23 Nov 18

© Malvin Artley

If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?[1]

Topics (linked to paragraphs):

Greetings Everyone!

I would say Happy Thanksgiving, but for readers in California and their friends and family elsewhere, this is not such a happy period. California is still suffering from the worst fires in its history as a state. Australians can empathize. It has been a difficult, heart-wrenching time, and I have a couple of friends who were directly affected. Relief efforts are underway, and there is a link for that at the end of this piece, too. We’ll have more on that a little later in this piece, and I have posted a more lengthy analysis of California and those fires on the blog page, linked just after the description of the full moon. But, as we are entering the Sagittarius interval for this year, we’ll start with a look at that sign, continuing after with the themes we have followed for this year in these letters.

 Sagittarius in the world: Lately I have had a sound worm – you know, one of those annoying tunes that bores into your head and just won’t leave – continually playing through my mind. It’s an old song by Queen, the refrain for which is “I want to break free.” As it turns out, it is a very Sagittarian theme. Perhaps for me it is reflective of something I want to change within myself, but it also fits very well for this installment. There are always issues, situations and such that we would like to see done better, that would give us more freedom to pursue our objectives, that we would wish were better for others, but alas, that involves change and pushing boundaries in most cases. Exploration of new vistas, journeys to new internal states, changing group dynamics for freer expression, for clearer comprehension and so forth involves adjusting ourselves to new conditions. It usually means we have to let go of something which has been holding us back – or in having to rub up against entrenched attitudes of people who are quite comfortable with their established habits and modes of thinking. As a result, progress along our chosen paths is seldom gradual and without attendant challenges. We reach plateaus when nothing much seems to happen and then, all of a sudden, there appears to be the change we are after. And often along with that there are surprises, too. Within our limited human consciousness there is usually something for which we had not accounted, and new opportunities that we had not considered previously. And that brings up to our Sagittarian theme for this year. We want to break free. Of what, you might ask? It’s not hard to guess. Just look around.

Sagittarians do not much care for boundaries. They like the large view, of being untrammeled in their pursuits, reveling in the adventure of their discoveries and they are generally quite happy if they are involved with people who hold a similar outlook on life. Sagittarius is associated with the natural 9th house of the zodiac, which represents long-range travel, higher intellectual pursuits, the judiciary (talk about playing with boundaries), the writing of large volumes, and religious pursuits. With regard to the latter, we might add here that Sagittarius inclines toward the orthodoxy and to mainstream religion in general in distinction to individual spirituality, the latter being much more individualistic and free in expression. That would seem to be a contradiction of the normal Sagittarian nature, and that points to a paradox in Sagittarian nature – although they like their own freedom and chafe at limits imposed by others, they are more than happy to impose their own limits. After all, what they discover and reason to be good for them is also good for the others, you see? The Sagittarian might have good intentions, talk a lot about freedom and enjoy travel, discourse about large topics, but underneath that there is an imperious attitude in many cases, which points to the judgmental attitude that Sagittarians can often express. That brings us to Jupiter, the orthodox ruler of the sign.

Jupiter: It is Jupiter that gives the expansive and often giving attitude of Sagittarius. Jupiter is the ‘greater benefic’ of the zodiac, the ‘governor of supply’ in our solar system. In astrology it is generally seen to be the purveyor of benefits, and it is generally so. But too much of a good thing  can work against a person, too, and in cases of illness the influence of Jupiter can push a person over the edge and make situations worse. There is never an ‘all good’ or ‘all bad’ expression through the planets, and everything must be seen in context. In the case of Sagittarius, though, the general expression of the Sagittarian type is one of enthusiasm, expansiveness, wide knowledge, worldly wisdom and a tendency at times toward an unrestrained approach to life and problems in general – what we would normally expect of Jupiter.

Jupiter is the bastion of the 2nd ray in the solar system – the expression of love or wisdom – and as such it represents a unifying force. Ultimately, it is love that sets us free of our personal sentiments as we learn to live and serve within the context of group life, whether that be a family or a nation. Love keeps us together, both subjectively and physically. If we wanted to be really esoteric about it, love is life. Jupiter is the main channel for what this solar system is aiming to express in fullness, and we know what that means when we say, “God is love”. Living and working together is the crucible wherein we gain first our worldly wisdom, with which Sagittarius is well-endowed, and which later propels us to seek out our inner wisdom. In its higher expression, Sagittarius is a sign that gives foresight. But as with any sign and planet, there are expressions of those that are less than desirable, relating largely to misuse of the energies involved.

