Thursday, October 25 is the Festival of the Taurus Full Moon, which occurs every year when the Sun is in Scorpio.
This Taurus Full Moon is also what is known to astrologers as a “Super Moon”. A Super Moon occurs when a full moon coincides with the moon’s closest approach to Earth during its orbit. This close approach to Earth is known as the “perigee” and occurs about five times a year.
The Super Moon is a time of extreme tidal, wind and weather activity worldwide, and metaphysically, the Super Moon is a time when the winds of change blow strongest.
The River Styx by Gustav Dore, 1861
The River Styx by Gustav Dore, 1861
In some sense, this Plutonic River of life and death surges through us most strongly during the month of the Scorpionic sun, when we are at the crossroads between the upsurging energy of the growing season and the autumnal season of decay and fall.
At this time we are all deluged with an impulse toward transformation by this Plutonic River of life and death. We all experience an impulse toward purification, a call to inner work and Higher Worlds, which stimulates us to intensify our spiritual practice, cleanse ourselves internally, shed our skins, release our desires, and elevate our energies from the lower chakras, concerned with growth, sexuality, power and the exercise of personal will, into the higher chakras, the realm of transpersonal energies, the home of the open heart, which is the seat of the compassion which encompasses the entire human race, and the whole of the web of life.
As we elevate our energies into the upper chakras, we encounter the season of relations, when community gathers to celebrate the harvest, and when groups gather to experience the awesome moment of the thinning of the veils between this world and the next, which also occurs during the time of the Scorpionic Sun, at the festival we know as Halloween, about one week from today.
This year’s Taurus Full Moon Festival occurs at a time when Pluto is approaching its third and final exact alignment with the Galactic Center, at 26 degrees and 56 minutes of Sagittarius, on October 28, midway between the Full Moon and Halloween.
Pluto conjunct the Galactic Center is renowned as a time of Universal transformation in human affairs, and such conjunctions historically herald a sea-change in human social relations, a cultural shift that dramatically alters the balance of political, economic, and religious power in cultures around the world.
Fortunately, this Super Moon Taurus Festival with Pluto Conjunct the Galactic Center is quite well aspected.
The Sabian symbol for the 27th degree of Sagittarius is “a sculptor at his work.” This symbol emphasizes that the cultural changes about to surge through our political, cultural, economic and religious systems can be shaped according to the desires of the individual human being. The creative will of the individual human being has a very definite role to play in these massive, global shifts in consciousness and in the direction of human cultural endeavors, and it is vitally important that each and every one of us accept our responsibility for helping shape these changes in a way that will work for the best and highest good of all humanity, and for the preservation of the myriad of life forms currently thriving on our Mother Earth.
The Sabian Symbol for 3 degrees Scorpio, the placement of the Sun at this Super Full Moon, is “A house-raising party in a small village enlists the neighbors’ co-operation; the feeling of community demonstrated in a basic joint effort.” This symbol indicates that the tremendous forces surging through human society worldwide at this time are extremely supportive of co-operative efforts to build a new structure for human existence, a new culture, a new politics, a new economic system, even a new approach to Spirit can be visualized by the group, and that vision can be manifested through group effort. This is most auspicious, since the total transformation of human culture is going to be required by the alignment of the stars, and also by environmental and political forces that will force us all to choose between war and peace, destruction and preservation of life, environmental catastrophe and a completely different lifestyle based upon a much more modest pattern of consumption of natural resources. Together, say this week’s stars, we can succeed in this tremendous effort, but only through group effort.
The Moon’s symbol characterizes the individual consciousness and the conditions in which it currently frames its evolution. The Sabian Symbol for 3 degrees Taurus is “Natural steps lead to a lawn of clover in bloom; the gradual expansion of the individual consciousness after a fecundating experience.” Once the soil has been enlivened by the addition of appropriate amendments, in the form of Universal Life Force Energy, supportive minerals, compost, and mulch, the nourishment of sun and rain leads to a natural flowering of the clover, which, because of its three petaled form, is symbolic of the triune nature of the human being, the Spirit, the Soul and the Body.
It is only through strenuous inner work that each one of us will prepare ourselves for the Great Work to come – the Great Work of group effort to fashion the new post-industrial-age human society of the 21st century.
A gradual, gentle expansion of individual human consciousness is definitely taking place at this time, and although events in the outer world may be quite chaotic, conflicted and indeed, terrifying, on the inner planes of consciousness, humanity is being strengthened by these dramatic and often bloody changes, and we are all being called to allow ourselves to flower, each in our own way, according to the seasons of the soul, for only through our acceptance will the garden of humanity reach its full blossoming beauty – at a time which is yet to come.
Let us take some time this week to celebrate these very auspicious stellar aspects, and to celebrate another year’s harvest, another year of beauty and bounty in our gardens! Here in the Satya Center gardens, as Jane reports below, we have been blessed in a myriad of ways through seasons of turbulent change and a variety of challenges.
To read about the seasonal festivals at this time of year see our newsletters called “Halloween Autumn Festivals” and also “Happy Halloween, Samhain & Diwali”.
The Nourishment of Beauty: Autumn 2007 Garden Report by Jane Sherry
I am continuously amazed, inspired & guided by the wisdom found working in partnership with Nature to create a garden, filled with flower, vegetable & herb allies.
Gardens are expressions of Love and teach patience, perseverance & tenacity. The act of gardening encourages hope & faith & trust in an abundant future. Cultivating a garden assists us in the cultivation of our vision, helping us to see clearly the myriad of ways we human beings live in partnership with Nature.
Gardening calls forth our highest creative instincts & intuition as we work to optimize the conditions in the garden for the highest and best good of the myriad of beings that inhabit the soil, the air, the plants, worms, microbes, insects and small animals that know the garden as their home.
In return for our work, attention, and love, gardens offer up their nourishing fruits, leaves & seeds, feeding not only our appetites, but feeding the emotional body & spiritual heart as well.
Gardens nourish not only through the stomach, but through the feast of color, aroma, touch and sound which feeds all of our senses. One of the most important nourishments we receive in gardening, is from their Beauty! I think Beauty is something which is very undervalued in our culture, in spite of the many ways in which popular culture & advertising admonish & bombard us to become more beautiful.
