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UNREVEALED BY TSARFATI’S “REVEALING REVELATION”

As present times strike many as “apocalyptic”, it was not too surprising that within days of  publication in  mid May Israeli Christian author and public figure Amir Tsarfati’s Revealing Revelation should reach the top of even some secular best seller lists.

I could, but won’t, offer a critique. Despite certain limitations, anyone (including the many Christians) unfamiliar with Revelation and its connection to the rest of the bible, by reading Tsarfati can at least obtain a fast and clear introduction to the last and perhaps  most controversial book of the Bible. (It was late and last into the canon in 419 though the early church fathers and notables like Augustine and Jerome had always accepted it).

My aim here is to reveal briefly as possible what Tsarfati’s book doesn’t reveal or explain. This means the kind of  mystical, philosophical or spiritual facts and logic unstated but assumed that underlie Revelation with its horrors and  extremes. It’s  a book  many find impressive and meaningful while they can still  wonder if it’s compatible with belief in a God of love. There’s  no point hiding the problem. I make no claims to infallibility, but I think I have joined dots and filled gaps to arrive at a reasonable clarity in relation to the too often unstated, hidden principles. Some like the late poet Kathleen Raine perceive the God of Revelation as only a devil god. We can start this inquiry with the divine image.

GOD IS FIRE

Right images of God are crucial to right and focussed understanding of anything like Revelation. Moses is addressed by God from a burning bush. The prophet Elijah is translated to heaven in a whirlwind and with a  chariot and horses of fire (but that don’t burn him). The prophet Ezekiel has a vision of God amid lightning and flashes of fire and from the waist down his body looks like fire (Ezek 1:27). At Pentecost the Spirit descends on the disciples in tongues of fire. “For our God is a consuming fire” declares the epistle to Hebrews (Heb 12.28). Fire is necessary to life; it is dangerous, creative but destructive. (“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:31).

If we don’t or can’t recognize the core fire fact about God it may be  because  that part of us that is spirit hasn’t been sufficiently awakened to it. Rather as God is One as Trinity, so humans are body, mind/soul and spirit, but the fire-related spirit sleeps or is even dead until awakened.

John the Revelator is “in the Spirit” when he receives his vision,  which beyond straightforward vision seems to be information conveyed to him in the divine throne room to which he ascends (Rev 4:1,2); but it’s possible this privilege is the intended understanding.  The bible does not very explicitly teach, but certainly assumes, a species of aura surrounding us and keeping us in life and leaving us at death– some  biblical accounts like that of the prophet Ezekiel transported to Jerusalem from Babylon to Jerusalem to witness events  (Ezek 8:3), make most sense if and when a spirit self is assumed.

Both outside Christianity and within it, the  spirit self, the ruach, is liable to be confused with soul nephesh, (the pair and psyche and pneuma in Greek). What soul usually relates to  (and  some may even call God), seek yoga style to purify, or have mystical union with), is Nature, the All, “Oneness”  or what the ancient world called Anima Mundi, the world soul. Biblically however, the nephesh or animal soul is what is vulnerable, what sins and dies (Ezek 18:20) and negatively can even be biblical “flesh” or lower nature. Outside  the bible, a notable mystic, Juliana of Norwich, would maintain the redeemed are those who have never sinned against God in the spirit. Be that as it may, we can say  the spirit is closest to God.

BUT HELL IS FIRE?

So God is (spiritual) fire….but so is hell, and at the same time as it is also called “destruction” and “outer darkness”. How and Why? It’s because everything and everyone exists through God (Col 1:17) so….the same fire that lights the redeemed, burns the damned (a claim often made in Greek Orthodoxy).

You can argue such proximity and co-existence must be impossible or unbiblical. But it’s as good as affirmed, not least in Revelation where it’s said that those who took the Mark of the Beast (the devil’s mark) will be tormented day and night “in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb”. Rev 14:10). So the damned members of the devil’s party are in heaven?

 No, and heaven has more and happily to do than to keep watching any torture, but because God sustains everything, heaven does register, necessarily registers, that justice exists and is done as an eternal aspect of God. (Concerning “justice” more presently). It follows the meaning here is that the damned are present to the light of God, can see and be seen just as in Jesus’ story of Lazarus, the damned rich man still perceives the finally glorified beggar afar off (Luk 17:23).

This degree of seeing is possible because, as said, everything and everyone exists through God who is fire and light. Hell’s fire however is what is the furthest removed from the light source and is only a  kind of fire. Just that would seem the problem for souls caught there.

Jesus’ damned rich man who wants Lazarus to bring him even just a drop of water, is not enjoying the benefits of the other companion elements to the originating fire, namely earth, air and water which together would support love and pleasurable existence. Which means the excluded are left thirsty souls and “hungry ghosts’ as per many traditions, trapped, non-functional sufferers, separated by a “great divide” yet which is still part of a whole. Evidently Hell is existence  through God, but as fire alone, while the precise torment that this diminished existence entails is related to habitual  character – “with the measure  you use it will be measured back to you” (Matt 7:2). Thus the rich man who  was always unmerciful and ungiving receives nothing he requests.

And the suffering goes on both before the Last Judgement and after it when the damned and Hades (Hell) and Death itself are finally cast along with the fallen angels (who till that  point have perhaps acted as tormentors), into the Lake of Fire  (Rev 20:14)…

HELL AND TIME

This sounds so ghastly all sorts of arguments are adduced to support belief in a non-eternal hell or eventual annihilation of the damned (Pope Francis assumes that) but they don’t work or fit biblically, nor even with quite a few alleged NDEs.

As regards hell and  the time factor,  once dead and out of the body, time as we  know it, (which is something measured here against space as we know and understand it), either doesn’t exist at all, or exists on some hugely different scale as when it’s said a  thousand years are like a day to God (2 Pet 3:8). Regardless, what the experience of hell (as of heaven) is, is one of complete immediacy, of nowness. Accordingly it’s  not a case of hell for a million years and then all over again, it’s simply suffering now. And most essentially it is so because God as the  life and joy principle has been  rejected by the will and/or blocked  in its natural function by disbelief.

HELL AND LOVE

Paradoxically a lot of the torment, at least for those relatively innocent and not obviously extreme sinners, could be due precisely  to the fact  that God is love. Love depends upon the existence of freewill and choice; it cannot be imposed. As a result absolute open conscious ;efusal of God can engage consequences akin to  more active sin. And any divine love must, besides, consider the greatest possible good for the greatest number. Many genuinely innocent victims of evil like the poor and children, are needlessly suffering in ways that divine justice must bring to an end.

But  what exists within time must be brought to an end within time. An endless wait upon some change of outlook and attitude in the recalcitrant is something not envisaged. Existentially it’s always a case of “Today is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2) the chance for  radical change.

In any case, time and history are about an unavoidable larger conflict to be resolved. The underlying belief is that the world is temporarily in the hands of the Satan who even offers it to Jesus on condition (Luk 4:6). But Jesus has appeared “to destroy the works of the devil (1 Joh 3:8). In short, there is a battle to be resolved on the material plane and within time so that it is impossible not to take sides. Revelation is effectively a vision of the last stages of this cosmic spiritual battle.

HELL AND WHAT GOD CANNOT DO

There’s not much that God cannot do and it’s said “with God all things are possible” (Matt 19: 26), but there is an exception to this. God as creator and the resurrected one is the Lord of Life. As such, without self-contradiction, God cannot kill outright. True, there are places and passages in for example Hosea and certainly in Revelation where God is seen as  destroying life, but this must be understood as involving the sin-capable soul, that must sooner or later die,  not the core spirit. “But rather fear him  who is able to destroy both body and soul (psyche) in hell (Matt 10:28). The spirit (pneuma) is not seen as destroyed.  The spirit is immortal and must exist and reside somewhere. As God will not and cannot kill the spirit, but the individual may not be fit for heaven, effectively the individual can only be quarantined in hell.

Today it is widely expected dead persons if they haven’t been too bad, automatically proceed to the heaven of angels. In the times of Jesus the accepted  view was less hopeful and sentimental and was that apart from a few distinguished exceptions like battle heroes, everyone went down to Hades and the dark. You could ask the gods for anything but not for immortality, it was accepted they didn’t deal in it and weren’t necessarily immortal themselves. The account in Homer’s Odyssey of a visit to the place of the dead who are made to appear through blood sacrifice, is ghoulish and unsettling and Virgil’s account of the Underworld in the Aenid is not greatly reassuring either. Plainly early Christians were much influenced by the account and promise of bodily resurrection and related eternal life that was fundamental to gospel proclamation.

HELL AS SEPARATION

Jesus died and went down to Hades to preach to the souls there (1 Pet 3:19). It is a popular modern error to suppose that the crucified Jesus who asks why God has forsaken him was doubting God the Father and awaiting his annihilation. He was reciting from the death Psalm 22 which contains the relevant words. The anguish should be seen as the supreme moment of the atonement sacrifice, (the death for others) This is paid for not least by temporarily becoming sin which separates him from his natural Trinitarian relation to the Father, separation being the purest experience of hell. (According  to the OT, anyone left hung on a “tree” as was Jesus on a wooden cross, was deemed accursed of God. Deut 21: 22,23) so the separation curse was  understood as operative in Jesus’ case.

Hell is where any  positive aspect of God absolutely isn’t .”Every good gift and every pure gift is from above and comes from the father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (Jas 1. 17). It follows that hell is describable in terms of otherworld opposites. Beyond a few details like fire, outer darkness and devouring worms, the bible holds little in description of hell. But at least some visions and NDEs of hell make plausible sense with their sharp opposites to heaven, like intolerable wailing and noise as opposed to celestial peace and melody, insufferable stench in contrast to the noted fragrance of celestial realms, isolation as opposed to the companionship of heaven.

BEFORE   HEAVEN AND HELL PROPER

But whether it’s a case of heaven or hell, though vision may reveal something, full entry to either place/state is normally impossible without a suitable bodily vehicle to do so. NDEs purporting to see and dead relatives in paradise zone, if valid, are meeting forms of still unresurrected  souls outside of heaven proper, (Paradise signifying as in Persian culture the gardens outside the palace heaven).  Job famously declares that  in his flesh in effect resurrected, he will see God (Job 9:26). There is a resurrection of the just and the unjust (Acts 24:15), a  glorified body  and an accursed one and certainly,  “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven” 1 Cor 15:50). But such resurrected conditions belong to the end times which are unavoidable.

Short of permitting evil and tragedy to continue ad infinitum while persons evolve, the perfection of God and heaven cannot allow casual entry on the basis of some partial merit. Heaven and immortality are serious business, not necessarily covered by a passing RIP thought! Ignorance might excuse up to a point, but good works are insufficient for heaven which strictly speaking requires a Christ based covering or imputed righteousness (argued for in Rom 3-5) that only faith can obtain so that, partaking in Christ, one is seen by God in some sense as Christ, a child by adoption.   

The so-called Rapture, which Tsarfati stresses, though it is only implicit in Revelation,  is “the blessed hope” of believers from earliest times, a sudden deliverance/resurrection of prepared believers to the presence of Christ and his judgement seat and avoiding the Tribulation. (Not implausibly, Tsarfati notes the first four chapters of Revelation are involved with issues around churches real and prophetic and then, following a trumpet summons to “come up here”, which could be the last trump of believers’ resurrection as per St Paul, nothing is heard about the church until much later – an interval arguably comprising the Tribulation years on earth)

GOD WITHDRAWING

Such beliefs raise many  questions around who can, should and will be “saved”  in which context and I will turn presently to this thorny  issue.  But despite all the differences, all parties can be considered  basically correct and agreed when they place the whole question in the context of the withdrawal or distance of the perfect Creator from imperfect humanity and world  and  the problem  this entails. This is, besides, an area in which the bible comes closest to world myths and religions which contain some notion of a crisis involving the withdrawal of an angered or disappointed Creator God.

The biblical narrative does not, however like other traditions, accept any later arrived substitute deities (which it would see only as fallen angels masquerading as gods), but retains the original creation and crisis/fall style picture. This underlies certain notions of judgement, end times and apocalypse that can then be challenging to popular images of a loving God. But one must read carefully.

As presented in Revelation all the judgements that strike the world during the years of Tribulation from “the Day of the Lord”(a time of judgement) onwards, are seen as directly sent by God and, to make the pagan comparison, striking like Zeus’s thunderbolts. Given the tenor and principles of the bible at large, in effect the judgements occur more through the permissive will of God. They are what the Creator allows and uses by way of warning and example and almost inevitably so as he increasingly withdraws from the mounting evil he does not reckon to sustain in existence. The “wrath” of God is identical with the withdrawal and absence of God. Where God is absent and excluded by humans, things take their natural course towards chaos –  Hell, the place of God’s absence, is also called “destruction”.

 Unless it is to send helpful prophets like Elisha or Jesus the Messiah himself, the perfection of God does not allow direct intervention against disaster and  breakdown that can strike the righteous and unrighteous alike. Nor does it favour instruction through just blessings (themselves liable to be interpreted as approval of persons and/or indifference to evil deeds). If societies including believers are under God’s “wrath” it’s more a case of “whom the Lord loves he chastens” (Heb 12:6) and/or an extension of what Nature (which the Creator indwells) has already set in motion through natural disaster.

In the more spiritual/occult/esoteric realms of scriptural worldview, there is not just science and climate change and  natural disasters, there  can be a sentient nature that  reacts and protests. “The  whole creation groans and travails with birth pangs”(Rom 8:22) – towards redemption is specifically indicated, but the principle allows nature can also be angry and protest misuse.

SMALL AND GREAT MERCIES

Does Revelation depict any kind of mercy for those who have not escaped the Tribulation itself?  A brief and superficial reading will be inclined to say no, but this can be questioned even if it’s a case of small or strange mercy. It is a peculiarity of the unfolding judgements that one of them comes early with the seals judgment (Rev 6:8) in which a fourth of the whole earth is killed, the sort of thing one might have expected to accompany the final bowls of judgement. What’s positive  here, anything?

To the extent the drama of Revelation somewhat pivots on the  theme of a false  Messiah’s rule and the dire consequences of taking the (satanic) Mark of the Beast, the  many who die early on will not be taking that Mark. Whatever their spiritual status and beliefs, and even if they are hell bound, theirs would still be a lesser perdition. God doesn’t wish that any be lost (2 Pet 3:9) and that God can be merciful to even the damned is indicated by the account of the healing of the demoniac in Mark 5. The demon who is Legion, many, and who would be a fallen angel,  begs Jesus not to be sent from the area (i.e not  be sent to the pits of hell). He/they is allowed as requested to enter the pigs in the region.  

Even those who survive the early disasters decimating the earth in Revelation will still be mercifully warned with unprecedented clarity (an angel will warn them) not to take the Mark but to accept the “eternal gospel”. So mercy is operative in its way, though one may wonder at this stage in Revelation’s vision  what “the eternal gospel” is. Perhaps some last minute very minimalist acceptance of the Creator as Lord and specifically named (ie not a name  according to any and every faith tradition).

