2014 in L'Alpe di Siusi, fresh from the US and Australia.
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THE 1st ARIES FESTIVAL 2019
20/21 MAR 2019
© Malvin Artley
Service and services
The problem of leadership
Goodwill and service
Aries, courage and challenges
The full moon
Decisions and moments
The UK and Brexit
The promise of the future
New life: And happy Ides of March! We were driving to the coast the other day and laid out before us were field after field of orchards, lit by white and pink blossoms, the heralds of spring. The air was clear and warm, and we conjectured about what types the trees might be. Some sort of fruit, obviously. Cherries are a big crop here, and they come into season during the Aries interval, as do strawberries. I always look forward to this time of year. The red fruits are some of my favorites and they certainly reflect the coloring of Aries – red, Mars and full of passion. Perhaps it is a balance to my more Venusian nature. And then, in the past week, at the front door of the apartment building there is a tulip tree that is coming into full bloom, itself full of pink blooms. The cold and dark of winter is quickly passing away, seemingly like it was only yesterday, and the tops of the mountains are quickly losing their powdery covering. But with a good pair of binoculars, you can still see the skiers on the distant slopes, their season quickly passing as well.
Flowering ideas: One can actually tell quite a bit about the sign that is present at any particular time by looking at the plant life, the flowers especially. While it is true that there are many colors of flowers present at the moment, the predominant colors we see here are red, yellow and white, and these reveal the planets involved. Mars colors the red flowers, Mercury the yellow and with the white flowers representing the purity of new beginnings, also the non-descript nature of Mercury. Daffodils are some of the first flowers to pop up (speaking in terms of the northern hemisphere), and the yellow of Mercury speaks to the more esoteric side of Aries, which Mercury rules. Red is also the color of desire, in this case the desire for new life, for a fresh start. “Thus new thoughts can be carried into the hearts of men. Thus new flowers of ideas bring beauty to the dusty plains of earth.”
Everywhere there is a sense of new life, of new opportunities presenting, of old orders quickly passing. It is reflected not just in nature but in world events and in people’s lives that I have observed. And in a few days we welcome the Aries interval for 2019, and it starts on a very auspicious note, with the Sun at the full moon at the first degree of Aries. More on that later. But on the note of beginnings and the passing of the old, this letter marks a new cycle of letters, as Aries always does. For this year, given the geopolitical shifts from 2018, we focus instead on service in this cycle of letters – what it means to us, how it operates through the signs, where it is most needed, and so forth.
Service and services: Given that this year is very likely to be a big year in finances, the focus on service will also be on services, as in public services, which have seen a steady degradation in the past few decades, as reactionary elements in our Western societies seek to roll back any hint of social progress and public safety nets – all in the name of ‘freedom’, mind you. And Aries sounds a note for freedom, as it turns out, but with Aries that means true freedom – freedom for soul expression. With Aries the focus is more on individual effort and ‘finding the Christ within’, i.e., one’s higher Self. And as if we couldn’t get enough of Aries, we will have two Aries festivals this year, with the second one indicating the onset of Easter. This letter, then, can be seen as a transition letter, with the next Aries letter being more about the Easter festival. So, we will focus more on the esoteric qualities of Aries in the Easter letter, the 2nd Aries festival for 2019.
Aries, briefly: So, we jump right into Aries, then, in true Aretian fashion. Aries is known for jumping first and thinking about the consequences later, its nature being Martian in its outer expression. Aries is a fire sign, ruled in the orthodox by Mars. As such, it is a fearless and can be a combative sign. With its Mercury rulership Aries is also full of ideas, evolving eventually into a fluid and inclusive intellect, ultimately leading to the ability to connect to the higher Self with facility. And then we have the most occult ruler of the sign – its hierarchical ruler – Uranus. The work of Uranus is analogous to that of Mercury, producing the union of spirit and matter. In other words, Uranus gives the ability to ‘ground’ spiritual realities in daily living. This is quite a powerful trio of planets, and represents the power to communicate a new order of being to the planet and to society in general. Aries represents the magic of creation, in the sense that anything new will be seen in the light of its being a sort of magical emanation. And with the pairing of Mercury of Uranus, Aries as an archetype always transmits its particular brand of genius.
