The Year of the Black Swan – Brexit and Trump

This article was first published in New View magazine Issue 82, Jan. – Mar. 2017

The study of biography is an important and growing area of research in anthroposophy, related as it is to Rudolf Steiner’s work on the study of karma and reincarnation. As such, biographical work has a socially hygienic function, as it helps to promote the understanding of time (and timing) in one’s life and thus to restore meaning. And it is meaning that human beings crave above all, for we are beings who create meaning through the act of cognition, knowledge. Bestowing meaning in our lives integrates us into the whole pattern of life, and this most of us find deeply fulfilling.

One period in our lives which many of us find especially difficult is the decade of the 40s – the time of the so-called ‘mid-life crisis’. If we are aware of the complex of intersecting temporal factors in those years, it makes it somewhat easier to make our way through the often difficult, if not tempestuous events of that decade, when the ground under our biographical feet may seem to give way in what for many people can become an existential crisis. The knowledge of the factors operating does not mean they cease to affect us inwardly but can make them easier to bear. Few people I know, within or without the anthroposophical movement, have passed through those years unscathed in some way. There is not space here to go into those factors in detail but study of a combination of anthroposophical and astrological findings would reveal that the peculiar complex of factors operating in those years is what underlies the biographical turbulence that so many people experience. When one knows this, it can help one to feel less isolated and less existentially threatened; it can take the edge off the pain or the desperation that often occurs.

We have been passing through a similarly complex era in human history now for the past 35 years or so. Steiner maintained that a proper understanding of the starry heavens would reveal deep insights into the workings of human lives on Earth. From an anthroposophical perspective, the time in which we are now living is almost directly comparable to the period of the mid-life crisis of the 40s in a single human biography. To understand this we need to consider that we are currently, approximately, 9000 years through a 15,000 year-long great epoch, which in anthroposophy is called the Post-Atlantean Period. This Post-Atlantean period is made up of seven smaller periods, or ‘Ages’ of time, each made up of 2160 years, the time taken for the Earth to pass by, as it were, one sign of the Zodiac (although in astronomical terms one would have to describe this more accurately by referring to the vernal equinox and how that changes over time in relation to the Zodiac). Accordingly, The great epoch began in 7227 BC with the Zodiacal Age of Cancer, the Crab, and as the spring equinox(1) has regressed through the Zodiac (the ‘passing by’ of the Earth through the Zodiac sign, as it were) we have passed through four Zodiacal ages (Cancer-Gemini-Taurus-Aries: each of 2160 years) and are now 603 years into the fifth age, the age of Pisces, which began in 1413. Steiner calls this the age of the Consciousness Soul, when we are challenged to awaken consciously and individually to what we are as human beings, and ultimately, to our spiritual identity. I have written about various aspects of the factors operating in our time in other articles in New View. In this article, I would like to focus on one further such factor. To understand this, we need to go back 400 years.

The ‘fiery trigon’

In the early 17th century, esotericists, astronomers and astrologers were aware that in the year 1603 a new age had dawned, and as a result, they were looking forward to great changes, which they interpreted, as was common in those days, through a biblical lens. The changes did indeed come but not as wondrously as they had expected, due to their faulty mode of interpretation. Christian esotericists hoped for a union of the Book of the Macrocosm (Nature) and the Book of the Word (the Bible, or the human being) that would effect a complete social reformation prior to the Second Coming and the Apocalypse. What happened instead was the development of natural science (through Kepler, Bacon, Galileo, Descartes, Mersenne and others) and the Thirty Years War (1618-48) which devastated Central Europe; the region took half a century to recover. Along with these developments went the transfer of power from the south to the north of Europe: from the Catholic Mediterranean powers (Spain, Portugal, Venice) to France (majority Catholic but with a large Protestant minority) and the northern, Protestant  powers of Holland, Sweden and especially England. It was the final phase of the transition from the late mediaeval to the early modern world. The sighting of two astounding and unprecedented supernovas in the constellation of Cassiopeia in 1572 and in the constellation Serpentarius (Ophiucus) in 1604, as well as a blazing comet in 1577 (now called C/1577 V1) and a new star in Cygnus in 1600,  had alerted astronomers and astrologers to  the fact that a momentous event was certainly now at hand. These signs, they felt, were the markers of the arrival of an astronomical phenomenon they called the ‘Fiery Trigon’. The period 1583-1603 was thought to foreshadow enormous historical events. Richard Harvey, in his book Astrological Discourse, (published in London in 1583), looking forward to the age of the ‘fiery trigon’ that would begin in 1603, wrote: [The] water trigon shall perish, and be turned into fire. …we are most like to have a new world, by some sudden, violent & strange alteration, which ere heretofore hath always happened. At the ending of one Trigon, & beginning of an other. [sic]

