Thursday, July 2, 2015

Flags of Independence: The US, the Rainbow and the Question Mark

New Musings and Old Posts on the US and Independence Day and the Dilemma of Cancer/Aquarius

Article © 2015 by Joyce Mason

I couldn’t suppress my urge to write about topics related to Independence Day, the US 4th of July. I’m not a flag waver by nature because I feel the flag I’d rather wave is a big question mark. By that I mean something akin to the sentiment that was on a bumper sticker on the cars of many Unitarians when I frequented that church in the 1980s. It said, “To question is the answer.” I believe those who really love their country don’t take what happens on blind faith but question what’s in the right spirit for the benefit of all in their extended family of Americans from sea to shining sea.

I have questioned where my homeland is heading a lot in recent years. I hate to admit it, but at times, I’ve been embarrassed to be American. There have been many things bothering me about how our country is run, the pockets of extreme hate and prejudice still contributing to senseless deaths and misery, and the imposition of views that also seem just plain wrongheaded to my Virgo-logical mind. On the world stage, some of our laws and practices seem childish, short-sighted and simply not what a civilized country does or doesn’t do for its people.

That all changed when the conservative Supreme Court recently upheld the right for gays to marry. I once had a “fanatic Catholic” landlord, a term my mom used in the 1950s to designate those overly devoted to the letter of our religion rather than its spirit. My landlord told me 20 years ago that when the gays got rights, especially to marry, it would be the beginning of Armageddon and the End Times.

I told him I thought it would be the beginning of Peace on Earth.

I don’t think that set well. Nevertheless, the truth is that gays until lately have been our last lepers. (I can’t tell you how the turnaround of that sentiment in a relatively short time has stoked my faith in my fellow country-folk.)  It’s time we stopped treating the perennial ten percent of the population whose sexual attraction is different from the mainstream like an aberration. It’s as “off” as denying rights to people with blue eyes because brown dominates.

Of course, eye color doesn’t have to do with sexuality, about which many Americans seem never to have gotten out of the Victorian Era.

I’m Probably Preaching to the Choir

Most people who are into astrology have a lot in common with gay people. We’re both Uranian—different—and we’ve both probably experienced the projection of others’ devils.

I’m happy to report that prejudice against astrologers and astrology has taken a noticeable downturn since I began practicing in 1988. Still, those who treat the topic and those “into it” like we have horns and smell of Sulphur still can cause major discomfort. Most of us are peaceniks and loveniks who see “God” as bigger than the sky.

But finishing my two cents worth on acceptance of gays: I’ve heard the arguments against gay marriage, primarily from conservative Christians, yet I see nothing in the life of Jesus that would argue his support of denying anyone the rights of full humanity. Or full spirituality. Jesus hung out with all kinds of people, including the “dregs” of society. He preached love at every level. He’d be more likely to champion gays and denounce those who wanted to stone them, whether the rocks were literal or figurative.

I have read in several places summaries of research by (largely heterosexual) Jewish scholars that that we have misinterpreted the portion of the Hebrew bible, commonly believed to condemn homosexuality. The “man lying with man” did not actually refer to homosexuality but rather …”an act of heterosexual substitution of a male in place of a female by a heterosexual male, and, possibly, may even … be done in an idolatrous worship scenario.” (I leave you to read and discover this different point of view.)

While I respect others’ rights to their beliefs, I cannot support when they infringe on others’ rights. If you believe homosexuality is an abomination: I don’t see what value it adds to your life, but if it works for you, I acknowledge your right to believe in and live by it. The same goes for wanting to make abortion illegal, “keeping women in their place” and similar stances. I support the rights of these believers not to have homosexual relationships, not to have abortions (I probably wouldn’t myself) and to let the man wear the pants and the woman the chastity belt. On the other hand, many with these beliefs would have the mainstream of society forced to live by their rules. That’s not OK by me. Nor would it be OK by me for anyone to force those who find them distasteful into gay or egalitarian relationships against their will.

