September, 2007

Mythic Prelude:

Weighed in the Balance

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice' sake," said Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, "for they shall be satisfied." Inspiring words, all right, even though the implications of the invisible fine print are plain enough: that you will not find justice on this planet, as steeped in Corruption as it is. Your thirst for justice will be satisfied only in the next world, in which you may not even have a physical body. And even if you do, your experience of the Divine Presence will surely be so blissful that drinking from those streams of milk and honey, and water all the way from the Siwa oasis, will surely be the last thing on your incomparably serene mind.
We don't feel like waiting for justice, of course, and the famous Italian proverb -- "Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back into the same box" -- provides little consolation. The manifold and now seemingly relentless injustices of life on our planet seem to cascade on every side now, and we're especially aware of them this month. Not only is the Sun about to enter Libra the Scales at the Autumn Equinox, but the sign of Virgo that he will traverse until the 22nd is also closely connected with righteous matters that have to do with living in service, and securing the health of the marriage and the family, the village and the realm by honoring principles of balance and fairness. More on this below.
We need not dwell on the symptoms of the problem here, as they have been in our face for years now in Iraq and Darfur, Zaire, Kenya and Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Russia, and every other place that lives under native and foreign tyranny. One new item that is worth a cite in passing is the likelihood that some of the recent lethal forest fires in Greece were set by people who aim to collect on fraudulent property insurance claims. And another, of course, is the terrible confusion -- in the estimation of some, the imminent collapse -- of the housing market in the United States, and along with it, the entire world economy. Some of us are getting very indignant, and even hotter than the bottom of my MacBook, over what they call the subcrime rather than subprime loans to NINJA -- No Income, No Job or Assets -- home buyers. There is no telling how redly self-righteous some poverts will get about all this, arguing that it is criminal for banks to make risky loans -- though it is not -- or that it is illegal for a government to bail out an inept and corrupt industry -- it is not -- and avoiding all the while the awful realization that decay in the political, social and cultural body, like gangrene in the physical body, really does reach a point where action must be taken that is literally decisive -- as the word means "cutting down" or "cutting away" the lesser choices until only one course, however painful or imperfect, is left. And what causes even more squirming, for those who are aware enough to see it, is that the decision is not someone else's. It is Ours.
Is it time, then, for us to put the scales aside and pull out the sword? Who Can be Trusted? What Should We Do? What's Going to Happen? And as if all these questions weren't urgent enough, now that Carl Johan Calleman and other respected authorities have been predicting for years that in 2007 - 2008 the American dollar will evaporate and the western financial system will crumble away -- what makes the current moment icier and causes some some of us to feel much more shaky is that we have absolutely no idea Who's Going to Help and Guide Us. The usual moral compasses are backing off, or not showing up at all.
Al Gore will not say he'll run for president, no matter how many earnest people kneel and wheedle. Maybe he knows that the American president is now to the world money and power structure what the hood ornament is to a car. The car always goes in the direction the hood ornament faces, so he seems to be guiding the car and deciding when and where it will turn. This is reassuring for all the people who watch Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? They prefer to trust the hood ornament's confident chrome jaw, and would rather not look through those tinted windows to see who's in the driver's seat -- much less get the unthinkable notion that it's time for them to take the wheel.

And the human leaders, as it turns out, are not the only ones who may as well be Achilles in his tent, full of sulk and of no practical use at all. The ET's, believe it or not, are late again. As you may know, August, with all its bouncing market indices, stuttering brokers and central banks pouring their ill-gotten hundreds of billions into the wadi (dry riverbed) of the global money supply, was the month when saviors from other planets were supposed to take over our world, boot our crooks and put our house in virtuous order. This was supposed to start happening around August 12, starting with two weeks in which the ET's would take over the TV airwaves and tell everyone what was going on and what they should do. It didn't happen. Again. So we'll never know if officers from the Galactic Federation were going to nail maximum cred by making themselves look like those rich, talkative blondes from Laguna Beach. Nor do we know if the White Brotherhood or the Ascended Masters or whoever had to decide whether Saint Germain will appear costumed as Bill Moyers or Aung Sun Suu Kyi, or will come, as they say on TV, As Himself. We don't know what planet(s) these heroic visitors were supposed to be from. All we know is that for the umpteenth time, they've dropped the titanium ball. Some people are severely honked off at the ET's for being about as reliable as video producers from Cairo, but of course, they're not saying anything out loud.