What was this trigon? Every 20 years there is a meeting, a conjunction of the two giants Jupiter and Saturn in the heavens, as viewed from Earth. This, of course, takes place against the background of the Zodiac and, over 60 years, three of these conjunctions trace out an invisible equilateral triangle, or ‘trigon’. After a further 20 years a fourth meeting then takes place, slightly further on around the Zodiac circle (see fig.1) than the first of the previous set of three conjunctions, so that gradually the invisible equilateral trigon formed by the positions of the conjunctions rotates, so to speak, around the entire Zodiac. The 12 signs of the Zodiac were traditionally grouped in sets of 3 that were related to the  four primal elements, one might say, of Fire – Earth – Air and  Water, in that order. And so our triangle passes around the Zodiac, in a great cycle, through the elements of Fire, Earth, Air and Water. The beginning of each cycle commences in the element of Fire and thus we have the ‘Fiery Trigon’.

Saturn was traditionally associated with the past and Jupiter was seen as the planet associated with the future and from at least the time of the Persian astrologer Abu Mashar(2) (787-886) at the court of the Abbasid Caliph Harun al Rashid(3) in Baghdad, this grand procession of the meetings between both planets had been seen by the wise to be pointers to major changes in historical epochs. They observed that the passing of these series of triangular conjunctions through each ‘element’ in the three signs, or constellations, of the Zodiac related to each of the elements (beginning with Fire) took approximately 200 years or more; each element, through the related three signs of the Zodiac, ‘receiving’ 10 conjunctions of these two planets. Therefore, the completion of the whole trigon passing through the four elements of the Zodiac took around 800 years before returning again to begin a new great cycle with the element of Fire. The wise observers of the stars realised that around every 800 years a major new historical impulse was to be expected. In Abu Mashar’s time, in 809 AD,  Jupiter and Saturn had met at 3° (i.e. 3° of the 360° of a circle drawn around the Zodiac) of Sagittarius – the ‘Centaur’, for each constellation in the Zodiac has, as is well known, a creature or human connected to it.
Now, returning to the period we mentioned earlier a conjunction was due in the constellation of Fishes (Pisces) near the spring equinox point, in the year 1583 that would complete a great cycle of trigons around the Zodiac. And so, 20 years later, in 1603, the astrologers of Europe looked towards the beginning of a new ‘800 year grand cycle’ and a new historical impulse when Jupiter and Saturn would once again begin to meet in the Fire signs, at 9° of Sagittarius. This, for contemporaries, was the cosmic and historical significance of the years 1603-1604(4) Steiner noted  that:  it is always about 400 years  [from the beginning of a 800 year Jupiter-Saturn grand cycle] in which any powerful influence makes its strongest mark; then the impulse begins to ebb and then the streams divide.(5) This suggests that the four phases Fire-Earth-Air-Water – each phase about 200-250 years long –  correspond respectively to the onset, consolidation, destabilisation/weakening, and decay of a particular historical impulse. The dates of the beginnings of these phases are (Fire) 1603, (Earth) 1842, (Air) 2020 and (Water) 2220.


   FIRE Signs           EARTH Signs         AIR Signs         WATER Signs

      781 BC                  543 BC              364 BC                165 BC

        14 AD                    253                  432                     630

          809                     1047               1226                   1425

         1603                     1842               2020                  2220

What can we discern of these influences in history? The period 1603-1842 certainly proved to be ‘fiery’ in more ways than one –  from the Thirty Years’ War, through the age of European overseas expansion, colonisation, and empire-building, to the Commercial, Agricultural, Scientific, Industrial and Political revolutions, and culminating in the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars and their aftermath. The fiery trigon beginning in 1603 would above all introduce the impulse of the natural sciences and careful attention to the phenomena of the physical world, as well as the rise to world power of England. Perhaps the key problem of the age was: would European man be able to continue to read both in the Book of Nature and in the Book of the Word, as hermeticists had hoped since the Renaissance began in the 15th century, or would mind and heart, logic and intuition, fall apart?

If we assume that the new impulse that came in with the fiery trigon was that of materialism and especially materialistic natural science, with all the social and political consequences of that impulse, one of the most important being finance and central banking, it is not hard to see that by the 1840s this materialist impulse had reached a kind of philosophical peak, as indeed Steiner did affirm.(6) It was in the 1840s that materialism overwhelmed idealism in Germany, for example, and thereafter, the Romantic movement faded. There followed 200 years of ‘consolidation’ (the ‘Earth’ phase, that began in 1842) when this materialism thoroughly permeated all aspects of modern society. What seized hold of the thinking of European culture in 1603-1842 entered even more profoundly into its feeling and will from 1842 until today; the development of the architecture and culture of New York City is perhaps a prime symbol of this period.(7)

