Ruminating on the 2020s

Padjelanta national park, Sapmi - Swedish Lappland
Padjelanta national park, Sapmi – Swedish Lappland

I’ve had good news. I talked on the phone to the haematologist at Treliske hospital in Truro (about 40 miles away) and she seems pleased with my results. Although the readings from blood tests are slowly rising – this is to be expected, but I could be worse than I am – the PET scan I had a couple of weeks ago, to see whether any further damage was being done, turned out well. So I do not need to go back on chemo right now. I’m glad, because I’m tired of getting poleaxed by medication and fatigue. I need to revive before the next round.

But that’s not what I want to write about.

As promised, here are my thoughts on the next ten years or so. There’s a combination of a historian, futurologist, astrologer and seasoned observer coming through here, and long hours in bed have meant a lot of time to ruminate on these things.

I think the 2020s are going to be both difficult and more encouraging than the 2010s. Covid is the beginning of a process, and there are more storms to come – that’s the difficult bit. It’s going to be an uphill grind. Or a different kind of grind than the one we had before.

Looking more longterm, this process started around 2008-12, when the overall balance of global trends tipped critically, and it has been ramping up over the last ten years: the world crisis is no longer a thing of the future but it’s now present and here, in all departments of life and coming at us in waves. We have entered the inevitable period of price-paying for the profligate lives we’ve led in the rich countries and the destructive aspects of the world system we’ve created. Some of us saw this coming way back in the 1960s, but the majority didn’t agree or want to look.

During the 2010s we needed to be given gritty, distressing challenges to get us engaged, to grind us down and prepare us for what happens next. It was in many ways a dispiriting decade, but a lot of good things bubbled underneath. Many revolutions failed, but many people were changed by them. Covid is in a way a climax of that phase and the beginning of the next one. It’s a punctuation point.

The issue is this: since the world has delayed action on necessary human and planetary issues, there’s a lot of catch-up to do, and a lot of damage has been done. We’ve lost fifty years, and things can’t wait. Events are taking over. This is no lnger a matter of opinion.

There’s a long way to go before we find the full range of solutions – it will take the whole 21st Century. To progress, we need to be accelerated into a process of change that will take us out of our comfort zones and confront us with hard facts. Humanity needs to get itself mobilised. Now it’s a time of consequences, imperatives and seeking solutions.

Though a few might think it’s the only option, an all-out catastrophe would not help. Catastrophes hurt, disable, stun and set people back, and they are not the best recipe for change. We need to make big choices and get behind them – even if we’re arm-twisted by events to do so. What’s needed is a deepening series of crises that tip us incrementally into change-processes, forcing us over a succession of thresholds and pushing us to get really real about our situation and its many details, nuances and implications.

It’s especially about human society. Without substantial changes in our group psychology and behaviour, we will not get through the century intact. This concerns cooperation and sharing, and it brings up collective emotional issues about identity, power, who decides, and how much we really care about nature and human nature. It concerns Us and Them.

So people across the world are variously cleaving into progressives and resisters, new tribes and old tribes, and this is the new politics. Ultimately, humanity has to realise it is one tribe, but this will come clear only when Ronald Reagan’s late-1980s Reykjavik Proposition comes true: humanity will unite when it realises it is not alone. But without humanity cooperating as one planetary race, there will be insufficient resolution of environmental issues, tech hazards and the wide range of potentially fatal issues that face us now.

So we’re being accelerated, and it is reasonable to expect further crises ahead, and particularly multiple crises happening at once, or cascading crises with proliferating implications – as Covid is with the social and economic issues it has precipitated. The urge to restore normality is an unconscious reaction to this acceleration, part of the process of letting go of the past. Normality will not be restored, no matter how many dollars and scientists you throw at it. But there are still options. It’s just that the new normal is going to keep changing.

The 2020s are likely to be very different from the 2010s. The shit will increasingly hit the fan. But something else has been bubbling up underneath to meet this and change the equation: a growing surge of new ideas, perspectives, attitudinal changes, technological advances and challenging situations that nevertheless prompt progress and positive developments – as in ‘necessity is the mother of invention’.

Astrologically, an interesting and rare configuration is approaching in the later 2020s for which my best description is ‘cultural florescence under duress’. This will not be easy because we’ll be battling with more crises. But the difference is that the tide will be flowing more strongly then, and this loosens things up. It allows creativity, innovation, new ways of seeing things and new reality-configurations. There is likely to be a battle of ideas, perspectives and loosening positions, and a generational change in which Millennials will be coming to power (and my own generation will be dying off).

One of the big questions will be, do the people exist for the system or does the system exist for the people? Questions of systemic control, the rights of the individual, the needs of the collective and the balance of the three.

This will not be the old workers-and-capitalists battles of the 20th Century: it will be between progressive people and ideas at all levels of society, and resisters, some of them indisposed to change, some victims of change, some of them vested interests, and many who are older, marginalised and disoriented. These too need to be considered, because this isn’t any more about my side or your side of the argument, it’s about the complete outcome of all arguments, for all people and in all areas of life.

