Our broken democracy

Cancer 2016

Lately, I often hear myself asking “what the hell is wrong with the world?” There is an overdose of sad, horrific and bizarre items in the news. I like to keep up with what is happening in the world so I don’t want to block it out by not reading the news. However a cartoon doing the rounds on FB just about sums up how I feel!

Ceres

This cartoon by David Sipress has been appearing a lot on my FB feed!

Even using astrology to try to gain some perspective has been difficult, as these events are happening all the time. There seems to be no respite. Brexit is still a hot topic here, and what with the terrible attacks in France again, this time in Nice, and a coup attempt in Turkey, as well as violence by and against the police and everyone else – it’s all too much.

Cancer is a sign that urges belonging to somewhere and someone. Especially at this time of year we want connection to ‘family’ and we want a safe nest. Now, such a large number of people have lost loved ones or have been displaced or both, that the pain of having no home is keenly felt by so many, that we probably all feel this displacement in some way. These are difficult times.

democracy

At least for some birds being kicked out of the nest has a purpose. Source for this image not clear.

Right on time

There are alignments in the heavens that correlate with such violence and radical change. Uranus and Mars have been in the clinch with each other for an unusually long time, highlighting revolution and aggression, change and bloodshed and unexpected violence. They are in signs that highlight this too – Aries and Scorpio, always a deadly mix. Or the start of a significant sudden breakthrough. In this post I discuss the bigger picture of change that we are being asked to embrace. Mars and Uranus are only part of a pattern that I think is heralding in much bigger transformation. If history is anything to go by, that never goes smoothly. We often need to break something before a new system can emerge.

The purpose of myth

Myths have been used for a very long time. They are more than simple stories, although they can be very entertaining just seen in that light. However their purpose seems to be to explain life and make sense of the foibles of human nature. In past times they were handed down as an oral tradition. Today, modern day myths carry on where the older traditional ones left off. Many films such as Star Wars use the same archetypal principles as myths to entertain, teach and inform. Unfortunately films today often show only male archetypes as being strong. Venus, the young, gorgeous woman is still alive and well. And when strong female archetypes are present, the trolling starts. Why else would there be so much hassle about female ghost-busters? A mild version… especially for him!

Of course the planets in astrology are often viewed as archetypal forces and it is two of these I want to discuss as being relevant now. Myths abound about the gods associated with the sky –  there is food for thought on many topics, so I need to narrow it down. My chosen topic for this post? Democracy.

Democracy for better or worse

Sometimes, there is a certain air of arrogance about democracy lovers. The ‘West’ always seems to be pushing it as being a better system of government than any other. There is an assumption that everyone knows this and should accept it. So the Brexit referendum, being what is assumed to have been a democratic process, has raised questions about the nature of democracy itself. A big question! Nowadays, if we don’t like the result of something, we are more familiar with ranting about it or starting petitions or saying “It wasn’t fair! They LIED!”, than we are with taking the outcome lying down.

So what is democracy and do we really have it?

The usual source cited for where and when democracy started is Athens. Examples given in the short film (link below) highlight the one-man-one-vote idea. (Yes men, not women, and that has been a long-fought battle that is as yet unfinished). In most democracies these days, we vote to elect a representative to speak for us on all issues. This is a very different system. This was why the British referendum was a bit of a shock. This really was a one-person-one-vote system. In the beginning this type of vote was used where the people voting were involved in the outcome. The film shows a vote on whether or not to go to war and the voting was done by the men who would be the soldiers. A simple yes or no, where the result had a personal impact. The voters understood what they were voting for and the consequences.

Brexit

In Brexit this system really didn’t work. It was not a simple yes/no vote, as people clearly voted the way they did for a variety of reasons. And voters are not personally involved in the outcome. Yes, it affects them, but it does not necessarily have personal consequences. It wasn’t clear what the vote was really for or against. Yes in or out of the EU –  but what does that really mean? Even politicians, who we should trust (difficult!) and expect to have inside knowledge on this topic, didn’t know what it meant. Democracy assumes that we understand what we are voting for. I am sick of the argument that politicians lied about Brexit. Yes they did – what’s new? But that’s throwing blame around – the information was readily available. And blame doesn’t help. In a democracy we have to take responsibility and understand our vote. With Brexit the outcome was and is unknown – a referendum was the wrong tool for this type of decision.

However, having said all that, the referendum has served as a true wake-up call to the problems of democracy. How we balance it with personal freedom has always been an issue when you have government by representation. And it is frequently quoted by democracy experts that democracy only works when there is a large and stable middle-class. With differences between rich and poor now so emphasised and more people entering the ‘poor’ class, the system is surely broken.

democracy virus

Cartoon by Patrick Chappatte

Does democracy have a planet?

