I received a call from one of my Kiwi feng shui students the other day, asking me, ‘OMG! What’s going on in London?’ The call came of course, after the most recent and it must be said very provocative attack on bystanders at a London Mosque. My immediate response was to answer her by explaining the earlier two attacks at the Manchester Arena, and on London Bridge and the Borough Markets in terms of their feng shui and the Four Pillars of Destiny (Chinese Astrology). My answer was as follows: ‘Well the two May 2017 attacks in both Manchester and London were Rooster Year/Rooster Days, so they were days of Penalty. The month of May was the Month of the Snake and the timing of both attacks were between the hours of 9pm and 11pm, the Hour of the Pig. (This takes into consideration that the UK is currently one hour ahead due to their use of Daylight Savings or Summertime.) Since the Pig and the Snake sit opposite one another in the Chinese zodiac, they are deemed to Clash with one another. Clash here indicates disturbance, even conflict for the duration of the period they come into contact with each other.
In addition, both the Manchester Arena and the Borough Markets, have significant Sha qi’s directed at them. (Sha qi is best understood in terms of a killing or attacking energy that assaults and has the potential to cause grievous harm wherever is it directed.)
Furthermore, the young Muslim lad who carried out the Manchester bombing, Salman Abedi, was born on a Rabbit Day. This put him in direct clash with the two Rooster’s present on the day of the attack:
- 22nd May, 2017 at 9:30pm (adjusted to 10:30pm for Daylight Savings Time UK)
- 2017: Yin Fire Rooster
- May: Yin Wood Snake
- Day: Yin Earth Rooster
- Hour: Yin Wood Pig
The above shows the Clash and Penalty at work. Very similar dynamics were at work with Khuram Shazad Butt, the mastermind behind the June 18th attacks on London Bridge and the Borough Markets. This helps us understand the dynamics at work in the lives of the perpetrators.
When we look at the physical surroundings of both locations, we find significant sha qi slashing into the Manchester Arena”: images curtesy of Google Earth.
Manchester Arena showing Sha Qi Image courtesy of Google Earth
Such sha qi factors have long been recognized in traditional feng shui as having the potential to cause considerable harm to locations on their receiving end. In particular, they are said to engender violence and open conflict.
Another factor at work, one that is directly related to the current Period of 8 in the Flying Stars School of Classical Feng Shui, (2004-2024), is that since the number 8 relates to young children in Chinese Metaphysics, we can expect there to be many cases of tragedies affecting young Children. This started with the Breslin School Massacres in Russia in September 2004, when more than 330 people were killed, at least 185 school children among them. The same kind of phenomena was highlighted again in the Boxing Day Tsunami in which countless thousands of children died. It has since been a constant feature of the Period that we see dreadful stories of tragedies and harm to children. The milk powder scandal in China in which doctored New Zealand milk products played a significant role, saw many young babies and infants made terribly ill, with many dying. The terrible toll on infants in conflicts in Syria and beyond, are all examples of how the Period of 8 impacts negatively on children.
London’s Borough Market, showing the Sha Qi pressing on the site.Imagery courtesy of Google Earth.
My student’s response was: ‘I get most of that (mostly), but it really makes me wonder about the threads joining all of the individual events. What are they? How do they work?’
