The new year began, astrologically, with the New Moon of December 27th. Astrologers had been watching its approach with bated breath. Like its parallel transit exactly a year ago, when Benazir Bhutto was killed in Pakistan, we knew this latest Pluto-Mars duet would stimulate a vision of civilization breaking down. It was widely expected that somewhere in the world something would happen to epitomize the convulsions our globe is experiencing right now.
The next morning American newspapers were too busy wringing their hands about sluggish retail sales to say much about the massacre in Palestine, but the timing tells the tale. The explosive Pluto-Mars conjunction overhead is opposing the US Sibley chart’s Venus (values) /Jupiter (morality) conjunction, from which we can infer that another piece of this story is the challenge it poses to America’s sense of right and wrong.
Transits of Pluto always trigger hidden shames. Whether on the personal or collective level, the planet functions to usher painful understandings to the foreground of consciousness. That which is hidden becomes embarrassingly difficult to conceal.
On the event level, the transit is pointing us to two issues. First, like a power-point presentation writ large, Pluto is making us look at the meaning of what’s been going on in Palestine for years. Secondly, it is begging the question of why so few Americans know about it. The twin reality being highlighted here, represented by the opposition in the US chart between Mercury and Pluto, is that there is a blackout (Pluto) of information (Mercury) in the US media about Palestine, among many other global hot spots.
Not exactly a secret but definitely not part of the national conversation is the fact that Israel is right up there with Burma, war-criminality-wise. Its state-of-the-art military has created a humanitarian disaster in Palestine. And where do all these fancy cluster bombs come from? Notorious for inflicting hideous injury on civilians years after they are fired, these ingeniously lethal weapons have been outlawed almost universally by the international community, with the glaring exception of Israel and the USA. For use against the Lebanese two years ago and the Palestinians ongoing, Israel orders ‘em up from the Pentagon.
Israel’s military is the single biggest recipient of US aid. Fifteen billion American taxpayer dollars are shoveled into Israel’s war machine every year. Meanwhile Hamas is dirt-poor, as resistance fighters waging guerrilla war usually are. Palestine is deliberately kept unimaginably poor; its people are, not to put too fine a point on it, being starved to death. The barest glance at statistics like these reveals how patently absurd it is that the US media could portray the conflict as if it were an equal battle.
The Pluto-Mercury aspect in the US chart, indicative of mind control, has the curious ability to blind a whole populace to truths that are hidden in plain sight. If Americans informed themselves even the slightest little bit, they would learn that there are one hundred Palestinian deaths to every one Israeli death. In light of this fact, what are we to make of the preposterous claim — parroted verbatim as an apologia for each new massacre — that “Israel has the right to defend itself”? Without the Plutonian spin supplied by the US media, Israel’s policy would be readily seen as a textbook example of collective punishment. Though this despicable tactic righteously appalls us when we see Hollywood Nazis using it, it is tolerated as standard operating procedure in the Gaza Strip.
For every desperate suicide bomber that makes his way out of the indigent throng behind the apartheid wall, an entire village in Gaza gets bombed. For every stone thrown at an Israeli army tank by a ragged child, Israel cuts off food and clean water to thousands. Most Americans don’t have a clue about any of this, despite the fact that they themselves pay for the bulldozers, strategic training, guns and spies (may we call them for what they are, instead of using the Pentagon’s term, “intelligence operatives”?) that are responsible for these crimes against humanity.
Israel’s hope is clearly that if they grind down the Palestinians’ will to live they will simply disappear. In between outright bombings, the people of Gaza are being subjected to a slow dehumanization process: cut off from their ancient lands, denied access to subsistence jobs, heating oil, food, health care. Palestinians must show identity papers to travel two miles; a farmer’s access to his own fields, visible through the barbed wire, depends upon the whim of the armed guard at the checkpoint.
Consider the rage that would be inspired within the proud breast of an American landowner if anything even remotely similar were attempted by a superior military power on US soil.