Well yes – I think it does. Although many astrologers probably wouldn’t agree. The more I study her, the more I think Ceres is the (dwarf) planet than can teach us something on this subject. Astrology looks to myth to understand a planetary archetype – more on that later. However we also look at the position of a planet in the sky and this is one reason I think Ceres is important now. The Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars, the ones closest to earth, are known as ‘personal’ planets along with the Sun. Jupiter and Saturn are often called the ‘social’ planets. They are less personal as they move slower than the personal planets and therefore a group of people will have the same Jupiter and Saturn placements. The planets further out are known as transpersonal, I think this category needs a new name but that’s a different blog post.

Jupiter and Saturn – laws and rules

We need Jupiter who sets a vision for society. Broadly speaking, Jupiterian people (and therefore also Sagittarians) are the judges, the politicians and the law-makers. We need Saturn to give us rules. A society without a set of rules would be chaotic, e.g driving on whatever side of the road we felt like might be fun, but it would be pretty shambolic, never mind downright dangerous. Saturnians (and Capricorns) are needed to give structure. They are the teachers and the law-enforcers, working together as a partner to Jupiter. We need them both and in balance. Politics with responsibility. Social rules with a positive philosophy.

Ceres – the go-between

Ceres wanders around the sun in between the personal planets (next to Mars) and the social planets. She should pass on our personal views to the people making the societal laws and rules. This is why I think she is important for the type of democracy many countries have. Being between Mars and Jupiter, she can express our will and our anger (Mars) to the politicians (Jupiter). She is certainly doing that! We need her now. So it is interesting that she was only upgraded, (back to her original status of planet (1801)), in 2006. She is becoming more and more visible and taking back her original status as the important goddess she was in the myths. She is standing up for the views of the people, but she has yet to get used to her full status.

return of persephone

The Return of Persephone by Lord Frederick Leighton – showing Mercury returning Persephone to her mother Demeter/ Ceres

So who is Ceres mythologically speaking?

She was known as the goddess of the grain, but she really has a much wider remit. Ceres wanted peace, not for the sake of harmony – that’s Venus’s territory –  but because without it, people didn’t stay in one place and therefore couldn’t cultivate crops. And they couldn’t be fed. She is the protector of pure good food and of the environment. When she was angry with Pluto – we’ll get to him in a minute –  she stopped crops growing and created winter. Nature only flourished when her daughter was safely back with her and not in the underworld with Pluto. She stood her ground and negotiated with male gods to reach a compromise on her daughter, creating summer and winter. She is a fierce negotiator!

Why now and what now?

In general, she has been upping her status since 2006, however recently she has been right next to Uranus, so she has made use of his clash with Mars as well. Ceres is a woman. Are there women behind some of this upheaval? How interesting then, that we have Theresa May and Hillary Clinton dominating the news. Both feisty Ceres women! Scotland also has one of those in Nicola Sturgeon as does Germany in Angela Merkel. And the British Labour party attempted to let a woman run for leadership – to no avail. Ceres in that case was up against white male power. As it is in the US with Trump.

Plutocracy

And so we come to the second archetypal force. It is fascinating to me that the word plutocracy has a very fitting planet in it. Pluto the god of the underworld, is the archetype of power (and powerlessness.) Power from wealth. Until Ceres rose up, it was Jupiter, Pluto and Neptune who had the power in the Ceres myth. All males. But Ceres wasn’t prepared to accept their dominant, cruel decisions. Pluto threatened is dangerous, Ceres was over-ridden and even raped in some versions of the myth. In the US, the gun lobby is a good example of this plutocracy archetype. The lobby wields a lot of power in government. Many citizens feel empowered only if they have a weapon, the bigger the better. Taking away guns is taking away power. The more the subject of gun law repeal is raised, the more many people have to prove who is boss. The more disempowerment there is, the more likely terrorism becomes. And money IS power! Especially in the US. Would anyone like Trump if he was poor? Or if he was nice? He’s expressing something that many disenfranchised people feel.

 

trust banks

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis, award winning American cartoonist.

The long struggle – women taking on men

Astrology is a symbolic language. Ceres and Pluto were totally opposed in the beginning of the myth and Ceres was overruled. And the men in power assumed they would decide everything. Ceres wasn’t having that. We need Ceres – and that really is women, (sorry if that’s un-PC) – to address this imbalance. Hillary, Angela, Theresa and Nicola and of course many others like Aung San Suu Kyi, are taking on this role. The men are fighting back – even killing, as in the case of the British MP Jo Cox. They are trolling, verbally abusing, and finding every reason to keep women out of power. They are scared – and yes, they should be! Women are not going to give up. Ceres wants equality – not just for women, but for all disenfranchised people and animals. In mythology, her worship included everyone; as long as you could understand Greek, you were welcome. She takes on Jupiter (religion, politics, arrogant wealth) and Pluto – the whole Plutocracy.

