JULY, 2004

Mythic Prelude:

It's a Blue Moon -- and Everybody Goes to Heaven!

   Yes, the opening words of the old popular song express better than anything else the way so many feel now:

Blue moon, you saw me standing alone, without a dream in my heart, without a love of my own . . .

The sense that each one is now uncomfortably isolated -- even when well partnered, amid a whole ikebana cluster of friends -- and that individual dreams must now somehow wait for a green light, an interval of sanity when currents of passion and change will abate for a moment and allow one to cross a stream, is pervasive now as we keep moving through the phase of awakening (for the timing of this see the Mythic Prelude to July, 2003) and dissolve one after another of the psychic sleeping pills that keep us, individually and collectively, from waking up. We know much of Morpheus' Medicine Cabinet by now: fear of loneliness, illusions of helplessness and victimhood, dread of the Devil, unworthiness of God, phantoms of conflict and separation that carry all the dualistic poison of the Piscean Age. All of these stupefying drugs -- the true dope! in the pharmacopoeia -- and other little bottles of the blues that have been sitting unseen in the shadow of the back row for years will have to get pitched and cleared if we're going to move on. No one can kindly expect anyone to sweep his or her own shelf all at once. It will still take a little time, if only because human beings love to feast before we fast, down a pork butt and a chocolate belly bomb the day before the diet starts, and otherwise hoist a mug of vice and chug an illusion or two just to keep our hand in, before we watch those black sails of tragedy sink below the horizon for good, and take responsibility for being happy and becoming God.

The perfect time for throwing out the old dumbdown drugs is here, as we're now in the month of a Blue Moon, when our powers of intuition can see shapes that are hard to make out in the glare of intellect. A Blue Moon is simply a month in which the Moon is full twice. It has to happen about every 30 months. The last Blue Moon was in January, 2002. What makes this month's Blue Moon highly exceptional, however, is that it's the first one in a lifetime, some 75 years, to begin in July, the month of Cancer, which is ruled by the Moon.

Add to this the fact that Venus is no longer retrograde -- apparently moving backward in her orbit, as she must at a Venus Passage like that of June 8 -- and "went direct" on June 30 in the highly communicative sign of Gemini, and what we are looking at in July 2004 is a time when the healing and nurturing force of the feminine is very strong, and the communications of Venus move in a wider arena -- it will be surprising this month how many women suddenly don't have time or taste for gossip, but have bigger topics to talk -- and take on some of the assertive qualities of male-style persuasion. This is a month for younger women to gain confidence, influence and power, and for older wise women to teach -- and to enlighten not only the usual choir of like-minded women, but the newer territory of open-minded men, and of women who have been dark and disempowered until now, but are beginning to crack open the doors of the mind and the windows of the heart.

    So it is worth looking for a page or so at the two Full Moons of this month, and a few other points. Astrology Alert! If bits of planetary detail bug or bore you, please skip the rubric paragraphs that follow:

July 2: Full Moon in Capricorn, opposite Sun in Cancer. This Full Moon comes on Friday, the weekday sacred to Venus, and the whole Full Moon weekend is an invaluable opportunity for women to pursue their spiritual goals, even as this will likely bring friction with those who are married to the usual cherry bombs and beer on the 4th of July. The star alignment at the Full Moon is complex and powerful, with Saturn in Cancer conjoining the Sun, and thus opposite the Moon. Jupiter in Virgo and the Moon's North Node in Taurus are both trine (120º from) the Moon -- creating a grand trine in the three earth signs of the zodiac -- and at the same time are sextile (60º from) the Sun.

What does all this mean? Any Full Moon has the nuance of a power struggle, as Sun and Moon are opposite one another on the wheel. The respective advantages and disadvantages of either side show up in the terrain -- the sign in which each one is located -- and the alliances with other planets. In this case, the Sun, the lordly fire planet whose domain is the whole heaven, is cramped in the watery domestic environment of the home, ruled by Cancer. The water planet of the Moon, on the other hand, is in the relatively harmonious earth sign of Capricorn, where her Wiccan wisdom grows. The alliances of the moment also favor the Moon. The Sun has Saturn at his side, while the Moon anchors a very empowering grand trine in earth.

