2014 in L'Alpe di Siusi, fresh from the US and Australia.
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THE SCORPIO FESTIVAL 2019
12 NOV 19
© Malvin Artley
The power of silence
The intellect is a tool
The old experience through Scorpio
Scorpio and meditation
The Mercury transit
The nations and current events
Turkey’s primary role
Disciples of Shamballa
The first ray in action
The latest wave of protests
Shifting financial orders
It’s a gas, gas, gas!
The Eurasian challenge
Populism is bad?
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
The tactics of division
Why does all the preceding matter?
Walking out the front door this morning, I was greeted by a vista I had been waiting for all through the hot summer months – the first dusting of snow on the mountains. For the snow bunnies among the readers, ski season approacheth here in Sud Tyrol. We are expecting rain here all week, with wintry weather, although we will probably only see the snow in the mountains at this point. But, it should make for a good ski base. I feel a road trip coming, though I don’t ski myself. Snow for me, having grown up in North Carolina, was a rare event, and always remembered well for days off from school, aside from the novelty of it. That was before the days when we had to make up for the lost days in the summer, and before the harsh winters we have seen in recent years in the US. Those make-up days were a real bummer, from what I hear. But snow also signaled the start of the holiday season – Thanksgiving and Christmas – which also meant all-day road trips to visit relatives in the north of the US. One of the things I always appreciated most about the snow was the silence when it first falls, like blanketing the earth in soundproofing. Winter wonderland, indeed.
The power of silence: After one reaches a certain age, the appreciation of silence takes on a different meaning, and one actually searches for those silent interludes. I would suppose it would be more so for people who have had children. My dad’s retort when we would ask him what he wanted for birthdays and Christmas was always the same: “Peace and quiet!” Looking at the world in these days I have heard many people echo similar sentiments for the planet throughout the year, at least regarding peace. Those same people are worried at times, anxious as to what might happen. It doesn’t help that media pundits are constantly harping on about the need to attack so and so or the dangers of nuclear war, the latest terror threat, or how climate is going to be our downfall in a few short years. What kind of message does that send to our kids and younger generations? People become inured to it after a while. But instead of doing something, we in the West at least appear as though we couldn’t be bothered, unless it hits us in the pocket. Life goes on. We like to complain, but then important things like the latest sports events take precedence. Of course, we are speaking here of the populace in general, probably not most readers of these letters. The exceptions to that rule in the West are France and the UK, where hundreds of thousands, even millions, have been out in the streets, objecting to the policies of their governments. Good on ‘em!
But protests are rising, especially in South America and the Middle East. Change is coming. Humanity rises. These protests all have one thing in common – economics. Younger people in particular see no future for themselves, aside from endless struggle to make ends meet. That economic model manifests in our ever-growing wealth disparity, corruption, steady eroding of people’s living standards and the increasing gulf in understanding between power brokers in those nations and the lot of the average family. People really struggle these days. Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn are signaling the changes happening in our cultures. And in the first of the year we have the conjunction of the two, activating two eclipses at the same time. It will be one of our biggest astrological events in recent years. And it will be good for instigating a crisis or two, which we appear to sorely need in order to motivate enough people to overturn those systems which are holding us back. That conjunction could also signal powerful leaders stepping forward in order to usher those changes through. It is one of those, “Our moment has come!” type of events. It all makes for the stuff of a good Scorpio drama, even though the astrological event is in Capricorn. Yet, Scorpio rules the human kingdom. With that said, it is worth delving into that sign a little deeper than we have in the past. To start, consider the following:
“…Scorpio rules and governs the fourth Creative Hierarchy, the human from the angle of the soul and not from the angle of the lower nature. The final struggle in Scorpio only takes place when the point of balance between soul and body has been reached in Libra and it is in Scorpio that the preponderance of the spiritual energy is imposed upon the lower personal forces. Scorpio governs “the initiates,” which is the true esoteric name of man, and through its hierarchical planetary ruler [Mercury], the Sons of Mind, the Messengers of Deity are revealed, but it is through Mars and the Martian activity that the revelation comes about.”
Scorpio in the orthodox rules death, the generative organs and organs of elimination, the afterlife, transformation, rebirth, taxes, insurance, income and losses from partnerships, foreign banking, investigators, magic and magicians, espionage, and by extension (8th house matters), ‘other people’s money’, the means of one’s death (and the death of states), matters of estates, obsession, occult matters and ‘purification of the soul’ – actually, the ‘burning grounds’ to which the personality is subjected. Its old ruler is Mars, with its modern ruler as Pluto, the two being closely related. The esoteric ruler is also Mars, with its ultimate ruler being Mercury. The latter connects Scorpio with a creative hierarchy known as the Human Monads, stated above. That’s us in our essence. Therein lies a great occult hint.
Scorpio transmits the fourth ray (harmony through conflict/beauty), this primarily through Mercury, which transmits the same energetic quality. That ray is the ray that governs humanity, and it is quite descriptive of the process whereby we progress as a species and as a kingdom in nature. It is an energetic quality that at once leads to experience and growth, and then by extension, the other ray that governs humanity – the fifth ray – leading to intellect. This has a higher manifestation once one ‘steps onto the Path’ and takes conscious responsibility for their spiritual advancement, which also means the advancement of all humanity. In terms of our Earth and solar system at large, ‘spirituality’ means learning and fulfilling love in all its aspects, which necessarily leads to the lifting of the lot of every being we encounter. And that requires the right use of the intellect, leading to wisdom. Wisdom could be described as ‘soul-infused intellect’ in one way. And the human soul in incarnation is closely connected with the intellect. The latter is the means whereby we make contact with the soul, and this brings in the Mercurial aspect of Scorpio. A little explanation is in order.
