2014 in L'Alpe di Siusi, fresh from the US and Australia.
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THE WESAK FESTIVAL 2019
18/19 May 2019
© Malvin Artley
Extremes and the Middle Way
The Golden eye
Mind as a vehicle
The full moon
The dwarf planet, Sedna
Algol, selling our heritage
Archie, a change of pace
A necessary context
The hope of Great Britain
Who is responsible?
A little history
The special interests
The battle for control
A fresh perspective
What to expect
Re-examining a great experiment
And Happy Wesak! It has been quite an unusual period here in northern Italy since the last full moon. A blast of cold air from Siberia and accompanying rain, some of that from the tail end of the North Atlantic storm Hannah, dumped up to a half-meter of snow in the mountains close to us. It was quite lovely, though it did cause a couple of deaths and many strandings in the higher elevations, along with an avalanche or two, not to mention the damage to the new fruit. Apples and grapes have been damaged as a result. We can look for higher fruit, wine and vegetable prices in the next months as a result. I have also heard reports from other people about strange, unexpected events they have experienced around the time of the last full moon, probably the result of the Uranian conjunction with the full moon axis at that full moon. As for the snow, I hear comments to the effect of, “How’s that global warming going?” My answer is that global warming causes extremes, not only warming, but extremes of all sorts. But we won’t cover that here, as it is not relevant to this letter.
Extremes and the Middle Way: Speaking of extremes, though, that particular word is very relevant – central, in fact – to what we will be discussing later, and to the theme of Wesak itself. As it turns out, the Buddha, to whom the Wesak festival is dedicated, taught the abandonment of extremes in the pursuit of liberation and enlightenment. It came to be known as the Middle Way, one of the central tenets of Buddhism, which in turn gave rise to the Four Noble Truths and further, the Noble Eightfold Path. We won’t cover those here. The linked pages explain it all quite well. But, the sign Taurus is always associated with Gautama, the Buddha, or Siddhartha, or Shakyamuni, depending on one’s persuasion, the legend being that he was born in the sign. Whether or not he was is not important, either. What he taught and represented, and especially the sign under which he was said to be born, are of real interest to us, and in particular for this Year of the Monastic Pig.
The Golden eye: As to why this particular Wesak festival is of pointed importance, Taurus rules the natural 2nd house of the zodiac, a sector of the horoscope that shows one’s approach to values in life and to one’s self-esteem. In mundane astrology it rules the banking sector, trade and national resources – economics in general. It is one of the ‘financial signs’, along with Capricorn, Libra and Scorpio being the primary ones. But, it is also a sign that signifies breakthroughs and doorways into higher consciousness, as exemplified in the life of the Buddha. In its lower expression it governs desire and acquisitiveness. “Mine!” is the word spoken by the lower Taurean. But eventually, the seeking of things gives way to dissatisfaction – suffering – and a new sense of values dawns. This polarity is spoken of in the following:
“The golden eye of Taurus points the way to those who likewise see. That which is gold will someday, too, respond, passing from East to West in that dire time when the urge to gather gold shall rule the lower half [the personalities of people and nations]. The search for gold, the search for golden light divine, directs the Bull of Life, the Bull of Form. These two must meet; and meeting, clash. Thus vanishes the gold….”
The meaning is clear, if we read it properly. Gold in this case has two meanings – divine wisdom and material gain. ‘The golden eye of Taurus’ refers to the wisdom aspect of the sign. “Points the way to those who likewise see” refers to those who have achieved the result before, our exemplars, thus revealing the path – ‘the Way, the Truth and the Life’ as stated in Christianity. ‘That which is gold’ likewise refers to that wisdom, as we saw when the trans-Himalayan teachings spread from that region thence throughout the Western world. The gathering of gold refers to material gain, and the control of the world’s resources, which has resulted in the dire situation we have seen in the past centuries. More on that later. The ‘gold that vanishes’ is the cessation of desire for material gains and temporal attachments.
The path of the bull (Taurus) is identical to the path of the Buddha’s life, which began in a state opulence and privilege, after which he ‘left his father’s house’, having clashed internally with what he had known and what he saw as the suffering of those around him, and he came to know the same suffering, privation and the results of it. In the clash of the extremes, he abandoned the gold and found the golden light divine. The theme of gold runs throughout the sign. Taurus is thus a sign that can engender the most intense of internal conflicts, but the end result is liberation from desire and attachment, even of rebirth, and the attainment is of the divine light of nirvana and beyond. How this is achieved is most interesting, and central to our present struggles.
