Welcome to the Roaring Twenties 2.0! The new decade has begun with a big bang!
Traditional news outlets and social media are transfixed by the spectacle of an entire continent on fire. Australia has been burning since November. North, West, South and East. Fifteen million acres have been devastated to date. Arid regions, typically fireproof wetlands, and rainforests are all being incinerated. Large plumes of smoke billow in the wind, traveling 1000 miles to New Zealand.
"Professor Chris Dickman at Sydney University has estimated more than 1 billion mammals, birds and reptiles may be affected by the bushfires," according to an ABC News report. "He told ABC that animals had been killed either directly by the flames, or could be killed indirectly by the lack of food, water and shelter resources in the burned environment, as well as predators such as feral cats and red foxes."
Australia's Prime Minister, climate change denier Scott Morrison, and the rest of his government continue to proclaim that there is no direct link between human activity and the unprecedented wildfires scorching the continent. Morrison and his minions refuse to take any action to mitigate climate change, claiming that further reducing Australia's carbon emissions would harm the economy, especially by endangering lucrative oil and gas exports.
"What’s happening Down Under is a dark preview of the kind of chaos and destruction that’s awaiting the rest of the world in this rapidly unfolding climate crisis," explains John Fleming, a staff scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity in Los Angeles. No, it won’t be fires everywhere. In some cases, it will be oceans inundating coastal cities or widespread crop failures or deadly heat waves or disease outbreaks — or some fiendish combination of the above."
A California wildfire, 2008, This image is a work of a Bureau of Land Management* employee, taken or made as part of that person's official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain in the United States.
"The overall effects will be the same, though: a calamitous march of death and damage that will tear apart human and wildlife communities around the globe. It sounds dramatic because it is."
"But the future isn’t entirely written yet. Swift, decisive action to end the fossil fuel era and create a just, clean energy economy can still turn the tide," Fleming contends.
"Last month the Center for Biological Diversity, where I work, and more than 500 other groups called on the next U.S. president to declare a national climate emergency and take 10 crucial steps in the first 10 days in office to confront the climate crisis."
"These include an immediate halt to new fossil fuel leases, infrastructure and exports; significant investment in a public renewable-energy generation; use of the Clean Air Act to slash greenhouse pollution; and prosecution of fossil fuel polluters who have lied and blocked progress for decades," Fleming concludes.
As fires raged around Australia's vast coastline, scientists called on the American President to declare a state of climate emergency, but instead, climate change denier Donald Trump took a major step toward igniting a renewed geopolitical conflagration in the Middle East.
by sayyed shahab-o- din vajedi [CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)]
On Friday, January 3, an American drone strike killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a commander of Iran's special Quds forces in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere throughout the Middle East. The American mass media reported that Soleimani was in the process of preparing for a major attack on Americans, and President Trump said the assassination was necessary "to stop a war".
"The White House said Iran 'was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region," according to a report on Yahoo News. "But when pressed Sunday about whether intelligence showed that attacks were 'imminent,' Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dodged the question.
By Sunday, startling new information about the assassination emerged that cast doubt on the entire White House narrative. Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi revealed that "Soleimani had flown into Baghdad on a normal carrier flight, carrying a diplomatic passport. He had been sent by Tehran to deliver, in person, a reply to a message from Riyadh on de-escalation across the Middle East. Those negotiations had been requested by the Trump administration," veteran Asia reporter Pepe Escobar reported on The Vineyard of the Saker website.
"So Baghdad was officially mediating between Tehran and Riyadh, at the behest of Trump. And Soleimani was a messenger. Adil Abdul-Mahdi was supposed to meet Soleimani at 8:30 am, Baghdad time, last Friday. But a few hours before the appointed time, Soleimani died as the object of a targeted assassination at Baghdad airport," Escobar continued.
Saudi Arabia and Iran have been in a low intensity regional war for many years, pitting the Sunni Muslim Saudis against the Shia Muslim Iranians and their allies across the middle East and in Africa. The negotiations were intended to reduce tensions as a prelude to pacifying the region.
“I was supposed to meet Soleimani in the morning the day he was killed,” Iraqi Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi said, according to news reports. “He came to deliver me a message from Iran responding to the message we delivered from Saudi to Iran.”
As a decades long religious war in the Middle East unfolds, Donald Trump has doubled down on America's commitment to the Sunni Muslims who provided the soldiers for the 9/11 attacks, for Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and ISIS, and on America's commitment to Saudi Arabia.