Aries is the pioneer, the avant garde, the firebrand who overturns old orders, who challenges the status quo. Aries is the pain in the neck, or other regions, to elitists and defenders of the old guard the world over. This is especially true of Aries men, as it is a masculine sign as well as the planets involved, but this in no way discounts the power of Aries women, who simply have a different approach to matters than the head-on approach of the Aries male. The symbol for Aries is the ram, after all, and no matter who is born under this sign, whether it be the Sun or Ascendant, there is always the tendency to butt in, to interrupt streams of conversation and habit, and often in a most forceful manner, whether in speech or in action. In one respect, this is the service that Aries represents – the challenge to our current modes of thinking and doing – something in which we are of sore need at the moment. A little digression is in order here.
Courageous women: We had a recent example of challenging the existing order in the US Congress, with statements made by freshman Rep. from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, regarding the Israel lobby. Many courageous women are stepping forward now. Omar’s comments were branded as anti-Semitic, whereas in fact they were nothing of the sort. Instead, they were intended to draw attention to the undue influence of foreign lobbies in US politics. Support for her comments are now increasing, especially among Jews and minority groups, and it has sparked a long-overdue debate about lobbying groups of all sorts and the manner in which they influence democracy in the US. A similar debate is needed in the UK. At the time she made her statements, there were directions of Saturn and Uranus to her Mars, the latter ruling Aries, of which one interpretation is “the stage of challenging others for a decisive contest or fight”. She has certainly done that. We don’t have a birth time for her, but I would not be at all surprised to find Aries prominent in one of her angles. Comments on the directions and transits can be found on the linked chart. However, this also brings up another issue at which Aries is also adept: holding leaders to account and challenging leadership to do the right thing by their electorates.
The problem of leadership: Aries is one of the ‘leadership’ signs. We are told in Alice Bailey’s books that members of the New Group of World Servers should not criticize national leaders, instead seeking the ‘middle way’, i.e. common ground between people and factions within nations and looking to build consensus rather than division. That is all right and good, but with a caveat, later. More devotional/idealistic people will adhere strictly to those words. But here is a question that needs to be asked: Who is actually leading our nations? Elected officials or special interest individuals and groups? If one scratches beneath the surface (and you don’t have to go very far), one finds that the leadership in many democracies – if one can call it leadership – actually is representative of those special interests, rather than of the general public good. The same holds true on the international stage. We won’t go into a discourse on the subject here, as we did that to a large extent last year in these letters. But here is the caveat: We are also told that evil needs to be firmly and decisively confronted and called out when it subverts the greater good of nations and populations. Pacifism is never desirable nor good in times of great crisis, as we have today. And humanity is facing great crises today in many spheres – military, environmental, political, economic, journalistic, educational. One of the main problems we have in addressing these things is that not enough people in places of power and influence recognize these crises, or instead use them for their own self-benefit.
Goodwill and service: The principles of goodwill are the primary guidelines of service in our everyday lives. All the world religions, in their pure form, teach this, as does simple common sense. But goodwill does not mean that one does not stand for what is right. Pacifism in the face of oppressive violence or regressive (re: evil) policy does more harm than good, and does not advance the common good. The Tibetan was quite clear on the matter:
“It is no doubt an undeniable spiritual truth that right thought can change and save the world, but it is also true that there are not enough people able to think [that is, to meditate with enough focus and to formulate thought clearly] to do this work. Also, there is not enough time in which to do it. The thoughts of peace are mainly founded upon a stubborn idealism that loves the ideal more than humanity. They are based also upon an unrecognised fear of war and upon an individual inertia which prefers the dream world of wishful thinking to the shouldering of responsibility for the security of humanity.”
