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Just for today...

By Malvin Artley
January 2006

Happy New Year Everyone!

I was taking a long walk through the neighborhood yesterday morning, enjoying the cool breeze and the lack of traffic. Weekends—you gotta love ‘em! The early morning just after the sun rises and before the flies make their appearance (you have to think about such things in Australia , or choose to ignore them completely) is a magical time. It gives one a space when inner communion is much easier and when the world has yet to impinge upon the mind and weigh it down with cares. I was thinking back over my life as I walked along. Walks often seem to have a theme, do they not? At this particular time of year, especially, there is definitely a strong urge to go back over one's life and to make major or minor adjustments to one's attitude toward life. On this particular walk I was given to musing over the sort of conditioning our society throws at us as we come along through the first twenty-one years (3 full etheric cycles) of life. Much of that conditioning has to do with performance and conformance with certain standards. For example, I can remember the dread that P.E. (physical education) class always held for me, especially in my teenage years. I was always a runt, you see, smaller than most of the other boys and always a bit on the nerdy side. As a result, I always tended to be picked toward the last for teams, always felt awkward in the team role I was handed and usually lived up to people's expectations as a result—by not performing particularly well. It always left a very sour taste. As is usual, though, there were other areas in which I did really excel—none of which were on the track or field—and I was respected for those other things as a result. Still, there was always the pressure to perform, to be a high achiever and to maintain high standards in my chosen areas. Some people seem to thrive on this sort of thing. I always rebelled against it.

As I was thinking about all those personal pains and triumphs, I realized how much I had bought into the social dynamic as I had grown up, and about how much the social fabric is based upon such ideology. Think about it. The pressure to perform and compete is upon us in every aspect of life—from work, to play, even to the most intimate moments with loved ones in life. We are always compared and judged as to how we measure up to everyone else. Quite frankly, I'd had a gut-full of it all. Then, I thought about what a life without competition would be like. For instance, what would the thinking of a champion athlete be if they refused to buy into the competition theme? What would their goals be? Well, it would simply be a striving for personal best—and the chips would fall where they may. Would it be a self-centered view? Maybe. Would it be conducive to team competition? No. Would it feed the public's thirst for victory against odds and team rivalries? Definitely not. I really liked the idea, though. I felt a point of peace inside about a world without competition, and about not having to live up to anyone else's benchmark. In the end—and I have always known this—the times in my life when I have been very successful are the times when I have lived only according to my own rules and shut out everyone else's opinion of what or how I was doing (within reason and respect of others, of course). Such an attitude makes one a loner in many ways. Capricorn is all about the sort of self-initiated dynamic just described, and about achievement in the face of personal obstacles. With that, let's have a look at what Capricorn means to us, for it rules the human persona in a very profound way.

It is customary for astrologers to do a forecast for the coming year in the period of Capricorn. I will no longer give a Western forecast in these letters, as such. There are already many on the net and various publications. Since much of my time is devoted to Chinese astrology these days, I will give a Chinese forecast each year, however. That letter will come out in about a week. We do need to address a bit about the year that was, though, so we can get an idea about where we need to focus our energies in the year to come. To begin with, we have just wound up the week-long festival of the New Group of World Servers, which comes around every seven years. There has thus been a very concerted effort at meditative and inner contact during the commencing week of Capricorn this year. Capricorn begins at the northern Winter Solstice, and the festival of the NGWS commences at that time as well. It runs from the 21 st through the 28 th of December on those years and its special work is the pointed intensification of the impulse toward goodwill between all groups and nations of the world. The next such Festival Week will take place in the now much-vaunted 2012. Frankly, the work of that group is vital at this juncture, especially given recent world events and the psychic quality of 2005.

The first recorded regular festival week of the NGWS was in 1942, and its impulse played no small part in producing a turning point in WWII. The Soul of humanity prevailed over the forces of materialism then. That is seen from subjective levels, of course. Now, we find the world in another precarious spot, and the energies playing upon and through us are every bit as potent and momentous as before. The forces of materialism are still very much with us and our need for spiritual practice is as great now, if not greater, than 63 years ago. We are now in a period that has been termed ‘The Period of the Forerunner', which means that we are all being given a task to perform together—to ready the world for the re-emergence of the Kingdom of Souls as a physical reality, and not some fond spiritual notion. The date for the beginning of that re-emergence is set to commence sometime around the year 2025, and it will progress steadily over the decades to follow. So, what does that mean to us at a personal level?

