Welcome to the March 2017 Full Moon in Virgo, Pisces Solar Festival edition of the Satya Center Cosmic Weather Forecast.
Warm greetings from your Co-Editors, Jane Sherry and Curtis Lang.
Here in South Florida, in our little suburban garden, Jane and I are surrounded by ripening tomatoes, strawberries and lemons, fast-growing greens and multi-colored flowers spreading from one end of the yard to the other. We are planting veggies for the next growth cycle as we prepare to celebrate the Spring Equinox and the Feast of Archangel Raphael, who presides over the formation and growth of plants and animals!
Watch for our spring equinox newsletter next week when we will share a beautiful spring Archangel Raphael meditation with you!
The tranquility of our little garden stands in stark contrast to the turbulent energy roiling the collective consciousness of humanity during this time of global transition.
March 2017 Cosmic Weather Forecast
The Full Moon occurs at 10:54 am Eastern time on Sunday March 12, 2017 at 22°13′ Virgo, opposed by Sun at 22°13′ Pisces, along with Mercury and Chiron conjunct the Sun in Pisces.
For a variety of reasons we shall explore together, this Full Moon weekend is the ideal time to meditate upon the path of spiritual activism and political action as selfless service. Our guides say that:
Soon, the time is coming when we will be given a choice to actively resist the forces of Mammon and the other dark angels who would enslave humanity in gross egoism by feeding our darkest impulses and convincing us that we are merely predatory animals whose lives unfold according to a clockwork mechanism concealed in our genetic code.
Soon we will see a liberation spirituality for the 21st century arise among people around the world. This is a crucial part of the necessary transition from the Age of Pisces to the New Age of Aquarius.
Spiritual people everywhere will soon receive the call to participate in a movement to restore right human relations around the world. Together we can heal the wounded environment, end the rule of Mammon in our political and economic life, and initiate a new social contract based upon acknowledgement of humanity's highest aspirations, enlightened impulses and clear spiritual guidance.
Meditate upon this and ask for inspiration this Full Moon weekend!
The opposition between the Virgo Moon and Pisces Sun highlights the need to choose between selfless service and the suffering that defines ego-consciousness.
The Virgo-Pisces axis has a reputation for suffering of all kinds. Virgo is the sign symbolized by the Virgin, who at her best is a self-sufficient warrior and at her worst is a self-absorbed egotist. Pisces is symbolized by the twin fishes, and at its best Pisces energy is self-sacrificing, spiritually awakened and connected to the Universal web of life, but at its worst Pisces can be unconscious, undirected and lost in a sea of possibilities, unable to choose or act.
Astrologer Jeffrey Wolf Green, who wrote many landmark books on Evolutionary and Soul Astrology, called the Virgo-Pisces axis the sado-masochistic axis because it is found in the charts of many individuals who mix sex with suffering.
This Full Moon we can choose to balance our Virgo tendencies toward egotistic individualism with a strong dose of Piscean selfless service.
The more we can tune in to the elevated Virgo energies the more we can act as spiritual warriors, defending spiritual values in the world, and rising to our highest spiritual aspirations in our own lives.
The more we can tune in to the elevated Pisces energies the more we can demonstrate the power of trans-personal consciousness to lead us as individuals and groups to healing.
This week, when we perform selfless service, helping others in need, we will attract what we require for self-healing. When we act as spiritual activists, working to improve conditions in the world for the poor and exploited, we will attract an amplified energy stream from Source that can strengthen us physically, emotionally and mentally.
Jupiter in Libra opposes Uranus in Aries, and both Jupiter and Uranus are square Pluto in Capricorn, creating a major outer planet T-Square in Cardinal signs. This creates an intensified focus on the unfinished business of civilization wide transformation signaled by the Grand Cardinal Cross and Uranus-Pluto squares that have dominated Cosmic Weather patterns for the last ten years.
Sensitized by the Pisces Sun, we become increasingly aware of long-standing personal and collective problems that simply demand solutions now, and we are also painfully aware that solutions will require much deeper thought and reflection than we had expected and much longer time-frames to implement.
These aspects create a kind of inner tension that demands release. In our personal lives we can experience heightened frustration with intractable problems and in our collective life we may experience dramatic conflicts between partners, family members, groups and nations.
Fortunately Moon in Virgo trine Pluto in Capricorn will enable us to tune into subtle energies around us, making us more perceptive about the nature of our most difficult problems and more receptive to the impulse for positive change in our lives.
This Full Moon, above all we will need patience, a willingness to do the hard work of analyzing thorny dilemmas and the understanding that major problems require well-thought-out well-crafted long-term solutions.
