LOOKING FOR THE SOUL IN PEOPLE

One of the things I love doing is to sit in the foyer of the shopping centre at Coffs Harbour, about an hour north of where I live, and watching people go by.  It is fascinating to see the variety, to see different relationships in operation, to see happiness, sadness, intent or vagueness on the faces of passing people.

I always look at people and wonder what life has dished up for them along their journey to where they are today.  Each person was born as a small baby, innocent, hopeful, open to love, and embarking out on an adventurous, challenging adventure called life.  It reminds me of the fact that each person is such an individual, each with their own experiences which has brought them to where they are.

I’ve found that living in a rural area way from city life is a real eye-opener.  It teaches you, at  a very prosaic level, to cope with snakes, insects, lizards, big spiders and other assorted wildlife.  But it’s also taught me to look for the heart of people and appreciate how so many ordinary folk are kind-hearted, generous and ready to extend a helping hand at the drop of a hat.  Many I have met would differ from me on politics, the environment, social attitudes and so on. But these aren’t the main game.  It’s what’s in the heart that counts. 

I had a lovely  neighbour when I lived in northern New South Wales.  She was a gentle, kind woman, quite shy, who lived for her family.  When she found out my father had died, she was quick to offer to stay with me when my husband had to go out for whatever reason, I can’t remember.  When we were out and it rained, she kindly popped into our garden, took down our washing and put it in a dry place. We had some lovely conversations and I really loved her dearly for the lovely person she was.

I was reminded of this friend, now sadly deceased through breast cancer, when a passer-by called in to ask if he could look around our place as it’s up for sale.  He was a typical country bloke, rough and ready with a booming, deafening voice as he’d got used to speaking loudly due to his work with chainsaws.  But what a beaut bloke he was, talking about kindness to friends and strangers, looking for a peaceful resolution for any conflict, relating how you couldn’t stay angry or bitter because this sort of stuff ate you up inside, mentioning the children he’d brought up and the young man he was currently mentoring, and talking about all this not because he saw himself as something special but because it was just natural to him.

He never did offer to buy our home but I always wonder why people enter my life, and I think he did to remind me once again that it’s not on the outside that counts.  It’s not what you wear. It’s not what size house or car you have.  It’s not about what trendy restaurant you can afford to eat it.  It’s what’s in our heart that counts because if you don’t know the power of love, if you can’t see the love in other people, you’re a very poor person indeed.

So the next time you’re in a coffee shop or something similar, take time to watch people go by, open your heart and embrace our diversity and the power of love which lurks in everyone’s heart and soul.  Perhaps if you smile at a stranger or say a kind word to a passer-by, you may make life a little more pleasant or less lonely  for them and lift their hearts to a lighter place.

 

 

FREE SPEECH, THE MEDIA AND THE WHOLE DAMNED THING

Following the scandals in the UK surrounding the News of the World newspaper and its subsequent demise, plus the publicity surrounding the activities of the Murdoch empire,  here in Australia there has been discussion of the right to free speech.

This has been taken up by the Greens Party,  Rob Oakshott, independent member for Lyne in NSW, and some Federal Labor leaders.  The reality for these is that they aren’t losing anything by taking pot shots at Murdoch’s News Ltd’s operations in Australia because it’s outlets – covering 70% of the print media in Australia – are rabidly anti-Federal Government and just as rabidly pro the Federal Opposition and its leader, Abbott.  The latter refused to support an inquiry which is understandable – why would you bite the Murdoch hand that feeds you?

Since the formation of a coalition government between Federal Labor, the Greens party and two Independent MPs, the Murdoch stable has threatened to destroy the Greens Party, has tried to dish out the dirt about the two Independent MPs, and has been rabidly any legislation which attempts to increase taxes on billionaire mining operations or bring in a relatively weak piece of legislation to take action towards a more climate-friendly economy.  This is, supposedly, holding the Federal ALP-Greens-Independent coalition to account, but it’s quite different if the blowtorch is directed towards the Murdoch print media monopoly in Australia.  Double standards, indeed.

