Friday, March 24, 2017

We Get Knocked Down, But We Get Up Again: Regressive Transportation Policy Under the Mercury-Pluto Square

On March 22, as transportation planet Mercury in Aries formed a square to "illegitimate power and hierarchy" Pluto in Capricorn, the neo-conservative Brad Wall government in Saskatchewan, my home province, announced in its budget that it will be shutting down the province's bus system. 

Yes, that's right. No public debate, no public consultation, no transportation alternatives offered. It's just over because Brad Wall and his buddies say it is. 

This government, full of "one car per person" drivers, decided that it can unilaterally eliminate (Pluto) a mass transportation system (Mercury) that people throughout the province have relied on for over 70 years. ("'It's going to be quite a nightmare': Passengers outraged by STC closure" by Jason Warick of CBC News) 

The Pluto in Capricorn bulldozer strikes again, creating a nightmarish and potentially deadly (Pluto) transportation scenario (Mercury) for many...

The Wall government was much beloved by conservatives in the heavily oil-dependent province of Saskatchewan when oil was at $100 U.S. a barrel. And this government spent and spent and spent keeping itself in that golden position. No thought for the future.

Then, of course, the price of oil crashed. As it always does. Oil is a highly-manipulated, highly-volatile, boom-and-bust commodity. This really should have come as zero surprise. But there is a strange amnesia that sets in when people are riding an oil high. They somehow believe it's going to last forever and spend accordingly. The Wall government was no different. 

The price of oil has now been halved and sits around $50 U.S. a barrel. 

And now this government has decided - as so many governments do - to make up for its own spending sprees on the backs of the poor and sick and vulnerable in society. All to save $17 million a year, which in the scope of a provincial budget the size of Saskatchewan's is a drop in the bucket.

Saskatchewan is an agriculturally-based province, meaning it has many small communities and farms spread throughout its land mass as people go about producing food to feed the world (among other activities). It also has many remote northern communities.

Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC) is the only bus service that goes to many of the smaller, rural communities. It connects the little places with each other, and it also connects the little places to the cities, where people can access essential services that can't be found in the smaller communities. Many people use the bus service for doctor's appointments and medical treatments, and this decision leaves them stranded. Around 300 people used STC to access cancer treatments alone in 2016. ("STC shutdown leaves cancer patients looking for a ride" by Adam Hunter of CBC News.)

STC is also often the only company that will deliver freight to the smaller communities. 

There is a Greyhound run in Saskatchewan, but it only goes along major routes, missing the more remote and rural communities in the province.

In short, this bus is an essential service for many seniors, disabled people, sick people, rural people, students, people living below the poverty line, and people who do not drive. 

I've used buses my whole adult life. I've used STC more times than I could count, primarily traveling to and from my parents' ranch. Without this mass transit system, I would have had few to no transportation options, and it fills me with dread to now have this option eliminated so unceremoniously. 

But there is something more that is being destroyed here by this short-sighted, mean-spirited little man and his short-sighted, mean-spirited little cronies, something broader, something that really hits me where it hurts. 

The Wall government is dealing a major blow to the strong collective spirit of the people of Saskatchewan, a place where people have traditionally chipped in to help each other.

Saskatchewan is the province where universal healthcare was born. The Canadian system is terribly flawed, some would even say irreparably broken, but the fundamentals remain: if you break your arm, need medication, or need to see a specialist, you can get treatment regardless of your income level. You know how Canada's health care system is often held up as one to be emulated, particularly by the U.S.? Well, it started in Saskatchewan. It started because the people in Saskatchewan didn't want to see their fellow human beings suffer. They wanted everyone to have the care they needed when they were sick or injured, regardless of income, regardless of ability to pay.

Saskatchewan is a hard place in which to survive. The climate is harsh, but it's more than that. Since the beginning of civilized humanity, independent farmers and ranchers have been under attack by the establishment. The establishment doesn't like people being self-reliant, growing their own food, feeding each other, sharing, making decisions in their own communities. In current times, the rules and regulations and bureaucracy, the manipulated markets, the high land and machinery prices coupled with low commodity prices (and now weather modification) have squeezed and squeezed and squeezed until only the true die-hards (or the people with other income streams) are left trying to make a living doing it. Because of this constant attack and lack of support, it's damned hard to make a living farming or ranching. Damned hard. 

So no matter how many generations removed they are from the family farm, in the hard-wired soul memory of the people of the agriculture-based province of Saskatchewan is the knowledge of what it's like to not have two dimes to rub together, no matter how hard you work, no matter how exhausted you are. Built right into the DNA of the people in Saskatchewan is the memory of the horror of not being able to pay for a doctor or a hospital stay when it was critically needed. The shame, the frustration, the anger, the hopelessness, the despair. Built right into their DNA is the memory of the horror of medical care being inaccessible, too far away, too far from home. Being too late to save someone they loved. All this is running through the people - not just in Saskatchewan, but definitely also in Saskatchewan. And all this has been motivation to say: no more; never again.

As the Wall government now makes it more difficult to access health care for many people in the province, as it destroys (Pluto) a transportation safe guard and safety net (Mercury), this soul horror (Pluto) is stirred. The Plutonic threads are plucked. 

