I’ve been waylaid by an aggressive flu, so plans for the site — some ‘best of lists’ and a music mix of highlights from 2013 — went amiss. Sorry about that.
But I do want to talk a bit about the fervor that’s building as we enter another new year. Many astrologers are declaring that this won’t be just any new year; no — this will be 2014. The year that commences with a New Moon exactly conjunct Pluto. The year that will frame the acutest of the ongoing Uranus Pluto squares. The year when the United States’ birth chart is severely PMS-ed by a grand square involving its Saturn and Pluto of origin (intermixed with the aforementioned Uranus Pluto square).
The Cassandra squawking just won’t stop. Which, to me, in my usual way of thinking about predictions, indicates that reality, being the slippery experience that it always is, won’t deliver the horror show everyone is expecting or perhaps hoping for. (There’s nothing like a full blown disaster to clear the decks and start things afresh).
As I’ve written many times throughout this site, astrology proves a disaster when it comes to predictive accuracy. And mundane astrology, the astrology of groups, nations and world events, has a particularly horrible predictive record.
I much prefer the work and style of astrology that an astrologer like Jessica Murray has mastered, where predictions are forgone in the presence of intelligent, in-depth inquiry into the present and what animates the present, which would be human presence. Because at the end of the End of Days, after we’ve read the last goofy bit of babble about upcoming ‘changes’ and ‘challenges’ and ‘transformations’ (terms that recycle through astro blogging like a virus), we are still left alone with our silly selves, unmoved, untouched because an event as profound as an actual ‘transformation’ involves working with a level of consciousness that is beyond our pea-brain capacities. As Gurdjieff repeated often, “Man can not do.” So until one does, all of the other noise is a distraction.
I have a feeling that my boat
has struck, down there in the depths,
against a great thing.
happens! Nothing … Silence …Waves…
— Nothing happens? Or has everything happened,
and we are standing now, quietly, in the new life?
–Juan Ramón Jiménez
Rumi composed a small eruption of a poem about love’s most beguiling and dangerous qualities. This gem of verse marks out, like a Morse code, the action, the alchemy of love. I’ve revisited this poem many times, and with each close reading new facets are revealed, sharper insights gleaned. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Love comes sailing through and I scream.
Love sits beside me like a private supply of itself.
Love puts away the instruments
and takes off the silk robes. Our nakedness
together changes me completely.
The opening conveys abrupt immediacy. Things are one way one minute and then — a surge: “Love comes sailing through…” Sailing evokes being on an ocean, perhaps the Sargasso Sea where we often drift in the humdrum trance of our day-to-day life. But then the majesty of love glides in. Also, the word ‘sailing’ connotes a particular sound, the movement of Cupid’s arrow perhaps?
Love’s entrance — and then: a scream. Not a yell or a shout. A scream. A kind of fright or terror. The shock of love. Rumi is writing about the ego’s perception and reaction to love. Unnerving, startling — a harbinger for what exactly?
P.D. Ouspensky wrote in Tertium Organum: “Love is the potent force that tears off all masks, and men who run away from love do so in order that they may preserve their masks.” I guess that would explain the screaming.
Should we endure, there’s the promise of an intimate alignment, a regulation that calms the initial shock: “Love sits beside me like a private supply of itself.” This line enchants me, the image it calls forth. “…like a private supply of itself.” This speaks to the notion that we are each a localized, unique expression of love — and when we experience love we’re given the opportunity, through the mirror of the Beloved, to remember, to see this condition. We relax, perhaps unaware of the disarming that will follow.
“Love puts away the instruments and takes off the silk robes.” Now Rumi’s describing another love action — the revealing, the stripping — making naked. The initial reading is a prelude to sex, and this can work in the poem too. But there’s something more; the instruments, the clothing — the ways the ego displays its talents, or how it hides behind a facade — all of that’s got to go in the presence of love. Nakedness implies as much. Read more
The exact moment of this year’s Winter Solstice occurs early morning tomorrow, here in Washington, though many of us will celebrate tonight.
I created this mix several years ago — a collection of hymns, chants, Medieval carols and songs — a music compendium to mirror and celebrate this sacred moment in the Earth’s time cycle.
The Solstice, the night of the longest night, also marks the return of a slowly growing luminosity, as Winter begins in the Northern Hemisphere and radiance gains in prominence.
Light has always symbolized awareness and consciousness, as well as life-giving, creative properties. And in a very real sense we are each bodies of light, with the Sun Absolute as both our source and sustainment. And that link is not simply symbolic, it is literal.
For many astrologers the Winter Solstice is a demarcation that defines the start of the New Year. How we experience this evening (and tomorrow morning) provides an essential hint as to the theme or signature of the year ahead. Both universally and personally.
I will take a more sporadic approach to posting on Astro Inquiry in the coming week, as travel and gatherings with friends will shorten my time on the computer.
Solstice Blessings to each of you!
If you would like to hear more details pertaining to the Solstice, from an astrological perspective, I highly recommend my friend and colleague, Jessica Murray‘s recent radio interview (from December 19) where she shares a slew of insights into this magical moment — and the upcoming year, 2014.
The art work featured on this mix is by the talented Krista Hout. Ms. Hout spent her formative years in the forests of British Columbia, where she trained in fine arts and classical animation. Her paintings explore the relevance of archetypes in folklore, using inspiration from storybook illustration, folk art, animation and vintage kitsch. Krista’s work has been shown at galleries throughout the United States. You can explore more and order prints directly from her website Kristahout.com.