For all these reasons, in our personal lives and on the world stage the keynote of the month is increased tension.
For the collective consciousness, the tension is triggered by our frustrated attempts to make sense of the slow-motion crumbling and dissolution of our political and economic systems and the decay of social norms and morals.
All attempts by our leaders to maintain the status quo require increasing expenditures of energy and the search for new solutions to our ongoing problems demands ever-increasing effort as new, workable solutions have yet to be found, much less implemented.
For Americans, a palpable sense of decline hangs like smog over all that we see and do. This mood has existed for the last decade, despite all attempts to ignore or deny the unpleasant reality.
"Available economic, educational, and military data indicate that, when it comes to U.S. global power, negative trends will aggregate rapidly by 2020 and are likely to reach a critical mass no later than 2030," explains Professor Alfred McCoy, in a 2010 Salon.com article. "The American Century, proclaimed so triumphantly at the start of World War II, will be tattered and fading by 2025, its eighth decade, and could be history by 2030."
"Significantly, in 2008, the U.S. National Intelligence Council admitted for the first time that America’s global power was indeed on a declining trajectory. In one of its periodic futuristic reports, Global Trends 2025, the Council cited 'the transfer of global wealth and economic power now under way, roughly from West to East' and 'without precedent in modern history,' as the primary factor in the decline of the 'United States’ relative strength — even in the military realm.'”
"Viewed historically, the question is not whether the United States will lose its unchallenged global power, but just how precipitous and wrenching the decline will be," says McCoy.
Empires come and go. Europe's empires have disappeared. Great Britain no longer rules the waves, but England did a great job of managing its Imperial decline, passing the burden of Empire on to Anglo-Saxon cousins in America while retaining an outsize role on the world stage.
So far, there is no indication that American elites recognize the need to manage America's Imperial decline. In fact, as we recall from the 2016 election, both Republican and Democratic establishments declared that Donald Trump was crazy for thinking he needed to make America great again. As we shall see in this newsletter, Trump's proposals to return the US to its former glory will only accelerate income inequality, reward the rich, punish women, immigrants, African-Americans, Latinos, Muslims and the poor and middle classes, and set America on a collision course with environmental catastrophe.
No wonder the collective consciousness in the US is sour with anger, anxiety, fear and frustration.
When people are faced with what appear to be insoluble problems and are faced with lose-lose choices or choices that seem irrelevant or unworkable, there is a tendency to seek escape in alcohol, drugs, fantasy, rumors and alternative realities fabricated by unscrupulous authority figures. Maybe it's not a coincidence that Neptune is in Pisces, creating astral glamours, mental fog and a generalized desire to escape from reality.
"The intensifying hysteria over Russia has pushed Official Washington over the edge into outright madness," explains investigative journalist Robert Parry, one of the intrepid reporters who broke the Iran-Contra scandal in the Eighties, in a recent Consortium News article. "On one side of this asylum, you have the Democrats, neoconservatives and mainstream media, while on the other, you have the embattled Trump administration. Both sides have been making grave allegations with little or no evidence to support them."
"The Democratic/neocon/MainStreamMedia side has pushed the conspiracy theory that Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russians to put the real-estate mogul in the White House, but there is, as yet, no evidence that such a thing happened," Parry argues.
"Even one of the top advocates feeding this Russia frenzy, New York Times correspondent Thomas L. Friedman, acknowledged on Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that 'I agree, there is no evidence,' but then added: 'which is why we need a special prosecutor or an independent commission to get to the bottom of it.'”
"But that is not how investigations are supposed to work," Parry continues. "You’re supposed to have evidence of wrongdoing and then examine it in the investigative phase to see if the evidence withstands scrutiny. What Friedman is suggesting is more like a 'fishing expedition' or a 'witch hunt.'”
"The drip-drip of this investigative water torture finally got to President Trump last week as he flew down to his winter home at Mar-a-Lago. He joined the crazy melee early Saturday morning by sending out a flurry of tweets accusing President Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower in New York City in the weeks before the Nov. 8 election. Trump also offered no evidence while demanding an investigation to get to the bottom of this.
By contrast, in all the major investigations that I have handled as an investigative reporter, such as Oliver North’s secret White House paramilitary operation; the related Nicaraguan Contra drug trafficking scandal; Richard Nixon interference with President Lyndon Johnson’s Vietnam peace talks in 1968; and Ronald Reagan’s campaign sabotage of President Jimmy Carter’s Iranian-hostage negotiations in 1980 – there was substantial evidence from eyewitnesses and documents supporting the suspicions before the story was published.
