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Trimming the Fat

Malvin Artley
June 2011

Happy Saga Dawa Düchen Everyone!

As we are all well aware, there are times in life of plenty, and times when we do not have so much; times of great happiness and times of sadness or outright suffering; times of relative calm and episodes of crisis. In short, there is always ebb and flow in this existence of ours and change is ever the norm, not the exception. The sense of duality is part and parcel for the human mind and we tend to see things in terms of opposites and extremes rather than accepting life as a cyclic process. Yet, these cyclic processes go on within and around us all the time. Nothing in existence is immune from the law of cycles, including the climate, finances, politics, on and on. Whenever there is a high, we can be guaranteed a low, and whenever we find ourselves in the pit we can be vouchsafed a passage out of it.

For instance, in the past few years we have seen the house of cards that we thought was prosperity collapse in front of our eyes, starting with the housing bust in the US and followed quickly by the economic woes in Europe and elsewhere. Very few, if any of us, have been immune from the changes wrought upon us by financial mismanagement and downright greed. The last time we saw a collapse approaching that magnitude was in the Great Depression, yet many feel that worse can come. Our position in terms of prosperity in the world arena is precarious still, though some countries are on the mend. There is much yet to be done, and no politician is in a safe place in the current economic and political climate. People the world over are tired of worry over a host of social ills, the economy being only one manifestation of that. We see the uprisings in the Middle East as proof of social dissatisfaction and the urge for freedom and good living conditions. We also have the current 'Spanish Revolution', ongoing troubles in Africa and troubling tensions in Europe and many parts of Asia. The greeting at the start of this letter seems an odd one in the face of things, but there is purpose in it and as this letter unfolds its message will become clear, though I am not quite certain what I will say about it at this point.

In this letter I thought it might be a good idea to touch on a few things that I have not covered in recent times. I have been sending these letters out for almost ten years now, having been a joy and a learning at the same time, and I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support over those years. A brief look at full moons is in order here because most of these letters are about lunations. That will tie in with the present world situation as we go along and then we will get into the crux of the Goodwill festival. To start with, a friend of mine recently set me off on a search through some literature regarding a quote about Taurus she remembered, which set off also another train of thought, which has gone to form the bulk of this letter. So, I will begin with that quote, and there are several to follow:

"Again, gold is the symbol which today governs man's desires whether national, economic or religious; it is connected with this sign and this is one of the indications that today the conflict in the world economic situation is based upon the upwelling of desire. In an esoteric way, therefore quoting from a very ancient book of prophecy:

The golden eye of Taurus points the way to those who likewise see. That which is gold will someday, too, respond, passing from East to West in that dire time when the urge to gather gold shall rule the lower half. The search for gold, the search for golden light divine, directs the Bull of Life, the Bull of Form. These two must meet; and meeting, clash. Thus vanishes the gold…."
Esoteric Astrology, Alice Bailey, 378-79

Now, this is the Gemini letter, but the quote is about Taurus, so what is the purpose for rolling this out? It is simply this: The Gemini interval serves to distribute the Light of Taurus for 'human consumption', shall we say. In other words, we find the means of application of the great wilful force that comes through with the Taurus full moon through the skilful application of Gemini (hopefully). We have a guiding light in Taurus — a great impulse forward — and we find the means of its application in Gemini. Taurus, aside from bringing through the Light of the Path, is also very much connected with desire, hence the two 'Bulls' in the preceding quote. We know there is a profound need for adjustment in our world view at the moment. So, what is the biggest thing before us — the one single thing that we can find at the heart of most of the world's current troubles? It can be summed up in the now-immortal words of James Carville, one of Bill Clinton's campaign strategists:
The economy, stupid!

Those words were a catch-cry of the 1992 US election and it is at the heart of what brought down George Bush's father in the election that year. Iraq and economic woes brought down both father and son, and poor economic outlook is largely what has consistently ended the reign of politician and king alike throughout recent human history. In the past few years especially there has been a lot of emphasis with the Taurus full moon on world instability and what it is all meant to show us. If we follow the threads of causes for our present scenario, much of it can be traced back to economic difficulties for the people of the world. If we look for the solution to those ills, then we must go to Gemini to find the distribution point for the Taurean impulse that comes with the Wesak moon. There are several concepts that are associated with Gemini, but the one in particular that seems to stand out most at this juncture is the 'principle of sharing', for Gemini is the first sign on the zodiac where that concept really begins to come into play, and it is a sign and a concept as well that is vitally important to humanity at this stage of human history. We will come back to that in just a bit, but to give a little background for how all the energies that come in with the full moons work in a cyclic sense, first it might be good if we took a look at the full moons in general to get a certain perspective on things.

