02 Jul Visitation From the Bard ~ July 3rd-9th, 2017
by Allen Ginsberg
White fog lifting & falling on mountain-brow
Trees moving in rivers of wind
The clouds arise
as on a wave, gigantic eddy lifting mist
above teeming ferns exquisitely swayed
along a green crag
glimpsed thru mullioned glass in valley raine
This week begins with the rumbling of Mars in Cancer’s opposition to Pluto in Capricorn. Though this opposition was exact last week, the influence of such a megalithic aspect will be in the background of all this week’s activity as well.
When Mars is in Cancer, the art of war has been domesticated, offering ruthless instincts for the purpose of protecting home, family, and the sacred memory of the ancestors.
Thus with the recent opposition between Mars in Cancer and Pluto in Capricorn, the loyalty to one’s traditions and lineage has been intensified by ferocious instinct. You might not even realize they are there until something that you hold sacred is threatened. Not only that, Pluto’s presence brings a voracious appetite for catharsis, making this a time when vulnerabilities will be tested.
In the worst case scenario, the opposition between Mars and Pluto will be enacted through the ugliest patterns of behavior that you inherited from childhood. As painful as this confrontation with your conditioning might feel, Pluto offers you a chance to break away from your reactionary responses to anger and fear. In the best case scenario, Mars opposed Pluto may summon a powerful communion with one’s ancestors, where time present is refreshed and revitalized by the wisdom of time past. When looking for the presence of your ancestors, your family line is the most obvious place to begin. But your ancestors are hidden in many other places, as the forbearers of the arts that you practice, the inventions that you use, or the architects of the place that you inhabit.
Cancer season is a time associated with nature’s most maternal qualities: the gentleness that ripens fruit into sweetness and the mercy that protects small children until they grow into maturity. Maternal wisdom believes in the potential of all life, using great hindsight and foresight to substantiate these beliefs.
The creative powers of Cancer includes a highly retentive memory, where every impression of life is recalled in living color. It is in Cancer’s halls of loving memory that the past blossoms into history. Thus, in Cancer season, you are gifted with an enhanced ability to merge with the grand narratives of humanity, raising yourself up in the waters of living myth.
To assuage your fears of this week’s Plutonian darkness, I would like to offer you an inspiring story of what Cancerian visions can be like, when echoes of the past mingle with the present to inspire the living with new light.
In July of 1967, the American poet Allen Ginsberg took a trip to Wales. The word trip in this case is a double entendre, because Ginsberg traveled to Wales, took a dose of LSD and went walking through the ancient hillsides.
The poem that emerged from this experience is entitled, Wales Visitation. The word “visitation” is a reference to the wanderings of the Welsh bards, who went once from village to village orating the ancestral legends and rhyming the latest news and gossip.
Bardic, O Self, Visitacione, tell naught
but what seen by one man in a vale in Albion,
Many of Ginsberg’s poems contain the ghosts of poets long since dead, like his doleful yearning for Walt Whitman in A Supermarket in California. But Wales Visitation is not a search for the ghost of a dead poet, but is instead an experience of invoking and merging with the legends of English Romanticism, including Samuel Coleridge, William Blake and William Wordsworth. These are Ginsberg’s ancestors, speaking through him with the light of poesy.
the wisdom of earthly relations,
of mouths & eyes interknit ten centuries visible
orchards of mind language manifest human,
of the satanic thistle that raises its horned symmetry
flowering above sister grass-daisies’ pink tiny
bloomlets angelic as lightbulbs
For Ginsberg, LSD was not merely a form of intoxication; rather it was a tool for investigating the nature of mind, providing an approach that he called “the old yoga of poesy.” His use of LSD for the purpose of writing this poem is part of the Romantic spirit, recalling Coleridge’s use of laudanum to compose Kubla Kahn.
In Wales Visitation, Ginsberg experiences a daydream of the Welsh countryside, where everything is illuminated and alive!
No imperfection in the budded mountain,
Valleys breathe, heaven and earth move together,
daisies push inches of yellow air, vegetables tremble,
grass shimmers green
His poem is born from the living union of heaven and earth: the wild and numinous experience of the elements. He sees the world through the eyes of the divine mother, where every living thing is perfection and every new flower tells an ancient story. This is the soul of Cancer pouring through a poet’s mind.
O great Wetness, O Mother, No harm on your body!
Stare close, no imperfection in the grass,
each flower Buddha-eye, repeating the story,
As the poem draws to a close he reflects upon what it is he has witnessed, saying:
What did I notice? Particulars!
Particulars of an ever present holistic divinity that animates everything: it can be found within through dreams and without through science. Either way, it permeates all.
