AUGUST, 2003



Mythic Prelude:


The Fires of Mars


    As everybody knows by now who is not completely disconnected from mainstream media -- blest condition! perhaps the closest thing in this realm of experience to soul liberation itself -- the main news of the month in the pop culture page of our celestial dynamics is the astonishing brightness of Mars, who will reach on August 27 a position and a degree of brilliance not seen for thousands of years, and not to come again in our lifetimes, unless we start hitting life spans of some 300 years.

The blaze of Mars this month is due to a set of three conditions: (1) Earth is near aphelion -- that is, the part of its orbit farthest from the Sun; (2) Mars is at perihelion, its position closest to the Sun; and (3) Mars is opposite the Earth on the zodiac wheel, and is retrograde. Opinions differ on how long it has been since this last happened, ranging from a NASA estimate of 73,000 years to a safe minimum bet of 6,000 years, right at the beginning of recorded history as we understand it, with the rise of the earliest known civilizations in Mesopotamia and the Indus valley.

    The practical effect of all this is that by August 27, Mars will attain a magnitude of -2.9, making the red planet the brightest object in the night sky after the Moon. The main data for skywatchers is that from this writing (July 30), Mars will rise at about 10:00pm and reach its azimuth at 3:00am; by Aug. 27 Mars will rise at sunset and reach azimuth at 12:30am.

    Yes, but what does it all mean? The same thing that it usually means, really. Whether the Fire of Mars -- and fire is the relevant element, even while Mars is in the water sign of Pisces -- is a Horri-Fire, a Puri-Fire, an Ampli-Fire or a Sancti-Fire is all up to your perceptions. The doom pimps, the people who write the How Scared Should You Be? headlines, are thrilled and busy, as you already know. There is some basis for what they say. At a time when Mars is extremely prominent, it is no coincidence that from late July until now, wild fires have raged out of control, or are still burning, in Hawaii, some 13 states of the western US, Portugal and the French Riviera. The fires in France and Hawaii have the Neptunian qualities that one may expect when Mars is in the deceptive fog, as the former may have been caused by arson, and the latter by a "controlled burn" mismanaged by some of the most heavily-armed comic figures on the planet, the US Army forces stationed in the Makua valley of Oahu.

    The author must confess his bias here. I love to swim at Makua. I live only a few miles from this treasure house of Hawaiian myth, where sacred land has yet again been violated by people who cannot be trusted to make an order of toast without burning down the kitchen. But all local prejudices aside, the general point remains true, and applies planet-wide: that August will be a month when especial vigilance is called for in the handling of fire, and damage is most likely when fires of all kinds are mishandled by those who are too arrogant to use this holy and perilous element with extreme care. This Calendar makes no predictions about war as usual, or new and unexpected violence, as it is most important here to deliver the main idea: that the soldier who knows how to shoot will not be nearly as dangerous to us this month as the fool who ignores the No Smoking sign in the ammunition dump.

    More below about the Mars Fires of August, and what they portend. Let us look first for a moment at the astral cycles of the year, and of the month that has just begun. As readers of the July Calendar know, the main drama of 2003 comes in the usual place, near the end, when six planets will form a Star of David alignment on Nov. 8. The same dramatic principle applies this month, when everything points beyond the Full Moon of Aug. 11 - 12 to the far more momentous New Moon in Virgo, and the other serendipitous events that coincide with it, in the week of Aug. 22 - 29.

    The Full Moon of Aug. 11 - 12 is like a tropical cocktail, paper umbrella and all, that leads to the main meat two weeks later. At this Full Moon, the Sun conjoins Venus in Leo, while both are in opposition to the Moon in Aquarius. Pluto in Sagittarius is trine (120° from) the Sun and sextile (60° from) the Moon, while Mars in Pisces and Saturn in Cancer form another trine with one another, contributing to a time when the heavy and formidable energies of these last two "malefic" planets will be muted for a time by their placements in water signs.

    The scenario shifts from Aug. 22, when Venus exits the glamorous banquet scene of Leo and enters Virgo, where he is said to be "in fall", her powers not so much weakened -- as when she is "in detriment" -- as inclined to be perverse, misusing her sexuality and beauty in the pursuit of vanity and vindictive sexual politics. A halo effect occurs, whereby Venus gives women in general a bad name until Sept. 15, when she enters Libra, sign of her rulership, the arena of her wiser action as mother and teacher. The Venus principle should be seen here as applying to both men and women, who for the next three weeks are more likely to jockey for position in their relationships than they are to ride side-by-side in the same carriage.

    Aug. 27 is the climax of the month. On the same day that Mars waxes brightest, Jupiter enters Virgo just hours before the New Moon, when Sun, Moon, Venus and Jupiter all align in Virgo, while these four planets are all opposed by Mars and Uranus in Pisces. Jupiter is the unwilling star of the show here. In Virgo he is "in detriment" until September 2004, his powers weakened and scattered, his position vulnerable to tricks and incursions by other planets that tend to chafe against his rule. One likely manifestation of this condition is that government officials may be tripped up by casual words and embarrassing revelations. Recent events are typical. The Yellowcake Follies and their painful theme of redfaced ineptitude, barefaced lying, or both; and the new flap about the online terrorist futures market fostered by the habitually lucky felon John Poindexter, are likely to be curtain raisers for a year of Jupiter in Virgo, when it will seem that those travelin' crooks are running everywhere.

    The day after the New Moon, Mercury goes retrograde. The entertainment value of this situation is well known, as the next few weeks will be full of surprising and delightful blocks, delays and confusions in the Mercury-ruled areas of transportation, communications and commerce, and decisions taken now will bring results that seem to prove the root principle of all Earth Drama: that the world is not a tragedy in which humans beings suffer because we are wicked. It is, rather, a comedy in which we suffer because we are dumb. This scenario has clearly been in effect for some years, and is moving now through the last complications that lead to the inevitable: the crisis, which is also the opportunity, leading to the climax, the moment of change, double cast again as the moment of awakening. As always, it can be and is exploited for laughs. What else can one do? Playing until Sept. 19 at Hawaii - Pacific theatres, and until Sept. 20 everywhere else.

   And two days after the New Moon, Pluto reverses course, now seeming to move "direct" in his orbit after five months of apparent retrograde motion. Any course change by Pluto can be weighty for months at a time on those who have planets in the degree where Pluto turns. This time Pluto is spending four months in the 18th degree of Sagittarius, for which the Sabian symbol is "Tiny children in sunbonnets . . . The keyword is INNOCENCE. When positive, the degree is a continual and complete protection of self through its exploration of its own potentials and its exploitation of its opportunities, and when negative, witless retreat to a wholly infantile self-assertiveness." (The Sabian Symbols, p. 227).

    The latter kind of behavior tends to start fires. As always, it is the collective mind of the humans on the planet that makes the decisions about fire and everything else, and would in fact already know itself as the mind of God it has been looking for along if it didn't fracture so easily into so many pieces tumbling around and colliding against each other. The question is simple: will we create an uncontrolled burn by the army, and see the wind take command; or learn the alchemy, and do a clean and effective burn in the crucible of the heart, where all the base metals of the mind glow and flame until all is love? It is only a matter of time before we risk the second choice. Everything is heading toward the fire of love, where everything burns and nothing is consumed. Old fake fires still burn and new ones break out anywhere until we give up our addiction to friction. Once we do, and learn to sing together, the needed changes can come very quickly. Keep Holding that Frequency.


Copyright 2003 Dan Furst



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