Tag Archive | Bhagavad gita

Mercury conjunct Venus in Leo – the Lion that purred

Now although small and fleeting, this weekend’s conjunction of Mercury, the planet of communication with Venus, the planet of love in fiery, creative Leo signifies a few days of healthy heartfelt emotions which can be expressed in word, song, dance and art.

Mercury conjunct Venus

Radha and Krishna in Divine Love

With the Sun and the lunar waxing fortnight still emphasizing the Cancer theme of family, ancestral roots and perhaps early home life, one may be able to wax lyrical about the green green grass of home, always looking greener and more legal on the other side of the border fence. Thoughts of belonging, finding or remembering a place to called home – spiritually or materially – may inspire us to connect with family or tribe once more.

These themes remind me of my childhood school anthem…

“On the sunny shores of Africa, beneath the lion bold

where rollers raced and raged and roared as they’ve done from days of old.

There stands a school not old in years or famed in verse or song,

But in sport and pluck on Flanders fields it holds tradition strong…”

This is of course a school in Cape Town, the Mother City, and ironically it mentions our theme of verse and song, associated with this weekend’s Mercury Venus conjunction, as well as the bold Leo archetype, and also curiously the world wars of the twentieth century, fought in Flanders, Europe. Similarly we may all be inclined to remember our roots, our motherland, and its Songs of Innocence or Experience (like artist and poet William Blake). But home is where the heart is, as they say, and this is just the time to look within our hearts to find our true sense of belonging.

And it is within the core of the heart, according to the ancient Vedanta texts, that we find our true self, the “Atma” along with the Supersoul or “Paramatma”. Soul and Supersoul, Self and Higher Self are to be found deep within. That is the true foundation or root or ground of being for us all. That is our true ancestral root, place of belonging and source of love and bliss hinted at by romantic poets, Sufis and Bhaktas. We may yearn to find a material land or nation to shelter us, we may even be under the influence of ancestral DNA coursing through our veins, calling us or compelling us toward some geographical homeland, some place of shelter in the material storm, now that the war clouds appear on the horizon. Flanders fields are still soaked red with the blood of soldiers slain protecting the homeland, and as we speak those same fields of Europe are being soaked by the blood of innocents in the new version of an old war being fought amongst those who are unable to find their roots, find any shelter or place to call home, who have forgotten that they already carry within themselves their original home, a land not of this earth, a church not made with stone.

Are we not all refugees from our original home? Strangers in a strange land? Indeed, ultimately we are all (as poet and singer David Bowie described) “the man who fell to earth”. In Bhagavad Gita chapter 15:1 it says “There is a banyan tree which has its roots upward and its branches down and whose leaves are the Vedic hymns.” At the end of the day, at the time of death, the time of endings (like origins, roots and foundation, also associated with the Cancer theme and fourth house of the horoscope) we are spirit, not of this world, and it is in the spiritual world that we find our eternal home, roots and belonging. “Aham brahmasmi” meaning “I am spirit” is a foundational Vedic aphorism, the ABC of consciousness and the real root of the matter when it comes to belonging, home and origins. Therefore one who has looked within, who has searched the heart, who has realized her true identity, who is self-realized, is at home anywhere. Even if the material world and body hangs heavy like a sodden coat, dragging us down in fear for our very survival, finds us scrambling for shelter or a crust of bread to keep body and soul together, ultimately the only separation from home and belonging is in the mind. We are already there, have always been and always will be. Also simultaneously no place in the material world is able to protect one from the misconceptions of the mind and senses, the misidentification with matter.

Of course not all are that self-realized, and many are sorely suffering the slings and arrows of fate or karma or destiny as it unfolds in this sometimes harsh and apparently dangerous material world. And we can never undermine or devalue their experience of the real or their struggle for shelter from those less merciful to their fellow earthlings. And it is in the poetry and verse of the Vedas and other ancient writings that we can find solace, be reminded of a higher love and an eternal sense of belonging at times like these. Give a man his daily bread and you feed him for a day; but give him the words of the eternal and you sustain him forever and wherever.

