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Author Archives: rollanmccleary

About rollanmccleary

I'm a published author writing here on a range of controversial themes some of which I still can't easily get to talk about publicly or have published. I'm currently living in rural S.E.Queensland, a beautiful and sub-tropical part of Australia. This blog continues with some of the issues dealt with on and off since '08 in Rollan's Censored Issues Blog.

THINKING ABOUT DISNEY’S “GAY MOMENT”

CHANGING THE STYLES

When I was young I was never a great fan of Disney films. Donald Duck might be OK but cartoonish versions of classic fairy tales were mostly a turn off, too knockabout  and yankee doodle. Early taken to those fairy tale-like villages and palaces of Mitteleuropa, I always felt I knew, helped by some classic illustrations, just how those stories should be rendered to screen but weren’t.

From what I would gather from clips, Beauty and the Beast which premieres in America on March 17th, promises to be closer to what I always imagined should have been a Disney treatment of fantasy. But just at the moment it becomes in some respects more fantastic real and European it also becomes a little bit gay too, briefly perhaps and almost exclusively towards its end, but evidently enough so to upset a sizeable minority of American citizens and some members of the Russian establishment. The latter regard it as bordering on forbidden “gay propaganda” but the nation has settled for a 16 + rating so that children won’t be influenced.  The chief “moment” – about two seconds of two men dancing together – is nevertheless said to be so subtle it’s likely to go over children’s heads anyway.

I understand that no one is called gay or admits to be so the length of the film, but there are occasional vague hints LeFou, the companion of Gaston, could have something like a man crush on Gaston straight though the latter is. The film’s director does understand LeFou’s character to be gay but many may not. The sudden controversy over what seems not too much could owe something to the fact Beauty’s innovatory “moment” comes to the big screen in the wake of another recent but small screen “moment” in a more typically Disneyesque  cartoon series, Star vs the Force of Evil.  Amid a celebrating crowd, gay couples are briefly seen to kiss and again you might almost miss it. But what has now been labelled the show’s “unbiblical kiss”  has drawn thousands of signatures from the Million Moms group (though given how many men kiss and embrace in the bible, “unbiblical kiss” can itself sound a trifle queer in the original sense of odd). Some Christians are however now debating how best to tell their children why they can’t be allowed to see Beauty and the Beast. 

HOW FAIRIE ARE FAIRY TALES?

Disney’s ostensible aim in this instance is to be, as it has always aimed to be, “inclusive”, a buzz word and almost automatic policy in liberal circles today. Ironically however, one might well ask whether Disney, no matter how accidentally, has not finally arrived closer to the spirit of a lot of fairy tale material not just in setting and atmosphere but in being a bit alternative too.

I don’t seriously suggest that Grimm, Perrault etc were senders of closet gay/queer messages albeit, for what the information is worth, Jacob Grimm never married. Tales like Cinderella can be allowed their romantic/straight vision of things.  Even so, a case can be made that “fairy tales” are a bit of a medium of expression for those persons themselves often called “fairies”. I made this point over a decade ago as a minor thesis within my at the time highly original doctoral thesis on gay spiritualities subsequently published in 2004 as A Special Illumination. goo.gl/qAqukK

From Oscar Wilde to Peter Cashorali (Fairy Tales: Traditional Stories retold for Gay Men), gays are masters of the genre with its observation and often subversion of custom. A Grimm’s tale like The Boy Who Wanted to Know What Fear Was, hints that marriage happy ever after and heterosex might not be so desirable, but rather something to be frightened of. In The Tale of the Two Brothers, who is that man in the woods who wants to adopt and mentor (classic gay roles) the lost sons of the brothers ? Why is he alone in the woods?

Inclusive though it wishes to be, it seems that Disney was somewhat pressured by ideologues of LGBT to include further. It will be clear from various blog articles that I don’t terribly like the direction in which especially American LGBT policy has been going. It’s arriving at something like the bullying of conscience and legal penalization of Christians. There are some tiresomely narrow Christians but all said and done why should they bake cakes for gay weddings if they don’t believe they should and be dragged to court and possibly have their livelihood ruined if they don’t comply? Would Democrats reckon to be forced to employ Republicans in their staff on the grounds of “equality” and “inclusion”? Some inequality and exclusion is a regular even necessary part of life. There’s a point beyond which no gay or straight person should impose themselves on society…..

DEMOCRACY WITHOUT VIOLENCE

However… where the Disney film is concerned, I don’t have democratic sympathies elastic enough to be generous to conservative protest and would-be boycotts and censorships…If you believe in democratic rights and freedom of gays within society at all, and especially if your idealism would wish that same-sex orientated persons interact at some level beyond the merely ghettoed, hidden and/or pornographic, then you must allow them what Disney is allowing them: the right to be seen, mentioned or self-declared. Also to help get beyond America’s unusually rigid  traditional gendering which until quite recently has too often been of the “Me Tarzan, You Jane variety” in a way to hurt many people, not just gays.

if you can’t consent to  this you are somewhere between blinkered or hypocritical. You put yourself in the socially retro position akin to that of Russia where homosexuality is technically legal but so practically unmentionable that any amount of homophobic violence is turned a blind eye to. And let’s face it, American Christians have traditionally allowed the bullying of gays and almost anyone different as a matter of course, accepting it as perhaps merely inevitable and deserved.

That attitude belongs to a whole social history that needs repenting before the spiritual atmosphere can be cleared; but far from any such thing happening the intolerance/aggression connection continues. Ironically I even note that the same evangelist, Franklin Graham, who has commended a cinema that refuses to show Beauty and the Beast and would like a general boycott of the film, is friend to the same pastor Saaed Abedini who has recently been guilty of breaking a restraining order put on him for abuse of his spouse. Abedini is OK in Franklin’s house though the increasingly conservative evangelist  is on record as declaring gays “the enemy” whom one shouldn’t allow into one’s home.

Not to be free to be known for what you are only makes for dangerous repression in the person who is “other” and for mixed, confused signals within straight society like women who don’t know who they are dating and dealing with. And even if you still believe there can be no possible justification for “homosexuality” as you define it, it is still not helpful to the young to have its existence hidden from their eyes and arsenal of general knowledge. So why criticize Disney? Go and enjoy the film…

ALONE TOGETHER: THE FINALLY ADMITTED UNHAPPY GAY PHENOMENON

……With that said I could leave the matter except that I almost need to make a Part Two or Addendum to cover something else that has cropped up at this time. It  has its connection to what I’ve been saying through its challenge to the very idea of being able to enjoy anything gay associated.

The same evangelical Christian Post which has featured re the Disney scandal has given room, yet again, to the inflexibly conservative Michael Brown (for whom homosexuality is just a curable disease or “lifestyle”, not any authentic or inborn orientation), to draw attention to an admittedly  significant recent article by gay writer, Michael Hobbes. The feature is Together Alone: The Epidemic of Gay Loneliness and it actually made it into the liberal Huffington Post (goo.gl/Jq9wsQ).  In light of it Brown cites the notable negatives of gay existence, which doubtless he is not unpleased to stress at a time when it has been claimed that the level of social acceptance implied by legal acceptance of gay marriage has in a short time reduced the chronic gay youth suicide rate in relevant societies by 7% .

Hobbes’ article stresses how despite all the advances in gay freedoms, virtually nothing has changed or improved. It tells how gays, many of whom spend (waste) their lives partying and chasing drugs, have fewer close friends and meaningful social lives than straights, are often (perhaps due to insecurities) unpleasantly mean to one another, and health-wise suffer more from cardiovascular disease, cancer, incontinence, allergies, asthma, erectile dysfunction. And overall there are more deaths from suicide than AIDS. Not just in America but even in Europe and liberal Sweden, places where difference is easier to realize than group conformist America, the facts are still confronting.

One could argue Hobbes’ picture is American extreme – healthy and well-adjusted gays do actually exist, I’ve known them – but I also recognize a lot of truth here too. The picture, by any standards grim, is the kind that the liberal press and tolerant society don’t know or don’t want to acknowledge but help nothing by pretending doesn’t exist. Yet however accidentally, I believe the truth, along with the possibility of a real healing linked to a sense of meaning and purpose, is contained in Hobbes’ conclusion: “We keep waiting for the moment when we feel like we’re not different from other people. But the fact is, we are different. It’s about time we accept that and work with it.”

DELIVERANCE TO AND IN  DIFFERENCE

…..It is indeed high time and past it. Gays are different mentally, even somewhat constitutionally – much like the artists which quite a few notable gays have been. (Earlier eras might have called them constitutionally neurasthenic types). As a neighbour in London’s much artist inhabited Chelsea once asked me: ”Have you ever met a contented, well-adjusted artist?” Almost never and a reading in the biographies of most writers, poets, painters, actors and musicians across history including the religious ones, won’t alter the impression substantially. Such turmoil and often tragedy!  And an honest reading of even various biblical figures like he poetic David who valued the love of men above that of women and the troubled unmarried Jeremiah who lived with Baruch, bespeak sexual marginality and its complexes and I would make a strong case for Jeremiah’s psychology being fundamentally gay (See Three Gay Theological Poems and its Jeremiah’s Loincloth  goo.gl/dOHgGC). Be that as it may….expanded or marginal vision, marked creativity and its accompanying sensitivity all take their toll on the system and impose special responsibilities.

It might seem obvious that gays are different, yet plainly to quite a few it isn’t. The secular mind is as blinkered as the conservative religious one when it comes to the real meanings and uses of sexual orientation. Gays and their straight supporters delight in stressing “equality”, “inclusiveness” and a potential or actual “sameness” (Andrew Sullivan’s “virtually normal”) rather than essential difference needing special management. This year’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras made “equality” it’s special theme. It’s all feel good largely irrelevant hooey but due to the American influence upon Gay Lib, LGBT agendas get framed in the light of those American values that long ago the himself Socialist and Liberal Bernard Shaw dismissed as untrue. People are not in many respects born equal and there never can and will be perfect equality. As to the right to the pursuit of happiness that too is a tricky one. Some of the world’s greatest achievements are born of a necessary suffering. Too much striving for happiness can itself create the very opposite as arguably some American lifestyles amply demonstrate.

I have been insisting on essential gay difference and the need to work with it for years. Despite obtaining a world first doctorate in gay spiritualities from any religion studies dept and this research being subsequently published as the mentioned A Special Illumination,  I have been largely dismissed and ignored for it to a degree I now scarcely bother to make the important point further. All the while I have been painfully aware that too many persons, including academic leaders from Michel Foucault to Marcella-Althaus Reid who noisily espoused the basically amoral queer theory that teaches “identity without essence” and which virtually turns life into one long bi or pan sexual experiment, just don’t help gays to justify or manage their existence. Some might even be said to be exploiters of difficulty who lead confused minds to hell in a hand basket rather like Timothy Leary preaching the drug culture to sixties youth.

“Homosexuality is wasted on gay people” is one of the more meaningful statements for today from queer theorist, David Halperin. I’d say it often is; and my position is close to that of Camille Paglia in regarding homosexuality as one of the more crucial, vital elements in cultures (especially the western since the Greeks) and even, for good and ill, within religion.  It is absolutely necessary to recognize and work with what homosexuality is and does in society and to be rid of the mere lies and superstition that it’s all and always bad, something to be feared, suppressed and even unmentioned.  Without yet seeing the film, the controversy around Beauty and the Beast sounds like a storm in an evangelical tea cup amid which it’s just possible that Disney is helping something.

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2017 in creativity, gay, religion

 

PRINCE CHARLES AND THE POETS: A CONUNDRUM

 A CONUNDRUM

charlespoet

Thinking outside the box, being or just seeming eccentric has its uses. It has had the latter In the case of Britain’s Prince Charles in everything from useful experiments in architecture and the environment to the training of unemployed youth. When it comes to literature and despite Charles being a patron of the arts (and known for a highly traditional Shakespeare fan), the picture is more complex, peculiarly so and with what looks like subjectivity to the point of self-contradiction.It does so not least in relation to poetry as the expression of beliefs, an area in which Charles once famously declared he wishes one day to be “defender of faith” rather than “a defender of the faith”.

Yet if Charles’ major predilections when it comes to poets and poetry was anything to go by, it might be more accurate to describe him as defender of unfaith. His personal relations with especially two notable poets presents nothing short of a conundrum, though I have begun to see the conundrum entails a form of understanding that makes his position almost inevitable.

As described later, I have had dealings with at any rate one of the two poets considered here. They were two very different individuals who were rivals for the position of poet laureate – Ted Hughes (1930-1998) narrowly beat Kathleen Raine (1908-2003) to the position in 1984. Hughes, easily Britain’s most controversial poet since Lord Byron, despite all the scandals became almost family to the royals. A great natural storyteller he often read bed time stories to Princes William and Harry and since his death in 1998 Charles has erected a shrine (with stained glass!) to the poet at his Highgrove home and given permission to a hidden memorial on crown land in Dartmoor. Charles used to fish in the wilds and dine at home with the poet and his grandmother was, the poet alleged, almost flirtatious with him.

THE WILDEST POET SINCE BYRON 

by Rollie McKenna, bromide print, 1959

Women tended to find Hughes irresistible and were the problem of his life starting with the brilliant but difficult poet Sylvia Plath whom to this day many feminists choose to regard as virtual murder victim because Hughes’ infidelity drove her to suicide. The claim gained weight because death seemed to cling to Hughes like a leech. Assia Wevill, the married woman for whom Hughes left his wife, duplicated the gas oven suicide taking her daughter by Hughes along with her; another lover, Susan Alliston, died young of cancer, and Hughes’ son by Plath suicided in a fit of depression  – in this some saw genetics, some saw a curse, some said Hughes had been a domestic tyrant in a way to affect his son’s mind.