New York and Donald Trump

In the 20th century New York became the financial and arguably the artistic centre of the world and its hubristic architecture has been copied worldwide, most sensationally in the Burj Khalifa skyscraper, opened in Dubai in 2010, at 829 metres (2722 ft.), the tallest building in the world by far. In more recent years the “I Love NYC” logo or badge has become ubiquitous worldwide and the world-famous Statue of Liberty became perhaps the symbol of the American Dream for all the immigrants who arrived in America through New York. They soon realised that what the city was primarily about was money, the symbol of which today is Charging Bull (see figure 2), the great bronze bull that has stood in the financial district near Wall St. since December 1989. Before this, the prime modern symbol of the city was the Twin Towers  (constructed 1966-1973) of the World Trade Center, and subsequently destroyed on 9.11.2001. Then came the Great Crash of 2008 which was centred on Wall St. in New York and most recently, the property developer Donald J. Trump, who, some would say, is an arch-New Yorker, an unstoppable bronze bull of another kind, who this year, supposedly against all the odds and all the polls, was elected to become the next US President in what has been called a “political earthquake” and the “end of an era”.

But an era is indeed ending, as it was in 1599 and 1838, four years before 1603 and 1842. Today, we are moving from the 2nd to the 3rd phase of the impulse that began in 1603 with the Fiery Trigon. We are moving from the Earth Trigon phase (1842) to the Air Trigon phase (2020), from the consolidation of that impulse to the weakening and destabilisation of it. The impulse of materialism and English-language cultural dominance will not end for a long time yet, for it is now (from around 2020) entering its 400 year-long downward phase – ‘destabilisation/weakening’ and then ‘decay’ – when it will become weaker and weaker over the next 4 centuries until it finally collapses or fades away entirely. It is this imminent change of era that many people around the world are more or less consciously feeling today, just as it was felt in Europe as the Fiery Trigon approached in 1603. Some have felt it since 9/11, more since the Iraq War and then the Crash of 2008, and even more since 2011 (the Occupy movement, the turmoil in the Middle East following the so-called ‘Arab Spring’, the wars in Ukraine and Syria, the migration issue in Europe). The pervasive sense that democracy is failing, that there are no new profound ideas to deal with the problems caused by globalist capitalism, that the American economy and the position of the US dollar is becoming ever more fragile and that more and more countries, notably Russia and China, are challenging the former dominance of the USA – all of this signals the approaching end of the post-1945 US hegemony which was but a continuation of the British global hegemony that was at its height in the 1840s. From the 1840s until today has been the age of Anglo-American empire. That is now cracking, weakening, becoming unstable. The approach of the Air trigon phase – the series of triple meetings of Jupiter and Saturn over some 200 years, in sets of 60 years each – is the cosmic background to the changing of the times that countless people, not just in America, feel is imminent.

Donald Trump, like him or loathe him, is the man who has emerged in this moment of transition. If one looks at an astrological chart of where planets and Zodiac constellations related at the time of his birth, the commencement of his earthly destiny, certain themes become visible, now that he is in the latter phase of his life. He has a down-to-earth, Taurean feeling for buildings and property and has made his career out of it; he has an unstoppable bull-like nature emphasised by much Mars energy in his horoscope, but he is also an unpredictable Gemini, an Air sign. His feeling for family and for America and its past (Make America Great Again! – nostalgia for the past) is rooted in his Venus and Saturn, both in Cancer. He wants to communicate that feeling in an emotional way (Mercury in Cancer) but often does so in a drastic, shocking fashion (Uranus in Gemini) as well as a typical Geminian sanguine chattering style (his frequent use of Twitter, the internet messaging facility via smartphones). A battling, ambitious, lead-from-the-front personality (Mars in Leo), his Jupiter in Libra gives him open-mindedness and a certain impartiality or flexibility.

The post-1945 world order

Trump says he wants to restore the American economy. It has certainly been hollowed out by the costs of military imperialism and by the impact of globalisation and the export of American jobs, but Trump’s nativist ‘America First’ attitude to world trade deals (TPP, TTIP, NAFTA)(8) goes against the direction of the post-1945 American-dominated world order. The administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and then of President Harry Truman and his Secretary of State Dean Acheson established an architecture of global institutions after 1944 (Bretton Woods, GATT, IMF, the World Bank, the UN, the Marshall Plan) not out of any great sense of American benevolence and genuine supra-nationalism, but because they wanted to control all aspects of the global economy in the interests of American banks and corporations and believed in America’s destiny to shape and rule the world, following on from Britain. Acheson, who was already imagining the shape of the coming post-war, American-dominated world in 1939 (!), said in a speech at Yale University in autumn that year that the causes of the war were in “the failure of some mechanisms of the Nineteenth Century world economy,” which resulted in “this break-up of the world into exclusive areas for armed exploitation administered along oriental lines” (i.e. European colonialism). Instead, Acheson and other members of the internationalist American elite looked forward to a world under sole US control, at least in the non-communist regions.  Recreating a world peace, he said in that speech that “a broader market for goods made under decent standards,” would be required as well as “a stable international monetary system” and the removal of “exclusive preferential trade agreements.” Acheson then called for the immediate establishment of “a navy and air force adequate to secure us in both oceans simultaneously and with striking power sufficient to reach to the other side of each of them.” Essentially, he was advocating a global ‘liberal’ economic order under US control via US-dominated global institutions i.e. a world safe for American business and thus a world which would deliver prosperity for Americans – all guaranteed by the global might of the US military. And in succeeding decades, if any countries objected, their governments would be undermined, overthrown or if necessary, invaded by the CIA and/or the US military. This was the ‘Pax’ Americana that lasted from 1945 until at least 2008 and which, after an intermediate period (1918-1945) followed on from the ‘Pax’ Britannica of 1815-1914.