I intended this article to be on the Mercury Venus conjunction in heartfelt Leo this weekend and the opportunities for reconciliation, words of love to woo the beloved or fine art and song (and all of those are certainly available) but somehow that seemed secondary to the real issues, of getting to the root of the matter, of true love and true belonging, shelter and protection for the true self. Obviously the whole package is important, for we are currently both body and spirit, and a balance of heaven and earth can be found within the heart and hearth of one and all, if one cares to look within. Otherwise look to the poetry of the Vedas, described even by that great American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson as a literature in which he daily bathed his intellect.

Source: https://julescape.wordpress.com/2016/07/15/mercury-conjunct-venus-in-leo-the-lion-that-purred/

Saturn square Neptune in the winter of our discontent

It may only be winter in the southern hemisphere, but it may as well be across the entire planet this season, as hard reality bites into the dreams of glory for all of us.

Saturn square NeptuneThe square alignment between the slower outer planets Saturn and Neptune became exact in mid June, gradually separating to a maximum of only 1.5 degrees by mid August, and then, due to Saturn’s going stationary and then direct in that month, slowly narrows the gap until they align exactly yet again on September 11. This all occurs (in the tropical zodiac) between 10 and 12 degrees of the mutable signs Sagittarius and Pisces respectively for Saturn and Neptune. So throughout this period from June to September we can consider this square alignment to be active.

Two more contrary planets you will not find in the myths and symbolism of astrology. Saturn symbolises the hard reality and limitations of the material, while Neptune is associated with the mystical, ideal, visionary and abstract. When they align in a challenging 90 degree angle like this we see the symbolic struggle to ground or realize the dream. It symbolises confusion about what one really wants, frustration in co-ordinating efforts. Or just at the time one is about to realise one’s goals, circumstances – or one’s own insecurities – pulls the rug out from under one’s feet. This is traditionally the dilemma of the self-defeatist, like Arjuna the mighty warrior on the battlefield of Kurukshetra in the sacred Sanskrit Vedic text of Bhagavad Gita. Although fully competent to do battle, he wavers at the last minute due to confusion as to what is right and wrong, what is moral or not, and almost walks away from the fight in surrender, until Krishna, his friend and advisor instructs him on the value of the transcendent view of reality – a paradox if ever there was one. That is Saturn challenging Neptune for you. How to understand the immanent in the transcendent, spirit in matter, the abstract ideal in the world of apparent limitation and imperfection.

The self-defeatist is one who has lost the battle before even starting, and this is the danger symbolised by the current alignment this season. Confidence is sorely tested and uncertainty abounds. Faith is shaken by unexpected circumstances. This is when it is wise to simplify our everyday lives in order to avoid complications. When we begin to question our very goals and ambitions for ourselves, when we feel as if we may be unworthy or unqualified, or that the universe is not constructed to allow us such goals, then disappointment, discouragement and pessimism are the likely outcomes. However, these may all be illusory or even worse, self-fulfilling prophecies, where the mind of the self-defeatist becomes his or her own worst enemy. The solution is to not take yourself too seriously at this time, to keep it simple, and refrain from any major decision-making or changes if at all possible.

Another manifestation of the Saturn – Neptune square is illness, either a psychological caving in, or a physical difficulty, and the fear of loss of control that follows. More precisely Neptune is associated with poisons, drugs or pollution, and if we look at global affairs during this season, the Rio Olympics is a perfect example, with the risk of disease affecting the entire event. Athletes from all over the world now fear attending the Olympics due to the chance that they may catch the Zika Virus or due to the unacceptable levels of pollution in the Rio waters that could easily contaminate any visitor. Another challenge is the doping scandal amongst some athletes who are now being banned from competing. The problem is that an entire nation of Russia is being banned even though only a few of their athletes were found guilty. In both these incidences – disease and doping – we see the dreams of sportsmen and women who have sacrificed so much to attain this lifelong dream of making it to the Olympics, being systematically dashed in true Saturn square Neptune style. They are defeated before they even begin. Some simply refuse to attend out of fear over contagion, while others are unjustly deprived. The classic challenge of dreams and ideals versus hard reality of strict standards and laws. Even if those laws seem unfairly politically motivated. The sacrifice of one’s dreams due to realities of the world should be avoided now as much as possible. The challenge now is to make our dream a reality, so keep the faith comrades.

