Spiritual Flatness

Pharaoh Menkaura, accompanied by the goddess Bat on his right and the representation of the town Hu (in which Bat was worshipped) on his left.

Pharaoh Menkaura, accompanied by the goddess Bat on his right and the representation of the town Hu (in which Bat was worshipped) on his left.

As the Zodiac Ages go by, there is a certain trend when it comes to religion and spirituality. During the Age of Taurus, The three great pillars of human life on the Earth – civilizational order, religion, and spiritual tradition were all alive. They were aligned with each other, and they were feeding each other. They were all unified by the role of the ruler of the kingdom, which was also the representative of a higher world on the Earth. The hierarchy was clear. Everybody knew their place in relation to each other. This situation is represented by the three Egyptian figures on the left. However, at some point, The obsession of the Taurian Age with power necessitated the breaking apart of these three great pillars.

Queen Jezabel and King Ahab meeting Elijah in Naboth's vineyard. (Print by Sir Frank Dicksee)

Queen Jezabel and King Ahab meeting Elijah in Naboth’s vineyard. (Print by Sir Frank Dicksee)

The connection of the human level to a higher level could not be reconciled with the materialism and corruption associated with positions of power, so they had to be broken away from. That is why during the Age of Aries, the prophets, God’s messengers on the Earth, and the priests or the religious leaders, are many times in opposition to the ruler. It happened with Moses and Pharaoh; with Akhenaton and the priesthood who opposed his motion to abandon the existing religious order; with Elijah and king Ahab who persecuted him and his companions; and with many others. The prophet and his companions were the ones who understood the demands put on the people by God, and the king was part of the people. He was no longer the head of the religious order and of the initiates, but rather an ordinary person with a certain political role. The prophet received part of his acknowledgement through the confrontation and opposition to the ruler. The high priest and the prophet were usually not one person, but what they represented – the religious order and the spiritual tradition – worked in tandem with each other, but not with the ruler and the social order.

St. Francis of Assisi by Jose de Ribera (circa 1182-1220), Public Domain

St. Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscan monastic order (Jose de Ribera, circa 1182-1220)

During the Age of Pisces, we see yet another deterioration of the once harmonious connection between the state, religion, and spirituality – the breaking away of the spiritual traditions from religions. Even though new religions have sprouted out of the teachings of Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad during this age, the spiritual traditions, which focused mainly on the inner work and not on external rituals, could not accept the rigid and extremist aspects of these religions, their attempts to rewrite history, and their accumulation of wealth and power of their own. The Christian papacy is one example of politicizing, corruption and rigidity of religion. That is why Christian Monasticism flourished in both its Eastern Orthodox and Western branches after the fall of the Roman Empire. These monasteries were like a current underlying the Church which went deeper in applying spiritual practices, such as special prayers or the use of physical work. The monasteries were not the leaders of the Church and they were quite distinguished from the general population of the followers of the Church. Another classical example for such a separate, more spiritual, current running parallel to a religion is the Sufi Orders within Islam. A similar spiritual discipline started during the Age of Pisces within Judaism – the Kabbalah, which ran parallel to the mainstream Jewish movements. It was hidden from the public eye for the most part, and was sometimes controversial in its views, because it teaches the individual how to connect to the Light of the Creator without the need of a rabbi, priest, minister or any other guru seeking to act on our behalf as an intermediary.

And what is next? The transition to the Age of Aquarius poses a very strong challenge when it comes to spirituality. Two trends have emerged in the last century or so:

  • Repulsion from religion and the rise of science as the new religion. At the same time, real schools or spiritual traditions are hidden away from the masses.
  • The availability of information through the Internet, making everything available on one hand, but also not allowing real experience on the other hand.
Photo taken in 1922 of George Gurdjieff who brought the Forth Way tradition to the West

Photo taken in 1922 of George Gurdjieff who brought the Forth Way tradition to the West

The missing link seems to be a conscious teacher and a group of followers that always appear to bridge these periods of transition. It happened with Moses and the Israelites during the Age of Aries, and with Buddha, Christ, and Muhammad and their followers during the Age of Pisces. During these past ages, the spiritual traditions or schools were much more visible because there were part of the fabric of life. Moses was the spiritual leader as well as the religious leader of the Hebrews. Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad were known figures in their time. But these days, as religions dissolve and spirituality is “flattened out” by the availability of everything, both real and false, on the Internet, any real school will be well hidden from the public eye. Is there a spiritual teacher somewhere that will be the seed from which the promise of the next age will spring forth?

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Economic Warfare

Assyrian attack on a town with a battering ram (9th century BC)

Assyrian attack on a town with a battering ram (9th century BC)

It was during the Age of Aries that the first fully blown national or imperial armies were created and for the first time cities surrounded themselves in fortified walls. Many forces were driving these changes, influenced by the transition between the solid, more laid-back Age of Taurus and the fiery and energetic Age of Aries. Perhaps the major driving force was the need to protect the enormous wealth accumulated by the absolute rulers of the old age. Military power was used to protect economic power. Iron was for the first time smelted and smitten into swords in the early phase of this era, replacing the heavier, softer, and duller bronze swords of the Taurian Age. It was heating by fire, the element of Aries, that allowed the handling of iron, quite a different processing than the casting of bronze. A well known weapon that was developed by the Assyrians during this time is the Battering Ram, designed to break open the walls of fortresses or their wooden gates. Later on, during the vast expansion of empires throughout the Age of Aries, military power was used to gain more and more economic power. Having a better army usually meant being richer and more powerful economically.

“Barbarossa’s victory at Iconium” by Hermann Wislicenus. The battle took place in 1190.

“Barbarossa’s victory at Iconium” by Hermann Wislicenus. The battle took place in 1190 during the Third Crusade.

During the Age of Pisces, passionate faith incited Crusades, Jihads, and other wars, which drove the expansion of the great religions to a global scale. Economy and the military were harnessed to support religious conquest and gains. During the transition to the Age of Aquarius, economy has become an actual weapon that has been used to achieve political, social, and even military objectives. During the transition to the Age of Aquarius, economic warfare is used more and more as a way for democracies to impose their will on rogue nations. Rather than using the brutal physical warfare by sending thousands of troops to their death in the best scenario, leveraging economy to achieve political aims seems much more civilized. This is becoming more common, even though it may not always show immediate results.

President Kennedy signing the Cuba Quarantine Proclamation in 1962.

President Kennedy signing the Cuba Quarantine Proclamation in 1962.

Here are just a few examples from recent history of economic sanctions or embargoes that were imposed on certain countries:
• The United States embargo against Cuba since the late 1950’s after Fidel Castro overthrew the democratic government of Cuba favored by the United States.
• The United States economic sanctions on North Korea since after the Korean War which started as the United States tried to oppose a Soviet attempt to create a unified Communist Korea.
• The United Nations imposed economic sanctions on Iraq after the first Gulf War in an attempt to make the Iraqi government cooperate with the UN weapons inspectors.
• The United Nations have imposed since 1999 sanctions against all individuals associated with al-Qaeda and the Taliban. All nations are required to freeze bank accounts and other financial instruments controlled or used by these individuals.
• Economic sanctions against Libya’s nuclear program started in 1979 and along the years included: A United States ban of most Libyan imports and all United States exports to Libya, as well as commercial contracts and travel to the country; Libyan assets in the United States were also frozen; and an arms embargo and air travel restrictions by the UN Security Council. These sanctions, combined with intelligence efforts to undercover Libya’s attempts to build and strengthen its nuclear program, eventually led to the disarmament of Libya from its weapons of mass destruction in 2003. This is one of the success stories of economic sanctions, showing that over time, with a combined international effort, objectives could be achieved that previously were achieved only by armed forces.
• The United Nations attempt in the 1960s and later the United States campaign that started in the 1970s against South Africa’s system of apartheid. Only in the 1980s did the campaign gain enough support internationally. Sanctions included oil sanctions and the denial of investment funds and the boycott of South African investments. The South African government eventually agreed on dismantling the apartheid system in the 1990s. Another success story.
• The Unites States imposed economic sanctions against Iran since the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Later on, in 2006, with Iran’s development of a nuclear program, the UN issued a Security Council resolution imposing additional sanctions. Sanctions are imposed by the European Union as well.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Vienna, Austria, on July 14, 2014, sitting for a bilateral meeting focused on Iran's nuclear program. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Vienna, Austria, on July 14, 2014, sitting for a bilateral meeting focused on Iran’s nuclear program. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

Over the years these sanctions targeted the Iranian oil industry, firms doing business with the Iranian government and the Revolutionary Guard Corps, the banking and insurance industries, shipping, and the Iranian Internet activity. The sanctions are still in place and negotiations are being held between Iran and the main powers trying to reach a comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear program.
• Economic sanctions against Russia after the 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia and Russia’s involvement in the unrest which developed into war in Ukraine. The sanctions were imposed by the United States, the European Union, and other countries. Russia responded with reciprocal sanctions against some of theses countries. As a result, the Russian Ruble collapsed. The crisis is ongoing.

The globalized economic market and the connectedness of our world that are so much stronger in the new Age of Aquarius, make this tool of economic sanctions much more efficient than ever before. It is much easier to impact an entire country by blocking its Internet access or by blocking its ability to exchange currency. Historically, economic warfare has been used by democratic countries, both because these are usually countries that are financially stronger, and because this is a more peaceful way of resolving disputes compared to sending troops, rockets, or airplanes. That is why the transition into the new age is also expected to promote world peace – more international cooperation and more peaceful resolutions of disputes. However, even if this method of economic sanctions is successful, like in Libya and South Africa, it takes years to create enough pressure to change anything. It is different from waging war like Chinese acupuncture is different from an open heart surgery. Acupuncture is less extreme and less pervasive, but it is more holistic and overall it offers a healthier solution, not just dealing with symptoms. What we can learn from history is that the effectiveness of sanctions and embargoes is in proportion to the extent and degree of international participation. As we move deeper into the Age of Aquarius, the international community is going to become stronger and more unified, and the tool of economic warfare is going to be used more frequently and more readily.

Countries that have introduced sanctions against Russian or Ukrainian citizens or corporations or Russia as whole as a result of its actions against Ukraine. Countries that have introduced sanctions against Russian or Ukrainian citizens or corporations or Russia as whole as a result of its actions against Ukraine. Russia itself is in blue, the European Union is in dark green, and other countries are colored in light green.

 

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