FAITH AND SALVATION

Present as an issue from the first when we  see it’s right trust and belief alone secures the penitent crucified thief Jesus’ promise of paradise, especially amid today’s inclusivism the role for Christianity of specific creedal belief is important to grasp . It is related to the status of the religion as a grace and relationship faith as opposed to the usual alternative of  a works and knowledge one. Good  works express faith but don ‘t secure salvation (“lest any boast” Eph 2:9). And knowledge that is not of Christ is not definitive spiritual knowledge of a required  divine wisdom hid in mystery ( 1 Cor 2:6) – it could otherwise even be Luciferian light or knowledge from the serpent – even gentle Buddhism has snakes arise to protect Buddha at the time of his  enlightenment.

Words matter and have power – Jesus himself is called the Logos or Word of God. As opposed to some buy or earn works system of salvation , If sincerely understood and meant, the insistence on repentance (metanoia – mind change) and accompanying right belief, functions vitally in promoting right direction of the will . This needs to be subject to Truth-in-itself which again Jesus is as “the Way, the Truth and the Life”   (Joh 14:6)  against the world of lies belonging to the Satan and Antichrist.

Believers in Christ are “disciples”, pupils of a  guru-style teacher. The requirement of especially  belief signals what is most necessary, the attitude of trust without which progress to the kingdom of heaven cannot be made. In a free will  universe choice has to be offered  Even forgiveness and reconciliation cannot be imposed but rather chosen.  We cannot know  who “the elect” are nor quite what “predestination” really  means, but if there is any underlying principle it  might be the elect are those who, however undeserving, at least have the quality of teachability.

The gospel that was and  is intended to be preached and received, and which as per 1 Cor 15:1-5) most essentially entails  belief in Jesus’ death for sins and his bodily resurrection,  remains fairly non-negotiable. But who can and will be saved is not so exclusive as some unnecessarily make it. And not least if and when they teach on Revelation. Thus one may find for some odd reason, the fact that at the Last Judgement it is said everyone will be judged by their works (Rev 20:12) has been taken  to mean that souls will be resurrected to learn their fate for their evil deeds! And this because no one who did not believe in Christ (which  most people across history and outside the West  have not done nor had the chance to) cannot be saved. This is nonsense that denies the same bible these same people claim in authority.

When St Paul preached to pagans in Athens he assumed there are dispensations so  declared that “the times of ignorance God overlooked, but now (the new Christian era) God calls all to repent (Acts 17:30). This and more he says indicates how ignorance is taken into account.  As he says in Romans, on the last day the thinking of the pagans may accuse or excuse them Rom 2:15). Also in apparent agreement with his teaching that the unbelieving spouse is sanctified by the believing one, he accepted that the Corinthians were baptizing for their dead  Cor 15: 29)  presumably as far as possible reclaiming them.

Regardless, the  behaviour and life decisions  of those outside Christ are something only God can hope to judge. Some will have sinned without knowing it while others, as per Jesus’  parable of the sheep and the goats will even have served God without knowing it. If on the one hand Revelation could indicate few will be saved, it can also indicate many will be saved, as heaven is said to  hold  a  multitude of souls, “too many to number” (Rev 7:9).

The odd  oversights and exaggerated claims about salvation  are  compounded by a kind of false authority claimed by especially conservative Christians promoting apocalyptic views and quoting  “God’s Word” in support of them . By this they mean their bible, preferably the poetic but archaic King James version rather than Jesus himself as God’s Logos.  For some the bible becomes a paper Pope, so glorified it creates inevitable dismissal, bewilderment and disillusion among today’s many  biblically illiterate persons if they once open a bible.

Over-selling the bible once went so far that the koine (popular as opposed to classical Greek) of the New Testament before it was understood to be a vernacular was explained as the language of the Holy Spirit! In the same way there remain enough occasional puzzles,  apparent contradictions and translation issues in the bible for it not to be so loosely referred to as “God’s Word” as though it can always be taken at face value without need of  commentary or improved translation. Taken at face value “God’s Word” may even occasionally sound plain dotty or dangerous  as when the Sermon on the Mount settles possible hell fire upon anyone who says his brother is a fool,(Matt 4:22) a common enough occurrence. (However arguably there is by now  almost vested interest in not understanding or translating for the true application) (1).

Although managing to avoid the worst excesses of those “God’s Word” people on apocalyptic times and theology, Tsarfati’s understanding of Revelation, and all related bible prophecies, does have a major omission. Celestial factors, astrological symbolism aren’t in the picture as they should be. They count as much as the Bethlehem Star and the skies of  Christ’s birth heralded the birth of a Messiah and a new era down to the last symbol from the wheat bread of Virgo to the fish of Pisces and fishers of men on the lake of Galilee..

“God’s Word” people complain of mockery and rejection for even mentioning any return of Jesus  and approaching apocalyptic events; but for the average person, to broach the subject in terms of the upheaval and trauma of Pisces to Aquarius era change would ;ike;y facilitate at least some conversation and greater clarity.

The four beasts around the throne in the vision of Ezekiel are the four fixed signs of astrology, the obvious but only possibility Tsarfati doesn’t see fit to mention among his list of possibilities. Some basic astrology can simplify life and faith alike  and it would be nice to think Jesus really did reveal things about astrology   to the late Jeane Dixon in St Matthew’s Cathedral and such that she  could forecast one day astrology will become part of basic education curricula….It could actually help and resolve a few riddles.

Strong believers can agonize over why two people with faith don’t receive simultaneous healing prayed for at the same occasion. The secret is a miracle will not manifest for someone under a Saturn transit but it can do so for someone  under one of  Jupiter. This kind of perspective gets deemed biblically verboten “divination” as opposed to the empirical study of cycles it is in reality.

But whether one looks at the conservative or liberal branches of the churches today, either way confusion seems predominant and a kind of spiritual decadence increases. There is little agreement on anything, and like the last church of Revelation, Laodicea, the feeling is neither exactly hot or cold. Heaven is little named amid the extensive this-worldly focus and the faith is little geared to the original proclamation (“Repent and believe the gospel”Mk 1:14) but justified in its existence as scarcely more than a therapeutic cure or a branch of social services,  Once the extent of the sleepy betrayal of essentials is realized, study of “last days” may appear more relevant and refreshingly transcendent amid the dismally widespread fear and  uncertainty.

NOTES

1. Two examples of exaggerated or mistaken reading of texts touching on sexual issues and in a way to bewilder modern minds, are the following. The Sermon on the Mount seeks to interiorize the commandments.  Gune means woman married or unmarried, but since Jesus is speaking to the law against adultery, the meaning of not looking at a woman to lust after her (Matt 5:28), is most essentially  about harbouring intentions towards other men’s wives. The text has been dangerously read and preached to monkishly render any inevitable, normal or accidental  sex feeling  a guilty offence.  Jesus also equates treasured anger and prejudice with the roots of murder. The bizarre “fool” verse (Matt 5:22) ignores that in the Aramaic used, this was insult language, “effeminate pervert” and like cursing someone as a faggot. It’s not so long ago pleading “gay panic” at law was a means of getting off killing a real or imagined gay person. It seems likely Jesus took a probably then widespread almost automatic homophobia as symbol of all prejudices like racism furthering violence and even to the point of murder. If so, this belongs with numbers of hidden factors that could have helped solve the gay issue long ago instead of staying around uncommented to give the impression Jesus said merely odd inexplicable things.

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2022 in Uncategorized

 

THE LESSER KNOWN OSCAR WILDE

Any  “lesser known” Oscar Wilde will usually mean the writer of those forgotten years before the celebrated plays and the fiction of Dorian Gray, the Oscar of especially his poetry. Despite the confessionalism of De Profundis there is no autobiography, so it is the early poetry offers a few clues to the character and outlook. It takes the reader across the development towards  assumption at Oxford of Walter Pater’s aestheticism and  “art for art’s sake”. This  is behind  the frank enough self-evaluation of Helas  which concedes: 

To drift with every passion till my soul

Is a stringed lute on which all winds can play

Is it for this I have given away

Mine ancient wisdom and austere control?

It is a little surprising how neglected Wilde’s poetry (a first collection published 1881) has been, because while it is a mixed bag with some weak entries, especially among  the shorter poems, it also contains some highly accomplished  work, especially from any beginner.

Although in finding his voice  Wilde proves stylistically versatile imitating many  masters of the poetic from Shakespeare onwards, the early “just plagiarism” critical charge was always excessive and severe –  some of the  work is on a  level with Spenser and Byron. Convinced of his romantic nature Wilde plainly aspired to take the baton from that leading poet of the Romantic, Keats, often referring to Keats’ figure of Endymion and even calling himself (in “The Garden of Eros) “the last Endymion”. Since Endymion was the love sick devotee of the moon goddess Cynthia, this in itself tells us something about Wildean psychology which will be fitful and changeable as the moon imagery of which would be so interwoven with  the notorious Salome of his later drama.

Reasons for the ongoing neglect of the poetry and its messages are various. Today even just the swanky titles of so many poems in Latin, Greek, Italian and French might in itself be off-putting, along with the thee and thy, dost and hast  archaism which was at the verge of going from usage. (The only  modern touch is some occasional enjambment of verses rather than lines).  

Dismissal and neglect were nonetheless well set on the way by something beyond connections with English Romantic verse, namely connection with  French decadent poetry as of Baudelaire. It was  youthful in-your-face folly  beyond the issues of morals and taste inevitably raised, to have issued the long poem Charmides. This involves the tale of a youth, who, not as in an odd Greek tale from Lucian, “embraces” an image of Aphrodite, but instead desires the virgin goddess, Athena, whom he undresses. When Wilde was successfully entertaining America the judge T W  Higginson declared the poetry prurient and akin to work from Walt Whitman whose output  was homoerotic.

Mixed messages and allegiances are almost a feature of the early work. Despite everything Charmides  is a well-wrought significant poem, but like numbers of other offerings can only increase the impression Wilde was a person who came both too early and too late for his particular talents. He was plainly a too late-arrived full-blown Romantic, at the same time as he was a generation too early to dominate, as he could so easily have done, the Irish Hellenism associated with the  circle around St John Gogarty (Joyce’s Buck Mulligan).

Only quite late and in response to the Parnell affair (1890) and the political sympathies of his Anglo-Irish wife, did Wilde express any trace of Irish nationalist sympathies, but then in “The Soul of Man under Socialism” (1891) he will speak of “the stupidity, and hypocrisy and philistinism of the English”. However, prior to that Wilde thought of himself, or at least performed himself, as an Englishman, including by accent, from the time he arrived to study in Oxford, albeit the poems do betray some underlying doubt. Ave Imperatrix celebrates the range of empire Britain has achieved while regretting the human cost concerned “Ruin and wreck are on our side….Where is our English chivalry? “But this and any mixed signals are overtly or implicitly most likely the product of family confusion and religious tensions.

I take it that the early rejection of any Irish identity was at least partly a deliberate  rejection of Lady Jane Wilde, Wilde’s extravagant society woman  mother, an early figure in Irish nationalism and related cultural studies.  Esperanza as she called herself, (on the basis of some fictional claims to Italian descent!) was lining her son up for some nationalist political role he plainly didn’t want. He  didn’t have feelings either towards cultural nationalism though his fairy tales (The Happy Prince and other tales 1888), while not set in the world of his mother’s Ireland and its myth and folklore, are nonetheless distinctly  hibernian  in their sense of fate, doom, prophecy and melancholy. Irish fantasy and the pagan/druidic legacy were never notably cheerful (the reason St Patrick was not seen as the dark cloud  neo-pagans imagine). As for Wilde’s father, a descendant of the O’Flaherties, like the native psyche he could swing towards the darkly depressive, and, as in Vita Nuova and elsewhere,the early Wilde will write of himself as tormented.  “Alas, I cried, my life is full of pain”.

At the summit of Anglo-Irish society both parents were strongly Protestant in allegiance and feeling despite the fact Sir William Wilde had easy Regency morals and sired several illegitimate children – the intrigues of Wilde’s plays owe something to this background.  The paternal threat of being cut off hung over any possible conversion to Catholicism, but for the young  Wilde  this would still have been a  potential way of asserting himself through rebellion or even actually  finding the spiritual fulfilment he was long in quest of, including through the Freemasonry he joined in Oxford.

There seems little doubt that the pomp and ceremony of both Catholicism and Italy held a strong attraction for Wilde from early on, and Italy was as much or more a second home imaginatively than (supposedly chivalric) England. His first poetry prize was for the long Ravenna which enthuses about the land “where Dante sleeps and Byron loved to dwell).  His Sonnet on Approaching Italy looks back to Petrarch’s very special and patriotic  Ad Italiam, and one of  his first plays is The Duchess of Padua. The Italy list goes on – as can questions about the poet’s  early decisions.

Though later Wilde would flippantly maintain conversion to Rome was never really an option for him because his true gods were money and fame, it had been a serious enough option for him to cancel his  reception into the church on the day he was to proceed; and, as we know, on his death bed he did finally turn to Catholicism. The early poetry in its  baroque intensity suggests the  option must  have been real enough in   his   mind real enough and a case could be made, and Oscar seems to have made it that Sir William stunted his son ‘s spiritual development by blanket opposition to anything Catholic. (1) Some early poems resulting from a trip to Italy, (admittedly funded by someone hoping for Wilde’s conversion!) sound sincere or tormented enough to suggest real  crisis as in  E Tenebris with its

Come down O Christ and help me, reach thy hand

For I am drowning in a stormier sea

Than Simon in thy lake of Galilee

 All the same, there is something odd in any such addresses to Christ then and later because it’s not clear from the poems whether Wilde ever quite believed in Christ in the first place –at the end of his life one of Wilde’s most faithful friends, Robert Ross, was divided about calling a priest as he wasn’t himself as a Catholic convinced Wilde truly believed – he had even told Ross, but perhaps to shock and be theatrical, that he didn’t. A classic definition of a Christian going back to St Paul (Rom 10: 9-10) is a person who believes in and affirms the resurrection of Christ. Wilde hardly does this. In the  Sonnet: on  the massacre of   the Christians in Bulgaria  he asks:

Christ dost thou live indeed or are thy  bones

Still straightened in their rock hewn sepulchre?….

 …If thou in very truth didst burst the tomb

Come down and show thy might

Lest Mohamet be crowned instead of Thee!

