Mythic Prelude for July, 2012:

The Blessing of Ceres
Hail, and welcome to the Universal Festival Calendar for July, 2012. With this issue, the UFC begins its 15th year since it first appeared in July 1998.
We are now in the aftershocks of the first of the crucial planet alignments that will dominate the years from 2012 to 2015: the recurring and extremely turbulent 90° "square" of Uranus in Aries to Pluto in Capricorn. For some of the basics on this, see last month's mythic prelude, "Light Bodies." For a list of all seven of the celestial birth contractions that will come from now at very irregular intervals, see the January 2012 mythic prelude, "Water Dragon."
As the technical details about all of this are not nearly as important to us as how it feels, our best posture now, if only so we reassure one another that we are neither hypochondriacal nor crazy, and that This Too Shall Pass, is one of understanding the personal symptoms that each of us will likely have felt by now. When Uranus is sorely afflicted, especially by a heavyweight as dark and deep as Pluto, we're apt to feel like we're in a hot, smelly basement jail cell, the walls are closing in on us, and the only thing on our minds is: I'm gonna break out of here, damn it, whatever it takes. If people less serene than you have made rash and costly decisions over the last two weeks, well, that psychic squeezing sensation can get too intense to bear gracefully, most of all if one forgets to keep breathing.
How does Pluto feel when he's getting afflicted, notably by out-to-upset-you Uranus in fiery Aries? In a word, it can feel, it has felt to many, like death itself. This may all be predictable to you by now, if you've been reading the comments that Karen Bishop and others have been writing for years now on the "symptoms of ascension" that manifest in our physical and emotional bodies when our mental and spiritual bodies are stretching and reattuning to new states of consciousness. Not surprisingly, as Pluto is the Scorpion King, lord of death and regeneration, many of us have felt, right at the peak of the square on June 24 -25, the kinds of gasps and twinges that get our attention in a hurry: chest pains, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, panic attacks, blood pressure high enough to put out a fire if one could attach a hose to it, lethargy and extreme sleepiness -- I'm not the only one here in Peru to be flat on his back for days now with Atahualpa's Revenge -- and a general sense that if I'm not at death's door, this is probably how it'll feel when I get there.
Naturally, we wonder what important events of two weeks ago were crucially significant examples of what happens when our whole planet gets rocked by a Uranus-Pluto square. For this writer, the most transformative story at this first instance of the exact Uranus-Pluto square was a set of legal actions that were aimed at The Corporation That Must Not Be Named, and the aggressive counter-actions that Death Corp. has launched in response.
Voldemort, Inc.
The cumulating attack on this monster of arrogance and corruption -- see "Sowing the Wind" -- has been building for years, and the crisis is clearly looming for all of us, whether we perceive it or not, and for the health and viability of that most basic of all our resources, the food we grow and eat.
Significantly, and with a perfect timing that the Ancient of Days himself could not improve, the last ten days of June -- thus the days before, during and after the June 24 - 25 Uranus-Pluto square -- saw Revelations of the most apocalyptic kind: about how Brazilian farmers have hit the Firm from Hades with a lawsuit that could weigh $7.5 billion. (See also the Pesticide Action Network's report on this story.) On June 25, right at the flash point of the Uranus-Pluto square, it was revealed that the Tifton 85 grass a Texas farmer had been feeding his cattle for 15 years, began to produce cyanide, which poisoned his herd -- a bizarre event that raises the question of what other lethal mutations can now suddenly arrive.
As always, Voldemort Inc. and other biotrick firms see nothing alarming in any of this, but they're taking no chances, and the counteroffensive has been ferocious. Dr. Joseph Mercola reports that agents of the utterly compromised and corrupt United States Death Agency (USDA), costumed as a Department of Agriculture, confiscated the hives of a beekeeper who'd compiled 15 years of data on the deadly effects of Voldemort's notorious Roundup pesticide. As Natural Society reports, the firm has now launched a massive campaign to stop efforts at labeling GMO foods. And Voldemort is not just aiming at this election cycle, but throwing long, pitching for generations to come. Together with other mortality artists Bayer, Dow and DuPont, as Jim Hightower has noted, VI has created the Council for Biotechnology Information (CBI), a PR and political front that crafts colorful kids' workbooks about the "really neat topic" of biotech, along with propaganda targeted at voters in California and other states who are considering GMO food labeling propositions in 2012. And only yesterday (July 10), as reported by Heidi Stevenson for Gaia Health -- source of the above image -- the USDA and its corporate masters pulled a procedural trick that effectively gives GMO products an exemption from any government regulation.