Bad though his record was, I feel it is possible to overdo the scandal of Hughes with women and similarly his reputation as virtual black magician due to his (rather Jungian) interest in the occult, alchemy, Cabbala, astrology, and shamanism – he deemed poetry a form of magic. If Hughes’s sexuality could, like his poetry, be volcanic and even sadistic, it’s a fact that when he first kissed Plath (who wanted to be a Cathy to this Yorkshireman’s Heathcliff) she drew blood from him like a vampire. But the faithless Hughes did love and respect Plath deeply (his last major work Birthday Letters is testimony enough to that) and arguably lifelong there would have been fewer flings and infidelities if the romantic pair had reconciled as intended and Plath survived. As it was, an irresistible man left rudderless and confused by his fate, followed the line of least resistance. Hughes may never have been the ogre many believed, but in one less obvious sense he was one.

As modern and especially British poets go, Hughes can be considered spiritual but not healthily so. Indeed, especially if poetry has anything like the magical function the poet assumed, then Hughes has purveyed little short of spiritual pollution itself. The early poems which brought fame in such collections as The Hawk in the Rain and Lupercal represent his Tarka the Otter or Kiplingesque line in verse. They project unusually forceful feeling onto the life of fauna and are healthy enough. After Plath’s suicide a new more shamanistic, less coherent, incomplete but highly dramatic and mythic form of verse takes over in the collections Crow and Cave Birds and this colours Hughes’ work across the next two decades.

THE TED HUGHES MASTERPIECE

The genesis of the cryptic Crow – Hughes’ masterpiece in his estimation  and that of at least some critics – arose from more than one impulse, but coming to terms with the death of Plath definitely had something to do with it.It’s a protest against common existence and notions of fate and God, to which it supplies alternative answers of a sort, even if because for Hughes poetry is “magic”, an act, resolution is like a shamanic dismemberment and reconstitution of self.  If the answers are personal they are perhaps perhaps indirectly also for England whose national psychology fascinated Hughes (author of the difficult but important Shakespeare and The Goddess of Complete Wisdom which  addresses this). And Britain for Hughes was symbolized less by its heraldic lion than the enterprising crow, the Celtic god Bran’s totem.

In the beginning was Scream

Who begat Blood…..
Who begat Adam
Who begat Mary
Who begat God
Who begat Nothing
Who begat Never
Never, Never, Never

Who begat Crow…..

hughescrow

It is hard to summarize Crow or even adequately excerpt from it; one can at best supply something of its flavour, relentlessly negative, profane, grotesque with its essential protest against creation.

“A final try’ said God. Now LOVE’
Crow convulsed, gaped, retched….
….And woman’s vulva dropped over man’s neck and tightened

The two struggled together on the grass
God struggled to part them, cursed, wept….”

Adam and Eve along with God regularly diverge from all canonical portrayals.

God ran and told Adam
Who in a drunken rage tried to hang himself in the orchard

The Serpent tried to explain, crying “Stop”….
And Eve started screeching: “Rape, Rape!”
And stamping on his head”

After creation God had been called upon to take it back and he suffers a nightmare which tells him to do better. Crow, a trickster figure, emerges to help correct things in the course of which he invents the chaos of sexuality and goes in quest of his female half.

At this level of story some might take Hughes’ picture to be almost humorous in a Monty Pythonesque fashion. But there’s enough of it and it becomes clear the inversions and negations of the canonical are a launch pad for the development of statements that cannot be taken as other than abusive and profane as Crow becomes some kind of image or shadow imitation of a Christ figure as in The Risen

When he soars his shape
Is a cross, eaten by light
On the Creator’s face…..

…In the wind-fondled crucible of his splendour
The dirt becomes God

And though the particular words aren’t within Crow itself but Cave Birds, one could guess that essentially the poet’s beliefs and attitudes as in A God, amounted to the following insulting grotesquery directed upon crucifixion and notions of salvation.

Pain was pulled down over his eyes like a fool’s hat…
He was helpless as a lamb
Which cannot be born
Whose head hangs down under its mother’s anus….

His patience had meaning only for him
Like the sanguine upside-down grin
Of a hanging half-pig…

He could not understand what had happened
Or what he had become

Though the verse is complicated, I doubt that the attitude that gives rise to them is. It may be almost too easy to make diagnosis of Hughes’ spiritual condition. Around the time of Plath’s funeral, Hughes had said he did not seek to be forgiven and if there was an eternity he would be damned (1). Did Hughes mean he would suffer his own guilt forever in refusal of all grace and redemption, or, since refusal of forgiveness can entail refusal of repentance, at some level there was nothing to repent of anyway? Either way the attitude seems singularly harsh and negative and it duly gives rise to negative effects. Almost everyone would agree there was something for Hughes to be sorry for. An attitude of ongoing self-criticism that tries to learn from failure, is almost fundamental to the Christianity that married and buried Hughes but did little else for him. Whether psychologically or spiritually, the guilt or unrepentance envisaged could automatically cut the individual off from God leaving them in precisely the death-dominated nay saying dark in which Crow operates.

CONSEQUENCES OF A SINGLE CHOICE

If Hughes had reflected more upon even just the symbolism of his beloved occult sources, he might have learned something. The images of alchemy include the mutilation of the screaming lion’s paws, an image of the lion (Hughes was astrologically a Leo) needing to be cured of his defiant pride if the process is to continue. Arguably Hughes represents only the latest among notable Leos engaged upon some theatrical collision course with deity. One thinks of Jack Miles God: A Biography, which aims to cut God down to size. Among poets there is Robert Graves who invented the White Goddess and more famously Shelley who waged a long war against a half believed in deity. Some critics have seen revolt against God in the both the fiction (Pierre) and poetry (Clarel) of Hermann Melville. Leo philosopher, Feuerbach, reduces God to nothing but a reflection of the human mind. Jung’s The Answer to Job does much the same. Leo simply does not readily admit to faults minor or major, is not humble…..like the devil one might say – in my always correct data for Christ, Lucifer (the asteroid) appears in the sign of Leo. (2).

So much of Hughes poetry is insalubrious and gratuitously violent (persons fainting outright at readings was not uncommon), one is inclined to think Prince Charles didn’t absorb too strongly what was written or said beyond the earliest offerings. Or perhaps core messages were passed over as being akin to merely Monty Python entertainments to which, like the Goon show before it, Charles was partial. (Eric Idle’s popular but distinctly godless song, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life from the Python team’s The Life of Brian, was performed for Charles’ sixtieth birthday).

KATHLEEN RAINE, UNEXPECTED ROYAL GURU

reinebook

Though the intrepid Kathleen Raine who died at ninety five after being hit by a car didn’t qualify for a Highgrove shrine, a personally commissioned  bust of her stands in Charles home among others representing a special influence. Some have called the pair soul mates. Exceptionally for royal custom, Charles attended the poet’s anachronistic funeral in Westminster Cathedral (anachronistic because Raine considered her brief conversion to Catholicism a mistake out of harmony with her beliefs and life work), and with the Queen’s permission he arranged a memorial service at the St James’ palace chapel. At that service it was mentioned how Raine regarded her connection with Charles as a fated part of her life mission. So this was a poet who had become another of those almost but not quite family figures. Prince and poet engaged a lively correspondence and Charles used to call in at the writer’s Chelsea home in Paultons Square for tea and cakes and pep talks where he was distinctly encouraged to pursue paths less travelled, was assured his position was the hardest and loneliest in the world but that he must  not to surrender one inch “to the riff raff”.

In contrast to the relation with Hughes, Charles had to have been very certain about what Kathleen Raine represented as chief co-founding editor of the magazine Temenos (founded 1984). It began as a review “devoted to the arts of the Imagination” with the understanding that most meaningful  expressions of art are related to the sacred). Suitably impressed, Charles became its patron and later gave room space and lecture time in his new Academy of Architecture to those engaged on Raine’s project. He was so impressed by it the magazine became the Temenos Academy Review effectively the review of a school Charles sponsored devoted to promotion of the Platonic Good, True and Beautiful across cultures. Charles himself contributed an article, A Sense of the Sacred – Building Bridges between Islam and the West. The magazine had been originally inspired by the work of Henry Corbin in France, an Islamic scholar who taught the fundamental unity of the Abrahamic faiths, though I think that emphasis minimally reflected any beliefs or interests of Raine who was drawn more to the faiths of Asia.

IN PARENTHESIS: BELIEFS OF PRINCE CHARLES

charlesmus

Charles’ Temenos contribution is the sort of thing which especially early in the century fostered rumours about a private conversion to or profound affinity for Islam, a point on which I shall briefly digress though I can’t possibly know truth in this matter. Undeniably there were visits to Muslim shrines, a donning of Muslim garb, controversial words uttered about the possible integration of Sharia Law to Britain and at least one Sheik (Mohammed Naim al Haqqani, Mufti of Turkish Cyprus and a Sufi Grand Mufti) would affirm that Charles was unofficially Sufi, a Muslim in his heart as Allah accepted. (3) It could however be that HRH’s enthusiasm (he has spoken of “the perfection and beauty of original Islam”) was the expression of an earlier era when few knew the finer or any details of Sharia, when Islamism had not emerged and appreciation of world faiths had a stronger aesthetic emphasis (If Charles is enamoured of Islamic art he fancies Greek icons too in harmony with Raine’s connection of the aesthetic with the sacred).

It belongs with Charles “out of the box” treatment of themes that recently he has bemoaned the relative silence of media in the face of the genocide of Middle Eastern Christians. This is not like a convert’s talk. What is known and certain is that Charles has been strongly influenced by the universalist religious ideas of Swiss writer Frithjof Schuon, who regarded at any rate mystical Islam as a potential unifying force in the world and converted to Sufism, though also being associated with Amerindian tribal religion and other systems in his quest for primordial faith and perennial wisdom.. Mark Sedgwick in Against the Modern World probably gives the best description of Charles’ belief and I cite this in note. (4)

RAINE: LINKING THE AESTHETIC AND THE SACRED

As said, Raine founded Temenos to promote precisely   “imagination” and a sense of the sacred. This was to be furthered amid modern deserts of materialism and ultra-rationalism. She considered all true poetry a form of Platonism and genuine poets Platonists at heart, though perhaps like Hughes she believed verse could be “magic” too. At one time and in imitation of Yeats, Golden Dawn ceremonies got performed in her home. At least a couple of poems seem to indicate she saw or was visited by spirits (The Elementals, In Paralda’s Kingdom).

A major, ground breaking  authority on William Blake, and a noted admirer of Yeats, (both figures seen as representing “imagination”), Raine was a distinguished critic and significant advocate of neo-romanticism in especially poetry. She was herself by general consent an accomplished poet if unevenly so as she half admits in her final Collected Poems. This  excised some pieces, the sort of soppy, sentimental, rather confused personal stuff you feel shouldn’t be there – KR’s love life had always been troubled and in the case of gay author Gavin Maxwell, guilt-ridden as she had (some said successfully) cursed him in a fit of rage when he couldn’t reciprocate her desires.

When not about love or urban and rural scenes, the more mystical or philosophical of Raine’s verse tends to oscillate between awareness of being isolated as perhaps a fragment of a larger whole and awareness of somehow being or warmly included in that whole.

Thus:

I am a wave
That will never reach the shore

I am an empty shell
Cast up upon the sand   (The Unloved)

……It is enough now I am old
That everywhere above, beneath
About, within me is the one
Presence…     (In my Seventieth Year)

I am old and alone but boundless
All is everywhere
Once is forever (A Love remembered)

This emphasis early on and continuously supplied KR a kind of spontaneous affinity for Hindu identity mysticism, though she did not realize this till late and the last two decades of her long life. Before that and as the daughter of a rather repressive Methodist preacher, she had been in flight from Christianity, unclear even what the word “God” meant. Earth’s great cry of joy and woe that KR hears and a consubstantiality with the earth she feels is perhaps…..

….What men called God
Before the word lost meaning. This
That needs no doctrine to make plain,
No cult to offer or withhold
A union more intimate
Than breath of life…….  

Sometimes rejection of or by God (however described), strikes a strange note.

God in me beats my head upon a stone   (Storm)

Stranger still are statements as from Judas Tree to the effect that if it was remarkable Judas was a betrayer, it was almost more remarkable the other disciples, “So stupidly, so tentatively faithful” were stayers. The poet realizes she has more often been a betrayer (of Christ?) than Judas, but sorrowed less for it and isn’t like Judas hanging on a tree.

While Raine could hardly claim to have betrayed anyone to death, it seems plain enough between her critical and poetic work that for much of her life she was a nay saying neo-pagan. It was the combination of a belated discovery of India and then the discovery of herself by Charles, that gave Raine more purpose in life and something approaching specific direction of faith. It then took the form of hymns to Shiva (Prayer to the Lord Shiva, Nataraja, Millennial Hymn to the Lord Shiva) and even addresses to the sun

Sun, great giver of all that is……
How address you greatest of givers,
God, angel, these words served once, but no longer…
But no myth, as before our eyes you are or seem…
Am I in you or you in me….?                          (To the Sun)

In some sense and in a poem dedicated to Charles, she could see how by tradition kings were sun identified. (Legendary Kings).

The Millennial Hymn to Shiva, asks who else can we pray to with the days of praising the Creator over and so much of the world being destroyed, than the Lord of destruction, a destruction that purifies. In the violence of Shiva, Raine seems to find some resolution of the passive and aggressive elements of her divided self.

MEETING KATHLEEN RAINE

raine        rollan-1

                         Kathleen Raine                                               McCleary in 1987

Back in 1987 I knew Ms Raine chiefly for her well informed, insightful critical work, but I knew she had founded Temenos and was generally a promoter of the neo-romantic. I was hopeful she might perceive myself as a neo-romantic, more especially in poetry where I had produced material working towards a loosely tantric, East-West aesthetic. Earlier in the decade I had enjoyed an international critical success (in prose) on East-West cultural and religious issues as a result of living many years in Asia, but poetry was a sudden new arrival in my life. Even today I remain surprised at just how proficient some of the work like the Anuradhapura I offered to Raine, actually was given that it came without any real precedent. The poems now in Puer Poems (the title influenced by Jung’s theory of the Puer archetype I somewhat celebrate) (5), had nonetheless hit a brick wall. There wasn’t a magazine or publisher would give it the time of day for almost any reason. It’s wasn’t the writing itself was bad, it would have been hard to maintain that. It was always something else. You must go through magazines first, magazines objected the poems were too long or exotic. It was quite clear anything neo-romantic,  East-West or “occult” (one of the poems evoked theatre in terms of kabbalistic concepts) was simply not to be considered. You need to be Yeats or Ted Hughes before you are tolerated for such interests.

