Welcome to the May 2020 Cosmic Weather Forecast. Warm greetings from your editors, Jane Sherry and Curtis Lang in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. This Thursday, May 7 we celebrate the Festival of Wesak, commemorating the birth, enlightenment and death of Taurean Gautama Buddha, at the time of the Taurus Solar Festival and the Scorpio Full Moon.

Giant Buddha Statue with Limitless Sky

For a complete history of Wesak as both traditional Buddhist festival and 21st Century global celebration of human enlightenment, read our article entitled Wesak: Buddha's Birthday & the Shamballa Gathering. You'll find instructions for participating in the global Wesak meditation this Thursday as well. 

This Thursday's Wesak Full SuperMoon occurs at 6:45 AM Eastern Daylight Time. The Sun will be at 17° Taurus with the Moon at 17° Scorpio. 

The Sabian symbol for the Sun at 17° Taurus is "A symbolic battle between Swords and Torches -- Refusing to depend upon the past, the seeker turns warrior, fighting anew the eternal Great War."

                                                                      Atlas Coelestis. Johannes Hevelius drew the constellation in Uranographia, his celestial catalogue in 1690. 
Public domain

This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 100 years or fewer.

The Swords represent the analytical power of the rational mind, which dissects and analyzes and is associated with the egoistic personality. The Torches are associated with the purity of fire and represent Universal Life Force Energy, the Source of Cosmic Consciousness. The eternal Great War is the war between the Egoistic Personality and the Higher Self.

As a young man, Siddhartha Gautama turned his back on his privileged life as a princeling, refusing to participate in his family's traditions or take up the social role his bloodline mandated. Young Siddhartha sacrificed his birthright as a kshatriya or warrior caste nobleman, and rebirthed himself as a spiritual warrior, determined to subdue his own base instincts and desires in a quest for higher consciousness. Siddhartha chose the Torch rather than the Sword.

After spending decades as a spiritual seeker and practicing many advanced yoga techniques received directly from renowned Gurus and teachers, Siddhartha still labored in vain for spiritual liberation. Gautama realized that the traditional wisdom teachings, for all their power and beauty, fell short, unable to empower him to fulfill his quest for spiritual liberation.

Bodhi Tree, Bodhgaya, India
Neil Satyam / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

Finally, Siddhartha resolved to find his own way, by searching within himself.  He resolved to sit in contemplation under a Bodhi tree in the town of Bodh Gaya until he achieved his goal. He had to fight a prolonged spiritual battle with his own karma and with powerful demonic forces that assaulted him. Through his perseverance, strength of will and power of discernment he was purified and conquered the demonic forces arrayed against him.

He experienced a series of powerful revelations that culminated in the experience of Nirvana. The spiritual warrior prevailed, and Siddhartha reached his ultimate goal, leaving behind his egoistic personality and the limitations of his rational mind. Gautama Buddha was born again under the canopy of that sheltering tree, the tree of eternal life. At that moment, the spiritual warrior attained final victory in the recurring eternal Great War between the Ego and Higher Consciousness.

Gautama Buddha achieved his liberation from the bondage of the egoistic personality by meditating deeply upon the true nature of human existence. These meditations led Buddha to understand that the perception of the egoistic self as an individuated being, separate from and at war with the rest of the world around us, is simply an illusion.

The true nature of the Self is revealed in the act of procreation and birth.

Human procreation is a microcosmic version of universal creation.

"Nature as it is currently portrayed in science consists of energy, which can take any form, and fields, which are the formative principle in all realms of Nature," explains visionary scientist Rupert Sheldrake.

But the notion of these two animating and organizing principles as fundamental powers creating and sustaining the Universe is anything but new to mystics in both Eastern and Western traditions.

The polarity between Father Sky and Mother Earth is ancient and widespread. Native American traditions emphasize humanity's primal connection to Father Sky and Mother Earth and it is through these connections that we come to know and walk our path of Spirit.

The marriage between these Divine Lovers is indeed eternal, and we and our universe are their offspring.