The aroma of the moist earth after a spring rain, the buzzing of a crowd of honey bees on a stand of flowers, the procession of blossoms that appear on different flowers as seasons change, the tantalizing smell of tomatoes on the vine, the taste of a ripe green bean freshly picked, all combine to create a total sensory experience of the natural beauty which nourishes the soul and inspires our creativity.
If our culture here in America truly nourished & cultivated beauty, there would be more community gardens in cities, the arts would be supported & considered necessary to our children’s education and we would seek to acquire inner beauty instead of the many harmful varieties of beauty products advertised on television & in magazines. Day dreaming would be encouraged and lazing about with the birds & the bees would be seriously considered as worthwhile activities!!
So, yes, beauty in the garden is an important method we can use to nourish our eyes, our hearts & minds. Gardens remind us that all of creation is filled with meaning, with the immanence of Goddess and that we too are a part of Nature and therefore are filled with the Divine. Gardens remind us that Goddess is in all things and that Universal Life Force Energy is that which sustains us. Gardens are available to us on a daily basis, a form of free worship in which we can be brought close to our Divine Self.
Flowers are great messengers and a perfected delivery system for the Life Force energies available on our beautiful Garden Planet, Mother Earth. I am reminded of the sight of a bumblebee which has died in one of our pollen filled hollyhock flowers, the sight of which fills me with peace. This bumblebee lived his perfected Life & died a perfect blissful death surrounded in the gift of pollen, lulled to sleep by death's sweet flower filled embrace.
It's actually been three years since I've written a Garden Weather Report! In those three years, our gardens have not only changed their county & latitude, but have also changed in the sheer size & abundance of varieties planted.
This year’s spring brought with it both drought & flood conditions, which gave rise to a monsoon of bugs, double rainbows (more than once!!) & a flood of flowers. Summer brought more unusual weather patterns, moving into drought like conditions, but thanks to heavy mulching & good organic soils, most of our gardens continued to flourish. True to the idea that there is no longer normal weather, the temperatures & moisture cycles were wildly variable from Spring through Autumn.
As for lessons in perseverance, one of the lessons this year's gardens most skillfully offered up, was taught by the Japanese beetles. These much-feared and hated foreign invaders first made an appearance in our American gardens in 1916 in NJ and were thought to have been imported in larval form in a shipment of flower bulbs.
These emerald green invaders began to eat everything in sight. They went wild in our rose patch, made the hollyhocks stands their beetle condos & were even found in rows of marigolds. This was shocking and even unnatural. The marigolds are planted to keep creeping flying voracious bugs like them OUT of the garden!
Early in the summer, you would have found me mornings & evenings picking the beetles by hand out of our roses & hollyhocks & anywhere else I had the energy to look for them. Once I had them firmly in my grip, I transferred them to a Mason jar, where they were contained in large piles until the smell became too rank, and then they were given a proper insect funeral and returned to the earth.
In a local fruit orchard where we go to pick blueberries the owner told us that when they first put the large Japanese beetle traps out this summer, that the traps filled up & needed to be emptied within 2-3 hours. This went on for days at a time!!
The beetles are pretty to look at, with their irridescent emerald green scarab bodies, but I say "yuck" & get very un-Buddhist-like in behavior when they appear in hordes!
As the season wore on and their depredations continued, my attitude hardened. In fact, one of our young friends was surprised & smiled to see me crush them in my fingers, by digging my nail into that lovely carapace. I believe her exact words were, "Eeoo, you're killing them with your hands! I could never do that!".
Speaking of tenacity, perseverance & faith, as I wandered around the gardens this morning, I saw my rosebushes looking lush & pink with fragrant blooms again and the hollyhocks are still blooming, putting forth their blossoms (making good food for the deer!). All of the damage the beetles inflicted is just a memory replaced by the garden's bountiful blooms.
And for all of my farmer friends who admonished me downstate, that my garden would grow much better in full sun, I must say you were certainly right! What a shock to find that lettuce can grow full heads, flowers can burst into a riot of color which keep blooming for months at a time & vegetables taste sweeter. Whole cabbage heads can grow, beets can reach maturity & tomatoes appear in such profusion they overwhelm us!!
Our vegetable garden was a more ambitious project than ever before & rewarded us with great baskets full of vegetables all summer along with fruits of that great American favorite: the tomato vine. The tomatoes are still producing even though it is the end of October as I write this letter to you. I keep promising to not pick any more tomatoes, but it is hard to resist yet one more meal of zucchini (yes, they're still producing too!) and fresh tomatoes, seasoned with the lovely aromatic tiny leaves of the globe basil, which also still rewards us with her spicy leaves & flowers.
I do so enjoy adding flowers into our meals & feel that flowers add tremendous healing energies into our etheric bodies as well as contributing to our physical health with their stores of anti viral & anti bacterial aromatic oils & minerals & vitamins.
Our flower & herb beds on the side of the house sit in partial sun and run downhill so it was very challenging to work on the steep slope, terraced through great effort, in each stage of its manifestation. I have found that the hollyhocks scattered in this garden do not mind the partial sun, however the echinacea angustifolia & one of our valerian varieties are very unhappy there & keep reaching across the bed, as if to climb out toward the sun!
One of the other challenges of a sloping garden are physical challenges. It is great exercise to work any garden, but especially a garden on a steep slope. The seeding, planting, weeding & harvesting is hard work on a sloping garden! Good work on those gluteous maximus muscles and all the way down the leg! And one has to consider whether there is enough organic matter in the soil to remain in place during a heavy downpour. Luckily, our beds are well made, with strong logs supporting the base of the most steeply angled of the terraced beds. We added enough organic material & plantings, so that we had almost no soil runoff during what were very frequent and heavy rains at times this past spring.
This year, the real stars of the herb bed were: the skullcap which finally took off, and both the angelicas & lovage plants, which tried to take over the place. And happily for the Devas & for us, the echinaceas are well established again.
