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Stormwatch 23/02/2017

Posted by zoidion in Climate, History, Long Emergency, Mundane, permaculture, Photography, Uncategorized, Weather.
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Twin Cities ephemera: Somewhat to my surprise, Luna — a waning crescent — was visible through wispy clouds after I verified an empty rain/snow gauge at dawn today: Last night the sky was overcast as I joined some folks near the St. Paul Union Depot — I like to call it SPUD — to check out potential sites for a part of the upcoming Northern Spark festival.

I could feel the change in the weather: the wind out of the north closing out five days of weird warmth. Temperatures had been so much above average that when, a few days ago, seven-tenths of an inch of rain fell, it soaked into the ground: The frost was out of the soil. Such an event is nearly unprecedented around here in February.

On one of the dry days, I felt the irresistible call of the garden: I got my clippers to cut the faded, woody stalks of last season’s kale and broccoli plants. My footing was precarious, as the soil was mucky. The layer of leaves I’d laid down in November improved traction a tad.

On the other, south, side of the walkway, I had another look at last year’s new garden plot, and visualized the rabbit-proof fence that I intend for it. Lettuce, carrots and other compatible veggies should do well there — weather permitting. I’m confident that I’ve done a sufficient job of building the soil.

Fortunately, there’s at least another month of relative leisure before setting to that task. And a “correction” toward colder and snowier weather is due. The techno-weather folks agree.

Another sort of storm — political in nature — is of greater concern, especially as an online article by resource researcher Richard Heinberg brings the current situation into stark focus. He elaborates on his perception that the Trump administration is a “presidency in search of an emergency.”

The article is a grabber right from the title: “Awaiting Our Own Reichstag Fire,” an allusion to the convenient, possibly false-flag, event that enabled the minority Nazi regime to consolidate power less than a month after Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany. It happened eighty-four years ago — hmm, that’s exactly one cycle of Uranus — two-and-a-half days after a solar eclipse . . . on 24 February 1933. (That eclipse was not even visible at Berlin, but rather in the southern hemisphere from Chile to Ethiopia.)

Another solar eclipse, again visible only in the southern hemisphere, is days away, on 26 February.

Then, the eclipse was most closely opposite Neptune (symbol of murky conditions, fakery and such), but also Mars and Jupiter — a perfect recipe for a “fog of war.” And Pluto — symbol of the dark forces of the underworld, including the machinations of plutocracy — was rising at Berlin.

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Now, the eclipse is conjunct Neptune, with indications of imminent sweeping changes represented by Mars conjunct Uranus in opposition to Jupiter in square (right angle) to Pluto.

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The significance of Jupiter, in the zoidion Libra (referring to judicial matters and systems), is emphasized by the timing of a particular presidential message to his followers.

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That was the very day of the once-a-year Jupiter retrograde station: when Jupiter, as seen from Earth, stops moving forward and begins a four-month period of apparent backward motion. It is / was a pregnant moment: a moment of impending reversal.

With those other planets in configuration, it is exceedingly momentous.

To emphasize the precarious situation a bit more: The position of Mercury at the time of that message was exactly — to the degree and minute — conjunct the position of Pluto on the day that birthed a certain founding document. There might be some significance there to the conduct of media of information and opinion.

For some — though perhaps not a great many — the current drama merely confirms the perspective elaborated by John Michael Greer:

Among the standard phenomena of decline and fall, in fact, is the shattering of the collective consensus that gives a growing society the capacity to act together to accomplish much of anything at all. The schism between the political class and the rest of the population — you can certainly call these ‘the one percent’ and ‘the ninety-nine percent’ if you wish — is simply the most visible of the fissures that spread through every declining civilization, breaking it into a crazy quilt of dissident fragments pursuing competing ideals and agendas.

(Serving suggestion: Avoid ingesting “Awaiting . . . “ immediately before bedtime.)

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References

James Howard Kunstler, The Long Emergency, 2005

Northern Spark festival

Richard Heinberg, “Awaiting Our Own Reichstag Fire,” Resilience.com

NASA Five Millennium Catalog of Solar Eclipses

Declaration of Independence

John Michael Greer, Dark Age America, 2016

Addendum

Australian astrologer Ed Tamplin offers a welcome back-to-basics view of the current and astrologically similar occasions, focusing on the Jupiter-Saturn cycle.