Shiva/Shakti, Consciousness/Mind as Two Aspects of One Being

In Hindu Tantra, the Divine Mother is Shakti, the energy that infuses and sustains all the many forms of creation. The Divine Father is Shiva, the Logos, representing the forms of Nature, which are fields that act as receptacles for the divine energy of creation.

Human procreation is a microcosm of Universal creation. At the conception of a human child, Father and Mother co-create an embryonic being that then grows within the Mother's body. Then the child lives an intensely interdependent existence for nine months within the Mother, and is born physically connected to her. The child inherits qualities of both Father and Mother, and remains connected to the parents by blood ties, through spiritual links and via karmic connections that transcend time and space and affect parents and child on the physical, emotional, mental and auric levels.

Yoni Tree by J.Sherry

We are born as wholly interdependent beings, and we live an interdependent existence. Nowhere in our conception, birth, or life is there to be found a permanent, separate self, isolated from the rest of creation. The child instinctively understands the interdependent nature of human existence and joyfully participates in the dance of life, at one with the Universe, at home in the true Garden of Eden, which is the state of Unity Consciousness.

In this we are greatly blessed, for we are truly children of the Divine Father/Mother Source and we inherit the Divine qualities of our Heavenly Father and of Mother Earth, who connect us to the web of life and sustain us through a myriad of interrelationships necessary for our continued existence.

But as we grow up, we forget our true origins and begin to focus upon our egoistic personalities, and eventually to assume that the ego is the center of the universe and the sum total of our true nature. We exile ourselves from that blissful Garden of Eden which is our birthright.

In our everyday lives, we normally act as though we are isolated, alone, separate from one another and from nature, alienated from the world around us. This everyday consciousness is very destructive, engenders fear, and denies love. This everyday consciousness we can call the illusory self, the egoistic self, or the egoistic personality.

Gautama Buddha explored the illusory nature of the egoistic self 2400 years ago and achieved liberation. Buddha found the way back into the Garden of Eden. 

Stock Photo

Buddha's explorations of the nature of the self were an extension of the traditional Hindu practices of jnana yoga, the yoga of understanding and knowledge.

By understanding what the self is, and especially, what the Self is not, practitioners of jnana yoga seek to obtain liberation from the illusion of the separate self and attain Self-realization.

To understand the true nature of the Self, sitting under the Bodhi Tree, Buddha determined to seek the origin of the separate self in the physical, emotional and mental realms.

As we all know, the body reconstitutes itself continuously. Our cells die and new cells take their place. We are literally not the same person today we were last month or last year. Buddha meditated upon this fact of life.

Ficus Roots photo by J.Sherry

Thich Nhat Hanh in his brilliant biography of the Buddha, Old Path White Clouds explains that, "Beneath the pippala tree, the hermit Gautama focused all of his formidable powers of concentration to look deeply at his body. He saw that each cell of his body was like a drop of water in an endlessly flowing river of birth, existence and death, and he could not find anything in the body that remained unchanged or that could be said to contain a separate self.

Intermingled with the river of his body was the river of his feelings, in which every feeling was a drop of water. These drops also jostled with one another in a process of birth, existence and death. Some feelings were pleasant, some unpleasant, and some neutral, but all of his feelings were impermanent: they appeared and disappeared just like the cells of his body."

Buddha discovered that nowhere in his emotions did anything remain unchanged, and there was nothing that could be said to contain a separate self.

Buddha examined his thoughts and found that although both positive and negative mental states appeared and disappeared like leaves in the wind, none of these mental states persist over time, none are permanent, and nothing within the mind could be discovered that constitutes a separate self. In his meditations, Buddha also discovered that although mental states such as fear, anger, greed, hatred, jealousy, and ignorance are the sources of our suffering, the mind is incapable of penetrating to the heart of reality and removing these sources of suffering.

Equinox and the Iron Sun
Credit: NASA / Goddard / SDO AIA Team
Consider this view of the Sun in extreme ultraviolet light from the Sun staring Solar Dynamics Observatory. Recorded yesterday, the false-color image shows emission from highly ionized iron atoms. Loops and arcs trace the glowing plasma suspended in magnetic fields above solar active regions.

