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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

Season Shift 21/11/2016

Posted by zoidion in Hellenistic, Long Emergency, Mundane, Weather.
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Twin Cities ephemera: The arrival of the first snow of the season is a strange and rather shocking event — isn’t it? Even though it’s inevitable, even though it may melt and come back again later, or not, it’s still a bit of a bizarre occurrence. All of a sudden, there’s a cold white blanket over everything. It’s such a contrast, from one day to the next. Or from one end of the day to the other.

As on the eighteenth: Rain came in with a strong wind, accompanied by a few flashes of lightning and dull rumbles of thunder, followed by sheets of sleet, followed by swirling snow, as the temperature dropped and dropped.

The day before, I was in the garden doing the last few tasks, while the couple were out there in the triangle (the former community garden) that they’d bought last year, for the apparent purpose of having more territory to mow. He was atop the riding mower, in a t-shirt, grinning from ear to ear — reinforcing my sense that there are a great number of Murcans for whom one of the prime satisfactions in life is riding around, making noise and burning fossil fuel. It’s almost enough to push me into applying for membership in Morris Berman’s WAFer society.

 At times, I felt that the push to complete garden work was more like a mad rush. There were several satisfyingly achy days largely spent digging out the finished compost from the largest of the bins, and spreading it strategically on various vegetable beds. It came to an impressive nine loads of the wheelbarrow, and it looked and smelled good — I didn’t taste it, though I know that some gardeners do so. But . . . there’s no need to detail them all.

Still, the effort — and, primarily, my presence on and with the land and atmosphere — evoked a feeling at least soothing, if not actually peaceful, of the psychic wounds endured through the nearly endless, how-low-can-it-go election extravaganza. (Obviously, VERY low.)

Plus, I — and a great many others — were marveling, enjoying and/or agonizing over the weather. Week after week after week of little but unseasonable warmth, sunny skies and dry conditions. But — of course — it (mostly) made astro-meteorological sense: Mars was moving along and across the lower meridian of the current season’s chart [ link ] (based on the equinoctial moment on 22 September): even though Mars (generally signifying warming and drying conditions) was moving through Capricorn and into Aquarius, in both of which cold, contracting Saturn is lord. Those didn’t at first consideration seem to be a combination for bringing record-breaking warmth through much of the central U.S. and increasing drought conditions and more recently wildfires to the southeastern U.S. 

But these are extraordinary times.

And for the northern plains / Great Lakes region, the shift was strongly marked in the chart of the week: the time of the Full ( Super) Moon on the fourteenth was around sunup (Sun rising, Moon setting) for this region. As Luna moved along and crossed the place of Luna in the season chart on the sixteenth, the moisture gathered and began to be dumped across the landscape; then, as Luna reached the upper meridian, the cold air behind the storm began moving in. No more light frosts: It was time for a hard freeze.

The situation seems reminiscent of the time when the hard freeze came over the American political system, in 2009. The country had been through, and was far from out of, the economic calamity that unfolded during the height of the previous year’s election season. Remember that time, when Dubya Bush said, “This sucker could go down,” and the titans of Wall Street engineered gigundo bailouts? Remember how the legislative operations of Washington nearly shut down after Obama’s inauguration, as Republicans declared that they would oppose anything and everything he proposed?

Well, that — the latter — was symbolized in the planetary configuration of the inauguration: six days before a solar eclipse. The authority, prestige and efficacy of the President (represented by Sol, in detriment in Aquarius — proper for a constrained-power president rather than a king) was indeed eclipsed.

(Detriment signifies a status of being “out of place,” at a disadvantage, weakened, uncomfortable.)

The great hope for positive change that propelled Obama to the highest office — represented by Jupiter very near Sol — was also eclipsed.

usa_regime-change-2009

(The term regime-change is employed, using a noon calculation, because — regardless of the exact time the oath of office is administered — the Constitution stipulates that a presidential term ends at noon, and the next administration slips into place.)

Indeed, the mess was eerily enacted by the Chief Justice’s stumble through the verbiage of the oath administered to Obama: itself aptly represented by Mercury in apparent retrograde motion and in exact conjunction with Sol: faulty verbiage eroding the already-weakening authority of the executive.

The complex and chaotic economic situation was represented by the combination of Venus with Uranus and opposite Saturn: more unhappiness and constraint. There was the pared-down “stimulus” bill that passed Congress, but it arguably did little good, as the fundamental problems — most prominent among them, the bailed-out “too big to fail” banks — went unaddressed. And the health-care-system reform, though upheld by the Supreme Court, has proved to be pathetically inadequate.

In sum, this is a picture of a regime doomed from the start. Almost all it could do was continue the erosion of the nation’s foreign relations, by continuing two distant wars — as represented by Mars (in condition of exaltation) in Capricorn.

(Exaltation indicates conditions of special effectiveness, sometimes redounding in unpleasant, unwelcome and / or destructive ways.)

