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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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Lean Logician 22/03/2017

Posted by zoidion in Hellenistic, Long Emergency.
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Twin Cities ephemera: Could it be an omen, coming minutes after the equinox moment? Stepping outside into a gray dawn, a cardinal greeted me from a hidden perch in the cedar tree, its voice piercing my heart. A single call. Above and to the south, Moon and Saturn peeked through small gaps in thin clouds. Then an hour of wispy and puffy clouds, accented briefly by a band of red in the east, before the sky was blanketed for half the day.

Letting whims direct my walking, my feet took me to welcome strips of woods — box elder aplenty, their limbs stretching out and dipping down at contorted angles — and the brown close-cropped grass and murky ponds of the golf links. 

That morning bird’s song seems a reminder to turn from the manifold evidence of the dysfunction of this time, and instead sing the praises of one who sang in prose of the elements of an enjoyable lean way of living. The subtitle of David Fleming’s Surviving the Future captures the place of play in meaningful human and natural connections—and yes, the split between “human” and “natural” is, well, unnatural.

Anyway, the subtitle is: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy.

Actually, though, he didn’t give the book that subtitle. And he didn’t work his work into that book form: neither that one nor the much bigger Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It.

By the time Fleming died suddenly 29 November 2010, a month short of seventy-one, he had amassed a great collection of short writings, much of it ecological and social wisdom in the form of definitions. No wonder he had made only a few copies and shared them with a few close associates.

His friend and mentee Shaun Chamberlin shaped it into the two posthumously-published books.

Who was this David Fleming?

Beyond, that is, someone who described the characteristics of localization as the normative and inevitable level of social organization, that will resume once the anomaly of globalization plays itself out.

Evidently, he possessed the personality, the temperament, of a happy warrior: one who conducts his battles with joy, knowing full well the magnitude, difficulty and inevitable losses of the struggle.

For a measure of astrological understanding, at least a date and place of birth are available: 2 January 1940, Milford, England, southwest of London. Little, however, of his early circumstances and upbringing is public knowledge.

 

Day or night? That is the starting point for any effort toward approximating a natal chart, and whether Sol or Luna is luminary of sect (diurnal or nocturnal) determines which planets are triplicity (trigon) lords for which stages of life.

For Fleming’s chart, Sol is in the zoidion of Capricorn, Luna in Libra. If Sol is luminary, the triplicity lords are Venus, Luna and Mars in sequence; if Luna is luminary, they are Mercury, Saturn and Jupiter. Each of the appropriate three is in turn “lord” of an era marked by a cycle of Saturn around the zodiac. (This system is very well described in Joseph Crane’s Astrological Roots: The Hellenistic Legacy.)

Here’s a clue to the essence of who Fleming was: “ . . . the book brings space and intelligence and wit to areas that are normally written about in lumbering opinionated prose. In a genre weighted down by tribalism, righteousness, political rhetoric and scientific data, his words come like a fresh breeze. Where other books would feature graphs, he has woodcuts of the English countryside.” (Dark Mountain)

Spaciousness, intelligence and wit cast together — along with the emphasis upon playfulness and celebration — strongly suggest that Mercury in Sagittarius was ascendant at his birth. In addition, this Mercury is in a diurnal relationship to Sol: rising before Sol. More potency in directions of investigation, synthesis, communication.

His evidently lean physique also points in that direction. (Also, his mother’s status as an award-winning crime writer is reflected in Virgo — where Mercury is also lord — in the tenth place.)

If so, his birth was nocturnal, in the hours before the wintry dawn.

That considerable energy and vision (or delusion) would be linked to his intelligence was “baked in”—Mercury in the chart, regardless of time of day or night, is at the focal point of a Mars-Neptune axis.

Surely, Mercury would have to be prominently placed in his chart: He was evidently a man of ideas above all, one who was continually reworking his writing, never satisfied. His great, sprawling work Lean Logic was anything but lean, and was only published posthumously, then trimmed down to manageable size by his mentee.

