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Kingston, NY, Friday, Oct. 23, 2009

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Fair And Balanced -- No Kidding
By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

It has suddenly turned color here in the Pea Patch, and I note with distress that the little lemony yellow and rusty orange and near-garish magenta leaves are turning crisp too quickly and falling too fast to suit me. The leisurely turning of season at this time of the year usually delights me, watching the squirrels scramble for falling acorns that hit the roof like grenades, the critters coming close in to forage, seemingly aware that hunting permits have yet to be issued. This year, factoring in the storms and floods and general mayhem that the unpredictable weather patterns have brought us in these last weeks, I find there's no denying we're quickly coming up on Winter. Yes, I know -- I just made a mental leap that left out the remaining months of Fall. But Winter is what it feels like here, and 'feels like' is the name of the game as we make our way through this period. On every level it feels like we're being crowded, and this is just one more bit of evidence that the gentle turnings I so appreciate have been replaced with sharp jolts of change.

We have another jolt ahead. The mighty Lord of Karma, Saturn, is due to enter Libra next week, giving us a shift in how we view duty and responsibility. The upside is that it will provide a bit of relief from the critical eye, and perhaps tongue, that we've developed under Virgo's lead. A new way to perceive things is always good, in this case, we will begin to take our attention off the gazillion details and nose-to-the-grindstone energy signal that Saturn in Virgo produced. I think of Virgo as a craftsman's hands: weaving, repairing, putting up preserves, turning wrenches, collating or stamping or delivering with nary a complaint. Virgo diligently takes care of the cogs and belts and rivets, adds up the numbers, corrects grammar, checks labels and micro-manages the petty stuff that we're advised not to sweat. So looking up from this laser focus should give us opportunity to lift our heads to see a bigger picture, one that will become more balanced, resting on Libra's scales.

Libra is the sign of harmony, and the question, of course, is whether we can create harmony out of this tit/tat polarization in which we find ourselves. Seems to me that many of us are more than ready for such an experiment, while others would just as soon drink hemlock. It doesn't matter if we're ready, though: we're being pushed out of separation and into cooperation. Perhaps we'll finally get a bit of that bipartisanship we need in order for more of us to feel the security of inclusion, of working together to meet mutual need, or perhaps not, given the GOP short-term goal of driving Obama out of office in any way possible. Republicans present a well-disciplined and unified face -- at least in the last couple of decades, marching in lockstep much as that which gave us heart-fluttering dismay during the Bush years -- and now they're all in line as the Party of No, save for Olympia Snow who warned recently that her vote to kick the healthcare project along was probably a one-time thing.

On the opposing side, Obama recently mentioned that Democrats have a penchant for thinking for themselves, and he likes that about them, but they need to come together in order to push through their collective priorities. Dealing with Republicans is like facing a battle line of ideological clones. Dealing with Democrats is akin to herding cats. There's no denying that on both sides of political thought we are currently locked tight and unwilling to flex. Now Saturn in Libra will demand that we sit at the table and behave with some civility and a good bit of compromise. Sharp shift, indeed. Are you ready for it? Can you feel it coming, deep in your bones?

These big cyclic energies we find ourselves in are circular. Once launched, we travel their circumference until we arrive back where we began, ready to move on to new lessons, our journey having given us the complete opportunity for experience that is promised within the signal itself. Each time one of our big planets shifts like this, we need to remind ourselves that our personal experience of it will have everything to do with our willingness. It's one thing to want the political parties to stop behaving like warring children, for instance, but how about us? Libra is in all things gracious. Will we invite the in-laws to holiday parties this year, as a sign of Pax Familia? Will we attempt to shed the layers of judgment we hold in order to smooth out our relationship with the boss, the co-worker, the nosy neighbor, the rambunctious teen? Are we able to reach into ourselves to dismantle the stuck energy that keeps us remote and aloof, unwilling to feel another's pain and therefore unable to understand what makes them tick? Clearly, this will take some getting used to.