Nor, eerily, are most other informed observers, as though any noise at all might cause a currency to crack loose like an arctic ice shelf and vanish into the sea. The right wing power elite is about as communicative as a poker player holding the only straight flush he's ever seen, and they usually clam up anyway when it happens, as it just has again, that another senior politician from the GOP (Gay Overture Party) has gotten caught with his pro bono in a glory hole. This means that the only ones who are saying much right now are allegedly progressive left wingers, who number, in addition to Mr. Moyers and such reasoned voices as Chalmers Johnson (Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic) and Thom Hartmann (The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight), whole jumping hordes of the kinds of frothing vengeance seekers who've been observed to go on miraculously attacking and accusing even after their death, so much so that Nietzsche clearly had them in mind when he said, "Distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful."

So who can advise us credibly now, when Europeans are carefully testing the waters, and Americans have fouled their nest so badly that they can scarcely be trusted to have either the honesty or the competence to clean it up? To design a wise guide to help us through this crucial juncture, one does not need to be Barbel Mohr, author of The Cosmic Ordering Service, to imagine the qualities he, she or they should have. A track record of recent accomplishment and success would help, and good prospects of more to come in the near and long term. We can add solid and sincerely-held values of communal responsibility. Self-discipline and the ability to delay gratification. And a realistic ability to plan ahead and be prepared for any outcome. By now you know who we're talking about: the Chinese, of course, seen here.

They've sure proven to be capitalists of the most practical, clever sort, able to argue doggedly that lead paint on their toys is no problem because it's never been proven to be harmful in any way to the toy itself. The two virtual cops we see here, who appear every 30 minutes on every gateway website in China, inviting web surfers to turn in politically errant bloggers and other suspicious types, are sure to nail a crooked fish peddler or two among all the crank e-mails, revenge reports from just-dumped lovers and so many prank messages that not even the richest college frat in Texas could begin to compete.

Those Chinese sure can plan ahead too. They think of everything. They've even passed a law requiring that anyone who wants to reincarnate as the Dalai Lama or any other high Tibetan lama has to get the permission of the Chinese government before doing it. That will sure certainly solve the problem of Tibetan Buddhism for good, no doubt about it, though there's no telling what nuisance could be committed by souls who are in the Bardo now, and haven't seen the new law yet. Clearly, it will make sense to see which way the wind is blowing in China, provided one is not standing in a place where the air is slate gray in color, so that breathing it without a mask could cause him to fall over dead.

Besides keeping your eye on Beijing, provided you have your eye drops close to hand, what's the best way to navigate the interesting times, as the Chinese would call them, that are coming just ahead? All the UFC can suggest, really, are the celestial and mythic currents that have proven trustworthy because they're accurate in drawing the terrain, and responsible in affirming the symbols, themes and principles that have always been useful for holding communities together through tough times, and will be equally useful now for those who discriminate clearly about what is useful, and are not distracted by fantasy and fear. Those who believe gods, angels or extraterrestrials are coming to save us should by all means stay abreast of the latest ET news reports, especially if they come online, free of charge; and as always, ET awaiters may find valuable clues in comic books, which remain attractively affordable, compared to other entertainment media, in these uncertain times. Those who want a hierarchy to give them some surety and structure are best advised to get trim and fit, so they'll look snappy in a uniform, like the police shown above. And those who wonder where to place their money should certainly be proactive and, at the very least, diversify their currency holdings.

