A Deserter from the Navy

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A deserter from the navy. Image courtesy Lyn Birkbeck.

The Sabian symbol for today, 22 January 2014, in which the sun is in the 4th degree of Aquarius is ‘A Deserter from the Navy.’ These symbols–one for each of the 360 degrees of the solar journey around the zodiacal theatre–are eidetic glyphs, downloaded by turn of the century psychic Elsie Wheeler. Today they are an important component of astrological analysis. It so happens that I have Jupiter, planet of faith, expansiveness, philosophy in the 4th degree of Aquarius [note: in Astrological charts, in which the 1st degree is 0-1 degress, the 4th degree of Aquarius, 3-4 degrees, is written as Aquarius 3].

Master Astrologer Lyn Birkbeck interprets this particular solar glyph like so:

Breaking Away From The Norm

Circumstances urge an outright rebellion against the status quo – especially with respect to what is generally regarded as morally unacceptable. No matter what others think, one is driven to take the consequences as the price one pays for being true to oneself.

I often find myself ‘behind enemy lines’. Perhaps, since the solstice 2012, hard on the heels of that grand establishment coda the London Olympics and the unconcealed Millennium Domish simulated Lizardry behind it, we are all behind enemy lines. We, the people, seem powerless to prevent the insane eco-piracy of fracking. The police lie. The people jerking the strings of  the multi trillion dollar confidence trick that markets itself as the economy interlinking the 8 billion people on the planet could fit on a single double decker bus. In the last 100 years–or is it 1 year, what does it matter the curve is exponential–humanity will have consumed more earthly resource than was consumed in the entire history of humanity.

3.2 billion year old rainbow serpent synapse

3.2 billion year old rainbow serpent synapse

The parade of octogenarian former television and radio personalities on charges of sexually molesting women and children continues through British courts. A 99p shop in Wales erupts into chaos when it’s half price sale ends mid-trading. An African man shows up at the scene of a mob murder to slice the arm off one of the corpses and eat it in front of the ogling crowd. And in a small room in the City of London I hold for a few moments in my hand a 3.2 billion year old octahedral crystal synapse of Pachamama, the Earth Goddess herself.

Of course, no one else there saw the golf ball-sized crystal as such. Rather, the point of this little exercise was a taste of the process by which such crystals are graded according to their shape, size and clarity–first steps in the industrial process that turns them into cut and polished diamonds.

Aboriginal Rainbow Serpent rock painting, Australia

Aboriginal Rainbow Serpent rock painting, Australia

According to various strands of Aboriginal, Amazonian and African indigenous mythology–the correspondences are documented by, for instance, Jeremy Narby in his popular book The Cosmic Serpent–the centre of the Earth is an octahedral crystal. Paintings from these distant regions depict the spirit of the Earth as a serpent chasing, or being led by an octahedral shape.

To hold something 3.2 billion years old, extracted from the Earth by a process which averages 250 tons of rock per carat [the industry measure of weight] of diamond, in your hand in a rather random room in the City of London inspires strange thoughts and feelings. This particular octahedral synapse of the cosmic serpent, valued at 296 carats, required 74,000 tons of the Earth’s crust be moved elsewhere. It’s sheer size and octahedrality has so far saved it from the process that would render it fit for consumption. The first stage of that process is to saw the octahedral crystal synapse in half.

A younger, less mortal me would have had a go. And–as the actual younger less mortal me was on more than one occasion–been fired and turned away to face my shitty little end of the global trillion dollar confidence trick that masquerades as a ‘free’ market economy afresh. A fantasy, utterly immortal me might have swallowed the damned rock and made a bolt for it. And probably gotten no further than the elevator.

The older, more mortal me, swallowed the sadness that oozed into my hands from that piece of Pachamama Earth Serpent’s brain and my judgement of those at that very moment being brainwashed into seeing it as ungraded precursor to several multimillion pound pieces of jewellery.

Despite not letting the mask slip, I was still clocked. I know I was. I could see the presenter’s conscience rise to the surface of her face, where it was quickly masked by the sort of scrunching that passes in such contexts as a smile. And as I write this now I see that I didn’t fail. I didn’t have to martyr myself through awkward questions or standing up to deliver some empassioned plea on behalf of the Earth Goddess. That would have triggered the laser beams and the steel shutters would have come thumping down.

