Sunday, 13 June 2010

The Triple Blessing (written by LBT January 2007)

May I purify an ocean of worlds,
May I free and ocean of beings.
May I clearly see an ocean of Dharma,
 May I realise and ocean of wisdom.
May I purify an ocean of activities,
May I fulfil and ocean of aspirations,
May I make offerings to an ocean of Buddhas,
May I practice without discouragement for an ocean of eons.
To awaken fully through this bodhisattva way,
I shall fulfil without exception
All the diverse aspirations of the awakening practice
Of all the Buddhas gone to freedom in the three times everywhere.
(Extract from the Extraordinary Aspiration of the Practice of Samantabhadra –  The King of Prayers)

During his voyage to Antarctica in January 2006, there is little doubt these verses from ‘The King of Prayers’ were amongst the benison, holy words with which the most Venerable Lama Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche, at the grand age of 80, blessed the world’s oceans.  With a specific aim of harmonising the environment and pacifying the world’s weather patterns, Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche embarked upon a series of ceremonial ritual invoking divine protection in three different places.  It was a remarkable trip for the now deceased Venerable Lama, in so many ways.  Not only did Rinpoche, the abbot from Kirti Monastery in Dharamsala, India, experience pristine polar magnificence and meet with friendly penguins, but together with his assistant, Alak Rinpoche, (Rinpoche means treasure or ‘Jewel’) his mission was to offer blessings to the world’s water in the form of a sacred statue of Shakyamuni Buddha, carved in stone from Bodhgaya, the place of Buddha’s enlightenment.   

Each statue was wrapped in five different coloured scarves representing the five types of primordial awareness (1) known in astrology as ‘The Elements’: Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space (Note: Wood and Metal often interchange with Air and Space), symbolised by the yellow, blue red, green and white flags.  These statues were continually prayed over throughout their entire journey until presented.  With the intention to heal and purify the planet, one earthly symbol of wisdom, love, and compassion, was carefully lowered overboard from the Russian ship carrying the two Rinpoches at 6pm, on 7th January 2006, into an ocean 3600 feet deep. 
 From such time and place, at the ship’s most possible southern point, powerful vibrations of heartfelt prayer quietly rippled, emanating into a phenomena identified in scientific geographical circles as ‘The Great Ocean Conveyer Belt’ – or to get technical, the ‘Thermohaline Circulation’: the deep ocean current that loops and swirls around the earth seas, absorbing, storing, and redistributing the Sun’s heat around the globe (2): Caught on this conveyor belt, a molecule of water can course around the Southern Pole for years.  Antarctica’s Circumpolar Current flows from west to east, and is where many oceans gather and disperse.  From one sea and pole to the other, it can take a thousand years for an undercurrent to emerge from the ocean’s abyss – that’s approximately 10 centimetres per hour, which is not so fast for a body of water at least 10 Amazon Rivers long.  The hot debate is now about the part the Oceanic Conveyor Belt plays in the world’s climate, and how a balanced mix of freshwater and salt is a crucial factor to stable weather patterns.

With rising carbon emissions affect greenhouse gases that trap heat inside the earth’s atmosphere, which would otherwise escape, conservative scientists predict ice shelves will continue to melt, sending freshwater dissolving into the ocean.  The danger then is how the seas’ salinity will dilute, affecting the undercurrent’s buoyancy and the ability of the Conveyor Belt to cool and/or heat Earth’s seas.  Temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere are envisaged to rise suddenly before sharply plummeting.  With each summer hotter than the last and freak super-storms a regular occurrence (think Katrina or the Asian Tsunami), to most of us climate change feels like it is already happening.  
As an all too rare being, Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche was an omniscient meditation master, rightly concerned about the environment; he would often mention how pollution disturbs Earth’s Elements, and therefore its inhabitants.  In order to redress this balance, Rinpoche saw fit to offer prayers.  At the suggestion of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama (whose name, incidentally, means ‘Ocean of Great Wisdom’), the start of this momentous triple blessing began at the aptly named Cape of Good Hope, Africa’s most southern most tip on Dec 27th, where the Atlantic Ocean in the east meets the Pacific Ocean in the west.  The next offering was to Antarctica, a place that holds 90% of the world’s ice and 70% of the world’s freshwater, where the world’s waters convene.  The final offering was made in New Zealand on January 24th 2006 in Tasman Bay, on the South Island.  With Antarctica affecting all water, this is the blessing chart to study in depth; it also contains the themes of all three charts.  We will also review Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche’s very interesting life through his horoscope, noting his special connection to the Water Element.

