Welcome to the Spring of 2006, when the silly season that we normally expect in the summer seems now to have arrived a few months early, and prophets who endeavor to avoid stoking fear, and to keep their messages light and sweet without getting crude, now have our work cut out for us. Does this last sentence somehow suggest that oil, in all of its material and symbolic meanings, is going to be a subject of great importance this month, and even of extreme urgency as the year goes along? It should. This month is one of those watershed moments when we can no longer avoid the question of whether 2006 will be called before it is out the Year of Rude Awakenings. The proper mythic subject of this time is not so much one of how we use mythology to find relationship and universal significance in seemingly unconnected events. Rather, this month, and the months that follow, will illuminate the difference between the true myths that are humanity's stock of similarities, and thus the theatre of compassion, and on the other hand the fabricated myths that sow and feed conflict and hate, and thus blind most human beings to the truth of their situation by keeping them closed to the knowledge of who they are and what is really going on.
What's an excellent indicator that surely some revelation is at hand, as Yeats put it in "The Second Coming?" One dead giveaway for many of us by now is that the bigger and heavier the main story is, the more fluff and vitriol are sure to fly around it as those who keep their people distracted with fear and fakery apply a thicker coat of meringue to the elephant, now the whole herd of elephants, in the room. The more fury will be stoked over less consequential matters. And the more the timing of the controversies exposes the cynicism of the whole propaganda minuet that apparent enemies dance together. How else to explain that cartoons mocking the prophet Mohamed -- peace be upon his alleged followers, who need peace a great deal more than he does -- were first published in the Danish rightwing hatezine Jyllands-Posten as far back as September, but seemingly went unnoticed for the next four months by everybody except some local Muslims? How to explain that Dick Cheney's shooting of a fellow quail hunter stirs no debate about whether a man who nearly kills another through sheer carelessness ought to be in charge of anything, or whether in 2006 men should still be murdering birds for sport -- but there is instead a great hue and cry because the news of this sorry affair wasn't made known at once?
All right, so just what is this month's main story, if I'm so sure I know what it is? It's a myth too, of the ever-energetic urban legend type: that on March 20, just before the hinge of the zodiac year as the Sun is about to move from Pisces into Aries -- and almost exactly three years to the day since the launch of America's catastrophic mortal sin in Iraq -- Iran will begin to sell its oil in Euro dollars. Having already pulled a tremendous political and military coup by tricking its enemy in North America into attacking and destroying its enemy next door, the Iranians, so the story goes, are getting ready to play the ace of trumps.
We'll explore this more below, after we look a little at one of the practical core truths that has always been hidden inside the myths that aggressors exploit or craft anew to hide their real aims. The four exhibits in this Follow the Money gallery begin with rubric titles. Scroll down and skip the first three if ancient history bores you. If you are one of those who get your information from the web and reliable direct sources rather than the fiction fair of mainstream media, you may already know all of these deep background stories, presented briefly here in a way that aspires to honor the late Barbara W. Tuchman, whose The March of Folly illuminates much of what is happening now. Our premise here is not quite the same as Tuchman's -- that an obstinate woodenheadedness is more the rule than the exception in the policies and actions of leaders -- but is certainly related to it, as there is no telling what calamities the people in charge will invite when they themselves believe the righteous and romantic myths they weave to mask what the men who have the money really want and really do.
The basic fact is simple: aggressive war is a very expensive proposition, and no one goes about it without the help of powerful money interests who will get in the game only if they expect to profit from victory. Anyone can see that this happens most of the time when A covets the land and treasure of B, and moves to get it. But does the money issue apply all the time, even when the motives seem most pure? Yes. Here are a few blood money stories that famous, appealing myths have kept well hidden for hundreds, even thousands of years:
A. The Greeks Eliminate the Middle Man. Everbody "knows" from our grade school years why the Greeks sailed against Troy in those peerless cadences from Homer. The Trojan prince Paris seduced and carried off Queen Helen of Sparta, whereupon her husband Menelaus persuaded the rest of the Greek kings to go with him and get her back. Right?
No. A map of the ancient world shows that Troy was built right next to the Dardanelles, the narrow waterway leading from the Mediterranean through the Bosporus, where Byzantium stood and Istanbul is now, and on into the Black Sea. Anyone sailing in or out of the Dardanelles would have had to pass right under the walls of Troy. Would this have put Troy in a position to control sea traffic through the Dardanelles, and extract whatever toll it could impose on those who wanted to make the passage? Not right away. When Jason and his Argonauts sailed into the Black Sea in the middle of the heroic age to take some gold by force from Colchis -- a mystical quest for a Golden Fleece was and remains a perfect cover story for a plunder trip in the Age of Aries -- Troy was not yet big enough to brave the power of Crete, then a mightier opponent than the mainland Greeks. But when Knossos fell and Troy grew stronger, it was only a matter of time before the Trojans would slam the sea gate shut and charge a steep fee for opening it. The Greeks, and others who wanted to trade in the Black Sea, had a simple choice: either keep paying top drachma to the Trojans, or burn Troy and sail toll-free. Helen was no doubt a stunning beauty. But she was only the pretext, not the prime motive.