It is interesting, however, to see how the media in general reacts to the idea of any limits on their right to free speech and how journalists are so quick to band together to defend themselves.  They are full of integrity, well-trained, and adhering to the strictest editorial standards. Just don’t have an inquiry to check this out.

Some of them may be ethical, many of them aren’t, whether in the print of television media.

Years ago I was the organiser in Western Australia for the Australian Union of Students.  I’d organised and taken part in anti-apartheid protests where I was the spokesperson.  I was contacted by Channel Seven who asked me to be interviewed about a new organisation called CARE – Campaign for Racial Equality.  I actually wasn’t a member but knew the people involved and they were happy for me to be interviewed on the basis I’d been involved in anti-apartheid action and supported equal rights for Aboriginal people.

When I fronted up for the interview, there was nothing – zip, nada, zilch – about CARE. Instead I was interrogated about my anti-apartheid activities and every attempt was made to browbeat and denigrate me. My attempts to explain my position were shouted down by a hectoring interviewer who was obviously after sensation rather than truth.

I lost my temper completely but luckily just sat there speechless with a polite smile on my face. And the interview backfired on Channel Seven.  Their switchboard was flooded with complaints about my treatment and I got some letters telling me that people had thought I was pretty awful until they saw how nice I was on TV. Given that I was apoplectic with rage, I was rather amused at the outcome.

But how many times has this happened to others who front up in all innocence and believe they are going to tell their side of the situation, only to find their comments edited to suit the agenda of the newspaper/radio or TV channel?  So-called “current affairs” programmes do this all the time and they always pick on individuals or small business owners who do not have the means to understand what is happening or take action if they are victimised or vilified. I can remember a programme years ago by one of the commercial channels where some young people were suckered into a programme supposedly about youth unemployment, only for them to find themselves pilloried, ridiculed and subjected to threatening and vicious abuse from people around the country.  All for ratings!

So when we talk of the “free media”, we’re actually talking about wealthy, powerful media organisations who exercise their power of free speech in whatever way it suits them, but it’s the “truth” filtered through their own, personal viewpoint not that of the general population.  Moving overseas for example, how could you possibly describe the rabidly right-wing Fox media, again a Murdoch creation, as exercising free speech when the only ones allowed the right to speech are those who support the right-wing views of Murdoch himself?  Murdoch supported the illegal second Gulf War and all his media outlets obediently fell into line to spruik his point of view.

The reality is nowadays that the only free speech is on the internet where people can communicate via blogs, their own websites and social media.  The explosion of global communication networks has really revolutionised the whole idea of free speech because ordinary folk have the right to express their views and publicise them without going through the filter of media owned by media barons or financial conglomerates.

No wonder, then, that governments in the West went spare when Wikileaks burst into prominence. Suddenly all the cosy stuff kept hidden between governments was exposed to the light of day. And much of it wasn’t very pretty at all.  Likewise, in the Middle East, the people’s activity there against tyrants was fuelled by the free speech on social media allowing people to organise and express their free speech against those who wanted to keep them down and out.

We really do living in interesting times because so many things are being turned on their head.  Avaaz, for example, was able to prevent a nice little deal Murdoch hoped to set up on the sly in Canada.  It has been able to mobilise tens of thousands, even millions of people in support of causes which governments previously were able to ignore or sweep under the carpet.

So when we talk of “free speech”, let’s remember that free speech belongs to the people – not governments, media monopolies, military-industrial complexes “embedding” journalists (read: sanitising war reports) – and make sure free speech stays with the people. We need to exercise our own judgement in what we listen to or watch.  It is indeed easy to condemn the News of The World, for example, but we need to acknowledge that millions of people bought the rag and pored over all its salacious contents.  Now is the time to fire up our own integrity, be responsible for our own ethical choices,  and refuse to support those who actually abuse the whole concept of free speech.