None of that was necessary. Something in me connected with something in her. Oh Pachamama is clever! Let them have the stones from the ground and cut them with lasers and store them in bank vaults to be brought out at thick, red-carpeted junctures of the Matrix and flashed at the flashing cameras. The light of awareness is faster than flashes for it is outside of time it is the simultaneous recognition of the divine in the divine. In the end there will be no escaping it.

It would be wrong of me not to leave you with a sample of the book currently touching my divinity – The Unlikely Peace at Cuchumaquic: The Parallel Lives of People as Plants, by Martín Prechtel. Page 212:

Modernity’s seemingly bottomless addiction to an endless pursuit of recreation, substances, TV, or religious or scientific promises of another more anesthetized world, of having to constantly “escape” or “get away” from an everyday life of dead, demythologized stuff, and a daily insignificance in a schemeless, unstirred whole is fast creating an anti-existence based on forgetting instead of remembering, which, if it doesn’t first kill the viability of the holy ground we need to live on…we will someday not have enough reality left here on earth in our bodies to remember, much less anything to remember it with; the muscle and its reason for existing would atrophy simultaneously.

© Nizami Thirteen 2014

Acknowledgements

Sabian Symbol interpretations, The Astrological Oracle by Lyn Birkbeck.

The Unlikely Peace at Cuchumaquic, by Martín Prechtel, recommended to me by the World’s Most Unlikely Shaman, Davina Mackail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Vote Inner Obama

inner-obamaMunivara Ashram, Ubud, Bali. Lifting my torso into cobra pose one afternoon, my sweating face was suddenly gripped between the powerful hands of Mr Ketut Arsana. Are you Obama? he said. And so began my curious resonance with the Black President.

As I write, from Kinokuniya bookstore in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is adjusting itself to vague disillusionment at the non-result of the 13th general election. Shortly after midnight last night, the ruling party, Barisan National, was announced as the winner. BN is the current version of the same power base that has ruled this young country since the legendary Mahatir Muhammad (aka Dr Umum) architected Malaysia’s particular mix of nationalism, federalism, corporatism, ethnic and religious diversity in 1981. Umum held his post as Prime Minister and head of UMNO (then ruling party, now incorporated into the BN coalition) for a record 22 years.

Ethnically mamak (Malaysian Indian Muslim) Dr Umum was (is) a living legend. In his time he was the man who stood up to the old colonial powers in trade battles. On several famous occasions – Apartheid South Africa and Bosnia for instance – he called them on their hypocrisy and double standards. In turn he was criticised – not unlike the late Hugo Chavez perhaps – for his centralisation of power and erosion of civil liberties. There was the famous showdown with former UMNO deputy Anwar Ibrahim, which lead to the latter’s imprisonment on charges of buggery. Malaysia still has no free press. (Well, does anyone?) To the West, Dr Umum became “Asia’s Dr No.”

As with any power base that resists change over time, stagnant channels begin to stink. Croneyism, money and houses for votes for instance. To be expected, you could argue, and all rather innocent against the politrix of big boys like Bush and Blair. This morning, Malaysians – a sizeable minority at least – suffered a blue Monday. The blue BN pennants continue to flutter from every available lamppost and railing. Probably they’ll still be fluttering there in six months time. The will of the people – a sizeable minority at least – has failed.

Probably the majority of Malaysians voted for no change. The choice after all was between BN and a coalition including Chinese, Sikh, Hindu, Islamic and assorted other elements – in other words Barisan National or not. A magician’s choice. One imagines the long, deft hand of Dr Umum behind this strategy. Or perhaps this is a little too 007.

The heavily televised BN victory stumbled home last night amidst odd notes. Live TV crews battled exhaustion then studio hysteria to think of new angles on what was in effect an ordeal of televised absurdity. As the night wore on the only surprise was the extent of the BN majority. In the closing moments there were cries of foul play. Bus, plane, ship loads of illegal Bangladeshi labourers had been spotted outside polling stations. The live vote count website went down. The electricity supply to the main counting centre was switched off in honour of Earth Hour.