Buddhism is not so much a religion as it is a practice, as there is no ‘God’ to which to make supplication, no creator deity. The practise of Buddhism is of the constant effort at mind training. This is true as much with respect to one’s daily life as it is to meditative practice, to the point in advanced stages where one’s life becomes a state of constant meditation. This is reflected in the sign’s esoteric ruler, Vulcan, which is symbolized in the hammer and forge. Vulcan represents that activity whereby we continually hammer away at the path before us, which is the mind in the end analysis, fashioning it into an instrument/vehicle that can penetrate any veil and arrive at the essence of whatever is presented. It is a process that arrives at the attainment of superhuman powers in its advanced stages, or in the accumulation of great material wealth in its lower aspect.
If one enters into Buddhist studies to any great degree, the first stages of those practices and teachings involve an infinitely dissecting analysis of everything that is presented. Am I a person? Is there a soul? Is there a God? Why do I suffer? Why do I feel enjoyment? How have I come to be in my present state? Is what I see or sense real, or simply my own mind acting? At first it is engaging, even enjoyable as the mind revels in its machinations. After a time, though, it can and does become maddening. Then it becomes mechanical and second-nature. And to add to it, in many Buddhist schools such topics are endlessly debated, and one had better know one’s point of view and the reasons for it, or that dissecting analysis will be directed at one’s own reasoning, which can be an ego-destroying experience. Actually, that is the point of the debate when one comes down to it. Through such practice the mind becomes very sharp, very quickly, a keen sword of discrimination. At first it is driven by gross ego and the desire to be ‘right’. Later, as the subtler aspects of ego reveal themselves there enter periods of deep reflection. These lead eventually to flashes of insight when one finally realizes that even the mind itself is an obstruction to the golden light, the ultimate attainment. In Buddhism the mind is a tool to be fashioned, not an end in itself.
Mind as a vehicle: The interesting thing about vehicles is that at some point one has to get off, or out once the destination is reached. What is the point of driving to a dinner party if we stay in the car and do not dismount and go inside? True, we arrive at the destination, but that is only half the job. The real task or purpose lies at the destination. ‘Mind’ in Buddhism is not simply the thinking principle as we know it. ‘Mind’ instead, encompasses the entirety of the personality, the soul incarnate and the soul on its own plane, the spiritual Triad, or higher Self. We are five-fold, composed of five aggregates, or compartments of consciousness. Nirvana, the highest of these five, is the goal of liberation, and a mighty goal at that, but to more esoteric Buddhism not even that is enough. Even Nirvana is in its essence the most refined form of mind, the final obstruction to omniscience, not the end goal in itself. Referring back to our vehicular example, we might reach a certain goal with nirvana, which is the end of the need to be reborn and the bliss of enlightenment, but there is more to it. One must leave Nirvana eventually and surpass it, into the Buddha nature itself, what we call the monad, the latter itself even being only a doorway into ever-more-sublime realities. Or, we must return to this reality and teach, or serve. Words are inadequate, but perhaps the point can be seen. We get further insight into Buddhism when we look at the Buddha himself in that life so long ago.
Buddha, himself, was said to have a most unusual combination of rays on his makeup, with a second ray soul, a first ray personality and a sixth ray mind. The latter is quite rare. That, coupled with his first ray personality gave him his penetrating intellect and his ability to suffer through extreme austerity, as well as his fiery devotion to his goal, which was an end to suffering and his full enlightenment. This, he did as a service, reflecting his second ray soul. He showed us the individual path to enlightenment. His was an effort that affected not simply a few people, but an entire world. His legacy was that he struck the first major blow to the world glamour and illusion with the Four Noble Truths. He taught people how to reason and think for themselves, and to do so without going to extremes. He realized that any extreme, engaged for long enough, becomes destructive and is a hindrance to one’s path.