What are the celestial dynamics for late 2007 and beyond? The bald, prosaic fact is that while the next two years will certainly be eventful, the main soar and bump on the road from here to 2012 is not now, or in 2008 or 2009, even if another US election is stolen, the constitution is suspended and the country finally goes praetorian. Momentous as this could be, it is a detail compared to what forms in 2010, when a long-running conjunction between Neptune and Chiron in Aquarius -- as the mystical artist and the spiritual healer join energies in the sign of friendship, communal action and revolutionary change -- encloses a time of the most intense friction that we'll see in the next five years: a tremendously powerful, transformative T-cross and grand cross of Jupiter and Uranus in Aries, Mars and Saturn in Libra, Pluto in Capricorn and the Moon in Aries and Cancer. While there are literally Earth-shaking events ahead in the next two years and more, they will seem slight when we look back on them from the end of 2010.

Yes, 2010 may as well be on the Moon, the way life moves now. Can we zoom in, please, to the near term? Certainly. The main astral forces that are in effect from now through February, 2008 are in the Astral Notes for Fall, 2007. Here, and in the Daily Listing for September 2, you'll find more about what is surely the most important planetary event until next January: Saturn's ingress into the advantageous sign of Virgo after four years of being "in detriment" in Cancer and Leo. How Saturn's most patient, disciplined qualities will yield best results in the methodical, serviceable environment of Virgo will be the subject of much comment here, and in other astrology websites, from now until late 2009, when Saturn starts to move on into Libra. For the moment, the main general themes are that aims we have not been able to attract will now begin to flow toward us more swiftly and easily. Manifestation accelerates. Plans and projects that we have not been able to put in motion will come to life now, especially if they are done by like-minded, communicative teams. And our focus will shift rapidly on Sept. 6 and 7 from what has not worked in the past to what can and will start working better now.

Why on these specific dates? Because Pluto in Sagittarius "goes direct" on Sept. 6, and Venus in Leo goes direct a day later. The faster-moving Venus then moves gradually into a beautiful 120° "trine" between the two planets that starts forming on Sept. 28 and is exact on Oct. 3 - 4, which should be utilized as a target date and moment of opportunity especially by couples, but also by all people who are working to adjust priorities of love, beauty, art and wealth with their respective power roles in their relationships. When any planet is "retrograde," apparently moving backward, then it draws our focus into the past, so that we are more likely to brood, when Venus is involved, on issues of what hasn't worked, why I haven't gotten why I wanted, how I kept love away or missed the signals that might have brought it near. When Pluto appears to go backward, we are more likely to live passively at the effect of subconscious habits and thoughtforms, rather than moving more confidently toward what we want. When Pluto is direct, we tend to self-start and get moving. When Venus goes direct we tend to see more clearly what's possible and ready, and go more playfully for it.

The big astral event that comes every September is, of course, the Autumn Equinox on Sept. 22 or 23, depending on where you are. This fourth and last of the great Sun festivals, while it's always celebrated less jubilantly than the others, is placed at this point in the year, marked in perfectly appropriate symbols, because it reminds us not just in years like 2007, but at the cusp of every harvest season, why justice is so critically important, what it means physically and spiritually, and why it's best understood as a generous, abundant state of mind that applies to all of us, even if we've never thought of ourselves as holding the balance or the blade.

The main reason why the fall equinox is the least active festival of the solar cycle is neither esthetic nor emotional. It’s practical. There’s work to be done now, and some of it has to be carried out with precision and care. There’s a reason why our usage has expressions like “Make hay while the sun shines” for this time when we know we have only a few weeks of long, mild afternoons to get the crops in. Once that’s done, we’ll have plenty of time to celebrate after Samhain in early November. And in the winter, with our fields under snow, we’ve got nothing but time. But now – we call this season homecoming because we need every pair of hands we can get to harvest the crops, and weigh them. That's why Libra the Scales is the symbol of the month. This is the only constellation in which the ancient star-namers did not see the shape of an animal, or one or more human figures, but saw, of all things, a tool that we use to weigh gold, and stones, and most important, grain

The autumn equinox begins the time when the main harvest has to be brought in, weighed and stored, and we prize the people who can focus on the job and write the numbers down, so we know what we’ve got, and we can decide what to tell the duke’s assessor when he comes around. The significance of this weighing is universal. A Celtic festival that featured the ritual weighing of grain and fruit was held on Sept. 21, and the festival that Taoists have observed since ancient times on the same day honors the Shen, or divine principles, of West – associated with the sunset, and therefore with completion – and Wind or Air, the most mental of the elements. Obviously, the presence of Saturn in Virgo for this fall equinox -- for the first time in 29 years -- doubles the promise of this month at a time when patient, painstaking effort is likely to pay big by the time the whole harvest, whatever that is for each one, is brought in.

