Saturday, 6 August 2016

Letter From The 12th House

(Note on the title - In Astrology the 12th House is a portal of observation onto and into the inner workings of the mysteries of life. Rather like the vantage point backstage in a theatrical production where the work done is not seen by the audience. The 12 House is the area where hidden enemies lurk and any planet located there, is weakened in its force and activity because it can’t find full expression out on the main stage. )

Fern at Hera's Temple
This is a critique of a tour on which I was recently a participant. It was a 12 day tour of the Peloponnese peninsula in Greece and was entitled An Adventure into the Roots of Astrology, Mythology and our Collective Evolution.

It was headed by an American Astrologer named Kaypacha and a Canadian self-styled mythologist called Dionysus otherwise known as Rene Cyr who lives in Greece. 
There were about 35 participants mostly women - a real United Nations of a group. The group fell into loosely 3 sub-groups – the rowdy North Americans, the more restrained European bloc and the English-speaking contingent (from Ireland, England, India, Australia and Aotearoa).

It may appear to some readers who were on the tour, that I am the churlish, bad fairy at the party. For the tour obviously fulfilled the (mostly) American contingent who wax lyrical on the groups’ Facebook page about the ‘awakening’ Kaypacha stimulates, and the ‘open hearts’ they are still experiencing. However, only just over a third of the FB’s page 35 members are contributing to the page. There is a silent majority that I may or may not speak for. But speak I must.

Of the other 2 sub-groups within the tour, there were those among the Europeans and the English Speakers who were already committed Kaypacha fans. And then there were the rest of us who were not familiar with Kaypacha’s particular brand of Astrology. We had come along wooed by Dio’s 38 page itinerary promises and the idea of Mythology and Astrology being practised on site in

” the isles of Greece, the isles of Greece
Where burning Sappho loved and sung….”

I’m a practicing and teaching Kiwi Astrologer of nearly 4 decades and have studied mythology all my life. I found the tour to be a complete fiasco - deeply disappointing on the personal, political and people levels. It was also a financial rip off.
I hold both men, the astrologer/guru and the guide/mythologist, equally responsible for the failings of the tour.

The biggest disappointment was the inability of both leaders to bring the group into a cohesive whole. They led an exciting group of amazing women who held individually and collectively so many resources and so much wisdom.

Poseidon's Temple

On our first evening together, we took our initial bus ride to Poseidon’s temple where we were to witness the Full Moon rising over Cape Sounio. This was the first occasion we were all gathered together. 

Kaypacha got on the bus and went round introducing himself and hugging each person. This ritual was a bonding of himself to each individual, but as we were seated in a big bus, in no way a group welcome. 

There was no attempt to bring unity to this group of strangers then or any time after that. We milled about at the temple but nothing much happened. There was no Opening Circle, no Full Moon Ritual, or even mixing together. 

We did get one time when all were gathered together, after 2 or 3 days of distress due to mismanagement of time, long gruelling hours spent on the bus, mistakes made in booking rooms at the hotel etc ad nauseum.
However this circle was taken as an occasion for both the leaders to have a go at the group for complaining too much (about the leaderships’ own mismanagement!)  We were also thoroughly told off for being “illiterate’ because some of us had not read Dio’s 38 page long itinerary.
This was not a joyful occasion and certainly not a great “bonding” session.

We were never properly introduced, named each other to each other, or shared together as a whole group all the reasons we were here, or the backgrounds we came from.

The closing circle in Athens was the next time the group came together and 3 of us (including myself) were locked out by the guide who informed the people asking our whereabouts that we “hadn’t wanted to be there” – an outright lie. It seemed an apt punishment for the stroppy members of the group who continued to challenge the mistreatment of participants and challenge the way things were done.

It takes some time for strangers who come from different cultures to start conversations and find out a little about the other. By the end of the tour we were really getting to know certain individuals, which was great. However overall, our 10 days together seemed an extraordinary squandering of a once-in-a lifetime opportunity for us all to really open up to each other and create potential friendships and fellowship within the collective.

Kaypacha is charismatic and has the gift of the gab with a lovely voice to go with it. He has an intuitive ability when reading features of an astrological chart. Or rather, for summing up a personal insight that strikes home for the listener, by extrapolating certain aspects in their horoscope.  This encapsulation however, did not always ring true. In one case he caused distress and ongoing dismay to the recipient whilst he played to his audience of laughing fans

His type of astrology is what I would call “New Age” – yes he’s a California Dreamin’ kind of guy, good looking in that American way.

