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A Decade of Dueling Realities
By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

Editor's Note: This is a special edition of Planet Waves Astrology News including only a New Year's article by Judith Gayle, our Political Waves columnist. Yesterday we distributed the weekly horoscope and an article on the lunar eclipse, located at this link. Also, here is an archive of recent weekly and monthly editions for your convenience. -- efc

Back in the early '90s, when the wave of spiritual awareness born of the Harmonic Convergence had begun to take shape and bloom, 2012 seemed far away and full of mysterious potential. We spoke of it reverently, sure that there would be events between then and its arrival that would portend a graceful assent into change and awakening. That was when Pluto was newly in Sagittarius and we had few signs of what radicalism would bring us. In fact, it took so long for us to notice what was creeping up on us, we didn't really recognize it when it arrived. We knew this period was going to be extraordinary, and we got that right. We supposed it would be difficult, but we didn't have a clue how much.

When I think about the turn of this century and our false sense of security, pre-Bush, it feels almost like another lifetime. The Y2K phenomenon had some of us spun up, filling our pantries and stuffing our money into our pillows, sure that time would suspend should the computers freeze and clocks no longer function: banks would turn up their toes and ATMs fail to spit money at us. We shivered with the horrific possibilities. As master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock told us, "There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it." We got plenty of thrills out of that fearscape, unaware that it was a prelude to the coming decade of actual terrors.

When the dreads of New Year's 2000 failed to materialize, many of us were left with a vague unease about the way the politics of the previous months had worked out, but I don't think many of us anticipated what was coming. For most folks George Bush was a joke, both as a politician and a national leader, and his first early political moves weren't dramatic enough to give the majority a sense of him. I, on the other hand, started to vibrate like a tuning fork about two weeks into his presidency, noting the appointments he was making, the changes in policy, the Enron buddies and the holes being ripped in social safety nets. I was screaming to anyone who would listen, wondering who would have the tenacity to carefully document all the changes we would have to repair after what could only be a single term. Then came 9/11 and terror became a cause upon which the entire nation would impale itself. Even now, it feels to me as though we entered an alternate universe, a sick sociopolitical horror movie that we had to face with our eyes wide open and our chins up. Hitch had taken Cliff Notes™ on the dark side when he told an interviewer that the only way he could get rid of his fears was to make films about them.

Maybe that's what this dreadful decade was about, facing our fears. Perhaps, like dregs in the bottom of a glass filling with new water, the worst of our old thought system needed to bubble up and become apparent before we could clearly see how we went wrong. Perhaps the closer we get to 2012, the more we're staring into the abyss of our cultural mistakes and missteps, and the dangers in our human character. Perhaps in order to turn the ages into a new era, we have to wring out the very last bits of dross from this fading one. I pray to heaven we've had as good a look as we need, that we're ready to pull back from the brink and rethink how many of what we considered yesterday's virtues have become today's vices.

Think where we are today. Last year's turning found us still in the hands of our previous president, holding our breath until he was out of office. After another year of confusion and chaos, perhaps you find yourself still holding it. Me, I'm breathing easier, have been all year. Whatever you think of Obama, he's in Washington, while George is in Texas and Dick is in a bunker somewhere -- the air is infinitely sweeter because of it.

In the quiet of my mind, as I review the whole of Bush's tenure, I realize that each day brought me to a new level of anxiety and hopelessness that was almost unbearable. We spent a lot of psychic capital living through those long years, my friends. Those of you worried that you're unequal to whatever comes next don't give yourselves enough credit. What you've just lived through earned you a Master's Degree in self-reflection and emotional upheaval, in critical thinking and ethical challenge. You stood witness and you faced fears. You're still standing. What comes next will not require your fear and loathing so much as your determination and creativity.

Stop and take that deep breath now. Appreciate how far we've traveled from near-fascism and uncontrolled imperialism, from ruthless militarism and national arrogance. We've come a long way, baby, but toward what? I know you don't feel secure about the future but it will be a relief to face the facts. We've been living in an alternate reality from the rest of the world for decades. Jimmy Carter played stern Daddy and warned us about days like this, and we ditched him quick for St. Ronnie the Reagan who told us how terrific we were. We grabbed that illusion with both hands, cheering loudly when G. H. W. Bush told us that, "the American way of life is not negotiable." We went out and bought Hummers.

