Sep 27, 2011

Will James Arthur Ray EVER Be Sentenced?

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Well... I think he will... presently. But I sure do understand the frustration of the families and friends of the deceased -- let alone the many, many, many people who have suffered physical, emotional, and financial damage at the hands of this lunatic. Due to Kelly's health issues, Judge Darrow said in a hearing yesterday that he will not reschedule the presentencing hearing before the middle of October.

Attorney Tom Kelly, still recovering from treatment for a heart condition, appeared alone in court and outlined the defense's difficulties in arranging schedules, both their own and that of the many witnesses they intend to present at a pre-sentence hearing.

Kelly said his doctor has cleared him to defend a client in a jury trial that begins Oct. 19, but emphasized that he was also ordered to be on light duty. He said he needs a second procedure that has not yet been scheduled.

The re-emergence of Kelly prompted Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk to suggest that the proceedings could resume immediately, even offering to forego a scheduled family vacation the week of Oct. 7-15. Saying that the state has made a strong showing, both in arguments and pleadings, of "the need to move this case forward," Polk said she would be fine with the previous scheduling, which would have started the pre-sentence hearings on Wednesday.

Darrow, though, said he would not set the hearings and sentencing, which will require at least six court days, to begin before Oct. 15, adding that perceptions that the delays have been solely caused by defense maneuverings were somewhat inaccurate.


Around the Web, Around the World

"Why Shamanism Now?" with Christina Pratt

Creating Sacred Space Anywhere, Any time

Space is inherently sacred, as are all things, as are you. When we act to "create sacred space" we are acknowledging that fact of the sacred in the space and greeting The Mystery there. In effect, we are saying "hello" so that we can engage and begin our relationship in a good way. Join host and shaman, Christina Pratt, as she explores how we can recognize, cultivate, and commune with the sacred through the art of creating altars and shrines. Altars can be indoors or outdoors, permanent or impermanent, portable or part of a place in nature. The most important thing in any altar is that it works; it allows you to better communicate with the sacred in your life. Some places are considered naturally more sacred or powerful. This really means that the place allows us access to energies that matter to us or that we value highly, like a boulder in the side of a mountain that radiates the energy of Shiva. Other places, like temples and monasteries, have grown powerfully sacred through their use in the same way, day after day, by person after person. Join us as we explore the ancient practices of creating sacred space. Learn the principles for creating altars and shrines in a way that engages the sacred in relationship so that you can create sacred space for yourself anywhere and anytime.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 11:00 AM Pacific

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Sep 25, 2011

Shel Silverstein's Vision Serpent

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Today is Shel Silverstein's birthday and there doesn't seem to be any escape from Silverstein hagiography. That's probably due in part to a well timed pub date for this new collection of his work from HarperCollins. No lover of Shel Silverstein, I. I think I've made my views on the thoroughly offensive Giving Tree very clear. But this image really grabbed me when I was reading Andrew Sullivan earlier today.

I immediately thought that it was very evocative of Mayan hieroglyphs I've seen. Something about a squat, little person with a convoluted tangle of images rising in front of him put me in mind of a number of Mayan reliefs. I did a bit of digging and I think it was this image, specifically, that was jogged in my memory, because the parallels are really quite striking.

Sep 21, 2011

James Ray: I'm Sorry, Now Give Me Probation!

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

James Ray must be getting very, very nervous. Know how I know that? He's all apologies and remorse all of a sudden.

A self-help author convicted of negligent homicide expressed extreme remorse for the deaths of three people following an Arizona sweat lodge ceremony he led and vowed never to conduct another one, a probation officer wrote in a presentence report obtained by The Associated Press.

. . .

Ray told the probation officer that he was responsible for the sweat lodge but that he is not a threat to society. He said he wanted to apologize to the victims' families but he hasn't been allowed to contact them, nor did he think it was appropriate to do so at an earlier time.

I guess it was also inappropriate for him to contact the families of the dead and dying when they were rushed to area hospitals after his 2009 sweat lodge. And it would have been positively crass to hand over their identification and paperwork to medical personnel so that they could be admitted as something other than Jane and John Does. And Ray would never have been so forward as to call 911 just because people had stopped breathing. If James Ray knows anything, it's how to respect other people's boundaries when they're in a life and death crisis.

