Slant

Reborn AgaIn

Descent of Inanna. Photo: Wikipedia.

IT IS EARTH DAY, and at the New Moon in Taurus tonight, the Sun and Moon will be in a wide conjunction with Uranus, about whose tenure in Taurus I have written a lot, over the past few years, for this publication.

I am thinking about the phrase “enriched Uranium” and about true wealth, true value. I am thinking about Venus, who rules Taurus, about Ferdinand the Bull, about the sensuality of moving slow and steady, and about the full moon in Scorpio May 7, a day I hope to write you more fully.

I warned you last month that I would deprofessionalize and that the way I write was likely to change.

Over the last lunation cycle, I conducted an experiment. I read Rilke’s Duino Elegies, one by one, with a community of people, inside the internet. I do not use the word community lightly. It is what we’ve become, a few hundred of us, scattered across North America and Europe and Australia and China and Hong Kong.

Springtime is ideal for the Duino Elegies: They hold death and life together, just as Aries season does, the bone-crushing helmet of the warlord like the tender buds of crocuses and trees, poking up through the snow. April is indeed “the cruelest month,” for the life impulse itself is cruel beyond all decision—its isness is not a matter of negotiation. Life did not happen because some being thought it would be a good idea. It seems to me it burst into flames. It seems to me that from the very first, it startled god, or the gods—that this could happen, that we could be—I think it must have always been a scandal.

Rainer Maria Rilke.

But I was telling you that from the New Moon March 24 to April 7, every weekday morning, I read a Duino Elegy with a group of people, some of whom I knew and most of whom I did not know. These poems are a kind of training in cosmic and earthly perception, a process by which you arrive at the correct prescription through which to gaze upon the animal world, upon the ground of earth, upon love but also the eternally untamable sexual impulse, upon the child, upon the mother, upon the Lynchian curtains and kitchens of the bourgeois comforts, upon the deep deep sobriety, the profound ordinariness, of the words and things that finally matter. They are complex and often difficult poems to talk about, but animated by such a heart clarity that they are “accessible”—which is why we were able to read them together, some of us having never read any poetry at all, some of us just using the sound of the poems and the conversation as the soundtrack to an exercise video, some of us taking studious notes, some of us composing poems in real time into the chat box, some of us composers, some of us painters, some of us mothers, some of us grandfathers.

It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever been a part of. I’m sharing the recordings with you here

This morning, in light of tonight’s New Moon, we begin a new cycle with Sumerian poetry describing the life and works of the goddess Inanna, who is identified with Venus. Venus is the morning star that dies and is reborn as the evening star; Inanna is a goddess who goes from Earth to Heaven and back again, and then she goes down to Hell.

Ishtar on an Akkadian seal. Photo: Wikipedia.

We will meet every weekday at 9:30 AM on Zoom and Instagram Live and you are welcome to join us. We record each session so that those whose work schedules and time zones make our meeting time difficult can still be with us. It’s free. For the details, secure login information, and a copy of the text we are reading, please email lazyeyehaver@gmail.com. You can also lurk on our IG Live broadcast: @arianareines. This is offered as a service to anyone whom it might benefit. 

I have friends who are sick. I have lost loved ones to this virus. And I have also discovered more intimacy and joy and friendship in this slower velocity than I have been able to enjoy since the day adulthood first took me. Taurus has lessons for us about wealth and abundance, the Earth itself. Today promises to be an Earth Day the likes of which the world has never seen. Uranian innovation is enriching itself inside the very ground we stand on. I and many astrologers warned of earthquakes, financial collapse, the feminization and then transformation of capitalism for this time—what I said and what we said was not prophetic. It was written on the shithouse wall. What I could not predict or simply failed to prepare myself emotionally for was “the human cost.” And for all that, I yet have the feeling we are inside of a miracle unfolding or inside the widening mouth of god. There is somehow space in this narrow inlet—and rereading Rilke taught me that all of life takes place in a “narrow strip of cornland” or a cramped place “between rock and river”—that as the visible manifestations of our spirituality disappear from view, for we no longer live in societies that build great temples to anything but accumulation and wealth—and even as the Earth itself becomes invisible—and Rilke is very specific about this—there is an invisible, unaccountable, and nevertheless real task accomplished within by the intensity and sincerity of our living. He says that what happens within us causes stars to be born. And when he says it, the way he says it, this is no poetic fancy. It is a matter of physics. And it arises in you like something your heart knows, which you cannot deny.

Ariana Reines is a poet based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her newest book, A Sand Book, won the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and is now in paperback. Keep up with her online Rilking workshop here.

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