This Pax Americana  was truly global in reach and scope, and American culture, from Elvis Presley and Big Macs to blue jeans and Microsoft spread around the world, but just because something appears to be ‘global’ and ‘cosmopolitan’ does not necessarily mean it is Michaelic in the spiritual sense i.e. does not mean it is truly working for spiritual individuality and the spiritualisation of thinking – impulses which, according to Steiner, are those inspired by the archangel of the Sun, Michael. Islam, communism, capitalism – these are all cosmopolitan, supranational impulses, but they are not inherently ‘Michaelic impulses’ because they are not spiritual or individualistic. In the anthroposophical movement before the EU referendum (on June 23rd this year), this writer came across a number of people who argued that the EU was cosmopolitan and anti-nationalistic and therefore, indeed, ‘Michaelic’. However, European elites,  in attempting to establish their United States of Europe, have been beholden to Washington and Wall St., a few acts of resistance to American corporations notwithstanding. Furthermore, the Eurocrats’ goal is the creation of a single new nation state called ‘Europe’, and their response to the Brexit referendum, as evidenced by the statements of the former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, now the EU representative in negotiations over Brexit, has been to press for even “more Europe” by which he means more EU centralisation. ‘Europe’ and the EU, however, are by no means the same thing. Europe has existed for millennia; it is a matter of land, climate, geography, peoples, languages, cultures, shared history, all of which have evolved organically; the ongoing EU project, by contrast, is an artificial intellectual construct created by a small number of elitists(9) to serve the perceived self-interest of their countries, as well as a few genuine supranationalists who dreamed of a federal United States of Europe.

Today, however, the American world order is beginning to crumble; it is no longer as stable as it once was. The domestic costs of that ‘liberal’ world order in terms of lost jobs, crime and drug addiction, the decay of physical infrastructure, moral values and social cohesion were what led to Trump’s victory. Sensing this American decline despite the ever growing hubris of the liberal internationalist elite (e.g. Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize award), more and more American citizens who do not live in the metropoles of Washington DC, New York City or Los Angeles became increasingly frustrated by the inability of successive administrations, Democrat and Republican, to address the obviously worsening problems at home while involving America in steadily increasing and ruinous commitments abroad. This was the hollowing-out process that negatively affected the Roman Empire and led to its downfall. Americans’ desperation has finally resulted in their election of Trump.

The shock for ‘liberals’

Trump’s victory and the British people’s decision (by a margin of just over 1.2 million) to leave the European Union in the referendum held on 23 June  this year profoundly shocked many ‘liberals’ and ‘progressive-minded‘ people in the USA and Britain. Many young people in particular, those of the ‘Millennial’ digital generation of the smartphone and social media, seemed to experience a kind of emotional near-breakdown or depression at the prospect of what they strangely imagined was the end of a hopeful era (despite the crash of ’08, rising debt, growing surveillance state, and more wars!) and the imminent arrival of a crypto-fascist or even actual fascist state. What lay behind these feelings of shock and resentment, which resulted in riots on the streets in the USA and bitter accusations of lies and racism in Britain? Young people today live in a 24/7 communications media reality, many of them almost symbiotically connected to their smartphones; it is a world of constant messaging, often superficial, invective-filled communication and fast-moving images, little of which exactly promotes thoughtful and reasoned contemplation of issues, let alone the study of complex issues in lengthy texts, but beyond that, and beyond the ‘Millennials’, the shock many liberals felt had to do with the fact that so many metropolitan ‘progressives’ had lost touch (if they ever had it) with the increasingly harsh reality of the lives of millions of their working class contemporaries in the provinces in Britain or the ‘fly-over states’(10) in the USA. They did not see or empathise with the fact that so many people had become the victims of the globalisation – the US-created world order – that liberals and progressives professed to adore and enjoy.(11) They poured scorn on those of their fellow citizens who supported Brexit and Trump as ignorant, uneducated xenophobes and racists -  most infamously evidenced by Hillary Clinton dismissing Trump supporters as a “basket of deplorables” -  and constantly accused them of spreading or swallowing lies. But they themselves were in many cases woefully ignorant of the lies put about by the opponents of Brexit and Trump because they tended  – if they paid attention to the mainstream media at all – to pay too much attention to utterly one-sided media sources such as The Guardian, the BBC and the New York Times, which on the issue of the EU, for example, had spread lies and disinformation for over 50 years!