At no point would I have argued that just because Oliver North met a Contra leader that it was time to investigate whether he and his Reagan administration superiors were breaking the law. I first found multiple insiders, including people in the U.S. government and the Contra movement, describing how North was running his back-channel war. In some of these investigative situations, we had two dozen or so sources describing detailed aspects of these operations before we made any allegations in print."
"Now the argument is that because some people suspect something, even without evidence, major investigations are warranted. That is usually what a conspiracy theory sounds like. Someone claims not to understand how something could have happened a certain way and thus a full-scale inquiry is needed into some highly unlikely and speculative scenario."
As conspiracy theories proliferate along the entire political spectrum, truth in America is becoming more and more a matter of personal choice because there is so little common ground among people and so little trust in the authority figures who had defined that common ground for us.
The resulting cognitive dissonance affects us all and creates a societal tendency towards anger, scapegoating and large-scale conflict.
So we find ourselves in 2017 trying to deal with a breakdown in civil society. Since the Global Financial Meltdown there's been a constant, slow erosion of living standards for a majority of Americans, and as the erosion has increased, so has social disorder and political conflict.
The seeds of this economic decline and social breakdown were sown nearly 40 years ago, when Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan established the neoliberal economic and political regime that increasingly defines our global community's social relations.
Reagan and Thatcher launched a philosophical and political revolution that changed the world. They changed the way we view ourselves as human beings, how we view society, and how we define the proper role of government in our lives.
The individual was elevated above community.
Each individual was viewed as a combatant in a war of all against all. That combat was to take place in an economic marketplace that would automatically value everyone and everything in dollars and cents.
Humans were viewed as completely rational beings whose every action was designed to maximize their economic gain at the expense of everyone and everything around them.
The most worthy individuals would accumulate the most wealth. A crude social Darwinism would empower wealthy people and disempower everyone else, and that would automatically create the best of all possible worlds.
This form of rational materialism went hand-in-hand with biological determinism. Nature was thought to evolve through the survival of the fittest, and those with the best genes would automatically be the most successful at accumulating wealth in the free marketplace. There would be no limits to the freedom granted in the pursuit of wealth because any such limits would impede the ability of the evolutionary process to reward those with the best genes, those who were the fittest, because they were the wealthiest.
Thus the marketplace would create a totally merit-based market society in which everyone would automatically find their own proper place. Any efforts by governments, religious institutions, or political movements to alter the status of rich or poor would impede the inexorable forward march of human progress, and were literally considered counter-evolutionary.
A model of the rational materialist individual profit-seeking human being as predatory animal became the philosophical basis for a hyper-capitalist Utopia.
Thatcher contended that ". . .there's no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbours."
Neoliberalism is a philosophy that puts the liberty of the individual to amass wealth ahead of all other societal norms and considerations.
Because the role of the state involves taxing wealth and redistributing it to provide needed security, infrastructure and social services, the state is the enemy of the wealthy, who happen to be the most worthy members of society in this worldview.
Civil society and government alike put moral and legal constraints on the ability of wealth holders to harm the environment and harm others in the sacred pursuit of riches.
Therefore the duty of the wealthy was to wage war on government and civil society. All in the name of freedom.
Freedom for the powerful and wealthy is the most important social good in this philosophy. Anything that impinges on the freedom to accumulate wealth is by definition immoral.
In such a society, rule by the wealthiest is seen as an evolutionary imperative. Resources must be directed to those who will use them most efficiently. Those worthy few of course would be the most wealthy. Their actions to create more wealth and power for themselves would automatically create so much more wealth that it would trickle down to the middle class and the poor through some poorly understood economic hocus-pocus. This is the origin of trickle-down economics.
For such people the final goal of human society will be achieved when there are only masters and slaves.
This is a philosophy suited to the emergence of a war of all against all.
And over the last 40 years wealth has become so concentrated that we now routinely speak of the 1% vs. the 99% of humanity.
That is no accident.
Nor is it an accident that an environmental crisis has erupted during the same period of time.
Neoliberalism appeared at the time when scientists began to sound the alarm about looming environmental catastrophe, which environmentalists warned would be brought about by unregulated corporate greed. If you believed the scientists you would have to restrain the markets, and regulate corporate polluters. You would have to put the good of the community above the freedom of the shareholders to seek profit above all else.
That would be immoral according to neoliberalism.
When it is forbidden for the state to intervene to protect the environmental commons then there is no chance that human society will block wealthy predators from hastening global environmental catastrophe.