This theme of balance gives the autumn equinox a much better symbol for its spot in the year than the spring equinox has. Aries the Ram snorts at anyone who claims he actually has a female side, and he thinks “balance” is probably what others need to regain when they stand up again after he’s butted them all the way down the hill and into the stream. But in Libra month that follows the fall equinox, balance is everything: in weighing the wheat, organizing the harvest team, caring for colds and children in an indoor season. Mars, the ruler of Aries, would be a disaster in running all of this. That’s why it has always been wiser to put the autumn scenario in the hands of the goddess, even love goddesses like Venus and Hathor, because by now they are in maturity, running the home as the mothers that all love goddesses become.

The lady of the grain is also honored now, naturally, in all her glorious bounty. Sept. 21 was once the day when the Greeks and Romans celebrated their respective feasts of Demeter and Ceres, goddesses of the grain, and of the primeval Latin goddess Ops, whose name meant green abundance before Rome got a lot richer, and opulence changed its color to gold. The symbol of the cornucopia, the horn of plenty that we still see at harvest holidays like the American Thanksgiving Day -- and the theme of gratitude too -- come from this day when ancient peoples offered first fruits, new wine and sacrifices to Mother Earth for the riches of the fields and the continuance of life. Such rites are extremely ancient, probably among the earliest festive sacraments that our ancestors created. We can see their antiquity from their position in the solar year almost a week after the actual date of the equinox.

The general rule here is that the closer a Sun festival falls to a solstice or equinox, the newer it is, as it must have started in a more recent era when our ancestors could reckon the timing of the main solar events more precisely. In more ancient times, major Sun festivals were celebrated several days after the great solar event, by which time it could be observed to have happened. This is why, for example, the actual winter solstice is on Dec. 21 - 22, but the great Solar Child festivals are all on Dec. 25. So if a fall equinox festival comes on Sept. 21, like the ones just above, it's only a couple of thousand years old. If it falls a day or two later, it's much older. And if it's even later, we are looking at one of the most ancient feasts that are still in our historic memory. One intriguing example of an extremely old fall equinox harvest festival may have been celebrated some 6,000 years ago, even earlier, by the Sumerians, for whom Sept. 27 was the Day of Willows, a festival of rejoicing and prayer for prosperity and abundance.

The festival calendars of Persia are fascinating, showing as they do how major holy days held in the same country may change their meaning over time, according to the beliefs and priorities of the religions that celebrate them. In the ancient Mediterranean and Middle East, Mihrigan, the festival of the solar god Mithras, was held on Sept. 21, and this is why the month that begins with the fall equinox is still called Mihr in the calendar that Iranians use today. Any festival honoring Mithras was solar, and male; and the Muslim culture in modern Iran is male-dominant as well. But the descendents of the ancient Zoroastrians still celebrate a feast that is probably much older, as it falls almost a week after the equinox, on Sept. 27:  they honor Ameretat, the feminine emanation of Ahura Mazda who creates and drives the green force of vegetable energy. The point is getting obvious by now. Sept. 27 was one of the year's most important goddess festivals, celebrated everywhere because it marked the transition of the Triple Goddess from Mother to Wise Woman. Long before the astronomers and monument builders were able to reckon the Sun’s cycle more precisely and fix the autumn equinox on Sept. 21, those who keep time to the Dance of the Moon have known that the year runs smoothly when it is in the goddess’s capable hands, and the community’s Wise Women are among the elders who tend the fire circle and the altar. They have always known what we are witnessing daily now : that when our focus is on the money and the things, we tend to get caught in nervous masculine mind and worry about what we don't have or may be about to lose. When we recognize what truly matters -- the fields and womb bringing forth new life -- then we live in sacred feminine mind, concentrating instead on gratitude for what we do have, and our responsibility to protect it.

