event on a fall Friday night in many American communities is the local
high school football game. However, when school began in late August
of this year, attention was not focused so much on the players taking
the field as on the prayers taking place in the grandstands. Spurred
on by zealous prayer organizers, some high school students and their
parents, particularly those in the southern Bible Belt, began voicing
their opposition to the Supreme Court’s ban on school sponsored, student
led, pre-game prayers by standing and praying aloud in the grandstands.
were organized after the U.S. Supreme Court said in a June 2000 opinion
that even when attendance was voluntary and even when the decision to
pray was made by students instead of school district officials, “the
delivery of pre-game prayer has the improper effect of coercing those
present to participate in an act of religious worship” and violated
the Constitution’s ban on state-promoted religion.
the passive-aggressive coercion of a captive audience at a high school
football game is not the Inquisition, and prayer is not the medieval
rack, but the implication, to those with different faiths and beliefs,
is the same. It would take a great deal of courage to remain seated
while everyone else stands to pray. To do this, especially in a Bible
Belt small town, is to risk being seen as some sort of non-believing
infidel and opening yourself to ridicule and persecution by your friends
in Our Midst
29, 2000, as Jupiter in Gemini moved opposite Pluto in Sagittarius,
1000 religious leaders from around the world gathered in New York City
at the United Nation’s Millennium World Peace Summit to foster acceptance
of the de facto plurality of faiths, beliefs and cultures in the world
community. It is the nature of an opposition to objectify extremes,
and certainly this gathering was in stark contrast to the Vatican’s
recent reaffirmation of the Roman Catholic Church as the one true path
to salvation and the Protestant Christians’ display of their own rightness
in high school stadiums across America.
reminds us that the “if you are not like me, you are the feared other”
mentality is alive and well in the minds of individuals. (Gemini is
the sign of the twins, and recognizes that which is like itself.) And
that intolerance of “others in our midst” still prevails, giving birth
to extremists who will coerce and wage small wars against the “others”
in the name of the “one true” religion, race, culture or political ideology.
of the Times: Pluto in Sagittarius
evolution. As Pluto gradually makes its way through each sign of the
zodiac, society is pressured to transform everything that particular
sign represents. However, even in the midst of social change, the instinct
for individual self-preservation is strong. The resulting tension creates
extremes, and it is the extremist that exemplifies where change is needed.
1995, as Pluto moved into Sagittarius, everything this sign symbolizes
came under pressure to evolve. Sagittarius is the truth-seeker and visionary
of the zodiac. It is about faith, beliefs and life as a quest for wisdom
and understanding. But Sagittarius is about big truths. It views life
through a wide-angle lens, while Pluto’s view is telescopic. When the
two combine, Sagittarius reveals the greater truth and Pluto brings
into sharp focus the ugly little truths buried within.
Jupiter Loses Home-Field Advantage
talk” sign of Gemini is opposite Sagittarius. Gemini perceives facts
and details often lost to the Sagittarius visionary. When expansive
Jupiter, associated with religion and ruler of Sagittarius is in Gemini,
religious talk abounds. But with ruthless Pluto now officiating the
game on Jupiter’s home field (Sagittarius), even the mighty, self-confident
Jupiter can feel its beliefs threatened by the “others,” puff up at
its confinement in Gemini and become the pontificating missionary who
lives next door, or those in a community who defiantly stand and pray
aloud at the local high school football game.
in Gemini will oppose Pluto in Sagittarius three times. The first opposition
was exact September 4, 2000, the second on October 13 (during Jupiter’s
retrograde cycle) and the final in May of 2001. During this time frame,
we are likely to see other events manifest the reality of plurality
Reality of Plurality and the Necessary Role of Gemini
and exchange of information (Gemini) are necessary if the multiculturalism
proclaimed by the world’s visionaries (Sagittarius) is to become the
new paradigm. But, it is a fact that in a democratic society plurality
just as easily opens doors to intolerant ideologies and extremism as
to the acceptance of diversity and the need for freedom of choice in
one’s way of life. It is also a fact that there can be no meeting of
the minds nor rational dialogue where rightness of beliefs is concerned.
However, pluralism without rational dialogue is but the precarious coexistence
of incommensurable worlds. How then are we to find a common language
and begin overcoming our fear of “the others” who also inhabit this
post-modern world, in which diverse ideologies constantly overlap and
encroach on each other’s territory?
and wise soul who was Jesus admonished his followers not to parade their
religion in front of others (Matthew 6:1, The Oxford Study Bible).
This sage admonition remains relevant today. Perhaps if it is heeded
by all the world’s people, we could begin to address our common humanity,
move toward a meeting of the minds, open rational dialogues and take
common actions that would have a positive and profound effect on all
individuals, regardless of personal ideology.