Groucho Marx

Blog Archive – August 2007

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Zeitgeist

“ They must find it difficult ... Those who have taken authority as the truth, rather than truth as the authority. ”
Gerald Massey

August 24 2007

Wake up and smell the Zeitgeist

Someone sent me a link to this movie, the entire 1 hour and 56 minutes of which can be watched on Google or on the movie's own dedicated website. The Google stats currently stand at over 1.9 million views since its posting 2 months ago.

While the factual accuracy of many of its assertions is questionable and many of its rationalisations speculative, there's a lot of truth in its perspective and a wealth of thought-provoking information in this movie that make it well worth watching.

August 24 2007 | | | Permalink

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Chute Causeway formation, July 26 2007

Photo © Steve Alexander

Chute Causeway formation, July 26 2007

Centre point of the formation

Chute Causeway formation, July 26 2007

Swirled nest in star point

Chute Causeway formation, July 26 2007

Swirled nest in star point

Chute Causeway formation, July 26 2007

August 07 2007

Seeing stars again

The different qualities of energy we experienced in each of the 5 stars of this crop formation (see below) at Chute Causeway in Hampshire has been nipping at a corner of my mind since we came back like a small dog that wants to play. So I finally got down to working with it.

The formation was discovered on July 26, so it was quite possibly formed the night of July 25. It's interesting that July 25 was the day designated by Masaru Emoto as the day of giving love and thanks to water, and this formation as a whole is quite reminiscent of Emoto's water crystal images, as well as evoking a number of watery descriptions from us in our attempts to describe the energies we experienced in it. The majority of Emoto's water crystal images show 6-fold symmetry though, not 5 as here, so any resonance is likely to be rather more general and thematic than specific. (In the context of what follows, note that water is, of course, equated with emotion.)

The formation appeared as both Venus and the newly-discovered planet Eris were turning retrograde (relative to the Earth's motion) – Eris turned on July 18, Venus on July 27. A retrograde period is viewed astrologically as a time during which the psychological archetypes represented by the planet in question have an inward focus and call for review and reflection. 5 is a number with strong associations to both Venus and Eris. Note how all the outer stars in the formation are inward-looking – oriented such that they point in toward the centre of the formation.

Venus is associated with love, harmony and proportion, emotional processes and attitudes, and social attitudes and behaviour. But both the Aztecs and Babylonians saw the planet in dual aspect. As the morning star, Venus was regarded as benefic, but as the evening star, malefic, representing what we might now call the Jungian shadow. Interestingly, in medieval astrology the attribution was reversed. The morning star – Lucifer, the light-bringer – came to be seen as malefic and the evening star as heralding good fortune. This crop formation contains 2 pentagons; the outer, larger and darker, with the lighter inner contained within it – the two sides of the same coin? with the larger shadow as yet unseen? – and at their centre the 5-pointed star that represents both Venus's cycle (below) and the core of the apple in cross section associated with Eris, the goddess of discord.

It was Eris whose golden apple inscribed καλλίστῃ (kallistei) – "to the fairest" – precipitated a spat between the other Olympian goddesses at the wedding party of Peleus and Thetis. Paris, Prince of Troy, was appointed as adjudicator in the dispute, and all 3 goddesses attempted to bribe him to pick them. He awarded the apple to Aphrodite (= Venus) and claimed the most beautiful woman in the world – Helen, wife of Menelaus of Sparta – as his bribe, precipitating the Trojan War which was waged for 10 years, became one of the most important focal events of Greek mythology, saw the deaths of many heroes including Achilles (the son of Peleus and Thetis) and Ajax, and was eventually ended by the deceptive ruse of the Trojan Horse.

Venus goes into retrograde motion relative to the Earth infrequently and briefly – once every 18 months or so for just a little over a month at a time. Its 584-day cycle completes 5 rounds every 8 years, tracing a 5-pointed star or pentagram around the ecliptic and conforming to the ratio of the Golden Mean. This cycle was known and monitored by both the Mayans and the Babylonians. (See John Major Jenkins' work here and here.)

Venus relates to how we give value and meaning to life experience. Attempting to attribute value and meaning to a Venusian formation thus becomes a somewhat self-referential and recursive process (Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems anyone?) particularly when the geometry of the formation is itself recursive! That aside, you could either see this formation as a fractalised representation of a single 8-year Venus cycle, or a series of five 8-year cycles totalling 40 years. Perhaps on some level it may represent both.

There are other Venus resonances in this formation. The total of 225 grapeshots equals Venus's 225-day year. The key angles in the formation of 36° and multiples of 36° (72° and 108°) echo the steps of 36 days or multiples of 36 that feature in each Venus cycle. Maximum brightness occurs 36 days after the inferior conjunction; the next step, maximum elongation, occurs 36 days later; and the superior conjunction occurs 216 days (6 x 36 days) after maximum elongation. In the evening star phase, maximum elongation occurs 216 days after the superior conjunction; maximum brightness takes place 36 days following maximum elongation and 36 days more brings the inferior conjunction. (See article.)