When it is forbidden for the state to redistribute wealth from the most powerful to the most in need then programs like food stamps, Social Security, Medicaid, and unemployment insurance are immoral and those who receive any government benefits are mere parasites.
Of course neoliberalism is an extremely radical view of human nature, human society, and human consciousness, and this worldview could only be imposed on the global population by political repression, financial manipulation and unprecedented propaganda campaigns worldwide.
There were certainly huge conflicts during the Eighties and Nineties between the neoliberals and more traditional, primarily left-wing political parties all over the world.
However the globalized neoliberal economic system has gained unquestioned dominance since that time.
All over the world, the consensus consciousness has accepted the philosophical assumptions of the Reagan-Thatcher neoliberal social order.
Socialists and traditional big government liberals in America, Europe and other countries have abandoned their initial opposition to the global neoliberal economic system and now see it as inevitable and unalterable.
Their acceptance of the status quo, which is destabilizing our human habitat, consigning the vast majority of human beings to the category of redundant and unnecessary social baggage, and concentrating wealth in fewer and fewer hands worldwide, has utterly discredited these traditional enemies of uber-predatory capitalism.
Neoliberal predatory capitalism glorified the banker above all. High taxes would be replaced by government debt. Loans from bankers were to replace the taxes used by governments to pay for social programs, environmental protection and needed infrastructure.
Privatization of public assets like utilities, mass-transit systems and national oil companies would provide for more efficient management of these resources because the wealthy would do anything and everything required to extract profits from these assets. If that resulted in catastrophically increased costs to citizens, an impoverishment of the state, and tremendous social pain, that was a small price to pay for such economic efficiency.
Neoliberal governments deregulated banking and finance, allowing the reappearance of ancient social ills, such as usury. Fair, living wages, supported historically by vast union movements, were suppressed, as were the unions that fought for them.
Globalization put workers in industrialized nations into a highly financialized competitive marketplace with several billion others, most of whom would work for starvation wages. Bankers would supply easy access to credit, at usurious prices, to the downwardly mobile workers and eventually a society of debt slaves and billionaire bankers and investors would replace the old social order.
The Reagan-Thatcher regime culminated in the 2008 Global Financial Meltdown which created a systemic crisis in the neoliberal global financial system that threatens its very existence.
Since the advent of the Grand Cardinal Cross aspects that coincided with the Global Financial Meltdown of 2008 and continue through this decade, the pressure on the neoliberal status quo has increased in tandem with the disruptive influences of accelerating climate change worldwide.
In Europe the disruption from the Global Financial Meltdown was much greater than in America, and the political push-back from the 99% has been much stronger.
The leftist, Socialist parties in Europe chose to attempt to retain the basic global financial infrastructure of neoliberalism and sought to merely provide palliatives for the unbearable social pain. They joined the neoliberals and became pillars of the status quo.
Right wing parties in Europe were totally excluded from the neoliberal consensus during the last forty years. This is why today in European countries other than Spain, Italy and Greece, right-wing political parties are seen as the only authentic opponents of the neoliberal consensus reality, and they have grown massively as a result.
In America, the Democratic party was the traditional enemy of Reagan and Thatcher, but the Democratic Party made a deal with the neoliberals once they had attained the commanding heights of power. Bill Clinton campaigned on explicit promises to undo the neoliberal economic policies of Reagan and Bush, but only a few months after his election he turned over control of the economy to Wall Street insiders and bemoaned the fact that he was being forced to govern like a "Rockefeller Republican."
Later Clinton abolished the early Twentieth Century bank regulations that had prevented Wall Street from blowing up the economy as they had done in the Nineteen Twenties. This was a neoliberal wet dream come to life. The predictable result was the Global Financial Meltdown.
So it is understandable that during the 2016 election Hillary Clinton, who self-identified as a champion of the status quo neoliberal consensus reality, had no credibility as an agent of change.
Americans demanded change, and they got it.
Donald Trump, echoing the rhetoric of European right-wing nationalist parties on immigration and aggressive nationalism, was elected President. Trump overcame Hillary and Jeb Bush, the two politicians in America most invested in the neoliberal consensus reality.
Now Trump, a Republican, is at war with two neoliberal political machines -- the Clinton wing of the Democratic party and the Bush wing of the Republican party. And Trump is also at war with the Bernie Sanders quasi-socialist reform wing of the Democratic party as well.
In the wake of the 2016 election, America's two political parties are divided in a way never seen before in my lifetime.
Democrats and Republicans inhabit two different worlds, with different news sources, different "facts", different world views, and different cultures that clash at every level of reality.
