Dear Friend and Reader:
It’s my policy as the editor of Planet Waves not to frighten my readers. Whatever we report on our pages, we explain in the most evenhanded way that we can, presenting options to choose from. When we think of the concept of freedom, it’s meaningful only in the context of the ability to choose. Conscious choice implies taking responsibility.
When bad things happen, Planet Waves and our social media accounts morph into a psychic storm shelter, where it’s possible to come out of the weather, hang out and warm up.
So, let me begin by saying that I feel solid that we don’t need to succumb to anyone’s planned outcome for the destiny of our lives, our nation and our world. We have the power until we give it away and fail to take it back. I also feel confident that there is a plan in action, and that we need to see that plan for what it is, and respond appropriately.
Then we need to assemble some evidence of our own and calmly explain to others what’s going on. Centered people with some spiritual training, whose perceptions are trusted by their loved ones, are the right ones to explain this to others. That would be you.
Here’s the thing I suggest you watch closely: cruelty.
A lot of people gave away their power during the 2016 election. They took the bait from a well-known confidence artist, who in turn took advantage of a gaping weakness in consciousness made of fear, confusion and uncertainty — and our digitally restructured brains. He bullied, insulted and tweeted his way to the presidency. He made everyone but himself out to be evil, criminal, stupid or somehow less than human. It should not concern you so much that he became president but rather that anyone at all supported him.
Events were set in motion, and then they seemed to take on a life of their own. Remember, though, that they have no life apart from our life.
Still, many people are describing the sensation of living in an alternate reality. I’ve heard those words used many times lately. It’s good that we have that concept and the language to describe it. Science fiction authors and spiritual teachers who are hip to quantum physics have made an impression on us.
Alternate reality is an accurate description of what we’re witnessing and experiencing, though now we’re inside of it. It matches what I’ve been saying (with helpful guidance from my friends Eric and Andrew McLuhan) about how society is living in a digitally induced out-of-body experience. It’s almost as if we all signed up for Second Life and climbed in, but don’t remember entering our credit card, choosing an avatar, or where we left the mouse.
Life is often a game of juxtaposed or seemingly competing realities. When you choose a religion, or a yoga teacher, or a therapist, or a new house or apartment, or a new job, or what park to take a walk in, you’re essentially choosing a reality from among many possibilities.
As we’ve gradually entered what I call the parapsychic dimension of the internet, we’ve loosened up, softened our boundaries and blown a few holes in our previous reality.
And, it would seem, we’ve left much of the previous reality behind. When we consider “how this all happened,” we need to at least consider that drowning at the bottom of a digital ocean has sufficiently pushed us out of our bodies and out of our senses to make us vulnerable to a kind of hostile takeover.
People who believe in civil society, in NPR and PBS, or who think that women, Mexicans and Muslims are people, are being accused of living in a fake reality bubble. Actually, what’s happened is that someone else’s reality bubble has expanded and subsumed us. In a real sense, the internet has taken over reality. But it has not done so in quite the way you may think. Let’s start with an interesting fact.
The former editor of a website called Breitbart is now our de facto president. I don’t want to feed into the cult of personality around Steve Bannon, who has taken over as the gamemaster, but we need to consider who he is. I will be doing his chart soon, so we can gain insight into the pseudo-president’s chief strategist. The moves that you’ve been seeing the past two weeks pretty much all come from him, so far as I can reckon.
Let’s quote his old boss, Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012). He said in an interview with Matthew Sheffield: “My goal is to try to weaponize the American people, try to weaponize the conservative movement, try to weaponize the underground conservative Hollywood movement, to weaponize as many people in the center-right country to try to rectify a generation-plus long problem that has been absolute media bias, absolute media used by the Democratic Party as a tool to defeat conservatives.”
(Breitbart died at age 43. His heart, sickened with cardiomyopathy and coronary atherosclerosis — or the hardening and narrowing of the arteries — utterly gave out.)
Here you have a clue that a weaponized alternate reality is what we’re now experiencing. If you’re wondering how what’s being called “conservatism” (it’s not; that’s just a name) is supposed to be the default position of society, presumed not just acceptable but mandatory, here you have a clue as to why. This is not Breitbart’s invention. He was not original, nor is Steve Bannon, his dharma heir. They inherited this version of reality from many, many predecessors. Yet it has not been so aggressive for a long time.
The witch hunts for alleged communists, which went on for 30 years, well into the 1970s, come to mind. Note: “communist” means liberal. Liberal, in essence, means that you are not entirely disgusted with yourself, that you have some generosity, and that you care about people besides yourself and maybe your immediate relatives.
If you’re wondering how we’re all supposed to count as normal that the candidate for the Supreme Court is against gay rights, and against women’s rights and in favor of corporate rights over those of actual, living humans, now you know: there are weapons pointed at you, those of a weaponized concept called the “alt-right.”
If you think it’s weird that you’re supposed to believe that freedom of religion only applies to evangelical Christians and Zionists, feel the point of a sword jabbing into you. If you think it’s weird that you’re supposed to believe that all this global warming is not happening, that the polar caps and Alaska are not melting, and that sea-level is not rising, consider who this idea is coming from.
