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In the Wake of the Flood: The Great Wave - Part 2

What if it were true?

What if the Earth was reeling in our abuse of the environment and humanity's endless tampering with nature? What if the Dec. 26 earthquake and tsunamis were a message of some kind, a warning of what can come if we don't take action?

What if the global problems we face continue on their current course (carbon dioxide buildup, ozone thinning, overuse of fossil fuels, clearing of forests and rain forests, massive over-fishing, oceans dying)? And what if, as a result, the storms, heat waves, locusts, droughts, famines, the rise in the planet's temperature, the resulting melting of the icecaps, the raising of the sea level, and the corresponding drop in the ocean's salinity all go on, with severe consequences?

And what if we actually take notice of this, in a deep and meaningful way?

What if we experience the unpleasant awakening to the reality that most politicians are ignoring the situation at the very time when it should be their first priority, and come to terms with the notion that this has nothing to do with 'insufficient scientific evidence' of the problem? Rather, the delay is strictly designed to favor their selfish, narrow business, religious and political interests?

Yet in spite of this, what if, right now, it's not too late to have our choices and actions produce meaningful results?

What if the Earth is indeed a conscious entity, known to some as Gaia, and could respond to our sincere attempts to make a difference?

What if the Earth noticed our shift of intention? In other words, what if we could change our minds and make changes that produced physical results below what scientists say is necessary to get the job done, but this somehow had the effect of shifting the psychic climate on the planet toward preserving protecting our world -- a shift to which Gaia herself responded?

And what if it was up to us personally -- not politicians -- to initiate and create that shift in consciousness?

We had best put our faith in such a scenario. Yes, it requires taking a leap beyond our current model of the world as a disposable object, and our often cynical state of mind. Most of us don't think that Gaia is alive and responding to our intentions, or aware of us at all. We don't think we make a difference, and most people think (for example) that the big polluters and huge governments will never get it, which is the supposed end of the story. But if that's true, then pack your survival kit and keep it ready by the front door.

Yet there are other possibilities. If we want to make those possibilities real, it would help a lot if we raised them to consciousness, were open to them, and kept the discussion going.

Let's return to the chart of the Great Wave and see if we can find some clues as to how we might do that.

Great Wave chart

We now know more about what this is a chart for. It has taken nearly two weeks for the picture to develop -- consistent with a 12th house Sun, from which images slowly materialize out of the fog. Current death toll figures are still probably a small fraction of reality. Consistent with this Sun, the world will never know who and what it lost, as tens of thousands of islands were affected, and some had their entire community, folklore, and history erased. Villages, towns and even cities were leveled. Entire societies, tribes, and cultures were washed into the ocean.

The 12th also says 'too big to comprehend'. More people died on one day than any time since the United States of America used the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima or Nagasaki in 1945. In the end, the tsunami's death toll will probably dwarf both nuclear bombs combined.

In the low-lying Maldives Islands, every square inch of the nation, a major tourist spot, was neck-deep in water; miraculously, there were but a very few drownings there. But understandably, people are freaked. One moment everything was fine; the next, everything was different.

Throughout the tsunami region, one-third of those lost were children.

As a result of the second most powerful earthquake ever recorded in the Northern Hemisphere, the world was knocked off its axis, ever so slightly. The whole planet vibrated like a bell in the days after the quake, and is probably still vibrating.

And as a result of the Earth shaking and the water moving, the largest and most expensive relief effort ever mounted was begun. We have had some communication from the Earth like never before, reminding us of our tenuous position on the planet, and the delicacy of human existence in the face of the elements. If we were to compare this to pre-historic or mythical events, we would be on the scale of Atlantis or Lemuria. We can be sure that in the indigenous cultures that survived, the story of the Great Wave will be told for many, many generations.

Quite potentially, the eruption of Santorini Thera in Greece in 1650 BCE qualifies as a comparison -- that, along with the massive quake that preceded it 10 years earlier, probably wiped out the last remaining Minoan civilization, which was located nearby on the island of Crete.

