Greetings Space Cadets!!
Apocalypse is simple and it is also intellectually lazy. It is seductive and also simple to imagine catastrophic finality. It is easy to default to histrionics and hysterics and a great deal harder to short circuit these responses. I mention it, as we are fond of defaulting to dystopian and apocalyptic thinking in the Western Cultural scheme. It makes sense when you consider that one of our founding religions has by far one of the longest established visions of the end. In turn this has inspired centuries of apocalyptic social movements and Millenialists. In a word it has negative social consequences and can be the genesis of wasted lives chasing ideologies that deny the persistence of reality. Further it is this brand of thinking that leads to apathy and a stilting of the social imagination. Apocalyptic thinking has also stalled us from making significant action and progress on the threat of climate change and what it means for our species and for our society.
What we are doing is not working, any idea that does not acknowledge that a shift in our culture is necessary is incomplete and will not address the crisis we find ourselves in. Technology alone will not save us, politics alone will not save us, economics alone will not save us, international cooperation alone, Hyper-abundance alone, they must all work synergistically together as a complex perceptual technology aligned with a deep questioning of our outmoded values which produce the madness our societies are defined by. We must recognize that Humanity has yet to achieve civilization and that our so called “advanced” society is decidedly primitive. It is from the understanding of this limitation that a second Manhattan Project is initiated. Further, the converging crises of technological unemployment, Climate Change, and social disruption
Our social programming continues to perpetuate denial and apathy at all levels and largely only symbolic political action as many of our policy initiatives are based on rhetoric and not evidence. The eleventh hour has arrived and the time has come for a mobilization of our scientific genius and social resources towards a complete re-design of our civilization from soup to nuts. It is nothing short of a transformation of our economics, politics, religions, technical paradigms, and worldview that is called for. It is the rapid move away from an established society built on waste and stagnation to a more dynamic emergent society; one that readily adapts to change and creates the best possible mobilization of factors towards solving salient problems, one in which cooperation is a hallmark.
In a word, we are dreaming of the beginning of the world not the end, to borrow a concept from the spiritual writer Gerri Ravyn Stanfield. Truly creating the beginning of the civilized world, the one where we decided to finally work together and build the world that would require no more human rights laws because they were built into the social design.
The current social design and paradigm will provide no solutions toward a sustainable civilization for two reasons the problems are mostly technical and further the current parameters of the social design can never provide a path to sustainability as the objective of the current paradigm is the endless acquisition of wealth for the few and the unfeasible perpetuity of growth
We must begin to acknowledge that those who make up the 1% elites are parasites that are feeding off the labor and contributions of the rest of us. It manifests as various institutions including the Federal Reserve, the monetary system and the ubiquitous economic philosophies known as Neo-Liberalism. These environmental factors are all parasitic, they offer nothing to us in return and steal the resources that rightfully belong to all of Humanity as our common heritage, our commonwealth.
In a word, this shit has got to go!
Mercury Retrograde in Virgo and Leo: August 30th-September 22nd, 2016: Stratified Society
Mercury retrograde periods symbolically serve a few varied and necessary functions. Namely they are potent reminders to think before speaking, reason before doing and ensure that all terms have been mutually agreed upon before entering into any brokered deal or contract. Fill the gas tank, ensure the transmission has been replaced, make sure the screws on the bicycle pedals aren’t stripped and dot your “I’s” and cross your “T’s”. It also means that there needs to be particular attention paid to what is said during these periods as they lend themselves to making extreme gaffes or disastrous misinterpretations.
Never is this more true than in two areas of contemporary concern Climate Change debates and social justice (especially when it comes to race). This is salient in the U.S. emphatically as it is here that two insidiously awful things occur with regularity. The first being the general dumbing down of the populace by a severe lack in scientific literacy. An often hysterical media that construes facts into something barely recognizable is the other. The impact of such a muddle leads to things like Climate Change It leads to significant portions of the general population being confused on the consensus around Climate Change and ensures that any demagogue looking to defend their economic interests against the survival of civilization is given plenty of airtime. This results in Congressional deadlock leading to policy that worsens the crisis or does too little to address it, compounding the problems in the future.
The other is structural racism silencing the voices of dissent who bear the brunt of racism in our society and further a media that like with Climate Change will skew the media in favor of White opinion makers. This will silence and demonize Black perspectives. A particular tactic used is deflection. In this scenario there is a downgrading in the severity of an egregious act directed at a Black person (such as police killing an unarmed person), and then deflecting the issue to another related one with often inflated statistics and hysterical opinions from those who have no veracity to make such claims. To spell it out in an example it is akin to when a white speaker attempts to downplay an issue by deflecting to another one like black on black crime (what expertise does a white person have on this? And no quoting the non-epidemic of said crime does not count).
In a word the theme of this Retrograde period and all retrograde periods of Mercury is that Silence is golden. Before you make a statement, think ahead to the implications that your words may have on others who occupy vastly different perspectives. It is so imperative to choose words carefully and be very clear in your communications during periods when it is prone to being misunderstood, in fact it is best practice anytime.