Put simply, the only thing we have to do in preparation for the re-emergence of the Kingdom of Souls on Earth is to perform to our personal, spiritual best. That may sound simple enough, but rest assured—if you seek to do that, even in half-measures, then the entire weight of your own negativity will stand in the way of your doing so, as well as a portion of your family's, community's and national negative imprinting and conditioning. How will that happen, we might well ask? We will judge ourselves and be judged harshly. Our own lower nature will try hard to maintain its status quo—to retain its current level of comfort and ease and its established habit patterns. The groups we are in will try to keep us ‘in our place'. All of our early conditioning will come up for examination and some people will even try to strike ‘the fear of God' into us for our efforts. Then, we begin to have some fun with it all. We were given some hard lessons in these sorts of things in 2005. Let's face it—there were so many highs and lows in 2005 all we could do sometimes was to sit back and have a good belly-laugh about it all. Nothing else seemed to do any good. 2005 was a difficult year for so many people and it challenged most of us at a very deep level. Now, the built-up frustrations and angst of the year that was will spill out into 2006. The valve will be opened and the repercussions of the shocks that came that year are to be felt in this one. I will have more about that in the Chinese New Year letter.

2005 will be a year that is remembered for disasters—Katrina, the 2 nd Bali Bombings, the London Bombings, a string of air disasters, the Pakistan Earthquake, scandals in the Republican congress, a record hurricane season in the Atlantic, the Iran Earthquake, the death of the Pope and the installation of the new one (and possibly the last), a worsening insurgency in Iraq, revolutions in central Asia and several assassinations or natural deaths of major political figures, especially in the Middle East. There were happier stories, of course, especially in the world of entertainment with some major blockbusters coming out. There was also legal recognition for same-sex couples in several countries. As in all disasters, there were heroic moments, and there appeared to be some movement toward conciliation between Israel and the Palestinians. There were many great stories of the heart that never made the papers, but the media portrayal of the 2005 was fairly bleak at times. It was a poignant year, made all the more so with the Saturn/Chiron opposition that was with us for a significant part of the year, and which will be with us again for the first half of 2006. There is growing frustration with governments, especially in the US and the UK . There is a growing call to pull the troops out of Iraq . There is continued frustration with the Palestinian/Israeli dilemma, and we will have to see what happens now that Sharon is no longer in the picture. So, this is the legacy that we bring with us into 2006.

The new year began with a very loose Great Cross, composed of Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune, along with two standard yods with Saturn and Uranus at the apices. This will be a year that has started innocuously enough, but it will build in tempo and intensity and produce foundational changes in the way people relate to one another. Politically, it will be a very volatile year with many power players coming unstuck and new ones emerging. We already see that dynamic with the Republican Party in the US and the illness of Sharon that has upset the Israeli leadership. Much of the energy of the year will depend upon Saturn, because it is by itself on one side of the zodiac and the remainder of the chart is focused through it. Personal, intimate relationships will fare better this year, however, but we will have to change the way we relate to each other in group fashion. On the whole, this will be a year to watch in politics, and there will be major shifts in several power bases, especially in the US . With these points in mind, let us take a look at the sorts of adjustments we need to make in life in order to best garner the benefits of 2006.

There are two signs where choice is of paramount importance. Most people recognize Libra as one of those signs, but perhaps not many would see Capricorn as a sign wherein choice must be made. Both of those signs have Saturn as one of their rulers. We will not deal with Libra here, except to say that the choices and readjustments made in Libra lead one to the Mount of Initiation in Capricorn in future cycles. Capricorn itself has been called ‘The Sign of Periodic Arresting'. It is called thus because once a goal has been achieved, no further movement is possible. It could be likened to the discipline of an athlete who attains the peak of their performance levels and can push the body no further. How can one ascend higher than the highest mountain peak? With Saturn by itself and the focus of the chart, this will be a year wherein we will need to take time out and ‘arrest' ourselves, so that we might see the steps ahead with more clarity and give our systems a much-needed pause and a recharge. Capricorn is the sign most known for Initiation—the pinnacle of human attainment for a given cycle of the Soul. The way of Initiation is arduous, though, and periodic rest and repose is needed. We will talk much more about this aspect of Capricorn in the Chinese New Year letter.

