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Eclipsed 27/08/2017

Posted by zoidion in Event, Hellenistic, History, Mundane, Photography, Weather.
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lotus-cloud

Twin Cities ephemera: As I stand in the sunroom of my house, feet at shoulder-width, facing Sol during qigong practice, I now do so with a different meaning and feeling: I have stood in Luna’s shadow under Sol.

In a small group of people, beside a small pond near a Japanese-style garden in the Missouri Botanic Garden in St. Louis, I marveled at the strange yellow light before totality: as if looking through an old-timey photographic filter. Waterfowl had already flown across the scene as a hush fell upon the people with the funny eclipse-viewing spectacles.

Suddenly, Sol’s light vanished, leaving the scene in deep dusk. And soon, amid a puff of breeze, the temperature noticeably dropped: a welcome relief on a hot, humid day. I’ll admit: I was befuddled, nearly unable to operate the camera-tripod setup I’d brought. I had not planned to obtain photos of Sol: There would be gazillions of those. I was interested in earthbound scenes. But after many occasions recently of sighting Venus in the predawn sky, I neglected to look in the total eclipse moment about thirty degrees west of Sol-Luna. Sigh . . .

Then, just as suddenly, Sol’s light returned: a different type of relief, and a return of the intensity of heat. There were oddly shaped clouds on the horizon: two “regular” clouds connected at their tops by a misty cord. A patch of lotus plants in the shallows of the pond faced them and away from Sol and Luna. Crescent-shaped shadows continued to appear on light-colored surfaces as the eclipse waned.

Just as Sol re-appeared as usual, a heavy cloud rolled in and let loose a pelting rain as brief as the total eclipse. Then the town was one huge steam bath. 

Back home after five days’ absence, the garden called for attention. The cucumber plants, sucking up the excess moisture through this cool August, had continued producing a plethora of green (and overripe yellow) zeppelins. This has been relish-making time.

The occasion of the most portentous solar eclipse of the past century, for this country at least, is a fitting one for departing from the usual fare here of, well, portents of doom.

Such occasion seems appropriately to be one for investigating and describing the man who called the first one — in the sense, that is, of foretelling where on Earth Luna’s shadow would fall. (It is after all, Luna’s shadow, with only the halo of Sol visible and radiating through to Earth.) That would be Edmond Halley.

That’s right: Halley’s Comet’s Halley.

Back in Merrie Olde England in 1715 — on 3 May, to be more exact — the first map depicting the territory to be enshadowed was borne out.

Halley-eclipse-map

Tumultuous would probably be a more accurate word for England at the time. The previous year brought the House of Hanover (renamed Windsor in 1917) to power (while Sol was in Leo), beginning three centuries of rule, still ongoing. There was a challenger, however (when is there not?), and a rebellion that lasted into 1716.

EHalley_SEcl1715

The effort and recognition surrounding the eclipse map crowned Halley’s second Saturn cycle: Halley was fifty-eight years old. He had already had an illustrious career, going back to age twenty-two, when he published a catalog of 341 southern stars: the first systematic southern sky survey. Only eight years later (at his first Saturn return), he established the relationship between barometric pressure and height above sea level, presented a systematic study of the trade winds and monsoons, and identified solar heating as the cause of atmospheric motions.

That only brings his chronology to 1686, with eclipse day still twenty-nine years away: a full Saturn cycle.

In between, he did a few other things, such as preparing the first mortality tables (way to go, Mr. Solar Scorpio) that statistically related death rate to age, and computing the expected path of return of his namesake comet.

But this was actually the big one, the truly pioneering work: the eclipse map. How fortunate — or not, but nevertheless portentous — that the path of the 1715 total eclipse passed across southern England. Halley himself could easily observe it, and public interest was considerable; he put out a call for reporters across the land to send him the details of their observations.

There was an unusual configuration within the zodiac at the time: a triple conjunction of Saturn, Uranus and Pluto — a combination that would not recur until the 1850s. They were in the zoidion of Virgo, where Uranus and Pluto would be again in the 1960s, with Saturn opposite. Clearly the Uranus-Pluto pair is related to technological achievement and deployment.

Perhaps more fascinating is the other configuration: the eclipse with Jupiter and Neptune in Taurus. What could be more appropriate for cosmic consciousness — in the form of comprehension of celestial mechanics — brought down to Earth?

