Liberty vs Freedom

In previous postings, I discussed how our democracy and our values are based on a three-legged stool: liberty, equality, and rule of law. I am aware that sometimes I said “freedom” instead of “liberty.” I should have been more careful. There is, actually, a big difference between freedom and liberty, and we need to be responsible to take whatever action is needed to support both.

Liberty is the right and ability to do something as provided by the culture or society we are in. Loss of liberty is the society prohibiting, preventing, or standing in the way of something we would like to do. That prohibition may be through laws, but it can also be through mores, taboos, tradition, any way a society tries to constrict or restrict behavior. In some ways, liberty needs to be curtailed or restricted in order for large groups of people to live together in close proximity. Examples of this are prohibitions against murder, taking of another’s property, violence against another person or his property, and so on. In other ways, liberty may be curtailed unnecessarily and even harmfully. Examples include limiting what a person can believe, what a person can say, who a person can associate with, or even what questions a person can ask.

Freedom is the right and ability to do something one confers upon oneself. For example, I have the freedom to say, “I think I would like to write something today. I think I will write about golf.” Or, “I am really happy today. I think I would like to dance.” And then I could do that. My self will have given approval. However, my ability to golf depends on the skill I have developed in myself to golf (which is none at all). A person is normally not able (thus not free) to golf a par round if that person has not been practicing. I may really want to dance. But my body is not able (thus not free) to perform the moves I want to perform, unless that I have been putting in the time doing barre and floor exercise. Or I may want to write, but unless I have studied vocabulary and syntax and sentence structure I may not be able to express clearly what I envision. The key to freedom is discipline. It is only through discipline that we are able to do things effectively.

Liberty has a corollary to discipline: rule of law. Rule of law is society’s discipline. This is what makes rule of law the second leg in the stool. If there is no rule of law, there is no way to enforce the liberty, or the restriction of liberty that the society has agreed on. We see this in our society right now. While we give lip service to allowing people the liberty to walk down the street without fear of being harassed, too often we see people are indeed harassed, and that harassment is based on something that our own laws prohibit. A person of color should feel free to walk down the street without fear of being harassed, based on our laws – our granting of liberty by consent of our society. However, we see that those who are supposed to enforce our liberty as well as enforce the curtailments of liberty that we have agreed to are the very ones violating that liberty in predictable ways. This leads us to the third leg in the stool: equality. Those tasked with enforcing rule of law do not enforce it uniformly and equally. The stool becomes unsteady and likely to topple. If we do not repair the stool, our democracy will fall.

Energy For the New Age

We have felt it coming all year. It is in the people we meet. It is in the pace of events. It came with the COVID-19 virus, record wild fire season, and record hurricane season.  It showed its face in the Women’s Marches, the Black Lives Matter protests, the Wall of Moms, and the record voting turnout in both the primaries and general election. The old, Piscean age is in its last days, and the new Aquarian age is coming forward.

Especially we can see arrival of the new age in the past several days. On December 3, a stray meteor streaked from Toronto, Canada to Norfolk, Virginia, leaving a brilliant trail and sonic booms in its wake. This preceded the Geminid meteor shower, which peaked on December 13. On December 14 Chileans were able to observe a total eclipse of the sun. On December 19 there was a series of earthquakes in no less likely places than Kansas and Oklahoma. Over the past 3 days there have been 86 inches of snow in the Nii Gate Prefecture in Japan. Today was a combination of winter solstice and the closest great conjunction in nearly 800 years, in 1226 AD. My husband and I went out and saw that bright star that is the result of Jupiter and Saturn coming together. Even though the sun had not fully set, the star was bright and an amazing thing to see. The energy of the universe is strong, and it is hitting humans in a big way.