Another global event symbolising the Saturn – Neptune square is the Brexit vote. Saturn symbolises borders and boundaries, while Neptune is the opposite of all-inclusiveness or the dissolving of boundaries. Here the vote was cast and the borders and boundaries of Britain were once again firmly constructed as the inclusion in the EU came to a jolting end, thus challenging the foundation of the EU as a valid entity, testing their raison d’etre, their confidence and the confidence of the economy. The square alignment of these two planets is also associated with a weak or absent father or leader figure, and both Cameron, prime minister of UK, as well as Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party have been seen to be weak leaders whose leadership has been challenged. Curiously Cameron will resign in September, the very month that the square alignment becomes exact yet again. The leader or father figure (symbolised by Saturn) is being challenged (square aspect) as weak or is being lost due to the shake-up (Neptune). So much confusion, uncertainty and crisis of faith is being felt throughout the world now as a result of this simple Brexit referendum vote and the economic and political implications that will occur now during this alignment and beyond. Now Scotland, Ireland and others are all questioning their identity and allegiance to either UK or EU and this identity crisis will possibly rock the world still further in the coming months.

I wonder what the upcoming elections in South Africa on 3 August will manifest, falling on the day that the Sun trines Saturn as it squares Neptune? Already political killings are occurring, much like the assassination of British MP Toni Cox recently, just before the Brexit vote, by a fanatical nationalist. Here the ANC leadership is in crisis mode with internal factionalism, what to speak of opposition attack. The raison d’etre of the revolutionary liberation party is being questioned, with its leader President Zuma under severe crisis as weak and corrupt, with his over 700 criminal charges being reinstated now. Another manifestation of this aspect is guilt, which comes from the word “geld” which means to pay. Curiously one of the political parties campaigning for the August elections in RSA has been disqualified simply because they did not pay their entry fee in time. They confused the date of submission. In other words one can become easily confused about the hard realities of the law when Neptune in Pisces squares Saturn in Sagittarius. Also President Zuma has to pay back the money, well at least R7 million of it, used to upgrade his private home. Payback time is here for those who have tried to blur the boundaries to suit their selfish interests. As with Brazil and UK, South Africa’s leader is being ousted and we find ourselves in the classic Saturn square Neptune scenario of a people with a weak or missing father or leader figure. Even Lesotho, a country wholly surrounded by South Africa, is in crisis with a questionable leadership, and is having an existential crisis of faith, debating whether it should simply join South Africa as a new province. Thus all over the world the boundaries and borders are being dissolved or redrawn across the map under these winds of change.

Guilt, however, should be avoided in our personal lives during this alignment, for often it is exaggerated. It may stem from feeling as if you are guilty of a debt and must continually make reparation or pay some sort of penance to God or Guru. If you feel the debt to the spiritual master must be repaid, then the route indicated at this time of Saturn – Neptune square is renunciation, without being too much of a martyr of course. This aspect is the archetype of the ascetic, monk or hermit, all noble callings for those who have realized the purports of the Vedic or Buddhist teachings. Practically (since not all of us are ascetics) one can simplify, cut out the superfluous and discipline oneself now in order to make concrete some higher ideal or vision. Selfless service is also recommended, which reminds us of the importance of compassion in a seemingly heartless world. Pay it forward and you are the beneficiary of a bigger heart. Remember that this alignment is exact again on the anniversary of 9/11, an event which has forced us all to keep an open heart and never become closed to the other who is merely a mirror of our self.

Source: https://julescape.wordpress.com/2016/06/29/saturn-square-neptune-in-the-winter-of-our-discontent/

Mars trine Neptune to comprehend the meaning of compassion

Mars trine NeptuneThe current favourable alignment between Mars and Neptune is the classic arrangement needed to facilitate the imagination and intuition. It should allow us to become more sensitive to the feelings, moods and needs of those around us. As a result the urge to assist those in need can arise now. Whether it is the needs of our partners, the needs of our immediate circle, or the needs of society as a whole, this is the moment when we can become sensitive to the what is required to really satisfy the soul. Compassion and understanding can arise at this time, when it is sorely needed on so many levels.