Posing at the Pool
 His astrology is based on Jeff Green’s Evolutionary Astrology that arose in the 1980s and ‘90s. I don’t think he has done much study in any other type of astrology – and why would he, when it seems to hit the spot for so many lost, searching souls.
Pluto, the North Nodes of the Moon and the minor Asteroid Lilith are (over)-emphasized and past lives are treated like fact.

He has perfected a professional package that is serving him very well indeed and affording him a great lifestyle. He has a global presence through his website and his weekly Pele Reports. He seems to have women all over the world who are willing to set up workshops for him in many, many international destinations. He breezes in with all administration work done for him, presents with finesse and style, and breezes out with a lovely fee in his hot hand. Nice work if you can get it…

This particular tour was a different kind of deal. The guide Dio/Rene had done all the preparation alone regarding the planning of the itinerary, the administration of booking hotels and managing of the money. However, this tour differed from a workshop. Instead of a capable administrator and instead of staying in one place for a weekend or a few days, we were a large group moving round the countryside, with a captain who was incapable of time-management.

Kaypacha had obviously done no homework previously, no checking of Dio’s planning. When he arrived, he came with his three daughters in tow and was obviously all set for a (working) family holiday.
His package just didn’t fly in this situation and his attempts to make it work were often thwarted by Dio’s gross mismanagement and financial disarray.

However when one (moi!) complained, he would shift the blame to Dio. Dio in turn, would blame Kaypacha when one talked to him.
When in doubt, they would both blame the group. Which worked a treat because women are so very good are taking the blame on themselves.

At a guess, about 2/3 of the folk were there for Kaypacha. The theme of the tour - Astrology and Mythology – seemed to be a side show for them. I have never been within coo-ee of a guru before and was astonished by the servile and fawning nature of the devotees’ enchantment. Even those who were critical of how the tour was unfolding were unwilling to criticise Kaypacha.
First rule of thumb for a novice like me - a guru can do no wrong.
A cult is defined as a sect devoted to a particular system of beliefs or religious worship; a devoted attachment to a person, idea or activity.

I found myself smack bang in the middle of a cult on the Peloponnese peninsula. 

Athena - Pallas Athene in Astrology

The written undertaking that Dio had earlier given us about how the astrology/mythology of each god/ess would be explained in our personal charts as well as on site, never really happened. 

What Kaypacha discussed in his set presentations (often on the bus) was pretty basic beginners’ astrology (Californian style) and he was certainly not prepared to talk to anyone about their personal charts.

In fact he appeared to have done no preparation on anyone’s horoscope and no research about any of the actual god/essess and their mythology working in anyone’s individual makeup.

He might give a talk on say Pluto and its generic meaning and then while all the beginners (probably about 2/3rds of the group) raced round afterwards flapping their charts and asking what does it mean in MY chart? – he seemed blithely absolved of any responsibility to notice or respond. 
This left the astrologers in the group to get on with the work of teaching the beginners.

As I had come to Greece for a holiday from work, I was not particularly inclined to do this except for my close friends and sub-group.

In astrological terms I think the tour really highlighted the oppositional polarity between Leo and Aquarius.
Kaypacha has a huge stellium (group of planets) in Leo in his astrological makeup.
Leo needs each individual to pledge loyalty to him and his shining can only be done when he feels personally appreciated and loved by his adoring subjects.

A collective of individuals however, to operate as a healthy happy group needs to feel connected and loyal to each member. Aquarius is about team work. The challenge for Aquarius is to feed the need to be part of a group without losing one’s unique sense of self within that group.
That balance was alas never achieved by Mr Leo and his band of merry devotees who seemed oblivious to the silent disaffected on the edges.

Woman off to War

Beautiful Greece with its blue, blue sea was the backdrop to this scenario with its romantic, archaic temples and oracle sites. 
Every morning we woke to beautiful ruined Greece – and thus the criticisms and toxic energy that happened every single day of the trip due to constant mismanagement, were always mitigated by that amazing place and its people.

Zeus - or Disneyland?!

As an aside; Americans as a group are seemingly unaware of the impact they make as they superimpose their cultural mores upon other cultures and situations. 
At times, this group amazed and appalled me in their treatment of Greece and the remains of past civilisation, we were privileged to visit.