First, a little background information: Coming out from a fifteen-year retreat in 1991 at the invitation from His Holiness, Dalai Lama, Rinpoche said he witnessed a massive increase in the use of petrochemicals; he noted how the ensuing toxicity and pollution created obscurations within ourelves, as well as with our ability to directly connect to, honour, and interact with the natural Elements, including the powerful deities that rule those Elements (called nature spirits or Devas in other traditions).  Using the Buddhist concept of interdependence, Rinpoche, as spiritual ecologist, illustrated our connection to the five basic Elements*, to the Earth, our own self and each other - and how every single thing that we do, say, think, or feel, affects everyone and everything around us, in some form or another.

When I first met Rinpoche, I felt reassured by this kind of association which resonates with the astrological maxim: “As above, So below”, or as Tibetans say, “as it is without, so it in the body”.  The year was 1996, and through a wonderful series of synchronicities I had found myself sitting at the feet of a small man who was an extraordinarily High Lama, who was, in fact, one of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama’s, teachers.
At the time I was part of a small group of performing ceremonial light workers who made up the Sushumna Dance Ritual Theatre, taking up to 3000 people on Kundalini Chakra Dance Journeys. They were light-working pagan affairs. At one of these journeys a wild-eyed sprite thrust a flyer into my hand.  It read: 'Astrology, Cosmology & The Energy Systems of the Body – the Kalachakra Tantra'.  This A5 piece of paper showed a highly-realised man with a big gentle smile, wearing monk's robes and a large fringed Yellow Hat that curved over his forehead, resembling the sun’s saffron rays and Rinpoche’s golden aura; his hands were in the Dharma Wheel Mudra, ready for teaching the eight-fold path and the way to enlightenment; under which the phone number of Jamyang Buddhist Centre in London.  A day later, exactly midsummer’s eve, I rang.  The one seat left was mine to encounter Rinpoche, who introduced me to the Dharma, Buddhist teachings that forever changed my life through a series of oral instructions and transmissions from the ‘Stainless Light Lineage of the Kalachakra Tantra’.  Kala means time, and chakra, wheel.  This is an all-encompasing set of teachings (of which I have taken one small baby step). It is said Kalachakra masters know exactly where the planets are along the ecliptic, purely by observing their breath.

From that solstice point, the astrological wheel took on a personally profound and luminous meaning.  At the time, Uranus and Neptune were just coming out of a one-hundred-and-seventy-two year conjunction that had exactly opposed my Cancerian Sun.  While much of my life these past years has been in the process of hopefully positive development, and I have tried to live a more careful, simpler life, the continuing issue of the earth’s eco-system was a dangerously ignored constant by an increasingly materialistic society.  (Note this was written early 2007) The present configuration of planets shows similar Elements, Water and Air – the currents of emotion and intellect – still dominating long-term issues, with a hefty weight of Earthy Saturn for good measure.  Images of melting ice caps and resulting global chaos reflect powerful connections between titanic Neptune in Aquarius, a water planet in an (icy) air sign, now in mutual reception to Uranus in Pisces, an air planet in a water sign.  (‘Mutual reception’ is the astrological term when both planets occupy the sign ruled by the other, i.e. Neptune rules Pisces and Uranus rules Aquarius.)
This sudden Uranian dissolution into Neptune’s Piscean Water has the ability to affect the collective’s dreams and wishes for aeons to come.  It’s also the signature of the unconventional quick-change visionary, never too late for an optimistic manifestation of this formation: employing technological advancement, via spacey Uranus, to avert our Neptunian dependency on energy (oil or drugs).  Could this mean we deploy Alien scientific technology used by ET’s to (even spiritually) heal and avert the planet from a climate change catastrophe?(3)  (Hey! I do have the eccentric Uranus conjunct my Sun, in square to an idealistic Neptune, after all!)  An extraordinary idea aside, this current Uranus-Neptune connection has been ongoing since both planets exactly conjunct in Capricorn back in 1992-3, seeing the ‘idealisation of collective change’ (4) creep into consciousness.  Change that was not a moment too soon for our climate: these were the very years when our protective shield against the Sun’s harmful ultra-violet rays, the Ozone Layer, was its most depleted over Antarctica, devastated by the CFC gases that destroy it.  Interestingly, the flouro-techno colour ultra-violet is actually attributed to Uranus, and insidious unseen gases are within Neptune’s sphere. 