"Mindful awareness blazed in him like a bright sun, and he used that sun of awareness to illuminate the nature of all these negative mental states," Thich Nhat Hahn recounts.

When mindful awareness blazed in the Buddha like a bright sun, Buddha achieved enlightenment. Buddha had used a certain aspect of his egoistic mind to transcend the ego altogether. We can call this aspect the "watcher" and it is the source of mindful awareness. Mindfulness is a keystone of Buddhist practice, and of ancient Hindu wisdom.

The Bhagavad Gita discusses the watcher in great detail. The Bhagavad Gita is an ancient Hindu poem and the most prominent sacred text in the Hindu tradition. Thousands of years old, the Gita recounts a series of battles between two opposing groups of royal relatives in India, warring over control of a precious kingdom.

Krishna Painted 

The central character is a Prince named Arjuna, who is very ambivalent about taking part in the battle. Although he is a peerless warrior of great renown, Arjuna does not want to fight his relatives, and he asks his mentor, Krishna, an Avatar of Vishnu the Protector of the Universe, for advice.

The entire poem is a metaphor of course. Arjuna is the typical human being. The battle is being waged within his person, which is the precious kingdom. The opposing forces are the warriors under control of the King of the Mind, who represents the illusory self, the egocentric personality, and the warriors under the command of the Higher Self. These virtuous Princes are allied directly with Krishna.

Krishna advises Arjuna to take part in the battle, and of course, Arjuna, Krishna and the forces of the Higher Self ultimately emerge victorious. The poem is told as a report to the King of the Mind, given by one of the Ego Mind's servants, named Sanjay, who is the watcher. Sanjay is totally objective, and he can always be counted on to give an accurate report of anything that happens. 

Om & Snake Eye

Sanjay, the watcher, is that aspect of us that is detached, that observes. He is our undiluted consciousness, uncontaminated by the egoistic personality and its roiling thoughts and emotional states. When we can merely observe ourselves without attachment or consideration, as in meditation, Sanjay comes to the forefront. This is why many meditation practices focus on simply observing the breath and banishing other thoughts. Observing what happens in the body. Observing the play of our emotions.

Because the more we identify with Sanjay, with pure consciousness, with the watcher within, the more we can detach from our own ego, our own karma, our own mental considerations, desires, and negative emotions.

We can utilize this tool of the mind to achieve liberation if we have an extremely highly developed watcher within. This is very difficult for most people, but it is at the heart of yogic and Buddhist practice. Buddha demonstrated very clearly that this path, the path originally called jnana yoga, is one clear path to total liberation of the mind.

Upon achieving liberation through mindful observance as brilliant as the noonday sun, according to Thich Nhat Hanh, "[Buddha realized] People were caught in endless suffering because of their erroneous perceptions: they believed that which is impermanent is permanent, that which is without self contains self, that which has no birth and death has birth and death, and they divided that which is inseparable into parts," explains Thich Nhat Hahn. "He saw that they all [these illusions] arose due to ignorance."

Our egoistic illusions that we are separate from the rest of the world, in conflict with our environment and all those living within it, and alienated from the subtle energies of the world of spirit can all be overcome through spiritual practice. The mindfulness of Buddha, the love of Christ and the will of Arjuna can all be employed to achieve union with the Higher Self, and subordination of the egoistic self to its rightful role as watcher.

Krishna and Arjuna 

When we have won that spiritual war within ourselves, the Great War between Swords and Torches, we will become fonts of love, and we will have so much love to share that we will attract love from all quarters of the world and even from subtle spiritual sources of love and wisdom beyond our present comprehension.

We will have the power to relieve suffering through the clarity of our consciousness, the diamond bright insights afforded us through penetrating discernment, and the warmth of our compassionate love. 

Then we will have completed the preparations required to tread the Ascension Path in this world and in subtle realms beyond the reach of our present powers of vision.

As we celebrate the spiritual festival of Wesak this May Full SuperMoon, in the midst of a global pandemic, let us meditate upon our true nature.