From my Downunder viewpoint, it was if all places are just another version of Disneyland. Early on Kaypacha described a couple of sites as “piles of rubble”.

I find this as disrespectful/offensive as someone who can’t cover up their legs or bosom in another religion’s temple. And I’m an irreligious person.

And then there was Dioynsus, our other leader. 
Here was another man who talks a lot without listening. He was a master of dates and facts and his enthusiasm for his adopted homeland was impressive. Nevertheless, an encyclopaedic knowledge however prodigious, does not make for depth of scholarship. 

A walking Wikipaedia is one thing but the underlying philosophy is another.
His lack of knowledge of the last 30 years of Women’s Studies in Mythology coupled with his telling of the stories from an unbridled masculine viewpoint was frustrating. Add this woeful lack of Goddess mythology (working within a predominantly female group) to his constantly calling us “girls” despite having been asked to desist….

Dioynsus/Rene Cyr

He also sported with pride an ignorance of astrology which worked to his detriment when telling the stories of ancient Greece to this particular group. He repeated his stories interminably, a trait that became fairly insufferable as the disarray of gross mis-management was revealed.

Dio would have been a good guide if that was his only role, as he has mastery over a breadth of information. However his performance as a tour manager and decent leader was abysmal.

He had hoodwinked so many of us by his long emails and written promises of what we would be doing in Greece. So sad only about a third of each day’s itinerary was covered. The covenant he made with us was breeched time and time again.

I can’t bore you with a blow-by blow account of the difficulties we encountered, under his governance, however here are a few examples of what we were fielding.

The first evening when we visited Poseidon’s Temple (where the Full Moon circle did not occur), was marred on arrival, by Dio telling us to our consternation we each had to pay to get into the site (12Euros!) and would be paying for each site we visited hereon in.

On any tour the responsibility for payment is normally taken by the Tour organiser and the fees included in the overall tour fee. On this tour, that cost 200Euro per day, at each temple site or Museum we visited, we each had to line up in the long queues and pay for ourselves!

Alas when protesting about this exploitative and time-wasting practice, Dio assured us he had sent each one of us beforehand an itinerary outlining this fact.
Most of us have never yet seen this mythical itinerary.

Another day early on the tour, after long hours on the bus the day before, and already missing out on many of the promised activities and sites - we were herded into the “bloody bus” (as it not affectionately came to be known), early after breakfast. 
The group were still strangers to each other as we set off on an enormously long trip to an unknown destination. After visiting a site we were then herded back on the bus in the heat of the day and travelled for many hours. We finally – due to protest – stopped at 6pm for “lunch”.

We were parked on a layby beside a busy motorway. The view was a gas station. The stopover had no toilets, but many hungry dogs on a dusty grassy knoll covered with dog poohs. Dio’s Greek wife and mother-in-law cooked up leftovers from last night’s dinner – which were very nice, but nonetheless leftovers – and we departed once more in the bus. 

Olympian cafe
The temperature was in the ’30 degree zone most of the time we were travelling. Generally we would get to a site (mostly unshaded) in the heat of the afternoon – 2pm to 5pm was Dio’s favourite time to visit an archaic site.

One (classic!) time when I fruitlessly suggested we visit Olympia in the morning time rather than hitting it mid afternoon – Dio told me there were no vegetarian options in the village of Olympia for the vegetarian’s lunch. 
At the hotel of his choice the vegetarian option that day was canned peas. Olympia naturally was full of gorgeous cafes and eating places all with beautiful Greek (vegetarian) food.

Speaking of food…. during, the tour we received passable, but sometimes inedible food in places where Dio had obviously made a deal with the owners. 
One particularly memorable meal was in Athens. Dio had recommended the lamb fricassee which Kaypacha and others dutifully ordered although they had to make do with the chicken fricassee. Kaypacha’s description of this mess did it justice. “Hercules’ Snot!”  My fish was dry and old and not eaten.

Hercules' Snot!
One option which I and many others had signed up and paid for was a 4 meal special for 100 Euros.

We didn’t receive two of these meals. Our last night on a terrace overlooking the Acropolis at the Maiandros restaurant we were fed the buffet . The rooftop was tiny and our tables so jammed together it was pretty impossible to even move as we ate. The food was mediocre.

The only really lovely meals we enjoyed were in places we found and paid for ourselves.