We should well question whether, if presented with the Great Wave chart in advance, astrologers could have seen what was coming. Looking at the chart, which is hardly spectacular, I doubt it. And to my knowledge, we did not hear from any astrologers if they did get a glimpse of the future. My only clue that I was paying attention comes from the margin notes in my chart notebook. On my copy of the Cancer Full Moon chart for Dec. 26, which I cast visiting Germany back in late August, I've written across the top, "ARIES POINT ALERT! See Moon conjunct Sun March 21, 2004." This is another way of saying a lot of people may be involved in whatever this chart represents, as is characteristic of the Aries Point, and that the Full Moon on Dec. 26 referred back to the New Moon on March 21.

The reference involved the fact that the Full Moon (which reached across early Cancer-Capricorn) was square the first degree of the sign Aries, or the place where the Sun is on the first day of Spring -- the beginning of our zodiac. This point, which can act with greater potency than a star or planet, has been extremely sensitive in recent years, and was directly involved in the events of Sept. 11. We need to keep watching the Aries Point; it shows up prominently in the eclipses of 2005 and 2006, culminating with a solar eclipse in the last degree of Virgo (opposite the Aries point to half a degree) on Sept. 22, 2006.

Events and Discoveries Leading up to 12/26
We need to remember the wider context in which the Great Wave chart is set. No horoscope stands alone. There are always supporting charts or events, and in this case we have many. In the past year or so, two major planets entered water signs, Saturn transiting into Cancer and Uranus into Pisces. This put the emphasis on water and the global water crisis that has been developing in recent decades, but which is not, for the most part, being discussed in the media. But the water crisis is an extremely serious problem: we are basically running out of fresh water on the planet, and fresh water is the basis of life here.

Since 1999, four outer planets orbiting our Sun have been discovered and named for water-related deities. It began with the discovery of Deucalion in 1999. According to Mark Andrew Holmes, "Deucalion was the son of Prometheus, who, along with his wife Pyrrha, daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora, survived a flood Zeus sent to destroy the human race in an ark Prometheus advised Deucalion to build."

Then there was Varuna, discovered in 2000 (the pre-Vedic supreme deity, who was later demoted to rulership of all bodies of water); Sedna in 2003 (the Inuit goddess of the frozen waters, who created the whales, seals and dolphins); and Orcus in 2004. While Orcus is technically not a water god, think of orcas, the 'killer whales' (which are under most circumstances really quite friendly) that bear his name.

So, in the past few years we have a lot of water, ocean, flood and sea-creature imagery appearing in the naming of outer planet discoveries.

The weeks and months in the run-up to the event were truly extraordinary, even ominous. On the 2004 spring equinox, as mentioned above, there was a New Moon exactly on the Aries point. This was the closest solar-lunar event to that point since the total solar eclipse before the Sept. 11 attacks (on the first day of summer 2001; both occurred on the first day of a season).

A pair of eclipses immediately followed this highly unusual Aries New Moon in April and May 2004. One was a second consecutive Aries New Moon, this time in the very last degree of that sign.

Then came the transit of the Sun by Venus on June 8, an aspect that has not occurred since the late 19th century and will not occur again until 2012. Millions of people watched in amazement as Venus exactly crossed the disk of the Sun. Rare astronomy means highly unusual events and developments in the world. But frankly, watching the world, things were looking bizarre enough that one did not need to predict anything extra.

In the autumn, the second eclipse season of the year -- this one in the approach to the U.S. presidential election -- was marked by something extremely unusual: a grouping of eclipses of planets by the Moon (called occultations). Five of these occurred in the midst of two eclipses -- on Oct. 14, Nov. 9, Nov. 10, Nov. 11 and Nov. 14. Seven eclipse-like events were clustered within one month, the majority of them concentrated in a matter of a few days (covered extensively in this column). All eclipse-like events bring more people into the equation; they are points of contact. If we remember that the extremely rare Venus transit of the Sun is eclipse-like (as if Venus is eclipsing the Sun), we have a picture that adds up to many, many people being affected by the most important developments of the year, which happened to arrive the last week.

The Great Wave chart is in the category of 'world horoscope'; it is the horoscope of a moment commencing an era in the history of humanity. The last chart that could qualify for that distinction was Sept. 11, 2001 at 8:46 a.m. in Manhattan. If you aspire to the study of astrology however humbly, meekly or mildly, this is a chart you need to have in your notebook and impressed into your mind. Speaking astrologically, there are eerie connections between Sept. 11 and the Great Wave, some of which I covered last week.

