Saturday, February 18, 2006

A Few Parting Shots About Mars In Taurus...

A Few Parting Shots About Mars In Taurus...

8:10 AM 2/18/06 Sat

Mars has finally ended its some 8 month long sojourn through Taurus, having finally moved on into Gemini, on Friday, Feb 17 2006; it will make another Rx transit thru Taurus in July 2037-Feb 2038, a little 30 years from now (coinciding with Saturn's Return transit thru Leo, where it is now). It was a most interesting period, one which I wrote at considerable length to explain and contextualize ("Mars Rx & The Incredible Disappearing Man";, Oct 2005 entry). I wanted to go beyond the usual stuff astrologers write about whenever Mars, or for that matter, any planet goes Retrograde, to take the planets out of the "cosmic" realm and bring it down to Earth in meaningful ways. My essay on Mars, dealt specifically with the changing landscape, in just about all sectors, for men and boys - in terms of work, school, one's place in society.

I suggested that, during Mars' Rx transit thru Taurus in particular, we all would be grappling with these themes and issues.

That was in Oct 2005. In early Jan 2006, just a few weeks after Mars went direct in its motion still in the Sign of Taurus, the first of what would be several coal mining accidents happened.

Initially believing that the majority of the miners trapped some two miles below the surface were alive, we were all shocked to learn that only one miner survived, the rest perished. Other mining accidents occurred, with the mining industry being put on hold until some seriously large kinks in the system were worked out.

I can think of no better imagery for Mars in Taurus, the coal miner, the general laborer, the construction worker; the guys who do the heavy lifting of our society to make it possible for the rest of us to enjoy our lives and fret over petty things that, in comparison to what these men have to deal with on a daily basis, seems so silly and sophmoric.

Also, during Mars's transit of Taurus, a film about coal miners came out; called "North Country" and starring Charlize Theron, the move is about the first women coal miners in America, who had to deal with considerable discrimination from knuckle dragging men on the job. As I told a friend recently, while discussing another Hollywood creation, "Something New" Tinseltown has an uncanny knack for dealing with the improbable and contrived, rather than grappling with gritty and real. While being discriminated on the job is certainly something no one should have to put up with, the chilling events on the coal mining front in Jan 2006 just makes things like "North Country" look downright silly in comparison.

Let's see if these men's stories will ever make it to the silver screen...

Some reading this will say with an exasperated groan, "there goes Mu'Min again", but it just wouldn't be right to let Mars leave Taurus without at least commenting on the very real state of affairs our society is in with regard to work and the value of it, the value we place on it. So often, so much in our world, shown through the lens, the prism, of multimedia, is so assumed; we assume that everyone jokes around the water cooler; we assume that everyone has a 9 to 5, corner office gig. And let's face it, our society has vacillated between treating guys like the ones who died recently with benign neglect on one hand (pretending like they don't exist) or with outright contempt on the other (again, bringing back the North Country film).

Americans are in denial about Class. It's a real thing, just as real here as it is in anyplace else in the world.

I belong to many forums and newsgroups online. One of them is owned and ran by a man named Glenn Sacks, a Father's Rights advocate, writer and radio talk show host. He recently sent out a letter he received from the wife of a coal miner in the light of the recent tragedies on that score. It's both a fitting tribute to Mars in Taurus, a sobering account of someone who lives with such danger on a daily basis, and gives us all something to seriously think about as the bastions of our economy continue to crumble, to whither away, to die on the vine.


Woman Whose Husband Was Trapped Underground in Recent Mining Accident Has New Appreciation for Men

The sacrifices men make to support their wives and children are greatly underappreciated both by the media, our family courts, our politicians, and by women themselves. Jennifer sent me the following letter:

"Through my most recent life experience, I have found a brand new appreciation for so many men.

"My husband was stuck underground in a fire 1/2 a mile below the earth's surface at a Potash mine. It was in a 25 mile radius of tunnels under there filled with black smoke so thick the rescue teams could not even see their lights on their hats. The smoke was so thick at the shaft (cage, or elevator) that the second rescue team had to go down to rescue the first team.

"It was the world's largest oven with heat so hot the earth was shifting under their feet but these men did not stop. Thirty-two men were missing and presumed dead (those men were contractors for a company called Dynatec) The foreman at Dynatec who was down there with the 32 when the fire broke out instantly ordered the men to fight the fire. They were nowhere near equipped to do so. With the heat and the smoke, they never had oxygen masks or anything--just fire extinguishers.

"Realizing this, the foreman ordered his men to start setting up Brattice (sealed off smoke proof walls). They made 7 walls of Brattice and sealed off all air vents so the smoke couldn't come through then went to refuge in a room that had oxygen tanks (enough oxygen for only 36 hours max). Our rescue teams (11 total) were out for 27 hours, some down well after their oxygen limit.

"They did finally get our men out. Nobody was killed and I tell you it was sheer intelligence that saved every last one of those lives. Even men who drink beer everyday after work and who are often belittled saved the lives of our men.

"Crazy things that ran through my mind all night. We didn't know if we were going to see our husbands again. Sure they told the media they were perfectly safe but they didn't really know that for sure I know now just how much I really do love my husband and just how smart and brave he is. I haven't left his side since 7:00 AM Monday morning and I think we get along a lot better. I did take him for granted and I plan on treating him like gold for the rest of our lives.

"You are right--we do belittle men. Thank God we left that night on happy terms and didn't have an argument before he left for work. Never leave on bad terms, because you never really know if you are going to see that person again. And always kiss and hug your spouse when you say good bye. I was sure happy I did and I know 72 wives that will from now on.

"Just thought you might want to hear something about men on a more positive note. I know you are sick of men being cut down. I deeply love my husband and I will treat him like gold from here on in."

Jennifer's story reminds me of Terry Helms, one of the Virginia miners killed in January. According to the Associated Press' "After Reports to the Contrary, Only One Miner Survives" (1/4/06):

"Nick Helms, who waited all day for news of his father, Terry, said his father, a strapping 50-year-old, had endured numerous injuries in a 30-year career and hated mining because of the dangers, but refused to quit because the job put food on the table.

"'He gave his life in there so I could go to the movies,' Mr. Helms, 25, said of his father. Switching to the present tense, Mr. Helms added, 'He is very selfless.'"

For generations men risked their safety and their lives to provide for their wives and children, and some still do today. In my column Hate My Father? No Ma'am! (World Net Daily, 4/8/02), I wrote of the "feminist re-writing of the pre-feminist past as a virtual dark ages where men lived like nobles and women were their serfs." I noted:

"Tens of millions of male blue collar workers--who put their bodies on the line in the coal mines and steel mills so their wives and children could live in safety and comfort--have been turned into oppressors. Their wives and children, for whom these men sacrificed so much, have been turned into their victims.

"Edited out of our history are the tragedies of millions of American men who were killed or maimed on what early trade unionists called the 'battlefield of labor.' The miners who died in cave-ins, explosions, or of black lung disease. The sailors and fisherman who died at sea. The oil refinery workers killed in explosions. The factory workers killed in industrial accidents. The construction workers who died carving train tracks and then highways through majestic mountain cliffs or the scorching desert. The construction workers who died building our bridges, dams, high rises, stadiums, and apartments. "

Also on the subject, see my column The Price of Fatherhood--a Father's Reply to Ann Crittenden's 'Mothers' Manifesto' (Los Angeles Daily Journal, San Francisco Daily Journal, 1/10/02) and my co-authored column Indiana Woman's 'Housework Strike': Maybe It's Husbands Who Should Strike (Gary Post-Tribune, 11/8/02).


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