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OVERCOMING GREED AND FEAR

by Gary Brand - written February 11, 2009,
published in the March 2009 edition of Echo* newspaper
The U.S. Birth Chart for July 4, 1776, Philadelphia, at 2:23
PM, based upon the clockface on the clocktower of
Independence Hall on the back of the U.S. $100 bill The U.S. Birth Chart for July 4, 1776, Philadelphia, at 2:23 PM, the time on the Independence Hall clockface on the reverse of the U.S. $100 bill.

A closeup photo of Saturn's moon Phoebe A closeup image of Saturn's moon Phoebe taken by the Cassini spacecraft on June 11, 2004.  Phoebe is thought by scientists to be a big ball of dirty ice, an appropriate symbol of the icy attitude of the greedy toward those who are disadvantaged and disenfranchised.  In Greek mythology, Phoebe was a Titan like her brother Saturn (who was called Cronus by the Greeks).  Courtesy of NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.

Saturn's heavily cratered moon Mimas in front of the planet's edge. Saturn's heavily cratered moon Mimas in front of the edge or "limb" of the planet.  This closeup image was taken by the Cassini spacecraft on March 21, 2006.  Courtesy of NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.
he era of greed and irresponsibility on Wall Street and in Washington has created a financial crisis as profound as any we have faced since the Great Depression – Barack Obama, in an e-mail to me on September 23, 2008.

The definition of greed:  excessive or rapacious desire, especially for wealth or possessions; GREED, GREEDINESS denote an excessive, extreme desire for something, often more than one’s proper share (Webster’s).  An important operative phrase in this definition is “more than one’s proper share.”  There are FINITE resources in this world of exponentially increasing human population and when wealth is accumulated by a very small percentage of the total, hundreds of millions of people starve or lead desperate lives.  Although the U.S. comprises only 6% of the world’s population, we consume 40% of the world’s resources.  But greed is pervasive in our culture so it is not limited to the rich.  The following are but a few examples.  Lotteries run by every state that trick participants into believing that they have a chance to satisfy their greed by winning the multimillion dollar prize when the odds of “striking it rich” are in excess of 10,000,000 to one (which means millions of losers and only ONE winner).  This is the worst "win-lose" situation imaginable!  TV programs like “Deal or No Deal” and “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” that turn human greediness into entertainment and “American Greed,” which showcases greed in our culture.  Ponzi schemes like the $50,000,000,000 Bernie Madoff scandal – not only was Madoff extremely greedy but the people, universities and funds he scammed were too, because they wanted a bigger return than legitimate investments offered.  U.S. companies, large and small, outsourcing jobs to India, Indonesia, and China so that their greedy executives and board members can pocket more money and benefits.  Fully automated assembly lines to minimize employment and maximize company profits.  The annual number of thefts in this country, an expression of greed and envy, is more than 7,000,000 per year.  The glorification of movie and TV stars and major sports players.  More than 30% of members of Congress have reported that they are MILLIONARES, although the actual number is definitely higher because the vagueness of Congressional disclosure requirements (written by them) allows them to conceal many MILLIONS of dollars of assets and income.  In contrast, only 1% of Americans are millionaires but this country has 3,028,000 millionaires (and billionaires) - more than any other country in the world (N.G., p. 18 (Nov. 2008))!

What planet represents greed in astrology?  Saturn, and in the U.S. birth chart (see above left), Saturn squares the Sun, an aspect that begs the question of whether any of the founding fathers knew astrology (other than Ben Franklin) because this is such a challenging influence in the U.S. chart.  This square makes it difficult for us to even acknowledge that we are a culture driven by greed (the Saturn square) and that identifies (the Sun) strongly with the misguided desire for wealth.  Although this nation was born with Saturn square the Sun, it doesn’t mean that we are all doomed to being greedy capitalists.  We can, as individuals and even as a culture, rise above the selfish avarice represented by this aspect.  This square makes us feel as if the world is often pitted against us but, in reality, our government creates situations that result in such feelings.  Although we have a strong sense of what is right and what needs to be done because of this square, we are usually unable to live up to our own high standards and, instead, merely pay lip service to them.  This square also means that we often get involved in ego conflicts or conflicts over what we want – with other nations or with each other.  At the very core of the challenges presented by Saturn square Sun is the fear (Saturn) that we are going to lose (Saturn) what we have worked hard to achieve (Saturn square Sun).  If we had more faith in ourselves and as a nation, we wouldn’t need to worry so much about financial security.  In truth, faith is our only security in this world and, if we (as individuals) are doing good work in the world, the world will provide for us.

What to do about greed?  Within the problem lies the solution.  Boycott or refuse (Saturn) to support big corporations with greedy executives (I refuse to shop at Wal-Mart or bank at one of the huge, national banks, or to buy their stocks).  Look for and buy products made by Americans (patriotic Cancer) and from American-made parts (this means not shopping at Wal-Mart and other discounters), even though it means spending more money than on their cheaper, poorer quality, sweatshop produced counterparts.  Barter or swap with others.  Use Craig’s List to buy and sell goods or Freecycle to give them away or receive them free.  Look for and create win-win outcomes, instead of the win-lose outcomes of Wall Street, lotteries, and multinational corporations.  Don’t let fear rule your world or reside in your heart – feel it and let it pass through you.

In Buddhism, suffering comes from the craving for earthly possessions and those who are greedy are reborn as starving spirits who never get their fill.  The Greeks characterized greed by the fable of King Midas, who was granted a wish by the god Dionysus.  Midas’ greed moved him to ask that everything he touched turn to gold but he soon regretted his wish because his touch turned his food and his daughter to gold.  This is a metaphor for the ill-conceived desire for wealth because the greedy do not think about the pain and suffering they are causing others by selfishly amassing and hording great wealth.  Wealthy, so-called philanthropists are merely assuaging their conscience by donating a small fraction of their worth.  When asked by a “very rich man” how he could inherit eternal life, Jesus replied, “sell all that you have, and distribute [it] unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (The Bible, Luke 18:22).  The rich man refused to part with his wealth.
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*Echo is a monthly newspaper about community, the environment, health, cuisine, and spirituality that is distributed in central Virginia.

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Good Timing and Location are Keys to Success

Gary Brand, Traditional Astrologer
Tallahassee, Florida
850-656-5758


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