Since I lived in Chelsea when I wasn’t overseas, I decided to wander down the Embankment and call at Paultons Square and ask for a poem or excerpts of some to be included in Ms Raine’s esteemed magazine so that I might have the recommendation of it to wave at recalcitrant publishers. As I thought it might appeal to her, I was even bold enough to present myself as having some affinities for the world of Yeats. This was not as foolish or presumptuous as it might sound. Even a department head for my first degree on meeting me years later, remarked he wasn’t surprised at my development as he had always registered me as a type of young Yeats and within a year or two of meeting Ms Raine, a rara avis, a poetic drama based on a Celtic mythic theme, had been accepted by the ABC in Australia. Contemporary Irish verse which has largely followed the British modernism Raine abominated,  contains little or no romantic, mythic or religious content. I can state unequivocally I am closer to Yeats than any of Irish nationality writing today. (I could also claim to have been continuously discriminated against because of it too!).

So…. theoretically there was no special reason for Ms Raine to refuse me the favour of a page or two of print in a sizeable review. I knew I ticked most of the boxes or seemed to.

Having described Ms Raine and meeting her in my memoir, I won’t say much more than this. When she got round to checking me out more particularly CV wise, and I mentioned that my internationally well-reviewed The Expansion of God had been published in Britain by SCM (a respected publisher of theology and philosophy), she almost choked with horror gasping “Oh, so you’re a Kistian!”. And while I sat (quite likely where Charles would sit in full view of her dancing Shiva bronze), she launched into a lecture, almost a tirade, about the superiority of India over the West, the nonsense of Europeans trying to bring any religious wisdom to it, etc etc.

Raine’s biography states that some considered her an autocrat. Sensing as much myself, I felt virtually certain in light of her shock that I would not be accepted whatever I said or did and that I would be sentenced without trial. Unsurprisingly, the details of the later refusal proved not just mean in the context of my thankless task of being published for the kind of material Raine should support, but suitably absurd. How could someone admitting I had something of Wordsworth, object I exceeded his expression of the egotistical sublime by entering the purely private to my verse. Here was an objection (surely a Jungian projection!) from someone herself embarrassingly personal in her own verse to the point of complaining (since Raine was once celebrated for beauty) of her thin hair and old breasts and whose revelations include how she managed her cat, “Is Pussy coming to bed?”  (I see my little Cat). My own work would seem downright impersonal by comparison. And any religious prejudice was ironic since, however Christian I might be personally or in the published book I’d mentioned to her, the reality was that the material that would constitute Puer Poems unlike more recent work such as Raphael and Lucifer and Other Visionary Poems, (6) had nothing Christian to it at all. Conservative Christians might even have objections to the content, and given the way I’d employed religious and mythic imagery I didn’t believe in, I could almost have been taken for a Buddhist or Yeatsian theosophist.

POSSIBILITIES AND LIMITATIONS OF POETRY

Poetry can be and do many things. At its higher reaches it can function to change perspectives, further unity through new thought syntheses, grant vision to people. Accordingly it can be all of Ted Hughes “magic” and national definitions and likewise Kathleen Raine’s “transcendence” and evocation of the Beautiful. However, even Raine’s devotion to the Platonic Beautiful cannot avoid the Good and True.

The greatest originality can never entirely circumvent basic psychological and spiritual principles. If, like Hughes, one refuses anything like “repentance”, one will be left raging in the dark, and if like Raine one dismisses all issues of truth-in-belief in favour of the claims of tradition, love, inclusion or whatever, one will merely finish in self-contradiction…. not to say the discrimination that officially one’s position may claim to be opposed to.

Raine may establish Temenos to unite cultures, beliefs and creativity across the board, but practically she would be strongly opposed to and exclusive of all Christianity (outside possibly the Meister Eckhart ultra-mystical “heretical” kind) and caught in the branches of her own Judas Tree. The position exemplifies the biblical statement “Whoever is not for me is against me and whoever does not gather with me, scatters” (Luk 11:23).

THE UNIVERSALIST PIPE DREAM

Prince Charles has never been notably fortunate in his gurus – the “Jungian” adviser the late, Laurens van der Post (another Chelsea resident and a friend of Raine) has been shown to be such a lying fraud, he is today best forgotten and unmentioned – but I suggest that where poetic gurus are concerned, the complication repeats itself if more mildly. More mildly, but not with less potential significance for the Prince’s credo, and perhaps increasingly that of many who incline to the same would-be universalist views.

One sets out to include everyone, to defend “faith”, to love the world over its component national or whatever parts, but one finishes with discrimination in fact. At its worst, it is precisely tolerance, acceptance and inclusion of all people, races and faiths that in Britain has allowed the Trojan horse scandal in education and the sexual exploitation of minors through police fears of “racist” charges if they point to crimes and values protected within specific cultural and religious groups. In this way the moral ideal breeds the immoral one and the religious ideal fosters spiritual pollution.

Arguably the truest., most appropriate poetry for our times would be prophetic satire, nothing more, nothing less. I could envisage a sort of update of Pro 7 with this time a lost, aimless Europa and her unruly offspring wandering “in the twilight, in the evening, in the time of night and darkness”. But I sense it is already too late to tackle the momentous subject of rapid western decline in all its daunting complexity. Albeit from a different perspective, I share some of the pessimism of Raine’s Millennial Hymn to Shiva. in which already there is something less to warn against or correct than to resign to and mourn. It is has become apparent to me that writing well and relevantly today only raises insecurities and resentments in those who determine the face of literature. I mentioned last article the case of a leading Australian poet who while giving me the back-handed praise rather like Raine’s Wordsworth compliment that I had the musicality of Virgil (not a bad hit – tell the Dartmoor shades of classics translator and astrologer  Ted Hughes that asteroid Virgil conjuncted my sun at birth!), the fact I had include such “hopelessly archaic words” as “conduct” and “bestow” meant I could not be published with Penguins.

The rapidly increasing decline of the West is due not just to its materialism and PCness but among other things its artistic decadence, pundits like Raine invoking light but too often fostering darkness. As said, this decline is a theme already almost too large, too late for any one person or artist to tackle and after much striving to be allowed any kind of voice, finally I refuse to attempt such tasks, though my Beyond Dover Beach is a gesture in the direction (7). As the Taoists have it, “to retire is best”. In my own case I am satisfied that retiral and silence are the appropriate response. “Where there is no vision the people perish”. But if help is not wanted, often it is not right to insist upon giving it either; casting pearls never helped anyone or anything.

As to Prince Charles and because he does enjoy influence, one can only hope he is more fortunate in future with his gurus of art, avoiding the contradictions into which they could lead him and others.

NOTES

1) Jonathan Bate, Ted Hughes: The Unauthorized Life, p.219
2) Testament of the Magi: Mysteries of the Birth and Life of Christ, goo.gl/I28aCm
3 ) Alleged Sufi conversion https://goo.gl/MF2qYF and  for continuous updates over the years on Charles’ statements and gestures vis-à-vis Islam see https://goo.gl/YnNndW
4) “…..Charles’ own position might be described as anti-modernist Jungian and Emersonian universalism. At the opening of his Institute of Architecture he defined “spirit” as that overwhelming experience of awareness of a oneness with the Natural World, and beyond that with the creative force we call God which lies at the central point of all….It is both ‘pagan’ and Christian and in this sense is surely the fundamental expression of what we call religion”. In the same speech Prince Charles spoke against “scientific rationalism:” as “destroying the traditional foundations on which so many of our human values had been based for thousands of years” Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History. Mark Sedgwick. Oxford University Press 2004. n. 45 p 328.
5) Puer Poems  (2011) goo.gl/HKbS9O
6) Raphael and Lucifer and Other Visionary Poems (2016)  goo.gl/Xqd5BF
7) Beyond Dover Beach: A Poem of our Times http://wp.me/p2v96G-gY

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2017 in aesthetics, Poetry, religion

 

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ELIZABETH GILBERT’S MAGIC: RIGHT BUT MOSTLY WRONG

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FEELING AND BEING CREATIVE AT ALL COSTS

Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest easy read bestseller is a strange offering and not quite what it seems. It starts out in true American positive thought style as an encouragement to creative self-expression or actualization, specifically it’s an invitation in the style of fame-avoiding poet Jack Gilbert (no relation)  to find our inner treasures and cultivate “curiosity over fear”. Fear doesn’t like the uncertain boundaries and outcomes of inspiration, so to oppose it is key.

With this the reader is launched upon a sort of everyone’s how-to guide to living creatively and achieving fulfilment citing especially the example of the self-isolating Jack and  a middle aged woman who returns to her youthful love of just skating. But soon the book is morphing into more by way of a guide to inspiration and creativity as exemplified by work and inspiration as it affects writers and artists and Gilbert herself. This is something one feels the book shouldn’t quite do insofar as the ever democratic author would deny that the artist and art is anybody or anything special unless for the sort of committed work involved. So little is what’s special or any big C creativity involved that Gilbert, who says she “cannot even be bothered to think about the difference between high art and low art” (p.120), advises that if you feel like painting a penis on a wall, go ahead and do it (p 88).

Art’s essential normality will even become Gilbert’s pretext to berate writers less successful than herself as complainers or masochists with attitudes that poison the very wells of inspiration they seek to draw upon. Gilbert herself believes true inspiration has a lot to do with just pleasure or fun. While this will always be partly true (the artist needs both to take and convey some pleasure in their work to communicate well) such wild generalizations ignore even the science of recent years. This indicates that beyond any simple self-gratification, artists are differently wired from scientists and have more grey matter (literally not metaphorically) than the average person. It might be wise to allow that artists could have their own purpose and role in nature and life.

In harmony with its title, Gilbert’s pep talk book is also almost a theory of magic and so it is soon maintaining we are visited by ideas with independent consciousness like so many spirits. At one point Gilbert even admits, “I have invisible spirit benefactors who believe in me” (p. 96).  You need to entertain these sources of inspiration or one day they will just wander away from you and, as though offended, won’t return. Practically, the book revives and popularizes something like ancient theories of the daemon and Platonic ideas and archetypes.

In the course of Big Magic there is plenty of sensible advice for creative people like an insistence the artist usually doesn’t need much that passes for higher education today and pursuing which can leave a student with half a lifetime’s debt. The artist needs to live and learn from life except that modern life too often prevents this. Since there are a variety of helpful tips for artists plus Gilbert’s work ethic and history of stubborn persistence are exemplary in their way, I wouldn’t dissuade anyone from reading the book. But they do need to do so critically and with caution. Amid interesting anecdotes and advice there’s much that is  misleading, even seriously so as regards what art is or needs to be and I’ll address especially that…..

GILBERT’S “BIG MAGIC” SURPRISE THAT’S NEITHER SURPRISE NOR SECRET

…. However,  let’s get what the author regards as her crucial magical notion of inspiration out of the way first. What Gilbert has learned is that, as in science which talks of a “multiple discovery” phenomenon, it is possible to find oneself pursuing the same project and even writing virtually the same novel as another writer and at the same time. Gilbert and Ann Pratchett did so on events in the Amazon region. This it seems is part of something larger and terribly occult that we ought to embrace though we can never hope to understand it.

As it happens, what Gilbert describes will not be any surprise to anyone aware of the principle of cycles in astrology. These oversee entire cultural trends and will produce the same styles and motifs that another generation may consider of no interest at all. Thought (and art) is indeed archetypally determined to a great extent. Revivals of interest in certain periods and trends are the marks of a return of a cycle from perhaps hundreds of years ago. This  phenomenon is and isn’t “magical” (you can read about it in detail in culture historian Richard Tarnas’ ground breaking study Cosmos and Psyche, 2006)) and the sub cycles of planetary transits then relate the larger cycles to the development of individuals giving artists their creative and fallow periods; so if Gilbert embraced some principles of astrology she would have clearer understanding in relation to the art and self-expression  that concern her. And then she wouldn’t think of what occurs across time as like “jokes” and tricks of a trickster universe but instead a more ordered programme or fate.

But even subject to the effects of cycles, people pursuing creativity are not necessarily influenced by active spirits or angels as Gilbert so radically has it. In extreme cases this may happen, or at least be thought to happen – we find it in William Blake who claimed to see angels on a regular basis and film director Ingmar Bergman who supposedly had  contact with spirits and demons. At the extreme end of the influence scale it can even be that a generation is inspired or misled by prophets possessed by whatever forces for good or evil. To that extent it is just possible that having opened herself up to everything from yogas to gurus and a fortune telling Bali medicine man, Gilbert herself has finished susceptible to the influence of actual spirits keen to impose on the collective at this time. At least some readers would regard Eat, Pray, Love less as a true guide to self-fulfiment than a siren call to promiscuous spiritual dabbling and unhelpful forms of romanticism. Since I don’t want to get into gossip it’s perhaps as well I forget what feature article I read a  year or more ago (and as I recall from an Australian Buddhist woman rather than an irate American Christian) who considered herself seriously hurt by and disillusioned with Gilbert as person and spiritual guide. Regardless, I think readers should just ignore Gilbert’s theory of inspiration.

ART IS MORE THAN FICTION WRITING

Beyond the whispering spirits one can’t help feeling that Elizabeth Gilbert’s notion of creative activity is considerably shaped by her undoubted talent for fiction and personal memoir. These are nonetheless in some respects the easiest forms of art – sometimes it’s like sitting down and tossing off a vivid, newsy letter or keeping a diary. It’s not identical to the struggles including with special techniques the dramatist or poet may have to wrestle with. Recently I was reading the biography of poet Ted Hughes, husband of poet Sylvia Plath. It soon becomes evident that for both of them capturing and retaining poetic inspiration (an aspect of the ecstatic function) requires rather specific conditions (often in isolation) that are marred or denied by everyday life. It is the rarest of rare poets like Shakespeare who could write poetry almost anywhere and quickly (without blotting a line according to Ben Jonson); but then Gilbert isn’t into special cases, still less genius.

