The Easter Promise
Welcome to the March 24, 2005 weekly edition of the Satya Center newsletter. Warm greetings from your Editor, Curtis Lang.
Tomorrow is Good Friday, the day Christ was crucified, and there is a Full Moon. This Moon, at 5° 18’ Libra, is represented by this Sabian Symbol: “A man watches his ideals taking a concrete form before his inner vision.” This represents the moment in meditation when the Higher Self, responding to the willed intention of the individual, crystallizes a vision of a new life, and the path of Spirit opens up before the mind’s eye, presenting the aspirant with new options, new possibilities, new connections, and new ways of living that will fulfill the individual’s Higher Purpose.
This is a very auspicious moment indeed for our meditation practice. Now is the time to celebrate the subordination of the ego in favor of the Higher Self. Now is the time to demonstrate our willed intent to connect with the Higher Self, Christ Consciousness, through meditation, prayer, ceremony and ritual. Now is the time to surrender and allow ourselves to be guided on the path of Spirit.
On Good Friday, as he hung dying on the cross of wood, Jesus the Christ attained a world-altering spiritual victory over the personal ego which opened for all of us a doorway to the Way, the Truth and Eternal Life.
The Hanged Man, that most daunting Tarot Trump, number 12, symbolizes the difficult process of re-orienting the life force from subservience to the egoistic personality to the service of the Higher Self, The Unity of the Web of Life, and the Universal Source of Creation.
This re-orientation is the goal of all spiritual practices, both East and West. Seekers have used techniques such as meditation, fasting, prayer, ceremonial magic, vision quest, and even martyrdom to subordinate the ego, purge the Self of the mind’s illusion of separation, and attain the unity consciousness that is the fruit of this Great Sacrifice.
The Hanged Man also depicts the crucifixion of the body. This is the card of surrender, the card of death by water.
Those who were crucified normally died a long, slow death from suffocation brought about by the collapse of lungs filling with water, as they found themselves unable to maintain an erect posture, sinking down with fatigue, increasingly unable to breathe.
Symbolically, it was through being filled with the element of water, which represents the emotional power of compassion manifest as unconditional love, that the ego of Jesus died on Good Friday.
Tarot Trump 13, called Death, refers both to physical death and to the death of the egoistic personality, which is an illusory death. For the personality remains after this death, but it is stripped of the illusion of control. The aspirant no longer lives to satisfy individual material desires at the expense of others, or without thought for the consequences of actions upon the larger Web of Life that comprises the great Karmic Wheel of Existence figured in Tarot Trump 10, The Wheel of Fortune.
This is the death by water that is the culmination of the spiritual exercise pictured in Trump 12, the Hanged Man. As at the moment of physical death, the ego is submerged completely in the collective consciousness of humanity and the evolutionary record of all sentient beings incarnating over time on planet Earth.
This is the true baptism of water, and this baptism leads to new life, to a true rebirth of the spirit, the flesh and the soul.
The death of the ego is long and slow, and our ability to remain constant during this process of suffering and ego-death is made possible only by a constant renewal of faith. Yet as Jesus the Christ experienced on his cross of wood, every aspirant reaches a point where he or she will cry “My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?”
Each aspirant must rest assured that despite all feelings of despair and loss, the process is only purging us of the illusion of the separate self, the illusion that the egoistic personality is in control of our lives. Jesus the Christ remained Self-aware on the cross, in a spirit of total surrender.
In our spiritual practice, whatever it may be, we must also surrender to Universal forces far beyond the control of the egoistic mind, in a spirit of love, with a sincere desire that our sacrifice be offered for the salvation of the Whole, and thus we will achieve a great spiritual victory.
This rebirth, the Resurrection of Christ, is figured in Tarot Trump 14, Art or Temperance. In this card, an angel is pictured, balancing two cups with water flowing between them, or overshadowing lesser figures of the Divine Lovers in the background. This angel is the Higher Self, and the new life is a life lived in accordance with the dictates of the Higher Self.
Suddenly the aspirant discovers a new, vast creativity operating through him or through her, leading and directing the aspirant’s life in new directions. Through a series of miraculous synchronicities and felicitous encounters, this powerful force elicits flashes of loving wisdom, triggers acts of compassionate service, and fosters a continuous consciousness of the Unity that underlies the apparent dualities of material creation in this Universe.
Art or Temperance represents the infusion of spiritual energies of love and light into the material world, and their expression in acts of creativity, compassion and service that unify matter and spirit and bring to fruition the evolution of human consciousness in Self-directed acknowledgement of our true, angelic nature. In this initiation, the aspirant transcends rational humanity even as rational humanity transcended the existence of the Ape, and becomes primarily a spiritual creature living simultaneously in the two worlds, harmonizing them both through every thought, word and deed.
