Sunday Surfing 02/10/16

 

Galactic Seed Planting

A head full of readings from our recent new moon made me pause on an article about the European Space Agency and it’s Rosetta that got so explicit about the craft’s final moments.  geek.com reports that ‘Rosetta executed its final maneuver at 2200GMT on September 29th, sending it down to the surface. 14 hours later, it made contact with the comet and the signal was lost. The ESA calculated that Rosetta was probably moving at roughly 2 miles per hour when it hit…The history-making probe now rests on a smooth patch of ground in the Ma’at region of 67P. It’s gone, but not forgotten.’ The ESA had two choices, evidently: 1. Let the small and fragile craft sail on into space-time or 2. Execute it’s deposit. Other reports that I read relayed that the ‘smooth patch of ground’ is actually surrounded by ravine-like walls that regularly spew gases and dust and the ESA wanted some of that content on Rosetta’s way down. I imagine that smooth patch is composed of ongoing sediment build-up.

I realize that not everyone thinks like me (ha!) but darned if that didn’t sound like a galactic –scaled seed planting to me, whether it crossed their minds or not. I decided to check if astrowiki had an inception chart for the European Space Agency and it does… but its not a very good one because it lacks a time. Still, we’ll take what we can get and it isn’t really so crucial for this type of fun. The ESA data puts the new moon in Libra in conjunction to ESA’s Pluto rx, opposite it’s Mars in Aries, trine a Gemini Sun, and sextile Neptune rx in Sag. All of these aspects are tight. I find that interesting.

Bayer Buys Monsanto

Well, this story could occupy a professional journalist full time so I am only going to put a primer out here at this point, mostly courtesy of Bayer as a matter of fact, and some of my thoughts. When I first heard about this I was so sad. My childhood-based idea of Bayer is all about aspirin = pain relief. ’nuff said!  But seriously, that is really it. I’ve never used pharmaceuticals otherwise, except for antibiotics less than a handful of times. All I know about Monsanto is ‘seeds are intellectual property’ (huh? oh, like corporations are people, right?) and youtube is filled with farmers swearing that by the second year, all the crops succumb to one problem or another and they have no money left to buy more seeds, let alone survive; we do not know the long-term repercussions of gene or trait manipulation in seeds. In other words, I am not really qualified to critique but I am super skiddish, to say the least, of Monsanto and can only say, in my weak defense, that I have simply never thought of Bayer specifically when fuming about pharmaceutical companies. Further, it seems that Bayer has quite the reputation for cruising below radar.

Not.any.more.

First clue that this is stellar news is a specific website Bayer has put up about it’s buy-out that starts the reader off in a section called, ‘Social Disclaimer’ wherein they list all the reasons why we shouldn’t take this as a done deal. Included in the list is ‘the impact of indebtedness incurred by Bayer in connection with the transaction and the potential impact on the rating of indebtedness of Bayer; the effects of the business combination of Bayer and Monsanto, including the combined company’s future financial condition, operating results, strategy and plans’.

So, show me the money, baby.

Cyclical Upswing

And then you arrive at the rather dreamy section entitled, Compelling Strategic Rationale, and read that

Pro forma sales of the combined business amounted to EUR 23 billion in calendar year 2015. In combining Bayer and Monsanto, we are well positioned to benefit from a cyclical upswing in the Ag market and we expect to create substantial value for our shareholders. For Bayer shareholders, we expect the transaction to provide accretion to core EPS (earnings per share) in the first full year after closing and a double-digit percentage accretion in the third full year. We have confirmed sales and cost synergies assumptions in due diligence and expect annual EBITDA contributions from total synergies of approximately USD 1.5 billion after year three, plus additional synergies from integrated solutions in future years.

Farmers will benefit from a range of new, superior solutions aimed at helping to advance the next generation of farming and to address some of society’s most pressing challenges:

  • Integrated product portfolio across crops and indications with a comprehensive offering of Seed and Crop Protection products;

  • Creation of a leading platform in Digital Farming; and

  • Leading innovation capabilities and R&D technology platforms, with an annual pro-forma R&D budget of approximately EUR 2.5 billion.

First thing to note here, from what I understand of Digital Farming, this is really a logical and super helpful application of technology. I will look into this more. Otherwise…

More ‘show me the money, baby’ In other words, you should be so fortunate as to be well positioned for an upcoming agricultural upswing which, i guess, means hungry people..? If you, who don’t worry about your next meal, can afford to buy the stock, you should. Just double check the fine print:

Bayer intends to finance the transaction with a combination of debt and equity. The equity component of approximately USD 19 billion is expected to be raised through an issuance of mandatory convertible bonds and through a rights issue with subscription rights. Bridge financing for USD 57 billion is committed by BofA, Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, HSBC and JP Morgan.

(Cash doesn’t actually mean cash, silly!)

Creating Value for All is defined thus: ‘The combined agriculture business will have its global Seeds & Traits and North American commercial headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, its global Crop Protection and divisional Crop Science headquarters in Monheim, Germany, and an important presence in Durham, North Carolina, as well as many other locations throughout the U.S. and around the world. The Digital Farming activities for the combined business will be based in San Francisco, California.’ After all, writes Bayer on it’s own behalf, ‘We can build on an extensive track record of integrating a diverse range of international businesses…Since 2005, we have acquired and successfully integrated a number of multi-billion Euro businesses.’