My own feeling is that we live in times where we’re going to see even greater innovations in communication and we need to remain alert to ensure that we, the people, control our own right to free speech, however the outlets manifest in the future.

FEARLESSNESS

On my Facebook page today, I re-posted a comment by the Mayor of Oslo in response to the awful bombing and shootings in Norway last week.  I’ll re-print it here:

“We will punish the guilty.  The punishment will be more generosity, more tolerance, more democracy.”

This, to me, is the fearless response to the actions of a violent person trying to foster fear in people.  What is it going to achieve?  It will inspire people, lift them up and not drag them down, and it will demonstrate to those who want us to live in fear that we won’t tolerate this any more, we are going to stand up and make our voices heard for fearlessness, courage and living bravely upright, not bowed down on our knees.

I’ve actually been meaning to make these comments for a while but the words of the Oslo Mayor inspired me.  What a contrast with the way we’ve been encouraged to live in fear and trembling since the attack on the Twin Towers in New York on September 11th, 2001.  The powers-that-be have fostered suspicion, intolerance,  bigotry, wound back democratic rights, supported an illegal war in Iraq, and bombed the daylights out of anyone deemed to be a threat to Western democracy.

And in Australia, we have the spectacle of the leader of the Federal opposition, Tony Abbott, doing media stunts all around the country trying to inspire fear in people over the introduction of a carbon tax.  All this bully-boy knows is how to say: “No”. And, I might point out, this is someone who himself is fearful.  He only shows up where he knows he won’t be questioned about his dinosaur-like attitude.  What’s so brave about turning up to an audience of seniors and trying to scare them senseless with another “the world will come to an end with the carbon tax” message.  Takes real guts, that does, yeah, right.  Yes, turn up on the Alan Jones shock jock radio programme because he doesn’t ask any hard questions. Unlike Prime Minister Gillard who front the live question Q& A, Abbott didn’t screech about a right of reply on that forum because he might have been asked some hard questions.  I definitely don’t agree with some of the actions of Ms Gillard, but I will give her kudos for having the guts to turn up to places where she knows she’ll get a tough time, and she does the job with grace and dignity.

So stuff the fearmongers like Abbott in Australia and the Tea Party nutters in the US. Life’s too short to spend it cowering in fear. It really is time for this fear nonsense to stop.  Let’s get over it.  Let’s change “fear” to “fearlessness” and tell those banging on about fear and trying to get us to live little lives, enchained by fear, that we are bigger than this. 

As the Oslo Mayor has said so succinctly, we can do generosity, more tolerance, more democracy because we are far bigger and mightier than the piddling little fear merchants.

