Mythic Prelude:

Square Dance

Hail and Welcome, as the irrepressible lord Jupiter likes to roar in a baritone full of retsina and thyme. Please come in and move quietly, as the grave lord Saturn whispers in a hollow, mossy bass, for people are studying here. You've come to the 100th issue of the Universal Festival Calendar, which first appeared in July, 1998.
So it should be celebration time this month, right? And as this page is allegedly a Mythic Prelude, it should be time for the mythic stories that we love to tell and hear. They're heroic, exciting, deeply moving, surprising, sexy and fun, full of craggy ordeals and rich rewards, hairbreadth escapes and clever ruses, challenges that only looked impossible, love against all odds, and every other fascinating event that stirs the soul and moves the heart from ice to surge to steam and glow as fast as an arrow flies or lightning flashes. And as there's a dance in this month's title, it should be time now to feel that fiddle and swing your partner round and round. Right?
Yes and no. What we cover here may delight some, at least those who love intricate designs as they appear in geometry and in the kind of musical scores that Germans call Augenmusik because they catch and intrigue the eye even if they don't get off the page and into the ear. This month's square dance has to do with a very powerful, auspicious and challenging scenario of planetary squares: that is, single planets or groups of planets aligned in "hard" or "stressful" 90° angles of disharmonious tension. This month's main couple are Jupiter and Saturn, who just greeted you at the door and showed you into the hall, but are by no means on dancing terms with each other, at least not now.
Yes, it's astrology again, as the slumping couple in row K just moaned. Believe me, this is no dim sum luncheon for me either. When this page runs the thrills and jokes, people write to say how much they like them, and even send in donations to Hermes 3. When the Mythic Prelude is about the planets and houses, the numbers and the words like quincunx and yod and sextile that make your mind start squinting like a passport control guy running on a cheap breakfast, then the applause meter is out of work, and this author plods along like Saturn, finding his way to savor the work as its own reward.
It can't be helped. As regular UFC readers know, we are now in a 9-month phase of decay, transformation and rebirth that will be our most momentous gestation period since the birth cycle of seven years ago, from the Grand Cross alignments of August, 1999 through the Taurus Stellium of May, 2000, when a total of seven planets gathered in the sign of the Bull, and heralded the seven years to come. We are in the same kind of awakening moment now, and we will benefit as much as many of us did before from an understanding of what is ahead, how best to play it, and where our creative resources and responsibilities are as we enter the years ahead knowing that the main question is not What's Going to Happen? -- but What Will I Make the Effort to Manifest? It is on us now. The time for blaming vicious, bumbling leaders, and corporate serpents and clueless couch potatoes, even for asking "God" for help, is over. It is up to us, as the spiritual work force of the Universal Soul, to fashion the course and flow of the time.
This month ends the first trimester of an uneasy pregnancy that morning sickness does not begin to describe. In August Saturn in Leo faced off against Neptune in Aquarius in the first of three 180° oppositions that will come again late in the play, in February-March, and after it, when the reviews fall due in June. In September Jupiter in Scorpio moved into a 90° square with Neptune. By the time it fades, on Oct. 9, Jupiter will already have moved ahead into our main topic this month, a square with Saturn that forms today (Sept. 30) and builds in intensity until it becomes, on Oct. 25, the center of a friction festival with enough squares to adorn a classical city, or make a master mandala. In what follows we'll look at the basics of a Jupiter-Saturn square and the complicating kicker of the month, Mercury retrograde in Scorpio. Then, when you see the Astrology Alert! rubric, you can either keep reading about a chart cast for Tokyo, Japan, or you can skip to Astrology Alert Over! and the tailpiece about the stellar medicine that starts to cook this month and will give us, this year and next, more strength and cohesion than we know at a time when all the glue and magnetism we can find, from any quarter, is much needed.
First, meet the contestants in October's main show. Jupiter, at left, is the cloudgatherer, the jovial lord of the sky in all his enthusiasm, charisma, expansiveness, majesty and hearty appetites, taking time whenever he can from his job -- philosophy, governance and law -- to ride his thunderbolt to a good time and then boom off to another cloud before his wife, Juno, can find him. That thing in his left hand
could be a rolled-up boarding pass, if he actually needed one, as he loves to travel. To the right is his silent, serious, disapproving father, Saturn, the universal sanitation officer who clears away all
sick, dry, withered and dying things, from the physical body of earth and the spiritual body of each soul, so that new life and new awareness may come. In his black cloak, with his bony hand and swift scythe, he is chillingly famous as Father Time, who has little time for parties -- he is, though, curiously, the patron of comedy -- but is here to help those who will give their best effort, and bring enough pain to motivate those who won't.
