Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Trickling down to the mainstream media...

More of the underlying truth coming out in the media (that Gemini (mainstream media) - Sagittarius (ultimate truth) polarity). This article ran in the Sun newspapers recently. Thank-you Eric Margolis, and thank-you Sun editors for running this one.

Makes me feel a little better, considering I made a "No Blood for Oil" shirt way back in 2002 and wore it around to public meetings and such. Most people thought I was nuts back then, but I knew I wasn't...

This article also speaks about something else I've been bitching about for years...that the Canadian (and other) soldiers who are dying in Afghanistan trying to bring "freedom and democracy" to the area are, sadly, serving and dying to secure American oil interests by stabilizing an area in the path of the oil pipeline. Not to mention, freeing up American soldiers for the Iraqui effort.

To date, the estimates are that 1.2 million (MILLION!!) Iraquis have been killed since George Bush Sr.'s war there...and around 4,000 American soldiers and 100 Canadian soldiers have died in the most recent war.



PARIS -- The ugly truth behind the Iraq and Afghanistan wars finally has emerged.

Four major western oil companies, Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP and Total are about to sign U.S.-brokered no-bid contracts to begin exploiting Iraq's oil fields. Saddam Hussein had kicked these firms out three decades ago when he nationalized Iraq's oil industry. The U.S.-installed Baghdad regime is welcoming them back.

Iraq is getting back the same oil companies that used to exploit it when it was a British colony.

As former fed chairman Alan Greenspan recently admitted, the Iraq war was all about oil. The invasion was about SUV's, not democracy.

Afghanistan just signed a major deal to launch a long-planned, 1,680-km pipeline project expected to cost $8 billion. If completed, the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline (TAPI) will export gas and later oil from the Caspian basin to Pakistan's coast where tankers will transport it to the West.

The Caspian basin located under the Central Asian states of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakkstan, holds an estimated 300 trillion cubic feet of gas and 100-200 billion barrels of oil. Securing the world's last remaining known energy El Dorado is a strategic priority for the western powers.

But there are only two practical ways to get gas and oil out of land-locked Central Asia to the sea: Through Iran, or through Afghanistan to Pakistan. Iran is taboo for Washington. That leaves Pakistan, but to get there, the planned pipeline must cross western Afghanistan, including the cities of Herat and Kandahar.


In 1998, the Afghan anti-Communist movement Taliban and a western oil consortium led by the U.S. firm Unocal signed a major pipeline deal. Unocal lavished money and attention on the Taliban, flew a senior delegation to Texas, and hired a minor Afghan official, Hamid Karzai.

Enter Osama bin Laden. He advised the unworldly Taliban leaders to reject the U.S. deal and got them to accept a better offer from an Argentine consortium. Washington was furious and, according to some accounts, threatened the Taliban with war.

In early 2001, six or seven months before 9/11, Washington made the decision to invade Afghanistan, overthrow the Taliban, and install a client regime that would build the energy pipelines. But Washington still kept sending money to the Taliban until four months before 9/11 in an effort to keep it "on side" for possible use in a war against China.

The 9/11 attacks, about which the Taliban knew nothing, supplied the pretext to invade Afghanistan. The initial U.S. operation had the legitimate objective of wiping out Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida. But after its 300 members fled to Pakistan, the U.S. stayed on, built bases -- which just happened to be adjacent to the planned pipeline route -- and installed former Unocal "consultant" Hamid Karzai as leader.

Washington disguised its energy geopolitics by claiming the Afghan occupation was to fight "Islamic terrorism," liberate women, build schools and promote democracy. Ironically, the Soviets made exactly the same claims when they occupied Afghanistan from 1979-1989. The Iraq cover story was weapons of mass destruction and democracy.

Work will begin on the TAPI once Taliban forces are cleared from the pipeline route by U.S., Canadian and NATO forces. As American analyst Kevin Phillips writes, the U.S. military and its allies have become an "energy protection force."


From Washington's viewpoint, the TAPI deal has the added benefit of scuttling another proposed pipeline project that would have delivered Iranian gas and oil to Pakistan and India.