It was all overshadowed, naturally, by the major league all-star game, won by the National League 8-0. And in the end, no matter what the Death Industry pulls, and how activists in Hawaii and elsewhere gather their voices against the poisoning of their fields, and whatever the farmers, lawyers, politicians and environmentalists do, the last round may go to . . . an insect. As Anthony Gucciardi wrote for Natural Society, tiny western corn rootworms have now developed an immunity to Voldemort's Bt pesticide, in its spray form and Bt-treated maize crops as well. These voracious bugs, only .1 mm. long, so small they can hardly be seen with the naked eye, are devouring so much corn that what was expected to be a US bumper crop in 2012, but has been devastated by drought and Midwest heat waves too, now looks more like a famine. Doom pimps and experts alike are predicting that prices will soon soar all across the food industry, causing no one can tell what cataclysm and dislocation by next month and the early autumn Harvest Moon.
The grain is in peril again, from human acts again, so we have now crossed not only into mythic territory, but also into one of our most famous stories of Earth's cycle of rebirth, growth, decay and death, and of the ways gods and mortals carelessly bring risk and ruin to the easily recurring flow of nature's abundance, and turn it to dust and hunger.
This time Voldemort is cast as Hades, Earth as his unwilling consort Persephone (at left, by Bernini), and timid, bought politicians as Zeus. The main figure in the tale, and the only truly heroic role, is Demeter, also known to us as Ceres. The fearless goddess herself, and the planet named for her, will be heard from this summer, as we're about to see.
Ceres on the Mound, Bottom of the 9th
Demeter was from the older generation of the twelve Olympians. Curiously, she never married, though she did bear Plutus, the god of wealth, to the titan Iasius, and both Kore and Iachus to her brother Zeus, with whom she had a relationship that was complex, to say the least, and unique. She was the only mythic figure, divine or mortal, not only to play hardball with Zeus and live to tell the tale, but to keep firing the high hard one right at his myrtled brow until he had no choice but to give in and grant what she wanted. The story of her brother's shameless deception and indifference, and Demeter's nerve and determination in acting to rescue her daughter, is usually called the Rape of Persephone.
Demeter is usually depicted as we see her here, sober and modest, with ears of wheat and flowers in her hair, as befits the one responsible for the grain. So important is it to honor her and seek her blessing that the Greeks and Romans held major festivals at both ends of the annual grain cycle: the planting rite of Cerealia, held at the end of Aries month on April 12 - 19; and the solemn spectacle of the Eleusinian Mysteries, held every five years to celebrate the ripeness of the wheat, rising "orient and immortal," in Sir Thomas Browne's phrase, and with it, the soul living on in radiance after the death of the body.
Lesser Mysteries were held annually, at the end of February, to anticipate the return of Persephone from the underworld in the spring. While many Greek cities claimed to have been the place where Hades dragged Kore/Persephone to his kingdom under the Earth, the priests of Demeter always insisted that this happened at Eleusis, near Athens, and that's why the goddess's rites were conducted there. The story began when Hades desired Kore, and asked the permission of her father Zeus to take her as his bride. Neither god spoke a word about this to Demeter, of course, and when Zeus replied that he could neither accept nor refuse his brother's request, Hades interpreted this as a tacit signal to proceed, and abducted Kore. Demeter wandered the Earth for ten days, weeping and calling for her daughter, until she finally heard from prince Triptolemus at Eleusis that he had spoken with a swineherd and a shepherd who'd seen a chasm open up suddenly in their field, and a chariot drawn by black horses bearing down into the Earth a dark rider who held in his powerful arms a struggling, screaming girl.
