June, 2008

 

Mythic Prelude:

 

Sleeping Up

 

Hail, and welcome to the 10th anniversary issue of the Universal Festival Calendar. That's right, folks. This month, today on June 1, it's been ten years since the UFC first appeared as an e-mail newsletter in July, 1998, and made its first effort to help time global meditations and ceremonies in ways that would be more consciously aligned with the life cycle of Mother Earth, and the rhythms of our solar system and even our galaxy. Others must have seen too, ten years ago, that there was a need for this kind of information, as so many teachings and valuable spiritual events were being scheduled with little sense of synchrony with Heaven and Earth, even at times that were least likely to favor them. Today, as we look at what seems at times to be a tsunami of trouble rising high this year and ready to roll in the years to come, it is heartening to look at that path we've traveled since 1998.
Ten years ago, the only people who were holding grand celebrations of Father Sun, Mother Earth and Sister Moon at the solstices and equinoxes were Druid and Wiccan communities, fire circle groups like the Hawaii Fire Tribe and various others who are often called "neo-pagans" because we still don't have the right word yet for all those people, millions more of them every year, who celebrate Earth's beauty and abundance, honor the sacred feminine, revere the sanctity of all life, and seek to build sustainable communities in a spirit of love, freedom and peace. Now people all over the world are linked at the great Sun festivals in worldwide events like the Global Harmonization ceremonies that Circle of Sound began to organize eight years ago, and which continue this month with hundreds of groups in dozens of countries all playing together at the Summer Solstice on June 20 - 21. Full Moon rites will be held all over the world at the astrally-charged Full Moon of June 18, and every year more and more people live by the timing of the Moon.
Ten years ago, Barbara Wolf was just beginning to publish her Global Meditations e-mail newsletter, and Michael Lightweaver's new Planetary Awakening Network had only a few dozen members. The Global Consciousness Project at Princeton University was about to begin, using its worldwide network of random frequency generators to measure spikes and currents of emotional energy -- in the same way a seismograph measures physical tremors -- in order to gauge the collective human response to Earth-shaking events. Everyone knows, or can imagine, how the needles all hit the red zone on Sept. 11, 2001. What is not so well known, but far more important to us, is that the same thing happened on Nov. 8 - 9, 2003 at the Harmonic Concordance coordinated by sound healing pioneer Jonathan Goldman, World Puja and many others. This experiment proved that fear, shock and grief are not the only things that will get everybody's attention all at once. The intention of universal love will do it too, if it is held strongly by enough people, and anchored with frequencies of sound.
It would take a book, not just a page like this one, to list and acknowledge all the projects and people who have contributed so lovingly, and still do so now, to the goal of helping to cohere and charge us at a time when the planet and all sentient beings need the unifying effects of our inclusive vision and our heart force. If you are reading this page, you do not just know who some of these people are. You are one of them, and among the exciting rides that we will share in the years to come will be the delightful discoveries that there are many more of us than we'd thought, that we find each other in the unlikeliest places, and that as the Spider Woman weaves us together in her web, we find that we can brave, and help others get through too, what used to look unendurable. So when someone asks you in the years just ahead, and they will, "How much worse can it get?" -- one plausible answer is, "Imagine how much worse it would already be if you and others like you were not acting in love and service to help us get through it."
Who can tell where and what we'll be 10 years from now, in 2018, if indeed there is any such thing as 2018 after what many people anticipate as the "End of Time" in 2012. In 2018, if any, I'll be 73, whatever that means, the same age that the brilliant mensch Sidney Pollack reached before he passed away a few days ago. One thing everyone seems to say about him is that he was not a profound innovator who cut new trails and revolutionized the art and marketplace of film, but he helped a number of talented people to shine, and used them to tell stories that opened the eyes and touched the hearts of many. In his humble, generous craftsmanship, he may prove to be one of the patron deities of our time. We can use many more like him.
So now, in 2008, when a milestone like the 120th issue of the UFC comes, one naturally wants to mark it with an uncommon effort, even to celebrate it with a spectacular display like the 100th chapter that Tom Robbins uncorked in Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. Will this page contain anything nearly that good? Don't bet your car on it unless you drain the gas out first. All we know right now is that somehow we must address here, as we do on all these prelude pages, the main question that has always been central to this site: How do we bring about the awakening in ourselves, and contribute as we can to the opportunity for planet-wide awakening that opens before us in the years from now through 2012?