Not only that, both parties also suffer from deep divisions that threaten to undermine them completely.
Traditional Republican Conservatives hate Trump because Trump believes that debt is good and has no patience for their arcane economic theories. Republican Neoliberals hate Trump because he is their enemy and wants to destroy them.
Yet all three flavors of Republicans must try to work together if they are to govern successfully. That is unlikely to work out in the long term.
The split in the Democratic party is between the Obama-Clinton neoliberals and the quasi-socialists of the Bernie Sanders wing. The Sanders wing favors financial reform, expanded social safety nets, an expanded union movement, and other positions associated with the pre-Clinton Democratic party. This battle is certain to grow more heated over time, as 2018 elections loom.
There is remarkably little common ground between the neoliberals in the two parties, because American politics has become so personal and so bitter over the last decade.
The fundamental issue dividing the two groups of neoliberals is what may be called "identity politics". Republicans self-identify as the party of the white upper classes and white working people. Democrats of course would create a rainbow coalition to win elections.
The Republican neoliberals continue to maintain their traditional racism, which they associate with the multi-decade success of the infamous Nixonian and Reaganite "Southern Strategy". Nixon attacked Lyndon Johnson's civil rights legislation and Republicans used their anti-civil rights agenda to drive Southern Democrats into the Republican party. Before Nixon, the South was dependably Democratic, but since Nixon and Reagan the South is a Republican fortress.
The Democratic neoliberals truly seem to believe that a society based on neoliberal winner-take-all Social Darwinism is actually a meritocracy in which those who amass the most wealth are by definition the most creative, intelligent, pragmatic and capable members of society. In their view, rule by the 1% -- celebrities, trust fund babies, tech industry robber barons, and Wall Street banksters -- is fine as long as the 1% is ethnically, racially and sexually diverse.
These two groups of neoliberals will continue their war while simultaneously waging war against the Trump and Sanders factions.
The Trump and Sanders factions are also divided by identity politics.
The Trump faction loathe socialists, left wingers, feminists, civil rights activists and liberals, who they associate with Sixties Social movements.
The Sanders faction represents the synthesis of old-school pre-Clinton Democratic party economic reformism with the identity politics that helped liberate African-Americans, Latinos, women, pot smokers, and the LGBT community.
Trump loyalists and Sanders supporters are the most likely to end up fighting in the streets because they are so fundamentally opposed on virtually every important issue of our day.
So we have a four-way or five-way brawl developing in American politics which threatens to tear the two parties apart, and which will undoubtedly end in complete transformation for Republicans and Democrats alike. This transformation is set to occur over the next two or three Presidential election cycles.
The most likely scenario is a Constitutional Crisis which results in a Constitutional Convention and the drafting of a completely new American social contract.
It is unlikely that the American political system in its present form will successfully address today's pressing social issues. None of the factions has credible plans to deal with income inequality, a fragile financial system, a dysfunctional health care system, a looming pension crisis, impending environmental catastrophe, and the onset of a war between opposing classes, races, religions, and cultures?
Trump wants tax cuts for the rich, anti-immigration legislation, the end of reproductive rights for women, a more punitive, further deregulated health care system, more deregulation of finance, a wall along the Mexican border and a military build-up that will cost untold billions of dollars.
Trump claims he will achieve victory in the Global War on Terror but Trump has articulated no new strategy to achieve that victory and no new tactics are yet on offer.
How likely is it that neoliberal Republicans, Cruz Conservatives or members of the Democratic party will provide enough support for Donald Trump so that he can implement his vast wish list of fundamental changes to American society?
After all, he wants to remove them all from power.
Why would they slit their own throats?
Well, because Trump's agenda in many ways is a more extreme form of Reagan-Thatcher neoliberalism laced with ultra-nationalist anti-immigrant rhetoric and a war on women.
Once you strip away the rhetoric, Trump's proposals simply take existing neoliberal policies to their ultimate conclusions.
Reagan and Thatcher wanted a health care system that relies on private sector leadership. America has that now, but Trump proposes to put the system on free market steroids.
Reagan and Thatcher wanted to deregulate finance and industry. Trump is totally committed to doing that to the point of eviscerating the EPA and allowing banks to do many of the risky things that led to the Global Financial Meltdown.
Reagan and Thatcher wanted to privatize all government assets, and transfer them to private sector partners, who would run the rail and utility systems more "efficiently". That means they would generate profits for well-connected wealth-holders while reducing taxes on the wealthy. Trump is all over that one too. Trump's infrastructure rebuilding initiative would rely on tax credits to Wall Street bankers and public-private partnerships.