Much of humanity has thought that our unsustainable global civilization, based upon continuous economic expansion, unlimited consumption of fossil fuels and other natural resources, and a Darwinian war of all against all for survival of the fittest is the natural order of things, a permanent fact of life. These ideas have suddenly been proven to be mere delusions of the egocentric personality.

The large purple rectangle in this colorized image is a chip feature about 40 by 150 nanometers in size, surrounded by encapsulating material.

The magnified section shows the planes of silicon atoms used to calibrate feature measurements.

National Institute of Standards and Technology / Public domain

Many of us have thought that the scientific method and rational materialism in general have produced a steadily increasing ability for humanity to dominate and control nature. Many have thought that this apparent trend will continue indefinitely into the future. Indeed many in Silicon Valley look forward to a day when human immortality will be a fact of life. These ideas have proven to be mere delusions of the egocentric personality.

Our 21st Century technology has not provided us the power to overcome a novel virus pandemic. Our medical tools to combat the virus are not significantly different from the methodology used by scientists one hundred years ago, during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. We are using similar methods to combat the current health crisis. Masks and social distancing. Quarantines and lockdowns. 

The pandemic reveals that only by acknowledging our true interdependence with one another and with nature can we understand the nature of the pandemic. We discover that only by acting in solidarity with all of humanity in compassion and love can disaster be averted. 

I wear a mask so that you can be safe. You wear a mask so I can be safe. And so on.

Even billionaires rely upon delivery drivers, farmers, health care workers, and other essential but undervalued people for their very survival. 

We all know now that industrial agriculture, environmental destruction of wildlife habitat, global food supply chains and unlimited global air travel created this pandemic. We all know that denying the reality of the pandemic at its onset has resulted in extremely bad outcomes in countries like the United States and England. 

We now know that we must leave behind the conventional wisdom of our culture's egocentric, me-first, winner-take-all myths and traditions, in a search for new, more healthy, sustainable ways of living co-operatively in a world village where we are all intimately interconnected. We know now that we must set aside the Sword and take up the Torch.

This could be the next big step toward humanity's ultimate enlightenment. 

This Wesak let's all gather in meditation, visualizing the congregation of Ascended Master Guides and Teachers and spiritual seekers in Shamballa and celebrate this ongoing crisis as a golden opportunity to reflect upon our interdependence. Let us express our gratitude to all those around the world who contribute to our continued well-being.

For a complete history of Wesak as both traditional Buddhist festival and 21st Century global celebration of human enlightenment, read our article entitled Wesak: Buddha's Birthday & the Shamballa Gathering. You'll find instructions for participating in the global Wesak meditation this Thursday as well. 

May 2020 Cosmic Weather Forecast

The energetic signature of this week's Taurus Solar Festival and Scorpio Super Full Moon sets the tone for the coming weeks up to the New Moon on May 22, 2020. 

There are no major outer planet aspects this month, which is a welcome relief from the ongoing barrage of heavy energies that have marked this year so far. This Full moon week does exhibit some beneficial Neptunian energy which can stimulate our involvement in spiritual practices and indicates increased sensitivity to subtle energy and trans-personal experiences.

Neptune:  Photo by  Voyager 2 TeamNASA
The Solar System's outermost gas giant shows a nearly uniform blue hue created by small amounts of methane drifting in a thick atmosphere of nearly colorless hydrogen and helium. Dark spots do appear, however, that are anti-cyclones: large high-pressure systems that swirl in Neptune's cold cloud tops. Two dark spots are visible in the above picture taken by the robot Voyager 2 spacecraft in 1989: an Earth-sized Great Dark Spot located on the far left, and Dark Spot 2 located near bottom. A bright cloud dubbed Scooter accompanies the Great Dark Spot.

Mercury in Taurus reaches a position almost precisely sextile Neptune in Pisces a mere 3 minutes before this week's full moon. This is a relatively short-lived aspect, which stimulates intuition and empathy. 

The Full Moon is also trine Neptune in Pisces which opens up the individual and collective consciousness to trans-personal experiences, stimulates feelings of compassion for others, and provides an ideal energetic environment for meditation and all other spiritual practices. 