How hip were the Greek warriors to what was really going on? Achilles would go wherever the glory was, Ajax relished a good fight and Odysseus just loved to travel. Others were surely suckered, as high-spirited young men always are, by Agamemnon. He was certainly shrewd enough not to tell the others that he was asking them to fight and die for his right to corner all the gold in Circassia. He must have enlisted the usual rhetoric about our manifest destiny, and this outrageous insult to our national pride and our manhood -- and he may have asked the obvious: if they can steal Menelaus' wife and get away with it, will your woman be next?
B. The Franks Liberate Palestine. Everybody "knows" that the Crusaders went to Palestine to free the Holy Land from fanatical Muslims who decided that they would not only control all of the land where Jesus had walked, but would have the exclusive use of it. When the Saracens kicked the Christians out and locked the gate at Jerusalem, it was time for Europe to act. Right?
No. For European money men, especially the merchant states of Venice and Genoa, there was good news and there was bad news in the late 11th century. The good news was that Byzantine power was on the wane, so that ambitious traders from Italy and France could now operate more freely and aggressively in the eastern Mediterranean, if it weren't for the bad news: the Turks now had almost all of Anatolia, and Muslims had cut the silk route, depriving Westerners of any chance to trade with Antioch and Damascus, and to bring home the precious woods, fabrics and spices that had flowed to Rome and Paris for a thousand years from as far away as China. Europe was now an economic backwater, cut off from everything east of the Golden Horn, seemingly doomed to trading hides, wine, olives and little more with other Europeans and almost nobody else.
How do we know this is true, and that for both sides in the conflict, Syria was far more important than Palestine all along? By watching their moves on the map again. Once the French had taken Jerusalem, did they then move south to strike the enemy faith at its root in Arabia? Not a chance. They moved north to Antioch and Damascus, building Krak des Chevaliers and other castles that still stand along the trade corridor between Damascus and Jerusalem. A century later, when Saladin led the counterattack, he took Damascus first, then moved south against Jerusalem. Was he going to tell his army that they were fighting to keep Europe isolated and poor, and less likely to commit nuisances in the Middle East? No more than the Pope was going to tell anyone that they were fighting so the Doge of Venice could trade with people in Peking who didn't give a joss stick who was Christian or Muslim, as long as the Son of Heaven stayed rich. No more than any leader on either side was willing to wonder publicly whether, as FDR's Secretary of State Cordell Hull put it, "When goods do not cross borders, armies do." Both sides said what they still say about the honor of the crescent and the cross, and the will of "God."
C. Mr. Lincoln Frees the Slaves. Everybody "knows" that the North had two motives for fighting the American Civil War: the lofty moral imperative of ending the monstrous crime of human slavery, and the constitutional motive of preserving "the Union forever," keeping intact the country that the Founding Fathers had created. This was why 600,000 Americans died. Right?
Yes and no. While antislavery activists were sincere in their convictions, many risking fines and imprisonment for running underground railroad stations and otherwise violating the Fugitive Slave Act, the North was far from unanimously altruistic about the slaves. Abolitionist presses were destroyed; anti-slavery editors were beaten, even to death. Northern rivers were rife with slave hunters, especially around Cincinnati, near the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. The urban poor, compassion-challenged again, particularly among the New York Irish, were quite happy to see the slaves stay in chains down there, and were furiously unwilling to fight for the right of blacks to come and take our jobs up here.
The economic dimension of this is partially understood, even taught in an American classroom now and then. The money question of the 1840's, for steel and railroad barons who stood to profit most handsomely if they could work their will, was whether the United States would be an industrial nation driven by electricity, or would consist of some industrial zones within a set of regional economies that were mainly agricultural, driven by human labor. The industrial design naturally required national standards for machine tools, and the harder the North pushed for standardization, the harder the South resisted, until by 1858 the covert game of economic hardball got more vicious, though still hiding under the moral arguments. Before the crisis came in 1861, the South led with its chin by jacking the price of cotton to Northern buyers so high that the North actually had to pay higher prices for Southern cotton than foreign buyers paid. Once it came to this, and at least some of the South was waging economic warfare against the North as though it were an enemy country rather than part of the same Union, war between King Cotton and Emperor Steel was inevitable. Anything could have set it off. John Brown, whom Melville called the meteor of the Civil War, did his best to provoke it. For the North, the only missing piece was an anti-slavery Unionist in the White House. The explosion came only weeks after Lincoln was sworn in -- but could have come later, or not at all, if the North and the South had not already been at economic war with each other.
