December, 2006


Mythic Prelude:

Mother Night

Ho Ho Ho, and welcome to the Universal Festival Calendar for December, 2006.
As you know if you're a regular UFC reader or are just curious about how our timekeeping reflects our soulkeeping and our beliefs and dreams about ourselves and our world, December is the year's most important month. It has the honor to host the moment when the Sun emerges from the longest "Mother Night" of the year, and moves into the miraculous Winter Solstice, when the days finally begin to get longer again. In physical terms, this means that just as winter's door opens, the transition to Spring and the White Nights of June has already begun. And in spiritual terms, the mythic payload is eternally compelling, in the very dramatic reversal from the longest and deepest darkness of the year to the triumphant rebirth of the light -- and along with it, the implied promise of The Holly and the Ivy: that each human soul, with "the coming of the Sun and the running of the deer," can transcend death and be reborn in fields of pure light and eternal joy.
If you've visited the UFC in recent months, then you know that this year December is an even more momentous turning point than it is in any year, because it's the fifth month in the birth cycle of nine months that began last August, and will run through next April. Thus it's like the pivotal scene in any third act by Shakespeare, when the momentum of the play reverses, so that in a tragedy, the hero and adversaries plot and arm toward the showdown; and in a comedy, the complications thicken and fly so wild that every lord, lover and jailer, every rival and spoiler, wigmaker, cook and terrier has got some piece of the plot to play for or against someone else until everybody agrees that we've all been driving each other up the trellis for nothing, and everything comes out well in the end.
So how will the play of 2006 - 7 come out? Like Hamlet, with pierced and poisoned bodies all over the stage, and the kingdom taken over by a foreign prince who has been and should be played by Rufus Sewell? Or like A Midsummer Night's Dream, with clowns, music, feasting and new marriages that will surely lead to new babies exactly nine months from tonight? You already know the answers, because they're the same ones that you're as tired of reading here as I'm weary of writing, about how we will all get what we focus on and intend, and chose to do before we came here -- and other variations on the inescapable theme that from now on nothing will happen to us, but will happen by us as more and more of us realize our creative responsibility and opportunity as actors equal in dignity to anyone in the play.
Is it possible for this writer, any writer, to keep inventing new ways of saying the same things? Of course it is, as you know every time you open your e-mail. Is it useful? Sometimes, and we do need very much the generous service of people like Karen Bishop -- more from her below -- who deliver the instructional goods in very clear and medicinal ways. But is it useful for so many of us to keep saying the same things in the same ways? Not really. This is why the UFC molts again with this issue. While it will continue next year to cover astrology and some other challenging material, and it will still carry notes about lunations (i.e., New and Full Moons) and planetary sign transitions in the Daily Listings, the UFC's mythic preludes will no longer carry astrology charts. These intricate details -- like the chart for the second Saturn-Neptune opposition of Feb. 28, 2007 -- will be in the Astral Notes for each season. This prelude will be the last one that contains and explicates a chart.
Why? A Virgo author can deliver a whole grid of reasons. But one that comes to mind is that as actual knowledge and alleged facts are increasing exponentially on our planet, especially in "developed" societies, we need less emphasis on the structure of the information and more on the conscious crafting, linking and sending of heart intentions that will align us in the same frequencies of courage and love. Most of us are heart beings rather than head beings, as we saw last month; and our intentions to listen and open, forgive and include, are far more important now than the extent of anyone's knowledge. The point here, as you know, is not that knowledge is now irrelevant, but only that it is not the main tool and pointer for getting more and more of us on the same page. Truman Capote once wrote that audiences don't go to a play to see and hear people being intelligent onstage, and he was bitterly attacked by theatre artists who felt he'd accused them of being stupid. They'd missed his point. He wasn't attacking their intelligence, or anyone else's, but only saying that the main language of drama is not intellectual, but emotional, and the actors who move us most deeply are ones who may not be able to spell incandescence -- but they do have a way of burning in the heart with a fire that can draw, cleanse and teach us.