I think that has been below most people’s radar…(Not.any.more.)

A Wall Street Journal online article excerpt (by Jacob Bunge and Christopher Alessi) concerning the buy-out:

Seed makers, having laid off thousands of employees and mothballed some research projects, regard mergers as a way to cut costs while more deeply integrating the development of new seeds and chemicals.

Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. are pursuing a merger, and Swiss pesticide giant Syngenta AG agreed in February to a $43 billion takeover by China National Chemical Corp., a state-owned company that sells generic agricultural chemicals.

So it’s not an isolated event, it’s just the biggest in a global bunch. Now the phenomenon has our attention and the proverbial oxygen is being sucked up into this FEAR that we must FIND some way to feed 3 or so billion more people in the coming decades. Like our own little household doesn’t overwhelm us as it is, sometimes.

A commenter on the WSJ article put out some excellent points: since EU and German public policy is to ban GMO agricultural products, how does Bayer, a German corporation, justify buying a corporation whose main line of business is GMO? And the press releases say there is very little overlap, but Bayer makes pesticides, and Monsanto’s gene modifications enable lower pesticide use, so how are the two businesses not competing with each other?

I don’t have anything else to offer on this issue at the moment so while the lawyers are frantically greasing wheels, lets focus on what we do have some control over and that is our own microcosm, our own life philosophy and some wisdom from Nassim Taleb of Black Swan fame…

On Antifragility

There is a reason the elephant is the biggest land creature nature has designed. This was the biggest that could afford to be built: if there is a scarcity of water, the elephant must ‘pay up’ far more than the mouse and will suffer far sooner.

I am regional, not national, in orientation.

The only way you can understand life is if you have something at risk.

When the bridge collapses, you don’t call the owner of the last truck that managed to cross the bridge, you call the engineer of the bridge.

Specialty causes you to be a lot more fragile…you are less robust to changes in your environment…organically things develop in a way to become more robust…

*****

the-household-gods-waterhouse

The Household Gods, J. Waterhouse 

 

 

 

 

Wonder-Works

copyright1weaver

Saturn square Neptune. Lets break it down.

First of all, a square is just what you might think; it refers to a 90’ angle being formed between two archetypes on the astrology wheel. It can be helpful to visualise, say, a two-way electrical cord bent into this shape and imagine how difficult – what a pile-up/traffic jam – it will be for all the electricity coursing through the cord to navigate around that angle. One end or the other will have to send the order out to give the right of way to the other. Speaking of traffic jams, this is another great analogy. Without a system understood (and accepted) by all drivers, there are going to be a lot of serious crashes at intersections. And by no means are all vehicles equal…Taking these examples to the dynamics of living, we see that squares force change.

  1. Sometimes this is a somewhat obvious course correction that we are willing to take or watch and appreciate another taking.
  2. Sometimes we can be truly blind to the cause of the squaring issues – though certainly aware of the effect.
  3. And sometimes, we feel certain of the cause and regardless of effect, we make a decision that we absolutely will not budge for love nor money. We let it be known on the other end of that power cord.

While you may call it by another name or phrase, you know it when you are ‘in a square’. Now lets look at the archetypes: Saturn & Neptune and their placements in Sagittarius and Pisces.

All energy is neutral until it is channeled/wielded/offered/manipulated/stifled/let loose/ect, and so on, by an individual or an entity. By entity, I mean a group, a tribe, a government, an institution, a nation, a coalition of entities under a particular banner. An entity is your family unit; its also your home owners association, your church, synagogue, mosque, temple.

Keywords for Saturn:

Concrete. Physical reality. Boundary/Red Line. Hierarchy. Tradition. Patriarchy. Authority. Earth Time. Karma. Ruler of Career, Reputation, Standing in the Community or Entity.

When an individual or entity feels challenged, Saturn is often channeled as rigid/passive-aggressive/dictatorial/wall-building and refortifying/backward focused. This is because when our physical reality feels threatened, we like to retreat to the fortress we are familiar with, regardless of whether it still provides what is needed. It is the System that has worked. And we don’t see another system that has stood the test of Time.

Sagittarius is the sign of the archer. This archetype is generally depicted standing on a high point looking out over terrain yet to be traveled. His view is spacious, he registers the general topography and gallops forth with enthusiasm. Mutable fire, he hungers for greater knowledge and experience in new realms.

Keywords for Neptune:

The god of the boundless sea. The All-One. Maker of the tsunami and the still waters. Spirit space. Source of Gnosis, fantasy. Space Time. Sacrificial lamb. Peace that passes understanding.

When an individual or entity feels challenged, Neptune is often channeled as isolation or an inability to bear empathy and imagining a future ‘lost at sea’. Mirroring our perceptions, we can metaphorically drown in our favourite form of escapism in an effort to console our victim-circumstance. Some of us are finding we can choose to use our imagination as a starting point for connection to Gnosis. Neptune rules the heroin addict but it also rules the practices of the Dalai Lama and the prayerful.