All this appeared highly promising, but I was wondering where the energetic qualities of each star might come into the picture. While thinking of keywords to characterise the different energies, the words 'cardinal', 'mutable' and 'fixed' came into my head. Still without seeing quite where this was going, I figured it might be interesting to see if I could pin the energetic qualities down to the astrological triplicities and quadruplicites and hence to signs and their ruling planets. It was unexpectedly straightforward, though I initially had the two fire signs the other way round (coloured by our starting point in the formation – Aries = beginnings – rather than a more precise appreciation of the exact qualities of the energies). But as soon as I reversed them (the explosiveness of star 4's energy is far more Martian than solar), it was immediately apparent that the energetic signatures of each of the 5 stars in the formation exactly echoes the pattern, position and order of the signs in the pentagram formed by Venus's inferior conjunctions over this present 8-year cycle – see below.

The diagram shows the approximate orientation of the formation (within a 10° margin of error – I didn't have a compass with me). The numbers in the stars are the order in which we walked the lay (see below) and the keywords the qualities of energy experienced in each, together with astrological signs (and their ruling planets) that felt appropriate for each of them.

Crop circle at Chute Causeway

Compare this with the pattern of Venus's inferior conjunctions between 2001 and 2007.

Venus cycle of inferior conjunctions 2001-07

In the context of this pattern and Venus's current retrograde motion, it was interesting that we unknowingly started our walk of the circle in the star representing the present: the forthcoming inferior conjunction in Leo on August 18, and from there effectively walked back in time in a symbolic repeated 'rebirthing' of Venus as Lucifer, the light-bearer.

The juxtaposition of Venus and Eris – harmony and disharmony, accord and discord – and both in retrograde motion and encapsulated in the 5-fold recursive geometry of this formation, emphasise the process of internalised self-reflection and self-creation.. It's also interesting to note that the vast majoirty of the posts on the subject of this circle on the Crop Circle Connector forum are not about the circle so much as a squabble between participants. Not particularly unusual for these forums, but an appropriate resonance nevertheless, as was the initial dual posting of information on the formation in the context of the dual aspect of Venus and the connection between Venus and Eris.

It's worth reiterating perhaps the deeper meaning of Eris, since mere squabbling is a somewhat superficial understanding of the planet's energies. DIS-CORD (lit. "hearts apart") is not just about strife. Fundamentally, it's about dissimilar resonance, and relates to breaking the ties of conditioning – the customs, rules and laws that bind us societally and culturally as well as individually. It's about the challenge to think for ourselves and to REAL-ise our deeper "truer" natures (which are embedded in chaos to a far greater extent than we take them for). It's about creating the dissonances in belief systems that shake them at their foundations and wake us up to the full extent of our being and our connection to the entirety of existence. Pure Zen, and just as hilarious, just as anarchic.

With Venus loosely conjunct Saturn (= the customs, rules and laws that bind us societally and culturally as well as individually) for much of this retrograde period and trine Pluto, the planet of transformation, which is stationary over the Galactic Centre, it seems these two intensely creative feminine energies are being chanelled to similar ends. This formation appears to be a very clear heads-up to what we should be paying attention to right now.

Large number of additional images of the formation here.

Lots of articles on Venus retrograde around – just Google.

August 07 2007 | | | Permalink

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“ Living an ethical life is not a case of adhering to a set of regulations imposed on us from outside, such as the laws of a country. Rather it involves voluntarily embracing a discipline on the basis of a clear recognition of its value. In essence, living a true ethical life is living a life of self-discipline. When the Buddha said that 'we are our own master, we are our own enemy', he was telling us that our destiny lies in our own hands. ”
Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

“ This I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. ”
John Steinbeck

August 05 2007

Mirror, mirror, on the wall ...

There's something quite comically absurd – as well as horrific – about a government declaring a new law governing something it professes not to accept as 'real'. Even more so when it transcends the bounds of earthly existence. But this is what the Chinese government have just done in respect of the Buddhist traditions of Tibet.

From September 1, any of Tibet's present living incarnations of the Buddha have been denied reincarnation without government approval. “The so-called reincarnated living Buddha without government approval is illegal and invalid,” states the order.

Potala Palace

What appears to be the latest move in China's longstanding campaign to take control of Tibetan Buddhism is reported in an article – China tells living Buddhas to obtain permission before they reincarnate – in yesterday's Times.