These factors speak to a natal Mercury not only mutable (in Sagittarius, in “detriment” opposite Mercury’s domicile in Gemini: continually seeking a more comprehensive view of the big picture), but also likely angular (near horizon or meridian): probably in the first or tenth place.

Thus, if the foregoing suppositions are correct, Mercury was “lord” of Fleming’s first era of life, which included his studies in history at Oxford University and a varied career in manufacturing, marketing, advertising and financial public relations (according to his Wikipedia biography).

Saturn — in difficult astrological circumstances (“in fall” in Aries) — was “lord” of his second era, when he began his opus. (The world at that time — the 1970s — was marked by the first shocking reminders that Earth is a finite planet unsuited for economic systems based on infinite growth.)

The third era, with Jupiter in Aries as “lord,” would be expansive and pioneering, as he made connections with many notable individuals and groups — including participants in Transition Towns projects — discussing and working on alternatives and successors to global market-based economies and cultures.

A major event was the publication in April 1999, at age fifty-nine (the conclusion of his Saturnian era), of his article “The next oil shock?” in Prospect magazine, interpreting the International Energy Agency’s report of the previous year as indicating an impending global oil crisis. (Fleming had a long history with the subject, though for nearly two decades denial and derision regarding such works as The Limits to Growth and Overshoot had been nearly total.) Later, he revealed that Fatih Birol, future chief economist for the IEA, met with him after reading the article and admitted that “you are right . . . there are maybe six people in the world who understand this.”

It was a defining moment, as that age is for most people: It is the year when both Jupiter and Saturn return to their places in the birth chart.

It was especially potent for Fleming.

DFleming_natal-041999

By that time, by secondary progression (counting one day after birth for each year of life), Mercury had gone slightly more than one-quarter of the way around the zodiac, and was now conjunct natal (in-sect) Mars: representing a message with considerable impact. In addition, the progressed upper meridian, along with progressed Luna, had reached conjunction with natal ascendant: a merging of professional role with personal capability.

One more thing: progressed Sol was now conjunct the Lot of Fortune, which refers to the natural flow of life’s events. (The Lot of Fortune for Fleming’s nocturnal chart is exactly opposite where it appears — the X inside the O — in this Time Passages-generated chart. The Lot of Fortune is determined by the angular distance between Sol and Luna, but in the Helllenistic system, one reckons from the luminary of sect: in this case, Luna.)

Fleming had now fully connected with the substance of his life’s work, and was receiving recognition for it. He would spend the rest of his life exploring, defining and re-defining, and communicating the implications of his comprehension: Lean Logic, his summary of how to live fully with less . . . energy, stuff, distraction. And more carnival.

Within the Hellenistic system, nothing need be said — at least initially — about Sol’s zoidion, Capricorn. As the luminary out of sect, Sol is not inherently prominent. Placed (speculatively) in the second place from the ascendant, Sol is obscure. (As one who was evidently not propelled by a sense of self-importance, his was not a “solar” personality.)

Luna’s place is rather different: In the eleventh place relating to highly social activities, Luna is strengthened by a close trine with Venus, Luna’s “lady” or “ruler” (in modern astrological terminology). Plus, Venus is in-sect. These are symbols for someone with the capacity and skills to move easily and gracefully through social situations. Judging by some stories — particularly, that of sending one of the few prized copies of his opus to his future editor after an hour’s phone conversation — he was adept at reading and cultivating compatibility.

As for astrological temperament, using the system advocated by Kelly Surtees — combining zoidia and lords of ascendant and Luna, along with season of Sol and phase of Luna — the distillation is: sanguine: buoyant and cheerful.

Just the sort of person to make a quick, unannounced exit.

-<zoidion>-

References: 

Wikipedia

Dark Mountain

Transition Voice

Chelsea Green

Astrology Institute

Kelly Surtees

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