This great conjunction is of tremendous importance. It is occurring at zero degrees Aquarius. While some people debate about the actual start date of the Age of Aquarius (some place it at 11/11/11), I submit that this fact in addition to all the rest of the natural events point to the crossover date being today, 21/21/2020. What we have been seeing over the past few decades is the death throes of the Age of Pisces and the birth of the new age. Pisces is the age of paternalism, of hierarchy, of power, of material things. It is the age of charismatic leaders dictating the behavior and thinking of their followers, of strong monarchs, and of the exercise of power over our fellow humans. The light side of Pisces was invention, innovation, development, and knowledge. The dark side was greed, misogyny, bigotry, and arrogance (although these traits can exist at any time). The best representations of the Piscean age are feudalism and plantation slavery. We have seen, as this age is phasing out, many strongly Piscean individuals engaged in a ferocious mutiny against the end of their era.

The new era will be characterized by community, equality, networks, and information. It will level the hierarchies, and there will be more equality among the nations. A key feature of the Aquarian age is the distribution of knowledge and goods and services. Individuals will be both more independent and more interdependent. The more we understand how to take care of ourselves the more we realize how much we depend on each other. There will be great movement toward self care, self development, and good eating. In addition, there will be a great focus on care of the planet and all who share the planet with us.

The signs of the change have become hard to miss. As we become more international, nationalists are fighting to pull us back. As we become more aware of the equality of all races and genders and more tolerant of allowing people to express gender in the way that works for them, the more we find white nationalism, religious and ethnic bigotry, and suppression of women being pushed from the other side. The tremendous change on culture is threatening to tear this nation in half. This is to be expected, because about half of the souls incarnated in this country are finishing up their Piscean work and half are moving into their Aquarian work. As fewer souls with cleanup from the Piscean world incarnate and more souls incarnate who are taking up their Aquarian growth, this will subside.

In the meantime, we need to do what we can to help our national consciousness, or, as Dion Fortune calls it, our national group soul, weather the changes and move forward with the best elements of the Aquarian age at the forefront. We should also try to hold on to the lessons we learned during the Piscean age. We do this by injecting into our group mind the thoughts emotions we would like to bring forth into our culture. As stated before, these are equality, freedom, and rule of law. We add to that care, compassion, community, and hope. We do not have to go out and preach these values. We recall our appropriate sacred kings who make themselves available on the inner planes to gently guide our national conscience.

As I have indicated before, I visualize the rotunda in our capital building. I see the big round table in the center, surrounded by great souls who have been the better sides of our country. I visualize us together lifting up those who live in this country in love and peace, lifting the hungry, poor, and unhoused into comfort and prosperity. I visualize us looking around the world to those  in need of our love and concern and offering what we can to allow them to thrive. As I leave the table, I know that these thoughts are being magnified by souls of good will and injected – almost like a vaccine – into our national group mind. So mote it be. 

Do Not Disfigure Your Soul

In one of the ancient belief systems I have read about there is a mandate for living one’s life: “Do no harm. Do good whenever possible. Do not disfigure your soul.” The first two sentences seem straightforward, although the more you ponder them the more difficult they become. But that last sentence is one of the most profound I have read. Do not disfigure your soul. What does that mean? What disfigures one’s soul?

As I was pondering the notion of disfiguring my soul, driftwood came to mind. The best driftwood is twisted and contorted and seems almost impossible. It is branches or a tree that was so buffeted by nature that it grew in bends and turns. It is beautiful because it is strange. It looks anguished. A healthy tree grows straight and reaches toward the sun. Driftwood, on the other hand, appears to reach for anything or nothing. It has grown crooked. It is this that I imagine when I think of a disfigured soul. Twisted and contorted.