We don't have the natal chart for the world, but we do get charts for the big turning points. The chart is set for the epicenter at the exact time of the quake. Naturally, we look to such charts for portents of the future. Yes, we want to know what happened and why. But we really want to know what is happening, and what will happen -- this is natural.

When approaching a chart of this magnitude, I think we need to take a beginner's mind approach. Since nobody can claim the prediction, it's clear that the chart will teach us something new about astrology, and more importantly, about the times in which we are living. We can count on some life-giving information coming out of this chart, which we'll need to look at for many years before we really get the message. But we can start with the obvious.

Chiron is Rising
As we discussed here last week, Chiron is rising in the Great Wave chart; it is the planet in green, just below the left-hand horizontal line, shaped like a little key. If you're trying to understand the message of an astrological chart, there's no way you can ignore a planet as prominent as that. If you're on the 'I'm not so sure about Chiron' committee, this is the time to set that hesitation aside, and look at a chart of this magnitude honestly, and with an open mind. Allow yourself to be confronted by the symbol and the message of the rising planet -- whatever that message may be.

One thing about Chiron is that it has more to do with experience than it does with theory. So if we look at the placement and then look at the experience of the world at this time, and the experience of our lives, we can get beyond concepts, and down to practical matters -- useful, functional, ideas and a sensible course of action.

If you want to visualize Chiron rising, remember any sunrise you've seen. Imagine what you saw as the hot globe of the Sun peeked over the land and day began. When the Sun rises, it is, literally and figuratively, crossing the ascendant or rising degree. As our planet rotates, and the backdrop of the heavens seems to move beyond the horizon, the Sun is going from the 1st to the 12th houses. The Sun 'rises' as a result of the Earth's motion, and appears to be bobbing up on the eastern horizon. We all know how that works, I hope.

The position of Chiron in the Great Wave chart is equivalent to the position of the Sun about 10 minutes before sunrise. It is about to rise. In the case of the Sun, this is a big moment. Long before that dramatic and sudden shift of energy at sunrise, there are many subtle changes. As when the day begins, there have been heralds of the dawn and birds chirping and the quality of nighttime shifting and impending changes and the sense of the inevitable shift. Garbage trucks roar through the streets and the last rooster left in Brooklyn crows loud and clear. Then we notice that the sky has grown lighter. And then some kind of awareness -- direct light -- reaches our eyes and rains over our part of the planet.

Not everyone perceives the change in the hours before dawn; most people are still sleeping, dreaming away in a world they think is real. In fact, most people are still sleeping and dreaming long after the Sun is risen and day has begun. Slowly, the majority of people wake up.

Now, imagine that Chiron represents some kind of awareness; some kind of process; some kind of change, and that change is what is arising. Imagine that we are in the hours, weeks, months or last few years before that change. Imagine that some people can feel it; they hear the birds, and they have taken on the work of Chiron: dealing with our shadow material, such as fear and greed; taking responsibility for our healing process as a primary mission in life; becoming free of the past (particularly in this, the Capricorn era); and taking authority of our lives away from parents and pseudo-parents, such as government (more Capricorn) and taking that responsibility for control of our destiny onto ourselves.

Yasmin Boland, who also writes for this web page, told me she recently asked Chiron pioneer Melanie Reinhart how she would sum Chiron up in one word. Melanie told her, 'transformation'.

When asked, I say 'awareness'. I would also say that the two are functionally the same thing. Chiron is about 'transformation through awareness' or the awareness that transforms us. Chiron will basically do anything to get our attention, and the messages are always gentle at first. Then, if ignored, they increase in intensity as time goes on, until after being ignored for a long time, something big happens -- a system breaks, a relationship changes, or someone gets sick. At this late stage, it can seem like Chiron is causing trouble, and it's for this reason that many people are still dubious about its role in astrology. Really, though, we missed the early signals, and the gift even at this point is that we get to devote our attention and energy to what we need to solve, repair and heal. In the process, we often rebuild ourselves and our world in a much stronger way.

I wonder, in the wake of the tsunamis, if anyone will think to rebuild south Asian civilization in a way that's friendlier to the environment. Certainly life will be simpler there, which is by definition gentler. I have visions of thousands of composting toilets, which would save countless million of liters of fresh water.