Be sure to also do a rudimentary privilege check to ensure that you aren’t saying something that will reflect the ignorance that occupying different strata of society can predispose one to. Further fact checking is absolutely essential during these periods. It is imperative that before you make a claim that it is backed up by evidence or some demonstrable real world experience to justify it otherwise you are like an overstuffed bluebottle fly trying to take flight off the end of a shovel handle (you are full of crap and flying off the handle). It is socially problematic when an individual does and absolutely disastrous when a politician, policymaker or trend setter does it as it has far reaching implication and effects the lives of many.
Aries: April 19th-May 13th: Liberty or Death?
France is in the news cycle again, albeit for reasons wholly different than Charlie Hebdo and that is a good thing. In this case it is the seaming government over reach that has led to a series of penalties against Muslim dress. In this case French authorities have been accosting women for wearing burqa style swimsuits of French beaches. Some of the incidents have been so extreme it has led to a society wide debate on how effective the constitutional idea of laicite’ really is in creating a secular republic. Some commentators have gone so far to express that it has become a secular religion, seeking an almost totalitarian level of control. What is has done is raise important long debated questions of personal autonomy and liberty and the need for social cohesion and the balancing act that all societies must play between that. It is also the same question which obsesses Aries, as its denizens are deeply concerned with its implications.
Aries would be the first to high-light individual autonomy but what is most interesting is that it is in the presence of an egalitarian social structure that autonomy is most high-lighted. With Mercury in retrograde these questions of agency become highlighted especially as it pertains to freedom of speech and conscience. It will be interesting to observe where the laicite’ debates in France ultimately land, in the meantime, the big September question facing Aries has all to do with agency and autonomy in their lives and in the social matrix they find themselves in. This question is highlighted by any number of current human crises, from inequality to race relations, as an added wrinkle there is the TPP which has yet to be ratified by its signatories but raises a further dimension in the debate on international cooperation and cultural sovereignty. The TPP actually represents a bad deal for both namely that it seeks to empower corporate entities over the sovereignty of national governments and civil liberties. Aries is grappling with what it means to balance autonomy with the requirement of working in social harmony with others, these are all the concerns of a thoughtful reckoning with Sovereignty. Further, with many problems of such a scale requiring international coordination the question of sovereignty takes on a new urgency, especially as it relates to the Second Manhattan Project.
Taurus: May 14th-June 19th:Biomimicry,
“Biomimicry is an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies. The goal is to create products, processes, and policies—new ways of living—that are well-adapted to life on earth over the long haul.”-The Biomimicry Institute
As much as human genius wants to claim that it thought it first, on a second look we realize nature already figured out a much better work around for many existential problems. It was from Nature that our atmosphere was created by the ingenious evolution of photosynthetic organisms, who in their metabolism produced a waste product essential for the emergence of complex life-forms on planet Earth, in this case oxygen. Humanity would do well to take a page from Nature’s playbook, and do the same with all of our subsequent economic and technological evolution. Economically it would necessitate a few approaches. The first would be the establishment of a Universal Basic Income, and this is defined as a payment to every citizen of a country regardless of socio-economic status that would pay enough to remain economically viable which is not the same as enough to cover survival needs. This would create an impetus, a bridge to moving away from a monetary system and would dislodge the first tentacle of the profit motive from human experience (Taurus does correlate to finance, but more importantly to what we find valuable).
The second major transition is to re-design our technologies to mimic the same way that nature economizes and utilizes materials. In this way nothing of our precious resource base would ever go to waste and systems of redundant recycling would be built into the technical matrix. Imagine it products built to last indefinitely, with modular pieces to accommodate upgrades, a world where resources are conserved and no longer wasted so that they can be enjoyed for generations to come, and a technology that worked seamlessly with Nature and was designed to maintain the integrity of the planetary life support system. It would mean the end of planned obsolescence the worsening physical waste problems, and cyclical consumption. It won’t also spell doom for the monetary system and growth economics but it would be a welcome change for many who would be free to enjoy an abundance unknown in history, and no longer live with the constant survival anxiety precipitated by our stratified economic system. It also connects us to the idea of a UBI as this would be a bridge to this new economic logic.
Taurus being closely aligned to all things having to do with enduring value, beauty, harmony, art and finance (in the enlightened sense of an economy which is designed to efficiently provide for the needs of its participants). This sign is adept at advocating for these transitions. Personally it correlates to the Taurus undergoing an examination of their own value system and seeing if they truly square with the persistence of reality. This is not a comfortable or serene place for Taurus to be but then again Mercury is in retrograde which often correlates to disruptions along the channels of communication. Bear with it as it will bear fruit as the retrograde motion stations direct towards the 22nd of September. Taurus more universally is advocating for an economics revolution that questions the very basis of our assumptions, what’s telling is that even the IMF is admitting the current economic logic is a failure!
Gemini: June 20th-July 20th: Quicksilver Signal Transmit
Gemini’s are known for their hallmark feature versatility. They usually have many irons in the fire and are specialists at the art of being generalists. Gemini holds a deep interest in in art, philosophy, and the natural sciences. A strong dislike of boredom and being overly procedural makes them allergic to authoritative personalities. The problem with that is that in the modern world there is a very significant technocracy that exists which is chalk full of authoritative people. Gemini is a communicator, synthesizing the most complex of data and distilling it down into easy to comprehend models. The problem often is that technical elites work by keeping data complex and confusing due to a shortfall in resources and time to disseminate that information outside of academic contexts as well as colliding with the general scientific illiteracy of the public. The world very much needs communicators who can take arcane knowledge an distill it for the average Jane on the street. In an age of Information such as ours it can become wickedly easy for confusion and bias to muddle the transmission of vital information especially as it pertains to real-time conditions in the physical world. That Gemini exists to cut through the smokescreens created by demagogues, denialists and apologetics is essential, as policy decisions are staked on up to the minute awareness of complex systems and without a clear communication of this they get lost in ideology, rhetoric and emotionalism. A clear example of how this type of communication is essential is the handling of the HIV/AIDS crisis.
