New Moon Conjunct Uranus in the Goat

Dear Friends:

What is the mandate of the year 1998? This question has been arising in the minds and hearts of our generation for decades. So many have feared its coming, attributing to it the ruling time of the Anti-Christ, the thrice strengthened Beast 666! Yet, not all have feared its coming. Some have mocked its significance, manipulated its power and turned it into profit. Others have remained disinterested, apathetic and outright oblivious. And there have been the few who have received its coming as a baptism of fire for the soul of humanity, as a time of flooding waters from out of the heavens, as a confirmation of the thin veil of air between heaven and earth. It is to the latter I wish to address my own questing and musing.

There is no amount of written knowledge capable of unveiling that which has yet to unfold in 1998. There is no doubt that all our gathering of insights, transmitted to us by our elder brothers and sisters, must be regarded as invaluable and incontestable. However, it is only our awakening perception and our meditative cognition which will open the three seals set upon this time. For the attentive meditant 1998 is a time wherein the flames of heaven will fall into the empty space of the human heart like sacred seeds of fire for the future; a time wherein the only safe and sure ground will be the meetings of soul to soul and the only true sound will be the living word as it flows like sweet water from the mouth of one to the ear of the other; a time wherein the boats of spirit cognition will be tested by the astral storms and the wings of our Spirit Self will be given an opportunity to be lifted by the winds of our Lord's Second Coming. Such a time it is, and it has begun!

To bear witness to what lies within and behind these three seals we must have a heart full of joy and sorrow, a heart capable of being a foundation stone upon which to build the holy temple of Anthroposophia! With this in place we can begin to open the three seals of our own upper being, i.e. the seal placed upon our throat chakra, the seal placed upon our third eye chakra, the seal placed upon the crown chakra. These seals obstruct our higher self from being able to participate in our day to day life.

Powers and Intelligences working behind the veil of sense perception have been successful in creating a worldwide culture of addiction. Souls, young and old, are burning with desires for material wealth, drowning in the desires for more and more information, being blown away with desires to dominate and control others. In this torrent of desires the soul is being blinded, made deaf and dumb to all the signs in the heavens that our Lord said would come.

If we look up to the heavens and live imaginatively into the gestures of the planets, we may arrive at an insight regarding the question of the three seals eclipsing the light of our own higher being.

Mars begins the year of 1998 in the sign of Capricorn. Jupiter will spend most of the year in the sign of Aquarius and Saturn will spend most of the year in the sign of Pisces. Their correspondences to the chakras of the human being are respectively the throat, the third eye and the crown.

We can read the appearance of Mars in the sign of Capricorn as a heavenly mandate to take up the battle with materialism, to overcome the fear of never having enough. The courage exemplified by a St. Francis of Assissi is called for in this time. It is a courage to reinstate the vow of poverty, to be willing to lose all material possessions and wealth for the sake of spiritual fulfillment and treasures. The Buddha taught his disciples to exercise poverty; he even advised them that unless poor, outwardly poor and completely lacking in material possessions, the inner path to achieving enlightenment cannot be followed. This teaching embodied in the noble eight-fold path has been transmitted throughout the ages, not always advocating outer poverty but pointing toward the middle way between possessing everything and possessing nothing. Historically, poverty no longer remains an outer phenomenon, or a social affliction in which some have nothing to eat while others feast, but it now becomes the voice of conscience within. The open and empty heart gives rise to the voice of pure non-attachment, the voice of one who speaks "my kingdom is not of this world, but of heaven."

Following this way of poverty can lead to the courage to walk through the seal of fire fearlessly and confidently. This seal of fire is the unbridled free reign of desires to possess all things at the expense of losing one's sense of inner contentment and peace. We need only think of the passage in the Book of Revelation 13:16-17.

"And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to

receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads; and that no man

might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the

number of his name."

Unless conscience is completely extinguished every man and woman who attempts to live in this economically driven world will receive the mark of the beast and experience in the coursing of their blood the fire that consumes and leaves one with no rest. To resolve this bind will require the courage to face the beast and act out of "the patience and the faith of the saints." Nogreater prayer can accompany those who in 1998 dare to exercise this courage and live in the trust of our lady poverty than the one given to us by St. Francis of Assissi. It is this prayer that can open up the seal of fire for all of humanity:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love,

Where there is doubt, faith,

Where there is despair, hope,

Where there is darkness, light,

And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled,

as to console:

To be understood, as to understand;

To be loved, as to love;

For it is in giving that we receive -

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Exposing the beast as a consuming fiery dragon swimming in the current of our blood is not an act without consequences. It is the aim of the beast to incite us to fight with the sword rather than to confront with the holy word; to cast fear and cause flight to occur as a hopeless escape rather than to give wings to the flight of the mind; to compel one to become a frozen figure of stone rather than to penetrate through the lifelessness and remain alive.

"Here is wisdom, Let him that hath understanding count the number of the

beast; for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred three

score and six." (Book of Revelation 13;18)

Jupiter's passage through the sign of Aquarius calls our attention to the virtue of discretion. Only through the portal of silence can we exercise this activity of Jupiter, the activity of living thinking. It is a necessary meditative approach, if we are to discern the beast as he works upon and among humanity. The light of thinking becomes for us the opening of the third eye chakra, wherein the wisdom of life can be illuminated.

