22 Nov The Uncanny Valley ~ Sagittarius Season ~ November 21st – December 21st, 2021
As the Sun moves into the mutable fire sign of Sagittarius, the end of 2021 begins to approach. Thank the lord because this last year has offered very little to wax sentimental about. It’s been a long hard road out of hell.
The underworld tunnels of Scorpio season have blessed you with the power to face death with the knowledge of resurrection. You know in the marrow of your bones that when you’re in your darkest hour, a guiding light always arrives to show you the way.
That light is consciousness: the One, the All, or the creative principle of the eternal becoming. And it lives within you.
The Sun is in its final month of descent before the solstice. The sky grows darker but Sagittarius envisions the return of the light and begins to celebrate that bright future.
This celebration resurrects your spirits with renewed faith and vision. Faith is the quality of wholeness and holiness, that never doubts love to be the center and source of all creation.
With that faith in love, the fires of Sagittarius inspire open arms, an open mind, and an open heart. This is the holiday spirit, which reminds you that the light in the world truly radiates from within.
In Sagittarius, the wine of experience is distilled into the clear vision of philosophy. A broader understanding of your struggles comes into view, giving you a sense of purpose in all you have experienced. This will inspire some serious questions about reality, burning a hole through any ideologies that represent philosophical stasis or cruelty.
“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”
Wisdom can only be attained by experiencing the full spectrum of life’s agony and ecstasy. This ultimately brings a sense of gratitude for everything you’ve endured.
And philosophical growth is important when the world seems to be changing so rapidly. These are the best of times and the worst of times. The dawn of the Aquarian age has certainly revealed its lurid taste for dystopian nightmares.
Humanity is engaged in an epic battle with the hydra, the many-headed beast of corporate media that vomits its poison all over the masses. This poison clouds your mind and blackens your heart. It halts the impulse to question and coaxes your compliance with unjust wars, genocide, and economic exploitation. With ever widening eyes, you have witnessed the real horrorshow of global authoritarianism unveiling itself through the ever tightening web of government overreach, censorship, and abuse.
And though digital media has exponentially increased the rate at which this onslaught is taking place, there’s nothing fundamentally new about what’s going on. Even a modest knowledge of history reveals that humanity is stuck on a loop, repeating the same vicious cycle of the abuse of power.
“It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.”
The story always begins with a climate of panic and hysteria followed by an over-extension of government that brings with it censorship and the repression of all dissent. This births an unholy climate of rigidity, fear and oppression.
There must have been times in 2021 when you couldn’t believe what you were seeing. And others when you were choked by disgust. But the resilience of the human spirit reveals itself in times like these, when unexpected outbursts of generosity and laughter find a way to break through like weeds through concrete.
Hopefully, you’ve invited a dark sense of humor to ferment over the last year. Because laughing at the world instead of raging is the mark of true alchemy: transmutation is making light of the heaviness.
I am Alive and You are Dead
The Lunar Eclipse in Taurus has left you with an unshakable sensation of the uncanny. That which is canny is “cozy” and “familiar.” The uncanny, then, is that which is uncomfortable and unfamiliar. It’s that feeling of indescribable creepiness that crawls over you when the unconscious makes itself conscious; it’s when you look at a mannequin in a store window and swear you saw it move out of the corner of your eye. And the uncanny valley is a concept in aesthetics that measures an “object’s degree of resemblance to a human being and the emotional response to the object.” The closer the object resembles a human being in appearance and speech (i.e. artificial intelligence or android), the higher the degree of emotional revulsion.
But what’s not uncanny about the world in 2021? For the last 18 months, the global pandemic has forced human beings to act in uncanny ways: sheltering in place, social distancing, and masking up to save lives. What was once private is now public as the outside world invades your home via constant Zoom calls for work, business and school. Sons have been forcibly removed from their fathers’ funerals for violating the six foot rule to hug their grieving mothers. And everywhere you go, you are inundated by a masked populace.
Regardless of where you stand on the great mask debate, the result of widespread mask mandates has had an uncanny effect on mass consciousness. The French anthropologist Claude Levi Strauss identified the mask as a primal symbol of liminality. The mask grants not an air of mystery but an aura of otherness, shrouding the intentions of the bearer behind a veil of ambiguity. Are they friend or foe? Smiling or frowning? Happy to see you or angered by your presence? The warrior dons a mask to intimidate his enemy, while the shaman will wear a mask to induce a state of otherworldly trance. Both believe they are acting on behalf of saving lives (the warrior who protects his tribe, the shaman who heals the sick and awakens them to a higher order of reality), yet neither reveals the intentions written on their face.