As it stands there is an almost obsessive focus on treatment of the disease to lower the incidence of infection, and yet the evidence shows quite remarkably that in fact prevention is the one area where we can make the most in roads on the crisis and truly make a dent in the epidemic. The fact that this is not clearly shown is because it may offend the sensibilities of conservative policy makers as well as kick some of the sacred cows of more liberal audiences. It is summed up beautifully by the epidemiologist and Journalist Elizabeth Pisani, read here. (She, has said it better than I ever could, although with the launch of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis the argument takes on completely novel dimensions). With Mercury in retrograde the need for clear and concise communication becomes absolutely essential, especially during periods when it is harder to transmit clear signals. Gemini will be grappling with a communication problem over this period, in particular it may seem as if the Gemini is speaking a foreign language or more exceptionally will appear as if they are from another planet. They are having a hard time being understood, as they may not be communicating as clearly as is customary for them. A further wrinkle is that it may be the subject matter they deal in is esoteric and accessible to only those possessing advanced degrees in femto-engineering. Remember one simple rule for clear transmission, brevity with impact. Speak precisely and factually, be deliberate and always say exactly what you mean, if it is an emotionally charged atmosphere remember to use tact, you’ll get through the retrograde, and you might change some minds in the process, given the lack of evidence based policy decisions that might just make another world possible.
Cancer: July 21st-August 8th: Generation X: Mothers of the Viable Future
“The hand that rocks the cradle rules the World.”- Julianne Moore
It’s 2020 and the world is being reshaped by a new generation of policy makers. As the Silent Generation is passing away and the Baby Boomers finally begin to wane in influence, new players enter the world stage. In particular we see Generation X beginning to exert the lions-share of policy initiative in novel directions. This is a generation that is defined by disaffection and the first generation to experience a lower standard of living than its forebears (not to the same extent as the Millenials). Born predominately between the mid 1960’s and the early 1980’s this generation is more diverse is race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and other characteristics that others coming before them. It was the first generation to be tech savvy as it was one of those emerging to benefit life-long form the dawning of the modern computer age. Along with an ease with technology is a markedly declining acceptance of religion and ergo an attendant currency with Science.
Many experience a rage at the previous generation stemming from the fact that they have inherited a corrupt socio-political legacy. As they step into the bastions of power they begin to transform the world. Expressing fierce opposition to the policies of prior generations they refuse to defer to the Baby Boomers and also recognize that Millenials also need to contribute their largesse to the human project. A few policy highlights will include financial reform mainly to create systems of long term accountability and deconstruct the veracity of the profit motive and the epidemic of short term thinking. A reform of benefits and funds away from senior citizens and towards those in their middle years, to stem the extreme gaps between them and prior generations. A relaxation of laws surrounding euthanasia, private recreational drug use, same sex marriage, prostitution and ephemera. A relaxation of workplace dress codes and more flexible schedules and benefits for employees, and finally a greater priority placed on environmental protection and scientific research.
What does any of this have to do with Cancer? It is the sign that has a great deal to do with inheritances, both genetic and cultural and the historical arcs of generations. It is concerned with the well-being of generations extant and those yet to be born and so issues tied to inter-generational influences fall under it purview. With Mercury retrograde the concerns of generational gaps are high-lighted. Inequality is confined to generations and in this case the last two since the Baby Boom Generation (birth cohort years falling between 1946-1964) have experienced increasing inequality as a result of policy decisions made by prior generations. It is these conflicts that concern Cancer, it is an instance of the past repeating something Cancer desperately tries to remedy. Cancer has acute historical awareness and because of this seeks to break the cycles of history and this is the work that will define the sign for September (and a lifetime).
Leo: August 9th-Spetmeber 15th: Reverse Dominance Hierarchy
The United States could best be described as a nation in which the collective cultural dialogue is individualism on steroids. It is the most privatized and hyper-capitalist place on Earth (even more so than Sao Paulo which held the distinction for a time). Of all the industrialized economies it features the highest amount of inequality and lacks many of the common social goods that we see in other nations, such as Universal Healthcare, income redistribution, subsidized education, and child and elder care. The system of wealth distribution and cycles of capital ensure that most of the wealth and the fruits of most of the populations’ labor is funneled up to a small elite at the top of a very dreary pyramid (the appropriation of labor to the Capitalist Class). It means many will go without both the necessities as well as many of the benefits that accrue as the result of this economy. It is a structural problem that will not be easily solved by reform but only by a radical departure from failing economic policies (austerity and neo-liberalism). Our economy is not designed to serve the basic premise of all economies which is to provide needed items to its participants but instead it is designed create the conditions for individuals to compete to accrue the most wealth regardless of whether it provides for its participants. If that should lead to an oligarchic elite that controls the levers of society at the expense of the majority of the population then so be it as it in fact has in the U.S. In all the history of the world this economic and social arrangement is an anomaly, and in most contexts would be seen as aberrant, it also flies in the face of 99% of Human history which was spent in small Hunter-Gatherer societies that were for the most part egalitarian (there were variations).