The intellect is a tool, nothing more. Regarding the personality, the development of the intellect could be seen as the spiritual pursuit of the personality as it seeks to understand experience and the environment in which it is placed. What is it that really under-stands (taking the root words and their combined meaning) experience? In other words, what lies behind our experiences in this earthly existence? What underpins, and in reality supports our existence? We are not self-arising. We do not simply ‘appear’ in this life via our parents, live and then pass into oblivion at death. Many people, more skeptical and intellectually trapped in a narrow focus on life, may think so. But for the vast majority of people, we all sense that there is ‘something more’ to life than simply ‘existing’ for a short time and living for the fulfillment of our personal wishes. That sense nags at us, prods us from time to time, especially when crises hit and we are left wanting to make sense of what is happening to us. Those crises are represented by Mars in the Scorpio experience, both orthodox and esoteric in rulership. Mars rules the personality in all of its departments – physical, astral and mental. There is a hint there, and one of the most significant in esoteric astrology.
It has been said that suffering brings one ‘to the feet of the Master’, or Teacher. But the goal of any true teacher is to render the student to be self-sufficient, and even to surpass their instruction – we might say, especially so, regarding the latter. Every teacher who loves their students wants to see them excel. A teacher will help a student to understand their particular predicament and then leave them to find their own solution. We call this practice. True instruction leads to independence via practice. Practising what is preached, right? This is what experience through Mars brings to us. Mars is the warrior spirit, leading ultimately to victory. Victory over what, we might ask? Over our own limited points of view, over our physical, emotional and mental limitations. This brings in the esoteric motto of Scorpio: “Warrior am I and from the battle I emerge triumphant.” A ‘Victorious One’ in Buddhism is one who is ‘awakened’ – i.e., who has attained enlightenment.
The old experience through Scorpio has been described in the legend of Hercules, the Sun-God, as that of ‘elevating the nine-headed Hydra’ of desire, thereby achieving deliverance. Those ‘nine heads have been described as 1,2,3) sex, physical comfort, and money (physical), 4,5,6) fear, hatred and ambition (astral) and 7,8,9) pride, separativeness and cruelty. The tests of Scorpio “…carries the test right down into the physical plane life, and then, when it is faced and handled there, the life of the person is carried up into heaven, and the problem which the test involved is solved by the use of the reasoning mind.” The ‘reasoning mind’ in this case refers to two factors, though. In the case of the common experience of Scorpio it related exactly to the lower, concrete mind. But in the case of a person who is practicing more advanced meditation, it refers to something different. This leads us into a practice that is quite specific, and which points to occult meditation, bringing in the Mercurial aspect of Scorpio. That Mercurial aspect of Scorpio is the true lifting of desire into heaven – taking desire onto the Path, or as a basis of the Path. And there are practices that do exactly that.
We can intellectually come to an understanding of events, of our outer lives. But every event is the result of streams of energies, karma and other events that have led to a precipitation, which we call an event. Nothing in this world of our is self-created, arising independently out of chaos. There is purpose behind everything, and every event veils those causative factors, or purposes. To get to the true meaning, or purpose, behind every manifestation requires that we first extract ourselves from the warring energies and currents of events – interesting, regarding ‘current events’ – which we might call ‘entering the eye of the storm’, wherein there is only peace, while everything else goes on around us. Given our attachments, this is hardly easy, hence the internal battles we face. But do so, we must, to arrive at a real apprehension of causes. We must abide in a state of mental, emotional and physical calm for a certain amount of time in order for us to be able to properly analyze the currents and factors. We are told we must do this in the bustle and noise of everyday life. Given that, the factor of mental poise is the most essential element. All else follows upon that. That state of mental poise is otherwise known as calm-abiding, or shamatha. Then, another more powerful element can be added – insight meditation, or vipassana, the latter ruled by Mercury.
Scorpio and meditation: In past letters comment has been made on the bodhisattva levels of meditation throughout the zodiac. For Scorpio, the method is the combination of calm-abiding and insight: “Bless me to develop quickly in my mindstream the union of calm abiding and insight, through pacifying a mind that strays toward false objects and investigating properly the ultimate object.” The ‘ultimate object’ is the realization of enlightenment, a.k.a. ‘emptiness’. Emptiness is in reality the buddha nature, what we call in our Western occultism the Monad. There are many types of these monads, but for humanity, ours are governed by Scorpio, and ours is a special case:
“Only the human Monads, and only in the three worlds [physical, astral and mental], follow the positive [proactive] line, and by resistance, struggle, battle and strife learn the lesson of divine acquiescence. Yet, owing to the increase of friction through that very struggle, they progress with a relatively greater rapidity than the devas. They have need to do this, for they have lost ground to make up.”