The archteype of Pisces is the unbound realm of mystery, that which is divine and that which we conjure – indeed, Neptune rules these mutable waters. Primal soup of Alpha and Omega.

So…wow. Two areas or themes in our life are ‘in square’ with ZERO apparent common ground for negotiation. In some matters, we have been floating along in our little boat with our vision, our story, our beliefs and bam, a steam ship looms in the thinning fog, closing in fast. We’re flailing around best we can but it looks like we’ll be going under. Or perhaps we have been making quantifiable strides in building an area of our life; we’ve been going from strength to strength and everyone can see the fruits of our labour and bam, one of the support beams starts to crack and you can daily measure it spreading while you run around trying to source a solid fix.

Phrases I am hearing: ‘I can’t absorb any more responsibility’. ‘All I want to do is sleep.’ ‘I don’t know how we can both be from the same family.’ ‘I cant concentrate.’ ‘I am not a racist but its not my fault.’ ‘For a while, I could see a way to keep training for my dream job while I pitched in with an ailing relative but now I just have tunnel vision.’ ‘The money I was counting on for Christmas must now go for a washing machine.’ ‘My parents say I am not a good Christian if I like that politician.’ ‘Where does all the time go?’ ‘I want to give my kids the best Christmas presents to make up for being away so much but there is no way I can afford it – what will they think of me?’ ‘The test results are back but the doctor says he cant fit me in til next year!’ ‘Invest some more or close up shop?’

 

Checking out our handy road map, we can start framing our thoughts around the following points:

This vise is going to tighten, let up a bit and tighten up again three times between this November and next September. That’s three chances to perfect a balance between Earth and Sea, tangible and intangible values. You are in the midst of the first chance: take detailed notes about how you and the other end of the power cord are positioned: pre-existing grudges, vague or timid language, and what would happen if you considered and, maybe, said out loud that you could compromise or that you have been wrong? What would your response be if the other side said that to you…are you ready?

Saturn is in Sagittarius. Yes, the analogy of E.U. governments slamming doors on emigrants could apply to your situation. But I feel strongly that in individual readings, we might also need to check our analysis with a basic premise of astro: Saturn must express according to Jupiter’s house rules. While Saturn feels harsh, its prime objective is physical security via tangible world systems. Saturn generally cuts off excess. Maybe we shouldn’t be too quick to pout. The area of your life that is run on Sag or Pisces energy could be excessive in ways that aren’t obvious – are you willing to zoom in and see? Good Times Jupiter needs that foundation in order to party-plan realistically. Sag also rules our philosophies and our understanding of Justice; maybe we need to rebuild or edit the mental structures that we use to judge these themes. Yes, Saturn is ‘cold’ but its travelling through fire. Yes, Saturn expects action but in Sag, that action will be manifest in all sorts of creative ways and if we find we must backtrack to begin again, we can decide to be glad for the chance.

Neptune is in Pisces – its very own castle –  which means there is access to passwords, security codes, way cool intuition, aha!moments every bit as much as death-by-chocolate cake. In this area of life, you can gnosis that what you feel and experience here is universal. From the dawn of humanity, others have felt desolation, pain, confusion; others have felt so high, transcendent, metamorphic. You are not alone. This may sound trite but let it sink in. You are not the First Victim. You are not the First to experience Rapture. No one can judge you or compare your experience as greater or lesser. You are being. Try to visualize the boundless power that courses through your unique self simply because You Are, with or without physical means.This is a warm reality check.

This square is fair notice that the Nodes have moved from cardinal to mutable mode. That means the flexibility inherent in the square belongs to both sides. Growth now comes infreedom copywrite1weaver direct proportion to how adaptable and responsive we can be – and yes, that will be far more difficult for some, but just considering a change in operation mode can be a start. Even a tyrant can get curious about how it might feel to have less friction in their interactions. This square between Saturn and Neptune will generally manifest as one side clearly having all the apparent power. Beware of falling for this mirage.

Ah, there is more I would like to say but, generally speaking, I hope this gives some bumper guard. I have been wanting to post for weeks but so much is going on (one example of the square, in fact: literally half of the house is a construction site as walls and floors are removed and we go ‘open-plan’ while the winter torrential rainy season hovers ominously. Oh, and have I mentioned that The Engineer recently inherited a pregnant goat?!), it is wiser to pour what I’ve got into quality client work. I worry specifically about clarity in my writing with this square and hope that you will let me know if something reads amiss.

What themes are squaring for you? Areas of your life that resonate with this post will be affected again in June and September of 2016. Take advantage of the big picture with a reading today. elemental.living(at)yahoo(dot)com

– weaver

 

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Paphos Street Art

Paphos is a contender city for ‘European Culture Capital 2017’. There are so many people volunteering time and energy doing what they can to make this place as culturally amazing as possible (yes, you should come holiday here!). One recent addition is right up my alley: street artists have covered the walls around a small municipal car park in the old town. As soon as I heard, off I went down the mountain to have a inspired viewing and I wasn’t disappointed. The images, works by a half dozen or so artists, were intriguing, original and potent. Encore!

 

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