The Sonnet’s title consciously echoes Milton’s Sonnet XV111 On the late massacre in Piedmont  and it may come as a surprise that Milton was ever an important figure for Wilde as for Wordsworth. (He even devotes a sonnet to Milton as some exemplar of democracy). It is apparent from early poems that Wilde, who would have preferred a republic for his distantly praised imperial Britannia, regarded Milton as some kind of possible model for him if he were to assume a public role. The republican ideas however would seem irreconcilable with other ultra-Romantic, almost Tennysonian, notions of England as home of Arthurian chivalry. This idea, despite one or two ballads like Ballade de Marguerite didn’t and couldn’t be seriously developed. But nor quite could other images. In Quantum Mutata  wearing his English persona and anticipating the drift towards his essay The Soul of Man under Socialism he laments

We have thus fallen, save from Luxury

With barren merchandise piles up the gate

Where noble thoughts and deeds should enter by:

Else might we still be Milton’s  heritors

The sense of disgusted alienation increases and is oddly and memorably resolved in Theoretikos. Victorian England is now a “vile traffic house” with wisdom and reverence sold at mart, the heritage of centuries despised so that

….“It mars my calm; wherefore in dreams of Art

And loftiest culture I would stand apart

Neither for God, nor for his enemies

But what about the gods? The poetry swings between, and never quite resolves, whether the ancient gods are in some sense real as archetypes we could awaken, or just a dream. The long poem The Burden of Itys ambitiously declares the Thames is holier than Rome and thinks the gods are not dead but need awakening. Almost querulously he asks why he should still behold “the wan white face of that deserted Christ/Whose bleeding hands my hands did once enfold” but who in his dishonoured House weeps, “perchance for me?” (Is it possible Wilde has sold or fears he has sold his soul?)

However, any raising of the sleeping gods is basically illusory or worthless, Apollo isn’t interested to hear his pain and Thames “creeps on in leaden sluggishness” and it’s all a dream he wakes from. Even so,  a bright  moon drifts across a shimmering sky and  haunted Endymion thoughts recur.

 Archetypally I feel that Wilde’s imaginative affinities were less with the classical gods he knew so well than the Hindu or Asian ones. For their air of splendour and savagery the late plays Salome and La Sainte Courtisane are “oriental” in feeling. If so, possibly the  most meaningful call of the Itys poem  is

…“Sing on and I will wear the leopard skin

And steal the mooned wings of Ashteroth..”

Arguably this is to identify with Shiva and Kali type energies beyond those of the classical gods  – the leopard skin belongs to Dionysus, an outside member of Greek gods. Outsider gods fit Wilde. Pan is nowadays deemed to be archetypally a Shiva figure and in Pan: A  Double Villanelle, the poet calls on Pan as an energy for here and now that a  grey world needs. So I think there is a pattern here.

The nearest to an actual early credo is contained in another long and complex  poem, Panthea  which also raises the self-fulfilment and  guilt  question. It begins

Nay, let us walk from fire unto fire

From passionate pain to deadliest delight

I am too young to live without desire.

Just what is conveyed  is hard to summarize, but basically Wilde seems to say he wants the energies of the gods, However,  if they exist they themselves are as in the Itys poem indifferent to or bored by human sins and failures and we in turn are

…..wearied of this sense of guilt

Wearied of every temple we have built

Wearied of every right, unanswered prayer…

……For man is weak, God sleeps and heaven is high

 Though we are bound to accept death, we should be comforted we are a part of nature, which like us has its passions. We become one with the elements

“We are resolved  into the supreme air

We are made one with what we touch and see..….

And thus without life’s torturing pain

In some sweet flower we will feel the sun

Here something like Pythagoreanism  (which Caesar associated with the druids) takes over, or perhaps the spirit of Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

We must look back at Charmides for a bit more on the tensions suggested – a whole Catch 22 of sex

“The joy of passion, that dread mystery

Which not to know is not to live at all

And yet to know is to be held in death’s most  deadly thrall.

It’s a fair surmise, especially as one of the poems is “The  Harlot’s House”, that the sexual and emotional tensions of the early work are based on the experience of visiting a prostitute while still a student at Oxford and fearing, but wrongly, that he had contracted syphilis – his later health problems and cause of death were  not linked to this.

Although the Itys poem refers to Narcissus

“who is not boy nor girl and yet is both

Fed by two fires and unsatisfied

Through their excess, each passion being loth

For love’s  own sake to leave the other’s side

Yet killing love by staying….”

we don’t get many or any clues to the origins of gay Wilde. Various references in the poetry to such as Hylas or Antinous, are mentioned almost more as decoration, variation or curio, not special hint – at Keats’ grave he even calls that perfectly hetero poet “fair  Sebastian” though later Sebastian was a favourite gay image.  But arguably this very absence of meaningful reference allows one to make certain speculations.

It’s true that poets like the early Auden could bury reference to gay love beneath a fake straight imagery, but that’s unlikely in the youthful Wilde’s case. He has described himself or his root dilemma in the Itys poem when he uses the image of the heron. He is at this stage drifting, and confused only, but as usual miserable.

“She”[the heron] does not heed thee, wherefore should she heed

She knows Endymion is not far away,

T’is I whose soul is as the reed

Which has no message of its own to play

So pipes another’s bidding, it is I

Drifting with every wind on the wide sea of misery.

WEAK  AS WATER?

Constance Wilde

Constance Wilde in horrified reaction to the almost inexplicable post prison resumption of relation with the troublemaking and vicious Lord Alfred Douglas, described her husband as “weak as water”. One can’t  entirely  dismiss this verdict.  And arguably astrology can help explain  in  this area what regular biography and critique can’t and won’t account for.  

Wilde can be “explained” as a notable example of the weakest kind of Libran (which also his Bosie was). Libra, the Venus, marriage and partnerships sign, is often also deemed the most bisexual of signs. This however is often due simply to its will to please. The Libran may or may not want sex, but they will always want relation and to please and impress within it, a kind of general vanity replacing the normal role of ego. Not necessarily  insisting on its own way, it wishes to supply what the partner wants, or will admire. The most important thing is to have a partner, even at the cost of a certain self-annihilation….unless or until something gives and there may be memorable reversal or revenge.

The perfect theme and almost the truest image for the later Wilde is his Salome. Salome wants relation with Jokanaan (John the Baptist), or at least to have his attention, which he always refuses. In the end something snaps and she wants both to possess the prophet and be revenged by having his head – this is archetypally correct because the opposite sign for Libra is Aries and Aries is the sign of the head so, subconsciously, revenge directs towards it. ”And all men kill the thing they love” is a line from the conclusion of  Wilde’s The Ballad of Reading Gaol.

Wilde as Salome

However, obviously not all Librans are bisexuals and the stronger signal for an inclination towards that orientation is some form of stress or affliction aspect  of a natal planet to Neptune. Which with Saturn in close natal square to Neptune Wilde notably had.  This aspect risks various addictions, not least to drink and drugs (such as especially in later years manifested in Wilde), a weakening of personal boundaries and a tendency both to guilt and pity, often exaggerated and inappropriate, such as was demonstrated in the poisonous Wilde/Bosie relation. The latter began when Wilde was cooling to, even disgusted by, his previously adored wife because she had put on weight following childbirth.

Although Wilde’s legal defence was couched in terms of same-sex gay/Greek love that Wilde the classicist was familiar with a defence that would subsequently render him the image and spokesperson for all things gay, it is more exact to see this married poet, including poet of female beauty, as a bisexual. In modern terms Wilde was “queer”, his sexuality more choice than “born like it” gay. And more guilt or tension surrounded this accordingly.

The  “born like it” gay person tends to be less guilt ridden and more  frankly protesting their rights against prejudice and discrimination  because their worldview and options are defined by gay. For the bisexual, overt expression can be experienced as an add-on, an excess,  temptation away from something, a crossing of borders, a satisfaction of curiosity. Taedium Vitae speaks of “where my white soul first kissed the  mouth of sin”. We can’t know the  context of this, but the turning to Bosie would savour of this feeling. Wilde is a Neptunian savourer  or connoisseur of erotic experience much as he savoured the flowers that so entranced him and that incidentally was the most English feature of   himself and his poetry – Yeats claimed English poetry was too full of flowers and he avoided them.

 Though Wilde was a far nobler person than the Libran bisexual Satanist, Aleister Crowley, there is some comparison up to and including a depiction of temptation as delivering a true knowledge. It has been said sheer weakness, a lack of normally sensed boundaries took Crowley into the states and situations he less arrived at than almost fell into. His apparent  strength was reliant on a special weakness. However great Wilde the artist was, the “weak as water” verdict has some grounds. The Wilde who admitted he might have been a better  person under Catholic practices virtually concedes this. Libra is also the sign of Law and Libra can like or even crave the structuring patterns of Law and associated rituals more than the average person.   

TWO GRAVES: IMAGE AND STYLE

Roman grave of Keats

I am not a Wilde scholar but I think a study of Wilde’s lunar imagery in the early poetry and later oeuvre is material fit for more exploration, books or doctoral studies (or even astrological – asteroid Endymion degree exact conjunct Wilde’s Jupiter, his beliefs). In conclusion it is instructive to  note the contrast between the poems inspired by the graves in Rome of the Romantics Keats and Shelley. Keats is beautiful, a victim, a martyr, “the poet-painter of our English land”.  His name may be writ in water but tears like Wilde’s will keep his memory green. The picture glories in pure passivity. But the same may be said to apply to Shelley for whom it is sweet to rest ”within the womb/of earth, great mother of eternal sleep”  though in a nod to Shelley’s drowning at sea, a restless  tomb in the sea deeps might be almost better  

However unintended, the absorption of Shelley to some Keatsian/ Wildean sleep and passivity ideal borders on  insult. Ironically the very active and campaigning Shelley virtually began in the Ireland Wilde had cast off. The pioneering Queen Mab epic was composed while in Killarney and Shelley, who had been horrified by what he experienced of conditions in Ireland, his atheism despite, would always be a supporter of Irish liberties and Catholic Emancipation.

If any bridge between Irish and English literature exists, Shelley is that bridge. He was the model in English language for Yeats as regards vision and a politically engaged kind of writing . And in developing a national poetry Yeats evolved a more colloquial English verse of the kind from which Wilde’s poetry with its archaisms and sometimes  embarrassing identification with all things English,  could have benefitted.(Yeats also greatly reduced the reference to flowers he deemed excessive in English poetry but which Wilde, who loved flowers like a good Libran, often cited,)

Wilde had the ability to have been a great poet but he abandoned the task just as he lost or ignored many opportunities – the mind boggles that after a friend had travelled  to France specifically to give him the original of his drama La Sainte Courtisane he promptly managed to lose it in a Paris cab so that the world has only a few pages of the work.

We rightly enough pity Wilde for his quite excessive sufferings and spectacular fall from grace, but one of the messages to be derived from the poetry is that Wilde was at no time especially happy. The poetry often speaks of pain, misery and confusion so that despite the brilliant comedies there is a lot of the sad clown to the life pattern  while the poetry seems to participate in or foreshadow the wrong choices that would lead to the ultimate fiasco.

POSTSCRIPT

34 Tite Street, Chelsea with blue plaque commemorating Wilde

I have often vaguely mused on Wilde, what he means and represents. It was easy to do so because in the days before it inexplicably recently became the most expensive street in England, I once lived round the corner from Wilde’s 34 Tite Street Chelsea home with its blue plaque commemorating  him. Recently I thought I should get down to this article in the course of which I surprised myself with suddenly seeing Wilde in a different way. He seemed  more like a mild version of Crowley, a bit sold out and satanic. Surely, I told myself this couldn’t be true? But the unfamiliar emphasis looks to have belonged with something rather odd in the heavens encouraging the new perspective.

I realized the decision to write this followed a recent red moon eclipse in the sign of secrets, Scorpio. This fell in Wilde’s supposed third sector of writing but definitely to the degree exactly  conjunct his natal Lucifer. This is on an axis with an asteroid I have found has a lot of association with the dark side. While I don’t believe Wilde formally sold his soul, I think some of his more Christ-rejecting verse statements borders on separation to the point Wilde may even have believed he had virtually done the deed. If so, that could be a factor in  what I see someone has called the “faithless Christianity” of Wilde’s The Soul of Man under Socialism, which envisages an entirely self-referential religion, a bit like “atheistic” Zen. I also see an academic essay has proposed, Wilde simply substitutes Art for the traditionally  entrapping  devil in The Portrait of Dorian Gray. Perhaps it’s small  wonder  his friend Robert Ross  had a few doubts about Wilde and religion.

Returning to read Wilde after years of absence and hoping to enjoy this, I feel I have encountered a figure less gay and more occult than I would have supposed. But whether I’m right or wrong, it’s a sad and mysterious story.

NOTE 1

The standard Ellmann biography, p 548, records the late statement: “Much of my moral obliquity is due to the fact my father would not allow me to become a Catholic. The artistic side of the Church and the fragrance of its teaching would have cured my degeneracies. I intend to be received before long”.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2022 in Uncategorized

 

POEM: A MOMENT IN TIME

[Normally I’ve uploaded brief, or “occasional”, or just second rate poems, to McCleary’s Additions; but because putting the short “Shannonside and not a Limerick” onto this site last year drew views every day for three months from Germany alone I might as well allow the following a possibly larger audience here]

A MOMENT IN TIME

Young bright  Miss Hayward and

More heavy and  old Miss Dee

Are stressed  today and arguing of

Times and room change for a class,

A new one – ours . It’s like a cloud upon

A  summer’s rich and promising day,

The  quiet brilliance in sky and  yard

Outside this  prison house of school

It feels  impossible  now’s not that day

But something wakens  me to thought

That knows such cannot be, nor is –

The room itself is lost to field. Ago

Above six decades was that scene.

And who knows where, as earth or ash

The  pair who disagreed remain? 

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2022 in Uncategorized

 

READING MAY ’22’S RED MOON ECLIPSE

IT’S NOT JUST THE APPEARANCE

Blood moons (total lunar eclipses) can look portentous but are chiefly significant if and when they hit the birth or foundational  patterns of persons or nations. When they do so, some kind of ending, either total or helping to birth new arrangements, is indicated and for a time span within a few months. Events to the day are possible, but a wider time frame over months is usual because an entire complex theme can be involved.  For example….

….Mid May’s red moon hits on Queen Elizabeth’s destiny and reputation Midheaven angle and her chart’s duty-inclined ruling Saturn. The same eclipse hits tension square (at 90 degree angle) to Prince Charles’ natal sun; it is also conjunct Prince Andrew’s moon. and opposite Prince Harry’s moon. We can be reasonably sure that there will be further reports and speculations around revising and ending various duties, titles and roles.

The same eclipse hits opposite Israel’s natal sun and square its Mars which is suggestive of heightened conflicts. In this connection and mindful of time frames for coming months, it’s interesting that the recent Passover and Ramadan season flare-ups around Israel’s Temple Mount area owe something to some sectarian apocalyptic-style  Muslim beliefs, more popular in Palestinian circles than elsewhere, that coming months are crucial because  Israel cannot and will not exist beyond July 9th this year. (Be assured it will survive!)

RED MOON TRADITION

In rabbinic tradition lunar eclipses and red moons are more significant for Israel  than the solar eclipses that affect the gentile nations. This is and isn’t quite true. Both types of eclipses have significance for every inhabitant on earth, the solar for marking new themes and phases in their lives and the lunar for resolving and concluding existing issues (either fully concluding or indicating some changes amid and due to the ending).

Undeniably however,  at any purely observational naked eye  level, patterns of lunar eclipses across especially Jewish festivals  do appear to have accompanied or anticipated  special moments in the history of the Jews from such as their expulsion from medieval  Spain  to the foundation of modern Israel. In recent times the cycles of blood moons has spawned many books and speculations there is no need to enlarge on here but which leads to another point.