The bottom line here is that men will be most likely in the moment of confrontation to fall back on the authoritarian power roles that require the least thought and effort, while women will struggle at first with the learning curves of demanding new roles -- and may seem, even to themselves, to be out of their depth, especially at the New Moon of July 17 -- but will master the new scenarios and play them with unexpected relish and courage in the Leo month of late July and August. The time for underestimating women is fading, at least in the west, and a newly released remake of The Stepford Wives is only one sign of the essential choice that men will face in the Age of Aquarius: you can try to trick a woman out of her power, or come to terms with it, but pretending her power doesn't exist is no longer an option.

July 17: New Moon in Cancer. Here the terrain favors the Moon even more, as the Sun is still in the discomfort of Cancer, while the Moon is in the house of her rulership. No alliances are in effect, but there is an important opposition: the wounded healer Chiron, across the wheel in Capricorn, now contributing his medicinal energies as male and female evoke in one another the old toxic fixations that are due to rise, resist and exit. It is worth noting that at this moment Mars in Leo and Venus in Gemini form a perfect 60º sextile to each other, so that the battle of the sexes has a genuine opportunity to heal in sincere, generous, loving balance.

July 22: Sun enters Leo, the sign of his rulership. The terrain shifts now, as the Sun regains power in his home sign, and the Moon must give up the habitual safety and comfort of her home in Cancer, and skate the frying pan of Leo. Everything moves toward the creative tension of the next Full Moon on July 31, and the growing friction among "outer" planets in August and September. The time for applying the new insights and skills gained this month is now at hand, beginning with the first Leo weekend of July 23 - 25, culminating in the Mayan "Day out of Time" on July 25. According to the reckoning of some Mayan calendar experts, notably Jose Arguelles, author of The Mayan Factor, July 25 is now the day that follows the cycle of the 13-Moon calendar, completes the 365-day year (that is, 13 moons x 28 days each = 364 days, plus one Day out of Time = a full year) and precedes the next year that begins on July 26.

According to the team who are working with Arguelles to organize a transformational teaching event culminating in July 25, the Day out of Time in 2004 is "more important" than the Harmonic Convergence of 1987. Perhaps it will prove to be so.

Or perhaps another of the little brown bottles that it's time to discard now is the habit and need to claim that one person or thing or action or event is "more important" than another. There may come a time, and one prays it is on the way soon, when we get the hang of this business of collective soul evolution, and are able to give up all judgments about which of the moments between now and The End of Time in 2012 are the most important. When a woman is giving birth, she does not think that one contraction is more important than the others. All she cares about is whether the baby is safely born. When we are able to see that all the contractions are equally important, we shall be getting somewhere. One especially beautiful treatment of this metaphor of cosmic birth is in comments delivered by the astronaut Russell Schweickart, in Jin Tatsumura's film Gaia Symphony. All the symptoms -- the clearing of toxins, the accelerating rhythm of stress and release, the deep sweat and the rest -- are occurring planet-wide, and gain speed now as we are halfway through the portal of 2004.

July 30: The Full Moon in Aquarius opposite Sun in Leo, and the weeks to follow, are the exam that follows, and requires us to apply, the gains and blessings of the month. The Sun is powerful in Leo, the Moon brilliant but brittle in Aquarius, and both form a grand cross with Neptune in Aquarius and the Moon's North Node in Taurus. The many potential conflicts that surface now -- male vs. female, material vs. spiritual, personal vs. political, individual vs. collective -- are all best approached through the premise that the moment of danger and crisis offers the greatest opportunity. This is especially true if we realize that crisis does not mean disaster. The crisis is the moment of tension that is decided at the climax, as it will be in the climactic month of July, 2004. Other headlines to come this year will, like the Olympics, play higher, faster and stronger. But the decisions that determine the year come in July.

If we are uncommonly blessed, we may even be able to unload the poison bottles of E-Word, Unconscious Devil Mind and, the most vicious scam of all, the belief in Hell. It is no accident that more and more people all over the world are attracted to Sufi beliefs, including the happy recognition that there is no Hell. Everybody goes home to God sooner or later, and the only question is how each one will fight against this before giving in. This is why, in the interest of not shocking too terribly the ones who still believe in Hell, it may be best to visualize heaven this way:

It resembles at first what we've always expected: golden sunlight, blue sky, fleecy white clouds, stairways of marble and gates of pearl. Winged angels fly about with harps, though no one wonders at first why it is that, like Elvis, the angels seem to hold their instruments, but do not actually play them.