Few of the opponents of Brexit that this writer encountered or read earlier this year had even been interested in the EU over the past 30 years yet suddenly, after the referendum result,  they were emotionally distraught, as though a treasured family heirloom had been brutally torn from them. Few of these people, however, who cast such aspersions on the ‘uneducated’ Brexit voters, were aware of the history of the EU, how it had started, what its aims and intentions actually were – and above all, how it had been an American-driven, political  project from its beginnings in 1950(12). The mainstream media in Britain had lied about this for decades. Compared to these lies, which deceived the British people in 1973 into joining the European Economic Community (EEC; the forerunner of the EU), in the first place, and which were maintained until the late 1990s, by which time many people had access to the Internet, the pro-Brexit Vote Leave campaign lie – endlessly reiterated in anti-Brexit criticism during and after the referendum -  about the £350 million that the UK was alleged to pay every week to the EU, was small beer indeed. But even during the EU referendum campaign, the anti-Brexit camp remained for the most part fixated on economic issues and did not acknowledge that the EU had always been aiming at the creation of a United States of Europe, a single European federal state on the US model. Neither did the anti-Brexit camp sufficiently acknowledge the economic pain suffered by the countries of southern Europe due to membership of the Euro, which has greatly increased debt and unemployment and accentuated the differences between countries with widely differing economies such as Greece and Germany. The elites in Greece, Portugal and Ireland,  for example,  had ignored these differences and had shackled their economies to the Euro, assuming it would make  their countries more prosperous. Elites in the richer northern countries welcomed these poorer countries into the Euro, thinking it would help to accelerate the momentum towards the goal of a single European state.

In America, even the socialist candidate Bernie Sanders mainly focused on economic  issues (wages, pensions, healthcare payments etc) and not on the damage to dignity, self-worth, and community that has been caused by the western economic model since 1945, let alone by the application of western materialistic thinking to social questions since the 18th century (free market capitalism, Malthusianism, Utilitarianism, Communism, Social Darwinism). In a perceptive article, ‘Psychopathology in the US Election 2016′, Michael Lerner writes:

“…with capitalist consciousness now pervading much of the world, there is a kind of collective, unconscious depression that permeates and impacts all of us, even those who have managed, to a certain extent, to consciously avoid self-blaming tendencies. That pain is then compounded by the suffering of the earth itself as its life-support system collapses under the weight of capitalist accumulation and production, reflecting and contributing to global depression… When reactionary movements gain public support, liberals and progressives simply dismiss them as products of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, or stupidity rather than trying to understand what is missing in the Left’s message. It is so much easier to demean those with whom we disagree than try to understand their legitimate grievances even if the ways they articulate those grievances are irrational and scary. Yet until we do that, these forces will grow…” (13)

The flock and the invisible hand

The evident condescension in the attitudes of many ‘progressives’ towards Brexit and Trump supporters was evidenced, for example, in the horror with which many media commentators reacted to Brexit campaigner Michael Gove’s remark during the referendum campaign that “people in this country have had enough of experts”. He was immediately accused of thinking that amateurs could do brain surgery or pilot airplanes – an entirely false comparison. For the referendum was a democratic event in the political arena, which is an arena of equality in which individual talents should count for nothing before the law; each person has a single vote and makes his own decision on how to cast it based on his experience of life. But there is still a deep-rooted tendency in western society to feel that the people should be guided by ‘experts’ in all things, the sheep should be herded by the shepherds, and this tendency can be observed on the political Left just as much as on the political Right. What else are communist party cadres but such ‘shepherds’? In China and N. Korea today, for example. And in our supposedly more enlightened western democratic societies, one finds people in all walks of life deferring or being required or encouraged to defer to the supposed experts and authorities instead of relying on their own ideas and initiative. One also finds in these countries that decisions are sometimes made in opaque, non-transparent, ways from behind the scenes by invisible agents. Whereas the first case – that of the shepherds seeking to herd the flock – is archetypally found in the Roman Catholic Church, the second case – the ‘invisible hand’ from behind the curtain – has long been present in those countries in which Freemasonry is deeply rooted, notably, the three main countries with imperial pretensions over the past 300 years: Britain, France and America. From an interesting observation that Steiner made 100 years ago, one can see that the shepherd and the sheep scenario is one that particularly permeates the Left in politics and stems historically from the Catholic Church, especially the Jesuits, whereas ‘the invisible hand’, when things suddenly happen and one is never quite sure how or why, but it is evident that they have, has its historical origins in the lodge culture of secretive Freemasonic brotherhoods. This is especially operative on the Right in politics – most notably in the English-speaking world.