The same premise will apply in the UFC prelude from next month, along with another premise that's as likely to be misunderstood as Capote's: that for those of us who aspire to what will be called "higher communication" until we find a better term -- and we outgrow high-low and the other old Piscean fake dualities -- is what we call triage, even if we know of it only from seeing MASH at the movies or on TV. Just as the EMS team bypasses the soldiers or crash victims whose wounds are either minor or fatal, and works on treating those who can pull through if we help them now, some of us who are in the messenger role will prioritize our targets in the same way. We will do much less preaching to the choir who are already awakening and have even begun warming up their pipes, and we will waste little or no effort on those who are blinded by fear and habit, many of them the kind of very brilliant, prideful people about whom the scholastic philosophers coined the term invincible ignorance, to designate those who can see, but refuse to look.
This is why we spend our main energy now on those who are in the middle, irked and stirred by a sense that the old answers no longer work, and it's time to consider something new, as long as it's neither thrown in our faces by someone arrogant and self-righteous, nor blown in our direction by someone too subtle and polite and to make himself plain, nor droned by ones who don't yet know, as Benedict XVI recently had a chance to see, that communication is not what I say, it's what you get. The messages will have to be respectful and clear, entertaining and even funny if they're to get through. They will be delivered by those who've done their homework by reviewing the gold standard in these matters, the poems of Rumi and the parables of Jesus. And they will be firmly rooted in the mundane questions that are most on people's minds. Like their money.
The chorus of economic warnings gets louder and more discordant by the month. While many of us can accept that our systems of government, business and religion will change profoundly between now and the "End of Time" window of 2011 - 2013, there is a growing sense that economic turbulence, even a financial crash, could be just around the quarter. Much of this is merely the product of the fear that comes when life gets fluid and uncertain. Much of it is understandable, as it's obvious to almost all of us that the economic crap games of some leading nations -- high indebtedness to opportunistic and even hostile creditors, over-reliance on revenues from weapons technologies and other death-merchant industries, dire maldistribution of wealth within and among nations, and environmentally catastrophic policies -- have all grown so unsustainable that the longer effective remedies are postponed, the more sudden the changes will be. And the more our responses will have to be merely reactive rather than truly creative, like chess moves that are "forced" because no freer, better choices are available. While these conditions obviously apply to the United States as the nation that is conspicuously in the Humpty Dumpty posture, they are better seen as global at a time when many Chinese wonder what an economic boom is worth when they must bike to work in surgical masks to protect their lungs and goggles to shield their eyes from industrial-strength air so toxic that it could be bottled and sold as drain cleaner. And Australians wonder how their superbly crafted tourist industry can keep flourishing when their country faces a water shortage so critical that desalinization plants must now be built in a time frame that is too fast even for farce, but may still be too late to solve the emergency.
When radical adjustments may be months or even only weeks away, and some of the voices that warn us are only working the fear market -- some of them could be the same scamsters who cleaned up on Y2K -- it's time, now more than ever, to consider the source. So many Americans listen intently to David M. Walker, Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office, whose report "Retirement Insecurity," the latest in the 21st Century Challenges series, was released on Nov. 7, too late to affect the US midterm election. Its style can be described most charitably as dry. And its dispassionate content, as we expect from an agency as respected for integrity as the GAO, is not rhetoric, politics or propaganda, but facts and projections that are somewhere between cool and chilly, depending on how old you are and how much you worry if your money will last you all the way to checkout time.
"The 'Status Quo' is not an option," Walker writes. GAO simulations show that balancing the US budget in 2040 could require actions as large as cutting the federal budget by 60% and -- not or -- raising taxes to double today's level. Closing the fiscal gap could require, according to the most prudent and reasonable assumptions, that the American economy grow by 10% or more every year for the next 75 years: that is, at more than triple the 3.2% annual growth rate of the 1990's. "As a result," Walker believes, "we cannot simply grow our way out of this problem. Tough choices will be required." Do we have the clarity of vision to face the situation, much less the discipline and political will to take the appropriate action? Or will the economic changes that many people fear as early as next year, no matter what discomfort they bring, be small compared to what's coming some 50 years from now, in timing that may as well be off the scale and on the Moon, especially if today's most urgent environmental dangers keep getting ducked and denied?
