February 2012


Mythic Prelude:

Full Fathom Five
Hello, and welcome to the Universal Festival Calendar for February, 2012. As we enter the second month of this momentous year -- so far, so good. The sky has not yet fallen. Neither the US dollar nor the Euro has yet gone belly up. Chunks of continents have not yet broken off and slid into the sea. The Four Horsemen, or the SWAT Team of the Apocalypse, or whatever else inspires in some such a chill of dread, have not been spotted yet. It is all going as it ought to be, if Surfing Aquarius is on the money.
First up here, for the next-to-last time until my Living Aquarian Tour ends in March, a word about my personal logistics. As of this writing on Jan. 31, I've been on the road for 160 days since I left Pisac on Aug. 25. Tonight I'll do my 36th tour event at Florida's oldest, most influential metaphysical bookstore, Crystal Garden in Boynton Beach. From here I'll do three more Florida talks, then head through North Carolina and Virginia to New England, finishing up in New York on March 9 - 11. The event schedule in 10 more cities is also on Facebook, and will be posted in individual event notices. If you'd like to get them, and help spread the word, please Friend me. From March 12 I'll be on retreat for seven weeks until I get back to Peru.
How does it all look now, in physical and psychic space, now that I've met so many and heard so much? It looks marvelous, in the literal sense, as we accelerate through a time when so many awaken to capacities they had not used before, and achieve results that only appear miraculous because they are new, unexpected results of what happens when we do the thing we have feared to do. It feels inspiring in the literal sense of that word too, as we find our breath getting big and free, as though something grander than ourselves -- the Divine Source, the collective love force of the Field, the sudden startling realization that we now seem to have not only the hawk's vision, but the lungs of a racehorse too -- fills us and lifts us to energy levels that seemed unlikely, even impossible until now.
Does this mean I am now getting better and clearer, and it's about time, given my history of strobing toward Spirit rather than staying consistently on the beam toward the Light, and the will toward the One? Maybe, though it's more likely, as one does not have to be Rumi to see, that the outcomes I manifest now have nothing to do with anything I do or don't do, or with any quality or ability that I've acquired or learned to stoke since last year. Rather, it seems to have everyything to do with opening to the passionate courage and love of the souls I meet along the way, so that their good will drives me like a wind at my back toward my next aim and opportunity. "Godspeed" no longer seems to be just a poetic wish, but an art form that is half acceptance, half devotion and all surrender.
There are days when I think that what I do is Astrology Lite, as I consistently read for the people I want, rather than the ones we attract in our early years of working the astrology salt mine. I aim to meet joyous, empowered people as I move from one bubble of light to another, and I get to do readings for many of them. I hold the intention that the people I serve will meet my basic qualifying protocol. It is, admittedly, a way of filtering out curiosity seekers, blamers, obsessives, victims, energy vampires and psychic predators. The ones I seek now, and that any astrologer prefers at this time when we become more telepathic and understand better the subtle impact of our thoughts on everything in the Field, have the courage and honesty to see the changes that are now unavoidable. They have at least a desire for clarity -- not the easiest optimistic wish to sustain for those who were born in the last few days of the "fixed" sign months (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius), and have thus been subject in recent years to the fog of Neptune moving through late Aquarius. Lastly, the people I read for now see and accept of our responsibility for the life contracts we have created and are playing out exactly as we wrote them. They are able to focus and receive, and be willing to face the opportunities that come in the months and years ahead.
Like many astrologers, I find that the people I read for often mirror the issues and conditions that are present now in my own life. Many astrologers find too that the clients we see over a span of several weeks, or months, or more, can all have very similar challenges, so that we could conceivably group a series of demoralized people into something like Picasso's Blue Period. Now, as my tour moves through its last two months in 2012, the topics that come up again and again are the Chiron questions having to do above all with the central Chironic symbol of the wound.
He is often called the "wounded healer" because no matter how skilled he was in treating his patients, and teaching his medicinal arts to others -- such as the boy Achilles, shown here, who became the most skillful wound dresser in the Greek army at Troy -- Chiron was unable to heal his own agonizing wound. For more on this, see Chiron and Neptune in Aquarius and the Aquarian profile of Chiron that follows the Aquarian Medicine chapter of Surfing Aquarius.
