Friday, September 19, 2008
BECOMING A SPIRITUAL REVOLUTIONARY
by Andrew Harvey, interviewed by Colleen O'Conner
CO: Given the current economy and state of world affairs, many people feel they're undergoing some sort of dark night.
ANDREW HARVEY: The entire world is now going through a massive crucifixion on all levels. It's going through an environmental crucifixion -- hundreds of species are vanishing every month. It's going through a personal crucifixion. There are two billion people living on less than a dollar a day. It's going through a crucifixion of all the patriarchal systems -- look at Enron and what it has shown us about Corporate America. Look at the Catholic Churches' scandals of pedophilia and what it shows us about authority. Look at the growing disillusionment of politicians of all kinds. All of the systems are being exposed as illusory and as fantasy ridden -- as deeply corrupt and exploitative. There's another kind of crucifixion going on -- crucifixion of purpose and hope. Everybody is totally bewildered. They know that the world is potentially on the brink of total apocalypse. There's a tremendous danger that as people wake up to the horror of what is going on, they will run into political extremism or into fundamentalism of one kind or another. So it's extremely important that the wisdom of the dark night gets across because if people understand the necessity for this crucifixion, and understand that it's preparing the resurrection and the birth and an empowerment, then they will be prepared to go through it without fear -- or without too much fear -- trusting in the logic of the divine transformation.
CO: You write about your friendship with Bede Griffiths, who is one of my spiritual heroes. What was his experience of the dark night of the soul, and how was it connected to his devotion to the Black Madonna? In other words, is there a link between the dark night of the soul and the sacred feminine?
ANDREW HARVEY: There is absolutely a link. Bede gave me the clue in an amazing series of conversations that we had just before he died. I was lucky enough to be invited to make a film about him with an Australian film company, and spent two weeks talking to him about his life. One evening he shared with me his experience of the dark night, which came to him at the beginning of his 80s. He said that he was sitting outside his hut one day and he felt as if a hand hit him on the right side of his being. What he went through was a massive, massive heart attack that completely destroyed what he described as his patriarchal mind and introduced him to a holy, new reality. This gave him access to a much deeper elaboration of Oneness with all things. This is what Bede actually said, and I think it's worth quoting because it is so beautiful. He said, "It is a very strange thing, Andrew, but when I thought of surrendering to the Mother I naturally of course thought of Mary -- I often say the Hail Mary--but it was Mary as the Black Madonna that came into my mind. For me the Black Madonna is the mother of the earth as well as heaven, of the body as well as the soul, the mother of the subconscious, the hidden, of all those powers that the 'masculine' mind represses; the Mother of the sacred darkness. In Her the Western Christian vision of the Divine Mother and the Eastern one merge and meet; you can think of her as both Mary and Kali, both preserver and destroyer. From that time on, I have turned to Her again and again: invoking Her strength and grace, I find, makes the 'birth' go so much faster and more cleanly."
See, the power that is doing this to us is coming towards us simultaneously with terrifying destruction and extreme grace and prosperity. The destruction is, in fact, a form of that extreme grace. It's quite clear that humanity is now terminally ill, and can only be transfigured by a totally shocking revelation of its shadow side. And this is what we're living through, these shadow sides exploding in every direction because we have done nothing but betray the sacred in us.
We have lacerated the sacred in others. We have betrayed the sacred in an orgy of fundamentalism. We have brutalized the sacred in nature. We are now terminally destructive.
So only an almost terminal destruction that reveals to us the full extent of our responsibility in this destruction can wake us up. And that is what is happening, and it will get worse. It's bound to get worse. But it is only being done to us for our own redemption.
Those who turn to the Mother in total faith, those who turn to the Black Madonna in total admiration, those who realize the mercy behind the violence will be given extraordinary protection, extraordinary strength, and extraordinary revelation. They will be empowered in the core of themselves to become what everybody who has a heart and a mind must now become -- a spiritual revolutionary devoting their entire life and all their resources to the preservation of the planet. So, finding the Black Madonna, in whatever form you want to find her, realizing the massive task that she's doing and turning to her for protection is now crucial to the preservation of the planet. It's extremely important that people really come to understand the feminine and turn towards it, because it's our betrayal of the feminine in ourselves and in the divine that has led to this crisis.
