Showing posts with label the secret. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the secret. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

James Arthur Ray Awaits Sentencing Under the Cardinal Grand Cross

New Age guru and snake oil salesman millionaire James Arthur Ray, who schlepped (and is still schlepping) that utter crap The Secret has created quite the reality for himself.

On June 22 (Summer Solstice), in the cross hairs of the Cardinal Grand Cross and within triple eclipse season, Ray was found guilty by jurors on three counts of negligent homicide after a four-month trial in Camp Verde, Arizona.

A Full Moon lunar eclipse in Sagittarius June 15 closed a chapter on those taking the dangerous, tail-end Piscean era rhetoric of The Secret to the bank, and Ray is the one finally paying the piper.

Ray is awaiting sentencing by the judge in the case, which could range from probation to nine years in prison. There will inevitably be an appeal, but apparently Arizona does not often overturn convictions.

Three people died ("ascended"? "transcended"?) and 19 were hospitalized - some with permanent health damage - after a botched sweat lodge at Ray's "Spiritual Warrior" seminar near Sedona, Arizona in October 2009. Participants paid up to $10,000 for the honour of attending Ray's five-day workshop where, according to accounts, they were encouraged to shave their heads, play death-related games with Ray and fast for 36 hours before entering a faulty sweat lodge. Ray reportedly goaded participants into staying in the sweat lodge longer than they wanted to, advising them to ignore physical discomfort and push past their boundaries.

According to the Huffington Post, participants were told by Ray:

"The true spiritual warrior has conquered death and therefore has no fear or enemies in this lifetime or the next, because the greatest fear you'll ever experience is the fear of what? Death. ... You will have to get a point to where you surrender and it's OK to die."

The dirty, pumped-up Neptunian bullshit of The Secret and its "creating your own reality/manifesting abundance" memes finally blew up after every New Ager and his/her dog dry humped the scheme for its very last penny. Unfortunately, people lost their lives in the process.

I wrote about it at the time:

October 14, 2009: New Age Dumbassery Turns Deadly
October 19, 2009: More of Those Pesky Saturn in Virgo Details Surfacing And The Death Toll Rises To Three

The deaths happened and the case hit the media as we were experiencing the horrendous Saturn in Virgo opposition series to Uranus in Pisces, with transiting Saturn in Virgo trine the Capricorn North Node. The tail-end astrological Piscean era energy was at a point of extreme. It was overwhelming, confusing, exhausting, paralyzing. The blinding veils were thick and very, very dirty, and setting up the guru-student power dynamic so prevalent in New Age was absolutely ripe for detrimental effects.

The Saturnine challenges at the time related to taking on one's own spiritual authority while having the most exacting, detail-conscious standards possible (Virgo) for anyone allowed to have influence over us - body, mind and spirit. We were challenged to use Saturn in Virgo's earthy analytical skills to see through the dangerous, pseudo-spiritual trex being promoted by Ray and others like him, getting crystal clear on the old Piscean karmic loops and those taking them all the way to the bank.

"Saturn is a picky taskmaster in Virgo, making us go over and over things with a fine-toothed comb. Even the smallest rough edge, neglected detail or sloppy statement can put us way off course. Saturn in Virgo knows this.

So we've been drilled on all those Virgo subjects. Yes, the usual ones like work, service, duty, communication, perfecting of details, cleanliness, organization, diet and holistic/systemic health and functioning, in general.

But also on the finer points of Virgo. Honing our skills of personal discernment, defining and enforcing boundaries, separating the necessary from the unnecessary, rejecting those things that are damaging to our systems, defining our particular skills and service and applying them in the right ways in the right situations, removing our energy and influence from situations that are no longer right for us personally, determining preferences, stripping down to the essentials in self and life, learning and mastering ourselves."

With Saturn in Virgo in a series of four oppositions to Uranus in Pisces, grounding the too-good-to-be-true, over-the-top Uranus in Pisces energy was crucial.

But the glamour and wishful thinking and Neptunian merry-go-round of The Secret phenomenon, amped up by the electric Uranian charge and multiple appearances on Aquarius Sun and New Age promoter Oprah Winfrey, proved too powerful. Hundreds of thousands of people had found a new shortcut to riches, fame and material splendour, separating them from all those negative-thinking losers as they climbed to greatness. They became 'creating your own reality' foot soldiers, forming the newest rungs to be tapped in the pyramid scheme.

