Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Astrology of Fracking

The Chart for Oil is based on the 1st strike on 28 Aug 1859. (Nick Campion’s Book of World Horoscopes). The old ruler of Oil, Jupiter, is Angular and exalted in Cancer, and the modern Ruler Neptune is in its own sign of Pisces in the 2nd House of wealth and resources. So the chart immediately looks ‘radical’ – i.e. it describes its subject well.

I’ve been wondering for some years what would happen around the Neptune Return of this chart. Being a mundane chart with a long life and subject to slow collective undercurrents, I think we can view the Neptune Return as having begun when Neptune entered Pisces.

(In the same way the US Pluto Return at 27 Cap arguably began when Pluto entered Cap in 2008, and the financial meltdown made clear that the country will not be No 1 for much longer.)

The conventional wisdom used to be that we would soon reach ‘Peak Oil’ (remember that?), when world reserves and consumption would be such that the rate of oil use would start to decline. And I used to regularly see posts claiming that Peak Oil had been reached, and I was sometimes suspicious that the authors were saying this to some extent because they wanted Peak Oil to have been reached, so that the world would be forced to look at alternative sources of energy.

But it did seem for a time as though the Neptune Return of the Oil chart would indeed coincide with Peak Oil, and would be the primary meaning of the transit.

But then fracking came along (frak is the futuristic word for f**k in Battlestar Galactica), and the oil industry suddenly has a whole new lease of life. 

According to Wiki, large scale commercial fracking began in 2013 (after many years development) –  as Uranus-Pluto were hard-aspecting the Asc of the Oil Chart, and Neptune was opposing its Sun. And there was a Jupiter Return that year. So both observation and the astrology tell us that the use of oil has entered a major new phase.

The Uranus-Pluto transit describes the unexpectedness and technological nature of this development (Uranus) and the renewal of the industry (Pluto). It also describes the wide protests against fracking that are occurring.

The current Uranus-Pluto square (2012-15) has been a time of protests and revolutions, just as was the conjunction of the 60s. Rebellion (Uranus) against power (Pluto). The empowerment (Pluto) of the people (Uranus). Those words make it sound like a good thing. But it’s neither. It’s just what happens under Uranus-Pluto, and it equally describes the crucifixions in the new Caliphate as it does the Occupy protests. And whether or not they are ‘good’ depends on your criteria and which side you are looking at it from.

Apart from the expansion in the use of fossil fuels that fracking allows, there are also other concerns about its environmental impact – its use of a lot of water, the chemicals it puts into the ground and the toxic wastewater it creates, and earth tremors. There are many accounts from the USA of people living locally to fracking operations becoming ill.

You can see it all unfolding: the authorities doing their best to ignore the harm that fracking is causing because there is so much money to be made. A new industry not being regulated because the government is in the pockets of big business. Eventually, years down the line, when there is enough evidence to take the companies to court and win, better regulations will be brought in. And we’ll look back and wonder what sort of society it was that allowed these ghastly things – and there will be ghastly health incidents – to happen.

For now, the authorities are doing one of the things they do best, which is turning a blind eye where big money or perceived national interest is concerned. Big money is amoral, it is like a beast in the jungle. 

In the financial crisis, there was no point blaming the bankers. They just did what bankers will do if you don’t regulate them. Blame the government and the people who kept electing them for not exercising Saturn properly. And the same goes for fracking. There's no point blaming the oil corporations, we know what they are like, it is proper regulation that is needed.

The trouble with Uranus-Pluto is that it polarises. Issues get raised in no uncertain terms, but it is also war. I don’t know if fracking can be done in such a way that it causes minimal environmental damage. But fracking is probably going to happen on a wide scale however much people protest, because our economic security is perceived to be at stake.

All the same, the protests are flagging up the concerns, but we will probably have to wait until polarising Uranus-Pluto has done its work before actual negotiation leading to better regulation can take place. Both the fracking and the protests against it have been born under Uranus-Pluto, so they both have power and longevity. It’s probably the beginning of a long struggle.