India's energy needs are expected to triple over the next decade. Delhi, which has its own designs on Afghanistan, is cock-a-hoop over the new pipeline plan.

Russia, by contrast, is grumpy, having hoped to monopolize Central Asian energy exports.

Energy is more important than blood in our modern world. The U.S. is a great power with massive energy needs. Domination of oil is a pillar of America's world power. Let's be realistic. Afghanistan and Iraq are about oil, nothing else.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Willow's June 2008 Astro Perspective

Well, I might have over-stated the feel-good Taurus aspects of last month a little. The 29 degree Scorpio Full Moon on the 19th seemed to trump the happy, happy springtime vibe a little…or a lot. And this was the case on the global scale, too.

A similar number of people died in the cyclone in Myanmar/Burma and the earthquake in China in May as died in the two nuclear bomb attacks against Japan in World War II. Just to put the vibe into perspective a little. Massive and violent energy shifts and a lot of horror and pain for the people in those countries (and around the world)…which continues…

So May’s forecast might have partially been a case of having my head in the wishful-thinking, Neptunian clouds a little (stationing Neptune was involved quite heavily in May), but it was also just a perfect example of the odd duality of our times…which Gemini, symbolized by the twins, experiences in spades.

As we start the month, the Sun, Mercury (going retrograde) and Venus are all in Gemini. So we have plenty of this theme to go around.

What is this Geminian duality, you might ask?

Watching a story on the news about 100,000 people dying in a cyclone amped up by global warming/climate change…and then jumping in the car to pick the kids up at soccer practice. Seeing masses of people buried under the rubble of earthquake-toppled buildings in China…as you munch on Chinese take-out for supper. Learning that Native people living around Alberta’s oil sands are suffering from an abnormally high rate of rare cancers, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus…but being really happy about your hard-earned raise at work, made possible by oil activity. Being able to access information through the media, the Internet, books, magazines, about atrocity after atrocity committed on this planet…and then having to live our daily lives, somehow integrating that information and including it in the context of our lives. The co-existence of absolute horror with mundane daily realities. The joy of creation alongside the brutality and grief of destruction. Pain and pleasure, light and dark. And the ability to just roll with it, Gemini-style…as two sides of the same coin. All part of the human experience, it seems.

For me, a symbol of this Geminian duality was selling a poorly-strung Burmese horse puppet at the store where I work to a woman who wanted to restring it as an act of support for the Burmese people. The strings were too short, leaving the poor horse’s legs all bound up and useless. I thought this was such a sweet and touching thing for her to do. (Especially being born in the Year of the Horse and feeling quite oppressed and constrained in my work situation at the time…a personal layer to the symbol.) And I was selling it to her, as she attempted in her own way to support people affected by yet another natural disaster (arguably) made much more severe by global warming, from a store in Calgary, Alberta - a town made rich through oil money. A town where Hummers and SUVs are plentiful as all hell. In a province now doing all sorts of hideous environmental damage while milking the oil sands for every last drop of black gold. Not to mention the oil that was burned getting that horse puppet from Southeast Asia to Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

This is a situation that exists, dualistic as it may be. You can throw down any judgement you’d like (and with Saturn currently in Virgo, we’re meant to be discriminating, to be sure), but it is what it is.

Gemini understands that there is not just one situation going on at any one time - there are many inter-related situations going on simultaneously. There is not just one perspective to take into consideration - there is angle after angle to bring into play. Our daily lives are shaped by layer after layer of information, ideas, perception, connection. Gemini, ruled by Mercury the messenger planet, takes it all in. It gathers information from all sources, all perspectives, in an attempt to tap in, to understand its own context and to engage successfully with the world around it.