Both male leaders seemed to have an adverse allergic reaction to anyone wanting to shop. 
Presents for the family aside, shopping for me is an anthropological expedition. I love to meet the shopkeepers, who are of the locality and see what is on offer and how it is presented. Souvenirs are not necessarily what it’s all about. 

Being called into a bus after a 10 minute toilet break, having been travelling for hours is a hardship.
Being called away from a picturesque mountainous village is a torment. 
Being summonsed by a man blowing his bloody horn is hell.

Man Blowing His Horn
No more tours for me! 
No more guru/astrologers blowing their horn for me.
No more trusting fine words and paying cash up front for me. (still waiting for a receipt hahah)

The good news is I have gained an amazing set of friends from the world who feel like friends for life. 
Beautiful friends who share a passion for astrology and other related symbolic systems. 
Beautiful friends who are loving, supportive and healers all.

And then there’s Greece and the Greeks – what can I say!  Extraordinary place, where the water runs more clear and pure than you ever see in Aotearoa. 
Dwelling of Goddesses and Gods who have fed my consciousness since I was old enough to read. 
Motherland of literature and philosophy that nurture my soul and my mind. 
Place of the ancestors who sustain my professional and vocational life. 
Divine homeland of Oracles that are as old as time itself.

You get by with a little help from your Friends

Monday, 3 August 2015

Pluto Unmasked

In December 1972, an historic photograph was taken from space, of our Planet Earth. For the very first time we humans saw our home planet as a beautiful blue ball against a backdrop of the dark space of starry infinity.
The spacecraft Apollo 17 on its way to the Moon shot that first photograph of Earth in its round, blue beauty.

 Since then this photo has become the most frequently published, the most famous photo of all time. Its use as an icon by everyone on the globe forever altered human consciousness – of ourselves, of earth and of our place in the cosmos. That photo unleashed a new idea into our world as powerful as any idea history has previously let loose.
The photograph offered to humanity a vision of a beautiful yet vulnerable home planet and celebrated the birth of global consciousness.

Of course the global village had been conceptualised earlier than 1972. John Lennon’s popular song Imagine released in 1971 encapsulated the entrancement with and yearning for this idea of unity.
Imagine there’s no countries –
It isn’t hard to do…
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world  yu-huh,
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one –
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will live as one.

And long before John Lennon, Karl Marx unleashed his cry that has rung round the world for nearly 2 centuries “Workers of the World Unite”.


Yet a picture communicates in a different language. The power of the idea that the world-is one, burst into flower deep within the human family’s consciousness, when that famous photo of our blue Earth was published over and over again. The incomparable sight of our home viewed from space elicits a profound emotional response. It made real – as only a visual image can – that a new connection was established between humans and their home planet.

Pavel Popovich on the USSR Vostok on the 4th August 1962 said
“It seems to me that even the wisest of philosophers of the Renaissance or the most daring minds from the past could not estimate the real size of our planet. Earlier, it seemed unmeasurably great, almost infinite. Only after the middle of this century did man ( read human (ed.) – having gone up above the Earth into space, see with surprise and disbelief just how small the Earth really is. Some saw it as an island in the limitless ocean of creation. Some compared it to a spaceship with a crew numbering more than 6 billion.”

Loren Acton on the USA Challenger on the 8th July 1985 said.
“Looking outward to the blackness of space, sprinkled with the glory of a universe of lights, I saw majesty – but no welcome. Below was a welcoming planet. There, contained in the thin, moving incredibly fragile shell of the biosphere is everything that is dear to you, all the human drama and comedy. That’s where life is: that’s where all the good stuff is.”

43 years has passed since that first photo, and the creation of the World Wide Web has revolutionised our lives with its instant communication that unites the planet in ways we could never have dreamed.
Since 1972, space travel and its technology have undergone huge change. Humanity has become used to pictures from space – we have seen the sparks of light in our sky turn into astonishingly real physical worlds before our eyes. The different planets and their Moons in our solar system have revealed themselves. Even the faraway reaches beyond have bewitched our curiosity thanks to the Hubble telescope.

And now in mid- July 2015 (just a few days off the 46th anniversary of men landing on our Moon) there was a brief buzz in the world’s media when humanity was presented with another historic picture.
On the far, far outreaches of our solar system, Pluto was photographed. 12,000 kilometres away, we Earth-dwellers saw the extraordinary sight of Pluto in its glory.