Capricorn, the sign that Chiron has been transiting since December 2001, involves the structure of the world, and its dominant power structure. Particularly, Chiron involves the social order and our mental relationship to structure that leads, in the outer world, to the political order. Today, the result is a political situation that usually tells us 'we are powerless'. But we also don't usually respond when we have the chance, or pay attention so willingly.

Where we have the ability to bring awareness, we are by definition not powerless, because awareness is a direct, active form of power. Yet we love to tune out. It's 'just politics', after all; it's nothing but screwed up. Or the problem we're seeing is happening 'somewhere else in the world'. Or 'who cares, we're all going to die'. Every time I see someone smoking a cigarette lately, I hear myself ask: how is it possible for people to care about their environment when they ingest concentrated toxins voluntarily, many times a day? I don't like the answer to that question. One reason quitting smoking is so important is that it's about sending a message to your body that you've changed your intentions about wanting to live.

It was, incidentally, during the last Chiron in Capricorn phase 50 years ago that the dangers of smoking were announced to the public. Chiron always brings things to light; that is its role -- as the initiator of transformation through awareness. The British doctor who studied smoking in other doctors those entire 50 years said last summer, at the anniversary of beginning his study, that in summary, smoking nullifies the positive effects of modern medicine. And society spends a heck of a lot of money on medicine.

This time around, Chiron in Capricorn has brought us awareness of stuff like Enron, Worldcom, and Arthur Andersen accounting scandals; numerous Catholic Church sex scandals; the 'Bush Knew' scandals; the 'No WMDs' scandals, the David Kelly scandal; the Joe Wilson-Valerie Plame scandal wherein someone in the White House outed a deep cover (antiterrorist) spy (and thus her entire network) to get revenge on the spy's husband for saying that Iraq was really not a nuclear threat; the stolen election of 2004 scandal, not to mention all that came out about 2000; and just about every other kind of scandal you can shake your butt at. Sorry to repeat the word scandal so many times, it sounds dumb. [I don't even know what the word means. So I just looked it up in Here's what I learned: the root of the word is 'trap with a springing device'. It also comes from 'irreligious conduct'. I see.]

In the midst of Chiron in Capricorn came the film 'Fahrenheit 9/11', summing it all up -- yet another attempt from the cosmos to get our attention, to get us to look at the connections of government, business and politics -- and to look at ourselves. Journalism has come a long way in four years; there are literally thousands of journalists documenting what is happening hour by hour, and the Internet has been very helpful. We are all journalists, in a sense, emailing one another hot news items and taking personal responsibility for raising awareness of our world.

This was all written in the stars. I am not playing Monday Morning Quarterback here; honest. Many of these 'get hip to power' themes are contained in my very first article about Chiron in Capricorn. "Chiron rewards awareness and detests ignorance, especially the kind that knows, or knows better," I wrote in 2001. "Chiron has the power to shine light into the musty, dark halls of power, where the name of the game is control. We know history. If we pay attention, maybe we won't have to repeat it."

I did not, however, have images of middle-class people in gold watches sitting in makeshift huts, stricken with grief over loss of their loved ones, surrounded by endless miles of ruin and devastation, wondering when they would get their next drink of water -- televised, mind you. I did not see tourist resorts, in reality, a massive region both supported and exploited by tourism, reduced literally to hundreds of square miles of splinters. I did not see tribes of survivors, roaming the world like in a science fiction novel, looking for any help at all, waiting for the sound of a helicopter. I did not have the foresight to think entire cultures could be swallowed by the ocean, without leaving a trace and barely a memory.

Yet finally, after so much that should have got our attention so long ago, something has happened that has riveted the world's consciousness -- and has done so in a way that there's nobody to bomb in revenge. Of course, Bush long ago declared war on Mother Nature, but he can't make a speech about it. He may grimace when he appeals for disaster aid, but he has to get up there and say the words. Churches in Texas can now busy themselves raising money for water purification machines for Sri Lanka. It's actually quite fabulous.