Traditional astrology holds Gemini as the ruler of short-distance travel, while Sagittarius, it’s opposite, ruled long-distance travel to foreign lands. Short-distance travel includes the local, everyday travelling we do within our societies - to the store, work, home, the local watering hole, whatever. But it also relates, traditionally, to trips that took three days or less. Well, these days, with air travel, you can pretty much reach anywhere on the globe in three days. The local is global. Perfect example of how the Aquarian “global village” is affecting our day-to-day. At this point in history, we’re connected, and we know it. My life and actions affect your life and actions and vice versa. It’s sort of chaos theory at work. The connection between selling a Burmese horse puppet in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and a global warming-assisted cyclone killing 100,000 people in Burma. Directly connected or big leap in logic? A butterfly flaps its wings…

This month, we’re being asked to take a good, hard look at our everyday lives, in context, to make sure we’re really walking the walk AND talking the talk. Saturn in Virgo is going over every detail of ourselves and the lives we’re living as the Gemini planets energetically square it this month (so square it not by degree, but by sign). This continues the themes of the squares from May. Saturn in Virgo also disposits retrograding Jupiter in Capricorn and retrograding Pluto in Capricorn (until Pluto re-enters Sagittarius on June 13).

We’re being asked to look at what we’re supporting with the way we live our daily lives and with the interactions and connections we make on a daily basis. To follow those interactions/connections all the way around the globe if we have to, to see how our daily lives and the choices we make affect the daily lives of other people in our own societies and beyond. We’re being asked to understand our own context and to make refinements when necessary. The refinements don’t have a blanket application like, buy only organic! Go vegan! Stop driving! They might take that form…or they might be more subtle. There is no one cookie-cutter way to live. Everyone’s life has its own circumstances and Gemini knows this. It enjoys diversity, variety, choices. It understands that the guilt and pressure Virgo puts on itself to be perfect is worse than just indulging a little…in the right way. But there is definitely a theme of responsibly refining and making step-by-step improvements where necessary. The smallest adjustments can produce big results now, supported by these aspects. It might be improving the way you speak to or think about others (or yourself). It could mean being more respectful toward the person serving you your coffee in the morning (or mentally acknowledging the people who picked the beans!). It could mean noticing and appreciating the person who empties your office garbage can or the person scanning your groceries at the supermarket. Or thinking about all the people who had a part in getting that food to the supermarket shelf. Understanding that there are a million (often not-so-visible) ways that we are supported in our daily lives by the actions and work of other human beings.

Venus and the Sun in Gemini also square Uranus in Pisces this month on June 12. This is another aspect of the same theme where we have to take our big ideas for the future and our spiritual understanding of what we’re a part of (Uranus in Pisces) and bring it down to the societal level (Gemini). To use it as a guiding principle when making the multitude of choices we make every day. This is the way to carry our daily lives forward until they reflect our visions for the future. Big ideas don’t really matter so much if you can’t put them into practise and live them. We’re challenged with these mutable squares to make adjustments, especially in how we interact with each other on a societal level. Really cleaning up our own personal lives before we do anything else. Living our ideals and making our everyday lives a force for change in the world. The personal is political.

One of the big aspects this month is Pluto heading back into the last degrees of Sagittarius on June 13. This is the last crack Pluto has at Sagittarian themes for about 248 years, so you’d better believe there won’t be a stone left unturned. And you know what happens when you turn a stone over…the creepy crawlies come out! Eep!

For the first two-thirds of June, we’re building to first a Venus - Pluto opposition and then a Sun - Pluto opposition, both at the 29th degrees of Gemini and Sagittarius. Yes, MORE 29th degree aspects bringing up the themes of the Mars - Pluto opposition cycle. The 29th degree of all signs is the final, culmination degree, and this is culmination time related to the Gemini and Sagittarius themes we’ve been chewing on. At the 29th degree, we have to prove that we “got it” during the lessons of all the preceding degrees of the sign by putting what we’ve learned into practise. Anything we have glossed over, attempted to avoid, or half-assedly taken on…anything that needs to be brought to a conclusion…will come up as we attempt to earn our mastery over the themes and free ourselves from related karmic entanglements.

With Venus and Pluto interacting, we’re reaching a bottom line in our relationships, stripping down our interactions with each other to their core realities. Karmic dynamics within our relationships that have been set up to teach us about these themes will come to a conclusion one way or another.