With no independent press to follow up these stories – easily dismissed on TV by BN officials – their shadows linger. Facebook Malaysians are today expressing their disgust by blacking out their profile pictures. It’s not activism Argentina or Bolivia style, exactly, but then it’s very hot here today. Others are calling for President Obama to come to Malaysia’s rescue.

It is an entirely understandable lament. Despite broken election promises (e.g. failure to dissolve that grizzled fragment of Hell on Earth known as Guantanamo) the Black President remains the most powerful icon of democratic power on the planet. Skeptics are quick to point out Obama’s many u-turns, swerves and dips, but his image continues to soar. He is a Good Man doing his best within a corrupt system. He is playing their game. If he didn’t he’d be assassinated. Or his family would. He sees the way forward for America and has the unenviable task of transmitting some tough truths to the Gung Ho nation. And so on and so forth. Arguments you will have heard in discussion with friends and relatives already.

I rather like Obama. I look a bit like Obama. To the political skeptic, the reader of indie news feeds on the internet, liking Obama is woefully – dangerously – naive. It is to labour in the black sleep of illusion. The skeptics might goad me into a fact fight. Leftie healthcare versus American involvement in Syria perhaps. But I find myself less and less interested in the facts. Obama did this, signed that, said he’d do this and then didn’t. Rather than political heat, I prefer the shade of my Obama icon.

It is an act of what Carlos Castaneda called controlled folly. I know that Obama could be torn down – not unlike those statues of Saddam Hussein – yet I choose to prefer that he isn’t. Why? Energetically speaking it is preferable that he’s there. For now. For millions of people he is a projection of hope. Are we asleep, deluded, suckered by the telly? No we’re not. I’ll wager that – to varying degrees consciously – we’ve weighed up fact versus feeling and decided to keep the Obama figure on the inner altar. It feels better. Maybe we just like his face. Otherwise what? Obviously it wasn’t Mitt Romney.

Nor is it the ‘truth’ that all of it is illusion. Iraq, Iran, Syria, Democracy. How do we feel pulling up the flagstones and watching the quicksand squirming beneath? Anxious? Depressed? Cynical? At the very least deeply skeptical in anything like the Goodness of Humanity or a Divine Plan or Evolution out of the eternal human condition of – well – damnation really, isn’t it? How’s that feel?

Umum, Najib, Anwar, Cameron

Non-illusions: Umum, Najib, Anwar, Cameron

Of course, there are times when we must turn from our smiling icon – be it Buddha, Ganesha or Obama – and face the facts. From time to time we must stare into the Abyss of Not What We Believe. We must have our faces pushed into the dirt. The bubble bursts. We see the illusion for what it is and are no longer – can no longer be – illuded by it. An illusion is only an illusion when it is not an illusion. Amongst many benefits, the process of disillusionment elevates one beyond the reaches of duff illusions like Malaysian Prime Minsiter Najib, rival Anwar Ibrahim, or for that matter British Prime Minister David Cameron. Maybe we just don’t like their faces.

Strip by strip the onion is peeled. (I read earlier that onions have more genes than humans.) Ultimately we become our own icon. Or rather, we realise that the blackness, presidentness, earthiness, goodness, fairness and love we project onto the icon is our own. In the final election, we vote Inner Obama. In my case the campaign seems to be going well. Apparently I look like him.

Antimatters

250px-Signorelli-Antichrist_and_the_devilCatching myself recently launching half-baked Facebook threads  with provocative mentions of “the Antichrist.” I’d better expand.

In traditional Christian belief, Jesus the Messiah appears in his Second Coming to earth, to face the emergence of the Antichrist figure.
[Wikipedia]

Christianity decries the Antichrist as a false prophet – the Devil’s advocate  depicted in Revelations 13 and the famous painting by Signorelli. I am not concerned here with identifying this man as Dick Cheney, the Pope, or Binyamin Netanyahu, but with something more in line with Gnostic ideas:

The only one of the late 1st/early 2nd Century Apostolic Fathers to use the term is Polycarp (ca. 69 – ca. 155) who warned the Philippians that everyone who preached false doctrine was an antichrist.[13] His use of the term Antichrist follows that of the New Testament in not identifying a single personal Antichrist, but a class of people.
[Ibid.]