The vision of the great One is myriad-
smoke curls upward from ashtray,
house fire burned low,
The night, still wet & moody black heaven
upward in motion with wet wind.
Allen Ginsberg reflected upon the creation of this poem as both dreamer and scientist. Having been so strongly influenced by the Romantic tradition, he came to the realization:
“that me making noise as poetry was no different from the wind making noise in the branches. It was just as natural…The fact that there were thoughts flowing through the mind is as much of a natural object as is the milky way floating over the isle of Skye. So, for the first time, I didn’t have to feel guilt or psychological conflict about writing while I was high.”
When considering the effects of drugs, it is important to remember that the drug itself does not produce a transcendent or mystical experience. It merely acts as a key, opening the doors of perception as William Blake famously said. But it is up to the user how this opening of perception will be directed and what creative or destructive use it will have. The same can be said for significant aspects in planetary weather.
So, this week, remember that certain energetic weather conditions may open new doors of perception, offering a wealth of new information and feeling, but it is you that chooses what to with these perceptions and what direction you will take things in.
Monday/Tuesday: Bard Nameless as the Vast, Babble to Vastness!
At the beginning of the week, the waxing Moon is traveling through the sign of Scorpio, a landscape where desire becomes difficult to quell and the lust for result compels you to act irrationally.
Tuesday is the Fourth of July, aka American Independence Day. Thus, in the United States, the Cancerian impulse towards creating an ambiance of living history will be especially powerful.
Towards the end of the day, Venus will leave her sign of rulership in Taurus and will enter into the terrain of Gemini, newly metamorphosed into a butterfly in the wind. Though it is always difficult to say farewell to Venus in Taurus, her place of ultimate luxury and repose, in Gemini she becomes quite energetic and fun-loving. Parties and gatherings of all kinds will be blessed with an extra degree of charm and wit in conversation. Venus in Gemini feels that variety is the spice of life, thus you will begin to attract more exciting people, ideas and activities to pollinate your sphere.
Wednesday/Thursday: A Wavelet of Immensity
On Wednesday, July 5th Mercury will leave Cancer’s watery sanctuary and boldly enter the fire sign of Leo, an arena for proud and hyperbolic self-expression. Mercury’s entrance into Leo also heralds the beginning of its return to visibility in sky, thus as the planet climbs higher in the heavens for all to see, so too will your voice become more pronounced in its impact upon others. Use Mercury’s transit through Leo to craft your style of communication, using memory, history, and personal opinions to create a legendary story out of your life.
Also on Wednesday, the Sun in Cancer will be making a trine to Neptune in Pisces and a square to Jupiter. The square with Jupiter may increase your visionary power, helping you to see a wider vista of future potential than ever before. With the Sun in such a harmonious aspect to Neptune, the middle of the week will be tinged with the qualities of a daydream: silky, slippery, and ethereal. Though there is always a touch of delusion accompanied by Neptune aspects, it is important to submit to the yoga of poesy once in awhile and allow the imagination to soar.
If you can take a long meandering walk in the hillsides on a day like this you will be greatly soothed and nurtured. But even if you can’t go wandering in nature, your aching mind will be gently touched by creative stirrings that you can yield to in small ways. Write a poem. Sing a song. Cook a wonderful meal for someone you love. Re-read a book that has always brought you joy and get lost in the vale of memories.
Friday/Saturday/Sunday: Calling Our Presence Together
On Friday, Mercury in Leo and Venus in Gemini will sextile harmoniously blending the mind and the heart. A bard can perhaps be best understood as someone equally blessed by Mecury’s flow of words and Venus’ sense of beauty. Thus, the art of poetry can be particularly appreciated during a time when Mercury and Venus are in harmonious aspect. Whether you compose it, read it, hear it or recite it, there will be extra potency in all lyrical forms.
This is also a good influence under which to make good business deals that require you to showcase a mixture of technical skill and personability. It is also a fortuitous time for lovers whose conversations will be imbued with charm, wit and elegant odes of affection.
On Saturday, the week will begin to come to a close with a Full Moon in Capricorn conjunct Pluto, bringing further emphasis to the opposition with Mars. With such powerful aspect to Pluto, you may be drawn into an experience that summons a cathartic transformation, one that fundamentally alters your relationship with the past.
The Sun in Cancer, opposed to Pluto along with Mars, will open you to a vulnerability that you will most likely find frightening. And yet, this fearful response to vulnerability is exactly what conditions like these are trying to heal, strengthen and transform. Have faith in the nurturing warmth that underlies the season of Cancer, and you will be guided softly through whatever valley of shadows you must cross.