innocent beasts

It’s funny that when things get really difficult mentally and emotionally, there’s one thing comes back that sorts me out immediately. It’s not something I find easy to maintain, but it needs honoring, otherwise I’m lost and unaffirmed on some level. That something  comes through over and over again, recurring periodically.

This thing can be rebellious yet in essence it’s pacific. Innocently absolute in its sense of self, its freedom and its right to be. It’s clearly somewhat oppositional, or at least has no trouble with that, though that’s not its goal. It is at home and essentially in harmony with nature, yet it knows no thing as “unnatural”. It has the strength to be completely unthreatened by hypocrisy and social consensus.

Whenever it kicks in, all my anger goes, and so does my fear. I’d say it bears some resemblance to the influence of astrological Uranus, and it’s true I do have Sun conjunct Uranus in my natal chart, but that doesn’t quite cover it, though it has some clues.

In it’s original state, the questions of power and deprivation of power, of inequality, privilege and exclusion, have not yet arisen. It instinctively remembers that prior state.

Due to the hurts of those issues, it is both remedy and balm, and a red rag and a thorn at the same time. Thus it can be difficult when it awakens, despite its immediate benediction.

Taking up the uranian theme here, I was always really struck by Crowley’s astrological writings on Uranus and Neptune, the two “outer planets” of his time (and funnily enough of our own time again). On Uranus he says something I have heard nowhere else, that Uranus “in his happier days was incarnated upon Earth under the name of Pan”. When I read that in my twenties my heart gave a little leap. Obviously this was not a literal claim for an alternative Greek mythology; he is introducing a personal understanding to an astrology which was already becoming psychological as well as magical.

Pan is an extraordinary figure. Rejected by his mother at birth due to his “ugliness”, teaching prophecy to Apollo, inspirer of panic and nightmares, known for lust which was not always welcome, god of Nature, wanted or not. He loomed large for English poets, occultists and Pagan revivalists of a certain generation. He seems to evoke a torrent of associations both blissful and misunderstood. I always remember Crowley’s words as “in happier times …… walked the earth as Pan”*. I felt that Crowley intuited the primal, original and compelling nature of astrological Uranus, and its links with individuality, sexuality and nature (for Uranus is it’s hidden force), it’s capacity to enlighten and liberate, but also shatter a lesser vessel. He also here gives flesh to that “original state”, something both edenic and earthly. There are hints of paradise on earth, and its recreation.

On Neptune I remember him indicating that the truth of Uranus needed the love of Neptune, otherwise it would become hard, fanatical and “perverted” to cruelty. Equally I would think Neptune needs Uranus’ truth to not fall into its own faults (far more amorphous in the case of Neptune).

The insight he gives is that the practical “union of opposites” of Uranus and Neptune is a re-membering in which love holds a lived truth, and allows it to flow and grow true.

The story of the hidden power of individuality, sexuality and the nature of which we are a part, is maybe that of the beauty of the beast, paradise remembered in our living flesh, the restorative magic we have been told again and again is dangerous, disastrous, hazardous and wrong. It is the taboo in our moral catch 22, the remembered taint of something too big and too alive for our little tribal life. Indeed it needs the mystical and compassionate vocabulary of Neptune to hold it, for nothing less could hold it as it wishes to be held. It’s binding is a story of truth suppressed, of too much sadness and loss, it’s break outs a repeated tale of hunts for escaped monsters, and it can be monstrous when warped and baited.

So if you’ll excuse my meandering train of thought, where am I going with this?

Just that selfhood is the monster we must redeem, and if it is redeemed through love (which I do believe), it must still be awake to be redeemed. No matter how potentially electric, rejected or apparently hazardous, we can’t bury it or simply seek its abnegation. The real monster is what we do collectively in its absence, in abdication of our individual consciousness and responsibility. All the splits in our nature are really dependent upon a false (but temporarily unavoidable) consciousness, where we see ourselves as separate from wholeness. Uranus, Neptune and in fact all the planets in astrology are a poetry of both our healing and our pathology, of love lost and love realized and refound.

This may all sound pretty lofty, kinda extreme, or just nuts, but when you get home from the journey up freak mountain, when all’s said and done, “people being themselves”, free of punishment or unbalance would be big news. Bigger than any one instance of innocents being demonized, or desperation going off the rails. That’s why it’s important to me, why I have to think about this stuff, and when I’ve put it away to rest, learn to laugh and live freer. Because we’re all freaks and monsters, every new born babe amongst us, and really that’s amazingly cool.

Someday we’ll make the world anew. Until then, live the future now.

“Faunus im Wald” by Stephan Kern – image in public domain

* The actually wording was “But like all gods, Uranus in his happier days was incarnated upon Earth under the name of Pan”. You might note that Crowley says “like all gods”, but he takes the trouble to reference Pan to Uranus specifically here (rather than any other planet), so I feel the association is noteworthy for him.

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