The worst trait that Jupiter confers is a judgmental attitude, just mentioned. We see this in nations as well as people. Washington, for instance, has Sagittarius as its personality expression, and the US horoscope has that sign rising. Washington policy, especially in recent years, is largely one of “Do as I say, not as I do”, making pronouncements about freedom, democracy, about ‘American ideals’ and so forth, all the while masking an agenda of control, of protecting American interests abroad – in all an imperious approach. Sagittarius can be quite imperious and proud when in its lower expression. On the other side of that, at least in the past, the American psyche has been one of exploration, academic and scientific achievement, pushing the boundaries of knowledge and human limitations, and of a giving nature for which Americans have been known. That has changed in recent years. We won’t go into why here, as we have addressed that in past letters, and it goes to other factors in the American horoscope, largely materialistic in nature. American ‘adventurism’ is well known outside the US, but we will stick with our theme here.

Mars: The more advanced and spiritually polarized Sagittarian can exhibit quite a restive nature as they begin to realize that what they have perceived as limitations from circumstances or from others are actually self-imposed. Satisfaction is never the path for the Sagittarian. It goes to their esoteric motto: I see the goal, I reach that goal, and then I see another.[2] The restive nature of the sign points toward its hierarchical ruler, Mars, which brings in the fiery nature of the 6th ray of devotion or fanaticism. The esoteric ruler for the sign is the Earth, which is indicative of treading the path, of service in the world and the necessity of being incarnated, of gaining experience and wisdom via living a worldly life, and also through the conflicts that have so beset our little world. Experience through the earth also prepares one for initiation (a major expansion of consciousness) and for that reason and for the purposes of this letter, it is Mars – the synthesizing energy of the sign – with which we are concerned. I have seldom seen Sagittarians who are devotional types, except when that devotion is to a cause or a guru. Even then, they will appear to be fanatical in their pursuit of what they seek. But beyond that, the Sagittarian under the influence of Mars will be singularly focused and impelled toward their objectives. A good example of such a soul can be found in the likes of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the famous Russian novelist and historian, best known in the West for his book, The Gulag Archipelago.

Solzhenitsyn was a Sagittarian, exiled from Russia after he was freed from the gulags, after which he lived in the US for a time, thereafter returning to Russia after the fall of communism. We don’t have a birth time for him, and in this case it is unimportant. The most important consideration here is his life, his experience and the wisdom he was able to pass on to others. There is perhaps a quote of his that best summarizes the stated esoteric goals for a Sagittarian’s ultimate lives on our little globe, as follows:

You only have power over people so long as you don't take everything away from them. But when you've robbed a man of everything, he's no longer in your power - he's free again.[3]

Sagittarius and attachment: A little explanation is in order. This follows on from the injunction to the average person who finds him/herself under Sagittarian influence: “Let food be sought.” The statement is not to infer that everything we have held dear or to which we are attached has to be taken away before we are truly free. Instead, this refers to our attachments to things, whether they be material comforts, sentiments or ideas. I have had personal experience with this twice in my life, having had to leave almost all my possessions behind when I moved country. It is in many ways a liberating experience, although sometimes it is difficult to look at everything that was accumulated and think, “What a waste…all that time, effort and money, and for what?” Things can be rather burdensome, time-consuming and even worrisome. They can also be replaced in the cases of disasters. Human beings cannot. Memories remain. Such instances really do give one pause to sit and think about what really matters in life.

In the earlier phases of Sagittarian experience the focus is upon material satisfaction, on the accumulation of things, which the lower Jupiterian phase of the sign represents. However, when Mars becomes more and more the guiding factor in the life of a Sagittarian (or anyone else for that matter), ‘things’ become passing fancies, accoutrements that give only a temporary sense of satisfaction. Satisfaction is death to anyone who seeks the higher way. Contentment is more the order of the day. Mars is the warrior of the zodiac, representing the School for Warriors, and as such operates under the aspect of the destroyer. It also operates under the principle of discipline. No warrior is successful without discipline, for without it there is no basis to overcome fears, to develop skills or to progress along the way. The warrior ascribes to an ideal, whether it be a cause, a nation, a person or whatever, and the ideal then becomes the guiding factor of the discipline undertaken. The warrior must render hem/herself to be a suitable vessel, ever-ready for the battle at hand. Consider the following, in that vein:

When I have become a suitable vessel, trained in the common path, I ask blessing happily to enter the highest of all vehicles, the Vajrayana, the holy crossing boat for fortunate beings.