I'm sorry people lost their lives, and I'm sorry people were injured by this hideously, criminally irresponsible and vile little man and by this fakery. But I'm not surprised. I could see from the get-go how out of control, how dirty, how manipulated this stuff was. It was and still is obscene. I saw the ill effects it had on the people I came into contact with then and I still see them. I saw the glossed-over, over-simplified fervour of it, the robotically repeated memes, and I knew how dangerous it was.

All New Age is this dangerous. Far from harmless, feel-good "spirituality," it brainwashes on a mass level, creating people who will fight tooth and nail to remain brainwashed. It lobotomizes. It disassociates. It incites people to hand over their hard-earned money to fake people telling them fake things. It takes people out of themselves and has them giving their personal power almost entirely over to those they consider higher up the spiritual hierarchy. It disconnects and detaches people from the importance and meaning of their physical lives and of the world and people around them.

It's a con.

The point is not that "The Secret works for some people." All pyramid schemes work for some of the people involved. The point is, this stuff was always a dangerous and irresponsible use of energy. It was never ethical.

From October 13, 2008: The Secret Vs. My Use of Astrology (Or Why The Secret Doesn’t Do it For Me)

From April 21, 2009: Saturn in Virgo Calls Bullshit on The Secret/Law of Attraction Phenomenon

At the time that the Ray sweat lodge deaths happened, Saturn was in Virgo - the same place it was 31 years prior when 918 people were killed in Guyana, most following another New Age guru Jim Jones in the search for utopia.

With Saturn in Virgo, cutting through pseudo-spiritual crap, leveling the abusive and dangerous hierarchies, focusing on the details that just don't add up and puncturing the glossy, glossy Neptunian bubble realities are a big part of the modus operandi.

Now that Saturn is in Libra within Cardinal Grand Cross formation, it appears that Ray is being forced by the courts to take the responsibility he eschewed. Let's see what they come up with as a sentence...

Monday, October 19, 2009

More of Those Pesky Saturn in Virgo Details Surfacing And The Death Toll Rises To Three

A third person has died as a result of James Arthur Ray's The Secret-themed retreat and sweat lodge outside New Age Mecca Sedona, Arizona, on October 9.

Liz Neuman, a 49-year-old Prior Lake, Minnesota, woman, was in a coma since that date and succumbed to multiple organ failure October 17.

Neuman was one of Ray's converts and was the leader of an affiliated "Journey Expansion Team" in the Minneapolis area.

It is also being reported that people have become unconscious at previous sweat lodges conducted by Ray and that emergency medical responders were called to a sweat lodge in 2005.

A Philadelphia blogger, Cassandra Yorgey, has had contact with survivors of the deadly retreat. According to participants:

- immediately upon beginning the retreat, all participants shaved their heads

- participants were encouraged to go without sleep

- one game participants played involved Ray playing the role of God. He would point to a participant and that person would have to fall down and play dead. They would be covered by a blanket, and if they moved, another person would "die." (One of the saddest aspects of this was that Kirby Brown, the 38-year-old woman who died in the sweat lodge, was reportedly holding herself and crying after this particular "game.")

- prior to the sweat lodge, they had been dropped off in the desert for 36 hours without food or water. Ray and his staff did not participate.

- after this 36-hour "fast," they came back to a buffet breakfast. Within an hour of returning to the Center, they were taken to a group meditation and then to the improperly-constructed, overcrowded sweat lodge.

- once in the sweat lodge, "[Ray] not only encouraged participants to stay and push past physical discomfort, he also actively dissuaded people that wanted to leave. The phrase “push through your threshold” was repeated often by James Ray. If participants didn’t make it to the door fast enough they had to wait for the next round. James Ray would slam the tarp shut shouting “Too late! Door’s shut!” and as he was sitting directly next to the door he was escalating it into a physical confrontation...playing off something we are trained from birth to avoid. Throughout all this, James Ray is speaking words of encouragement. He speaks of how throwing up is good and actually purging...and explains that passing out is common...He encourages people who find it too hot to bury their faces in the dirt, because it was cooler...Participants who expressed concern over others were told time and time again to focus on their own journey, and not to interfere with another’s."

Sounds as if it's straight out of the "New Age Cult Leader 101" handbook.

Again, this entire incident is a perfect example of the complete disconnect from physical reality that is preached by the proponents of this garbage.

There is an utter lack of regard for the requirements and necessities of physical life, and those physical requirements and necessities are often looked upon distastefully, merely as pesky, unenlightened throwbacks to "push beyond." People are frequently talked out of their personal boundaries, concerns, physical limitations and comfort zones.

