Buddha sat under a tree and explained the truth of impermanence. Alchemical artists drew, etched, carved or painted vivid images to represent that truth.
Eastern philosophy evokes nature to reveal the cycles of change — living life in accordance with flow. But the alchemists of old were crazier and wilder. They knew human beings were complex creatures and depicted our psychic atmosphere in phantasmagorical allegory. Breeze-caressed willow sprigs and geese flying south for the winter didn’t match the nitty-gritty human condition.
People are complicated creatures — a mix of animal instinct and human desire. The alchemists understood this. And so the psychological world was depicted with a tumult of clashing chemistries — trials of burning, freezing, steaming, dissolving and splitting depict the psychic clash or merging of antithetical forces.
The alchemical gold, the reward at the end of the opus — the art or work — is not just a reconnection with one’s harmonized, essential nature (that goose flying to Florida), it is a certain wisdom that only a self-reflecting consciousness comes to understand and embrace. A wisdom that transcends the limitations of duality, of time and space. The result is hard-won, but clear: When we align with the law of impermanence we discover the security of our center. We abide in the present — the ‘one moment’. And that is a golden condition. The natural condition.
It’s good to bring up gold because tomorrow’s New Moon in Leo is all about the soft, precious metal. Interestingly enough, gold is very much what Pluto’s continued grind through Capricorn unearths. You dig into the earth to free the stuff. And nothing digs quite as hard as Pluto, and no sign is earthier.
The ongoing Plutonian transit corresponds to the decimated remains of the global economic infrastructure. Also, the wild rush and grab of the Plutocrats, who, given uninterrupted hegemony would have all lesser-thans (the have-nots) trapped in the servitude of debt. But this is only one side of the fairy tale. There are many facets, many potential outcomes. And many new levels of freedom are looming.
If you’ve ever run up credit card debt and then called your bank to have them ‘raise your limit’ (which pulls you deeper into debt), you’ve a nutshell version of where the financial world is positioned. But debt begetting debt begetting debt is an Alice in Wonderland phenomena: it drives one into a zone of unreality that eventually ‘pops’ (an apt term for the various ‘bubbles’ that have facilitated this process) — where the grin has eaten the Cheshire Cat.
When the bankrupt and worthless tips the scales so deep in its favor — (sort of like a void being poured into another void that somehow manages to actually have weight) what happens is a curious phenomena that Carl Jung described as enantiodromia: when a quality, condition or force turns into its opposite. The opposite of worthlessness is gold, a symbol of substantiality, essential value and wealth. We are living through a enantiodromiac phase, where what was once considered valuable is turned into a void, and what we dismissed as insubstantial is becoming the most sought after commodity of all: a rich inner life.
Essential value is a real golden substance. It’s not just words or a concept. This is why the alchemists kept trying to discover it and revel in its splendor. Consider joy, courage, compassion or love. These are substantial qualities, manifestations of true nature: Being. Value is an inner richness that we long to abide in, and it has nothing to do with bank accounts, fame or status. We experience essential value when we understand our Being’s indestructibility, when we are positioned on the hot spot of impermanence: The golden zone. To align with this spot requires a particular kind of courage, a quality of courage depicted by the sign Leo. Courage that is intrinsically trustworthy of the power behind the throne (one’s Being), a kind of direct knowingness that makes each of us kings and queens of our inner world.
Tomorrow’s Leo New Moon highlights this condition. The lunation is particulary emphatic, pushed into awareness by a melodramatic square to Jupiter in Taurus, and a quickening trine to hair-triggery Uranus in Aries. Expect this to play out on the world stage with exaggerated threats and fierce blowharding — avarice doesn’t yield easily to the clarion call of ‘no more’. The promise for the individual is different, an inspired alignment with purpose, your own personal quest for the Grail. It’s easier to call bullshit on oneself, which might be necessary to get one’s affairs in order; unless you cave and project the neccesity to economize onto others. “Those damn Republicans!” Or whatever.