By shifting our focus, naturally, on this contrarian planet, from waking up to sleeping up. Who ever heard of such a thing? Whenever we add up to a verb in English -- as in top up, catch up, fix up, finish up, make up, polish up -- it normally suggests that we are bringing something to doneness and completion, to do as much as we can or should do with it. Or we mean that we've hit the max of productivity, as Henry Ford's engineers meant when they invented the expression speed up to estimate the average time that their line workers would need to assemble all those magnetos, cylinders and everything else into a finished Model T. Even when the nuance of an up verb is "negative" -- as in mess up, ballocks up or foul up -- it still carries a flavor of thoroughness, to convey how we have now screwed things up to a perfect point of weirdness and confusion, and have even achieved the art of high farce.
How can this apply to the "action" of sleep, which most of us think of as a state in which we are apparently doing nothing, much less doing anything up? It helps if we understand sleep as an essential phase of rest and recharge that the organism or mechanism must do, and do well, to succeed over the long haul with the tasks it does when it's awake. But sleep is not just a kind of fuel tank or battery for our waking actions. It's something to be done for itself, with a certain attentiveness and skill, even a languor and playful luxury. Yes, this take on sleep looks counterintuitive at a time when difficult, fluid conditions seem to require that we work harder, even sacrifice sleep altogether, so we can carry our roles responsibly when so many others around us are stuck and uncertain. They need us to be more awake and "on," not to be sleeping as effectively as we can. Yet in each month that passes now, many of us begin to sense more than we did before how the rhythm of the time, and the energetic changes in Mother Earth and the whole cosmos, are manifesting in sleeplessness that goes for days on end, and in an unfightable, irresistible craving for sleep, both of which seem to come at the worst possible time, and to overstay their welcome in ways that can make a parasite look like a philanthropist.
You've probably been through this within the last year or so, or you may be going through it now. Much has been written about it, even before Karen Bishop, in her invaluable What's Up on Planet Earth? series, had this to say in November, 2006: "When we are undergoing these massive shifts, we can also experience many nights of staying awake. This is very typical of ascension. There is so much going on at higher levels, that we need to be here in our bodies and on the earth. It can be frustrating to lie awake for hours at a time, but magically it seems that we always have a necessary amount of energy the next day. And depending upon where you are in your integration process, you can experience much sleeping as well. Sleeping occurs when we are integrating and insomnia when we are done. Back pain is also a typical occurrence for many, as our backs are a prevalent place where energy moves and shifts within us." If this is true, and no doubt it is, then there must be plenty to integrate now, as if this were not already evident to us in the news of a cyclone in Myanmar, a massive earthquake in China, and other events that almost shout that it's time for the compassion impulse to be, as Buckminster Fuller put it, "arousable in us."
We've just had at least a triple dose of integration here where I live, in the coastal town of Dahab in Sinai. Little did I know when I first moved in January, to this serene place that seemed so perfect for the writing and music I came to do this year, that just when I aimed to hit my stride in mid-Spring, we would be in what the Bedouins here call Sleep Month. From about May 5th to 25th, it turns out, males of every species -- men, camels, horses, donkeys, dogs, even the cats who forage for bones under the tables at Marim for Fish -- are in a lethargy so heavy that we sleep twice as long as we normally do, and when we're able to wake up, we can hardly move from the back pain that makes every step and bend painful. As Bedouins use only male camels to carry riders and cargo, they aim to handle as many jobs as they can by the end of April. They know that soon in Sleep Month their camels, who in any other month can easily handle loads of 200 kg, will be so sore in the back and low in the eyelids that they can barely move a bag of baladi bread from one tent to the next.
Why are women mysteriously unaffected by sleep month? Is it because Bedouin women seem to do everything with an efficiency that only looks slow until one notices that somehow everything gets done in time? Is it because women here understand better than men do what my Cairo mentor Leslie Zehr explained to me when I first got to Egypt, that this is the country of the river, and it's best to surrender to Isis and let her take you where she wants? Is it even possible that women in general have a better sense of how to follow nature's flow of sleep and waking, pulse and pause, effort and rest, and that's why they live longer?
This must have been true when we lived in matriarchies, and we knew the basic theme of sacred poetry, and of life in general, was as Robert Graves put it in The White Goddess: "The function of poetry is religious invocation of the Muse; its use is the experience of mixed exaltation and horror that her presence excites. But 'nowadays'? Function and use remain the same; only the application has changed. This was once a warning to man that he must keep in harmony with the family of living creatures among which he was born, by obedience to the wishes of the lady of the house; it is now a reminder that he has disregarded the warnings, turned the house upside down by capricious experiments in philosophy, science and industry, and brought ruin on himself and his family." It has been 60 years since this was written in the Year of the Earth Rat before this one, in 1948, before anyone had heard of clones and genetically modified crops, computers and hackers, ICBMs and the HIV virus, Prozac and the Codex Alimentarius, which decays more ominously each year from its original worthy mandate as a UN consumer protection agency, into a combine of chemical, pharmaceutical, biotechnology and pesticide companies bent on controlling our food, our medicines and through them all of us.