Gilbert  is however an almost addictive writer or note taker in a way many writers aren’t necessarily. It seems that like De Beauvoir her day is dust and ashes when she has not written anything. Fair enough that’s just how she is, but it also the case such writing is effectively therapeutic, for self-expression and pleasure  rather than work or larger purpose, the reason she has no truck with complaining artists. She assumes artists do what they do because they have chosen that path – but if they are differently wired is that quite the case? – so the activity should give them pleasure just as it is without expectation of acceptance, reward or whatever.  If this sounds almost ascetical (and Gilbert even portrays herself as dedicating herself to writing during adolescence like a nun), in fact Gilbert’s outlook can also be almost breathtakingly selfish or self-regarding. “Whenever anybody tells me they want to write a book in order to help other people , I always think please don’t….I would so much rather you wrote a book in order to entertain yourself than to help me” (pp 98,99). For Gilbert there is no such thing as a vocation to write or do art; you don’t write for society, for individuals or a cause; and according to her ultra-American credo, providing you are willing and able financially to support yourself and will be bothering nobody unduly, you are at complete liberty to do whatever you please (including it seems those penis graffiti).

Again this is misleading. A great slice of significant art has been produced in service of some great idea and one can’t begin to imagine the likes of Dante, Milton, Victor Hugo, Dickens unless propelled by a sense of dedicated purpose to inspire, instruct or reform –Milton described the poet’s work as his life blood and did concede that the fame, which Gilbert doesn’t think should count, was some spur to the labour.

It is because there can be this element of vocation or at least sense of inborn necessity among artists, that something like their complaints which Gilbert so radically dismisses, is legitimate. She regards the emphasis on suffering and/or complaints arising from it, to be a legacy of especially Christian and German Romantic values that have allowed artists to carry on as though sentenced to harsh conditions under a cruel dictator (p.117). We can agree with her that there is a kind of artist who imagines if they are not in (or just acting the part of being in) pain, poverty or some dire bohemian situation half starved or their minds half addled by drink or drugs, they are not the real thing – we might call this the Kurt Cobain syndrome – but that’s not the whole situation by far.

MUCH ARTISTIC COMPLAINT IS JUSTIFIED.

It is quite possible, and especially so if you belong to the more vocational type of artist for whom ideas count more than immersion in life’s endless details,  that you may suffer the pain of non-connection and non-communication, feel truly blocked and half destroyed by publishers, critics, society and conditions in general. Shelley protested, “I have suffered the tyranny of neglect” and in the light of history and his biography that seems a fair enough, valid claim. The celebrated Ode to the West Wind was both a protest against and an imaginative effort to oppose what prevents the necessary role of bardic vision going out into the world.

Many artists anyway have plenty of reason for complaint because their conditions and permitted expectations are today often demonstrably worse than the average worker in ways that should not be tolerated in a civilized society. In the very age of grievance culture and stress upon victimhood, Gilbert wants none of it from the artists who might have more than usual reason to voice it. A century ago. Bernard Shaw helped found the Society of Authors to do at least something to improve the artist’s lot. The history of rejected and cheated authors is a long one (even the super-successful JK Rowling was rejected for Harry Potter twelve times). To this day the author will usually receive only a fraction of a book’s takings (somewhere between two and a half and twelve and a half per cent while the often necessary agent of which there are not enough to go round, may take up to 25 per cent). A huge slice of English literature would not exist if it had had to wait upon social acceptance and financial remuneration in the modern way. The likes of Milton, Thomas Gray, Shelley and Wordsworth in poetry had private means. Jane Austen’s prose wasn’t held up on financial problems. The Latin poets from Catullus to Martial were either comfortably off or had helpful wealthy patrons – the perfectionist, slow working Virgil had both advantages.

With or without means, by contrast the modern writer will often have to suffer unacceptably cavalier, dismissive behaviour from those who stand to affect their career and status.  Promises are easily broken, lies are often told, needless delays can be endless, payments not delivered, editors never available to discuss anything,  rules of contract not observed. Any old thing goes. (It’s true nowadays indie publishing is some help and a real alternative but a lot is involved and if only for publicity it is definitely still preferable to be published in the standard way). Much publishing and promotion can be a shark’s pool in which many are destroyed and devoured, feelings, health, the artist’s organization and planning of their life are simply not considered. Therapy itself might be required to cope. I have seen the problem for others, I have known it for myself – the life-destroying, soul-destroying, almost degrading experience of dealing with publishing and agency, is partially recorded in my Reflections of an Only Child. goo.gl/37dUUK

What the conditions of the artist argues for is less the mostly absent virtues of some American, egalitarian, competitive, over worked free-for-all that Gilbert seems to favour, but almost its opposite, a degree of almost elite privilege which would allow more scope to the observation of and experiment with life which art is about. The role of artist beyond the (self) entertainment level has some affinity with that of priesthood. Traditionally and certainly biblically, the priest, supported by the tithes which placed him above mundane concerns, was an individual expected not to compete but rather transcend, to live above ordinary conditions the better to study, observe and pronounce upon life. It was the same Bernard Shaw who helped found the Society of Authors who criticized the American Declaration of Independence declaring its doctrine of equality untrue and misleading. People are born with different and unequal levels of talent and ability  and one should organize society with that in mind.

PRACTICAL ADVICE: AVOID THE ARTS

Knowing what I know, I would never today lend encouragement to anyone keen to pursue a life in writing or the arts – or not unless I had perhaps first read their horoscopes to indicate their chance of fulfilment and success. And what would that entail? Gilbert denies there are any guarantees for success in the arts, but on especially a temporary basis there very definitely are  – with or without major talent and obvious relevance because sometimes, on a temporary basis, even the worst persons and ideas can get away with a few things given helpful celestial indications.

For success in many areas including authorship, one needs to have a strong Jupiter (it bespeaks fortune in general but not least in the realm of publishing and ideas) and something strong to Pluto to empower and relate to the masses. (Who’s Who has been found to be full of Jupiter/Pluto people). Thus in the chart of Alain de Botton who has made hay in the unlikely field of popularized, applied philosophy, we find fortunate Jupiter fortunately trine Mars and the moon fortunately trine Pluto for outreach to the masses. To make it big in fiction, it helps that George RR Martin of Game of Thrones has writer’s Mercury opportunity sextile publishing Jupiter and surprising, original Uranus on a world point (O Cancer). JK Rowling has publishing Jupiter in communicating Gemini, with Mercury spectacularly conjunct fixed star Regulus in Leo (potential mega fame) and Moon conjunct Uranus and Pluto for massive popular outreach. Elizabeth Gilbert herself could hardly go wrong with publishing Jupiter conjunct surprising Uranus on another of the 6 world points at 0 Libra (itself the marriages and relationships sign which is why she has done herself best on that subject).

I will not discuss here my own horoscope and chequered experiences – as said, anyone can refer to my memoir for at least some of the stories,but I will say against some of Gilbert’s claims that fate plays a considerable role in the life of the artist who is perhaps more on the wheel of fortune than most so that the idea one chooses to be an artist or chances to get successful  is controversial. In my own case unusual circumstances  of overseas residence where I was forbidden to take employment, kept me at writing when I would not  otherwise have got so involved. While that is perhaps exceptional and  this isn’t the place for my story, it is the right place to sound warning signals against anything to do with a career in the arts in today’s circumstances. My advice is simply don’t touch it, don’t go near it, but if for whatever reason you must, then feel free to protest your lot and complain loudly. It’s not to be “boring” as Gilbert maintains. If sufficiently organized (but authors and artists fear the black balling which does go on and the effect on media connections too) it might produce some needed reform.

I seriously mean it that the “creative” life usually isn’t worth it in any form today. It can finish like imprisonment or a stay in the mad house, frustrating, exasperating, unprofitable, time wasting and degrading. After years of effort I finally seriously admitted as much  to myself when despite high recommendations  I was meanly refused for Penguin New Poets by one of Australia’s leading poets because I had unpublishably  included “such hopelessly archaic words as ‘conduct’ and ‘bestow’ “. That was the last straw and for more than twenty years I had not the slightest desire to write any more poetry. If that was wasted talent and in my case there is real reason to think so, so be it. Health and sanity are more important.

Paradoxically and ironically, my distinctly negative feelings do in their way, I suppose, lend support to Elizabeth  Gilbert’s notion of creative work today as best thought of as personal entertainment and in effect the therapy she doesn’t call it. However, against Big Magic theories I will always believe creativity involves a higher, more “sacred” function than the play-around materialism of modern life allows it to be. Almost certainly real art and its acceptance now awaits the inspirations of the coming era. For now the arts could be considered in their death rattle.

 

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2017 in creativity

 

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LIGHT ON THE BETHLEHEM STAR/COMET/ALIGNMENT DEBATES

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SOME PEOPLE WILL SAY ALMOST ANYTHING ABOUT THE STAR….

[UPDATE: CHRISTIAN TODAY  BYPASSES INFO BELOW TO FEATURE ARTICLE ON THE B STAR – KNOWN VIA C.S.LEWIS’ NARNIA! bit.ly/2h3AJpS ]

To cut to the chase in this issue, let’s get some things out of the way first. There are some rather complicated and silly theories about the Bethlehem Star that have drawn a lot of attention and even been the subject of films.

One of them wishes to associate Christ’s birth with Jupiter/Venus conjunctions in 3 and 2 BC which if astrology concerned the Magi at all, and it did, would be ridiculous. Jupiter/Venus is about riches, success and the good life, the sort of thing the crucified Jesus denied his natural Jupiterian kingship did not experience; and good astrology is about what is and what will be, not what merely could be. Royal Jupiter prominent would need to suffer modification and challenge from somewhere. This it did from Saturn in 7 BC if one follows the D’Occhieppo/Hughes theory from two noted astronomers that was widely praised in academic circles back in the late seventies and mentioned more recently by Pope Benedict in his The Infancy Narratives (2012) as a plausible explanation of the facts. (7 BC as a birth date is disfavoured by some because it wouldn’t make Jesus “about thirty” at the time of his ministry, but  as ages could be counted in multiples of five 30 could indicate anything from 30 to 35).

Another Star theory from such as Michael Molnar and in recent days the astronomer Grant Matthews, would link Jesus’s birth to planetary phenomena involving bellicose Aries, sign of the outgoing era (incoming was Pisces), a sign with perhaps the least automatic association with Jesus’ life and character. Matthews even seems to imagine the Saturn which is part of his alignment, is a giver of life – hardly the most standard image of Saturn whether ancient or modern. Basically both scientists and conservative Christians are in harmony to wish astrology out of the picture as far as possible…..which only helps to keep the ignorance and confusion going. (The Christians never explain why not even the Essenes and Talmudic rabbis considered astrology “divination” against the Law).

The claims for a comet are more persuasive and I come to that presently, but first for a bit of frank dogmatism.

THE BETHLEHEM STAR DEFINITELY WAS….

As per the D’Occhieppo’/Hughes thesis which I have radically developed and may be said to have completed, the Bethlehem Star itself was Jupiter at 19 Pisces during its second conjunction with Saturn in Pisces in 7 BC….

If anyone could now possibly doubt this after reading the mass of evidence given in my Testament of the Magi, goo.gl/I28aCm for the total pattern that the emphasized, relevant Jupiter oversees, let them get back and tell me. It could be a tough job, one which perhaps especially unbelievers might prefer to avoid altogether rather than tackle for its striking revelations. No other birth data for Jesus can begin to rival it with everything from the Part of Brothers conjunct asteroid James to the natal sun (the core identity) conjunct the Part of Redemption in the case of someone called the Redeemer. Flukes and coincidences can occur to mislead in any research enterprise, but not on the scale I produce. You couldn’t invent it. The picture can’t not be Jesus described through an unprecedented tell-all birth chart (for which of course a godless media and publishing has “no room at the inn” – not so much as an author’s op ed in a paper drawing attention to an historic discovery!).

The data is so efficient it even works, as a true chart should, for Jesus events to this day….it has even been doing so in the last few days with the tiresome intervention of Grant Matthews to distort matters through his suggestions there was no Bethlehem star. It’s a claim advanced just as transiting Saturn (restriction, doubt) makes what’s called affliction square aspect to the Jupiter of Christ’s birth and at that from the organized religions and universities sign of Sagittarius. (So the waters just had to be muddied, and the disproof rather than proofs that too many  now want, promoted by someone from the noted Catholic University of Notre Dame. It was a promotion facilitated not just by the fact Jupiter was approaching the astronomer’s Libran sun but by the fact a fortunate, easy trine of transiting Venus was directing upon the degree of the astronomer’s name, Grant,  itself in Jesus’ horoscope in the house of whatever undermines, as news reached the press on December 2nd. Far from being imprecise, astrology can be all too precise – again, one just couldn’t invent something like Matthews intervention to question Matthew’s gospel).

If, impossibly, the case I make in Testament of the Magi could be wholly disproved, the data would need to be the greatest statistical anomaly of all time to present  quite so much descriptive accuracy against chance.

BUT WHAT ABOUT A COMET?

The question one may nonetheless still ask is: could something else, connected to or additional to the certifiable factors of the birth pattern be involved?

I never particularly wished to associate a comet with Christ’s birth because his birth is “good tidings of great joy” and by tradition comets have always been deemed unfortunate. Colin Nicholl’s The Great Christ Comet, nonetheless argues that the association of comets with misfortune is not an exceptionless universal rule. Since I anyway seek to take the tragedy of Jesus’ earthly life into account (as with Saturn modifying Jupiter) I must accept the possibility a comet could relate to and amplify the picture and I now think it may have done so. A long tailed comet pointed downward might even account for long held and popular notions of some miraculous, independent, brilliant “star” that “stood over the place”. (The early church father Origen did go so far as to suppose a comet).  But “standing over the place” is of course something no comet (or planet) would ever exactly do, though it is how writing and writers of the times would describe things – Josephus had a comet “standing over Jerusalem” before its fall in 70 AD and I think we can assume the Jewish Matthew’s literary style would particularly incline him to make any star or comet something like Israel’s pillar of fire to go before the people.