James Ray Hearing: New Dates and More Objections

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Sentencing has been rescheduled for October 6; a day that is not my birthday. The mitigation and presentencing hearing is now scheduled to begin September 28. Worse, word on the street is that the defense intends to object to the new schedule. As per Tom McFeeley, they are claiming that Tom Kelly needs more time to prepare. Being hospitalized for a heart ailment certainly prevented him from appearing yesterday but how did this sudden, health emergency prevent him from being prepared for the previously scheduled dates? Did the dog eat his homework, too?

Once again, I find myself stunned by the slap-dash approach of this expensive, high-power defense team. They always seem to be whining that they've been caught flat-footed by an under-resourced, small-town DA's office. So overwhelmed are they that they can't even find the time to black out the addresses and phone numbers of private citizens on publicly posted documents.

They've got bigger problems with those letters from James Ray's supporters, too. I've been picking my way through them and there are some things that don't add up. I noticed a discussion on Connie Joy's Facebook page that raises some serious questions. Many of the letters were written last fall before the the trial began. It's unclear whether support from some of those letter writers is still forthcoming. From some of the comments in that thread, I would guess not.

Sep 20, 2011

48 Hours Mystery -- West Memphis 3: Free

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

In case you missed the new 48 Hours Mystery on the WM3, I have posted the show in its entirety above. Much of it is a rehash of their earlier coverage but the new interviews with Damien Echols, his wife Lorri Davis, and Jason Baldwin are incredibly heartening. It's wonderful to see that Echols has gotten some color. His skin looked like alabaster on the day of his release. And Jason Baldwin has won a whole new level of admiration from me. His joy and optimism after having lost half his life to the criminal justice system of Arkansas are amazing. He has proved himself to be a man of honor and integrity. He could have gotten a reduced sentence, all those years ago, if he'd testified against his friend. He refused. And torn between his desire to see a just verdict in a new trial and the certainty of saving Echols's life with the plea deal, he chose to save a life. Has the absurdity of putting this man behind bars for murder ever been more glaringly apparent?

The written coverage from CBS underscores the absurdity:

This is what justice in Arkansas looks like: On Aug. 19, 2011, Judge David Laser in Craighead County released three men who had spent the last 18 years in prison, one of them on death row. But as part of an unusual plea agreement, the three men -- Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley -- who insist they are innocent, had to first plead guilty to three counts of murder.

It struck more than a few observers in the packed courtroom that morning that the surreal spectacle had very little to do with justice. As one of the newly freed men, Jason Baldwin, later described it, "When we told prosecutors we were innocent, they put us in prison for life. Now when we plead guilty, they set us free!"

The county prosecuting attorney Scott Ellington's actions didn't help clear up matters either. He said publicly that he still believed these men were guilty of one of the most heinous crimes in the state's history: the brutal murder of three 8-year-old boys in 1993. And yet, he made them all sign a waiver promising not to sue the state.

Nope. It's still not justice. But at least three innocent men are finally free.


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"Why Shamanism Now?" with Christina Pratt

Global Dismemberment: Through the Shaman's Eye

What is happening around us? We see severe weather, colossal oil spills, and species die off. We see illness, obesity, and rising incidents of mental illness and coping disorders. We see corruption and an unfathomable void of ethics in banking, politics, and religions around the world. We see riots, anger, and hopelessness in our communities. The shaman sees Dismemberment, the experience of being pulled apart, eaten, or stripped layer by layer, down to the bare bones on a global scale. "In a shamanic dismemberment," explains host and shaman, Christina Pratt, "the individual, unaware that the experience is occurring in an altered state, dies the little death, which is the surrender of the ego that allows for a shift of awareness and transformation of consciousness." Join us this week as our guest, award winning author, teacher, consultant, motivational speaker, successful businessman, and urban shaman, Richard Whiteley, explains what is going on out there from a shamanic perspective. And perhaps more importantly, he shares why he feels there is reason to be hopeful and how we can participate with spirit in the Remembering so that the world we co-create is different than before. Richard joins us for the next show in the Society of Shamanic Practitioners sponsored interview series.

