March, 2008


Mythic Prelude:

Mirrored in Water

Greetings, and welcome to the Universal Festival Calendar for March, 2008. This month is always more than just the beginning of a new zodiac year at the Spring Equinox transition from the moody, watery stillness and inertia of Pisces to the first fast lurch of a new cycle into intrepid, fiery Aries. The Sun's move out of the Fishes and into the Ram is a mythic transition of psychic emergence from the unconscious pool of the Neptunian mind, where mystical visions, shamanic visions, vivid dreams and off the wall delusions all glimmer and flow toward the time when the arena lights go up and the herald says: In this corner, wearing the red leather and the hot, flickering frown, it's Mr. Iron Pants, the compulsive competitor from Aries, here to dispel those oozy blues and define some game plans in male straight lines as direct as a spear and as fast as desire. But before the Sun gets to re-enter his comfort and recharge zone in the house of the Ram and the field of Mars, he has to wade with some effort through those last weeks of Pisces.

The end of the zodiac year in Pisces month (Feb. 19 - March 20) has traditionally been a time not to launch the new enterprise -- a company, a project, a marriage, a show -- because the vague, dreamy Neptunian month just before Spring simply does not have in it the clarity or force of will to move new things forward. That's what Aries month is for. Pisces month is for meditating and visioning, and looking into Neptune's mirror of the sea, or any water, to see what is waiting there, depending on what each one has come to find. Look at the water's still surface and see -- a commodity to be bottled and sold. Or a white hand waving a sword, then sinking into the lake forever. Or wonders and cataclysms in times to come, appearing in Nostradamus' brass bowl. Or the entrancing, maddening image of one's desire as Narcissus saw it. More of him soon.
First, before we look into the water, a few notes on the practical business of the month, especially at this year's extremely auspicious Spring Equinox. Why is this year's Equinox so powerful? Why are so many festivals and holy days clustering on and just after it, and why, even though global meditations and special spiritual events on the solstices and equinoxes seem now to be increasing geometrically each year now, is March 21, 2008 so loaded with celebrations and ceremonies?
Because, as this month's Daily Listing for March 19-20 explains, the Libra Full Moon of March 21 comes right after the Equinox. The world's sacred calendars must realign themselves to link in synchrony with this rare and lucky event. So Hindus and Jews move their raucous pre-spring feasts of Holi and Purim from the usual Virgo Full Moon -- it was too early for comedy this year on Feb. 18 -- to the Libra Full Moon of March 21. Easter comes as early as it can, on March 23. The days from March 20 to 23 are packed with holy days from the Buddhist, Taoist, Islamic, Wiccan and other traditions. Since the Universal Festival Calendar first appeared in 1998, it has not yet happened as it does this month that so many world sacred days cluster at one of the year's four great solar festivals, and offer a very well-favored opportunity to see and use the principles of love, kindness, compassion, service, forgiveness and mercy that we all hold in common. If there were ever a month that is made for seeing through the differences that need not divide us and feeling the Oneness, then March 2008 is it. If there were a naturally musical month for bringing us into the same dance as soon as we hear the music, it's March 2008.
How to choose among the many celebrations that will happen everywhere? Parties will naturally abound on Friday night, March 21 for those who want to let out or discover their inner Pan or Hebe. Those who want to be greatly involved at the Equinox and the Full Moon, as I do, may like to choose one from Column A, synchronous events that link people everywhere simultaneously; and one from Column B, wave events that begin at the same specified time in each time zone, thereby sending an energy wave from east to west throughout the day. I'll do a sound circle on March 20 in Sinai, Egypt, linked with the Cairo circle and a hundred or more others throughout the planet, all joining in the Global Harmonization sounded at each equinox and solstice by Daniel Brower and Circle of Sound. Among wave events, one that millions will join is the Solar Wave 2008 organized by Aluna Joy Yaxk'in and Global Synchronistes. The Solar Wave, held this month for the 14th consecutive year, will link communities of "sensitives and healers" and others worldwide, all holding the same intentions of Peace, Harmony, Love, Compassion and Impeccability on March 21 for the 32 minutes from 1:20 to 1:52pm at the local sidereal time in each time zone.