Apart from the fact the plain sense reading of Matthew’s text has always been taken to support the idea of a star (aster) rather than the kometes word it doesn’t use, one problem with a comet as opposed a star “pointing” anywhere, is if it was very noticeable wouldn’t Herod’s court already have seen it? It would be much easier for Herod to be ignorant of the motions and specialized astrological implications of planetary configurations. That’s why he consults with the Magi rather than just steps outside to gaze at the heavens.  So if it was involved in events, a comet would surely not need to be at its greatest magnitude,  brightest and nearest earth as Nicholl wants to have it. The latter occurred in 6 BC, not 7 BC and it’s by assuming a 6 BC over against a 7 BC birth that I feel Nicholl weakens such case as he has. But I return to this presently.

MOTIONS OF THE ALLEGED COMET

The real problem with Nicholl’s comet which he even proposes may have been the greatest and brightest in history is, did it truly exist? Ironically this is never made perfectly clear amid the often complex data of his academic study, the interviews and reviews (readers who bought into hype about the book’s racy narrative might wonder given the technicalities and learned notes!). All I can say is that even though like most comets, especially the long period ones, it isn’t found in historical records,the comet could still have existed and apparently the Armagh Observatory seems prepared to credit its existence and has “reconstructed” it.

I can’t possibly assess this and I think Nicholl and Armagh need to explain more, plus I do wish that Nicholl, who imagines a Jupiter/Saturnconjunction of 7 BC could have accompanied and  alerted the Magi to the growing comet, would observe some basics of symbolic grammar and logic – it’s inadmissible to think of Jupiter as symbol of “God most high” and in relation to it Saturn as Israel. Jupiter is the younger over against  the Saturnian person or thing that’s elder in time, a son figure as against a patriarchal Saturn, Rome’s Dei Filius, son of God. Regardless……what I can state is that since one can now read what is not supplied in Nicholl’s study, namely the GCC’s supposed motions across centuries according to Swiss Astrodienst, then perhaps the comet was real. If so and I am not then dealing with the few allowable flukes and coincidences that could attend any wide ranging thesis, there does look to be something potentially significant in those motions.

On the day and time I claim Jesus was born, the GCC at 21 Aquarius was conjunct Jesus’ 20 degree all-important Aquarian destiny and reputation Midheaven (itself conjuncted among other things by his Joshua/Jesus name) plus mysteriously too and as though symbolizing some kind of life fulfilment, the GCC was on the precise degree of the Bethlehem Star on the day and time in 30 AD that, in possibly the most remarkable chapter of my book, I show that Christ would have to departed this world. But there’s not only this.

Early December 7 BC is one of the times Nicholl singles out for meaningful but not maximum visibility of his comet. Following David Hughes in assuming that the Magi arrived in Jerusalem in early December around the time of the third Jupiter/Saturn conjunction, (which is to say after Jesus’ actual birth as the gospel implies), I naturally look to see what the GCC is doing around December 5th.

Strangely enough, it is at 14 Aquarius. In my book I point out this could be the most crucial, sensitive degree for the Magi since it’s Jesus’ degree of asteroid Chaldaea (and even on an axis with DavidHughes at 14 Leo who has helped return to us the Chaldaean secrets). Fascinatingly, at the time of the third and last era conjunction on 5th December 7 BC, the transiting sun in Sagittarius (sign of any foreigners and philosophies) was in favourable aspect to Jesus’ 14 degree Chaldaea at the same time as Saturn (the authorities, restriction) afflicted it. Is this celestial shorthand for hopeful Magi arriving and finding trouble and then needing an extra sign? It could be. It’s at least suggestive.

THE GREAT SIGN OF THE WOMAN IN VIRGO

Perhaps because it’s harder to imagine Middle Eastern Magi (who it’s accepted were aware of the special phenomena of 7 BC) being able to predict from and follow a comet rather than the planets, Nicholl wants and needs to associate Christ’s birth with extremely visible, obvious, minimally or non-astrological phenomena in the heavens specifically associated with the constellation Virgo and in especially 6 BC. But to do this he has to assume that Revelation 12’s vision of the birth of a man child is describing the patterns of Jesus’ gestation in the womb and birth itself against the background of the stars. Yet this same apocalyptic vision with its portent in the heavens is supposed to be prophetic, not historic. (I briefly consider this same vision, currently of interest in some circles due to what will be a rare highlighting of the constellation Virgo in 2017, in a recent article The Astronomy and Astrology of Apocalypse: Could there be such? http://wp.me/p2v96G-OA )

Whatever the truth about a comet and the Rev 12 vision, plainly the vision can never, I think, be made to time Christ’s  birth or even just generally accompany it…..unless as regards a paralleling one could factor in one or two other ideas beyond present scope but that concern the prophet Micah’s prophecy of the Messiah in chapters 4 and 5 whose implications Nicholl ignores. This could allow both some kind of delay factor and duplication in the nature of what is seen as being birthed which is not the Messiah only.

Given this modification one could allow that the birth of Christ might still have a connection of sorts to the celestial signs of the Rev 12 pattern……but more as a sign of a whole messianic season than as guide to the precise birth day of the Messiah. This concession would also allow, as I think it should, that the supposed lesser light of the comet in 7 BC at the time of the last Jupiter/Saturn conjunction, can still be relevant. Whatever the comet might subsequently and however spectacularly do, is then seen as part of a more  general visionary picture, even celestial celebration of the incoming era – why, after all,  should only one day alone describe and celebrate a nativity and whole era with all the changes it bring right through to its ending regarding which the pattern might also supply clues.

We are presently at the end of the same era (the Piscean, age of grace, era) the Magi helped signal. I even believe that is why it is now possible for us finally to know the details of what it was the Magi knew and more than they knew. The information is at once historic and prophetic……One could even make poetry out of it….I have done this (adding some extraordinary facts in prose) on the blog The Magi at Era’s End: A Poem http://wp.me/p2v96G-ip

testament1Available in book (and Kindle) from Amazon  goo.gl/I28aCm  and from The Book Depository (UK)

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2016 in astrology, Mysteries, religion

 

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MAD PROPHECY, BAD ASTROLOGY AND THE TRUMP WIN

trump

A DEVASTATING ASTROLOGICAL FAILURE….MEANING?

I don’t doubt that in especially many American evangelical minds, their prejudice against astrology will seem amply justified by recent events of the presidential election. At one level the prejudice could seem well justified – even devastatingly so.

It’s a fact most American astrologers predicted Clinton would win at the election easily. The LA Times of October 18th reported that a conference at Costa Mesa of hundreds of astrologers (of The International Society For Astrological Research no less!) was unanimous Hillary would win. This was of course only what a blind media (and the polls) almost automatically assumed too in a clear case of people believing what they want to believe. (At a stretch and in mitigation one might say Clinton won the popular vote and certainly those astrologers were right who noting the moon to Neptune factor on the day forecast confusion over the result. But even so).

By contrast, and like some prophet of old, Pastor Saeed Abedini, the long term Christian prisoner in Iran so little helped by the Obama regime, told Huffington Post days before the November election, that while in jail Jesus had informed him Trump would be next president. Ironically the same Huffington Post had even given space to astrologer Larry Schwimmer to detail all the celestial aspects that supposedly showed why Clinton must win against Trump.

For American evangelicals, such devastating failure by astrologers simply justifies Isaiah’s condemnation (Is 47: 13) of stargazing and suggests that astrology when not pure nonsense is a form of the biblically forbidden divination (albeit the Essenes and Talmudists didn’t read their Torah that way and practiced astrology as did the Magi who visited the Christ child). Didn’t Isaiah ironically declare, “Let those who study the heavens stand up and save you, those who gaze at the stars and at each new moon tell what shall befall you”?. So astrology has to be wrong, religiously and empirically, right?…..

CHRISTIAN PROPHETS WRONG TOO

….Despite everything, actually the answer is no. It is so for reasons I will show presently….after immediately mentioning how inaccurate some Christian prophets have also been over the election. In Nigeria a famous preacher and self-declared prophet, TB Joshua, forecast a Hillary win but tried too late to delete it from his website causing public scandal. In America prophet Brian Carn forecast a Hillary win. Prophetically inclined preacher Perry Stone, though hoping for a Trump victory, expected a Hillary win because a prophecy from the thirties from the controversial but often accurate William Branham, foresaw the destruction of America under the rule of a woman.

Still more extravagantly there is prophetess Glenda Jackson, who portrays herself as consistently right (having visited heaven and hell and chatted with St Paul how could she be wrong?!), and due in these her latter days to be made by God like the prophet Samuel. She declared on TV to the hopelessly credulous Steve Roth of It’s Supernatural last April, that there would be no election. There would be crisis in America and Obama would suspend the election and reinstate himself to become America’s last president.

Obama as last and apocalyptic president is itself a claim quite a few would-be prophets have endorsed, some of them following visions in the night reported on YouTube. Some of these nostrums are supposedly released under the direct influence and authority of Jesus and/or the Holy Spirit. Frankly it’s an embarrassment to Christianity and recalls another prophet, Jeremiah, on another subject: noisy, over-active false prophets (Jer 14:14, 23:16) whom God never called.

But it’s no good the kettle calling the pot black. If you abominate astrologers you had better start abominating and weeding out your own prophets. So I repeat the question: is astrology so wrong? I don’t ask here whether it’s theologically wrong (a case for it can always be biblically made no matter what evangelicals claim), but is it just inaccurate nonsense no one in or out of Christianity should consider? What about all the false prediction for Clinton? How ever could this even come about?……

ASTROLOGY RIGHT, ASTROLOGERS WRONG?

……Three points in answer can suffice here:

1) It is always best if an astrologer is an all-rounder and not just a specialist and this means they need to know a bit of history in order to apply their sometimes complex data aright. The Republican party, as a conservative party is linked to Saturn whose sign of rulership is Capricorn. Yet most American astrologers seem blithely unaware of the remarkable historical/astrological fact that since the foundation of the GOP in 1854, every time Saturn has been in Capricorn, a Republican has been president. Saturn though now in Sagittarius will be in Capricorn during any first term of the next president so Hillary was not favoured. I only recently learned this through America myself but it is something especially American astrologers with a grasp of history could and should have known. It’s an instance of astrology being relevant and accurate but astrologers ignorant, rather like the bible true but high jacked by interpreters.

2) Something that almost all qualified, practicing astrologers should be expected to know, is the well-established Grant Lewi theory about the cycles of Saturn. Basically it is that career and success are governed by the 28 year Saturn transit of the natal pattern through its four quadrants. Self and career is made or re-established through the first quadrant and it grows and finds outlet in especially the last quadrant between the 10th and 12th houses. Clinton’s birth time is admittedly disputed, but on the basis that in 2014 Saturn crossed her ascendant according to the most widely assumed birth time and Saturn is thus now in only her first quadrant, she simply could never become president in her lifetime and it was astrological folly to try.

3) If astrologers were abreast of researches as of the Magi Society they would also be aware that even if the aspect is a traditionally easy/positive/fortunate one such as a trine, when transiting Saturn aspects to natal Pluto that marks failure regardless of all else. This is just what was the case around election time for Hillary. Plainly, many like Larry Schwimmer at Huffington did not know this. And almost no one listened to a friend of mine in astrology, Barbara Ybarra of San Francisco, who back in April did forecast a Trump victory on Sacramento’s local TV. She cannily noted a technicality (a progressed moon conjuncting the ruler of Trump’s career Midheaven), affecting the inauguration day as opposed to the election day most astrologers focussed on (1).

(A possible further point to note is that by transit conservative Saturn by election time had   – if one used the most widely used Sibley foundation chart for America – crossed over America’s ascendant into its first house hinting at a new swerve in the body of the people towards a  conservatism desiring to remake America by restoring many traditional values. The shock of this reversal was arguably promised by the way the eclipse preceding the election had closely squared America’s foundational Uranus, the shocks and upheaval factor).

TRUMP’S UNUSUAL CHIRONIC WIN

I was not myself aware of the just mentioned Saturn to Pluto principle and despite success with Brexit, can’t boast I did better than the American astrologers on Hillary, though I have more excuse. I’m not American, astrology isn’t my regular profession to concern myself with the question and I don’t know Hillary Clinton’s birth time – no one seems to which should render any predictions more cautious and provisional.

The reason I slipped over the Hillary forecast was this. Without applying any in-depth study to Trump’s (accurate) chart at all  – not even the asteroids I usually examine which significantly enough show America conjunct Trump’s ascendant – , it didn’t strike me as about to produce any very typical, obvious winning pattern at election time. Jupiter conjuncting Trump’s Chiron, the wounded healer planetoid, a factor to be emphasized again at the inauguration, is rather special and raises all sorts of interesting questions beyond present scope about Trump’s and America’s situation. I merely assumed some tough but positive aspects for Hillary like the mentioned Saturn to Pluto reflected a hard campaign (as was the case) in which the disliked but least opposed candidate (Hillary) was likely to emerge as victor however narrowly. I assumed no easy run or landslide victory and can’t imagine how any astrologer ever would.

I could and perhaps should have applied the Grant Lewi principle I was familiar with, but as said the birth time is disputed. If you don’t know that you won’t measure the quadrants properly. So I have excuses and perhaps the American astrologers could be allowed some….if they hadn’t spoken with such excessive confidence.

As it is, failure of the astrological elite in this instance is rather spectacular. It’s without parallel since the 9/11 disaster which only one astrologer (in The Mountain Astrologer, America’s most intellectual astrological journal) got right according to basic rules that amazingly all the rest seem not to have known or just ignored. Essentially a major eclipse had hit a world point in the sign of America (Cancer) and eclipses are triggered for events when planets go over their degree. Aggressive, bellicose Mars hitting a dangerous eclipse point should produce mayhem the world would hear of. Was it against American positive thought to suggest disaster could occur?