Through our struggles, we progress more quickly than the other kingdoms of nature. Struggle produces progress, through trial and error. We all know the sayings – “No pain, no gain”, “If you are making mistakes it means you are doing something instead of sitting around”, “Mistakes lead to wisdom,” and so forth. These are all reflective of our highest essence. Mercury governs the process, through meditative analysis, by which we achieve the ‘divine acquiescence’ mentioned above, through examining every factor in the basis of a stilled mental apparatus, the latter being the chatter of our lower ‘monkey mind’. That meditative analysis takes place in the abstract, leading to intuition, and ultimately to enlightenment. In Scorpio we have the ‘roadmap’ back to our very essence, which is our true Being, beyond any description, but is indeed our destination at the end of the Path. Scorpio is the path of the initiate, illustrated for us in the lives of the bodhisattvas of the world, known by many appellations, but Teachers and Masters one and all. With these points in mind we move on to the full moon and a look at some Scorpio in action. But before we do, there is a special eclipse that takes place the day before – the 2019 transit of Mercury across the face of the Sun.
The Mercury transit: Yes, this transit is classed as an eclipse, as Mercury ‘occults’ part of the Sun’s face, even if it is a tiny dot – giving us yet another speck of wisdom. We won’t cover it here, though. I have done a separate post on it, which you can see HERE. It will strongly augment this full moon, though.
The full moon: As to the full moon, it takes place on 12 Nov 19 at 13:34 UT (12:34 am AEDT). This is one of those figures that will presage another significant change in world affairs, as have the last two. The September full moon saw the Saudi Aramco attacks by the Houthis in Yemen. The October full moon saw the ongoing Operation Peace Spring by the Turks (essentially an attempt at a land grab), with an agreement reached soon after the full moon between the Russians and the Turks, which saw the Kurds agreeing to combine their forces with Damascus and the SAA. It also saw an agreement reached by Boris Johnson and the EU, but which was later shelved in favor of a general election. There is a separate article I have posted on that as well, so we will not cover it here. Suffice it to say, it will no doubt be acrimonious, hard fought, and will not turn out to anyone’s liking when the votes are finally counted. The saga will probably drag on, but with some important changes.
Those events in the Middle East changed the balance of power in the region. The Russian agreement is now being tested by the Kurds, who do not seem to learn, in that they are seeking to reintegrate themselves with American forces who were redeployed in Syria in order to steal Syria’s oil. This is called ‘protection’ by the Trump administration. Most of the world sees it as banditry, and illegal. As predicted, there are missteps occurring and it will take some months for the situation to more fully resolve, but the Turkish invasion and Russian agreement were a breakthrough in what was an interminable situation, as described in the last full moon. Now another version of that interminability is taking place. We will have more on that in a bit, as it involves the Turks.
As to what this full moon forecasts, there is the following, starting with the Sabian symbols:
“A woman draws away two dark curtains closing the entrance to a sacred pathway” (Sun)
“Wisps of wing-like clouds streaming across the sky.” (Moon)
Although there are otherwise favorable aspects to the luminaries, leading one to focus more upon the symbol for the Sun, there are other undercurrents, shown in the midpoints, and a t-square with Mars and Eris as the base and Pluto as the apex, that suggest that all will not be smooth sailing. The overall sense of this figure is indeed one of eventual revelation, but only after some initial pessimism, frayed nerves and possibly some explosive outbursts. But then, all this is in line with what we have seen regarding Scorpio. There will be tests of willpower with this full moon, as weakness in some quarters will be in evidence. There will likely be troubles on all sides in putting their plans through. It will be hard work, as indicated by the Saturn/Pluto conjunction, but that will yield good results, as shown by the trines and sextiles to the luminaries. I made mention in the last letter (or was it the one before?) that a clear pathway forward toward a more peaceful world is revealing itself. This full moon would appear to be confirmation of that, along with the Mercury transit just before. In all, this will be a powerful subjective period, and will bring some potent insights with it, with unexpected twists and turns, as shown by the retrograde Mercury. It’s going to be an interesting few weeks leading up to the Festival Week of the New Group of World Servers, starting 21 December.
The nations and current events: With all these points in mind, we move now to the world events. What follows will lead to a greater point later on. The world is ill-at-ease now, and rightfully so, and the causes are economic. So, keep this at the forefront as we go along.
Nations and cities with Scorpio:
Nations: Japan (soul), Turkey (personality)
City: Berlin (soul), Darjeeling
As to the nations I have been using with Scorpio Sun in their national (mundane) charts, we have Turkey, the EU, Spain (current republic), Germany (current republic), Palestine and the current Assad government in Syria, which the Western media so loves to call a ‘regime’. For the nations with Scorpio rising we have the NATO, Mexico, Venezuela, Italy and South Korea. All of these are the modern governmental constructs – their current ‘incarnations’, or better stated, experiments.
We have a particular focus upon Turkey in this installment, given what has just taken place in Syria, with Turkey’s ‘Operation Peace Spring’. But there is a wider evolving stage of the coming equilibrium in the Middle East, and Turkey is to play a key role in the outcome. Given Turkey’s past as the seat of the Ottoman Empire, which brought together many disparate groups, peoples and nationalities over several centuries, its proximity to Israel, Iran and the other Gulf states, as well as its proximity to Europe (and also the NATO alliance), and finally its growing connection with Russia, it is of great importance in the evolving international order as we approach the next decade.
