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September Weather 26/07/2013

Posted by zoidion in Weather.
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Twin Cities ephemera: One after another, the sudden short showers rolled out of the northwest this afternoon. There was little moisture to squeeze out of the atmosphere, but the relative chill—the high temperature barely reached seventy—had its effect.

The time of the year has arrived for fresh fruit from the yard. Last week I began harvesting black raspberries from the front for juice minus the seeds; with the ground moist from the spring’s copious rain, this is their best year since I began introducing them three years ago.

I was surprised last week when the doorbell rang, and it was a neighbor from several doors down who, with one of his daughters, was gathering signatures for a kids’ event to take place in the street next month. In the course of a brief conversation, he mentioned that he likes that I have the raspberries out front. It was a welcome contrast to the guy across the street who popped, cuckoo-bird-like, out of his house another day when I emerged from mine, yelled something at me about breeding mosquitoes, and popped back in. (Four years ago I dug a rain garden in front and explained that it briefly holds water after a heavy rain. I guess that information didn’t sink in.)

The cherry tree (variety Mesabi) that we planted in April last year yielded a medium-sized bowl’s worth of fruit, also made into juice. We’ve been sipping it from little orange-colored glasses when the day’s work is done. So good!

The black currants are ripening on the bush, still covered to keep the birds off. The fruits are quite a bit heftier on the one that I started from a cutting a year-and-a-half ago, and also much darker than on the other two.

Little green bulbs have taken the places of the tiny white flowers on the elderberry bushes, though one more umbel of flowers has popped out this week, seemingly as an afterthought. And the hops vines have completed their growing-out, and are starting to flower.

The small patch of Mandan Bride corn has plenty of tassels, but I’m not seeing any sign of the squash or beans among the stalks. Strange. I’m not counting on harvesting any corn, even though I’ve yet to hear of raccoons in the neighborhood.

After last week’s heat and humidity, this week’s turn toward cooler and dryer conditions is most welcome, yet strange. There had been some 90-degree-or-above days previously—on the 4th, 6th, 7th and 12th of July—but the three-day run of above-90 days and above-70 nights waited until Mars entered Cancer on the 13th, crossing the position of the Sun in the season chart. The 16th through the 18th were all officially above 90, and the morning low on the 18th was a miserable 80.

(We live, just as in olden times, without “air conditioning.” We keep the air moving with a fan, but that’s it. Such weather is definitely not fun, though the corn, tomatoes and eggplants love it, even need it. But it always sounds so bizarre to me when I hear people say they “have air.” So do we.)

A small area that included the Twin Cities received heavy rain—over eight inches in one spot, 1.73 inches in our backyard gauge—on the morning of the 13th. Many urban and rural areas reported significant flooding.

The prior New Moon in water sign Cancer on the 8th of July occurred when the last degree of Cancer was on the most-crucial lower meridian. The day before the deluge, Mercury—in apparent retrograde motion—crossed the position of the New Moon: Mercury is lord of Gemini, sign on the lower meridian of the season chart.


Not shown in the outer ring of the chart above, however, are the meridian and horizon for the time the deluge began: Neptune was crossing the upper meridian just as Jupiter was crossing the Ascendant (eastern horizon), while the Moon was near the lower meridian. That is a very wet combination.

This event also illustrates—besides the complexity of forecasting specific incidents—one of the principles stated in G.J. McCormack’s Text-Book of Long-Range Weather Forecasting: “When [the Moon] moves forward to perfect aspects to the degree on the Ascendant of the Moisture Chart [lunation, such as the New Moon] there is a tendency to bring out whatever moisture the chart holds.”

The Moon had just passed the sixty-degree point in relation to the New Moon position at the same time as it was closing in on the one-hundred-twenty-degree angle in relation to the Taurus Ascendant of the New Moon chart.

This was just two days after dewpoints (measures of atmospheric moisture relative to air temperature) “crashed”—as one area meteorologist described it—as the Moon crossed the western horizon of the season chart. Recall that the main seasonal indications—air signs Gemini and Aquarius on the lower meridian and eastern horizon—were for a relatively dry summer.