Also, as we celebrate America’s birth and its Cancer Sun and Aquarius Moon, anything that gives children and couples stable, committed home lives is reason enough for me to wave my flag. And I don’t care if those kids are biological from previous heterosexual relationships, from donor sperm or by adoption. Kids are kids; family is family. Who cares if your parents are one of each or two of the same sex? Love is love.

Or as a woman I knew who discovered late in life that she was attracted to other women said, “We should be more worried about how we hate, not how we love.”

Linguistic Ironies

We got into a lot of trouble making the US “one country, under God.” At the same time, we created separation of Church and State in the USA. Go figure. From this doublespeak, many of our woes arise.

At the time of the Founding Fathers, the view of God was more uniform that it is nowadays. Today we have everything from the literal man with the white beard in the sky to atheists, agnostics, and those who practice “freelance spirituality” who see the divine in the workings of an amazing cosmos. Thus they often call the Higher Power the Universe.

Something the USA needs to do more often? To interpret our founding documents in modern context. Society evolves. “The right to bear arms” was great on the frontier when a person was forced to defend himself against all kinds of critters, bandits and bad guys. But in modern America, letting anyone own a gun—including those who are clearly mentally ill—has led to atrocities beyond imagining.

Speaking of Evolution

One of the best books I’ve ever read that promotes understanding of divergent spirituality was written by Scotty McLennan. Scotty is a Unitarian minister and the prototype for Reverend Scott in the Doonesbury cartoons by Garry Trudeau, his good friend. The book is called Finding Your Religion: When the Faith You Grew Up With Has Lost Its Meaning. One of the major gems in this guidebook for finding your adult spirituality is a checklist called “What Stage Are You In”? It explains how beliefs evolve from Stage 1 (Magic) where you think God makes everything happen for good and bad through five other stages, ending in Stage 6 (Unity) where you see yourself in community with people of all traditions, committed to their beliefs. We cannot expect Stage 6 behavior from Stage 1 or 2’s—or even from Stage 5’s. Most of us pass through several stages before landing where we are now. I love this material because it helps everyone understand that those who “don’t get it” from our viewpoint just aren’t there. They may never be in this lifetime, and we just have to respect them for where they are.

The Cancer/Aquarian (or Moon/Uranus) Quincunx

The chart of the USA is a conundrum, regardless of which Ascendant you prefer, with its Cancer Sun and Aquarius Moon.

Perhaps no one captures this inconjunct more than gay families. Their Uranian nature and desire to have the same family life and rights as anyone else is a living example of how this sign/planet and aspect can work itself out at best. It didn’t come easy, but here we are. And, again, I believe it’s the beginning of a new kind of peace—one of inclusion and not division, a joining that’s at the heart of peace itself.

This year I’m proud to wave the US flag! Especially because of the rainbow emanating from it.

Because these Cancer and Aquarian energies are what our country is made of and was founded upon, there is no 4th of July that has ever meant more to me as a person or astrologer. The essence of what it is to be both free and a respected member of a family and community was captured in the affirmation of equality in marriage.

Every Uranian reading this knows what I mean. Why has being unique also had to mean feeling left out so much of our lives? Praise God/Goddess/All That Is—the Universe. Let it be over.

May this incredibly Libran decision be just the beginning of more evolution toward Free to Be You and Me. And as the lyrics in My Convictions from Hair say, “As long as you don’t hurt anybody.”


Photo Credits: Rainbow Flag - © Primastero –; Question Mark Flag - © LHF Graphics –

Bonus: Red, White and Blue Reposts

A really savvy mom I knew many years ago once told me, “I realized when my sons were just babies that I was training them, bit by bit, to leave home.” Never mind that she was a Sagittarius and would be more keenly aware of the joys of leaving the nest. This is still a remarkable realization for someone not far from the glow of early motherhood.

Recently, I wrote about how the world is becoming more Virgo. Well, at least my part of the world. Virgo is the #2 Sun sign in the USA. Check out these stats from Statistic Brain. Are you as amazed as I am to find out that the #1 Sun sign in the US is Scorpio? (More Scorpios than any other sign?) There are a couple of reasons why I was less surprised on second thought …

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