Speaking of garden spirits, we have found that our little cat beast, miss Devi, loves to hide in amongst flowers in all of our gardens. Luckily, she does her business in an ornamental bed close to the house, which I think is her way of establishing her territory, essential because of the many barnyard cats which live and wander up and down our winding country road, visiting the cornfields, rows of vegetables, and fields of dairy cows & cattle at will, day and night.
The annual flower bed we added on at the last moment at the bottom of the hill in the herb garden has provided a torrential rainbow of color from the many varieties of zinnia, to the front row of orange & yellow & red lantanas (which we discovered were distasteful to the deer) and celosias of various colors, shapes & feathers!
And of course, our garden would not be complete without several varieties of our beloved marigolds. Right when the heat of summer is overpowering some of our flowering herbs, and the calendula spends most of its time putting out seed heads, before its second round of autumn blooms, the marigolds kick in with their golden, orange & maroon exuberance. I love picking them, as their scent is so piquant & reminds me of ritual ceremonies!
This past weekend, was our first two whole day weekend at home and our first weekend not working in 14 weeks! And because of global warming we got to enjoy our weekend with a cerulean colored autumn sky but warmed by summer like temperatures. We had our picnic lunch of tempeh reuben tortillas with more German tomatoes from the garden out in our backyard and homemade lacto fermented beets & cabbage to go with it. It was a very odd feeling to watch yellow leaves falling in the breeze & feel so hot as the sun beat down upon us!
We've been working hard all summer, not only with garden tasks (it's hard work to eat, preserve & share all that food!) but also with preparing for a Reiki workshop, working with Reiki clients, attending spiritual workshops with our teacher, buying pounds & pounds of new crystal acquisitions, but also in designing some new crystal pendants which we're having made exclusively for Satya Center Crystal Gallery. Check our crystal gallery to see some of our new treasures, but keep checking back, because we've barely had time to get any of them online!
Actually, we tried desperately all summer to give tomatoes away to anyone who came by (even the UPS driver didn't want any because he said someone else nearby had given him buckets of tomatoes!!). Yes, it was a tomato year, as all of our neighbors & farmers have been saying.
Tomato salsa, tomato soup, tomato broth for cooking fish, tomato sauce of course, but my favorite was the fast blended sauce made from the cherry tomato varieties all mixed together. It was like eating sunshine itself!
Another project we've been working on is 'watering' the garden with Reiki rain. You'd be surprised how much all of our flowers responded to this activity! Our only other form of fertility for the gardens was some fish & seaweed emulsion, some compost & nettles teas, but really steady 'applications' of Reiki and healing mantras were most effective energetically!
I am also working on more new projects requiring the assistance of the local devas & nature spirits--in creating a new anointing oil specifically designed to help us access & break through the wounded & abused parts of our natures, whether from events in this lifetime, or karmic accumulations which have impacted our abilities to accept & give love freely or to move in the world with confidence. This anointing oil is created to assist us in remembering that we deserve happiness & to help us achieve freedom from those wounds & dead weights we carry around in our bodies, both physically, emotionally & etherically. As you may have guessed, it is called "Breakthrough" and will be available in a couple of weeks.
Other treats from the garden will be forthcoming as well in November, such as a healing balm from herb infused oils, a healing massage balm with warming herbs, essential oils & flower essences for winter & cool weather & the Three Kings Anointing Oil Balm as well.
Our front flower border garden grew way beyond our wildest hopes this year that it would bring color & order as well as a sense of wildness to frame the house. The grasses are magnificent on one end, the cardinal vine almost took over the front doorway winding their way through the potted poinsettas which were on our front stoop. The crimson giant salvias are a boon for the honeybees which we can watch out our bedroom window.
Among our greatest joys is seeing the gardens filled with beneficial insects. Our gardens seem always to be busy with honeybees, they love the hyssop hedge, the flowers & herbs & especially the calendula patch! I was delighted to see my first view of parasitic wasp larvae on our tomato plants this summer. I had only seen one tomato horn worm and very soon after that, the wasp larva made their appearance! Welcome!
I also saw praying mantises, varieties of bees, spiders, bug eating beetles & dragonflies! Because we don't use any sprays to fight bugs, even so called organic sprays or soap sprays, I am very encouraged to see all this beneficial bug action in the garden. Now we need to encourage even greater balance to fight things like mildew, rodents & rabbits. Actually the rabbits ate mainly the violet leaves, which I was happy to offer to them, and a little of this & that in other well-circumscribed locations, so I suspect they are already kept in balance by the wonderful larger predators in our area such as foxes, coyotes & owls.
Another small highly symbolic beast appeared this summer. Several milk snakes made their homes near our washer & drying machines in the basement. I was able to liberate three of them safely away from Miss Devi the cat & from potential dehydration. Even though I knew they were harmless, and after all they were so small, only a foot long apiece, it gave me a little ancient thrill of fear & delight to capture them & carry them upstairs & out the door to the back periwinkle bed. I felt that they were auspicious omens for our place being very protected & Sacred Space.
Now if I can find out who's eating our tomatoes (they must have heard me say I was tired of picking them!). I suspect it is mice, as there are also teeth marks on the winter squash & the inside of several beets were eaten in addition to the insides of large tomatoes. They must think there's too much skin on the cherry tomatoes & mini egg tomatoes (as much as I do), as they don't touch them. They like to dig a hole, pull the large tomato fruit onto the dirt & then hollow them out leaving a shell of skin. Same with the beets!!
Plans for the gardens to get 'put to bed' are pretty simple & will allow for a little cleanup, dreams for next year & lots & lots of straw & manure fed to the vegetable bed.
It's never too late to garden at any time of year! In autumn, plant bulbs to delight yourself in early spring before anything flowery emerges from the wintery ground. Plant ginseng, goldenseal & garlic or flower seeds which like to be overwintered such as hollyhocks, perennial forget-me-nots or echinacea.
Autumn is a great time to see what you've got going on in your gardens that you may want to change. When things begin to die back in places where you have cold winters, but before the ground freezes, you can do transplantings of bulbs, root hardy plants such as echinacea & hollyhocks & move things to more suitable locations.
