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Season Shift 21/11/2016

Posted by zoidion in Hellenistic, Long Emergency, Mundane, Weather.
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Twin Cities ephemera: The arrival of the first snow of the season is a strange and rather shocking event — isn’t it? Even though it’s inevitable, even though it may melt and come back again later, or not, it’s still a bit of a bizarre occurrence. All of a sudden, there’s a cold white blanket over everything. It’s such a contrast, from one day to the next. Or from one end of the day to the other.

As on the eighteenth: Rain came in with a strong wind, accompanied by a few flashes of lightning and dull rumbles of thunder, followed by sheets of sleet, followed by swirling snow, as the temperature dropped and dropped.

The day before, I was in the garden doing the last few tasks, while the couple were out there in the triangle (the former community garden) that they’d bought last year, for the apparent purpose of having more territory to mow. He was atop the riding mower, in a t-shirt, grinning from ear to ear — reinforcing my sense that there are a great number of Murcans for whom one of the prime satisfactions in life is riding around, making noise and burning fossil fuel. It’s almost enough to push me into applying for membership in Morris Berman’s WAFer society.

 At times, I felt that the push to complete garden work was more like a mad rush. There were several satisfyingly achy days largely spent digging out the finished compost from the largest of the bins, and spreading it strategically on various vegetable beds. It came to an impressive nine loads of the wheelbarrow, and it looked and smelled good — I didn’t taste it, though I know that some gardeners do so. But . . . there’s no need to detail them all.

Still, the effort — and, primarily, my presence on and with the land and atmosphere — evoked a feeling at least soothing, if not actually peaceful, of the psychic wounds endured through the nearly endless, how-low-can-it-go election extravaganza. (Obviously, VERY low.)

Plus, I — and a great many others — were marveling, enjoying and/or agonizing over the weather. Week after week after week of little but unseasonable warmth, sunny skies and dry conditions. But — of course — it (mostly) made astro-meteorological sense: Mars was moving along and across the lower meridian of the current season’s chart [ link ] (based on the equinoctial moment on 22 September): even though Mars (generally signifying warming and drying conditions) was moving through Capricorn and into Aquarius, in both of which cold, contracting Saturn is lord. Those didn’t at first consideration seem to be a combination for bringing record-breaking warmth through much of the central U.S. and increasing drought conditions and more recently wildfires to the southeastern U.S. 

But these are extraordinary times.

And for the northern plains / Great Lakes region, the shift was strongly marked in the chart of the week: the time of the Full ( Super) Moon on the fourteenth was around sunup (Sun rising, Moon setting) for this region. As Luna moved along and crossed the place of Luna in the season chart on the sixteenth, the moisture gathered and began to be dumped across the landscape; then, as Luna reached the upper meridian, the cold air behind the storm began moving in. No more light frosts: It was time for a hard freeze.

The situation seems reminiscent of the time when the hard freeze came over the American political system, in 2009. The country had been through, and was far from out of, the economic calamity that unfolded during the height of the previous year’s election season. Remember that time, when Dubya Bush said, “This sucker could go down,” and the titans of Wall Street engineered gigundo bailouts? Remember how the legislative operations of Washington nearly shut down after Obama’s inauguration, as Republicans declared that they would oppose anything and everything he proposed?

Well, that — the latter — was symbolized in the planetary configuration of the inauguration: six days before a solar eclipse. The authority, prestige and efficacy of the President (represented by Sol, in detriment in Aquarius — proper for a constrained-power president rather than a king) was indeed eclipsed.

(Detriment signifies a status of being “out of place,” at a disadvantage, weakened, uncomfortable.)

The great hope for positive change that propelled Obama to the highest office — represented by Jupiter very near Sol — was also eclipsed.


(The term regime-change is employed, using a noon calculation, because — regardless of the exact time the oath of office is administered — the Constitution stipulates that a presidential term ends at noon, and the next administration slips into place.)

Indeed, the mess was eerily enacted by the Chief Justice’s stumble through the verbiage of the oath administered to Obama: itself aptly represented by Mercury in apparent retrograde motion and in exact conjunction with Sol: faulty verbiage eroding the already-weakening authority of the executive.

The complex and chaotic economic situation was represented by the combination of Venus with Uranus and opposite Saturn: more unhappiness and constraint. There was the pared-down “stimulus” bill that passed Congress, but it arguably did little good, as the fundamental problems — most prominent among them, the bailed-out “too big to fail” banks — went unaddressed. And the health-care-system reform, though upheld by the Supreme Court, has proved to be pathetically inadequate.