One could look back earlier, however, to the rarer Saturn-Uranus-Neptune conjunction of 1989 as a potential starting point of collective responsibility for the Earth, its’ Air and Water.   As it was back then, Saturn, as Lord of Karma, remains involved in this important astrological equation – this time in opposition to Neptune – suggesting the moment is ripe to witness ideals concretised by Saturnian authority, to undergo a ‘sea change’ of direction, filled with the highest vibrations of Uranian altruism and Neptunian compassion.  The new eco-warrior is found in the stock market, seeking profit in the world’s greening.  As I write this during the second pass of Saturn to Neptune (February 2007, the third being in June 2007), with shocking Uranus in the equation, our moneymen need to stop being slaves to emtion and heed the wake-up call. 

The outer planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, reflect collective movements: connections these planets make to each other, as well as to other planets, and the subsequent events their transits signify, define generations.  Today’s celestial signature, particularly with transforming, investigative Pluto still in the sign of broad (band) horizons and far-reaching Sagittarius (widely aligned to the galactic centre), the global effect of having an ever-open portal to blog opinions, exchange data or challenge beliefs and ideas through the power of the internet, means few are unaware how we are wading through deeply troubled Uranus-Neptune waters, if you’ll pardon the pun – particularly when it comes to climate change. 

Water is a mighty powerful element: it holds the memory of being, a symbol of fertility that surges, trickles, and penetrates; from subterranean channels it bubbles out into the light, only to flow back into the deep blue lapis lazuli darkness; and as it moves water purifies and regenerates.  Water always finds a way to flow, to soak and soothe, heal, cleanse or cool, and is fundamental to all life on earth and our bodies.  Water interacts with all elements; it evaporates into Air, to return to Earth as rain that encourages plants to grow so we can feed, and with Fire we can heat the Water that cooks our food.  We know more about the water-ruling Moon than we do our oceans. 

Consider that like planet Earth we are made up of 75% water, our hearts incline 23°, just as Earth tilts on her axis (5), plus the fact that we are ultimately made up of Elements and from stardust; these similarities make it sensible to question what we are doing to our planet and, ultimately, ourselves.  Just as urgent as healing Earth’s Water and Air of pollution and toxicity, is the need to heal our own minds and bodies, purifying negative mindsets and harmful action.  Water is as crucial to healing as positive thinking: by hydrating the body with at least two to three litres a day (Sorry, but tea, coffee, soda or juices don’t count!), one can very simply avoid disease and a dependence on drugs that can be dangerous and only mask symptoms.(6)  Water and the correct amount of salt are a vital mix to the flow of liquids in the human body, just as the ocean to the Earth.  Interesting to note, while Salt is ruled by the Earth element, it also ‘grounds’ our etheric, energetic body and, in the right proportion, protects against radiation.

Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche once said, “Water is such a great carrier of blessings” (7).  Wherever he travelled he would ask to be taken to the nearest ocean, river, lake, waterfall, reservoir or coast, so he could bestow prayers that would be carried far and wide.  Wanting to redress the environmental imbalance of man-made pollution, so Elemental Deities were pacified, within and around us, he would do the same with winds and to rocks and mountains.  According to his birth chart however, Rinpoche’s special Elemental affinity was with emotive Water.  In keeping with the astrological indicators of a chart date I have been given, a deeply felt empathy and kindness towards humanity is the signature of a Water ruled Pisces Sun opposite a Full Virgo Moon conjunct Neptune.  Neptune is ruler of Pisces, the Mutable Water sign, both sign and planet feature strongly in his chart.