If you think it’s a little strange that only Republicans are supposed to be president — however many votes they get, or don’t get — notice the cold metal pressed against your head. If you’re wondering how Christianity became an ideology of greed, power and hatred, now you have a clue.
Most of those weapons are conceptual. They are ideas, that soak into people who are afraid, depressed and disgusted, seeming to give their lives meaning. However, the harmless people excluded from entry into the United States were met with more than ideas. They were met with actual cruelty, when fleeing danger; they were turned away by the Mother of Exiles, and still are being turned away.
The terms narcissist and sociopath are making their rounds these days. It’s important to know what they really mean. A narcissist is someone whose worldview sees you as useless unless you can serve them. Born of profound emptiness, one of its main symptoms is the need to crush the happiness and self-esteem of others.
A sociopath, also called a psychopath, is someone who does not experience empathy for others, or who can easily overrule any that they feel so they can stick to their agenda. It’s a disease that’s about being impervious to the pain of others, hence, being able to inflict pain and cruelty without the annoyance of conscience. Remember: lack of empathy and remorse.
There are now people in power who are doing what they can to make cruelty the norm. That’s both the motive and the means. These con artists are using fear, such as telling you that it’s about the alleged security of the state and the protection of your family, town or city. So they randomly block people from seven of about 45 Muslim-majority nations, most of which the United States has all but utterly destroyed.
James Madison warned us: “If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” He also said: “I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”
Cruelty is contagious, it’s teachable, and it’s often popular. Many people live unfulfilled lives, or feel left out, or unloved, or like they lack purpose: and that’s where cruelty takes hold first, in people who feel like they have nothing to lose. It seems like a viable philosophy, especially if it’s dressed in the garb of right and might, offered in the face of a perceived threat.
To solve this problem, we must go beyond the realm of politics without fully abandoning it. We will need to use this tool, better than it’s been used before. First, we must enter the realm of spiritual philosophy: all that stuff about keeping your heart open. All those ideas about all of us being part of the same thing. That bit about God being love, and the only true spiritual path being forgiveness.
I suggest you divert any of your own thoughts of hatred, cruelty and assassination from these characters, lest you be drawn into their hunger game. When you rise up in protest, do so with love in your heart. Appreciate the people who are standing beside you. When you call your senator or representative, be friendly to the person who answers the phone: friendly, but clear in your message.
We will not rise up against the menace lurking over us with revolution. Clearly — and I mean this literally — it must be evolution.
Planet Waves Weekly Horoscope for Feb. 2, 2017 #1137 | By Len Wallick
Aries (March 20-April 19) — Over 30 years ago, a young musician spoke of his reasons for giving so much for so little in material return. It was, he said, for his friends. He made music that was authentic for his community of choice at a time when commercial markets offered nothing of the sort. The years passed. The world caught up with that musician, rewarding him with fame and wealth. But his old friends still remember the unconventional cause that led to his conventional success. Chances are you are now in much the same position that young man was when his artistry provided little more than relief from being excluded. You have a gift. It’s likely that only those you now identify with can appreciate what you have to offer; but if you devote yourself unselfishly to friends in need now, it’s very possible that you will have no cause for want in a future that your example helped to create. — By Len Wallick.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — The time has come for you to see how your most cherished aspirations can be so much more than simply achievement objectives. Just note how the extent to which you have realized your calling thus far has also been the degree to which you have found (and truly come to know) yourself. For you, the key to a life worth living can never be lost so long as you keep sight of what it is you feel you must do with the time you have. Even so, there is another level of consciousness which will serve to benefit not only your personal evolution, but also that of uncounted others in the world. To reach that next level, you must first soften any tendency you have to be self-critical. Then, acknowledge how even partially attaining your vision for yourself will also serve to bring a form of sight to many who have previously been blind to their own purpose. — By Len Wallick.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Some believe no good deed goes unrewarded. Others assert no good deed goes unpunished. It would appear you are now entering a period when the universe will be more likely to support faith than cynicism. If you are in doubt about this, experiment with being good to yourself. Provided the cosmic indications being represented here are anywhere near correct, good choices consistently made will show undeniably positive results in two months or less. For a variety of reasons, it would probably be both easier and more convincing if you were to focus on what you choose to take into both your body and mind. A wholesale change in lifestyle will not be necessary. If you can simply refrain from consuming just two things you know to be unhealthy, and replace them with a few demonstrably healthy alternatives, the results will be impressive. — By Len Wallick.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — You have more leadership potential than you give yourself credit for. It’s all a matter of what you think leadership consists of. For you, at least, actions will always be more effective than words. That’s especially true now. Keep your ears open for voices of discontent among your associates. Make a point of offering only solutions when others offer complaints. When you hear judgments, encourage understanding. Whenever you are invited into an argument, show restraint with everybody. Wherever you go, seek only to make your vicinity a better place. After a while, people will finally begin to notice how your presence makes a difference, and will miss you more than ever before when you are absent. Eventually, when you hear the words “we” and “our” being used more often in your company, you will know that you have succeeded. — By Len Wallick.