Are you looking beyond this month to see how the rest of 2008 and the years ahead will unfold, at a time when changes now underway and coming soon are stirring such wonder, fear and both in so many? The Astral Notes for Spring, 2008 outline the major planetary acts through May, and some additional celestial dynamics coming in the summer.
For those who'd like to look at late 2008 and the years to follow, I've just put up on Hermes 3 the most comprehensive set of astrology pages ever to appear here, about the great Chiron-Neptune Conjunction that forms from early 2009 through 2011, and is likely the master planetary aspect of the years between now and 2012. These pages cover the US Election of November, 2008, the Neptune Return of April, 2009, the first, exact Chiron-Neptune Conjunction of February, 2010, the explosive Crosses of Summer, 2010, the second Chiron-Neptune Conjunction of November, 2010 and Scorpionic America Revisited, the last a supplement based on the work of the late astrologer David Solte. His premise, that the USA is a Scorpio country born at the Continental Congress of November 1777, not a Cancer country born on July 4, 1776, is looking persuasive now that events are bearing out the themes and timing of the Scorpionic America chart.
A look at these pages will show why, in this writer's view, 2008 and 2009, bumpy as they will be, are not the main transformative event. The crucial year is neither now nor in 2012. As Chiron the Healer approaches and then aligns with Neptune the mystic in the communal, revolutionary sign of Aquarius, the year that really challenges us, and opens the broadest, brightest vistas to those who can stop shaking long enough to see them, is not this year, or the next. It is 2010.
Astrologers and mythographers normally don't claim that any one planet "dominates" the starscape for years at a time, even when the planetary event is as momentous as Pluto crossing the Galactic Center in Sagittarius (2006 - 2007), or when the patron deity who rules the planet is as relentlessly covetous of other people's territory as Neptune -- as the sea -- is. The finely worked truth of sacred star lore is in the entire evolving holistic design of all the planets in all the zodiac signs. Yet in the years ahead Neptune is consistently at or near center stage. 2009, and 2010 in particular, will show why Neptune is the ruler of theatre and dance, even before he enters Pisces, the sign of his rulership, in 2011 and again in 2012. One unifying theme of the years ahead is the spiritual resources of Pisces, and Neptune its ruler, among them the mystical vision of oneness and the dream of peace, the interdependence of humanity and all life, the compassionate resonance of the universal heart that unites all sentient beings in a single sacred rhythm.
So Neptune will appear often in these pages in the months and years ahead, even when our focus must go at times to Neptune's less trustworthy alter ego as Conch Konbu, seductive author and fence of a truly oceanic variety of lies, deceptions, delusions, fantasies, Ponzi games, Spanish prisoner schemes, bozo bait, stupid crook stories and every other scam costumed as a sea cruise -- to say nothing of a whole reefer -- uh, ha ha, reef -- of altered states ranging from samadhi and the shaman's flight to tobacco weed and unlabeled wine that tastes like it was made somewhere in a harbor. These states of no mind and games of not a chance will abound from now, enough of them to stock not just a U. S. election year, but the whole Glamour Phase of 2007 through 2009, in its uncertainty about shifting loyalties, evaporating currencies, eroding coastlines and the root crisis that is now the most important of all.
A crescendo of opinion and debate has just been stirred by Blue Covenant: Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water, the new book by Maude Barlow, Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. "Due to over-development and climate change," she wrote in her article It's Time for the UN to Make Water a Human Right, "fresh water is becoming increasingly scarce. In addition, in many communities across the globe, people cannot get access to whatever clean water does exist without paying private corporations. The global water crisis is evident." Many environmental, financial and political discussions will soon come to a head, or at least a louder shout, now that warnings about the poisoning and commercial exploitation of the world's water are finally being heard, and the damage that dirty water has done and is doing to millions of lives is finally being seen.