Neptune, Pisces and planets in the 12th House are, in the highest sense, associated with unconditional love and compassion, accessing the Divine through prayer, meditation, dance, music, art, film, and yoga.  It is also the sphere of sacrifice and redemption, victims and martyrs.  In Victorian astrology it was the province of lunatic asylums and self-undoing; it still is where we throw all the crazy junk gathered from the previous twelve signs.  It also rules large institutions, and is the domain of the collective unconscious, a vast undercurrent that feels – deeply.  For influences from Neptune, Pisces, and the 12th house, are where the individual ego enters uncharted realms, develops faith and discovers a cosmic kind of consciousness.

Appropriate to the Tibetan Buddhist view of how important it is to release the grasp ‘self’ has upon the ego – astrologically speaking, by surrendering one’s identity – the Sun – so one’s true nature, the Buddha Nature, shines through, Tibetans rarely record individual birthdays.  Instead, everyone celebrates turning their solar wheel at Losar, the Tibetan New Year (which can be the same as a Chinese New Year, but not always), or, in this case, the Losar Full Moon.  Losar marks the beginning of a special month of prayers and miracles: Positive intention set into motion during this month is said to multiply favourably.  To be born during this time is said to be most auspicious.  A Tibetan day begins at sunrise, so Rinpoche’s Sun conjoins the Pisces ascendant, compounding the Neptunian influence.
Master of Sutra and Tantra, Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche was born on the high Himalayan plateau, in Amdo, eastern Tibet, in 1926, on the Full Moon in the first month of Fire Tiger year (8).  He was recognised as the Abbot of an important Tibetan monastery at the age of 8, ordained at the age of 9, when Tibet was a place of magic, mysteries, and monasteries, with tales of Shambhala, a hidden utopia; and at that time it was isolated, rural, and feudal.  Without the impact of massive industrialisation, Tibetans then lived in close connection to the land and neighbouring natural elements.  While we in the West, influenced by rational linear thinking, have progressively detached from the world of intuition and insight, and consequently the Elements.  Those precious building blocks of creation need human interaction for us to be considered whole. Consequently, many people feel spaced-out or ungrounded, isolated and frightened and, severed from their surroundings and real selves, seek solace in empty distraction and delusions: glamour, sex, alcohol or drugs – the down side of a disconnected Neptune, Pisces, or the 12th House.

Rinpoche often said urban living makes it harder to connect to the Elements, and therefore the Elemental deities, requiring one to practice in order to do so.  He emphasised the importance of finding a place in a park or woods, or by a river, lake or pond, to discover inner-peace.  He also considered Deity practice essential to reach enlightenment.  All of which is entirely in keeping with the spiritually enhanced Pisces Sun in opposition to a perceptive, but realistic and sensible, Full Virgo Moon.  In Tibetan astrology, the Sun is attributed to power and skilful means, as the Moon is to wisdom and bliss.  Opening to the heart of his charitable Pisces Sun, Rinpoche showed limitless compassion daily in the competent Virgo Moon manner, like a mother would to her child.

A Pisces Sun in alliance with the Virgo Moon conjunct Neptune also means purity of Spirit is paramount; to Rinpoche it obviously was: In 1976 he entered a fifteen-year retreat to contemplate the stages on the path to enlightenment.  By coming out in 1991 he began to teach westerners and tour the world, significantly, as transiting Pluto approached his 9th House Saturn, indicating an influential transformation through education and travel.  Rinpoche’s Saturnian karma solidified the mansion of philosophy and religion: Again, at the Dalai Lama’s request, Rinpoche accepted the responsibility to leave his retreat and explain Buddha’s broader concepts in an easily accessible manner, so that all beings could find the peace of mind he himself radiated.
Both Pisces and Virgo symbolise service: Pisces offers service to Spirit and soul, while Virgo applies a practical healing balm to the mind and body.  Astutely, Alice A. Bailey (esoteric astrologer who channelled DK, the Tibetan) said the actual ‘Will to Serve Universally’ comes from the thoughtful sign, Aquarius.  Rinpoche’s beneficent cosmic teacher, Jupiter in Aquarius, is conjunct Venus, suggesting Rinpoche was born able to serve and heal Spirit with care and great understanding.  Without being intimidating – he was very approachable – Rinpoche was intellectual and academic, excellent at handling the Aquarian group dynamic.  As with all of Rinpoche’s planetary aspects, his Venus-Jupiter conjunction operated at its highest possible vibration, with his power to generate love and light as the ultimate healing.