When the herbs that Europe's wise women once picked from the riverbank under the Moon could be declared illegal if the Codex-pushing companies work their will, Europeans could have no choice but synthetic drugs that are addictive and very expensive even when they're not poisonous. Is it any wonder that the Lady of the House, as embodied by women now, is beginning to get gravely alarmed? And she is tempted now to suspend the serenity of her traditional role by doubling her effort, thereby acting in service as best she can at a time when, it appears, we need to do much more? The results are clear in "developed" countries, where astrologers report the same pattern: accomplished, empowered women, determined to do what they can at a time when their usual allies seem exhausted or unavailable, drive themselves to the snapping point, and even suffer car accidents, mechanical mishaps and other injuries. Are they willing to consider that their bruises and broken bones are not just dropping randomly out of the black and blue, but are due to more stress than even the brightest and strongest can bear? No. There's no time to think about esoteric things like that. I have to get back to work. But before you go -- visiting hours are so short here -- would you mind being one of the people they can call in case of emergency?
If this is happening in Europe, North America, the Far East and now India, it's no surprise that 100 km from where I live in sleepy Dahab, life gets more collisive in Sharm El Sheikh, the compulsively graspy and glitzy tourist trap where touts and taxis smile grimly through each day's dust and pressure, and expat fashionistas party every night at a tempo that can only be described as desperate, as though if they stop dancing, they will die, or worse, be caught dead in clothes that The Book says are out this month. Sharm seems a lot more accident-prone today than it was when I lived there last year, and a glance at the new Sinai Weekly that has just come to hand shows why. "Fight without rules as if it's the survival of the fittest," says a front-page piece on Surviving Sharm. "Is Your Reaction Confrontation?" asks another article, next to a column about how "Recruiting in Sharm is Tough." And so it goes, in a way that could be called Darwinian if Darwin himself had not written, "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent . . . It is the one that is most adaptable to change."
How to adapt, then? StarMaps help, insofar as they can guide us to the best places to live and work, and to develop the relationships that are our strongest prospects for whatever goals we seek. Another is to pay close attention to signs that new shifts of consciousness are taking place, especially when they're coming in the least likely places. A remarkable one surfaced this month in L'Osservatore Romano, which carried an interview with Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, director of the Vatican observatory and scientific adviser to Pope Benedict XVI. There is no conflict, says Father Funes, between the Church's beliefs and the possibility that not only may intelligent life exist on other planets, but it may be more highly evolved than we are. "Certainly, in a universe this big, you can't exclude this hypothesis," he says -- and he even posits, stunningly, that "the extraterrestrial is my brother," not the tin-voiced insectile enemy that Hollywood and other purveyors of fear relentlessly imagine. Does it count as an honest-to-Deus tremor in the mindscape when the institution that held Galileo under house arrest, blocked him from publishing and teaching, then finally hoisted him aboard only in 1992, now suggests that there may be more inhabited worlds out there than even Galileo and Giordano Bruno conceived, and that these myriad planets may be not be just swarming and hissing, but gleaming and singing with brilliant life? Sure it does.
Some very big butterfly seems to be bumping out of its cocoon when the UK's Ministry of Defence, in the interest of "open and transparent government," follows the disclosures that the French made a year ago by releasing eight secret files on UFO sightings from the period of 1978 to 1987. The Ministry and the National Archives plan to release a total of 200 files over the next four years, from early reports of sightings at Rendlesham Forest, "Britain's Roswell," to more recent reports. Now, suddenly, no one in Her Majesty's government is saying for public consumption that "there is nothing to indicate that UFOlogy is anything but claptrap," as an MoD briefing report for the House of Lords stated in 1979. British media, lasering in as always to the most authoritative sources, naturally want to hear the reactions of Doug and Dave, the two cheerfully bozotic pubsters who claim to have created England's crop circles with their own scrap lumber and lawn rollers.
The other leading actor whose views everyone wants to hear is, naturally, the United States, whose Air Force continues to insist that it terminated its Project Blue Book investigations in 1969, and has seen nothing since to warrant any new inquiries, even as former government officials and senior military officers press the Pentagon to come clean, and the common sense of more and more Americans keeps whispering that The X Files is no fantasy, and something a lot bigger than the technology of Teflon is being hidden. Is it at all strange that American officialdom occupies what Bunyan might call the Bunker of Denial if he were writing The Pilgrim's Progress today? Not really. In every era, the most powerful authority is terrified of truth itself, and the changes it may bring. As was the Vatican envoy who went one evening to visit Galileo, hoping to persuade him to recant his heretical idea that the Earth and other planets revolve around the Sun. Galileo suggested that his guest might enjoy the evening air up on his rooftop, then invited him to look through a telescope at the moons of Jupiter. The prelate declined, saying that whatever is in there can't possibly exist because Holy Scripture says nothing about it, and those "moons" of yours may even be illusions that the Devil has put in there to lure us into error, even drive us mad.