A supposedly anti-war President, who campaigned against the Iraq war, Trump has now created a spectacle that renews the American commitment to being armed policeman of the most volatile region on Earth, where the United States is already engaged in a multi-generational war that has cost trillions of dollars since the turn of the century.
It is safe to assume that Saudi Arabia and Iran are now preparing for escalating low intensity military conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, and Yemen.
Both the Saudis and the Iranians will seek new, state-of-the-art, enhanced weapons systems from their allies. The Saudis will buy from America, and the Iranians from Russia and China.
American assets in the region and around the world are now assumed to be under threat of retaliatory strikes by Iranian allies everywhere and anywhere.
A variety of military responses from Iran cannot be ruled out because one of Iran's main weapons of asymmetric warfare against the US empire, the oil weapon, is no longer effective. In 2019 the US became a net exporter of oil, for the first time in 50 years, so if Iran cuts back on oil production to raise prices, that would actually be an economic positive for America.
Meanwhile, Iran's economy contracted 9.5% in 2019, and inflation is running around 40%. This is likely to constrain Iran's ability to sustain widespread hostilities, and could trigger social unrest under conditions of increased sanctions and deprivation.
Sanctions prevent Iran from borrowing on the global market to finance deficit spending on dramatic upgrades of weapons systems, plain vanilla military expenditures or other necessities, so an influx of advanced Russian or Chinese weaponry seems unlikely.
Donald Trump may be betting that increased pressure on Iran will trigger an economic meltdown. Iran's perceived weakness at this time could also cause Trump to overestimate his own strength and underestimate Iran's capacity for new forms of creative, asymmetric warfare.
Cyberwarfare, drone swarm attacks, interdiction of oil and gas shipping in the Straits of Hormuz, attacks on Saudi oilfields, and uprisings by Shia Muslim allies of Iran throughout the Middle East and Africa could all be part of the Iranian playbook, going forward.
That is the best case scenario for now. The long range consequences of this startling assassination cannot be predicted today, but it is clear that the probability of increased American military action in the region has just increased exponentially.
Iraq is the primary battlefield on which the American-Iranian confrontation will play out, for the immediate future. A large scale Shia uprising in Iraq -- or Syria -- would require dramatic escalation on the part of the Americans. The US now has 5,500 troops scattered across Iraq, which is a big country, and a battalion of National Guard troops in Syria "protecting" Syria's oilfields from the Syrian government and Iranian missile or drone attacks.
American troops in Iraq are generally embedded in facilities controlled by the Iraqi army. The Iraqi government has a deep, longstanding partnership with Iran. The Iraqi interior minister is always a member of the Badr organization, a strongly pro-Iranian organization. A great deal of Iraq's military muscle, recently used to fight Al-Qaeda and ISIS fanatics, comes from pro-Iranian Shia Muslim paramilitary groups. The compromised position of American troops in any confrontation with Shia Muslims generally, and Iran in particular, should be obvious to the casual observer.
If the military confrontation in Iraq escalates, Iraq will plunged into a political, social, economic and military crisis at least as deep and fractious as the crisis that engulfed the country in the aftermath of the 2003 war that toppled Saddam Hussein. American troops will certainly be at the center of the action. The Iraqi Parliament has issued a non-binding resolution calling for withdrawal of US forces, but Donald Trump and other American officials have already emphasized that withdrawal is not an option.
The ship POLAR ADVENTURE (IMO: 9244063, MMSI: 303031000) is an Oil tanker registered in Alaska (US). The vessel POLAR ADVENTURE has a deadweight of 141740 tonnes and was built in 2004. The gross tonnage is 85387.
© Steven Pavlov / http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Senapa / CC BY-SA 4.0
Tuesday January 7, Iran launched more than two dozen ballistic missiles at two airbases in Iraq hosting American and coalition forces, but the extent of the damage was not revealed. By Wednesday, Petrobras, Bahri - Saudi Arabia's state-run tanker operator - and other tanker companies suspended sailing through the Straits of Hormuz. Twenty-one million gallons of oil a day flow through the Straits of Hormuz, which is the most prominent choke point for oil traffic in the world.
All just in time for the 2020 Presidential election season.
Soleimani's murder quickly became an issue in the Democratic primary. Debate erupted about whether or not the assassination was justified, and on whether or not the assassination was an assassination at all. The definition of Trump's murderous assault of a major military and political leader of a country with whom we are technically at peace, while attending a diplomatic function in a country allied with the United States is very important to the Democrats because assassination of other countries' leaders in peacetime is illegal.
