bob and Mayella Ewell, male and female versions. Atticus is the evolutionary goal of our collective human consciousness — the enlightenment at the end of our tunnel, so to speak. Atticus as synthesis.
It all just seems so cyclical! If we are, in fact, doing a grad school review of our major lessons as a species, then we may be able to resolve some deep karma over the next couple of years. And if it turns out that’s what is happening, then we should be able to see some echo of current astrology in the heavens 26,000 years ago. Is that possible to find out?
Meanwhile, it sure as hell is making a grotesque last stand!
By ‘patriarchal psychosis’ I mean the polar extreme of a primitive social behavior (probably about 26,000 years old, if we could pinpoint it). Something that’s been a part of our experience that long does not go quietly. It owns the ego, occupies it until the body dies. Extreme victims of it, while alive, cannot be persuaded by rational means. Reason will not get through, logic is lost on them, facts and consensual reality are ignored or declared biased. A Tea Bagger holding a sign that says, “I reject your reality and substitute my own!” should be the Sabian symbol for this astral event.
My thoughts are only what seem like very obvious ones, about the duality represented by sexism and how ramping up sexist issues so obviously attempts to hold us in duality as we (some of us, anyway) move toward unity and the softer, gentler, more loving and compassionate (feminine) attitudes that shift encompasses.