With the Sun and Pluto involved, it’s gonna burn, burn, burn and build, build, build day-by-day, so we’d best stay on top of the proceedings all month. The Sun relates to creative force and how we outwardly express our identities and personalities in the world. Pluto relates to soul-directed, generational evolution and transformation and brings to the surface for purging and release anything that threatens our progress there - ego be damned! This opposition will transform the expression of who we are on a social level, alchemically burning away any attachments and personality glitches that are hindering our continued progress. It’s difficult when Pluto is cutting deeply into things as personal as our self-expression, our creations, our belief systems…but when personal ego goes head-to-head with Pluto…well, you know who generally holds the trump card. If you insist on clinging to the things Pluto is pulling from your clutches, you’re polishing the brass on the Titanic (to use a “Fight Club” line).

With Gemini and Sagittarius “playing“ together this month, it’s the alignment between what we say (Gemini) and what we hold as true (Sagittarius). It’s stripping away false social artifice that is disconnected from deeper understanding, while simultaneously keeping things functioning as congenially as possible in the day-to-day realm. Sagittarius can be too blunt and harsh, even to the point of rudeness. Even to the point of PRIDE about its rudeness in the name of “truth.” (And I’m not talking only Sagittarius Sun here, of course. We all have Sagittarius represented in our charts.) Well, truth is, we all have to get along and work together in society. There are things that need to be said and things that should be given a pass. There are times when we must take a stand, and there are times to yield for the sake of continued social functioning. There is a way to say things to take the edge off so as not to insult…a way Gemini knows well. On the other hand, it’s important not to fall prey to the “going along to get along” that Gemini sometimes does. We have to head off the Geminian tendency (which will seem especially attractive this month, as we squirm under Plutonic intensity) to playing to its crowd. Gemini has a slippery tongue at times, and we also have to guard against using gossip and playing people off each other as a way to gain the upper hand in any power struggles brought up this month.

So yes, here is the 29th degree culmination, it seems, related to these themes. The Venus - Pluto opposition just after midnight on June 18 and the Sun - Pluto opposition on June 20 should bring to light anything that still hasn’t been adequately addressed related to ugly tendencies to dividing people along the lines of race, class, sex, religion, culture, ideology, philosophy, education level, etc. These oppositions will make us aware of how that colours the way we treat each other in daily society - sometimes unconsciously and ever-so-subtly. Assumptions, dogma, fundamentalism, things that have been continued through our cultural lineage. Excessive cultural pride. Stereotypes - the falseness but also any grain of original truth related to them. The slight ways we extend more humanity to certain groups/people and less to others. Focussing on problems in other countries while overlooking and neglecting the ones in our own back yards. The “ruling” ideology and how it shapes “truth.” Condescension. The smugness of insidious superiority complexes related to culture, race, religion, sex, class, education level, etc. With Gemini involved, it will be the little things speaking volumes about these topics.

Under the context of the Aquarian Age (with the North Node, Neptune and Chiron currently in Aquarius), we’re all equals and really have to put that into practise, rather than just paying lip service to it. We’re all experiencing the human condition, and I don't believe there is any group of people, at this stage on the planet, that has not lived through oppression, injustice, degradation, violence and persecution, either personally or historically. People also experience these things within their own cultural/religious/racial/gender/class groups. They’re universal themes that cross these boundaries, and in order to move forward, we have to be motivated to improve the conditions of all groups experiencing these things, not just the ones we “belong to” or identify with. It doesn’t mean whitewashing circumstances or telling groups of people to “just get over it.” It means working together to overcome and taking all perspectives into consideration, not just the ones currently in a dominant position. Admitting this stuff has happened and continues to happen. Honouring and validating others’ experiences. Understanding that these things don’t just happen “over there,” in other countries…and that we have to look at and address the problems going on in our own societies. Macro reflects micro and vice versa.

As we move fully into the Aquarian era, we’re making a collective shift from a primary allegiance to our “categories” (race, religion, culture, class, sex, etc.) to aligning as human comrades, working to create a planet that works for everyone. We’re moving from the current winners/losers paradigm (My group wins because your group loses; your group wins because my group loses) to a win-win paradigm (I overcome because you overcome; I’m free of this because you’re free of this). Our backgrounds and histories are still important aspects of who we are within our personal contexts. They’re an imperative part of the perspectives we bring to the table as far as understanding the world and its problems. But they are not meant to keep us divided into certain groups and certain allegiances. Pluto in Sagittarius is breaking down rigid attachments here to allow for a broader understanding of family and community - one more aligned with shared soul-level ideals rather than shared skin colour, religion or class status.

