Mercury retrograde has been mostly kind to me. Its retreated to a sweet spot between my natal Pluto and Uranus in the 9th and has sent me spiraling backwards through history. The journey starts with an innocuous post on a forum, someone pecks out a few lines of a They Might Be Giants tune, “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)”;
Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it’s Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Now it’s Turkish delight on a moonlit night
I didn’t think much about it while I was reading it, but an hour or so later I jumped into a a documentary on The Dark Ages. Let’s just say, it was instructive and a wormhole of dark synchronicity and glimmering hope opened up to me simultaneously.
THE DARK NEW AGES
The Dark Ages officially begin when Rome is besieged by the Visigoths. To understand the importance of this event and the surrounding circumstances, its important to recover a few relevant details. Rome was split in two. The eastern empire lay in Byzantium, where the capital was, Constantinople. Rome in the west had been fighting numerous wars to hold onto their captured territories. They needed more troops to help them secure their gains, so they conscripted the Visigoths to fight for them. However, the Romans treated them with disdain. They would take their young and sell them into slavery. The Visigoths resented the hell out of this and in due time, they would revolt under the leadership of Alaric.
Here we have an empire that is stretched beyond its capacity to maintain itself and yet, they dehumanize the “other” inside their own city walls. Are you paying close attention yet?
Alaric returns to Rome and plans on not just revenge but on feeding his fellow Visigoths. Rome is heavily fortified so Aleric and his men stake camp around Rome, thus walling the Romans in, unable to bring food and supplies into the city. The Visigoths were going to starve the Romans out. It took over two years, but the plan worked. The Romans opened the gates of the city and the Visigoths went on a rampage, however, they found little food (surprise) but lots of riches, which they helped themselves to. Once they stormed and sacked Rome, they headed south in search of more food and the Sun had officially set on the Roman empire.
Within a few short years, the great roads and aqueducts that surrounded the city began to crumble under the deconstruction of the Visigoths, which used the stones the Romans had gathered and set them as the walls for their new homes, crude, low lying dwellings, nowhere near the splendid architectural achievements of the Romans.
In the east, Constantinople was thriving, even though its emperor, Justinian I was a crook that did nothing but raise taxes and forge documents that helped put money into his coffers. Justinian had a powerful and beautiful wife, “Theadora” a smokin’ hot dancing girl that Justinian actually changed the law to marry. She and Justinian were planning to return to Rome and be its rightful rulers, claiming it and Constantinople as their kingdoms. There was a brief uprising where the people had had enough of Justinian and nearly killed him during one of the chariot races. The crowd had turned so fierce, raging against Justinian’s corruption, they chased him to his boat, nearly sending him into exile if it weren’t for Theadora. She told him that she would not leave. Well that was enough for Justinian. He sent in the shock troops and killed 30,000 of his own people. In a few short years, he’ll wind up second guessing his decision.
In 541, Constantinople is hit by Europe’s first great plague, an early incarnation of the Bubonic plague, delivered by rats on ships from Egypt. The death toll was steep. Five out of ten people died. And the death was a terrible one. Living wasn’t much better. If you got through it, like Justinian did, there was a good chance that you would be disfigured and less mentally sound than before. This is likely due to lesions on the brain. This was the final blow that dimmed the golden light of the Roman empire’s outpost from which it would eventually emerge, but like the rest of Europe, it settled into a dark age. The astrological cycles and aspects for this period are eerily similar to our own era.
COSMIC MIRROR IN TIME
In 541 AD, Pluto was in Capricorn, Neptune in Pisces, Jupiter in Taurus and Saturn in Libra. The True Node was in Sag. These aspects are in play today, during this time. Back then, Pluto was in Cap in the mid degrees, second decanate. Neptune was early, first decanate. Jupiter just slightly ahead of where it is now. Saturn was in the final stages of Libra. The True Node at 12 degrees Sag. The bulk of the contagion really hits in 542 BC, when Saturn moved into Scorpio and Jupiter in Gemini. Pluto and Neptune were in Cap and Pisces respectively.
In the second decanate of Capricorn, we see the fall of empire. Its collapse is stunning and horrific. Famine and pestilence are the key Malthusian agents. But at the core of the rot is a cultural arrogance and tireless campaign of unending war. The conditions were prime for a fall.
Looking at our time, the parallels are striking. The US feels like its about to embark on yet another war as Syria is in the NATO crosshairs, Iraq just had its worst series of deaths and casualties in the past few years and as always the nuclear clock seems to be tick-tick-ticking on Iran. If you add up the wars in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and quite possibly Syria, it has the distinct feel of WWIII being progressively rolled out in manageable stages.
From Yemen to Egypt, a common denominator in all of the color revolutions has been the staggering cost of food and incipient violence doled out by regimes that want to remain in power, knowing full well that their heads are on the chopping block. In the grand scheme, there can be no ruling family like the Assad’s sitting at the table. The same could be said for Gaddafi as well. Sovereign states, no matter how despotic they are or portrayed will not be tolerated.
Pluto in Capricorn though, if we can glean anything from its ancient arc in earlier times actually results in the deconstruction of empire, not its ultimate rise to power. In fact we can see through Pluto in Cap and its successive rounds in all of the other signs until it circles back, once again in 768 AD, that over time when there is a despotic or brutal reign of some sort of terror, some unforeseen event or new development, either strategy or technology, occasionally both, rattles and shakes loose the chains of tyranny. But from 541 on, its a brutish and very difficult time time until the next go round of Pluto in Cap, where Charlemagne takes the reins of power, not just in what we now know as France, but other regions stretching throughout Europe. In fact, Charlemagne at one point is even crowned the emperor of Europe. He’s unique in that he has an eye to the future and begins to incorporate social systems like schools and learning, yet he has little guilt when he slaughters 4,500 Saxons in Verdun, thus bringing Saxony to its knees. Charlemagne’s rule is a major turning point and augurs the beginning of the end of the Dark Ages.
We see deconstruction during one phase of Pluto in Cap and then we see reconstruction in its next cycle, a new organizing principle. Byzantium had survived the Bubonic plague in 541 and managed to be the consistent power in Europe through most of the Dark Ages, however, once again, with Pluto in Capricorn, in 1025, we witness the final stages of the great Byzantium in full decline.
If we step back and look at the Pluto in Cap cycle during our era, the last time it swung through these parts was The American Revolution. It was a constructive and integrative phase, similar to that of Charlemagne’s. This current cycle of Pluto in Cap seems much more deconstructive and all of the elements are in place, both astrologically and culturally, particularly next year. However there is something else happening here. As I have mentioned before, anytime some sort of imbalance occurred, there was some agency or act that would ultimately counterbalance brutality and tyranny and while this might have happened over a period of years or even decades then, during this time/era, things hapen much, much faster, thanks in due part to the light speed of technology but also factors beyond our most sophisticated reach, like DNA mutating solar plasma, burst forth from the Sun like a fiery bloom blasted through space, bombarding our subtle bodies with hyper-activating neutrinos.
The cycles are getting shorter and shorter and in fact, we are getting closer and closer to McKenna’s fabled Eschaton, where we will witness the compression of history before our very eyes; the reenactment of Alexander’s push for the conquest of Persia, the black plagues, the rise of the monarchy in England (WIlliam and Kate’s alchemical union), and famine, starving out populations through the siege of sanctions, the invisible ramparts set against targeted groups.
Its all going to unfold before our very eyes and then like a reel of film reaching its end, snaking through the rollers of the projector, it will uncoil and the reel will spin like a wheel without ground, the only thing now showing, a clear beam of pure light across the screen of time, blank, lucent, becoming one, uninterrupted by the script of history any longer.