How does a soul become disfigured? Right away I can think of several ways that are obvious. Habitual lying, violence to people and beasts who share our earth, greed, arrogance, spite, hatred, all can cause a soul to grow crooked. But there are other things. I remember when I was working with victims of domestic violence. Some said to me, “but I let him hit me and didn’t call the cops because I was turning the other cheek.” “I forgave him like you are supposed to.” I disagree with those notions. When you let someone hit you with no consequence, you let the other person think that is acceptable, and that he or she can do that without paying a price. The truth is, they do pay a price when they develop that attitude, in that it causes their soul to become crooked. And when you contribute to someone’s soul becoming crooked it bends your own soul. You owe it to those around you to insist they treat you properly in order that they do not get disfigured. It is like hitting a baseball. The ball may go sailing out of the park, but the batter feels the hit in his wrists and shoulders and back. You cannot impact another without being impacted yourself. And so, although these victims thought they were being righteous by tolerating the bad behavior, they were in fact harming themselves and the person committing the act. Just as a tree must stand in the face of heavy wind to keep from being disfigured, so we must actively stand up for ourselves in the face of disrespect or violence.

This brings us to the topic I have been pursuing over the couple of months – the national group soul. As an individual’s soul can be disfigured, so can a national soul be disfigured. It can become disfigured when the national psyche is inured to dishonesty or cruelty. It can be disfigured by division and hate or scorn or indifference. It is particularly important today, as the current occupant of the White House has pardoned someone for lying to congress, to our law enforcement, and to our nation. This is disfiguring. I think of the words of Dion Fortune: “Inoculation of the group mind can only take place when members of that group mind receive and act upon the ideas; aliens cannot inoculate it. It will be noted that Hitler has always undermined a country through its own citizens, not through German-born agents….” The current state of our divided country did not happen because of an election four years ago. The seeds of the division have been placed by certain of our own citizens over the past several decades. These citizens did research as to the best way to work their way into the thinking of unwitting people who were too busy living their lives to see what was happening. They used dog whistles and distorted common phrases in ways most would not notice. In the process they created racial and cultural tension and division. As long as we are divided this way, they can swoop in and scoop up the bounty of our country. 

It is this division, this disfigurement of our national soul, that we must now step forward and counteract. This is why we look to discover appropriate and true sacred kings and egregores and engage them in our efforts. We need to work to straighten the national soul. Again, using the words of Dion Fortune, “It is our task, … recognising causation in the Unseen and end results only on the plane of matter, to formulate in our minds the plan and concept of the new order of things that is being brought to birth on the circuit of cosmic time. The process goes through three phases. First, as Leader, I have to obtain the realisations and teachings; then as a group we have to formulate them in meditation; finally, the individual members of the group have got to work them out in their own lives. Thus is the group mind of the race “inoculated” with the new concepts.” We do this by meditating and even mentally connecting with those who have fought this same battle before us. Now is a particularly important time to do this, as we are approaching the Great Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter coming December 21 of this year. The Great Conjunction is a time of great social change, and we have the opportunity to impact that change. As we go into our meditation, with the great souls seated with us at the round table, let us consider the society we wish to have. Let us ponder equality, liberty and the rule of law. Let us see us as a nation of equals, where all types of diversity add to the beauty and vibrancy of our country, where our differences are embraced, resulting in a great richness of spirit.

Truth Under Fire

Again, I had a post I originally wanted to write, and was not able to do it. I continued reading and meditating, and this is the result.

I have a number of friends who feel almost as though we are being bombed verbally. Dion Fortune and her group of adepts were  being bombed physically. While the bombs coming at us are not the type that rip the roofs off of buildings, the effect on the psyche is similar. In her letter of September 8, 1940, Ms Fortune wrote, “There is only one way to keep quiet and serene under bombardment – to be prepared to lay down your life for your country if necessary. Once that eventuality is accepted , one abrogates one’s civilian mentality, and the passivity and helplessness that go with it. Regard the warning wail of the siren as an ‘alert’ not as a ‘retreat’, unless specifically ordered to get out of the way. Carry on as near normal as you can without running undue risks.” I feel like this works for the kind of bombardment we are experiencing in the US today.