So we have come to a need to rehumanise society. Another issue concerns social willingness to cooperate. If change is imposed, and if governments and those at the top of society fail to act in people’s overall benefit and society fails to come together to cooperate, then resistance, exceptionalism and non-cooperation will ensue, complicating things terribly – this issue has been tested in the Covid crisis.

So we’re likely to get an escalation of both problems and solutions, and we’ll be challenged to see when solutions are actually solutions. If we judge events on the basis of past norms, there will be a plethora of problems, but if we judge them on the basis of the possibilities they offer, they become a solution. Much hangs on this. In the Covid crisis, from which everyone is so anxious to escape, we have been given multiple solutions but we fail to see them – we choose to focus on the problem side, on what’s being lost. And yes, things are hard.

This year we have wobbled over a tipping point, toward rehumanising society and making the world more fit to live in. Millions of people are thinking deeply about their lives and about life itself. The rich world is at last starting to become aware of its consumption patterns, which need to reduce radically. And the developing world needs to find new ways of developing from those that have existed before.

Then there’s ‘mental health’, a term based on the presumption that conventional normality is good health. Chaos has broken out in people’s lives, and for many people it’s really hard work. Many, including me, have also had to face being very alone. But calling it a ‘mental health crisis’ avoids the main point.

We’re in a rather necessary spiritual crisis, affecting everyone in varying degrees and ways. For some, this has been really tough – the bottom has dropped out of their universe and many people are flailing. It’s all about facing our demons and fears and, as individuals, communities and societies, we all need to face them. Old values, expectations, judgements and preferences are becoming obsolete, and there’s a lot of grasping at straws, blame and escapology going on. This is a transitional inner growth crisis for many, a time of what disaster professionals call ‘epistemic insecurity’ – confusion over what and who to believe.

In the later 2020s, specifically around 2024-2028, we’re coming into an avalanche period, a torrent of events and issues – but I don’t think it will be as blocked and struggly as the 2010s were. There will be pain and also increasing relief – relief arising from a cumulative adjustment to and acceptance of what’s happening. But the pain often comes first and the relief tends to follow. We’re in the pain bit for now.

Conservative forces from the top to the bottom of society are beginning to realise that things are changing anyway – and this applies also to that part of ourselves that prefers our comfortable routines, habits and security. The part that wants to be the exception. The part that says, ‘I’m up for change as long as it doesn’t affect me’.

There’s a rule in geology: the erosive power of a river increases as the square of its volume. That is, when volume of flow increases three times, erosive power increases nine times. That’s what we’ll see in the 2020s: the erosive power of events. The flow and volume of change is increasing, and it’s eroding anything that gets in the way. Whether we like it or not, it’s coming at us.

But the good news is that a flood also clears out the channels and generates energy. The challenge for us all, for individuals, communities and nations, is to get used to living and operating in a far more tumultuous and challenging world.

What is the gift in that? It will make it easier to face the 2030s and 2040s. Because things are not going to slow down.

But there’s an extra issue here. Whenever the world fully accepts change, things will progress faster but it will still take time. Forests take half a century to grow. People need time to adjust and sort things out. Innovations need trialling. Cities take years to redesign. Soil takes time to reconstitute. This means that, even when the big decisions have been made, it will take decades to find out whether it will actually work. By the 2040s this could raise world neurosis levels to a peak – or it could bring a new kind of sanity. This is new territory – we’ve never done this before and we don’t know what will happen. So the decades following 2030ish could be a nail-biting period.

To put a time-perspective on all this, the two big dates of the 21st century are these: 2048 and 2065. The changes we’re in now are operating in a time-frame from 2012 to 2048ish. I won’t go into that now (my book Power Points in Time tells all), but it’s worth flagging up here.

The 2020s are part of the run-up to 2048 – astrologically a Uranus opposition Pluto. The conjunction, the beginning of the cycle, was in 1965-66, and the square, the growth-crisis, was in 2012ish. So 2048 is the climax of all that started in the 1960s. The 1960s were a time of dawning awareness that all was not well on our planet, and that we faced daunting times. Times that we now are in.

2065 I would call the beginning of the start of the future. The time of nail-biting might well be over, and we’ll know the facts of our situation – the crunch-time is likely to have been around 2048, followed by a rather shell-shocked post-crisis period following it, dealing with pressing realities and taking stock. By 2065 I would imagine that, whatever the state of the world, we’ll have a clearer sense of what comes next. It’s a Neptune square Pluto, the crunchpoint of a cycle starting in 1892.

So Covid has upset the apple-cart. The starting gun has been fired. And, to be honest, even though things are hard, do you really want normality restored? Do you really want to go back to the way things were before? It’s strange to say this, but in some respects, since cancer took over my life a year ago, it’s been coming clear that it’s the best thing that could happen to me. But I do also choose to see it that way – not just in my head but in my bones.

Well, that’s what I think anyway. Whether my prognoses resemble the reality to be, we shall see. None of us can presume to know the big answer. That’s quite amazing, really.

