Tag Archive | Vedas

Total Solar Eclipse of 9 March

Astrology total solar eclipse of 9 MarchThe immanent  total solar eclipse of 9 March at 03h58 Central African Time (01h58 GMT) occurs at 19 degrees of Pisces. We won’t get to see it in its totality this time, unless you’re in the Pacific of course, around Hawaii or Indonesia.

Those in Northern India and Nepal will potentially be exposed to a partial eclipse at sunrise on the 9th, so the temples may actually be closed for the morning worship that day. It may be better to delay cooking or eating your breakfast until after the whole eclipse experience is over in that case. Other countries who could get a partial eclipse sighting include Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Papua New Guinea, as well as Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand who will see about 50% of the Sun partially  eclipsed. Also Australia, China, Japan and Alaska who will see a less than 50% partial eclipse.

Total solar eclipse 9 March Although the eclipse will remain total for 4mins 10sec, peaking at 01h58 GMT, the phenomena actually begins for some viewers before midnight on the 8th already, and goes on until 04h30 GMT before it is completely over. So temples in Africa should definitely delay even beginning to cook breakfast until after 06h30 local time. It is considered most inauspicious to prepare our eat a meal during any eclipse phenomena.

In astronomical terms a solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partially obscuring the vision of the Sun for us on Earth. But this kind of thing happens every month so why don’t we have an eclipse every month? Well the Moon’s actual orbital path around the Earth is inclined at an angle of 5° to the Earth’s orbital plane (ecliptic) around the Sun, so the 3 bodies don’t always align exactly every month at the new moon. However, the points where the 2 orbital planes meet are called  lunar nodes and a solar eclipse can only occur when a new Moon takes place near a lunar node and the triple alignment is exact. It is a case of simple geometry and shadows, not – as described in the Vedic texts millenia ago – a demon’s disembodied head swallowing the Sun. That unfortunately is pure allegory, and to believe otherwise is a symptom of naivete and ignorance of the facts available to us today. 10 000 telescopes can’t be wrong, by which I mean that there are thousands of professional and amateur astronomers across all countries of the earth today who are able to point their telescopes at the Moon and observe directly what is going on in the sky. And so the proof is apparent to all that Rahu and Ketu – as the north and south nodes are called in the Vedas – are not even some other planetoids blocking the Sun either. That is an outdated speculation that no longer holds water in the age of the telescope. And these telescopes are huge.

The Moon is but a stones throw away for some giant observatories, of which one of the biggest in the world’s happens to be just up the road from me, in the Karoo desert, in a town called Southerland if you want to prove it to yourself. Don’t let that eclipse your faith in the ancient Vedic texts though. Science is only now coming to the same conclusions about the nature of matter and the composition of the universe that the Vedas were presenting thousands of years ago, so it is a matter of interpretation, balanced with logic when hearing the Vedic conclusions. The Vedas are alluding to transcendent truths that our earth-bound minds will never comprehend via mere sense perception and logic, and this we require their illuminating insights to reveal to us the bigger picture of reality in that sense. But as for the Moon, that is now in the domain of science and technology, since Galileo several hundred years ago already, when even he was labelled heretical by the church for his contradictory scientific observations. Observations which eventually were undeniably accurate, forcing the church to rewrite its dogma of when the earth was created and just where it lies in God’s great galaxy.

Another discovery by astronomers is that our Earth’s orbit around the Sun is not purely spherical or round but in fact elliptical, slightly stretched. So we are sometimes closer to the Sun (perihelion) and sometimes further from the Sun (aphelion) than usual. Simultaneously the Moon’s orbit around us is also elliptical and so our distance from the Sun and the Moon’s distance from Earth varies throughout the year. And as a result the Sun and Moon’s apparent sizes vary accordingly. That’s why the Moon does indeed occasionally appear bigger than usual to the naked eye. Also it is only when the Moon is closest to the Earth (lunar perigee) that it’s apparent size matches the Sun’s. And this is the only time a total solar eclipse can actually occur. So as you may have guessed, the Moon happens to be at that very point of perigee within 24 hours of the New Moon on the 9th. In the current trending vernacular this would then be known as a supermoon, although there is nothing super about it, except maybe it’s size. And of course it’s effect on the ocean tides, which will be more extreme than usual due to the increased gravitational pull. So watch out for that. And if it can affect the tides, what increased effect might it have on us? Let’s wait and see. Pisces, where the alignment occurs on the 9th, is a mutable water sign too, renowned for its increased sensitivity, emotional and psychic  receptivity as well as the ability to access greater levels of transcendence.