Tull Me Meet Again 09/02/2017

Posted by zoidion in fruit, History, homesteading, Long Emergency, Mundane, Photography, urban agriculture.
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Twin Cities ephemera: What a joyous occasion it was, last week: the start of the gardening season. And how appropriate to be under a Taurus moon, rising over the eastern horizon, as a bright sun on a (unusual) seasonably cold day crossed the zenith. After my labors, after putting away the step-ladder and piling up the clippings, my reward was to doff my hat and loosen my coat to bask in the warmth on the south side of the garage.

The main task was pruning the cherry tree, about to begin its sixth season of growth and fifth of fruiting a few feet away from where the trunk of the huge and contorted elm tree stood. After a brief refresher on principles — consulting the good old Rodale’s All-New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening (1992) — I had at it, circling the tree, clipping downward- and inward-growing branches and shoots, removing growth that crossed or touched, opening up the space at the center. It was hard work, with hand pruners and small hand-saw: cherry wood is hard, which is why it is prized for making furniture.

Before that, as moon was actually crossing the horizon, I clipped a half-dozen bud-dense shoots from two of the black currant bushes that sit under one of the pear trees. This is a good time to start rooting them indoors, so I can get them in the ground out front two months hence.

They were enjoyable tasks, performed outside, the quiet broken only momentarily by the stupid dog across the street: barking at me, in my own backyard!

The Jethro Tull song “Heavy Horses” came to mind and voice, with images of working animals and simple tools supplanted by fossil-fuel-powered machines. But there’s the reminder of what is timeless:

“And one day when the oil barons have all dripped dry
And the nights are seen to draw colder
They’ll beg for your strength, your gentle power
Your noble grace and your bearing
And you’ll strain once again to the sound of the gulls
In the wake of the deep plough, sharing.”

These days, I’d question the wisdom of the deep plough, but still . . . 

It got me thinking about a moment, long ago, when this country, the USA, in a period of evident crisis shaking its economic foundations, came perhaps closest to acknowledging the nature of its greatest problem: not yet a predicament. Back then, in the late 1970s, the occupant of the Oval Office was someone who seemed to have some grasp of the nature of the “energy crisis”: who saw with some clarity and called on the country to take another path away from disaster.

In Pres. Jimmy Carter’s “crisis of confidence” speech of 15 July 1979, he made statements that ring even more starkly true today:

What you see too often in Washington and elsewhere around the country is a system of government that seems incapable of action. You see a Congress twisted and pulled in every direction by hundreds of well-financed and powerful special interests. You see every extreme position defended to the last vote, almost to the last breath by one unyielding group or another. You often see a balanced and a fair approach that demands sacrifice, a little sacrifice from everyone, abandoned like an orphan without support and without friends.

“Sacrifice” — an orphan word in today’s society.

It was not to be. Six months later, Carter stood before Congress in his final “State of the Union” speech and reiterated what had been national policy since at least 1945: The USA would endeavor to be the boss over the disposition of the oil wealth of the Middle East.

Uncanny is how, in several respects, then resembles now, astrologically.

Primary among them, Neptune was then in the first house of the most commonly used “national” chart derived from the sky of 4 July 1776. Neptune had been there since 1973, when the first “energy crisis” hit and the nation was plunged into chaos. The term “malaise” was attached to Carter’s 1979 speech, though he didn’t use the word. But it was apt. Saturn, representing the pressure to face facts, was at a right angle to Neptune (in 1979).

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[The calculated time for the speech is speculative.]

Now, Neptune is a quarter-cycle along, and Saturn is in that same first house position: Again, Saturn is at a right angle to Neptune.

In the interval, little has changed, except the country is far deeper in the mire, furiously digging the hole deeper.

Take a look at the outline of the nature of our collective predicament, summarized on Albert Bates’ Peaksurfer blog. But here, to my mind, is the kicker:

“The only problems society does not acknowledge, or discuss, or act on, are the only problems that matter: species extinction, limits to growth, debt, overshoot, resource depletion, climate change, sea level rise, fisheries collapse & ocean acidification, nitrogen imbalance & tree decline.”

It’s a sad story with plenty of supporting evidence.

It’s why there’s a bit of comfort to be found in the music of Jethro Tull, many of the songs having themes of loss and dysfunction. The band named, mind you, after a seventeenth-century agricultural scientist and inventor.

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