Not only by tradition is the Messiah the  moon (I would maintain the moon conjuncted his ascendant degree at Jesus’ birth), but biblical prophecy about the moon turned to blood before the “Day of the Lord” (a season of judgement) is usually understood to signify not a special miraculous sign but a red moon eclipse. (The sun turned to darkness could likewise indicate a solar eclipse). But this necessarily implies that at some point near or far in time,  there has to be ONE special blood moon (and perhaps also solar eclipse) which precedes and heralds  the worst time in history variously called The Tribulation and  The Time of Jacob’s Trouble. At that time  there is  effectively a withdrawal or increased separation of God from the world which almost automatically unleashes the sort of apocalyptic chaos and woe depicted in Revelation and overseen by a false Messiah or Antichrist  figure.

Of Christians who believe in apocalypse  there is a  division among those who anticipate a so-called  pre-Tribulation  Rapture or  harpazo (a snatching away deliverance event for the believing prepared), and  those, usually Catholic, who anticipate  suffering through  the Tribulation period. In the last  few  years and months, reports of Trib dreams, especially of harpazo, (along with speculations including around May’s red moon) have greatly increased.

Though perhaps less strongly than this year, under the eclipses I have seen more or less apocalyptically suggestive patterns…. which does not mean one was seeing in complete error. Not only are there build- ups towards major events like wars and disasters, but at the very least one can speak of something in the collective unconscious. Accordingly, whatever precisely happens or doesn’t in a given time frame one can be reading what is hoped for and will be thought at a certain time and does produce at some level a measure of disturbance. (Symbolically anything harpazo would be involved with either or both of emphasized Uranian surprise or Neptunian mystery while denial of such hope belongs with long suffering and sceptical Saturn).

For the Jews, current disturbances in the world are less mapped out within certain time frames than  more generalized as  necessary birth pang style harbingers of the advent of a Messiah a few rabbis even now claim to have met and is simply awaiting his moment. Even disregarding such reports, this year is still important  (and the red  moon’s indicators potentially), because of an understanding of  the Jewish cycle of shemita years of 7 of which we are in the difficult last seventh year awaiting in September the onset of a still more difficult 7 years. This either is or isn’t the equivalent of prophecy’s seven year long Tribulation. In the notes I provide link to a clear and consistent enough vid take on this subject and speculations attached to it (1). But  sufficient to stress it is not unreasonable in troubled times to look at the red moon as possibly the one and only red moon of prophecy. But how to do that?

THE MOST CRUCIAL RED MOON ?

Determining if the lunar eclipse is THE one would seem to be problematic  short of

a) the date of eclipse (May 16th) occurring  at a time of already ominous signs like  the threat of nuclear war or widespread  famine such as we do somewhat already have.

b) confirmation from some notably reliable prophetic visionary, not just random dreamers, of being given via an eclipse special divine warning …albeit in fairness to the dreamers the “Day of the Lord” is supposed to multiply visions of  end of days crisis  among ordinary people (Acts 3:17-29) in a way some would  insist we now have..

c) examination of the celestial patterns  at the  time of eclipse  as they connect to other relevant patterns such as modern  Israel’s foundational one. Given the  potential range of reference  this is a more modern approach.

Though evidence in especially the last option can only be more or less cumulative, especially as the use of many asteroids must allow for a few strking flukes, I will list what’s interesting in the ties set up to the red moon, and also its near solar eclipse (May 30th). I will use accurate test charts for religious events: a chart for Christ I have long found reliable for Jesus issues and events into modern times, and the still working chart for the birth of Christianity at Pentecost AD 30. (2)

RELEVANT  CONNECTIONS

(Nowadays not just stars but named asteroids count)

In the chart of Christianity the eclipse falls on the degree of asteroid Lie – The entire Trib period is deemed a time of lies and deception arguably started by cover ups regarding especially any harpazo type event. In the chart for Jesus the eclipse falls at 25 Scorpio conjunct his asteroids Morgenstern (Morning star, an apocalyptic title of Jesus) one minute of a degree off 24 Scorpio and conjunct Coelum (heaven) at 24 degrees.

The eclipse falls opposite Israel’s  sun challenging its identity and  leadership and also square the nation’s’ Mars, a possible indication of war.

At the time of the eclipse Mercury is at 3.29 Gemini. Birthed amid a speaking in tongues, at 3.43 Gemini, Christianity is a hugely Geminian institution and communicating Mercury is its planet.  In the chart of Christ, Mercury at the eclipse is conjunct a  2 Gemini Groom. The harpazo/Rapture is also the marriage of the Lamb, so something of “Behold the Bridegroom comes” can attach to this. Suggestive for a suitable ecstasy, Mercury at eclipse is conjunct Christianity’s Jupiter/Uranus midpoint, deemed the most fortunate point in any chart.

Venus at eclipse is at 16 Aries which is not significant in Jesus’ pattern but is the Part of Kings and Kingship for Christianity.

Mars at 23 Pisces is problematic. Mars is weak in Pisces but  since, negatively, Pisces and its planet Neptune can be poisons, possibly there is a hint of mass poisoning or nuclear fallout through war. For Christ 23 Pisces gives Amos, a lead prophet on the subject of “The day of  the Lord”. For Christianity, 23 Pisces is Jeremias, the prophet of lamentations, the sort of thing the Trib  would invoke!

Of more interest and significance is the position of Jupiter on I degree of Aries. The affairs of this eclipse can be world-involving because 0 Aries is a world point and for Christianity this is the place of Reich (Kingdom) while for Jesus it is the degree of Gluck (happiness/ good fortune) and also Rise with its suggestion of anything to do with ascension and harpazo.

Saturn at eclipse is at  nearly 25 of surprising, unexpected Aquarius. For Christianity 25 Aquarius is the degree of Fini (finite or finished)  while for Jesus 24  Aquarius is his degree both of Hemera (day – day of the Lord?) and Boda (Wedding). Undeniably the beginning of the Tribulation is associated by contrast with the heavenly marriage.   

Uranus is at 15 Taurus at eclipse. The degree which I won’t get into, is anyway probably more important than the Taurus sign since wherever it falls Uranus  is liable to shake the earth and its systems in various ways, climate-wise, quake-wise, economically etc and unexpectedly. For Christ the position adjoins the Part of Victory at 16 Taurus. For Christianity  there is no special emphasis.

Neptune at 23 Pisces is not emphasized for Christ but for Christianity it is its  degree of Israel,  a degree in direct aspect to Israel’s natal sun  (23 Taurus) besides.

Transformational  Pluto at eclipse is at 28 Capricorn. This is not connected to the pattern for Christ, but for Christianity it’s the degree of Mars and Urgenta (Urgent) a word that seems to attach to any end of days talk! Mars and Urgenta are within calling distance, though not by narrow asteroid standards conjunct Anastasia (resurrection) at 24.

BY CONTRAST THE (PARTIAL) SOLAR ECLIPSE

Partial solar eclipse

As opposed to the red moon, for the solar there is no need to look at every planet because it’s sufficient  to note that  a theme or question seems to dominate things for it. Besides which, this is only a partial eclipse. If anything last December’s strong and still effective total eclipse and directly opposite Christianity’s natal Saturn seems like a better candidate at this time for any seriously warning solar eclipse.

The partial eclipse at 10 Taurus  of 30th April  is near enough conjunct Uranus in the heavens at the time to promise destabilizing effects for months in its wake. For Christ the eclipse is conjunct his Spirit asteroid at 9 Taurus and for Christianity  its Richter (Judge) at  9 Taurus. The potential for some kind of judgment and ending could be implied given the link to Richter; and  given too that both Venus and Jupiter are conjunct at 27 Pisces which means conjunct Jesus’ Fini (finished, finite). And this within an eclipse  pattern where once again Saturn, itself a barrier and endings factor, is within a degree conjunct Christianity’s Fini factor.

ATOMIC LEVELS

The first splitting of the atom and the attack on  Hiroshima highlighted 8 and 9 degrees of Gemini.  If, as my data maintains, Jesus was born with 8 degrees Gemini as his ascendant (the body) and the degree of his moon too, this makes strange sense because all things exist through Christ (1 Col 17) who is necessarily  linked to atomic, subatomic and planetary/cosmic levels of existence.

Accordingly it is of interest that in the wake of the maybe special lunar and solar eclipses,  the lunation that reflects events of the month from May 30th falls on 9 Gemini. It does so at a time when Mars is finally into its natural warrior sign of Aries and enlarging Jupiter is into Aries too.  For Christianity, Jupiter conjuncts its Jupiter. It may simply be that Jesus will be in the news in some fashion during June. If however those visionaries who claim to have seen a simultaneous sudden attack on America and a harpazo  event, then the  first half of June currently appears like the most suggestive time frame and following what could have been a short break suggestive for a peace that puts people off guard – which is one of the trickier, more dangerous possibilities during this whole turbulent year. 

I don’t date set for disasters or apocalyptic events, at most assessing the likelihood of some time frames as  having more potential to manifest serious events than others and/or showing most agreement with the claims of visionaries about whom I am wary but not automatically dismissive. With these caveats my impression at this point is that in the wake of the  expressive lunar and solar eclipses, June could prove a special month and a turning point.

NOTES

  1. Seven Reasons Why the Tribulation Begins This Year https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNTo0RWk99w&t=4s
  2. This feature article in the op ed section covers my discovery and use of Christ related data: https://rollanmccleary.wordpress.com/2013/12/06/the-magi-at-eras-end-a-poem/
 
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Posted by on May 1, 2022 in Uncategorized

 

DARK SKIES OF PUTIN


WHAT KIND OF LEADER?

Putin Russia War
In case like many Russians you were thinking that Putin is a  strong leader pursuing  necessary policies, even holy war, or, like some western conspiracy theorists, that he’s a rough diamond but one fighting corruption and Nazism across Ukraine, think again. The skies don’t endorse your views.

The picture suggests  an ethical and spiritual problem of major  proportion  in line with the unsettling charges,  including in  recent youtube videos from clerics inside and outside Orthodoxy, that condemn Russia’s political church (1). The picture starts, but doesn’t end,  with the likes of asteroid Lucifer conjunct Putin’s natal  sun and Saturn.(2)

According to the Putin website this leader was born 7th October 1952  in St Petersburg at 9.30 am. The sun was in Libra and Scorpio was rising, the latter followed by a Scorpionic Venus whose “fortunate”/easy trine to asteroid China would seem to reflect Putin’s development of close relations with that nation. [I wrote this before media revelations that Putin models himself upon Peter the Great – so the birth time has to be correct with asteroid Peter within a couple of degrees of the image- defining ascending angle ]
 
PRIMED FOR POWER
 
The natus is necessarily a power-owning strong one given that strongest of power factors, Pluto, in regal (or is it czarist?) Leo at 22 degrees conjuncts the destiny and reputation Midheaven angle at 21 Leo, and conjuncts the fated nodes at 20 Leo. The tension square to this power zone from Jupiter denotes fighting for place but with some fortune in the struggle – Putin began his life’s rise towards power and fame working as a spy for the KGB
 
Any power finally gained looks to be more in service of self than the real Russia whose asteroid does not connect at the top of the chart, but is oddly placed at 29 Virgo. This is what is called an “anaretic” degree commonly suggestive of obsession and insatiability about something. The implication seems to be a wildly Russia-centric outlook that could be plainly untethered and impractical but used to justify various policies once having gained  the throne.  There is an odd lonely aspect of Russia to Justitia (justice) on another anaretic degree at 29 Cancer. It is likely  to mean justice will assume some form only Putin, and Russia as he imagines it, would quite accept and much of the world not at all.
 
The top of chart Leonine indications for power and influence “fortunately”, trine aggressive Mars at 26 Sagittarius. That means Mars is on the Galactic Centre, deemed a point of world-relating significance not least for events in religion. And for Putin asteroid Church is suitably in exact tension square to the GC from 26 Pisces and then challengingly opposed by Moskva (Moscow) from 25 Gemini, a hint of the controversial relation with religion, war and the patriarchate of Moscow which even sees Putin as a gift from God.

Unfortunately for Kiev, asteroid Kiev by being at 26 Scorpio in Putin’s personalizing first house, has connection to the whole GC, Church, and Moscow T square set up, an indicator that Putin (and Moscow) would not scruple to let Kiev be a pretext for anything from religious conflicts to possibly even world-involving war.
 
Also supportive of power are Putin’s hidden twelfth house planets, (the twelfth sector being helpful for leaders to gauge trends and feelings of the collective).These suitably aspect to the empowering  Midheaven. The planets involved are, moreover, not just political Saturn but Mercury (information)  and Neptune (dreams) – their  conjunct pairing is wonderfully supportive of any spin around aims and deeds while Neptune, in its negative expression, could support poisons.
 
TRUTH TELLING ASTEROIDS
 
So far, so good for a basic accuracy, especially if we add that Black Moon Lilith is within conjunction of the powerful Pluto. This itself is a warning flag for anything ruthless and vengeful  and along the lines indicated by the warnings and critique of the fixed stars I don’t include. Fixed stars are very fixed and fated in harmony with ancient world commentaries against which I prefer the more newly discovered named and working asteroids. These zero in and individualize….For example… conjunctions are very for or against something depending on the energies represented…. so, who will be foremost recipient of Putin power plays and resistant to it?  Conjunct the Plutonic Midheaven is precisely UKRAINA!
 
I had suspicions the natal sun might well conjunct Lucifer, which it did. However, given  the number of named asteroids flukes can occur requiring us to  give some benefit of the doubt to individuals. So  I applied a more stringent test. Lucifer is the devil as deceiving light, but Malin (Fr Devil) is more like the devil as darkness and where was that?. Again I found the sort of message one might suspect.

Malin was on 1 degree Cancer, i.e conjuct a 0 degree solstice or world  point for events of  major significance. From there it is closely conjunct Theotes (Godhead) on the same degree and within the eighth house of secrets, death and transformation. And in almost apocalyptic fashion, also on this degree and in conjuction was asteroid Drago, (Dragon). (I recall one self-declared visionary reporting a vision in which Putin changes into a dragon!). …Anyway….
 
Conjunctions are extremely for or against something depending on the factors involved. The implication of the world point is that there is a potential God/devil struggle involved that could even affect the entire world.
 
There is a third demonic asteroid and it is Sethos or Set, the Satan figure of ancient Egyptian mythology. This manages to be conjunct the mentioned Galactic Centre for global and religious events.
 
PUTIN, RELIGION AND  HOLY WAR
 
What is Putin’s religion? With Christian conjunct his sun that is evidently how he likes to consider himself or perhaps just hopes that people will see him (despite any proximity of Lucifer in affairs). But the real identity  is not easy to fix. We can however suspect the true allegiance is somewhat unusual given “different” Uranus in the ninth house of ideology  and religion and in the Great Mother sign of Cancer and in tension square to the natal sun. A cult of Mother Russia that favours a Czar?
 