With Jupiter within one degree of an exact opposition to the conjuncting Sun and Moon, and thus also involved in the alignment, we can expect some degree of positive enthusiasm, as long as we don’t come across as self-righteous, and we avoid overdoing it. Indulgence and spending should be watched, and the potential positive Jupiter influence can then be harnessed for our spiritual or health benefit. Meeting the doctor, priest or teacher could be helpful as long as our own  arrogance is kept in check. There is nothing worse than an over-inflated ego to blind us to the insights that could be offered from such a beneficial meeting. So good luck with that.

Kali Yuga and the Great Ages in India – a land of paradox

India is a beautiful and rich land full of ancient wisdom, culture and brilliance. It is perhaps one of the oldest cultures on the planet that still has well-preserved records and writings from its ancient past as well as a civilization that still practices this ancient culture.

AstrologySanskrit is older than even Latin, and can arguably be seen as the actual root of Latin and the entire Indo-European civilization that accompanies it. The Sanskrit texts talk of four great ages, starting with Satya Yuga- a golden age, followed by Treta Yuga – the silver age, then Dvapara Yuga, the bronze age, and finally Kali Yuga, our current Iron age of degradation which began around 5000 years ago. A living tradition as old and wise as India’s is hard to match anywhere in the world today. Yet along with this ancient preserve goes the modern interest in reform and technology, where much of the world’s IT or digital work is outsourced to India – the new Silicon Valley of the East. Just last year the relatively new Prime minister, Narendra Modi, and his government launched an initiative called “Digital India” aimed at boosting the use of technology in rural India in order to link the remaining 1 billion people still without internet access.

Opening up her trade and economic activity to the rest of the world’s capitalist system in recent decades has indeed brought prosperity to this humble third world country. It has inevitably also brought the difficulties of the western lifestyle along with it too. Rape and alcohol abuse are on the increase, greatly impacting on the once pure and pristine lifestyle of the Indian people. Just this week, in the very home state of the Prime Minster – Gujarat, members of the village council in little known Suraj in Mehsana , the home district of Modi himself, met to discuss ways to counter the growing influence of modern problems in their village of 2000 inhabitants. There they openly acknowledged the rise of alcohol abuse as a primary concern. But in a most ironic turn of events, they also decided that just as problematic was the use of mobile phones by young unmarried females. And so they decided to ban the use of mobiles for any and all young unmarried and school-going females in the village. The use of mobiles was seen to be – like the use of liquor – “a nuisance to society” because it distracted them from their studies and carrying out their household chores. If caught owning or speaking on a mobile, the girls could be fined $30. The council even offered rewards for tip offs from informers. If that‘s not ironic then I don’t know what is. This may also come across as sexist, but the village elders are soon to extend the ban of cell phone ownership to young boys too, so it’s not just the females that are being discriminated against. In other words here you have a classic example of the inevitable clash of cultures, where the Prime Minister launches a nationwide campaign to connect everyone via mobile technology, and yet in his own home district, village elders can simultaneously see that very same technological revolution as a nuisance to village life. And can we really find fault with these village elders? Not really.

Many a parent throughout the world has seen the need to restrict their children from mobile phone infatuation, despite the fact that is connects every one of us to the entire world’s information and knowledge. Even this article is researched, written and uploaded onto the WWW with the use of a mobile phone. And yet the zombie generation is indeed a global phenomenon – kids (and sometimes parents) of all ages zoned out of their immediate surroundings and company, and zoned in to their hand held device, whether walking, dining, socializing or anything else. Dwindling are the days when one would zone out of the present company or activity in order to go within and still the mind via meditation on the divine, on the meaning of life, the nature of the self, the absolute, and thereby find peace and become a better person. Now we zone out of talking or socializing with the people closest to us in order to zone into the web, wherein lie any and all imaginable attractions and distractions. And this is just the beginning of the digital era. In years to come built-in or built on devices will outgrow the use of a hand held device altogether, as we become a blend of cyber and organic transhumans or neo humans, with Google glasses or microchip implants to keep us permanently connected, directly jacked into the WWW from our neural networks to the global network in one seamless interface. How will we ever get our chores done then?