 If ever we need reminders that humanity is capable of reason and ability to work collectively, co-operatively in a peaceful endeavour – well here we have yet another transcendent example.

The commentators reminded us the vehicle (New Horizons) that snapped the Pluto shots was launched on January 19th 2006. The computers on board are 10 years old (gasp - Old as!!!!).
It takes as much power to run as that of a domestic frig (the modem has the power supply of 24 K).

The jubilant team of scientists who worked on this project have devoted two decades of their lives to this project. When New Horizons left Earth, they couldn’t pinpoint exactly where Pluto would be - but the flyby arrived within 72 seconds of when they expected it would.

New Horizons is the size of a grand piano and is still now hurtling beyond Pluto and its fellow Charon - out into the vastness of the dark matter we call space. It will take 16 months to transmit the data load of 50 gigabytes of Pluto photos etc, back to Earth as the little robot travels onwards deeper into the Kuiper Belt.

Those clever happy people at NASA will study and share this brand new knowledge with us. The euphoria those scientists felt on July 15th – is also shared by all of us humans who were moved by this momentous accomplishment.

It makes me proud to be a human here and now. Like listening to a Mozart opera or reading Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables for the first time, this is a sublime moment that makes the human heart swell with grace.

As an astrologer I was intrigued to see what the heavens would speak about this event. Yet the skymap we call the horoscope, didn’t transmit the symbolism of this moment as strongly to me, as did the events that were occurring simultaneously in the world itself, during that momentous week.
It was a Big News week, and I began to explore the nature of these momentous events in conjunction with the planet revealing its face for the first time.

All our planets are named after the ancient Greek god/desses. I think of the god/desses as symbolic archetypal stories that describe the huge impersonal life forces that we are all subject to on Earth. There are god/desses that describe the powers of Love and Beauty, War, Religious experience, Communication and Travel etc etc. Astrology is the art/science tradition of describing the combination of these different forces in our lives.

If humanity unmasks a god named Pluto, what might we expect?

Pluto by Agostino Carracci 1592

Pluto is the Greek god of the underworld and in psychological parlance the unconscious. He rules the land of the dead. Charon (the planets’ travelling companion Moon) is the ferryman who transports us to Pluto’s realm. In mythology Pluto wears an invisible cloak when he comes to the land of the living so we mortals don’t see him until he has violated and taken us down.

Now we mortals have violated the god’s invisibility and gazed upon his face.

Pluto was discovered in 1930 as fascism was on the rise; atomic energy was being harnessed to soon create the atomic bomb and nuclear power. Pluto’s name is Death and power is this god’s game.
Under Pluto’s influence we have to face power, whether it be our own or power of others over us. When impersonal force/fate knocks us down, or we are visited by such events as rape, violent crime, compulsive or obsessive behaviour - Pluto is laying his cold hand upon us. We must then face the dark journey to his realm and learn how to (hopefully) empower ourselves. The alternative is to stay forever in his Underworld.

His name originates from Plutos meaning wealth. He is the god who turned everything the compulsively greedy Midas touched into gold – and as Midas discovered to his horror - death.
Pluto’s wealth is underground – whether its oil, gold, diamonds-  we have to dig for his wealth in the darkness of his realm.

In astrology the passage of Pluto marks a decay, death, and rebirth cycle when we must plumb the depths, eliminate and clear out any toxic waste, break taboos.
Pluto moves us into the unconscious areas of shadow and transgression before we can breakthrough into the light once more.
Get the picture?

During the week when Pluto ceased to be a symbol, a myth and a faraway planet in the cold outreaches of our solar system and we saw the god for the first time,this happened;-

1.Iran agreed to a long-term nuclear deal with the US, UK, France, China and Russia plus Germany. Iran agreed to limit its sensitive nuclear activities in return for the lifting of crippling sanctions.
This is widely seen as an historic peace deal reached between the East and the West that was twelve years in the making and took the last 23 months of negotiating.
Iran is on the verge of economic bankruptcy, its oil and gas industries have been crippled and its employment high. Its assets overseas have been frozen and its people been subject to travelling sanctions. The sanctions had destroyed Iran’s private sector and its public sector was struggling.

The deal signals a new birth for Iran. Its young population is in the majority. The under 40 years old are highly educated, and if the Treaty is ratified many professional people who had left can come home. Iran is a home to many religions and different ethnicities, and has not only a high rate of education, but highest in the Middle East for women. Modernity has a strong hold on Iran.
This deal is good for the democratisation of Iran for it will encourage civil society.