Excerpted from an interveiw with Colleen O'Conner, Grace Cathedral, San Francisco: www.gracecathedral.org/enrichment/in
Andrew Harvey's website:
Thursday, September 18, 2008
It is unnecessary for me to try to articulate things close to my heart and soul when others have done it so well for me! Rob Brezsny is one of those who is indubitably a kindred spirit. His work is nothing short of breathtakingly beautitful...and critically important. www.freewillastrology.com/
LIBERATE YOUR IMAGINATION
I for one am no longer willing to tolerate the epidemic obsession with big bad nasty things and flashy trite empty-hearted things. I say it's time for us to re-consecrate and regenerate and lubricate and liberate and take back our imaginations. Here are my demands.
DEMAND #1: I demand that Amnesty International launch a crusade against a form of terrorism I call the genocide of the imagination.
DEMAND #2: I demand that you periodically go on a media fast. For a week at a time, once a season, avoid all TV, movies, novels, yalk shows, newspapers, magazines, and Internet.
DEMAND #3: I demand that you learn to tell the difference between your own thoughts and those of the celebrities who have demonically possessed you.
DEMAND #4: I demand that People magazine do a feature story on "The World's Fifty Sexiest Perpetrators of Beauty, Truth, and Rowdy Bliss."
DEMAND #5: I demand that you wear underpants on your head and dance naked in slow motion whenever you watch movies on TV about tormented geniuses who create great art but treat everyone in their lives like crap.
DEMAND #6: I demand that you refuse to be entertained and entranced by bad news--by stories whose plots are driven by violence, abuse, terrorism, bigotry, lawsuits, greed, crashes, alcoholism, disease, and torture.
DEMAND #7: I demand that you seek out and create stories that make you feel that the universe is friendly and life is on your side. You could hunt down stories about how, for example, rising rates of intermarriage are helping to dissipate ethnic and religious strife worldwide; how the violent crime rate in America has been steadily declining for 30 years; how death rates from cancer are shrinking; the birth rate among teenage mothers is the lowest it's been in six decades; acreage devoted to organic farming is increasing rapidly; the number of refugees and weapons sales all over the world are way down from the level they were 15 years ago, and how the actual bare naked truth is that levels of literacy and education and political freedom and peace and wealth are steadily growing all over the world.
DEMAND #8: When you're too well-entertained to move, screaming is good exercise. Which is why I demand that you scream now and then whenever you're soaking up slick crap generated by the imaginations of people who are devoted to money, power, and ego instead of love, reverence, and play.
Adapted from the book PRONOIA IS THE ANTIDOTE FOR PARANOIA: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings, by Rob Brezsny
Monday, September 15, 2008
It dovetails so beautifully with the first entry:
Pisces Full moon, September 15, 2008
By C.L. Pagano
It seems there is a growing movement - an estimated 1.1 million already - among baby boomers (Pluto in Leo) to move out of the corporate world and go to work in non-profit organizations, with millions more to follow in the coming years. About ˝ of the 78 million boomers are interested in jobs that help others. (Dallas Morning News)
Whew! I guess the past few years of the Neptune in Aquarius -Saturn in Leo opposition did its work. (Saturn and Neptune danced together for the past few years, giving us the chance to change our ways, open up our eyes and step forward to help the group, rather than just ourselves.) My generation has finally decided to grow up and help the world. This was always the end game for us. With Pluto in Leo teaching us about our self-worth, our creativity and our individuality, we are then pushed to give back to our people in ways that previous generations did not. Now we can help the younger generations create a better world for them and their children.
This news article brings up many of the Pisces full Moon issues: work, service, integrity, personal responsibility. Let's see how we're doing!
What have you accomplished during these two weeks since the Virgo new Moon? Are you still spinning your straw into gold? A full Moon asks us to reflect on and see what form we have built up during the waxing two weeks of the Moon cycle. With the new Moon we set the seed in the soil, a new vision that came from an unconscious need. After going through the last month with two eclipses in Leo, you might have felt the need to BE yourself, to Do what only you can do. The first two weeks of a Moon cycle are given over to instinctually building up a pattern of behavior, until we create a form that reflects our vision, our need, our desire.
The full Moon gives us that reflection. The full Moon asks us to become conscious now, to use our objective consciousness to assess our progress and know the original desire (Sun) as well as the purpose of the form (Moon). Like the Queen in Rumpelstiltskin, we now have to discover the name of the elemental force which is driving us to accomplish something unique.
What is the purpose of your life? That's the Virgo question. Since Virgo comes at the end of summer we could also say, what have you harvested this year? This full Moon is called the Harvest Moon, and we need to look at ourselves and see if we've built up the proper form that can reap the benefits of a good harvest in the coming months. Since full Moons occur when the Sun is opposite the Moon, these are times of stress and polarization. Can we bear the tension of opposites and pull the two poles together, creating a new third possibility? What happens when we don't?
