Monday, April 08, 2024


Easter is not long gone, when Christians celebrate the great myth of the Resurrection. I call it 'great' because it is central to what used to be the defining myth of our culture. Since then, as Yeats put it in The Second Coming, "Things fall apart/The Centre cannot hold/Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world." Maybe so, but we are free openly to practise astrology as a result. No more proscription for summoning up demons, merely the puny derision of science to tolerate.

The Christian myth speaks to us whether we like it or not. With our rational minds we may sincerely claim it has nothing to do with us. But that is not how your unconscious sees it. The old myths are very much alive. It is a powerful story: this guy is tortured to death, he descends to hell, where he opens its gates, so that salvation is now possible for all. Then he returns to his Father in Heaven. The Spirit of God is now present in the world, and it is enough to have faith in that to be saved.

Something like that. I think it is better as an astrologer to acknowledge the power of that story, and keep it over there in some compartment of your psyche, than pretend to yourself it has no power for you. Otherwise you will be screaming for a priest on your deathbed! As astrologers, we are very open to myths, because what is our calling, but the telling of sky stories? The Christian myth is a strange one, but are our beliefs any less strange?

What I want to do here is to relativise the Christian myth of the Resurrection by simply pointing out that it is a repeating story, and we astrologers have our own one in the abduction by Hades of Persephone, who goes to the Underworld a girl, and emerges a woman, but afterwards always with one foot in that world. That story is older than the Christian myth. Earlier than that, from Mesopotamian times, is the story of the descent of the goddess Inanna into the Underworld. She is killed by her sister, and left as a lump of meat on a hook. Eventually she emerges, renewed.

Persephone's abduction, descent and renewal is a story we regularly invoke as astrologers to describe the difficult process - the difficult initiation - of a Pluto transit. What we have over the Christians is that we do not see it as a unique event in history. The Christian faith, as far as I understand it, is dependent on their Resurrection being THE Resurrection, a unique and literal event in history. That of course leads to fundamentalism. With 10 different gods calling us, it is hard for astrologers to be fundamentalist, fundamentalism being when you consider there to be only one reality. Reality is neither single nor multiple: it is the Great Mystery. Fundamentalism is a human tendency, and you see it in astrologers when they lean too heavily on tradition.

You could argue that what the Christians have over the astrologers is their literalism, because at least they consider their Resurrection to have been real. We moderns slip too easily into it being 'just' a story, unlike the 'facts' that science comes up with, which is what 'really' happens.

Reality is a complex thing. What is most real for the psyche is not mere historical event, but myth. Did Hades really abduct Persephone? Yes, it is a truth to die for, for it is a truth about how life renews that we live by. Did Christ really have a resurrection? Yes, for the same reason. Was it a historical event? That seems doubtful to me, but that doesn't matter, for as an event it was more real than that, and as myth it is outside of time. It happens every Easter. And every time someone emerges from a Pluto transit.

Maybe my other main point here is that we need to re-learn to see myths as facts. And to treat our modern 'facts' as myths, as stories. We can never know where the universe came from. But the Big Bang is quite a good story for our times.

We live in an extraverted world, in which something either happened or it didn't. You need to experience the psyche, the inner world, as an objective reality - and not the mere 'subjective' to which it is nowadays relegated - to appreciate that the enduring stories are more real, more true, than 'fact'. Such a position is hard-won in a culture where the negative Saturn, which denies inward realities, holds so much sway.

Astrology itself works when we feel the power of the planets. That is when we will say things that resonate, that the other person feels to be true. This, you could say is proof of the truth of that inner, inspirited world. It is more true, more real, than the world of the senses. It is more true to say that Hades abducted Persephone, than it is to say that the universe began with the Big Bang. Or that we are the product of Evolution.
The 8th April Total Eclipse will be within 4 degrees of opposing the Israeli Ascendant. Expect significant developments at this time. The rising tensions with Iran are one pointer. Mars had just passed over Israel's Asc, and the Node was about to oppose it, at the time of the October attacks. So it is a sensitive point.
This is a formative time for Northern Ireland, as Pluto crosses its MC this year and last year. The leader of the DUP, a party key to the fragile stability of NI, has resigned on a rape charge, throwing the province's political future into doubt. This is in the run-up to the total solar eclipse of 8th April, opposite natal Saturn in Libra, the MC ruler. This timing suggests that the event will have significant consequences for the political future of NI.

