Here’s astrologer Samuel F. Reynold’s suggestion for responding to the Grand Cross of four planets in the cardinal signs, which is happening now.
"Mars wants action while Uranus symbolizes how we seek to innovate or express our individuality. Pluto represents the desires buried deep within us, and Jupiter shows us how to seize opportunities for understanding and growth.
"As we’re caught in the tight red square of these four planets, tension could color Easter and the three days to follow. When you’re wound up from these planetary energies, it’s best to find a way to release the energy. And, since these planets are in the four Cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn) which signal the start of new seasons, you may want to use this event to begin something that you’ve been reluctant to begin.
"Furthermore, if you string together the clues from what each of the four planets represents, you might find your chance. You’ll see that it’s time to express your individuality (Uranus) with an action (Mars) that shows your deep desire for something (Pluto). You could be presented with an opportunity to reach for it (Jupiter).
"So think of the Grand Cross as not just a potentially stressful time, but as an X marking the spot for possible treasure."
"Swedes are shaking up their language with a new gender-neutral pronoun. The pronoun allows speakers and writers to refer to a person without including reference to a person’s gender.
"The majority of world languages already have gender-neutral pronouns. However, similar to the English language, Swedish has had pronouns for ‘he’ and ‘she,’ but not one that refers to a person without suggesting the person’s sex.
"Proponents of the new pronoun are eager to have a single word that describes a hypothetical person rather than the awkward ‘he or she.’ The word is also useful when referring to someone who does not identify with a traditional gender role."
From The Outlaw Catalog of Cagey Optimism, a list of positive emotions and states of being:
COMPASSIONATE DISCRIMINATION. Having astute judgment without being scornfully judgmental; seeing difficult truths about a situation or person without closing your heart or feeling superior. In the words of Alan Jones: having the ability “to smell a rat without allowing your ability to discern deception sour your vision of the glory and joy that is everyone’s birthright.”
INGENIOUS INTIMACY. Having an ability to consistently create deep connections with other human beings, and to use the lush, reverential excitement stimulated by such exchanges to further deepen the connections. A well-crafted talent for dissolving your sense of separateness and enjoying the innocent exultation that erupts in the wake of the dissolution.
SONGBIRD-INA-TREE. The cultivated awareness that daily life presents countless opportunities to be buoyed by moments of ordinary extraordinary beauty, and that these moments are most available if you perceive with your senses and not with your internal turmoil.
More from The Outlaw Catalog of Cagey Optimism, a list of positive emotions and states of being: http://bit.ly/Zdyxc9
Do not say that I’ll depart tomorrow because even today I still arrive.
Look deeply: I arrive in every second to be a bud on a spring branch, to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile, learning to sing in my new nest, to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower, to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.
I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry, in order to fear and to hope. The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death of all that are alive.
I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river, and I am the bird which, when spring comes, arrives in time to eat the mayfly.
I am the frog swimming happily in the clear pond, and I am also the grass-snake who, approaching in silence, feeds itself on the frog.
I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones, my legs as thin as bamboo sticks, and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to Uganda.
I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat, who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate, and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving.
I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my hands, and I am the man who has to pay his “debt of blood” to, my people, dying slowly in a forced labor camp.
My joy is like spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom in all walks of life. My pain if like a river of tears, so full it fills the four oceans.
Please call me by my true names, so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once, so I can see that my joy and pain are one.
Please call me by my true names, so I can wake up, and so the door of my heart can be left open, the door of compassion.
"I usually solve problems by letting them devour me," wrote Franz Kafka. That’s an interesting approach, I guess, and though it might work for a tiny minority of introverted, melancholy, hypersensitive artists, it’s probably not a wise policy for you. It may be better to fervently resist any temptation you might have to allow your problems to gobble you up.
Instead, why not be like a gargantuan sea monster in the midst of a perfect storm? Rise up as high as the dark sky and growl back at the thunder. Shoot flames from your mouth at the lightning. Become too big and ancient and wild to ever be devoured.
There was once a poor farmer who could afford to own just one horse. He cared well for the animal, but one summer night, the horse escaped through a weak fence and ran away.
When his neighbors discovered what had happened, they visited to offer their condolences. “What bad luck!” they exclaimed. The farmer replied, “Maybe. Maybe not.”
