Sometimes feeling overwhelmed is a good sign. Under skies like these, to feel overwhelmed means we’re not shut down. Personally and globally, late July and early August should raise urgent questions in every one of us. The Full Moon on 7/25th and the New Moon on August 9th (see the lecture series announcement in the right-hand column) are bookends to an explosive two weeks.
The oil rig holocaust gave the collective mind a definitive image with which to illustrate the Cardinal Cross period. The boys at BP, bless their villainous little hearts, have made millions of people think about the relationship between Planet Earth and the life forms She supports.
Big truths are afoot — truths that we have collectively failed to process, or even admit to — about the kind of world we’ve created for ourselves. It’s a world where humans have given up their power to nonhuman entities: corporations. It’s a world where newborns have 180 man-made chemicals in their umbilical cords. It’s a world addicted to soon-to-be-extinct dinosaur ooze. It’s a world where life-and-death realities like these are still pushed to the margins of media discussion, ceding the stage to unending expostulations about money and politics.
Is it not bizarre that the fate of the Earth isn’t at the core of all public discourse? You’d think planetary survival would be the first thing that any serious aspirant for public office would address. But with the exception of candidates for the Greens Party, politicos would mostly rather talk about Barbara Boxer’s hairstyle. As for the voters, in this age of peak oil and systems collapse you’d think we’d be assessing our leaders for vision and courage; but instead we end up choosing between two deeply insincere contenders in elections that have been auctioned off to the highest bidder. In theory, We-the-People are the creators, judge, jury and raison-d’etre of the democracy we live in. But in practice we act as if our contribution as citizens consisted of nothing more than rooting for one guy while condemning his rival.
It is an approach to collective life that is insufficient to the point of fatal.
Pluto’s square to Saturn in Libra is making clear that most of the political and economic ideologies now in use are anachronistic. This shouldn’t surprise us, given that they date from a pre-ecological mindset. As the Zeitgeist movement points out, socialism, capitalism, neo-liberalism and colonialism all buy into a common illusion: that we can go on exploiting the planet’s resources forever and ever, like a spoiled child who hasn’t yet learned the concepts of karma (Saturn) or balance (Libra). Even the most sacrosanct ism of all — nationalism — will have to be reexamined if Earth is to survive.
The corner of the Cardinal Cross that involves Jupiter (ideology) and Uranus (acceleration) suggests that we don’t have time to spend a few decades tweaking our favorite old belief systems. For there to be a shift to new beliefs there must be a shift in collective thinking about what it means to hold beliefs in the first place.
The long square between Pluto and Uranus forms the core of the Cross that coalesced this summer. This is the longest arm of the Cross, and will endure through 2016. Under its influence our 19th-century-style perspectives will lose their credibility, clearing the stage for post-millennial ways of looking at things. The trouble is, of course, that the old isms are taken so seriously by their adherents — and no less so by their detractors – that, for most people, alternative viewpoints seem downright unthinkable.
A profit-driven society like ours doesn’t put a lot of stock in ethics, philosophy or independent thinking. We aren’t encouraged to use this part of our mind creatively. Instead we learn to align ourselves with some kind of team, as if life were a soccer match. (And only a consensually agreed-upon team. For instance, the Tea Party movement has recently been anointed as such, and now styles itself as the team where “independent thinkers” belong). Then we parrot our team’s vocabulary, and imagine we have a viewpoint.
In the USA, this boils down to a war between media-sanctioned pairs. One is supposed to be either for the candidate on the Left and against the one on the Right; for capitalism and against socialism; or for communism and against democracy; etc. It is stunning how reductive the public conversation has become.
Issues of huge moral and global import — such as the fact that the USA is pumping more money, not less, into its aging weapons infrastructure – are discussed, if they are mentioned at all, solely for the purpose of attacking or applauding one or the other side of America’s political duopoly. Rather than responding with human feeling, with intelligence, or – goddess forbid — with simple common sense, we quickly label the great problems of our day in terms of which party’s administration they’re happening under. As for international matters, they get labeled in terms of whether the country in question is an ally or foe of Washington. (For example, when an adulterer is stoned in Iran, it makes the headlines of US papers; but when it happens in Egypt, there’s nary a tut-tut).
As a stand-in for our own lack of imagination, we have created a pundit culture whose talking heads reflect this binary worldview back to us. We get no more surprises forthcoming from Glenn Beck and whoever he’s debating this evening than we get from a meal at McDonald’s. Watching these faux-debates on TV has the numbing feel of witnessing punch-drunk fighters stumble through their last round, aspiring to nothing so much as to not fall down.
Whether it’s liberals-vs.-conservative, labor-vs.-management, East-vs.-West or some other pair, none of the conventional debates leave room to confront the most relevant reality of all: that the planet is in peril.
The horror in the Gulf , as well as the mass poisonings from gold mining in Nigeria, unchecked logging in the Amazon and a multitude of other devastations that go on every day everywhere on Earth, are the results of an approach to the environment that has become the norm. The collateral damage to flora, fauna and whole ecosystems caused by offshore drilling, strip mining and other industrial abominations are not aberrations. They’re factored in, as “acceptable risks,” by the corporations and by the consumer-populace that allows them to happen. It is disingenuous of us to act all incredulous when we hear of an accident at a nuclear facility like Chernobyl or at an offshore oil rig. Such events are not merely probable; they are inevitable. This is what karma is all about. You put something out, you get something back. This is the message of the Saturn corner of the Cross.
The level of consciousness that has allowed humanity to tolerate ecocidal insults such as these has reached a dead end, and so have the ideologies that allow us to ignore them. As ecologists already know, there is an infinitude of bold new ideas out there – e.g. renewable energy potentials like solar, tidal, geothermal, that exceed current energy consumption by thousands of per cent – that are only kept back from implementation by the dead weight of the old paradigm. The years between now and 2023 are intense enough to bury it.
Those of us who were born into these years were meant to use the creative minds and the wise hearts Nature gave us. In living through our charts, we put them at Her service.