Thirty-Eight

(I just discovered that Jupiter in my natal chart is conjunct the fixed star Praesepe, in the star cluster “the Beehive” (NGC 2638). Traditional sources consider this cluster “malefic” and a bad omen. Chinese astrologers, however, call it “the spirit of ancestors”. I decided to ask the Siberian man about it.)

We met on the beach at dusk. The sea was almost invisible, melting into the darkening, violet haze.

“Tell me, why is the Beehive destructive?” I asked.
“Well, these traditional astrologers of yours, they were not exactly serving a goddess, were they?” he replied, staring at the sky, waiting for the stars to appear.
“What do you mean?”
“That most of them were serving the same god in whose name people hunted witches and pagans… so it was mostly the dark side of the goddess that they recognised…”

We sat there silently for a while, and as darkness was getting denser, the first stars became visible. I also spotted the Moon.

“And whom do You serve?”, I looked at him.
“I serve Life. Mindless merging with the goddess can indeed bring horrible destruction. But there is another way to connect with her. By bringing consciousness. So many of the ancient traditions believed that light and darkness are foes. It is not so. They crave each other. Without the other, both are dead and deadly. Look at the night sky. The stars. The Moon. The gentle glow around and within. Look around you in plain daylight. All the shades and shadows that give form and colour to everything. Light and darkness, they are not enemies. They are two lovers, making love.”

Thirty-Three

I was on a night sea, in a narrow boat with the Siberian man. I saw a star shining bright on the horizon. “Is that Jupiter rising?” – I asked, but he didn’t reply. “I wonder what I am supposed to do with myself. When I live in the outer world, I soon feel so empty I don’t even want to stay alive. When I try to balance the inner with the outer, it takes up so much of my energy that it’s difficult to do anything else, I hardly ever get to actually doing something meaningful…”. The Siberian man didn’t reply, he was just staring into the rising star.

Then part of me was somewhere else, and I saw a great fire, trees burning, and people in special equipment trying to extinguish it. I wanted to know where this was, so I rose from the ground and started to fly upwards. I saw trees, I saw rocks, and I saw snow.

“How can the snow be on fire?” – I thought to myself. There was something strange about this snow and this fire, but I couldn’t tell what it was. And then, suddenly, a thought passed through me, and I shivered “Did it look like this in Chernobyl?”.

Seventeen

I wanted to meet Jupiter, but I could not see him anywhere. I was on the rocky side of a mountain, very high up. There was hardly enough room for my feet. I looked up and saw a figure standing on the top, with the head of a bull.

“What the hell”, I thought to myself, and I remembered that I had Taurus intercepted in the tenth house. I started to wonder what it actually meant to be intercepted. I was hoping the Siberian man would turn up soon, but I couldn’t see him anywhere. I could smell snow, and I was visited by a memory from my childhood: my mother and I were walking in the town centre, it was already dark, and soon it would be Christmas. I needed a pair of boots, and my mother was dragging me by the hand, pulling me to go faster, faster. I was staring at the shopwindows as we hurried by, I knew my mother wanted me to hurry so that I wouldn’t see them, all the Christmas decoration, the toys, the lights… our Christmases were always disastrous, lots of tension, rows, and cold… it started to snow, and it looked so beautiful, snowflakes glittering in the lamplight… my mother was talking to me but I couldn’t get myself to listen, I just wanted to let go of her hand and stay there, staring at the sparkling snowflakes dancing between my fingers…

Suddenly, I was back on the rocks, again, very high up, and I remembered that I had always thought that’s how I would end up one day: jump from a very high place. On my way home from school, I had to cross a railway bridge, and each time I stopped in the middle, stared down and imagined what it would be like to jump. I wouldn’t have to go home, never again. And then took a deep breath and walked away, walked home.