When these two are in harmony, as they will be in January 2008 when Jupiter in Capricorn is trine (120° from) Saturn in Virgo, they are like two ill-matched colleagues who can at least summon up enough mutual respect to work effectively together on the task at hand. "Easy" alignments between these two manifest as teamwork that is hardly glamorous, and is often done in solitude, but is honest, conscientious, tenacious and open-minded enough to yield a successful result. When these planets are not getting along, though, Saturn becomes like Leopold Mozart, glowering at his fun-loving, irresponsible son, and Jupiter is like a bar-hopper who blunders for the night into a dank, smelly monastery with no Wi-Fi, women, music or brandy, and can't wait to get out. Saturn seethes with bottled discontent and anger, and wants to quit the job because his partner won't pull his share of the load. Jupiter fumes away in mere annoyance the grand creative energy that could be much better devoted to some better purpose. The result is success that is only fragile or intermittent, if it comes at all, and the changes we come to regret -- broken bonds, burned bridges, battered self-esteem -- when we misrespond to the pressures of the time with Impatience, the dark twin of this month's ruling principle.
Patience, wrote the great seminal astrologer Reinhold Ebertin a hundred years ago, is the main theme in any Jupiter-Saturn combination. As a classically-trained European, he knew that this word comes from the Latin patior -- to suffer, endure or undergo -- and is related to passion: of lovers who will sacrifice much to gain the prize of their desire; of shamans and adepts willing to be broken apart and then better reassembled for the holy work ahead; of martyrs who suffer the ultimate agony even when their religious paradigm itself is dying in the hijacking of Islam's beauty by men parched of all love, and The Passion of the Christ Paradigm. Patience does not necessarily imply, though it often does, that we will have to bear difficult, unpleasant conditions as bravely as we can. It may also mean that we're engaged in a large undertaking that requires industry and perseverance because it can only be done well in its own demanding, deliberate tempo, which is slower than ours. With patience, we can do it.
With impatience, however, the true soul task at hand, whether we see it or not, is more likely to do and be done with us. And that is where we are this month, in what the poet Edward Dorn called the "theater of impatience" (Gunslinger, Book I), as people all over our planet scream for relief from war and oppression, hate and starvation, boredom and lies -- at a time when the last of these is virulent in an American election campaign. The world hopes the US midterm election will bring some relief from the agony of the new American fascist police state, but the campaign itself, and the people who deliver it, move in toxic, mendacious fury toward an emotional climax not on the actual election day of Nov. 7, but on the square dance of Oct. 25.
This is followed from Oct. 28 by Mercury retrograde. Astrology may hardly interest you -- but if you're reading this page at all, then you know people who use these words a few times a year to explain those episodes that come every four months, when we and everybody we know seem to get our facts wrong, suffer misunderstandings, have assumptions backfire on us, lose our cell phones, can't find our checkbook -- just as well, as the bank's computer is down -- and can't get electric repairs made because we and the tech guy have both written our appointment down in our laptops, which have just crashed. When Mercury moves backward in his orbit, then almost everything in his areas of communications, commerce and transportation seems to suffer confusion, blockage, delay and weirdness wild enough to make simple incompetence seem a virtue.
The special character of every Mercury retrograde episode depends on its sign position in the zodiac. From now until Dec. 8 Mercury is in the passionate, furtive sign of Scorpio, ruled by Pluto, the master of concealment, hidden agendas and undisclosed locations, who seeks the shadows just as the scorpion hides in the darkest part of the cave. The keyword here is secrecy, and, as the only thing a Scorpio fears mortally is having his crimes and mistakes come out into the light of day, we can fully expect that the teeming boners and screwups of the next three weeks will be doubly costly because those who've caused the trouble will work much harder to hide it than to admit it and fix it. As Pluto also rules espionage and all encryptations, including computer codes, Mercury retrograde will affect computers, and those who use them, with bizarre strangeness. It will be interesting to see how this plays out on Nov. 7. Those who rigged computers to steal the 2004 election will surely try to do the same thing again now, and do it even better. The man who stole Ohio for George III two years ago is even running for governor there this time. So what will happen when the men who come to "inspect" and "repair" the voting machines find that they've sat on their glasses and lost their precinct list, they get a FAX signal when they call for help -- from an office that doesn't have a FAX machine -- and when they finally start making their rounds, they find that their disks are defective and there's a cavity in their Bluetooth? Stay tuned on this one.
There should be no underestimating the Scorpionic cloaking that happens from late October through mid-November, even though some of it happens every year in Scorpio month (Oct. 23 - Nov. 22). It's much more pronounced this time because from Oct. 24 to Nov. 17, there are five or more planets in Scorpio, forming stellia. These alignments are not that rare. A stellium often comes at the New Moon, when Sun and Moon are conjunct anyway; and as Mercury and Venus are always relatively near the Sun and may be in the same sign with him, only one more planet may be needed to complete the stellium. What happens this time is that the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Mars and Jupiter are all in Scorpio on Oct. 24. When the Moon exits into Sagittarius a few hours later, Venus replaces her, crossing from Libra into Scorpio and into the planet cluster with the Sun and Mars that we see in the chart below.