The latter configuration was opposite the natal Sun, in the tenth place of public recognition and achievement, in Halley’s birth chart. That fourth place, where Sol and Luna and Jupiter and Neptune were at various rates passing through — Jupiter for one year, Neptune for fourteen — represents the most-earthed realm. As in a deep, narrow vertical shaft above which planets and stars are visible, except at midday.

That it would be a super-charged year for Halley is evident in the symbolism of Mars added to the cluster of planets in Virgo at the time of his previous solar return.

Yet another touch: the ascendant at London for the time of the eclipse is the last degree of Cancer: the very degree of the solar eclipse prior to Halley’s birth.

Luna was less than five degrees away from that point when Halley was born: into Leo, in a disseminating-phase relationship with Sol. This is apt: While he attained remarkable achievements, he stood on the shoulders of giants of inquiry: figures including Isaac Newton (who allegedly and famously challenged him on his attitude toward astrology).

That Halley was likely a bit rigid in his worldview is in tune with his birth chart: Lord of his Ascendant is Saturn, located in the ninth place (trine to the Ascendant), direct in motion, exalted by zoidion, and in-sect in the diurnal chart. This is essentially a happy and productive Saturn — if one might anthropomorphize — especially within the realm of scientific investigation (physical laws and mechanics). Even so, a bit needlessly limiting.

A bit more problematic is Mars: also in the ninth place and Libra, but in exile (opposite Aries, where Mars is lord) and out-of-sect. Traits represented: contentious in unguarded moments, yet capable of sustained effort toward expanding one’s own and humanity’s horizons.

His mental brilliance, his capacity for recognizing the harmony of the spheres, is indicated by Mercury on the upper meridian, in company with Venus, both opposite Jupiter and Pluto. This is quite the combination, seldom replicated through the ages, showing the potential for thought with considerable breadth and depth. What is most significant here from a Hellenistic viewpoint is the Mercury-Jupiter portion: placed in each other’s home zoidion, a condition sometimes called “mutual reception.” As with Mars, they are also each in detriment (technically weakened) by zoidion.

Mercury in Sagittarius indicates one who naturally thinks conceptually and is apt to have difficulty in keeping the facts straight — may even consider hard information untrustworthy. Jupiter in Gemini typically refers to someone with a plethora of interests and/or projects, each with a shallow level of comprehension and attention. Yet Halley evidently accomplished a great deal of mental work that passed muster. Perhaps, as some astrologers contend, the gods in each other’s domains find ways to compensate for weaknesses within each other’s realms: a canceling effect.

Other pairs of planets reveal that Halley was born into an era and generation that was transitional: a mild-sounding word that really means profoundly disruptive and transformational. Invisible and unknown to humanity at the time, Neptune and Pluto were opposite by zoidia and less than eleven degrees from exactly opposite. Saturn had within the previous month or so moved into Libra and away from an exact closing square with Neptune, correlating with the atmosphere of political slippage that echoes a similar configuration that persisted through 2016.

By moving into Libra, Saturn moved closer toward another closing square: the last-quarter phase with Uranus, in that era occasionally seen in the sky but not yet recognized as a planet. Saturn-Uranus: an often catastrophic combination that was in effect through the global financial meltdown of 2008—from which the economic system has not recovered.

In Halley’s time, the significance — what is established vs. what is disruptive — was less dire: James III, the “Old Pretender,” gave up his challenge to the English throne; Russia’s Peter the Great made his second visit to Europe in quest of importable ideas and technologies; and Scottish economist John Law established the Banque Generale in France.

One might say that Edmond Halley and his eclipse map inaugurated the era of eclipse tourism, which has perhaps now reached its apex. His other contributions helped with the great project of that era: the expansion of trade to farther reaches of Earth.

Arguably, the global trade network has reached its own apex.

-<zoidion>-

Sources

Astrodatabank
The People’s Chronology
, James Trager, 1992.
The Timetables of History, Bernhard Grun, 1975.
The Eagle and the Lark: A Textbook of Predictive Astrology, Bernadette Brady, 1992.
The Astrological History of the World: The Influence of the Planets on Human History, Marjorie Orr, 2002.
Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View, Richard Tarnas, 2006.
History Mole online.

Recent listening

Charles Eisenstein on being “guided by beauty”.
The Astrology Podcast, Bernadette Brady: The Astrology of Eclipses.

