AMERICA IN TRANSITION, MAY 2009
by Jessica Murray
It’s the window of opportunity of a lifetime, for all of us. This period we’re entering, peaking between 2011 and 2015 with a last hurrah in 2022, is going to be quite a ride.
I have suggested before that seeing these years as an amusement park ride is not just a fanciful simile but a practical idea; a perspective that could serve us well in these extraordinary times. The amusement-park-ride analogy would keep us mindful that, in other contexts, we pay for experiences that are exciting and scary. We value them enough to actually trade money for them. We seek out the titillating boost of aliveness—also known as fun—that they promise. This mnemonic exercise is first on my list of recommendations as to how we might approach the next few years with a maximum of grace and a minimum of fear.
Whatever practice we use to stay grounded, it should involve keeping our eyes, hearts and minds open. The Cardinal Cross period will feature immense drama. Humanity is dealing with big energies here, and we need spiritual courage and bold ideas to match.
Being Here Now
As individuals, it can be a rush to get in touch with the part of ourselves that remembers why we incarnated now. I think it likely that we who are alive during these years are drawing on a reservoir of lifetimes that featured comparable world-altering crossroads. We are each equipped with the cellular memory of these antecedents, now stored as images and feelings—deeply buried in some of us; closer to the surface in others—that can prepare us for Right Now.
Somewhere in our bones we remember incarnations whereby through weather, warfare or tectonic shifts, the Earth shuddered like a wet dog, and human beings, like drops of water flying off fur, were radically resettled or flew off entirely. Human history is full of cataclysms, tsunamis, floods, plagues and genocides. Our soul memories of these experiences need not arouse fear if they are viewed in perspective. They constitute a valuable resource.
I believe that we are each fully aware—on a super-conscious level—that we’ve been waiting all our lives for the years upon us now. And there have been plenty of prompts, in recent times, to bring these “memories” into everyday consciousness. Theories and visions have been floating around in the group mind to jiggle awake the shared sense that we are coming full circle in a momentous evolutionary cycle. There was even a public announcement: at the Harmonic Convergence, in 1987, spiritual archeologist Jose Arguelles introduced into American popular culture the idea of the end of the Mayan Calendar.
Western astrology, too, provides some pointed clues. The planets are very busy up in the sky right now.
But a little astrology, as we know, can be a dangerous thing. Not because occult knowledge has agency of some kind, or negative vibrations, or anything like that; but because information this potent needs to be held in the light of clarity, emotional balance and genuine curiosity if it is not to be misconstrued.
To glean the meaning of the transits upon us, we must cultivate the distanced viewpoint of a dedicated scientist; someone who is truly interested in what he’s looking at.
Most of us, by contrast, if we were to roll over a log to expose the squirmy things underneath, would probably say “Ew” and back away. But a trained investigator would come closer for a better look. The sign Aquarius is associated with this kind of detached vision. How appropriate it is that, right now, three great planetary symbols of wisdom are gathering together in this clear, cool-headed air sign.
Not all of us are blessed with a scientific mind. But regardless of the contents of our charts, right now the Aquarius transits are accentuating our capacity for exactly this kind of intelligence. We are all being asked to consider what it would feel like to look at the decay of social institutions with the same kind of detachment that a scientist would look at decaying organic matter.
On May 27, the epochal conjunction of Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune in Aquarius will peak for the first time (see the MotherSky Skywatches from February and April). This grouping combines hunger for knowledge (Jupiter), mystical yearnings (Neptune) and an acute awareness of the wounds we carry (Chiron). A thoughtful consideration of its meaning will give us clues about how to deal with the Cardinal Cross upcoming and the Saturn-Uranus opposition ongoing (see my Daykeeper Journal columns from November and December 2008).
The Aquarius conjunction is a heads-up about how to heal, the better to cope with and understand the higher meaning of the challenges ahead. These multi-layered Aquarian messages, appearing just now, against the backdrop of the other long-running transits, serve as a paradigmatic example of the organic way in which planetary patterns fit together. If we decode these patterns wisely, they give us the answers we need about how to be present in this time of accelerated evolution.
Doubt and Belief
What is the Aquarius conjunction trying to teach humanity? Let’s break it down, planet by planet.
Chiron is the archetypal fear that we are Adam and Eve expelled from the Garden all over again, in desperate need of redemption. Jupiter offers up any number of beliefs and ideologies that seek to explain this aboriginal wound. And Neptune makes all such explanations fuzzy and ambiguous, compelling us to look deeper.