As I write this, we see that the current occupant of the White House has fired his defense secretary and we are awaiting his firing of the FBI director and the CIA director, replacing them with those more willing to do his bidding. We see him and his surrogates challenging the results of the election and insulting those doing the arduous and patriotic work of counting the ballots and ensuring that all votes are counted and counted fairly. We find him arguing against the findings of the independent press. These behaviors are not partisan issues, they are the antithesis of the founding of this country. We also observe him addressing the people with lies and misinformation. Perhaps the worst offense is the assault on truth.

What is it about the assault on truth that is so dangerous? Recall those three values: liberty, equality and the rule of law. None of them exist except in the acceptance and enforcement of the social contract. The foundation of the social contract is trust. The one requirement for trust is the ability to accept what we are hearing from one another is honest. Truth, then, is the fiber from which the social contract is weaved. If we cannot assume that what is being said is true, how can we evaluate testimony under oath? And if we cannot evaluate testimony, how can we be sure that the rule of law is being administered equally and fairly? How can we exercise our freedom if we cannot trust that our actions will not be arbitrarily interfered with by someone else with an agenda? Because it is only the social contract that allows us to go about our lives with the basic assumption that we will not be the victim of some random act of violence by some unknown individual. That assumption is based on the understanding that we have laws in this country that apply to all persons and will be enforced equally regardless of the economic or social standing of both the perpetrator and the victim. That enforcement is predicated on the presupposition that in a courtroom, there will be witnesses who will testify to the best of their ability the truth. This has not always been the practice in this country but it has been the ideal.

With truth under attack from the highest office in the country, it is easy to see how justice is also at risk. If truth no longer matters, what is to prevent those with greatest power to invent accusations against those they see as a threat, present it without proof as evidence of wrongdoing, and lock them up. In such a society, innocence is no defense against prosecution or persecution. In the early days of the Third Reich, Hitler dealt with opposition by simply arresting his opponents and making them disappear.

It is reasonable to ask how such an assault on truth could be occurring in this country? Ms Fortune makes an interesting observation. “It will be noted that Hitler has always undermined a country through its own citizens, not through German-born agents…” The same has happened here. Propaganda has been flowing into this country for three decades, using our own trusted officials to pass it in. It comes in the form of talking points that get repeated over and over until the population begins to believe it. They have used careful messaging to make it believable and shamed those who tried to show its falseness. Through careful messaging, there has been a concerted effort to divide us as a nation, one group against another. This division has now entered our national group soul and group mind. It is this we must undo, heal and repair.

So as I go into my meditations this week, I see our round table in the rotunda. I see the great souls who have gone before us and showed us what we could be. I hear the voice of John Lewis and Elijah Cummings beseeching us to find our better selves and usher in an era of true equality and liberty through the rule of law, underpinned by truth and righteousness. I think about all of us, rural, urban, and suburban. I see us all, wealthy and poor, coming to a common table and enjoying the fruits of the land. I imagine us speaking together of who we are, what we wish to be, and how do we get there. I ponder the words of Ms. Fortune: “The nations that have been subjugated were not beaten in the field, they fell to treachery and internal corruption; to lack of morale and lack of the will to victory. The key to their fall may be found in the words: “he who would save his life shall lose it, and he who will lose his life for My sake shall find it.” Those who prefer security to freedom have lost both.” May we once again turn away from lies and toward truth. May we once again reject corruption and embrace righteousness. May we be prepared to take the risk of reaching out to each other, and relish the freedom that brings.

Meditation for All Souls Weekend

I am almost two weeks late in publishing this post. When the replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg was announced, I had so many things I wanted to say, so many things that seemed important. But I was blocked from typing them. It wasn’t a typical writer’s block, or lack of desire to write. It wasn’t being busy. It was that whenever I sat down to type what I was thinking I couldn’t do it. It was the kind of blockage that I had to admit that what I wanted to say wasn’t what I should say. I had to regroup. And so I did. I continued reading The Magical Battle of Britain. I continued to meditate and try to connect with the inner planes. And I found my answers in time to post before All Hallows Eve and All Souls Day. The timing is important.

