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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.

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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.

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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.

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.)

-<zoidion>-

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.

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