This week's guest:
Richard Whiteley

Richard Whiteley, author of The Corporate Shaman, (2002) was awarded five top honors shared among his three business books on customer-centered business and finding joy in your work. He is "A Harvard Business School educated, best selling author and management consultant who moonlights as an urban shaman," says Business Week. He co-founded The Forum Corporation, a large, global business training and consulting firm, teaches at business schools across the country, and currently offers his expertise at The Whiteley Group.

Richard is an award winning leader and consultant and a dynamic presenter. He earned a BA from Wesleyan University, an MBA from Harvard, served in the United States Navy for three and a half years, and studied with medicine people for the past eighteen years. Richard has a healing practice in Boston, which is based on his study and practice of shamanism. His work has included power animal retrievals and soul retrieval for individuals and organizations. He has recently performed as a percussionist and vocalist on a new CD entitled Shamanheart. With his three sons, he has also created a drumming CD for assistance in shamanic journeying.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 11:00 AM Pacific

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Why Shamanism Now? on Co-Creator Network
Questions? Comments? Call: 1-512-772-1938

All episodes are now available in the iTunes Podcast Library.

Sep 19, 2011

James Ray Hearing Vacated Due to Illness

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

What part of next Monday is my birthday don't these people understand?! James Ray was scheduled to be sentenced that day, but justice has been delayed... again.

Supporters of a self-help author convicted in the deaths of three people after an Arizona sweat lodge ceremony will have to wait to testify in an effort to convince a judge that James Arthur Ray deserves a lenient sentence.

An attorney in the case had a medical emergency, prompting the cancellation of a weeklong hearing that was supposed to start Monday, Yavapai County Superior Court officials said.

. . .

This week’s hearing hasn’t been rescheduled. Ray was scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 26, and it’s unclear whether that will go forward as planned.

Word is that Tom Kelly has been hospitalized and because he is Ray's Arizona counsel, the law requires his presence. Luis Li and Truc Do, in addition to being almost inconceivably annoying, are out-of-towners.

Sep 16, 2011

WM3 on 48 Hours Mystery

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

CBS 48 Hours Mystery, which profiled Johnny Depp's interest in the West Memphis Three a year and ago will be doing a follow-up report. It will air Saturday, Sept. 17, at 10:00 PM Eastern Time. I know I already have my DVR set. More info can be found on the CBS website here.

When three men convicted of murdering three young boys were released from Arkansas prisons last month, it made headlines. This Saturday, "48 Hours Mystery" will air a comprehensive report on the case, including the first television interviews with two of the men known as the "West Memphis 3." Correspondent Erin Moriarty, who has been working this story for four years, offered a preview on "The Early Show."

Watch a preview of this "48 Hours Mystery" episode

Jason Baldwin, Moriarty reported, is beginning his life at age 34, doing the kinds of simple things most of us take for granted, such as getting his driver's license and enjoying the outdoors.

Baldwin told CBS News, "The first thing I did? Oh, I just smiled and got, like, a thousand hugs from everybody, you know?... I smiled so much that my face actually hurt from it, you know, but it is a good thing. ... It just felt like everything was alright. Like, here's the time to begin, you know?"

Sep 15, 2011

Om the Dome for Fifty One Days

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

William Henry has been, for some time, calling on people to "Om the Dome" of the US Capitol. Henry's interest in the underlying symbolism in DC architecture, particularly in the Capitol Rotunda, I've discussed previously here, here, and here. An attack on that symbolism is underway by far right Christian groups who are organizing a prayer event called DC40.

The Reformation Prayer Network, led by Cindy Jacobs, and the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network, headed by John Benefiel, have joined together to produce a nation-wide event called “DC40.″  The goal of DC40 is to effect “eternal change in our nation’s capitol so our elected officials can govern from a new position of uncompromising light and understanding as we change the spiritual atmosphere over Washington DC forever.” This effort is variously named DC40, Forty Days of Light Over D.C., and 51 Days of Reformation Intercession.