Our bodies tell us when something is wrong, but you see how people are being encouraged to listen to a supposed guru over their own physical bodies and over their own intuition and personal discernment.

As always with this stuff, there is a dangerous lack of balance - preaching limitless expansion, exponential growth and zero restrictions. Jupiter without Saturn. Pisces without Virgo. Scorpio without Taurus. As students of astrology know, that just doesn't exist.

And you can see the result of that imbalanced ideology when followed to its inevitable result.

I've been writing for so long about the dangers of setting up the master/student hierarchy, especially spiritual hierarchy, as we move from Piscean Age to Aquarian. I've written extensively about the dangers of The Secret and its ideology and self-declared gurus. And I'm disgusted that it has been allowed to go to such a ridiculous extreme that people are losing their lives by putting their faith in these charlatans.

It's my birthday today. I was born during Saturn's last transit through Virgo, a month before the Jonestown Massacre, when 909 people committed mass suicide or were shot and killed by followers of Neptunian utopia cult leader Jim Jones. My Sun has progressed to just after the day of the massacre, which was November 18, 1978. With a Pisces South Node in the 8th House, I'm so aware of the abuses of these pseudo-spiritual self-declared gurus and their misuse of energetic dynamics.

And I think, do we really need yet more lessons on this subject? Apparently so. Because James Arthur Ray and his ilk are cut from the same cloth.

Jupiter was stationing direct in Aquarius at the time of the deadly sweat lodge, conjunct Black Moon Lilith, Chiron and Neptune in Aquarius. And here you see the dark side of this Pisces-to-Aquarius transition, the aspects that have been glossed over and the abuses of the constantly-promoted "limitless expansion" dogma.

Remember all those Taurus-Aquarius squares we experienced as Saturn turned direct in Virgo in May? Those squares were about not just leaping into the possibilities of the "Aquarian future" without first taking into consideration the physical requirements and necessities of our lives on Earth. Respecting those aspects of physical life and working within those grounded, earthly limitations and boundaries. REAL physical law, not the segmented, incomplete, only-what-suits-you version of reality preached in The Secret and most New Age dogma.

New Age astrologers have focussed almost entirely on the vision and the idealism and the grand possibilities of the Aquarius triple conjunction. But here we see, with the help of Saturn in Virgo opposite Uranus in Pisces and Black Moon Lilith in Aquarius, the work that is left to be done, the details people have skimmed over, the necessary perspective we must develop before moving forward into a real Aquarian future. If we don't learn the lessons of the Piscean past, we carry the same problems and abuses of humanity forward.

And speaking of Aquarius, particularly the use of technology...

The Twitter updates Ray was making during the time frame when the deaths occurred were very telling:

"JamesARay: is still in Spiritual Warrior… for anything new to live something first must die. What needs to die in you so that new life can emerge?

JamesARay: Day 5 of SPW. The Spiritual Warrior has conquered death and therefore has no enemies, and no fear, in this life or the next."

Ray actually deleted these tweets, but they were somehow recovered.

You can see Ray's complete disconnect from any sort of responsibility or care for the victims as he continues his money-machine speaking tour as if nothing even happened. Are these the actions of a truly wise spiritual leader? No. They're not even the actions of a decent human being.

It's all very disgusting to me, and again, I sincerely hope this man is held accountable for his actions.

There was a quote in one of the CBS stories from Joseph Bruchac, a man who wrote a book on Native sweat lodges, about how with that many people involved and without breathable fabric covering the lodge, all the people inside would be fighting for the same oxygen.

And I thought, that's what happens when the pyramid scheme starts to run out of steam.

Everyone starts off high on a blast of pure oxygen with dollar signs in their eyes. And the people at the top of the hierarchy who got in at the beginning of The Secret pyramid scheme made off like absolute bandits. Multi-millionaires. They all got a piece of the pie, selling books and videos and classes and seminars and sessions and retreats and guest appearances to the masses.

(The other people behind The Secret book and video include Rhonda Byrne, Rusty G. Parrish, John Assaraf, Michael Beckwith, John Demartini, Bob Proctor, Jack Canfield, James Arthur Ray, Joe Vitale, Lisa Nichols, Marie Diamond, John Gray, Esther Hicks, Jerry Hicks, Mike Dooley, Bob Doyle, David Schirmer, Marci Shimoff, Lee Brower, Hale Dwoskin, Cathy Goodman, Morris E. Goodman, John Hagelin, Bill Harris, Ben Johnson, Loral Langemeier, Denis Waitley, Neale Donald Walsch, Fred Alan Wolf, among others.)

