April, 2010

 Mythic Prelude:

Let the Games Begin

Hail and welcome, as we move past the glow of the Libra Full Moon, and into the full surge and fire of Aries month. The exact moment of this Full Moon on March 30 is worth marking in a moment in a brief look at the astral dynamics of the month, which can speak even to astrophobes of much hotter and faster mythic matters that will increasingly involve us all in the months to come.
As you know, the month that began with the year's first Equinox on March 20 is the start of spring in most official reckonings of time, at least above the equator: the moment when a day and night of equal length herald the readiness of a now deep-thawed Earth for the start of a new planting time. For those who see the zodiac and the planets as the story line of the Book of God in the night sky, the Sun's move across the 0° point on the wheel and into the sign of the Ram -- the first fire sign of the year -- announces that it is time again for warriors of all kinds to mount and ride, and for athletes to suit up for the call for the games to begin. The ideal warrior will, like the archangel Michael as seen by Raphael, embody the Red Mars qualities of courage and devotion, protectiveness, self-sacrifice and service to laws of universal order that are founded above all on wisdom and compassion, justice and love. At least that is how it could go when the Friend, the Beloved One, issues the order of battle.
As Malvin Artley put it in his recent Aries Solar Festival 2010, "Mars brings to Aries the energy of ‘entering into battle for the Lord’ – the fighting instinct and the energy devoted to seeing through any change that is needed, either in the world or in one’s personal life." The problems begin to occur, naturally, when human beings believe that God has bypassed the chain of command, has sent the battle orders to them and them alone, and has directed them to wield steel and fire to destroy the ones He hates.
This kind of allegedly holy warfare has been going on for a very long time, but the way it has just happened again is worth a few astrology notes here. Why? Because the capture of the Michigan-based Hutaree conspirators, right at the Full Moon of March 30, is a brief but significant overture to the tremendous Crosses of 2010 planet alignment coming this summer. At the very moment that the authorities arrested members of this "Christian" militia, who were planning to attack a police funeral with gunfire and bombs, the planets at the March Full Moon were aligned in positions close to the ones that they and/or other planets will occupy this summer in the early degrees of cardinal signs:
Aries, where the Sun was on March 30, and Jupiter joins Uranus in June;
Libra, where the Moon was just now and Mars and Saturn conjoin in July;
Capricorn, where Pluto forms and will form again the third leg of a stressful T-cross that will be far more transformative and powerful in July and August than it is now.
The zodiac has always encoded the mythic meaning of moments like these, when the individual drive to assert what it believes is right, even by violent means (Aries), comes into painful acquaintance with the limiting, balancing power of the law (Libra the Scales) in ways that are deeply transformative (Pluto in Capricorn) not only for the contumacious one who has just hit the slab or the slammer, but sometimes too for the larger society whose righteous rage he has crystallized into action. After all, when John Brown attacked the arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia in 1859, he had no bigger a band than David Stone of Hutaree, and Herman Melville called Brown "the meteor of the war" even though the popular uprising he hoped to foment failed to materialize. The attempt must be made for the sake of the Lord's glory, it seems, if not for one's own, by the ones who think they understand Achilles' choice between an ordinary life that is safe but forgotten, and a heroic life that is glorious but short.
This theme seems to grow in its intensity now in the United States, where the implacable fury of those who won't accept progress, and will fight with every bitter atom in their being against what must change, stokes the furnace of self-righteous hate and rage so white-hot that right-wing Christians plan attacks on their natural allies in the right wing police force. But then -- this is surely the season for going off-the-chart, as Americans face and take again their annual dose of shame in submitting on April 15 to a tax system that they know is even more rigged against them than it was the year before, but has to be accepted again anyway in the agony of their knowing that they can resolve the annual April dilemma in only one way, by paying the corrupt system and thereby staying out of jail, apparently free and able to support their families.
The choice has always been hard. As we saw a year ago in Hiding the Spider, the Federal Reserve cartel and its collection agency, the IRS -- both of them private companies, not government agencies -- have been fraudulent enemies of freedom ever since J. P. Morgan forced them into being in 1913. Our knowledge of this gets more dark and terrible every year, as it did again this week when the Fed finally revealed that yes, it had in fact taken on tens of billions of dollars in bad loans by Bear Stearns to smooth the firm's takeover by JP Morgan Chase. The fear and fury that come from our helplessness in the face of such arrogant criminality grows inexorably now, and this is why warrior angels, like this one from Anime Skinners, now look punitive rather than protective to the fearful ones who beg for clemency.
It is all likely to keep coming to a head by the time of the Aries Black Moon on April 14. And as many of us remember, there was one who recently chose not to wait until April 15 to file his communication with the IRS. On Feb. 18, Andrew Joseph Stack of Austin, TX crashed his private plane into the local IRS office building after setting his home ablaze and leaving a testament explaining his action. He was immediately hailed as a "hero" by some, and as a "troubled loner" by others. Few in either group, very likely, actually read any of what is always dismissed as a "rambling statement" when these things occur, usually because it rambles into questions like these:
"How can any rational individual explain that white elephant conundrum in the middle of our tax system and, indeed, our entire legal system? Here we have a system that is, by far, too complicated for the brightest of the master scholars to understand. Yet, it mercilessly 'holds accountable' its victims, claiming they're responsible for fully complying with laws not even the experts understand. The law 'requires' a signature on the bottom of a tax filing; yet no one can say truthfully that they understand what they are signing; if that's not 'duress,' then what is? If this is not the measure of a totalitarian state, nothing is."