Of course this is not the only paradoxical expression of contrasting culture clashes in India. This week also sees the ongoing riots and arson in North India – actually not far from the capital New Delhi in the state of Harayana. The age old concept of caste consciousness has become so distorted with time that it has turned to racism at its worst. The Jat, a rural class or agriculturalists, are protesting to demand a fair share in the job opportunities in government (with all its perks) as well as the right to much coveted university access. Who would have thought that in this most civilized land of Bharat, or greater India, as it was once known in previous centuries, even before partition, that one native would so discriminate against another, when any and all born in the land of Bharat are to be considered worthy of respect. Even the ruling party run by Narendra Modi has had to get involved. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had to concede and reserve by law some posts for this most discriminated against sector of society.

Unfortunately other castes now feel imposed upon, as if another’s gain is their loss. That it had to come to torching shops, burning down 10 train stations and multiple trains in order to get your voice heard and needs met, is testament to a civilization at odds with itself and disconnected from its “civilized” roots. This is of course the inevitable manifestation of Kali Yuga, the iron age of quarrel and hypocrisy. Kali Yuga is the last of the four great ages in the history of the world. Previous ages of gold and silver have come and gone, where civilization was pure and perfect. We, however, are at the tail end of a great history and so it is predicted and to be expected that humans will have short lives, be easily disturbed and manifest just such behavior, even in the glorious land of Bharat. It is but a sign of the times, so don’t lament the inevitable or curse the world or its creator, for you were warned, millennia ago.
Thousands of troops have been helicoptered in with “shoot to kill” orders, and already 10 are dead and 150 injured at the bullet of a soldier. Even the capital, New Delhi, has had its water lines saboutaged and is in a water crisis. Just picture an angry mob storming the streets brandishing swords and sickles, gutting police posts, schools and shops. What mayhem, all due to a misinterpretation of the caste system, a misinterpretation of the sacred texts and the definition of what it means to be a fellow human. What a distortion Kali Yuga has invoked. If we can’t get it right in the very land of the Vedas, then what hope is there for the rest of us in the land of the “mleccha” the savage outposts of the meat eater, who lives by the blood of other slaughtered victims? Here in South Africa we are very familiar with mob riots, looting and “shoot to kill” police orders, but TIA – this is Africa – as they say. It seems very foreign to see the same behavior in Bharat.

Still in old Bharat, though now called Pakistan, militants of the Taliban are busy blowing up more and more girls’ schools, to this day, in their abhorrence for equal education. Such gender discrimination clearly shows the tragedy of what is left of that once noble and divine culture. Hundreds of girls’ schools have already been destroyed in recent years due to the ideology of female discrimination and subjugation. Keep them dumb and they will be easier to control and exploit. That is the Taliban for you, a tribe that thinks it is using religious piety to maintain a distortion in their society. Anyone who can massacre 150 school children, as they did in Peshawar in 2014, is clearly deluded in their interpretation of life, the universe and everything, including their attempt at religion, piety or self-realization. Just last month they stormed a university and killed 21 people. Bharat, how we miss you and your golden years. Fortunately even this current “Iron Age” of Kali Yuga will also come to an end in a few millennia, and after the total annihilation of civilization on the planet a new golden age will start the cycle once again.

Jupiter Retrograde for the real philosopher’s gold

Jupiter retrogradeWhile the current Mercury retrograde may only last another week, ending on the 25th, the simultaneous annual Jupiter retrograde, which started late last week, will continue for another 4 months until 8 May. All the planets, excluding the Sun and Moon, turn to make an apparent retrograde motion through the zodiac annually, so it’s not unusual to have one or two in your birth chart, or to experience their effects on a regular basis. While the Mercury retrograde is the most well known, occurring more often, the Jupiter one may be less so, and is indeed less disruptive. Nevertheless it still has a particular emphasis or theme from which we can benefit.