D. The People in Iraq are Throwing Something, and It's Not Roses. Now it's Feb. 27, 2006, and many people are sure that the United States is in Iraq because Saddam Hussein was a supporter of Al Qaeda, was directly involved in planning the attacks of 9/11/01, and was making biological and chemical weapons, even nuclear bombs powered by uranium from Niger. Right?
Not at all. By 2001, Iraq had very little left of the biochemical agents that were given to it by the USA in the first place, for use against Iran. Saddam had no relations with Al Qaeda or any other religious group like them because he hated them and the challenge they posed to the secular Iraq he was determined to keep, in which the mosques would speak loud, but have only a paper stick. The tensions among Iraq, Iran and the USA got steadily worse from the end of the first Iraq War in 1991, until Saddam overplayed his hand in November, 2000, when, as Congressman Ron Paul stated in his landmark speech The End of Dollar Hegemony, "Saddam demanded Euros for his oil." The violent American response was predictable enough. So was the astounding Corruption of the war plan in which the president's father and his Carlyle Group, the Halliburton company that pays Cheney, and other death merchants would profit immensely from so many missiles, bombs and reconstruction contracts that in less than three years of war, the United States would spend on the Iraq War an amount of money officially reported in the hundreds of billions of dollars, but estimated elsewhere to be actually in the trillions.
All that was needed to start the show was a pretext, which came on Sept. 11, 2001. As readers of David Ray Griffin's The New Pearl Harbor and other 9/11 research reports well know, Brigham University physicist Steven E. Jones gave in mid-February an electrifying speech proving that the direct-downward pancake collapse of the World Trade Center towers and Building 7 could not possibly have been caused by airplane impacts or fires, and could be attributed only to explosive charges within the buildings' lower levels, that would produce sounds that many witnesses reported hearing before the towers fell.
The increasingly real possibility that 9/11 was an inside job all along, monstrous as this idea is and very dangerous to somebody if the great inert mass of American public opinion could ever be awakened and moved, is not our topic here. No need for it, as we may soon be hearing more about it from more directions than we even knew existed. The question for the moment is still: Why was the United States so determined to get Saddam? Not because he was exporting terror, or he liked Al Qaeda, or he'd tried to snuff the president's Dad, though all these manufactured myths got and still get impressive mileage, much of it from the hapless hunter whose friend is still tweezing birdshot from his nose. No, the B--h regime took Saddam out because allowing him -- and other Middle Eastern oil producers too -- to sell their product for Euros would knock away one of the main pillars of faith and credit that still prop up the disappearing American dollar.
|This graphic, courtesy of Ian R. Crane, shows the scenario that is allegedly taking shape as the players assemble for the show that will open on March 20. The picture looks as clear as it can be, and stirs buzzes and alarms on the world wide web. This writer bought it. But the problem with this dramatic Oil Euro story is -- the Tehran Oil Bourse, which sells Iran's oil, knows nothing about it. So is the story a fake?
Yes and no. American military forces are in all of these places around Iran, and even if they're there only for intimidation and pressure, they presumably did not wind up there from mere serendipity. In Iran and elsewhere, there are people who'd love to buy and sell oil in Euros, if only to strike a blow at the US dollar, and initiate other measures within a wider strategy of shifting global power from the USA to Eurasia. And, as always seems to happen when myths and countermyths are woven in ever more intricately tangled webs, it is likely that once again, where there's smoke, there's money.
Americans, as it turns out, are not the only ones looking for suspicious dead birds, or other excuses to get near Iran. Avian Flu, as is clear in the profit picture of the dubious vaccine Tamiflu, is either an actual event or a phantom pandemic, but is in any case one of the many panic scenarios that now appear as the indelicate material nears the fan. So is the flap over a Dubai firm that aims to own dock facilities in six U. S. ports. As impulsive politicians and media stars reveal how little they know of how ports actually work, and we learn which emirs have the B--hes in their pockets this time, and we wonder if anyone will be indignant about any of it, the main story stays in shadows, but it converges inexorably on Iran. The Americans are not the only ones who are jockeying for position. The French have just deployed the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in the Mediterranean. The point here is not so much what the Tehran Oil Bourse is or is not planning to do, but what bizarre mistakes can be made when demagogues and media stir passions to the panic point.
