Oh My Stars

matthew currie hbo leftovers astrology“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
-Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland


(No real spoilers here. You’re safe, for now)

I admit it. I thought I was going to be clever the last time I wrote about HBO’s The Leftovers. Season Three — the final season for what’s shaping up to be one of the greatest artistic statements ever made on American Television — concerns itself with the seventh anniversary of The Sudden Departure: a mysterious event where an apparently random two percent of the world’s population simply vanished, without explanation or return. I wrote about the show in terms of Saturn. You see, seven years is one quarter of a Saturn Cycle, and that’s a time when…

No. It’s not that simple. We are both part of and yet separate from the astrological process, just as we are more than just our DNA or upbringing or circumstances. No one system describes us completely, and each perspective on us is subject to uncertainty. In astrological terms, that’s much more a parallel to Neptune than Saturn.


Saturn limits us and constricts us and makes the electronics stop working when we need them to. Saturn does things in the concrete and material world. It makes our loved ones vanish without ever giving us a proper answer as to “why.” Neptune speaks in the languages of spirituality and fiction and visions and madness. And just because you don’t understand a language doesn’t mean that someone is lying to you with it. Saturn demands answers in its language, and Neptune provides them in fluent Neptunian. Poor Saturn. He’s limited to grasping at those answers in terms of One God Who Is Three Who Is One, or Low Amplitude Denziger Radiation, or whatever.

Don’t entirely understand the dogma? Just go with it, okay? There’s some Truth to be found here somewhere. there is meaning in the madness of those left behind by The Sudden Departure, even if the madness is what you see first. Salvation and absurdity are subject areas both Neptune and The Leftovers understand all too well.

Neptune brings us transcendence, the collective fever dream of an impending Apocalypse, and the hope for a Savior. Saviors are funny things, though. Sometimes they’re real and sometimes they are imaginary. Sometimes they’re a fraud, and sometimes they are the fulfillment of our prayers. Some are born into humble circumstances to a young mother who can’t find a place to stay. Some claim the title in order to gain power over others who are in pain and are seeking Salvation. And, who knows? Maybe next time it could be a cop named Kevin. I guess we’ll see, won’t we?

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
-Matthew 16:15-16

“He’s not the Messiah. He’s a very naughty boy!”
-Monty Python’s The Life Of Brian

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