I'll be moving some hollyhocks, echinacea purpurea, echinacea angustifolia & irises. And most of all, it's a good time to gather your garden catalogues so that you can do the most fun gardening activity of winter- dream gardens!!
Winter is a great time to sketch out ideas for new gardens or garden revisions, go through your boxes of seeds, order more seeds for the following season or trade seeds with friends. I have been known to scatter seed on top of the snow for some of those flowers which I mentioned above, which require stratification (needing cold in order to germinate once temperatures warm up.) Some folks just put their seed in the refrigerator, but I think it's fun to go out in the snow!!
And I assume you need no prompting to work in your garden come spring & summer. Spring of course, is the big time clean up, when even if it's cold & still wearing a snow cover, you can prune away dead flowers & grasses & begin to imagine warm days & nights of playing in the dirt.
However you garden, enjoy & don't forget that the power of the imagination & creative forces need gardens too! We give thanks for our bounty & blessings of Nature on our tables, to share with friends & loved ones, to store on our shelves & enjoy in our bodies!
And so as we enter the twilight of the year in this time of Scorpionic transformation, let us give thanks to all who have assisted us on our journey around the wheel of the year especially our ancestors, the friends, family & co-workers who fill our days & nights, to the Nature spirits, without whom we would have no Earth, no gardens, no pumpkins lit in windows & let us say a prayer that our Mother Earth can cool her fevers, can equilibrate the pollution & ease the burden of the results of humans not living in balance with Her.
May those who suffer from floods, fires out of control, illness & starvation find solace, gentleness & meaning in their lives & may those of us more fortunate find ways in which to help others, to do no harm, to live more lightly on the Earth & to always give thanks. Aho!
And in closing, if there is a lesson I have learned in the six months of gardening this year, I would have to say it is truly about Faith & Love & the power of creative life. If we are able to dream & to believe in something greater than ourselves, if we set our intention to tune into the forces of Nature and then enlighten ourselves through education, patience & trial & error and apply ourselves through acts of Will, we can co-create with Nature in Love, Light, Beauty, sustenance & inspired action! Blessings from our Gardens to yours!!
PS: We enjoyed a spectacular bright orange moonset the other night at 9:30 PM. Long after the sun had set, the crescent moon bestowed its magnificent glory upon the end of our day.
[Gibbous Moon in Cloudscape]
[All the photos are taken this year in our gardens & night sky!]
Top Satya Center Stories of the Week
Curtis Lang and Jane Sherry provide a guide to “Psychic Self-Defense” which provides a number of easy-to-use techniques for Lightworkers and all the rest of us beset by the onslaught of unwanted and often negative energies we receive from our often toxic environment, and from others in our world who suffer from emotional sickness -- fear, anger, jealousy, and even despair.
“Do you have trouble relating to the emotions you are feeling sometimes, as if they weren't your own?” Jane and Curtis ask. “Do you feel that sometimes when you walk into a room, that your energy changes to reflect whatever's going on around you? Do you pick up or experience the emotions of characters on tv and movies, in the news or newspapers?”
“You may be what is called an empath, someone who experiences what is known as clairsentience, or the ability to pick up the emotions of others. This ability has been referred to as a 'paranormal' ability, which implies that the person with that ability is someone whose experience is 'outside' what is considered 'normal', but in fact, empathy is a perfectly normal ability which each of us may experience in varying degrees.”
“Empathy is the forerunner of compassion, and therefore a potentially very positive experience. However there is a danger involved in the empathic experience we should all understand. And there are ways to protect oneself from these dangers and transform empathy into a totally empowering experience! This article will tell you how!”
In his new story, “Pipeline Through Paradise: Big Oil’s Plan to Tap the Arctic”, investigative reporter Jim Ridgeway, who is the Washington Bureau Chief for Mother Jones magazine, reports on the Great Chess Game for control of oil and gas resources in the North Country.
“One quarter of the world's untapped oil and gas reserves lie in the Arctic,” Ridgeway explains. “Politicians, oil execs, and the media focus on the Middle East and West Africa but most know that the Arctic is the real prize in the ongoing international struggle to control dwindling energy resources.” Read Ridgeway’s article to find out how this “cold war” for oil and gas will impact every one of us.
There’s also some good news from the energy front! Renowned British scientist Dr. Mae-Wan Ho tell us that all about it in “Cold Fusion: Back on the Menu”. For several years the global scientific community has given cold fusion the cold shoulder, but that has changed recently, with new research from several countries that puts the cold fusion option back on the global energy agenda.
“The implications of cold fusion are enormous,” says Dr. Ho. “It means that a cheap, much safer and controllable source of nuclear energy is on the horizon. It may be possible to use the same kinds of low energy nuclear reactions to transform existing hazardous radioactive nuclear wastes into more stable, non-radioactive elements.” Read this detailed and informative article to find out more about the science behind the big claims for cold fusion.
Indian journalist Palagummi Sainath reports on “Nine Decades of Non-Violence: The Story of Satyagraha”.
Satyagraha was Gandhi's peaceful protest movement in India that triggered the drive for independence in that country. Satyagraha was not a movement for those of the Hindu religion, it was an inclusive social movement that reached out to Hindus and Moslems and Christians alike. Sainath tells the story of an old Muslim gentleman who followed Gandhi and has practiced Gandhian precepts for fifty years.
Frankly, we were astounded by the story of Baji Mohammed, who went to prison for the Gandhian principles of non-violent social protest against British imperial rule, helped organize poor farmers to work for Indian independence, gave away all his land to a community farm co-operative out of a spirit of selfless service and compassion, endured a brutal beating by Hindu fundamentalists a few years ago, and now serves as the head of the “anti-cow slaughter league” of his hometown, a post one would normally associate with a Hindu rather than a Muslim, since Muslims, unlike Hindus, eat beef. I do not know of many Americans who have demonstrated the level of spiritual practice, community service and political willpower that come so naturally to this impoverished Muslim gentleman.
Read his story. It will move you to tears. We in the West have so much to learn from the Third World, but normally we are blind, deaf and dumb to anyone who is not rich and famous. Please open your mind and invite Baji Muhammed in.