Since Jupiter traditionally represents higher learning or tertiary education, as well as philosophical or religious inclinations, law, overseas travel or broadened horizons, we can say for certain that the quest for knowledge, truth and meaning may be equally present during the retrograde phase but it will only really satisfy when turned inward. Answers and meaning may more readily appeal when one looks inside for the existential answers to the questions of life, the universe and everything. Jupiter in the horoscope points to the quality of one’s faith, and despite the external foundations of faith that we may have, like religious or philosophical texts, leaders and guides, our faith may require at this time some degree of inner validation or confirmation. Real upliftment or spiritual inspiration may need to come from within, or from one’s own inner realizations during times of private contemplation or meditation. Of course these internal conclusions may well concur with external sources, and usually they do, lest we end up basing our truth on pure speculation or concoction, but they will need to feel as if they came from ourselves, that they were our personal realization or it was our choice to conclude thus. Generally there are three basic sources of truth or philosophical perspective on reality, namely valid texts (book Bhagavat), qualified gurus or teachers (person Bhagavat) or finally the guru in the heart (Supersoul or Chaitya guru). The first two are the usual sources from which we gain insights, while the third source, although available to one and all, is much more difficult to access by the average seeker. Not many of us have the training or purity of heart to be able to simply sit in meditation and expect to hear the voice of the Supersoul, the guru in the heart, speak to us or answer our questions. Neale Donald Walsh may have had his “Conversations with God”, and the Hicks couple may be able to hear and channel the guidance of “Abraham”, but these insights, although often quite meaningful cannot be seen as anything close to revelations from the Source. They and numerous other “channellings” can, at best, be seen as the inspired words of the speakers themselves. To think otherwise is to tread the delicate path of mental speculation, not a safe technique when contemplating the profound absolutes or great perennial questions of life and eschatology. To be qualified to actually hear the voice of the Supersoul requires a level of meditation that may take years to perfect, if not lifetimes. Yet still many propound to be hearing the voice of God telling them to buy this lotto ticket or harm that person or culture. These are the delusions of the mind that can bewilder the naïve or ego-inflated seeker who feels that he or she is qualified to have a direct line of communication to the Source. In every religion, academic institution of place of learning there will be those who feel as if they are God’s chosen representatives, the chosen ones who have the inside track on truth. Usually these people are either megalomaniacs or charlatans ripping you off by soliciting your donations in the name of God. So when we say that one may need to look within to find meaning and answers during the retrograde phase of Jupiter, the implication is that truth is absolute, so it is not going to change much whether coming from a text, a teacher or within. Truth is not relative. It does not change with time, place or circumstance. So if we are receiving insights or guidance from within, the proof of its validity is that it will concur with what has been presented as truth for time immemorial, as well as with what previous masters have presented over the millennia.

It is totally understandable why some seekers today are so wary of ancient texts and teachers, considering the tampering of translations, the personal agendas of teachers or the political motives of institutions, as well as the historical redundancy that may appear in some texts in relation to our current time in history. Certainly hijackers have been around throughout history who have distorted the message to fit their personal agenda. Nevertheless there are still valid ancient texts in their original languages, like Sanskrit or Aramaic, that discuss profound abstract concepts of origins and identity which can still be found and investigated. And the historical lives and commentaries of certain saints in history are also still available to cross reference and apply to our lives today. After all humans today are non different from those thousands of years ago. We are still being born from the womb, growing, producing by-products, getting old, sick and dying. And most of these transitions are still part of the generally hard and painful struggle for existence. Our origins are the same as ever, the fundamentals are the same, only the frills have changed, the externals. So we may appear to have advanced as a species over the past several thousand years, but since there are limited records of previous ages, who can actually say that we are better off now that during the previous Vedic ages before Kali Yuga, for example? We may have gained the ability to stave off certain diseases, but have we stopped death? We may have evolved a refined economic system but have we ended poverty, corruption and inequality? We may even appear to have an advanced judicial or political system, but have we ended despotism, tyranny or crime? Indeed the human race is as savage as ever, apparently even more so compared to the golden age of old. The polished externals mean little when the fundamentals are the same as ever, and good and evil are as evident as ever in our dog-eat-dog existence.