Iran is a country that has been demonised in the West. Remember Ronald Reagan naming it as one of the ‘Axis of Evil’…Pluto always describes our demons.

Now this deal brings the country back into the world community. It opens the potential for diplomatic resolutions for issues such as Syria.
A rebirth of relationships between East and West has been seeded.

2. Greece was humiliated and punished by the troika (representing the European nations) the big three money thugs who are part of the world’s 1% elite. Greece was forced - on its knees - to a deal that sacrifices its sovereignty, despite its people’s democratically expressed wishes.
For some time, the world has watched an ongoing shaming of this country. We have been bystanders viewing the classic scenario of the strong bullying the weak.

Athens Soup Kitchen
This is Pluto’s well-worn terrain. Historically the world has been witness to this scenario many times; notably after World War 1 when the winners financially punished Germany and pushed it into impoverishment and ultimately Nazism.

Under Pluto’s eye, in 2015 the rulers of the European Union behaved like a dysfunctional family, scolding the Greek scapegoat who has been disobedient and unable to follow the authorities’ irrational ‘rules.

Stricken Greece was asking for some debt-relief and aid to better grow its shrunken economy. Despite, and probably because of its show of democratic power in the referendum, the Greeks were bought to their knees, as the Euro Troika forced upon them an impossible deal of austerity and privatisation. An austerity that has already been proven to create misery, is self-perpetuating and self-defeating.
And Doesn’t Work.

 Greece is a sinking shipwreck that the world watches as the inevitable occurs – a catastrophic collapse of a nation.

The future of the Euro Union, with the moneymen at its helm is at stake too. The Titanic springs to mind – a mighty accomplishment that its creators heralded as invulnerable, until it met an iceberg rearing out of the mist. I would suggest that Greece is that iceberg.

I think it deeply ironic that Greece is the home of the idea of democracy.

‘The isles of Greece, the isles of Greece!
Where burning Sappho loved and sung,
Where grew the arts of war and peace –
Where Delos rose, and Phoebe sprung!
Eternal Summer gilds them yet,
But all, except their sun, is set.’

Lord Byron. 1819.

3.China’s sharemarket experienced a near-death experience – the Plutonic symbolism is startling.
China experienced a financial earthquake that lost 3 trillion dollars (10 times more than the Greek debt). Tens of millions of its small shareholders investments (working class families’ savings) were wiped out. China’s government massive intervention calmed the market somewhat but the markets – epicentre of China’s economic reforms - continue to be highly volatile, with more slippages continuing.

China’s future remains unclear. It has a capitalist stock market, being played like a casino by tens of millions of freebooting speculators, right in the middle of a society purporting to be socialist and run by a communist party with a deep affinity for rigid interventionist controls. Its uneasy fusion of communism and free-market economics is a system with no precedent and no operating manual.
This contradiction running like a fault line throughout the world’s second biggest economy, makes outcomes impossible to predict.

4. Major tech glitches in computer software took down three large corporations in USA.
United Airways, the New York Stock Exchange and Wall Street Journal’s websites - all ground to a halt.
Planes were at a standstill amidst scenes of chaos, trading stopped in the Stock Exchange (centre of the world’s financial business) and the Journal’s website flatlined. Immediately the public was told it wasn’t a co-ordinated cyber attack, but the mystery still remains as to what really did happen. 

"I'm in Hell" at United Airways
Just a “very bad day”?
A rather dark mystery (mystery is Pluto’s fodder) that serves to tell that the technology we take for granted is not bullet-proof.

These three companies are all business operations that rely on massive computer systems. Automated software is complex (involving millions of lines of computer code) and a single error – even a misplaced text - can grind the whole system to a halt.

Whether human error or deliberate hacking creates a breakdown, Pluto’s little joke has highlighted how easy chaos can happen. Our increased dependency on undependable things has been displayed, putting us on warning how incredibly quickly a cascading failure can lead to pandemonium.