So what makes the Virgo/Pisces full Moon different from other full Moons? Pisces and Virgo both have to do with integration – how we integrate our personality and how we integrate ourselves with the world soul.
Virgo demands that we integrate our personality in such a way that our values and sense of self-worth, our mind and our beliefs, our family inheritance, and our creative talents work fruitfully together. Virgo does this by discerning who we really are. Virgo brings together body, mind and spirit in a fruitful union. Virgo says, Know Thyself!
Pisces demands that we give up our ego-desires and give ourselves over to the demands of Spirit. Pisces represents the World Soul – that collective unconscious that unites us all. It's the place where we – as separate drops of water – flow back into the ocean of life. What has our separation and our individuality brought back to the collective pot? Pisces says, Trust! Trust that Spirit only asks what you can give.
Have we spun our straw into gold? Only when we can name ourselves can we create a new life that is not given over to servitude to an unconscious complex or collective uniformity. The king/the collective dominant who is greedy for more gold will sell his soul – or force his feminine feeling side into service – to the collective forces which would rather feed on our individuality than support it.
This full Moon in Pisces is important because, like the Virgo new Moon, it highlights the beginning phase of a series of 5 oppositions over the next year between Saturn in Virgo and Uranus in Pisces that will be exact for the first time on Election day (November 4th ) this year. This opposition is between the forces of revolutionary change and the forces of crystallization and fear. The new vs. the old.
The Pisces Moon is conjunct Uranus, accentuating the awakening of the collective unconscious to give us new insights about what we are facing on the world stage and what Spirit will ask of us in response. The Sun in Virgo is near Saturn, asking us to discipline ourselves and simplify our lives, get healthy and understand that we are here to serve our community and the world.
We are once again engaging in the struggle between the old ways and the new that began in the '60s. With John McCain and Barak Obama vividly representing the two opposing energies, the cosmos is letting us know that this isn't just a political fight between the red states and the blue states. This is a cosmic demand to recognize that the old must make way for the new, but the new must also recognize and value the important things that need to be conserved from the old ways.
Saturn is the Reality principle, the Guardian at the Gate, the energy of responsibility as well as crystallization and frustration. Saturn in Virgo can discriminate what is worth keeping and what must be let go of as we begin the second decade of the 21st Century. Virgo rules the environment, the health industry as well as our personal health, work, small animals, research, craftsmanship, mentors and body-oriented practices such as yoga and tai chi. What do we need that will enhance these aspects of life? These are the things we must conserve.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Well, I guess *it* was bound to happen at some point...me posting a blog. But DAMN let's get heavy with our first entry!
No, Obama is not perfect; no, I don't agree with all his politics. But he is a breath of fresh air; he feels like a brother; I love him...and I want him to be our president.
AMERICA IN TRANSITION, SEPTEMBER 2008
Jessica Murray, Mars
by Jessica Murray
As the premier drama of this American moment, the presidential election deserves our keenest attention—as a phenomenon, first and foremost. Regardless of whether, for whom or why we plan to vote in November, we owe it to ourselves to be clear-eyed about what’s going on.
This cannot be accomplished without distancing ourselves from the big, noisy media show. Our job as sky-watchers tracking volatile current events is to isolate and analyze the archetypal themes that run beneath the cultural discourse. The first step in achieving clarity is to slowly back away from the TV. (1)
Then we can make use of the big-picture model that astrology provides, and watch the goings-on with new eyes. We get beyond the compulsive partisanship that dominates the cultural conversation. The minute we achieve this perspective, meaning starts to emerge. Clarity begins to arise from the chaos.
We start to see the egregious social dysfunctions around us as nothing more or less than new ideas chafing to break through (Uranus) the crust of the old order (Saturn) in order to renew the group soul (Pluto).
The Saturn-Uranus opposition
The Saturn-Uranus opposition is the most important mundane transit of the rest of the calendar year. It reaches exactitude on November 4. Bingo: the signature of the election. The symbolism here is that of governmental, financial and civic institutions (Saturn) being broadsided by the enormous power of change (Uranus).
Woops, there’s that word again. Over the past several sound-bitten months, the word change has been tossed around as ubiquitously as the word democracy was tossed around just before the invasion of Iraq. Clearly the intention has been to appeal to that fervent hope harbored in the breast of every sentient American that our political institutions could provide an answer to the staggering afflictions of the epoch.
As astrologers we might ask, what does the word change mean in the language of planetary archetypes?