His intimate knowledge of the path to enlightenment guided his students with a dynamic Mars exalted in rational Capricorn, opposing a commanding Pluto in sensitive Cancer (which had witnessed the destruction of his homeland); his spiritual offspring benefited from his profound discipline.  Rinpoche’s astounding familiarity of the nature of reality and the potential of mind transformation captivated everyone he met, even if they had never before studied the Dharma: Rinpoche was like a wise and kindly grandparent who quietly brimmed with knowledge and wisdom, giving pertinent advice and supervision, according to each person’s level of understanding. Rinpoche's quick thinking Mercury conjunct altruistic Uranus, in mystical Pisces in the 1st House. One could be forgiven for thinking here was the sign of a religious radical.  Yet, in a way Rinpoche was such a spiritual revolutionary: the visionary meditator who quietly helped others to transform mind, and heart.  As I understood him, he saw the threat to the Elements and Earth’s delicate eco-system, i.e. climate change, as a collective obscuration towards enlightenment and he, with his hands-on Virgo Moon, was compelled to do something practical about it.  His Neptunian energy transcended the world of illusion, offering ‘World Service’ to help cleanse humankind and the planet of negative pollution.  He constantly practiced a particular meditation called “Giving and Taking”, i.e. imbibing negativity and then purifying it by generating love.
Neptune, Pisces and the 12th House are also signs of refuge.  From coming out of that long retreat an affinity with the Elements proved to be a major theme.  His charitable Pisces Sun, opposing Moon conjunct Neptune resonated with the clear mirror-like wisdom found in the Element of Water.  In Tibetan astrology the Element Water simultaneously calms and cools, synthesises and harmonises, with the characteristics of healing, nourishing life, and holding things together (9).  Rinpoche did all that, and more, seeing the purity of water as fundamental to collective sustenance.  Wherever he went, Rinpoche would collect water from the places he considered most sacred.  He did this with the aim of merging all waters together to be then placed into an environment he understood to do humanity the most good: the Cape of Good Hope, the Antarctic, and the South Seas in New Zealand. 

He was not alone in believing water, with its’ conductive power, has the ability to purify and heal.  Indeed, the Christian church uses water to baptise and wash away sins, using fish as their symbol.  Water is also extensively used in eastern ritual.  For instance Amma, a living Indian Saint ‘The Hugging Mother’, blesses water that is then shared among her congregation.  Through the ages Animists the world over, Pagans and Spiritists, use water to cleanse and cure.  Dr Masuro Emoto (neatly, also a Cancerian Water Sun sign (10)) of ‘What The Bleep’ fame has scientifically shown how the vibration of water changes with thought and direct intention.  By photographing microscopic water molecules, he has revealed what ideas, emotions, and intentions look like when transferred onto and into H2O.  Depending upon what thought or feeling is being infused, the shape of a water molecule can be changed dramatically.  My favourite is the vibration of ‘love and gratitude’, a beautiful six pointed ‘Star of David’, or ‘Solomon’s Seal’, the magical protector with intertwining triangles of male and female, also representing the union of Shiva Shakti or, astrologically speaking, the rare formation of two grand trines, interlocking Earth and Water (or Fire and Air).  In the Shamanic world, Dr Sandra Ingerman’s work with ‘Medicine for the Earth’ has also proved how group meditation at astrologically enhanced times (i.e. full moon), we can alter the pH balance of water, and shift the vibration from toxic to clean in polluted rivers and waterways. 

Through lifetimes of reincarnations, Kirti Tsenshab, as a renounced being who had gone beyond all trappings of ego attachment, ignorance, and desire, was most ecologically aware, super conscious of water’s healing properties.  He chose to make the triple blessing at this perilous point in Earth’s history, to offer up his accumulated waters, which included water blessed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and sand from various mandalas. The three blessing charts are an extraordinary testament to a man in tune with the heavens, instinctively aware of all signs, positive and negative.  Considering he didn’t carry a computer programme with astrological calculations, only a little pocket calendar with auspicious Tibetan dates marked in it, the fact his schedule was so tight, often changing at the whim of an airline, makes the dynamics of these charts all the more amazing.
Each chart carries the sturdy Fixed Cross, with planet of action, Mars, rising in determined Taurus, signifying that once the intention was set into motion, there was no turning back.
The triple blessing took one Full Lunar month to complete, with Rinpoche starting and ending with the Water-ruled Moon in the regenerative Fixed Water sign, Scorpio.  Even though this is where the Moon is considered to be in detriment, it is conjunct benign Jupiter, possibly magnifying the toxic state of the water, at the same time assisting in the task’s aim: a successful assignment to renew water, as only Jupiter in Scorpio can.  What is interesting about this mission is how Rinpoche started on the ‘Dakini Day of the Tibetan Moon cycle, a monthly portal when the waning sextile considers female energy at its’ most potent.  The Moon in the Tibetan system is considered male – the emotional clarity gained during a Full Moon is a male/yang aspiration, while Dakini Day is yin, one of rejoicing and making offerings to all Deities, including hungry ghosts.