What does this mean for generally honest people like you and me, who aren't trying to hide anything but our love handles? That the battle for truth and public opinion, in the US and China, in Russia, the Middle East and many other places, will be more ferocious and amoral than it's been at any time since Winston Churchill said sixty-some years ago that "in time of war, truth is escorted by a bodyguard of lies." As severe as the tension has been in recent years between those who want to conceal the truth and those who want to expose it, we can expect the two sides to pull against each other with a might so hard that we can smell it from a time zone away. As the true motives of the Israeli military, the Iranian nuclear program, the American chamber of death merchant commerce and its torture gulag, the control trips of Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and Egypt and a hundred other skeletons all come tumbling out of the closet faster than the spooks and crooks can jam them back in, we shall see acted for us more graphically than ever before what a staff writer for the Japan Times once told me: "Anything that somebody wants to keep secret is news. Everything else is publicity." This brings us to the location of the chart some of us will explore this month.
Why is it cast for Tokyo, Japan? Because this country, conservative in the truest sense and as tradition-minded as any nation with such an exquisite culture ought to be, continues to create friction with its neighbors and embarrassment for its lovers -- like the author, who lived in Kyoto for 11 years -- by refusing to own the appalling crimes it perpetrated over the century since 1905, when Japan annexed Korea and began the time of horrific atrocities that would culminate in the murder of over 10 million innocent civilians in China, East Asia and Oceania, and would introduce a project so ghastly that not even the Germans tried it, even in Russia: the infamous Unit 731, the biological and chemical warfare lab in north China that aimed to depopulate China through airborne poisons and artificial epidemics. Japan has been rigidly denial-bound about all this since 1945, and is likely to get even stiffer now that Elvis Koizumi has been succeeded by Shinzo Abe, a nationalist whose team is already at work to purge Japanese school textbooks of all information about why Dai Nippon is as deeply soaked as it is in something that looks exactly like blood.
There is nothing new in any of this. Japan has been avoiding delicate matters about its past for a very long time. In different parts of the country there are dozens of very large keyhole-shaped burial mounds called kofun, which are ancient, built before the Heian era began in the early 7th century. Century after century goes by, and the kofun go unexcavated, though they doubtless hold tons of historical knowledge, elegant and precious works of art, and all manner of jewelry and gold, as the men who built them must have intended to put something besides their bodies in there. So why, in a country that reveres its story, and is like a science fiction novel in which all the eras of Japan's past are on display at the same time, doesn't anybody open up even one kofun? It isn't just that the Imperial Household Agency, which controls antiquities in Japan, doesn't have hai (yes) in its vocabulary. The Japanese archaeologists aren't too keen either, and would rather fly across Asia to dig around in Egypt or Turkey than uncover their own country's past. If you knew that the clothing and jewels, the furniture and weapons and flutes and books of your ancestors from centuries ago were waiting in your basement for you to descend the stairs and have a look, would you flip that light switch and come on down?
Maybe not, if you've heard rumors about unsavory foreign substances wrapped around the root of your family tree. The reason the kofun stay closed -- and this explains much about the intransigence of today's Japan -- is that the kofun were built when Japan's main trading partner was the kingdom of Paechke, now known as Korea, and it is even likely that some of Japan's ancient local rulers were from the other side of the strait, and were the unthinkable and unbearable: the people whom the warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi despised as "garlic eaters." The question of what Koreans were doing in Japan 2000 years ago is, for the Japanese, far more terrifying than anything about what the Japanese were doing to Korean "comfort women" in 1942. If anyone ever digs into a kofun and gets hit in the nose by a piercing whiff of some very old kimchee, the myth of Japan's "unique" culture will go out the mado for good. Best to just leave that keyhole alone, and forget trying to fashion a key that fits it.
So are the months and years ahead, when so much will change and so many secrets will come out, likely to be a shiny Hello Kitty bookbag for people who are much too terrified of their truth even to see it, much less speak it? Zenzen -- no way. So for this month's square dance, Japan is the perfect barn.
Astrology Alert! Note that while this chart is in effect just after midnight in Japan on Oct. 26, and later on this day for longitudes between Tokyo and New Zealand, it forms on Oct. 25 everywhere else.
Jupiter-Saturn Square at the first moment of exactitude: Oct. 26, 2006 at 12:03am JST
in Tokyo Japan (35° N 42 Lat, 139° E 46 Long
The aspect "score" in this chart is in the disharmonious tension of "difficult or stressful" 90° squares, the harmonious tension of 180° oppositions, and the harmonious serenity of 120° trines. Considered in these terms, the squares own this chart. It can be said to have an extraordinary total of 8 squares, and thus to be as tightly wrapped and intense as a 3 pack a day smoker on a 12-hour flight. How is all this uneasy energy likely to manifest, and how can we turn down the heat, loosen the strings and give us all a little more breathing room? Let's look at the other squares, in their order of frequency, duration and intensity, then return to the exact Jupiter-Saturn Square -- more precisely, the alignment of Jupiter and Mercury, conjunct and both square Saturn -- that is our main focus here.