So during Jupiter’s retrograde period of four months now, the focus should ideally turn to inner growth, a purification of heart, a change of perception that results in a better human being, a restoration of faith. The external growth or expansion usually connected to Jupiter will mean little and will not be quite as satisfying to the heart now. What is the use of so much shallow external profit if the soul is tainted by the very technique of acquisition and expansion. Our support for exploitative corporations needs to be reviewed. Never can we expect to feel ourselves to be living a life of meaning and value when our actions of acquisition are blatantly exploiting or causing suffering to another person, creature or ultimately the planet. External expansion based on exploitation only leads to moral degradation and a withering of the inner level of value, of your true value as a human being. So take this opportunity to look within, evaluate your behaviour, commitments and beliefs, as well as your investments of time and money, and honestly appraise yourself to see whether you are really enriching your life on a soul level, on a moral level, or merely padding your chariot as it drifts toward the gutters of history.

Mercury conjunct Pluto as secrets are revealed

Mercury conjunct PlutoMercury, the closest planet to the Sun will be exactly conjunct or aligned with Pluto, the furthest planet from the Sun this weekend, visible as the evening star following the Sun on the western horizon just after sunset. In astrological symbolism this is a powerful time, where Mercury – the winged messenger and archetype of communication and clear thinking, aligns with Pluto – lord of the underworld and all that is hidden, secret or taboo. In other words this is the time for in depth research, and more particularly for the investigative mind to discover hidden secrets or to get to the bottom of the issue. The resourceful mind, combined with intensified willpower, should enable any detective or truth seeker to penetrate the mysteries and discover what is really going on around here. For truth is more important than comfort at this time, and so illusions can be dispelled for a change this weekend. Great for those who want to understand reality as it is, perhaps disconcerting for those who are trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the masses for their own selfish interests, or those who derive power over others by keeping them in ignorance and illusion. This is the aspect of the master of the occult (meaning “hidden”) – the sage who knows the underlying shakti that powers the universe and how to harness it, particularly via words and mantras.

For example one secret that needs to be revealed now, since it is the season of Christmas, is the fact that many of the religious myths and legends that make up the stories and pastimes of our various cultures are actually hidden astronomical references hiding in plain sight so as to be communicable through countless millennia to those with eyes to see, while at the same time not being lost during times of less consciousness or understanding. The pastime of Jesus, the Son of God, being born on December 25th alludes to the actual Sun and reveals that fact that Christianity is nothing more than a modernised covered version of the ancient “pagan” Sun worship. In the northern hemisphere the winter solstice of December 21st marks the day when the Sun is at its most extreme position in the sky due to the tilt of the planet, to bring about the shortest day, the longest night, and consequently the coldest, darkest time of mid-winter. From the 21st to the 24th, for three days, the Sun remains in that position in the sky, providing the least amount of sunlight to the north. Then on the 25th it slowly begins its ascent towards longer daylight, by a few minutes each day. Thus the day actually marks in astronomical terms the turning point where the Sun begins to increase again, a point designated by priests via religious allegory as the “Birth of the Son”. It’s as simple as that. And in a snow swept northern winter climate, the return of the Sun is a lifesaver and a Godsend, and the date is most significant. In this way, by investigative research we discover the secret truth that we are all – and have always been – Sun worshippers. Such revelations may bewilder some, may shake their faith, test the foundations of their myth – the illusion they call their reality, but there it is. Even in the Vedic culture we worship the Sun. Part of the secret mantras given to the newly initiated brahmana by the guru include those worshipping Surya, the Sun, although that is a secret mantra so don’t tell anyone. And it is recited three times a day, at sunrise, noon and sunset. Catholic Priests of old in the Middle Ages were the only ones allowed to study Latin, the hidden language, and thus the rest of the plebs were kept in the dark about the actual words of their own sacred texts. Similarly in ancient Vedic culture, there were times when the brahmanas would be the only ones able to access the Sanskrit texts, and they too abused their position of power over the other castes, a legacy that lingers to this day, where brahmanas in certain parts of India openly practice racism against their own people in the form of caste segregation and abuse, a symptom of the severely ignorant mindset of one who has not comprehended the actual purport of their own scripture, Bhagavad Gita, which says that it is by “guna” and “karma” – qualities and actions – not by birth, that one recognises a true brahmana.