The likelihood that people will not get the care they need is increased, including alternative health treatments. The likelihood that a person will put off a check-up or doctor's visit in the city for another year is increased. The likelihood that people will just put up with symptoms rather than go through the hassle and embarrassment of finding transportation is increased.

(Yes, in a country that is so dominated by "one car per person" transportation, there is often shame and embarrassment in not having transportation, in being reliant on someone else, in having to ask for a ride.)

Saskatchewan has a long history of grassroots collective struggle, of joining together and fighting for better conditions for everyone.

In the horrifying (Pluto) decision to end the Saskatchewan Transportation Company (Mercury), the Brad Wall government is disconnecting people from each other in my home province. It is striking a major blow to the collective spirit that has underpinned life in Saskatchewan for so long. 

Aside from the essential services people are being cut off from in the cities and elsewhere, this decision destroys a valuable part of Saskatchewan's culture and history. It damages a transportation network, a web, that brought us together.

This decision ends much-needed restorative and celebratory visits to family and friends. It ends the excitement and renewal of a trip to the city after many months of nothing but lonesome prairie. It ends new faces coming through your small town. It ends spontaneous conversations being struck up between strangers meeting on the bus. 

"So where are you headed?"

"Where are you from?" 

"How far till Saskatoon?"

It ends the classic smokers groupings outside the bus terminals, those transitory karasses formed and temporary connections made as the bus makes its stops along the highway. It ends the pile-ups in bus station cafeterias, like clockwork, with greasy fries and cups of coffee and the relief at being motionless for half an hour. It ends so many possibilities for non-drivers to go to new places on their own. It ends the independent travel of many, even just the knowledge that you could go somewhere if you wanted to, the spiritual freedom of that.

It also ends the jobs of 224 people, leaving them at the mercy of a very tough job market, making them vulnerable to poverty themselves.

This is regressive transportation policy at its finest - eliminating efficient mass transit while making people more reliant on resource-heavy individual vehicles.  

As many of you know, I'm anarchist, and I don't believe in the mechanism of government. This is a prime example of why. This government is not doing what's best for the people it claims to serve. It's harming the sick, the disabled, the poor, and the vulnerable in order to prop up its own bullshit facade as a "fiscally responsible, no deficit" conservative government.

Imagine what we could do on this planet if we were not being constantly attacked, eroded, and hamstrung by these establishments and institutions, by illegitimate people in positions of illegitimate power.

A better world for everyone is not only possible, it's necessary. We all deserve a world that does not prop certain human beings up on the backs of other human beings. We deserve a world that does not benefit some by hurting others. 

Imagine this world, and keep it in your mind's eye always. Because that's what we're working for. That's why we're here. That's why I'm writing this.

I know the people of Saskatchewan - myself included - will find a way. We will because we have to, and that's always been the way of it in Sask.

We'll all find a better way through these times together, no matter where we live - as we're being "ruled" by power-hungry, outdated, and treacherous beasts - because we have to find a better way. There's no alternate option. 

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Actual Signs of Spring at Spring Equinox? What a Novelty!

These photos were taken one day apart, and spring has apparently sprung in between. I have to say how much of a novelty it is to experience actual signs of spring at spring equinox. In previous Canuck living locations, spring often doesn't roll around until late April. It's not unheard of to have a blizzard in early May. So these sweet signs of spring were quite delightful to discover. 

Happy Spring in the northern hemisphere! And Happy Fall in the southern! Just in time for the Sun-Venus interior conjunction to rain its benevolent rays down upon us March 25, followed by a New Moon at 7 degrees Aries on March 27. 

Let the good Venusian vibes carry you into something fresh...

March 22, 2017

March 23, 2017

March 22, 2017

March 23, 2017

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Uranian Mercury Retrograde: Grounding Electric Insights About the Way Forward

"A Uranian Mercury Retrograde: Grounding Electric Insights About the Way Forward" is an article available to Willow's Web Astrology patrons

Friday, March 10, 2017

Full Moon in Virgo: Hold Yourself to Your Own High Standards...But Don't Expect Perfection Under This Mutable Lunar Madness

We're moving to a highly-mutable (changeable) Full Moon at 22 degrees Virgo on March 11/12 opposite a whole whack of Pisces placements (Sun, Mercury, Chiron, Pallas Athene, and Neptune) and square Saturn in Sagittarius.

These bodies form a mutable t-square configuration under the Full Moon rays, indicating that a transitional period is now coming to a head.

We have to put our best foot forward now in order to secure a desirable place within the new order that will form coming out of this Virgo Full Moon. Show your work ethic, your organizational skills, and your attention to detail (Virgo)...but also your compassion, your humanity, and your willingness to go with the flow when necessary (Pisces) in order to fully rock this.

The Moon reaches its fullest point in the sign of the virgin on March 12 at 7:54 a.m. PDT.

(Note to self: remember the change to Daylight Savings Time on March 12, as well!)

Keep working, keep pushing, and keep perfecting despite fatigue. It's ultimately your own standards that must be met here.