Yesterday’s pinko; tomorrow’s hero
True Uranian change involves an explosive clash between the status quo and the unstoppable force of new ideas whose time has come. Uranus is the planet of revolutions, whether fought with the sword, or with sex, drugs and rock and roll. The last time Uranus and Saturn had a stand-off like this was in the mid-sixties, giving rise to the coinage counter (Uranus)-culture (Saturn).
Uranian change cannot be orchestrated by the powers-that-be. It is by definition an affront to the powers-that-be. This is not some random theory cooked up by astrologers or anarchists. It is one of the most demonstrable truisms of social history that significant social change arises through grassroots popular agitations—starting, in the case of the USA, with those of the unapologetically radical Founding Fathers themselves. Yet every four years Americans manage to forget the fact that their cherished social benefits came about not because of, but in spite of, the in-house machinations of the two ruling parties (Saturn).
As every schoolchild knows, the end of slavery came about because of extraordinary people like the wild-eyed John Brown and the literally-and-figuratively underground crusader Sojourner Truth. They and other heroes of the abolitionist movement predated and compelled Lincoln’s great emancipation proclamation. These individuals were not products of the status quo (Saturn); they were messengers of revolution (Uranus). Similarly, the labor agitators of the 1920s and 30s, thanks to whom the 8-hour workday is now taken for granted, risked their lives defying the political machines of their day. They too forced the hands of the agents of Saturn and demanded that Uranian ideals be written into law.
And consider Social Security, now perceived as a social right so sacrosanct that politicians try to gain points by impugning each other’s sincerity in safeguarding it. It was neither the Democrats nor the Republicans but the hard-fighting European-influenced thinkers of FDR’s day who pressured his administration to pass it. More recently we have the civil rights protesters of the 1960s (Uranus-opposed-Saturn again), who braved armed cops with water hoses by day and white-hooded lynching parties by night. It was because of their collective efforts, not because of Lyndon Johnson, that the Democratic Party buried the Jim Crow laws.
Far from being seen as patriots (Saturn), these activists were persecuted at the time as heretics (Uranus). Inevitably labeled outside agitators or agents-provocateurs, they were posthumously anointed heroes.
Obama: Uranus or Saturn figure?
“Mainstream political leaders will not move to the left of their own base.”—Tom Hayden
Progressivism is a relative term, as is the diminished label “liberal” (which “progressive” returned into currency to displace). This relativism is risibly apparent from place to place (think: San Francisco’s downtown-financed mayor, Gavin Newsom, who is despised by local leftists but seen everywhere else as the radical gay-marriage guy).
Even more strikingly, progressivism is relative from time to time. As we have seen, one generation’s forward-thinkers may be hung on the gibbet in their own era and lauded as visionaries in the next. Conversely, those extolled for being mavericks at one point in their long career may be revealed as reactionaries later on. The rules of the long view dictate that we let history make the call.
From this perspective the jury is still out on a politician like Barack Obama. The electorate is now faced, for the first time in eight nightmarish years, with the prospect of a well-spoken, intelligent candidate with tremendous personal charisma. American progressives, starved for sanity and leaderless for two administrations, may perhaps be forgiven for ignoring the fact that this Democratic nominee, like every other, is the product of a political machine (Saturn). But above in the heavens Saturn is in a showdown with Uranus, a planet that knows the difference between change and a sound bite.
To keep our finger on the pulse of this phase of history, we must not leave the job of evaluating Barack Obama to the corporate media, which has a vested interest in keeping the powers-that-be powerful. If our intention is to step outside the talking heads’ reality bubble, we might begin by applying a pinch of historical perspective to assess Obama based on his proposed policies. The act of considering these criteria—rather than distracting ourselves with the bizarre irrelevancies that now occupy pundit discussions—will allow us to hazard a few guesses about where to locate the man along the Uranus-Saturn spectrum.
How far forward is this presumed forward-thinker (Uranus) likely to go in leaving his auspices (Saturn) behind?
Chip off the old Saturn block
On the subject of Barack’s Iraq policy, the problem is not just the timetable. The problem is that the occupation will remain an occupation. Obama’s adherence to the Baker-Hamilton plan means he would leave hundreds of thousands of Americans and taxpayer-subsidized foreign mercenaries behind, to safeguard the precarious control that has been wrested from the Iraqis of their own oil fields.
As to Iran, many conscientious Americans are heartened to hear Obama making reference to diplomacy: after the past eight years, any mention of negotiating instead of bombing comes as sweet relief. But any genuine diplomacy in the Middle East would have to realistically acknowledge Iran’s position. The only state in the region that refuses to play puppet to Washington, Iran is staring down the barrel of Israel, its nuked-to-the-gills neighbor, whose recent assaults on Syria and Lebanon were aided and abetted by the Pentagon and whose abominable occupation of Palestine goes unmentioned by anyone with a shot at high office. Israel’s trigger-happy arsenal, not to mention the fact that Iran is surrounded by US nuclear submarines and would be instantly obliterated if they so much as lifted a finger militarily, makes the White House narrative about Iran being a threat to the USA ludicrously disingenuous. For Obama to pretend that he does not know all this is dishearteningly shoddy.