In 2019-20 Saturn will conjoin Pluto in Capricorn. That will be a good time for some proper regulation of this new industry. People are sensitised these days to the damage that corporations can wreak, which means regulatory action can happen more quickly. 5 years would be fast, relatively speaking.

At the same time, protesters come with mixed motives like anyone else, even in a good cause. The anti-fracking movement will inevitably have attracted a percentage of  people who hate authority – another expression of Uranus-Pluto - and who are only too happy to fight against it. And who are probably also genuinely concerned about fracking. It’s complicated. But this element gives ammunition to the opposition, because the way we go about these things is as important as the cause itself. What can happen under Uranus-Pluto is that each side starts to resemble the other.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Astrology and the Daimon

Astrology does not predict the future. In fact, astrology on its own does not say anything. It all comes down to the astrologer and his/her divinatory ability. Admittedly, if astrology is applied mechanically – in the way a computer does – it will score a few hits. And that can give the illusion that there is something ‘objective’, something ‘out there’ in the stars that the astrologer is reading.

And, just to sort of contradict myself, maybe there is? I’m thinking out loud. When those words come through you, where are they coming from? Are they coming from deep within, or are they being channelled from eg Pluto? We probably each have our own way of seeing that.

And it doesn’t really matter. If those divinatory words are indeed coming from the stars in your experience, the point is that it is not a literal place. Those words – the knowledge within them, the spirit behind them – are coming from someplace else that is not the everyday tangible world.

So how can computer readings be/appear useful? Firstly, we tend to remember the bits that ring true and overlook the bits that don’t. Secondly, people sometimes respond to readings as though they are being told something about themselves from the beyond, but without examining if it is true.

Thirdly (here’s where I get mystical), whoever wrote those computer readings, if they were good, would have written them in a synchronistic way, so that they would apply to precisely those people who would one day look at them. Sun sign astrology can work a bit like that.

One way that this divinatory perspective can affect the astrologer is that it throws us back on our own resources and abilities. Astrology is not something you can become ‘good at’ through stacking up knowledge and ideas, however interesting they might be.

I think that is a bit of a natural human tendency. The exoteric is more readily comprehensible, and requires less effort, than the esoteric. The exoteric is also a place to fall back on when we doubt ourselves.

Don’t get me wrong, the exoteric, the book learning, is invaluable. But it is all a support for that encounter with the gods, that place where you are on your own. And I think that applies right across all ‘spiritual’ traditions.

 Ultimately it’s just you and that Daimon who wants to speak through you, if you have the courage to let him. Or her. It just happens to be astrology that is the means.

That is why I think of astrology as essentially Neptunian. It involves unfolding symbols and letting them speak through you, which is Neptunian. And you are there doing that unfolding because to some extent your life is being guided by something other, a Daimon if you like, and that is also Neptunian.

 I find that sense of something other in the driving seat, so to speak, comes and goes. Sometimes it can feel like it’s just me and all my stuff to deal with, and it’s like this wall I’m up against. And then at other times there’s this sense of it all being how it’s meant to be and there’s this sort of benign plan, and that gives me a perspective that shifts me away from just feeling I’m at the coal-face. And that’s Neptune, who is currently squaring my MC-IC.

I think the IC can be overlooked, but it is the roots out of which the MC  - the branches, our place in the world - grows. The IC, it could be argued, needs to be addressed first in order for the MC to flourish. And my experience of both Neptune and Pluto (in the late 90s) hard-aspecting my MC-IC is that it has been predominantly the IC that is being addressed, my inner world, all my old stuff that still needs sorting, out of which comes a new story of my life.

Traditionally, the MC and ASC are the 2 most powerful Angles, while the DESC, and particularly the IC, it seems, can be treated as add-ons. You could say that it is an expression of the one-sidedness of our culture that the MC is seen as more important than the IC. That what we do matters more than who we are; rather than what we do, in the sense of the things we do that matter to us, growing out of who we are.

The theme of this piece, in a way, seems to be that which is inner, seeing that as the foundation, whether in terms of our psychology (the IC) or the Daimon (Neptune.)