So there is ideological space for traditional neoliberals from both parties to support these Trump initiatives, but unfortunately Trump wants to use any victories he achieves to oust the traditional politicians of both parties from power. So there is that limit to their support.
In addition, there are the big conflicts between the other three political factions and Trump that have been already outlined.
From a pragmatic political point of view, it is unlikely that Trump will be able to muster the support required to enact his agenda.
From an astrological point of view, Trump is likely to encounter the same frustration, delays and setbacks that President Obama experienced in trying to govern in a time of deep political divisions.
The same frustrating outer planet configurations in cardinal signs that have dominated the skies since the Global Financial Meltdown continue this year, and will not disappear before the next Presidential election. In many ways they will intensify, and the social discord that has accompanied the Grand Cardinal Cross years of the Twenty Teens will also intensify.
That is easy to predict. Political factions are more polarized than ever, and no matter what happens there will be sharper conflicts in the streets, in America's statehouses and in Congress.
Over the course of the last decade, this newsletter has pointed out again and again that, astrologically speaking, humanity is being given a blaring wake-up call by the Universe.
The triple financial, environmental and economic crisis we face can no longer be ignored. The first signs of this crisis were visible during the Nineteen Seventies and Eighties, when distinguished scientists and courageous politicians joined with millions of average Americans to demand environmental protection, expanded civil rights, and economic reforms. Their voices were extinguished in the aftermath of the Reagan-Thatcher victories.
Now people must take a principled stand on behalf of the values they consider most important in society. This is especially important for those of us on a path of Spirit because the dominant features of the rational materialist neoliberal philosophy are diametrically opposed to spiritual values and inimical to the very idea of Spirit itself.
Rational materialism does not honor the web of life and neoliberal philosophy sees no value in nature and living beings beyond the value assigned them by the marketplace. Rational materialism believes consciousness itself is an illusion created by electro-chemical processes in the brain.
Love is also an illusion, just a hormonal response to certain stimuli. It's every person for himself or herself. Human beings are thought to be involved in a survival of the fittest competition in which the end justifies the means. The "selfish genes" within each of us are thought to direct our actions toward self-gratification.
Human beings are apex predators, and their relationships with one another, with other sentient beings, and with the natural environment are conditioned by that fact, according to the rational materialist neoliberal philosophy. Social relationships and sexual relationships are thought to inevitably conform to models of dominance and submission.
The rational materialist worldview and the neoliberal political and economic philosophies that it supports have brought humanity to the edge of the Abyss. We face an existential crisis unique in world history. Never before have we been faced with the potential extinction of our species.
Is it acceptable to Lightworkers, meditators and spiritual practitioners that such a bankrupt and amoral worldview should prevail in the 21st century, after so many millennia of human struggles to elevate the brute within us and come in contact with our own inner Divinity?
If not, we may all have to become spiritual activists, and take part in the messy, emotional, conflict-ridden politics that will determine the fate of humanity, and indeed of the entire eco-system on planet Earth.
The present crisis creates a tremendous problem for spiritual practitioners of all schools, East and West, because we can no longer afford to separate ourselves from the world around us, content to pursue our own Ascension practices.
Spiritual teachers like Rudolf Steiner have warned us again and again for the last 75 years that there is a spiritual war between the forces of rampant materialism and the forces of love and light, the spiritual army of Archangel Michael. To learn more about Steiner's specific predictions, read his lecture entitled The Deed of Christ and the Opposing Spiritual Forces.
Now that war is global in scope and affects each and every one of us and all those we love, all the sacred sites and holy places, all the beloved animals, plants, fish and fowl that we see as our sisters and brothers in Spirit.
The time is coming when we will have to choose whether to resist the forces of Mammon and the other dark angels who would enslave humanity in gross egoism by feeding our darkest impulses and convincing us that we are merely predatory animals whose lives unfold according to a clockwork mechanism concealed in our genetic code.
It is true that entering into the political battle will require a willingness to expand the scope of our spiritual practice to include group work that confronts and overcomes the destructive forces threatening to tear our world apart.
It is true that this will leave less time for spiritual practices, expose us to negative emotions and thoughtforms, and bring a host of past-life experiences of pain, suffering, martyrdom and death to the surface of consciousness. We will have to learn to protect ourselves against these negative collective thoughts and feelings, and we will have to release the karmic detritus that accompanies our courageous decision to engage with the world to bring about positive change.
Yet this too is a spiritual practice.