In sum, this is a picture of a regime doomed from the start. Almost all it could do was continue the erosion of the nation’s foreign relations, by continuing two distant wars — as represented by Mars (in condition of exaltation) in Capricorn.

(Exaltation indicates conditions of special effectiveness, sometimes redounding in unpleasant, unwelcome and / or destructive ways.)

Compare that with the Dubya Bush regime, which began under a peculiar cloud: the president selected by the Supreme Court rather than elected by the people, the president himself effectively directed by his own vice-president: represented by the conjunction of Sun and Neptune.


But notice especially the position of Mars in the seventh place (one of the prime action spots) in domicile in the ferocious zoidion of Scorpio. This of course represents the overwhelming force applied to Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq. The ensuing chaos resulting from woefully inadequate planning and the delusional expectations of the “neocons” is represented by Mars’ angular clash with Sun, Neptune, Mercury and Uranus. The people at home became subject to a vast, invisible information-gathering apparatus, as symbolized by a conjunction of Moon and Pluto.

Now look at the chart for the 2017 regime change.


Significantly, Luna is in the same zoidion, Scorpio, as in 2009. Then, Luna was late in the last degree: further indication of the non-viability of the Obama regime. For Trump, Luna is within the first third of Scorpio, in nearly exact angular connection with Neptune — indicating that overall success or failure will hinge on murky matters of images, expectations, visions, confusion, deception, scandal, and (prominently) the oil industry. (Actually, Luna and Neptune were less closely but more problematically connected in 2009, when Obama’s “hope and change” campaign was followed by the dissolution of hope when nothing much changed.) Perhaps Trump can fare better.

Much in that regard will depend on how he and his team handle events in the days and weeks following the solar eclipse conjunct Neptune on 26 February, especially in the first week of March. (See also the article by Pat Paquette on the Mountain Astrologer site.)

Obviously, deep resentments and divisions among the people are still present, as indicated by Luna in Scorpio, where Luna is in “fall” — the most debilitated condition in the Hellenistic system of delineation. Large segments of the population are in dire circumstances, feeling bitter, ready to lash out, looking for someone to punish. The tone of the grinding campaign season hasn’t helped. Toning down the rhetoric — and refraining from “tweeting” (Twitter isn’t making any money and will likely disappear before long, anyway) — is key, and a distinct possibility: Luna is “offered help” in this chart by Mercury the communicator.

Plus, there is a crucial difference between 2009 and 2017: In 2009, Luna appeared low in the western sky, but out of sect in the daytime, thus more problematic. In 2017, Luna is invisible, just below the western horizon: a lower degree number than the ascending degree in the opposite place and zoidion.

As suggested in the previous post, the time is at hand for a fundamental shift — this time, contraction — in the size and scope of the federal government. Prominent among Trump’s campaign themes was an intention to redefine and reduce disadvantageous commercial and military commitments. Indeed, Trump’s triumph has already borne fruit: The Trans-Pacific Partnership deal appears to be a dead issue, though international trade has been declining of late anyway. Others loom: state-level health-care plans, and the status of vast areas of federally-controlled lands in the West. As the struggle over precious Earth resources and the necessities of life intensifies, the battleground shifts to state courts and legislatures.

It seems likely that much more attention will be paid in the years immediately ahead to the Constitution’s Tenth Amendment (the last in the Bill of Rights): “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The chart for the Trump regime indicates emphatically that sweeping changes must begin: the defining opposition of Jupiter and Uranus (a pair representing “the Promethean spirit of rebellion and self-will”*), with Pluto (structural, often overwhelming, change) in the zoidion of business and government). In cardinal zoidia (Libra, Aries and Capricorn, respectively) and in cadent places of the chart, the indications are for relatively swift changes to occur.

As for large-scale “shovel-ready” infrastructure spending: Not likely — not with Venus (related to money and feel-good feelings) beset the way she is in 2017, exactly between Mars and Neptune, and nearly ninety degrees from Saturn. This spells conflict, confusion, constriction. The curious thing is: Every eight years on the same date, Venus is back to the exact same degree, or very nearly. (Take a look at those charts again.) So in some ways, 2017 is a bit like 2009 or 2001 all over again. (“Groundhog Day,” anyone? Maybe we’ll do it better this time, maybe we’ll get it.)