Not that awareness of the issue is anything new. It's been 46 years since Rachel Carson sounded the alarm about water pollution in The Silent Spring, and 43 years since Lyndon Johnson signed the Clean Water Act of 1965, and Thomas Merton wrote this in Raids on the Unspeakable: "Let me say this before rain becomes a utility that they can plan and distribute for money. By 'they' I mean the people who cannot understand that rain is a festival, who do not appreciate its gratuity, who think that what has no price has no value, that what cannot be sold is not real, so that the only way to make something actual is to place it on the market. The time will come when they will sell you even your rain. At the moment it is still free, and I am in it. I celebrate its gratuity and its meaninglessness." And, for that matter, it's been nearly 2000 years since John of Patmos may have written that "a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water . . . the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter" (Revelations 8:10-11).
This prelude is much indebted to the Water Quotes page compiled by the Recycling Program of the University of St. Thomas. The Water Quotes page is not just a curious compilation of elegant phrases and praises about "the noblest of the elements" (Pindar) in Psalms, Lao Tzu and JFK. It is a tremendous educational resource that covers not only the ramifications of the problem, but also the valiant efforts of the World Water Forum, the Global Water Policy Project, the Ecologist and many others to stimulate awareness of an urgent new reality -- new only insofar as it's now just newly being seen -- that makes the world's other worries look unworthy. The control of water hosts the hidden agendas behind much of what is happening now as clean water supplies dwindle, and capitalists rush to corner them.
Yes, the exploitation of water had already been going on for a very long time before Mark Twain first reportedly said that "Whiskey is for drinkin'; water is for fightin'." And the treacherous, violent conflicts over control of water in places like Los Angeles were on Barry Goldwater's mind when he once said, "A man from the west will fight over three things: water, women and gold, and usually in that order." So predictably, Earth's major players are jockeying for the water. Some try to bottle it and cash in on it before it's gone. Others poison the well to weaken and control the native labor they are here to exploit. Another player is winged in Iraq, fighting a war that only looks like it is being maintained for control of the region's oil. The real target is the water, as has also been known not widely enough for years. Iraq is priceless because it is the only Middle Eastern country to have two major river systems flowing parallel to each other, thereby providing, from the dawn of our history, abundant water for what can be plentiful crops and smooth sailing for water trade if the river is managed well, as it was when water sparkled in the Gardens of Babylon and Harun El Rashid was Caliph of Baghdad.
So what are we seeing in the water right now, as Chiron comes closer to Neptune this year and next? Can Chiron bring with him a new awareness of how water must be held sacred again, used well, preserved and healed? Yes -- but not everyone is at the table. At the same time that we are seeing a rapid new Aquarian networking to address issues of water, we're still on the planet of tenacious mistakes and luxurious dualities. We are confronted with the water story, and in it the mythic warning of what happens when we look in water and see only what we want, rather than what everyone wants, or what is for the highest good of the Whole Earth. As we go through the last years of the Fourth Sun before the new Fifth Sun comes in 2012, the force that slows us down is not the opposition of those who actively resist change. It's the uninvolved narcosis of the ones who are not engaged or committed either way, neither contributing to our liberation nor trying to stop it. We're still on planet Earth in the dusk of the Fourth Sun setting. Until the Fifth Sun comes up -- half the human beings are ready to mend the urn of Aquarius the Water Bearer and lift it high, to pour out pure love and healing for all the Earth. The other half of us are not yet aware that they're in the middle of the Glamour Phase, in the story of Narcissus.
"Narcissus," wrote the magisterial Robert Graves in The Greek Myths, "was a Thespian, the son of the Blue Nymph Leiriope, whom the river god Cephisus had once encircled with the windings of his streams, and ravished. The seer Teiresias told Leiriope, the first person ever to consult him: 'Narcissus will live to a ripe old age, provided that he never knows himself.' Anyone might excusably have fallen in love with Narcissus, even as a child, and when he reached the age of sixteen, his past was strewn with heartlessly rejected lovers of both sexes; for he had a stubborn pride in his own beauty."
