(Originally published 09/06/13 at Trojan Horse Productions. Reblogged 12/16/13.)
I keep telling them not to let guys sit on the bench in the shower buck naked.
They don’t listen.
So again, Friday night 08/30/13, when I went to put my stuff on the bench, here was this heavy brown smudge. I carefully avoided it, but I told the peacekeeper, Philip, since he has access to gloves, rags and bleach, and I don’t. He was texting.
When I came out of the shower to dry off and dress, the smudge was still there. Philip was still texting.
This is a perfect example of why I think the New Age is just so much hooey. There is work to do here and now. That it may not all be pleasant doesn’t change the fact: there is work to do here and now.
HOW IT HAPPENS
The ecliptic is a great circle in the sky along which the Sun, moon and planets all move. All eclipses occur along this line; thus the name. The constellations of the Zodiac are lined up along this circle as well.
Although the Sun is on the ecliptic at all times, every day it moves a bit westward along the ecliptic, almost but not quite completing a full circle once every year. The degree as a unit of measure for angles, came to be as ancient astronomers sought to plot this motion — 360 degrees makes a full circle, just as 365¼ days make a full year. The Sun moves about one degree westward along the ecliptic each day.
The Sun’s position on the first day of spring is called the “equinoctial point.” Because the Sun does not quite complete a full circle along the ecliptic in a year, the equinoctial point moves very gradually eastward along the ecliptic, completing a full circle every 25,800 years. The equinoctial point passes through each constellation of the Zodiac in an average of 2,150 years.
Right now, the equinoctial point, where the Sun is on the first day of spring, is in Aquarius. Thus we are said to currently be in “the Age of Aquarius.” Since this began only a few years ago, it is being called the “New Age.” Immediately previous to this was the Age of Pisces (the Fishes), which began circa 30 CE; previous to that was the Age of Aries (the Ram), which began circa 1400 BCE. It is notable that at the dawn of the Age of Pisces, the New Testament focused on twelve fishermen (Matthew 14:19); and that at the dawn of the Age of Aries, the Bible focused on twelve shepherds (Genesis 46:32).
The most familiar expression of the promises that have been made concerning this “New Age,” is in the lyrics of the opening song of the 1967 musical Hair:
When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius …
Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelation
And the mind’s true liberation
I have what I feel are good reasons to believe in something like astrology. But as to all this “New Age” stuff, I have my doubts.
On the one hand, I see no evidence that it’s going to happen.
The Age of Aquarius so far seems to me no different from the Age of Pisces before it, nor from the Age of Aries before that. Human behavior hasn’t changed in the last 10 years, or 50, or 100, or 500, nor 1000.
From the Bible: ca. 1000 BCE, David “defeated the Moabites and, making them lie down on the ground, measured them off with a cord; he measured two lengths of cord for those who were to be put to death, and one length for those who were to be spared. *** [H]e killed eighteen thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.” (2 Samuel 8:2,13)
Was that age more brutal than our own?
Pol Pot’s “killing fields,” the genocide in Rwanda, “ethnic cleansing” of Darfur, activities of Charles Taylor, massacre at Srebrenica, and 9/11 were all New Age events.
On the other hand, to lose oneself in dreams of an inevitable wonderful future is the antithesis of presence. It does not empower one to do the work that must be done here and now; not to deal with an abusive boss, a cold spouse, a rebellious child, a terminal illness. It will not lift me out of homelessness or joblessness.
The task I face most consistently right now is to see God’s image in my neighbor, who in my current context is disproportionately likely to be ugly, filthy, addicted, deranged, dependent or criminal. I cannot wait for a time when my neighbors will all be beautiful; I must do it now. This is my task, without any reference to any New Age.
Don’t get me wrong. The future has my permission to be just as glorious as it may choose. Right now, however, someone needs to clean the shower bench.
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