The forces of materialism today seek to cast their illusions and glamours over this world still, doing so through the media of various sorts now, in all formats, and presenting us constantly with extreme points of view. People feel bewildered at what they hear, distrustful of media that was once the gold standard of reporting, distrustful of politics in government and often justifiably so, both of which are now corrupted by the corporate interests that control them. We need the techniques the Buddha gave us today more than ever, to cut through the illusory mess with which we are presented every day. But most of all, we need the peace and protection of mind that the Middle Way teaches – to look at everything from a calm center, unmoved by the swirling energies around us, serene in the golden light that is, in essence, us – if only we could remember it. With the preceding in mind, we move on to the full moon and our topic under consideration for this installment.
The full moon takes place on 18 May 19 at 21:11 UT (7:11 AM AEDT). On the surface there is nothing especially compelling about this full moon, except for the fact it is the Wesak moon, and that Mars is out of bounds. The Sun is trine the Saturn/Pluto conjunction. Mars will be in the 21st Chinese lunar mansion (Orion) from the 8th to the 23rd, that mansion often being associated with accidents and losing one’s head. But Mars is also sextile a Venus/Uranus conjunction in the chart, which tends to lessen the severity of Martian events. It also gives inventiveness.
One thing that does stand out about this chart is the Sun’s conjunction with the dwarf planet Sedna at the 28th degree of Taurus. The degree of the Sabian symbol is interesting, and gives pause for thought:
A woman, past her “change of life”, experiences a new love. (27 – 28 Taurus)
The dwarf planet, Sedna: One of the suggestive influences with this set of factors is for a ‘new lease on life’, or at least a revised vision of it. Sedna was an Inuit creation goddess, living in the depths of the frigid Arctic waters. She is an unknown quantity in many ways, but she is slowly revealing herself. She is also an underworld goddess, and thus has characteristics we would expect from planets like Pluto, Ixion, Huya and so forth. From my own recent research, the most important consideration here is what she represents in terms of the human collective experience – she signals the coming of the main epochs in human cultural/civilizational development, along with the collapse of the old orders, sudden or drawn out. She is moving at her fastest pace now, but even at that, she has been in Taurus since 1968. Sedna has an orbital cycle of about 11,400 years. If her orbit were circular (it is actually extremely elliptical) the average time she would spend in a sign would be about 950 years. At her slowest she moves barely one arc-second per year, almost as slow as a fixed star. And in that respect, her influence can be read very much like that of a fixed star, but she is uniquely connected with our solar system. We can consider ourselves lucky she is moving quickly now, as she is also now conjunct the dreaded star Algol.
Before we get to what that conjunction entails, I have outlined the influences of Sedna as she transits through the signs that concern us in our recorded human history, which you can read at the hyperlink above. But of particular interest in our present world history is that she will change signs again, and soon, entering Gemini the year before our favorite date – 2025. As we proceed here, it is helpful to keep in mind that the world is not going to magically change in 2025. But, we already see hints of what is to come after 2025, and it relates to Gemini already, the primary area being the emergence of a multipolar world, away from the old model of empire, concentrated power and a single, centralized authority.
Sedna’s move into Gemini will signal very significant changes for the nations and federations who have Gemini prominent in their makeup, like the UK, the US, Poland and Belgium. The nations and the city that have this as their personality expression will be especially shaken as the processes Sedna signals take hold – The US, Belgium, Poland and London. And they are places that need shaking and purging of their more reactionary elements. We might see that such actions are already taking place, or that the conditions for such are being put in place. Brexit and Trump are both symptomatic of such coming changes. But what about Algol?
Algol, selling our heritage: Algol is the eye of the Medusa, β Persei, in the severed head of the Medusa, carried by the champion, Perseus. It is currently at 26 Taurus 25. That Sabian symbol is also revealing of what is taking place in our present societal evolution:
An old Indian woman selling the artifacts of her tribe to passersby.
This symbol will have relevance to what is presently to be discussed, as we have recently seen much of the legacy we gained as a society in the West sold off at an increasing pace. Algol will be within a degree of the Sun and within less than a degree of Sedna at the full moon. It has been called the ‘demon star’. It is a rare triple star and an eclipsing binary, giving it the appearance that it blinks every 69 hours for 10 hours, adding to its macabre mythology, since it is in a severed head, after all. The astrologer William Lilly determined that any planet within 5° of Algol received its nefarious influence. So, what does this mean for us?
