Give War a Chance?


You probably weren't expecting me to come at you with that provocative combination of words. In advance of commencing this meditation, please allow me to point out, in case you overlooked it: The aforementioned phrasing is punctuated as a question, not an imperative (nor even a boldly intonated request). I am not saying we must give war a chance, merely pondering whether we could or should. That said…

…can we consider that war may be a good idea?

Certainly there are plenty of people out there with this belief, some of whom are involved in administering the governments of various modern nations and/or advocating for their continued administration under this belief.

But in the realm of this community… whatever we are… readers and writers of astrological ideas… new age purveyors, practitioners and their admirers… people who believe in something rather than themselves, or are at least willing to momentarily suspend their disbelief… dare I use the word 'spiritual'… it seems like we are supposed to be anti-war, as if a pledge to oppose military action (or, possibly, violence altogether) is part of some lightworkers' oath we must solemnly swear to abide by before permitting ourselves to help heal others.

As I sit and write my thoughts to you, dear readers, I mentally recall the countless conversations with clients and professional peers and other like-minded humanistic oddballs in which we lament in unison the sad state of current affairs spawned by leaders who consistently run this show according to policies of greed and violence and warfare rather than generosity and understanding and love, and then I hear a buzzing from across the room, I get up from my chair and tiptoe over, and I mercilessly crush the life out of a mosquito with the bottom of my right boot. Kill or be killed… or, er, bitten, as the case may be.

Last weekend marked the second anniversary of the initiation of military action by the US against Iraq, an occasion commemorated with anti-war protests in several cities around the world (including a notable one right here in San Francisco), which got me thinking about way back then, in 2003, when I attended one of those massive protests and how opposed to this particular war I've been throughout its course, but how not-surprised I was that it happened when it did and as it did and how, now that Iraq has had free elections and democracy may indeed triumph, many consider this war a success. Well, is it? Is war sometimes necessary?

Is war ever necessary? Can't peace prevail?

In astrology, the polarity of war and peace matches up with the opposing signs Aries and Libra (and their ruling planets, Mars and Venus)—which, right away, leads me to conclude that war does seem to hold a rightful place in archetypal existence, no matter how brutal its realities may be. I mean, it's always been around in our historic and mythological consciousness since, well, the very start of all consciousness, right? And just look at nature… animals kill each other in bloody combat all the time, and we're not trying to coax them back to the bargaining table to gently negotiate their differences and find a lasting peace, are we?

(But, pardon me and please wake up, these are tired excuses for explaining away the nastiness of war. 'Because we've always done it in the past?' There were lots of things we human always did a certain way—traveling long distances on foot, eating raw meat, washing our clothes on a rock—unless we developed better ways. 'Because the animals do it?' We can't rest on this explanation when it's convenient, but look the other direction when we want to consider ourselves 'above' the other fauna… and by the way, animals don't have automatic weapons, Bradley fighting vehicles and A-bombs.)

Now, in the midst of the Sun, Venus and Mercury retrograde all in Aries and approaching the Apr 8 solar eclipse in Aries, these thoughts are on my mind. Aries, first and foremost, is the sign of the pioneering individual who sets off on his path to do what he is going to do, to simply be himself, and refuses to be obstructed. That's where the Aries connection to war comes in—threats to the unimpeded free movement of self are confronted head on and fought.

Unfortunately, too often, when Aries energy becomes overemphasized, such threats are overstated. We forgo other more balanced and compromising, less forceful possibilities for moving forward, out of the brutish delight in aggression for aggression's sake. Like to admit it or not, it can feel good to release the pent-up offense. But at others' expense? That's plainly bad form. The opposing Libra pole kindly asks us to consider their perspective before going off like a loose cannon. No need to harm others unless it's absolutely necessary for our own survival.

Still, this week's astrology discourages us from lapsing too far in the direction of concession, with both the Sun and Venus in Aries moving into opposition with Jupiter in Libra. Jupiter's placement in Libra comes with the danger of slipping into personal indecision and complacency, merely to honor a relationship. Yet the dominant Aries influence won't hear of it. Especially with the rapid approach of next week's eclipse, inceptive action is not only appropriate, it's downright necessary… and inaction, meanwhile, seems almost hazardous to our health.

There's a rather fine line between the two meanings of the Aries-inspired slang infinitive 'to start shit'—either you're (1) initiating a project or (2) picking a fight—and it's a line we should all carefully straddle during these next few weeks. Obviously I'm not condoning violent conflict (or at least I hope that's obvious), but let's not completely shy away from connecting with our compassionate-warrior selves. Sometimes, when stagnant corruption or corrupt stagnancy reign supreme, the only way to push ahead and do what we have to do is by overthrowing the obstacles.

Fight if you must, but do it fair.