Once again astrology was true enough but the astrologers like the prophets fail…….[ After issuing this blog I have belatedly discovered the case of astrologer GianPaolo DiCoco’s very striking insistence against the astrological establishment that Trump must win – various You Tubes but see  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEtsUkRIOOk ]

BACK TO THE MAGI…..REALLY

All this is troubling if like myself you believe religion is important and astrology carries messages that religion should know and use, not excommunicate as heresy. As the recent election contest has underlined, many Christians want and expect visions, prophecies, special words from the Spirit. Ironically they fail to realize, and could hardly imagine, that the Spirit (long recognized by astrologers as symbolically represented by the planet Uranus) is giving messages all the time through the skies and the same astrology that Uranus “rules”. The Psalms declare night after night gives knowledge (Ps 19:2). Which they do if only attention was paid. So why not “Hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev 2:7) in one of the forms in which the divine will is revealed – even daily revealed? You would need to know and understand about the astrology of diurnals to grasp something of what the Psalms claim about every day of our lives being already written in advance (Ps 139:16).

It is high time and beyond it that Christianity, which is increasingly dismissed as a purveyor of myths, should understand the long hidden mysteries of the Magi, better grasp the historical basis of its beliefs and know for once and for all when Jesus was born. Also when Jesus died and that he died on the cross (an increasingly challenged point) and along the way know whether he married the Magdalene and all such more personal details of biography and character people want to know today.

A modern astrology, especially if it applies the micro-astrology of name, place and concept asteroids and the descriptive factor of the Parts can do these things; and they are now available for anyone to read in my Testament of the Magi. The material, a radical development of the Ferrari  D’Occhieppo and David Hughes theory considered by Pope Benedict as plausible, is as distinctive as a fingerprint for Jesus. It resolves numerous longstanding scholarly problems and popular questions and altogether represents so improbable a discovery – no one could possibly invent all the details – it is as good as unanswerable. Let any who wishes, try to demolish the evidence. I suggest they can’t and won’t…..All the more reason many will try to ignore and pretend the evidence doesn’t exist.  (Testament of the Magi is available at Amazon in book and kindle versions  https://goo.gl/I28aCm

 testament1

That situation belongs with issues of our times. The Trump election has helped highlight just how much information is dominated by political and media elites who don’t necessarily reflect society but do seek to impose their own views. I submit this is one reason my crucial information has not reached the public forum as in justice it deserves. Publishers and media outlets who will give room and voice to the most whacko or negatively undermining treatments of Christianity and Jesus, have proverbially no room at the inn for this information – you are fortunate even to be given a reply to a proposal or inquiry. Sometimes there is a plain uncivil answer or, as recently with someone in religion in Australia’s broadcaster, the person is just too busy to attend to you because they have “more important things” to do…..more important that is than something in its way as potentially significant as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Basically you are liable today to be treated like a fool if the dogmatic and undemocratic elite doesn’t happen to be interested or in agreement with your views or you are not already a celebrity.

Truth however has a way of ultimately getting out. The material is now available for readers to assimilate, discuss and pass on. You can do your part in making the truth known…if it isn’t and always was so essentially secret it’s a kind of knowledge hidden from the world as St Paul would have it (1 Cor 2:7-8)….Or, as the correctly forecasting Pastor Saeed rather airily said to Huffington Post, “You’re not Christian so you wouldn’t understand”. I’ve certainly encountered misunderstanding enough.

1) Trump’s important progressed moon at inauguration time is interesting and strange like his Jupiter to Chiron aspect at election. Normally, symbolic progressions amplify but essentially agree with transits. The cited inauguration progression is of the winning variety as Barbara Ybarra saw, but at the same time Trump has Saturn transit his natal moon (anything to do with home and emotional tenor) and opposite sun (his will and status in the world). I joked to Barbara that, knowing Trump, if he did win, was inaugurated and entered the Whitehouse under Saturn he could well rubbish his new home declaring it uncomfortably inferior to Trump Tower. That’s surely a real possibility; but I do find the usually depressive, frustrating Saturn/moon transit odd at the point of assuming power. Like the Chiron factor at election, it looks as though hard times are ahead for Trump (and America) and he is taking on heavy Saturnian burdens. Barbara herself thinks the outlook for America in 2017, especially later in the year, is pretty grim and notes the long so-called Great American Eclipse across the US in August hits right on Trump’s ascendant conjunct America. Let’s not speculate…yet anyway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2016 in astrology, religion

 

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AN ASTRONOMY/ASTROLOGY OF APOCALYPSE: COULD THERE BE SUCH?

apocalypse1

ENDINGS AND THE ONE CERTAIN FACT

Nowadays when some sectors of the church are taken up with the subject of end times and there is an abundance of often fanciful You Tube dreams of alleged apocalyptic relevance, it’s ironic that ignored or dismissed is one of the more solid grounds for declarations about our  times as one of endings.

If there was nothing more to derive from the heavens than one indisputable fact (but I will be considering whether there might be more), there is this. An astronomical/astrological era lasts approximately two millennia. The world stands at the end of the same era of Pisces (the fishes) that was inaugurated around the time of Christ’s birth about which magi (astrologers) knew something – including doubtless that among other things Pisces is a sign of suffering and the martyr. Now, as though something was coming full circle, it’s especially Christian faith (whose original secret sign under persecution was once the fish) is either declining in its heartlands, being persecuted in regions of its third world growth and/or suffering persecution, sometimes even genocide, in Muslim majority societies. Some of these were the earliest homes of Christianity too. (Only western secular indifference and PC attitudes affecting media and governments obscure quite how widespread and extreme this situation is).

pisces

In era terms we stand at the equivalent of the final degree of the sign, i.e. 29 degrees of Pisces. That degree conjuncts a star long been regarded as one of the worst in the heavens. And suitably it’s since a total solar eclipse on that degree in March 2015 (and amid a rare and peculiar sequence of blood moon lunar eclipses begun the previous year), that the world as we know it began seriously and more rapidly to unravel. It has been doing so in ways traditionally associated with the negativity of 29 Pisces – drownings, floods, suicides, murders, theft, deception, despair, the victim, the refugee – in short, just the scenario presented by the cruelty and deceit of ISIS, the chaos of mass migration, the genocide of minorities and the natural disasters that destroy whole communities.

As everything returns to the seas of origin and does so with much of the extremism associated with any last (anaretic) degree of a sign, hope among secularists is pinned on a new globalism and among the more spiritual on some would-be all-inclusive religion. Even the current Pope (himself theoretically the last according to the prophecy of St Malachy) seems to be edging in that direction even while Christians die in ways that recall the first Roman persecutions. Overall there’s little more reigns than last degree, last phase chaos, the confusion and blurring of everything amid which the West’s long standing objective ideals of democracy and free speech are threatened by a weak, confused, largely godless political correctness. And paradoxically, the latter often concedes and almost masochistically, to the most extreme of belief systems and customs that can only undermine its own values. (Negatively Pisces is about  masochism and any indiscriminate charity and toleration!).

But serious though it is, does 29 Pisces really bespeak and anticipate the likes of the biblical Tribulation whose occurrence would finish little short of the end of life as we know it? The non astrological answer can be in the affirmative if the times demonstrated a notable continuation of the problems already observed, especially if, like the pattern of natural disasters in recent years, they increased in frequency and/or intensity. That is what birth pangs do, and the apocalyptic end is said to be heralded by precisely “birth pangs” (Matt 24:8) at the same time as harmonious with the mentioned situation of Christianity worldwide, a distinct decline in faith, a “falling away” also features  (Luk 18:8), (2 Thess 2:3). But beyond such general indicators, is there, could there be any astronomy/astrology of apocalypse?

The answer is a conditional yes and here’s why.

astroages

THE PATTERN OF THE AGES

Despite what some imagine, astrology is empirical. It looks to what has happened before under certain factors to see if these will be repeated. Needless to say, earth, society or climate-related apocalypse has never happened in recorded history, though great wars and disasters have always occurred. So there’s no single factor can serve as example. All the same, some real sea changes in human history and consciousness do occur with the change of eras following the precession of the equinox, or apparently so. It follows one can look at that within the narrow frame of known history as a first point. I’ll summarize about this very briefly before considering how the information might fit in and illuminate other issues of our times.

4000 BC to 2000 BC corresponded to the “feminine” age of Taurus the bull whose character as in the development of Egypt’s state cult with its immortality obsessed pyramids necessarily idealized the afterlife and sex mysteries in line with its opposite sign Scorpio. (The character and activities of an era is given by its sign, but its ideals are drawn from its opposite sign, all signs having a positive or negative potential expression-wise).

Taurus was overtaken around 2000 BC by the “masculine”, more patriarchal age of Mars-ruled Aries the Ram, an era of Lebensraum wars as in the Bible and concluding in extreme blood baths as of the Roman arena. Aries’ ideals lay in the opposite sign, Libra, sign of Laws and marriage. The Old Testament covenant and prophecy are very much about Law and marriage. The ideals of many societies of the period were enshrined in their laws.

Two thousand years ago the “feminine” sign of Pisces, a sign “ruled” by grace-bringing Jupiter and compassionate Neptune opened to more female values like forgiveness, generosity and service; but its ideals, when not focussed on Christ himself (whom there is good reason to believe was born under opposite sign Virgo), inclined ever more to the scientific, analytic and material concerns of this earth sign as in Enlightenment philosophy under whose values at least in the West the era is now ending  and standing on the cusp of the next more individualistic and Utopian Aquarius/Leo age.

The fact that Jesus was born in Bethlehem (house of bread, bread being associated with the wheatsheaf and harvest sign, Virgo), fished with fisherman on Galilee, performed the miracle of loaves and fishes, spoke parables of the great harvest etc, distinctly links him and Christianity to the Pisces-Virgo era.

In effect Jesus belongs to the previous age too. He claims to fulfil its Law and becomes the last sacrificed ram/lamb of Aries and the first “fish” or fisherman of Pisces, resurrected like Jonah who emerges from the whale. To the extent Jesus is self-identified in his body with the Temple (Joh 2:19), implicitly and indirectly he may even be said to relate to the remote, earlier Taurus age because the Temple cannot be founded without the ashes of the red heifer, a creature of Taurus.

So, if anything like this astro-historical scheme is accepted, and undeniably the bible’s “dispensations” of Law and Grace do more obviously connect to the succession of the eras than other faiths – Buddhism is over five centuries out and Islam over six centuries -, we can ask another question.  The question is: does the symbolism for the current closing era and then for the succeeding Aquarian era (which biblically would correspond to the  Millennium), betray that these eras are meant to be identified with what is now happening and may soon occur? Does Christ once again straddle the ages and link to the coming Aquarian one? Here are some reasons to think that could be.

STAGES OF RETURN

revelation

Unless many students of prophecy have got it wrong, the Bible appears to divide its end times apocalypse and Second Advent into two parts whose symbolism could be considered striking in context of era symbolism.

Extremely, yet in its way not inconsistently with the extremism of any last degree, there is:

  1. a hidden Return of Christ for the believing prepared (the time when “one shall be taken and the other left” Matt 24:40, often called the Rapture). This effectively delivers persons from the very last trials of the age, namely a Tribulation period under an Antichrist figure.
  2. There is also: an open return of the Messiah to the world that ends the seven year rule of the Antichrist figure and inaugurates the ideal Messianic kingdom.

The first of these endings is evoked and anticipated in Jesus’ apocalyptic parables. These speak in terms of harvest, of prepared virgins/ bridesmaids and the need not to be drunk with the servants etc and so are redolent of key symbols of Pisces and Virgo (both are servant signs and Pisces is often inebriate) and  the whole picture overshadowed by what seems like a sudden great disappearance. Significantly, any state of absence, invisibility and disappearance is associated with Pisces and its ruler Neptune. That would cover for the end of an era in an extreme of its nature.

The second of these scenarios is about almost the opposite, namely a very visible event, sudden and surprising (the other event was that also but under cover of invisibility). This event is compared to lightning going from one end of heaven to the other (Matt 24:27). The image is harmonious with the lightning glyph of Aquarius, a sign ruled by Uranus, planet of the sudden and surprising and the very opposite of hidden. So this bespeaks a sudden and absolute irruption of the new era.

The biblical Millennium is effectively a Utopia, a concept beloved of Aquarians (the word and concept was invented by an Aquarian, Thomas Moore).

What is almost the biblical clincher for the assumption that the age to follow any Piscean breakdown is the Aquarian age and that consequently apocalypse is not to be seen as  in some far distant future or never, is this…..

Whether Ezekiel’s prophecy of the end times, millennial temple is more a symbolic vision of various realities or the forecast of a literal temple, either way the fact is its walls are decorated with figures of cherubim who have two faces, one a man, one a lion (Ex 41:18-19).

This has to be the archetypal man of Aquarius with its opposite ideal-supplying sign, Leo, the sign of the lion and royalty. And as Christ is “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” and in specifically the apocalyptic book of Revelation (Rev 5:5) in which he comes to claim his kingdom, once again the messianic connection fits.

THE ALBERT SCHWEITZER MISTAKE

schweitzer

One other piece of symbolism from a parable of Jesus would support ideas that the present Pisces to Aquarius era cross-over could be indicated for apocalyptic events.

There is a theory, popularized by the notable Albert Schweitzer in his The Quest of the Historical Jesus (1906), that Jesus was a failed apocalyptic prophet who wrongly foresaw the end time as happening soon and for his own generation “this generation will not pass away…..(Luk 21:32). One point used to support this hypothesis if anything denies it.

Given various biblical references, the fig tree of the parable is reasonably enough often believed to be Israel, its people and nation. It is when it sprouts forth new buds there will be a generation who sees the apocalypse. Israel at the time of Jesus was not a united people, not a nation, but a divided colony. Israel would not be reconstituted as a people and a nation until modern times.

A biblical generation can be 120 years, 70 years, 40 years or even the 50 years of a Jubilee. The fact remains however that Israel is currently 68 years old from its modern foundation in 1948 (following a UN vote for its existence in 1947). At that rate one could argue, and many now do, that an apocalyptic scenario should begin soon….which if so would obviously associate it with end of Piscean era events.