And so did the other people who started selling this delusional ideology before anyone had really heard of it. People have built entire careers on this shit. They all hitched their wagons to the momentum and the money rolled in.

But then, as is inevitably the case with pyramid schemes, things start to run out of steam. They run out of people who are going to hop on the bandwagon. They run out of converts. Their critics start to get louder. And the air starts to get stale. Things start to degenerate. And finally, the oxygen high starts to wear off.

The people at the bottom of the pyramid scheme realize that they aren't going to get rich like the people at the top did. It turns out they're just the ones who made the people at the top rich.

And eventually there is not enough oxygen to continue the scheme. Reality...real reality, not the Neptunian-delusional, solipsistic version preached about in The Secret...sets in.

I just hope three dead and two dozen injured is enough of a reality check.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

New Age Dumbassery Turns Deadly in Arizona

New Age "success guru" James Arthur Ray (aka The Secret-schlepping hack) packed between 55 and 65 people into a sweat lodge his company built (improperly) at the Angel Valley Retreat Center in Sedona, Arizona, leading to the deaths of two people and the injuries of 19 more on October 9.

One of the 19 injured remains in critical condition in a coma. The rest suffered from burns, dehydration, respiratory arrest, kidney failure or elevated body temperature.

The sweat lodge was improperly constructed, covered in layers of tarps and blankets, which restricted air flow. Properly-run Native sweat lodges generally involve no more than 12 people. Ray and his company packed in five times the safe number of people into the improperly-constructed structure. Properly-run Native sweat lodges are also headed by people with real knowledge and understanding of the process who are responsible for monitoring the health and well-being of each of the participants. Not qualities you will find with the "instant guru" Native cultural appropriation that Ray favours.

Charge for the retreat: between $9,000 and $10,000. So you can see why they would want to pack it as full as possible...

Ray actually appeared in the video for The Secret, so he's been involved in this pseudo-spiritual pyramid scheme since the very beginning and has made multi-millions from this crap. He has appeared on Oprah, The Today Show and Larry King Live, among others.

"The self-styled success guru says people are ready for his wisdom if "You simply (and deeply) want to make more money and become more successful" and "want to double, triple, even multiply by ten the size of your business."

Hmm...multiplying the size of a safe sweat lodge by five to line your pockets even more didn't turn out so hot for you or your victims. I'll pass on your supposed wisdom, thanks.

"Joseph Bruchac, author of "The Native American Sweat Lodge: History and Legends," called the number of participants in the lodge "appalling."

"If you put people in a restrictive, airtight structure, you are going to use up all oxygen," he said by phone Saturday from his home in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. "And if you're doing a sweat, you're going to use it up that much faster."

American Indian sweat lodges typically hold about 12 people and are covered with blankets made of natural materials, such as cotton or wool, and the air flow isn't restricted, he said.

"I don't see how the person running that lodge could have been aware of the health and well-being of that many people," he said.

The participants had fasted for 36 hours as part of a personal and spiritual quest in the wilderness, then ate a breakfast buffet Thursday morning. After various seminars, they entered the sweat lodge lightly dressed at 3 p.m.

Two hours later, a woman dialed 911 to say that two people, [identified as 38-year old New Yorker Kirby Brown and 40-year-old James Shore of Milwaukee] did not have a pulse and weren't breathing."

The full story is here.

I love how Ray updates his Twitter account: "I am spending the weekend in prayer and meditation for all involved in this difficult time; and I ask you to join me in doing the same."

You should be spending it in handcuffs for criminal negligence causing death, buddy. And you might be if you hadn't skipped out of state.

This level of irresponsibility is hideous, really. And the abuses of this get-rich-quick, "instant manifestation" New Age ideology and its self-declared gurus continue. Completely disconnected from physical reality.

When people preach exponential growth without any level of responsibility for that growth...things go wrong. Case in point. Building a business or anything, for that matter, that is on solid ground, that is sustainable and of real benefit to the community takes time, effort, patience, diligence, persistence, development of knowledge and expertise and personal responsibility, among other things. All those Saturn in Virgo things that so much of the New Age finds distasteful.

Here is some commentary that includes the leaked transcript of a telephone conference call Ray made to the victims October 14 trying to cover his ass and reinforce "the teachings."

Circling the wagons is a very common technique used in New Age indoctrination to keep everyone "on board." "All part of the divine plan; all part of the divine plan; all part of the divine plan."