An example of the ‘invisible hand’ at work may well be the current legal case being brought against the Brexit decision by a London-based investment manager, Gina Miller. Her Wikipedia entry also describes her as a “philanthropist for the True and Fair Campaign”. True and fair – what could be finer? The campaign apparently works against “mis-selling or financial scandals” and for “greater transparency”. Miller is the lead litigant in the legal case. The other litigant is a Spanish hairdresser who lives in London, one Deir Dos Santos; the media have almost entirely ignored him and told the people nothing about him other than that he is an “ordinary guy”. It is virtually impossible to find a photo of him online.  Almost six months have gone by since Dos Santos became a litigant in this historic case yet the nations’ mainstream media have shown no interest in this supposed working class hairdresser; all their interest has gone to the ethnic minority, female entrepreneur in the financial sector, Gina Miller. On 3 November 2016, the High Court of Justice ruled that Parliament had to legislate before the Government could trigger the process to take Britain out of the EU. In Parliament there are many anti-Brexit MPs. The case now has to go before the Supreme Court, which is expected to give its judgment in early January 2017. The media whipped up a storm after the High Court ruling when one pro-Brexit newspaper declared the judges to be “enemies of the people” determined to frustrate the people’s will for Brexit; the issue was presented as ‘brave businesswoman Gina Miller standing up for British justice’ and the ‘judges defending British justice against Brexit barbarians’, and certainly, it was foolish of the newspapers to attack the three judges who were only doing their job – unless, of course they were Freemasons, in which the case the possibility of behind-the-scenes influence might be relevant, and Masonic influence has indeed been rife in the British judicial system  for well over 200 years(14), though hardly ever reported on by the Press. One of the three judges, Baron John Thomas, is a founding member of the European Law Institute, which apparently seeks to advance the ‘enhancement of European legal integration’; it is known to be anti-Brexit. But if we give the judges the benefit of the doubt with regard to Freemasonry, we can ask a more pertinent question: how did the case actually come to court? Who brought it?
A report on the website has  been one of the few to shed a little light on this, but only a little: on 29 June, six days after the Brexit vote, Gina Miller was invited to give a speech at top London law firm Mishcon de Reya LLP about gender equality.

“When one of the partners, Kasra Nouroozi, approached her to talk, she guessed what it was about.  ‘I instinctively looked at them and said: ‘Article 50,’ she recalled. ‘I just said, ‘I will do it.’”(15)

The spaces concealed within those sentences are eloquent. It would seem that Kasra Nouroozi, or someone at Mishcon de Reya, asked Miller or suggested to her that she should front the legal case against the Brexit result, and Mishcon de Reya would provide her legal team, as it subsequently did. On 3 November the pro-Brexit Daily Mail reported that “the top law firm who derailed Brexit is still refusing to name the rich clients behind its ‘arrogant’ legal bid…. Former model Gina Miller, 51, was the face of the campaign but ‘hundreds’ of businesses, entrepreneurs and academics were claimed to be working with Mishcon de Reya….A spokesman said today, aside from Mrs Miller, no clients will be named. Mishcon told MailOnline that it would not name any clients linked to its Brexit action – and would not confirm if it had worked for free. Among up to a thousand business figures and academics thought to be involved in the Mishcon bid is entrepreneur Alex Chesterman.” Kasra Nouroozi of Mishcon de Reya is on record as saying that the decision to withdraw from the EU must be “not unlawful”, “constitutional” and “democratic”, but the firm refuses to say who is actually behind its bid to block Brexit. This is the kind of lack of transparency at elite levels which has been endemic in British society for centuries. It is not that the those three High Court judges or the Mishcon de Reya partners must be Freemasons, but that they operate in an elite culture which for at least 300 years has been permeated by Masonic traditions and habits of secrecy, hierarchy and control of information and knowledge.

