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Flash Drought 09/06/2017

Posted by zoidion in forecast, Photography, Weather.
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orange-fungus_17052017

Twin Cities ephemera: The clouds or rain were nearly ever-present through the month of May: perfect conditions for the emergence of strange and unusual life forms, such as the fungus on a juniper tree, shown above. 

The wettest period accounted for a full five inches of rain falling on my backyard, between the fifteenth and twentieth of the month: the time of the fungi.

One of those mornings, a bit of movement caught my eye: a goldfinch (I think) swooping and alighting on one of my rings of chickenwire in the garden. I stood mesmerized for minutes as it pecked again and again at . . .  something. When it flew off, I went to the spot: Apparently, it had been picking individual freshly-formed seeds off a dandelion.

Given all that moisture, the vegetative growth erupted even more than usual, the hops plants taking the prize, as usual. The most vital one has sent many shoots seven feet up the vertical strings, and  now racing each other across the horizontal wires above the deck: the leading ones about eight feet out.

Through it all, I kept watch on the soil thermometer, awaiting a minimum sixty-five degree reading before transplanting young pepper and tomato plants. (Tomatoes in particular are notorious for disliking “cold feet” — and I don’t blame them.) The temperature had reached that mark by the end of a sunny spell at the end of April, before dropping back to the fifties under all that rain, through many gloomy and chilly days and nights.

There was no surprise for me in reading that the month’s average temperature had broken a twenty-month string of above-average temperature.

The reign of rain ended fairly abruptly, as expected, with the New Moon of 25 May at five degrees of Gemini: at the lower meridian of the season chart. Nearly every day since been entirely sunny and significantly warmer — many quite pleasant, with three days reaching ninety degrees thrown in. (Tomorrow, according to the techno-weather folks, should be a humdinger of heat and humidity, before storms start erupting.)

AR-ing_NM-Gem2017

The New Moon — Luna engulfed in Sol’s warming and drying radiance — marked a dramatic shift in the season’s weather. One added feature — Mars at the upper meridian at the local New Moon moment — signaled: more heat.

The warming and drying were welcome, but now the lengthening list of zeros in the precipitation reports are cause for concern.

Following today’s Full Moon, Luna moves past Saturn, signaling — as a month ago — a stormy spell. But the overall pattern of dryness is likely to hold through the summer.

As observed here previously, the horizon and meridian are essentially the same — every year — for the Aries (spring) and Cancer (summer) ingresses.

To spell it out: The recent New Moon (Sol dominant) at the lower meridian of both spring and summer charts is a strong indication that increasingly dry conditions will prevail. (A region of moderate to severe drought is already established in the Dakotas — centered approximately on the Standing Rock reservation, where eight months ago thousands were gathered to protect the precious waters of life — and expanding. See the U.S. Drought Monitor.)

How silly now are the echoes of those local meteorologists who declared, in mid-May, that the region was practically “guaranteed” another wet growing season. Oh really? — I thought.

-<zoidion>-

[ Recent reading: Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality, Christopher Ryan & Cacilda Jetha, 2010; A History of the Future, James Howard Kunstler, 2014; Majipoor Chronicles, Robert Silverberg, 1981. Recent listening: Jean-Luc Ponty, “Enigmatic Ocean”; Emmylou Harris, “Red Dirt Girl”; David Byrne, “Rei Momo”; Neil Young, “Greatest Hits.” ]

Lean Logician 22/03/2017

Posted by zoidion in Hellenistic, Long Emergency.
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Twin Cities ephemera: Could it be an omen, coming minutes after the equinox moment? Stepping outside into a gray dawn, a cardinal greeted me from a hidden perch in the cedar tree, its voice piercing my heart. A single call. Above and to the south, Moon and Saturn peeked through small gaps in thin clouds. Then an hour of wispy and puffy clouds, accented briefly by a band of red in the east, before the sky was blanketed for half the day.

Letting whims direct my walking, my feet took me to welcome strips of woods — box elder aplenty, their limbs stretching out and dipping down at contorted angles — and the brown close-cropped grass and murky ponds of the golf links. 

That morning bird’s song seems a reminder to turn from the manifold evidence of the dysfunction of this time, and instead sing the praises of one who sang in prose of the elements of an enjoyable lean way of living. The subtitle of David Fleming’s Surviving the Future captures the place of play in meaningful human and natural connections—and yes, the split between “human” and “natural” is, well, unnatural.

Anyway, the subtitle is: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy.

Actually, though, he didn’t give the book that subtitle. And he didn’t work his work into that book form: neither that one nor the much bigger Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It.

By the time Fleming died suddenly 29 November 2010, a month short of seventy-one, he had amassed a great collection of short writings, much of it ecological and social wisdom in the form of definitions. No wonder he had made only a few copies and shared them with a few close associates.

His friend and mentee Shaun Chamberlin shaped it into the two posthumously-published books.

Who was this David Fleming?

Beyond, that is, someone who described the characteristics of localization as the normative and inevitable level of social organization, that will resume once the anomaly of globalization plays itself out.

Evidently, he possessed the personality, the temperament, of a happy warrior: one who conducts his battles with joy, knowing full well the magnitude, difficulty and inevitable losses of the struggle.

For a measure of astrological understanding, at least a date and place of birth are available: 2 January 1940, Milford, England, southwest of London. Little, however, of his early circumstances and upbringing is public knowledge.

 

Day or night? That is the starting point for any effort toward approximating a natal chart, and whether Sol or Luna is luminary of sect (diurnal or nocturnal) determines which planets are triplicity (trigon) lords for which stages of life.