If only our politicians, our pundits and even our lawyers could ramble like this. Or dared to. Until they do, and it may not be long until they must, we do what we can to prepare for a planetary alignment that investment astrologer Arch Crawford recently termed the Cardinal Climax: "the meanest, nastiest, most challenging and most transformational of any planetary phenomena in all of written history!" One colleague with whom Crawford discussed the planet configuration of Aug. 1 called it "the most difficult alignment . . . in the last 1,000 years." According to another, what is coming in the high summer of this year is "the worst alignment in "10,000 years."
If this is what is being said and written by those who advise people with wine cellars and Lear jets, then it's no wonder there's Hollerin' in the Heartland by the habitually helpless, and it's getting louder by the day. We've known for years, as you know if you read the UFC regularly, that our society would get increasingly polarized now between those reactive ones who see the world as beyond their power to shape or change, and thereby fear catastrophic losses, and proactive ones who see the world as their artist's medium, and recognize chaos as the arena for achieving an "Epic Win." An Epic Win? In 2010? How?
Meet game designer Jane McGonigal, whose TEDTalks video "Gaming can make a better world" is the essential text of the month for all who perceive themselves as open to new ideas, and as having the vision and heart to use them. McGonigal, who describes herself as "exuberant" rather than "rational," says that her goal for the next decade is "to try to make it as easy to save the world in real life as it is to save the world in online games."
In her view, the 500 million young people who've devoted so much of their childhood to playing online games are by no means the nervous little pools of wasted talent that bring phrases like "Get a Life" to still-judgmental minds like mine. Rather, as McGonigal sees them, they are an invaluable creative resource. The 10,000 hours they spend playing online games during their youth -- compared to the 10,080 hours they spend in classrooms from the 5th grade through the end of high school -- make them gaming "virtuosos" by the time they're 18, ready if they have a way and a chance to devote to the real world and its problems the same skills and values they've learned from more years of gaming than the rest of us have devoted to the skills we use. So just what are all these virtuosi getting so good at? McGonigal's summary of the main benefits of online gaming is worth quoting almost in full:
"The first is urgent optimism. Think of this as extreme self-motivation . . . the desire to act immediately to tackle an obstacle, combined with the belief that we have a reasonable hope of success. Gamers always believe that an epic win is possible, and that it is always worth trying, and trying now.
"Gamers are virtuosos at weaving a tight social fabric. There is a lot of interesting research that shows that we like people better after we play a game with them, even if they've beaten us badly. And the reason is, it takes a lot of trust to play a game with someone.
"We trust that they will spend their time with us, that they will play by the same rules, value the same goal, they'll stay with the game until it's over. . . . playing a game together actually builds up bonds of trust and cooperation. And we actually build stronger social relationships as a result.
"Blissful productivity. I love it. You know there is a reason why the average World of Warcraft gamer plays for 22 hours a week, kind of a half-time job. It's because we know, when we're playing a game, that we're actually happier working hard, than we are relaxing, or hanging out. We know that we are optimized, as human beings, to do hard meaningful work. And gamers are willing to work hard all the time, if they're given the right work.
"Finally, epic meaning. Gamers love to be attached to awe-inspiring missions to human planetary-scale stories." This is why they aim consistently at the epic win, which McGonigal defines as "an outcome that is so extraordinarily positive you had no idea it was even possible until you achieved it. It was almost beyond the threshold of imagination. And when you get there you are shocked to discover what you are truly capable of."
Controversial ideas, to say the least, but they are obviously more empowering and optimistic than the alternatives that we see vented every day in corrupt media whose corporatist masters have no interest in finding solutions, but aim consistently at the news and control value of unsolved agony. One's perspective is everything, as it is with my old friend Aaron Freeman, the great satirist and comedy performer whom I've known since our days in New York in 1973, and hadn't seen in 29 years.
He and his wife Sharon Rosenzweig kindly put me up on my recent visit to Chicago, and Aaron turned me on to Jane McGonigal's astonishing Urgent Evoke game, which now engages the passion and creativity of tens of thousands of regular players. Aaron also gave me a three-day lesson in what used to look like optimism to me but is ordinary reality to him. When asked "How are you?" he invariably answers, "Best day of my life," and says why. Such a thought, consistently held, can make a man healthy, wealthy and wise. And it has.
The posture of joy and confidence is crucial now. Here's another example of it, which I saw last week on my visit to Diane Drennon and her Elderberry Tree House Shoppe in Fort Wayne, Indiana: "A woman was asked by a coworker, 'What is it like to be a pagan?' The co-worker replied, "It is like being a pumpkin. The Goddess picks you from the patch, brings you in, and washes all the dirt off you. Then She cuts off the top and scoops out all the yucky stuff. She removes the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc., and then She carves a new smiling face, and puts Her light inside of you to shine for all the world to see."
Let us shine, and sing, as we hold now and in the months ahead the simple truth that every day shows me now as I head to the Pathways bookstore in St. Louis Missouri, the 40th city on my Living by the Moon tour: When we live in fear, everything is a threat that we feel we have to oppose. When we live in love, everything is a blessing that we willingly embrace. So let's hold the love, and voice it. Let the Games Begin. Keep Holding That Frequency.
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Dan Furst's Living by the Moon Tour, November 2009 - May 2010
The Chiron - Neptune Conjunction of 2009 - 2012:
Prelude (Nov. 2008) and Acts 1 - 3 (April 2009 - Feb. 2010): see UFC Index
Act 4: Crisis and Climax: The Crosses of Summer, 2010
Act 5: Denouement: Near Chiron-Neptune Conjunction of Nov. 2 - 3, 2010
2012: The End of . . . What?

Copyright 2010 Dan Furst. All Rights Reserved.