After his death, and a descent into the underworld, Jesus Christ appeared to Mary Magdalene on Easter Sunday in his immortal, etheric body. At the moment of his Death, Christ had unified his own Body of Light with the etheric body of the planet, permanently infusing the energy of transcendent Self into the Earth’s aura, according to clairvoyant and spiritual teacher Rudolf Steiner.
Thus the Resurrection of Christ, which we celebrate this Easter Sunday, is the Feast of the appearance of the Immortal Light Body of Christ walking upon the Earth.
Subsequent to this great spiritual victory of Jesus the Christ, on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, the energy of Christ Consciousness is accessible to all aspirants through meditation upon the beautiful forms of nature, through immersion in the elements of nature, through communion with the sky, the sea, the rivers, mountains, trees, and flowers.
Sit quietly in your garden, walk slowly and thoughtfully through a park, meditate in a forest or by a running stream, and speak directly to Christ. Say his name, give thanks for his Blessing upon the Earth, and give thanks to the Earth for nurturing the spiritual evolution of human beings, and your own personal evolution.
Whether or not you are a Christian, if you have faith, if you quiet your mind, and if your intent is pure, you can hear Christ speaking directly to you, and experience a moment of Unity with the Risen Christ impulse.
Ask and it shall be made known to you, make a request and it shall be granted to you, open your heart and the chains of ego will fall away. Ask for your freedom and you shall be freed. This is Christ’s Easter promise.
If you would like to know more about the Mysteries of the Tarot, you can find much of this week’s Easter material and much, much more in my article “Tarot, the Yoga of the West”, which discusses the spiritual significance of all Twenty-One Trumps.
Top Satya Center Stories of the Week
Jean-Paul Courtens answers the question, “Why Do I Farm Organically?” in a speech he gave to the 2005 Advanced Training in Organic Crop Production conference sponsored by the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE) of the USDA in Albany, New York.
Jean-Paul operates Roxbury Farm in Kinderhook, New York, one of the largest community sponsored agriculture projects in the country, with more than 750 members in Manhattan, Westchester, Albany and Columbia County.
There’s an ongoing debate among America’s organic farmers about the future of the organic movement. In the wake of government standards that mandate lowest-common-denominator organic farming practices, and say nothing about fair labor practices, the way farms impact local communities or the importance of locally-produced food to creating a sustainable, environmentally friendly agricultural system, some farmers have opted out of the organic certification process.They are asking “What is Organic, and Who Benefits From Organic Certification?” Jean-Paul is one of these pioneers and dissidents, and he explains his point of view in this very important article.
It’s the next chapter in the story of the ongoing struggle between the factory farm industry and local, sustainable farmers working to provide the highest possible quality food to consumers at an affordable price while maintaining high environmental standards.
Trish Mooney, a certified Flower Essence practitioner in Takoma Park, Maryland, shares the fruit of years of study and practice in her enlightening article “Subtle Body Sensing: The Impact of Flower Essences in the Human Aura”, first published by The Flower Essence Society.
“Learning how to work as a good flower essence therapist requires a deep appreciation for states of consciousness and energetic patterns that are not directly perceptible in the physical realm,” Trish explains. “In this article, I would like to offer my own gradual path of development toward subtle body sensing. The experience that I would like to emphasize is based on the phenomena itself. It involves the capacity to perceive, and then to test and evaluate what we perceive. I believe that such a process gradually develops a new organ of perception for subtle body sensing. This kind of ‘clear-seeing’ (clairvoyance) is not a distinct and separate realm, but rather a gradual refinement of the physical senses themselves. As we apply finer levels of understanding to our perceptions, such abilities become more reliable and more distinct in our consciousness.”
Trish has also written a fascinating case study, “Building a Container for Rachel”, which documents the course of treatment of a 36 year old woman diagnosed as bi-polar and under medication for that condition and for anxiety and depression, from the practitioner’s point of view. Find out how the practitioner’s intuitive vision helped her structure a course of treatment for Rachel. You’ll learn what specific flower essence combinations helped alleviate Rachel’s symptoms, and how this woman began to resolve her depression through emotional transformation.
The Satya Center Store has just posted a new shipment of affordable, pocket sized high-clarity clear quartz Vogel-cut 12 sided wands, new 12-sided very clear smoky quartz Vogel wands, and a selection of new amethyst, rose quartz and clear quartz specialty pieces. Choose from Angelic Star, Flower of Life, and Kabbalistic cut pendants, new pendulums, bracelets and earrings.
Live Teleclasses on Star Wisdom this April and May
This April and May you can take advantage of an unusual opportunity to participate in a teleconference based set of classes on a unique form of Western astrology that incorporates the teachings of Rudolf Steiner in a lineage extending back to Babylonian magi and astronomers.