We are counseled that when we do this work we should attempt to not be partisan. “Our work is a work of healing and no hate must come of it.” The more I look at the partisan divisions and anger in our country, I can see how we will not be able to address our group consciousness unless we can first heal the group. As I look at the state of things in this country today, I try to consider how to not be partisan. And then I found words in my reading: “It is not well to pass by on the other side when thieves are beating honest men.” I realized that it is not partisan to be angry at bad behavior. The evil actions we are seeing from our current administration are not themselves party actions, they are the actions of immoral people who happen to have concentrated themselves in a party and to have convinced those not in power that their actions are in fact acceptable. Then I realized that these people have been operating to influence the national group soul and the group mind for several decades. It is that influence that needs to be counteracted, not the true policies of a political party. As a final nudge as to the direction to take, I came across these words: “To achieve this peace there must be strength and integrity in the souls of the nations; there must be willingness to sacrifice individual national interests for the good of the whole, the strong remembering that they are in a better position to make sacrifices than the weak; but there must also be a readiness to unsheath and use the sword of justice when it is needed.”

Thus it becomes the duty to define the good of the whole and try to act on our national group mind thoughts that will lead us in that direction. What is the good of the whole? As said before, equality, liberty, and the rule of law. What does equality mean? Certainly it means that if something is necessary for life, all in the society should have access to it. This would mean food, shelter, education, health care. It should also mean that all should have an equal voice in the governance of the society. In other words, equal access to the polls. What does liberty mean? It means the freedom to, in the words of Paul the Apostle, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” In other words, use your own conscience to determine what you believe and how you express that belief. It means the freedom to move about the country and the world as you are able and choose (and within your financial ability). It means the freedom to live where you choose, marry who you choose, think as you choose. And what is meant by rule of law? It means that the law will be applied with an even hand regardless of race, religion, ethnic origin, gender, sexual identification, orientation, or preference, economic status and so on. The equal application of law begins with law enforcement in the streets and ends in the courtroom. These are things that our nation as a whole has not been doing in spite of all our fancy words and boastings to the contrary.

This brings me to the meditation for the next few days. I see in meditation the rotunda in the Capital. I visualize a large round table in the middle of the rotunda. At this table are seated the truly great souls that are part of our fabric. I even see some great souls who were did not live on this soil but whose lives exert influence on those who do live here. I listen quietly and let them talk.

On All Souls Eve, I particularly look to those great souls who passed in the last year (I will extend that a month to include Elijah Cummings) and the work they put forward in promoting the good of the whole. I look to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her efforts on behalf of women’s equality, the rights of the less powerful, the rights of those who are not white males. I look to Congressmen John Lewis and Elijah Cummings and their long battles for civil rights not only for Black Americans, but Americans of all colors and ethnic backgrounds, as well as women and LGBTQ. I look to their understanding that when any group’s rights are curtailed all of our rights are at risk. On All Souls Eve, I think of their work and listen for words of encouragement and advice.

On All Souls Day, I am also listening to great souls from earlier days. I listen for Dr. Martin Luther King, for Dorothy Day, Cesar  Chavez, Senator Daniel Inouye, Harriet Tubman, Frances Perkins, Susan B Anthony, President Abraham Lincoln. Possibly I listen for President John Adams, his wife Abigail, and his cousin Samuel. I try to attune my energy to theirs.

At the end of each meditation, I ask them to guide our people. I ask them to speak to our group consciousness about what is truly meant by democracy and what our people must stand for. I ask them to whisper to our group soul the value of taking care of one another as well as taking care of ourselves. I also ask them to counsel me in patience and understanding, that the condition of our nation is the result of many decades of national hypocrisy, of sweeping our prejudices under the rug, and that this will not be cured in one election, nor will it be cured easily. Once again, I remind myself of the counsel of Dion Fortune: “Never attempt to deal with specific problems or to direct the course of affairs on the physical plane. Bring through spiritual force and leave it to that force to work its own way.”