We typically carry two basic types of wounds. Other-directed people, who define themselves through their relationship roles with others, usually feel their most intense wounds as rejection and betrayal by family, friends and lovers, and as that icy sense of abandonment by "God." Self-directed people normally feel the wound as something missing within themselves, usually as the undiscovered purpose, the underutilized gift, and the rest of that nagging sense that there's something I ought to be doing, and I either don't see what it is yet, or if I do see it and I know perfectly well what I'm meant to do, I can't seem to overcome this lethargy of will that impedes my resolve, and robs me of all impetus and drive, so that I can't seem to get started.
Shakespeare's Hamlet, and other famous thinkers of the late Renaissance and early modern era, would have called it melancholia, the low emotional state that nearly guarantees, especially when the mind is brooding, that the "native hue of resolution [will be] sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought." As this condition tends to be most common at times of great upheaval -- as the early 17th century was and the early years of this century have been too -- it's worth asking now what causes it, and how it can be addressed. It seems to be rooted in a miasma of disappointment, even despair, at the chasm between one's expectations and the way that others, and the whole "outer" world truly seem to be. The fatigue can get so pervasive that everything appears "weary, stale, flat and unprofitable," as Hamlet put it. So it goes when the one who has not yet found the right role, the point and channel of his or her passion, begins to project the inner futility outward.
Another thing is clear too: that this aimless weariness is most common in the people who have few friends or nourishing family relationships, and are not connected with spiritual community, or community of any kind, and thus are not charged and empowered by a flow of feeling and inspiration. There's no cutting-edge information here. But there are new elements nonetheless, in the evolutionary, synarchic forces of the Aquarian Age, now more urgent as Uranus in Aries (since March, 2011), works his explosive magic with Pluto, and as Neptune enters Pisces on Feb. 3 for a 14-year stay. This astral event, coming now for only the second time since Neptune was discovered in 1846, is of extreme importance, certain to resonate in every area of our lives. It is worth noting here, before we begin to look a little more closely at Neptune, that he and Uranus can have similar effects. Uranus is a leveler, especially when he's in fiery Aries, and he adjusts structures vertically, to put it mildly, by humbling the exalted and raising the lowly. Neptune, on the other hand, is more of a dissolver, whose tidal force can wash away illusions of distinction and separation, thereby affirming the essential unifying force that unites us in the Sea of Love, the all-embracing compassion of the Universal Heart.
The Politics of Spirit, and the Spirit of Politics
Neptune, and the sign of Pisces that he rules, are associated with spirituality and mysticism, and with altered states of consciousness in everything from dreams, meditation, shamanic journeys and out-of-body travel to every kind of imaginative storytelling: theatre and dance -- both of which Pisces rules -- wild schemes and illusions, wishful fantasies, frauds, drugs and every way we have of deceiving ourselves, and getting scammed by others. Neptune can also represent the entire range of other-directed service, from truly idealistic altruism to martyrdom, co-dependency and the complete loss of oneself in the other. Neptune aspires above all to the experience of the Divine, and can seek it in ecstasy and enthusiasm, deep ceremonies and the silly adoration of celebrities, whatever evokes yearning in the heart and stars in the eyes.
Hasn't all of this been going on for decades now? Yes, it has -- only we can expect from here on to see more of it, as the old Piscean duality stretches to its extremes: of deep communal consciousness, expressing itself through the inclusive, selfless telepathies we saw in Egypt a year ago; and escape acts of every kind among those for whom denial has devolved into an art form. How heroic, inspiring and bizarre is it likely to get? One set of clues is in the first Neptune-in-Pisces period we know of for certain, coming just after Neptune was discovered. Neptune made his initial move into Pisces, went retrograde back into Aquarius in 1847 and early 1848, then moved into Pisces again on Feb. 18, 1848, three days before Marx and Engels published The Communist Manifesto, the inevitable product of the revolutionary decade that had seen the birth of national labor movements, and the first attempts at solidarity among the "workers of the world." Thirteen years later, the American Civil War began on the very day that Neptune moved ahead into Aries, on April 12, 1861. As we'd expect when Neptune is in Pisces, important new spiritual trends and practices arrived.
