This week's Aquarius Full Moon rises perfectly on the Gaelic festival of Lughnasadh (pronounced Loo-nuh-suh). Celebrated at the start of August across Northern Europe in a variety of pagan guises, such as the Welsh Gŵyl Awst, this is the festival of the first harvest, in which thanks are given for the earliest fruits to ripen from the seeds planted in spring. Gaelic tradition centres on the god Lugh, whose foster mother Tailtu is said to have introduced agriculture to Ireland, linking their familial divine powers inextricably to land and harvest.
Spiritually, the festival represents a time to reflect on the quality of one's inner harvest. Intentions set earlier in the year are now coming to fruition. What do the outcomes look like? Excuse the laboured horticultural metaphors, but did we tend our gardens well, providing adequate nutrition for the fragile shoots of new growth to mature into a bountiful harvest? Did we manage to keep the weeds of distraction at bay and focus fully on bringing our vision of plenty to the dining table of our experience? Is there feast or famine, or simply enough to see us through the oncoming winter?
Whatever the quality of the harvest, the coming week, marked by the Aquarius Full Moon, is one in which to express gratitude for and learn from the yield of our thoughts, words, and actions. Under scrutiny of that yield, we can make informed, practical decisions about our behaviour as we plant future seeds of intent. Where was growth most productive? Which was the sweetest fruit? Which seeds of intent wilted and died? Which aspirations didn't even germinate, and why? If the fruits of abundance have been forthcoming, this is the week to share them. It's a time to feast, socialise, and store all the good stuff gained for sustenance during the darker dream time months of winter.
This Aquarian full moon might also give us pause for thought as the climate catastrophe of our own making continues to wreak havoc across the planet. As John Barleycorn (a further incarnation of our green man god Lugh) ages rapidly from his fertile spring of youth to his golden fall and inevitable winter demise, he must be preparing to turn in his earthy grave. The agrarian domain over which he presides is in turmoil. Harvest in the Northern Hemisphere is at risk from the searing record temperatures currently being witnessed across several continents. Drought and scorched crops threaten catastrophically poor yields, inevitably driving up international grain prices that will adversely affect those in poorer nations already ravaged by the scourge of war, poverty, and famine.
A recently published scientific report, largely ignored by mainstream media, presents evidence that previous assessments of climate induced simultaneous crop failures in the world's major agricultural regions have been alarmingly underestimated. With our food supply networks now so centrally controlled and corporately administered, the report suggests that climate-driven systemic collapse is a greater threat to global populations than at any point in human history. Further reports on food security asserts that every increase in global temperature not only results in a corresponding increase in food insecurity, but the magnitude of that impact increases over time. Essentially, progress toward the systemic breakdown of the international food supply is speeding up, and, needless to say, it's not a great look.
The tragic irony of humanity's development of agriculture over 12,000 years ago leading directly to our current predicament should not be missed. However, there is little point in framing that irony in judgmental terms. It is what happened, and we are where we are, heading where we are headed at the speed of evolution. In those twelve brief millennia, humanity's development of agriculture for survival (occasionally on account of climate change) led to settlements that became cities that stored grain in order to plan for the future. Distinctions began to be made early doors: parameters of belief that eventually became cultural constructs. Initially between humans and non-humans, then between humans themselves, a burgeoning patriarchy, social stratification, and all manner of class systems, these distinctions defined behaviour. Improved mortality required more efficiency in food production, eventually birthing industrial processes that required climate-warming fossil fuels to the disastrous point of the sixth mass extinction in our current Anthropocene epoch—all because a few of our nomad and hunter-gatherer ancestors decided to settle down for a bit.
Our individual worlds are still swayed by this historical game of consequences, culminating in a conditioned perspective of our place within the scorched earth, post industrial, capitalist landscape. The systems we are complicit in supporting through our largely unquestioned levels of material consumption are destroying our capacity to survive on the planet. We have come to rationalise these social, political, and economic constructs as the only workable solution to life on earth, and yet the rationale, under even the lightest enquiry, proves completely irrational, betraying a complete disconnect from the essential planetary systems, the very nature that birthed and continues to support our existence.
Humanity seems hamstrung between an innate desire for faith—our trust in the unconditional acceptance of love—and a culturally conditioned need for rationale—the preposterously irrational twenty-first century rule book. Love—the truth, the ever-present mystery, the unlimited, immeasurable, but emotionally tangible animating force of the universe—seems to stand opposed in this tiny corner of our minute galaxy, denied and decried by a learnt dependence on empirical evidence. Love—the felt experience, an inner knowing—shines distantly across a chasm of heartache riven by lazy indoctrination, easily digestible compartmentalisation and judgment—right and wrong, bedfellows in the same deluded, joyless boudoir.