“Mountain Lullaby” is another Love & Nature meditation from renowned poet Jim Bertolino, reprinted from his book, Snail River. Click on the link above to experience sheer inspiration and a moment of transparent beauty.
Top Spiritual Stories From Around the Web
Celebration is an attitude
By Master Osho
Celebration is an attitude. Even about misery you can take an attitude of celebration. For example: you are sad -- don't get identified with sadness. Become a witness and enjoy the moment of sadness, because sadness has its own beauties. You have never watched. You get so identified that you never penetrate the beauties of a sad moment. If you watch, you will be surprised at what treasures you have been missing. Look -- when you are happy you are never so deep as when you are sad. Sadness has a depth to it; happiness has shallowness about it. Go and watch happy people. The so-called happy people, the playboys and playgirls -- in clubs, in hotels you will find them, in theatres -- are always smiling and bubbling with happiness. You will always find them shallow, superficial. They don't have any depth. Happiness is like waves just on the surface; you live a shallow life. But sadness has a depth to it. When you are sad it is not like waves on the surface, it is like the very depth of the Pacific Ocean: miles and miles to it.
Move into the depth, watch it. Happiness is noisy; sadness has a silence to it. Happiness may be like the day, sadness is like the night. Happiness may be like the light, sadness is like darkness. Light comes and goes; darkness remains -- it is eternal. Light happens sometimes; darkness is always there. If you move into sadness all these things will be felt. Suddenly you will become aware that sadness is there like an object, you are watching and witnessing, and suddenly you start feeling happy. Such a beautiful sadness! -- a flower of darkness, a flower of eternal depth. Like an abyss without any bottom, so silent, so musical; there is no noise at all, no disturbance. One can go on falling and falling into it endlessly, and one can come out of it absolutely rejuvenated. It is a rest.
Is Marriage Really the End of Love?
The Times of India, New Delhi
28 September 2007,
To marry or not to marry—that is the question. Osho would rather you didn’t—not until you found true love!
Socrates has a quarrelsome wife but when disciples asked him whether they should marry, he always advised them to. “If you are fortunate you’ll get a good wife. If you get a wife like mine, you’ll still be fortunate as she will help you become Socrates!”
But people like Socrates are rare. Most men cannot handle the misery, and either escape or get frustrated. The same goes for women as well. In her marriage, a woman may find the most terrible person who makes life hell for her. In fact, in most Indian marriages, women suffer more than men. What is the way out of this misery?
German politician Gabriele Pauli recently proposed that marriage contracts should be valid for seven years; after that couples who didn’t feel the proverbial itch could renew them, else walk away. This may sound radical but it isn’t.
People are divorcing faster today and most of the marriages in the so-called first world don’t last more than three years. Those that last have little life in them.
Love is like a real flower. It doesn’t live longer than it’s meant to. But when love is converted into marriage, it starts to lose its tenderness. It acquires a plastic nature; plastic lives for as long as wish it to but doesn’t pulsate with life. Love, like life, is always insecure. It cannot promise to be secures. It cannot promise to be forever. That’s why it is really very precious. One moment of real love is more valuable than an eternity of plastic life. But most people with deep insecurities go for a plastic marriage rather than wait for the real throbbing life of love, for they are scared to live alone.
Osho calls marriage the ‘coffin of love’. He says: “They all say that love is eternal, never dies. Absolutely wrong. Real love dies sooner than unreal love. Unreal love can live long; it is unreal, how can it die? If you ar pretending, you can pretend as long as you want to.”
Osho also tells us: “Love needs only one thing, and that is courage. Courage to die into the other, to drop your own identity, your ego. Millions have decided not to love, but then life is misery, life is hell.”
“If one really wants to live, one must be ready for insecurity, and love brings the greatest insecurity in the world because love cannot promise tomorrow. Love is of the moment, for the moment, in the moment. Love can only speak for this moment, not for the next; the next remains open, vulnerable, insecure.”
The Wisdom of Swami Amar Jyoti
Satsang of Prabhushri Swami Amar Jyoti
© 2003 TRUTH CONSCIOUSNESS
THE VITAL SHEATH, CALLED PRANA, is connected with your life force, a regulator of your mind and body. It can be likened to a thermos that has an outer shell inside which is a glass bottle. In between there is a vacuum. That vacuum is what we call the vital sheath. If the vacuum was not in the thermos, the contents would not remain hot or cold. The vital sheath is related to basic energy; when it becomes imbalanced, the person becomes nervous, prone to breakdowns, upsets and craziness, ill-health, etc. Therefore, balance of the vital sheath is very necessary.
Whenever excessive impulses, urges, passions or emotions arise in you, it means your vital is imbalanced. There are various methods for balancing the vital. You can take something to make yourself stronger, such as vitamins, protein and whatnot, but this is only a surface remedy. Energy from medicine is on a very gross level; the basic energy you have to balance is within you. Relaxation is another way. It allows you to recover your own energy, not that it gives you energy directly. Try it, even if you feel very weak, nervous, restless or wobbly. If you were to rest or lie down, you would see at one point, when you are successful, that energy will suddenly begin to awaken within you. The medicine, food and/or rest that you take helps you to touch a certain point, but this actually comes indirectly from relaxation. And then your vital sheath begins to replenish, to recover.
Prana is your life force, the basic energy, but there is a subtlest part of it which is like crystal clear, frozen energy: ojas in yogic terms. This crystallized energy helps concentration. When it is too loose and fluid, you lose concentration and become dissipated and distracted. Other things may help but they are not the Source of your energy. That Source is within you. It exists even in the weakest, most helpless, downtrodden, wretched person—there is no exception. Avoid negativities, vengefulness and reactions. Avoid being demanding and expecting. Just lie or sit down and be silent. Amidst your greatest weaknesses and nervousness, you can come in touch all of a sudden with that Center. Therefore you find sometimes in your darkest hour the light shines from somewhere; hope comes, only because it is there.
You may call it Master’s grace or God’s blessing, but also that Essence is within you.