In the wake of the flood, in true Chiron style, a crisis has been created or an injury has been inflicted that shifts the balance of consciousness. The infrastructure of the world (Capricorn) is being transformed to helping and healing (Chiron) with an associated rise in awareness. Now, instead of seeing endless images of people who allegedly deserve it getting bombed in Iraq, and footage of American GIs bashing in doors and throwing hand grenades into people's houses, we are confronted by human suffering met with a vast relief effort. We get to see the United States Marines giving out fresh water. I have heard on BBC that this is the biggest operation in Asia since the Vietnam War.

Yes, it's still true that total relief pledged by all countries (as of today, about $3 billion) is less than two percent of what has been spent bombing Iraq. Two percent! But at least that fact is making the news. The shocking contrast between military and social spending -- of which this figure is merely part of a larger trend -- is becoming visible. It's also obvious how much cheaper it is to help people than it is to kill them. If we can see the problem, we can envision a solution.

Meanwhile, the imagery of media culture has shifted, at least for now, from people hurting others, to the awareness of raw suffering and the need for our help. I would not be the least bit disappointed if this became the permanent content of the news. We need to maintain this awareness all the time -- consciousness that there is so much struggle and suffering in the world, so much that needs our attention, because in actual fact, we can help, and it won't hurt us to help.

We need to do this for two reasons: to see our own problems in context, and to cultivate compassion for people who need our help.

I know this message is not reaching everyone everywhere; it's still pretty easy to tune out and ignore this situation, and there's always the issue of how much foam you should get on your latte. But I'm going to guess that these images are doing their work and getting their messages across where it's the very most important -- in Televisionland.

Before we move on from Chiron, I need to bring up one other planet that's closely related to Chiron. I know that there are a lot of minor planets to consider, and it may seem like there's no way to tell what's important and what is not. But this, I feel, is significant, so I'm mentioning it. It is not just Chiron that is rising in the Great Wave chart, but rather, Chiron in a conjunction with the centaur planet, Nessus.

Nessus was the third centaur (a new class of planets) ever discovered; this happened in 1993. [And, making history, it was named by astronomers at the recommendation of a small committee of astrologers.] Slowly, Chiron and Nessus have been working their way into a conjunction. They have been close together in Capricorn through much of 2004, and are quite close now. In fact, both Centaurs were close to the ascendant of the Great Wave chart. The themes of Nessus and all those scandals are a lot of what calls the tune of the current world picture. Nessus is like Chiron, only you can add a lot of psychological dynamics, abuse dynamics, and what Melanie Reinhart describes as "the bottom line." Nessus is reminding us of what an abusive world we live in, and now we have something we can do about it.

In May 2005, these two planets form their first of several exact conjunctions. Chiron enters Aquarius for the first time on Feb. 21, 2005 about three weeks after Nessus moves into Aquarius -- shortly after the 'presidential' inauguration. Then the two station retrograde in the 4th degree of Aquarius. The result is a long, slow conjunction that, in the immediate vicinity, takes us through late winter and early spring -- but which in reality goes on for about two years. Chiron-Nessus is an era-defining conjunction, much like Uranus-Pluto was in the 1960s.

My sense is that this action in Aquarius is going to shake things up -- igniting some aspect of group consciousness that will finally and at long last be an answer to the outrageous abuses of government and corporations that we've witnessed, and to which we have tacitly consented, during the past few years. Unfortunately, I believe this is when we will also hear the first serious discussion of a military draft in the States, something that, with any luck, will stir the pot on the campuses. Something is going to get the attention of the people; astrology is not merely made of notions. It is made of concrete events. Concrete events always involve Saturn.

Saturn in Cancer
As also covered last week, the earthquake and tsunamis occurred within 48 hours of an exact Chiron-Saturn opposition. This happened because Saturn in Cancer was exactly aligned with Chiron in Capricorn. Here we have some interesting imagery of Earth meets Water. Saturn went into Cancer in June 2003 and finally leaves Cancer in July 2005. Along the way, there is a series of seven oppositions that occur on the following dates:

Sept 25, 2003 (Cancer-Capricorn)
Oct. 24, 2003 (Cancer-Capricorn)
Aug. 15, 2004 (Cancer-Capricorn)
Dec. 28, 2004 (Cancer-Capricorn)
July 21, 2005 (Leo-Aquarius)
Feb. 20, 2006 (Leo-Aquarius)
June 20, 2006 (Leo-Aquarius)

This kind of slow unfolding of events represents a process -- for society and for each of us as individuals. It is quite rare for planets to make seven oppositions in one run; to do so, they must be moving at about the same speed, a condition now made possible by Chiron, a massive comet, currently slowing down to below the speed of Saturn as it moves further from the Sun. We are now more than halfway through the process of these oppositions, and we are through with the Cancer-Capricorn side of the equation. With this opposition, we have an interesting image of a potent force under the land (Chiron in Capricorn) meeting the ocean (Saturn in Cancer).