Turkey’s primary role in the coming years will revolve around the Islamic world as a whole. It has been a battleground in the past, reflecting its Scorpio personality, and still projects a militaristic temperament throughout the region. It is, in fact, a bridging nation, between the Christian and Muslim worlds, Asia and Europe to the east and west, and Russia and the Arab states to the north and south. In terms of its Scorpio nature, it also has a long history of coups, which in a way was a built-in protection of its modern secularism, which was a part of Ataturk’s leadership in the founding of the current Turkish state. Before we get to a consideration of the future, a little background is in order, along with a review of concurrent events.
Turkey is primarily Sunni Muslim (ca. 80%), with a large Shia minority (ca. 17%) and the rest a scattering of other religious persuasions. Christians make up only a small fraction of 1% of the total population. As to ethnic groups, we get to one of the main reasons for the present unrest in Turkey. We won’t go into it in detail here, as it is a passing problem on the whole. But since it is in the news cycle now, a few words are in order. The current distribution of ethnic groups shows Turkish groups at around 70%, with Kurds upwards of 20% (located in the east of the nation) and other groups at just over 10%. The main internal militant struggle in Turkey revolves around the Kurds, a faction of whom have been pressing for their own homeland only recently. The Kurds have been especially mythologized in the US since the start of the war in Syria, though. But in point of fact, the US is largely to blame for the current tensions between the Turkish state and the Kurds. That stretches back to the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, when the US backed Ataturk, that treaty granting Turkey its current borders. That was the first of eight betrayals of the Kurds by the US in the last century.
The Kurds are spread out over four nations – Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq. They are not homogenous and there is only a minority faction that is calling for an independent Kurdish state. Every time they try to assert it, they fail. We won’t go into whether or not they should have it, as it would be too involved. The reader can decide whether or not they should be seen as a separatist group or whether they should try to integrate themselves into their host nations. Most Turkish Kurds, for example, identify as Turkish first and Kurdish second. Ethnicity more often than not has little to do with one’s sense of national identity. Turkey’s role into the future does not revolve around the Kurdish question, but instead with its relations within the Islamic world as a whole and its neighboring nation states. What do we see evolving, then? That relates to Turkey’s emerging soul expression, which is Cancerian. There are several things to note.
Disciples of Shamballa: Modern Turkey was founded under the leadership of Kemal Ataturk, a disciple of Shamballa, also noted as a dictator. The latter is a point that should be remembered when we examine the leaders of nations, as sometimes a dictator (or what we would like to call a ‘strong leader’) is needed in order to lead a nation through certain crucial moments in its history, as unpalatable as that might sound. Regarding these ‘disciples of Shamballa’, there is the following:
“Ataturk, the Turkish dictator, within certain personality limitations of relatively negligible moment, made good use of first ray energy, and only the testimony of future historical records will indicate fully how wisely, sanely and disinterestedly he used this type of force for the attainment of first ray objectives. It might be apposite here to point out that such first ray exponents of force are often misunderstood and hated. They may and often do misuse the energy available but they also use it constructively within the desired limits of the immediate plan. I would also like to state that the lot of a first ray disciple is hard and difficult. There are disciples of Shamballa just as there are disciples of the Hierarchy and this is a fact hitherto not recognised and never as yet referred to in the current writings on occult subjects. It is wise and valuable to remember this. They are powerful, these disciples of Shamballa, headstrong and often cruel; they impose their will and dictate their desires; they make mistakes but they are nevertheless true disciples of Shamballa and are working out the Will of God as much as the disciples and Masters of the Hierarchy are working out the Love of God. This is a hard saying for some of you but your failure to recognise this truth and to respond to it does not affect the issue. It simply makes your individual lot and difficulties harder.”
The first ray in action: We might pause here for a moment and consider what the effects of a ‘disciple of Shamballa’ might be, since in the quote there was mention of ‘first ray objectives’. This will go toward a point later about our current media and public opinion. Then we will come back to Turkey. The method of the first ray in general is to first destroy or remove the obstacles to spiritual advancement and then to synthesize what remains along with the sensed objective into a new and workable expression. This often involves upheaval, especially when it comes to societies. The old ways of living, of culture and of civilization have to be destroyed or modified at times if a society is to progress. In any society over years an elite structure and a status quo entrenches itself and is more often than not difficult to dislodge or change when the next steps of progress are needed.
We see this especially apparent since the start of the 2nd decade of this century, with the Arab Spring uprisings – having their basis in true public discontent but at the same time leveraged to advantage foreign interests. This is even now reflected in the Middle East protests against the neo-liberal/financial capitalist order, which has only added to the already extant corruption in those nations and is especially marked in Lebanon. A few brief words on these protests is in order.
The latest wave of protests worldwide against the neoliberal order really started in earnest with the yellow vest movement in France. The latter is still ongoing. There has been a media blackout on it. Brexit and the election of Trump were also protest movements in the same way, but they have yet to bear their full fruit. The US lags behind in that regard. The coming elections in those two nations will be telling as to what effect public pressure has had. So where are we seeing this latest ‘Arab Spring’ and ‘South American wave’? The most visible protests are in Iraq and Lebanon. The Western media covers these. The others do not rate much in the eyes of corporate media. There have been protests also in Spain, Algeria, Egypt, Hong Kong, Venezuela, Chile, Ecuador, Haiti and Bolivia. The Bolivian protests are a coup attempt by right wing groups, aided and abetted by US interests, to oust the legally elected Morales government, who is socialist. Morales won with 60% of the vote. Venezuela still simmers and protests there have shifted to the left. The Guaidó opposition is falling to pieces. But Maduro is in the best position he has seen for a while, as South America is experiencing a progressive wave. This includes Chile, Argentina and Haiti. Here we are seeing blowback from the attempt to overthrow Maduro earlier in the year and a reaction to austerity measures imposed under Chicago School economics.