This is the postmodern condition: chronic ambiguity in a pandemic of the uncanny.
The antidote to the uncanny is not a sentimental return to familiarity but a fearless embrace of irony—that rhetorical Holy Grail of inverted meaning. If the uncanny makes your skin crawl, then irony gets under it to reveal the humor hidden in the situation. Typically, there are three types of irony: verbal irony, which is when a character says one thing but means another; dramatic irony, when an important piece of information is withheld from a key character; and situational irony, when a character’s intentions are ultimately foiled despite their best efforts.
As the antidote to the uncanniness of the modern world, irony is transcendent. It’s what helps you chuckle at the suppression of terms like natural immunity while carelessly spreading neologisms like asymptomatic carrier. It’s why you can laugh at the sudden rise of heart failure in young people due to rampant cannabis use, clinical depression and “sudden adult death syndrome.” And it’s the reason for busting a gut when faced with losing your job during a labor shortage for refusing to submit to a mandated medical procedure without any clear or proven efficacy to prevent the spread of disease.
Arguably, no artist understood the careful balance between irony and the uncanny in the modern world than Philip K. Dick. Born with with his Sun (conjunct to Mercury) in Sagittarius, Dick added a fourth type of irony to the traditional three: metaphysical irony. Like his Sagittarius kinsmen, Dick shared William Blake’s ecstasy and Beethoven’s agony, but filtered through his own brand of 20th century mystical neurosis. And while he was writing in the previous century, his work holds an ironic prescience of the postmodern condition in 2021.
A perfect text to meditate on this Sagittarius season is Dick’s Ubik, a sci-fi novel so metaphysically ironic and philosophically uncanny it’s hard not to mistake it as some future memoir hot off the presses from Zuckerberg’s Metaverse.
Ubik takes place in a future when the human being has evolved a variety of psychic talents so highly developed that they have led to the innovations of technologies that promise you life after death in a simulated virtual reality. Dubbed half-life, the technologies keep your brain alive in a suspended state that allows you to speak with your loved ones via teletransmitter. You can converse with the deceased for up to 60 hours in half-life before their consciousness is assimilated back into the great void. Imagine a Zoom call with the ancestors with a countdown timer until disconnection and that’s half-life—and it’s a big business in the world of Ubik.
A freak accident results in the main character, Joe Chip, waking up in an anomalous world that is moving backwards and falling apart. A once fresh back of cigarettes dries out and disintegrates from an abrupt expiration date while a phone book suddenly outdates itself in the blink of an eye. Starships revert into commercial airliners revert into old-timey aeroplanes. And all of Joe’s friends age at an accelerated rate and die before his eyes. All the while, he is inundated with advertisements for a mysterious product called Ubik that temporarily relieves the anomalous entropy and that threatens his existence.
Eventually, Joe learns that he died in the freak accident and the rest of his story took place while his consciousness was being transferred into a half-life server. The transfer was not entirely stable, which resulted in the entropic anomalies of his world. And he discovers that the product Ubik is a virtual panacea that promises eternal life—or a digital protocol that stabilizes half-life.
“I am Ubik. Before the universe was, I am. I made the suns. I made the worlds. I created the lives and the places they inhabit; I move them here, I put them there. They go as I say, then do as I tell them. I am the word and my name is never spoken, the name which no one knows. I am called Ubik, but that is not my name. I am. I shall always be.”
Above all things, Philip K. Dick was a novelist of ideas. He’s not an author who you read for his prose, which contains a direct dryness and taught desperation that betrays the manic click-clacking of an amphetamine addict’s typewriter as it ceaselessly works to meet yet another superhuman deadline.
It’s not his prose but his ideas which envelope you in Dick’s work, and one of his favorite ideas to explore was the question, what is reality? Dick once famously answered this question by remarking, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”
Ubik is his greatest indictment on the nature of reality. Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead, it explores not just the nature of life but afterlife. Subverting the Tibetan Buddhist practice of preparing the monk for postmortem liberation through the meditation on certain mandalas to help him navigate the Bardo, Ubik asks what happens in the afterlife to a modern subject who has grown up in a world inundated by the interpenetrating mandalas of advertising and propaganda?