And then, when an event occurred that begged us to take a hard look at ourselves, we followed the little Bush blindly, sure that duty and patriotism could be accomplished by military might, approving torture and foreign conquest with little thought to the resulting social consequences. We were too self-absorbed to notice we weren't asked to sacrifice, too self-involved to notice that being asked to shop was suspect. In that skewed alternate reality, heroes are happy to die for their country's geopolitical ambitions, ethics and traditions never evolve, profit is king and only Jesus is Lord. In that last dim hope for the Old Paradigm, the last whimper of a mythology turned sour, America is always right. Of all the inflated bubbles destined to pop, this one seemed the most inevitable.

If the last year has proven disappointing, it's because we live in dueling realities that seem to be pushing against one another until something gives. Until one or the other wins, energies are locked and blocked in competition for America's heart and mind. Here's the kicker: the spiritual process that will break the tie is not win/lose -- it's win/win.

If you thought the last decade was shits and grins, a time of political and financial opportunity, then you don't have a liberal bone in your body or a progressive thought in your head. If you'd be happy to repeat those years, you live in a different reality than do I. And if you think you'll have another chance at it anytime soon, think again. Those days have played themselves out. If the fate of the nation is in the collective consciousness of her people, then this is an important year ahead. The disturbing reality that seems such a frightful surprise to Republicans cannot be fixed with more of the same philosophy that got us into this mess. Liberal activism against Bush's crony capitalism was easy compared to fixing what's broken, or drawing more citizens into a cooperative process and intelligent dialogue. We need to get creative.

Laying blame is too easy. However we got here, the fact is that the nation is no longer democratic, but plutocratic: government by and for the wealthy. It happened while we weren't looking, while the system was being gamed and the American Dream whittled down and we just didn't understand the rules. Now we get spun up because the Democrats are wimpy and the Republicans are obstructive, but Wall Street is winning. If we understood this unfamiliar game, we wouldn't waste our time. In a plutocracy business ALWAYS wins. It's the whole system that's in need of change, and because the energies will push that forward with or without us, we must decide how we can help ourselves and one another achieve balance. In the coming year, we will decide which government model will take us into the future. We've succeeded in making a mess and scaring ourselves witless. Now it's time for that classic old Hitchcock wish goodnight. This period of conflicting realities is over. The delusions must be replaced by calm, reasoned assurances. It's time to do what's ethical, what's compassionate, what's right.

2010 is going to give us voices of reality and uncomfortable truths, and we need to listen carefully. Long hidden secrets will dismay us, technological discoveries will surprise us, and nature will confound us. I doubt that these next years will be effortless by any means, but I can still hear the echoes of those conversations in the '90s, speaking to the power of this moment and our sure ability to ride this wave of consciousness. We've been preparing ourselves for this year, and the next and next, for a very long time. We've gathered the skill and plowed the spiritual ground to actualize a better humanity. If you listen for the quiet voice within, you will know where to be, whom to talk to and what to say. If you allow your intuition to inform you, you will sidestep disaster and be prepared to contribute. If you open your heart to service and compassion, you will find your purpose and understand your importance in this turning. They say we limp into heaven on the arm of a friend -- have one, be one. Help one another. Nothing else is so important.

Let this new year be a turning point toward a finer reality -- make that your affirmation, intention and expectation. May this year inform you, refine you, reveal you and take you where you need to be. May it bless you and receive your blessing. May you not waste a moment more in anger than that which is required to move you forward, nor limit moments of joy because some mundane chore awaits you. Grow in love and kindness, do it because it will make you happy. Grow in generosity and creativity, do it because you will prosper thereby. Grow in hope and faith, do it because it will put wind beneath your wings. The decade of fear is behind us -- may it be our last, and may 2010 bring us all a new reality that will bless the world.

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