Also trying to keep himself out of future litigation, I'm sure.

I sincerely hope this man is held accountable and brought to justice. I also hope the victims' families sue this guy and he loses his phony fortune as quickly as he made it.

Instant manifestation, instant de-manifestation!

That would help raise the profile of another couple "laws" we've got on Planet Earth - easy come, easy go and what goes up must come down...

Honestly, a tragic incident like this was just waiting to happen. The energy of this stuff is so unbelievable dirty. A pyramid-scheme spiritual hierarchy built on phony foundations and an incomplete understanding of "universal law." Misuse of energy for personal gain in the most extreme ways. It was only a matter of time before it came crashing down. Unfortunately, people have lost their lives in the process and others will probably have lifelong ill effects to deal with.

The two deaths are now being investigated.

And none of this has stopped Ray and his money-making machine. He has continued his "motivational speaking" tour since the incident.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Saturn in Virgo Calls Bullshit on The Secret/Law of Attraction Phenomenon

(Here's one last purge of old Piscean energy as Venus, Mars and the Moon sit on the final degree of the zodiac. By the time you've had your first cup of coffee tomorrow morning, the Moon and Mars will be in Aries. By the wee hours Friday morning, Venus will be in Aries, too...)

As one of my forays into the world of the New Age movement, I worked at a New Age wellness centre in Calgary a few years ago (for a split second) that preached "wholistic health" (yes, they spelled it with a "w"). At that time, most of the people there were over the moon for The Secret and fervently promoted the crap out of it, day in, day out. They had regular screenings of the low budget video and had a 20-year-old "Belief Repatterning Practitioner" at the ready to cleanse you of your "negative beliefs." (For about $80 per session or so - should only need three to six sessions!)

When I wouldn't submit to a "belief repatterning session," the owner of the business whipped out the New Age passo aggro in record time, telling me she was sorry I wasn't "open to new modalities" but she hoped that one day I would be. She also snuck a snide little dig in there about my unfortunate "inability to manifest."

God. What a fucking hack.

That dissenting view was the beginning of the end for Willow at "Love and Light Central."

The thing I couldn't get behind then - one of many things - was the absolute lack of any sociological context involved in the promotion and application of these ideas. The large majority of people who bought and/or provided services in that place were middle to upper-middle class, urban, white people (or identified with that group).

So to have them saying, "Oh, people in bad situations are choosing it for themselves. They're keeping themselves there due to their negative thinking, etc. My life is great! I've manifested everything I ever wanted because I know how to apply the law of attraction 'positively.'" That just didn't fly with me. And still doesn't.

These people seemed to have absolutely zero understanding of their own societal context (privileged urban white folks - even the hippie lookin' motherfuckers) or of the influence of systemic roots related to human conditions. There was no understanding of any kind of interconnection between/among conditions, either. IE. that an owner might be rich because his labourers are poor. He is rich because of a power structure that allows him to reap the benefits of the labour and effort of other people, not because he "manifested his abundance" magically.

So you know that brand new Escalade you're patting yourself on the back for "manifesting?" Well, think about all the people who actually made that Escalade happen. There were the workers in the factories shaping the raw materials. Then the people in the auto plants who built the thing. These people do manual labour day in and day out (and many have been laid off at this point). There are the truck drivers who loaded 'er up and drove the thing to the car dealership, hopping themselves up on speed so they can meet their mileage quota. There are the guys out working on rigs being hurt and killed to drill oil to run the thing, drinking themselves silly to get through another -20 day of work in the winter. There are soldiers fighting and dying (and killing, of course) for access to Middle Eastern oil to run that big bitch. And there are women who are expected to somehow emotionally deal with the results of all this and prop their husbands/boyfriends up for another day or week or year of this stuff while raising kids and holding down jobs of their own. Then there is the damage to Mama Earth that running these big luxury vehicles causes.

Point being, there's a lot going on with this whole "manifestation" process that people don't see, regardless of what it is they're "manifesting." And the disconnect from it fuels all the thinking that it just magically appears one day. Sorry, but you success stories are being propped up at every turn by people who are getting the fuzzier end of the lollipop. Pluto in Capricorn disposited by Saturn in Virgo knows this stuff.

Following this application of The Secret's ideology, it doesn't matter if you're a poor black kid born into drug-and-violence infested projects or if you're a female born into Taliban-ruled Afghanistan or if you're a rural farmer treated like a labour slave your entire life who had to leave school at 13 to work or whatever the circumstances an individual struggles with. If your life is difficult or depressing, it's the workings of your negative thoughts and you are somehow choosing this life for yourself because you alone are "creating your reality" and you alone are responsible for changing things. If you were more positive and knew how to "manifest," you would be one of the success stories, instead of the failure that you are.

