Temperatures are beginning to cool across the Northern Hemisphere as we approach this weekend's full moon in Aries - and for ecosystems everywhere it's a huge relief after a summer of burning torment. This moon, known in some traditions as the Hunter's Moon, is the first after the autumnal equinox.
The equinoxes, spring and autumn, mark the precise midpoint between summer and winter solstices; the annual, fleeting planetary pause where length of day and night balance in equal duration. Astrologically, this is seen as a short window of equilibrium in which the normal dramatic play of duality has less sway; a peaceful period in which we may reflect on our vision of the past to consciously determine our intentions for the future.
The Jewish New Year festival, Rosh Hashanah, also falls in this season and reminds us to live our lives to their full, in mind, body and spirit; to contemplate our relationships with self, others, our planet and ultimately the greater Self of Jewish Kabbalah tradition: the Holy One. Contemplation at this time of year provides the opportunity to heal and transform as autumn welcomes winter, longer nights, hibernation and the deeper journey within.
Add a few Aries traits into the mix however and we begin to forge a clearer picture of the energies specifically at play over the next couple of weeks. Despite the lingering emollient influence of the equinox we're likely to see plenty of obdurate self righteousness rising within and surfacing without. The continuing patriarchal imposition of war in Ukraine and the escalating threats of wider violent destruction might appear a case in point. Aries is ruled by Mars, the God of War, and always ready for a dust up if there's one to be had. Let's hope things don't boil over in the coming days.
On the flip, an Aries moon is often a joyful affair; a time of energetic innovation and heightened, positive self awareness. We may feel empowered to take great leaps into the unknown, confident in our ability to surmount any resulting challenges. We can feel moved to take charge of situations that need to be changed, to make difficult choices and deal with the consequences independently. We are emboldened in thought, word and deed; playing by our own rule book, subject to no one else's. Under an Aries Full Moon, even in the most perilous, rocky conditions, we can find a sure footed path to our own sense of belonging and sovereignty.
In the single lunar month since the death of Britain's longest serving Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, there has naturally been a lot of talk about sovereignty. What does it mean to be sovereign as individuals, communities, countries or symbolically sovereign in the case of a reigning monarch? And what of divine sovereignty, that aspect of ourselves that connects indivisibly with the creative existential masterpiece of Life: the bejeweled crown we all bear whether we are aware of it or not?
Historically and cross-culturally, a Monarch has represented a christed individual - notionally one divinely chosen with a deity bestowed right to subject others to their rule of law. Archetypally, this rule of law became that of their relevant god, the monarch being the highest representative and authority of the divine realm in their society… and woe betide anyone that disagreed. Unsurprisingly, those living under that divine rule of law were known as 'subjects'. To this day citizens of the UK can still be legally, correctly referred to as subjects.
Most Monarchs, even those not claiming divine authority or heritage, have had their rule of law imposed and supported by armed forces through the cut and violent thrust of geopolitical military conquest. This is a relatively recent phenomenon in the history of humankind which stretches across the last 200,000 years of Earth's 4.6 billion year evolution. The Phonecians, Egyptians, Ancient Greeks, Romans, Aztecs and Turks all had a good go in the last two and a half thousand years before the major historic land grabs of western colonialism really took off at the start of the 16th Century.
Inextricably linked to slavery, where individual sovereignty was subjugated then traded as a market commodity, modern global society, represented by the G7 nation economies, still draws significant benefit from the legacy of colonialism. The prospect of formal reparations to those poorer nations and peoples plundered and abused by the richest remains a key economic concern for the major economies. United Nations supported legal challenges for recompense for various nation states are already featuring more regularly in discussion surrounding global wealth distribution amidst the current carnage of pandemic and climate crisis.
Colonisation, the formal claim on the sovereignty of people and land by the 'crowned' rulers of militarily mobilised nations, remains part of our contemporary landscape. China in Taiwan and Tibet; Israel in Palestine; Turkey in Cyprus; the uneasy schism between the Koreas; Serbia and Kosovo. Of the United Nations 206 recognised states, 15 have disputed sovereignty. Indeed, under the warring aspect of this week’s Aries Full Moon, we have seen an attempt by the Russian Federation and its de facto monarch, Putin The Not So Great, to claim sovereignty over vast stretches of Eastern Ukraine. Understandably, the claim is disputed.