The article makes for disturbing reading, though it has to be said that the emotive idea of the Chinese 'banning' living Buddhas from reincarnating is a distortion of the edict which simply gives the status of "illegal and invalid' to a reincarnation which the PRC don't approve of. Reincarnation can hardly be 'banned' by decree ...

The comments submitted to the article are a bit more interesting, featuring a wide range of opinion from many nationalities, including several Chinese. Some people point out that this is no more than a continuation of established tradition (from the 14th century onwards), and others in a similar vein note that the Archbishop of Canterbury has to be approved by the Prime Minister.

Predictably, several call for a boycott of Chinese goods and/or the Beijing Olympics. Many condemn China's actions, taking its government to task for bullying, invading sovereign states, 'disappearing' those opposing their agenda, stamping out ancient cultures, denying the spiritual dimensions of existence, exerting control by terrorising people, and ignoring ethics and morality in the pursuit of material wealth.

Wait a minute. Doesn't that all sound just a bit too familiar? Too right it does – the most cursory glance at the history of the West, up to and including what the US and UK are doing in Afghanistan/Iraq and to their own people right now, could hardly be a more accurate reflection of what the Chinese are up to in Asia. Any attempt to pretend otherwise is just dissembling and hypocrisy. This is not about one side being 'right' and the other 'wrong'. The moral high ground was lost to both long ago. We're all guilty. Human beings, wherever they are, have an unfortunate trait of believing that the limited view they have of the world is the only one that's valid; in fact, is the 'best' possible one, and hence one that should be held – for their own 'good' you understand – by everyone else.

Perhaps it's only when we finally take on board what religious teachings of the past several thousand years, not to mention the conclusions of science in the last century, have been trying to show us – that unity is the fundamental, eternal and indestructible substrate of limitless creative diversity, and that we ALL have a piece of the truth – will we realise that there is no need to worship uniformity or abuse each other in its name. Paradoxically, religions (whether of spirit or political/scientific ideology) will then no longer be so necessary.

August 05 2007 | | | Permalink

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Crop circle at Chute Causeway

Photo © Steve Alexander

“ There is nothing too impossible to have happened, there are only things too impossible to be believed. ”
Thomas Carlyle

August 04 2007

Seeing stars

Just back from the south of England where we had the chance to visit this magnificent crop circle.

It was discovered on July 26 close to the Roman road at Chute Causeway and we visited it on July 29. The LCD screens in the cameras behaved themselves, but the energetic impact of the circle was immediately and strongly apparent. What's more, the energy in each of the 5 main stars was different. We walked the lay, first following the outer perimeter, then the outer boundary of the inner pentagon (or inner boundary of the outermost stars), then the central part of the formation.

The lay goes clockwise. Around the outer perimeter it simply follows the outline of the formation, but around the inner boundaries of the stars the lay loops back on itself in some of the points. There are some lovely swirled nests in the points, as well as in the grapeshots.

We started in the most south-easterly star (number 1 in the picture left) and the minute we turned to walk with the lay all of us felt as if someone had pulled a rug from under our feet – it was like going down a water slide it was so intense and exciting. The inner walk on this one was similarly intense, ful of movement and impetus, invigorating.

The 2nd star was the opposite – much calmer, very relaxing, like floating into a deep pool. At this point my camera battery went into the red, though all things being equal it should have been good a while longer. The inner walk on this one was noticeably draining.

The outer perimeter of the 3rd star had a compressive heaviness which was much more disorientating. On the inner walk it was hard to quantify – a kind of no-thingness about it, profoundly disorientating, and we were really struggling to remember what we'd encountered in the previous stars so at this stage I switched on the video camera to record our impressions since we were losing it so fast. My daughter wandered off into the centre a couple of times inadvertently and the rest of us were also having difficulty concentrating on following the lay.

The outer boundary of the 4th star produced a sensation of heat which had nothing to do with the sun. When we re-entered it on the inner walk, it felt instantly and almost explosively expansive. There was a sensation of vastness and clarity.

The outer perimeter of the 5th star was light and expansive, disorientating through a sensation of floatiness rather than the compression of the 3rd. On the inner walk, it hit us with a strong thirst and my daughter by this time was complaining of a headache.

We then moved into the centre of the formation, intending to walk the outer part of the lay here, but got pulled straight into the centre very powerfully, so just went with it and sat down in a circle around it a while. My son had us all join hands and started up a mexican wave through our arms. By this time we'd been in the formation a couple of hours and a whole minibus-load plus another couple of groups were arriving. A dog with one of the groups ran straight up to us in the centre and sat with us a while before going back to his group. When we got up to go, the dog ran straight back to the centre spot and plonked itself right down on it.

Dog in crop circle

This formation seems like a "good" one to me. In fact, it's one of the most energetically powerful ones I've visited.

August 04 2007 | | | Permalink

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