I think the answer lies partly, at least, in understanding time and place and the wider socio-political climate of the day. History is often a good guide to the social response of a community within the framework of their own time and place. English history itself is an excellent place to look for precedents of similar religious based turmoil as is washing over Europe and the United Kingdom today. The Reformation of the 16th Century that swept across Europe, was a response to the widespread abuses by the Church of Rome. At the same time, in Tudor England, there were oscillating mass persecutions of pro and anti-Protestants. Both situations are two very good examples of occasions when religious extremism dominated the socio-political landscape. Much of the anti-Catholic persecutions in Tudor England were instigated, by Henry VIII, and his henchmen, as aspects of his power struggle with the pope in trying to rid himself of first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and continued when the pope refused either to sanction Henry’s divorce, or to accept him as Head of the Church in England. Eventually, by declaring himself head of the Church in England, Henry did ultimately rid himself, once and for all, of Catherine, the pope and Rome’s overreaching influence. But at a terrible cost to his subjects. This struggle was always much more political than it ever was about religion, although expediently Henry made it about religious doctrine. On the death of his male heir Edward VI, his daughter by Catherine of Aragon came to the throne and the pendulum swung violently back against the protestants. The social unrest due to the religious turmoil that had plagued much of her father’s and her brother’s reigns continued during her own short but savage time on the throne. Not for nothing was she dubbed by history ‘Bloody Mary’. Much greater religious tolerance was eventually to be one of the legacies of her sister Elizabeth I’s reign. Not so of course, across the Channel, where religious intolerance continued and was to see England welcome waves of successive refugees in the coming centuries; from Jews escaping various pogroms across Europe, even as far north as Russia, to the Huguenot’s fleeing Catholicism’s long reach, my own ancestors being amongst these.
Henry VIII of England broke with Rome and declared himself Head of the Church in England.
The same broad period saw the commencement and growth of the Spanish Inquisition (1478), which savaged not only Jewish communities across Europe, the Iberian Peninsula especially, but also quickly reaching as far as the New World. Both sides, Protestant and Catholic were absolute in their judgements against anyone wishing to practice anything other than their own prescribed versions of the one true religion. This saw the torture and slaughter of not only anyone of the opposite faith, but encompassed those perceived to be practicing any of the old, pre-Christian religions; indiscriminately damning them all as heretics, witches, and the Devil’s Spawn. On both sides, their opprobrium included homosexuals. Judgements seem to have been particularly harsh towards non-compliant women. Indeed, it is still within living memory that many male homosexuals were incarcerated for their orientation based on specious scriptural influences leeching into the legal code. Neither should we forget, the last jailing of someone convicted of being a witch in England was as recent as WWII when Mary Martins was found guilty of being a witch and a spy. The Tudor upheavals were all carried out under what we today, would consider extremist views, but which were totally acceptable at the time. That Christianity’s disapproving eye saw other men and women; who were, more often than not, simply practicing earlier forms of folk religion, taken to the stake and burned as witches. Many of these were in fact, simply herbalists and healers, local wise-men and women; more interested in Nature than in the imported gods that successive invaders brought to England, from the Romans and the Norsemen, all the way through to the Christians with their imported, middle-eastern, monotheistic, Son-of-God!
Gay men, incarcerated by the Nazis and forced to wear the infamous Pink Triangle. I Instead of releasing them, the triumphant Christian allies treated them as common criminal’s and returned them to their cells to serve out their full sentences.
It’s interesting to note that from the 16th, right up to the early 19th Centuries, church attendance on Sundays was compulsory by statute of law in England. Those who disobeyed were liable for severe penalties, including life imprisonment, although this was, thankfully seldom imposed it seems. The first of these Acts were finally repealed in 1828, with Catholic Emancipation coming a year later. Jewish Emancipation was not granted until 1890. We are not so far removed from the Christian version of Sharia law in time it seems! Historically, whenever religious intolerance reared its ugly head, all factions were absolutely convinced they were right, were about God’s work and were more than happy to arrest, detain indefinitely, torture, put on the rack, mutilate, de-bowel, hang draw-and-quarter, behead, and of course, burn their opponents; all in the name of the ‘the one true religion’. These outbreaks of wanton, abject cruelty, were of course, simply the same kind of earlier religious intolerance and violence that had spread across much of the Mediterranean, the Middle-east and into Europe by Muslim invaders of these areas from approximately the 9th century forward. These soldiers of Islam were very determined and enthusiastic in their efforts at spreading their religious message, and did so violently, by the sword. The first of the Crusades in 1095 was in fact as much a political response by European defenders to Islamic invaders, as it was on religious grounds.* In 1529, Suleiman the Magnificent laid siege to Vienna, and had it not been for unforeseen rainstorms stopping his progress, he doubtless would have conquered much of central Europe. Although much has been romanticized about the Christian’s Crusades, they were in fact it seems as much a political response, and not just a purely religious one, to Muslim attempts at European hegemony. That the Muslim invasions of Europe initiated the call by its rulers to defend their borders and their faith, is not in question, according to modern scholarship, but appears to have been largely forgotten, or misunderstood today. Or as is often the case, swept aside by guilt at the successive waves of European invasion and colonization over the last four hundred years. Sometimes we are reminded of brief but ultimately futile outbreaks by the likes of Muhammad Ahmad bin Abd Allah; tagged derogatively by the British ‘the Mad Madhi of Khartoum’, who soundly defeated and slaughtered England’s military hero, General ‘China’ Gordon and his army in 1885.
