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Hawai’i: A (Mostly) Visual Journal 19/02/2016

Posted by zoidion in homesteading, Long Emergency, Photography.
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Not a vacation, no — I definitely did not feel “on vacation,” though I left a massive carbon footprint, flying through four time zones, from halfway to the pole to inside the tropic of Cancer, from the banks of the Mississippi to the surf-pounded volcanic island of Hawai’i.

Vacationers empty out — I was filling up. Vacationers sleep easily — not me, not this time. I had work to do, keeping me up all hours of the darkness filled with strange sounds of unknown, unseen creatures.

So what was I doing there?! Ostensibly, I was there for a “vision quest” — a photographic expedition¬† within a somewhat spiritual framework, assisted by the fact that the group’s base was a Buddhist bed-and-breakfast.

But I knew intuitively, when I began seriously considering the opportunity four months ago, that it would likely be a personally transformative experience. In the weeks immediately preceding, when I started mulling over the astrological configuration of the period, the outlines of its significance began to dawn on me.

The core of the configuration was the New Moon (Moon conjunct Sun, at the inception of the Chinese Year of the Fire Monkey) in a tight right angle with Mars (“in domicile,” that is, at home and therefore strong in the intensive, probing, deeply emotional sign of Scorpio). A strong echo of the configuration of my natal chart.

The life factors: Outer self (Sun), inner self (Moon) and self-presentation (Mars).

The situation: Answering the inevitable question posed among new acquaintances — What do you do?

Ouch. That’s been a tough one, especially over the past few years as I’ve devoted more time, energy and attention to urban homesteading: efforts at self-reliance largely outside the money system. Efforts aimed at home food production and preservation, at growing and using herbs for self-health-care. Efforts rarely recognized by mainstream society.

I continue, as before, with occasional paid writing and editing projects, and astrological consulting.

It’s a patchwork life, a challenging one to summarize in an “elevator speech.” And yet, I gather, it’s more and more the norm.

When I cast my mind back to my situation in 2008, I appreciate what a wild and crazy ride it’s been — and I know there are many millions more with stories of personal chaos and crisis. Back then, I had a regular, full-time job. But like millions of others, I got caught in the economic collapse, and having already read and absorbed James Howard Kunstler’s The Long Emergency, I accepted the fact that there would be more, relatively soon.

Plus, I had an astrological advantage: I realized that my personal trauma, and the challenge of reinventing myself, were part of something much greater than myself. The transition associated with one’s “second Saturn return” (the completion of two cycles of Saturn) at age 59 was also part of a larger cycle.

Do you remember the combination of circumstances that marked the latter part of 2008 and early 2009? The statement by the clueless Dubya Bush that “this sucker [the globalized economic system] could go down”? The moves to prop up corrupted financial institutions that had become “too big to fail”? The election of a nonwhite man to the presidency, and the governmental gridlock that followed?

It was all an expression of Saturn in opposition to Uranus — exact on Election Day 2008.

I took in the evidence of the larger pattern: The sucker really was going down, had no direction to go but down. Not all at once, but still . . .

And I began doing what I could about it, at home, in my neighborhood, in my region. Not as part of any solution, but merely a set of sensible responses — as far as I could tell.

And so, that’s what I’m doing. It’s still not an elevator speech, but I’m working on that.

If you’re a song person at all — one for whom a song arises from the memory banks in any particularly vivid situation — you can readily understand what came up for me on Hawai’i:

Wildfires burn inside of me
I guess it’s the way it’s got to be
A rising flame that calls my name
Smoke all haze and song all the same
The nature of fire is to burn
Every spark gets its turn
– “Wildfires,” John Trudell

And an instrumental: Jean-Luc Ponty’s “Fight for Life.”

Maybe Trudell’s words and Ponty’s urgent electric violin convey what I can’t quite say . . . yet.


vine tree



heliacal setting

stump support



Many, many thanks to hostess Akiko Masuda, captain Douglas Beasley, and the click of photographers known collectively as Images of Gratitude. And to Margo and Tony, stalwarts who had my back all the way.

Reading material: (taken) The Mysterious Island, Jules Verne; Lady Chatterley’s Lover, David Herbert Lawrence; Bluebeard’s Egg and Other Stories, Margaret Atwood; (found) Exalted Sits the Chief: The Ancient History of Hawai’i Island, Ross Cordy; The Children of the Law of One & The Lost Teachings of Atlantis, Jon Peniel


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