But let’s rewind. In the beginning was the Word, and the word was Om. Which is not a word in the same way ‘antichrist’ is a word, but the transcription of a sound – according to the vedas, the master sound that contains all others just as white light contains all the colours of the rainbow (and beyond). Om – whose correct pronunciation moves from a to o – is the alpha and omega of Mantra.

Whereas ordinary language bundles phonemes into words and sentences, the sounds of Mantra are manifestations of ultimate reality, which is beyond (and behind) ordinary human cognition – and therefore the perennial project of human endeavour. To see it, touch it, understand it. The Tower of Babel is perhaps the most famous fable of the outcome of that endeavour. The Tower touches the heavens and God strikes it down, its builders stricken with the bewildering affliction of tongues (plural). We fall from the unified language of Mantra, the stuff of which the world is made, into the babble of ordinary tongue.

shmnc-cch-box150Mantra, like the ayahauasqero’s icaros (not to be confused with Icarus, who flew too close to the sun, though we may well admit that myth here), have creative power. They are utterable vibrations that connect directly with the stuff of the universe. Shipibo textile patterns – to name one form I am familiar with, there are many others – are maps of such vibrations. If you prefer, we can say visualisations of the sounds, but this allows the idea that the patterns are creative interpretations of the sounds, which they are not. There is a science connecting sound and pattern. Different people produce the same sounds from a particular pattern.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that the universe is made of sound. Sound is energy, which we know from Einstein to bear a linear relationship with mass, that fundamental property of the material world. Matter is thick energy, if you like. Certain sounds are harmonious, others are unsettling or enervating. Certain notes played together on a piano sound strong (yang) or mysterious (yin). Others sound dischordant. If you are struggling with the idea of the universe being made of sound, ask yourself – Why do nice chords sound nice?

Perhaps you will say that ‘nice’ is psychological, a property of the mind, which is at the end of the day explainable with recourse to neurons and neurotransmitters, the transmission of electrons along myelin molecules and so on and so forth. In that case you would also say that consciousness, though science is not yet able to do it, is also explainable as atoms and electrons – and if need arises as quarks and charms and so on.

It seems strange in this postmodern, quantum – or even post-quantum – day to find reductionism so deeply entrenched. Anything that cannot be reduced to the theories of particle physics – God, for instance –  is often met with scoffing, sarcasm, cries to wake up. Anything that cannot be reduced to particle physics is seen as delusion. Consciousness is a sort of moot point, as it is taken on faith that one day it too will be seen to be a matter of atoms and electrons. This scientific faith is seen as better than spiritual faith, because science proceeds by hypothesis and repeatable experiment.

To be sure, spirituality has taken a bashing thanks in equal measure to the rantings of generally poor, uneducated and deceived people and the rich, educated and carefully selective eye of the television camera. It is easy to go from the irrationality of burning copies of the Quran or effigies of Barack Obama to the irrationality of “everything those people stand for.” Watching scenes of chaos following publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, or the refusal of protestants in Northern Ireland to lower the Union Jack for a day, we feel compelled to knock some sense into people.

350px-Confusion_of_TonguesBut lets rewind. In the Beginning was the Word, then there was the Fall – from Eden, of the Tower of the Babel. These two are very closely related, if not one and the same. Note, by the way, the paradox already encoded in ‘In the Beginning was Om’ – in the Alpha was Omega. The Fall happened because of Identification. Adam and Eve suddenly knew who they were. Adam knew the Names of Things. The Fall from Mantra into language takes place because of Identification.

Sounds produced are no longer of the same sonic substance as the universe itself but lie at a remove. The sounds now represent or encode. They require interpretation, which, if the sounds are to constitute communication requires the kind of convention Wittgenstein called a Language Game. I can crack a joke with you. You can tell me the world is made of quarks and charms. Well. You can try, but whether or not I buy it is a matter of language games. Do I play the same ones as you?

I don’t play the Consciousness Explained game. Because consciousness cannot be explained. (What does it actually mean to explain something anyway? But that’s another article.) The big difference between esoteric thinking and reductionist-materialist thinking is this:

  • Esoteric: consciousness is itself a fundamental property, like gravity or electromagnetic forces
  • Materialist: consciousness reduces to atoms and electrons.