To this tale of fatal self-absorption and impossible desire, Ovid added Echo, the dryad, or wood nymph who is maybe the first demigoddess in all of world mythology to take a fall for another, the first self-destroying enabler who is so eager to win the love and approval of some other person that she draws a disastrous punishment upon herself.
The legend begins as Hera, wife of Zeus and lady of the house at Olympus, is seething at Zeus again. It isn't just that he's unfaithful, everybody knows that, but that he does it with a kind of careening recklessness, as though he's actually daring her to catch him. She follows Zeus to a grove, set to trap him with his chiton down as he's dallying with the nymphs. For eons, Hera has kept telling herself that her true aim in trying to catch Zeus in the act is to shame him into honoring the sacred law of marriage by being faithful to his wife.
Picture courtesy Karen J. Hatzigeorgiou
But by now, honestly, she thinks all of that morality is for the pious storytellers who will weave the legend later. Right now, all Hera has on her mind is that she gets to nail that goat, bolt and all. This time, she knows she's going to get him. As she advances into the grove, she can hear him and the dryads moaning and squealing only a few trees away. This is it. Hera takes her deepest breath ever, to power a shout that will blast Zeus all the way home, and -- Echo steps in front of her and blocks her path. And asks Hera . . . if she'd like to be entertained by a story!
The ancient mythwriters say nothing about Echo having been asked by Zeus and her sisters to keep lookout while they're all happily engroved. Echo, it seems, has no idea why this richly-clad matron in the woods is walking so fast, or even who she is, much less that as she's the Queen of Heaven herself, it's probably best not to get in her way. Echo, it appears, amazingly, whims or decides all on her own to block Hera's way -- and even worse, as the visitor obviously wants to step around her and be on her way, Echo serves the impatient lady one spicy tale after another about the amorous conquests of . . . guess who? the mightiest Thunderer of all, the booming lord Zeus. At this moment, clearly the crisis in the story, two very bizarre decisions intersect. Hera has the awful power to kill Echo with a mere flick of her will, or at least knock her out of the way. But instead, Hera speaks, and orders the girl to step aside. Echo insists on just one more story -- and Hera starts to boil. In the clatter of voices that blows up now, Zeus and the nymphs have time to make their escape. Zeus has gotten away with it again, and escapade is on its way to being a new art form.
How to begin understanding what the two women have done? Why on Geos does Hera stop to talk instead of just moving on? And why, even more strangely, does Echo insist on impeding so annoyingly a person who doesn't want to stop and talk to her? Hera's decision is honorable enough. Civility is better than force, and one hopes that a word to the observant clears the way. But Echo's decision? Is she merely stupid, and is this why she doesn't notice how hot and red the other woman is getting? Does Echo actually think any lady of dignity and respect, like the one who's trying to get past her now, will love hearing ribald Zeus stories, any more than women today like hearing about Jack Nicholson's escapades on Bad Boy Drive? Is Echo really that vacant? Not likely. Myths are about choices that are made consciously, no matter how imperfect the actors are in their awareness, or the purity of their desires.
Is she's not clueless, then, is Echo covering for the revelers out of some sense that she's acting in service to them? Or -- is she just being deliberately rude and perverse, toying with this old aunt who certainly isn't from around here? Is Echo in fact a person who not only talks too much, but is mean about it too, talking just for the fun of rubbing in deeper whatever hurts in someone else? The last of these would be a cruelty that fits well the price that Echo pays for her comedy, if that was what she aimed to play. The dire punishments Hera drops on Echo are unrequited love, and, as though that is not heavy enough, a stroke perhaps even more painful for one who loves to talk: the curse that Echo will never speak again except to repeat the words of another.
The inevitable meeting between unattainable beauty and unfulfillable longing comes later, when Narcissus is lost in the forest and cries out for help, giving the lovesick Echo words that she can say back as she runs toward Narcissus, throws herself at him and . . . gets cruelly and painfully stiffed by the first mythic figure in history to speak the immortal line: "I'd rather die than sleep with you." In time, Echo wastes away in her loneliness and her sorrow until there is nothing left of her but a voice that answers forever when another calls.