5. In Aotearoa, milk prices crashed disastrously due to a slump in the world markets and the next day Fonterra cut 523 jobs in lower and middle management.
Pluto rules elimination and ruthlessness.
Fonterra is a good example of the way neo-liberalism works in our small country.
More than 4000 of its 18000 world-wide staff earn at least $100,000 per year, while 17 staff earn more than $1 million annually.
The Chief Exectutive Theo Spierings earns $4.18 million p.a, following a $660,000 pay rise last year.
The redundancies the elite management are making are justified in the name of “efficiency” (exactly why they had all those people working before is a mystery to me – presumably before they were let go, they were all involved in inefficient work). The savings the diary giant (monopoly) is presumed to be making is said to be up to $60 million (don’t hold your breath) but meanwhile $15 to $17 million will be paid out in redundancy packages.

Farmer Murry Beach

Farmer Murry Beach suggesting to Fonterra that wages could be cut, starting with 10% for those on $65,000 and rising to 75% for those on $1 million.

Pluto rules anything we might call ” mega”
Fonterra's highest earners
•    $100,000 - $200,000: 3482 staff
•    $200,001 - $300,000: 402 staff
•    $300,001 - $400,000: 138 staff
•    $400,001 - $500,000: 66 staff
•    $500,001 - $600,000: 29 staff
•    $600,001 - $700,000: 13 staff
•    $700,001 - $800,000: 15 staff
•    $800,001 - $900,000: 6 staff
•    $900,001 - $1 million: 8 staff
•    $1 million - $2 million: 13 staff
•    $2 million - $3 million: 2 staff
•    $3 million - $4 million: 1 staff
•    $4 million - $5 million: 1 staff

None of these high-earners have of course been made redundant. Redundancy is for the losers at the bottom of the ladder.
“Fairly Ugly”

The scale of the drop in diary prices overnight –  10.7 percent - came “as a shock” to the federated Farmers and pushed down the NZ dollar by about 2% against the American dollar.
This drop is the ninth consecutive fall and the whole milk price affects Fonterra’s forecast payout to its farmer shareholders.
The backbone of the economy of Aotearoa is dependent upon our farming primary industry.

The government prides itself that the dairy industry is ‘unsubsidised’.
However dairy farming’s unsustainable practices directly causes massive environmental degradation of our waterways and soils with immunity. It pays no carbon-tax. Is this not a form of subsidisation?

If you doubt what is actually going on in the dairy industry's continued pollution of the waterways of Aotearoa, please read this:-
Dr Mike Joy: Paradise Squandered;New Zealand’s Environmental Asset Stripping.

Citizens and animals alike are all actually heavily subsidising the dairy farmers –Everyone is paying – and will go on paying for a long, long time for this pollution.
Pluto rules the toxic, the hidden costs, the muck at the bottom that was buried in secret.

What the follow-on effects will be on the slumped world milk prices will be on our small country’s so-called “rock-star economy” is hard to say. But we are already in a precarious situation due to the neo-liberal policies that both Labour and National parties have adopted since 1984.

Over the last few decades an experiment has been conducted by its leaders upon us Kiwis. An extreme version of deregulation and privatisation has dismantled our welfare system. Aotearoa has become “vastly more unequal, lost the majority of its industries, opened itself to capital flows that were supposed to create competitive businesses and new jobs, but never did. Foreigners with money speculate on our non-productive assets or push up our dollar to take advantage of high-interest term deposits. “

Aotearoa is not alone in this trend – it is part of a world-wide movement that has sold us de-regulation, consumerism and increasing inequality. Commercial interests consistently shape all politics and policies at the expense of human and environmental concerns.

Since that 1972 photo of planet Earth, humanity’s leaders and shapers of policy have constantly denied or ignored any understanding of the fragility of our home planet.

Despite the intellectuals, creatives, scientists and humanitarians battling constantly to be heard, nothing has prevented the ongoing barbarity of war, genocide, disparity of wealth distribution, slavery, misogyny, racism and religious intolerance.

The human species seems hell bent on despoiling our planetary nest with horrendous environmental destruction, unleashing mindless climate change and an historic extinction of other species which runs parallel with over-population of desperately impoverished humans.

We seem to believe that we are gods who can act with impunity upon our habitat. Despite our clever monkey minds, it is as if we cannot recognise our human dependence on the environment, or comprehend that we need the planet more than it needs us.

As a species we have been peculiarly blind in our inability to change our national or global social, political, economic and legal structures that could make a reality of this imperative.

Muhammad Ahmad Faris from Syria Soyuz TM3 in July 1987 said
“From space I saw Earth – indescribably beautiful with the scars of national boundaries gone.”
Now in 2015, despite the change of consciousness accompanied by the extraordinary technological realities of global communications and travel, the scars of national boundaries seem ever deeper.