Throughout history, Avatars of Light and Ascended Master Guides and Teachers have made efforts to shape the social systems in which they incarnated in order to create conditions that would allow humanity to progress more easily on the path of Spirit, and to oppose the forces that would condemn us to a sterile existence devoid of love, light and Cosmic Consciousness.
Think of how involved Ram and Krishna were in the development of the political and social systems of India.
Recall the efforts of the Ascended Master Guides and Teachers affiliated with the Theosophical Society worldwide who labored unceasingly to illuminate the path of Spirit for a suffering humanity and to further the cause of social justice in the early Twentieth Century simultaneously. The Theosophists opposed the Nazis unconditionally, and all others who would enslave humanity for their own selfish ends.
As a young prince, Gautama Buddha chose to focus his attention upon the suffering and death he encountered, and this confrontation impelled him to set out upon the path that led to his Liberation. The goals of modern Buddhism encompass both spiritual liberation and the establishment of right relations among human beings in a society with very different contours than our present nation states.
The Dalai Lama has proclaimed that in a future, free Tibet, the leader would be chosen by the people rather than by the clergy.
"I have long looked forward to the time when we could devise a political system, suited both to our traditions and to the demands of the modern world," the Dalai Lama explained in a talk on Buddhism and Democracy in 1993. "A democracy that has nonviolence and peace at its roots."
"Despite the rapid advances made by civilization in this century, I believe that the most immediate cause of our present dilemma is our undue emphasis solely on material development," the Dalai Lama continues. "We have become so engrossed in its pursuit that, without even knowing it, we have neglected to foster the most basic human needs of love, kindness, cooperation and caring. If we do not know someone or do not feel connected to a particular individual or group, we simply overlook their needs. And yet the development of human society is based entirely on people helping each other. Once we have lost the essential humanity that is our foundation, what is the point of pursuing only material improvement?"
"In the present circumstances, no one can afford to assume that someone else will solve our problems," the Dalai Lama continues. "Every individual has a responsibility to help guide our global family in the right direction and we must each assume that responsibility. What we have to aim at is the common cause of our society. If society as a whole is well off, every individual or association within it will naturally gain from it. They will naturally be happy. However, if society as a whole collapses, then where can we turn to fight for and demand our rights?"
"I, for one, truly believe that individuals can make a difference in society. As a Buddhist monk, I try to develop compassion myself - not just from a religious point of view, but from a humanitarian one as well."
Jesus Christ was born the son of a working class cobbler, and was the target of the most powerful political forces in the land from the time of his birth, according to scriptures. Jesus chose most of his disciples from the working poor -- fishermen, a prostitute, a tax collector, and so on. He said that it is more difficult for a rich man to attain the kingdom of Heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. He asked rich men who approached him for spiritual guidance to give all they had to the poor. He attacked the money changers in the Temple of Jerusalem, a highly political act which enraged Jewish clergy and Roman government officials alike. And he was crucified soon after.
Christianity since the time of Jesus has struggled with the impulse to ally itself to Empire. The reign of Constantine saw the merger of the Church and the Roman Empire, and coincided with the exclusion of most of the populist gospels, so-called Gnostic gospels, from the Canon, along with the establishment of a wealthy, extremely hierarchical clergy that worked as a spiritual army in the service of the Emperor as well as Jesus Christ.
In the Twentieth Century, during the Nineteen Sixties, a reform minded Pope John XXIII, who would later be canonized as a saint, led the effort to modernize the Church and to encourage the clergy to engage in political struggle on behalf of the poor, the excluded, and all victims of oppression worldwide.
"In October 1962, Pope John XXIII convened the Second Vatican Council," says the Oxford Research Encyclopedia. "The object of the Second Vatican Council was to 'open the Church,' a goal that was meant to reclaim Catholicism’s moral and temporal authority by reasserting its relevance in the modern world. Between 1962 and 1965, the council issued sixteen major documents that set the course for the most dramatic change in universal Catholicism to take place since the Counter-Reformation. The most important of these changes included the following: a dramatically increased role for the laity; an emphasis on Bible reading and reflection over formulaic ritual; increased accessibility to the sacraments through liturgical revision and abandonment of the Latin Mass for modern vernacular languages; a conciliatory attitude to ecumenism, including a definition of Protestants as 'separated brethren; and a renewed emphasis on the church’s engagement with the problems of the secular world."
Throughout Central and Latin America, liberation theology emerged as a mass movement of both Catholic clergy and laity demanding civil rights and social justice for all members of societies that were ruled primarily by small oligarchies with the support of extremely punitive military machines.