A Buddhist perspective: The preceding stanza, although it is from a Buddhist text, is actually universal in its scope and represents the Sagittarian phase of evolution around the reversed zodiacal wheel. There are several keys here. Rendering oneself to be a suitable vessels pertains to achieving the meditative equipoise necessary to enter into the more occult meditative states. This is under the Martian Sagittarian phase, wherein intense discipline and undergoing the internal castigation of inner interferences renders the mind to be completely tamed, or likened to a still forest pool, reflective of the higher Light. In the Buddhist’s Shamata diagram, this is represented by the monk at the very last stage on the winding path wherein the rainbow meditations can be perceived and undertaken. To happily enter into such a phase is indicative of the first touches of the bliss of clear light, which is so overwhelming that it leads to the total transfiguration of the personality, represented for us in the Capricornian phase of the zodiac, the latter representing the ‘Path of the Very Joyful’. Vajrayana refers to something quite specific, which we won’t go into here, but suffice it to say that it represents the more intensive phases of occult meditation, wherein the clouds of ignorance that veil the clear Light are dispelled and which leads to the completion of the rainbow bridge of light, the antahkarana.

The ‘holy crossing boat’ is analogous to the arrow of Sagittarius, which flies through the clouds to its destination, the clear light of truth and wisdom in this case, represented to us otherwise by the third, or wisdom eye, the cobra issuing from the forehead or the horn of the unicorn. And once the goal is attained, when the arrow reaches it mark, what then? We realize that even that state of consciousness or achievement of some spiritual power itself represents a restriction, thereafter to be overcome. And we draw another arrow from the quiver as a result. Sagittarius is the restive phase of intensive meditation, albeit from a point of sustained equipoise of mind, that leads to the ‘climb up to the mountain top’ in Capricorn. A horse, carrying the archer (the Sagittarian) can only go so far up the mountain. Only the goat can ascend to the top, off the beaten track, the latter which for us is represented in the stanza as the ‘common path’, the mental discipline that we all must undertake before we can ascend the higher Way at will and with facility. And from that lofty esoteric perspective we come back to earth and see what the full moon and then the nations have in store.

The full moon: The full moon takes place at 5:39 UT on 23 Nov 18 (4:30 PM AEDT). The Sun will have just entered Sagittarius on the first degree of the sign, with the full moon axis making a t-square with Mars. Jupiter is conjunct the Sun, having just entered Sagittarius on 8 Nov, the very time at which the devastating fires in California started. The Sun is also quincunx Uranus in the full moon figure, highlighting the unpredictable nature of this Sagittarian interval. We can expect quite a bit of change in this period, with conflicts, resolutions of the same, moves toward greater freedom of movement and so forth. With Jupiter now in its native Sagittarius, the mood will in general be more expansive, and with all the implications that we discussed previously. This is further enhanced by the Sun/Jupiter conjunction for the full moon.

Recent events and blog posts: Quite a bit has taken place since the last letter. We mentioned the fires in California at the start of this letter. Terrible as they were, the worst part is they could have been avoided, or at the very least, foreseen and lessened in their impact. Politicians and special interests are already making political capital out of that disaster, which really is insulting to the victims and their friends and family. What is needed is greater attention to matters on the ground, meaning a host of factors, including land management, attention to infrastructure, urban planning, better attention to monitoring and so forth. 90% of California’s fires are caused by humans. Paradise, the site of the worst fire, was a disaster waiting to happen, from the best analysis I have seen. California is prone to high winds and dry conditions at the best of times, a factor that points to an airy ascendant in the state’s political chart, and which I have analyzed in a recent post, just linked. Astrologically, it followed on from a series of other terrible events and came on the heels of a ‘Moon wobble’, and which was highlighted otherwise by a confluence of several astrological factors coming together which pointed to sudden upsets, disasters, shared suffering and the like. That in no way takes away from the human side of the event. If anything good is to come of it, there should be more decisive political will, more attention to the factors mentioned on the ground, etc. This event should bring about positive changes for California and for other fire-prone areas, a greater sense of community, instead of political gamesmanship on the backs of people’s loss.

We also had the midterm elections in the US, which went as expected. It was less than either of the parties had hoped, but went decisively against the present administration. There is continuing fallout from the Khashoggi saga, which again has gone against the US administration and could become quite troublesome for the West in general if Turkish and Western efforts for the removal of MbS continue. Then there were the recent tensions in Gaza, which looked like war about to begin, but which actually exposed Israeli weaknesses. The threat of war has since died off. And then there was a string of tragic events that took place during the moon wobble around the time of Halloween. These were preceded by the Brazilian elections, which has many people alarmed with the result. Items I have not covered elsewhere have been the rapprochement between Arab states and Damascus, with Syria being welcomed back into the Arab fold. There are now three Muslim blocs rapidly taking shape in the Middle East: Shia elements comprised of Iran, parts of Iraq, Hezbollah and their ally Syria; a Muslim Brotherhood bloc comprised of Turkey, Qatar and Hamas; and the Arab monarchies comprised of the Saudis, the UAE, Bahrain and so forth. None of these really work in favor of the Israeli and US interests. And Russia has made inroads with all of them. But the biggest international news on people’s list at this moment revolves around the UK and Brexit. And as it turns out, that ties in with the nations who have Sagittarius in their synthetic makeup.

Nations and Cities:[4]

Soul: Belgium and Spain are both in the process of expressing Sagittarian souls. As to their personalities, we have Gemini and Capricorn, respectively.

Personality: Italy and South Africa express Sagittarius as their personalities. Italy has Leo as the soul ruler and South Africa has Aries as the soul ruler.

City: And, given the recent midterm election results in the US, we need to have a bit of a closer look at the Sagittarian personality expressed through Washington, DC.

Brexit and holding a thought: As stated and to start, one of the big topics on many people’s minds now revolves around Brexit – will it happen, will the UK stay, will there be another plebiscite, or will the UK crash out without a deal? Speculation is rife, scaremongering is becoming more pronounced. There is an EU summit on 25 November, two days after this full moon as to whether a deal can be reached between the EU and the UK, and then things will proceed from there. It is beholden on anyone who cares about the outcome of the summit to meditate for the best result for all. In that regard, for those readers who are so inclined, there is a five minute meditation for European unity taking place for Friday at 5:00 PM UT (GMT), the day of the full moon. Feel free to connect. It is not guided, nor connected with any organization. It is simply for people who care about the destiny of Europe. All that is asked is that the following thought be held in mind: “We stand here together for Truth and Unity in Europe.” There is a triangle one can include as a visualization, one of the more potent ones including Britain, with its Gemini soul, Brussels and Geneva.

When it comes to Brexit, or in fact in any meditation for world unity, we must not prescribe or proscribe outcomes. It is for the people of the UK and the EU to decide the fate of Brexit. It is a European matter. Suffice it to say, these are not easy days in the UK and much hinges on the outcome of this summit and subsequent actions. In relation to the triangle mentioned before, I would add another, also, which is quickly taking shape: a triangle between London, Geneva and Italy, because what is evolving with Italy is an effort to force reforms in the EU from within. The issue of EU reform was one of the prime reasons given for Brexit, although that was a smoke screen. I have written a more extensive article on the EU addressing these points.

The current Italian government recognizes the value of the EU and seeks to keep the Union, but at the same time recognizes the need for reforms. Italy was one of the founding members of the EU. Despite what we hear about Salvini and the new government in the corporate press – much of it slanted toward or overtly negative – this government has some very good ideas and is standing up for the Italian people, a model from which the British government should take note. And on that note, the souls of London, Italy and I would say also Geneva are all with Leo rulership. Geneva is the spiritual center of Europe, through which powerful unifying forces flow. As such, those places can indeed show real leadership if they can get past their lower personality expressions. We will have a look at Italy’s Sagittarian expression in a moment, but staying on track with Brexit, there is more to add.

One of the chief arguments I hear in favor of Brexit is that the UK abandoned the Commonwealth states when it entered the EU. The hope for many of the people who believe so is that economic relations between Commonwealth states and the UK would be quickly restored after Brexit. From what I have seen this is wishful thinking. International relations have changed significantly since the UK entered the EU. Britain joined the EEU in 1973, forcing New Zealand to find new markets, for example, which it has done quite successfully. It was a similar story for Australia, with Japan and China being its largest trading partners in recent decades. South Africa for its part is a member of the BRICS movement, choosing a different path from the other Commonwealth states, and its trade with the UK has fallen significantly in recent years. Such is reflective of South Africa’s Sagittarian personality.

A note on South Africa: South Africa’s contribution to the world at large lies more into the future, subjectively in its mixing of cultures and races and its trials, successes and failures in race relations, the latter including wide disparities in economic distribution, mostly disadvantaging blacks and people of colour. Xenophobia in South Africa has been rated as the worst in the world. The promises made under the Mandela government in terms of nationalization of primary industries and socialist initiatives in the post-apartheid state never materialized, instead being discarded in favor of neoliberal economics. This was coerced by the old elites in South Africa, even before the ANC had a chance to implement its policies. Corporate profits took precedence over the people’s will. What was once overt apartheid became instead economic apartheid. What was a dream for the people of South Africa was in effect stillborn. Wealth disparity has grown steadily ever since 1994 when the ANC policies were being introduced and then discarded. Although it is the 2nd-wealthiest nation in Africa (Nigeria is first), the majority of its people do not see the benefit. It is still an extremely young nation in its present form, though. And there is hope for it out of its present impasse.

South Africa, as mentioned, is a member of BRICS. It was officially invited to join by the other BRIC members in 2010. In that capacity South Africa acts as a gateway into Africa from the other BRICS nations and it is a voice for the other African nations at international forums. The other BRICS nations generally have a good opinion of South Africa, and there are high hopes that membership of the bloc will bring needed benefits to South Africa, to Africa in general and to the bloc as well. South Africa is richly endowed with resources, is highly industrialized, has excellent infrastructure and many other things to its credit. China is the main investor in South Africa now. Since it has moved on from the Commonwealth trading bloc to a large extent now, it will be fascinating to watch what comes of this young nation, and what will grow out of its present troubles. Apartheid might have ended in its more virulent form, but there is still much to do with regard to its social structure.

The nations of the Commonwealth aside from South Africa have moved on from the UK being their main trading partner for the most part, and this is rightly so. If we simply look at geography, putting aside culture for a moment, the natural trading partners for any nation lie within their regions. Australia and New Zealand are Pacific/Asian nations. China, Japan and the US have become the most significant trading partners for those two nations. And so it goes in similar fashion with other nations. South Africa for its part is a synthesizing center at the moment for the continent of Africa. With what has happened in the intervening years since the British joined the EU, what do we think will happen if the UK suddenly finds itself free of the EU, such as we might see with a no-deal Brexit? That the Commonwealth nations will suddenly drop their new-found partners and go running back to Mother England? No, the UK will have to compete with these new partners for contracts. There would be progress over time, of course, but it would not be as before. People and nations move on. Old slights are remembered, even if forgiven.

Washington’s role in Brexit: And then there has been meddling with the Brexit drama, mostly from the US. I never hear it mentioned, but Britain and the Commonwealth nations have been part of the US economic empire since the end of WWII, when the US controlled either directly or through influence a staggering 50% of the world’s wealth. Britain has been a key piece to that puzzle and edifice, forming that ‘special relationship’ with Washington. That control by the US of the world’s financial resources has dwindled now to something approaching 15%, if memory serves. It would be a great prize for the likes of the Trump administration and for the elites in the US if Britain can be pried away from the EU. It would weaken both the UK and the EU and prop up the dollar’s dominance. The Sagittarian personality of Washington loves to meddle in other nation’s affairs and takes great delight in its adventurism, for all its high talk of democracy and human rights. Trump seeks to break up the EU. Individual states are far easier to deal with, whereas a strong EU is a very competitive economic bloc, as well as presenting an alternative to the US dollar as the world’s prime reserve currency.

What is the truth behind Brexit?: As with most anything political in this day and age, it is a matter of ‘follow the money’, not to be cynical, but that idea is the main one behind Brexit. The British people were scammed with the Brexit vote, even though it has raised the awareness of the British public, at least to some degree. That was clearly indicated in the UK’s astrology around that vote, but we don’t have the space to go into that here. Neptune and Mercury were both strongly involved, though. Emotions win the day in plebiscites, and the Brexit vote was no exception. The British public was not given the facts. Public dissatisfaction and growing hardship was pointed toward ‘the other’, meaning the EU, rather than where it belonged, in British domestic economic and social policy. The British now suffer with 15% of their populace in poverty, and it is getting worse. It is difficult to see how it would be better if government policy does not change. There is a quite damning report done by the UN rep. for extreme poverty and human rights that explains what Brexit is likely to mean for people and what the real causes of Britain’s woes are. The same could be said for the US, too. In terms of the Brexit vote and the emotions involved, we have another thought from our sage Solzhenitsyn:

It is not because the truth is too difficult to see that we make mistakes. (It is often right there at the surface.) We make mistakes because the easiest and most comfortable course for us is to seek insight where it accords with our emotions - especially selfish ones.[5]

If you really want to see Britain leave the EU, ask yourself why, and what common sense says about the likely outcome. Conversely, for those readers who feel the strong need for Britain to stay. However, the main truth behind Brexit is that it is an attempt by a few elitist folks to do what has been done to the United States, placing financial and political power in the hands of a few, all the while finishing off the social welfare of the average British citizen. These are the people whipping up the emotions of the British public. It is not about political parties. Both parties, Labour and Tory, have advocated for Brexit. But again, why? There is the question to answer. The answer will elude us so long as we focus on the emotions of the situation, be they old antagonisms, pride in an empire long gone, feelings of separateness about mainland Europe, nationalistic sentiments and so on. The real question to ask is who stands to gain the most from Brexit?

What we are left with now in the UK is a divided society, quite a lot of confusion, powerful players behind the scenes, emotions being whipped up out of proportion and in the wrong direction, but at the same time a growing movement of the UK public who at the very least want Brexit to be re-examined in light of evidence that has emerged since the vote. From a common sense perspective, Britain needs breathing room now for time to examine things in the clear light of reason, and probably the best way to achieve that is to do away with the commitment to Article 50. It is quite possible it could be revoked, which will be decided at the summit on the 25th. There is no easy answer to this dilemma of Brexit, but it could turn out to be very good for all parties if negotiations to either stay or to leave are given more time. There are many possibilities. If Britain leaves it will not be the end of the world. The Brits can always rejoin. The offer is on the table. And if Britain stays? Well, the cat will be out of the bag in terms of Britain’s elites. New elections – a nightmare for the ‘Leavers’. And probably better for the British people, at least in the short term.

For its part, the EU is open to Britain having more time. Cooler heads need to prevail, the strident voices of divisiveness put in the distance. There is one thing for certain, as we saw with the US midterms and with US politics in general, and that is that if the focus is upon partisan politics, group against group and so on, it plays into the hands of those few people who really do pull the strings of power. The people of the UK deserve to be able to sit and think things through calmly and with facts in hand. I always remember some advice once given to me at a point of crisis in my own life: If you feel pressured to act, refuse to do so. If you react, you leave yourself open to being used. Respond. Never react. With that little nugget, we move on to Italy.

Those Italians: Much has been made in the mainstream press about the populist government now in office in Italy. They have been called far-right and nationalist, but those two labels are incorrect as far as I can see. Yes, they are populist, in that they advocate for the Italian people. They are not nationalist, though, insofar as they seek to stay in the EU and in NATO. And as for being far-right, that is debatable as well. Matteo Salvini, the most visible member of the coalition, one of two Deputy Prime Ministers and head of Lega Nord, holds many views that people outside Italy consider to be far-right, but in fact should be more correctly described as a right wing populist in sentiment. If this seems to be splitting hairs, then so be it, but there are marked differences. The other Deputy Prime Minister, Luigi di Maio, has been relatively quiescent since taking office. He is the leader of the Cinque Stelle (Five Star) Party, which could hardly be called far-right, being instead more anti-establishment and more eclectic. Salvini is the main face of the government at the moment. The other face of the government is Giuseppe Conte, a professor of private law, the current Prime Minister and the odd man out, having had no political experience.

The program of the new government could hardly be called fascist or far-right. It instead calls for a flat tax, with the emphasis being on drawing in the black economy, what is otherwise called under-the-table payments for goods and services They also advocate for public protection of water resources, green environmental causes, made-in-Italy insurances, reforms to the public health system that would minimize inefficiencies and wastefulness of resources, cutting the pensions of politicians, direct democracy by referendum, anti-vaccination, a circular economy for waste management, the latter being a big problem in Italy, especially in the south. Salvini, for his part, has vowed to tackle the problem and is looking at state of the art incinerators like those in Sweden to address the problem. The new government has vowed to produce its way out of debt by supporting small and medium business. Yes, it all sounds like political campaign promises, but these people are taking action, as witness by their budget battle with the EU and their stances on immigration. So, what is the problem with Italy? Why the bad press in other Western nations? Two things: Italy’s opposition to IMF/ECB policies (They saw what happened to Greece) and Russia. Those two matters do not sit well in Washington and London, and by extension, through much of the Western press. These points are addressed in the my EU article.

The question now is, what are we seeing in terms of the soul/personality expression of Italy? We are definitely seeing the Sagittarian personality, which is pushing boundaries, demanding freedom of movement, not playing by the rules that others have imposed, etc. Whether that becomes real leadership as expressed by its Leo soul remains to be seen. Right now they are meeting stiff resistance from the EU establishment, but that is to be expected. All the usual suspects have been rolled out, talking about the impending disaster that Italy faces and how bad it will be for Europe and the world. But the unspoken truth in much of Europe is that real change is needed in Brussels, and one of the main areas is economic. The EU is still in its infancy as far as organizations go, but there is real wealth and power there if the economic union can be maintained, even if the political structure falters for a time. It was begun, after all, as an economic union, and as such did quite well. If Italy were to be left alone it, too, would probably do quite well and in short order, showing real leadership and a way out of Europe’s troubles. Spain, with its Sagittarian soul, is watching proceedings closely.

Spain suffered under a similar yoke of troubles economically as does Italy now, but its economy is has been picking up in the last few years. With its Capricorn personality it, like Greece, is undergoing a reorganization of its social structure, as evidenced in one respect by the Catalan independence movement. In the past we also heard of the Basque separatist movement, also known as the Spain-ETA conflict. It has seen various internal conflicts over the last century especially. We won’t go into those here, as there is something else more of moment to be considered. Given the Basques and the Catalonians, Spain has had experience with the possibility of its state fracturing, and now is warning Britain about the same should a hard Brexit take place. It has just thrown down the gauntlet regarding Gibraltar, another contested region on the Iberian Peninsula, which was captured by the British in the Spanish War of Succession in 1704. Spain would like to have it back, with most Spaniards seeing Gibraltar as Spanish. Spain joined the EU in 1986. Prior to that, from 1939 to 1976 it suffered under a fascist dictatorship under Franco. It became a parliamentary constitutional monarchy after that, much like the UK.

Spain, along with Italy and Greece, has borne the brunt of the migration crisis earlier in this decade. Its soul motto is, “I disperse the clouds”, in true Sagittarian fashion, and with the 7th ray being its personality expression, its importance in European and international affairs will gradually increase as the 6th ray of its soul becomes increasingly a background energy, especially over the next decades. Spain has a close relationship energetically with Italy, with both nations having the 6th ray as their soul expression. There is also a connection with the US via their colonial period, language and neighboring states to the south, where Spanish is the first language. It is the primary second language in the US. However, the thing of primary importance in the immediate future for Spain is the future of the EU, and if present events are any indication, Spain will side with Italy when it comes to EU policy. The 7th ray of the Spanish personality wants to preserve the order in which it finds itself, but like the other EU nations, the economics of the bloc, along with immigration issues, have strained the relationships between the member states and with Brussels. So, even though it appears to be universally agreed that there need to be significant changes in EU policy, giving more sovereignty to individual states, the overwhelming number of Europeans want to preserve the EU.

If Italy is successful in forcing concessions from Brussels, Spain will likely join in. If that were to take place, then there would be a sharp turn toward reform in Brussels. This has the elites in the EU worried. In terms of a longer term meditative focus, light could be brought to bear on the triangle of Spain, Italy and Brussels as a force for positive change in the Union, all the while preserving it. Were that to be the case, then the economic bloc would prosper, as would the member states. With its latest experiences with the potential fracturing of the kingdom, Spain has valuable insights to offer the EU in general, as well as words of caution for people who are pushing for fracturing of the bloc. With that, there is another thought that has recently come to light, although a bit off topic, and that relates to China.

Changes coming for China?: Consider the following statement made at a recent meeting with the Dalai Lama:

It is possible that after just five years China will undergo great change. At present the situation in China is evolving with great impetus. Now there are many Chinese officials and those who are educated who do not call the Dalai Lama a splittist but instead they express the need for us to develop a relationship, and their voices are growing louder. In particular the Chinese people have high hopes for this and such news has also appeared recently in Chinese newspapers. Since making India my permanent home I have felt at times that if I could visit China and Tibet then there would be much benefit for China and Tibet.

Australian Lama: The meeting was at the welcoming and first meeting between the Dalai Lama and a reincarnated lama, who the Dalai Lama once called the ‘Australian Lama’, even though Khensur Kangurwa Rinpoche was Tibetan by birth. This statement from a man who, shall we say, has more than the usual insight into world affairs. But more than that, this ties in with our Sagittarius theme for this letter. We will get back to his statement in a moment. One of the primary aims in Mahayana Buddhist practice is to render oneself to be a suitable vessel as a vehicle for spreading the dharma as a service to all beings. If there is one nation in the world that most needs such a message it would be China. Materially they have the right idea. In the intervening years between the communist takeover China has made great strides in its material welfare, infrastructure and the material welfare of its people. This was needed and would probably not have occurred in the way it did under a liberal democracy. Now attention needs to come back to the spiritual welfare, and people like the Dalai Lama can play a big role in that. Really, though, we could say that about all nations and all peoples. I get the sense that China’s recent moves toward greater surveillance and control of its citizens is somehow tied in with this growing acceptance of the Dalai Lama within China. If there is a groundswell of support for him among the Han Chinese, it will become unstoppable. That will be a great day for China. All this is pointing toward what was forecast for the Far East[6] by toward the middle of this century.

One of the foundational texts in Mahayana Buddhism is Tsongkapa’s Lam Rim, or The Graduated Stages of the Path, which outlines every step along the way on the path to liberation and then to full enlightenment. The graduated stages of the path disperse the clouds of ignorance – the mayas, glamours and illusions that block our realizations of unity, clear light and peace. And to render oneself to be a ‘suitable vessel’ means that one’s mind must be completely ‘tamed’ or freed from its machinations and as a result, from the delusions of other people’s thinking as well. Sagittarius represents such freedom of thought to us – ultimately, as freedom from all thought, at least as we view ‘thoughts’. Thoughts are things, as much as anything physical is a thing. Sagittarius represents that stage for us wherein we are able to leave all things behind and experience true living, freely in the world of meaning, of wisdom, of immersion in the vast sea of consciousness in which we are a point of being. If this sounds vague and just ‘out there’, well, it is. But words are insufficient to describe such a state of being, however fleeting it might be. Such a state is, indeed, ‘out there’ like the arrow in flight, freed from its material restraints. What about the comment above, then?

Tibet a saving factor: In a past letter I made mention of the possibility of Tibet or Tibetan culture, which is indelibly bound with Tibetan Buddhism, as a saving factor for China, and that the two cultures would in likelihood eventually be reconciled. Many readers would be concerned with the efforts of the Chinese to tie freedom of movement and other social factors for the individual Chinese citizen to their social media accounts via its ‘social credit system’. This is a dystopian thought control experiment on the part of the Chinese government, one which is destined to fail. The people will eventually rebel. We already have similar such ties to social media in our western nations, where potential employers will check on a person’s social media pages before even considering them for hiring. I have experienced this firsthand, with a past potential employer asking me how I reconciled astrology with technical work on machines. That was an eye-opening interview. Be careful what you post on your social media. But in closing this side thought on China, the quote preceding is a good example of how the subjective realms eventually supersede the material forces. India, the current home to many spiritual traditions and not simply Tibetan culture, has indeed hidden the Light in a great many respects. That light is increasingly being revealed. Nothing will stop it.

Belgium and Brussels: To finish with our discussion of nations, when we talk about Belgium and its Sagittarian soul, its capital Brussels is currently the seat of the European Union, but the Sagittarian nature of Belgium’s soul is connected with something more and in some ways separate from the EU. Neither it’s esoteric motto nor its rays are given, perhaps suggesting that its potential has yet to be realized. It is the seat of a great international experiment, as evidenced by its Gemini personality and the EU Parliament being located in Brussels. Belgium has always been a European meeting place and a battleground as well, very fitting for Gemini. Noting, too, that Gemini and Sagittarius are polar opposites, this enhances the idea of both conflict and of an important incarnation. Belgium was also one of the founding members of the EEU and the EU. It is of great importance in European destiny. And although the spiritual heart of Europe lies in Geneva, Belgium, via Brussels is no less important in this immediate historical era.

Gemini is the soul ruler of Brussels, enhancing the evolution of the Belgian nation and rounding out its development. Now, instead of a physical battleground, Brussels stands for European unity. Given that, no matter what happens with the Brexit drama, the British will always be European. There will always be close ties between ‘Ol Blighty and the Old Continent, affectionately considered. There is far more that unites us than separates us, and that is cause for inspiration.

No matter what your feelings on the matter, in this rapidly changing international landscape the forces of unity are on the rise, little as it might appear on the surface. That is where our focus must remain. There are efforts afoot to break up the EU, leaving it open to nationalism, old antagonisms, and the host of ills that made Europe a war zone for centuries. This is the primary reason why Europeans want to preserve the EU. Europeans have existed in peace for decades now and on the whole have prospered. It wasn’t so long ago that materialism almost won out on the continent. People’s memories remain. It has raised its head again and a few players in the West are trying their best to bring that about again. These must be called out and resisted. There are such antagonisms now toward Russia, fed by the ill-conceived notion that the current Russian state represents an evil influence, bent on European takeover. It is a lie that will inevitably be revealed. We should realize that it was Russia that largely defeated the materialists in Europe in WWII, whereas the US did the same in the Pacific. Afterwards the materialistic influences in Russia met their due demise for the large part. Europeans and other world regions must decide their own destinies free of foreign interference and free of old antagonisms.

Giving thanks: Every year at this time we in the US are reminded of the need to give thanks for our freedoms, for our abundance and for family and friends. I still celebrate Thanksgiving every year, and have done so even though I have lived in other lands. Every day I am reminded to have gratitude for all that I have and for the health and prosperity of myself and others. Gratitude is a great leveler and a gift of the soul. Sagittarius reminds us of the need for gratitude as well, of the abundance that a free mind can give. Our freedoms are under threat these days, gradually whittled away in a flood of disinformation, of legislation by stealth and in secret, our fears fed by a corporate media that exists only for profit and for continuance of the state. In the Sagittarius interval each year we are reminded of the need for independence of mind, of the joy of investigation, the adventure of self-discovery and the unifying power of shared ideas, ideals and experience. We must regain the ability to think independently, to stand unafraid in the face of our own fears and those of others. To pierce the veil of ignorance that is continually cast over us is also gift of the soul, and exhilarating. It is a goal that inspires us to seek the next one, and to continue. Yes, we want to break free. We are only bound by our desires for comfort, for solace, never realizing that a broken habit is a liberation, an honest question a launching point for a free mind. We are breaking free.

Thanksgiving blessings, all!
22 Nov 18

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Picture credits:
Zen archer:
Break free:
Meditating archer:
Blue wave:
Australian Lama:

[1] Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr, The Gulag Archipelago (1973), p. 168

[2] Esoteric Astrology, p. 194

[3] Solzhenitsyn, The First Circle, ch. 17

[6] Bailey, A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, p. 108