Narcissus gets what is coming not long after that, when he sends a sword to his suitor Ameinius with the airy hint that if Ameinius really loves him, he'll stab himself to death at Narcissus' door. And Ameinius -- Does he think Narcissus is joking, and will save him? -- actually does it, and runs himself through, apparently getting the point of the prank just a little too late. Ameinius calls on the gods to avenge his death, and Artemis hears him. She decrees that Narcissus, like Echo, will suffer unrequited love -- and he will feel it toward the next human being he sees. Everybody knows who it is, and how Narcissus sits beside a stream, sees his own reflection and is so obsessed by its beauty that he reaches into the water to embrace himself, only to find than when he touches the water, the one he adores is gone in ripples, and won't come back until Narcissus leaves the water alone and lets it come to stillness again. In the end, he is undone not by beauty itself, but by the agony of knowing he can never break free of his obsession, and never possess and come to consummation with the one he loves. Narcissus kills himself, maybe with the same sword that bit the lethally silly Ameinius.
As we move through this month and its transition from Neptune's water to Mars' fire, we enter the heart and turning point of the Glamour Phase, and the question of what we see in water now as half our planet, the people who see the essence of water as a living sacred being, do what they can to awaken the other half, for whom water is a physical resource to be used and controlled. Inevitably, on our contrarian planet, we begin awakening to Water at the most appropriate time, in what is, wonderfully, a high glamour year. The Water Question arrives, as it must, when the world's sleeping half is dreaming of Narcissus. All the elements of the story are present, and now playing everywhere.
The fun-loving executive, acting unaccountable again, gets away with an outrage and escapes. He's nowhere to be found. His wife is one of the two incensed authorities who resolve to punish wrongdoers by depriving them of love. There is an irresistibly handsome celebrity who works his cruel control of others by stoking their love for him, while giving back none of his own. There is one victim so maddened by his longing for the one he cannot have that he tries to get Narcissus to care about him by stabbing himself. There is another victim who babbles on and on, digs her own pit by saying far too much to the wrong person at the wrong place and the wrong time, and in the end gets so stunted in her devotion to the one she cannot have that she wastes away pining for him, giving everything away and getting nothing back until only her voice is left. And there is the third fool Narcissus, who'd rather slit himself than learn the modesty to adjust his expectations about what he can't have, or can no longer have. Will the weirdest imperceptions about the tricks and limits of desire keep coming this year, as some human beings want to outgrow possessiveness toward the Earth, and others want to hang on to what they imagine is theirs?
2008 will begin the bringing to us of the most unwelcome lesson we've had on sharing ever since we first recoiled from this unfamiliar concept when we were six. For now, as we move through Pisces month, it is time to do our best visioning of what we want the Water to be and to bring. The more of us can see in Water now the all-embracing sea of love, the sooner all water resources on Earth will align with humanity's whole and clear intention.
Back to the river. Back to the sea. Back to the Ocean that is All Around Me.
All Life comes from the Sea.
Blow that shell and open those pipes. Rejoice in Water. Keep Holding That Frequency.
Please help support the work of the Universal Festival Calendar and Hermes 3. If you feel this site has value, you can make a donation, or order UFC subscriptions -- $25 a year, $50 for three years, $100 lifetime (my lifetime, that is!). Just click here.
The Chiron - Neptune Conjunction of 2009 - 2012:
Prelude: The American Election of November 4, 2008
Prelude Supplement: And the Winner Is . . .
Act 1: Conflicts: The Neptune Return of April 11, 2009
Act 2: Complications: The Triple Chiron-Neptune-Jupiter Conjunction of May-August, 2009
Act 3: Turning Point: The Exact Chiron-Neptune Conjunction of Feb. 16 - 17, 2010
Act 4: Crisis and Climax: The Crosses of Summer, 2010
Act 5: Denouement: The Near Chiron-Neptune Conjunction of Nov. 2 - 3, 2010

Copyright 2008 Dan Furst. All Rights Reserved.