As to Lebanon, those protests will take some months to work out. Corruption and nepotism is endemic in Lebanon. It won’t be changed overnight. In Iraq the situation is different. Since the 2003 US invasion Iran has made inroads and has served as a stabilizing force there, much to Washington’s consternation. Add to that Israel, the Saudis and the UAE. The protests in those two nations are being pushed behind the scenes by those foreign actors just mentioned, in the hope that the Axis of Resistance can be weakened. But the people there also have legitimate concerns and face a bleak future is things continue as they have. The violence in Iraq will likely die down now that the Grand Ayatollah Sistani has outed the plotters behind the scenes. Without the violence, the government can work toward real reform.
As one journalist recently stated it, what we are seeing in worldwide protests is, “The Age of Anger Exploding in Serial Geysers”. That financial order we have had for the past forty years or so no longer serves the people, except for a very few, and is in process of being swept away. To be replaced by what, who knows? There will be as many experiments emerging in new programs as there are states. One thing appears to be certain, though: The emerging financial order will be multipolar, will feature mixed economies (re-nationalization of state assets) and will likely abandon fiat currencies, eventually. The war in Syria has been key in that, and has served as a catalyst for many of the changes in the financial order we are seeing now.
Shifting financial orders: Regarding shifting financial and geopolitical orders, we are seeing exercises in barter (oil-for-goods) between nations like Iran and China, nations now daring to exchange goods and services in their own currencies (Russia and China, for instance, or Turkey and Russia) thus bypassing the SWIFT system (the US dollar), and so forth. We also see many nations beginning to realize and turn toward their natural trading partners, rebuffing the post-WWII alliances and financial arrangements. A good example of this is the steadily growing realization in Europe that Russia is a natural trading partner with the states of the European peninsula. Macron is leading a growing tide of opinion that there needs to be rapprochement with Russia and a re-examination of the NATO alliances. The completion of the Russian gas pipelines into Europe via Turkey and the Nordstream lines is aiding this, which has dealt a major blow to US LNG interests and which will see many US fracking interests going out of business.
It’s a gas, gas, gas!: It may sound harsh, but those gas pipelines into Europe will be good for the US, as fracking is a losing game, both in terms of environment and its long-term viability. Russian gas will keep gas prices low, which puts pressure on US fracking, which requires high oil and gas prices to remain viable. And it is worth noting, too, that one of the hidden reasons for Iranian sanctions by the Trump administration and his support of the Qatari blockade was to minimize South Pars gas from flooding the market, which would also keep prices low. It is also an unstated reason as to why US troops are staying in Syria, because South Pars gas and oil would flow into Syria via pipelines, which US troops are there to prevent.
Those Russian gas pipelines will also go a long way toward resolving the ongoing disintegration of the Ukraine, because it will stir public unrest regarding the present policies of the Ukrainian regime. Kiev will be forced to come to terms with its geopolitical interests as its people shiver through the winters, which lie closer to Russia than the EU, and will also serve to resolve the Polish problem, where the Poles have been seeking to be a more significant state within the NATO. They will now have to pay a premium for their energy needs. It is not hard to see how that will eventually play out, once the Polish people realize how they have been manipulated. However, it is worth noting that the Poles have a natural inclination toward the US and UK via their Gemini personality. Thus, their case is more problematic. The sanctions against Russia will probably be dropped next year.
The Eurasian challenge: The major changes in the world order are being fomented and are coming out of Eurasia. The just-linked article gives a good overview. There is also a growing movement in South America, which should not be underestimated. And the nations affected there are also looking toward the East for alternatives to their big northern neighbor. The South American experiments will be unique, and will be of great interest to watch as they unfold. This brings us back to our consideration of the first ray and ‘disciples of Shamballa.
Populism is bad?: Most of us have no doubt read about the rise of authoritarian governments, populism, right wing parties and so forth. Some of what we read is propaganda (quite a bit of it actually), while other parts are true. We hear about many supposed dictators, some real dictators and are told of the evils of the movements we are seeing. ‘Populism’, which essentially means the will of the people, is now cast in the media with a pejorative invective, and is tarred with the same brush with which far-right (reactionary) politics is painted. However, populism challenges the status quo and runs counter to reactionary politics, hence the rush to condemn it. The fact that the sentiments therein expressed are often seized on by reactionary politicians does not deny the progressive nature of many of the policies advocated by true populists – thoughts such as an end to needless/endless warfare, the advancement of the public welfare, fairer distribution of wealth and so on. A fair shake for the little guy, in other words.
Ataturk revisited: Then, it is helpful to consider that what we see in Western leaders by and large is a decided lack of political will, whereas in the East there is pronounced political will in evidence. ‘Political will’ is exactly what we would expect from a ‘disciple of Shamballa’, as the first ray gravitates toward politics anyway. So, we are given an example of the same with Ataturk. How is he remembered these decades after his death, referring to the earlier quote regarding him? We have the following:
“Atatürk came to prominence for his role in securing the Ottoman Turkish victory at the Battle of Gallipoli (1915) during World War I. Following the defeat and dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, he led the Turkish National Movement, which resisted the mainland Turkey’s partition among the victorious Allied powers. Establishing a provisional government in the present-day Turkish capital Ankara, he defeated the forces sent by the Allies, thus emerging victorious from what was later referred to as the Turkish War of Independence. He subsequently proceeded to abolish the decrepit Ottoman Empire and proclaimed the foundation of the Turkish Republic in its place.