There was another Wesak festival with the Sun conjunct Algol in 2000, the year before 9/11, but Sedna was ten degrees away then, for context. In the past Algol has been widely associated with violence, with military commanders being advised by an astrologer never attacking while its light was dim. It has been associated with decapitations, violence, neck injuries and sudden death. In our context here, in its conjunction with Sedna, it signifies the end of an era. What era that signifies is given to us by sign – Taurus – and it relates to the neoliberal economic order that was in process of being set up when it entered Taurus in 1968, and which is in process of ending now, among many other things. We had a recent example of the end of an era with the birth of a child.
Archie, a change of pace: Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor was born on 6 May 2019 at 5:26 AM BST in London. (chart) That in itself is not what interests us, though. What is of particular interest is that his birth has broken centuries of tradition. He is half-American and holds dual UK-American citizenship. He is also from a background that is half royal and half working class. Not even that, but he is also bi-racial, his mother being half-black, half-white, as was Barack Obama. Not that it should, but the latter has raised more than a few eyebrows. But even this is not the whole story. It is said that the family will be spending quite a bit of time in Africa, away from the media scrum in London. Further, he has an abbreviated name, uncharacteristic, and his parents have defied tradition all along, not even bestowing a royal title on little Archie. That in itself says quite a bit, all of which are clear breaks with tradition. Archie is a double-Taurus (Sun and rising) with a Gemini Moon. And, he was born with his Moon conjunct the Sedna/Algol conjunction in his first house – a break with the past, the Moon representing the past in one’s horoscope. He will express that break with the past throughout his life, through word and deed. His is just one small example of what this conjunction is bringing.
Things do not happen overnight when Sedna changes sign. There is no clear demarcation between signs, as the characteristics of two signs merge and blend at their cusps. And we see that now as Uranus has entered Taurus and as it approached, also highlighting what we will be discussing here. But the 1960s, when Sedna last changed signs, was a period of great change and unrest in the West, especially in the US, with the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, the sexual revolution and so on. It was also when the Beatles entered our culture. Peace and love, sex and drugs and rock & roll. And then there was Nixon and the end of the Bretton Woods gold standard early in the following decade, along with our fiat currency.
Thus, although on the surface this appears to be a rather ‘normal’ full moon, being the Wesak festival, this combination of factors – Wesak, Sedna, Algol, Mars OOB and the Saturn/Pluto conjunction – signifies something out of the ordinary for us. What we see is yet another new world order emerging before us. The transits of Sedna, as it turns out, will help us track the changes we are witnessing. We have been through this sort of change many times before. We have always survived it and gone on to thrive, and there is no reason to think we will not survive it this time, although the specter of nuclear weapons looms larger than ever these days.
A necessary context: It is important, if we want to understand what is taking place in world affairs in this present interlude (over the next decade or so) and the reasons behind it, that we look at the historical context and the people who are pushing us in the directions we see if we are to move into the emerging world order with our eyes wide open. The discussion to follow is a continuation of the theme we addressed in the Easter letter, but it also relates to our sense of values and to the discrimination and focused attention that is needed to move beyond our limitations. What is in process of being replaced is our current system of unrestrained capitalism (laissez faire capitalism) that has been with us off and on since the 19th century.
Before we enter our discussion for this piece, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. Firstly, in discussing capitalism, there are many versions of it, ranging from the unrestrained capitalism we have been moved toward in the past decades, to various forms of mixed economies, such as we see in Russia, China, various European, Venezuelan and Iranian models and to a much smaller extent in the US and UK. On the other extreme is pure communism, which some people conflate with socialism (there is a difference), and between these two extremes a battle is now raging, largely polemic and propagandist at the moment. But in the resolution of that battle lies the future of humanity, and neither extreme can win out if we are to move into a better future for all of us. More on that later. Both extremes move toward authoritarian, repressive regimes, as we saw in Soviet Russia and see now in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and North Korea. Unrestrained capitalism leads to a ruling aristocracy and fascism, disconnected from the populace (a sort of ‘let them eat cake’ attitude), whereas extreme socialism leads to state control over every aspect of a person’s life, with its own set of elites. There is little freedom in either case, and in some ways they both resemble each other, in that they both lead to an elite controlling everything, to the detriment of the populace.