Learn the basics of StarWisdom, a spiritual approach to astrology that combines Christian mysticism and ancient Babylonian star science, presented by the StarFire Research Group.
The five founders of the StarFire Research Group - Robert Powell, Brian Gray, William Bento, David Tresemer and Robert Schiappacasse - have 140 years of combined experience of the Star Wisdom system.
The basis of Star Wisdom, or Astrosophy is found in the teachings of Zarathustra, who mapped out the heavens into twelve zodiacal signs thousands of years ago. This ancient science of the heavens was rediscovered and renewed by Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher and founder of the Waldorf school system, biodynamic farming, anthroposophic medicine, and eurythmy movement.
Rather than using the more commonly known planet-based system of mainstream Western tropical astrology, Star Wisdom uses the sidereal system that pinpoints the actual astronomical locations of constellations as viewed by modern astronomers.
Conventional astrology concerns itself with the very important questions of daily life such as the appropriateness of a new boyfriend or the right timing of a new job. The emphasis of Star Wisdom-Astrosophy is on the soul purpose and connection to the opportunities the heavens offer during your life.
Astrosophy is interested in world epochs, the destiny of nations, the archangels for different geographical areas, the soul’s evolution, and the individual’s paths of reincarnation. Astrosophy is as interested in the time of conception, when the first spirit spark came into the physical receptacle of the mother’s womb, as it is in the time of birth.
Top News Stories at Satya Center
Check out Satya Center’s 24/7 alt.newsfeed and read breaking news stories from Pacific News Service. Tune in to Satya Center’s 24/7 environmental news headlines and listen to environmental news radio from Environmental News Network at ENN EarthNews.
Top Stories from around the Web
The Brains of Meditators Are Physically Transformed, Study Shows
Washington Post, By Marc Kaufman, 1/03/05
“Brain research is beginning to produce concrete evidence for something that Buddhist practitioners of meditation have maintained for centuries: Mental discipline and meditative practice can change the workings of the brain and allow people to achieve different levels of awareness.”
“Those transformed states have traditionally been understood in transcendent terms, as something outside the world of physical measurement and objective evaluation. But over the past few years, researchers at the University of Wisconsin working with Tibetan monks have been able to translate those mental experiences into the scientific language of high-frequency gamma waves and brain synchrony, or coordination. And they have pinpointed the left prefrontal cortex, an area just behind the left forehead, as the place where brain activity associated with meditation is especially intense.”
“‘What we found is that the longtime practitioners showed brain activation on a scale we have never seen before,’ said Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist at the university's new $10 million W.M. Keck Laboratory for Functional Brain Imaging and Behavior. ‘Their mental practice is having an effect on the brain in the same way golf or tennis practice will enhance performance.’ It demonstrates, he said, that the brain is capable of being trained and physically modified in ways few people can imagine.”
Speech in Hudson, NY, by James Howard Kunstler, 1/08/05
James Howard Kunstler is author of The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream.
“The world - and of course the US - now faces an epochal predicament: the global oil production peak and the arc of depletion that follows. We are unprepared for this crisis of industrial civilization. We are sleepwalking into the future.”
“The global peak oil production event will change everything about how we live. It will challenge all of our assumptions. It will compel us to do things differently - whether we like it or not.”
“. . .Downscaling America doesn't mean we become a lesser people. It means that the scale at which we conduct the work of American daily life will have to be adjusted to fit the requirements of a post-globalist, post-cheap-oil age.”
“We are going to have to live a lot more locally and a lot more intensively on that local level. Industrial agriculture, as represented by the Archer Daniels Midland/soda pop and cheez doodle model of doing things, will not survive the end of the cheap oil economy.
The implication of this is enormous. Successful human ecologies in the near future will have to be supported by intensively farmed agricultural hinterlands. Places that can't do this will fail. Say goodbye to Phoenix and Las Vegas.”
A New Strategic Focus for Progressives: The Local Green Economy
CommonDreams.org, by Kevin Danaher, 2/24/05
“For those of us casting about for ways to build the movement against President Bush and his willingness to trade restricted civil liberties and declining economic welfare at home for empire abroad, there is a strategic path that allows us to reach mainstream Americans with an approach that does not sound radical but, in fact, goes to the heart of ending imperialism.”
“. . .The progressive movement is realizing that merely protesting must be supplemented and eventually replaced with positive examples of our alternative system. Unless we can create economic institutions that provide meaningful jobs, while producing needed goods and services aimed at healing the environment, we are stuck in the rut of decrying the policies of those in power and elaborating policy alternatives that we cannot implement because the two corporate parties dominate policymaking at the national and state levels.”