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Don’t take even the smallest fortunate events for granted. More often than not, good luck is no accident. In all probability, at least one person is doing what they can to steer some good cheer in your direction. For the moment, all you really need to do in response is get better at cultivating gratitude. For all but a fortunate (and perhaps even fictional) few, life is rarely easy. It’s all most people can do to keep up with what they have taken on. Only rarely does anybody end a day with enough left over to project either good or ill will outside of their circle of influence. Yet, if anybody is currently getting the best of what somebody else has to spare, it’s almost certainly you. Someday, it will be your chance to offer the same. When that time comes, the quantity of difference you make for someone else will be in proportion to the quality of your gratitude now. — By Len Wallick.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You can finally start making some plans again with at least some assurance that something will come of them. Please keep in mind, however, that making plans has a lot in common with making wishes. In both cases, it is vitally important that you prepare yourself to get what you have asked for. Therefore, move forward by all and any means with the thinking, organizing, scheduling and flawless follow-through you are so good at. At the same time, be present to anything you are not so good at, and be alert for when any setbacks or delays experienced in the past might seem ready to repeat. This will help you to prevent them from happening again. Perhaps most urgently, have a plan to overcome any temptation to think yourself unworthy when you reach the threshold of all you have worked for — and have justly earned. — By Len Wallick.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Looks to be high time for you to begin planning a voyage of self-discovery. It’s possible that the journey best for you would be an inner one. In all probability, however, the most appropriate form of exploration for you now will take you away from familiar physical environs and somewhere out into the world where you have never been before. In either case, the undertaking should be neither small nor casual. Think big, and you won’t regret it. Dare to make a commitment to a serious and substantial enterprise, and you won’t be sorry. Sometime during the last four months, it is almost certain that you have either come up with an idea on your own or received a clue regarding where you need to go. Now, even if you have to ask for help from others to get you there, it’s time to somehow get underway. — By Len Wallick.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Either literally or figuratively, you are almost home. Yours is almost certainly not an example of returning to something you left behind sometime in the past. Instead, it should be quite apparent that you are finally settling into either a physical space or a metaphorical place all your own for the long term. The benefits of having finally staked out some real or symbolic ground should be abundantly apparent to you. For example, don’t be shy about taking comfort in having somehow arrived. What may not be so obvious are two other consequences that will come with the full realization of your arrival. First, it will be appropriate to release attachment to some fantasies in proportion to the amount of certainty you have. Additionally, you will want to accept (or even enjoy) the maintenance responsibilities that will come in proportion with the security you have. — By Len Wallick.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Being forced to make some big choices can be a stressful thing. It need not be so for you, however — at least not at this point in your life. You are in a fortunate position. It appears that some (if not all) of the choices you now face come down to one thing: setting an example, or following one. The sort of issue being referred to here has to do with lives you have witnessed, and possibly even sampled. Now you get to decide whether to emulate or differentiate. This is not a matter of choosing between bad or good. You are not compelled to select between right and wrong. The issue is what works for you, and what does not. The one choice you should not make is not to choose at all. You are only one person after all. Now it is time to make it known who and what you have decided to be. — By Len Wallick.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — There should be no doubt you have good reasons for any anger that has come up for you lately. The real question is how and when you should express any just and proper annoyance. Of course it is nearly always self-destructive to hide powerful emotions, and the last thing you want to do is damage yourself. Yet, perhaps now more than ever, it is also crucial that you direct your indignation so that it does maximum good and minimum harm to others. This means getting to the root of what has provoked you. Perhaps you can do it alone. Quite possibly you will need some help. Either way, you need to be absolutely clear about two things. First you must have no illusions regarding the source(s) of your vexations. Then, you must consciously own and accept full responsibility for how you choose to get rage off your chest. — By Len Wallick.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — No matter how old you are, every day is in fact new. You are among the few who can authentically understand how today actually is the first day of the rest of your life. Therefore, it does not really matter whether or not you have attained that understanding before this moment. What matters is that you begin now to see how can get yourself to that point. To start off on the right foot, you must no longer buy into the stories other people tell themselves (and others) about you. To reach your potential by becoming a real and present master of time’s mysteries, you must write (and tell) your own never-ending story. It needs to be a story that defines you without confining you. You must also accept that some people may never grasp what you are saying any more than they can comprehend that neither yesterday nor tomorrow are in any way real. — By Len Wallick.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Being ‘full’ need not mean being at maximum capacity. Attaining fullness can represent transcending limits rather than reaching them. No doubt you have had more than one occasion when you sincerely felt that you had run out of bandwidth. Looking back from this point in your life, however, you are now in a unique position to see those instances in a different light. If there is even one thing you can do now which seemed impossible for you at some time in the past, you have proof of a profound certainty all too easily overlooked. The truth is that you were not born with limits. Instead, you were born with an ingenious proficiency for creating limits. Like all talents, this one can be both a blessing and a curse. You’ve had more than enough of the curse part. Your mission now, should you choose to accept it, is to explore the blessing part as if there is no tomorrow. — By Len Wallick.