But the unrelenting pro-Israel cant that streams out of Washington has made the issue a black hole of ignorance for even the most progressive of American thinkers. As for our elected officials, Israel’s program is unilaterally espoused by American politicians — Democrat and Republican alike. Israel has been championed with particular relish by Hillary Clinton, never more so than when she was brown-nosing for that New York Senate seat. Those US pundits who portray themselves as “liberal” and fulsomely condemn genocide everywhere else in the world, even they — perhaps especially they — don’t dare touch this one. It is considered political suicide to mention the blockades, the daily child-murders, and the all-encompassing anti-Arab racism within Israel upon which these atrocities depend. Meanwhile, with every month that passes, new “settlers” arrive, requiring the bulldozing of more and more humble old stone homes in order to erect sparkling new condos on land where native farmers tended olive groves for uncounted generations.
How insulting to Jews everywhere is this equation of Judaism with Zionism. What a defilement of the idealism behind Israel’s meaning. But propaganda has created the indelible impression in America’s mass mind that this noble old religion is the same thing as the brutal modern regime that is now nominally its guardian. Meanwhile the mainstream media censors all mention of any other Jewish approach to the issue. For all the coverage they get, peace groups within Israel might as well not even exist. One never hears about Jews for Justice in Palestine, or the many other courageous organizations like it.
America’s European pals have been equally cowardly, if not as financially complicit, in this bloodbath. None of Washington’s allies have stood up to the truth of the situation. As in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Cuba, the ongoing horror in Palestine exposes with particular bitterness the hypocrisy of these supposedly civilized states. The Palestinians are the latest in a sorry roster of indigenous tribes once colonized by the E.U. powers. Though the UN has joined the Arab world in condemning this latest siege, the governments of the G8 have barely raised a peep of protest. (But the rest of the world is protesting. The immense scope of a transit like this one would suggest no less. Demonstrations have taken place in Amman, Damascus, Cairo, the West Bank; in Brussels, Madrid and other European cities. In the US the first action was called for the day after the massacre in New York’s Rockefeller Center. In San Francisco, a small protest on Dec 30th in front of the Israeli Embassy grew into a march ten thousand strong, taking over the streets downtown.)
What is the ethical response to an immoral event? Not everyone is a political activist. But every one of us has a position in time and place, and a moral responsibility to connect to our shared humanity. We look to the transits to tell us what aspect of that shared humanity is being raised to the light. We know that when Mars (action) gets involved
with Pluto (destruction), there is deadly action. What response makes sense to deadly action?
First of all, it makes sense to start where we are. The ability to respond begins by realizing that we incarnated into a certain lifetime, and ended up identifying with a certain country. Here we are in post-millennial America. Its atrocities happen on our watch. By contrast, consider our relationship to inhumanities that happened generations before we came along. If an American were to read in a history book about the shameful Trail of Tears in 1831, for example, in which thousands of men, women and children of the Chocktaw tribe were herded by President Andrew Jackson into a death march that killed a third of them, she might shake her head in sorrow. She might think, “If I had been alive then, I’d have spoken up against this inhumanity.”
But we were not alive then. We are alive now. Astrology holds that there is a reason for this. Each soul is specifically matched to a given era and a given place.
So let us consider the implications of being alive now, paying taxes in this place. We are linked, somehow (not through blame: that’s too simplistic) to what our country does. This New Moon atrocity is not some faraway irrelevance. The White House green lights Israel’s every move. The 400+ dead and thousands more writhing in pain on hospital cots right now in Palestine are not the victims of some distant foreign dictatorship; not somebody else’s problem. They are ours.
Soul-health depends upon committing, as an individual, to our own self-defined values. Let’s say we find ourselves strongly identified with a certain political candidate. We are emotionally and ideologically turned on by his victory; engaged for the first time in years, perhaps, with our national system. The next step would be to stay engaged; to begin to view this exquisite new President as a public servant. To hold him accountable. Do we want him to support war criminals?
Consider that the Israeli military targeted civilian population centers right at the end of the school day. They wanted to inflict as many casualties as possible, obviously including children. This is the very definition of terrorism. Their Defense Minister Ehud Barak has said, “The operation will go on and be intensified as long as necessary.”
Is this the foreign policy we voted for?