“No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination,” according to a 1976 executive order issued by President Gerald Ford, in response to credible allegations that the CIA had engaged in plots to assassinate foreign political leaders, including Fidel Castro.
President Gerald Ford by David Hume Kennerly [Public domain]
"International law also forbids peacetime assassinations," Yahoo News reports. "The Hague and the Geneva Conventions prohibit the premeditated killing of a specific individual commander for what they have done on the battlefield or what they may do."
Although the United States did assassinate Osama bin Laden and ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, neither of them was a leader of a recognized country, with UN recognition, and so these assassinations never became political and legal issues in the same way as Soleimani's murder.
Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren immediately condemned the murder as an "assassination", a provocation, and a major step along a path to war with Iran, but Michael Bloomberg disputed the Sanders-Warren take on the murder. “I think that’s an outrageous thing to say," Bloomberg proclaimed. "Nobody that I know of would think that we did something wrong in getting the general.”
By Tuesday, under questioning from Meghan McCain on The View TV show, Elizabeth Warren — who had called Soleimani's killing "an assassination” — now says “of course” he’s a terrorist. So, never mind, I guess. She more or less agrees with Bloomberg and kinda, sorta for a moment agreed with Sanders. Does she really think that kind of waffling will win the nomination, or enable her to successfully confront Donald Trump in the general election? Or was it all just bad optics? Either way, this is not a high point for Elizabeth Warren.
January 2020 Cosmic Weather Forecast
The January 2020 Full Wolf Moon in Cancer Penumbral Eclipse takes place on Friday January 10 at 2:21 p.m. EST and 11:21 a.m. PST. This is the first of thirteen full moons this year. As the moon drifts into the Earth's outer shadow or penumbra, there will be a subtle darker shading of the moon's southern hemisphere, visible from Asia, Australia, Europe and Africa. The effect is similar to the 2014 penumbral eclipse pictured above.
The Full Moon will be at 20° Cancer opposing the Sun is at 20° Capricorn, conjunct Mercury, with Saturn and Pluto only a couple of degrees away, and Jupiter in Capricorn as well, creating a powerful Capricorn stellium of planets. Uranus in Taurus will go direct the following day, and on January 12th, Saturn and Pluto will be exactly conjunct at 22° Capricorn.
In Esoteric Astrology, Saturn is the expression of Ray 3, associated with the Mind, while Pluto is associated with Ray 1, the Will. The conjunction of Saturn and Pluto offers initiates the opportunity to align the Higher Mind with the Will to Good in pursuit of the manifestation of Higher Purpose and the best and highest outcomes for all of humanity.
At this Full Moon we can all benefit from meditating upon the precept that Energy Follows Thought and rest calmly in the knowledge that As You Think, So You Become!
This Full Moon there is tremendous support for spiritual practices designed to formulate and visualize our personal and collective goals for the decade to come. Now is the time to visualize not just the end state we wish to attain, the summit of the mountain we wish to climb, but more importantly, to visualize a path we can take to reach that summit, and the steps we must take along that long and winding upward trending road to attain our final goal, in as much detail as possible.
The presence of Mercury and Jupiter in Capricorn this Full Moon offers us the expansive vision of the Guru Planet and the creativity of the Planetary Magician in support of this exalted exercise.
There is definitely a golden opportunity here to awaken powerful forces for positive transformation in our personal lives this Full Moon, thanks to the pragmatic stellium of power planets in grounded, aspirational Capricorn.
To tune in to these powerful positive energies we are required to elevate our thoughts and our emotions to the heart chakra and remain centered, balanced and grounded in loving wisdom and compassion throughout our practice.
The energies of this powerful Capricorn stellium have decidedly different effects on people whose energies are expressed primarily through the heart chakra and people whose energies are expressed primarily through the solar plexus chakra.
In previous newsletters, we have explored the significance of Ascension Practices in various New Age and other spiritual traditions, and we have explained that such practices are designed to elevate the energies concentrated in the lower chakras into the higher chakras.
Individuals with energies concentrated in the lower chakras tend to be focused on survival issues (first, root chakra, physical body), sexuality (second chakra, sexual organs, etheric body) and personal power (third, solar plexus chakra, astral body).