The Source from which you are created is always in you, but it is there more fully, more perfectly, when you touch that point. Not by thinking but by becoming—just relax and BE. How will you know when you are touching it? It will become very tangible to you. You will see the energy like a spring gushing in you. All of a sudden you will feel it traversing through your nerves, coursing through your veins. And it will begin to purify your heart, brain and blood. You will not have to imagine it, it will just happen.
When you relax you will see the magic.
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Top News Stories From Around the Web
[Ed. Note: These are excerpts from lengthy news stories that provide the analytical context, the intellectual framework, the historical analysis, that is so completely missing from most so-called news in the mainstream media. If you are interested in the topic, click on the link provided to read more. . .]
Hillary's Mystery Money Men
by RUSS BAKER & ADAM FEDERMAN
[from the November 5, 2007 issue]
In the Clintons' pursuit of power, there is no such thing as a strange bedfellow. One recently exposed inamorata was Norman Hsu, the mysterious businessman from Hong Kong who brought in $850,000 to Hillary Clinton's campaign before being unmasked as a fugitive. Her campaign dismissed Hsu as someone who'd slipped through the cracks of an otherwise unimpeachable system for vetting donors, and perhaps he was. The same cannot be said for the notorious financier Alan Quasha, whose involvement with Clinton is at least as substantial--and still under wraps.
Political junkies will recall Quasha as the controversial figure who bailed out George W. Bush's failing oil company in 1986, folding Bush into his company, Harken Energy, thus setting him on the path to a lucrative and high-profile position as an owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team, and the presidency. The persistently unprofitable Harken--many of whose board members, connected to powerful foreign interests and the intelligence community, nevertheless profited enormously--faced intense scrutiny in the early 1990s and again during Bush's first term.
Now Quasha is back--on the other side of the aisle. Operating below the radar, he entered Hillary Clinton's circle even before she declared her candidacy by quietly arranging for the hire of Clinton confidant and longtime Democratic Party money man Terry McAuliffe at one of his companies. During the interregnum between McAuliffe's chairmanship of the Democratic Party and the time he officially joined Clinton's campaign, Quasha's firm set McAuliffe up with a salary and opened a Washington office for him.
Just a few years earlier, McAuliffe had publicly criticized Bush for his financial dealings with Harken, disparaging the company's Enron-like accounting. Yet in 2005 McAuliffe accepted this cushy perch with Quasha's newly acquired investment firm, Carret Asset Management, and even brought along former Clinton White House business liaison Peter O'Keefe, who had been his senior aide at the Democratic National Committee. McAuliffe remained with the company until he became national chair of Hillary's presidential bid, and O'Keefe never left. McAuliffe's connection to Quasha has, until now, never been noted.
Common Dreams NewsCenter
Published on Wednesday, October 17, 2007 by CommonDreams.org
What Do Brazil, Mexico, Russia and the USA Have in Common?
by Russell Mokhiber
What do Brazil, Mexico, Russia and the USA have in common?
A rapidly expanding billionaire class.
And a distressed middle class.
That’s the take of Pulitzer prize-winning New York Times reporter David Cay Johnston in a soon to be released book - Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (And Stick You with the Bill) (Portfolio, December 2007).
In it, Johnston seeks to afflict the comfortable top one tenth of one percent of Americans — the 300,000 men, women and children who last year made more money than the bottom 150 million Americans.
Yes, we all have the right to vote and change this unbalanced state of affairs.
But political power in the United States is exercised by this narrow, rich segment of the population.
Much of the wealth transfer upstairs has come at the hands of corporate welfare artists who have shifted billions from the middle class to the billionaire class.
Some politician could take the central political issue of Free Lunch — wealth inequality — and run on it to the White House in 2008.
But the current crop of corporate candidates will likely ignore it so as to not offend the funding class.
Information Clearing House
Uncommon Grace: Biology and Economic Theory
By Charles Sullivan
10/22/07 -- ICH
My wife, Alice, and I hold a deed to twenty acres of land in Morgan County, West Virginia. To most people, there is nothing remarkable about this place. But to us, it is extraordinary. I have spent seventeen years exploring the botany of this land: photographing its wild flowers, learning the language of its avian citizens, and capturing its various moods on film and in pixels. Knowing it as I do, I could never think of this place as a resource. It is simply home: the source.
In a society that holds sacred the private ownership of property and economic self interest, it may seem strange that neither my wife nor I consider ourselves property owners. At best, we are squatters or temporary guardians of something that has inherent value; an evolving biological entity that exists far beyond the realm of economic self interest and monetary valuation systems.
Alice and I share this sacred space with numerous plants and animals—most of them wild, and some of them domesticated. Among the latter: five horses, three dogs, and numerous felines. We do not own these animals any more than they own us; they are not our pets. They are simply animal companions, members of the extended human family, and valued equally with human beings, mushrooms, and copperhead snakes.
Unlike my wife and me, none of these animals have to work for a living. They are not expected to perform tricks for us. They are simply free to be who they are. We do the best we can for them with our limited resources. What we get in return is priceless; something that defies quantification. Whatever it is, it is greater than the sum of its parts but as ethereal as the morning mist that rises from a brook. Yet, it is as real as the soil and sky.
It is impossible to commodify the sacred bonds that exist between the human animal, and the non-human animal—a bond that extents into the landscape that spawned them. To claim ownership of another living being, whether wild forest, or domesticated canine, is to break the sacred bonds and reduce them into commodities—mere objects for use. It is to make them our property and force them into slavery; objects for economic exploitation.
So it is with the land itself.
The New York Times
October 21, 2007
The Future Is Drying Up
By JON GERTNER
Scientists sometimes refer to the effect a hotter world will have on this country’s fresh water as the other water problem, because global warming more commonly evokes the specter of rising oceans submerging our great coastal cities. By comparison, the steady decrease in mountain snowpack — the loss of the deep accumulation of high-altitude winter snow that melts each spring to provide the American West with most of its water — seems to be a more modest worry. But not all researchers agree with this ranking of dangers. Last May, for instance, Steven Chu, a Nobel laureate and the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, one of the United States government’s pre-eminent research facilities, remarked that diminished supplies of fresh water might prove a far more serious problem than slowly rising seas. When I met with Chu last summer in Berkeley, the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, which provides most of the water for Northern California, was at its lowest level in 20 years. Chu noted that even the most optimistic climate models for the second half of this century suggest that 30 to 70 percent of the snowpack will disappear. “There’s a two-thirds chance there will be a disaster,” Chu said, “and that’s in the best scenario.”