Because he once worked for the KGB, originally and supposedly Putin was necessarily an atheist, but two years after the downfall of the USSR he underwent some kind of conversion to Russian Orthodoxy whose churches he helped restore under the Commonwealth. The conversion could however have been pragmatic and romantic given the known influence on Putin of such as the philosophy of fascist-inclined Alekandr Dugin. The latter  envisages a vast Russian dominated illiberal “Eurasia” opposed to the liberalism of “Atlanticism” of mainly America which is evil and fit to be destroyed in expected war cum apocalypse..
 
The mere fact that Putin’s America asteroid at 23 Cancer is in degree exact tension square his natal Mercury suggests a great disconnect with America, and, by extension, the West. Arguably we are looking at a kind of occult/ esoteric religion that is akin to that of some Nazis who regarded themselves as knights and guardians of  the Grail. As regards esoteric interests it is at least known Putin is keen on numerology and evident he is attached to symbols.
 
While Duginesque style beliefs could at any time be the basis of “holy war” against the West, more pragmatically a long time Putin critic, Bill Browder, is probably correct to assume that after the manner of many dictators Putin in 2022 simply wants and needs war. Having drained his nation to  become one of the richest men on earth in properties, yachts and every luxury, Putin needs the distraction of war before it becomes too evident to Russians just what his rule has entailed. No nation is perfect and corruption free, but Putin is now projecting corruption and   evil, starting with Ukraine, upon whoever he attacks. Many believe him.
 
OUTLOOK UNCERTAIN: BE AWARE
 
The attack upon Ukraine began under Saturn “fortunately” trining  Putin’s Saturn, which reflects some of the ruthlessness but also difficulty and drawn out nature of what has been launched. There is after all never a completely fortunate Saturn transit or aspect. There is always some difficulty and delay despite the likely efficiency. I am not prepared to engage speculation on what Putin might do next and when…. though at almost any time I would somewhat fear for Poland since  Polonia (Poland) at 12 Libra conjuncts Putin’s Sun at 13. This could mean that if frustrated Putin might round on that country with all the hostility of which inharmonious conjunctions are able.
 
What is chiefly important to realize is simply that this natal pattern carries a great potential for material and spiritual evil or destruction. The natal moon in Gemini in the eighth  house of death and transformation aspects Kriegh (Ger Krieg/ War) in Leo (dramatically big war)  so that one cannot be easily reassured of peace with this individual for whom everything is a power game in which death is not recoiled from.  And it is not impossible that frustration in  the game might tempt this leader to the worst of options at this time.

Libra is the sign of peace and negotiation, but every sign contains the potential for its marked contradiction and rejection, and such could be relevant here. In any case we are told that the devil is a liar, murderer and thief (Joh 8:44,10:10) and the natal pattern allows ample scope to self realize in those directions if so desired. Easy solutions to the current crisis are not likely and should not be expected,.
 
NOTES
(1) The sun is at 13, almost 14, of Libra and his Lucifer at 16.34 . Conjunctions to asteroids aren’t reckoned to exceed 2 degrees except, as here, to the luminaries sun or moon. This Lucifer is then conjunct Saturn at 17.27 Libra, Saturn traditionally being the devil planet. It is a mystery how and why asteroids work and signify at all, but true astrology is empirical and follows what works. Jung would say the collective unconscious projects onto the heavens, the Bible would insists God names the stars Ps 147:4

2) One example of the mounting condemnations Russian Patriarch Kirill must resign – YouTube
 

 
 
 
 
 
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Posted by on April 22, 2022 in Uncategorized

 

AGAINST FATIMA: A POEM

[Quickly cobbled together to be topical for the papal consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25th , this poem is not about the 1917 Fatima event (critique of which I supply a link to at note 8) . It’s more a response to controversial beliefs that attach to the story and continue to put things like the consecration in motion]

A body, soul and spirit, three in one, you are

A one reflective of a Triune God; and we,

This composite, stand each alone before the

Unshared One of deity to speak or hear.    (1)

Pray  for a soul you may  or by another

Be prayed for, but  no fourth part (nor virtual fourth)

Of deity exists to empower across the  universal gulf

Or, motherly, prevail  against the  Creator’s will. (2)

Of grace and favours-granting queen of heaven

There’s none  as Jeremiah was aware; though (3)

As another face   of Messianic self

Sometimes in God a nurse or mother                        (4)

Briefly shows. All else, all more is

Error of  the spiritual sight,

Examples of idolatry’s false light.

It always is the once high Lucifer  

Who mimics light and changes optics on what’s true

It’s thus when Bethlehem’s Star shone bright

More hidden, in axis of the asteroids,

Were Lucifer with Ishtar face to face                   (5)

Ready to cheat with symbol and with sign,

Though even they could scarcely hide the origins

Of she, the sometime deity of whores.

Observe those encircling aureoles with  which

The  worshipped Lady may appear. Are you so modest

As  a maiden’s smile, so delicate as her tears,

You wouldn’t name the hint of origins more raw?   (6)

Will you ignore besides how that  those beads

She’ll hold and recommend, were her instruction 

To a  visionary, himself an inspiration to

Dark Inquisition’s force? Or, will you                        (7)

Still ignore  the revelation of “immaculate”

Came to a site impure, non-kosher, God unblessed?   (8)

Hell’s work at every turn is separation from

Those duties to the self and sacred One

So that you’ll know, if know at all, their truths

At half remove, screened, veiled as though by mist

Round  zones part holy but  which

Disempower while offering every substitute.

Through Mary to the Christ, not God through Christ

Describes a  path still  many walk upon.

An image once  seduced them and they fell

In love with lesser freedoms and authority.

Christ’s once made sacrifice turned daily rite   (9)

 Melchizedek and  Paraclete so overlooked      (10)

“Christ’s Vicar’ and his many priests took charge   

Of soul, while saints  and angels would provide

Those needs some lacked the trust to take to God.

Heaven pictured  high they swallowed  purgatorial wait,

Instead of scripture’s poetry and debate they’d learn

From catechism’s summaries and teachings

Fixed  and reasoned like philosophy.

Instead of many tongues they would receive

A universal Latin’s legal rite,  rote learned.     (11)                 

Instead of God’s bright Sophia from the first

Church posts to heaven a Mother Queen,             (12)

Although as parent to her son on earth, Maria

Hardly uttered word but – failing much

And much in ignorance of her child –

Listened to fears he might be mad. (13)

           

But now see  new betrayal loom

Distortion to a high degree. If prophecy

Is quite believed, “the Lamb of God” alone

Permits apocalypse to start and

Brings its terrors to a  close.   There is       (14)

No  Mother Refuge  of the End of Days

Nor victory of those times through  any

All-Immaculate Heart…. And yet a pontiff,

Open to a deity  of many  names and

Jesus maybe less  divine than creeds affirm,

Will dedicate wild Russia to  the Virgin’s

Heart so that  a lasting peace  ensue

And be a  hoped-for  guard against extinction

Of  whole peoples with destruction of the planet too.

Such fears in part will be fulfilled

But short of treading underfoot

All prophecy of holy writ, earth will remain:

The worst  imagined cannot, and it will not  be. (15)

But once again the focus, trust and glory goes

Not to the Messiah’s but the Virgin’s power….

God’s   people worship God in name alone

And  set a false god on the throne.      (16)

NOTES

(1) For more re understanding of the Trinity see https://rollanmccleary.wordpress.com/2021/03/01/echod-a-poetic-fragment-on-the-trinity-and-creation/

(2) Popular Catholicism holds, and even such as Pope Benedict V11  has claimed, Jesus cannot really refuse whatever Mary asks of him. https://www.catholic.org/news/international/europe/story.php?id=43228 Hence some of the prestige of the Rosary  and Stabat Mater which implore Mary to intercede at the hour  of death against damnation itself as though a lifetime in which to be right with Jesus as high priestly intercessor scarcely counted.

(3) The prophet Jeremiah several times deprecatingly mentions a “queen of heaven” involved with Israel’s idolatry. Since specifically cakes are made for her she is most likely to be represented by Ishtar –see below note (5)

(4) Various references, Hos 11 3-4, Is 66:13 but various articles on the Net cover female images of God

(5) In the working chart for Christ I use, Lucifer is at 17.43 Leo opposite Ishtar at 17.28 Aquarius. Re data and claims, see the prose op ed section of https://rollanmccleary.wordpress.com/2013/12/06/the-magi-at-eras-end-a-poem/

(6) I mostly don’t agree with the late Marcella Althaus- Reid’s Indecent Theology, (London 2000 ) but she is not always and completely wrong about such as erotic symbolism and the Virgin along with assertions that Mary is anything but peaceful and peace making from the standpoint of Latin American history.

(7) St Dominic did not invent or oversee the Inquisition his followers pursued, but his outlook encouraged it and his notion of orthodoxy was very Marian. It is disputed, though popes have accepted, that the Rosary was what he received in vision from the Virgin. Mary becomes virtually chief intercessor and source of inspiration in its system, and it may be no accident that the Virgin appears at places like Fatima and Lourdes insisting on recourse to the Rosary. At Fatima the person who appears and that the children did not originally assume or believe was the Virgin only at her last appearance goes so far as to identify herself as the Lady of the Rosary.

(8) It should have set off alarm bells that  Bernadette of Lourdes’ vision of the Virgin takes place in a filthy grotto that  had been a pig sty in which the Virgin makes  her scrabble. The pig is biblically a non kosher animal  associated with pagan idolatry, not sacred visions. The children who receive Marian visions ( or have them imposed on them) are too young or theologically unsophisticated to know of testing and discerning of spirits.(1 Cor 12.3, 1 Joh 4.1). They may ask who the person is, throw holy water or  make the sign of the cross, but they are not asking confirmation Jesus is Lord. The rosary, while not exactly denying the lordship conveys the impression Mary is the great mover, shaker and proper focus of devout attention. Fatima itself has almost more  kinship with UFO events than sacred vision. For a brief and meaningful critique see https://walkinlight804088941.wordpress.com/2018/05/23/the-fatima-deception/

(9) The “sacrifice” of the Mass (originally Eucharist or Thanksgiving) reckons to repeat Christ’s once for all time sacrifice, something especially Heb 10 argues is not possible

(10) Jesus is “a high priest after the order of Melchizedek” ( Heb 7. 13-17 ) and the  Paraclete is the Holy Spirit. Christ as priestly  intercessor is in effect God’s feeling soul, much as the Spirit is God’s mindful spirit. As intercessor one heals and restores, the other inspires and directs, both at levels humans may imitate but cannot hope to duplicate.

(11) There is a link between precise Latin and  hair splitting legalistic definitions in religion. Recently in Phoenix AZ, thousands of baptisms across years were declared invalid because a priest had said “we” as against “I” baptize. Such shouldn’t begin to matter in a church which can’t  manage scandals like child abuse!

(12) The Sophia or Wisdom is a part of God in OT and Apocrypha and is identified with Jesus in the NT. Catholicism appropriates much of the imagery and attaches it to the Virgin in a step which could lead to deification or co-redemptrix ideas

(13) Mk 3.21 is Mark’s first and  rather unflattering reference to the Virgin

(14) If Mary were “queen of heaven” she should be sufficiently worthy and able to announce the apocalypse; but within all heaven and anywhere it is emphasized only Jesus as the lamb once slain is sufficient to open and   permit what will occur (Rev 5). This disqualifies titles like “Mother of the End Times” now increasingly employed by visionaries of conservative Catholic inclination

(15)  In Rev 11.18 God is praised for destroying those who would destroy the earth. It is not envisaged that amid the tribulation  turmoil of the last days that the world will be completely destroyed. The fear otherwise is materialistic in perspective and not consistent with belief in God as Lord of history.

(16) It is not too strong to speak of “a false god”. I see the consecration prayer includes such as “no concern of our hearts is hidden from you”. If Mary knows the thoughts of millions of believers she is not, as often said in justification of Marian perspectives, like a friend who prays for and with us, she is an all-knowing ,omniscient deity.

 

A LITTLE LIGHT ON SAM BECKETT DARKNESS

I didn’t post the following  for St Patrick’s day because  anything Samuel Beckett related seemed too serious. But I needn’t have bothered! As though to grant SB a belated wake and get him smiling despite himself, the day itself saw the longest ever Riverdance style line-up with the dancers stretched across Samuel Beckett bridge and onto Liffey side. Given the celebratory, Dionysiac style of Sean O’Casey one feels the Sean O’Casey bridge might have been more  fit to purpose, but Ireland is full of surprises…..

Nobel prize winning litterateur Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) was and remains exceptionally elusive. So much so that his publisher, who might have known better, thought he could be likened to St Francis of Assisi. But everyone has their opinions and impressions, and Beckett doesn’t appear to have discouraged any proliferating myth. Accordingly things have regularly been contested , including the writer’s suggestively odd sounding birth date (Good Friday April 13th 1906 ). I will nonetheless suggest that this was the right date and that it can even shed some light on the writer and his oeuvre so full of pessimism, disappointed hope (famously in Waiting for Godot) and the dark depressive side of life…. or perhaps of the Irish psyche that the expatriate Beckett didn’t acknowledge.

Reportedly, Beckett’s father went out for a walk around 8 pm on the 13th and when he returned his (second) son had been born. Astrodienst, something of a gold standard of timed births of the famous, sets the birth for 8.15 pm. Without their justifying this through biographically timed examples, this looks like – approximately – the right time. For a start it renders the ascendant, (the rising sign involved with the individual’s appearance, their image, mask, style) at 7 degrees  of Scorpio. This can be a veritable Medusa’s head of a sign, classically the sign of death, depression, mysteries and the hidden such as this dramatist treats  of in memorably negative fashion at the same time as he also craved Scorpio’s privacy to the extreme. Which chimes with the next point.

THE PROOF OF SUGGESTIVE ANGLES

The angles of a true chart should be affected at turning points in life. In the normal way of things, something like receiving the Nobel prize should register on the Midheaven of career and/or its ruler, with something like a transit of happy and fortunate Jupiter. Given birth around 8.15  pm Beckett’s Midheaven of career/reputation would be 22 Leo, and suitably enough so for someone most celebrated for dramas like, famously, Waiting for Godot and Endgame.  However, Beckett reacted to the Nobel with alarm; his wife said it was like a “catastrophe” for him upsetting his relation to people. Suitably we see fearful, restrictive Saturn at the announcement (23rd Oct 1969) was conjunct his descendant or relationship angle suggesting the inconvenience and fear around the other(s) and society.

This descendant angle (often a marriage related point) was not activated at the death of Beckett’s wife, Suzanne, but rather Mars hit 20 Leo which means at the midpoint of the 22 Leo Midheaven and 18 Leo fated nodes which together  is more like indicating a blow to the system and existing life style. The marriage was perhaps anyway too unconventional to receive common indications. It appears to have been open and the pair lived separately in adjoining premises; there were no offspring and many were unaware a marriage existed as the pair had lived together for years before establishing any formal tie. Whatever it may have meant, the marriage took place in England on 23rd March 1961 At the time there was the ever unusual Uranus within a degree of the destiny/reputation Midheaven as the most significant aspect and an improbable, raw and secretive rather than romantic  Pluto within trine of the descendant angle, but relevant in its way.