This was written at the time of the World War, but still applies today. Further clarifying:
“All true and good people are pacifically minded and all hate war. This is a fact which the academic idealist and pacifist often forgets…They contend that thinking thoughts of peace and of love can put the world straight and end…war. Such people, fighting the existent fact of war, usually do little or nothing concrete to right the wrongs which are responsible for the war, and permit their [own] defense—personal, municipal, national and international—to be undertaken by others. The sincerity of these people cannot be questioned…it is motive that counts. War can be and is mass murder, where the motive is wrong. It can be sacrifice and right action, where the motive is right…”
These comments will lead to another point in a bit. We face the real possibility of a major war these days, even though I do not expect one, from what I can see. But the war drums are constantly beating in our corporate press and on many alternative media sites. Is it really helpful? Reiterating, it is motive that counts. But therein lies a big problem for the Western public in particular. Speaking of Mercury, communication, war and Aries, we are lied to by our governments and press on a daily basis. What has been the true motive for our having gone to war in recent years? Has it been necessary? Has it really been justified? Whom has it helped, in reality? We are told it is to ‘restore democracy’, to ‘remove evil dictators’ and so forth. But has it, really? Certainly not for the public in the places where war has taken place. It has left broken nations, greatly increased violence and instability, millions of displaced persons in their wake, millions dead, and drained the public welfare of both the attacked and the attackers, and so on. And we have just heard war threatened by Washington and requested by the Venezuelan opposition for Venezuela, for instance. Venezuela threatens no one. Venezuelans can sort out Maduro and their internal problems on their own. They don’t need the ‘help’ of Western democracies to do so. They certainly can do without sanctions. What they need is dialog between all parties in that nation, free of foreign interference.
Our corporate press is geared toward war and supplies us with misinformation on a daily basis. It is these sorts of things about which the public needs to be educated, and this is the point to be made. The publics of the US, UK and Australia are especially glamoured at the moment about war, about threats to security, much of which is unfounded. True goodwill between nations has yet to be realized, and will never be realized so long as the press keeps harping on about manufactured threats. Our national discourse needs a fundamental change. And that starts with people like Ilhan Omar. Goodwill intra-nationally is in very short supply these days, too. Our public discourse is riddled with separatism and divided opinions on a host of matters, issues which do nothing to truly advance the public good, and only serve to distract us from the real causes of our national and international problems.
Aries, courage and challenges: It would appear that we, as a collective, have learned nothing from the past. It is a thought that I often hear repeated. The preceding paragraphs are intended to make a point, and to return to Aries. If we step back and look at the rulers of Aries – hierarchical, esoteric and orthodox – we see a clear pattern, from the ‘top to the bottom’, if you will. Aries is a sign that introduces a new order (Uranus). It thus introduces an internal conflict (Mercury and the 4th ray) between possibilities for new paths and the existing orders, which hopefully encourages public discourse and the dissemination of the new ideas. This public discourse then challenges existing power structures and sometimes leads to open conflict (Mars). But it also incites destruction of outmoded habits and patterns of thought which are hindering the progress of humanity. Mars operates along the line of the Destroyer (being the alter ego of Pluto), as does Aries in general, in addition to transmitting the ray of devotion/fanaticism. On the whole it is a very courageous expression and when rightly used, can lead to revolutionary developments along the line of the advancement of human and public welfare. That is the ultimate purpose of Aries, the seeding of those initiatives. With these thoughts in mind, and given that this full moon starts on the Aries point, which always signals shifts in the world view, we have a look at the full moon.
The full moon takes place east of Greenwich on the 21st of March, west of Greenwich on the 20th, taking place at 01:43 UT in the UK (12:43 PM AEDT). Uranus is linked with the Moon by quincunx, which signals changes coming. We won’t go into the dynamics of the figure here, as would be usual. Instead, we focus on the changes that are happening. There is a point which might be helpful to keep in mind as to change as we proceed into the coming years and decades, and it relates to the following:
“Life…is one long series of presented opportunities—opportunities to make decisions. …as experience proceeds, these decisions become increasingly drastic, constantly more frequent and more crucial in their general trend; they lead, when made, to more eventful results.”