Secondly, some of the quoted material will raise hackles for some readers and sound anti-Western and radical, especially anti-American. But if we take a step back and look at things in a historical and social-evolutionary context, what emerges is that it is the mixed economies that have produced the greatest benefit for the largest number of people. The US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Western Europe have all had mixed economies, but in the past decades the gains thus made have been steadily, deliberately and stealthily rolled back. The Roosevelt era in the US, where the mixed economy was most pronounced, is now all but wiped away, placing increasing pressures on its once-thriving middle class. The post-war social gains in the UK have gone likewise, and if Brexit proceeds it is likely to be accelerated. The Whitlam era in Australia has gone likewise. And people – the average citizens in those nations – have seen their status gradually sink, their standard of living disappear and their struggles increase as a result. And they/we are rightly angry about it. We are about to address why that would be. Yellow vests result, as an example. A nation’s resources, when used to benefit its citizens first, increases the wealth of the nation and the individual. When privatized, those resources become the whim of a single entity, and usually result in steadily rising prices, monopolization and scarcity.
Capitalism unleashed: Consider the following two quotes, to start:
The capitalistic spirit [overall] and the latent fascism of the United States are at this time a definite menace to world peace, and the capitalists are blocking the efforts of the men of goodwill.
Those words were published in 1953. The US was in its second Red Scare in the McCarthy era. The CIA was a working entity, spreading its mischief worldwide. The Iranian government had just been overthrown in a covert operation by the US and UK to seize its oil. The military-industrial complex was rapidly gaining ascendancy. The US controlled around half of all the world’s wealth. Capitalism had won out, even though the USSR had defeated the Nazis in Europe. Continuing:
“In every nation, such men and organizations – responsible for the capitalistic system – are to be found…They form an international group, closely interrelated, working in complete unity of idea and intention and knowing and understanding each other…Today, [pub. 1944] in spite of the disaster which they have brought upon the world, they are again organized and renewing their methods; their goals remain unchanged; their international relationships remain unbroken; they constitute the greatest menace mankind faces today…”
Mont Pèlerin: But, the ‘menace to world peace’ referred to earlier has gone on unabated. It was set back for a time in Western Europe, including the UK (as above), and even though the gains made have been whittled away, the people are on to what is happening and they are beginning to fight back, seeking slowly to regain the mixed, semi-socialized economies they gained after WWII. But, there still exists that international group, quoted, and they had as their inspirers, exemplars and champions represented in a small group of men, as one small example – some of the ‘reactionaries’ quoted in the last letter – who gathered shortly after the war’s end and set out their agenda:
“Mont Pèlerin was the unlikely birthplace of a counter-revolution that would one day sweep the globe. For the first few days of April 1947, nearly forty intellectuals from across the Western world – academics, economists and journalists among them – descended upon the town’s Hôtel du Parc. After a week of rigorous and often heated debate, the assembled group convened to pass sentence on a new global order that had emerged from the rubble of World War II. ‘The central values of civilization are in danger,’ read the group’s damning Statement of Aims. ‘Over large stretches of the earth’s surface the essential conditions of human dignity and freedom have already disappeared.’ To these thinkers the roots of the crisis were clear; they had ‘been fostered by a decline of belief in private property and the competitive market’. With the stage set for a generational struggle in defence of an increasingly besieged free-market capitalism, the Mont Pèlerin Society was born.” [emphasis added]
Geneva is said to be one of the planet’s major centers. It is useful to keep in mind, though, that where there is Light, shadow is never far behind. The Mont Pèlerin Society (chart) was indeed a counter-revolutionary group, and still exists, except now their philosophy forms the basis of thought in most Western establishment politics, most notably in the US, UK, Australia and their closest allied states. And there is actually little difference between the major parties in Western societies regarding these matters. The only apparent difference is the shade of lipstick. We know these policies embraced by the members of such societies now as a false Libertarianism, also as neoliberal economics. Mont Pèlerin is certainly not the only such group, but it goes precisely toward illustrating the type of reactionary group that we had been warned against, and in the time frame that the quote was written. Some of the past members of that group are well-known: Friedrich Hayak (of the Austrian school of economics), Ludwig von Mises (also Austrian), Milton Friedman (the architect of the Pinochet economic ‘shock treatment’ in Chile), George Shultz (former US Secretary of State), Charles Koch (of the Koch brothers), William F. Buckley, Jr. and a long list of others. It is said that, “of 76 economic advisers on Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign staff, 22 were MPS members.” That is quite a telling statement, given what Reaganomics (‘trickle-down’ economics and privatization) meant for the US. The same was true of Thatcherism in the UK. The results have been quite negative for the average citizen.