Worthy Sacred Kings

We discussed in a previous post how many of the individuals revered by people of our country were not worthy of such reverence, and what qualities would merit such respect. We also discussed the process of meditating on changing our national group mind to more closely reflect the values our country claims to be founded on. I would like to expound on that in the next several paragraphs. But before I do, I should apologize that I missed my posting last week. The events of the week were beyond astounding, and may reflect the beginnings of a change in our national consciousness. Our true sacred kings may indeed be putting their fingers on the scales. And now for this week’s letter.

Our country purports to be founded on three fundamental principles: equality, liberty, and the rule of law. These three principles are intertwined, and not one can be realized without the other two. It is impossible to conceive of a country operating under rule of law when people are not equal under the law. It is impossible to imagine liberty as long as some are subservient to others. And so on. These principles are interdependent and cannot be separated.

There are different schools of thought where sacred kings are concerned. First, the term “sacred king” can apply to either men or women. Some schools believe that the persons have to have died or been killed as a “sacrifice” in the performance of their sacred acts. Others believe that the persons need not have died a sacrificial death, that they may have instead lived a sacrificial life. Others still do not believe that the persons need to have died. I reject the last definition, as that person is still working out his or her sacrifice and making it worthy. In every case, it is not required that the sacred kings live a perfect life, for there would be non. It is that the lives they lived did not violate the principles in question, in this case, equality, liberty and the rule of law.

If we choose to go by the first definition, there are some potential sacred kings who have given their lives for the principles of this country. Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Joe Hill, and Emmett Till come to mind. There are certainly others who could qualify, but their names and deeds have been lost to our collective memory. These are people who bravely marched forward, knowing the danger, enduring the difficulties, and ended up killed by those opposed to these ideals.

I also like going by the second definition in addition to the first. I believe that it is as hard, and probably harder, to lay down a lifetime of service to the betterment of one’s people and collective consciousness. In the arena of equality, I look at John Lewis, Elijah Cummings, Dorothy Day, Frances Perkins, and many, many others.  I include Dorothy Day and Frances Perkins here because equality implies that even when incomes are not the same, all humans deserve a certain dignity, including shelter and food (and today I would add health care). In the area of liberty, I include the freedom to work at a job that pays a living wage. I look at Harriet Tubman for the actual freedom, and Caesar Chavez for the dignity of work, and many others. I am sure Delores Huerta will be added to these luminaries upon her passing.In the arena of rule of law, I salute John Marshall, Thurgood Marshall,  and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In fact, they all overlap, because, as I said before, they are all intertwined and cannot be separated. We see how they overlap when we look at what happens when one is attacked. They all begin to crumble. When equal access to the polls collapsed, when the wealthy were given better opportunity to promote their agenda through unlimited financial contributions that ordinary people cannot make, and large corporations were classified as persons with all attendant rights, when the rights of women were denied, we saw the rights of working people for a safe work environment, a comfortable retirement and living wage also crumble. Many of these things are in clear sight today. The fabric of the society is badly frayed. This is why we need sacred kings who gave their lives, either in sacrificial death or sacrificial life, as examples to meditate on.

My request for this week is that we take fifteen minutes a day to think on appropriate sacred kings. I imagine them gathering around a large round table in the capital rotunda. I visualize them talking about our country, what it has become, where it is going, what needs to be done. I listen to what they say. In my mind, I ask them to impress on the minds of my fellow countrymen what changes need to be made in our collective mind. I ask them to impress on the minds of my fellow countrymen what thoughts we should think to enhance the values we claim to hold. In my last post, I wrote how the meditation should take place. Please feel free to comment here on the thoughts your meditations bring to your minds.