Then I noticed the Siberian man, he arrived at last. I asked him: “What is Taurus doing there? he’s not even my actual midheaven, he’s intercepted. I wonder what interception is about anyway…”

The Siberian man started to laugh “why don’t you ask the Sun? He knows all about it”. I shrugged. “I don’t know, all that Scorpio stuff, I don’t feel like meeting the Sun, it would be like being a child again, I hated being a child. Do we have to see him?”. The Siberian man stepped closer, embraced my face with his hands and looked deeply into my eyes. Suddenly I could see myself through his eyes, as if we swapped bodies.

And behind me, I saw the Sun climbing the rocks. He was young, probably under 18, wearing a long, white shirt, like a dress. His hair was blond, and he had golden flames around his head, like a crown. “Oh, shit” I thought, and I was myself again, “what is he doing up here?”. But the Siberian man shrugged, smiling.

Then I felt movement above us, too, and I saw that Taurus was descending, he was coming to meet us. The Sun arrived, smiled at me, but I was not at ease. He offered his hand, and I took it. By that time, Taurus arrived, too, and he took my other hand. We were staring down into the depths, and I understood what we were going to do. I got frightened, looked back at the Siberian man behind us.

“Won’t you come with us? please come with us.” – (“Don’t leave me alone with them,” I thought, but didn’t dare to say it out loud, I didn’t want to hurt the feelings of the Sun and Taurus).  The Siberian man nodded and hugged me from behind.

And we jumped.

We were falling, falling, falling into darkness. Sometimes I saw roots of plants, sometimes I smelled soil. When we landed, we were in a night forest.

“is it always dark here? do you live in darkness?” – I asked the Sun.

He smiled, holding a candle in his hand “I am kind of a midnight Sun, after all. But no, how could I live in darkness, I am the Sun, I take light with me wherever I go”.

Of course, I thought to myself, I was stupid.

I still had no clue what Taurus was doing there, but he was coming with us anyway.

At one point, I saw something like an owl on a tree branch, but it changed into something else, with strange eyes, and it was shifting fast, couldn’t even grasp how many things it was at the same time.

“What is that?” – I asked the Sun.

“Oh, it’s one of Venus‘ creatures”

“Is she some kind of a witch? did she bewitch that poor animal into some kind of a hybrid?”

The Sun started to laugh, and so did Taurus.

“No, Venus is not a witch. She doesn’t make these creatures, she gathers them”

“Gathers them what for?”

I suddenly saw something like a cross between an old woman and some kind of an animal, but again, changing shapes so fast I could not even register what was going on.

“Is she one of them?” I asked. “Is Venus some kind of a hybrid? or a monster?”

“Don’t say that, she’s hurt enough. She’s not a monster” the Sun replied.

Then I saw a young woman, who came to meet us. Her hair didn’t look like hair, more like feathers, and I noticed she had feathers on her arms, too. I couldn’t resist touching her, and I felt embarrassed, hoping I did not offend her.

Twelve

I had the man without skin in my mind for quite a while, and I thought I would go back and visit him. At first, we were in something like a cave. He seemed to be made of fire. There was a cascade at the entry of the cave, and we were facing it. “How could I go through this water without extinguishing myself?”, he asked me. I didn’t know what to say.

Then we were on a small island, surrounded by sea. We could see another island nearby, and even some people at a distance, on boats or ships. “I have tried to build a boat, but it always catches my fire and it is destroyed and I am extinguished, and then I am reborn, but I cannot cross to the other side…”. “So what do you do?” – I asked him. “I wait for help” he shrugged, and we sat down onto the sand.

Out of a sudden, we heard a great noise and the ground was pulsating, like a thousand drums. And I saw a herd of wild horses rising out of the sea, and it reminded me of ancient depictions of Poseidon (Neptune) riding his chariot of hippocamps. “You will see” said the skinless man of fire.

I enjoyed watching the horses roaming about, they were beautiful, powerful and free. Then one of them slowed down and came towards us. We stood up. “Come” – said the skinless man, and we took the horse, and off we went, running with the rest of the herd, racing with the winds, on top of the oceans… it was thrilling, intoxicating.