Our daily efforts are being pushed to a high point, a peak moment, and as we coast over the Full Moon hump, we should start to see some concrete results from systematic hard work. The refining and improving and streamlining we've done starts to come together into a fully-operational whole system, and we're relieved of some of the most painstaking detail work as things start to gel a little.

Conversely, if people have already been coasting and letting details slide, now is a time when daily operations could get very glitchy, becoming severe pains in their asses. IE. chaos prevails

Virgo is a sign that knows the benefits of maintenance as well as the pitfalls of letting that maintenance slide. It also knows how very much the small details matter in the operation of the whole system. If there are long-term flaws in the system or areas of neglect, full-on breakdowns could occur under the pressures indicated by these aspects.

The dispositor of the Virgo Full Moon is messenger planet Mercury in Pisces. Mercury is currently in the sign of its fall and will be in exact square to Saturn in Sagittarius at the time of the Virgo Full Moon on March 12.

The Sun-Mercury-Pallas Athene-Chiron in Pisces will be opposite the Virgo Moon, and all those bodies will be in square aspect to Saturn in Sagittarius, forming a massive mutable t-square. Changeable, changeable, changeable. Things will be coming apart at the seams a little ahead of new order, so stay flexible under the lunar madness...

Damnnnnn, all the Pisces in the astro atmosphere at the moment can be draining.

This is especially the case with the communicator planet in the sign of its fall (not its preferred territory), and even more so the case with the communicator planet in the sign of its fall in tight square aspect to seeming slave-driver Saturn.

We're really being hammered on all those fine details at the moment, battling the slippery-slidey material reality that is prevalent under a strong Pisces contingent. But never fear: the job is done just as we hit our exhaustion point.

Hold yourself to your own high standards, but don't expect perfection under this glut of Pisces within mutable t-square. It's even more apparent than usual that the universe has a will of its own and is apt to throw a monkey wrench or two into the works for its own mysterious reasons. The concrete systems and processes and perfectionism of Virgo must also allow a crack or two to let in the magic and mystery and meandering workings of spirit.

So focus on making loving corrections when necessary rather than demanding perfection as we keep this train on track, and maintain a sense of humour and good will about the mysterious monkey wrenches that are beyond our control.

Most people are doing the best they can under aspects that indicate some level of struggle and challenge for everyone. Help people to do better if you are able. Let others suffer the inevitable consequences of their own shoddy work/efforts. But don't nitpick on every little detail, and don't demand utter perfection under the current astro conditions unless you are a big fan of disappointment!

Stay flexible, and make adjustments and corrections on your end whenever possible to flow through this mutable t-square Virgo Full Moon. 

Mercury enters Aries on March 13 (2:07 p.m. PDT), and that fiery placement starts to dry us out from some of the Piscean sog as we look actively toward spring in the northern hemisphere.  

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Six-Year Anniversary of the Ongoing Fukushima Nuclear Disaster and the Collapse of the Pacific Ocean Ecosystem

March 11, 2017 is the six-year anniversary of the ongoing Fukushima, Japan nuclear disaster. This disaster is contaminating Japan and North America (indeed, the whole planet) with radioactive fallout, as well as creating a horrific collapse in the Pacific Ocean ecosystem. The wonderful sea creatures are in a state of intense duress at this time, and many species are experiencing mass sickness and die-offs that have been accelerating dramatically since 2011.

Let me be very clear about this: this is the worst nuclear disaster in human history. It is ongoing. And there is no end in sight.

I don't believe there is a single global issue as pertinent as this ongoing nuclear disaster. However, there is a worldwide media blackout underway on Fukushima, and it has been in effect since the beginning. Much of the public is waiting for "official reports" on the situation in order to take it seriously, but these reports will not be forthcoming. Government officials and establishment academics and scientists are staying silent on the issue, downplaying the issue, diverting from the issue, or are being muzzled if they do have any inkling toward the truth. 

Governments are doing no ongoing testing of food, water, milk, or air for radioactive contamination, although contamination from Fukushima fallout has been detected all over North America since 2011, continuing to this day.

Since the U.S. and Canada are both heavily invested in nuclear energy, there is a vested interest in keeping things quiet. In fact, Canada is the number two exporter of uranium worldwide and a major exporter of nuclear reactors.

Since 2011 when the Fukushima, Japan nuclear disaster began hemorrhaging radioactivity into the Pacific Ocean and atmosphere via triple nuclear meltdown, there have been heartbreaking documented mass illnesses and die-offs in populations of: whales, dolphins, sea lions, seals, manatees, polar bears, walruses, sea birds, owls, pelicans, turtles, crabs, sea stars, sea urchins, oysters, scallops, abalone, sardines, anchovies, salmon, herring, jellyfish, coral, krill, plankton, and more all along the North American West Coast. 

As the research of Dana Durnford has shown along the British Columbia West Coast, sea life has disappeared dramatically in the tidal pools since 2011. Thousands of species are now missing.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Pisces Stellium #2 for 2017

"Pisces Stellium #2 for 2017" is an article available to Willow's Web Astrology patrons