The change DC40 wants to make is electing leaders who fear the Christian God and “find that compromise is not the way” as it is impossible to “compromise with unrighteousness.” The “uncompromising light” refers to a statement released by Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network, which says God’s word should be the legal authority in the United States and Christians should acknowledge no other,  “no power to purpose or accept any compromise of the promises of God, and we declare illegal in the earth any action or any people, Nation or nations that undertake what is contradictory to the Word of God.”

Sep 14, 2011

James Ray New Trial Motion DENIED

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Not surprised, but relieved all the same, that Judge Darrow has rejected James Ray's motion for a new trial. As discussed here, Ray's attorneys had argued for a new trial alleging prosecutorial misconduct.

Without elaboration, Judge Warren Darrow on Wednesday denied a new trial for motivational speaker James Arthur Ray.

Ray, 53, was convicted in late June on three counts of negligent homicide in the deaths of Kirby Brown, James Shore and Liz Neuman after an October 2009 sweat lodge ceremony at a retreat center near Sedona. He faces the possibility of as long as nine years in prison.

Rejected last week was a request from Ray's attorneys to vacate the mitigation and pre-sentencing hearing scheduled for next week. From their motion, it appears that they were operating from the assumption that the new trial motion would be a granted. They have made no travel plans for witnesses and claim that scheduling at this point would be a hardship. Bill Hughes argued in the prosecution's objection to the request that they've had plenty of time to plan for the long scheduled hearing and that any further delays in sentencing are denying justice to the family members of the victims. It's a great read.

Sep 13, 2011


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"Why Shamanism Now?" with Christina Pratt

How do We Heal? Shamanism and Disease

Shamans believe that soul loss or energy intrusions or both are at the root of all illness. This is only partially true. In the diagnostic trance state the shaman is actually looking for the weakness or imbalance that caused the soul loss or allowed the energy intrusion to happen. Join host and shaman, Christina Pratt, as she explores why we get sick and how we heal from a shamanic perspective. Like a plant, illness can only take root where there is fertile ground. Chronic disharmony, for example, when one forgets the feeling of belonging and connection and life loses meaning, and chronic fear, which results in the loss of love, joy, and trust without which the force of life itself seems to withdraw from the body, are fertile ground for illness. These areas of weakness in our wellbeing occur as a result of the bad habits accumulated by holding false attitudes about life and ones place in the Universe. Healing is the continual experience of re-establishing and maintaining balance in all the human systems and between them, both physical and energetic. Healing, then, is the process of restoring and maintaining balance in the body, mind, heart, and soul of the individual and with the community, environment, Ancestors, and the invisible world of Spirit.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 11:00 AM Pacific

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Why Shamanism Now? on Co-Creator Network
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All episodes are now available in the iTunes Podcast Library.

Sep 12, 2011

Pisces Full Moon September 12, 2011 - All About Me and You

Cross-posted from Aloha Astro

Aloha, my astrology-loving and spiritually-aware friends. All last week, as the moon has been moving through the higher, more society-connected signs of Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and now Pisces, planets in my own natal chart have been deeply affected. Each of those signs represents the highest octave of the elements of fire, earth, air, and water. The first octave of Aries, Taurus, Gemini, and Cancer looks through the lens of self. The second octave of Leo, Virgo, Libra, and Scorpio sees the world through the lens of self and another. The third octave of Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces sees itself in relation to the whole crowd, the group, the collective of society. Before you look at your own sun sign and judge yourself based on this astrological tidbit, keep in mind that you have the entire zodiac wheel represented in your natal, or birth, chart. You are a very unique symphony, a music of the spheres, composed through the interchange of planetary aspect patterns and planetary placements in the houses, or areas of life, expressed as your own beautiful soul. As the planets continue to move through time, they interact with the music of your birth chart, bringing choices, experiences, growth, change, and transcendence. Just like photographs of you as an infant and you now are different but the same person, so, too is your natal chart always with you, but you become new over and over again. You will experience what it is to be all the signs at some point in time or at some level of your consciousness.