These societies are in fact defined by their fiercely egalitarian stance, as this particular way of life required intense sharing and cooperation ad so these groups the world over found ways of maintaining a fierce egalitarianism. One basic assumption these societies made is that every member was entitled to food and resources regardless of their ability to procure them (similar to many of the Nordic Social Democracies to an extent).One of the salient features of this was a complete and total intolerance for boasting, egotism, ostentatiousness, or attempting to dominate others. If a young man in the group (and almost always it is a man) attempted to act better than others or try to get more for themselves, they would be ridiculed mercilessly, especially by the elders, until the proper social humility was demonstrated. In this way these groups established a mechanism to ensure that no one individual would attempt to dominate the entire group. This is what is termed a reverse dominance hierarchy in that it is designed to prevent groups form being dominated by individuals or small elites (it is so ingenious that it actually would prevent small elites from forming in the first place). What is of particular interest in that in these societies there is far greater autonomy even in the face of a collective strength than there is in the so called free civil societies of the modern world.
Leo is acutely and chronically familiar with the abuses of power that can come when the social arrangement is not fiercely egalitarian. The same sentiment actually underpins the modern French secular republic in terms of the idea of lacite’ and the three values of fraternity, equality, and liberty. It was these values that ultimately dis-entrenched the Monarchy and the Church from their positions of dominance over the common people. It is this iconic transformation that correlates well with Leo, as it is the sign of royalty. In this case though it takes on new connotations in that the Egalitarian ethic turns the understanding on its head. In the new conception we are each monarchs of our own flesh imbued with personal sovereignty, and further part of autonomous groups that refuse domination. This is the post-modern clarion call of the new Leo. With Mercury in retrograde power relations of every kind are called into question. Personally it means Leo’s grapple with the question of where they have relinquished sovereignty in their own lives and further why so many of us continue to support economic policies and social structures that allow small elites to dominate the masses. Leo knows that another world is possible and has the dramatic flair to bring it into existence.
Virgo: September 16th-October 30th: Artificial Intelligence
I choose Virgo for this particular perspective because Virgo was prominent in the trajectory of two powerful symbols during the Dawn of the Modern Computer Age circa 1965 (or thereabouts) so it correlates with the symbol set powerfully. It is also an area of human endeavor where the distinctly Virgoan trait of humility is assuredly called for. AI has the powerful potential to liberate humanity from its ,limitations and because it is a double edged sword it could likely also be the last invention that Humanity ever achieves as it could destroy us if we do not unroll this technological juggernaut with caution and informed development. The problem is the arrogance of our current culture and its insistence on short term thinking (lack of humility often leads to hubris). AI cannot develop under the auspices of turning a profit, it must be developed to benefit all of us, not increase so called productivity.
What will then need to be developed is a mechanism, a technology of perception among human beings that short circuits the short term thinking of most institutions, elucidates the problem of the profit motive, and the need for long term thinking and the smart programming of AI interfaces, as it will be likely that they will be left to be the big decision makers of the future due to their stronger ability for modeling outcomes. It is likely that strange and novel emergences will occur as the algorithms evolve into a complexifying consciousness at the same time the basic subroutine must establish a far greater expanse of awareness than human consciousness has yet attained (our machines will eventually evolve to be smarter than us). What this requires is a deep appreciation for humility and preventing the worst mammalian tendencies (dominance, arrogance, bias, prejudice, and malice) from being programmed into the algorithms that will guide AI behavior. (remember we have already seen very basic algorithms for websites lead to severe racial prejudice).
As much as we would like to default to the idea that a machine free of our limitations will also transcend them, the reality is that they still require a human to program them and that is the single limiting factor. The question becomes how do we program our best qualities into these algorithms, so these AI emergently evolve in directions that remove them from darker capacities in humanity? Virgo is particularly adept at understanding the complexity of these queries as their basic mandate is one of being in service to all of humanity (service is different than servitude) and they understand the dangers of standard dominance hierarchies and the need for social systems in place that create reverse dominance which prevents powerful individuals from controlling the dialogue and attempting to dominate the group. Personally Virgo is grappling with the struggle in their own life where their sovereignty has been enslaved to serve dubious ends (labor appropriation by the Capitalist class, to be Marxist about it).
With Mercury retrograding particularly in this sign the issues of service vs servitude will be highlighted and it is likely that issues surrounding an economy of inequality that has emerged due to Late Capitalism and Neoliberal philosophy will be highlighted and come into the popular dialogue in ways we can’t anticipate. Virgo is playing a huge role in this dialogue as it is the symbol set that holds the promise of the creation of a sustainable and equitable Eco-Technic civilization that will only come about when we have stripped the lower order functions from our technological base.
Libra: October 31st– November 22nd: Rebellion vs. Exclusion
The Millenial Generation is potentially one of the most maligned generations in recent memory, with a dominant cultural narrative claiming that it is entitled, indulgent, lazy and “killing” various industries by non-participation. What this fails to account for is that it is the first generation in modern history to be experiencing a lower standard of living than its parents. Can Millenials really be to blame for historic lows in consumption when the promises of the alleged “American Dream” have been denied the vast majority of them? A sluggish economy with anemic job growth and an unprecedented Recession that economies have only un-remarkably recovered from.