The heat or eat dilemma
BOSTON - The all-too-thin baby on the pediatric exam table does not know that oil prices recently topped $80 a barrel. With almost no fat on his malnourished body, he is unable to tolerate for even a brief period being undressed by his doctor.
His mother wonders how she will keep the house warm, food cooked, and lights on through the coming winter for the boy and his sister, while making sure that they have enough to eat. She is not alone in her anxiety. The price of heating oil is projected to exceed $3 per gallon this winter, and electricity and natural gas costs remain high. Last week, heating oil prices in Massachusetts reached their highest levels ever at $2.72 per gallon, according to the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources. Between March and May, 1.2 million households had their electricity shut off due to last winter's overdue energy bills.
A new report by the Children's Sentinel Nutrition Assessment Program demonstrates that this "heat or eat dilemma" was depressingly familiar to America's poor and near-poor families and their doctors.
Food prices to treble in five years: CBH
Friday, 12 October 2007
Food prices will treble in the next three to five years as world grain stocks decline to their lowest levels in history, CBH chief executive, Imre Mencshelyi, has warned.
Mr Mencshelyi says world grain stocks are starting to run out while supplies are shrinking, creating the greatest crisis in 50 years and threatening to curtail the emerging biofuels industry.
"On the one hand you've got the biofuels industry pushing grain prices higher, but on the other, questions are being asked about where the focus should be — energy or feeding the populations?" he said.
"There is evidence in North America that there will be reduced corn plantings for biofuels to be replaced by mainstream food crops.
"But the questions need answering because declining food stocks and higher prices also will affect meat and dairy."
A Carbon-Negative Fuel
October 16, 2007 8:07 AM
"Impossible!" you say. "Even wind and solar have carbon emissions from their manufacturing, and biofuels are carbon neutral at best. How can a fuel be carbon negative?" But listen to people working on gasification and terra preta, and you'll have something new to think about.
We've mentioned terra preta before: it's a human-made soil or fertilizer. "Three times richer in nitrogen and phosphorous, and twenty times the carbon of normal soils, terra preta is the legacy of ancient Amazonians who predate Western civilization." Although we don't know how it was made back then, we do know how to make it now: burn biomass (preferably agricultural waste) in a special way that pyrolisizes it, breaking down long hydrocarbon chains like cellulose into shorter, simpler molecules. These simpler molecules are more easily broken down by microbes and plants as food, and bond more easily with key nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. This is what makes terra preta such good fertilizer. Because terra preta locks so much carbon in the soil, it's also a form of carbon sequestration that doesn't involve bizarre heroics like pumping CO2 down old mine shafts. What's more, it may reduce other greenhouse gases as well as water pollution: according to Biopact, a network that promotes biofuels and biomass energy,
Char-amended soils have shown 50 - 80 percent reductions in nitrous oxide emissions and reduced runoff of phosphorus into surface waters and leaching of nitrogen into groundwater. As a soil amendment, biochar significantly increases the efficiency of and reduces the need for traditional chemical fertilizers, while greatly enhancing crop yields. Experiments have shown yields for some crops can be doubled and even tripled.
As it happens, the process of burning/pyrolisizing agricultural char is also a way to produce energy. MIT Professor Amy Smith, a recipient of the prestigious MacArthur "genius award," gave a TED Conference talk in 2006 on using agricultural char as fuel in developing countries. It works because the chemical reactions that break down the long hydrocarbon chains also give off hydrogen gas, methane, and various other burnable fuel gases. (As well as tars and non-useful gases like CO2.) This is gasification. The fuel gas can be burned for heat, or if it's pretty clean (that is, if the tar levels are low), it can be used to power an engine.
Global Network for Justice
The Keynesian alternative
11 September 2007
As people become ever-more aware of climate change and ecological crisis, they are worried, anxious and looking for solutions. Forgive me if I'm a heretic right from the start, but I think the time has passed for telling them to change their behaviour, and their lightbulbs; explaining that if “We” all do this, then together “We” can save the planet. I’m sorry, but “We” can’t. I’m not suggesting that people shouldn’t change their behaviour and their lightbulbs—of course they should—but even if the entire population of, say, Europe, where I live, changes its habits drastically—and I won’t waste time pointing out how unlikely that is—it is not going to be enough. I agree with and have signed the Manifesto; I agree that its proposals for localisation and scaling down and “powering down” are vital. I will not develop these points in the short time I have available.
But we have also got to scale up and power up in terms of governments and capitalist economic practice. We have today a huge problem of scale.
My premise is that local solutions are insufficient so let me devote the rest of my time to the twin problems of governments and of the capitalist corporate production and financial system. The question I wrestle with is: Can we save the planet while international capitalism remains the dominant system, with its focus on so-called “share-holder value” and with ubiquitous, no-holds-barred finance capital making more and more decisions world-wide?
Most days I answer : No: there is no way we can reverse the ecological and climate crises under capitalism, but that is a despairing answer and if true, it means there is virtually no hope. No hope, because I do not see how even the most convinced, most determined people could replace, much less overthrow capitalism fast enough to carry out the necessary systemic change before a runaway climate effect takes hold.
First of all, there are not that many convinced and determined people prepared to act against the dominant economic system and there is nothing that resembles in the smallest degree an avant-garde revolutionary party that might lead them even if they existed. There is no one-size-fits all replacement solution for capitalism. Considering the historical role of such parties and such solutions, I consider this an unmistakably good thing. What is definitely not a good thing is the infection of the entire world with neo-liberal ideology. It has created a more conservative, profit- oriented world that is allergic to the kind of fundamental change a New Ecological Economic Order requires. It’s no longer just a matter of “what if they gave a revolution and nobody came”. It’s also that nobody knows who the Tsar is and nobody has a clue where the Winter Palace is that we would have to storm. The Winter Palace is certainly not on Wall Street which was up and running again just a few days after September 11th. The worlds of 1917 and 2007 are utterly different so we must be to try to go beyond this impasse, this dead-end and find a new synthesis.
