Monday, March 23, 2015

Greece, Islamic State, Uranus-Pluto and the Eclipse



On 17th March we had the last of 7 squares between Uranus and Pluto. This configuration has provided the overall context for world events for about 6 or 7 years now: the Great Recession, the Arab ‘Spring’, the rise of Islamic State, the Euro crisis…

The final square doesn’t mean the end of Uranus-Pluto – it will be playing out for a while yet. But 3 days later there was an eclipse of the Sun at 29 Pisces, the last degree of the last sign of the zodiac. If that doesn’t suggest an ending, I don’t know what does.

The US invaded Iraq in 2003 with the Sun at 29 Pisces. You don’t begin things under mutable signs, you end them, which is why it all went wrong. But I think this eclipse could signal the end of any meaningful US involvement in Iraq. The US has been providing air support for the fightback against IS, but no ‘boots on the ground’. It has been half-hearted. Nothing will probably be said, but Tikrit hasn’t fallen to the Kurds like it was expected to, and this may be looked at as the time when America quietly left Iraq to its fate.

The Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, a year before the final crossing of the last Uranus-Pluto square, and what came next was the outcome of the changes wrought by that square.

Islamic State declared itself a Caliphate at Ramadan last year, 8 months before the final crossing of the current Uranus-Pluto square. I see very little difference between them and the Nazis – the unlimited territorial ambitions, the powerful sense of belonging, the extreme brutality, the genocide. They do not at this stage need to be ‘understood’, they need to be opposed and eliminated. And, as with the Nazis, the world is largely standing by while they expand. With the Nazis, memories of WWI were too strong. With Islamic State, the shambolic invasion of Iraq in 2003 has made military opposition politically impossible.

The chart I use for IS has Cardinal Sun, Moon and Asc, with Pluto opposite Sun and conjunct Asc. It is the start (Cardinal) of something powerful (Pluto), unless they are stopped. With Moon-Jupiter in Cancer, expanding (Jupiter) the homeland (Moon in Cancer) is very important to them. The trine from the Moon to 10th House Saturn in Scorpio again suggests power and ambition and ease of accomplishment, facilitated by popular appeal (Moon conj Jupiter). And we see Pluto at his worst, the beast from the Underworld, called forth by American blundering and her own ambitions. The US Sun at 13 Cancer is on the midpoint of the IS Sun and Moon, showing the close connection.

Uranus and Pluto will be hard aspecting the IS Moon-Jupiter in the coming years. So the brutal struggle for an expanded Caliphate looks set to continue.

Another ending that seems likely under this eclipse is Greece’s membership of the Euro. If you use fairly wide orbs, then the eclipse took place in Greece’s 10th House, conjunct the MC (position in the world), square to Venus (wealth) and opposite Moon-Pluto (the disempowered people). In addition, the Uranus-Pluto square took place 2 degrees off the Greek Ascendant.

The new leader, Alex Tsipras, made an impossible promise to the electorate: to end the austerity and to keep Greece in the Euro. You can’t do both, and even leaving the Euro would, for a while, lead to greater austerity. So I think Tsipras has been putting on a good show of trying to renegotiate Greece’s debts with the EU, so that when Greece does leave the Euro (as seems very likely), he can blame Europe for pushing them out.

Now here’s something: the chart for the Euro has Angles at 29 degrees of the Mutable signs. The worst time to begin something! And the eclipse was bang on those Angles.

It seems from the astrology that Greece will leave the Euro soon, and from the Euro chart, it suggests it will not be an isolated event, but the beginning of the unravelling of the currency itself. The EEC came into existence on 1 1 58 at 00am, again giving it Angles at 29 degrees of the Mutable signs. So the unravelling of the currency, to whatever degree that occurs, will also involve an unravelling of the EU itself.

And that means the Britain, in its referendum, may vote to stay within the EU, because there will be less political control from Brussels to fear. With Pluto and Uranus having recently finished with Britain’s Sun and Angles, and moving on to our Cancer Moon, we are in the middle of a search for a new identity: our place in the world is shrinking, Scotland looks likely to leave the Union within a few years, and our relationship with Europe has reached make or break point as Europe has drawn ever closer politically. A few years down the line I think we will be a smaller and humbler country, occupying a more proportionate place in the world, shorn of Scotland, but with a clearer, less bloated identity  and with stronger ties to Europe as the prospect of a mega-state recedes.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Of Gay Rams and Lesbian Gibbons



A few weeks ago I was reading a BBC article about gay rams and lesbian gibbons. And a zoologist tried to explain animal gayness in evolutionary terms, ie how this behaviour could ultimately result in such animals leaving more offspring. 