Just as white light contains all the colours of the rainbow, so Om contains all the sounds of the universe. So far that is a description – a language game I am inviting you to play. So far you’ll either buy it or you won’t. Hopefully, when I add that those sounds of the universe are themselves aware – yes, conscious! – the game suddenly sounds more interesting.

You see – or should that be hear – this sonic stuff of the universe I’ve been talking about transcends the dualism of consciousness (in here) and matter (out there). It’s both a huge idea, and at the same time something as familiar as music. Subjective energies – moods, emotions, feelings – correspond to such objective wave-making as the plucking of a string or the beating of a drum.

The world is not as out there as we think.
[Carlos Castaneda]

In other words, the Subjective should not be relegated to mere epiphenomena – the pretty and pretty pointless patterns created by the firing of neurons – but should be carefully considered as our prima facie reality. Of course, as everyone knows, appearances can be deceptive. Learning happens when we discover we have been deceived, and – ideally – how we have been deceived. We move on with an improved idea about the world.

The problem for those who identify with the Consciousness Explained game of quarks and charms and so on, is that quarks and charms bear no relation whatsoever to ordinary human existence. They quite literally do not enter the frame. Indeed, highly specialised apparatus and conditions are necessary in order to observe events interpreted as phenomena of these invisible elements. Atoms and electrons are useful constructs for materials scientists. The rest of us need only observe that matter is made up – to the vast proportion – of empty space.

But the deniers of astrology and numerology and spirit and god and all the rest are seldom so rational. Even Richard Dawkins, the arch-materialist, fails to make the simple conceptual shift that awareness/consciousness is not phenomenon but noumenon. There is an old fashioned English word ‘nouse’ meaning ‘wits’. The matter is emotive because there is identification. To be precise: identification with the reductiveness of consciousness. Which is identification with the lying-at-a-remove of the Fallen. Identification with the husks of Babel.

Identifying oneself with something reducible to atoms and electrons is thus to play a game in which either everything – including consciousness and God – is similarly reducible or does not exist. Recruitment into this game is the function of the Antichrist – the Devil’s Advocate who arrives to explain Creation away as atoms and electrons. According to Biblical prophecy, the Reign of the Antichrist – interpreted successively in recent times as communism, capitalism, the New World Order – is a necessary precursor to the End of the World and the Second Coming.

In other words, perhaps the deathwish of identification with the material is necessary for human beings to realise the existence of spirit.

That said, what am I doing trying to rumble the mission of the Antichrist?

 

Full Blue Moon in Pisces Aug 31 2012

Pisces being the 12th sign, this full moon – the second full moon in August, making it a blue moon – is a major signal of 3rd dimensional karmic clearing. Take time in nature, at home, wherever, to sit with it, to contact the waters of mystery within.

“The cosmic message is that we can release whatever has been holding us back, including all sense of separation from Source and each other–All Are One.  We are balancing the masculine and feminine. Women must stand in their truth and men must open their hearts. The personal dramas for many people are intense because we are finishing our third dimensional karmic lessons….” Kelly Rosano, 2012.
Setting sun on Aug 31 2012, Botanical Gardens, Kuala Lumpur

Setting sun 1700 Aug 31 2012, Botanical Gardens, Kuala Lumpur

Full Blue Moon in Pisces 23:59 Aug 31, Kuala Lumpur

Full Blue Moon in Pisces 23:59 Aug 31, Kuala Lumpur

Everything is hijacked

Avraham Burg wrote in the New York Times:

The winds of isolation and narrowness are blowing through Israel. Rude and arrogant power brokers, some of whom hold senior positions in government, exclude non-Jews from Israeli public spaces. Graffiti in the streets demonstrates their hidden dreams: a pure Israel with “no Arabs” and “no gentiles.” They do not notice what their exclusionary ideas are doing to Israel, to Judaism and to Jews in the diaspora. In the absence of a binding constitution, Israel has no real protection for its minorities or for their freedom of worship and expression. [Israel’s Fading Democracy, NYTimes, 4 Aug 2012]

A paragraph from an excellent and balanced article from “a former speaker of the Knesset, the author of “The Holocaust Is Over: We Must Rise From Its Ashes” and the chairman of Molad, the Center for Renewal of Democracy.”