So the truth is not always as it initially seems, and when the window of opportunity arises this weekend we should use it to enlighten ourselves to the underlying message behind the myth. Another astronomical reference hiding in allegory is that of the Vedic astrologer’s reference to two planets called Rahu and Ketu. Even in the Bhagavat Purana the pastime of the demon Rahu and Ketu appears, where he sneaks in amongst the demigods to also get a sip of the nectar of immortality, but as he takes a sip, he is recognised and immediately his head is decapitated. However because he had already sipped the nectar of immortality, his head remained alive, although the body perished. So in Jyotish or Vedic astrology Rahu and Ketu are described to be either planets, or even the head of the demon that still swallows the Sun or Moon during the regular eclipses we experience annually. Now the truth is that there is no head in the sky eating the Sun only to have it reappear out of his severed neck. Nor is there actually a planet in the sky called Rahu or Ketu, for in fact those two positions, called the north and south nodes, are the exact measurable points on the plane of the ecliptic, or planetary rotational path, where the shadows of the Sun, Moon and earth intersect to cause what we know as an eclipse. In other words, even Bhagavat Purana is using allegory and myth to present astronomical truths so that they can be preserved in the mind of the less educated over thousands of years without being lost to the actual discerning reader. These are the types of secrets that can be discovered now to any who wishes to know what is really going on. Some need to take their parables literally, and so be it. Call me a blasphemer if you like, but show me where my evidence is wrong and I will be open to correction. And be ready for further bombshells to rock your world this weekend.

New Moon in Sagittarius, what happened to my Guru?

New moon in sagittariusToday’s New Moon occurs as the Moon aligns with the Sun in the fire sign of Sagittarius. The ruling planet of Sagittarius, Jupiter, is known in Jyotish or Vedic astrology as Guru, and Jupiter is currently making a square or 90 degree alignment to the New Moon luminaries today. In other words philosophical debates, particularly around the subject of religion, God and guru make take prominence in the minds of those so inclined. Internet publications – also inspired by this new Moon in Sagittarius – from across the global village, focus on the role or God or guru in today’s world. With the challenging square aspect from Jupiter – Planet Guru – questions and challenges arise as to the validity, authenticity and pertinence of these Godmen and their Gods, so adored by some and vilified by others.

With Chiron, the recently incorporated asteroid of the zodiac, making an opposition to Jupiter, and thus completing a square aspect to the New Moon, in a mutable T-square, it seems the guru of today has been wounded, is suffering from quite some level of disrepute and in need of healing. Of course, even Nigella Lawson, the famous chef, is the guru of chocolate cake and all other such sweet treats, but even she is been critiqued for her stance against modern eating trends like “gluten-free” and “lactose-free”, saying that these overly particular diets are taking the subject too far. But then a cake guru would say something like that. Everyone has a guru of some sort in whatever field they engage; the term has simply been adopted into mainstream jargon to describe an expert in any field who may be worth emulating. Certainly you can’t have your cake and eat it. Or you can’t please everyone. Different cakes involve different stakes, and some have their health at stake.

Some gurus will turn out to be fake, especially the Godman type, who proclaim themselves to be an avatar of God, a Pope or Messiah meant to be the transcendental via-medium to the Source, if not the Source itself. And at this New Moon we may be obliged to reflect on our philosophical stance to life, our judgement call on what is right and true. And that stance is often one that we learn from the guru in that very field, someone who has propounded the way, and who seems to ring true to us in their version of reality. So be prepared to inspect your sacred cows at this time and check them for discrepancies, for sometimes the herd needs purifying, particularly if bugs infiltrate and poison the lot. It only takes one bent Bishop, one sacrilegious Swami, to ruin the entire reputation of the system involved, and indeed there have been numerous of those already. Some of us may then throw the entire lot out, dump the very cause that was once the foundation of our philosophical outlook on life, the universe and everything, perhaps leaving a vacuum that goes unnoticed, but somehow leaves us the weaker for it structurally.

This is where times like these can become moments of inspiration too though. For when the disciple is ready, the guru will appear. When the cup has been emptied, the space awaits a new fulfilment. Use this New Moon opportunity to look within as well as without and test those who preach the way by looking at the symptoms of their actions and words. Spend the next lunar cycle cultivating a critical eye (Jupiter now in Virgo) as to the right guide in the important fields of your life, whether health and healing, or the science of consciousness, and heal the jaded edges left by previous amputations, thus planting new seeds of inspirational role models to blossom in the heart’s core, or mind’s eye. One good soul can launch a thousand web pages of insight for those with the ears to hear.