Most people currently incarnated on planet Earth express their energies primarily through the third chakra, and are focused on issues of personal power, status, accumulation of wealth, and egoistic satisfaction in general.
The task for spiritual aspirants of both the Eastern and Western spiritual traditions is to ascend from the general preoccupation with egocentric pursuits into a higher understanding of the connection of each individual to the larger web of life.
When this interconnection becomes real to us, we understand that the ego is merely an illusion. There is not really a separate self, because each individual is an interdependent node within the larger web of life which nourishes and sustains us. This higher understanding comes about when the individual opens the heart (4th chakra, mental body) in compassion, and the individual embraces the entire web of life and all humanity in an outpouring of love and light.
The Ascension into a New Age will be marked by a widespread elevation of humanity's perspective, from a narrow egoistic view to a more elevated, broad and transpersonal understanding of the Universe and our place within it.
That widespread Ascension event is not likely to occur in our lifetimes, however. For the moment, each individual must pursue the elevated goal of Ascension through diligence, grace and loving repetition of spiritual practices designed to erode the grip of the ego on our being and introduce us to the intuitive loving wisdom of the Higher Mind, revealing to us the true nature of Higher Self and of our Higher Purpose.
For now and for the foreseeable future the great majority of humanity continue to express their energies primarily through the solar plexus chakra.
When the energies of the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn, active from December 21, 2019 through the end of January 2020, are expressed through the activity of the solar plexus chakra, the influence of these planets is neither gentle, compassionate nor even particularly kind.
In fact, the energy of these planets in Capricorn will manifest as a ruthless, remorseless will to power over others. At the level of the egoistic personality, expressing through the solar plexus, Pluto in Capricorn represents the power of concentrated wealth, and the use of that wealth to exercise total domination over others in society. There is a definite element of joyful cruelty in this placement. At that level, Saturn in Capricorn represents the institutions of society that support the hierarchical structures created by powerful interests to advance their interests at the expense of society as a whole.
When these planets are conjunct in Capricorn, and express their energies through the lower chakras, these planets provide immense support for the plutocracy that oversees the globalized network of financial flows that constitute our financial markets, the globalized supply chains that support our largest trans-national corporations, and the global array of military bases and weaponry that project American power across the globe.
Over the last decade, as the series of Uranus-Pluto squares in Cardinal signs coincided with the Global Financial Meltdown and ongoing political challenges to that existing plutocracy and its globalized, highly networked order, the High Priests of power have been on the defensive. The Saturn-Pluto conjunction in 2020 could signal a shift in energy that will see those plutocratic forces once again on the offensive, and at least for a time, ascendant in the world around us.
Saturn/Pluto aspects have historical links with warfare over the last one hundred years. On June 28, 1914, just prior to the first of three exact Saturn/Pluto conjunctions in Cancer that spanned 1914–15, Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated triggering a chain of events that culminated in the beginning of World War I.
This image or media file contains material based on a work of a National Park Service employee, created as part of that person's official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, such work is in the public domain in the United States.
Know that the Saturn/Pluto conjunction does not signal a sudden climactic event, but rather the start of a cycle of time distinguished by a characteristic energy signature that creates strong tendencies in the collective consciousness and in individuals toward certain types of behavior, emotions and thought forms. The Saturn/Pluto cycle in Capricorn will last more than 20 years. so this month's conjunction is a generation-defining event which will resonate far into the future.
There will not be another Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Capricorn until 2754.
The last time Pluto and Saturn were conjunct in Capricorn was around the end of the year 1517 and the start of 1518. When these two heavyweight planets conjoin, human civilization is transformed, for good and for ill. As we have seen the extremely powerful energies of Pluto and Saturn can express themselves in dramatically different ways depending upon the attitudes and the spiritual development of individuals, and of entire societies.
Top center: IN SILENCIO ET SPE ERIT FORTITVDO VESTRA (In quiet trust in me you will be strong [Is. 30, 15])
This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1925.
"Legend has it that on October 31, 1517 the priest and scholar Martin Luther approached the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, and nailed a piece of paper to it containing the 95 revolutionary opinions that would begin the Protestant Reformation," according to the website History.com.
European wars between Catholics and Protestants would be triggered again and again during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, starting in 1522 and lasting through 1712.
"In August 1518, King Charles I authorized Spain to ship enslaved people directly from Africa to the Americas. The edict marked a new phase in the transatlantic slave trade in which the numbers of enslaved people brought directly to the Americas—without going through a European port first—rose dramatically," according to History.com.
