Saturday, February 19, 2011

"Ironic Points of Light", W.H. Auden, Madison Wisconsin.

I shouldn't really be surprised, when reading poems, or prose, written decades and even centuries ago on certain topics: war, peace, politics - to find that very often the words continue to ring true. History has a habit of repeating itself, so they say. Mark Twain was nearer to the truth, I think, when he said "History doesn't repeat itself, at best it sometimes rhymes."

In astrology, the planets don't repeat themselves, in spite of their regular cycles. One cycle is different from the next because of the different positions of other planets, there's a subtle variation from the last go-around. As in Mark Twain's thought - astrology doesn't repeat itself - it rhymes.

Are we "rhyming" now, historically and astrologically, with events of the past?

The recent toppling of the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt by mass protests signified the re-emergence of revolutionary struggle by the working class. The conditions that created these struggles, however, are universal—mass unemployment, staggering levels of social inequality, and a political system that is completely impervious to the demands and interests of the vast majority of the population. The eruption of mass protests in Wisconsin is an initial expression of a new era of open class struggle in the country that has long functioned as the center of the world capitalist system, the United States.
These lines, the last two verses of a poem by W.H. Auden (his astrology is considered below), struck me as rhyming with current events in the Middle East and in, of all places: Madison, Wisconsin. The poem, 1 September 1939 was written more than 70 years ago, but the words in these two verses could still be seen as "rhyming" with recent events.
All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

Full text of poem HERE.

As we read and watch reports of what has been happening recently in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and closer to home Madison in the state of Wisconsin, Auden's "ironic points of light" can be seen. May there soon be many more, and more still - until the whole world becomes bright with the light of hope for change.

W.H. Auden, renowned poet, born 21 February 1907 in York, England, died in Vienna, served in the Spanish civil war, but left England at the outbreak of World War 2 to live in America, became a US citizen in 1946.

"His early work was socially committed left-wing writing. He read Marx and Freud, but was also influenced by the need to conceal that he was writing about his and his friends' homosexuality, which was illegal at that time. Later, he began to turn away from Marxism towards his mother's faith, which left a mark upon his poetry" (More HERE)

A poet with three planets (Sun, Mercury, Saturn) in romantic, imaginative Pisces. He was one of the ultra- talented Pluto in Gemini generation, I bump into them regularly on this blog! His natal Sun exactly trines Jupiter in Cancer, while his Mercury Saturn conjunction is nicely sextiled by Venus conjunct Uranus in Capricorn. There's an opposition to Venus/Uranus from Neptune, but Neptune also trines Mercury/Saturn - so his chart is well integrated in Watery-Earth. Moon in Gemini (degree not known) and Mars in Sagittarius draw in a little Air and Fire.

Auden's transition from left-wing socialism to devout Christianity seems to indicate that he needed a background of structure and dogma in his life, perhaps this is indicated by Saturn (structure, rigidity) conjunct Mercury (the way his mind worked). Both are in the mutable sign of Pisces, so although he may have craved structure he was not averse to a change of dogma! It's interesting to note, too, that he has no natal planets in Fixed signs. The anomaly of volunteering to serve in the Spanish civil war, yet declining to remain in England, the country of his birth at the outbreak of World War 2 is a curiosity - another manifestation of the predominantly mutable temperament?


Wisewebwoman said...

Yes, love old Auden, a very odd life, made easier to understand by his 'star alignments'.
Yes, it is extraordinary what is happening now, is this the beginning of a burgeoning recovery for all of us?

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ I'd like to think that what is happening now is the "tip of an iceberg" of rebellion and peaceful revolution in the case of the USA. (But will not hold my breath!)
The iceberg is more clearly in view already elsewhere, especially in the Middle East.

Twilight said...


"Good post, did you realize that Sun and the stellium that goes
With it was/is on Auden's birth sun?"

Twilight said...

Gian Paul ~~ Thank you. Yes, I noticed it would have been Auden's birthday tomorrow. :-)

Should have mentioned it!

Anonymous said...

He served on a foreign country but not in natal England. Maybe that Mars on Sagittarius could explain something: fighting for ideals away from home.

Twilight said...

Anonymous ~~~ That's a very good point - and I agree.

It's spooky how astrology often paints these little symbolic pictures, and they turn out to "fit" precisely. It's a kind of shorthand I always think.