Decisions and moments: Every decision and every moment thus marks a moment of remarkable creative potential, if handled well and with directed intent. Every time we choose to do something outside of our learned, habitual behavior, we open a door to such creative possibilities. The closer one approaches to the higher Self and one’s soul group (ashram), the more important and testing are the decisions, as well the greater the opportunities. People the world over are making such decisions, either by choice or by force of circumstance, such that the choices made will result in long-term consequences. Choice is usually associated with Libra, but all of the signs involve life-choices. And Aries provokes/invokes choices. It is one of the signs that acts as a catalyst. These decisions, for the collective, are marked by elections, by uprisings, by wars and conflicts, by response to crises, etc. There are elections due, for example, in Ukraine, Israel, the EU, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay and local elections in the UK and Ireland. These are all important elections, especially with what we see developing in Ukraine, the UK, Europe and India. The others are important for various other reasons, but the ones just listed will have large carry-on effects for the parent nations and the regions in which they are situated.
The UK and Brexit: To cover these very quickly, Brexit and the way it has been mishandled has cost the conservatives in the UK dearly. But it is also revealing much in the way that politics has operated in the UK for some time now, the realities of Europe, also the realities of the special interests within and without the UK who have their own more selfish interests in mind, and the undercurrents in British society that have held the nation back. Also, those who seek to move the nation forward. To reiterate here, the UK can never really separate itself from the Continent. It can achieve some level of autonomy, but this it has always had, in reality. There is a much larger picture and play that is evolving, with the UK as the centerpiece, the catalyst. This week has been especially important in the UK, and very important decisions are being made in the Parliament. A ‘No-deal Brexit’ is now off the table, as is a second referendum, at least for now. A no-deal Brexit is what the special interests had hoped to achieve. There is a possibility they may yet succeed in that, given secret meetings between Brexiteers and far-right leaders in Europe. So, we will see further political turmoil in the UK over the ensuing months, to reach a climaxing point early in 2020, if not before, when Saturn joins Pluto in Capricorn opposite the UK Moon. The latter represents the sitting government, ruling as it does the 10th house. I will be writing a piece about all this in the coming days in the Blog space.
Israel: To Israel, and Bibi Netanyahu is in trouble in Israel and Israel’s support in the US is slipping. This is also an important election, because it could well decide the fate of the Israelis. This is a realistic possibility. Bibi may feel forced to do something drastic to stay in office. But then, he also may bow out, only to be replaced by someone more hawkish – or not. Israel is increasingly painting itself in a corner, as it were, and primarily due to its own errant policies rather than any outside influence. And if something drastic does take place, it is doubtful that the US will be able to guarantee Israeli security, given the military capabilities of its neighbors, which have grown significantly as a result of the war in Syria, also as a result of the rapprochement between Iran and Iraq. The US is quickly losing its grip on and influence in the Middle East.
Ukraine: Then, there is Ukraine and the EU. The neo-Nazis in Ukraine are actively protesting against their champion, Poroshenko, who had used them as muscle. The candidates likely to win are advocating talks with the leaders of the Donbass region and with Moscow. Wonders never cease. The Atlanticist project in Ukraine may be seeing its dying days, as Germany in particular does not want to see Nazis on its doorstep, and Germany is already at odds with the US and NATO. Even the Atlantic Council, the mouthpiece of Atlanticist policy, have stated that Poroshenko does not deserve a second term. Washington had hoped to draw Ukraine into NATO, but given the current tensions in Ukraine, that looks to be a long way off, if it would ever happen at all. The violence that is on the rise in Ukraine is virtually unreported in corporate media. Yet the resolution of the ‘Ukraine problem’ is a key to the stability of the EU, among other factors. Completion of the Nordstream II gas pipeline to Germany will further elevate tensions within Ukraine due to a loss of revenue, leading to a crisis that will probably involve Russia yet again – this time hopefully with dialog and the sequestering on neo-Nazi elements in that nation instead of further threats and sanctions. Ukraine is a representation in miniature of the Russian Federation in a way, a fact little realized, as it, too, is a bridging nation and a stark example of what happens with Western-style economic shock therapy. Eastern Europe and the EU by extension has a great interest in stability there.