In light of David Walker's long-range estimates for the 2040's, one astrologer whose work should and will soon be getting a lot more attention is M. Temple Richmond, who forecast with uncanny accuracy the stock market bump of 1987, and the difficulties of 2000 - 2001. Her article "The Sky is not Falling" is based on her study of "planetary pair relationships . . . created by the interactions of the slowest moving planets in our solar system." We have known for a long time that lunations of the Moon follow a cycle in which "a new wave of energy is generated at a New Moon, initiating trends which eventually to come to fruition at the following Full Moon." Or, as Plato saw even when we knew only of planets that can be seen with the naked eye, "When planets are in conjunction, all of society implodes; When planets are in opposition, all of society expands, innovates, and prospers." Richmond has used the same idea in tracking the five "outer" planets -- Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto -- that impact our communal, national and global lives, as the faster-moving inner bodies affect us more immediately as individuals.

Just as the Sun and Moon move into conjunction at the New Moon and are opposite each other at the Full Moon, the same rhythm of novelty and maturity, initiatives and results, also appears in the motions of the outer planets. The result, Richmond writes, is that "in simple and straightforward terms, there is massive support for continuation of the innovative and enterprising spirit which sustains commerce and profitability until the year 2047." This means that where the years just ahead are concerned, "the predictions made by many sensationalist sources simply don't tally with the facts of planetary pair theory. 2012 does contain a 90 degree relationship (or square) between Uranus and Pluto, but this is a waxing square, equivalent to the First Quarter phase of the lunar cycle, and hence a key turning point in the increasing momentum of energy established by the New Moon or conjunction phase of these two planets, which occurred in the mid 1960s. The many innovations in technology and in social justice which arose during that period can be confidently expected to generate intense creative advance in and around the year 2012."

The trouble is in our expectations. When the word revolution still evokes in so many minds the most fearful images of mobs, guillotines and Bolsheviks, then it doesn't matter that the Velvet Revolution in Prague will soon celebrate its 40th anniversary, and that the simple but mighty tactics of Georgia's Rose Revolution -- such as winning over the police with good food and flowers -- continue to be copied successfully in other countries, and that we now see played out every year Gandhi's Aquarian premise -- from 1948! -- that revolution is not a violent transfer of power, but "a transformation of relationships." The problem is not that the event itself is necessarily bloody or fearful. It's that human beings are slow to notice the change, and imagine the new possibilities. And that dramatic, scary scenarios fascinate us.
We can look at economic changes in the same way. When our most famous recent model for drastic economic change is the Great Depression of the 1930's that began with the 1929 stock market crash and culminated in world war, it's not surprising that the prospect of economic transformation stirs so much dread. But -- suppose nobody's currency has to implode, and no nation, not even one, has to suffer a collapse into crushing poverty? Suppose that massive amounts of wealth do not have to move from one country or people to another, or disappear at all? What if the major losers in the next few years are unsustainable industries that have become engorged with far more wealth than they've earned, or deserve?
Which industries? A useful hint is in this year's Nobel Peace Prize, awarded to Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh for their revolutionary micro-credit system. It has helped in Yunus' own country thousands of people who until now would never have had a prayer of getting a loan. It has indirectly benefited millions elsewhere in the related model of Kirk Magelby's Microfranchises as a Solution to Global Poverty, a free e-book that has been downloaded 220,000 times since it was posted online last year. While billions of people are looking in vain for market crashes and other money cataclysms, it could happen that micro-credit helps liberate billions of others from debt slavery to banks and other predators. An economic change far more profound than anyone expected may not be noticed at all -- not because it didn't happen, but because it wasn't the catastrophe so many feared. Alfred Hitchcock, who built a career on making dread delicious, would have understood.
So while cosmic conditions are so unusual and uncertain that many of the 2012 bets are already off the table, and so much habitual ignorance and conditioned fear keep worry in and insight out, the best we can expect for now is that we can see and use those moments when the lights go on, however briefly, as they will in this annual Sagittarius month, and the year of The Dove and the Lightning, when Jupiter is in his home sign of the Archer. As his main teaching tool is lightning flashes that are brilliant but brief -- Astrology Alert! -- we'd best be ready to look fast during the stellia of Dec. 6 - 11 and 17 - 20, when the Sun is in Sagittarius with groups of five other planets. Stellia are not that rare. Last month there was a five-planet stellium in Scorpio that prompted from some astrologers the kind of fear-based verbiage that Tim O'Hanlon, designer of this site, likes to call ooga booga. But a six-planet stellium is less common. The last one comparable to it was the great seven-planet stellium of May, 2000. For more on this month's stellia, see the Astral Notes for this season.