It is said that Capricorn shows us all the best and all the worst of humanity. It is a sign of extremes, like Libra in its early development, so it shows what is possible at either end of the scale of human endeavor, material or spiritual. This is another reason why Capricorn is a sign of periodic arresting, because extremes are never desirable in the life of the Soul. The nature of karma, which the ruler of the sign (Saturn) represents, is one of constant adjustment and choice, often through restriction, so that the plan of the Soul for one's life works out the way it is intended. Life is a constant replay of cycles of effort, arresting and decision, then leading to renewed efforts. It is for this reason that New Year's resolutions always fall within the domain of Capricorn. Each year we find ourselves making a renewed effort along some line, whether we are conscious of doing so or not. It is for this reason, too, that the Masters throughout the world enter into deep contemplation during the Capricorn interval, so that the energies of the world can be adjusted to fit more in line with the purposes set forth by the Lord of our World during the three major spiritual festivals of Aries, Taurus and Gemini.

As we look inward, if we have not already, what do we need to do to adjust our lives so that we will live a more loving and soulful life in 2006? To begin with, we do need to take a respite if the past year has been difficult, if such an action is possible in our busy lives. 2006 will be a year of inner work and retreat in many ways. It is the Chinese Year of the Sleeping Dog (Fire Dog), and this describes the subjective state of the year. However, inner repose and poise is not a passive state to the one who knows how to make best use of energy. The Chinese also have an old, yet familiar, aphorism: In doing nothing, everything gets done. It is simply another way of stating the occultly obvious—in inner silence and focus all things are energized, given potency and assured of success. As always, the subjective rules the objective. In that simple statement we have the key for the work of all people of goodwill in the world for 2006, for there will be quite a lot happening externally about which we can do nothing. Yet, in the silence of the Soul's rhythm and energy we can direct outcomes in a way that no amount of outer rushing about will ever accomplish. In the midst of outer chaos, go inward, reflect and see your course true. With that, let us have a look at the astrological dynamics for this solar festival of Capricorn.

This full moon will be a more pleasant one for most than many in recent memory, except in the political sphere, where it is likely to wreak havoc. It will be a great time for all creative pursuits, but not so great for affairs of the heart. In it, we find the following aspects in evidence. The Sun is conjoined with Venus. This will serve to bring people together and to foster many unions between groups, individuals and goodwill for people in general. Venus is the magnet of the heart in Western astrology, and it shows us the relations between people and to our own higher Self. It is also the highest ruler of Capricorn, so the conjunction with the Sun is highly significant in this figure, as it points to a greater ‘serve' of Capricornian purpose than usual. The Sun/Venus conjunction is semisquare to Uranus, indicating that many of the unions formed will be unusual in some way, or may be fraught with minor tensions due to the need for one or both parties to be more independent than usual. This is not perhaps the best of combinations for affairs of the heart to flourish. If they do start, then they are likely to start suddenly and are just as likely to end as suddenly as they start. It is an aloof combination, but that makes it useful for more business-like or political partnerships. The need here is for people to be able to give each other breathing room, but to be able to express what has brought them together at the same time.

Uranus is at the apex of a standard yod, with a Saturn/South Node sextile at the base. This yod points to sudden and often unexpected ends of situations and partings that would otherwise go according to plan and even be fated. It also points to people from the past entering into situations in unusual or disruptive ways. This is given further credence by the fact that Uranus is sesquisquare the Moon in this figure (emotional shocks and emotional independence). It also signals the emergence of unusual or strongly independent women.

The symbol for the degree of the Sun rules the figure, since it is a solar festival, and it reads:

“A store filled with precious Oriental rugs.” 25 Capricorn

This produces an emphasis upon the aesthetic side of material pursuits, the pursuit of quality over quantity, the need to look past monetary concerns in the obtaining of whatever is needed for the fulfillment of commitments brought about through the impulse of this full moon, the use of the best that culture has to offer in the fulfillment of life and the preciousness of artistry and the ability to think aesthetically and abstractly in the solution of life's challenges. This last point is made clearer by the next aspect pattern.