India: To India, and Modi faces a tight race and he has failed to stimulate the economy in the way he had promised. It is economics that usually decides elections. The recent tensions with Pakistan, which were particularly dangerous, were used as political fodder to boost his ratings. This at the expense of or ignoring the cause of world security (India and Pakistan have 220 nuclear weapons between them). Bill Clinton once called Kashmir “the most dangerous place in the world” for that very reason, along with the volatility there. In that region again, some of the most important geopolitical shifts in the world are taking place, with Pakistan moving ever closer to China, the latter seeing Pakistan as one of the main arteries in its B&R Initiative and the two of them along with Russia and the US all seeking to resolve the problems in Afghanistan. India for its part still practices is non-aligned policy and enjoys good relations with both Washington, Russia and most of its neighbors. India’s main problems, though, are internal and will take time and strong leadership to work out. The promise of India is in the Light that it hides, and it is that Light, brought to bear, that can do much to solve tensions in that part of the world. India is one of the world’s biggest population centers, after all. If China is any example of what a large populace is capable, India deserves to be carefully watched and aided in its progress.
The EU: We will leave this piece for now with the EU and the challenges it is facing. We have looked at all this before. If the UK stays in the EU, even for a few years yet, the effects on Europe will be either to bring the needed changes to the Union, or to cause it to split. The UK is facing one of its biggest existential crises in recent memory, which should serve to further draw out its Gemini soul. If that crisis is not handled well – i.e., if decisions are made based solely on short-term political gain by the parties involved – then the UK faces inner divisions that will keep the nation from moving forward in any meaningful manner and will likely set it back a number of years. The reason for saying that is that decisions made for political gain are seldom for the public good, or the good of international relations.
Germany and France are very likely to be changing leadership soon, as both Macron and Merkel are facing growing pressures and are weak leaders. Those two nations, along with Italy and the UK, hold the keys to the success or failure of the EU. One of the problems the UK has with the EU relates back to Margaret Thatcher, who pushed the UK toward the EU, at the same time embracing the globalist/Atlanticist free-trade, free-market economic model, upon which the EU is also based. That model is what has caused the problems for the average British subject, not the EU. It has caused the same sorts of problems for citizens in the EU. But there is a key to the future of the entire European continent, including Russia: If that globalist, neo-liberal model fails, which is happening rather quickly now, what will take its place? If the US dollar loses its reserve currency status, what will take its place? The US may well end up in a worse state of affairs than Europe were the latter to happen. Europe and Asia are one land mass, with extremes in resources. More forward-thinking leaders are looking at this. Marco Polo is returning to China, for instance, which is causing angst for EU leaders and Washington. Realities are beginning to bite, and people are starting to think in terms of a future with different trade, economic and alliance blocs.
The promise of the future: Many and promising possibilities are opening before us as we watch a changing world landscape. Our possibilities are limited only by the scope of our imagination and the power with which we can hold and direct our thought. Imagination is the action of the higher Self, seeking to manifest itself in this worldly existence, if we could realize it. This points to a final thought about Aries – it is one of the signs that imagines a better future, enabling people to ‘think outside the box’. This, Uranus impulses, Mercury enables and Mars makes a physical reality. The Aries interval each year is our invitation to imagine a better world, and in so doing to raise the general welfare of humanity. Let your imagination range far and wide this year. You never know what can eventuate, but without daring nothing changes. Let us all practise daring in our thoughts, words and actions, as do our Aries friends. Such is the service that Aries presents. May it be so for everyone in these days of the forerunner.
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