Obama’s proposals for Afghanistan are especially troublesome. He wants to fly ten thousand battle-weary, soul-shattered veterans of Iraq to the Central Asian poppy fields, where the Taliban—a virtual invention of the Carter years—is resurgent. As are the poppy fields themselves, which fund the bloodshed. Similarly worrisome is Obama’s approach to Pakistan.
The fundamental folly behind all of these policies is Obama’s seeming embrace of the deeply irrational “war on terror,” a propaganda conceit posing as foreign policy. The most poisonous legacy of the Karl Rove years, this bit of nonsense phraseology—presumably a reference to waging a nonspecific, multi-fronted, state-of-emergency-style overt and covert “war” against all holders of anti-American sentiments anywhere and everywhere in the world—has through sheer dint of repetition not only gained legitimacy but become entrenched in the American mass mind as the signifier of postmillennial patriotism.
Morality and military contraindications aside, on the baldest pragmatic level there is no way this “war” can be funded. The country is flat broke, addled with debt and facing immense domestic issues of unprecedented urgency (e.g. the need to retool to a green economy, tackle health-care reform, assure social security for millions of aging Boomers, address the housing crisis, stem uncontrolled gun violence, etc.). The Beltway policymakers who will have to figure out how to run this sprawling morass of a country know full well that these issues will never be addressed so long as the “war on terror” keeps devouring the nation’s GNP. For Obama, who seems to have more wit than most of them, to continue to beat this despicable drum comes off as mordantly cynical.
Looking beyond the narrative
The lesser-of-two-evils approach suggests that because we are stuck with two ruling parties funded by entrenched power elites and boundaried by a severe lack of common sense, we have to expect that any politician, no matter how bright or charming or sharp a dresser, must shift to the “center” to get elected. Just to get nominated. But the immense challenges on the world’s plate require more imagination than this.
What is required is not a candidate but a movement. This word, too, has been bandied about a lot lately in reference to Obama. Could the change this candidate offers become a real movement? If so, its inspiration would have to come from the bottom up. The American democracy has been staggering along for years, having devolved from a nation of citizens into a nation of compliant consumers. Among those who take the trouble to go to the polls, the most idealistic seem to have held out the hope that the candidate with the least offensive policies will prevail and do our work for us. This weary state of affairs flies in the face of the idea of government-by-for-and-of-the people (Uranus).
By contrast, if the forces rallying around a given leader possessed the energy of a movement, the People—the word deserves capitalization once it coalesces into the force of Uranus incarnated—could use an election rather than be used by it. This is the Age-of-Aquarius vision: that of evolved individuals taking charge of the groups they inhabit, and choosing leaders accordingly. Could a movement form around Obama that was capable of creating leadership in its own image? Someone who would embody and safeguard the voice of the People, not that of the king-making elite? And could such a movement avoid being sold out by the mainstream media? These are the questions we have to ask ourselves; not whether Obama, a single man doing his best to stay alive in a corrupt system, will or could single-handedly return the country to sanity.
Uranus, the Great Awakener, will use whatever mechanisms it can to rouse a people out of lethargy. If enough discernment is maintained throughout the current cacophony, Uranus could conceivably use an election like this one to galvanize collective impulses into genuine breakthrough. If Obama can orchestrate that surge of consciousness-raising despite the stagecraft of American politics, he will become a Uranian messenger.
If not, the revolution will come through other means. The only certainty in this debate is that Uranus is stronger than Saturn, and will win in the end.
(1) However, turning it on again for a few minutes every once in a while is also a good idea—or more advisedly, reading a newspaper, a less toxically assaultive medium—because we need to keep abreast of how bizarre it is. The fact that Mercury is opposed to Pluto in the USA (Sibly) chart is an important clue to the way America’s mass mind works, and an integral part of every individual American’s soul identity. Mercury is in the US 8th house of corporations; Pluto is in the house of business. Misused, this opposition signifies the takeover by the telecommunications industry of popular impulses for plutocratic ends. In order to transform a collective aspect such as this one from a dangerous propensity into a creative group potential, individuals of insight must confront it, not ignore it or dismiss it (discussed in detail in my book _Soul-Sick Nation: An Astrologer’s View of America_).
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