The five big events of mid-July I’ve listed will all have unknown consequences. But if I link them all into the Pluto archetype then we can be sure they are depositing us earth inhabitants somewhere along the spectrum of the decay, death, rebirth cycle. Metamorphosis is always the driving necessity of this Plutonic cycle.

I believe that Earth - particularly in relationship to the human species - has entered a hospice stage of development, as we steer our Ship of Fools to the precipice of no-return catastrophes. This would place us on the decay/death part of Pluto’s cycle.

I am hoping that Pluto’s unveiling might begin to give us hope in believing we can transform ourselves through the huge changes that are coming up for us all. We might then begin to move into the rebirthing and regenerating stage.

One of the biggest global unifiers that has occurred throughout our world since the 1970s is the creation and rise of a new global empire

George Orwell’s strangely prescient novel 1984 has come to pass. In an Orwellian coup a global empire has been born in the name of freedom that has granted us its opposite.

We have named it globalisation without paying much attention to whom and what is behind this name. Its ideology we call neo liberalism which has enjoyed a rapid rise to power over every aspect of our macro and micro lives.
The ‘Market’ rules supreme over its’ level playing field’.
The gradual removal of barriers to international trade has intensified competition which is worshipped like a god itself.
International cities have become more and more similar. MacDonald’s here, MacDonald’s there. Pay with your Mastercard or Visa everywhere and anywhere you go….the world for sale.

This is a new Empire, but unlike the Roman or American Empire, it is one of global capital and corporations. These giants have taken over - by stealth - national governments, media outlets, once publicly-owned assets. The huge conglomerates that are banks and corporations have acquired enormous and seemingly unlimited power over both individuals as well as our nation states. They go on consolidating their power every day.

Under neo-liberalism 1% of people now rule the world. In January 2015, the share of the world's wealth owned by the richest 1% increased from 44% in 2009 to 48% last year.

According to a study by anti-poverty charity Oxfam, the wealthiest 1% will soon own more than the rest of the world's population,.
On current trends, Oxfam says it expects the wealthiest 1% to own more than 50% of the world's wealth by 2016.
In NZ the top 1% own 17% of the wealth of NZ.

This elite have all kinds of cunning ways not to pay taxes to the common wealth. Instead they take our taxes and tithe us in hidden ways (environmental degradation being only one of these).

Ordinary folks’ wages and living conditions are constantly driven downwards to fund the impossibly rich’s bank accounts. When the banks fail due to their greed, as in 2008, ordinary folks’ taxes pay for their bailout.
Dirty politics have ensured that spying by governments on the populace is taken for granted. Foreign investors buy our houses and land.

Bill English ( Minister of Finance) spouts that Climate change can’t be incorporated into any economic policy because there would be’ too much red tape’…Auckland’s Supercity councillors discuss selling our city’s assets – privatisation marches inexorably onwards…

Free trade costs the earth.
Soon our NZ government will have signed over our sovereignty under a new trade agreement –TPPA ; a deal that is being negotiated and will be signed in secrecy. This deal will lock Aotearoa into even more minimal regulation. Commercial considerations rule supreme over any of our cultural, social or educational realities.

All of what I have written here about the global takeover fits the Pluto constellation like of glove. Devouring, greedy, all consuming, power-hungry; enormous wealth and unequal distribution; demonising of the ‘Other’, stealthy power machinations, dirty politics.

The unified world is suffering energy depletion, climate change and migration on a previously unimagined scale – all due to this global empire of the wealthy elite and their minions such as John Key, Tony Abbott and others of their political ilk.

Capitalism is being inevitably altered and will become unworkable soon enough.

It may be a combo of external factors such as extreme weather events, a world plague, oil prices falling, another bank crisis, and desperate refugees/migrants flooding into already overloaded countries – that will trigger the domino effect of the world’s house of cards.

Or the social order and functional infrastructures might implode from within (such as we are witnessing in Greece) due to impoverishment and despoliation of the natural and social environment, helped along by punitive monetarist financial policies visited upon the suffering populace.

It may be all of the above – but whatever and however, we have gazed upon the face of the god of Death and must accept Pluto’s challenge to begin the work of killing off the untenable so we can regenerate a different kind of world. We must begin to visualise a future for our human family that reflects the beauty and harmony of our Blue Planet, our Home Planet.