by Robert Wilkinson
Yes, it was 7 years ago today that I launched the original Aquarius Papers as a Salon blog. A little backstory and reflection....
Right up front, for the astrologers who come here, I launched this project at 12:10 pm, April 28, 2004, at Westwood (UCLA), California. I chose this time to begin publication of the first article, since it's a very strong chart. Also, it proves that Mercury retrograde projects really do have staying power if they are activities that mirror Mercury retrograde energies!
The chart has 6 degrees 52 minutes Leo rising, 28 degrees 9 minutes Aries on the MC, and the Moon is 21 degrees 4 minutes Leo in an exact Grand Fire Trine with Mercury retrograde at 21 degrees 14 min Aries and Pluto at 21 degrees 55 min Sagittarius. The Sun is in the 10th house at 8 degrees 49 minutes Taurus conjunct the North Node at 12 Taurus in a very close trine to Jupiter at 8 degrees 58 minutes Virgo in the 2nd house. (I'll leave you to check out the rest of the positions on your own.)
This chart is an example of how the branch of the craft known as "Electional Astrology" works. It's related to Horary Astrology, except that the former seeks the right timing to set events into motion (marriage, launching a business, filing legal papers, asking for a favor, making first contact with someone, etc.) while the latter marks the time of an event to find the answer to that event (Where did I lose the watch? How to respond to what I just heard? Is this person trustworthy?).
Both of these branches of Astrology have somewhat different rules about how to read the charts. That's why most astrologers have no business telling a client when to marry or start a business, since a birth chart is read in much different ways than an electional chart. (Sometimes a chart is not a chart in the usual sense...) And of course, there is almost never a time when all indicators are favorable with no afflictions in the chart, just as there is never a time when all indicators are unfavorable with no strengthening aspects to mitigate the potential damages.
And now for the story. I had done the usual website approach to publishing my articles in 1997-2003, but my webmaster was a) a control freak, b) never got things up in a timely way, and c) could never finish the website design and paths before changing it so radically that I never could figure out how to navigate it to any degree of satisfaction. So I was cranking out great material back then, but by the time it got posted it had expired since it was past its shelf life.
It just seemed a very static way to offer what I write, with no opportunities to interact with my readers and cumbersome in posting and then getting more up soon after. Plus it left me utterly dependent on an unreliable person. So while I polished my writing skills during those years, it was still frustrating to write great material only to see it become irrelevant soon thereafter with few if any reading it.
And then I met THE BLOG. It was in late 2001 when I lived in Northern California that I met a young man who had an unfocused political and vaguely philosophical blog on Salon, which was really the only game in town back then. Through his guidance I started to "feel my way around" the blogosphere, checking out various blogs on all kinds of subjects.
I didn't have my own, but learned how to jump in, comment, take heat, get into and out of political firefights, and generally get confident that I could find a voice in the blogosphere, despite the general unfriendliness and nasty arrogance of the political arena to newbies. My friend pestered me for months to start my own, and I resisted, not knowing exactly how I could tend to such a thing on a regular basis. But eventually he convinced me to set one up just to see what would happen, and if I really could attract readers to a site devoted to astrology and metaphysics.
I moved back to LA in Summer 2003, and after a lot of reflection and a dress rehearsal in late March 2004, I set up the launch for this day 7 years ago. I wasn't sure how it would be received, and so made it both astrological and spiritual with a sidebar called "The Outer Edge" for political and social commentary. I felt the two might have some overlap, via Gandhi and other sages since I don't believe we can or should divorce politics from ethics and its impact on society, which immediately introduces a philosophical element into any political dialog.
Well, that went over like a lead balloon! I found that most spiritually minded people are bored or indifferent when it comes to politics, and political junkies loathe anything related to astrology or spirituality. So my friend and I agreed to make his blog the "political" blog featuring social commentary, political humor, and busting miscreants in business, industry, and politics, while mine would focus more on astrology and spirituality.
The blogware we were forced to use to post on Salon was miserable and cumbersome, and looked dreadful. Anyone who ever was a forced subscriber to "Radio Userland" will absolutely attest to this! So after some research, we found a couple more blogware suppliers that had begun to operate, and then migrated this site in Summer 2005 to Typepad which is the platform I have used since then.
For those who want to see the living evolution of this blog, please go to this page, as it has many of the original articles posted on the blogs.salon.com site. Readers will note I was describing the Grand Irrationality from day one, though I didn't invent that specific term until a bit later. In a historical note, my first post using that term was October 26, 2004, even though I had used it in talks before then.
The reason the articles begin on June 2, 2004, is because my computer crashed (thanks to Norton - a miserable virus protection software if ever there was one!) and it took me a day or two to resurrect the site/software/blog articles posted up to then. So though the first article actually was posted on April 28, it was as though the whole thing had to begin again on June 2. (Yes, that is a Mercury retrograde phenomenon!)
Anyway, that's how this site got started 7 years ago. It's certainly become more than I could ever have imagined at that time, and thanks to the evolution of blogware, search engine technology, and the times we live in, it's now one of the biggest sites of its kind in the world! We're now just shy of 2.7 million visits and 6.8 million page views since Feb 2005 when I began tracking the numbers, with people coming in from over 130 countries around the world.
One 7 year cycle is over, and another begins! The next cycle will continue the work while incorporating this blog with The Wisdom Store, now in production (hopefully to launch in a few weeks). If I can do what I want to do, we'll have a great community place to hang out and network, I'll be able to offer some talks, books, and collections of essays I've done that are relevant to what we're all going through, as well as altar stones at below retail prices, all while continuing to maintain this safe harbor in the midst of the 4 billion sites on the internet.
While this site has always been about me offering insights to the community and a forum where we can find other gentle truth seeking Souls, the next 7 years hopefully will help us all build and strengthen our global community and network of Light workers to assist the birthing of the new era while staying as safe as possible in the midst of the accelerated changes. The changes are happening, but we'll always have the Wisdom, the Way, and the Community as the "refuges" to help us overcome suffering, whether our own or what we find in the world.
So I'm glad you're here, glad to know those of you who have chosen to be part of this gentle community, and glad to be able to offer this sanctuary in the midst of the uncertainty, dread, confusion, and "Grand Irrationality." We're moving from the unreal to the real, darkness to light, and death to immortality. Aum Namah Shivaya! Aum Mani Padme Hum! And Aum Namah the Age of Aquarius!
Happy birthday, all!
© Copyright 2011 Robert Wilkinson