MARCH, 2007


Mythic Prelude:

The City of Eight

Greetings, and welcome to the Universal Festival Calendar for March, the mystic month when the Sun moves through the depth of Pisces before it emerges into Aries at the Spring Equinox, and often shows us why Pisces is so closely linked with theatre and dance. It isn't just that Pisces rules the feet, or that this sign and its ruling planet of Neptune have long been linked with music and especially with live theatre. The distinction between Uranus as the pyrotechnician of movies and TV, and Neptune as the fabulist of live storytelling, is worth noting. One deals in often ephemeral tricks of Industrial Light and Magic, as George Lucas calls them, in action stories about what we most want to get and escape. The other is more about the fantastic weirdness of the human condition, the mirth of seeing how dumb we've been, and above all -- such things as dreams are made on, as Prospero put it in Shakespeare's Tempest at the moment when he leaves his sorcery behind, and along with it all the painful illusions it brought to himself and others.

Thus the end of Pisces month in March really is a time when the impossible schemes and dumb mistakes of the last solar year, the follies, self-delusions, bozo trips, the other flakes, frauds and fantasies, and the addictive opinions we've nursed for much too long, can be released in Neptune's ocean before the Sun moves into the glare of Pisces, and starts to burn the fog away. That's why the Virgo Full Moon, when the Sun is in Pisces (March 3) is always the focus of comedy festivals like Holi and Purim, as the old year gets laughed out just before the new year is lighted in. The nature of the jokes and the whole comic squint, and which of our self-deceptions we'll let go this time, depend each year on the other celestial dynamics that are in play.
This time, to pause a bit for stellar orientation before we visit our destination of the month, the given circumstances of the comedy are in the recurring opposition of Saturn in Leo and Neptune in Aquarius, and the conjunction of Uranus with the Moon's North Node in Pisces. There's more about both of these in the Astral Notes for Winter, 2006 - 2007. For now, the brief upshot of these alignments is that old self-deceptions and outright lies (Neptune), often delivered through the most dazzling Uranian technologies of Aquarius, are at showdown with Saturn in his role as the severe teacher. He has nothing but time. That's why the Greeks called him Chronos. He is limitlessly patient, and will keep raising the price we pay for our obtuse choices and stubborn beliefs until we finally get it and start making more enlightened moves. That's why the US State Department's announcement on Feb. 27 -- only a few hours before the Saturn-Neptune opposition was exact -- that it would finally begin talking with Iran and Syria about Iraq is a classic Saturn vs. Neptune outcome. Finally, after years of very painful self-delusion, much of it rooted in religious fantasy, the much-chastened miles gloriosus (the braggart soldier of the old comedy) begins to wake up and ask the locals for directions to the nearest exit.
Other long-overdue wakeup calls triggered in recent days by Saturn-vs.-Neptune can be cited here: the decision of England and Denmark to withdraw troops from an Iraq misadventure that is now waged by a coalition of the wishing rather than the willing; the World Court ruling that Serbia did indeed commit a campaign of genocide against Bosnian Muslims; the declaration by environmental scientists that global warming is a fact that can be attributed to human activity; the revelations about Walter Reed Army Hospital, where wounded soldiers from Iraq have been treated with such cold, arrogant stinginess that the major general in charge has been dismissed from his post, and the Army Secretary has just resigned; the unassailable proof just published in the journal Neurology that marijuana is effective in relieving the pain of peripheral neuropathy, and could "bring much-needed relief to millions suffering from cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, arthritis and other debilitating illnesses." In all these cases, what is happening in this early March week is that illusions and denials that have been held for several years -- or for three generations, where the Feds' mule stance about cannabis goes -- are now popping and cracking. Other eye-openers will follow in the weeks to come, and in the Saturn's last pass opposite Neptune in the spring. So -- thanks, Saturn. Sorry these things are taking us so terribly long.
Please note, however, that all of this does work both ways, and it's not at all accurate or fair to suppose that Neptune is nothing more than the bubbling sea foam of self-delusion when he is in fact the most mystical and compassionate of planets, the one with whose subtle help we feel the universal heart that connects us with all beings. And Saturn can be as stolid as he is bracingly severe, apt to harden into blind habit and routine, especially as he relates to traditional-minded institutions like governments, armies, banks and churches with which he's naturally associated. So at the same time that Saturn is giving the most stubbornly denial-bound, dogma-addicted people a cold dose of astringest truth, Neptune is giving the most rigid, rule-fixated people a much-needed spray of spirit and sympathy. Whichever way it goes, those who need either to sober up, or to feel the pain of others as they have not before, or both, will have a welcome chance now to jettison a whole boatload of needless psychic weight and walk at last with a lighter, goofier stride.
The other powerful celestial motor that's now humming, this one gaining strength through the end of March as the Saturn-Neptune opposition begins to fade, is the alignment of Uranus on the Moon's North Node (Dragon's Head), and opposite the South Node (Dragon's Tail). This scene is inherently conflictive and unstable, with the uniting force of the North Node squeezing in beside the shocking, upsetting force of Uranus in what feels like anything but a love seat. At the same time, the splitting force of the South Node, in perfectionist Virgo at its most opinionated, is likely to bring active indignation against whatever is wrong, or at least smells that way. This is why the momentum of March will get so wearisome to so many of us by the time it's over, as we wonder why so many people are bickering so heatedly over things that are not the least bit important to us, but are not getting aroused at all by questions that we perceive as crucial. If there was ever a month when it will be important to choose one's battles carefully, and to get choosier as the month goes along, March of 2007 is the one.
So this bring us, naturally, to a battle that the author thinks is worth a minute of your time, and your vote: the ongoing controversy about whether Pluto is really a planet. As you know, a small meeting of the International Astronomical Union ruled last August that Pluto is not really a planet -- and some mythographers, astrologers and other people of fair minds and good will have been in high indignation ever since. This IAU "decision," and the manner in which it was done, is a much weightier matter than the habit of sugar users who prefer Classic Coke, or a spasm of wounded sentimentality, or devotion to a cartoon dog by Disney. The IAU's Pluto larceny goes to the very heart of principles that many of us respect: the legitimacy of true scientific method, the honest representation of consensus within allegedly democratic groups -- and the correcting of abuses by broad-based, communal movements that are Aquarian in spirit, galvanizing righteous correction that wells up from the grass roots to oppose arrogant frauds that come down from the "top."
It turns out, as you may know, that the IAU "meeting" that rolled Pluto did not attract anything within a light year of what you and I understand as a quorum: that is, a majority of members who must be present and voting if their decisions on behalf of the whole body are to be legally valid. The IAU meeting was attended, in fact, by only 4% of the organization's members. Did the anti-Pluto ax grinders and their allies do the fair thing that you or I would have done by agreeing on a motion to be referred to all IAU members, and decided by a majority of all respondents? No, they did not. They acted, astoundingly, without polling in any way, much less conducting a peer review by, the other 96% of their colleagues. Would even American Republicans, as clever and skilled as they are in stealing elections, act so brazenly? Would they dare to claim that a GOP candidate who wins only 4% of the vote in his district has been elected?