The ubiquity of advertising, the ubiquity of God: Ubik is a perfect text to contemplate this Sagittarius season which arrives in the Bardo between the lunar eclipse in Taurus and the solar eclipse in Sagittarius. It’s a novel that helps you cope with a world inundated by corporate advertising and the propaganda of medical tyranny. It makes you wonder, when you die…
…will Charon ask to see a vaccine passport before he will take you across the River Styx?
…will St. Peter tell you to put on a mask before he can admit you into the pearly gates?
…and will the ancestors be unable to greet you because they are trapped behind a lockdown barricade?
Over the coming season, a lot will transform in the heavens. The final eclipse in Sagittarius will conclude a cycle that began in spring of 2020. Many of the pressures and influences will challenge you to grow, to expand your vision of what is possible for the future.
Allow a bigger picture to unfold, one that sees beyond the world’s definition of reality. Let yourself remain open to immensity, experiencing the genuine bliss and sublimity of confronting the vastness of the universe.
November 24th: Mercury enters Sagittarius
Mercury flies out of Scorpio, exploding like a shooting star into the fires of Sagittarius. A lot of valuable intel was gathered in Scorpio. A lot of secrets and deceptions uncovered.
But now the collective mind will become passionate about the value of truth. When you’re living a lie, your existence becomes muddled by cognitive dissonance and your power is restrained. Whereas truth unifies mind, body, and spirit. It reverberates through your soul, liberating you from whatever disempowered state you might be stuck in.
Truth takes courage to speak and to live by. But the spirit of Mercury in Sagittarius will bless you with a fire in your heart that burns bright for the things in life that bring you closer to the divine. So long as you’re ready and willing, during this transit nothing will be able to stop you from shining your light.
“Metabolism, he reflected, is a burning process, an active furnace. When it ceases to function, life is over. They must be wrong about hell, he said to himself. Hell is cold; everything there is cold. The body means weight and heat; now weight is a force which I am succumbing to, and heat, my heat, is slipping away. And, unless I become reborn, it will never return. This is the destiny of the universe. So at least I won’t be alone.”
November 29: Mars trines Neptune
Mars in Scorpio connects to Neptune in Pisces, bringing harmony between water signs. This influence of Neptune will soften the sharp edges of Mars, putting many of his defenses to sleep. This will create an atmosphere of extreme emotional sensitivity that heightens your capacity for compassion and understanding. But the downside is that you will be more susceptible to manipulative influences, subliminal messages, and sorcery. Be careful what you expose yourself to around this date. Avoid slipping into black holes on the internet. And never underestimate your enemy.
Aside from the heightened sensitivity and vulnerability, this is a transit that may stir spiritual inspiration and the return of a creative flow. Emotions are fluid, making it possible to pour out a tremendous volume of feeling into your art. If used in this way, expect a profound healing or catharsis.
December 4th ~ Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius
The final solar eclipse in the cycle that began in May of 2020. This is the final portal into the unconscious of Sagittarius. This eclipse will spark the opportunity to wake up from a long trance or dissociated state. Your eyes will be fully opened to much deeper revelations about reality. You’ll have intensified knowledge of spirit, eternity, and the power of imagination.
This eclipse will encourage you to synthesize some clear wisdom from the vast clutter of knowledge. Like a game of Tetris, wisdom comes from the reduction and simplification of the 10,000 ideas, facts, and opinions. So as the effects of this eclipse ripple out over the next few months, some of your tangled thoughts will begin to relax into understanding, yielding and overcoming until wisdom is born.
December 11th ~ Venus conjunct Pluto in Capricorn
Venus represents your magnetism, your deeply feminine power to attract relationships, resources, beauty and luxury into your life. Without the magnetism of Venus, you would be cursed to chase after everything instead of drawing it towards you by invisible threads of desire.
When Venus conjoins with Pluto, the magnetism she carries becomes atomic. It becomes more powerful and also much more destructive. Your insecurities will arise as will the temptation to use coercive and manipulative methods to get what you want.
And yet, the power of this transit can inspire you to move through those insecurities and temptations, tapping into a deeper source that comes from blissful authenticity and a reciprocal relationship with the divine as your source for all fulfillment.