THE ENIGMA OF THE ALLEGED GREAT SIGN OF 2017

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The following is a peculiar, increasingly emphasized apocalyptic speculation. It does not originate with me and I have serious questions about it, but it is appropriate to comment on it here given its unusually astronomical/astrological nature by the standards of those who normally exclude such an emphasis from their prophetic speculations…..

Pointing to a possible apocalyptic scenario and even rather soon, is what some perceive as an unusual astronomical sign of the northern autumn of 2017. It falls just after Israel’s two day Feast of Trumpets (falling specifically on the autumn solstice 0 Libra which means a world point in astrology) and in relation to the constellation of Virgo. Some believe the rare pattern constituted corresponds to the “great sign” (portent) in the heavens of Revelation 12. Whether it does or not, biblically the sign has always invited serious examination. The bible talks about “signs” but not a “great sign” or “portent” in this way that seeks almost to draw attention to itself. And if the skies of 2017 do hold what Revelation might anciently have been referring to, then that pattern would undeniably be a rarity not seen in thousands of years.

Even if the right factors are being correctly observed and there is thus some apocalyptic significance, obviously it could still be a general one rather than the time indicator of one event.  And  it’s a crucial question, one embarrassing even to those convinced of a portent but who don’t wish to be mere date setters, whether the sign is timing a specific event like the Rapture and/or the onset of the Tribulation( whose timing it was long thought we weren’t meant to know anyway) or just pointing to imminence more generally.

Before proceeding to the sign astronomically, it is necessary to consider its symbolism and why the scenario of Revelation 12, often associated in especially Catholicism with the Church and Marian doctrine, is getting associated today with a more Protestant doctrine of end-times.. The modern take on the sign is logical enough.

THE WOMAN AND THE THREATENED CHILD

The given scenario is one in which a crowned woman (clothed with the sun and with the moon under her feet and twelve stars at her head) gives birth to a man child who will rule the world but who is snatched to heaven away from a seven headed, ten horned dragon. The frustrated dragon seeks to devour the woman who flees into the wilderness where she will be preserved for a period half that of the seven year, world-destroying Tribulation.

Tradition has to be wrong about this vision. It is not and cannot be about the lives of Jesus and the Virgin. Jesus is understood to have ascended to heaven triumphantly having conquered evil. He is not described as snatched to heaven to avoid the forces of evil. Mary moreover is widely believed to have ended her days in Ephesus; she did not have to flee anywhere actually or symbolically, certainly not to any desert.

The snatching away however is the same harpazo verb St Paul applies in his epistles to the Rapture/transformation of prepared believers at the Last Trump. The woman ought therefore to be Israel or the Virgin daughter, Jerusalem who (within John the Revelator’s lifetime has just given birth to the new and persecuted messianic faith (the first Christians were Jews) even if not all Israel accepts it and will accordingly experience the end of the era differently from those of the faith. She will not herself be snatched away but she will be protected during the time of increasing troubles on earth the Tribulation..

Granted the woman’s “man child” who will subdue the nations sounds as though it could be Christ to the extent this looks to a stated future role of the Messiah (Ps 2: 4-7, Rev 2:27 etc). But since it was early Christian doctrine that believers must share in the rule of Christ over the future kingdom, the man child is better seen as a reflection of Christ, or even his “body”, finally unified with him in the Rapture/resurrection of the Last Trump. Elsewhere the church is the bride, but as with all symbolism there is a certain fluidity. It is not the church’s devotional relationship to Christ but its role more politically that seem to be hinted at. (Personally I believe the man child could be the symbolic equivalent of the Puer  or boy/youth archetype functioning here as an alternative symbol to the Bride because the Puer archetype has considerable association with flight and Gaymede type myth of being seized to precisely heaven). It is because of this resurrection/transformation that any kind of contribution to organizing the next era in the wake of  Tribulation’s apocalyptic disasters is possible for anyone in addition to Christ.(Rev 20:4).

So…is the “great sign” in Virgo something to do with the cut-off event of a Rapture and an end of the age whose absolutely last brief phase is the period of historically unparalleled Tribulation? The main events of Jesus’ known earthly life and the church’s foundation corresponded to or ”fulfilled” the spring to summer festivals of the Jewish calendar. Any future events involving Jesus ought to engage the autumn festivals of which the Feast of Trumpets would be one, indeed the first in sequence.

While as said I don’t consider the 2017 sign, if relevant, need absolutely time or introduce the season of  Rapture/ Tribulation, if one cares to suppose that it does then wouldn’t that anyway just be more of that tired and tiresome “date setting” that flies in the face of all gospel talk like that of Matt 25:15 about not knowing the day nor the hour etc?

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AN ADVENT MYSTERY HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT?

,,,,,The surprising, at first sight heretical answer is “not necessarily”  because it seems something very important may have got hidden in plain sight, is encoded and marks something we could usefully be aware of. More than not knowing the day nor the hour, what most of us didn’t know was the Jewish custom and expression that was second nature for Jesus in speaking of apocalypse.

It now looks as though Jesus projected the whole apocalyptic theme upon the cosmos. The Feast of Trumpets was traditionally associated with marriage and the marriage of the Messiah (the Christian “Marriage of the Lamb”). Marriages lasted seven days (and note the “Marriage of the Lamb” occurs during the seven years of end-of-era Tribulation), and the Feast of Trumpets which was the New Year and beginnings festival in the northern autumn, was traditionally a favourite time for unions. The festival lasted across two days from a new moon agreed upon by rabbis who had actually witnessed it with their eyes. It was also customarily never certain when the bridegroom would leave his father’s house for the house of his bride’s parents. Only the father would know  as per Matt 24:36. 

The message appears to be that events like the Rapture and/or the onset of Tribulation could only be associated in any era or year with the new beginnings of the annual Feast of Trumpets. Since the Feast lasts more than a day and, as said, the Father alone knows when the Bridegroom departs for the bride, it’s true that no one could ever exactly know which day or time marriage would take place. But one could know it generally, and St Paul possibly hints (1 Cor 15:52) that its time (somewhere or anywhere in the world but most likely Jerusalem) would be around sundown because “in the twinkling of an eye” can mean that as opposed to just suddenly. The Last trump of many blasts at the festival should be at sundown.

So…supposing the sign in the heavens which perfects on the 23rd of September 2017 (just after the Feast which is slated to fall in 2017 across the 21st and 22nd) is timing, or is forecasting as imminent, or recapitulating as just having occurred, a major event of that season? It’s possible. And if so that could parallel the first advent of Christ which prophetically has a dimension of suddenness and surprise (“and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple” Mal 3:1) at the same time as (helped by the book of Daniel) the when of advent was approximately known in Israel which was rife with messianic expectation in Jesus’ lifetime. But now we have to look at the 2017 event itself astronomically and here there are problems some fail to see or acknowledge..

A SIGN TROPICAL AND SIDEREAL

The alleged phenomenon of 2017 involves how one regards a highlighting of the Virgo region of the heavens. There is a constellation of Virgo the Virgin.  Below and adjoining her are the constellations of Hydra and Drago – the latter two almost certainly have some bearing on Revelation’s image of the seven headed dragon pursuing the pregnant woman, while above Virgo is the regal constellation of Leo.  With its nine stars, although it’s a separate constellation, Leo can if one likes be seen as a kind of crown to Virgo, or becoming such when very exceptionally three transiting planets (not stars) make the pattern up to twelve. But why should anyone assume this against customary understanding?

More traditionally the star cluster of 12 stars, Coma Berenices (Berenice’s lock), is itself seen as a sort of twelve starred crown to Virgo  not the stars of Leo plus some rare transits. Virgo with Coma  Berenices with its twelve stars is almost certainly what the Revelator was referring to. This is a serious problem one can have with the 2017 speculation.  Another is that every year in northern autumn the sun will be at the head and descend over the constellation Virgo radiating or clothing it and the moon will pass somewhere at her feet though only exactly every 19 years. In 2017 however, those who think that Leo’s stars should constitute Virgo’s crown, and planetary  transits make up the requisite 12 stars to “crown” the woman, will also stress that the likewise cyclical (but once every 11/12 year) movement of Jupiter,the king and messianic planet, have been in Virgo from November 2016 into September 2017 signalling pregnancy, emerging between the woman’s legs marking a suitable gestation period there.

But again this is to take liberties. There is not the precise nine months some non astronomers and non astrologers imagine because the forward and apparent retrograde motions of Jupiter take it outside the confines of the womb area during the total transit period which is more like ten months.  (This is an objection visually demonstrated by religion writer, Joel Richardson, in his You Tube  at  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8qn6rvvQNw  which all those pushing the 23rd September sign should absorb). Further confusion is occasioned by the fact that many of us would say Jupiter was anyway in Libra rather than Virgo in 2017 though this touches on a technicality of measurements.

There are two forms of astrological and astronomical measurement: the tropical which measures all signs from 0 Aries in any given year, and the sidereal astrology little used today outside India, which calculates from what is seen against the backdrop of the constellations. In tropical astrology the signs, called after the zodiacal constellations, are measured in 30 degree sectors from O Aries in the northern spring when the sun crosses the ecliptic. The vernal point is what moves very slowly backwards across time against the literal constellations. It is this movement marks the change of eras as described above. As it happens, if one disregards the visual zodiac entirely, there is enough of potential significance for the relevant period employing the tropical system.

I have long wondered, and long before any theories of the alleged special sign of Sept 23rd,  about the possible significance of the latter part of 2017, I have done so since among other things I claim to possess the correct, still working data for the Pentecost AD 30 foundation of the church. Within its pattern I have for example always considered factors such as  the late Libra degrees important as reflecting certain early Christian notions of endings and apocalypse. (End times issues often crop up significantly with the area around 26 Libra. The egregious Harold Camping who poured millions into advertising a false Rapture date, was born with his natal sun in negative square to 26 Libra). This and other factors stand to be affected.

Then too, latter half 2017 has religious significance in its own right without any crowning from Leo. The mere fact that Uranus and Jupiter aspect the Galactic Centre  in September/October and Saturn in November conjuncts it, arguably points to something. The GCentre is at 26 Sagittarius, itself the sign of organized religions and the GC is associated with various upheavals and events in religion (might Saturn there herald a period of restriction or tribulation?). There is besides the matter of the Antichrist. If that person exists and corresponds to the individual the late Jeane Dixon saw birthed in 1962 in the vision she considered the point of her life and such gifts as she had, then that person with their exceptional birth pattern must appear late 2017 or early 2018. No chance would ever again occur during their lifetime to put world power and influence into their hands. And to at any rate many students of the prophetic, the Antichrist can only appear post Rapture. And then, under any system one applies, on Sept 23rd it happens that the moon will be conjunct comet C67 and by tradition comets are not bearers of good news, rather they warn the world.

. So, mystery and questions remain even if we dismiss the alleged Sept 23rd sign which anyway doesn’t fall across what theoretically ought to be the more sensitive period of Trumpets.

THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY BUT EVEN SO…

Horoscope

Even if you doubt that specifically 2017 and its sign heralds the extraordinary and question if we are quite at the end of an era (despite widespread feeling amid already high stress levels that we surely are), the fact remains that if life is unusually and violently disturbed that situation is not about to improve. From early 2018 the world will begin to feel renewed effects of the historically wars and disasters associated Saturn/Pluto cycle which oversaw WW 1 and 2. It may well oversee WW 111 before decade’s end, even if that doesn’t correspond to the wars of the Antichrist as such. But trouble there will be so that forewarned is forearmed.

Anyone could be more and better forearmed given awareness of matters that inside and outside the churches aren’t known or taught because of a narrow intellectual and spiritual legacy. This is one that despite the Magi at Christ’s birth denies anything can be known via the heavens and astrology (the latter simply the symbolic interpretation of what astronomical data reveal).

If only to avoid embarrassing errors, it is high time the churches became more acquainted with astrology. They should do so not just because from the Magi it is a key to elements of the faith and is not the biblically forbidden “divination” some make it out to be – the Talmud and the Essenes would never had used it if such were the case – but to avoid the exaggerated claims that pass for Christian “prophecy” when celestial signs get treated without context or background.

A chronic example has been the fuss about the red moons. I believe they represent something but only within a larger picture and they could never hope to be sufficiently appreciated without some knowledge of astrology. Indeed, one of the reasons I am prepared to listen to claims re the sign of 2017 is because it’s preceded by what look to be significant eclipses both in their own right and as they connect to certain patterns like that for Christianity’s foundational Pentecost. Also it’s desirable and normal for world shaking events to find some planet or descriptive asteroid on one of the six world points and I find something of that too. One can’t like Biltz, Hagee etc just draw attention to a red moon, declare it a sign and start forecasting. It’s not what the Magi did and it’s not what the astrologer should do today (though some might say almost anything for sensation!). The astrologically illiterate Biltz, Hagee line is little short of the omen astrology (looking at the heavens and uttering as opposed to the study of connecting cycles, degree patterns and symbols) that biblical prophets condemned.

TOWARDS AN ASTRO-THEOLOGY

Some basic knowledge of astrology, indeed the language of astro-theology, would be enlightening and make it harder for certifiably failed prophets like Jonathan Cahn to make sensational forecasts of doom for dates which don’t show the kind of negative potential alleged. The irony however is that the likes of Cahn will still be published, still invited to Christian media channels despite repeated errors, something the bible allows to no self-declared prophet, while by long tradition the astrologer remains the persona non grata, the unbiblical heretic, even the black magician (the early church father, Origen, called the Magi devil worshippers and Bishop St John Chrysostom thought astrology was so evil it would have been better if they had never come to Christ’s birth. Clearly there’s a problem here!)

Escaping Herod, the Magi disappear into the night carrying their secrets with them. At the end of the age their mission heralded, can we finally know what they knew and more that we should know today? I strongly maintain so and because, as T.S.Eliot has it in Little Gidding :

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive at where we started
And know the place for the first time.

With the facts, data, interpretations and revelations of Testament of The Magi: Mysteries of the Birth and Life of Christ (none of it so far of any interest to secular media which is ever less Christian and ever more anti Christian), you can go back to Christ’s origins  and then from there through to the present in ways never before experienced. And perhaps, like the wise bridesmaids of the parable, you can more easily keep the lights burning, ready for anything.