That this criticism is coming from the very generations responsible for the creation of the most socially marginalizing economy ever and its attendant philosophy of Neoliberalism is never mentioned or brought into the collective conversation. Perhaps this is a matter of pawning off the shame that some members of the Baby Boomer generation have for the betrayal of their more enlightened political instincts; they gave us the Hippies and the Social Revolution that was the 60’s but they also defaulted and gave us Reaganomics and the Yuppies.
What the Millenials are calling for is basic fairness, and reasonable access to the resources of civilization that is promised to all of us. It is the elucidation of the simple logic that economic justice and social justice are the same thing. The Millenials are the largest and most diverse generation in recent memory and because of this the social revolution they are unwittingly fermenting is going to mean a reckoning with inequality, race, sexuality, and gender, and by the time it is finished our society may be a much fairer place and one in which rights of individuals are respected over the rights of corporations and economic entities. Justice is the theme that unite all of Libra’s symbols sets and it is this dance of equilibrium that Libra is always attempting to approach and never quite achieves. It is akin to the same dance that all of nature is attempting as well, the sway towards homeostasis, it is this concern which will consume Libra in September. With Mercury retrograding over these crucial points Libra’s will be asking themselves to what extent can they push for fairness in the world. We often hear that life isn’t fair, what we forget is that is why we devised society in the first place to level the playing field and make life that much fairer. Libra knows at an instinctual level that we cannot default to arguments that are any less than ones that establish fairness as an emergent property of society.
Scorpio: November 23rd-November 19th: Unpalatable Certainties
Uncomfortable truths are becoming the hallmark of the newest Geologic Era we find ourselves entering, the Anthropocene. One of these is the cornerstone to all of the other potentially thermonuclear crises we are facing and that is the reality of Climate Change. It is disingenuous in the extreme to deny that this is the reality we are facing, nay it is dangerous and suicidal not to. It is an issue that has polarized Humanity, albeit the vast majority recognize the reality and it is Governments, and other organizational bodies (Corporations), that need to acknowledge the persistence of reality. It is in essence the masses beset by the elites and the elites are in la-la land.
Scorpio is comfortable with extremes, and being under the sway of contemporary issues that have extreme opinions on both sides of the spectrum. Scorpio is adept at navigating these treacherous waters and coming up with solutions that will work with the responsible uses of collective power even if the methods are on the surface diabolical in appearance. Scorpio will court the unpopular opinion because it is often the one with the weight of the evidence behind it. Scorpio will also look for solutions that benefit the vast majority of folks not the narrow perspectives of corporate elites, further it, the solutions may even not have popular support, or offend the sensibilities of various segment so society, but they will work and that pragmatism often is what matters.
A contentious area currently up for debate is Nuclear Power. The biggest concern surrounding Nuclear energy is the waste by products of production, and the possibility of weaponization and proliferation. There is currently in development a form of reactor known as Generation IV, or Breeder Reactors. What is significant about them is that they dash the concerns of the above two issues. They utilize a product that is only 9% enriched which means it cannot be efficiently weaponized (this also means they are meltdown proof as they do not contain enough fissile material to reach critical mass nor can they attain the necessary temperatures). The waste problem is handled in that it can also utilize spent fuel rods from other reactors as it uses lower energy and radioactive decay products in its metabolism. There are legitimate concerns that events like Chernobyl and Fukushima made evident but it must be recognized that these are older technologies which lack the capacities and advantages of newer reactor types. The idea that renewable energy sources can replace current energy generation is not feasible given current technologies, which is not to say that they won’t make up the lions-share of future energy as it is extremely likely they will, what it is to say that as a bridge to a Post Oil Era we may need to deploy some form of Nuclear energy (Nuclear Power produces exactly zero Green House Gas Emissions) . (Please note this is not a personal endorsement one way or another, it is merely a statement of available evidence, what’s more this is stated to open further discussion with far less vitriole , far more collective input and an honest reckoning with bias). There are a plethora of related issues that are controversial on both sides, GMO’s, Geo-Engineering, and Desalination are three others.
Scorpio has no problem courting controversy and pointing out inherent biases on both sides of the political aisle, and this is no exception, as biases of both a liberal and conservative stripe can deviate significantly from the scientific consensus on any number of issues. With Mercury in retrograde Scorpio has its work cut out for it as it is responsible for crafting the message that communicates the most accurate picture of the evidence now available. Personally it means that Scorpio is examining any biases they are currently entertaining and in the unflinching gaze are deeply questioning the veracity of cherished beliefs.
Ophiuchus: November 30th-December 17th: Pandrogeny
“You free your mind in your androgyny”– Androgyny, Garbage
Like religion humans take gender way too seriously. It is to such an extent that we even experience crimes tied to gender. What we often forget is that gender is purely a product of social construction and has very little correlation to anything inherent in human biology. While it is true that sex hormones to some extent determine some physical characteristics and some of our primary motivations, they cannot be said to have much to do with gender which is purely the result of a social process interacting with some insignificant bio-genetic interfaces (genes layout the body plan and sexual dimorphism but have little involvement in social processes).