 Because if you are an evolutionist, which of course any rational person is nowadays, then any feature of the animal or plant world has to have arisen because it results in the individuals concerned ultimately leaving more offspring. The explanation of gayness, needless to say, was rather clunky and convoluted, because the one thing that gayness DOESN’T usually do is to result in more offspring.



And I thought well maybe these rams just like being gay, isn’t that enough? Why does everything have to potentially result in leaving more offspring?

We think we know why evolution happens, and that it has to be for this one reason: life as a struggle to make your own genes predominate over others.

The theory of evolution arose in Victorian times, during the industrial revolution, when capitalism was on the rise – the survival, and the superiority, of the financially fittest. And the military fittest - Britain at the time had the largest Empire the world had ever seen, in which we ruled over 'inferior' peoples. Evolution was given a motivation that reflected the capitalist and imperialist ethos of Britain at the time – it is as simple and as brutal as that. And that ethos continues today under the free market ideology and the individualism that arose in the 80s under Reagan and Thatcher.

 There is so much human behaviour that is not explicable in terms of leaving more offspring. Very little of our behaviour seems to me to be reducible to that. In the West, most of us are happy with 2 kids on average, when we could have far more. I am not writing this piece in the hope that I will have more offspring. I take it you are not reading it in the hope of having more offspring.

It is ridiculous, therefore, to describe human behaviour in those terms. So if it doesn’t apply to us, why should it apply to the rest of the natural world, since we are part of it?

I think life is unfathomable. I am writing this piece because I want to, and because I want to understand something and to communicate it, and that is about as honest as I can be. It is a desire, if you like, that life has given me. Is that not enough? And why should it not be enough that some rams are gay simply because that is their nature, because they want to be gay?

I don’t think that we have much of a clue about evolution and why it happens. I don’t think we ever will, because it is part of the mystery at the heart of life.

 The evidence for evolution is full of holes, and of course no-one has ever seen it occur. You get the classic schoolbook example of white peppered moths turning black as camouflage under conditions of industrial soot, but that isn’t evolution, all it shows is a capacity for a bit of variability. They are still the same species. And maybe it wasn’t driven by random selective advantage. Consciousness is primary, not matter, as any quantum physicist can tell you.

“I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness." – Max Planck, Nobel Prize-winning physicist.

I think it more likely that in some way the moths ‘decided’ to turn black, re-imagined themselves, as a matter of common sense.

If consciousness is primary, then evolution is surely driven by a whole range of motivations. And it suggests as well that it is not based around the random variability that biology also insists upon.

That is, if evolution occurred in the first place. Certainly, biology shows that all life forms are very closely connected. The genes for our limbs are in the same sort of chromosomal position as the genes for limbs in flies, which is quite incredible. It suggests a profound common source. But I would put the emphasis on consciousness giving material expression to itself, rather than cold matter – with consciousness as an epiphenomenon – having the genius to create life forms.

 Because there is a kind of genius behind it. Not ‘a’ genius in the form of a being like God, but the genius of consciousness to imagine these intricate life forms, that are so well-adapted and so mutually interdependent and so elegant and inventive. It seems absurd to imagine selfishness and random change as the primary mechanism – even as part of the mechanism at all.

A Nobel Prize winning microbiologist, Werner Arber, researched change over thousands of generations in bacteria, and concluded that only limited variability was possible through genetic recombination and mutation. He then drags in God, which is where I part company. But if you think about it, humans have been selectively breeding animals for thousands of years, but they remain the same species - there are limits to variability. The arising of new species seems to be a mystery.

I don’t believe ‘God’ created life as we know it. But I find it preferable to the theory of evolution, because at least there is a transcendent dimension. And I think it is sound (though unintended) psychology that it is a requirement in some American states to teach both evolution and creationism: it presents the idea to children that there is more than one way of looking at anything. It is an ironic consequence of 2 fundamentalisms battling it out for the souls of the younger generation.

As I said earlier, any ‘rational’ person nowadays subscribes to the theory of evolution as commonly presented. It is perverse not to, as it is so well-established and so well understood.