Guru Rattana, in her invaluable free monthly New Millennium Being newsletter, states the matter more forcefully in writing about this month's other main symbol, the Virgin who rules most of September, until the equinox:

"Virgo is represented by a young Maiden/Virgin. She is often depicted sitting in a boat holding a flame in one hand and a chaff of grain in the other. She is gently and effortlessly moving with the flow of the evolving and manifesting current. The Virgo archetype represents the principle of universal justice, which happens when natural laws are obeyed. When they are not obeyed, adjustments are made to re-establish natural order. Often we don't like the consequences of these adjustments.

"Virgo embodies and represents the intrinsic orderliness and the fertility of nature. She understands and honors the value, appropriateness and way of life of every natural form - including, plants, animals, human beings and Mother Earth herself. Virgo is attuned to the reality that nature's way is unfolded in the seasons, life and death, the waxing and waning of the Moon, and the yearly and daily progression of the Sun and the Planets.

"Virgo is both saddened and disgusted by the disorder, destruction, chaos, and wastefulness of time and resources. Virgo does not have any sympathy for those who squander precious resources and make a mess of things. Mother Nature is a stern punisher of crime. There is no cheating, bribery or leniency in her court of natural law and karma. The same goes for Saturn. Virgo's vision is a life where natural order is restored and respected and natural justice rightfully reigns."

The theme of the balance, and its underlying mindset about what we do or don't have, is reflected in the symbol of the Scales as we see it in our ancient cultures. The Egyptian matriarchy envisioned the crucial outcome in the soul's journey after death as the famous judgment scene in which the soul stands before Osiris -- picture here -- and its heart is weighed against a feather representing Ma'at, universal order and truth. If the heart is made heavy by falsehood and hurtful action, it outweighs the feather and vanishes at once into extinction, eaten by the monster Ammit. If it weighs next to nothing and balances the feather, then the soul is admitted to eternal life. An Egyptian naturally wanted, then, to have nothing in the scales. The emphasis is altogether different at Belshazzar's feast, when the famous handwriting on the wall tells the king that "Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting" (Daniel 5.22). No wonder Belshazzar is terrified, for all his wealth is not enough.
So how do we keep our perceptions of abundance and scarcity, and the relative merits of giving and taking, in an order that favors and preserves us, even when it appears to the most fearful among us that calamity is it hand? Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov has, as always, a timely observation in his Daily Meditation from a few days ago:

"It is interesting to observe what the words ‘give’ and ‘take’ inspire in human beings. There is a story about an old miser who fell down a well. Hearing his cries, a neighbour approached and called to him: ‘You poor old thing, how did you happen to fall in this well? Give me your hand, and I’ll pull you out!’ But there was no sound more disagreeable to the miser’s ears than the word ‘give’, and he refused to budge. The neighbour, who knew him well, understood. ‘You don’t want to give me your hand?
Fine, take mine.’ The miser grasped it at once. The same gesture had been made, but the word ‘take’ sounded much more agreeable to him. This miser who fell down a well is the picture of humanity as a whole, which only understands the word ‘take’! You will say that we must take in order to feed ourselves. Yes, to give and take are indispensable for life, but you have to know where, from whom, how and how much to take. You also have to know where, to whom, how and how much to give."

So what's the best thing to give this month? Sound, of course, especially when we align with others who are aligning their intentions and frequencies in Unity, Joy, Acceptance, Harmony and Compassion for the benefit of all living beings and Mother Earth. Daniel Brower's Circle of Sound network is organizing global sound meditations for the three consecutive Saturdays of Sept. 9, 16 and 23. The Sacred Sounds group in Cairo will join the Sept. 9 meditation at the climax of the Mind Body Spirit Festival of Giving, the first holistic health expo ever to be held in Egypt -- or at least for a very long time, since many of these healing methods were pioneered and refined by Imhotep and other ancient masters. On the 23rd, Sacred Sounds will play at Wadi Degla in the desert near Cairo, in synchrony with the Circle of Sound's Global Harmonization, held at each solstice and equinox. The frequencies of lift and freedom are always there to hit and hold. This month will be an excellent time to sing them. Keep Holding That Frequency.

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