Successfully navigating these themes means interacting with people on a real level, as equals, while taking into consideration varied backgrounds and ideologies and respectfully making that part of the context of our relationships.

We’ll see these themes reflected in the world at large, with sharp divisions along ideological lines (different versions of truth) coming to light…divisions that might have been more easily hidden or glossed over in the past, but no longer. Differing religions, cultures, political ideologies all fighting to dominate. The U.S. presidential election is a good example of divisions among people along these lines coming out into the open…and I guess it’s no coincidence that the election takes place in November, just as Pluto leaves Sagittarius for 248 years!

During the first two-thirds of June, the aspects build to the point of the Venus - Pluto and Sun - Pluto oppositions, keeping these themes at the forefront.

June 3, we have a New Moon in Gemini, starting a new cycle of information, ideas, people and interactions. However, the New Moon is ruled by Mercury, still going retrograde in Gemini, so there is a feeling that we are not quite in new territory yet. Communication will still have glitches. The mail/e-mail, electronics, transportation, interactions and even manual dexterity will have their difficulties, so allow for a little more breathing room here. No getting pissy and frustrated! Mercury has its reasons for slowing things down.

During the New Moon, the Sun and Moon in Gemini are exactly sextiling Mars in Leo, bringing into play the power of our personalities and our creative goals and the willful application of them in our daily lives.

June 6, Venus in Gemini repeats the aspect, sextiling Mars in Leo. This builds on the power of our personal will related to being ourselves and expressing ourselves within our daily relationships. We’re really tossing it around now! Egos could be flying around at this point, fuelled by airy and light-hearted Gemini. So far, it’s all fun. But we’re building, building, building to those oppositions with Pluto…so don’t get too cocky. You hear that, Mars in Leo?

On June 7, the Sun and then Venus pass retrograding Mercury in Gemini, and we catch up to our minds. We get clearer on what this Mercury Retrograde period is all about as Mercury passes on the information it has gathered. Some of the fuzziness created by the Mercury - Neptune trine last month will be burned away at this point. Pay attention to any realizations or information coming to you around this time. Because of the trines to Neptune, the North Node and Chiron in Aquarius at the beginning of its retrograde, Mercury’s information has a lot to do with the blueprints for the way forward.

June 8, the Sun and Venus come together in Gemini, increasing the focus on our daily interactions within our relationships. Combined with the sextiles to Mars in Leo, this should help with staying in a state of self-love. This could be very necessary with all the possible ego hits and tenseness in our relations this month. Just don’t push it to the self-glorification point…or, again, Pluto will nail your ass later in the month. Just a friendly warning!

Throughout June 7 and 8, we have a conjunction of the Sun, Venus and ever-potent retrograding Mercury (which rules the Sun and Venus at this point). All this Gemini energy bubbling away is setting the stage, creating interactions and putting the focus on communication within our relationships. This makes for a very potent Gemini force opposing an equal but opposite very potent Sagittarius force later in the month. So all our chatting, interacting, connecting and information-passing are not as light-hearted as they seem. The Gemini planets are greasing the wheels so there’s no holding back. We’re getting it all out there.

June 10 and 11, first Venus and then the Sun, still in close conjunction in Gemini, trine first the North Node and then Chiron in Aquarius. This develops the themes of the entire Mercury Retrograde period. With Chiron involved, we are understanding what needs to be healed within ourselves and within the larger communities as we move forward…the things that have been left unsaid, untended to…very much tied into the ways we have divided and been divided along the lines mentioned previously. Perhaps we will see some movement on the issues important to Native people…to start real healing and progress there. Healing for all our painful cultural roots. I hope so.

June 12, Venus and then the Sun square Uranus in Pisces, as was mentioned earlier in the update. This could bring crackling changes and insights.