And now, following the Full Moon in Aquarius and the Moon’s passage across the season Ascendant in cool Aquarius, unseasonably cool air has poured out of the north.

Outdoors at midday today, I was glad for a long-sleeve shirt over one of my thicker t-shirts.

Turning to weather news elsewhere, there have been reports that the usual “Arizona monsoon” has yielded a “banner year for monsoon storms” this year, according to the Updraft blog. This correlates with the location of the Moon-on-upper-meridian line in the season’s astromap (the vertical blue line on the left):


The Moon in Scorpio in the season chart is a “wet” Moon that carries considerable destructive potential through the summer. (The Twin Cities witnessed that on the night of the solstice, when a twenty-minute hurricane took down many hundreds of trees along with power lines that left hundreds of thousands without electric power for days afterward.) In Arizona, before the monsoon arrived, an intense and unpredictable wildfire tragically claimed the lives of nineteen elite forest firefighters (an entire unit of “HotShots”) on the 30th of June. When last heard from at 4:30 p.m. at Yarnell, Arizona, the Ascendant was twenty-eight degrees of Scorpio (whose lord in the season chart is fast-acting Mars in variable and windy Gemini).

In the summer chart, the Moon is in the very same degree.

Those nineteen risked all, gave all, in a situation that most would rather not even imagine.

<- zoidion ->


Immanent Future 09/07/2013

Posted by zoidion in History, Mundane.

In a dramatic and riveting second stage of an incipient Islamic democratic revolution, massive public demonstrations in Egypt against President Mohamed Morsi have moved the army to remove him from office. (According to BBC News, Morsi’s removal was announced on 3 July at 21:00 local time, Cairo.)

There is much confusion about what has already taken place in the streets, including reports of army units opening fire on a crowd of Morsi supporters at prayer; there are also reports of dozens of murders of supporters of the revolution by Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, along with statements of intentions to kill anyone anywhere who fails to subscribe to approved beliefs.

What does seem clear is that an attempt by the Muslim Brotherhood to undo the movement toward democracy in Egypt has been foiled—at least for now. For the Brotherhood has long been demonstrably and violently opposed to any social evolution outside the control of rigid religious law.

Revolts in favor of individual freedom—the freedom to explore and become what each individual feels called to be—is the essence of the Age of Aquarius. (I agree with David Roell’s contention that this year marks the first century of that Age.) The Age of Pisces, when in large parts of the world religious authorities held the force of law, is over. But that does not, to my mind, mean that certain portions of the world could, for a time, remain controlled by holdouts.

But what furthermore seems clear is the confirmation that this time is a most crucial one of collective decision.

Consider the planetary arrangement at the inception of the Islamic era.  The Islamic calendar—the framework in time for the playing out of Islamic religion, law and culture—is rooted in the sighting of the new crescent Moon after sunset on 18 July 622 (according to the Gregorian calendar) at Medina. Remember that the importance of that moment is represented in every national flag throughout the Islamic realm. (The chart is calculated for sunset, though the sighting of the Moon would likely have occurred somewhat later.)


This sky followed that of the New Moon that was a partial solar eclipse in the tropical zodiac sign of Cancer, though the crescent Moon at the time of sighting was located in the sign of Leo—a reversal of where each has its “domicile”: home and most comfortable area of being and operation. So at the beginning, there was a discordance between the impulses toward selfhood and emotional security.

In between Sun and Moon, low to the horizon, was Saturn, lord of the Ascendant: stern, limiting, would-be-controlling Saturn—in exile in the sign of Leo. The energy of the king, caliph, leader—rather than guiding and blessing—would often be oppressive; with Saturn also in conjunction with the North lunar node, there would be a compulsion, continually, to seek control. No letup. No accommodation. No “tolerance.”