We see the Jupiter side of this lunation playing out with all the drama related to the nation’s debt ceiling. President Obama — a Leo himself — is naturally the center point of this fracas. And as a Leo he’s privy to the potency of a natal Sun locked into a fixed fire sign: purpose, once ignited in a Leo, would rather burn down the entire house than be thwarted. This kind of harsh tenacity is exactly what the nation needs at this moment. The administration of a liquid fire enema.
Mr. Obama has reached his defining moment — or tipping point. How much can he withstand; how deftly can he maneuver the toxic mire of loathing and longing that has the country churning like a junkie entering the first stages of withdrawal? Republicans hate him (all they see is a nigger at the helm) and democrats and progressives are flummoxed by his seeming abandonment of liberal ideologies and dreams. What no one considers is the country’s utterly fucked-up condition and the Sisyphean curse of salvaging a rotting state (Pluto in Capricorn). If that’s even possible.
My personal astrologer and soul brother Robert Blaschke mentioned often that if it weren’t for Obama the country as we know it would no longer exist after the Pluto/Capricorn transit concluded in 2024. Robert felt Obama was the reincarnation of Abraham Lincoln; and though I’ve no clue as to the truth of an afterlife or reincarnation, I do believe, as a symbol (and Robert’s sentiment behind it) that he was correct.
In the theater of reality what Obama represents as a stabilizing force is akin to what Lincoln epitomized during our nation’s most deranged, divisive and blood-soaked debacle. With his Gemini Moon and Mars in Virgo (conjunct the US’s Neptune) Obama has the stamina (Leo Sun) to morph, shape-shift, and neutralize opposites, the potent gift of a mercurial Moon.
Obama’s Mars, setting off our national Neptune, inspires notions of redemption as well as religious-fueled loathing and kookie conspiracy theory flights of fancy. Because Neptune corresponds to the idyl of dissolving boundaries and melting prejudices, Obama is forcing (Mars) the country to mature and clarify its deepest dreams and potentialities. If nothing else, as an African-American running a powerful nation, he’s an emblem of a crucial demarcation; a cut-off point where the most bigoted denizens of the United States are dying off — taking their hateful ignorance with them.
To grasp how Obama operates it’s helpful to understand how he was forged as a senator, and this recent article from The Atlantic helps explain why many of Obama’s seemingly maddening, contradictory traits are actually the wise strategies of an ace politician who actually tries to accomplish meaningful results.
Mars in Virgo individuals are expert strategists, so much so they can get lost in the joy of solving puzzles, digging for deeper nuggets of truth. An eye for purity is paramount. For gold miners this is an excellent Mars. Though Obama’s Aquarius ascendant in opposition to his Leo Sun gives the demeanor of someone operating against their own (and others) interests. Saying one thing and doing another. But that’s from the level of appearances. Alchemically, where opposites merge, we have the Aquarian drive for unity and equality driven by the personal knowledge of self (Leo) and a thorough understanding of the human condition. This kind of wisdom comes from the process of individuation — which is the central Leo approach. “Who am I?” asks Leo, and then devotes the rest of his life figuring this riddle out. In that quest the culture (Aquarius) benefits, having a flesh and blood example of what was before just an ideal.
So what about you, you ask (in true Leonian fashion)? Well, reread what I’ve written about the alchemical process of enantiodromia. The illustration that opens this essay depicts the process in detail. The old king (tired and spent, much like our current economic condition typified by the ongoing Pluto in Capricorn transit) is devoured by the wolf of avarice and sundry unfettered appetites. Everyone is in a scramble for survival today, though it’s only the wealthiest that have the wherewithal to maneuver the system to their advantage. Still, we’re all gnawing at what’s left of the old order, trying to get ‘mine.’
This has to happen, it’s natural, there’s too much momentum to halt the decline. Like a dog chewing so hard on a bare bone his gums begin to bleed, (which provokes even more aggressive gnawing because he thinks he’s getting fresh juice from the bone) we won’t stop until we’re bankrupt. Then we might begin to acknowledge our universal condition. The possibilities then are endless. But first there’s the incineration, where our wolf is taken to the burning ground, releasing, finally, the gold: The new king. Both fresh and knowing:
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. — Matthew 10:16.