With this virtue exercised and obtained we may be able to count the number of the beast. To know the number of the beast is to know its name. To know its name is to have power over its being. Yet we must all begin with the feeling of shame that the beast dwells within, reigns upon a throne where once our God seated himself.

Never before have we been so inundated with bits and pieces of information masquerading as useful knowledge. As we find ourselves drowning in this sea of desire to know more and more, we also can awaken to the great dilemma it poses to our ability to discern what is true from what is false. This magic of the beast manifested in the countless wonders of computer technology has so dazzled our minds that we can hardly keep pace with the current views of the day. All this compounds the difficulty to be certain about our own truths.

Obedience to the truth is a vital attribute, if we are to walk the path towards initiation. Yet, the beast has found ways to compel us into submission. Whether in small ways or big ways, this has become a sad, but true fact of our time. Realizing this brings us to the experience of our original shame - disobedience.

How, might we ask, are we to break this second seal which blinds us from the truth and sets us up for temptations and all manner of disobedience? In the Talmud, the sacred book of the Jewish folk, it is written that Job's experience will come to humanity every century. If this is so, then it behooves us to search out the Book of Job and find its message for our time. Through Satan's granted permission from God to tempt Job, a second fall for humanity occurs. Job loses everything, suffers in his own consequences of disobedience only to find himself between his wife on the one hand, who urges him to "give up all this struggle and try to die" and on the other hand his three friends who come to sit with him in sackcloth and ashes, so as to ask him why it is necessary for human beings to suffer. Job responded with these words:

"And unto man he said, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to

depart from evil is understanding" (Book of Job 28)

Implicit in Job's response was the idea that to not fear the Lord and to enter into evil was the birth of suffering. Yet, Job could not fully articulate why he could not give up his belief in God when his wisdom could no longer be found in God, but only fear. This fear was not merely of God, but for what unknowingly to him was streaming from God towards humanity. Job's battle was an attempt to receive the human ego; yet without knowing what it implied.

The haughty pride of man with its tendency to possession and its desire for rulership over the earth, has to be continually broken, just as Job was broken, by the experiences of suffering, through desertion and illness, through everything which the human being has to endure in order to soften, make pliant and mold his ego. Job went this way unknowingly, forgetting his wisdom, only to arrive at the first step of ascension - the step of humility.

This has been the journey of every man and every woman since Job. However, the verdict of whether we have learned true humility is still pending. We have passed through incarnations as slaves where obedience was a matter of course, where our will was directed to work the substances of the earth through incarnations as servants, who found the virtue of obedience in the right and moral treatment of one another; and now as free men and women we are called to exercise the obedience so clearly articulated in Rudolf Steiner's "Philosophy of Freedom" (Intuitive Thinking). In this endeavor we all struggle to develop the thinking from the heart capable of streaming up and enlightening our third eye chakra. In doing this we may live by truth and truth alone.

Let us turn our attention to Saturn in the sign of Pisces and reflect upon its significance concerning the third seal, the air trial. Saturn's relationship to the crown chakra is a well established occult fact in both Eastern and Western traditions. It is the open portal to the heavens, the living memory of the infinite and eternal mystery of macrocosm-microcosm. In the sign of Pisces it begs us to recall the central task of this age - Love. O how easy this word falls from our lips; and yet how hard it is to allow it full measure in our lives! Love is as pervasive, transparent and vital to our soul as air is to the breathe that sustains our life. Yet, like the air, it can be so easily polluted, taken into ourselves so shallowly and rarely ever be noticed for its life sustaining power.

Our culture has lost sight of the distinction of the various qualities of Love; and where distinctions are recognized distortions are projected. Eros has been so fantasized as a lust driven passion that it has lost its magical virginal quality. Philia has become a brotherly-sisterly love that lives as ideal but rarely finds reality among people today. Charity has been made into a weakness, into something rich can afford to do for poor, rather than its true virtue of service for all. Agape as a universal love for the spirit within everything that lives, is so often misunderstood as an unrealistic ideal and as such, not worth the striving.

This lack of understanding love which fosters a mistrust in the spirit only feeds the beast in us, gives rise to a rage that knows no bounds, becomes an evil force expressed as hate. It is for this reason we need to re-orient our quest to discover love by returning to the wisdom of initiates in the ancient days. Those souls lived their life in the vow of chastity. The pure ones, who stood in the temple as priests and priestesses, had the great task of the cultis of remembrance. It was they who were perceived to have a circle of light radiating above their crown chakra (halo). It is they we still refer to as saints, for they bore the patience and faith that led to deep wisdom - the wisdom to become a chalice for the love of all humanity! To them we owe our own striving to become better men and women.

In the spirit of St. John the Divine who wrote in the Book of Revelation,

Chapter I;5-6

"And from Jesus Christ who is the faithful witness and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."

In this spirit we can take hold of the mandate of the year 1998. We can all strive to deepen our understanding of how poverty can become a way to the spirit, how obedience to the truth can set us free, and how chastity can become the grail cup in which life is transformed into the new wine ....... the nectar which will once again nourish us!

In this spirit let us take up the mandate with the mantram:

There is a priesthood of the 21st century wherein the sacraments are no longer held as in the days of old, but administered in the encounter from soul to soul. They are invested with a spiritual word and a light filled gaze full of healing life. Out of them streams the force of goodness, the power of Christ working in the world as the substance of love. They will to create the new Jerusalem upon the Earth. They will to do this as a sacrament of the Second Birth.

January 28, 1998 by William Bento