So what to do in this moment of extreme and irresponsible tension? One step is to accept, as Aluna Joy Yaxkin wrote in "Surviving the Spiritual Gauntlet," that "The entire month of March, that surrounds the Equinox, will be an intense emotional roller coaster month. . . . a Global Dark Night of the Soul." We may indeed be in for a bumpy ride before this month, and we will need the emotional and spiritual strategy of keeping frequency as consistently high as we can. Are there any astral dynamics now in play to help with this? Yes, there are: the Lunar Standstills of March 6, and especially March 22, 2006. These little-known phenomena have occurred repeatedly in 2005 and 2006, and after September of this year, will not come again until 2015.
A Lunar Standstill does not mean that the Moon stops moving. She sails along in her orbit at the usual speed. But, as Jean Elliott explains in The Lunar Standstill Season, a lunar standstill has to do with the Moon's declination: that is, her position at either the inner limit of her orbital path, closest to Earth, or the outer limit, farthest away. When the Moon is in standstill, she can stay in one of these extreme positions, not moving toward or away from the Earth for days at a time.
One effect of this is that the Moon's Nodes -- the imaginary points where the Moon's orbit crosses the Sun's orbit, called the ecliptic -- can remain within the same degree of the zodiac for months at a time. During their 18.5-year cycle around the zodiac, the moon's nodes average a little under 19 days in each degree of the 360-degree circle. The nodes move much more slowly during a lunar standstill phase. Thus the moon's nodes moved "backward" into the 5th degree of Aries-Libra on Feb. 12, and will not enter 4° until April 28 -- a grand total of 75 days in this degree of the zodiac. Aspects of relationship that the nodes form to other planets, especially slower-moving ones with whom they're linked for weeks at a time, are highly relevant to our position and prospects in this season. The main event here is the long, favorable trine (120° angle) from October 2005 through mid-May 2006 between Saturn in Leo and the Moon's North Node, or Dragon's Head, in Aries. For basics on this, see Section 2 of Astral Notes for Winter, 2005 - 2006. From March 14 through April 20, Saturn and the Dragon’s Head are within half a degree of an exact trine.
While astrologers have their different takes on what this Saturn-Dragon's Head trine means, many will agree that it represents a beneficent influence of older, experienced spiritual teachers and mentors on groups, organizations and communities, even a willingness on the part of religious institutions to work for a change in the service of peace and understanding rather than discord. It may also indicate that spiritual goals that have been pursued with long and devoted effort are now within reach of being realized, and that painstaking teamwork may now yield good results. This trine could prove to be the glue that helps us hold it together through otherwise trying conditions, as Jupiter in Scorpio is square Neptune in Pisces -- posing the threat of economic illusion, folly and loss -- and Mercury, crossing Uranus in Pisces, tends to weird out in ways that make his communications hectic and nervous rather than comforting and clear. If anything, the cool heads may be where many of us least expect them, in military leaders who balk at the suicidal risks their leaders ask them to take. Mars in Gemini, quintile (at 72° to) the Moon's North Node, fosters creative, resourceful communication. It will be needed. One way or another, if a lunar standstill indicates that the Moon will for a time be less mobile and volatile, this astral event could not come at a better time.
Finally, as the moon's nodes will be in the same degrees of Aries and Libra through March and until the end of April, we look for a moment at the Sabian symbols for both degrees, from Marc Edmond Jones:
"Aries 5 A triangle with wings This is a symbol of the inviolability of man's essential nature throughout every ramification of his experience, as long as he holds to the purity of his original impulses. There is here a very practical balance in his self-fulfillment, thanks to his three-fold individuality in terms of skills, loyalties and values. Light rather than darkness remains the goal of his life, and his personal capacities become a continual refinement of every baser metal in selfhood. The keyword is ZEAL. When positive, the degree is the creative transformation of everything into an expression of enduring idea and a reflection of the real vision ahead, and when negative, blissful obliviousness to all normal or everyday considerations.
"Libra 5 A man teaching the true inner knowledge This is a symbol of the inviolability of all genuine inspiration, and of the opportunity offered every individual to reach out to his fellows through his participation with them in everyday experience, and thereupon to communicate his deeper insights to them through common responsibilities. His integrity of being lies in his continual self-orientation to both man and the world in terms of ultimate potentialities. The keyword is AFFINITY. When positive, the degree is a genius for understanding and calling out the underlying realizations by which human character comes to know itself at its best, and when negative, fatuous pride in the self's acumen and subtle or underhanded attempts to dominate everyone." (The Sabian Symbols in Astrology, Aurora Press, 1993, pp. 154 - 155.)
These interpretations could hardly be more apt, emphasizing as they do the critical importance of keeping focus on core ethical principles and positive goals, and on finding new linkages with other like-minded people for the sake of better teamwork that will serve all of humanity and our home on Earth. At a time of wild centrifugal forces, the standstills of the Moon promote the cohesive energy of love, practiced in resonance with others.
Keep Holding That Frequency.