There's little to no concept that the deck might be stacked against. Or that it might not be solely about figuring out how to "successfully" work the same old structures, capitalizing on a bad situation for your own personal gain. Or that it might be of collective responsibility to improve conditions for all people. That THAT is the real meaning of holistic health, not just eating overpriced organic food, recycling and having a colonic flush once a month. If you refuse to look at social justice issues, if you refuse to look at the social systems/structures that aid in determining who is a winner and who is a loser (and the collective beliefs holding those systems/structures in place), you're missing the point. Because those are things that need to be improved to actually create a real, meaningful holistic health.

As long as the New Age movement is happy to make its coin treating the symptoms of a sick culture, it's just capitalizing on a bad situation.

And it's just a group of navel-gazing privileged people patting themselves on the backs for being so damned successful and enlightened.

It was actually funny because that New Age business owner was a perfect example of the lack of understanding of the owner-worker sociological context. She was a person who brought new people into the fold, milked them for their talent, energy and ideas and then, once they became an ego threat to her, turfed them from the organization. All the while glorying about what a visionary success she and her business were.

Again, using and abusing other people to manifest your Grand Success is a total load. But as long as the Emperess has no clothes and no one will speak up about it, it continues.

Well, you know what? The Emperess has no clothes. She's naked as a fucking jaybird.

I decided recently, after a 1.5 year hiatus, to start posting again on an astrology message board.

Within two days of being back, I had received e-mails from three different people promoting The Secret and the so-called law of attraction to me. Of course, they don't come right out and say this. They tell me they are offering to "check my perceptions" or some such drivel.

So I was thinking, wtf? Three years later, The Secret still has this much sway?

Within a day, I see ads plastered all over the website for Beyond the Secret. Oh, yay! The Secret has a sequel. Well, blessed day.

From what I can surmise, the original created so many people blaming themselves for their "inabilities to manifest" and so much depression over their "inability to create the exact reality they desired" (not to mention being blamed by those shiny, happy people who DO know how to create their every desire, mostly through social privilege) that they are now shlepping a sequel with the premise: Oh, um, yeah. About that instant manifestation thing. Well, it helps if you have a plan to get your every desire! And let us show you that plan for another $29.95 or whatever the video/book is going for or after sitting through yet another seminar.

So now the shame spiral created by the original has an antidote. Uhhh, yeah. And if that doesn't work, never fear!

**The Secret - $29.95
**Beyond the Secret - $29.95
**One Last Secret - $29.95
**Seriously, This is the Last Secret - $29.95
**Oops! We Forgot About This Secret... - $29.95
**OK. Really. This is the Final Secret - $29.95
**Wow. This is Getting Embarassing, But This Is REALLY the Last Secret - $29.95

Have your credit card ready, folks, and we'll show you how to manifest a huge bill...almost instantly!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Secret Vs. My Use of Astrology (Or Why The Secret Doesn’t Do it For Me)

In honour of Pluto going through the last degrees of Sagittarius (breaking down and transforming our belief systems and ideologies as it goes), I am reposting an old article on a subject near and dear to my heart...

So, The Secret. Hmm…

People really seem to love it, don’t they? It hit the big time. Spread like wildfire. It’s been on Oprah. Many New Age-y people seem to find that it hits the spot. They love it. Eat it up. Espouse it’s merits and talk about it to anyone who will listen. People are being trained as “Belief Repatterning Practitioners” in order to use its teachings on the general public. It’s pretty much everywhere, and people are basing their entire philosophies, their businesses, their entire ways of living, on it.

For those who don’t know, The Secret is a book (later made into a movie) talking about the Law of Attraction. The basic premise is that everything experienced in the life of a human being is something he/she has attracted into his/her life. Like attracts like. So positive thoughts attract positive events/things. Negative thoughts attract negative events/things. “We create our own reality” is the constant refrain. If we are attracting circumstances into our lives that we do not want, The Secret says, it is because we have limiting negative beliefs (that need to be “repatterned” by those Belief Repatterning people).

The Secret focuses quite a lot on "material abundance." We live in an endlessly abundant Universe, it says, and if we can visualize it, we can have it. A new car, a new home, a diamond ring, a wonderful mate - all these things can be our’s, almost instantly, if we think positively, believe we can have them and visualize them into being.