Reminder: you can subscribe for free to me on youtube here doing my 10 minute videos. And if you'd like an astrology reading/update, please get in touch through this email address. I love doing them.
Shamanism begins with a remembering that we belong to the natural world. We are part of her, and she takes care of us. We learn to trust her. And for the same reason, we trust the body we are born into, whether it is male or female. It is not the wrong body! This is very basic.

But what happens if you experience the other gender within yourself? Again, TRUST IT! You have an interesting journey to undergo. You are both genders, you are gifted, you bring a perspective to life that others do not have. If your people are civilised, they will look to you. If they are uncivilised, they will taunt you for being different.

You may look just the same as everyone else. Or you may be a man living as a woman, or vice-versa. Many people do not like difference. They want to know what is what, and they fear the unknown. You will need to let their arrows bounce off you, and not take it personally. This is a warrior training that forges character, for few people have the strength to live outside herd approval.

Your dual nature is a gift from Spirit. When you present as the other gender, there is a ceremonial element to it, an archetypal power that passes through you. You may want to do it all the time, or just when the call to do so is there.

Gender is real and distinct for the great majority of people, and it tells them who they are. It is a partial identity, but it is the identity they need to live. To say that gender is just a social construct is to deny a very basic and ancient fact of existence. It is harmful to push this at people. If you grew up on a farm like I did, you will know that a lot of our gender-associated behaviour is biologically, not socially, determined.

Basic as the distinction is between male and female, it is also fluid. In achieving a deeper balance during the course of our lifetimes, we may feel we have become both genders, or neither. This is what Jan Morris, one of the earliest men to have transgender surgery, said in his eighties.

We live in a literalising culture that does not understand Ceremony and Spirit. When people opt for surgery and start to insist they are the other gender and that others must recognise them as such, they are literalising a god or goddess that is working through them; they are trying to become it, and in doing so they turn a gift into a curse. It is a tragedy.

What is also a tragedy is young people joining a bandwagon, thinking that changing gender will solve their problems, and adults colluding in this and offering irreversible chemical and surgical mutilation. The stories of castrated or breastless young people who are now 'detransitioning' are heartbreaking. Their accounts are difficult to listen to. For most of them, the research shows that the real issue is that they are gay, and they need time to realise this.

Identity is not such a big deal. It is ultimately illusory, even though ordinary humanity needs it for psychological well-being. Humans are relational as much as they are autonomous, and who we are is a product of a negotiation with the outside world. This is something we learn in the school playground. You can't insist on how people see you. It is natural and part of their development for a 2 year-old to insist that really they are a princess or a superhero, and adults play along with it. But for an adult male to insist they are 'really' a woman is delusional and infantile. It is fuelled by a medical lie that we can physically change gender. We cannot. There is only ersatz and mutilation. There is money to be made from this lie, doctors know it is a lie, and hopefully there will eventually be an accounting and a reckoning for this malpractice.

If you are at ease with who you are, you do not need to insist on how others see you. Nor do you need to go on marches about it, displaying it in public. You quietly get on with who you are. The sacred is degraded when it is turned into a political campaign.

Many people such as artists will have both genders working through them. Both are needed, to some degree, in order to be creative. They may not feel the need to present as other than the gender they were born into.

There is a natural process whereby we encounter the other gender within during the second half of life: this is Jung's Anima and Animus. Men become better able to listen to themselves and to others, listen with their feelings; and women become better able to know what they want, and not feel so obliged to please others and to take care of them. It's a fruitful area in astrology readings. Women and Mars, men and Venus. It's a later life soul journey for both sexes.

So here's to masculine women and feminine men, and the riches they bring. My perspective is indebted to the Native American Two-Spirit tradition, which is worth looking up on Youtube.

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