Generally, these letters come out about the full moon periods (the two days before, the day of, and the two days after the event). If one is not an astrologer, one may well ask why there is such an emphasis in these letters on full moons and not on other astrological events, although we do look at other events from time to time. The simple answer is that at every full moon the amount of Light entering our planet is at its maximum, and as such we are presented with an opportunity for greater spiritual insight than is otherwise the case. Solar eclipses are also big events in that regard, but for other reasons which we will not go into here. Then, there are full moons — and there are full moons: some are more important than others. We will get to the whys and wherefores in a second. Each full moon is a spiritual festival of sorts. Most religious and spiritual traditions (there is a difference between the two) hold festivals around full moon periods. The reason there is so much focus on them in these letters is pretty well summed up in the following quotes:

the twelve festivals [full moon periods] will constitute a revelation of divinity. They will present a means of bringing about relationship, first of all during three months with the three great spiritual centres, the three expressions of the divine Trinity. The [nine] minor festivals will emphasise the inter-relation of the Whole, thus lifting the divine presentation out of the individual and the personal into that of the universal divine Purpose; the relationship of the Whole to the part and of the part to that Whole will be thereby fully expressed. [Esoteric Healing, Alice Bailey, 422]

Regarding the 'three months with the three great spiritual centres', we have the following, with their key words:
April Consecration to the Plan [The Easter full moon, or Festival of the Risen Christ]
May Tension and Intensity [The Taurus, or Wesak Festival]
June Quiet Poise [The Gemini, or Goodwill Festival]
[Discipleship in the New Age (which has nothing to do with the 'New Age Movement'), Alice Bailey, 338]

In addition:
the invocative cry of humanity and of the…[the initiates and spiritual teachers of the world], jointly sounded at the time of the Full Moons of May and June and particularly at the Wesak Festival, will be effective if the "cold light" of the aspirants and disciples of the world and of all selfless servers, no matter who or where they may be found, is united with the "clear light" of the initiates and of those who can function freely as souls… [Esoteric Healing, Alice Bailey, 388]

And lastly:
The two Full Moons of May and June present to you a new opportunity to participate in the release of the planetary Life from the thraldom of the Forces of Materialism. [Esoteric Healing, Alice Bailey 226-227]

I list all these quotes from Alice Bailey's material because they are the clearest presentation, of which I am aware, of the importance of the full moon periods, spiritually considered. I have also found the information to be true in my own application and practice, and I have heard much the same from friends and colleagues through the years. The Taurus lunation is always a very powerful and intense full moon. The Easter full moon leads us into that. The Gemini full moon gives us pause to seek application for the other two. In one of the preceding quotes we find reference to 'the "cold light" of the aspirants and disciples' and 'the "clear light" of the initiates'. To what exactly does 'cold light' and 'clear light' refer? If we can get a handle of what those two terms mean and how to apply them, then we will have the key to the workings of any full moon period — indeed, of any spiritual event.

'Cold light' initially refers in the beginning, simply enough, to emotional dispassion. That dispassion and indifference to the affairs of mundane life is the basis of any true meditative work. Following on from that, though, is the fact that in times such as the solar festivals (full moons) one always works in a group fashion, consciously or not. It is one's ability to consciously do so that eventually leads to success with one's impressions and work with the full moons. There is a catch to working with any group, however: We have to leave our personal feelings at the door, in a manner of speaking. The 'door stands open wide' for those who can do so, but the whole point to working in a group fashion is precisely that there is great occult power if one can focus the mind with others of like mind and at the same time and in the same manner. The results can be nothing short of extraordinary. True spirituality is not warm and fuzzy, though. In fact, often in true group work there is frequently personal animosity between members - until the real work at hand comes to the table - and then all are united in singular purpose, the needs of the time indicating the purpose pursued. Whether we realize or even like it or not, there are millions of people who do their best to gain real insight and do good meditative work during the full moon periods, and their backgrounds are diverse and of every faith and tradition and we should do our best to work with them in concerted effort, if we so choose. And, for the most part, they remain unknown to all except a very few intimates.