DEATH AND SEX UNDER THE 8th

So the house cusps do seem correct enough. Not only is dramatic Leo at the natal Midheaven for being chiefly and best known as a dramatist,  but the pattern’s 5th house ruler of any plays and theatre is Neptune. This then falls in the 8th of death and mortality, that theme  which as in works like Endgame and Krapp’s Last Tape, dominates the horizon. Moreover Jupiter is suitably conjunct the 8th house cusp for theorizing, dramatizing and enlarging on any death and decrepitude themes, while  Pluto, Scorpio’ ruler, is naturally at home within the borders of this 8th  sector.

Quite simply, death is everywhere in the house (even the hell asteroid Hella is in the 8th  ) though with Jupiter involved with the 8th  death is at least sometimes present with laughter……And given the 8th sector so strong, its other leading facet, sex, featured in the life more than its dismissive, scatological literary treatment might suggest it would be . Sex in Paris with the self- confessed nymphomaniac heiress Peggy Guggenheim went on for days and Beckett often accompanied the sculptor Giacometti to the Montparnasse region to enjoy sessions with its prostitutes. In some respects Beckett, via Scorpio and the 8th, lived out a hidden, secretive version of his Aries birth sign’s not uncommon tendency to playboyism.

SUFFERING, SORT  OF

Given a distinct pleasure drive and the athleticism of his earlier years, one wonders was Beckett completely honest about his condition and genuinely suffering and in pain most of the time rather than having some laughs at his admirers’ expense? However, Saturn in Pisces is undeniably sensitive and prone to melancholia often treated, as in Beckett’s case it was, by the wine to which he was fairly addicted without being outright alcoholic as such.

Given the tension-making square aspect  of Saturn to Jupiter, the suffering  could even be up to a point dramatized… but not wholly. Especially given a Saturn in the 4th house of home, origins and family there cold be a coldness and lostness in that area. We know Beckett was uneasy with his family – though he admitted his childhood was not especially unhappy either and at least with his father the relation seems to have been quite positive. To the extent the moon is the mother, and early developed habitual  emotions, the Sagittarian moon at 26 Pisces in tension square to Black at 26 Pisces points to something like a disposition to the black depressions and the perhaps too breezy, moody and unmotherly mother as somehow involved with this.

Another source of woe is marked by wounded healer planetoid, Chiron, in the 3rd of writing and communication and closely conjunct Chaos too! Beckett needed to write but success with it was greatly delayed and long unprofitable. And the writing was absurdist, modernist style odd. Uranus at 8 Capricorn square Mercury (any writing) at 8 Aries reflects literary material that could be a challenge to any reader or audience, and even the author himself who struggled with his material which his mother despised as a waste of time.

INHERITED DARKNESS?

Much could be commented and expounded re this whole pattern, but I am only interested to affirm the 8. 15 pm chart looks to be the sufficiently true one and, given that assumption, to engage a speculation regarding the author’s depression. Is it possible the writer was, at some spiritual level, obsessed or possessed by inheritance? His behaviour from the first had inclined to the distinctly peculiar like the trick of “suicidally” throwing himself off  the top of a tree and catching himself on a lower branch.

The Beckett name derives from Protestant Huguenots who escaped to Ireland three centuries before, enough time for some native intermarriage on the maternal side with persons that might even have engaged with the fairies. The mother, born Maria Roe, was a nurse and a devout woman along Quaker lines but odd and haunted – believing in ghosts she tried to shield herself from by floor carpeting. Some of Beckett’s portrayal of women as in the case of Molloy’s mother  can be plain  revolting, almost  demonic.

It is a common misconception that the Celtic “good people” fairy world is amusing, friendly and benign when in fact it isn’t but if anything haunting and ready with curses. The birth pattern is suggestive for something dark around the writer that could have used an exorcism to arrive at any health (Exorcism is becoming something of a subject in contemporary Ireland’s more confused and varied religious landscape (1) ). At any rate, it is plain odd that the writer’s afflicted Mercury is degree exact conjunct Malin (devil ) while the asteroid Lie at 1 Libra stands in easy trine to Lucifer at 1 Gemini. As Lucifer is the devil as light, we may take it for present purposes that Malin is the other face of the devil as darkness. The position of Theotes (Godhead) is also distinctive as I will indicate.

TALK OF THE DEVIL?

There is a good deal in Beckett’s work that is life hating and/or God mocking and which in chart terms could thus be regarded as aesthetically (through Libra) conveying Lies (through talkative Gemini) about reality and spreading hopelessness and depression like an infection. Even an existentialist atheist like Simone de Beauvoir was appalled at such negativity. Life had to be worth more than these near suicidal communications!

Without denying a real depressive history, we might not be too far wrong to see in Beckett’s enduring outlook a monumental self-pitying selfishness expressed through the literary arts which evidently neither he nor his would-be religious mother regarded as any kind of instrument serving high ideals and human enlightenment.

In terms of belief we could even be looking at a species of confused satanistic atheism. If that sounds merely contradictory and prejudiced it should be more recognized that when Beckett was a lecturer in French at Dublin’s Trinity College and still thinking he might be a poet, his literary favourite was the poet Baudelaire,author of Les Fleurs du Mal (Flowers of Evil). Baudelaire, who had an even stronger 8th house than Beckett, for much of his life was a Satanist and aesthetically often a dealer like Beckett in the morbid and disgusting And also like Beckett Baudelaire was an Arien – I have often had occasion to note an association of sign Aries with atheism when  not its opposite in enthusiastic evangelical attitudes and discipleships.

But then there is this curiosity. Theotes (Godhead) is found in Becketts 9th house of higher education and beliefs at 9 Leo from where it conjuncts of all things Baudelaire at 7 Leo. And from there it makes easy trine to that troublesome writer’s Mercury conjunct conjunct Malin (devil) at 8 Aries. Contrary to some assumptions, astrology does not deny freewill but maps the possibilities. Given Theotes in the religious 9th sector, it looks like Beckett could have been inspirational on things divine, but his choice lay more towards Baudelaire’s path and darkness.

Modern Ireland now has a Liffey-crossing Samuel Beckett bridge, a strange tribute to the reclusive artist who preferred to live away from Ireland and denied what most people, Irish and other, tend either to like or believe. It certainly helps his status, astrologically at least, that Beckett’s natal sun is loosely conjunct asteroid Ireland and then it’s related to the pattern for modern Ireland which is strongly Arien beginning with its sun. For good or ill, some connection to Aries is almost the open sesame to advancement in modern Ireland, even in literature.   

 

ACCIDENTALLY IRISH: House and other Restorations

When 30 year old  Dublin born Kyle finally had the keys to  the pre famine Sligo property that for better or worse he must transform into the homestead base of a self-sufficient lifestyle, he did nothing for three days. He just walked around it and the environs.  It seems he just needed to feel and know the place. Adding to his original way of going about things, though he had been driven to his utopia in his sister’s car, he himself owns only a bike to circulate in the country (Off a bike and for inclement weather he apparently owns or hires a mobile home).

 If this is radical it is only in line with his aim to abandon the rat race of contemporary, expensive Dublin. He had worked there long hours in the service industry which had rendered him poor pay with little hope of owning a decent home where one   could start a family and lead a normal life. But normal in this case raises a few questions including because to realize his rural dream Kyle anyway appears to have been almost 24/7 at local  pubs and stores to afford rural life too. (This sort of situation prompts the all too frequent  emigration from Ireland; that it has not done so for Kyle might be linked to something in his stars mentioned in note).

NOT QUITE A CULDEE

Although he has issued and regretted since last year numbers of too many too soon numbers brief videos starting with Escaping the City Pt One https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ct1x8Iv3gC0 I first and, most fully only recently learned of Kyle via a youtube interview with him (Kyle’s Storyhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUvU9fv1jCs&t=1026s) on a site I sometimes visit called  Mossy Bottom. In this a certain Daniel now settled in Sligo, demonstrates his genuine, even remarkable, skill in the sphere of self-sufficient living in western Ireland which this half Scot left England several years ago to pursue. (Sligo in NW Ireland is a picturesque  region associated with the poet Yeats who famously poetized the desire to live  there  on the lake isle of Innisfree like a hermit). But even the resourceful Daniel baulked at hearing that Kyle had no car to negotiate Sligo territory but only a bike. I was slightly less surprised because I began to see the line-up of something perennially Irish where Kyle was concerned. While obviously more personable and sane than Samuel Beckett’s Molloy, the latter’s bike adventures come to mind. But it’s not just that.

With Kyle, at least to judge by his first regretted short vids, he is simply “there”. You are presented with a kaleidoscope of thoughts and impressions – in one case  a clip of his wilderness garden adjoins one of, presumably, the Sligo coast unexplained. Perhaps through admitted unfamiliarity with videos and gopros, Kyle does not appear to quite start anywhere in self-explanatory way or to announce intention….apart from the desire to encourage and  “inspire” about alternative living. There is something here in vague  harmony with  the curious lack of Celtic origin myths, or even record of early Irish monks who took to sea in boats trusting to the winds of God to take them where they were meant to settle.

Or perhaps, taking the project at large, the comparison should be with medieval Ireland’s rural hermits, the culdee mystics, a comparison suggested to me by not just Kyle cheerfully addressing  a frog, but admitting that he had so lowered dopamine levels that it is now a thrill to him if and when a bird touches down near to him. (Kyle admits to some dabbling in drink and drugs while in Dublin, a choice he happily leaves behind for realizing the deep peace in nature and solitude).

There is obviously a real strength in such inner realizations, provided one is not too dismissive of whole aspects of life like, historically, voyaging saints unconcerned to build more seaworthy boats, a likely  reason the Vikings (albeit they attacked more than just the Irish) so easily both  attacked Ireland but ultimately developed its first main ports too. However it must be conceded  that people seriously mystically inclined, especially within natural settings, are never easily troubled by everyday limitations  because their own  inner range is so subtle and large it can seem almost a science, culture or language in its own right.

In the rather new age musings of Divine Beauty: The Invisible Embrace, p.141 the late poet philosopher, John O’Donohue speaks of  a West Irish concept of “Teaannalach”, a special hearing awareness of elements like water and earth which may be realized on as many as seven levels. I suspect I know something of the knowledge referred to. It belongs to the poetry of things in and beyond any poetry I write and which I regret I can never quite  hope to express and share. There is a kind of creative inebriation the Celts are good at and that doesn’t require artificial  stimulation – Bernard Shaw said he needed no alcohol to feel drunk and I know I need no drugs to experience something like Baudelaire’s Correspondences.

The subject is beyond present scope, but to speak of types of perception at all one is reminded of the practice of yogic, tantric and aesthetic states in India, Japan and Amerindian cultures with which arguably Ireland has its affinities. In terms of religion and things esoteric, this awareness – literally and  not just metaphorically understood –  belongs more to soul or aura or yin function  as opposed to spirit which is more yang,  organizational and individualizing. Much traditional Irish culture is soul orientated. For example in Sean Nos dance the style of dance is entirely determined by how the performer receives it.

MEANWHILE IN DUBLIN AND DEAD RED

It could be instructive to consider almost the opposite of Kyle in the super organized Fiona in the “Great House Revival” TV series currently showing in Australia and focussed on restoration work around Ireland. Fiona, a program director for a major financial company, is a trendy and distinctly cashed up resident of the new Dublin, a person who knows what she wants and doesn’t take no for an answer. Fiona elects to invest in an historic Georgian terrace house in Phibsborough, a gentrifying region of  North Dublin. But the house barely exists in any meaningful sense. The interior is so extensively  rotten and dilapidated it looks seriously dangerous and even the exterior is problematic (the show’s host describes the chimneys as looking “drunk”). Accordingly  there seems something like wilful eccentricity to throw money at the project  at all. But apart from months of delay and a few unexpected extra costs, remarkably the project succeeds like a testimony to a kind of Celtic magical will to impose the imagined.

It succeeds or does it? Much of the finished work is impressive but things also jar. The lipstick red and pink in one room could hurt the eyes and recall a disco or worse rather than any home. The garden area kitchen extension was a good idea but why is the exterior so discordantly coal black? If in the case of Kyle problems of organization could  undermine – he  may need more leisure, money and help of his good neighbours! – by contrast something of sensitive yin may be lacking amid the gale (or gael?) force of Fiona’s driving will.

UNDER AND BEYOND GLOBALIST  TENSIONS

What I feel the unprecedented, sometimes unhealthy turns shaping Irish life has produced  despite everything and without any help from traditional cultural nationalist values, is the emergence of traditional Irish types and situations. It does so in terms of whimsical, questing Molloy males and commanding Grace O’Malley females, immaterialists and materialists who could both usefully borrow more from one another and perhaps recalibrate the  yin and yang input more.

What has happened  has only done so because, almost certainly, there is still a powerful element, often ethnic (and ignored precisely because it is that), manages to colour the scene in spontaneous ways. This can’t be expected to last, especially not in the face of western Globalism and without a real introspection and reclamation of what’s involved for individuals. Both Globalism and, paradoxically, mysticism of the soul variety, can undermine and dissolve natural birth rights waiting to to be understood and reclaimed.

For political and economic reasons Globalism, which largely has West Britonish Irish elites and media in its thrall, promotes notions the citizen either is, or needs to become, part of a great all-inclusive One or Same. At the same time,  a revived but purely passive undiscriminating soul mysticism may assume something of the sort by default, simply enjoying the smorgasbord of ideas, styles and trends increasingly on offer from the world’s four corners rather than properly choosing or discriminating between them. The more para-intellectual, organizational yang function of spirit will however  realize there is always difference to be claimed and affirmed within no matter what whole.

The Ireland now described to suffocation as an “Ireland of the Welcomes” risks becoming the world’s doormat, a negative situation face savingly covered by a fake, self-congratulatory cosmopolitanism. Such avoids the labour of organizing any new picture from within and with real self-knowledge. Given avoidance of this process there is something here of ,”My people perish for lack of knowledge (Hos 4:6).

There are days when I feel I could leave the subtropics for the storms of West Ireland but there are compelling reasons not to….including the current political management of Ireland would be bad for the blood pressure.! So Kyle is not about to inspire me as regards the hard slog of restoration and the making of  homesteads. (For preference I would anyway probably choose Mayo and Achill Island over Sligo). However, Kyle will doubtless inspire the interest of many and even raise questions about Ireland itself and where the winds of God might be driving its barque. (This site contains numbers of articles about Ireland and its culture and even a few poems. Here is one wide ranging article itself with a few links https://rollanmccleary.wordpress.com/2018/09/19/real-irish-and-irish-reality-symbols-archetypes-fate/ )

NOTE Kyle’s treadmill

Interviewed by Daniel, Kyle says he was “thirty one two days ago” a statement made on a video posted by Daniel on 7th Feb this year. Unless there was a large time gap between interview and its upload, this means Kyle would have to be a different, independent Aquarian keen to acknowledge groups and influence any audience even while he stands apart from them. This could fit, but if it does he is rather saddled with the potential burden of some heavy labour towards main goals. With Saturn strong in its natural sign, Capricorn, while ruler of Aquarius, Uranus, is in the same sign this would render Kyle’s working situations rather original. Saturn is, besides, the hermit factor in the pattern which takes over if and when conventional work is left behind. Natal patterns are less avoided than transcended and lived at some other level.