In these last years, it has become evident that there are those who seem to exist in another universe, value things we've grown beyond, want things that we find dangerous, tribal issues, as discussed last week. If you refuse to invite someone over this year, then I trust it's because further interaction crosses boundary issues of respect and not simply because they're a pain in the ass. My Mother (the Libra) used to tell me that the worth of a person could be measured by their ability to love the unlovely, yet surely one can love another without feeling obligated to include them at every occasion. A bit of discernment is required here, along with a big dose of compassion. A Course in Miracles tells us that every relationship problem has to do with love withheld and can be mended with love offered. Perhaps love offered has to do with protecting one group against an unwelcomed assault of negative energy, while requiring us to give two parties this year, one in which the unlovely are included at our table because only love is real and every heart is precious.

Saturn is the task-master that makes a cool assessment of all it surveys and Libra is the 7th Zodiacal sign of partnership and relationship, so we would do well to remember that, more than in just our individual spheres of influence, we are literally in relationship with everyone and everything on planet Terra. Our attention may begin to shift more intimately to those in our immediate circle, but the larger picture will include our relationship with our environment, our healthcare provider, our insurance carrier, our credit card company, our banker, and dare I suggest our government, itself. With charming, peace-seeking Libra leading the way, we may find ourselves smiling as we put daisies in gun barrels, but there will be a face-off. You can feel that, can't you? We've put it off too long as it is.

Libra has an interest in establishing justice. Now that's a scary proposition, like the little boy suddenly pulling his finger out of the dike, the ensuing flood sweeping away the entire neighborhood as the dam is allowed to burst. Justice has been on sabbatical for quite a while. What would happen if we suddenly saw the whole truth behind the smoke, instead of just a peek now and then? What if we got the big view that healthcare reform is being watered down and bartered away as protectionism for the corporations that have their heel on America's neck? What if we clearly glimpsed what this national aberration 'for profit' really means to a weary population, its implications carrying us all the way to the graveyard? What if we questioned the efficacy of the various medications that Big Pharma pushes on us? You've probably received spam that asks if you've taken this med or that one, and want to join in the class action suit. We still think government is watching out for us in this arena, but in the last decades they've dropped that ball. And if insurance carriers can scare us by announcing that they will raise costs by 111% if we pass reform, why isn't someone scrutinizing their ability to do such a thing? Where's the regulation and the oversight?

What if we began to follow the money trail of the Military Industrial Complex that keeps us in perpetual war -- the for-profit business of militarism and arms trade and Empiricism -- and compare it to our own emergency needs at home? What if we began to demand accountability for contractors that take vast amounts of American wealth and don't deliver the goods, or worse, behave as badly as the barbarians that we are supposedly in-country to defeat, forcing Republicans to defend rape as a worthy business model here at home. What if we told the Pentagon, which is attempting to box Obama in to more troops in Afghanistan, to put a sock in it? The US spends more money per capita on military capability than any other, except -- wait for it -- Israel. Libra asks us to be fair in all things. Fair would be a national draft, no longer depending on an exhausted professional military to fight the wars that nobody wants. Sounds like a peace plan to me.

What if we little folk suddenly decided we're in charge of the pennies left in our piggy banks and began to withhold from those who misuse their power? Took our money out of big banks that have made no changes in how they do business and found smaller banks and credit unions with which to trade. What if we chose products, first and foremost, by the ethics of the company that offers them rather than their PR campaigns or our personal convenience? It would be staggering to corporate America if the public made their monetary decisions consciously: industry would hustle to meet whatever new demand we decided was necessary. The power of the purse is one we rarely consider, but it is monumental. Collectively, we could bring the nation to her knees in a day or three. Ponder that for a moment.

Consider what Obama might accomplish if we stopped bitching about everything he does as too slow or too strong or too weak or too moderate, and instead, asked him what we could do to help? Frankly, he deserves it. He's looking at trust-busting these days. He's going after the Chamber of Commerce, that has spent over $100 million this year alone to beat back progressive change. The White House has opened an assault against those who would obstruct consumer protections and regulation. He's been openly critical of the Wall Street rebound that has, again, illuminated the class differences and inequity in wealth distribution and has ordered deep pay cuts in those companies that this nation bailed out from the jeopardy they themselves created. Why isn't he changing all this with a presidential flick of the wrist? E.J. Dionne on Sunday pundit television, when asked if Obama was failing to live up to LBJ's progressive model, noted that Johnson had 295 House Democrats and 68 Senate Democrats. Any president will only be as effective as the congress we provide them. We have the bare minimum 60 votes -- and that comes and goes -- that will stop the filibusters employed by the Right on every piece of legislature. I have no doubt that Barack Obama would have made Liberals everywhere deliriously happy if he hadn't been met at the door to the Oval with financial crisis and if we'd had the presence of mind to give him a larger majority.