A week later, the fugitive horse sauntered back to the homestead, accompanied by six wild horses. The farmer and his son managed to corral all of them. Again the neighbors descended. “What great luck!” they exclaimed. “Maybe,” the farmer replied. “Maybe not.”
Soon the farmer’s son began the work of taming the new arrivals. While attempting to ride the roan stallion, he was thrown to the ground and half-trampled. His leg was badly broken. The neighbors came to investigate. “What terrible luck!” they exclaimed. The farmer replied, “Maybe. Maybe not.”
The next day, soldiers visited the farmer’s village. Strife had recently broken out between two warlords, and one of them had come to conscript all the local young men. Though every other son was commandeered, the farmer’s boy was exempted because of his injury. The neighbors gathered again. “What fantastic luck!” they exclaimed.
“For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Joan Burnham
that everything we behold with our five senses composes but a tiny percentage of the staggeringly sublime miracle that God and Goddess freshly create every second; (even materialist scientists confess that 96% of the universe is invisible to them);
that while there may be, for all we know, such a thing as “objective reality,” it most certainly does not consist of the endless streams of pictures in our imaginations, which our arrogant egos mistake for the external world;
that therefore every “truth” you and I embrace with such certainty cannot possibly be more than a little bit correct, and to pretend otherwise is the only original sin;
that like docufiction movies and every nightly TV newscast ever done — like life itself — fact and creative storytelling are always blended together so seamlessly that there is no honest way to tell the difference; and that therefore our imaginations are our most sacred organs which create every story we see and believe in;
that we have the right to believe in any story we conjure up or believe in, but not to the point that we would hate or kill or oppress people who don’t love our stories as much as we do, and not to the point of damaging the environment we all share;
that when an elite group of human parasites with obscene amounts of money and technology at their disposal try to trick us into believing that their stories are truer than everyone else’s, it is our patriotic right and duty to become trickier than they are.
We therefore do uproariously declare World Entertainment War against all evil advertising geniuses, disinfotainment peddlers disguised as journalists, simulation experts specializing in the rape of our memories, fraudulently immortal celebrities bent on haunting our dreams with their empty souls, cartels of friendly father figures hawking pretty media viruses, and all other genociders of the imagination.
To defend our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor, we pledge to fight the entertainment criminals in such a way that we don’t become like them.
In the late 1990s, environmental activist Julia Butterfly Hill spent two years living in a redwood tree she named “Luna.” Her goal was to save it from being cut down by a logging company. She succeeded both literally and mythically. Luna was spared from death, as was a surrounding three-acre swath of trees. Hill became an inspiring symbol of artful, compassionate protest.
Later she told Benjamin Tong in the DVD “The Taoist and the Activist”: “So often activism is based on what we are against, what we don’t like, what we don’t want. And yet we manifest what we focus on. And so we are manifesting yet ever more of what we don’t want, what we don’t like, what we want to change. So for me, activism is about a spiritual practice as a way of life. And I realized I didn’t climb the tree because I was angry at the corporations and the government; I climbed the tree because when I fell in love with the redwoods, I fell in love with the world. So it is my feeling of ‘connection’ that drives me, instead of my anger and feelings of being disconnected.”
"There is a strong current of thought in the field of development economics that the single most important factor in improving a variety of outcomes in the developing world—whether it be overpopulation, economic growth, violence against women, public health—is increasing female education levels.” - Andrew Leonard, Salon.com
The United Nations organization UNESCO tracks literacy rates. Its latest news is good. In 1950, 56 percent of the world’s population could read and write. As of 2009, that figure had risen to 84 percent. The most dramatic improvement has occurred among young women. For example, not quite half of South Asian females were literate in 1990, while 75 percent are now. There were 10 million East Asian girls who couldn’t read in 2000, but that had fallen to a million by 2009.
From Amy Goodman: “Journalist Matt Taibbi is out with a new book that asks why the vast majority of white-collar criminals have avoided prison since the financial crisis began, while an unequal justice system imprisons the poor and people of color on a mass scale.