In its truest form, 'cold light' refers to what in Buddhism is called the 'mother clear light'. We experience this cold light at certain moments naturally — at birth, at death, when passing into slumber, at orgasm and when sneezing, curiously. The trick is to be able to dwell there rather than experience it as a passing moment. That is the goal of all true meditative work in the beginning stages. It is a particular focus of Buddhist meditative practice, especially in what people call 'Tibetan Buddhist meditations'. Once one achieves facility in consciously registering this mother clear light in meditation and is able to sustain it for the requisite amount of time a great door is opened and meditative work becomes quick and greatly facilitated. It also becomes possible for one to attain the higher initiatory portals. It is at this juncture that one can be of real use and service to the world at large at a subjective level. It is this level at which the bodhisattva path is begun in earnest. None of this is possible to any great effect unless a true calm abiding is achieved in meditative work. That calm abiding is indicative of the real 'dispassion' of the mind. Then, the next step before the meditator is to attain the 'path of seeing', wherein one merges with the world of the greater initiates — the attainment of what is called in the preceding quote the 'clear light'.

'Clear light' in reference to the quote is really a misnomer, but at the time the works were written there was no point of reference for the Western reader as to its true meaning. 'Clear light' in this context refers to the advanced stages of attainment of the various types of 'clear light', and there are several stages to it. Suffice it to say that we are looking at advanced stages of meditative work here, and that once a person has attained this they can, for all purposes, remain in that state indefinitely — for days, weeks, months or even years at a time. It is very common for advanced meditators to stay in 'death meditation' (these advanced states) for many days immediately after death, for instance, their bodies being in a state of suspended animation of sorts. Such a thing is a big event in Buddhist monasteries and nunneries, because it is well-known that those who have thus entered that state are undergoing advanced initiatory rites, and that they will be known upon their return in their next life as great masters — Rinpoches.

So, at the time of each full moon we have an increased opportunity to be able to contact either the cold light or the clear light and to put ourselves en rapport with the great meditators of the world. Especially at the May and June full moons this work is amplified even more. If we can align ourselves to good effect at the Wesak festival, then we receive a significant push forward in our conscious evolution. If we can abide in that light at the Gemini festival, then in the quiet poise of that time we find a means for the stabilizing and anchoring of that Wesak impulse into the world at large. That is what is before us at this Goodwill Festival. Gemini, rightly recognized and handled, leads one eventually to a recognition and attainment of calm abiding, the very antithesis of that with which Gemini is usually associated in most astrological texts. So, given all the preceding hopefully we have an idea of what is possible at each of the full moon intervals and we can thus use it in our lives and in the world to good effect. With that, let's have a look at the figure for this festival.

The full moon and eclipse takes place on the 16th of June 2011 at 6:14 AM AEST (8:14 PM on the 15th UT). (There is a mistake in the eclipse letter, where I had it listed as being on the 14th). It will be a blood moon and should be quite good viewing, provided the skies are clear. I covered the eclipse in the eclipse letter, so we will not go into that aspect of things here, save to say that it will serve to add intensity and fresh starts to whatever factors are present and come through with the Goodwill Festival at its subsequent activations. The two Sabian symbols associated with this festival - the solar and lunar degrees - are as follows:

A gardener trimming large palm trees. 25 Gemini (Sun)
A chubby boy on a hobby horse. 25 Sagittarius (Moon)

Both of these symbols hold a pointed significance and reference to the world situation at the moment. The biggest question on everyone's mind at a worldly level is, "What is going to happen with the economy? Will there be another big crash?" The doomsayers would say yes, but the thing I have found in recent times is that we cannot second-guess such things. Great leaders and ideas can and do appear in times like these. Given the present state of affairs one would think that a huge financial crash is immanent. I would say there will probably be another 'adjustment'. How big that will be is anyone's guess. There is a little wrinkle I would like to throw into the mix here, though. There is, little as we may realize it, a testing of the 'Principle of Sharing' going on in the world as we speak, and specifically with regard to the EU. We saw earlier that Gemini works with this principle and exemplifies it — first at a mental level in the realm of ideas and later in the nature of commercial interchange. That is one of the primary areas that Gemini most strongly influences with regard to humanity. The financial markets are all over the place at the moment. One looks at the news one morning, for instance, and the Dow is up, the next day it is down, and the swings are large at times in either direction. That simply reflects the insecurity in the world at the moment. People are nervous, and rightly so.