And it’s a lifelong process. There’s no hurry. It can be confusing in our Saturnian culture (eg UK Sun in Capricorn, US Sun square Saturn), with its emphasis on tangible achievement. You can feel wrong-footed by it, doubting yourself for all the wrong reasons.

That inner process is more Moon (natural IC ruler) and Neptune (natural 12th House ruler) , than it is Saturn (natural MC ruler). Saturn at his worst denies the reality of the inner, but at his best is a protector of it, he is the walls of the mystic’s cave. Saturn needs to serve these 2 planets rather than dominate them: he gives us the wherewithal to keep our life in some sort of practical order, and the ability to find a place in the world for the Daimon. But the Daimon tells him where to go.

If the Daimon, the presiding spirit of our lives, is Neptunian, and Neptune rules the 12th House, then that suggests the Daimon lives in the 12th House.

I was uncomfortably aware when writing the above that Pluto often turns up when I’m writing, a sort of presiding spirit, and that doesn’t fit with the Daimon being Neptunian. And then I realised my natal Pluto is in the 12th House: it was one of those moments, that we probably need a word for, when you realise you're on the right track.

Not only that, but the Sun rules my 12th and is opposite Pluto. So my Daimon lies along that axis, in the working out of that opposition. Which is further suggested by my Jupiter-Neptune-Node conjunction in Scorpio: the need to find a hidden inner power and knowledge.

The Daimon is there, if you like, when you know you are doing the right thing with your life. So that brings in the North Node, the point in the chart where our most important lessons and tasks lie. I tend to think that if you are doing your North Node, then the rest of your life will fall into place.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Consciousness, the World and Mythological Thought

Consciousness and the outer world are inextricably tied to one another. How we treat the world is a reflection of how we treat ourselves. If we see the world as essentially soulless, as lifeless matter to be used without consideration, then that is also how we treat ourselves and each other: as units of economic productivity, to be tossed aside once we are of no use.

I suppose I’d trace it back to Science, with its tendency towards materialism; to Protestantism and its work ethic – good units of economic productivity go to heaven; and to the Old Testament God, who enjoined mankind to rule over all the animals.

So the environmental crisis is really an inner crisis. The environment is suffering because people are suffering; we have become split off from our natural relationship to the world, with its respect and its give and take, and split off therefore from a natural relationship to ourselves.

And I think this broken relationship is also reflected in the scientific view of the macrocosm, a place that is 99.99% chilly and lifeless, and whose destiny is to become increasingly that way, the eventual ‘Heat Death’ of the universe. Give me Armageddon any day!

I don’t see science as the objective art it claims to be, i.e. that it is simply discovering what is ‘out there’. It can easily seem like that if you’re not very reflective. The world so impresses us with its hard, separate reality that it can be hard to experience it as intermingled with, and conditioned by, consciousness. Quantum physics has known this truth for over 100 years, that you can’t separate the observer from the experiment. But it is subtle.

Eurynome Creates the World
So I don’t see the largely lifeless scientific universe and its eventual Heat Death as objective. It is an idea that reflects our broken consciousness, and we have found the evidence to support the idea, something that humans seem to be very good at! I think it takes a balanced human being to be ‘objective’, to see the universe in a way that reflects its real nature, which is one of aliveness: and there are many ways to do this, many Creation Myths, which are true to the extent that they reflect a living universe in which people have a balanced place (i.e. not ruling the animals!)

The Hunt for Dark Energy
From this perspective, the hunt for ‘Dark Energy’ seems to me quixotic. We may or may not find the stuff. But to say that 99% of the universe is missing and undetectable, that it can only be inferred, is also a way of saying that the universe we have in a sense created is woefully narrow.

We need to think mythologically, because that allows room for the part consciousness plays in generating views of the universe. Science is a myth, a story, that does not recognise itself as such. Its mythological nature is repressed, and when you repress something it comes back at you in demonic form: a chilly, lifeless universe that is 99% beyond our ken.

Truth lies more with the intuition, with direct experience, than it does with the intellect, which needs to have a supportive rather than a commanding role. I see an idea as true if it is imaginatively appealing, if it ‘rings true' in my experience, more than whether I can find hard evidence to support it. That way my experience of myself and my view of the world are not at odds.