The truths we have followed thus far, whatever they were, are not subtle enough to help us understand what we must now understand.
Doubt is a necessary part of the evolutionary process afoot. Cultural paradigms are more amorphous than at any other period in living memory. Any belief in a strictly defined set of worldly principles is a recipe for distress. This is not because we chose the wrong beliefs before, nor because we pledged our allegiances foolishly. It is because the times have changed, and they keep changing—very quickly now—and our identification with outside agencies must change with them.
Neptune, Jupiter and Chiron are untethering our relationship to external models. Their purpose is to lead us, eventually, to a more internal kind of knowledge. This is why trying to align ourselves with a familiar old set of teachings, whether from a family, a church or a political party, is likely to fail. Leaders will waffle; gurus may seem bereft of their former integrity. The very idea of a human hero is a slippery proposition. Even if he is a brilliant, cool and hugely welcome new president.
Barack Obama, upon whom the group mind has projected a kaleidoscopic free-for-all of expectations, does not represent now what he represented three months ago, nor what he will represent three months from now. Obamamania is a group condition, whereas Obama is an individual politician. It is to be hoped that his fans make this all-important distinction for themselves before Neptune, Chiron and Jupiter make it for them.
The transits upon us are warnings that we must follow our own internal ethical guidelines rather than cleaving to whatever articles of faith we are used to following. This means detaching from the construct of an exalted standard-bearer.
As Mom told us about our boyfriends, “Watch what he does, not what he says.”
How do we feel, for example, about the fact that the war in Afghanistan is escalating? (1) It is noteworthy that despite Obama‘s overwhelming popularity, apparently only 34 percent of Americans approve of his decision to send another 17,000 troops into those murderous mountains. (2) As for the other 66%, I don’t know what they tell themselves about why it is happening (to find Bin Laden? to wipe out the Taliban? (3), but the rest of the world knows quite well that the reason this long-suffering Central Asian nation has been the object of superpower conquest for centuries is because it is a critical transport point for strategic control of the region.
If there were doubt in anyone’s mind that what’s happening in Afghanistan is another colonial war, it would be quickly dispelled by considering the official wording used to describe Obama’s communication with Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s nominal president. Apparently Karzai “was informed of the deployments in a telephone call” (italics mine). (4) Check it out: the head of a sovereign state is being told that more occupying forces will be pouring into his country, and he isn’t even granted the face-saving verb consulted. If one were to try to visualize the tables being turned, the scenario would be too absurd to imagine: consider the reaction on Main Street if Karzai were to “inform” Obama that Afghanistan would be sending troops to US shores.
Moreover, it is high time for Americans to wake up from their post-Obama-victory nap as regards Iraq. In mid-March when Obama talked about the 350,000 Americans and US-paid mercenaries who would still occupy Iraq after the “withdrawal,” (5) he stressed that only “non-combat” troops would be left there; to “pursue the insurgents.” (Wait a minute. “Non-combat troops” to pursue the insurgents? What, pray tell, will they do with them, non-combatively, if they find them?)
The oddest thing about the American public’s blind spot about Iraq is the irony of its cost. Here we are in a financial climate where the slightest unnecessary federal expenditure is being furiously denounced by pundits—they’re filling the whole news cycle with their mocking fulminations about earmarks—yet we hear barely a peep about the fact that the occupation of Iraq costs $430 million a day. And the public, so pissed-off about fat-cat bonuses that they’re ready to strangle the AIG guys with piano wire, seem not to realize that those bonuses are peanuts compared to the amount of money pouring into Iraq. Imagine the homeless shelters that could stay open if the war stopped for just one day.
Now that would be a story to put on the evening news.
But we are still being told that we can’t stop the war right now. As the new president continues dishing out the same old Bush-era baloney about the invasion having been a liberating act, and congratulates the troops for "getting the job done," the truth stays as unvoiced now as it ever was. To wit, that the powers-that-be in Washington have no intention of allowing a complete disengagement. An independent Iraq is the last thing in the world they want. (6)
But the biggest irony of all about this money going down the drain for Iraq, a campaign envisioned by Bush et al. to end up in control of all that oil, may be that even that motive—that of conducting a witheringly cynical, nation-bankrupting, mass-murdering war in order to steal another country’s resources—may be rendered a moot point. Iraq’s post-Bush puppet government, whatever it ends up looking like, may not be able to force its various fractious constituents to cede the oil reserves over to Uncle Sam.
Washington didn’t listen to us six years ago when we filled the streets chanting “No Blood for Oil”; but the hideous joke may be on all of us when it turns out that this has all been about Blood for No Oil.