Rather like a particular version of the Koran for members of Islamic State. It is a relief that this sort of fundamentalism is mainly to be found in the Middle East, among primitive fanatics, rather than amongst ourselves. We have every right to condemn these extremists for their narrow and intolerant attitudes. In the West we have rationality, and that protects us from becoming fundamentalist.*



* For anyone not from the UK, I'm being ironical

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Bits and Pieces

For the first time in 8 years, I seem to be taking a long break from blogging. But that doesn't stop me putting up short bits in Facebook, some of which are below:

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 I think if an eclipse is happening right at the end of Pisces (as it is on Friday), the end of the last mutable sign, then it really is time to let go of something, end something that is past its sell-by date, something you've been doing, maybe under a compulsive Neptunian motivation, that has no solid reality (Pisces), in time for a fresh start as the Sun enters Aries. And NOT a time to begin something - wait till the next day. Look what happened when the US began the 2003 Iraq War with the Sun at 29 Pisces - a mess caused by lack of forethought. Reflect, perhaps, on what you've been blaming others for, or seeing in others, that belongs within yourself.

The Moon of the UK monarchy (based on the coronation of William I) is at 29 Pisces. Maybe Elizabeth's reign is drawing to an end. She will have outlasted Victoria on 10 Sept, so maybe she will announce an endpoint to her reign around this eclipse? Unlikely. Maybe Kate will have a daughter, who becomes 2nd in line after George regardless, now the law has changed. Who knows, but something around the monarchy seems possible.


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Yes! Consciousness is primary, not matter!

“I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness." – Max Planck, Nobel Prize-winning physicist.

"Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter, we ought rather hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter. Get over it.....” – R.C. Henry, Professor of Physics at Johns Hopkins University

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The universe is a really weird and incomprehensible place - I mean really, really weird and incomprehensible - in which consciousness is primary. Quantum physics forces one to this conclusion. So does astrology. It is the stuff of any decent mystical tradition. Any philosophy that stops short of this, that treats human knowledge as more than a provisional stop-gap, could be called religion.


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A few years ago I was wondering about the outer planets, because I knew what they are supposed to DO, but I didn't know what they ARE. As in, which 'bits' of us are they? Mercury is the Mind, the Moon is the Emotions, but which 'bits' are Uranus, Neptune and Pluto? I eventually decided that UNP are fundamental principles at large in the universe in which we individually partake. Take the Big Bang. Pluto is the sheer latent Power of the initial singularity, and its ongoing propensity to unfold once activated; Uranus is the Creative Impulse that said "I've got an idea - let's make a universe" and then lit the blue touchpaper. Neptune is the Primordial Imagination that created the image of a universe (that we can't help but literalise and treat as real and external to ourselves.)

And those 3 principles translate quite readily into the life of the individual: Pluto as the urge to live and to keep life moving on; Neptune as the world we perceive, and the mythologies we live by, on which the life force plays itself out; and Uranus as the unpredictability of life, its tendency to bring in new elements that are not just rearrangements of the old, the impulse to do the new and unexpected and change life's direction. Power, Imagination and Creativity. Those 3 principles are not amenable to conscious direction in the way the inner planets are: as we know, a different relationship is needed.

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We don't have a myth for Neptune transits like we do for Pluto. I've had Neptune on my Angles for some years now, so it's been on my mind. I've thought along the lines of well what is Neptune's Underworld, because that is where I am, but it is watery rather than under the earth. Maybe Neptune shipwrecks and drowns us. We die. And then we have the alchemy as described by Shakespeare in The Tempest: "Full fathom five thy father lies, Of his bones are coral made, Those are pearls that were his eyes. Nothing of him that doth fade But doth suffer a sea change into something rich and strange." Gifts of the soul slowly growing from our drowned corpse.

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Greece has Saturn in Cancer. Germany has Saturn in Capricorn. The Greek government sees its primary responsibility to be the welfare of its people, whereas for the Germans, financial prudence is primary. Two opposing, and one-sided value systems clashing. Greece's one-sidedness, its lack of Capricorn, fiddling its books so it could join the euro, led it to this pass. Germany's one-sidedness we all know about. It is not good for Germany to be in a position to crush another country out of moral rectitude. It brings out the worst of the German character. And it is not good for Greece to be under the German yoke, which it always will be while it remains in the euro. For its own self- respect, and to able to live according to its own values, Greece needs to leave, despite having to be even poorer for a while.