Genisis P-Orridge was instrumental in radically challenging the veracity of gender with the concept of pandrogeny, it is summed up very well by Hannah Haddix, writing for Trigger Warning, and her personal experiences with the concept:
“I was fortunate enough to spend my late teenage years and budding twenties living in the Gates Institute– a Brooklyn brownstone “commune” owned and occupied by Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and her lovely wife, Lady Jaye. Through their pandrogeny project I was introduced early on to the concept that every man is a man and a woman, and every woman is a woman and a man. Sexuality is fluid and non-dualistic. Since that time after years of immersing myself in the vastly diverse and strange society we live in, I have witnessed the validity of that notion. The genitals you are born with do not determine your goals, roles, struggles, ideologies, sexual interests, or really… anything else in life. There is no absolute. Pandrogeny taught me that sexuality and gender are as malleable as your hair. Say your genetics determine that you have thin straight hair, but you desire luscious curly locks. No problem. Whether the solution is a curling iron and a bucket of hair products, a full on perm with extensions, or a one night affair with a convincible wig– the power is in your hands. Our biological beings are not the end all be all. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the typewritten “male” or “female” on your birth certificate somehow defines you, your personality, or what you are capable of achieving and being.” – Hannah Haddix
It sums of the concept better than I ever could, on a few points I hold some divergent understanding, however not significant enough to dismiss the merits of the argument, and state this is Ophiuchus’ forte. Gender fuckery of every kind is in the repertoire of the Medusan as is the return of the feminine to its rightful place of equality. It goes much deeper than gender fuckery, it cuts right to the heart of identity, and highlights the importance of human rights regardless of gender. This is especially salient in light of the considerable resistance both culturally and in other arenas to the ascendancy of transgendered civil issues.
This could be the defining Civil Rights issue of the 21st century and it will be the flag bearers of Ophiuchus who carry its clarion call, I see the slogan now “The future is feminine” and this is not meant in any traditional construct of what feminism is, it is more to say that the future (of gender) is in flux, it is flexible. It will be pertinent as technology advances and allows more human beings to transcend the seeming limits of their biology. For the transgendered this could represent a revolution as they can finally reconstruct their physical bodies to more accurately reflect the identity deeply rooted within their psyches with a minimum of the pain and healing involved. It will also represent a revolution for society as we will have to abandon any concept of gender that is based on fixed roles, it will usher in an age of greater flexibility in identity and lead to a more emergent society that readily accepts change and knows the virtue of adaptation.
Personally many Ophiuchans may be struggling with the implications of a more fluid gender stance means for their own lives, and how this interdigitates with the rest of society. Our culture is at a critical juncture on these issues, and the best approach is the similar one taken to religion as suggested in the Sagittarius post to play with it and not take it to the deadly seriousness that it has become. It is because of the majority being so deadly serious about gender that many who are transgendered or genderqueer are relegated to the margins of society and violence is done to them. Perhaps if we all had a relaxed attitude to gender these vitriolic reactions would not exist. With Mercury retrograde the issue of gender is up for review and we all struggle to find the language, cultural currency and space to freely explore this crucial issue.
Sagittarius: December 18th– January 18th: Space Age Shamanism
“Imagine that you’re an intelligent extraterrestrial, concerned only with verifiable truths. You discover a species that has divided itself into thousands – no, by now millions – of tribal groups holding an incredible variety of beliefs about the origin of the universe and the way to behave in it. Although many of them have ideas in common, even when there’s 99% overlap, the remaining one percent’s enough to set them killing and torturing each other, over trivial points of doctrine, utterly meaningless to outsiders. “How to account for such irrational behavior? (…) religion was the by-product of fear – a reaction to a mysterious and often hostile universe. For much of human prehistory, it may have been a necessary evil – but why was it so much more evil than necessary – and why did it survive when it was no longer necessary?”
– Arthur C. Clarke, 3001: The Final Odyssey
Religion is serious business in our human global society, so much so we actually kill each other over it. We will fight to the death over a 1% difference in belief. After a deep immersion into the anthropological literature surrounding Hunter-Gatherer societies (the type of social arrangement that defines the bulk majority of human existence and history), Psychologist, Peter Gray concluded that there are a few salient features to how these populations maintain the iconic egalitarianism that defines their societies. One of the more powerful links he curated was their approach to religion. Hunter-Gatherers are incredibly pragmatic so much so that their religions reflect the vagaries and uncertainties of their environments (all religions do to some extent). What’s more they also have a high degree of playfulness to them, they are treated as a game that brings life-long meaning (life itself can have game like properties). Furthermore play is a mammalian inheritance that is the highest form of human expression and it also short-circuits the parts of human nature that enforce a drive to dominance.
“The Gods are our playmates, our equals. We play creatively with them in the unfoldment of reality. We enter into co-creation with them in the story of the world.” –Prometheus Jones, ‘Space Helmet’
The basic premises are that to have faith is to engage in a form of make believe (faith is believing without evidence, this is not said to degrade the role of religion only to bring it some perspective), all religion being a form of play, an elaborate game that brings meaning to existence. Religion is a sacred form of play that gives substance to the uncertainty of existence. Religion only turns bad when it stops being wild, and loses a sense of playfulness. One of the salient features of these premises is that they do not confuse empirical observations with religious conviction and as such hold a deeply pragmatic view of the world that does not lead to violent or irrational behavior that puts religious ideology above concern for human wellbeing. Play is a method that allows humans to come to terms with reality, and this is religions true function. If contemporary society was to adopt this idea wholesale we would see an end to religious conflict as we would stop fighting about microscopic differences in belief. It would be plainly obvious that we come to these beliefs purely through chance and that we are each playing different games, structured by other rules but ultimately it’s all an elaborate form of play that gives meaning to reality. It is akin to the idea expressed in ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ of drinking from a common cup, it does not invalidate our individual diversities of experience but it does allow us to draw from a common pool, we are all just playing variations on the same game, and it’s fun!