Maybe, just maybe, there may be some dawning awareness that it might be a good idea to look at a long-term picture and recognize that liberating shrinking resources to invest in local public transit and intercity passenger rail might significantly help the nation hold together.

Once upon a time — in the 1970s, when the limits to economic growth** first jolted the nation — someone who worked a glamor-free job wrote a book called Small Is Beautiful.*** Rather than focusing on such nonsensical projects as sending humans to Mars or manufacturing millions of driverless cars, maybe enough political force could coalesce around more modest projects, even reclaiming some of what was discarded.

What a radical concept.


* Mundane Astrology, Michael Baigent, Nicholas Campion and Charles Harvey, 1984

** The Limits to Growth: A Report for the Club of Rome’s Project on the Predicament of Mankind, Donella Meadows, Dennis Meadows, Jorgen Randers and William Behrens III, 1972

*** Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered, E. F. Schumacher, 1973


Kaleidoscopic Journey 03/11/2016

Posted by zoidion in Climate, History, Long Emergency, Photography.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Twin Cities ephemera: Appropriately, to emphasis the contrasts, a rainstorm welcomed us back from our two weeks as far away as Santa Fe. And to emphasize the continuing weather weirding, our home garden showed the zucchini still alive, leaves touched by frost, the broccoli offering a great bounty, plenty of sorrel, even a few last raspberries. Green leaves on the potato plants. Even spiderwort, moonflowers and thyme still blooming — into November.


But the journey itself had brought day after day after day of sun and uncommon warmth, with but one brief interruption. There was a sky-viewing bonus to all the clear weather: It was now possible to see Jupiter in the east before dawn: Jupiter’s “heliacal rising” as the Sun increased the distance since their conjunction on 26 September.

There was some chosen strangeness: Harold Warp’s (his real name) Pioneer Village in Minden, Nebraska, for example. It is touted as “only ‘museum of progress’ in the U.S.A.,” now functioning (at least in the off-season) by the hands of retired volunteers, and clearly saw its heyday several decades ago.

At our farthest-away destination, Truchas, New Mexico, I found more strangeness, or rather the evidence of economic collapse. (Admittedly, there’s plenty of that throughout the hinterlands, as well as the Rust Belt.) Truchas, on the old high road between Santa Fe and Taos, is an eighteenth-century village of mostly adobe construction, lately favored by artists moving in from elsewhere. More lately, though, since the global economic crisis of 2008-09, much less money has been spent on art; many artists have closed up shop and left, others scraping by on Social Security and occasional odd jobs, some native artisans continuing their beautiful work. The B&B looked closed. An art cafe — High Peaks Deep Roots — was emptied out. The saddest sights of all were the defunct businesses on the old, winding main street, which climbs gradually toward the foot of the steep slopes of Truchas Peaks. The grocery, eatery and gas station had, I heard, been passed on from father to son, but son was no businessman. Now everyone must drive or hitchhike ten miles or more to obtain the basics.

It seemed there was a Dollar General store in view every time I turned my head — except in Truchas.

The weather made for very pleasant traveling, camping and visiting, though I heard rumbles of worry — muttering about the strange cool August with snow on New Mexico’s high peaks, Colorado’s longtime plaintive longing for Lake Superior’s water. (I pointed out the absurdity of spotting the Green Valley Lawn Company: “You people need to learn to live within your means.” Or leave, or die, I thought.)

Easy to think or say, I admit, coming from an area that is on track to set an all-time annual precipitation record. Yet this headwaters region also is prone to frequent drought, just less severe than other regions. The situation could change fairly rapidly.

For now, though, the problem areas are to the south and west. The Drought Monitor looks bad  — a third of the US population now living in places experiencing some degree of drought. And the prospects are ominous.

A changing climate means less rain and lower water supplies in regions where many people live and much of the planet’s food is produced: the mid-latitudes of the Northern and Southern hemispheres, including the U.S. Southwest, southern Europe and parts of the Middle East, southern Africa, Australia and Chile. – World Resources Institute

In one pattern, clouds and rain are retreating toward the poles. Nearly all the arable land and urban areas in North America, under this scenario for example, is likely to experience decreasing water supplies.

So it’s perhaps better to regard the current plenitude of moisture–with its attendant problems and risks (four, count ’em four, flood events in Minnesota in 2016) –as temporary, and plan and act accordingly. Keep the downspouts clear, water barrels ready . . .  for when spring rolls around again.