The symptoms of the Buddha or Bodhisattva are compassion for all the living entities, to such a degree that even the opportunity to take the door to liberation from repeated birth and death is foregone until all the other suffering living entities can also exit through the same door together. One may easily become sensitive to the needs of our partner in a close personal relationship, where our moods and feelings are interconnected, and their feelings affect ours directly. It may also be easier to satisfy the needs of the partner, where the input and exchange can be reciprocal and one can make adjustments so that both are contributing equally on all levels to make each other feel loved and appreciated. However it is not always as easy to consider our extended community in our sphere of influence, even though they may be in our sphere of concern. Still, we can always do what is required to aid in the plight of our neighbours. Even when those neighbours may be refugees from a foreign country, struggling with oppression, war or drought. Many are being tested and required to rise to the occasion of opening their borders and homes to countless souls fleeing immanent death and destruction by coming to our land for shelter. Across the globe, from north to south, people are leaving behind all that they have, to escape to the unknown with nothing but their will to survive. Mercifully those in power are allowing them in through the borders to find shelter, somehow or the other. Others even lend a hand, extending themselves to feed and shelter the refugees. But some remain heard-hearted to the obvious suffering of the victims, unable to make the connection between themselves and any other human as one family. Even less present is the ability to see all living entities as worthy of compassion, worthy of respect and a right to life. What then are the chances of them seeing the world through the eyes of a bodhisattva or a brahmana?

There is a verse in the ancient sacred text Bhagavad Gita which describes how a learned and gentle brahmana sees with equal vision a cow, a dog, and a dog-eater. And that is the requirement – equal vision. Not prejudiced vision. That is the symptom of one whose vision has been broadened to see the bigger picture, to see the value of all life, what to speak of the lesser animals. After all, some may squirm at the thought of eating their pet dog, but will happily eat a baby lamb. That is a lack of vision. An inability to connect the dots. A failure of logic. Such a disconnect in our perception of reality is due to poor education, for in Bhagavad Gita the brahmana is described as “learned”. Basically in our world we don’t have to look too far to see a need for compassion. We don’t even have to consider the refugee plight, which may be on the other side of the planet. We only have to look in our own back yards to see symptoms of abuse of life based on lack of knowledge. We only have to look in our own refrigerators to see how far our compassion extends. As for those who eat dogs – and they are close to the biggest population group on the planet – compassion seems to be a foreign concept for them, as we see by their murder of innocent Buddhist monks, destruction of ancient temples and devastation of entire cultures or civilizations – The Tibetans. Ironically the very propounders of compassion are being obliterated by their dog-eating neighbours.

People with Mars trine Neptune in their horoscopes include Che Guevara, the South American political activist and revolutionary freedom fighter, who gave his life fighting for the freedom of the oppressed. Similarly we can reflect on the sacrifice required to show true compassion for the suffering masses, the victims of oppression. Some may take to becoming a therapist or healer, attending to the suffering minds and bodies of others. Some may become activists, fighting for the plight of the vulnerable people in their society. On a global level though, we need those who can champion the cause of the entire civilization on planet earth who are enslaved souls bound by the shackles of illusion, oppressed by those rulers and tyrants who should actually be protecting us. Fortunately the solution is at hand, for Mars trine Neptune also facilitates putting our energy into consciousness upliftment. And it is by raising our consciousness that we actually come to see things as they are, to obtain equal vision. One of the ways to liberate ourselves from our own oppressive mind, which is under the entrapment of illusion, is through transcending the mind via mantra meditation. And perfectly suited to Mars trine Neptune is the technique of dance. So today, by harnessing both mantra meditation and dance, my friends and I are holding a mantra dance session this evening. It is an ancient practice of drum and dance, trance dance, “sankirtan”, where the body, mind, and words are all engaged in the meditation of dancing and chanting the sacred sounds or holy names, in this way purifying the consciousness, enabling it to see through the illusion and awaken equal vision, purified consciousness and ultimately compassion for the suffering of all who have fallen under the spell of illusion and are trapped in the material body in this lifetime. These are all perfect Mars trine Neptune themes of the day, so apply them according to your ability, need and level of realization this weekend and see the difference.