The Moon in Sagittarius in the 4th house is square to Uranus in Pisces in the 7th. This square is a very close fit, with the planets only 35 minutes from an exact 90° angle to each other. In her very rapid 28-day orbit, the Moon squares Uranus once a month, for only a day. This is just as well, as this square tends to be either highly discordant, manifesting among feisty people as everything from lovers' quarrels and an urge to bop one's boss to lawsuits, religious strife and mass political demonstrations. More passive, sullen people can get pointedly negligent and resentful, and their discomfort can show up more readily as binge eating and shopping or passive-aggressive emotional games that get wasteful and very costly. Touchy as a firecracker on Oct. 25 - 26? Better work it off with a tumbling mat and a sauna than on your wallet, your waistline or the one you love.
Sun-Venus-Mars in Scorpio, all conjunct in the 3rd house, form a total of 3 squares with Chiron in Aquarius, in the 6th. None of these squares is a rarity, as Sun and Venus square slow-moving Chiron twice a year, Mars once a year. This set of squares forms on Oct. 24, is exact between the 28th and the 30th, and will have faded completely by Nov. 4, for a total run of about a week and a half. The three planets conjunct in Scorpio do not conduce to happy cooperation and teamwork, but will likely play instead as an impatient, truculent, fanatical and even violent posture of demanding and forcing one's way, or bailing into crash, burn and die mode at the extreme edge of risk and experience. On the weekend of Oct. 26 - 28, it's not much of an exaggeration to expect that half the people will be shouting and arguing with corrosive bitterness, even by the standards of an American election campaign, while the other half will try to mask their pain, daring death by orgasm or otherwise staking it all on urges and dreams, if only to get even a moment's movement, anything but this endless waiting and hoping.
Pluto in the 5th, at 24° Sagittarius 44, is almost an exact to-the-minute T-cross to the Moon's Nodes at 24° Pisces/Virgo 45, in the 8th and 2nd houses. This set of squares tends to form once every 9 - 10 years, as the Moon's Nodes move through their 18 1/2-year orbit in relation to very slow-moving Pluto. The Nodes encode our collective karmic links with communities of people. Pluto involves the large-scale communities of whole nations, and the passions, mass movements and propaganda blasts that move them toward fanaticism, freedom and what looks like "fate" when, as Ebertin put it, Pluto in stress to the Nodes may manifest as a "common and tragic destiny shared with other persons." And, in addition to all these squares, Neptune in Aquarius is opposite the Leo Ascendant, suggesting that while some of us won't get fooled again, as The Who put it, some of us will, and may or may not figure out until it is too late, if at all, who was deceiving whom, and how high the price can go when we act on what we want to see rather than on what is there.
So -- does all of this mean we're doomed to disaster this month? No, not at all. No more than we are when this alignment forms once in every decade. None of the squares we've looked at here is unusual or cosmically heavy by itself. But the combination of all of them suggests that this month, especially the end, is one of the more challenging portals of creativity and choice that we pass through in the next six years, and that we'd best be aware of its promise and its dangers. How best to proceed?
The chart has some clues. Mercury-Jupiter trine the North Node offers us plenty of good creative ideas, and the flexibility to think and act nimbly under fluid conditions. Saturn in Leo trine Pluto is even more useful to us, as it softens the tension of the T-square between Pluto and the Nodes, and holds out the possibility that solutions are at hand if we are willing to work at finding them. The tenacity and discipline of Saturn, well combined with Pluto's passionate commitment toward an ambitious goal, makes a "favorable" Saturn-Pluto nexus the alignment that marks the magician.
Astrology Alert Over! The good news here is that the magician can do anything, and can pull of amazing feats and spectacular escapes, as Merlin did when he flew out of the crystal in which Morgan Le Fay had locked him. The tough news is that to do this, the magician has to invest the effort to learn the craft of magic, as Merlin did when he mastered sacred geometry and the energetics of six-sided crystals. Does this mean that we have to become Merlin now? No -- only that if we're going to make ourselves more useful, we have to own, and practice in combination with others, the powers that wait within us to be found and played.
Churchill certainly knew something about how to keep courage in difficult times. "When you are going through hell," he said, "keep going." Remember that the beginning of courage is the certainty that we are not alone in this, and that if we keep working together, we will prevail. It is our role, and we came here to play and sing it.
Keep Holding That Frequency.


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Copyright 2006 Dan Furst. All Rights Reserved.