Recent reading

The Crazy Ladies of Pearl Street, Trevanian

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Turn, Turn, Turn 05/08/2017

Posted by zoidion in agriculture, Climate, Hellenistic, homesteading, Long Emergency, Mundane, Photography, urban agriculture.
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Twin Cities ephemera: The growing season has been a predominantly pleasant and productive one in the upper Mississippi River region. Only a few bumps have thus far appeared on the path to harvest: the state’s earliest-ever tornadoes, and — in the first week of June — a hailstorm that pummeled the more tender leaves and prompted a call for snow plows a few miles from this reporter’s domicile.

Now, amazingly, the first dry, golden leaves are falling. I noticed it first in front of the house, under the river birch tree. Later in the day, as I reached around, under, above the arching canes — reaching for the heavy clusters of fruit — of the elderberry bush, I could see some of its compound leaves, now a pale yellow.

The days are beginning to be noticeably shorter here as the month of golden Leo proceeds. The first reminder of summer’s imminent end arrived this week, right on cosmic schedule for this region.

The week has been a busy one, particularly due to the sequence of harvesting, stripping, mashing a great plenty of elderberries — all from one bush — and beginning the wine-making process. Nearly two weeks earlier than in 2014 and 2015 — I skipped wine-making last year, letting friends pick the fruit for medicinal syrup.

The hands-on work has been welcome amidst the mental and emotional work that has attended sessions at two conferences: the first Transition National Gathering at Macalester College in St. Paul, and a grassroots democracy conference. Both have been energizing tribal get-togethers, and both have been reminders of the urgency of the world situation.

At the latter event, Jill Stein and Ronnie Cummins spoke about “connecting the dots” of a myriad of efforts and organizations — about the need for mutual support on the issues of food, climate, health and democracy. Stein outlined a fourfold emergency response, transforming renewable energy (unspoken though: a much-reduced energy diet from North American standards), food, transportation and ecological systems. Cummins emphasized the huge cadre — 519,000 — of elected and appointed officials in the US, and — without relying primarily on their receptivity — their charge to serve their constituents. 

Much change is in the air: For example, in Minneapolis the herbicide-loving majority on the Park and Recreation Board is on the way out of office, due to public pressure and failure to receive further endorsement.

Cummins referred to other numbers: five hundred million small-holding farmers worldwide, along with two hundred million herders, fifty million industrial farmers, and two-and-a-half million organic farmers. All of them are wrestling with tidal waves of systemic change.

Vital — not a single cure-all — is waves of practical, on-the-ground support in natural processes that can restore land and oceans. Reversing many destructive trends, cooperating in Gaia’s restorative powers  — possible yes, but how likely, especially given such views, with the backing of big money, as this:

We can talk about the complexities of Monsanto as a ruthlessly capitalistic company all day long, but their products, the technology itself, is safe and it’s hard for people to wrap their heads around that. . . .  Here is this company with a rather checkered past, on the one hand, and on the other hand, this technology seems to be able to do the world a lot of good. How do we reconcile those things? – Trace Sheehan, producer/writer of “Food Evolution”

Ah yes, what an oh-so-natural-sounding title, eh? And such a benign attitude: as if the “complexities” ought to be regarded separately from the technology. (What a prospect: nine billion humanoids, all watched over by machines of loving grace.) But actually, for decades on end, food has been given a series of technological shoves.

Anyway — you certainly don’t need (or, likely, want) a lecture on the workings and notions of industrial agriculture. You’ve likely been doing your own homework, and drawing your own conclusions, for quite a while.

At bottom, the message of “Food Evolution” certainly would seem to be: Let’s keep business-as-usual going, despite its manifold reported failures.

I really don’t see that approach to the current existential crisis getting off the ground, so to speak.

The breakdown of ecological, economic, cultural, political systems is undeniable — unless, probably, one is paid to deny.

My own vision of the glories of genetic engineering — and its accompanying regular use of herbicides, leading to the emergence of super-weeds — includes the testimony of one with first-hand experience in the early stages of  restoration. Sitting around a conference table at the Transition event, one presenter talked of ten-foot-tall “trees” of ragweed on her modest-sized tract formerly rented out for conventional agriculture: descendants of those that survived the chemical attacks. Those would have to be cut down with saws or chain-saws, and the fields worked over by her goats in subsequent years.

Grief, acknowledged or not, is ever-present. One presenter, a local community college teacher, had invited several of her students to bring their stories to a session of “climate grief.”  Several were from Somalia and Ethiopia, conveying the perspective of increasingly frequent drought years, of “pirates” (at least initially) seeking to drive away shiploads of industrial wastes, of mass dislocation and political repression stemming from the illegal sale of agricultural lands to Chinese investors, for food exports.