During the Eighties and Nineties in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Chile and other countries, liberation theology movements were met by unrestrained repression, including fascist death squads. Scores of famous theologians, Bishops, priests and nuns were massacred. Untold numbers of movement lay people were tortured and killed.
In Argentina during the Seventies and Eighties, Rev. Jorge Mario Bergoglio, head of the Jesuit order, worked diligently to repress the liberation theology movement in that country, which was feared to be allied with communism. Even as he worked to eliminate liberation theology from the landscape, Bergoglio implemented a watered-down version of liberation theology called teología del pueblo, which focused on the plight of the poor, but rejected political action in favor of an increased emphasis on rituals, processions, sacred medals and other spiritual remedies to the problems of the poor.
Bergoglio was eventually exiled to Cordoba, and he has admitted that during his time as head of the Jesuits in Argentina he committed "hundreds of errors."
Bergoglio experienced a spiritual and political epiphany during his exile, and when he returned to Buenos Aires he gravitated to the poorest of the poor, and he became "vicar of the slums". He gave his substantial support to community political action groups, unions and co-operatives. This was exactly the kind of political organizing that had constituted the backbone of the liberation theology he had so long fought against.
Bergoglio began to see the social systems and political structures that support the exploitation of the poor as a dangerous form of sin that must be opposed spiritually and also in the political realm by good Christians everywhere.
On March 13, 2013, Bergoglio was elected to serve as the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church, and took the name of Francis, defender of the poor, healer of lepers and lover of nature. Pope Francis invited luminaries of the liberation theology movement to Rome almost immediately, and has served as a shining example of spiritual activism worldwide throughout his reign to date.
“As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems,” Pope Francis proclaimed in his papal manifesto Evangelii Gaudium, a document that set forth his global agenda.
“I am interested only in helping those who are in thrall to an individualistic, indifferent and self-centered mentality to be freed from those unworthy chains and to attain a way of living and thinking which is more humane, noble and fruitful, and which will bring dignity to their presence on this earth,” Pope Francis wrote.
Pope Francis explicitly rejected the neoliberal political and economic order that was inaugurated by President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
“Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world,” Pope Francis wrote. “This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.”
“We have created new idols,” Pope Francis declared. “The worship of the ancient golden calf has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.”
Next Pope Francis released a beautiful encyclical on the environmental crisis, which begins with a beautiful quote from St. Francis of Assisi.
“'LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore' – 'Praise be to you, my Lord'. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. 'Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs'."
"This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she 'groans in travail' (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters."
"Laudato si specifically criticized rich countries for exploiting the resources of the poor," according to an article in Al-Jazeera. Global warming is merely a symptom of a deeper malaise, he told his aides the day the document was published, explaining that the rich world’s exploitation of the environment is rooted in the same worldview as its callousness toward the poor. Both, he said, are symptoms of a greater ill: the pursuit of short-term economic profit at the expense of people and the planet. 'This economy kills,' Laudato si concluded bluntly."
"During a trip to Bolivia this summer, Francis delivered his most ferocious denunciation to date. Behind all the 'pain, death and destruction' wrought by unrestrained global capitalism, there lurks 'the stench of the dung of the devil,' he said. 'Let us not be afraid to say it,' he told a gathering of activists. 'We want change, real change, structural change. This system is now intolerable.'”
As spiritual seekers, as Lightworkers, as meditators, as people who believe in the power of Spirit to guide the evolution of humanity, can we do any less than embark upon the dangerous and difficult path of social engagement at this critical moment in history?
This Full Moon weekend is the ideal time to meditate upon the path of spiritual activism and political action as selfless service because the opposition between the Virgo Moon and Pisces Sun highlights the need to choose between selfless service and the suffering that defines ego-consciousness.
Jane and I wish you all a most luminous and uplifting Full Moon! May you all receive the grace and guidance you require to move forward on the path to the attainment of your most cherished spiritual and material goals.
Meditation Moment: Cycles of History
" Human history is a succession of changes. Nothing remains static, for life is in perpetual movement. We would like to believe that this movement always represents progress and moves in the direction of evolution. But, unfortunately, we cannot help observing that sometimes there are regressions.
"But evolution or regression, nothing remains the same; generations of human beings succeed one another and, even if in some countries the changes take place more slowly than in others, or are moving in the wrong direction, when the conditions lend themselves, no one can prevent events from taking a favourable turn. The first currents are emitted by luminous spirits of the invisible world, and the beings who are ready to capture these currents become their conductors. And when the time comes, the changes will also be accepted by the entire society."
-- Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov