10 Jun What’s a Queer Astrology – #1
Queer. In etymological dictionaries, queer was archaically used to label the eccentric and the oblique. Eccentric, which has connotations of peculiarity and oddity, denotes more literally being outside of or unrelated to the notion of center. Oblique likewise describes slanting or sloping; in math it is lines or planes neither parallel nor perpendicular, in discourse something inconclusive or indirect. Eccentric upsets any clear boundary which is defined in relation to a singular focus. Oblique contravenes symmetry. Arising out from the endless vectors of space, obliquity insists that unending perspectives each relate to a given focus.
Where previously queer was used as an gender-variant slur, more recently the word has been reappropriated. What is useful here is the way this usage varies depending on point of view. From within establishment, queer marks outsiders. When used to put down, it may point to anyone outside the bounds of ‘acceptable’ gendered or sexual practice. This usage affirms norms and marks as less-than any eccentricity from these dominating patterns. Meanwhile for self-identifying queers, the word marks liberation and emancipation. It usurps the authority of the bully and pulls authorship onto ones self.
In the history of conceptualizing the solar system, queer might mark the departure from classical western models of planetary spheres toward more true elliptical orbits and planets whose wanderings never revisit the exact same coordinates. Mathematical efforts to chart what was historically believed to be a closed and regular/regulated system have given measurements which predict non-repeating and interminably self-inventing possibilities.
These shifts are echoed the paradigmatic breaking open of the traditional solar system. Before, only the bodies visible to the ancients by the unaided eye existed: Saturn was the end of everything. Later, a more modern system which opened upon the discovery of (popularly-called) Uranus, coinciding with a breakdown out from the facts and hard edges which have held the cultural mainstream thus far.
The skies have not changed, these change points were simply limits to old ways of measuring and perceiving. From within the bounds of Saturn, queer may persist as Other. Yet in the unbound possibilities which lie beyond, a queer astrology opens upon ways of relating not yet accounted for. These suggestions indeed predict lines of sight as of yet oblique to the whole of our historical knowing.