The new fad of "spiritualism," which spread rapidly in Europe and then in the Americas, drew great numbers of people to parlors and auditoria for seances, table tapping and myriad experiments in communicating with the spirits of the departed, and other discarnate beings who might be trying to get through the ether and be heard. The first Ouija boards were used at this time too, and became so popular that capitalists jockeyed to patent it, as Elijah Bond did in 1890.
What went largely unnoticed in the West and still does, even among astrologers who write about history, was a more significant and prophetic spiritual event: the birth of the Baha'i movement, with its shocking premise that all religions are worthy of respect if they affirm the core values of love, forgiveness, mercy, kindness and compassion. The first time Neptune was in Pisces, thousands of Baha'i martyrs in Iran, even if not intending to do so, seeded the interfaith movement that flowered in the 1890's and has grown by fits and starts since as the necessary Aquarian successor to the separatist religiosity of the Piscean Age.
The drug trade boomed at this time, thanks largely to well-armed dealers like the British empire, which waged its second and decisive Opium War against China from 1856 to 1860. Opium had been well known in Europe well before this, especially in laudanum, the pain-killing mixture of opium and wine. Thomas De Quincy published his Confessions of an English Opium Eater in 1821, and Coleridge had been famously hooked on laudanum. What was now different in the 1850's was that opium had gone psychedelic, graduating from the humble anodyne to a thrilling flight through the doors of perception and into the weirdest strata of the unconscious. Opium was no longer the sense-numbing drug that Marx and Engels imagined in calling religion the "opiate of the masses," but drew the garden of imagination in which Baudelaire saw Les Fleurs du Mal (1857).
In the year Baudelaire published the first edition of his famously lurid book, the US Supreme Court issued one of its most infamous decisions in the Dred Scott case, denying the personhood of slaves and affirming the right of slave owners to consider their slaves property, and treat them accordingly. The abolitionist movement that grew during the 1850's, and ultimately threw up such Piscean figures as John Brown -- Melville called him the "meteor" of the Civil War -- was classic Neptune-in-Pisces, and like the European workers' movement, was ultimately a profound spiritual statement, proposing that in a new vision of a free, common humanity, all false distinctions of class and ethnicity, nationality and religion, ought now to be discarded.
The only question was how, and it still is. Many of those who see themselves as political beings, who would prefer to dissolve distinctions among religions by getting rid of them all, see people of faith as deluded, and recognize little or no difference between religiosity and spirituality. Those who consider themselves spiritual can perceive "political junkies" as deluded materialists who are obtuse when it comes to perceiving events and energies that do not fit into an arid "scientific" paradigm. How to bridge the gap between these two, and unite them in the interest of achieving our shared goals? That is the task and challenge of this moment, and to assist with it, Neptune arrives in Pisces right on time.
He is, after all, not only the great dissolver of needless differences, but the one who helps those who dive deep into his domain find spiritual experience and truth in ways that are not accessible to them in the gross realm of solid ground. This is why myths are filled with heroes who dive deep into sea, or are pulled under by a maelstrom, and then return to the surface cleansed of mental rigidity and emotional weight, able to pierce the separating veils of desire and ego and see the unifying truth. Shakespeare uses imagery of this kind in The Tempest when Ariel sings to prince Ferdinand about what has apparently happened to his father, king Alonso:
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
How can the rest of us strive now, with Neptune's help, to transmute into something rich and strange? You already know the answer if you've ever read this page before. We join with each other in sound, especially this month as World Sound Healing Day on Feb. 14 reaches its 10th anniversary as a global sound meditation aimed at unifying the world's people by inviting us to chant the sacred syllable Om for 5 minutes in our respective time zones, starting at 12:00 noon. This is not a synchronized meditation, coordinated for different starting times in different zones, but a standing wave designed to gather strength as it moves around the planet.
"Become a Sonic Activist," says sound healing master Jonathan Goldman, who first created this effort and has maintained it since. Aquarian activists will all be engaged in the global sonic valentine to Mother Earth when we chant the Om on Feb. 14. Come join us. Keep Holding That Frequency.
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The Chiron - Neptune Conjunction of 2009 - 2011:
Prelude (2008) and Acts 1 - 5 (April, 2009 - Nov., 2010), see UFC Index
2012: The End of . . . What?
Copyright 2012 Dan Furst. All Rights Reserved.