The elaborate tricks, delaying tactics and half-measures that followed when Demeter demanded her daughter back, as beautifully told by Robert Graves in The Greek Myths, are familiar by now to anyone who still follows the G20 and other official bodies who meet endlessly and resolve nothing. Demeter soon played the food card, preventing all fruit and grain from growing, thus threatening all human beings with starvation. Zeus was soon faced with what the Greeks call a dilemma, as he could neither force Hades to give Kore back, nor let Demeter cause the whole green Earth to wither. As Zeus did not have the sand to face Demeter directly, one emissary after another -- Iris, Hermes, a whole deputation of Olympians -- came back empty. In the end Rhea, the mother of Hades, helped work a compromise: the young goddess would live with Hades as Persephone, Queen of the Underworld, for three months and would return in spring as Kore to live with Demeter for the other nine. And that's why nature flourishes again every March, and dies every December.
So -- who's playing the Demeter/Ceres role in the story this time? Anyone who wants to, and this is why there is such a powerful groundswell now among millions of farmers, and tens of millions of people who care whether the food they and their children eat is natural and wholesome. As Demeter herself is a mother caring for her child, it is only to be expected now, and is absolutely crucial, that the concerted efforts of mothers, and of women in general, pick up speed and momentum now. It is in fact the whole thrust and theme of this Aquarian moment that women now finally learn to stop tearing each other to pieces, and get with the teamwork that has been all along the only advantage that men really have. How do we best coordinate our efforts toward harvest month in September, and the end of the year? By watching what the planet Ceres is doing, and where.
Blessing Ceres
Physically considered, little Ceres is unlikely to upstage Jupiter any time soon. She's only some 600 miles in diameter, and her orbit, between Mars and Jupiter in the inner solar system, takes 4.6 years to complete.
She was classified as a planet when Giuseppe Piazzi discovered her in 1801, but astronomers now call her a "dwarf planet." This highlights again one of the critical differences between astronomy, which views celestial bodies only in physical terms -- and so has a disturbing obsession with size -- and astrology, which sees stars and planets as energies that may be far greater than the planet's mass, like huge voices in petite singers.
Thus for astrologers the Moon is a planet, and a powerful one, even though she's only as big as Texas. Pluto's importance was obvious from the fanatical mass movements that followed his discovery in 1930. And in the time since I started studying astrology in 1977, the year Chiron was discovered, both he and Ceres have "arrived," claiming their places in the main planet columns in astrologers' ephemerides of daily planet positions. What criteria do we use? Not bigness. It's a matter of consciousness. A little planet is considered really important, along with the seven classical planets and the three found in recent centuries, when it embodies something new in our understanding of ourselves, our world and our cosmos. Chiron's status rose at once when we saw his connection with energy medicine, and with the interrelationships of matter and force throughout what we now think of as an Intentional Field.
And Ceres matters greatly now because she represents our shared awareness of our planet's fragility, and our responsibility to work now as empowered Aquarian teams to safeguard her. She grows enormous in her emphasis and status now because the crops she is here to nurture, and her whole vegetable realm, are under threat as never before. She has been an extremely engaged and busy actor in recent weeks. She entered Gemini on the day of the Uranus - Pluto square, squaring Neptune in Pisces (July 1), crossing the Moon's South Node and Jupiter in Gemini (July 5 and 10, respectively). She will square Chiron in Pisces (July 18) and trine Mars in Libra (July 21). There will be more to say about this next month, when we touch on Demeter's mysteries again in relation to the first Water Woman festival in Vilcabamba, Ecuador.
I'll team with Acaiah Moon to guide a Full Moon ceremony that will feature a blessing of Ceres as well as of the planet's waters. It may be time now to think of the blessing of our food in a new way that is conscious and deeply felt, recognizing the food and water themselves as energetic beings who are in relationship with the Divine Source and ourselves, so that the sharing of food in rites of communion is a sacramental act whose sacredness must be seen now as we have never seen it before. And sung too, so that our bodies and our nourishment are in tune with the Divine frequency that unites us. As we used to sing at the Hawaii Fire Tribe, and they still sing now:
Our hands will work for peace and justice.
Our hands will work to heal the land.
Gather round the harvest tables.
Come in peace and bless the land.
Sing it. Share it. Keep Holding That Frequency.
Time to listen for it. And learn it. And voice it. Keep Holding That Frequency.
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Copyright 2012 Dan Furst. All Rights Reserved.