 The Moon in the Antarctic Blessing chart, set two weeks later, is in the exact opposite position, exalted in Taurus.
Most obvious about the Antarctic blessing chart is, of course, the size of the houses, unequal because this is a chart at one of the poles, (all charts over 58 degrees, north or south, become distorted, where as they are equal at the equator).   For any chart to have an impact upon humanity’s interests one would expect the Sun and Moon to be strong and lively in aspect.  Here, the Capricorn 9th House Sun climaxes during the Southern Hemisphere’s longest days.  Indeed, many planets in the 9th house deal with larger concepts – a house that starts at the last degree of the Fixed Water sign, Scorpio, to encapsulate Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, finishing at the last degree of Pisces, the Mutable Water sign, putting a new dimension on the idea of intercepted houses:  This Water blessing was a seriously significant teaching. The Final blessing at Tasman Bay, below, was where Rinpoche stated that ALL the worlds' water met.

Of note in the central blessing, the Antarctic chart, in the expansive 9th house is Neptune, ruler of oceans, (and of Rinpoche’s own chart) situated at the top of the chart in the position of nonagesimal.  Coming from Latin, nona = ninety, a planet is nonagesimal when it culminates at right angles to the ascendant-descendant axis, therefore becoming the Equal House 10th house cusp.  With Neptune in the 9th, it suggests a monk praying, teaching, travelling.  Also symbolic of the Aquarian Neptune at the chart’s zenith was his aspiration: the benefit of humanity.  Although, in astrology, the real recognition for any effort a planet in the nonagesimal position works towards, comes from the actual Midheaven, which, in this case, is Pisces, ruler of Neptune, suggesting the prayers would be rewarded.  And so they were – more than we could have ever hoped for.  Seven months after this impressive undertaking, in August 2006, it was announced the hole in the Antarctic ozone had stopped increasing! 

Further good news included a scientific surmise that the ozone can be repaired – but it will take an estimated 60 years for it to return to normal.  Sixty years is an important marker: in psychological astrology it is a person’s third Saturn return, coinciding with the fifth Jupiter return – an occasion to wise-up and be optimistic about time: past, present and future.  These cycles are also recognised in Tibetan astrology.  More specifically in the Kalachakra Tantra, of which Rinpoche was an vital Lineage Holder and Initiation Master (having conferred it 35 times in his life), this 60 year cycle is also 5x12, meaning it takes all five Elements 60 years to pass through each of the 12 animal signs, i.e. Fire Tiger, Earth Tiger, Metal Tiger, Water Tiger, Wood Tiger.  Kalachakra astrology uses the five main Elements as the basis of the cosmos.  This important cycle is symbolised by the five Elemental prayer flags with which each stone Buddha had been wrapped.  
 The much-welcomed announcement of stabilised ozone came one month after Rinpoche, being a front-line Lama, was diagnosed with liver cancer whilst in a bomb shelter in Haifa, Israel, during the 2006 summer war between Israel and Lebanon.  Sceptics may ask: “How could a high Lama suffer such a human disease?”  But as Roy Gillett, President of the AA, said when told about Rinpoche’s cancer, and the correlation drawn to the reparation of the ozone, “All that negativity had to go somewhere!”
It is true that in order for a body to be healed poison/disease/tumour has to be displaced and removed.  Which, to my mind, is exactly what happened with Rinpoche.  I am not claiming Rinpoche single-handedly stopped the ozone from deteriorating for that year (and possibly longer), but I, his student, rejoice at the synchronicity, and am in awe of his daily practice in which he intentionally took-on the suffering of others.  By contracting the modern-day scourge via his liver, the organ that specifically deals with removing toxicity, pollution and poison, (while the rest of his body was in tip-top condition) he absorbed Earth’s anguish. 