If justice is Libra's intent, all these situations must be thoroughly examined, and Saturn will not only do the assessment but provide the tests that recreate the reality. Any Saturn cycle asks us to grow beyond our limitations, and our awareness of our limits now are anything but reassuring. Sharp changes are required and they will not be all fun and games. I have to remind you that the last time Saturn was in Libra, St. Ronnie the Reagan presided over a very painful recession (1982). Venus has a context of building and maintaining substance and Saturn will find all the fault lines that prevent stability in that area. All this glowing optimism over the DOW's recovery needs a grain of salt, me'thinks. Wall Street has gone back to ethically-challenged business as usual, while unemployment has become a national crisis and waiting around the corner, we have yet to see the credit bubble or the commercial property bubble burst. It ain't over 'til it's over. I'd expect us to have a few more reality checks in store.

And that's as it should be. No band-aid will fix our financial woe. No quick fix will turn it all around. Obama tells us it took decades to break, it will take time to correct. As these thing happen, our years of Saturn in Virgo gave us all the details, reams of it, the Google full to overflowing with all that's wrong. Later this year and into next, Pluto will square Saturn, much as it was triggered with a conjunct back in '82. Structure meets transformation, seemingly coming from outside of itself. We continue to build our house on sand at our own peril. Real change isn't a lightning strike, it's a long, slow progression of better ideas replacing flawed ones and careful assessments that steer us away from booby traps. These lovely Cosmic set-ups give us everything we need if we're paying attention, and one trap ahead is the 2010 election -- if we want corrections to go even slower, we'll forget who got us into this mess and give Obama even less to work with.

All in all, I'm pleased with this Saturn change. I'm a big fan of Libra energy. All my Fire and Air dances happily in its embrace, along with my Libra Neptune and Jupiter. If Saturn is a bit of a drag, it's best to remember that it has the ability to refine us much like precious metal is separated from dross. Venus rules Libra, promoting music and art, culture and entertainment, factoring in all sides of the argument as it negotiates, builds alliances and graciously welcomes us in. As life has felt very stark in these last years, we can anticipate a bit of Libra's pleasantness, enough to get our attention anyway. Venus is the Goddess of Love -- we could all use some of that energy about now -- and this seems more important to me than the typical planetary change in that this Saturn will remain with us through 2012. As the scales tip toward a New Paradigm, what could be more welcome than the attributes of Goddess?

Love is life-force, simply put. Many of us are withering without it and that is not the world we wish to create. The lush, full, juicy Venusian experience of love is all encompassing; it will not partner effortlessly with stern Saturn, but it will bring with it a sense of commitment to the fair, balanced and just reconstruction of civil society. If the Shift of Ages is to put behind us all that love is not, then we have learned that lesson well enough now to ride into 2012 with a sense of purpose in establishing what it is. Love is neither something to do, nor something to find or have -- it's what we are. In our heart meditations, we can feel that right down to our toes. Now we must allow that to be part of our thought process, as well.

The qualities inherent in lovingness are easy enough: compassion, gentleness, generosity, gratitude. More, these are decisions we make, moment by moment. If we begin a day determined to keep them in mind, the benefits will amaze us. Melody Beattie said, for instance, that, "Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, and confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." That's what I want to feel. That's what I want you to feel as well.

The challenges ahead aren't really changing so much as we are, and as we do, our peace and contentment will no longer be subject to circumstance. In a heart that teaches itself to remain open, each day is as perfect, just as it is, as the first of creation, and we'll get to that resonant space together, as we decide for love. You can feel that possibility, can't you? As warm and fuzzy as a thick jacket on a blustery Fall day and as satisfying as the crunch of leaves beneath your feet? Seasons blessings then, heartfelt, to each of you from the Pea Patch.

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