I mentioned in my article on Rachel Corrie, the American activist who died protesting against expansionist bulldozing in Gaza, that everything had been hijacked – Judaism, Christianity, Islam. All of them for political purposes. All of them by agglomerations of worldly power seeking – in a way – to emulate true power, the power of Spirit/God/Divinity.

Going back to Shakespeare quote with which I began this blog, that of the three witches in Macbeth – “Fair is foul and foul is fair” – we can view the “fundamentalist coalition” [Burg] in Israel in exactly the same light as we can the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Taliban, and the would-be state envisioned by people like Tod Akin, that expert on female anatomy. And of course with states that pursue Democracy.

As said Joni Mitchell, “Language is a virus.” A few thousand years ago, in specific temporal, locative and social contexts, various Middle Easterners uttered various words. Some time later they were written down, exposing them to all the potential for manipulation, quotation out of context, interpretation and reinterpretation that tools like Facebook, Twitter and Facebook facilitate so massively today. Very long story short: everything got hijacked by those who betrayed those words – who abused their power. Which is one of the oldest, most karmically entangled tricks in the book. (#rape is another.)

All languages hark (distantly) back to something I will call Language. The various Books all contain reference to the Word, the Logos, the Command of God. As a shaman, I can say from experience that the world is made of this Language. The Mind always interprets through the senses. Shamanism contains, amongst other things, various methods for retuning that interpretation. The tuning varies, in a small sense, in every person, from day to day, from hour to hour, minute to minute. We experience the world differently according to mood etc. Shamanic methods allow a more substantial retuning. The aim of this retuning is communion with Nature, in other words, to hear the Language of which it is constructed.

The techniques are necessary – not as dogmatic obstacles to communion placed their by priestly elitism – but to circumvent, pass through, go beyond the normal envelope of the Mind, which has been hijacked by language (small L). There is an Einstein quote popular at the moment that expresses a similar idea:

You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it.

Those heavily invested in rationality find this idea challenging – rationality does not want to cede to Rationality (Language is infinitely more direct and Rational than language).

Thinking holographically – as within, so without – what we see in the various strivings out there in the world for the Sharia State, the Jewish State, the Buddhist State, the Democratic State are the grindings of illusion, the rubric of language masquerading as Language, of power masquerading as Power – if you like, as the Dark masquerading as the Light. Which is essentially the job of the Dark.

True Power cannot be used. This is what the “submission” of Islam is talking about. It is what Jesus, Moses and all the other prophets have always talked about. Bickering over language about Power has gotten us nowhere. Or rather, it has gotten us entangled in language, which is a function not of Power but of Identity. The small power of the small self.

I have a dream. I have touched it a number of times. In shamanic ceremonies, in qi gong and meditation sessions and drumming circles. Those moments when the differences of language are suddenly seen for what they are. Those moments when we see the illusions, and are no longer illuded by them. What we see instead is a bunch of Beings. A bunch of souls incarnate, fundamentally and essentially of the same stuff.

Many reading this will know exactly what I mean. Some will smile wryly at such “hippy” dreaming. Sooner rather than later, everyone will get it. It’s not that difficult. Your mind at this point will be thinking, Ok so we play drums and get all loved up and simple…then what? Ignore these thoughts. This is the static of language, of habit, of identity.

Nothing I am saying here is new, rather it is very old. What might be new is the application of this sort of language in the political sphere. Avraham Burg concludes:

When a true Israeli democracy is established, our prime minister will go to Capitol Hill and win applause from both sides of the aisle. Every time the prime minister says “peace” the world will actually believe him, and when he talks about justice and equality people will feel that these are synonyms for Judaism and Israelis.

I empathise with this dream. With one qualification. That these old words – Jew, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Israeli, American, Palestinian – will all have to go. They are the viruses of language, illusions of identity – personal and social – that we must go beyond in order to hear Language. Perhaps even speak it. And we shall. The accelerated strife of the world is due to the necessary rupturing of illusions. There are more peaceful ways to see through them, of course. At any rate, we’ll get through, and see that those old words all meant much the same thing all along.