Now, I do understand the power of positive thinking and creative visualization. (So do all those positive thinking gurus from the 60s, by the way - this is not new information.) And, on a basic level, I agree that we have some role in creating the realities in which we live. It’s not so much the basic ideas The Secret is putting forth that I have a problem with, it’s the blanket applications of those ideas and the leaps in logic that so often seem to come with. There are a lot of blind spots I can see regarding how this ideology is being applied, which I will attempt to explain in this post.

I understand the Law of Attraction in theory, but this single (supposed) law is not the only law at work in our lives. The explanation that our negative and limiting beliefs are the only things keeping us from the exact lives we want is far too simplistic to me.

When I delve into my problems with this message and its application, I realize it is just not fitting with my use of astrology.

The major difference between the two is that with The Secret, what a human being wants (along with the ability to positively visualize this want into existence) is the most powerful force in his or her life. Seemingly, the only reason one would not get what one wants is that the person has "negative, limiting beliefs" holding him or herself back. (And this can possibly be remedied with Belief Repatterning Sessions.)

Using my version of astrology, the broader, soul-driven desire for a human being (connected to the situation on the planet) trumps individual, personality-related will almost every time.

My understanding of astrology works with the idea that there are specific imperatives involved in our existences, reasons for being born at the time and place that we did, specific things we are meant to do during our lifetimes and certain directions we are meant to take - and much of this we may not be 100% consciously aware of at all times. These experiences can take a number of different forms, but the themes remain pretty much the same. There are certain things we need to learn and master, certain things we need to move on from, and certain things we need to steer away from altogether. There are certain marks we need to hit. Some individuals have quite a lot of leeway (or free will) in their lives, and others have less because their life experiences must be very specific.

Within this framework, what a person wants on a conscious, personal level is not always in alignment with the broader, soul-level bird's eye view, and when it isn’t, it appears that the person is not getting what he or she wants. Rather than holding him or herself back with "limiting beliefs," the person is simply not meant to have that particular want fulfilled at that particular time. (Didn't we all learn delayed gratification when we were two years old? Maybe not.) Unfulfilled wants are most often purposeful, not simply the "fault" of the person’s limited and negative beliefs/thoughts. The broader, soul-level imperative (Pluto) is not in alignment with conscious, personal desire (Mars) at that time, and the process of “not getting what you want” is often instrumental in bringing those two things closer together - what the sign Scorpio is primarily about. I want only what is right and in my best interests within the entire context of my life on the planet.

I see this concept illustrated in the birth chart.

One example is the Moon’s Nodes. There is a North Node and a South Node in every chart. The North Node represents the path to be taken on and mastered in the lifetime. It is new and uncharted territory that can feel quite foreign and uncomfortable, but this is where the energy lies, so this is what the person must develop in order to achieve soul-level success.

The South Node relates to an area that the person has already mastered to a certain extent. It feels comfortable and familiar and is where the person often feels that his or her glory lies. But this is an area where the person can’t hang out too much. There is no glory to be relived by staying in the South Node and no new energy there, only karmic loops trying to kick the person out onto the North Node path. (There are some exceptions to this, but this is the basic concept.)

The point is that people don’t always want to take the path that is the most beneficial for them on a soul level. They don’t want to venture out of old territory and into new. The challenges that lie there aren’t things they would necessarily desire from an egoic perspective, but they are desired on an broader level related to soul-driven achievement.

Another example is Saturn. Saturn is not considered the most fun or desirable planet. It relates to an area where we take on difficult challenges - challenges that take a great deal of time and effort and skill-building. Saturn points out an area where we need to mature, grow the hell up, and get serious. An area that we need to structure and plan carefully. For illustration sake, think about your Dad standing over you making sure you study for your Grade Six final math exam when all you want to do is go outside and play. That’s Saturn. It’s something you do because it’s “for your own good.” And it (along with the Nodes) is an area that often has fear and discomfort attached. Again, this is not an area that a person would necessarily WANT to take on. It’s scary and challenging, sometimes to the extreme. But it’s something a person NEEDS to take on, for the sake of his or her personal development, not to mention broader sociological/socio-political development.

People might not understand why they aren’t getting that new car they're visualizing or that awesome new mate. The Secret would suggest they are just not believing they can have it hard enough and that they only need to change their negative beliefs, and it can be their's. But to me, this ventures into the territory of solipsism - the idea that we exist in our own little bubbles, not affected by those realities around us. It loses an element of purpose and energetic connection with people of all walks of life, not to mention any concept of a larger context for our individual lives.