At the gate is not St. Peter, but a quiz show host who asks each new soul, "Would you like to look down at Hell for a moment before you go into heaven?" Those who say, "Not really" or "No, thanks" go at once through a silver silk curtain to the left, and those who say "Oh, boy! Yes!" are escorted onto a terrace, where they see a horde of people, some bending over the balustrade at the edge, others talking among themselves or asking the staff -- Mr. Mather, Pope Innocent III, Mr. Torquemada, Mr. Tetzel, the Ayatollah Khomeini, Mr. Ashcroft and others -- why they can't see Hell. The newcomer soul goes over to the railing, waits for an opening, looks down and, sure enough, wonders if others nearby will think he's an idiot if he starts to sing, "Blue skies, smiling at me, / Nothing but blue skies do I see."

The newcomer joins a group who are trying to get a straight answer, and hears:

Southern Baptist: I still can't see Hell. Where is it?

Tetzel: You just have to keep looking. You know it's there, right?

Anxious Muslim: Of course we know it's there. Why can't we see it?

Pope Alexander VI: You just have to be patient, and keep looking. Don't give up!

Southern Baptist: Well, it feels like I've just been here forever. Where is it?

Torquemada: You sound really indignant about this.

Crusader: Well, yes. This is taking forever. Why can't we just go in?

Innocent III: You said you wanted to see Hell first. So you have to do that. You can't go in until you see Hell first.

Khomeini: Don't get mad at us just because we're staff.

Ashcroft: Ruhollah's right. We don't get to go in until all of you do.

And so on. No one wants to say out loud that what so many of these souls were really looking forward to, one of the highlights of the whole trip, like the Taj Mahal or the Spanish Steps in Rome, was the pleasure of looking down into Hell and seeing all those bastards we still really hate, screaming and crackling in the lake of fire. Each one has a private Hell Menu: the jocks who beat me up in high school. That bitch who stole Jim Grady from me. The guy who sold me the Ford Tempo. That bastard in Baghdad.

The most ambitious newcomers, like Captain Ahab nailing to the mainmast of the Pequod a Spanish gold ounce for the first sailor to see Moby Dick, long to be the one to say,

"Look! There! He breaches! It's Clinton!" Or,

Rumsfeld: I see him! It's Osama bin Laden!

Americans Who Can't Find Iraq on a Map: Where?

Rumsfeld: There! Up the hawthorn tree, surrounded by all those devils with weed whackers!

Dittoheads: They're cutting everything to pieces! Those weed whackers are . . . Weapons of Mass Destruction!

And so on. Is it fair that the most foolish, traveling light on zephyrs of opinion everywhere they go, are the first to get to Heaven? Sure it is, and not just because they're on the terrace so long that they'd get balustrade burn if they had bodies. This is Heaven. It's all good.

Every now and then one of the souls on the terrace stops wondering and talking, smiles quizically, and disappears. When other souls nearby notice this and ask what's happened, the staff just guess that he or she must have seen Hell, and has just rematerialized inside The Lounge. What the staff don't say is that the exact opposite has happened: The vanished soul awoke and saw that there is no Hell, there never was, and he or she has just entered the silver curtain.

The most unexpected people are there inside. A smiling Mr. Cheney, Mr. Stalin and Lucrezia Borgia invite the newcomer to sit down and be a fourth for bridge. Mr. Hitler, a much funnier guy than anyone expected, is serving the champagne and shrimp toast. Inside the lounge, Catherine de Medici is singing popular favorites from every century and country. Caligula leads the dance team, and there's magic in Dracula's Big Black Box. Attila the Hun, in his striking tufted horsehair tuxedo, is the emcee. And in a banquette near the Moon Window, witty and popular as always, is Henry Kissinger, and no one is surprised to see that the old war criminal is as mellow as a baked pear. Everybody is.

Enter the Sufi master Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, who got to heaven only weeks ago, at least this time around and is still working the dance floor. Before he departed for his Urs, his marriage with the divine, he said,

"We are living the crux of the human drama right here and now. The issue is what are our values? And are we prepared to uphold them? Rather than fretting over the sword of Damocles hovering over our own heads or fleeing it to save our lives, we need to involve ourselves by offering a helping hand, to maintain order against abuse with authority but without hate, to affirm authority by our solidarity in service to our cherished ideal of a civilized people inspired by the divine ideal.

"Notwithstanding, let our distress not overshadow our faith in a better world and our joy of contributing to it each in our way."

He also said, "When creativity is done with excellence, splendor breaks through."

There are no better words for this moment. Let us own excellence, and be ready to move through it. Keep Holding That Frequency.


Copyright 2004 Dan Furst


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