Nicola-Sturgeon-Theresa-May-Angela-Merkel-Hillary-Clinton

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon, Theresa May, Angela Merkel and Hillary Clinton. See http://atlanticsentinel.com/2016/07/its-time-for-these-women-to-take-charge/ for photo and full article

As I have said many times, older women need to step up to the plate. We need to support these brave women who do this. Maybe Hillary lied (who hasn’t) and is inside a broken system, but we need her to be a step in the right direction. Perhaps Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn are attempting too big a leap. We need the women sorted first! After all Ceres was discovered after the God of revolution Uranus, but before Neptune (compassion, drugs, refugees.) There is an order. Theresa, Nicola, Hillary and Angela might not be your cup of tea, but they are where they should be in the larger scheme of things. All tough negotiators who will dare to confront power in the wrong places, but at the moment this needs to be from inside the system.

What should we be doing?

Around 1801, the year Ceres was discovered and when the United Kingdom was formed in its current state, we had women bravely doing things. The suffragettes in the UK and many other brave women around the world were not just hiding behind a computer screen (yes, guilty as charged), they were out there fighting. Ceres is an earth goddess – a practical, hands-on goddess. Men, please back us up – we need you too. We have to get out there and negotiate. We have a way to go yet – but it’s time!

Faye Blake-Cossar

Websites of the Month

Democracy – a fragile experiment. A good short film.

Some warning in here for where we are now! How did Hitler rise to power in a democratic country? Are we learning?

And on a more positive note, I love this fact. The body whose goal is to research democratic governance is called Consortium for European Research with Election Studies (CERES)!

Don’t cross Ceres!  as Erysichton found out, especially when it comes to her domain – nature. Ceres is Demeter. This wonderful short film highlights it too. Ceres can change the climate if she’s angry.

Quotes of the Month

“Wherever there is injustice, there is anger, and anger is like gasoline – if you spray it around and somebody lights a matchstick, you have an inferno. But anger inside an engine is powerful: it can drive us forward and can get us through dreadful moments and give us power. I learnt this with my discussions with nuclear policy makers.”
Scilla Elworthy, one of my favourite Ceres women. 

“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”
Winston Churchill

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Comments 6

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    Author
  2. Enjoyed this Faye, the videos were very well chosen.
    So ……May be of interest, may be not!
    Just been doing Mesopotamia and Ishtar/Inanna [Venus] – a goddess revered all over Mesopotamia of the time was a goddess of love and war [I guess you know this but Trump obviously doesn’t].
    Another little snippet, I have been looking at the work of archaeologists in the same region and the head of antiquities did a talk for the British museum in which all his slides showed the destruction of the beautiful mosques in Iraq by the terror groups. So this is wholesale destruction of the old, which is extraordinary.
    Another little snippet about Mesopotamia, they had a democracy which consisted of councils of WISE men and women, not politicians, WISE people. Each city state was very small so that grievances and issues could be discussed directly. In the UK it would be parish council size. The make-up of the council also changed depending on the issue. [Like your Athens example].
    Another possibly useless bit of info. Grain is symbolically a soul, which means that Ceres has a sort of role as a Mother figure, like the Moon but different. We need the Great Mother!!
    Time for WISE [women] and not CLEVER men.
    Wisdom is achieved via the feminine -spritually

  3. Post
    Author

    Thanks Rosie – yes a lot more could be said on all of this! Ceres is also known by many astrologers as the great mother. I did a lecture once entitled – ‘Do we REALLY need 2 mothers? Surely one is enough’ – indeed the Moon and Ceres have different functions – Moon – watery – feeds and nurtures – a mother for babies in my view. The Ceres myth starts when Prosperina (Persephone) is a ‘teenager’ – Ceres has that difficult task. She is earthy – more involved in the right ‘environment’ for her children to flourish – more practical and with not a lot of empathy!

  4. Wonderful as usual ! However, in good conscience, I cannot vote for Hillary BUT Jill Stein (Green party USA) will get my vote. Her feminine voice resonates with me and is a far better representation of Ceres . I view Hillary as embodying too much male energy and far too “hawkish”.

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    Author

    Thanks Betty. Yes much better choice for Ceres! Although Hillary has been great on the supporting women side of Ceres throughout her life too. But Jill definitely fits the bill – it’s just that we never hear much of her over here so didn’t include her. Lots of great young women here too – have a look at Mhairi Black – Scotland’s youngest MP! http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/mhairi-blacks-powerful-speech-explaining-8446547. She was 20 when she was elected last year!!

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