June 15, Mars in Leo conjuncts the South Node, yet another indicator that we have to leave our old ego constructs at the door. Excessive pride, sense of entitlement, overpowering with personality, demanding that things be our way, use of personal will and personal talents to recreate the forms of the past…all these things are not going to work. Detachment from the reactions to our personalities and creative expressions will help.

June 18 is the start of what we’ve been building toward, and it’s seriously powerful. Just after midnight, we have the Venus in Gemini - Pluto in Sagittarius opposition at 29 degrees. Venus slips into Cancer less than an hour later and becomes ruled by the Moon, which, adding to the intensity, is about to be full. Just before noon, we have a Full Moon at 27 degrees Sagittarius (the Galactic Centre) opposing the Sun at 27 degrees Gemini, bringing to an emotional head the Gemini - Sagittarius themes we’ve been dealing with all month. Actually since August of 2007. My goodness. This is spicy. Just to make the opposition even more uncomfortable, we’ve got the emotionally-attached Moon involved, combined with Venus in Cancer, making us very vulnerable around these issues of cultural heritage, religious roots, philosophy and personal truth. This is feeling VERY personal. The Moon and Venus in Cancer keep the past close to their hearts. Lots of emotional attachment - to our relationships, our families, our roots, our hometowns, our early lives. We’ve now got the weight of our entire ancestral lineage, not to mention our personal histories, involved. Yeesh. There’s no place to run, no place to hide.

Less than four hours after the Full Moon, the Moon conjuncts Pluto at the 29th degree of Sagittarius. Yet more stripping down of our attachments to belief systems, cultural/religious divisions and philosophical tenets that are past their prime and an anchoring to what continues to sustain us. It goes to the root, and we have the support of our ancestors behind us. We’re here doing this work for all of us. Keep that in mind during the tough points because, honestly, this day has “emotional meltdown” written all over it.

The very next day, June 19, ultra-potent stationing Mercury heads direct at 13 degrees Gemini, going forward over territory it has been dealing with since May 11.

Then June 20, we have the Sun - Pluto opposition at the 29th degrees of Gemini and Sagittarius. Things are not letting up. There’s little rest when the final degrees are being nailed again and again like this. But if we’ve been diligent and done our work since August, this should have more of a clearing feeling, heading off any nuclear meltdowns.

Just after the opposition, the Sun heads into Cancer…again, ruled by the Moon, which is still coming down after all the stuff that was stirred up two days before. At this point, signalling the point of the Summer Solstice (can you believe we're here already!), daylight hours start to shorten and we consciously move inward, getting back in touch with ourselves emotionally and tending to any emotional wounds we’ve received during this whole Plutonic strip-down process. But at the same time, we have to take a hard look at any ways that we are holding onto the past. Cancer strives for emotional/soul security. It likes family, roots, home, familiarity, a nice, secure nest to surround itself in. It likes feeling nurtured and safe and often retreats back to what it knows. The problem here is when the quest for safety and security becomes motivated by fear - and fear is a definite possibility considering all the Pluto energy digging up our deepest, darkest. At this point, Cancer can go into denial about very real threats…avoiding what it would prefer not to look at, regressing emotionally back to a time when it felt more secure, falling into conditioned patterns and familiar roles. This is not successful, especially not with all the Aquarian influence right now. So while we can definitely connect with our roots at this point, we need to make sure we’re not avoiding the challenges and changes of the future.

June 26, Uranus in Pisces goes retrograde, going back over larger themes related to the Pisces-to-Aquarius hand-off stuff. In a fit of cosmic synchronicity, Uranus will turn direct November 26...the same day Pluto moves back into Capricorn. The planet of revolution and lightning-fast change going direct the same day Pluto starts the long process of transforming our hierarchical structures (business and otherwise). Hmm…

On the final day of the month, June 30, we have a trine between Mars in Leo and Pluto in Sagittarius. If we’ve taken on the work necessary in the earlier part of the month, this aspect should create positive results, transforming our social identities and propelling us forward through our hearts…stripped down to only our dearest hearts desires with no detritus clogging up the works. At least, that was the goal…