As the president of the newly formed Turkish Republic, Atatürk initiated a rigorous program of political, economic, and cultural reforms with the ultimate aim of building a modern, progressive, and secular nation-state. He made primary education free and compulsory, opening thousands of new schools all over the country. He also introduced the Latin-based Turkish alphabet, replacing the old Ottoman Turkish alphabet. Turkish women received equal civil and political rights during Atatürk’s presidency ahead of many Western countries. In particular, women were given voting rights in local elections by Act no. 1580 on 3 April 1930 and a few years later, in 1934, full universal suffrage, earlier than most other countries in the world.
His government carried out a policy of Turkicisation trying to create a homogeneous and unified nation. Under Atatürk, non-Turkish minorities were pressured to speak Turkish in public, non-Turkish toponyms and last names of minorities had to be changed to Turkish renditions. The Turkish Parliament granted him the surname Atatürk in 1934, which means “Father of the Turks”, in recognition of the role he played in building the modern Turkish Republic…”
What do we see, then? The power of resistance, a powerful will, progressive policy, a vision toward the future, a reformist nature, the destruction of old orders, an inclusive consciousness, a unifying policy, a view toward wider international integration. And along the way, there is sometimes repression of factions of society, but the overview is toward that of raising the lot of the whole. Where do we see this type of leadership in the world today? We’ll leave it as an open question. But there is another key point here: These leaders tend to appear when the need is the greatest – when the society cries out for change, when the old order needs to be brought down, when radical change is needed in order to progress a nation. Such leaders do not necessarily have to be dictators, though they are often cast as such by parties opposed to them. There is a rich field of investigation open along these lines, but it would challenge many of our preconceived notions about what constitutes real leadership, and one would have to set aside details about the personal faults of such leaders and instead endeavor to see the larger picture taking place, both within the nation and its place in the larger world.
There is another side to the issue of such ‘disciples of Shamballa’, and that lies with the media as we have it today. Basically, any nation that challenges the world order as it has existed will have its leadership labelled a dictatorship, or a ‘regime’. These labels are then used as excuses for executing all sorts of mischief against the ‘offending parties’, like in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Venezuela and so on. Have a look at the names on the linked site and the matter may become clearer. Then have a look at the map and look at who is calling whom a dictator. This brings us back to Turkey, the changes we are seeing in the Middle East and Turkey’s role.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: Recently, the head of the Turkish Workers’ Party (TIP) Erkan Baş, stated that Erdogan was ‘an American project’, being brought to power in 2002 in order to establish an authoritarian, reactionary Islamic regime in Turkey, reversing the secular and progressive policies of Ataturk that Turkey had enjoyed since its founding as a modern state. Is it true? Turkey is a NATO member state, and more European in its culture than Asian or Middle Eastern. The year he was brought to power was the beginning of our so-called war on terror, and Turkey has played a very significant military role in those wars. The early years of his tenure, being de facto leader of the nation since 2002, were progressive, focusing on infrastructure, negotiations for admission to the EU and economic recovery after the 2001 financial crash. But later years have seen his image suffer in the West, to the point that there was a coup attempted on him in 2016, which he survived. After that Turkey took a decidedly authoritarian tone, with jailing of journalists, suppression of dissent, purges of officials and so forth. Is it bringing the nation forward? Most sources I have read do not seem to think so. He has been called neo-Ottoman, with the pejorative name ‘The Sultan’ being attached to him.
Turkey under Erdogan certainly has had revanchist, nationalist sentiments of late. And they have been a state sponsor of terrorism, even though they claim to be fighting against terrorism in the Syrian war. They have served as a conduit, as a training center and safe haven for jihadist fighters from many nations, among them Uighurs from China, from the nations of the Caucasus and European nations. The Uighurs present a particular problem for China. Even now, with the Peace Spring operation the Turks are using many of these same fighters as their front line troops (a.k.a. cannon fodder), under the moniker of the Syrian National Army, or Free Syrian Army, who have been filmed committing war crimes against the Kurds, civilians and other groups in northern Syria, as well as releasing Daesh prisoners. Now, Erdogan says he wants to repatriate the captured Daesh prisoners to their home nations, even though hundreds of them have been stripped of their citizenship. These would be largely Western European nations. The UK has so with done over 100 such. The largest concentration of jihadists in Syria, in Idlib, is under Turkish control, which is where the alleged Baghdadi raid took place. This was the leader of Daesh, and supposedly Daesh and the factions in Idlib do not get along, yet he was given safe haven just a few miles from the Turkish border. So, now that these fighters are a problem rather than an asset, the Turks want to send them back. There would seem to be another agenda at work in that.