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A BOOK: TESTAMENT OF THE MAGI

With this book the mysteries of Magi, the Bethlehem Star and much more are certifiably solved. The data, still working for Jesus issues and events to this day, is fingerprint exact down to the last descriptive asteroid and Part.  The book radically develops a theory about Christ’s birth first proposed in the 70s by a notable Austrian astronomer Ferrari D’Occhieppo and enlarged upon in some aspects by the British astrophysicist, David Hughes. In his The Infancy Narratives (2012) Pope Benedict cited the D’Occhieppo thesis which he thought plausible but wondered what we should make of it. What indeed when the theory was still incomplete?

This book completes the edifice to a point it could not now be improved upon or seriously rivalled….. A big claim but that is almost the problem. Many may  prefer to ignore the evidence simply because it is so impossible to dismiss; and of course within religion let along the secular world, there is a huge prejudice against “astrology” to the point it is almost impossible to be heard. But here is a picture that defies statistical probability, one it that couldn’t be invented. No previous theories work or not sufficiently across the range of issues that must always be addressed in advancing any claim to have discovered the holy grail of all stargazing. Arguably this book belongs to the times discussed in the article above. Secrets of the beginning of the era can perhaps only be disclosed at that same era’s end.

Testament of the Magi is available in book and kindle form at Amazon   goo.gl/I28aCm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2016 in astrology, Mysteries, religion

 

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THERE’S NO ALEISTER CROWLEY “LITE”

peaches    crowley

A LEGACY THAT HAUNTS

It is an unpalatable thought, hopefully not true but plausible, that when in 2014 Peaches Geldof tragically died of an overdose of heroin, she could be considered the latest victim to the ongoing influence of Aleister Crowley (1875 -1947), once dubbed “the wickedest man in the world”.

All said and done, there is a trail of persons who have gone mad, finished alcoholic, drug addicted or suicidal in the wake of falling under the sway of this person who taught that “God” could be worshipped including through drugs – which I don’t suggest Peaches was doing. She was trying to escape addiction and had even apparently succeeded a few months prior, but if an addictive weakness was in her, certainly the example and teaching (including that “death is the crown of all”) of the himself heroin addicted Crowley, would scarcely have helped.

And Peaches’ family had been disturbed by the interest that she had developed in this dangerous magus or Satanist whom she told her thousands of Facebook followers was a fascinating person they should study and who wasn’t a Satanist really. Peaches herself was serious enough about Crowley to have had OTO tattooed on her underarm (initials of a sex magic organization associated with Crowley and to which she at one time belonged).

Doubtless Crowley was not the most wicked man in the world the press once said he was if he is judged by the standards of Hitler, Ghengis Khan or Kim Jong-un. But there might still be grounds to regard Crowley as one of the most spiritually evil of persons. Obsessed with apocalyptic themes and imagery from his strange but very wealthy Plymouth Brethren upbringing, Crowley aspired to be the Therion, the Beast, or the Antichrist. He was determined to sin and discover what was the unforgivable sin and commit it.

Crowley might as far as possible be said to have done the latter in especially the course of a blasphemous ritual performed in the desert of North Africa in 1909. There he “sacrificed himself” and invoked the spirit of the depths, Choronzon (traditionally seen as a Devil figure), asking to be possessed by him wholly and by – dangerously in standard magical terms – standing outside the magic circle on the triangle of invocation. The effect of the possession included amid its kaleidoscope of visions experience of thirst and a torment that had Crowley screaming “My God my God why have you forsaken me”. One can of course maintain that Crowley was influenced by biblical sources here, but it is true that a tormented spirit would quite likely be thirst ridden like Dives in Hades in the parable of Luke 16 and realize total separation from God, the ground of Being and the root of the Good. This is what hell is most essentially understood to be and is what Christ is believed to have experienced on the cross.

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Crowley did not, strictly speaking, believe in and acknowledge either God or Satan, so up to a point Peaches was correct to maintain Crowley was not a Satanist. But he scarcely denied it and certainly didn’t mind if people thought he was. He believed in a universal energy and spirits and his “holy guardian angel” that he spared no pains to contact from the outset. Though when he finally appeared this guardian was called Aiwass, he was identified by Crowley as Lucifer in so many words. In effect Aiwass needed to be Lucifer or like him since Crowley was opposed to anything remotely like the God those around him believed in and from which he and they supposedly needed to be delivered. The Book of the Law dictated to Crowley in Egypt by Aiwass in 1904 contains, amid much that seems unintelligible (and which is not even supposed to suffer exposition though inevitably it has done), the dictum most associated with Crowley: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the Law, love under will”.

The essential meaning is or could be an almost a Jungian one. The person must do what the deep Self demands not what society expects or habit inclines to. And to that extent the saying makes some psychological sense though for Crowley and his followers it seemed to be a pretext for licence in the most damaging of ways. Crowley, himself bisexual and sado-masochistic with it, believed one could and should engage in even the most revolting or violent of experiences and sexual acts, transcending every form of disgust so long as experience was “intense”. Whether Crowley ever did dispose of anyone -it’s a disputed point – he did maintain the highest ritual was the sacrifice of a virgin whose dismembered corpse would be divided up for sacrifice to appropriate gods.

FROM BLACK MAGICIAN TO NEW AGE GURU

If you can manage to separate the man from his profoundly disturbing biography which includes cruel treatment and betrayal of even lovers, helpers and animals, it is possible – just – to arrive at a picture of an individual who amid his unique and highly organized system of magic, authors a sort of philosophy. It’s theory in the style of sometimes Nietzsche, sometimes Jung, a protest against inhibitions with a doctrine of archetypal style forces. It is also almost possible to present Crowley as a kind of New Age guru who generalizes and unifies the religions and mystical systems of the world.

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In the last couple of decades or so, something like this has been taking place. A new Crowley scholarship has arisen which seeks to rehabilitate him as a thinker who, socially, was little more than just an extravagant trickster figure, prankster or actor. Though it’s good and even necessary to have the facts about Crowley, I suggest academe’s makeover is misguided and dangerous. At the same time one recognizes too that it’s almost inevitable due to the all but respectable status Crowley enjoys in influential alternative and rock cultures. A good summary of this is provided in the final chapter of Gary Lachman’s 2014 biography of Crowley. John Lennon, Timothy Leary, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden, Jim Morrison, Kenneth Anger, the list is a long one for the influence of Crowley, however diluted and “lite”, from the hard core version of the life and practices.

But because rock culture is so all-pervasive, society and belief have anyway become a bit Crowleyized. Frank Turek, author of Stealing From God,[1] has interestingly and meaningfully suggested that at any rate American atheism has almost more to do with sex than unbelief. The new unnamed religion is one of “erotic revolt” of sex and personal rights and, I would add, one in which the quest for truth is reduced to deciding (if one is at all religious) that all systems of religion, mysticism and magic must amount to the same thing anyway. This adjustment becomes easier to make when religious experience becomes identified and over-identified with the effects of the orgasm anyone can experience.

Crowley forecast that sex would be the downfall of Christianity and it must be admitted against a too easy acceptance of Turek’s position, that this is somewhat true and Christianity does have some responsibility for what has happened in making deity seem unattractively enemy of all eros. It is not simply that the faith has been unnecessarily narrow and oppressive in its approach to some subjects like homosexuality, but it has ignored or suppressed the more esoteric and “tantric” aspects of the Judaeo-Christian heritage present since the Song of Solomon. (Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, has in recent times been exploring this in works like Kosher Lust and The Kosher Sutra. I have myself written Solomon’s Tantric Song [2]. There are things to examine and reclaim).

However, even if there have been sone failures, they don’t need and can hardly afford Crowley’s radical cures. Yet as indicated, a lot of modern western spirituality New Age and other, by osmosis and default is increasingly a diluted version of Crowlianity. His age of Horus, the crowned child –  the puer archetype at its most anarchic one might say and Lachman more or less does say – is where a lot of the West is now arrived at.

Another Crowley dictum is, “Let there be no difference made…..between any one thing and any other thing”. Despite Crowley’s often fascist, aristocratic individualism, this is an idea that belongs to modern sex rights based less on what is appropriate than what makes merely equal; and a consequence of that emphasis is the increased difficulty of, or just refusal to allow for, a hierarchy of values and thus to perceive any real distinction between good and evil, beautiful and ugly, liberating and merely addictive. Queer theory for example ditches the ethical question entirely, any ethics being purely collective and political rather than personal.

In theological terms Crowley is not really about “sin” but more like the “iniquity” associated with idolatry – in Crowley’s case involving a worship of self that never really seeing beyond itself cannot repent of its wrong within the larger framework of existence. Again modern attitudes and slogans (like post Christian feminist Mary Daly’s “Sin Big”) which don’t believe in saying sorry to anyone for anything, belong with a measure of Crowleyanity. (I have written of Mary Daly, another out of control Libran, as something of a milder, female version of Crowlianity) [3]

THE BIRTH PATTERN THAT TELLS TRUE

crowleychart

All this is mainly by way of an introduction to examination of those features of Crowley’s birth chart which I believe show him to be the real thing, the kind of seriously dangerous person and false prophet he was originally and more correctly perceived as being.

In astrology the sixth house of a birth chart represents anything to do with sacrifices and magic rituals. Suitably Crowley’s Mars, ruler of his Aries Midheaven of career and reputation, is in this relevant sixth house. With the Part of Occultism also in this sector, what he called Magick (his term for sexual magic) would be his career; but it would also be a lie. Veritas (Truth) and Devience (Deviance) are conjunct in opposition to Mars.

The fact that Crowley anyway shows an afflicted Jupiter (register of truth) through an opposition to Neptune, itself describes either a liar or at least someone who has difficulty with getting truth and the facts right. An afflicted Neptune is anyway virtually standard for any addictive tendencies, so Crowley (like Peaches Geldof) had it, in his case and because Jupiter is involved the addiction could be extravagant and philosophically justified, while afflicted Neptune’s lack of boundaries invites to and often accompanies bisexuality. It would however especially do so in Libra where boundaries between I and Thou are anyway at their weakest. Crowley’s Jupiter, itself at 7of the sex sign Scorpio, makes close exact easy trine to a 7 Cancer Hekate, the witchcraft and magic asteroid in the hidden unconscious twelfth house, the clearest of indicators for Crowley’s Magick as sex magic.

To all intents and purposes Crowley was a Satanist. Suitably, Lucifer falls in his ninth house of religion and philosophy on the super wretched chaos degree of 29 Pisces on an axis with Samadhi at 29 Virgo (theoretically highest bliss for yoga but deemed a confusion prone asteroid by astrologers). This pair in turn make tension square (90 degree angle) to a conjunction of Rabelais with Lie. It is with Renaissance writer Rabelais’ Temple of Thelema and its “Do what you will” that Crowley’s doctrine has affinity.

But perhaps most significantly, Crowley’s Venus at 24 Libra, the sign ruled by Venus, is in direct square to Theotes (Godhead) at 24 Capricorn. Crowley is of course very against Jesus, this again reflected in the tense square between Isa (Ar Jesus) at 12 Pisces to Malin at 12 Sagittarius, the devil as darkness rather than Luciferian light. This still isn’t all. The truly awful asteroid Vipera at 18 of Sagittarius (the religions and philosophies sign) conjuncts Drago (Dragon with its suggestion of the book of Revelation) conjunct the Part of Faith and Religion in square to asteroid Spirit at 17 Virgo. It’s a combination which might even be involved with the desire to commit the unforgivable sin.

Born under Libra, sign of Laws, it was in Egypt that Crowley received his Book of the Law. Significantly Aigyptos is same degree conjunct Malus (bad) on 1 Capricorn and from there in easy trine to Achristou which seems to function as the Antichrist asteroid. Crowley was himself initially shocked by some of his book’s declarations and for long tried to ignore them.

The book nonetheless proclaimed him prophet of the Age of Horus, the crowned child. Fascinatingly, asteroid Horus at 9 of royal Leo conjuncts Crowley’s rising 8 degrees of Leo and Horus is trined by Childe from 11 Aries in the house of religion.

Conjunctions are very pro or con something and the accuracy of the chart is certified by the way that asteroid Yeates (asteroids follow a sound sense vibe and hence this is Yeats) conjuncts the 16 Aries Midheaven to the degree. The poet Yeats was opposed to Crowley and their notorious argument caused The Society of the Golden Dawn through which Crowley had first learned and risen in magic to be closed down.

Although Libra is the sign of marriages and unions, Crowley’s relating was particularly dreadful. He sought whores of Babylon as partners and they were liable to be used and abused, a situation reflected in Babylon at 25 Aries opposite his natal Venus. His relating otherwise is reflected in a coldly independent Saturn in Aquarius in the seventh of unions where it conjuncts the Part of Treachery, well reflecting the incredible ruthlessness towards partners and supporters.

I mentioned the rite Crowley undertook in North Africa. This occurred December 6th 1909. There is as Lachman says, no causal connection (and not a notable astrological one that I see unless of the transiting sun conjunct Crowley’s Malin) between that and December 6th 1969. The latter date is however when a Hell’s Angel murdered a youth at a concert of the Rolling Stones at Altamont in California. It occurred at a time when the Stones had been familiarizing themselves with magic under Crowley devotee, film director Kenneth Anger. After that they were not so keen and Sympathy for the Devil was less heard and sung.

That event, the death of Peaches and so much more could be taken as a warning not to mess with the occult and not to elevate Crowley into some kind of deeply knowing spiritual guide nor to dismiss him as just an interesting trickster, an English eccentric, in the way that too often happens today. Both approaches are wrong.

1) http://www.christianpost.com/news/americas-fall-away-from-god-more-about-sex-than-unbelief-christian-author-frank-turek-says-170860/

2) Solomon’s Tantric Song, goo.gl/sU21My

3) See. Temple Mysteries and Spiritual Efficiency, Chapter 8. Mary Daly’s Occult Voyage goo.gl/Xi1jv8

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2016 in Mysteries, religion

 

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