The hope of Great Britain: Before continuing with our quotes, readers in the UK may want to consider the following, especially regarding the so-called ‘special relationship’ between the US and the UK, the current parties in power, the post-war era and what has been lost in the process:
…the hope of Great Britain lies in her socialistic tendencies which enable her to take the “middle path” between the communism of Russia and the capitalism of the United States. [emphasis added]
This was begun under Churchill, just prior to the end of the War. In the UK that has meant things such as the NHS, nationalized industries such as rail, coal and electricity:
“…the nationalization of coal, iron and steel, electricity’ and gas, transport by rail, road and inland waterways, “civil aviation, and other economic activities” has altered the traditional pattern of life in Britain and, together with the welfare legislation enacted after the war, [under Attlee] has led to social changes which might prove to be as radical in their effect as was the emancipation of the villeins in the fourteenth century and the industrial revolution of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries”
And so it was, for a time. (A villein was a serf tied to the land, with a social status between that of a slave and a free peasant.) Recent polls (for example, and here) of Britons reveal that they want a return to those post-war social policies and re-nationalization of many aspects of their resources, in other words, to roll back Thatcherism (Britain’s version of trickle-down economics) and the Conservatives. We call such nationalization and social welfare ‘democratic socialism’ or ‘reformed socialism’ these days. In the press, especially the conservative press, it is denounced as regressive, or not even reported, as being against freedom, unsustainable and doomed to failure – demonized in other words, as is anyone who advocates for it. Hence, we see the smears against people such as Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders, for example.
Who is responsible?: Continuing with our quotes:
“…the responsibility for the widespread misery to be found today in every country in the world lies predominantly at the door of certain major interrelated groups of business-men, bankers, executives of international cartels, monopolies, trusts and organizations and directors of huge [multinational] corporations who work for corporate or personal gain. They are not interested in benefiting the public except in so far that the public demand for better living conditions will enable them—under the Law of Supply and Demand [the free market, in other words]—to provide the goods, the transportation, light and power which will in the long run bring in heavier financial returns. Exploitation of man-power, the manipulation of the major planetary resources and the promotion of war for private or business profit are characteristic of their methods.
This group of capitalists has cornered and exploited the world’s resources and the staples required for civilized living; they have been able to do this because they have owned and controlled the world’s wealth through their interlocking directorates and have retained it in their own hands. They have made possible the vast differences existing between the very rich and the very poor; they love money and the power which money gives; they have stood behind governments and politicians; they have controlled the electorate; they have made possible the narrow nationalistic aims of selfish politics; they have financed the world businesses and controlled oil, coal, power, light and transportation; they control publicly or sub rosa [secretly] the world’s banking accounts.”
A little history: What is quoted is a damning statement, but it is what we have today. We see that at present being attempted by Western powers in Venezuela regarding its oil and its agriculture. We saw it also in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Ukraine, among others. The thing is, it is nothing new. Those words were also published in 1944. From here a little history is in order.
Capitalism as we know it had its start early in the 17th century with the Dutch, followed quickly by the British, with their respective East India companies. This was around the time Sedna made its transition from Aquarius to Pisces, speaking of Sedna again. That was also about the time the 6th ray began to pass out of manifestation (1625). Toward the end of the Piscean sojourn of Sedna, in the 1840s, saw the beginnings of economic globalization and free trade, put in place mainly by the British. That period also marked the start of the rapid rise of the British Empire, which reached its peak just after WWI. There is a clue there for the UK as to why Brexit happened. And it goes back to the current reactionary elements in the British establishment, who yearn once again for the days when the British Empire was at its peak, the British version of ‘make America great again’. It is not difficult to see once one has the historical context of how our current system evolved. What the radical conservatives who pushed for Brexit were after (they may still achieve it) is a return to what Britain had during the 19th century – globalization and free trade – ‘freedom’, in their words, ‘taking back control’ from the regulations placed upon them, little as they are, by the EU. The EU was a convenient whipping point, even though the EU has its own Libertarians and oligarchs pulling strings behind the scenes.
That period in the 19th century also saw the emergence of the gold standard as the reference point of trade and finance. We are apt to think that globalization and free trade practices are something relatively new, but they are actually part and parcel of the laissez faire capitalist system, which was formed in the 19th century and to which we have been led once again since the entry of Sedna into Taurus in the 1960s. To be clear, there are three things that stand out about the laissez faire system – private ownership (of everything), unfettered, free-market competition and the unfettered freedom of the individual. In that regard we can see it as a regressive influence. And this is what the Aries sojourn of Sedna signaled for us – Me first! – the catch cry of the immature Aries type.