Left: General Charles Gordon – Right: Muhammad Ahmad bin Abd Allah
I think therefore, we can safely say that much of today’s unrest in Europe and the United Kingdom is just the most recent example of the incredible damage that religious bigotry in any form, but particularly that engendered by the three Abrahamic faiths, have wrought across the world in the last 1,200 years and more. Of course, there are many other deep and as yet unresolved issues around the social and political disenfranchisement of whole generations who have been displaced into Europe now by the remnants of post-colonial wars, economic instability, governmental incompetence both in the homelands and by host governments, racism, both overt and covert. This has left many young men uprooted from their native lands and cultures struggling to come to terms with their rootless lives in an Europe that itself is now struggling to understand their anger and frustration. Their parents, more often than not, themselves escapees from the savage dictatorships that were two a penny in the post-colonial period. Their children having been transplanted too into foreign societies that in many cases, have been less than welcoming to them. Angry, unemployed, feeling ostracised and outcast, some, young men, a small minority, turn back in on themselves, and their own, fall prey to the likes of Al Qaeda, Isis and others who prey on their sensitivities and sensibilities. This is where and when they are most vulnerable to the attractions of a sense of belonging, of a sense of purpose and of course, all too tragically, once indoctrinated, by the promise of virgins in a far-away heaven, if only they fulfil the righteous duty of ridding the world of an infidel or two.
Now come new waves of refugees, once again fleeing both economic and political instability, wars in many instances. Others simply seeking a better life in more stable economic climates. victims of people smugglers, desperate for a chance at a better life than in the homelands they have fled. Is it any wonder that those raised in their native Europe and United Kingdom are starting to struggle to see when will the waves of refugees ever stop? They too easily by now, start to feel a sense of anger at the few who fail to settle and lash out, following the extremist path. It’s perhaps surprising there is not more violence and conflict over these issues.
So, when looking at the threads that join individual players to the kinds of tragic events we are now almost weekly witnessing in Europe and the United Kingdom, it is important to place both the individuals, their locations and the events that tie them together, onto a broader tapestry of historical context. Although religious bigotry, current political expediency and personal choice all make up the warp and weft of the fabic as a whole, individual players are often just that, players, caught-up in time, space, and in our own current socio-political climate. They may well deem themselves ‘God’s warriors’ but they are just as caught up in the hysteria and insanity of religious intolerance as any of our forefathers, on either side, of similar, earlier battles were. World history, is awash with examples of individuals caught-up in the web of such fiery dynamics. Therefore, when we see these dramas being played out on the world stage in today’s particular theatre, although we are often entrapped emotionally in the horror and chaos of these events, it is important to remember that these modern-day, extreme, Islamic protagonists, are simply mirroring the bigotry and self-conviction of their own forefathers and that our own Christian forbears showed exactly the same antagonisms towards one another in their own struggles for doctrinal dominance. Although it’s easy to get confused by the political rhetoric that surrounds today’s terrorist attacks, it is important to put it squarely in the frame of a religious war, as it is perceived, by the extremists themselves, who carry out their ‘holy acts’. And, although both Feng Shui and the Four Pillars of Destiny give us wonderful and intriguing insights into events, and the people who carry them out, they are just that, insights into time and place. Neither Feng Shui nor the Four Pillars of Destiny precludes the freedom of choice by individuals.