The tactics of division: One of the tactics that has been used in the Middle East in order to keep the region destabilized has been to stoke sectarian violence in the host country and to raise the specter of Islamophobia in the West. The tactic has been used successfully in the Arab Spring uprisings and after 9/11, until now. Thinking back on it, we did not hear much about radical Islamists until 9/11. The West’s main beef was with Iran, sour grapes over the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the hostage crisis, among other regional interests. This same sectarian rabble rousing is what was behind the Rojava project in Syria. It is an ancient tactic, the old ‘divide and conquer’ strategy, as old as warfare itself. However, it is a fictional reality and relies on deception to be effective. That same tactic is being used and has been for years in the debate between capitalism and socialism, and that will be rolled out in grand fashion in the presidential race in the US, the same as is being done in the UK elections. We see it being used in the protests that are arising worldwide. This is not to say the CIA and other factions are behind the latter. In a few cases that is true. In general the protests are against poor economic policies and corruption. But now, the Islamophobia card is being played against Europe in particular with threats of sending hardened jihadists back to their home nations. This is not helpful and will have consequences within Turkey itself. As well, it will further the growing split between the West and Turkey. That split is well illustrated by Erdogan’s turning toward Russia and the East in general, with a good example being the recent purchase of the S-400 missile defense system.
Turkey reconfigured: It has been reported that Erdogan bought the Russian S-400 system so he could withdraw from the NATO and join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). If true, it is quite a statement, and would reflect the deep divisions between Ankara and Washington that have developed over the years. Nowhere is this more evident than in the policy of the US toward the YPG/PKK, whom Ankara sees as terrorists. These are part of the Kurdish quasi-alliance that Washington formed with the Kurds in an effort to balkanize Syria, i.e., to split off all the land east of the Euphrates from the areas controlled by Damascus. The story out of DC is that its stated purpose was to fight Daesh/ISIS. Daesh is contained, which puts a lie to the recent occupation of the oil fields in Syria.
With the US abandonment of the Kurds on October 9th, Ankara had hoped to wipe the PKK out or at least weaken them to the extent they no longer posed the threat of agitating similar groups and sympathizers in Turkey, which is where the largest population of the Kurdish peoples live. Erdogan was hopeful, with the brokering of the deal with the Russians that the problem had been solved. Now, with the US back in eastern Syria, though in a different form, it appears that the Kurds are again seeking alliance with the US, with US backing, and largely around the oil fields. This has enraged Ankara yet again, and the hail-Mary move that is the oil field occupation will turn out to be yet another hair-brained and inscrutable foreign policy move by Washington. This has more importance for the region than would be apparent on the surface. We start with the region of eastern Syria as it stands and then on to the larger picture.
Protecting oil?: Firstly, by seeking to utilize the YPG in ‘protecting’ the oil fields, Washington drives the wedge in deeper between the US and Turkey. The Turks will never accept that alliance, and they see it as a betrayal. Secondly, the Israelis are backing the alliance and that further sours relations between the Turks and the Israelis. It is a move that will have blow-back for the Israelis. Thirdly, the occupation is illegal and the world community is watching, further eroding the image of Washington and exposing the imperialism (denied, of course) that has characterized American policy in recent decades. Fourthly, the occupation is unsustainable. The regions occupied are isolated, the American contingents small, and not seen in the best light by the locals since the US bugged out of the northeast. They are sitting ducks in a hostile region and without international support.
Lastly, with Trump having promised that US oil companies will go in and develop the oil fields, that is a non-starter. As was recently stated, “No self-respecting oil company is going to be involved in a policy they believe is cockamamie, and illegal.” Those oil fields are badly damaged, have no expertise to run them, would require hundreds of millions of dollars to rehabilitate, and then for small return (if any), and nobody believes the US will be there for very long. So, in the coming months the US will be leaving eastern Syria. ‘Rojava’ will return to the Syrian fold. And Trump will have his ‘win’ for his re-election campaign. Watch and see in the immediate months ahead. But all is not well there.
Shifting sands: The Israelis in particular are finding themselves increasingly isolated and facing a darker future. They see Trump as untrustworthy now since the Syrian pullout and since he refused to attack Iran after the Saudi Aramco attacks. They were counting on Rojava to weaken Syria and possibly give them the opportunity to annex more land. They had also counted on Trump to finally have the US attack Iran. The Israelis also see the move as threatening their security, to the extent, even, that there is talk now of opening a channel for talks between the Iranians and Israelis, a move that would be wholly unpalatable to the majority of Israelis, but which would be much better for the region. The Saudi Aramco attacks particularly have them worried, as they were shocked to see the sophistication of the weaponry used, the coordination between the weapons, the intelligence capabilities, the accuracy of the attacks, plus the fact that no one in the Israeli camp knows where the attacks originated. Now, with Netanyahu unable to form government, with Trump unstable and unreliable (and otherwise focused on his campaign instead of Israel), the fortunes of the Israelis have shifted sharply in the matter of only a few months, and in a decidedly worse direction. We begin to see why the war in Syria has been such a key development in changing world relations. Iran is on the rise, even under the crushing sanctions. They are not cowed. They are determined and ready to face any and all comers. And they will not abandon the Syrians. Soon there will be a direct land bridge between Tehran and Damascus, and probably oil and gas lines as well – the one thing the Israelis, Turks, Saudis and Washington have been trying to disrupt. This also means that China will have an essential link in its B&R Initiative.