When next we encounter Chiron opposite Saturn, it will be across the Leo-Aquarius axis -- directly associated with the Chiron in Aquarius stuff I mentioned above. We have developing a significant process in which we will explore individuality and individual responsibility (Saturn in Leo) as a critical part of joining in any kind of group (Chiron in Aquarius). It is also a meeting of the 'ego of the government' represented by Saturn in Leo with the 'power of the people' represented by Chiron and Nessus in Aquarius.

So, at the moment, Saturn and Chiron are facing one another, and they will be for quite a while. In the Great Wave chart, Saturn in Cancer appears in the 7th house -- right in what some astrologers call the 'Zone of Projection'. It is setting, in the same place that the Sun would be if it were setting. So in this Wave chart, Chiron is rising and Saturn is setting.

Since I haven't mentioned the Zone of Projection before, now's a good time to explain it. A Canadian astrologer named Ani Black, who bakes fabulous brownies, passed this bit of astrology on to me years ago. She suggested that the 5th through 8th houses are the place in the chart where we experience the projections of our own mind. She gives the image of standing on the ascendant looking toward the west side of the chart (the 7th or descendent) and seeing a reflection of ourselves there.

The 'zone' is like a funnel and expands above and below the western horizon, and includes all of the most important relationship houses:

-- 5th house = romantic relationships, play, exploration of life, relationships with our kids.
-- 6th house = work relationships, healing relationships, service-based relationships. Relationship to work and service itself.
-- 7th house = partners, marriage partners, open enemies, our relationship to 'the world', the lower court system.
-- 8th house = power relationships, contractual relationships, marital contracts, other people's money, relationships involving deep surrender (such as the people we join with to co-parent or with whom we form other deep karmic bonds that are easier to get into than get out of). Oh, and death, which is, for sure, a relationship we have.

With the affairs of all these houses, we interact with other people and powerful ideas about life -- and we get to experience ourselves in those relationships in the process. We've all heard the expression that relationships are mirrors; that's the Zone of Projection theory -- which we could also call the Zone of Reflection theory. In theory, what you put into the 5th through 8th houses you get right back as instant karma. Sometimes it takes a while. It all depends on your chart and how you live it out.

The most sensitive spot in the Zone is the 7th house cusp -- and there, in the Great Wave chart, we have Saturn in Cancer, retrograde, looking right back at us. Go take a look. The little thing that looks like a '4' hovering above the right-hand horizontal line -- that is Saturn in Cancer, setting, in the house of relationships. The little bitty Rx says retrograde.

Here, we have a truly fitting image of a wall of water. Saturn is a wall and Cancer is water. In the Sept. 11, 2001 chart, Saturn was in Gemini, the sign of the twins. Pluto in Sagittarius opposed it. Saturn in Gemini was a rather fitting image of the Twin Towers that were knocked down in the name of extreme religion (Pluto in Sagittarius). Note that in both of these charts, Saturn is making an exact opposition to an outer planet.

Let's cut to the chase on Saturn in Cancer, our reflection in the Great Wave chart, and the thing that came along and killed a whole bunch of us one day. There is something cold and lifeless about this combination of energies -- something emotionally frozen. Particularly when you have Saturn retrograde. We have seen many examples of that lifeless approach to existence in recent years, particularly by the blasť way the world has reacted to the vicious massacre in Iraq. With Saturn, though, once you actually get its message, do some work and get it working, there is something infinitely nourishing, supportive, and parental in the best sense of the word. This is always how Saturn works. It inhibits until we master the energy, and then it provides an infinite resource. Thank God for miracles.

