Friday, February 26, 2010

Armageddon Now!

In Christian-dominated cultures, there seems to be a continual waiting game for Armageddon - the end of the world. From the teens on, people debate how many of the signs in Revelation are present - and thus how close we are to the End of Times. I remember very spirited debates about this when I was in college.

What the passion of youth doesn't seem to notice is that this has been a debate ever since Revelation was written. Early Christianity expected that the End of Time was right around the corner: the later Christian establishment had to recontextualize the mission once it became clear that people were there for the long haul.

Other cultures have not viewed time in such a linear fashion. Aristotle posited no beginning or end. Many cultures, such as the Vedic one, see time as cyclic or circular, so "beginning" and "end" are simply relative positions. In a cyclic perspective, even the destruction of the world may be seen as a cyclic event: after destruction comes the new creation.

Astrology shares cyclic time with many cultures. So why should astrologers get caught up with End of the World scenarios? The answer is: we are also embedded in all the rest of our cultural matrices. It's hard for us to buck the trend.

As we look ahead to the aspect patterns for the next couple of years, it's worth remembering that we are not the first humans to face aspects this difficult. Yes, we are overpopulated, overconsuming, overpolluting - but that doesn't mean extinction is only a heartbeat away.

As we approached the year 2000 (in many respects, an arbitrary designation, being 2,000 years from: exactly what? Not even the birth of Jesus!) it seemed to me that the hype was too enthusiastic. But it occurred to me that it was diagnostic of something very important underneath. For all that astrology is cyclic, Christian astrologers, or astrologers born Christian, find it difficult to erase the arrow of time from their mentality. In this system, there is a creation of the world (whether by God or the Big Bang), there is the incarnation of Jesus (although this may be dismissed or minimized by Post-Christians), and then the End of the World. Those of us living now missed the early Big Events - unless we count reincarnations, of course.

How could our lives be important and ultimately meaningful if we miss the ending as well, falling merely somewhere in the middle? Our egos drive us to the position that if there must be an end, then we must be part of it. The idea that the world could go on without us is just simply unacceptable. In the words of Tom Lehrer, "We will all go together when we go!"

So please, let us remember as these aspects approach fruition that maybe the point is to survive, to learn, to make choices - and to go on. It's just that the special effects for that scenario aren't nearly so cool