And while there is clearly a responsibility on the part of host countries to ensure refugees and immigrants of whatever background, once accepted, are truly welcomed, and helped to make new and meaningful lives in their adoptive lands, still much of the responsibility for the mayhem by those who have clearly fallen through the cracks, lies with the Islamic clergy. Until they step forward and insist the radicals moderate their rhetoric and behaviour, young men will continue to fall for the mystical allure of heavenly virgins; no matter how medieval and bizarre it may seem to us.
As the wonderfully erudite and learned, Ayaan Hirsi Ali has suggested, in her thought provoking book, Heretic, Why Islam Needs A Reformation Now, that if Islam is to find real peace within itself, and come to terms with a world which has moved on from its violent iron age origins, then it too must undergo a similar period of self-examination and reformation as did Christianity in the 16th Century. In fact, it was the Long 18th Century and its accompanying Age of Enlightenment that eventually began to lead the West out of medieval blindness and introduced concepts that…. “Included a range of ideas centred on reason as the primary source of authority and legitimacy, and came to advance ideals (like liberty, progress, tolerance, fraternity, constitutional government, and separation of church and state. In France, the central doctrines of les Lumières were individual liberty and religious tolerance in opposition to an absolute monarchy and the fixed dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church. The Enlightenment was marked by an emphasis on the scientific method and reductionism along with increased questioning of religious orthodoxy—an attitude captured by the phrase Sapere aude, "Dare to know". )
Gay, Peter (1996), The Enlightenment: An Interpretation, W. W. Norton & Company, ISBN 0-393-00870-3
Freedom of religion and the notion of a separation of religion and the state, in fact, still have not truly been won. If they had, American coinage would not have ‘In God We Trust’ emblazoned across it, and the New Zealand Parliament would not be opened with a Christian prayer as it still is. Shouldn’t our goal today be freedom from religion, rather than freedom of religion? It seems to me that the best way of stopping all this religious based violence is to defang religions in the first place. And a very good way to start doing that would be to remove their tax-free status.
The inimitable Christopher Hitchens
I will finish this with one of my favourite verses from the Rubaiyat of that old Sufi rascal Omar Khayyam; who knew a thing or two about life. But first, two quotes from the inimitable and now, all too, sadly, late Mr Christopher Hitchens.
“Many religions now come before us with ingratiating smirks and outspread hands, like an unctuous merchant in a bazaar. They offer consolation and solidarity and uplift, competing as they do in a market place. But we have the right to remember how barbarically they behaved when they were strong and were making an offer that people could not refuse.”
“Thus, the mildest criticism of religion is also the most radical and the most devastating one. Religion is man-made. Even the men who made it cannot agree on what their prophets or redeemers or gurus actually said or did. Still less can they hope to tell us the ‘meaning’ of later discoveries and developments which were, when they began, either obstructed by their religion or denounced by them. And yet – the believers still claim to know! Not just to know, but to know everything. Not just to know, that god exists, and that he created and supervised the whole enterprise, but also to know what ‘he’ demands of us – from our diet to our observances to our sexual morality. In other words, in a vast and complicated discussion where we know more and more about less and less, yet can still hope for some enlightenment as we proceed, one faction – itself composed of warring factions – have the sheer arrogance to tell us that we already have all the essential information we need. Such stupidity, combined with such pride, should be enough on its own to exclude ‘belief’ from the debate. The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for this certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and like all farewells, should not be prolonged. Christopher Hitches:
‘God is NOT Great, How religion poisons everything.’ Pg 4.
Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam #46
‘For in and out, above, about, below,
this nothing but a Magic Shadow-show,
Play’d in a Box whose Candle is the Sun,
Round which we Phantom Figures come and go.’
Other sources used in the compilation of this article are:
*‘The Real History of the Crusades
A series of holy wars against Islam led by power-mad popes and fought by religious fanatics? Think again.’ By Peter F. Madden
Ayaan Hirsi Ali.