For Fleming’s chart, Sol is in the zoidion of Capricorn, Luna in Libra. If Sol is luminary, the triplicity lords are Venus, Luna and Mars in sequence; if Luna is luminary, they are Mercury, Saturn and Jupiter. Each of the appropriate three is in turn “lord” of an era marked by a cycle of Saturn around the zodiac. (This system is very well described in Joseph Crane’s Astrological Roots: The Hellenistic Legacy.)

Here’s a clue to the essence of who Fleming was: “ . . . the book brings space and intelligence and wit to areas that are normally written about in lumbering opinionated prose. In a genre weighted down by tribalism, righteousness, political rhetoric and scientific data, his words come like a fresh breeze. Where other books would feature graphs, he has woodcuts of the English countryside.” (Dark Mountain)

Spaciousness, intelligence and wit cast together — along with the emphasis upon playfulness and celebration — strongly suggest that Mercury in Sagittarius was ascendant at his birth. In addition, this Mercury is in a diurnal relationship to Sol: rising before Sol. More potency in directions of investigation, synthesis, communication.

His evidently lean physique also points in that direction. (Also, his mother’s status as an award-winning crime writer is reflected in Virgo — where Mercury is also lord — in the tenth place.)

If so, his birth was nocturnal, in the hours before the wintry dawn.

That considerable energy and vision (or delusion) would be linked to his intelligence was “baked in”—Mercury in the chart, regardless of time of day or night, is at the focal point of a Mars-Neptune axis.

Surely, Mercury would have to be prominently placed in his chart: He was evidently a man of ideas above all, one who was continually reworking his writing, never satisfied. His great, sprawling work Lean Logic was anything but lean, and was only published posthumously, then trimmed down to manageable size by his mentee.

These factors speak to a natal Mercury not only mutable (in Sagittarius, in “detriment” opposite Mercury’s domicile in Gemini: continually seeking a more comprehensive view of the big picture), but also likely angular (near horizon or meridian): probably in the first or tenth place.

Thus, if the foregoing suppositions are correct, Mercury was “lord” of Fleming’s first era of life, which included his studies in history at Oxford University and a varied career in manufacturing, marketing, advertising and financial public relations (according to his Wikipedia biography).

Saturn — in difficult astrological circumstances (“in fall” in Aries) — was “lord” of his second era, when he began his opus. (The world at that time — the 1970s — was marked by the first shocking reminders that Earth is a finite planet unsuited for economic systems based on infinite growth.)

The third era, with Jupiter in Aries as “lord,” would be expansive and pioneering, as he made connections with many notable individuals and groups — including participants in Transition Towns projects — discussing and working on alternatives and successors to global market-based economies and cultures.

A major event was the publication in April 1999, at age fifty-nine (the conclusion of his Saturnian era), of his article “The next oil shock?” in Prospect magazine, interpreting the International Energy Agency’s report of the previous year as indicating an impending global oil crisis. (Fleming had a long history with the subject, though for nearly two decades denial and derision regarding such works as The Limits to Growth and Overshoot had been nearly total.) Later, he revealed that Fatih Birol, future chief economist for the IEA, met with him after reading the article and admitted that “you are right . . . there are maybe six people in the world who understand this.”

It was a defining moment, as that age is for most people: It is the year when both Jupiter and Saturn return to their places in the birth chart.

It was especially potent for Fleming.

DFleming_natal-041999

By that time, by secondary progression (counting one day after birth for each year of life), Mercury had gone slightly more than one-quarter of the way around the zodiac, and was now conjunct natal (in-sect) Mars: representing a message with considerable impact. In addition, the progressed upper meridian, along with progressed Luna, had reached conjunction with natal ascendant: a merging of professional role with personal capability.

One more thing: progressed Sol was now conjunct the Lot of Fortune, which refers to the natural flow of life’s events. (The Lot of Fortune for Fleming’s nocturnal chart is exactly opposite where it appears — the X inside the O — in this Time Passages-generated chart. The Lot of Fortune is determined by the angular distance between Sol and Luna, but in the Helllenistic system, one reckons from the luminary of sect: in this case, Luna.)

Fleming had now fully connected with the substance of his life’s work, and was receiving recognition for it. He would spend the rest of his life exploring, defining and re-defining, and communicating the implications of his comprehension: Lean Logic, his summary of how to live fully with less . . . energy, stuff, distraction. And more carnival.

Within the Hellenistic system, nothing need be said — at least initially — about Sol’s zoidion, Capricorn. As the luminary out of sect, Sol is not inherently prominent. Placed (speculatively) in the second place from the ascendant, Sol is obscure. (As one who was evidently not propelled by a sense of self-importance, his was not a “solar” personality.)

Luna’s place is rather different: In the eleventh place relating to highly social activities, Luna is strengthened by a close trine with Venus, Luna’s “lady” or “ruler” (in modern astrological terminology). Plus, Venus is in-sect. These are symbols for someone with the capacity and skills to move easily and gracefully through social situations. Judging by some stories — particularly, that of sending one of the few prized copies of his opus to his future editor after an hour’s phone conversation — he was adept at reading and cultivating compatibility.

As for astrological temperament, using the system advocated by Kelly Surtees — combining zoidia and lords of ascendant and Luna, along with season of Sol and phase of Luna — the distillation is: sanguine: buoyant and cheerful.

Just the sort of person to make a quick, unannounced exit.

-<zoidion>-

References: 

Wikipedia

Dark Mountain

Transition Voice

Chelsea Green

Astrology Institute

Kelly Surtees

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