Let me take first the slightly easier question “What about governments?” People are generally way ahead of their governments--perhaps not in China, I don’t know, but certainly in countries like the United States. The problem is not simply to "throw the rascals out" because they would be replaced by other rascals just as bad, equally beholden to the corporations, their lobbies and the financial markets. The problem is to convince politicians that ecological transformation and environmental practices can pay off politically.
Activists and experts have got to work with local, regional, state and national politicians and governments; help them to find like-minded partners and formulate ambitious projects they can undertake on the broadest possible scale. Activists and experts must furthermore help these politicians and governments to become shining ecological examples with the electorate by publicising their efforts and their successes. Couldn’t the sponsors of this Teach-In act as the nexus of a kind of best-standards/best practice ongoing forum, bringing together political decision makers, activists and experts? It could hold a recognition and awards ceremony every year with original, attention-catching prizes for the best governmental initiatives, large initiatives, because best ecological practice is still pretty much small scale and often closer to folklore than to believable political undertakings, at least in Europe. We must promote and provoke a quantum scale leap.
Let me turn now to the more difficult and crucial issue of the economic system as a whole. In his book Collapse, Jared Diamond examines several cases of previous societal extinctions due to over-exploitation of the environment and identifies several common characteristics. One of these is the isolation of the elites, giving them the capacity to keep on consuming way above the ecologically sustainable level long after the crisis has already struck the poorer, more vulnerable members of society. That is where we are now worldwide, not just in isolated places like Easter Island or Greenland. Our global financial, corporate and political elites are all busy grabbing what they can today and too bad about tomorrow — look at anything from the oil companies to the brisk sales of private jets to the 946 Forbes billionnaires who have as much wealth as two-thirds of humanity. The motto remains Apres moi le deluge.
How can we realistically combat the ecological footprints of these dinosaur elites, recognising that we can’t shout “Off with their heads” in a world-wide revolution. Nor can we otherwise force them to change both themselves and the system that has served them so well, whereas we know that we must change that system because it is raping the planet and its inherent logic is to keep on doing so.
I know I will be accused by some of outlining a way to give capitalism a new lease on life. But I am going to recommend the coming together of business and government in a new incarnation of the Keynesian war economy. I was born in 1934 and I remember very well when the US switched to a war economy, converting all the rubber plants in my native city [Akron, Ohio] to production not for private cars and trucks but for the military. There was huge citizen involvement — people planted Victory Gardens, kids bought saving stamps and war-bonds with their allowances. Thousands of factories, research labs, housing projects, military bases, day care centres, and schools were built or expanded during the war. Public transport was working overtime to move millions of men and women on their way to Army bases or new defence jobs.
Yes, there were still worker-management conflicts and yes, big corporations rather than small business got most of the government contracts but on the whole the workers were well paid, African-Americans and women began making a few modest gains and the whole war effort finally pulled the United States out of the Depression — it was Keynesianism on a huge scale. There was also a group called the “Dollar-a-Year Men” on loan from their companies to the government who were charged with making sure that military production and quality targets were met. They had enormous prestige--I remember that I used to brag to my little school friends that my godfather was a Dollar-a-Year man.
Why am I going back over ancient history? Because I think we have a similar opportunity today. The US economy seems to be heading for a genuine recession triggered by the subprime affair, but which goes deeper than that, and the fallout for ordinary people in terms of jobs, housing, consumption and future welfare is going to be serious. If I am right, if the economic problems in this country and therefore in the world are going to fester and get worse, if the United States is sliding into recession, dragging many others with it; then some new economic tools will have to be used to combat it, for the simple reason that the old ones have already been pushed to their limits and have little or nothing left to give. The dollar is extremely weak — this has made US exports cheaper but it can be devalued further only at great risk. Deficit spending is already beyond belief and the country is hugely indebted, as are households. The housing bubble has already burst. The Federal Reserve has made clear it will reduce interest rates if the economy gets worse, but there too there are limits.
I’m not an economist but the only new tool I can think of to pull the United States out of the economic doldrums is a new Keynesianism, not military this time, but environmental; a push for massive investment in eco-friendly industry, in alternative energy, in the manufacture of lightweight materials for use in new vehicles; in clean, efficient public transport; in the green construction industry, etc.
How could one finance such an effort which would involve targeted government spending in the traditional Keynesian sense? By levying carbon taxes, taxes on movements of finance capital and purchases of shares, unitary profits taxes on transnational corporations and — in order to encourage more local consumption — taxes on the miles travelled by the food that we eat and the clothes we wear. We also need safeguards to prevent delocalising all the ecological activity once more to China and other low-wage countries. In other words, we need some form of protectionism - but let the Indians invest in Indiana and the Chinese in Chicago if they want to pay American level wages and respect American laws and standards. They too should be allowed to site here to sell here.
All these new, eco-friendly industries and products would have huge export value and could quickly become the world standard.
Meditation Moment: Bonfire to Quetzalcoatl
Bonfire to Quetzalcoatl
It ended on the beach
It ended with a hulk of serpents formed into a boat,
And when he'd made it, sat in it and sailed away
A boat that glided on those burning waters, no one knowing when
He reached the country of Red Daylight
It ended on the rim of some great sea
It ended with his face reflected in the mirror of its waves
The beauty of his face returned to him
And he was dressed in garments like the sun
It ended with a bonfire on the beach where he would hurl himself
And burn, his ashes rising amid the cries of birds
It ended with the linnet, with the birds of turquoise colour, birds
The color of wild sunflowers, red and blue birds
It ended with the birds of yellow feather in a riot of bright gold
Circling till the fire had died out
Circling whilst his heart rose through the sky
It ended with his heart transformed into a star
It ended with the morning star with dawn and evening
It ended with his journey to Death's Kingdom with seven days of darkness
With his body changed to light
A star that burns forever in that sky.