What exactly is going on in Europe at a subjective level? Well, some people (countries) are having to share in their wealth to help out those whose governments have had poor fiscal management, planning or just plain bad luck, if there is such a thing. That's the thing about 'unions' (and I am not referring to trade unions here, though the same principle applies) — we sometimes have to sacrifice what we may want in order to help them work. Sacrifices are being made by the richer countries in Europe to help out those in trouble. The same thing happened in the US between the government and the auto makers. There were provisos, though, and rightly so. In the US the auto makers are paying back the debt and coming good. They learned, and benefitted all in the process. People kept their jobs, although modified in many cases — but they kept them — the companies re-thought their situation and made adjustments and there was a turn-around. It is still in process, but it was better than letting the companies go bust as may have happened in times past. In the EU similar sorts of things are happening between countries and within countries. Yes, there is trouble and people are unhappy, but there are also the seeds being sown of things that could be very good in the future. There is suffering in the interim, to be sure, but to throw out the baby with the bath water before we see how it pans out and make simple pronouncements that we see a huge crash coming is a bit premature, I think.

Throughout the Western world and in many other parts of the world we are now in a period in which we are having to 'trim the fat' — to scale down what we will undoubtedly see in the future as our past unrealistic expectations. If there is too much growth, the gardener comes in and trims the foliage. What do we think of in the solar symbol when we think of palm trees? — tropical paradise, lazy vacations by the coast, or do we see simple living by the grace of what is presented us, as the island peoples of the world would have done in the past? In the symbol there is a gardener, most likely meaning the palm tree is not in its natural setting, but part of a contrived landscape, and he/she is pulling it back into line with the remainder of the landscape. Is that not precisely what is happening in the economies of the world? There was too much growth in the sectors that brought about the first collapse a few years ago, it was too fast, and it was unregulated. And that leads into the second symbol, the chubby boy on the hobby horse.

Basically, the boy on the hobby horse is a representation of much of the Western world since WWII. We have had it good — too good in many ways — and now we realize that we 'can't always get what we want', to borrow a song line. The world is not a playground, nor are we here to seek our own pleasures. Seeking our own outcome is precisely what we must at least learn to moderate as a whole, otherwise we are a danger to ourselves and the other kingdoms of nature. We are all-too-aware these days of what happens if we let ourselves grow fat and complacent. We pay for it down the road. In the symbol, the boy on the hobby horse is blissfully unaware of those sorts of considerations, absorbed in his play and engrossed in his imaginations of cowboys and Indians, perhaps, or the simple joy of being out in the open and free - the ignorance of youth, as my father used to always call it. I think we can all see that we are being awakened to greater realities here, and that in being given much, much is expected in return.

We have to share our wealth on a world scale at some point or another. We certainly do not take it with us when we pass into clear light. Yes, I feel there is a great testing of sharing going on in the world at the moment. Though times are bad now, hopefully we can take the lessons and experience from it and build for ourselves a very good future, based upon sounder values and not so much on desire for consumption. We are told in the same works quoted previously that if the principle of sharing is not realized before too long on a world scale that the 'gold' will be taken from us. The 'Bull of Gold' must give way to the 'Bull of Life'. Is it too hard to believe that the temporary 'vanishing of gold' in the interim might be a good thing — so long as it does not go on for too long? May we realize the equipoise of Gemini, and thus secure for ourselves a more prosperous world in the years to come. Oh, and as for the greeting at the start of this letter, Saga Dawa is the celebration of the Buddha's attainment of paranirvana (full enlightenment). May his words and the words of all great teachers thus inspired and/or similarly attained throughout the ages resound long throughout this world, and may this Gemini interval serve to properly and potently distribute them!

For those readers in the Commonwealth countries, I hope the Queen's birthday was a good holiday for you.
13 June 2011

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