The process of crossing through several climate and landform zones, as well as state lines, in the absence of “news” input, stimulated the pondering of prospects for the US federal arrangement. One senses that the issue has to be at least in the back of the collective mind of the country as the climax of the electoral train wreck approaches, for the ruinous policies of both major political parties has never been more obvious.

As John Michael Greer has put it:

Very few people out here think of the federal government as anything more than a vast mechanism operated by rich crooks for their own benefit, at the expense of everyone else. What’s more, the same cynical attitude is spreading to embrace the other institutions of American society, and—lethally—the ideals from which those institutions get whatever legitimacy they still hold in the eyes of the people.

Whoa, that goes rather deeply, and sharply, doesn’t it? But that’s the essence of this solar Scorpio month.

That perception is an apt verbalization of the planetary transit currently most potent with reference to the chart of the US federal government: Neptune moving into conjunction with the places of Sun and Saturn at the time of the government’s inception at midnight on 4 March 1789, in Philadelphia. (It is a chart too seldom referenced in astrological analysis and discussions.) In brief, that Sun-Saturn in Pisces combination is a perfect symbolization of a federal arrangement, one subject to stretching or even unraveling during “interesting times”: e pluribus unum. Until no unum.

It definitely happened the first time, in the mid-1850s: the runup to the War Between the States: niceties such as the Fugitive Slave Laws (though first enacted in 1793) leading to episodes such as  Bleeding Kansas, where pro- and anti-slavery factions raided each other, elected rival governors and legislatures, and plotted laying siege to one another’s towns. Gulp, oh yeah . . .

The presidential inauguration in 1853 — that of Franklin Pierce — featured, astrologically, the addition of Mercury and Mars: tokens of the increased level of argument and militancy in the period. Who, you think? Essentially forgotten today, Pierce’s administration continued and expanded the expansionist fervor in absurd ways — his vice-president taking the oath of office in Havana, as in Cuba, then dying within the month, leaving Pierce without a backup for the rest of his term; bullying Japan to open its ports to American shipping. It was America running off the rails.


At least we managed to get rid of chattel slavery (overcoming it with wage slavery) in the aftermath.

A similar interesting time came along in the 1930s, when Neptune in Virgo opposed that Sun-Saturn combination.

That time, when Franklin (hmmm, another Franklin) Roosevelt came in in 1933, the country had already endured three long years of ever-deepening economic crisis, with citizens of different political persuasions battling each other and police in the streets. (One of the flashpoints was right here in Minneapolis: the Teamsters strike.)

The government survived the turmoil — Stalin and Mussolini were already well-entrenched, and Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany only a month before Roosevelt’s inauguration — by becoming much bigger. It’s quite dramatically symbolized in the federal government’s Jupiter position in Cancer (same zoidion as when independence was declared in 1776): a combination marking an openness to extravagant largesse. Toward the common people, if it’s being smart.


In the 1933 chart, Pluto (the plutocracy, what would become the Deep State) was hovering around that Jupiter position: In essence, the invisible realm of the captains of politics saw fit to open the taps to distribute the wealth that lay underneath the temporary economic wreckage, the latter triggered by excessive speculation and lack of regulation. (Hmm, sounds familiar.)

At the same moment, Moon and Jupiter were exactly conjunct and in turn exactly conjunct the position of Neptune in the federal chart. Mercury and Mars were again in the mix. These are the astrological ingredients of a welfare / warfare state unfolding.

The pressure had been building for some time to overhaul the system. Roosevelt’s One Hundred Days at the start of his presidency, and the twelve years that followed (the same span as Hitler’s Reich), profoundly changed the government and the nation.

But now that arrangement, the agreement between the people and the government, is unraveling before our amazed eyes . . . the antics of one frequently deranged major party candidate who managed to stumble upon some issues that resonated, the deepening revelations (Is anyone surprised?) of the corruption and incompetence of the other major candidate.

Is Neptune in the mix?

Is it ever. With supporting players.

Jupiter will be in the exact same degree on inauguration day 20 January 2017.

And Uranus, the disruptor, is right back where he was in 1933.

And Pluto has moved half (approximately) of his cycle since then.


No wonder the doo-doo is hitting the wind generator and leaving such interesting Rorschach blots.

Will any Rock be left Standing?


Currently listening to:
Lucinda Williams, “The Ghosts of Highway 20”
The Pines, “Above the Prairie” (especially ‘Time Dreams,’ featuring John Trudell and Quiltman)
Jethro Tull, “Benefit.”

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