Some analysts of Gaia’s systems are convinced that the tipping point is already past, some others that three years remain — until 2020 — in which to begin reversing the trends.

Not all was grim and dire: There was a teleconference with Shaun Chamberlin in the UK, sharing audio and video clips of the late happy warrior David Fleming. And, after the gathering’s conclusion, a walk with several first-time visitors from the campus to the gorge of the Mississippi River, witnessing a glorious sunset and noticing the different plants along the way.

In “my” own yard, bounteous, beautiful food is streaming forth — along with a great hatch of ravenous Japanese beetles. (They are especially fond of the cylindrical pale-purple flowers on the anise hyssop — for intoxication apparently, not for food.) The first big heads of broccoli are contributing to many a breakfast scramble, the cucumbers are about to produce their green deluge — though I missed one, now yellow and destined to yield seed for next year’s crop.

And the other day, a hummingbird briefly zoomed in and hovered, visiting perhaps in search of artificial food — none of that here.

When I look, observe and see, I find beauty aplenty.

Always, there is majesty in the sky and in the movements of the sky beings. Luna is in the glorious pre-Full phase, leading to the lunar eclipse (not visible from North America). And then, the greatly anticipated Great American Solar Eclipse of 21 August. Interest is running at a frenzied pitch. Even Newsweek has run a piece on the astrological significance for not-really-president Trump.

The astrological community, of course, has been abuzz for many months, focusing particularly on the fact that the eclipse hits Trump’s so-much-in-evidence Mars as well as his ascendant. As could be expected, there were a variety of interpretations among the astrologers who presented the “Eclipse Master Class” via AstrologyHub.

Can he remain in office? It’s hard to imagine, given the ongoing intensifying political circus. Will he go — soon or later?

It seems that too few astrologers have made extensive studies of eclipses’ significance, how long their effect lasts and starting when.

Ben Dykes, translator of ancient astrological texts, opined that events of early December 2017 — when Saturn reaches a trine (one-third of the zodiacal circle) from the eclipse point — will offer hints of what is to come, while the main period of intensity of effects will run from March to October 2019. The eclipse occurring at the end of the zoidion Leo indicates the conclusion of a situation — of a would-be king occupying his throne (or Offal Office)? He foresaw scandal primarily involving Trump’s children — Venus in Cancer at right angle to Jupiter in Libra in the eclipse chart, repeating the pattern in Trump’s natal: Jupiter being lord of the fifth place (children) in the natal — but  not being  personally harmed in a physical way.

Saturn in the first place of the eclipse chart, cast for Washington, indicates much national trouble, since Saturn is lord of the second place. One doesn’t need astrology to see that, but it does confirm a deepening “time of troubles”  for this mismanaged nation, this unraveling empire.

Amer-eclipse-2017

Eclipse queen Bernadette Brady pointed, in part, to previous eclipses on the day before at nineteen-year intervals, thus at the same zodiacal degree. In 1979, there were nuclear-weapons tests by the USA, UK and USSR; in 1998, there were provocative terrorist attacks in Kenya and Tanzania that were answered with US attacks on Afghanistan, and a significant satellite launch by North Korea.

Now, again, the Korean peninsula is on edge, with Chinese, Russian, Japanese and American military forces and populations watching anxiously. Brady interprets the imminent solar eclipse as denoting danger from action in haste or in seeking revenge (Mars close to the eclipse point): patience is of great importance, as is how one acts while waiting; legal and constitutional crises are in process.

The sense of crisis in Washington, especially, is obvious and deepening.

What has been little noted, however, is the symbolic impact of the Great American Eclipse on the chart of the office of the presidency. The configuration of the former upon the latter confirms the extreme pressures brought by various claimants to power and the highly-charged state of the people at large.

USApres-SolEcl2017

Recognize: The nature and functioning of the presidency will be deeply and irrevocably altered by the events of the coming months. It will be some time before the shape of the new dispensation is evident.

Significant news and hints of largely hidden developments can be expected around and soon after the Mercury direct station — at the eclipse degree — which occurs on 5 September.

As for the Gaian crisis: Well, Saturn’s entry into Capricorn — where Saturn is lord in the most serious, down-to-earth sense — occurs only thirty-six hours before Sol enters Capricorn on 21 December 2017.

Crunch time, folks.

-<zoidion>-

Be sure to catch Australoger Ed Tamplin’s commentary.

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