This deeply pragmatic approach to religion would go along to ensuring that Humanity will be shamanizing out amongst the stars instead of the smoking ruins of one great societies that destroyed themselves with ideological blindness. Sagittarians excel at the art of play, and also correlate symbolically to foreign customs and all things having to do with Religion and Philosophy, so that they are tasked with building the spiritual underpinnings of a space age shamanism should hardly be surprising. It is given additional impetus with a retrograde motion through the deeply transformative symbol of Pluto, which is creating evolutionary pressures to push human consciousness back full circle to a more egalitarian view of the Gods. Mercury retrograde means an extra serving of ditto. Albeit it is tussling with the inevitable push back of various fundamentalisms which will insist that the G-d is serious business and we have no right to engage in divine play (albeit there are extant theologies that do exactly this, in Hinduism there is the concept of Lila, divine play in which the gods play in time and space). Communicating how play is the most sacred thing we can do may counter this and prevent a more refreshing message from getting lost in the confusion of conflating realism with doctrine, we do no favors to Humanity or the future by reifying fundamentalisms of any stripe.
Capricorn: January 19th-February 15th Jevon’s Paradox
“Jevons paradox occurs when technological progress increases the efficiency with which a resource is used (reducing the amount necessary for any one use), but the rate of consumption of that resource rises because of increasing demand.”-Wikipedia
The trouble is there are other fundamental causes that explain the uptick in energy usage and none of them has to do with Jevon’s Paradox, but a great deal more to do with Capitalism. This is to some extent a positive development because it means that the reason for increasing energy use is because of social processes and those tend to lend themselves better to change and adaptation than the harder limits of actual physics. It highlights an important concern. The societal need for conservation of precious resources and an intelligent management of the global commonwealth is rapidly becoming the essential task of the human species.
For humanity to have anything remotely approaching a sustainable future this must become an over-riding prime directive of culture, policy formation and politics, and it takes on almost religious dimensions. This made especially pertinent in light of climate change which directly implies that the Fossil Fuel Era mist come to a rapid end and that the remaining Petroleum needs to largely stay locked up in the ground or put to uses that don’t involve combustion and burning of its products (there are applications which are far better and don’t produce carbon emissions, i.e. plastics, drug manufacturing, and fertilizers).
Capricorn is particularly concerned with efficiency in all of its dimensions. Most astrologers will say this economy applies only to business for Capricorn, but I like to expand the scope of the possible to include energy efficiency as it is a defining issues of our Era. In particular Capricorn is grappling with the ideas behind the efficient uses of its personal resources as well as the greater societal need for the equivalent of the law of Conservation of Energy. With Mercury in retrograde shortfalls in the communication of these issues become highlighted and become the focus of Capricorns judicious energy expenditure. The question to grapple with is where are resources being squandered towards needless ends and can they be diverted to more efficient channels where more of them can be conserved over a longer time arc? The answer will hold profound consequences for both the individual and society.
Aquarius: February 16th-March 11th: Futureshock
Humanity has always been obsessed with the future, and it makes sense as it is a hallmark of our species to project our thinking into the future, and plan ahead. That we aren’t particularly adept in this society at planning for the future or considering the veracity of a ‘longer now’ is a cultural anomaly tied to the profit motive which naturally highlights short term thinking (return on investment) at the expense of long-range planning. It is the confluence of this protracted perception that we are facing a number of converging crises that make the future appear destabilizing, dangerous and terrifyingly dystopian. Many of us see a world more reminiscent of Blade Runner, Stand on Zanzibar, Total Recall, and Brave New World, than we do one of Island, 3001, Aurora and 2312. Aquarians feel this the most acutely as they are the symbol set that ideas of the future, with emphasis on the distant future fall under. The Aquarian has the unique ability to hold the terror of the future in one eye and then the strange promise it holds in the other. Often they are the trendsetters and storytellers that weave the patterns of the world yet to emerge.
So many different threats are converging that has many humans defaulting to despair the most terrifying of all of them is Climate Change and the inauguration of the Anthropocene. The effects of Climate Change notwithstanding with their terrifying implications for civilization and their compounding and fast accelerating feedback loops accelerating the dystopian imagination. Ultimately though apocalypse is unprovable therefore uninteresting and intellectually anorexic in the extreme (although it does make for great story telling!). Aquarius is attempting the Promethean task of stealing fire form the Gods once again, and utilizing that great disruptor technology to reshape the cultural landscape and place it into its proper context in the service of all humanity and the in the maintenance of the integrity of Spaceship Earth (as we are all space faring by default). Acutely aware of technology’s limitations, it’s need for humanitarian handling, a need to strip it of ancient enmity and bias (witness the racial profiling ala AirBNB), Aquarius is guided by an affinity with the natural world, a love of life, and a profound concern for Humanity. It is from these noble aspirations that Aquarius will craft the emergent cultural forms that will provide access to technology for all people regardless of their ability to “afford” it and secure the benefits of human endeavor to everyone, regardless of the concerns of elite groups seeking to concentrate the benefits laterally.