Nationalism and globalism

2016, which began with the unexpected death of the global rock star David Bowie and the release of his Blackstar album and video, has turned out to be the year of the “Black Swan”, a term originally used in the financial world to describe extremely unexpected events that have a major impact. American supporters of Trump, such as the Internet alternative media presenter Alex Jones, frequently assert that our crisis today is one of “nationalism vs globalism” or “1776 vs ‘1984’”.(16) But this is misleading. First, today’s ‘nationalism’ is occurring in a different historical context to that of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Nationalism was a historical feature, as Steiner pointed out(17), of the first period of the Consciousness Soul epoch and was accentuated by the burgeoning materialism of the period 1600-1945. Nationalism can indeed be described as a ‘reaction’ to the dynamic of 19th century global capitalism, but it was more than that; it emerged in the breakdown of the mediaeval universalism of Catholic ‘Christendom’. One can see the seeds of nationalism already in France in such contrasting individuals such as King Philip IV (r. 1285-1314) and Joan of Arc (1412-1431). This breakdown was part of the emergence of the autonomous modern personality in the Consciousness Soul epoch. But nationalism today is occurring in a different historical context. Since the late 19th century we have been living in an ever more  globally conscious era, and from 1945 until approximately 2000, individualism – whether idealistic and/or spiritual, or of a more me-first, self-centred type – has been spreading throughout the world, even in traditionally more collectivist  cultures such as those in East Asia.

Steiner indicated that against this historical background, those elite forces in the West that know how to work with the grain of history for their own ends have sought to establish, behind the mask of democracy – a mask, Steiner said, that bankers especially appreciate(18) -  what is today often called the ‘liberal global world order’. In this attempt to spread their values and practices over the whole world, they have identified the nation state and people’s feelings towards their nation and culture as prime targets for undermining, removal and/or control. They do so because they see nation states as centres of resistance to the global goals of organisations such as the Bank of International Settlements in Basel (the central bankers’ bank), the UN, the WTO, the IMF, the EU and other such global or regional control systems established by the Anglo-American powers after the Second World War and which they like to call in the media “the rules-based system” i.e. their rules-based system.

We can see the relationship between ‘nationalism’ and ‘globalism’ in the overlap between the new global era (from the late 19th century) and what I earlier called the consolidation phase (Earth Trigon 1842-2020) of the 800 year-period that began in 1603, in an article in the London Express on 14 Oct. 1904 titled “Drifting Together”, by the Scottish-American steel magnate and plutocrat Andrew Carnegie:

“This is the age of consolidation, industrially and nationally. Consider the recent consolidation of Italy and the more recent consolidation and rapid growth of the German Empire. Who can imagine that the process has stopped? On the contrary, we are on the eve of further consolidations in Europe of great extent. The successes of the American Republic, 45 States consolidated into one Union, with free trade over all, and that of Germany …are too significant to pass unheeded. …The day of small nations is passing. Their incorporation with larger areas is to be hailed by lovers of progress…. What will Britain do? The day is coming when Britain will have to decide on one of three courses. First, shall she sink — comparatively to the giant consolidations — into a third- or fourth-rate power, a Holland or Belgium comparatively? Here note that we do not postulate her actual decline, but the increased growth of other powers. Or, second, shall she consolidate with a European giant? Or, third, shall she grasp the outstretched hand of her children in America and become again as she was before, the mother member of the English-speaking race?… Her Canadian and republican children across the Atlantic will hail the day she takes her rightful place in the high council of her reunited race — that race whose destiny, I believe with faith unshaken, is to dominate the world for the good of the world.” [emphasis - TB] (19)

Carnegie was right that the age of nationalism was giving way to that of larger unions on the federal nation state model – at that time, but what he seems not to have known is that what he calls “the age of consolidation”, a typically ‘earth’ characteristic, would come to an end c.2020.

The peoples of Europe and the USA are today rising up to challenge the impulses of the consolidated unions that Carnegie and the other Anglo-American plutocrats of his time championed. Today’s American empire is rooted in that same period c.1900; it began with the Spanish-American War of 1898 that saw the USA take Cuba and the Philippines from Spain, and the Americans were urged on by Britain’s imperialist bard Rudyard Kipling with his poem The White Man’s Burden, which was written for the purpose. In 1902, as Britain’s ill-starred war against the Boers of South Africa came to an end, the British and American imperialist elites formed the Pilgrims’ Society(20) to coordinate and combine their efforts, and from that time onwards, the American elite, both Right and Left, seduced by the racial sirens of the imperial cause of ‘Anglo-saxonism’, dragged their countrymen into one war after another in order to pick up the British baton and “to dominate the world for the good of the world.” The eventual predictable result was the same as in the case of imperial Rome, imperial Spain, and imperial Britain – foreign military adventurism and expansionism hollowed out and decayed the economy and society at home. A recent report from Brown University in the US estimates the cost of America’s Middle East wars since 2001 at $4.79 trillion.(21) Added to this in the British and American cases was the sheer greed for profit that drove British and American investors and companies to ignore their own countrymen and women and put their money in overseas operations. The ultimate consequence of all this hollowing out and this decay – the result of over 100 years of capitalist imperialism – has been the election, by a desperate people, of a ‘people’s tribune’ in Donald J. Trump whom they believe or hope will be the saviour who will restore their nation and “Make America Great Again”.