You don’t need anyone or anything to complete you or make you more worthy. Your wholeness and worthiness is innate and intrinsic. It just is…
But truly learning this lesson is often a great challenge for most people, who have been broken and dispirited by the world. Fortunately, this is the time to really let this truth come forth and transform your consciousness because you will be under the influence of Venus/Pluto for a long time. This conjunction will still be holding when Venus stations Rx on December 18th, making it the signature of her retrograde journey.
“The past is latent, is submerged, but still there, capable of rising to the surface once the later imprinting unfortunately—and against ordinary experience—vanished. The man contains not the boy—but earlier men, he thought. History began a long time ago.”
December 12th ~ Mars enters Sagittarius and Mercury enters Capricorn
When Mars leaves his sign of rulership in Scorpio, the predatory focus on willpower and assertion dissipates into the mutable fires of Sagittarius. Now the focal power of Mars becomes directed towards the horizon, giving you a new taste for adventure.
You may feel like you now have a mission in life. Or that you have found a quest that is worth sacrificing for. Mars in Sagittarius tends to be guided by a framework of ideas that inspires philosophical growth. So a sudden religious impulse might sweep over you. Or a newfound method of questioning reality that feels expansive and liberating.
Overall, throughout this transit there is a galloping sense of possibility and purpose to light your path.
Mercury in Capricorn shifts the collective mind towards more serious business. The fire becomes contained in a hearth so it can serve an important purpose.
The expanded vision of Sagittarius inspired many dreams. And now with Mercury in Capricorn, the practical work that needs to be done to make those dreams a reality begins.
This should inspire a lot of successful and satisfying work, for the Saturnine qualities of Capricorn have a mastery over the material world. But there is a weakness for pessimism here. Let the uplifted spirit of the Sun and Mars in Sagittarius keep your faith high.
“Perhaps your definition of your self-system lacks authentic boundaries. You’ve erected a precarious structure of personality on unconscious factors over which you have no control. That’s why you feel threatened by me.”
December 18th – Venus stations retrograde
Nobody likes to hear that Venus is going retrograde. This 40 day transit, leading all the way to the end of January 2022, may dry up some of the extra juiciness of love and pleasure. The glistening romance of life may dim, asking you to dig deeper into your soul for your sense of purpose, inspiration, and desire.
There is great power in the retrograde motion as well. This transit doesn’t spell misfortune. In fact, it pulls the planetary energy back like the string on a bow. The farther you pull back on Venus during the retrograde, the more energy will be released when she stations direct in January. Try to imagine that this Venus retrograde is building up the tension needed for a greater purpose.
Venus stations retrograde conjunct to Pluto in Capricorn, stirring an intense excavation into the root of your deepest desires. Dormant seeds may spring back to life, altering the course of your life by the power of your unrealized wants and needs. Tremendous wells of passion lay within these depths alongside a craving for intense emotional experience. You’re going to feel like you need more out of your love life, more out of your work, and more out of your leisure.
In Capricorn, your true feelings about power, status and commitment will emerge. If you’ve been less than honest with yourself, you’ll find that it is time to face the truth of what you want, need, and expect. This Venus retrograde is a perfect time to raise your standards high and finally commit to accepting nothing less.
You do not date those types of people anymore. You do not give second chances to people who abuse you. And you do charge what you’re really worth.
December 18th ~ Full Moon in Gemini
On the same day as Venus Retrograde, the Full Moon in Gemini arrives. The solstice is approaching fast, making these the very last days of the Sun’s descent. There is a feeling of exhaustion and extinguishment here. But this Full Moon comes with an harmonious aspect to Jupiter in Aquarius, blessing this moment with generosity and good fortune.
This Full Moon in Gemini will summon forth strange intelligence, where tid-bits, fragments, and fractals will be cut and pasted into waves of sudden revelation. The subliminal influence of the media haze will reveal its duplicitous nature and covert intentions, perhaps striking a chord of paranoia within you.
But if you are ready for a genuine learning experience, then this Full Moon right before the solstice should offer an array of colorful perceptions, synesthetic connections, and paradigm shifting moments that bring good humor.
December 21st ~ Winter Solstice
Solstice means gateway of the Sun. And at this great turning point, the Sun returns to its path of ascent. The promise of the light’s return becomes fulfilled. Dark winter days lay ahead, but they are bound to the promise of life’s gradual return.
In these final days of 2021, you may pause and reflect on everything you’ve learned. Hold without clinging and let this year pass away with grace.