The Power of Our Voices

I have just signed the following petition by Avaaz in support of a Palestinian state:
“We urge you to endorse the legitimate bid for recognition of the state of Palestine and the reaffirmation of the rights of the Palestinian people. It is time to turn the tide on decades of failed peace talks, end the occupation and move towards peace based on two states.”
I’m not posting this to spruik on about the situation in the Middle East, but to say how extraordinary it was to sit there watching the signatories come up on the board as people signed, from Egypt, the UK, Australia, Mexico, Tunisia, Canada,  and so on.   It made me realise how small the world has become and how interconnected we all are via the revolution of technology and the growth of the internet and iinternational communication.
I find it somewhat ironic because globalisation was started by the global conglomerates with the aim of tearing down borders to ensure their ability to set up shop wherever they got the lowest wages and working conditions, in order to boost their already almighty profits. It’s worked in some ways, we’ve seen the migration of capital from nations like Australia, the UK and the US to countries with low wages and lousy working conditions – Asia, India, South America, and so on.
But in so doing, international capital has also shot itself in the foot because the fall of barriers in international communications has seen people in developed nations being able to show support for workers in developing nations and support them in their struggle for decent wages and working conditions.  We’ve seen the global support for the Arab Spring where people are organising for their democratic rights.
It’s pretty astounding when you think about it – how far we have come in such a short time to opening up the world and making contact with people we never would have known about as recently as the ‘sixties.
As you know I’ve been banging on about Uranus in Aries where it will stay for seven years so you might be interested to know that Uranus governs technology. When it has been particularly influential in relation to its planetary position and the Earth, it fired up the explosion of steam/railways/electricity, the digital revolution and social media, and now it is feeding the political revolution we can see in the Middle East, in demonstrations in the UK, Spain and Greece, and in various parts of the US. Integral to this revolutionary spirit has been the social media which has brought Wikileaks to prominence, and enabled the power of ordinary people to communicate and rise up against undemocratic regimes and undemocratic actions in democracies.
You cannot silence people’s voices, their power rolls through the ether and resonates within our hearts and souls. Even though there are attempts to rein in the power of the internet, whether by legislation in the States, by installing filters here in Australia, or by shutting it down in places where social media is enabling the growth of social unrest.
We are entering really interesting times in the years ahead, which demand that we ourselves work out who we are and commit to living who we are.  We need to acknowledge our authentic selves and live our lives with integrity, compassion and love, whatever we’re mean to do in our daily lives. 
With this authenticity comes responsibility. The mantra we chant to ourselves as we dump fear and live authentically? 
To use the old Wicca expression: “‘an’ it harm none”, or another one I work with: “Under grace, in a perfect way”, and finally another favourite of mine: “In my highest interests and in the highest interests of the Universe”.It’s whatever works for you, whatever powers the fire of love.

On the Full Moon last Friday I did a release ritual.  I cleared off the crystals I’d laid out in a grid for the New Moon and simply left the yellow glass chips on the yellow-coloured plate, and lit a candle in a turquoise candle-holder.  Yellow for me was the energy of the Full Moon and the turquoise represented communication with love – I wanted to collaborate with universal energies with the power of love to fuel my release ritual.
The next day, a Saturday, I took my paintings to a women’s expo exhibition to sell whatever was meant to go to a new home, and lessen our luggage when we do eventually sell this home and set out for Cyprus.  I have been wanting to let go of this painting for a long time as it’s far too big and cumbersome to move overseas with us:
 It’s a very large, powerful piece of artwork but, as you can see, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.  I called it Earth on Fire, as I finished this three days before the February 2009 bushfires in Victoria.  We were in an area where 11 people died, and we were very close to the bushfires.  Our roof, garden, patio, car, carport and floors in our home were coated in ash,  but we were thankful we survived when so many didn’t. I set this painting up at the expo and one woman came over straight away and was rapt in the artwork.  She didn’t have any money so I gave it to her. as she said she wanted to place it behind her bed. Personally, I don’t want this on any wall let alone close to my bed, but there you go – everyone’s taste is different!
When we got to the expo I found that my husband had packed a painting I hadn’t intended to sell, so I tucked it away behind me up against the wall. And the lass next door honed in on it and offered to buy it.  I always believe that synchronicity happens and somehow I was meant to let go of this painting.  Prior to it being sold, I’d been feeling very weepy and emotional, which puzzled me as these feelings had turned up out of the blue. But I realised, once the painting had gone, that it contained rocks and seashells from Scotts Head Beach, which I gathered just after I’d scattered my parents’ ashes there after the death of my father.  I created the painting when we got back home from our visit to this area (we were still living in northern New south Wales at the time), and I guess it meant a lot to me emotionally which is why I’d hung on to it.  Here’s the painting:
A while back I went to a local market to do Tarot readings and I’d met Cassie, who had the adjoining stall.  She came to a New Moon Mandala workshop I held a whle back and I got to talking to her just before I left.  I told her about my emotional reaction to selling my painting and she promptly got me up on her massage table and did a kinesiology/muscle test on me to balance my emotions and let go of the feelings of loss. 
I find all this very redolent of synchronicity – meeting Cassie, catching up with her at my workshop, selling my artwork to the lass who “happened” to be on the next-door stall, and then catchng up with Cassie who cleared out the emotional imbalance and completed the healing release I’d asked for in my New Moon ritual.  
It’s a very big reason why I attend markets or expos because you never know who you are going to meet or where your connections are going to lead you.  As the lass on the next-door stall said, she was right beside me because she was meant to buy the painting, and it may well be that she’ll visit me further down the line with a view to buying my crystals.  But this latter is a matter for the future.