That would be the norm, the dominant strain, especially when the culture—as for the past two centuries, beset with profound economic and political challenges from the West—was under great tension: threatened on a survival level.

The great internal challenge for Islamic culture would be to recognize and embrace the feminine side of human existence, as represented by the Moon’s close proximity (yet not quite there) to the other prime feminine energy embodied in Venus. This would be the conjunction of mother energy with erotic/sexual energy. But both are in Leo, a masculine sign where neither has strength by dignity.

Mercury, also in Leo and lacking dignity, was already ahead of both. The life of the mind in the realm, so rich in mathematical, astronomical and astrological understanding, could not substantially affect the disposition of the maternal and the erotic—despite the contributions of such as Rumi and Kabir.

Mars was the most elevated planet in the sky and lord of the Midheaven, befitting the astounding militancy that so rapidly expanded the Islamic realm. Mars too lacked dignity by sign.

Not so Jupiter, in domicile in Pisces, the sign of the Age, the Age of Faith (in much of the world). Thus, the Islamic impulse was in response to the call that characterized two millennia. But at the time of the Hijra, Jupiter was retrograde, signaling a degree of debility or delay or misdirection of the call to faith.

Jupiter opposed a rare (approximately every 170 years) conjunction of Uranus and Neptune in detailed Virgo, denoting a radical departure from the religion of the ultimate Piscean, Jesus of Nazareth, whose message above all was that love is the law.

The Islamic path, while prominently requiring giving to the poor and prohibiting usury (a gross indulgence in the West of late), specifies so many requirements of a righteous life in detail. The five pillars are worthy: belief, prayer, charitable giving, fasting during the month of Ramadan, and pilgrimage to Mecca, But then there is the knotty concept of jihad.

Today, at sunset, the month of Ramadan begins. Since the Islamic calendar is lunar, the months shift around the solar year. But this year, the beginning of Ramadan is similar to the Islamic birth moment: The Sun is in Cancer, the Moon in Leo. Again, the Moon is moving toward Venus.

Ramadan beginning 2013

More unusually, Mercury (in apparent retrograde motion) is cazimi: an Arabic term: “in the heart of the Sun.” In terms of planetary geometry, Mercury is exactly aligned with Sun and Earth, in between: “inferior conjunction.” And even more unusually, the Moon occulted Mercury three-and-a-half hours after the New Moon moment, in a lineup of Earth, Moon, Mercury, Sun.

This is a moment for seeding different modes and altering habits of thought—and of seizing available means of communication—the plethora of channels particular to this Internet moment—to foster a mass-healing way.

A rare triangle of Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune symbolizes the potential for a spiritual shift embodied in political form. With Saturn stationary direct placed exactly on the Midheaven and lord of the Ascendant, there can be no doubt that the struggle (jihad) ahead will be prolonged and arduous. With the Moon at a tight right angle to Saturn, there can be no doubt that there will be much popular suffering. There is great determination in the popular mind for self-determination, as well as on the part of those who would control and repress the forces of change. But Jupiter, symbol of growth, is now exalted in the protective, maternal sign of Cancer.

Therein lies the hope.

There are momentous issues for millions to contemplate and decide, within each heart and mind throughout the Islamic realm and diaspora, during this month of fasting and prayer. Much of the imminent future will be determined in this month.

I have been thinking of the difference

between water and the waves on it.

Rising, water’s still water, falling back, it is water.

Will you give me a hint how to tell them apart?

– Kabir, Number 22, Forty-Four of the Ecstatic Poems of Kabir, versions by Robert Bly, 1971

(with many thanks to TF)

<- zoidion ->

P.S. In an email received immediately after posting this, TF said: “The Arabs are increasingly concerning. Their hatred is so deep that many simply can’t see us a human beings. This comes from several years of looking thousands of them in the face and helping them. These people will not moderate. If anything they get even more harsh over time. There are hard things coming, although I don’t know what. We must face the possibility of the years that America has been [a] fundamentally safe place may be coming to an end for a while. Weird.”

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