Worryingly, any attacks on the newly claimed 'Russian' territories by Ukrainian forces (previously defending their own invaded sovereign state) are likely to be considered an act of invasion/war deserving of spuriously justified retaliatory strikes....and no prizes for guessing who has the bigger warheads. When Putin the Terrible threatens Ukraine with nuclear devastation, as he has done in the last fortnight, he threatens the world with a catastrophe that is the only serious rival to the climate crisis modern civilisation continues to wreak across the globe. Needless to say, neither prospect is a particularly good planetary look.
And does sovereignty exist outside the bickering human realm? What of our beautiful, painstakingly patient and benevolent planet? Having freely made available to us all that she has, we are currently witnessing the fallout of two and half centuries of sustained human greed, the last few decades of which have given scant consideration to the landscape, eco-systems and species we have damaged or destroyed. While entirely avoidable, human behaviour and propaganda maintain their course of self destruction as our exquisitely bounteous home addresses the imbalances caused to her holistic well being. She will find her equilibrium as the natural course of her sovereign evolution. Whether that allows for human existence as we have come to know it is another matter.
Across the planet, the sovereign rights of nature are slowly making headway with successful legal acknowledgement in around 30 countries. “Rights of nature” laws recognize that ecosystems, on which all human systems depend, must be allowed to exist, flourish, and evolve free from harm by human actions. The New Zealand parliament granted personhood status to the Whanganui River in 2017, revered by the Māori. In 2019, the High Court of Bangladesh followed suit by recognizing the Turag River as a living entity with legal rights, subsequently applied to all rivers in the country. But few countries have gone as far as Ecuador, which in 2008 became the first country in the world to enshrine the rights of Pachamama, or Mother Earth, in its constitution.
Non profit organisations like Earthjustice are taking up the challenge of legally representing these sovereign entities in the face of continuing environmental abuse. A recent landmark ruling in the UK high court has ordered the UK Environment Agency to reduce water abstraction and protect England’s rare wetland habitats. Rare, small but welcome victories, if somewhat overdue.
As modern science continues to uncover new complexities in the now recognised interdependence of everything in existence (an understanding echoed in the Unity teachings of many ancient wisdom traditions) we find ourselves, as a species and individuals, bearing greater conscious responsibility for the well being of All. We can no longer plead ignorance. It is imperative to serve existential interests greater than ourselves if the unfolding, human led disaster is to be arrested.
In the days following the death of Queen Elizabeth II much was made of her committed life of service to the United Kingdom and countries of the Commonwealth. The chief symbol of that service, the Imperial Crown (soon to be borne by King Charles III at his coronation) combines the roles of Head of State (governmental authority) and Supreme Governor of the Church of England in a marriage of the material and spiritual realms. Enshrined in arcane law, anointed with oil whilst sitting upon a royal throne, the crowned British monarch pledges to serve both, with “justice, and mercy” and dons the befitting golden halo.
The crown, sitting as it does over the physiological crown of the human skull, draws on the ancient Vedic understanding of the body's chakras, a system of immaterial energetic focal points linking heaven to Earth through the living vehicle of the human being. The crown chakra is the highest chakra in the body and represents the umbilical cord from the personal self to the cosmic greater Self that authors, nurtures and nourishes us. Lest we forget dear readers, it is this celestial cosmic intelligence upon which we depend for our existence.
Perhaps our ultimate sovereignty lies in this symbolic connection to the divine, the knowledge that we are inseparable from everything else, that we are all christed, united in a peaceful understanding from which the 'wise selfishness' of service can arise.
What is important is that when pursuing our own self-interest we should be ‘wise selfish’ and not ‘foolish selfish.’ Being foolish selfish means pursuing our own interests in a narrow, shortsighted way. Being wise selfish means taking a broader view and recognizing that our own long-term individual interest lies in the welfare of everyone. Being wise selfish means being compassionate……. My advice is that if you must be selfish, be wisely selfish. Wise people serve others sincerely, putting the needs of others above their own. Ultimately you will be happier.
Ultimately, the ‘crown’ we all wear is an integral treasure of the universal sovereign democracy we inhabit. We are individuated constituents of the same miraculous whole, each a priceless jewel in that cosmic crowning. We wear the crown but are also of it, no part more important or worthy than any other, from humble grain of dust to magnificent diamond; from industrious ant to gargantuan whale. As we become more aware of our inextricably connected divine essence and origin - of our sovereign power in thought, word and deed - we come closer to the immense power of a life committed to the benefit and love of others. Under this Aries Full Moon, let's extend a blessing to the sovereign monarch in everything. May Love save us all.
Divine sovereignty wears no dark and terrible aspect but is full of love.