Personally Aquarius feels Mercury Retrogrades acutely and they often stir up anxieties about the uncertainty of the future and the tenuous condition of the human species (a feature built in to all species on a dynamically changing planet). It inspires a need to communicate on these issues and test the veracity of various visions everything from ‘The Limits to Growth’ to the ‘The End of History’ comes up for critical review in these periods and is reality tested to see if it will really work in delivering the social good to the human commons. Aquarius knows to side step politics as it is the art of the possible and therefore appeals to inferior minds. Aquarius is a genius and knows it must wager and challenge the impossible because that is where visionary minds reach their apotheosis. Things are muddled as Neptune traverses the sign retrograde as well creating a confused picture, were dystopia and paradise are entangled into a Gordian knot. The task is to parse out the strands and maintain a critical eye, it is often the more liberating vision that works in the confines of Natural Law. A few examples to illustrate, explosive population growth in various countries was brought under control not through dystopian reforms that put controls on reproduction, but by empowering women and girls educationally, socially and economically. It seems that increased autonomy created the better reality than control, this certainly parallels a deeply rooted Aquarian instinct, that liberation and autonomy often lead to pro-social outcomes that benefit the commons and preserve the natural world. Aquarius must always remember that it is trending towards equilibrium between dystopia and Eden, and that is the back and forth between these two, cross referenced with reality that ensures despair does not lead to paralysis, and the best outcome enters the realm of the possible.
Pisces: March 12th-April 18th: Unpredictable Perturbations
Pisces is comfortable with Chaos, not in the sense of disorder or entropy but more so in the mysterious forces that work synergistically to move complex systems towards new phase states. Currently these same forces are driving changes that are both profound and terrifying. While they are being guided by our hand the unpredictable results they are creating are filling headlines the world over. 99% Chance that 2016 Will be the hottest year of record, The Point of No Return: Climate Change Nightmares are Already Here, Can New York be Saved in the Climate Change Era? Will Superintelligent Machines Destroy Humanity? & A child born today may live to see humanity’s end, unless… Each one of these is terrifying and hysterical and may lead a Pisces to want to climb under a rock and hide in the solace offered. Pisces is a sensitive sign and it has such a wide angle lens on the world it can see the connections between the most disparate elements and the larger and mysterious forces at work that are shaping these realities. Pisces understands the inchoate forces working behind the scenes even if they can’t always perceive them.
The modern Pisces often has a sixth sense about them which is to say that they rely on an in-built vague agnostic mysticism, which while not collapsing them into confusing mysticism with empiricism does allow them to peer behind the curtain some which means they easily see the inextricable links between everything. With Mercury in retrograde it is almost guaranteed that the media all around us will attempt to confuse issues by only reporting on what is the most sensational, if it bleeds it leads and all the other clap trap that is churned out by the downtown bullshit machine. You can be assured none of it will be fact checked and will do one of two things, confuse the issue by denying the unanimous consensus behind it or will under report on it. What this means for Pisces is that they may find themselves bombarded and overwhelmed by hysteria and disinformation. It could be so extreme they find themselves escaping into Virtual Reality of the permanent variety on back order until circa 2080, the Olaf Stapledon idea of radio bliss. Pisces must avoid this and remember to fact check everything that comes there way over the next month, check it for veracity and whether or not it has any evidence behind it, especially if you hear any demagogue spouting their mouth off (read Donald Trump). You Pisces are precious and lovely beings the beloved of the zodiac, the world needs your immense compassion and empathy which means the best stories you tell are the ones where you managed to reign in your boundless imagination and what’s more where you threw off the chains of your slave masters, whether they be the internal voices that keep you apoplectic or the incomprehensible forces that shape the “objective” world (Jean Paul Sarte said Hell was other people).
As always we cannot ignore the Moon our closest satellite and also the factor that made life possible on Earth by modulation of the tidal forces acting on the oceans, further there is some suggestion that it may act to modulate tidal forces in the atmosphere as well. Body of mystery and intrigue, inspiration for a thousand and one tales in human mythology and the great lover of the Earth that circles endlessly caught in a gravitational embrace. This month we experience the new moon traversing though the Fishes around September 1st. This is then followed 15 days later by a Full Moon in Virgo. Please click on the images below for a fun romp through practices related to moon cycles. The one for Pisces is written for a Full moon lunation, that said it can certainly apply to new moon lunations as well, with an emphasis that the new moon represents an emphasis on new beginnings and and the initiation of new cycles or patterns.
Happy Solstice Season to you my lovely space-time travelers! I will see you all next month same frequency and same channel. If you like this blog follow me! I am also found on Facebook and the Siderealist a website devoted to explicating the 13 sign system of Astrology. Join me and HiC Luttmers for the second Sunday of each month at 10:30AM (Anti-Matter) for the radio version of this post on r(E)volution with HiC, click on the picture hyperlinks below to connect with me in cyberspace. I also offer Natal Chart, Transit and Progressed Chart readings, for that contact via Facebook, I would love to hear from you! You can also message me in the comments if you would like to explore more of the themes discussed here.