“And this leads to our strategic conclusion regarding the future direction of the progressive movement. The traditional path for transforming the economy—followed by corporate and Marxist political parties alike—has focused on the political: you develop a political apparatus that can get control of the state, and then government agencies are used to transform the economy from the top down. That strategy failed in the Marxist version, and it is failing in the corporate version, because people who don’t live in your community will never know what is best for your community. The feedback loop of experiential knowledge is broken. The new approach being forged by the local green economy movement is to reverse that traditional approach: get the economy organized at the grassroots level, build up from there, so that any large scale political movement (e.g., the Green Party) when it comes to power, will have already transformed the economy from the bottom up. A community-based approach to transforming the economy is more democratic and provides a more solid foundation for national policies designed to simultaneously create good jobs while saving our environment.”
The Ecologist, Editorial, March 2005
“Wangari Maathai’s Nobel prize-winning activism has thrust the environment to the forefront of the global security agenda.
“. . .In the last 150 years Kenya has lost nearly 90 per cent of its natural woodland. Clearances began when British colonialists replaced forests with cash crops, mainly tea and coffee, and continued post-independence as political favours were bought with land bribes: hectares of pristine woodland were promptly cut down.”
“By the early 1970s, when Maathai joined the National Council of Women of Kenya, rural women, many of them from Nyeri, complained bitterly about the lack of clean water, the miles they had to walk to find firewood, and the fact that the rains seemed to fail more often. Maathai’s genius lay in her realisation that their problems were linked to the dramatic changes she had witnessed in her childhood landscape and in then doing something practical about it.”
“‘They told me what they needed: firewood, food, water, building materials; and I realised that these needs were not being met because deforestation was leading to soil loss, to springs drying up, rain patterns changing that meant farmers were not able to produce enough food to last until the next season. I realised something had to be done.’”
“So in 1977 she planted seven seedlings in her back yard and a movement was born.”
America's Agenda for Global Military Domination
Global Research, by Michel Chossudovsky, 03/17/05
“The Pentagon has released the summary of a top
secret Pentagon document, which sketches America's agenda for global military domination.”
“This redirection of America's military strategy seems to have passed virtually unnoticed. With the exception of The Wall Street Journal, not a word has been mentioned in the US media.”
“. . .From a broad military and foreign policy perspective, the March 2005 Pentagon document constitutes an imperial design, which supports US corporate interests Worldwide.”
Miscovering Anti-War Protests (Again)
CommonDreams.org, by Danny Schechter, 3/21/05
“At the end of this week's edition of ABC's This Week, in a discussion that felt like the discussion the week before and the week before that, it was noted that the Hill seems strangely silent in protesting the war.”
“In fact, as an Inter Press Service report noted, ‘No leading politician from the opposition Democratic Party participated in the anti-war protests, nor made any speeches at the rallies The event was organized by a nationwide coalition representing an array of grassroots community peace and social justice groups.’”
“Not surprisingly, the absence of members of the political elite in the streets was mirrored by the paucity of coverage in the elite press which is not particularly partial to covering grass roots activism. The NY Times focused on one small civil disobedience protest at military recruiting office in Times Square, just down the street from the Times office, A protest at the Times itself may have made real news.”
“There were more Antiwar actions in more cities than ever but that proliferation of protest or the presence of military families seemed to not too newsworthy.”
The Guardian, By Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark, 3/19/05
“Afghanistan is the hub of a global network of detention centres, the frontline in America's 'war on terror', where arrest can be random and allegations of torture commonplace.”
“. . .Washington likes to hold up Afghanistan as an exemplar of how a rogue regime can be replaced by democracy. Meanwhile, human-rights activists and Afghan politicians have accused the US military of placing Afghanistan at the hub of a global system of detention centres where prisoners are held incommunicado and allegedly subjected to torture. The secrecy surrounding them prevents any real independent investigation of the allegations. ‘The detention system in Afghanistan exists entirely outside international norms, but it is only part of a far larger and more sinister jail network that we are only now beginning to understand,’ Michael Posner, director of the US legal watchdog Human Rights First, told us.”
Gazprom's Dream Pipeline to Europe
Energy Bulletin, from rigzone.com, By Judy Dempsey, 3/16/05
“In northern Russia, where vast deposits of natural gas lie waiting to be tapped, Gazprom, the state-owned Russian energy giant, is hatching a multibillion-dollar strategy that would lock a swath of Europe from Germany to Britain into long-term delivery contracts, in a move that would bypass Ukraine and Belarus and anchor Russia to Europe more closely over time. Gazprom has been seeking European partners to pay for a new underwater pipeline originating near St. Petersburg and going to Germany, and then potentially continuing on to Britain whose price tag is estimated at between $8 billion and $10 billion.”
Venezuela: Bush's next oil war?
Energy Bulletin, from Green Left Weekly Australia
By Stuart Munckton, 3/15/05
“A statement release