This can be explained astrologically: the liver is the organ ruled by Jupiter, and Pisces (Jupiter’s traditional night time ruler) rules the body’s liver meridian; Jupiter is also natural ruler of Sagittarius and the 9th house, as reflected by the proliferation of Jupiter, Neptune, 12th house, and Pisces influences in the Blessing charts (and Rinpoche’s own horoscope).  All three Blessing charts have active 9th houses.  The Antarctic chart also includes Pluto, Lord of Death.  Both Jupiter and Neptune, (co-rulers of Kirti Rinpoche’s Pisces Sun (self) and Ascendant (personality)), are in square to each other, respectively holding north and west sections of the dominant ‘Fixed Cross’ holding the blessing charts together.

In the Antarctic chart, this Fixed Cross begins with Mars conjunct the Moon in Taurus on the ascendant, with Saturn in Leo at the nadir, Jupiter in Scorpio on the descendant, and Neptune in Aquarius at the pinnacle.  Esoteric astrologer Alice A. Bailey calls The Fixed Cross  ‘The Cross of Transmutation’, declaring it “the interlude of readjustment during the struggle for liberation” (11).  Fittingly, dynamic Mars is in steady and earthy Taurus on the Ascendant leading the four spokes with resolute warrior energy, actively going after a goal, kick-starting the metamorphosis.  Also noteworthy is how the Water ruled 12th House Moon, in wide association to Mars, conjoins the first leg of the Fixed Cross.  (For conjunctions of the luminaries I use orbs up to 15 degrees.)

In the 12th house of spirituality, the Moon is exalted in Taurus; it is a Moon position filled with energy and hope, forgiveness and concern, with a devotion to collective interest that the general public (symbolised by the Moon) can respond to.  The determined Moon-Mars conjunction opposes an equally purposeful Jupiter in Scorpio, cusping the seventh house – a successful planet in a deeply regenerative sign, indicating any selfishness around the earth’s resources can be transformed and, when found in the 7th house, the transfiguration can be peaceful, through fairness and love.

Opposing mystical Neptune is solid earthy Saturn, Chronos anchored at the bottom of the chart, adding weighty issues of time and toil to the seriousness of environmental destruction.  Saturn in Leo shows the karmic effects of egocentric ambition as well as the harmful effects of the Sun’s rays.  Although, Saturn is considered weak at the nadir suggesting lazy governments need to take responsibility more seriously.  Neptune’s imagination can succeed with Saturn’s pragmatism: to constructively visualise and work with Earth’s Elements in a rational manner.  Saturn is also extremely active, aspecting seven planets as well as the Moon’s nodes, portals of destiny, to begin its’ opposition to forgiving Neptune; this can balance a Saturnine Leo’s selfish power-mongering with the group orientated signature of Neptune in Aquarius, interested in collective harmony, spiritual enhancement, and a positive change in consciousness.  ‘Lord of Karma’ also opposes a Venus-Chiron conjunction, urging authority to overcome obstacles in a well-organized and considerate manner – or else it is in danger of harming those in its’ care. 

The last word on this phenomenal Fixed Cross comes once again from Alice A. Bailey, who aligns Taurus, Bull of desire, with the light of aspiration and knowledge; Leo, Lion of self-assertion to the light of the Soul; Scorpio, agent of deception to the light of liberation; and Aquarius, the chalice of self-service, to the light of the world (12).  She also suggests the energies of the Fixed Cross encourages those who think in terms of philanthropy, who are orientated towards the light, and mediate between Shambhala and Humanity, where Nirvana is but the beginning (13), all very fitting for a linage holder of the Kalachakra.

Ultimately, Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche, together with Alak Rinpoche, revealed the effort demanded from the ‘Fixed Cross of Light’, harnessing the energies of a ‘Cross of Stainless Light’, so that all beings should find happiness.