Cosmic Happenings

I’ve been having a bit of a clear-out of old ideas and habits in the past fortnight since the Full Moon and Full Moon eclipse and today I’m going to do another ritual to continue junking the junk!

I’ve been feeling so much more energetic and focused.  We are in really interesting times and it’s this I want to gasbag on about today.

We are in times of great upheaval, revolutionary times with the Arab Spring, the turmoil surrounding the global media octopus, the Murdoch empire, economic stalemate in the US, people forging forward, many locked into fear and the past.

So in this post I want to talk briefly about two of the planets called the Outer Planets – Pluto, Uranus and Neptune.  These are called the Outer Planets because their orbits are so long – in the cast of Uranus it’s 84 years, spending 7 years in each sign; in Neptune’s case, the cycle around the sun takes 168 years, and it spends 14 years in each sign; and Pluto has the longest orbit around the sun – 248 years and because it’s an elliptical rather than circular orbit, it varies in the length of time it spends in each sign: it trogs through Scorpio in 18 years but meanders through Taurus in 30 years.

These planets can cause great upheaval in our own individual lives when they transit our natal planets – that is, the planets in the position they were when we were born.  I intend to go through this at a later stage, but for today, it’s all about these three outer planets and how they impact on the collective – rather than the individual – psyche.

Astrologers have long predicted that there would be great upheaval in this period, with 2012 as a particular focus, but stretching also to 2024.  Yes, old structures are going to break down and new ones replace them, but how it works out is, of course, difficult to predict in particular detail. A Grand Cross is forming which is a particular formation of planets, but what I particularly want to address today is not the ins and outs of these planetary  movements in formation, more to look at where individual planets are in each house.

Uranus is at present in the early part of Aries.  So it’s going to hang around in Aries for the next seven years. .Here are the qualities of Aries:

ARIES Around 21 March – around 20 April (Fire, Cardinal):

Potential:Drive, ambition, determination, power, courage, leadership, fiery, dynamic, idealism, positive, enthusiastic, extrovert, adventurous.

Pratfalls:Bully, cruelty, egotistical, tyrant, self-aggrandizement, self-centered, greedy, insensitive, selfish, folhardy.

 And here are the qualities for Uranus:

Social justice; humanitarian issues; freedom; flower power; conservatism; hippy-ism; rules & regulations; blind obedience; innovation; discovery; anarchy; rebellion; anti-authoritarianism for its own sake; structurelessness; lack of direction; flailing around for the sake of it; imagination; intuition; radical change; wake-up calls; independence; dictatorship; slavery; unconventionality; inspiration; reform; prison, challenge to old ideas; imprisonment. 

As you can see, there are positive and negative features for the planet and the sign but, folks, we’re aiming to go with the flow and embody the highest qualities possible in these challenging times.  

 If you look at the combination of these two, you can see that there is plenty of action, change, upheaval, innovation, energy, new beginnings and so on.  Play with the above and see what comes to mind for you, because the whole aim in this era is to tune into  your own energies and see what turns up for you.

Moving on, into this mix looms Pluto which is in the sign of Capricorn.  Now Pluto, like dear old Pluto/Hades stomping around in the Underworld, is like a whirlwind swooping down into the cellar where all the old crap and junk is hidden. It lassoos  it all into a net and hoiks it up into daylight. It displays your dirty washing for you and the world to see so that you can get on having a wholesale clean-up in your life, whether emotional, physical, spiritual or mental.