We could very well see a renegotiated and strengthened JCPOA in 2020, to the advantage of the Iranians and Europeans. The Europeans will push for it. They were parties to it in the first place. It would mean even cheaper energy supplies for them, as well as greater security. The Israelis will be the catalyst there. If they see no alternative, as they have just had a big reality check, they will quietly but insistently push Washington to drop the sanctions. And the Europeans are not bowing to the US on Iran, as the media would lead us to believe. But they have been hamstrung by the specter of US sanctions on them with their economies being so shaky at the moment. The cards are falling into place for a grand bargain. France’s Macron has seen the writing on the wall, too, and he needs a ‘win’ to stay politically viable. But it also reflects the mediating aspect of France’s Piscean soul, as well as the practical economic expression of the Capricorn personality of Paris. And if Trump were to be able to pull off some sort of face-saving measure, there would be a big ‘win’ for him. But the Iranians will not even come to the table unless the sanctions are unilaterally lifted. They are within their rights. It is already too late to base the negotiations on Iran’s missiles. That technology is already developed and considerable. Washington’s ‘maximum pressure’ has met ‘maximum resistance’ – ‘the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object’ meme. We can probably expect something along those lines toward the middle of 2020.
Berlin: Added to this, and speaking of the Europeans, there is Berlin with its Scorpio soul expression, having just bucked the US on two important economic issues – Nordstream 2 and the Huawei 5G network – putting strains on ties between Washington and Berlin and the NATO by extension. The alliance is weakening. If Russian sanctions are dropped in the next year, along with a renewed JCPOA, it will go far toward relieving economic stagnation in Europe. That stagnation has been deliberately, yet covertly applied.
In summary, between Berlin and Erdogan the Europeans are changing their minds about the post WWII order. They want independence from Washington. But they have considerable internal challenges, not the least from their own neoliberal model. The one thing that is missed about all the talk and fear of the rise of populism, and the rise of right-wing parties in Europe is that parties like the AfD in Germany are only taking advantage of circumstances that the ‘left’ in Europe have not had the courage or will to address. It is the same in the US. And while it is true that Trump will lie at the drop of a hat, he has also stated the truth on many matters rather bluntly, as in the endless wars, the lying media and so forth. Assad of Syria recently called him the ‘best president’, “not because his policies are good, but because he is the most transparent president.” Another truth. We may not like to hear these sorts of things, but if we are to be honest with ourselves, it will require abandoning our personal likes and dislikes about personalities and acknowledging the truths that we hear. It is a matter of not shooting the messenger, no matter who they are.
Erdogan is no Ataturk. He has taken a step backwards with Turkey and is not living to the Cancerian motto of the soul of that nation in ‘building a lighted house’ between nations and internally. However, Turkey, like so many nations, battles with its internal divisions. From his astrology, Erdogan is not much longer for his leadership. He may survive a few more years, but if he presses further turning eastward and especially toward Russia, his star will fade even quicker from the West. His focus on the more extreme elements of Islam in Syria will cause internal strife over time and not bode well for the nation. People like Baghdadi travel often and extensively through Turkey. And we are to believe that Turkey is fighting extremism? As recently stated, Turkey appears to be turning into another Pakistan. It will take some years for Turkey’s problems to sort themselves out. Perhaps they need another Ataturk.
Why does all the preceding matter? It doesn’t apply to our lives, does it? Well, here are a few things to consider. Mention was made at the start of this letter of the various factors Scorpio rules, one of them being taxes. Where do our tax revenues go? In the US a big chunk of what we pay out in taxes goes to military spending. To put it in perspective, and basing it in a timeline, it would mean that every hour the US spends around 80 million dollars just on the military. In individual terms, the average working-age, employed American shells out around 4500 dollars a year for our ‘defense’. Of that, upwards of $450 each year for those same adults goes toward waging war. The average for Australians is only slightly less per capita in Australian dollars. For the UK the figure is slightly more than 900 pounds. That might not seem to be too much for some readers. For others it is a matter of simply being able to live. For the US, if we factor in national debt, which Scorpio also rules, every single person in the US of any age is saddled with an individual burden of the national debt of $68,400. For working-age people, that climbs to $183,000. To whom do we owe this money? And why? Angry yet? That often leads to action.
The biggest single factor that causes the national debt to spike is war. The other factor is tax cuts, largely to the wealthy and corporations. There is a graph that shows the relationship quite clearly. The biggest spike in recent years was due to our turbo-charged financial Ponzi scheme that has bailed out the banks, coupled with our ‘endless wars’. There has been a sharp rise in US debt since 2008. All we got as a result of the 2008 financial crisis was a bandaid and a promise of better times. The latter never came. Oh yes, the stock market is doing well, but that only benefits corporations and their CEOs. It is clear that the nation suffers more with each passing year. And the situation is similar in many nations, Europe being a case in point. No European nation is doing well right now.
It is time to sit up and take stock, honestly, of where we stand and how we got here. It will require getting away from the emotional pull of media and our social media feeds and carefully analyzing what is happening, with an eye toward effecting the needed changes. The public must begin to exercise it political will and not count on leaders to do so. That is perhaps the single biggest example we can take from the protests we see. Governments only change policy when the people stand up, when the people are victorious over their own illusions. Only then will change in a more positive direction come. Look around, but from a calm space inside. The opportunities are great. There is nothing that says we must adhere to the old systems in order to prosper, or that leaving then will cause disaster. That is simply old dogma. Dogma needs to give way to fresh thought. This is the promise of Scorpio each year, and the possibility of our times. The new paths are opening before us. Let us rise victorious over our conditioning and walk forward with courage, sure in the knowledge and wisdom that a better future is just ahead of us. Of that, let there be no doubt.
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