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Posted by on March 3, 2022 in creativity, culture

 

NORWAY and IRRELIGION

NATIONAL IMAGE

Though this isn’t an article about astrology as such, I will begin with it for reasons that should become clear enough.

At the de facto time of the foundation of modern Norway (at 11 am June 7th 1905 when the dissolution from union with Sweden was announced and the latter’s asteroid, Sverige, was at last degree gasps of divisive Gemini), the heavens oddly appear to say something about the national identity and psyche of the new entity. The sun at almost 16 Gemini was conjunct the asteroid Ibsen at 17 Gemini and was so in the national destiny and reputation house. (1)

Except that conjunctions can be strongly for or against something depending on the factors  involved, this contact still surprises given just how conflicted the relation between Norway and the dramatist actually was. Never the most forgiving of individuals, Ibsen mostly detested his fellow countrymen, especially in remembrance of his early struggles. Even so, the question arises does Ibsen, one of  the world’s  most  performed dramatists, not only supply his nation a cachet in the way Shakespeare does England, but does he genuinely reflect something crucially ignored about Norwegian character and, beyond it to some degree, Scandinavian character ( Ibsen was originally more appreciated in Denmark and Sweden)?

If we know where to look, the heavens give the strongest of hints of a real if mostly hidden, perhaps suppressed affinity between the two alienated parties. Thus one notes Ibsen’s belated  improbable breakthrough began with the peculiar, rather hysterical, poetic closet drama, Brand. Like some literary equivalent of Munch’s famous The Scream painting, it features an uncompromising preacher, some of whose extreme views almost certainly owe something to Denmark’s quirky religious philosopher, Kierkegaard, (though Ibsen, often hazy about his sources, claimed to have read only the Bible while composing the poem)  

THE SCORPION’S STING

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It happens that in Norway’s chart, the probably relevant Brandia (traditionally asteroids are registered in the feminine) and Mercury (writing) are in opposition across Norway’s angular  26 Taurus/26 Scorpio. This betrays how writing of the extreme kind can actually touch the society and some Nordic depths. It’s not just that in the chart of the nation   Brandia in Scorpio conjuncts the IC origins angle for Norway and thus opposes its MC Midheaven of leadership and reputation the dramatist would challenge. For Ibsen his genius, fame and fortune were also tied up with the sort of peculiarity only Jungian psychology and astrology can hope to illumine.

Though Ibsen was born 20th March 1828 in Skein under the last degree of Pisces, the dramatist’s Jupiter (his beliefs, fortune and success, especially any success in drama) was in the sign of Scorpio and conjunct his angle of heritage and origins. Scorpio is traditionally the sign of death such as along with suicide, inherited curse and guilt features so much in Ibsen’s oeuvre. But incredibly, as he moved towards fame and status Ibsen had actually begun playing with a scorpion which he kept  under glass. So in the chart of the society that Ibsen would begin to challenge, the nation and its elites are open to the scorpionic sting such as the dramatist would increasingly deliver from the influential follow up to Brand, namely Peer Gynt (no asteroid) onwards. The latter reflects the residual and more post-Viking beserker, paganish, unbuttoned side of  Norwegian character that some say it takes a few drinks to bring out.

All this and more has interest in its own right, but I had better indicate where I am going with this and why. It’s not simply that the Scandinavian countries with their mysteries and sometimes influential modernity have always intrigued me – and I anyway have relatives who have elected to live and work  there – but that as a doctor of religious studies I have  a penchant for certain mysteries in religion that others wouldn’t ponder. For example, I want to  know, and think I do, why  the now almost trendy Catholic exorcisms can take years and be something more like therapy sessions than the sometimes more immediately effective, less trendy Protestant rites. In my opinion religious “efficiency” matters as much as roads and bridges in Norway, and I want to understand it. So….   

THE IRRELIGION PUZZLE

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….I have my Scandinavian religious puzzle and it’s this: why is Norway one of the most secular nations in the world, a point generally accepted though figures here and there may differ. Although theoretically or just automatically 70% belong to what was the Lutheran state church till 2012, depending on the source, a quarter of the  population registers as atheist  and only a quarter admit to specific belief in God? This is a puzzle as there are at least three reasons to imagine this nation might be notably spiritual, even if not specifically Christian.

1) Norway is one of the most dramatically beautiful nations in the world. The wilder parts have more affinity than anywhere in Europe with regions of Tibet or China that have traditionally bred vision and mysticism of all kinds.

2) As in much of Scandinavia, there is a love of isolation. Norwegians like the private cabin and to spend time alone like a hermit. The disinclination to mix and be neighbourly is so pronounced the society  with its usual marked  pragmatism even has dugnad days reserved for socialization with neighbours.  But with or without company there is a love of being out “in the nature”. In many cultures just this would foster faith, contemplation, prayer or vision.

3) The national astrology, plainly descriptive, bespeaks potential for religious interests and activity at some level. The ninth house (anything involving religion, higher mind and philosophy) is tenanted by its natural ruler, Jupiter (the faith planet and Bethlehem Star) and Mercury (in conjunction with Jupiter). Venus is also in the house. The nation’s tenth house of destiny, reputation and leadership  with its Sun conjunct Ibsen is also conjunct Pluto (creation and destruction if not a Creator symbol) a potentially volcanic combination that arguably Brand reflects.

THE  ACHILLES HEEL?

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The obvious automatic assumption of many would be to say that the state Church of Norway has somewhere, somehow failed ,,,,,, and if you wish there is something suggestive of this in the odd way that asteroid Church, itself very politically placed in the nation’s rulership house, is closely and unhelpfully tension square Mercury (teaching, communication)  in Leo in the twelfth house of prisons and  hidden enemies but also mysticism. I don’t believe this means all the clergy are Ibsen’s Pastor Manders but that something else compromises matters to this day.

My suspicions as to the likely truth were prompted by reading  Ivo de Figuiredo’s  exhaustive study of Ibsen and then, for light relief, Xenophobe’s Guide to the Norwegians, which like so many in the Xenophobe series  is full of hilarious observations that can still convey  some essential truths. Certain comments convince me that even if I could adjust to the climate and the national love for boiled potatoes, for all its positive features (like the admirable honesty that returned me a dropped wallet and passport at Oslo airport), Norway is somewhere I could never live and work.  “In Norway the arts are only practiced by children and foreigners. By the time a Norwegian hits puberty he will have given up dance, painting and music in favour of more productive pursuits like work, study and skiing…..”

But I believe the negative limitation Xenophobe  points at and the irreligion involved is an aspect of a larger problem. This, surprisingly enough, is the national equality ideal itself , a principle which superficially could even be considered quite spiritual. After all, you can’t get closer to Scandinavian egalitarian principles  (and even what many American Christians would dismiss as   Socialist  Nanny Statism), than in Christ’s complex parable of the labourers in the vineyard( Matt 20 1-16) where those who were hired late for an hour are paid equally with those who  agreed for a day’s wages.  

EQUALITY RULES

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However, there are types and varieties of equality. Some if pressed too far will encourage neither healthy individualism nor authentic spirituality. In Norway Xenophobe says, “there is huge social pressure to be as similar to everyone else as possible”. And he observes that non-conformity is not frowned on – rather “it just isn’t done”.

The situation seems closest to a novel, Janteloven by a Danish author but written while in Norway. Its city has its ten commandments. These include: “You’re not to think you are anything special” and “You are not to think you know anything more than us” and “you are not to think you can teach us anything”. (The susceptibility of Norwegians to this mode of thinking, along with their apparent difficulty with even accepting a compliment could be referred, astrologically at least, to the nation’s ascending sign (its self image and style). Through Virgo this  makes for a humility and service mentality, albeit almost masochistically expressed. (Tell Norwegians their roads are good and they may feel obliged to insist Sweden’s are better, says Xenophobe). 

Plainly Ibsen did not belong to the city of Janteloven as on the contrary he believed not in equality but in a highly individualistic freedom and “Spiritual Aristocracy”, an issue discussed by Figuiredo. (It may come as a shock to learn Ibsen never wrote even The Doll’s House as the feminist drama it is assumed to be). One of Ibsen’s  early fans and advocates, the dramatist, Bernard Shaw, even as a Socialist, was similarly a dissenter from much egalitarian thinking dismissing even the American Bill of Rights as misguided with its assertion that all are born equal. For Shaw it should be obvious that people cannot just be anyone or do just anything. People have different talents and have more scope to express and hone talents…even assuming these are not pre-censored out by value systems like Norway’s.

Equality is a real value, but there are different kinds, and applications starting perhaps with equality before the law. The  same gospel that as mentioned supplies the radically equal parable of the vineyard labourers also conveys the parable of the talents about inequality and its responsibilities (Matt 25: 14-30).

EQUALITY AS IDOL

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Apart from the convictions of gradually self-discovering and affirming artists, for religion the effects of equality doctrine can be deadening. And not simply because it threatens to become an idol in its own right as when in Sweden (as pointed out by another Xenophobe author), for its state church it sometimes matters more for the job that you hold the right feminist views than that you believe in God. In harmony with that I would suggest that a too emphatic emphasis on equality risks finishing up in a materialism that closes the mind to many realities from the difference to be respected in other persons to the ultimate difference to be appreciated in God.

Believers have usually held that God speaks in a variety of ways, not just scripture but everything from the book of nature to the words of other persons. Whereas the traditional atheist would simply deny divine existence, the modern lover of egalitarianism may more subtly, automatically and implicitly deny God by simply refusing to hear anything God might say through chosen mouthpieces, not least those who, prophet-like claim some vocation to speak, advise or warn. “The fear (read awe) of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”,(Pro 1:7). But if everybody is or should be respected for principally their sameness, then the most spiritual that persons could hope to be would fall in the order of the “atheistic”, Zen kind of realization that famously and notoriously proclaims “Buddha is this shit stick” , or again the type of radical Buddhism that maintains the flux of existence, samsara, is identical with nirvana could people only see it.

There is no Lord of the Universe who speaks or guides; and perhaps especially not when additionally, as in Norway,,  the entire religious field is also coloured by a certain Lutheran emphasis on grace and the New Testament over the Old to the point there can scarcely be any God of prophecy and all the ages. What could, for example, be easily and reasonably regarded in the OT as deity portrayed  through the cultural lens and symbolic of the age of Aries and the fiery ram/lamb, is  too readily dismissed as unacceptable, mere patriarchal propaganda and violence scarcely fit to be read by the human  snowflakes it is feared  it can only offend, hurt and dissolve.

CONSEQUENCES OF A FALSE IDEALISM?

Such perspectives once ingrained easily lead on to degrees of anti-Semitism of which  modern Norway has been accused (3);  and certainly, and perhaps symbolically, the Scandinavian/Lutheran nations, especially Iceland, have been rather strong in favour of bans on male circumcision and kosher meat (if they think the latter is cruelty to animals, why not campaign against Norway’s more controversial attachment to whale hunts?). And while circumcision is legal in Norway, there was public outrage at the proposal it might be covered by the national health service for the small minority ( 1% ) that would be affected.  

Years ago I underwent across several days some spiritual experiences of the kind that short of special vocation one only expects and is content to experience once in a lifetime. But in the course of this, one of the things left  impressed on my mind was that in the divine realms there exists real difference, roles, and protocol of sorts to fit. When I got this wrong, from ignorance not sin, I recall the astonishment; the embarrassment of it felt a bit like reports of visitors who got their etiquette wrong at Versailles. Whatever, I would have to say, never imagine any old  thing suffices for the Most High. To imagine otherwise would be, and to remain, in the dark nowhere you’re already in and may slip further into.  

It would be easy enough to dismiss this kind of talk as just my imagination let loose or even, if true, as fairly inconsequential since surely something like the Nordic stress on equality couldn’t harm anything or anyone much or at all? But here I would disagree. The bias need not be as innocent as may appear and at times may lead on to and justify a presumption on others near to handing them a poisoned chalice. An example would be the values and workings of the national Ministry of Culture and Equality. In recent years there have been protests about it from around the world it on numbers of occasions. The EU’s Court of Human Rights has ruled the organization’s dealings “excessive”, but as Norway is an associate rather than full member of Europe this doesn’t carry much weight.

ALL OR TOO MUCH FOR THE CHILDREN

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I can’t hope to summarize and assess various cases, but basically the problem is many parents claim that Norway’s Barnevernet as good as kidnaps children for years or permanently without any real appeal and even on just suspicion or vague report they have been abused (i.e. hit ) or been inculcated wrong values by parents who need to be exchanged for liberal ones. As many as 50 children are said to have committed suicide as a result of separation from supposedly undesirable parents. Evidently would-be egalitarian and liberal mindedness has helped birth government by inflexible rule and deadly rumour  with  no proper regard to special cases or just inevitable human mistake – for example, no matter how much one may agree it is undesirable to hit a child (totally illegal in Norway), an exhausted parent or one seeking to separate a child from a bully may well do this and surely without causing major psychological trauma.

If you are not a patriotic Norwegian, then looking at all this from outside  it is hard not to see some Jungian projection principle at work in modern developments of Nordic law and values and towards something rather totalitarian.  The descendants of the once feared Vikings develop a neurotic suspicion of any aggressive and/or extremist self in the style of Brand [2] which is then projected upon others whose errors finish greatly exaggerated and penalized. But the trend is still all so stirringly novel and different, it has influence of sorts beyond home borders as arguably it has done internationally in the approach to difficult and sensitive queer and trans questions.

Many governments have hastened to close down “conversion therapy” of the failed and dangerous gay to straight variety, the problem then being that under the weight of egalitarian thinking the definition of “conversion therapy” can easily get changed, skewed or enlarged. If a concerned parent advises their offspring not to rush into radical surgery because the self-image may change with time, that risks being classed as illegal promotion of “therapy” itself. Gay writer Douglas Murray points out (in The Madness of Crowds) that around eighty per cent of trans persons by late adolescence accept their anatomical sex but think of themselves as gay. Could he and others risk jail or the kind of persecution including death threats that J.K Rowling has suffered for insisting on the reality of anatomical sex, for pointing this kind of thing out? The danger with egalitarian based thinking is it can veer things towards a new, very unequal totalitarianism.

Reverting to the national natal pattern, I believe Norway’s Barnevernet problem socially and more religiously appear reflected in the way Mars (any kidnap and violence issues) neurotically (by quincunx) afflicts Child while Mercury (any youth and children issues) is in denying tension square to Church (which should have dissociated from and objected to the adoption system long ago) caught in the twelfth house of both prisons and mysticism – lack of vision and “prophetic” role impedes the spiritual life itself.

Actually there is more and rather explicitly suggestive of the evil; but not seeking to merely shock or be accused of sensationalizing,  I won’t cite the signs further. Shakespeare’s Hamlet once declared “Something is rotten in the state of  Denmark”. Today more like he’d say it is so in the state of Norway amid godless attempts at a blinkered idealism.  