Other significant transits to observe during that month included the planet of dramatic and sudden change, Uranus, at 7-8 degrees of Pisces, which conjunct Rinpoche’s Sun, his Spirit essence. Rinpoche took environmental chaos in his stride, showing how the master remains steady and calm, even in a tempestuous sea of change.  Transiting Saturn opposed his natal Jupiter, and by sign began to conjunct his own prominent Leonine Neptune: Rinpoche was suitably known among monastics to be a Lion amongst men!  Natal Saturn in square to natal Neptune also crystallises: Rinpoche was affectionately called ‘The ‘Crystal Ocean’ by his students, because his wisdom was so vast and pure (14).
 So it was, after defying the doctors by living with liver cancer for many months beyond expectations, at 2.30 am, on the 16th December, 2006, on one of the holiest days in the Tibetan Gelukpa (Yellow hat) calendar, the day of Lama TzongKhapa, that Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche dissolved his bodily Elements one last time, as he had practiced doing for so many years, and entered Tudkam, the Tibetan name for the period of omniscient Clear Light, before his consciousness left his body four days later at the Winter Solstice, a special time in Kalachakra astrology, when the King of Light returns - quite a feat for someone who had consciously taken on the world’s woes.  Rinpoche was cremated at dawn on the 25th December 2006.  The fire was left until the 30th, when his relics were collected and noted as being filled with many wonderful signs.

From my own side, at the exact time in the morning when Rinpoche entered the Clear Light state, I awoke from a dream where a young boy ran up to me, carrying what looked like a laptop, asking me to teach him astrology.  The vision left me with an extremely peaceful feeling.   

I pray the heavens will guide me to have the supreme good fortune to meet the reincarnation of Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche, the Glorious Losang Jigme Damchő.  Who knows, we may talk about the stars once again!  I dedicate any merit generated by this article to my most beloved Lama, so that he may soon return and continue teaching the stages of the path towards enlightenment, so that all beings may reach that omniscient state!

Other interesting developments:
28th August 2007 New supergyre found:
Briefly the above article describes a newly discovered deep ocean current, a supergyre that links three major oceans: Pacific, Atlantic and Indian.  It is called the 'Tasman Outflow'.  This is made all the more interesting as the last blessing Rinpoche did was in New Zealand, in Tasman Bay!

1) Bruce Farley; Mandala Magazine Oct/Nov issue 2006 p17
4) Astrid Fallon – Planetary Cycles p43
5) Special Thanks to Wanda Sellar for pointing out this interesting fact about the angle of the human heart.
6) F. Batmanghelidgi, M.D.  - Your Body’s Many Cries For Water
7) Mandala Magazine Oct/Nov issue 2006 p16
8) Birth, Tudkam, and Cremation Data supplied by Voula Zaparni, KT Rinpoche’s translator and administrator.  Please note Rodden Rating: Even though Rinpoche had ‘gone beyond, gone beyond’ and, in fact, this may well be an exact chart, as a western astrologer I still have to give this chart a ‘B’ rating, purely because it has the possibility of being ‘chosen’.  Nonetheless, it is a remarkable chart for a remarkable being!  Born: 27 February 1926, 6.27 am, in Amdo, Tibet 92E00.  32N00 (7.40 Pisces Sun/Ascendant, 00.14 Virgo Moon)  
9) The Healing Power of Mind – Tulku Thondup p141
10) Vaughn Paul Manley – Mountain Astrologer – Issue 125
11) Alice A. Bailey - Esoteric Astrology
12) Ibid p573
13) Ibid p578
14) Heartfelt thanks to Phillipa Rutherford from Chandrakirti Mediation Centre in New Zealand, for all her kind help, and in supplying all three blessing chart details. 
1) South Africa, Cape of Good Hope 18E20 34S15: Dec 27 2005, 3.30 pm. Asc 9Taurus11, Sun 5Cap54, Moon 19Scorp10.
2) Antarctica, 6pm, 62W50 70S00: Asc 12Tau14, Sun 17Cap26, Moon 1Tau02
3) New Zealand, Tasman Bay 173E17 41S17, Jan 24 2006 at 3.45pm: Asc 23Taurus05, Sun 03Aqua58, Moon 21Scorp16.
Extended thanks to Phillipa’s husband, Bruce Farley, for permission to use photographs taken on the Antarctic trip.
And to the Visual Alchemist Bill Brouard for all the illustrations that he provides:
(*A sixth element is ‘mind’ or ‘consciousness’)