And then there is Gaza. There has yet to be an honest, fact-based discussion in Washington about what is going on in Palestine. While unconditional support of Israel is fulsomely and repeatedly pledged by pandering politicians, never do we hear what this means in dollars and cents. To mention that the siege in Palestine is funded by American tax dollars (7) would probably not go over too well in the current economic climate; so the Congressfolk keep their references nice and vague. Washington wouldn’t want the public taking a second look at Uncle Sam’s support for the Israeli war machine.
Thus is the financial irony of these times underscored. In this time of Congressional outrage—lavished upon whatever earmarks their constituents are likely to scorn as frivolous, such as pig flatulence research in Iowa—no one seems to be much bothered by taxpayer money going to Israel’s arsenal of white phosphorous and nuclear bombs. Congress, which knows very well about this monstrous slice of the federal budget, dares not raise the point; and the American public, who seem to not know about it, siphon off their rage elsewhere.
Meanwhile the taboo issue of Palestine remains the key to any resolution of the long-term horrors in the Middle East.
Despite the glory that buoyed up the American people during the last presidential election, the national self-image is in crisis. The notion of US democracy—that is, the ideal (Jupiter) vision of it that most of the US citizenry grew up with (Neptune in the US 9th house)—is melting down (Neptune cluster on the US Moon). The long, slow Pluto transit that is now opposing the US Venus/Jupiter will oppose the US Sun in 2015. These transits are wreaking havoc with what Americans have long assumed to be their most deeply cherished values. That is, the ones that were deeply cherished last time we looked.
But the transits are making us look again. The window of opportunity represented by the next few years will reveal whether Americans are able to look at themselves in the mirror and answer certain questions straight up, without self-deception.
Such as: Is it all right, or isn’t it all right, that our government taps our phones? Now that the guy in charge is someone we like and respect, has it suddenly become cool? And are we, or are we not, a country that tortures? Now that we just outsource it, is it okay? (8) Do the civilians we’re killing in Pakistan not really count, because it’s robot planes shooting them down instead of real troops? (9) Do we or do we not want to keep giving the Pentagon $1.3 trillion of our money each year to build nukes and space-based weapons?(10)
It is utterly understandable why Americans don’t want to ask themselves such questions. It is easy to see why most concern themselves, instead, with what passes for political discourse on their mainstream media. How could decent human beings not find these realities excruciatingly uncomfortable to look at? But such realities are the very sort that transits of the evolutionary planets like Chiron, Neptune and Pluto bring to the fore.
But comfort per se doesn’t really have anything to do with evolution. Nor does evolution require that we know all the answers. All it requires is that we pay attention to what’s happening. The universe is in charge of the breakdown of rotting systems; we don’t have to figure out that part. All we have to do is look at the squirmy things that show up when the rock is rolled away.
1 See Silk Road Blues on MotherSky blog.
2 Washington Post/ABC poll announced on February 17, 2009.
3 The Taliban were originally recruited by the Pentagon under the Carter administration, when Uncle Sam needed a local force to counter the Soviets.
4 The Washington Post, 2/28/09.
5 In his speech in late February 2009, Obama essentially agreed to continue the occupation of Iraq indefinitely. He announced that there would be 50,000 US troops in Iraq for at least three more years, and, in carefully chosen words, avoided a commitment to remove them even after 2011.
6 Gen. Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, is insisting that only two of the 14 combat brigades leave Iraq in 2009. This reluctance to exit the war zone certainly isn’t because the Pentagon cares deeply about training the native forces and maintaining security for the Iraqi people; who have lost more than a million souls since being “shocked and awed” to smithereens in 2003.The reason Washington won’t leave is the same reason they invaded to begin with: they know very well that a free Iraq would never consent to being a puppet state like Kuwait or Saudi Arabia.
7 See MotherSky blog posts from12/28/08, 1/3/09 and 1/6/09.
8 “The Obama administration appears to have determined that the rendition program [whereby the CIA and Pentagon abduct suspects anywhere in the world and transfer them to other countries] was one component of the Bush administration's war on terrorism that it could not afford to discard.” (Los Angeles Times, Feb. 1, 2009)
9 The Obama administration has stepped up these unmanned drone strikes, creating a surge of anti-US anger in Pakistan.
10 This sum is greater than the combined total of most of the other countries in the world, including all the NATO countries, and Russia and China. No social benefit is derived from these expenditures; nothing added to the GDP. The only beneficiaries are the war contractors and their big investors, the biggest banks.