NOTES

1)  The  standard chart for Norway as per The Book of World Horoscopes by Nicholas Campion 1999, p. 228/9, is 7th  June 1905 11 am CET in Oslo

2) It is hard to determine what some parts and sayings of Brand truly represent. Is this a portrait of what the spiritual self of Nordics is, could, or should be? Does the dramatist feel Brand represents Christianity and, if he does, approves the faith along with that? There are many claims and counter claims. Personally I should say Kierkegaard shadows the picture and that elements of the drama imply Christianity, or full practice of it, is not really possible as such could finish a bit like the crazed Origen castrating himself. Ibsen, never too clear about his sources, presumably never used a commentary when he said he read only the Bible while composing Brand. Commentary might have clarified that Jesus as an Aramaic speaker can sometimes be translated more fierce than intended, Aramaic being an extreme language with violent idioms (“cut off my nose if I lie”). Yet if there is implicit denial of the faith in Brand, the “paganish” Peer Gynt carries suggestions of underlying Christian affirmation and resistance as in relation to the Troll King.

3) Welcome to Norway, the West’s most anti-Semitic country – Israel National News

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2022 in culture, ethics, religion

 

Sense and Nonsense around Rooney’s “Normal People”

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Sally Rooney’s “Normal People” has been a million copy bestseller. It has received maximum critical acclaim , numbers of awards and been adapted to a BBC TV mini series in 2020. But  when belatedly I got round to reading this phenomenon of both popular and Irish culture, the novel turned out to be one of the more difficult books I have read in a long time. I struggled, mostly bored, through this supposedly “thrilling” (New York Times), “most enjoyable book of the year” “(Daily Telegraph”), one which left the critic of The Times ”determined to look at the world differently”.

For my own satisfaction and perhaps some other critical minds, I will set  out why I am unmoved by,  even  a bit appalled by this tidal wave of enthusiasm for which I feel there is at any rate one similar case, and a negative one, in the record of western literature’s hits and fads. Plainly some chord has been struck and something more than just good marketing is behind it, though I do suspect publication by a master marketer, Faber, has had a role of sorts – Kevin Kiely’s Seamus  Heaney and the great Poetry Hoax has highlighted the role of Faber in adopting and promoting the arguably overrated unofficial Irish laureate. (1) I have to question that Normal People (NP) is quite the love story some maintain (impressions of the story’s love emphasis are by now much coloured by divergent, more glamorising features of the twelve part BBC TV adaptation) and will suggest the book’s message could be  more psychological with  more deeply unconscious roots than is generally realized.. but first a little background..  

IRELAND AND THE PUSH TO  FICTION

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Sally Rooney (b.1991) stands at an interesting crossroads of Irish literature and life. Despite the unique position of James Joyce within  Irish and international fiction, Irish literature has been most famed for its contribution to drama and –  Lady Gregory’s pioneering contribution despite – the drama owes most to male writers. Fiction has been less strongly represented in Ireland beyond some classic short story production from both sexes, and it’ only in recent times that the novel represented by the likes of Edna O’Brien, Maeve Binchy and Patricia Scanlan bids fair to become the favoured female mode.

The late Maeve Binchy (d.2012) was even complimented by the Irish Times for a touch of the Dickens in examining the varieties of modern Irish life. Binchy was certainly special, not least because of her will to revive (mythic) Maeve and Irish soul. Regretting her own atheism, she found truths in Irish traditions and annually made a retreat to Lisdoonvarna  in western Ireland to feel and recharge tradition in the now festival home of the Gaelic poet Brian Merriman. Two centuries before Merriman authored The Midnight Court which openly broached Irish problems around love and sex.

Rooney may deal in the realm of eros and the on-and-off affair, but is not set to follow Binchy  as regards encompassing social treatment despite some hinting at the economic disparities and problems in the the new Ireland. She is almost closer to the minimalist dramas of Samuel Beckett with their numerous stage directions and short sentences. Which is also to say Rooney is closer  to the perennially French side of Irish literature and what I would call French “chamber music” as opposed to symphonic writing on some themes in which a whole novel, often without sub plot, can be devoted to charting the course of a single love affair. Some of the impression that Rooney has written a classic love tale may be due to the rather concentrated “French” style of presentation. However, whether labelled as romance, amour or liaison or whatever, Rooney’s chosen style doesn’t make for typical French clarté (clarity) about it..

SOME AWKWARD STYLE AND CHARACTERS

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The present tense recording of events, along with the stage set or film script style directions (“Marianne gets in the front seat of Connell’s car….”) and the often absent speech marks can become seriously distracting. It nonetheless allows for a lot of quirky insertions of detail about persons and things like Marianne wiping her nose with her finger,  and information like her mouth “tastes alkaline like toothpaste.” A reader may or not enjoy this in terms of style, but it doesn’t notably work  to illuminate the characters in a given scene. It may even leave some persons as just disembodied names, at most ideas – in one of her  interviews I noted that Rooney did admit some of her characters are part of a contest of ideas while those acting Marianne and Connell have admitted needing to read the book between ten to fifteen times to quite get the hang. But if there’s limitation at the level of style it only belongs with what I register as other, larger problems with characterization and situation.

Some characters and/or situations don’t ring true to me. Connell’s cleaning lady mother whom he only addresses by her name, Lorraine, combines a degree of permissive attitudes with judgemental, moralistic ones towards the son to whom she won’t permit knowledge of his father’s name. Rich girl Marianne who lives in a mansion is attending a local rural school where she meets poor but popular boy Connell. But surely Marianne would attend a private school? And, as described, the sense of hierarchies and class and sexual experiment in the local school are if anything closer to a private school and/or somewhere in  the suburbs of Dublin where values are less strict and traditional but more competitive than in some rural areas.

Wherever the dramatis personae properly belong sociologically, a telling aspect of the school scenes  is  the  element of confusion and  rivalry that I sense arise from what today would be called “performance” of the self. Years ago I recall a French writer saying the Irish are introverts seeking to project themselves. If one can see beyond the Ireland of horse racing and hurling I would judge  that is broadly the case.

But between eight centuries of colonial rule, Catholicism and rapid changes in the modern world, the Irish have lost confidence in performance of the roles possible or needed  and with it especially how yin and yang might best interact. There is a lack of fit in that area which. as people try to realize themselves, makes for unfortunate collisions and misunderstandings such as the book presents. And since (perhaps reflecting the author’s own materialism and communist sympathies) the novel presents an entirely secular world in which religious issues never impinge, religion can’t be blamed in the usual way. But unmanaged, innate introversion or even spontaneous spirituality might need to be. It’s a case that body and soul get to protest but are not truly heard or understood when they do.

What, after all, is the cause of these sexual depressions, the feelings sex gives of constricting pain in the  chest , or an activity “so stressful as to be largely  unpleasant” (Connell) or dragging one’s body about  like a corpse (Marianne) and then the fact Marianne anyway  seems to crave humiliation or punishment – she even tries to find it abroad in Sweden?  To change a phrase, plainly “the course of good Irish sex never does run smooth”, and plainly too no breathing exercises have been brought in help manage or supply some needed  relief. Esoteric traditions would doubtless aver the discomfort belongs with a sullying of the aura through the promiscuous blending  of soul bodies such as Connell especially could engage in his easy sleeping around. The latter can be triggered by a fit of Marianne’s indifference which nearly destroys him at one point. Both parties are over-reliant on alcohol to get through their bad nerves and hang ups.

TALKING BUT NOT REALIZING LOVE

Love has always been hard to define, but the true love some readers and viewers seem to think the  couple possess,  might be expected to show more incandescence and also real trust than this novel’s expression displays. In this tale, good sex in itself is expected  to define how much love there is between the couple – a tricky gauge, but significantly, and part of the confusion, it seems the best sex Marianne enjoys she quickly falls to sleep from rather than stays awake to savour. And while  no reader would expect the affair to be love on the scale able to  produce a whole Vita Nuova (New Life) in itself, one could expect a bit more than the odd change of perspective and plan. Marianne is so little transformed by  Connell that when she is in the Dublin and Trinity College she advised him to go to,  the unloved girl has friends enough without him and  hardly ideal ones – Peggy aims to live off rich men who will keep her supplied in drugs.

What is called a love story is more by way of a therapeutic friendship which has some effect upon the life directions of those involved – not least it will send Connell, on Marianne’s advice, to literature studies in Dublin, not law in Galway. But it is hardly big love. Impressions otherwise surely owe something to the film whose Marianne played by Daisy Edgar-Jones is delicate and vulnerable in ways that  “wild” and crooked toothed Marianne either isn’t or is in different ways.

From Australia I have only seen clips, but Daisy’s flower-like performance is then complemented by the more accurately cast Paul Mescal. This actor is the dreamy eyed,  Irish heart throb kind whose quizzical and open expression can play romance as curiosity and above all sympathy that the alienated Marianne accepts, but which is not all that her complexity demands.

AN  ALTERNATIVE  READING?

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As though in fulfilment of Binchy’s will to revive the spirit of mythic Maeve, Rooney was born like Connaught ruling Maeve in the region’s Mayo. Marianne is not beyond citing the ancient matriarchal queen, and it is apparent what as a person she wants: either a full matriarchal domination of others or else herself to be dominated, symbolized by the masochistic urges Connell recoils from. Recoil in this strange case is likely the great faux pas. Even if he had only slapped her and yelled at her, the symbolic performance of a will to dominate might have fulfilled something, not least the need freely to perform more varied roles and realize a more ample yin/yang. Near the end of the book it is however  revealed that  Connell can let Marianne feel dominated and be tearful without  physically forcing her in any way. But this might be less of an achievement than itself some new hidden servitude seeing that late in the novel Connell is in therapy.

Suppression of a variety of roles and the limitation of performance belongs to a national malaise built up across centuries. Enlargement of structures, values and performance are what has been  needed and remains a desire. There is surely an unconscious significance resides in the fact that once into  his English studies Connell’s direction will be Medieval and Renaissance Romance, i.e to a considerable extent the varieties of Arthurian matter. This of course represents precisely a world of symbol, structure, etiquette that history has not permitted Ireland to pass through, indeed has even been robbed of by the likes of Spenser. This criminal among great poets shamelessly appropriated  a lot of Irish/ Celtic myth while successfully advising England to  erase the native language and  culture. Connell and Marianne are modern drifters through life and love who nonetheless suspect a greater need for social and personal structure and suffer a degree of neurosis in its absence.

POPULAR RECEPTION

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To the extent there has been Irish enthusiasm for NP, ( and this has not been universal despite its winning an Irish Book of the Year award), it owes a lot to the feeling, or hope, that Ireland has achieved both its  great  international and its Song of Songs moment. Allowing some lush erotica and nudity onto Irish screens the nation, or some it, compliments itself upon a coming of age, of finally being escaped from a tired legacy of sexless and tormented saints. This however is a simplification, one assisted by the regrettable fact that the Irish elites from politics to media are overwhelmingly globalist, hostile to the nationalism that would seek specifically native resolution to any inherited problems. Instead the (rather adolescent) response to  the NP and Rooney revolution is simply to congratulate itself for coming of age in a commonly recognizable way. Ireland like everywhere and everyone else at last!

Unfortunately rather more is involved, especially if like one enthusiast on youtube you propose this is the book that should be “compulsory reading” for sixteen to eighteen year olds. Such would imply a degree of  indifference to the idea the whole social scene portrayed with its too easily intoxicated untrendily smoking,  neurotically changeful characters is standard  along with other beliefs and ideas that, alas, even just buying a copy of Rooney today somewhat involves one in. The author’s Marxism lends support to boycotting Israel and anti-Israel views that have recently occasioned her to refuse translation of NP into Hebrew. This is one more ugly step that draws Ireland in the direction of being one of the most anti-Semitic nations in Europe (1). 

POLITICS AND AUTHOR INFLUENCE

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Granted the Israeli/Palestinian issue is a complex one, but those who rush to defend Palestinians or somehow identify the whole history of  Irish issues with their cause need, for only a start, to examine, compare and contrast how women, gays and democracy fare under Palestinian as opposed to Israeli rule. They should also ask themselves if they really support the kind of lies that today seriously suggest the Jews and Jerusalem never had a temple (a position that has caused precious artefacts to be destroyed in the interests of pressing  denial of historic claims) (2).

NP represents a diminished sense of the truth of many things, perhaps even a love of fiction over fact (such as might be attributed to Rooney’s university switch from history to literary studies). What is Rooney about? A materialist, she nonetheless says she feels “called” to write, whatever that could mean in such a case. But I shall as promised, cite one case, albeit thankfully less dire, to which her phenomenal, unexpected success bears some comparison.

The first major success of the poet Goethe was his novel of 1774 , Die Leiden des Jungen Werther The Sufferings of Young Werther.  It proved a runaway bestseller in Europe recommended by all the right persons up to and including Napoleon who wanted a copy in his exile. But it also launched a pre-Romantic era outlook and trend. The book began to inspire Werther suicides – some victims even dressed as Werther to shoot themselves. There were at least 2000 victims to the fashion and the figure may have been as high as 5000. Not until his deathbed did Goethe admit to any degree of responsibility having always denied any connection of the novel to his personal story and feelings.

TOWARDS  CURE?

Literature is problematic, it is never just the pure mirror of life that some like Flaubert have supposed. The reality is there is no purely objective depiction of whatever gets recorded. All vision carries intentionality. Every work has its overt or implicit position with a potential to influence. It is my impression that, intentionally or not, Rooney considerably glamourizes the kind of emotional and erotic confusion she depicts and, as portrayed,  the not so normal Normal People are not especially good news for anyone.

But, short of exotic solutions in the face of relationship chaos like the Indian marital system of joining couples according to their romantic and sexual dispositions, what sort of alternative would especially Ireland benefit from by way of contrast? A sentence couldn’t answer and summarize that, but I suggest what’s needed, perhaps even desperately, is something along the lines of plain talk from the likes of Canadian psychiatrist, Jordan Peterson, unofficial, increasingly popular guru of all things psychological. This is a person who as neither a modernizing Rooney nor as any tradition-evoking priest, will tell you things like equality is not what you necessarily want or need, that you must tackle the details of everyday life to deal properly with the larger issues, that multiplying partners doesn’t solve the problems and much more that’s almost unfashionable but unavoidable. It involves unapologetic, unchanging core  principles of the psyche applicable no matter what one’s religious or philosophical beliefs, principles that many have found helpful to keeping them from the breakdown and suicide of which Ireland now has far too much. Though Ireland has a backlog of issues, “know yourself” will always be good advice.

 NOTES (1) Seamus Heaney and the Great Poetry Hoax by Kevin Kiely. Areopagitica, 2018

(2) Why is Ireland the most anti-Israel country in Europe? (jns.org) and

https://danielrosehill.medium.com/palestinian-supporters-rally-in-dublin-ireland-call-israelis-a-bunch-of-rats-f930f66f0c2

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2021 in aesthetics, culture, ethics, psychology

 
 
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