The big astrological news this month is the beginning of a series of planetary retrogrades that will define the energetic environment going forward throughout the rest of the spring and summer. It's not unusual for planets to go retrograde periodically, but when a cluster of planets, including key outer planets, goes retrograde within a period of a month or two, astrologers know that something very unusual is taking place. 

Pluto in Capricorn has been retrograde since April 25, and will stay in retrograde motion until October 4, 2020. During that entire period the main Plutonian aspect will continue to be a conjunction with Jupiter, which has been in effect most all of this year, and was a key element in the January 2020 Capricorn stellium that kicked off the global Coronavirus pandemic. The Pluto retrograde cycle this year will include months of Jupiter retrograde, which may well indicate increased suffering, fear of death and financial catastrophe.

It is also possible that Pluto's retrograde period will give us all a chance to face up to issues we found hard to confront during the period from January 2020 up to the present May Full Moon, and help us to deal with the need for total inner transformation in order to cope with this planetary emergency.

On Sunday May 10, Saturn will go retrograde at 1° Aquarius. Saturn moves slowly, but by July 1, Saturn will re-enter Capricorn until December 17, 2020. Saturn retrograde in general often indicates increased fear, anxiety, depression and isolation, and often exacerbates existing physical issues and problems. 

This could indicate that current efforts to re-open the world's economies and relax social restrictions designed to limit the spread of the Covid pandemic may lead to a resurgence of cases in various areas around the world. Should that be the case, another round of restrictions will have to be implemented.

The economic consequences of the pandemic will also become much more apparent during the next few months with Saturn retrograde, especially once Saturn returns to Capricorn.

When Saturn revisits a sign during a retrograde period, we are given a chance to revisit and review the lessons that we were presented with the first time around. So we can be fairly certain that over the next few months we will see more widespread awareness of the true magnitude of the pandemic, and of the likelihood that social and economic disruption will be more prolonged and devastating than has previously been thought possible. 

You don't have to be an astrologer, or even a big fan of science to know that re-opening the economy and relaxing anti-virus measures too quickly will lead to more sickness and death.

"Greg Abbott, the Republican governor of Texas, admitted in a private call with lawmakers last week that his decision to lift Covid-19 safety guidelines and reopen the state's economy 'will lead to an increase and spread' of the virus," according to Common Dreams.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signs a bill continuing the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission for 12 years while state Senator Brian Birdwell looks on.
The signing took place during a ceremony on June 15, 2019 at an Austin-area brewery.
ConstableFan / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

"How do we know reopening businesses won't result in faster spread of more cases of COVID-19?" Abbott asked during a Friday call with members of the Texas legislature and Congress. "Listen, the fact of the matter is pretty much every scientific and medical report shows that whenever you have a reopening—whether you want to call it a reopening of businesses or of just a reopening of society—in the aftermath of something like this, it actually will lead to an increase and spread. It's almost ipso facto."

"There'll be more death," Trump said in an appearance on ABC News. "I think we're doing very well on the vaccines but, with or without a vaccine, it's going to pass, and we're going to be back to normal."

Trump expects increase in the U.S. death toll "because you won't be locked into an apartment or house or whatever it is."

"We have to get our country back," Trump added. "You know, people are dying the other way too."


Scheme of a coronavirus
https://www.scientificanimations.com / CC BY-SA 

A second outbreak of Coronvirus, increased realism about the mysterious nature of the pandemic and about the structural deficiencies in our society that have been revealed during this pandemic so far will no doubt lead to a robust, heated, and hopefully productive collective conversation about the flaws, illusions and inequities built into in our social priorities, our health care system, our financial system, our political system and our lifestyles.

However don't expect America's elected officials to lead that constructive conversation, or even to improve their so-far abysmal efforts to contain the pandemic or deal with the economic consequences for working class Americans.

"President Donald Trump's coronavirus taskforce is winding down, Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday, with operations expected to conclude by June 1—the very same day an internal document from the Centers for Disease Control predicts will mark a doubling of daily deaths from the disease," according to Common Dreams.