Love withers under constraints. Its very essence is liberty; it is comparable neither with obedience, jealousy, nor fear; it is there most pure, perfect, and unlimited where its votaries are in confidence, equality and unreserve.
(Percy Bysshe Shelley)
What can be offered to bridge the widening gap? What else might inspire an intuitive leap of faith toward love other than love itself? Where else but within the limitless embrace of love can we find an experiential knowledge of all that is that transcends the need for constant, proven understanding? What but love offers "proof" that there is little to fear in death, heralding a pathway toward acceptance of endless possibility? Perhaps, buried somewhere in our deep yearning for faith, lies a memory of a love in which the open wounds of human misperception naturally close and heal as if they had only existed in a brief bad dream.
Here is the test of wisdom, Wisdom is not finally tested in schools, Wisdom cannot be pass’d from one having it to another not having it, Wisdom is of the soul, is not susceptible of proof, is its own proof...
(Walt Whitman - Song of the Open Road 6)
Most of us are suspended uncomfortably somewhere in that schism between faith and rationale, between love and fear. We sense a truth somewhere in our hearts but lack the confidence to commit fully to its pursuit, fearful of what might be lost. As American comedian Stephen Colbert wryly observed, we hang around in the space of truthiness—a kinda, sorta middle ground of inertia maintained by "factual" prompts from the material mainstream designed to dominate our innate, inner knowing. We position ourselves between right and wrong (knowledge and ignorance), but both camps remain separate from the all-encompassing union of love. Both sides of every argument sit on the canyon lip of separation, staring longingly across the divide toward the unanimity of love—our heritage and home. We, the fatigued canyon tightrope walker, have forgotten mid-crossing in which direction we wish to travel, pulled one way by the seductions of all we have or could accrue and the other by a distant cellular memory of unlimited creativity, joy, and peace. Exhausted, we sit down uneasily on the taut high wire, precariously balanced over an abyss of self imposed constraint, paralysed by fear and the binary choice before us. Toward love or fear?
From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines, Going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me.
(Walt Whitman - Song of the Universal 4)
Under this Aquarius full moon, there is but one choice. There is but one direction of travel, and naturally, it is toward love. Everything is heading that way eventually anyway, like it or not. In aligning with the unified momentum of intelligent evolution, a symbiotic process of interdependent mutual benefit for all, we regain our individual sense of direction. Purpose returns. Faith that we will make the canyon crossing safely is revived and embedded. We no longer feel stranded, in limbo as individuals and as a species, waiting petrified for the tensions holding the wire in place to finally erode and snap. Every pigeon's step toward love is a well-placed step. What's more, each step joins immediately reciprocal steps from Love coming to meet us. The abyss diminishes, the canyon closes, the wound heals, and at last we tread securely in a fertile realm of divine acceptance that we apparently never left. The low-hanging fruits in this paradise regained are joy and peace, both of which are continually available for harvest.
The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.
We are a bundle of behavioural paradoxes and contradictions, and our modern world is a source of constant hypocrisy. We might be well advised under this Aquarius Full Moon to accept our fragilities as a given, operating positively within these distasteful traits rather than citing them as reason to throw in the ecological towel of defeat.
Love to faults is always blind always is to joy inclined. Lawless, winged, and unconfined, and breaks all chains from every mind.
As we gratefully raise a glass this Lughnasadh to the first harvest of the year, let's resolve to embrace change for the benefit of all. In our personal lives, our neighbourhoods, regions, and nations. Let's unblock the collective impasse. Let's seize every opportunity to transform inertia into momentum, to choose the liberating movement of love over the constipation of fear. We are at a crucial point in our history. We command more individual agency for change than those with vested interests in the status quo would have us believe. Every thought, word, and action toward love is personal, a unique internal dialogue coloured by a lifetime of conditioned experience, yet all heading in the same direction. Every loving thought, word and deed adds valuable direction of human consciousness that ultimately shapes our future. Under this Aquarius full moon, there has never been a better time to choose love. Let's not dilly-dally, eh?
How to save the World? Don't be one of life's contrary little twats. Be a decent human being and do what you can....and press your representatives and the businesses you patronise to do more, much more to save the planet. Doing something is better than doing nothing and fuck the hypocrisy. There is no hypocrisy in trying, as long as you really are trying rather than just trying to demonstrate that you're trying. Just fucking do something for Christ's sake. Just do something...
(Call Jonathan Pie - BBC radio comedy – episode 10)