Something has to give, as Canada's former Defense Minister and current Vice Premier Paul Hellyer made clear last week in a speech about how human governments, and Americans in particular, could have responded positively to the opportunities that extraterrestrial visitors opened to us decades ago, but how American powers that be have chosen instead to fear, to instill dread in others, and to lie about what they know so pervasively that they have shown us by now, if we hadn't known it before, that dishonesty is invariably the product of fear. Do we need to speculate here on why the United States (with Myanmar and Liberia) refuses to adopt the metric system, why it will not sign the Kyoto Accords, why it refuses to act against the use of land mines and cluster bombs, and why it does such other unsustainable things that we have to go to our Thesauri to find synonyms for "obtuse" to describe them?
Does talking about these outrages help to solve them? Of course not. It only reinforces them, and keeps us at the same level of fear, judgment and blame that created the problems in the first place. To move toward solutions, we need to see the situation clearly for what it is, then find a creative response to it. The fundamental reality is that the US government, as a wholly owned subsidiary of the financial interests that acquired it 95 years ago, has no interest whatsoever in the survival of its own people, or anyone else's. The people are expendable, all of them, especially now that the government is in the hands of religious fundamentalists who hope that in their lifetimes, and pray Lord, let it be this year, "God" will rapture all the righteous Christians up out of their clothes and into the air, while everyone else, and the rest of the planet, drops into the lava and disappears.
What makes the ET's so scary to the Cheneys, the Rockefellers and other white-knuckled controllers is that friendship with beings from other planets will surely bring changes in the current structure of power, and along with them the certainty that money will change hands. For those who hold almost all the money now, this can mean only one thing: we are going to wind up with less, somebody else is going to have more, and who knows where it may all go from there? It is impossible to assuage the fear of these people. They have nearly cornered the market on it by now. All we can hope to do is create a carrot of financial opportunity. What if we could use the ET's as a revenue stream? How?
Good heavens. The answer is right there in front of my big German-American nose, and yours. John Cusack has just handed it to us on a plate in his new film War, Inc., about a country called Turaqistan, where a maximum-tech invader is waging war not for political or ideological aims, but purely for profit, setting off so much billion-dollar ordnance that the profits of shareholders would be sky-high, if we could still see the sky through all the smoke. Everything in this scenario serves its corporatist purpose, even to tanks that carry company ads and logos, the way race cars do, so that the M1-A that comes rumbling down the street with Tyson Chicken on its hull can remind Ahmed and Yasmina how much their children will love eating those crispy legs and wings, if they're still alive at dinnertime.
How to get the American government and military forces, and the people who own them, to see the plus side of ETs? By using their spacecraft as an advertising medium. A child can imagine the possibilities, and already has.
UFOs are faster than anything, like dolphins running on sugar. Your ad on a UFO could be seen by so many people, in so many places, that an alien ship would have to be the most effective moving billboard ever invented, and the most eye-catching thing ever, at least until people get used to it, and a UFO over the NFL becomes about as unusual as the Goodyear blimp on any given Sunday. Naturally, the hip, cutting-edge innovators will be the first to make their move, but after people get excited to see those Apple Saucers and Gates Plates chasing each other across the sky, it's only a matter of time before other CEOs follow Steve and Bill where no one else has gone before.
In the meantime, before those Disney Discs and Pepsi Pies begin to show up on a beach or pasture near you, we can not just imagine them, we can invite and attract them by going out onto the body of Mother Earth, singing, playing medicine theatre, starting at the tremendous Full Moon of June 18 and the Summer Solstice, knowing as we do now that we can buy what we want any time from those companies whose logos show up suddenly and whiz around on spacecraft now. But we don't have to buy anything from them any more out of fear, loneliness and boredom, as so many always have. Now we'll buy what we need in love and joy. So we chant, and drum, and -- oh, look who's coming down to dance with us. If you come in love, as all of us have, we are overjoyed to have you with us. Come help us Hold Our Frequency, and teach us yours. Welcome.
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The Chiron - Neptune Conjunction of 2009 - 2012:
Prelude: The American Election of November 4, 2008
Prelude Supplement: And the Winner Is . . .
Act 1: Conflicts: The Neptune Return of April 11, 2009
Act 2: Complications: The Triple Chiron-Neptune-Jupiter Conjunction of May-August, 2009
Act 3: Turning Point: The Exact Chiron-Neptune Conjunction of Feb. 16 - 17, 2010
Act 4: Crisis and Climax: The Crosses of Summer, 2010
Act 5: Denouement: The Near Chiron-Neptune Conjunction of Nov. 2 - 3, 2010
Copyright 2008 Dan Furst. All Rights Reserved.