"In ‘The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap,’ Taibbi explores how the Depression-level income gap between the wealthy and the poor is mirrored by a ‘justice’ gap in who is targeted for prosecution and imprisonment. ‘It is much more grotesque to consider the non-enforcement of white-collar criminals when you do consider how incredibly aggressive law enforcement is with regard to everybody else,’ Taibbi says.
Here’s an excerpt from Amy Goodman’s interview with Taibbi:
AMY GOODMAN: Who was tougher on corporate America, President Obama or President Bush?
MATT TAIBBI: Oh, Bush, hands down. And this is an important point to make, because if you go back to the early 2000s, think about all these high-profile cases: Adelphia, Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, Arthur Andersen. All of these companies were swept up by the Bush Justice Department. And what’s interesting about this is that you can see a progression. If you go back to the savings and loan crisis in the late ’80s, which was an enormous fraud problem, but it paled in comparison to the subprime mortgage crisis, we put about 800 people in jail during—in the aftermath of that crisis. You fast-forward 10 or 15 years to the accounting scandals, like Enron and Alelphia and Tyco, we went after the heads of some of those companies. It wasn’t as vigorous as the S&L prosecutions, but we at least did it. At least George Bush recognized the symbolic importance of showing ordinary Americans that justice is blind, right?
Fast-forward again to the next big crisis, and how many people have we got—have we actually put in jail? Zero. And this was a crisis that was much huger in scope than the S&L crisis or the accounting crisis. I mean, it wiped out 40 percent of the world’s wealth, and nobody went to jail, so that we’re now in a place where we don’t even recognize the importance of keeping up appearances when it comes to making things look equal.
You might be a Chaos Magician if you share any of the following values, as described by Phil Hine in his book “Condensed Chaos”:
1. Chaos Magicians strive to avoid falling into dogmatism. They feel entitled to change their minds, contradict themselves, and come up with arguments that are alternatively plausible and implausible.
2. Personal Experience is paramount. In other words, don’t take my word that such-and-such is the case; check it out for yourself.
3. Deconditioning. Chaos Magick proposes that one of the primary tasks of aspiring magicians is to thoroughly decondition themselves from their mesh of beliefs, attitudes and fictions about self, society, and the world.
4. Diverse Approaches. Chaos Magicians are free to choose not only from any available magical system or spiritual tradition, but also from themes found in literature, television, religions, cults, parapsychology, and anywhere else. This approach means that if you approach two chaos magicians and ask them what they’re doing at, you’re rarely likely to find much of a consensus of approach.
5. Gnosis. One of the keys to magical ability is the ability to enter Altered States of Consciousness at will: Inhibitory states or Excitatory states. The former includes physically “passive” techniques such as meditation, yoga, scrying, contemplation and sensory deprivation, while the latter includes chanting, drumming, dance, emotional, and sexual arousal.
6. Technical Excellence. Chaos Magick involves rigorous self-assessment and analysis. It emphasizes practice at what techniques you’re experimenting with until you get the results that you desire.
"Desmond Tutu calls for anti-apartheid-style boycott of fossil fuel industry. Nobel Peace Prize winner calls for organizations to cut ties with industry and for investors to dump fossil fuel stocks."
Excerpt: "The archbishop writes: ‘We live in a world dominated by greed. We have allowed the interests of capital to outweigh the interests of human beings and our Earth. It is clear [the companies] are not simply going to give up; they stand to make too much money.’
"Tutu, one of the most revered figures of South Africa’s anti-apartheid struggle and a key backer of the economic and moral campaigns that helped end the system, says: ‘People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change. We can, for instance, boycott events, sports teams and media programming sponsored by fossil-fuel energy companies.’
"The Nobel Peace Prize winner also called for investors to dump their fossil fuel stocks: ‘It makes no sense to invest in companies that undermine our future. Already some colleges and pension funds have declared that they want their investments congruent with their beliefs.’
"The archbishop’s intervention, just before the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, due out on Sunday, is the strongest yet in a rapidly growing global campaign against oil, gas and coal firms that is uniting anti-global warming activists with financial institutions who want to avoid a trillion-dollar crash in fossil fuel stocks."
David Foster Wallace: “In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship — be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles — is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive.
"If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness."
"By means of all created things, without exception, the divine assails us, penetrates us, and molds us. We imagine it as distant and inaccessible, whereas in fact, we live steeped in its burning layers.”