During the last conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn we can easily see in these two historical examples how the positive and negative expressions of this potent energy manifested.
As a negative energy, this conjunction crystallized the commitment of the New World to the practice of human slavery, a practice that would not end in the Americas until 250 years later, after the American Civil War. Here we see the power and extreme cruelty of a small plutocracy (Pluto) used in the service of greed (Pluto), manifesting a sprawling multi-continental system of social controls (Saturn) in the service of international commerce, utilizing military projection to dominate and exploit large populations of people (Saturn/Pluto) who were dehumanized and stripped of property, wealth, health and autonomy.
The same set of Saturn/Pluto power dynamics pitted a repressed community of morally righteous religious reformers (Pluto) against an entrenched multi-national social system (Saturn) that fused church and state into a unitary regime of dominance and control that was supported by military might, priestly power and the cruel tools of the (Saturn/Pluto) Inquisition.
In today's world we can observe a similar dynamic expressed in the conflict between globalized transnational elites (Pluto) who occupy privileged positions in digitized global financial, corporate and cultural networks (Saturn), and repressed and outraged individuals (Pluto) who find their work devalued, their human worth denied and their social position undermined.
The Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Capricorn suggests that the globalized system of increasingly unregulated transnational digitized financial flows has now colonized every aspect of human life and culture. Financiers have created increasingly sophisticated algorithmic derivative financial products. These derivatives assign monetary value to virtual slices of reality representing perceived price at an infinite number of points in future time, all discoverable and tradable in a timeless digitized present. Unfortunately these derivatives are opaque to public view and prone to periodic meltdown and collapse in value, as we saw in the 2008 Financial Crisis. This may be the high point of this global financial regime as a historical force.
This globalized neo-liberal Utopian laissez-faire dispensation, which was initiated in the regimes of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher was empowered by advances in computerization, computer networking, software development and social engineering. The new regime empowered the financial sector, technology oligopolies and transnational corporate entities at the expense of the rest of society. This neoliberal nirvana may have reached a climax of sorts, here in 2020, an apotheosis of command and control that has crystallized societies around the world into highly inequitable groupings of super-rich plutocrats on the one hand and all the rest of humanity on the other hand.
This social formation seems all powerful but may, like the Catholic Church in the 16th century, be at a point of unexpected fragility, as revealed in the 2008 financial crisis. Although financial markets in the US are booming at present, structural defects such as runaway credit booms, trade wars, currency conflicts, unsustainable deficits and negative bond yields point to the potential for dramatic systemic challenges ahead.
On the other hand, we may be set for 250 years of Dark Ages in which a new plutocratic aristocracy presides over a global climate catastrophe as it continues to enrich itself at the expense of the Earth's eco-system and the vast majority of human beings.
Only time and the so far unproven ability of the vast majority of human beings to find common ground and institute needed reforms can forestall this unpleasant future. The Saturn/Pluto conjunction is a big wake up call for all of us. Let us ask our Guides and Teachers to give us grace and guidance so that we may avert catastrophe, mitigate future human suffering, and restore the social balance in our deeply imbalanced global civilization.
This Full Moon is a great time for Lightworkers, meditators, crystal healers and all human beings with compassion in their hearts to send loving energy to American, Iraqi, and Iranian leaders and to the people of Iran and Iraq, and to pray for peace. Rituals, crystal work and all other spiritual practices designed to defuse violent confrontations would be most welcome at this time!
Let's also send some love and light to all sentient beings in Australia affected by the continental conflagration of January 2020.
Jane and I will join you this Full Moon in spirit, as we perform our own spiritual practices. We hold you in the Light, we send you love, and we affirm that you receive the grace and guidance you require to attain your most heartfelt material and spiritual goals!
Meditation Moment: A Precious Stone is An Antenna
« However small it is, a precious stone is a particle of matter capable of retaining cosmic forces. But you must not think you can rely on it to protect you, heal you, give you powers and open the doors to the spiritual world for you. If you don’t know how to treat it and how to use it, it will be of no use to you.
Precious stones have already been prepared by nature to harness certain energies in the cosmos and project and distribute them. But this does not mean that simply having them in your possession will allow you to benefit from their properties. Each stone is like an antenna, and you must give it a role by getting it to transmit messages, as you would an antenna. Behind each stone, there are forces spiraling and vibrating, but it is up to you to capture them and direct them so that they help you in your work. »