An example of the context of which I’m speaking of is this: What about culture shaping our desires? What do people want in 2008 in consumer capitalist North America and why? And are all desires completely justified? Is it in the best interests of ourselves or of the planet that we all have exactly what we want when we want it? Who and what taught us to want those things? Where are the roots of our personal desires?

Personally, I don’t want to live in a world of consumer capitalists hell-bent on instant gratification who have figured out how to have exactly what they want, when they want it. I’m pretty sure we would need a few more planets if that were to happen, considering the level of excess we have been taught we deserve to have by the Market Gods.

Another example of missing context, in my opinion, is already existing power and control structures, reinforced for millenia, that people are born into. The Secret would have us believe we are all born into a completely clean slate and that it is nothing but our negative beliefs keeping us from have our every desire fulfilled. The entire discipline of sociology, especially as it relates to social stratification, would say otherwise. People are born into a broader cultural and planetary context, and that includes unjust power structures along class, sex, race, spiritual inclination, sexual preference and any number of other lines.

The real question to me that people seem to be missing is why these power and control structures are being created and why they are systemically supported and reinforced? Why are some people living overprivileged lives and others living underprivileged? Why are some living with extreme excess and others living with horrible deprivation? Why the imbalances, and how are they related? And why is none of this addressed in The Secret?

If we sever ourselves from that energetic connection (that my life might have something to do with your life and vice versa), we start to look at things in an extremely individualistic and, again, solipsistic, way. We lose sense of any responsibility to our fellow human being and it’s just another race to the material manifestation (or spiritual materialist) finish line. At that point, you can disconnect yourself from the suffering of others on the planet because they are “creating their own reality” and you are creating your’s. We can blame other people (and ourselves) for negative experiences/circumstances and turn a blind eye to the other forces at work in their creation.

Of course there is a level of individual responsibility that must be taken regarding life's cirumstances. But let's not take that individuality to an extreme. Let's not make it the only aspect of reality.

And let's not pretend that the reality that one person "creates" doesn't affect the realities of others, especially when that person holds a great deal of wealth, political connection and power. George Bush, Jr.'s reality of "terror against America," for example, has affected the realities of everyone on this planet. Let's not turn a blind eye to the fact that systemic realities, reinforced through ideology and mass belief systems, affect the reality of each individual greatly.

So many times, I’ve heard from people espousing this theory: “That isn’t in my reality.” The judgement goes that once you reach a certain level of “enlightenment” (IE. that person’s level), you will no longer experience anything “negative” or upsetting at all.

This isn’t how life on Earth actually exists. Positive and negative are charges that co-exist in nature. They're yin and yang. You can’t get rid of negative by denying it exists in “your reality.”

The idea that positive creates more positive and more positive and more positive, and that anyone experiencing a “negative” situation is simply bringing it on him or herself is simply not true. Positive and negative seek to create balance, neutralizing the excesses of both. To me, opposites attract more often than like attracting like. So people who insist on experiencing only “positive” are actually creating a by-product of excessive “negative” for someone else to experience - usually someone with a "can't deny reality" signature like a strong Pluto or a lot of Scorpio.

Again, energetic connection of realities. My choices affect your choices and vice versa. As long as some people refuse to look at the supposedly "dark and negative" realities of human experience and explain them away with all sorts of justifications, they are leaving a disproportionate amount of that awareness to be carried by those who cannot refuse their existence.

As long as we look the other way and pretend things like poverty, classism, racism, sexism, abuse of power, violence, etc. etc. do not exist in “our dimension,” or that people are creating these realities strictly on a personal level through “negative, limiting beliefs,” it leaves those aspects of life free to come out in ever more excessive, disturbing and unconscious ways.

I think the use of radioactive weapons is a perfect example of how the choices or "realities" of the few affect us all, whether we want to admit it.

We have to look at this stuff directly, address it directly. There is nowhere to transcend to - it’s all right here, right in front of us, asking for us to take notice.

In 2008, there are too many manufactured wants being created by consumer capitalism and not enough responsibility being taken for what is desired/created - not to mention, often, an absence of spiritual discipline and understanding to guide the manifestation process. To me, the world The Secret is attempting to create is not one I desire to inhabit.

So maybe you aren’t getting that ocean-view bungalow in Hawaii that you’re attempting to manifest. But you know what? Maybe the world doesn’t need another person isolated in the wilds of Hawaii, lost in meditation. Maybe the world needs you right where you are, doing what you’re doing.