At one point, we ourselves became horses, too. Then the skinless man  said “now maybe we could try and head towards those shores”. We became riders again, and our horse was hesitant, not sure what to do, part of it wanted to go on roaming with the others, and the other part wanted to help us, it was getting agitated… it was impossible to tell what was going to happen.

Suddenly, the horse was calm, joyful, even. I noticed someone on the beach, it was the Siberian man coming towards us, smiling. Our horse was still standing on top of the water, and it was starting to walk towards the man. He was in the water up to his chest when we met, they greeted each other gently with the horse, and then we all went to the shore. When we were there, the skinless man turned into a hawk and flied away. “Oh, but you are silly, what was all the fuss about if you can fly?”. The Siberian man turned to me “s/he can only do that when I am with him/her” “And why aren’t you with him all the time?” He started to laugh. “Well, s/he has to come to me.” “But how can he come and find you when he’s made of fire and there’s so much water all around? can’t you go and help him instead?”. The Siberian man laughed again, and he laughed and laughed. “What? what’s so funny? won’t you answer my question?” – “I already did” he said, smiling, shaking his head.


When I opened my eyes, my first thought was “but I’m so stupid!’. In my chart, Neptune (in the fifth house) is in Sagittarius, Neptune’s horses are Jupiter‘s horses, too, he rules Neptune! All the skinless man had to do was ask for help…

Seven

I was in the forest again, by the yew tree, and wondered if I could meet Jupiter. There came the golden bee and told me to clench my hand around her. We started to fly upwards, spiralling around the tree; higher and higher, until we felt surrounded by water, as if diving. But it was calm only for a minute, then we started to whirl, and we were rocking more and more fiercely… suddenly, we found ourselves in a large boat or ship. The old woman was sitting there, waiting for us. Surrounded by a raging sea, a swirling, furious darkness, we could feel nothing but a fresh breeze on our face. We were moving ahead gently and steadily in the stormy waters, untouched. “where is Jupiter?” I asked her.  – “You’re on his ship”, she smiled, “makes a difference, hm?”, she beckoned towards the gale.

Five

I wondered, what would it be like to meet Jupiter? I thought I’d ask the bee. I found myself in a narrow boat,  like a canoe. There was somebody sitting at my head, rowing. I was lying on my back, staring at the sky above me. I saw some spots of light shooting by, they looked like fireflies, except the bee who was flying very close to me. Then I realized they were not fireflies but stars, and that even though it felt like we were hardly moving at all, we were in fact gliding so fast the stars seemed to leave a trail on our breaths…

It was a small river, and we were going upstream, the landscape changed from summer reed to autumn meadow to snow covered field, and the river got more and more narrow, until the rower had to step out and pull the canoe.

At one point, somewhere in the midst of autumn, we stopped by a field of harvested corn. Barely visible beings wrapped me in a large piece of white gauze, as if I was a newborn baby (I still couldn’t move). I saw my mother as a young girl, maybe seven, they also put a sheet around her shoulders, like a shawl to protect her from the cold. Then I saw another girl, about the same age, on the other side of the river (to the right) and they dropped the cloth on her head and tightened it around the knees, I was frightened for a second that they would suffocate her, she seemed scared, too, but didn’t move or give a sound. They loosened the gauze, and then my canoe sped off, leaving me to wonder if the girl took it off her head in the end or stayed under it…

Finally, the rower stopped pulling me across the snow, and I wasn’t sure whether we arrived somewhere or she just got exhausted. Then I heard a drum, two reindeers came to meet us, and I could feel a new presence welcoming us without words.

.


Note:

Going upstream the river to the north reminded me of the tree of languages, my mother tongue belongs to the ugric family, one of only three languages. The other two people are both native to Siberia, they are mostly nomadic reindeer herders – the drum could have been a shaman’s drum.

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