All week, I stalled on writing my "traditional" horoscopes and trends for you. Today is Sunday, September 11th, and, as I opened my astrology software program to see where the planets are and how they may be affecting you, the full moon in the mutable water sign of Pisces gave me a nice wet fish-slap in the face. Yes, I've been looking at its ripening beauty grow in the velvet star-spangled evening sky on these sweet, cool September evenings and I know where it occurs in my own chart, but I've been ignoring the symbols and signs as I try to stay in the "normal" world and do what I think is the right thing to do in terms of money, production, business, etc. I have been ignoring my own internal GPS, although some of the messages I have been receiving about the global consciousness and the importance of the current time did get modified and mainstreamed for last week's astrological trends. All my life, I have felt like a non-conformist trying to conform. My chart holds the sun (self-awareness) in rebellious, oddball Aquarius, Jupiter (growth, abundance) and Saturn (authority, restriction, work, structure) in the 8th house of metaphysics and the occult in reserved and traditional Capricorn. All my knowledge and experiences in things metaphysical and spiritual have come to me through doubt and skepticism. When I first learned of planting a garden by moon signs years ago, I had to plant a garden by the moon and a control garden where I did everything opposite to astrological gardening wisdom. I have to see it to believe it and it took me years to understand that when we want to manifest something, we see it when we believe it. My Mercury is also in Aquarius in the 9th house, so I'm here to communicate and teach unusual things. My moon in Aries in the 11th house means I am to share it with a group and the trine between my moon and Uranus, ruler of my sun sign, in the 3rd house of communication reinforces my interest and emotional "knowing" of astrology and its potential for helping to create a life from a point of awareness. My Neptune in Scorpio in the 5th house has given a lifelong interest in metaphysics and spirituality and I especially have a fascination with the laws of abundance and manifestation. I have created things out of nowhere and thin air many times in my past, and my Mars in Cancer in my 1st house of self trine to my Neptune in Scorpio in the 5th leads me to persist, believing that someday, I can do it at will. I know that we are all moving to a point of consciousness where we will instantly manifest what we desire as we think it. I think the current full moon in Pisces, following the recent new moon in Virgo, is bringing a more widespread awareness of this process of imagining/seeing, believing/receiving to us all now. The challenges within my chart, in the form of squares between my moon and Jupiter/Saturn and my Mercury and sun square to Neptune, make it difficult for me to feel safe or believe I will be accepted if I am too "far out," New Age, or non-traditional. When I left New York, where I always felt like anything but the typical suburban Barbie I felt I was expected to be, and landed in Sedona, Arizona, a mecca for spirituality and unusual interests, I finally felt at home and surprisingly normal among the diverse population of New Agers living there. Now, I live in a place with mainstream, traditional consciousness and I feel I am holding a frequency in place for the benefit of others without them even being aware of what I am doing. Many of you who feel you are somewhere that you don't belong could be performing a similar energy elevation service where you are now. The Internet allows people to connect in ways that weren't possible years ago, and if we can't find our tribe in our own neighborhood, we can find our tribe online, which is what many of us are doing. Can you believe we are moving to a level of awareness where we can be somewhere in our consciousness and experience a person or place and they will also have the same ability? What do you think will replace the Internet? I think telepathy will one day be our main form of communication.

Sep 7, 2011

Enda Kenny Smacks Down Vatican Parsing

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny gave his first formal response to the Vatican yesterday and he shows no sign of backing down.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has stood by his assertion that the Vatican attempted to frustrate a state inquiry into clerical child sex abuse. In its response to the Cloyne report at the weekend, the Vatican described as “unfounded” the Taoiseach’s Dáil claim that it attempted to frustrate an inquiry into abuse “as little as three years ago”.

However, speaking at Fine Gael’s ‘think-in’ at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Galway yesterday, Mr Kenny said the Murphy Commission had requested information and assistance from the Vatican in 2006, 2007, and 2009, and that, in each case, those requests were either refused or rejected.

He stressed that, as the Murphy Commission is a statutory commission of inquiry, nothing less than full co-operation is required. “And anything less than full co-operation in my opinion is unwarranted interference,” he said.