Will Trump be able to fulfil his words? Many expect he will not; the forces ranged against it seem too solid and numerous. Or will he succeed – and another black swan take flight?  In the opinion of this writer, despite the glaring contradiction of a billionaire posing as the ‘tribune of the people’ and the purported ‘friend of the American worker’, the American people were nevertheless right to elect a man who seems to have turned his face very publicly against the imperial adventurism – British in origin – that has, over 100 years, nearly ruined America and in recent times seemed to threaten once again to plunge the world into nuclear war. Time will tell whether Trump’s ‘Americanism’ really has turned its back on the siren song of empire and seeks to focus instead on healing and reconstruction at home.

On 6 April 1917, 4 days after the USA entered the war into which British propaganda had worked so hard to drag the country, Senator Robert La Follette, Sr., one of only 6 senators who voted to stay out of the war, addressed  Woodrow Wilson directly in a speech in Congress:

“There is always lodged, and always will be, thank the God above us, power in the people supreme. Sometimes it sleeps, sometimes it seems the sleep of death: but, sir, the sovereign power of the people never dies. It may be suppressed for a time; it may be misled, be fooled, silenced. I think, Mr. President, that it is being denied expression now. I think there will come a day when it will have expression.  The poor, sir, who are the ones called upon to rot in the trenches, have no organized power, have no press to voice their will on this question of peace or war; but oh, Mr. President, at some time they will be heard — there will come an awakening; they will have their day and they will be heard. It will be as certain and as inevitable as the return of the tides, and as resistless, too.

But as the people awaken, they will need new ideas if they are not to fall once more for the tricks of the Establishment and its media lackeys. Michael Lerner wrote in the article quoted earlier: “We are left with a world filled with people who know there is something deeply wrong but have no overarching framework to help them understand the depth of their internal suffering.” Anthroposophy knows of this “overarching framework” which can address “the depth of their internal suffering”. It needs to put it before the people, not to seek to shepherd them like a flock but to inspire them with a vision that they, understanding it, can put into practice. It was written about extensively in several articles in the last issue of New View (Issue 81 Oct-Dec 2016). It is called the threefold social organism. Its time has come again – if we will but recognise and grasp it.

(1) The day in spring (and autumn) when day and night are of equal length.
(2) Full name: Abu Mashar Jafar ibn Muḥammad ibn Umar al-Balḫi.
(3) According to Steiner, Harun al-Rashid reincarnated as Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) (see Steiner, Karmic Relationships, Vol. 1, 1924, Collected Works GA 235)
(4) The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz anno 1459 was written in 1604 by Johann Valentin Andreae in Tübingen, SW Germany and according to the legend related in the Rosicrucian manifesto Fama Fraternitatis  (1614), the tomb of the Master, Christian Rosenkreutz, was opened in 1604 after 120 years (or six conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn). Whereas the Rosicrucian Manifestos, the Fama Fraternitatis (1614) and the Confessio Fraternitatis (1615) put much emphasis on the reformation of society and science, the Chymical Wedding (1616) balanced this with its hermetic initiation story for the soul which showed the inner journey which a modern man needed to make in the new age.
(5) Lecture by Steiner of 31 Dec. 1910, in R. Steiner, Occult History, Rudolf Steiner Press (RSP), 1982.
(6) Lecture of 14. 10.1917 in R. Steiner, The Fall of the Spirits of Darkness (GA 177), RSP 1993.
(7) The English explorer Henry Hudson claimed today’s New York region for the Dutch East India Company in 1609. New Amsterdam (later New York) began in 1625, but the real expansion of New York began in the mid-19th century with Irish and German immigrants.
(8) TPP – Trans-Pacific Partnership 2016; NAFTA – North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement 1994; TTIP – Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (not yet finalised)
(9) e.g. Dean Acheson, Jean Monnet, French businessman, Konrad Adenauer, German Chancellor, Paul-Henri Spaak, Belgian Foreign Minister.
(10) The states in the central USA between the East and Western Coastal metropolitan areas.
(11) A world based on Chinese cheap labour and Congolese coltan, a metal ore that provides the element tantalum for capacitors used in mobile phones and many other electronic devices.
(12) Acheson in particular had pushed the Europeans – and bullied them when necessary – into forming the European Coal and Steel Community in 1950.
(14) See Martin Short, Inside the Brotherhood (London, 1989) p.282f.
(16) 1984 is the name of a famous novel about continental totalitarianism by the British writer novelist George Orwell, published in 1949
(17) See lect. 1 (18.10.1918) in R. Steiner, From Symptom to Reality in Modern History (RSP 1976)
(18) Lect. 14, 28.10.1917 R. Steiner, The Fall of the Spirits of Darkness, (GA 177) (RSP1993)
(20) The Society still exists today. Queen Elizabeth II is the Society’s patron.