The second stellium climaxes on Dec. 20 at the New Moon we'll explore here because its placement could not be more dramatic, in the pit of Mother Night, at the portal of the Winter Solstice, at the galactic center. While a New Moon will come at the galactic center three times between now and 2050 -- in 2017, 2025 and 2044 -- and five-planet stellia will form at the last two of these, we will see a six-planet stellium like this one, in this position, only once in the next 44 years. Jupiter and his colleagues are making their best effort to gain our attention, and it is only fitting that we sit up and watch. The chart shown here is cast for Brocken, Germany. Why? Because this is where witches gathered in ceremonies so potent that not even the German police dared to interfere.
Mother Night Stellium: Dec. 20, 2006 at 4:02pm CET
Brockenscheidt, Germany: 51N38, 7E25
Let's look at the main aspects in this chart as though they were forming a procession, with the soldiers and entertainers in the van, beauty in the middle and the Grand Marshal and other honorees in the climactic spot on the main float in the rear.
First the professional illusionist with his sparklers. Neptune in Aquarius in the 10th house is not really opposite to Saturn in Leo in the 4th, as he was four months ago and will be again in February. The 7° orb is too wide. Look for Neptune to move back into a main role in the months to come -- and be grateful that as he's sextile (60° from) Mercury in Sagittarius, he helps to strengthen our intuitive sense and our grasp of issues and opportunities that affect our communities and offer us ways to cohere in the interest of our health, peace and amity.
This help is much needed because the parade committee is squabbling again, and the actors who are playing the troops today -- as so few of the real soldiers can be spared from their now routine ordeals of protecting oil and coercing democracy -- have not been drilled to the point of basic competence, so that accidents or injuries may occur. Those who want to throw flowers had best tie them in bunches so they will fly farther when tossed from a safe spot well behind the bunting. Why all this friction and confusion? Because Mercury is at the middle leg of a T-cross with the Moon's Nodes in the 11th house of friendship and community and the 5th house of creativity and sexuality. We can therefore expect that the fiery euphoria of recent weeks, encouraged by a very promising US midterm election and other outcomes, will get mixed with the deep, murky waters of pervasive disagreements that remain, producing a cloud of steam that will likely manifest in at best in gossip, wounded vanity, ego eructions, verbal burbles and other words of slight worth, and at worst as a mean mist that is hot enough to scald. We may see everything, in short, except practical, cohesive action in a spirit of service. The negative counterintention, the blip of fearful reaction to the "positive" and "spiritual" flow of the last month and a half must come, and will probably come in the days from Mother Night to Christmas Eve.
The second T-cross in this chart is between Mars in Sagittarius, in the 7th house, Uranus in Pisces in the 11th, and the Ascendant in Gemini. As the Ascendant represents the individual ways in which each one projects and asserts his or her personality and desires in the world, Mars opposite the Ascendant inevitably means the inner conflict of being forced -- by some outside agency or one's own inner drive -- to pursue an unwanted goal. When this aspect manifests, as it has for years and still does in Mars organizations deployed in certain locales on our planet, the warrior can be in the agonizing position of having to forge ahead bravely in the service of a mission he detests. This is clearly not sustainable -- the rocket fodder are stuck, but not stupid -- and must lead sooner rather than later to the end of their mission. What complicates the inevitable here is Uranus, square to both Mars and the Ascendant. This amps the level of stress and impatience, and, as Uranus rules electricity and electrical equipment, and -- for troops in the field, families in the rec room and everyone else -- raises the likelihood of crossed wires, mechanical mishaps and friendly fire casualties whenever we throw a switch or a switcheroo. Astrology Alert Over!