Sep 6, 2011


Around the Web, Around the World

"Why Shamanism Now?" with Christina Pratt

Finding the Roots of your Authentic Self

Authenticity is rooted in initiation, in the transformation of the ego identity from child self to adult self. For this we need ritual and the transformation that comes to us only when we truly surrender our attachment to where we are going and how we are getting there and let Spirit take us. There is a huge industry of life coaching, self-help, and therapy (some forms) that thrive on our need to answer the question of “who is... my Authentic Self?” While the help offered is good for the most part it will not get us there because it all starts where it has not yet begun. “The Child is the Adventurer who has the experiences that shape our character and thankfully take our innocence,” explains host and shaman, Christina Pratt. “The Initiated Adult is the one who can refine those experiences, cull them for meaning, and withstand the internal conditions necessary to transform the “coal” of our life experiences into the “diamonds” of our medicine. Once rooted in the Initiated Adult the authentic self draws nourishment equally from the Wisdom of the Body (the Earth) freed from the distorting fears and unresolved needs of childhood and from the Wisdom of Spirit (the Sky/Sun) available to us through our actions taken to cultivate a working relationship. Rooted and nourished in this way the Authentic Self can not help but bear the fruit of your soul’s true purpose.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 at 11:00 AM Pacific

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Why Shamanism Now? on Co-Creator Network
Questions? Comments? Call: 1-512-772-1938

All episodes are now available in the iTunes Podcast Library.

Sep 5, 2011

Horoscope for September 5-11

Cross-posted from Aloha Astro

Aries (March 21st - April 20th)
Exploring creative possibilities may expand your courage and your knowledge this week, Aries. You may develop an interest in an art or technology you know very little about or find yourself in the situation by default, such as being the only person left on the job to fill a position or learn a skill. For some time, your leadership abilities and your unique personal expression have been strongly affecting your work and immediate environment. Now you may be entering unfamiliar territory or meeting people who are so unlike you that you are not sure how to think or act. Enjoy the exciting feeling of being off-balance and out of your element as new people, information, and skills keep you guessing and fresh.

Taurus (April 21st - May 20th)
Your self-esteem and your plans all receive support this week, Taurus. If you are the person people come to for information or advice, you may want to think about taking that natural talent and making it marketable. Your creativity and communication skills are supercharged and writing, teaching, or speaking flows easily. Some possible writing material may be technical how-to information or an esoteric or eclectic subject. Behind the writing or teaching is a plain purpose or practicality, if only to share your wisdom. Don't judge yourself; simply express. There are new friends waiting to meet you who are refreshingly different and decidedly not boring.

Gemini (May 21st - June 21st)
It doesn't hurt to be skeptical or doubtful this week, Gemini, because you will seek to prove something wrong and you may learn something new in the process. That proverbial grain of salt can flavor something you think is preposterous just enough for you to bite and swallow. You may find it is something wonderful, even though no one knows about it yet. Be on the lookout for the strange, unique, or unusual to present itself as an opportunity for you to develop a home-based business or reach more people quickly in an existing business. Why can't sudden fame and popularity find you? Money talks or plans with your mate go well at the beginning of the week, or you may meet a kindred spirit then.

Astrological Trends for September 5-11

Cross-posted from Aloha Astro

Enthusiasm, playfulness, and physical vitality are present the morning of Monday, September 5th, as the moon in the mutable fire sign of Sagittarius trines Mercury in the fixed fire sign of Leo. The moon is also quincunx Mars in the cardinal water sign of Cancer. If you happen to be off from work this Labor Day Monday, you may enjoy an outdoor adventure near or on water with friends to make the most of the favorable aspects today. The sun and Venus, loosely conjunct in the mutable earth sign of Virgo, are trine to Jupiter in the fixed earth sign of Taurus. Venus in Virgo is semi-sextile Saturn in the cardinal air sign of Libra. These aspect patterns increase the pleasure of good food and good company - perfect for a holiday gathering. Pluto in the cardinal earth sign of Capricorn square to Uranus in the cardinal fire sign of Aries continues to influence society as a whole or create tension between old and new in whatever area of life they affect in your own natal chart. Pluto sextile Chiron in the mutable water sign of Pisces and Neptune in the fixed air sign of Aquarius are conjunct Chiron in Pisces. Healing transformation that creates a better future is the potential within the Pluto/Chiron/Neptune energy. At lunchtime, the quincunx between the moon and Mars fades and the Sagittarius moon forms a sextile to Neptune in Aquarius. Your physical drive may slow down somewhat after lunch, but the Sagittarius moon sextile to Neptune in Aquarius indicates you will continue to make good memories with your friends as the afternoon and evening unfold.