If the curve is flattening on Coronovirus cases and deaths in America in many places, that means that we are still basically at the peak of the pandemic. Logically, to manage the pandemic, you can't reopen the economy and relax restrictions on movement until the curve has taken a dramatic downturn because when the curve is flattening you still have the maximum number of infectious individuals in your society. You don't need a degree in statistics to figure that one out. 

Venus turns retrograde at 21º Gemini On May 13th, and is retrograde until June 24th. On May 15th, Jupiter turns retrograde at 27º Capricorn, until September 12, 2020. For the near term, both of the planets governing money and financial markets will be moving backward in the sky, from our vantage point on Earth.

It's worth noting that the last time Jupiter went retrograde in Capricorn was the summer of 2008, when the subprime mortgage crisis reach critical levels. Jupiter will start moving forward again on September 12, 2020. The last time Jupiter ended its retrograde in Capricorn and began moving forward a liquidity crisis experienced by several key banks triggered the onset of the Great Recession. Needless to say the next few months are a critical time for the global financial system, and red lights are flashing all over traders' computer screens.

Disillusionment and disenchantment are hallmarks of Venus retrograde. Disillusionment concerning the activities of governments and corporations is likely to spread during the retrograde of Venus and Jupiter. Disenchantment related to working people's economic prospects combined with skepticism about the fairness of the multi-trillion dollar bailouts of financial markets is likely to erupt into further outbursts of collective anger and protest during the next several weeks and in months to come, in countries around the world. 

It is difficult to maintain our equilibrium in these tumultuous times, and even more difficult to focus our attention on necessary spiritual practices that will enable us to navigate troubled global waters successfully this Wesak Full Moon week, and in the months to come.

Jane and I are still unpacking our personal belongings, upgrading the design and functionality of our extremely complex website, and trying to complete the numerous household upgrades that are always a part of establishing a new home. 
In short we often feel fried.

Huge Double Rainbow, Winston-Salem, Photo by Jane Sherry

To start off this Wesak Full Moon week, Jane went out onto our fourth floor balcony at sunset to catch the glow, and we were startled to see the largest, brightest double rainbow we have ever experienced. Things have been difficult for us, as they are for billions of people around the world, and we were filled with love and gratitude to our Guides and Teachers who once again sent us an unequivocal sign that we are in the right place at the right time performing our dharma. We were filled with renewed energy and have felt better ever since!

We are fortunate that Winston-Salem is a garden city, and we are able to take frequent walks in some of the nearby large parks that are still open. Major parks outside of Winston frequented by tourists are closed, but there are no tourists around anyway, and we are staying close to home. 

Old Salem Gardens with Downtown Office Tower in Background
Photo by Curtis Lang

We are finding that although it's difficult to find the time and energy to perform all our routine spiritual practices, we are getting extra energetic support from the practices we do maintain on a daily basis. We are feeling deeply connected to our Guides and Teachers and to our intuitive spiritual guidance. 

Jane and I send you and your loved ones Love and Light. Know that we are frequently using our largest Vogel wands to transmit healing energy to all those who are a part of our virtual community. 

Jane at early 18th Century Bethabara Moravian Community Gardens, Winston-Salem
Photo by Curtis Lang

We look forward to joining with you this Thursday and over the coming weekend in a meditation that will bring us all closer together and connect us all more deeply in a collective effort to raise the consciousness of all humanity. May this Wesak Full Moon meditation unite us in our efforts to heal ourselves and our society, and help us to envision new ways of living in the world that honor the interdependence of all humanity and of all humanity within the greater web of life!

Meditation Moment: On Wesak, Project Your Light!

"Each of you can connect to the Wesak ceremony, either on your own or as part of a group, as you prefer.

"To be known to the spirits of the divine world, you have to be seen by them. What does the captain of a ship do when his ship is sinking? He sends a Mayday signal or a rocket flare, so that he can be rescued. If you do not send a luminous signal to the sky, who will know up above that you are sinking? In order to be seen, you have to cut through the darkness by projecting a powerful light.

"Thanks to a celestial love that has nothing to do with normal love, attract to yourself the attention of invisible spirits who watch over humanity.”
-- Omraam Mikahel Aivanhov
-- The Ceremony of Wesak, 1st May 1947