Compare that with the Dubya Bush regime, which began under a peculiar cloud: the president selected by the Supreme Court rather than elected by the people, the president himself effectively directed by his own vice-president: represented by the conjunction of Sun and Neptune.

usa_regime-change-2001

But notice especially the position of Mars in the seventh place (one of the prime action spots) in domicile in the ferocious zoidion of Scorpio. This of course represents the overwhelming force applied to Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq. The ensuing chaos resulting from woefully inadequate planning and the delusional expectations of the “neocons” is represented by Mars’ angular clash with Sun, Neptune, Mercury and Uranus. The people at home became subject to a vast, invisible information-gathering apparatus, as symbolized by a conjunction of Moon and Pluto.

Now look at the chart for the 2017 regime change.

usa_regime-change-2017

Significantly, Luna is in the same zoidion, Scorpio, as in 2009. Then, Luna was late in the last degree: further indication of the non-viability of the Obama regime. For Trump, Luna is within the first third of Scorpio, in nearly exact angular connection with Neptune — indicating that overall success or failure will hinge on murky matters of images, expectations, visions, confusion, deception, scandal, and (prominently) the oil industry. (Actually, Luna and Neptune were less closely but more problematically connected in 2009, when Obama’s “hope and change” campaign was followed by the dissolution of hope when nothing much changed.) Perhaps Trump can fare better.

Much in that regard will depend on how he and his team handle events in the days and weeks following the solar eclipse conjunct Neptune on 26 February, especially in the first week of March. (See also the article by Pat Paquette on the Mountain Astrologer site.)

Obviously, deep resentments and divisions among the people are still present, as indicated by Luna in Scorpio, where Luna is in “fall” — the most debilitated condition in the Hellenistic system of delineation. Large segments of the population are in dire circumstances, feeling bitter, ready to lash out, looking for someone to punish. The tone of the grinding campaign season hasn’t helped. Toning down the rhetoric — and refraining from “tweeting” (Twitter isn’t making any money and will likely disappear before long, anyway) — is key, and a distinct possibility: Luna is “offered help” in this chart by Mercury the communicator.

Plus, there is a crucial difference between 2009 and 2017: In 2009, Luna appeared low in the western sky, but out of sect in the daytime, thus more problematic. In 2017, Luna is invisible, just below the western horizon: a lower degree number than the ascending degree in the opposite place and zoidion.

As suggested in the previous post, the time is at hand for a fundamental shift — this time, contraction — in the size and scope of the federal government. Prominent among Trump’s campaign themes was an intention to redefine and reduce disadvantageous commercial and military commitments. Indeed, Trump’s triumph has already borne fruit: The Trans-Pacific Partnership deal appears to be a dead issue, though international trade has been declining of late anyway. Others loom: state-level health-care plans, and the status of vast areas of federally-controlled lands in the West. As the struggle over precious Earth resources and the necessities of life intensifies, the battleground shifts to state courts and legislatures.

It seems likely that much more attention will be paid in the years immediately ahead to the Constitution’s Tenth Amendment (the last in the Bill of Rights): “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The chart for the Trump regime indicates emphatically that sweeping changes must begin: the defining opposition of Jupiter and Uranus (a pair representing “the Promethean spirit of rebellion and self-will”*), with Pluto (structural, often overwhelming, change) in the zoidion of business and government). In cardinal zoidia (Libra, Aries and Capricorn, respectively) and in cadent places of the chart, the indications are for relatively swift changes to occur.

As for large-scale “shovel-ready” infrastructure spending: Not likely — not with Venus (related to money and feel-good feelings) beset the way she is in 2017, exactly between Mars and Neptune, and nearly ninety degrees from Saturn. This spells conflict, confusion, constriction. The curious thing is: Every eight years on the same date, Venus is back to the exact same degree, or very nearly. (Take a look at those charts again.) So in some ways, 2017 is a bit like 2009 or 2001 all over again. (“Groundhog Day,” anyone? Maybe we’ll do it better this time, maybe we’ll get it.)

Maybe, just maybe, there may be some dawning awareness that it might be a good idea to look at a long-term picture and recognize that liberating shrinking resources to invest in local public transit and intercity passenger rail might significantly help the nation hold together.

Once upon a time — in the 1970s, when the limits to economic growth** first jolted the nation — someone who worked a glamor-free job wrote a book called Small Is Beautiful.*** Rather than focusing on such nonsensical projects as sending humans to Mars or manufacturing millions of driverless cars, maybe enough political force could coalesce around more modest projects, even reclaiming some of what was discarded.

What a radical concept.

-<zoidion>-

* Mundane Astrology, Michael Baigent, Nicholas Campion and Charles Harvey, 1984

** The Limits to Growth: A Report for the Club of Rome’s Project on the Predicament of Mankind, Donella Meadows, Dennis Meadows, Jorgen Randers and William Behrens III, 1972

*** Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered, E. F. Schumacher, 1973

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