Till recently, here in Western Civ, we've been working the low road of Saturn in Cancer. A lot of people have been bombed since Saturn went into Cancer -- certain mean-spirited so-called politicians whose names do not need mentioning said these people were being bombed for their own good. This reminds me of an abusive parent, hitting a child 'for his own good' to assuage the guilt the parent feels. This is an all-too-fitting image of Nessus in Capricorn's dark side, represented by that Saturn. This is the same emotionally frozen energy that enabled tens of millions of people (that is, U.S. voters) to ignore the prison abuse and torture scandals that, incredibly, broke in an election year and which in my fantasy world should have resulted in massive, impassioned demonstrations in the streets. (I will keep dreaming.)

It is the same cruelty as so many people with children ignoring the fact that half the population of Iraq is younger than 14 years old. There are many examples of heartless, soulless, cold treatment of people during this Saturn in Cancer phase, which began in the summer of 2003.

Chiron opposite this placement -- set up quite exactly in the Great Wave chart -- has the power to pierce Saturn in the heart, in the words of Melanie Reinhart, who made the comment months ago. Chiron in aspect to Saturn almost always represents a way through the structure, the obstacle or the blockage. It is the key to the door in the wall. If you have Saturn and Chiron in aspect in your chart, try this imagery out.

So here, we are presented a key. If we could (for example) not get it together to oppose the bombing of an innocent nation, at least we can all agree on the fact that these wave-torn cultures and the millions of people there need our help and kindness. There is, conveniently, thankfully, no one to strike back at. You can think of 12/26 as the Anti-9/11 -- something with power to do little other than unite people.

We also get an insurance policy, of sorts. Within certain limits, which I won't get into, no matter what 'terrorists' do for the next many years it's going to look awfully trivial compared to the tsunami wiping out 155,000 people so far. To put this in context, imagine if Sept. 11 and the tsunami had come in a different order. Could certain politicians have made such a huge deal, turning the world upside down and reeking pain and havoc on millions, over some [admittedly, occupied] buildings getting knocked down? In the context of the pain and loss we're seeing in southern Asia, retribution would have looked pathetic.

A reader named Sean Casey wrote to me recently about an experience in his college class. "One bright student got hung up on the idea that Sept. 11th must necessarily be viewed as a tragedy, along with the Sudan. Our truly post-structural professor vehemently disagreed, stating that the story told about such an event truly shaped its impact. You could almost see the class polarize, reflecting the polarization of the nation at that point. After feeling alone for a long time, I was happy to get back to the campus into a classroom space to discuss such things. I asked: what were we giving up if we could no longer categorically claim Sept. 11th as tragedy? I like that question. What do we give up if we can no longer polarize?"

A Shift in Consciousness
I believe we have heard the calling of the world, and I believe that enough people are now answering to get the process started. We are now no longer in the 'post-9/11 world' -- we are living in the wake of the flood.

This is an event with a different set of messages, different kinds of stories, and different possible responses than we've ever encountered before. It cannot be used to justify war. We cannot use this to fan the flames of our hatred, or to project evil onto other people. Humanity is, for the most part, seeing itself as one. At worst, we can respond with some fear of what is happening to our world, but that, if you ask me, would be healthy fear. Honestly, we do need to be worried about global warming.

In truth, the tsunami experience is being used to justify kindness and concern, for which most people do need an excuse. A wound has been inflicted to the planet, and on some level all of us who are aware of it are responding by offering our intentions and energy for healing. The whole planetary system is changing as a result. This is a little like acupuncture, where a relatively small injury is inflicted and used to stimulate the vital force to respond a certain way or along certain lines of energy. It is like homeopathy, where a tiny dose of medicine shifts awareness and acts on the vital force, stimulating the person into awareness, action and healing.

Shifts in global consciousness can be truly subtle when they start, at least on the psychological level; physically, there was nothing subtle about the tsunami, and many people are traumatized and stricken with grief. In the end, I am going to put my faith that they have saved the world even greater unnecessary suffering.

Often the results of the shift seem quite disconnected from what initially triggered them. Whatever it took, and however small it may seem, we have experienced a significant development. This just the beginning; as Chiron, Nessus and Saturn get ready to change signs in the coming months, and continue their long series of oppositions, there is a lot more to come, a lot more to learn, more calls to awaken, and more to experience.

I'll see you there.

Regular questions and answers will resume next week.

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