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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.


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.




Dark Mountain

Transition Voice

Chelsea Green

Astrology Institute

Kelly Surtees


Derecho! 05/07/2012

Posted by zoidion in Weather.
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It seemed to come quite suddenly, this great wall of high wind and rain, at least to those on the ground. It roared halfway across the North American continent, from where it was first noted in the vicinity of Davenport, Iowa, to the Atlantic coast. The largest metropolitan area affected was Washington, DC/Baltimore, MD/Richmond/VA. At least 22 people died as a direct result of the storm, and several million people lost electric power.

Here’s the big meteorological picture:

“In Mexico, there’s a very tight circulating high that has been sitting there for about a week and will be sitting there another week easily. To the north of that there’s another high circulating in the opposite direction feeding the hot dry air of Mexico into a loop centered over Colorado, which at this point is an open, fiery oven. Above this is the jet stream, which is pushing this oven in the other direction like a circular gear on alternatively moving gear trains. The Jet Stream picks up that heat and lets it build up just west of Chicago, with the cold wet atmosphere of Lake Michigan acting like a giant wall.

“Last Friday [June 29, 2012], the dome of hot dry air eventually breached this wall, and came rushing down a pressurized trough towards Washington DC at more than 80 miles an hour. The resulting Derecho, or Land Hurricane, created a swath of devastation across much of Maryland and DC, felling trees, dropping power lines, and frying transformers already straining against the 100F+ degree heat.” – Kurt Cagle, commenting on John Michael Greer’s Archdruid Report blog

What is a derecho? The word is Spanish for “straight” (direct). The definition on Wikipedia is: “A widespread and long-lived straight-line windstorm that is associated with a fast-moving band of severe thunderstorms.”

And what are the astrological indications of such a rare, massive and intense phenomenon?

The chart for when the storm was “born” at 9:03 a.m. CDT shows, as such charts often do, the Moon exactly at the lower heaven, in this case in the intense and destructive sign of Scorpio, the Moon’s sign of fall. This alone signifies that Earth at that place and time was in the process of discharging built-up energy. (The storm arrived at Washington at 9:48 p.m. EDT—just as Moon was passing the upper meridian.)

Chart for “birth” of derecho storm in vicinity of Davenport, Iowa

The night before, Moon had made astrological connections to Neptune, then Mercury, the latter of which had risen over the Iowa horizon an hour and a quarter before the storm began erupting. Neptune is concerned meteorologically with great waves (such as the pressurized trough), Mercury with wind pressure and direction. These connections merely time the start of a shift in the prevailing conditions.

But other factors show what a supercharged context was present. The first of seven Uranus-Pluto squares had occurred five days earlier, and that configuration merely awaited other bodies to line up as triggers for the promised disruptive acts. On the day in question, June 29, the Sun—the body that provides the atmospheric heat to drive the process—arrived at the ninth degree of Cancer, thus lining up exactly with Uranus and Pluto. In addition, the Sun was now at the midpoint of the Sun and Moon in one of the key background charts: the summer solstice, six days before. Plus, both Venus and Saturn were stationary turning direct in the week between the solstice and the derecho, adding general potency factors of heat and sultriness (Venus) and overcast conditions (Saturn)

At the time of the solstice at Davenport, the Ascendant was in the last degree of Scorpio—a critical degree portending likely destruction being unleashed during the summer season. Scorpio’s ruler, Mars, was high in the sky, close to the upper meridian: an indication of a hot season and “breakage.” (In fact, the solstice moment had Mars elevated throughout the eastern half of North America.) Not much, however, appears to have been broken around Davenport lately: perhaps that will come later.

So why DC? Well, obviously, it has been the locus of great political dysfunction for some years, so it is fitting if one subscribes to the notion that physical events are apt to take place in areas where there is much unresolved social tension. That a storm was about to break was also indicated the very day before by the Supreme Court ruling in favor of the profoundly controversial “Obamacare” health care reform law.

But why astrologically? The solstice chart offers some clues. For one, the degree of the lunar eclipse two weeks previous fell right on the Ascendant, and that Ascendant, Sagittarius, is ruled by Jupiter, recently arrived in its exile in Gemini. Not an easy time for that region, especially with Jupiter in a tight square with Neptune, associated with “sea change” developments.

Biwheel chart for summer solstice 2012 at Washington, DC, / arrival of derecho storm at Washington

For another, the meridian is late in the last degree of Virgo (upper) / Pisces (lower)—this is the lightning rod axis of the chart, through which energies are grounded. Last degree, critical degree—critical events. Mars as the most elevated planet, only six degrees from the meridian at Washington at the solstice , denotes a severing effect at work: a before-and-after divide. (When the derecho arrived at Washington, Mars was “a degree and change” from the solstice meridian: time for breakage.)

The chart for the first quarter moon on June 26 at Washington is also rather dramatic: the critical last degree of Aquarius rises, with wave-change Neptune only three degrees away. The lunar eclipse degree, on the Ascendant for the solstice, has moved to the upper meridian, signaling that the time is close at hand for whatever major event is brewing. And the Sun and Pluto, and Moon and Uranus, form two axes at right angles: X marks the spot.

That the storm reveals the unfolding of a new era is evident in some of the reported economic effects: “Most of the supermarkets in the area were throwing out all of their perishables – likely several billion dollars in food that depend upon the miracle of freezers. Gas stations started running out of gasoline as everyone stocked up for generators or to insure that they had gas to get away if necessary, and batteries and water became scarce.” (Cagle) And numerous reports mentioned that electrical and cell phone disruptions were related to permanent failure of much sophisticated and expensive equipment that would need to be replaced (if possible).

Thus this storm is another wakeup—as was the rare earthquake, not quite a year ago, that shook the same area, causing a major crack in the iconic Washington Monument. The long descent from peak oil, peak technology, peak everything is underway. Many depended-upon luxuries and privileges are in the process of disappearing from daily life.

Best be ready to make big changes in living arrangements, whether (or weather) proactively or reactively.

George J. McCormack’s A Text-Book of Long-Range Weather Forecasting is a fascinating and deeply researched work, self-published (100 copies) in 1947 and nearly lost to the astrological community in the years since.
It has been re-published in 2012 in a handsome new edition, with a thought-provoking foreword by David R. Roell.
Order it through Mr. Roell’s Astrology Center of America.

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