The special interests: There is another point to be made here regarding the Pèlerin Society. In their statement of aims, reference is made to “…freedom of thought and expression, [which] is threatened by the spread of creeds which, claiming the privilege of tolerance when in the position of a minority, seek only to establish a position of power in which they can suppress and obliterate all views but their own.” We can see this is exactly what has taken place, both in terms of the oligarchies that have emerged and with identity politics, wherein minorities have made claims to power that should never be a main concern. There is a long list – foreign interest groups, small but powerful lobbying groups, vocal and militant minority groups, fundamentalist religious groups, and more. Conservatives blame liberals for such, and vice-versa. This is another example of the “Me first!” mentality that came to the fore starting in the last century, but it keeps the society divided, which is also used as a control mechanism and a distraction from the control the establishment seeks to preserve.
On the other side, the higher, pioneering and matured Aries interval of Sedna gave us all the wonderful science, knowledge and technology we have today, brought about by millions of people working in concert, with directed purpose. It gave us the great economic experiment of reformed socialism. And it was all in place by the end of Sedna’s sojourn in Aries (1968), and has since matured in Taurus. Since then it has also been financialized, along with everything else. In true Taurean fashion – lower Taurus, to be sure – virtually everything has been assigned a dollar value, and as we saw in the early part of the 20th century, it is the financial sector that pulls the strings of power, with most of the wealth and power concentrated in the hands of a few people. We have almost come full circle again. But people are more aware now, too.
The battle for control has moved into high gear now. The establishment in the West sees the emerging multipolar order, and their resulting loss of control over the world’s resources. They almost had everything they wanted when the Soviet Union collapsed, their goal so close they could taste it. The Western powers had embedded themselves in Russian institutions and were well on their way toward Balkanizing the ex-Soviet state, ‘restoring freedom and democracy to Russia’. The Russian populace suffered grievously as a result. Then, the Russians turned themselves around under Putin and kicked out the Westerners to a large extent, although there is still a very significant, but small and powerful sector of Russian society that still yearns for that ‘freedom and democracy’.
Russia re-established their vertical model, remembering the Russian soul transmits the 7th ray of order and ritual, and became a mixed economy, and as a result have turned themselves around in a fashion not unlike the Chinese, who also adopted their own mixed system – capitalism with Chinese characteristics. They have adopted a middle course, between the two extremes of free-market capitalism and communism. And Russia and China in particular have seen both extremes. For this reason, as well as the aggression Washington has shown toward both, they have formed their cooperative alignment, which represents probably the biggest threat to Western capitalist ambitions. We may not agree with their social models, but there is no doubt about the effects on their economies, the rise of their infrastructure, their social welfare and their rapid progress, even under Western sanctions. If you don’t believe it, travel to those places sometime. Verify it for yourself. The US, UK and Australia can all return to such models, with their own characteristics, if they so choose, but the establishments in those nations will fight hard to keep their status quo gained in the past few decades firmly in place.
A fresh perspective: The preceding was amply illustrated and clearly spoken at a recent address:
“…at the beginning of the new century, something went wrong for the Atlanticists. States and peoples began to remind Washington about their geopolitical sovereign subjectivity in more and more stern terms. The global financial cataclysm of 2008 revealed the shaky foundations of the global liberal economy built by the West. To date, no new sources of high and stable growth have been discovered. In the Western countries themselves, the population was not prepared for the severe consequences of the crisis, nor for the experiments of its own elite in the field of multiculturalism and the substitution for traditional identity. Proof of this – a sharp rise in popularity of anti-systemic, nationalist and populist forces. A society sends clear messages to the authorities that it feels deceived. But, instead of an adequate response, their elites chant about a mythical “foreign interference” and organize “witch hunts”. Many of the above-mentioned problems would lose their relevance if the Western elite would learn to consider international relations not as a “zero-sum game”, but as a way to jointly solve accumulated problems. However, the global corporation cannot stop expanding and allow its profits to decline.”
