The stars are clear, out here in the middle of nowhere where I was born and my father was born and his grandfather was born and even his grandfather was born and that's as far back as I can go. I found him, my father’s grandfather’s grandfather - at least I think it’s him - on a property record tied to an OS map. The OS map in fact, the first one. There we were, divided into lots and overlaid, tied to this particular spot of land, so useless for growing anything except Maleneys on. Odd, the inaccuracies. I mean, the map was spot on, down to the square foot, pin-point.
But the name, Milliny, took me by surprise. Perhaps it was just some Protestant literalism, an English phoneticism
Of course, the Irish realisation of our name has always been debatable, unsettled. We’ve never been sure what to call ourselves in that language, though at roll-call in Cluain Mhic/Mhuc Nois(e) we used Maolanna, and I liked the Maol, which suggested baldness and a tie to pirates, so distant from our landlocked hamlet. But it was a slap-up job, for sure, as off the mark as Milliny feels to me now. Funny how names can seem so porous, always in flux.
Under one name or another though, we’re still here, in the same place as always, making it and remaking it each time another generation of us slips out, peat-fingered and wooly-headed, tinkering toward a future.
- Ian Maleney
"I'm thinking of that radio show we listened to in bed together about rats. We were both exhausted and emotional and naked and ready to listen to a scientist speak calmly of things we did not care about. The scientist told us the following story; if you are told that a rat is particularly intelligent, then you will actually make it more intelligent. And if you are told that the rat is stupid, then you will make it more stupid. When you believe it to be intelligent, you will treat it with due care, handle it with kindness and sensitivity, thus creating a more nurturing environment and making it learn faster and better. When you believe the rat to be stupid, you dont think twice about squeezing its little pink ears too hard or getting its whisker trapped in the cage lock. You toss it down and dont want it in your hands any longer than necessary. You're making it less inclined to learn and grow with every careless movement of your brutish hands. The rat just goes on getting stupider - stupid rat!
We're eating thin garlicky steaks in a booth in Deville's and you say, the thing is, it's like the rats. If we say Lets just see how things pan out or You never know what might happen, we're going to make it so. By leaving the door open to possibility, we would in fact be creating possibility. You say this with defeat because of all the impracticalities we are wading through, but doesn't it sound very much like magic that the combined force of our desire is capable of creation?
In bed you're murmuring something into my forehead and I draw back but you're asleep and reiterating nonsense from your dreams, I can never get over the transparency of your eyelids and press my mouth to them now thinking Make it so make it so make it so Predictions are the things I already know or wish I knew, and I make them true with my will, turning the soft rat gently and letting it lick sugar from my wrists."
- Megan Nolan
in memory of sad dogs held upside down
angled, stuffed and tucked under gaping armpits
faces bigger than beaks trapped inside gravity
in memory of baby doherty
sucking at the golden teat
on train lines surging forward - to progress
in memory of cute dogs and goats and possums
in memory of fish without knowledge
swimming upstream to an old man who stays young
babies like giants and men like pigs
in memory of the clairvoyant dogs of khao lak
whispering to each other, leading the way out
in memory of dropped pins, treasure hunts and hoards;
it’s a pregnant sky
one that explodes at hinges where
thought and child and word is born
a crackling that sharpens ears and eyes
a book for the beginning
- Julie Morrissy
When we are born the arrangement of the stars at the exact moment of our birth forms our natal chart. Much like the dial of a compass, this map affixes our twelve houses to a region of the sky.
The twelve houses each relate to a different element of our lives, creating a template for human experience. As the stars move throughout the sky, like the cardinal directions on a compass, the twelve houses locate them within our individual chart. The closed circle of the natal chart contains our individualpotential.
However, the articulation of our personalities occurs through orbiting planets and luminaries’ interaction with points on our chart. This occurrence, called a transit, can happen in a number of ways. The planet or luminary may pass over a point in the sky that is significant in our chart. This planet will affect an area of our life corresponding to what it passes over.
Transits also occur at angles, called aspects. Each aspect will influence differences in the planet’s effect. The location in our natal chart determines what in our lives the planet will affect, but the orbit controls when in our lifetime this will occur. As the duration of orbit of one planet will differ from the next, so will its transit in our chart. The path of the planets forms a map over time, and it is the intersections of these orbits and our natal chart that foretell our fate.
- Caroline Nattinger
From the beginning, and before the earliest recorded histories, humanity as a whole has been intrigued with the future, and has sought out prophets, oracles, seers, prognosticators, and patterns in an attempt at gaining an advantage over the inevitable, the great void that is our own deep pool of unknowing. The use of structure to build a chronology of future events is inherently flawed, a reflexive action connected to what lies ahead merely through a network of aggregate data and reasoning set in the past. The idea that we look to the stars with the hope of understanding the future, while knowing we are actually looking into the past; the epic sprawl of decaying light and matter, an action in and of itself counterintuitive. This action is an archetypical process, and can be traced over most of
our attempts at prediction.
Whether this process is used in advertising, divining or preparing for Doomsday, the act of reflection is essential. A necessary means to mapping out a projected future. The two dichotomies that are native to prediction seem to be that of a subjective vs. objective, and scientific vs faith. On the religious side eschatology has taught us that hope alone in faith will not give us the answer to the coming of the New Floating Jerusalem, and science has taught us that data is not always what it seems, and can be jilted by chance. Perhaps the only way to escape this feedback loop of perception is to create our own unique zodiac, a map of personal constellations that we use to navigate to our next destination. Through reflecting on our past, we can begin to see how our futures will be laid out.
- Cullen Camic