There is a rather unusual 10 th Harmonic square formed by the Sun/Venus/Moon axis and the nodal axis. The Sun is quintile the North Node, the Moon is quintile the South Node, and both luminaries are in tredecile aspects to their respective opposite nodal quintile points. It is a beautiful configuration and points to very unusual, sometimes fated and sometimes upsetting meetings between people. People will be coming in and out of our lives in strange ways until the next full moon, and we will need to call upon aspects of ourselves not normally in evidence to deal with them properly. In world affairs this square can spell disaster because the masses do not respond well to this type of energetic. However, if dealt with properly, the results can bring great beauty into one's life in the form of enhanced relationships. The preceding square is made more potent by a quintile triangle composed of the Moon, Mars and the South Node, the Moon being at the summit of the triangle. This will serve to take people away rather suddenly and in unusual ways, and it will focus upon the symbol for the Moon in this figure, which reads:

“A willful man is overshadowed by the descent of a superior power.” 25 Cancer

Seen in a positive light, this triangle will bring powerful people to the fore who possess the keys that will enable the elegant ending of restricting and outmoded circumstances. In the negative, this will bring forward powerful people who will be a very disruptive influence upon all that they touch, exacerbating already tense situations and bringing about violent confrontations. This latter dynamic is made all-the-more telling by the next aspect set.

There is an applying t-square formed by a Mars Jupiter opposition with Neptune at the apex. It will be more or less exact on the 18 th of January when Mars completes the square with Neptune . Jupiter completes its square of Neptune on the 27 th . This t-square might best be described as one of ‘overwhelming rhetoric', ‘messianic overshadowing' (but not in a positive sense) or ‘reckless fantasy'. It can be an insidious and reckless t-square and its handling demands a firm adherence to facts and figures and a very healthy skepticism towards all ideas put forward by leaders of all sorts at this time. This will not be a good month for signing contracts or for launching projects. It is absolutely brilliant for all artistic work, however. Saturn is retrograding to a close opposition with Chiron—the ‘heartbreak opposition'—by the next full moon, just before Valentine's Day. It will be difficult to give substantial structure to relationships during this period, and feelings will be easily hurt the closer the opposition becomes. Be careful and loving with loved ones for the next couple of months, at least. Otherwise, talk, talk, talk! All communications are favored under the auspices of this full moon. Jupiter and Mercury are sextile, and Mars and Mercury are trine. Again, this is brilliant for all creative work. This full moon cycle will be a great time for all artists and journalists.

I usually look back over my life every year at this time and make some resolutions, some of which I keep, some of which turn out to be unnecessary and some of which I should not have made in the first place because they prove to be inappropriate or unrealistic as the year unfolds. This year, however, I decided to get back to basics, as the saying goes, and just adopt some simple precepts—words that were given to me as aphorisms to live by when I went through the initiations that go along with becoming a Reiki therapist—words that all of us could take a leaf from and yet all-too-often forget in the heat of a moment. They are as follows:

Just for today I will give thanks for my many blessings.

Just for today I will not worry.

Just for today I will not be angry.

Just for today I will do my work honestly.

Just for today I will be kind to my neighbor and every living thing.

Just for today…….and every day. Spiritual life is like a foundation of stones, laid side by side a little bit every day, and great care is taken with the placement of each stone. Just for today, I lay a course of stones, and each day after. Each passing day sees the growth of a beautiful edifice if the plan of one's Soul is adhered to with care. And when the mountain of stone is complete and we ascend to the top and survey the land over which it is built, then we see the plan in its fullness and a great deal more. We see that our own plan is interrelated with so many others, that our own mountain is very similar to many more that are around us and that everyone is building their own set of stairs to the summits of their lives. Capricorn is the mountain and the person, the path and the one treading it. The two are inseparable. So, when you reach the peak experiences of your life and the final stones are laid, stop and have a look around. Enjoy the view for a bit and find appreciation for what others have done as well, in their own way. We are not so different from anyone else. Though the way can be difficult, we all do it together, even if we seem separated in the process. The best that we can do and be is the greatest gift and legacy we can leave to the world in our passing. Take pride in what you do. The task is well worth the effort! The path we lay and the foundations we build are the gifts we leave for the future.

I hope your blessings are many in 2006.

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