What to expect: The entire address is worth reading. What can we expect in the interim, then, given all the preceding? It will be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff in these intervening years, the fake news from the truth, and so forth. The propaganda on all sides will be flying thick and fast. Scaremongering about the ‘dangers of democratic socialism’ and ‘its unsustainability’ will take pride of place. Also taking pride of place will be the establishments’ ebullient pronouncements about economic growth, with figures harping jobs growth, GDP growth, etc. Most of that is in the nature of ‘cooked books’, or cherry-picked information. On the other side we will hear all sorts of scare stories about the dangers of change, how more progressive policies will infringe upon our freedoms, how they will further degrade our societies and so on.
But with regard to the latter, take a step back and think back on a time when it was safe to leave one’s doors unlocked, one’s kids free to roam and play outside without worrying about them, a time when neighbors looked after each other’s children, when people could own their own homes and not worry about their safety and ability to pay for emergencies, when there was no student debt – on and on. It’s not a fairy tale. I and many readers grew up in those times. And when did we have those times? Under our various models of democratic socialism – mixed economies – yes, even in the US. This is what people remember and that for which they want a return. Brexit will not solve it, nor will Trump, nor will military adventurism, or ‘increased security measures’. In fact, the latter two points are some of the primary reasons we find ourselves in our current mess.
One of the main teachings of the Buddha was that of the Middle Way, the way between extremes. His was a lesson for our times, really. He knew extreme wealth as well as the most extreme asceticism (austerity). Neither one granted him the enlightenment and liberation which he sought. Both extremes produced their own unique forms of suffering. Once he adopted the way between those extremes (which sounds very Libran), he came to rest and he found his enlightenment. As Sedna slowly enters Gemini and the ‘quarreling brothers’ finally find their point of peace, perhaps then our respective societies will find theirs as well, and the terrible present world situation will resolve itself in a just and timely manner. But, it will not be easy. The materialists control the media, our governments and much of the world’s resources still, even to the point of charging people for the rain that falls on their own lawns in the latter case, as we see in the US and Australia. The fight will be hard, bitter and ugly. It will take years. It will take people waking up and standing up. Humanity will prevail, though. Of that I have no doubt. We see the trends of it in the massive protests for the environment, against ill-thought and grasping government policies, in the gifted and outspoken children coming into the world now and even in our everyday conversations.
Re-examining a great experiment: The children born since Sedna has been in Taurus are here to re-order our financial system, as well as to restore a saner sense of values. There will still be and are very materialistic people among them, as we see, but there are those, increasing in number, who rally us to reexamine our world with a mind toward restoring balance. And, they shed light on the path ahead in so doing. This full moon will introduce powerful forces for change. We will not see them immediately. As was once stated, not so rapidly does nature move. It takes time for the subjective impulses to work out into a material reality. But, what comes through now, and which has been evolving all along, will invariably work out into a changed society – one less materialistic, one needs-based instead of desire-based, one more spiritual, more practical. And for those of us with Sedna in Aries, we are still evolving the modern world, still pioneering. That world is still in development. Our work will continue for the next foreseeable decades. And between the two groups – all of us, in fact – we see what is possible, what needs to be done, and only need to either persist in what we are doing, or rouse ourselves and get on with it.
A great experiment, a real pioneering effort, was inaugurated in the financial/economic world in the last century. It is called democratic socialism. It was done throughout the West, in varying ways and at different times. It grew the middle class, eliminated the worst forms of poverty for millions, gave us free education and in many nations free medical care. It made us more democratic and gave the public a voice. That the experiment has been seen to fail in some cases has been due to a combination of mismanagement, deliberate sabotage, negative propaganda, interference by outside players, wars and simple human greed. It should have been given another look at the 2008 financial crisis. Instead, it has been successfully offset in the West – for a time – by the counter-revolutionaries of the last century.
Until politics is returned to being a service occupation instead of a lucrative career path, not much will change. What is required is a quiet, democratic revolution. It is beginning with protest votes in some nations, however misguided some of them are, peaceful demonstrations, and will need sustained public pressure. Without practice there is no progress. Without sustained effort, nothing is gained. This is perhaps the greatest gift of Taurus, which demonstrates that the persistent hammering away at any task is what yields the beautiful work of art, the sound structure upon which societies can be built and thrive, and by which one’s mind can be brought to heel. Then enlightenment comes. The path ahead stands clear, and with that insight, the future stands revealed. Time to turn on the lights.
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