I found it interesting that a while back astronomers junked Pluto as a planet, saying it wasn’t a “real” planet. This to me is a reflection of our desires not to go into the Underworld of ourselves – whether internally or externally – and face up to what we consider the “not so nice” bits and pieces.  This dumping of Pluto as a planet came about at a time when we are facing global warming, global warfare, social dislocation, and so much more chaos in various places. We are being called to powerlessness by appeals to fear and hatred around the world. In this respect, let’s remember that Pluto was discovered in 1930 when the world started lurching towards the Plutonian energy of Hitler. People gave their power away to one individual and stepped away from responsibility for their own actions. Not a good idea. Today we’re being called to step into our power, our integrity, the future and take responsibility for who were are and what we were born to do.

Here are the qualities of Pluto:

Underworld; shadows; disruption; pain; fear; deconstruction; reconstruction; mystery; release; transformation; cleansing; liberation; power; powerlessness; domination; abuse; self-empowerment; abuse of power; right use of power; unseen; sacred; subconscious; death (metaphoric); rebirth; suffering; depression; optimism; destruction; restriction; gateways; crossroads; sense of direction.

And Pluto is in the sign of Capricorn, the qualities of which are as follows: 

Potential: Patient, persistent, highly organized, diligent, tenacious, ambitious, disciplined, serious, dependable, loyal, devoted, tasteful, pragmatic, prudent. Business, structure.

Pratfalls: Tyrannical, materialistic, compulsive, tactless, insensitive, unthinking, social-climber, insecure, rigid thinker, miserly. 

Again, have a play around with these two, Pluto and Capricorn, and see how you feel about their energies and, for you, how you see them interacting.

Uranus in Aries is, to use astrological language, in square to Pluto in Capricorn. A square indicates tension between these two formations. So to bring it down to specifics, the day that Uranus entered Aries to keep moving forward earlier this year was the day that the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan.  Apart from the disastrous effects on human life and economic structure, this event reminded us of the immense dangers of nuclear power, something that has been hidden away by the plutocrats (great Plutonic word, eh?) fudging media reporting, hiding problems and spruiking absolute crap about the safety of nuclear energy.

In the present day, just think about what is happening with the Murdoch media empire.  All of a sudden, hidden, corrupt stuff has been hauled to the surface, dusted off and exposed to the light of day and public condemnation of the seedy stuff which has been revealed.  Who would have thought, ten days ago, that this sort of upheaval would occur.

Here in Australia, there is tension between moving forward with action to address climate change and reaction which wants things to stay as they are, but primarily without affecting the profits of the big mining corporations which dominate this economy. This hidden motive is still obscured but it will be interesting to see if or when it makes the light of day.

In Egypt where the Arab Spring mirrors Uranus in Aries, people are out on the streets again to protest against the Plutonic forces in that nation attempting to keep the status quo, Capricorn.

Take a minute each day to have a look at what is going on in the world, what is literally erupting out of nowhere, small things which may actually have greater effect further down the line, like the recent assassination of the brother of Afghan President Hamid Kharzai. 

In other words, tune into the cosmic undercurrents of our lives and then, don’t retreat to fear or hatred or negative words like “fight”. Choose the positive approach of flying with these energies, co-operating with them, engaging with change, creative innovation and influencing positively what is going on in your life and your community.

More About Dreams

My earlier blog was about understanding dreams.  I imported it from Word so wasn’t able to add any comments, so here’s some additional information.

When you start inner work, it’s quite likely that your inner voice/wisdom/goddess self (or whatever has meaning for you) will start activating the dream process.  I believe that dreams are postcards from our subconscious and when they are loud, unforgettable and they stir you up, you need to note them down and work out what they’re about.

So I have provided fairly extensive notes in my earlier blog as to how to approach understanding dreams.  It’s not a process you’re going to get to grips with overnight.  And however savvy you get about understanding dreams, some will leave you still feeling baffled.  Have patience and you’ll surprised how dreams will enrich your life.

If you have a dream and would like some help understanding it, feel free to post the details in response to this blog.  Alternatively, you can join the Purplicious Passion Path page on Facebook.