Heightened conflictual energy between old and new, liberals and conservatives, established patterns of the past and innovative plans for the future occurs on Tuesday, September 6th, when the moon in the cardinal earth sign of Capricorn joins Pluto, intensifying the effect of the longstanding square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto. Additionally, an opposition now between Mercury in the fixed fire sign of Leo and Neptune in the fixed air sign of Aquarius can create confusion, tension, and obstinate attitudes. This is the kind of energy that can make people dig in their heels and hold their position in an argument even when they know they are wrong, so the wisest course of action may be to say nothing at all unless you absolutely must. Red tape and senseless rules are not easy to work around or change now. The Mercury/Neptune opposition will be in effect until September 12th and may feel like a Mercury retrograde period at times due to the distorting qualities of Neptune. Look at every piece of paper, contract, or communication twice. Within the United States, the events of September 11, 2001 may be revisited. While there is nothing wrong with remembering people who have died, I do think there is something wrong with perpetuating negativity or manipulating the public through sensationalism and fear. The Mercury/Neptune opposition may make people inclined to get caught up in drama now. Remember that most of what you see and experience is colored by your thoughts and emotions. You are always at power to choose how you feel, and choosing to feel happy or peaceful can miraculously change any situation. Venus in the mutable earth sign of Virgo is sextile Mars in Cancer all week long, producing demonstrations of practical caring and acts of service. Early this evening, the moon in Capricorn forms two wonderful and supportive trines. The moon trine the sun in Virgo and the moon trine Jupiter in Taurus can increase feelings of security and stability and also help you to work on projects or make wise choices on material needs when shopping or investing money. Both these trines will also help to limit the possible challenges of the square between the Capricorn moon and Saturn in Libra that develops later this evening. If you have a partner, you or your mate are willing to compromise or make allowances for the greater good of the relationship. If you are single, you may not find perfection when looking for a partner now, but you are likely to find a person who is looking for a realistic and enduring relationship.

Sep 4, 2011

Vatican Responds to Angry Irish Government

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

The Vatican responded yesterday to the charges of the Irish Government. They have quite predictably deflected the criticism and rejected any claim that the Vatican can be blamed in any way for the failures in Cloyne.

I find it interesting that a response which was expected before the end of August was delivered instead in early September... on a Saturday. If the Irish news cycle is anything like ours in the US, that's a textbook method of making a story disappear. (There's a reason politicians post bad news on Friday afternoons.) And here in the US, where the priestly abuse scandal is keenly followed, it's a holiday weekend. The Vatican couldn't have planned it better if their intent was to bury the story in US news markets. I don't think it will work, however. The Irish Government wasted no time in responding to the Vatican's report.

Prime Minister Enda Kenny, yet to formally reply to the statement, has said he stands by his criticism of Church leadership and its handling of the clerical sex abuse scandal in the Cloyne diocese.

“I do not regret my response to the report when I made that statement to the Dail (Irish parliament) in July, I will respond fully in due course,” said Kenny at a Cavalry Remembrance Day ceremony at the Curragh Army Camp.

Deputy Prime Minister Gilmore, leader of the Labor Party, has also responded to the Vatican statement and reminded the Church that the protection of children should be of the utmost importance for Church and State.

. . .

He added: “Some of the argumentation put forward by the Holy See was very technical and legalistic.

“The government’s concerns were never about the status of church documents but rather about the welfare of children.

Sep 2, 2011


Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Has King Arthur's round table been found in Scotland?

The King's Knot, a geometrical earthwork in the former royal gardens below Stirling Castle, has been shrouded in mystery for hundreds of years.

Though the Knot as it appears today dates from the 1620s, its flat-topped central mound is thought to be much older.

Writers going back more than six centuries have linked the landmark to the legend of King Arthur.

. . .

"The finds show that the present mound was created on an older site and throws new light on a tradition that King Arthur's Round Table was located in this vicinity."

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