The fireworks float at the end of this New Moon parade is spectacular, with Pluto conjunct Sun and Moon very near the galactic center or smack on it, depending on where one thinks it is, though the consensus places it somewhere between 26° to 29° Sagittarius. This is truly auspicious, suggesting the moment of a new beginning with planet-wide implications that affect mass consciousness in all spheres, especially mass political ideologies and movements, religious beliefs and passions across global communities of believers, and media cultures that can use modern electronic propaganda to galvanize human beings by the billions. As always seems to happen now, both the opportunity and the risk are high. Many people may wake up, others will pout and fume in wounded vanity and feel that they're being neglected, like two year olds who start to scream in the church as soon as the families turn to see the bride walk down the aisle. And some of us, amazingly, will do both these things. This may not be surprising, at a time when our whole system is crashing the reception or sending regrets stranger than anything we've heard.
As this color-enhanced image from the Cassini probe shows -- by the NASA/JPL Space Science Institute at Arizona University -- a hurricane-like storm 5,000 miles across has been raging for weeks at Saturn's south pole. Measuring 2/3 of Earth's diameter, with winds swirling at 350mph, the storm is the first of its kind ever detected on a planet other than Earth. What does it mean? Is the karmic teacher getting impatient, or undergoing a kind of ayurvedic cleanse with everything from sweats to heaves to very high colonics? Whatever he's doing, he's in exalted company.
The Earth changes that will continue in the years to come are by no means mere payback for what human beings have done to their planet. The Earth is but one player within a scenario of transformation that now manifests throughout the solar system in solar flares of unprecedented sweep and number, in huge storms on the supposedly dead planet Mars and a surge of X-rays from the equator of Saturn, increased global cloud activity on Uranus and weather anomalies on all the planets. Some of these changes – such as a 300% increase in atmospheric pressure on Pluto even as the planet moves away from the Sun – are theoretically impossible. Yet they were happening in May, 2004 when Richard C. Hoagland and David Wilcock published their article "Interplanetary 'Day after Tomorrow'?".
Now, two and a half years later, the anomalies multiply, the chances and challenges abound. No matter how we parse or prioritize them, there is no doubting the extreme importance of Pluto's position as he crosses the galactic center three times in 2006 - 2007. In the opinion of astrologer Philip Sedgwick, quoted on the Star Priestess website, "This era exceeds, for physical, symbolic and enlightenment purposes, the significance of the expiration of the Mayan Calendar." Please note, however, that the Mayan calendar will not "expire" a few years from now. The last "Long Count" of 5,125 years will end. The Maya did not envision an expiration date, but rather a transformation date: a change from time to no time -- that is, to new spiritual consciousness that is beyond the limits of "time" as we now perceive it.
If Sedgwick and others are right about the very high importance of Pluto's transits through the galactic center, then focusing on 2012, 2011, or whenever the Long Count ends and the "End of Time" comes, may be a distraction from the inescapable reality of the show that is underway right now. The 2012 frenzy, and it surely has become that, has placed some of us in the position of the team that gets so fixated on the big game coming in three weeks that it lets down and blows the easy game this weekend. Whenever the End of Time comes, we must not let it blind us to the crucial facts of what is happening here and now. We're still obliged to play the early acts and the complications of the piece, not just set our props for the big Revelation Scene at the end. How to play the scene we're in right now? Keep Holding That Frequency, of course. And breathe. And sing. And where those money worries go, consider the usual luminous wisdom of Karen Bishop in What's Up on Planet Earth?:
"As the vibrations of the planet increase, like energies begin to congeal with other like energies at a more intense rate, and this causes a purification or fine tuning of all energy. In regard to our new purposes, then, anything and everything that did not fit us any longer simply decided to leave. This could be experienced as just not wanting to do these things anymore, having a distaste for them, feeling that they no longer fit who we are (as we are more and more becoming the pure gold nugget of our divine purpose), or perhaps just feeling an exhaustion when we think about doing them. What is purposely and divinely left is whatever we love to do and what we are able to do effortlessly. This is the way it was intended. . . . We are identifying our storefronts, or the means and gateway for money to come to us. Until we are successfully and completely living in a non-monetary society, we will need money to support our next steps. These storefronts are in relation to our service to humanity. They will involve ways that we can generate funds so that we can be supported in setting up the next phase of living and being in the higher realms that involves no money at all."

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Copyright 2006 Dan Furst. All Rights Reserved.