Some links: – my free online report on the state of the world in 2050 (not astrological) – free online – my book Power Points in Time, and how time passes – if you’re interested in astrological cycles in the 19th and 20th Centuries – free online Historical Ephemeris, for serious astrology and history wonks – free online


I woke up this morning with a tune in my head – Steve Winwood’s ‘Somebody help me, yeah’. Must be fifty years old. It was dark. I was wet with sweat. In the last 3-4 days something new seems to have been happening, with a variety of new symptoms suddenly coming up. My hips are aching deeply with a new kind of arthritis. It gnaws at me. It aches deep in my bones. I lay there, stewing in my sweat. I needed a pee but I couldn’t move. The wind was rattling the barn doors.

With first light came the cawing of the hundreds of crows down in the woods below the farm. I love those crows – they assemble in the woods in autumn, gathering from all over West Penwith, to stay together through the winter. Samhain is their time. But this morning their crowing was eerie, echoing around in my psyche and reverberating against its walls.

The aching was invading me, spreading up my back, through my pelvis and down my legs. I don’t often feel self-pity nowadays, but this morning I did. Somebody help me. I wanted to ring up a magic doctor who would come to my aid and rescue me – but when I ring the doctors, all they do is question me, rattle notes down on the computer, and that’s it. Or perhaps they prescribe something I don’t really want, or they might arrange yet another scan in two weeks’ time. I want to be examined, looked at and touched – however wondrous and diagnostically revealing they might be, I don’t want yet another faceless scan.

OMG, I’ve got to get up. My bed’s wet. I’ve got to loosen my bones somehow but they won’t move. I’m stuck. Something inside me disintegrates. I’m desperate for a pee. I heave myself up and get down off my bed. My shirt is wet and cold – I struggle it off and it lies there, limp on the floor. I’m standing there naked, shivering.

Groping around for a new shirt, I pull one out and, wobbling in my heart, I struggle it on and stagger to the toilet. I can’t do this any more. That’s the feeling. Shooting pains go down my legs. I’m standing there peeing, and my heart collapses. Tears well up and I’m standing there, holding myself up, peeing and crying, feeling helpless like a little boy who’s lost in space and can’t find the way home. The tears roll down my face into my beard, my stomach quivers, my legs are working hard to hold me up. I’ve never experienced arthritis like this before – I’ve had arthritis only since last winter as my cancer chemotherapy drew toward its end.

I finish peeing and stand there, holding myself up. My crying is just crying, not about anything, just emotion, tears, weakness, lostness. I stagger back to bed but it’s wet – I can’t get back in. Just as well Penny’s coming later to clean my house – she changes the sheets, makes my bed and takes my dirties away to wash them, bless her. I stand there looking at the bed, my brains slowly computing that the relentless procedure of getting up is about to grind into action, whether I like it or not. Well, at least I’ll be able to move my bones around and loosen up this aching stiffness.

I’m standing there, mindless, helpless, and the sound of the crows is echoing around my psyche. Somebody help me, yeah. But I’m an old warrior: when they’re firing at you, don’t stand there – do something, anything. Do something to pull yourself out of this nightmare. Well, at least no one is actually shooting at me. I’m fixed to the spot, with my feelings erupting and leaking all over the place.

Suddenly I’m with that family of Kurdish Iranians who, a couple of days ago, were gulped up by the fierce waters of La Manche, the English Channel, as winter comes down – the family who sold everything to come to Britain to find a new life, who drowned and were taken into Neptune’s arms and away to heaven. Alhamdulillah, God bless you, you people: you wanted a better life and you got this.

A good friend had sent me a copy of The Afterlife of Billy Fingers – I finished it last night. It’s the story of a man who died, who communicated back to his sister to tell her what it was like on the other side. There’s a kind of sweet relief to it, to his after-death release, and part of me is there in that realm, leaving my pain behind, while another part of me is standing here shivering, aching, crying uncontrollably as the pain eats at me, reminding me so cogently that I’m still here on Earth, still here, witnessing the aching in the hollows of my bones, watching, crying, wobbling, witnessing, experiencing.

Palden, pull yourself together. Don’t just stand there bloody shivering! I get my jalabiya (an Arabic robe) and put it on. Uh, it’s the wrong way round. I’m struggling it round and eventually get my arms through the right holes. Put the kettle on – yes, the universal solution to everything. So very British. Put that kettle on, Palden.

My bones won’t move but I force myself. Fill that kettle, put it on. What next? Light the fire. I light the kindling and pile on two logs and there I am, on all fours, staring at the licking flames. It’s a good position though: my backbone clicks in four places – ah, relief. But the relief just unleashes another flood of helpless tears. Dripping tears, licking flames, crarking crows, lashing rain, Atlantic gusts, rattling doors, aching bones.

The kettle boils. Oh fuck, now it’s the next bit. Tip yesterday’s dregs out on the fern outside my door. A clutch of China Keemun goes into the pot. Water on top. Aah, I’ve achieved something! I’m crying less now. The words of the I Ching ring out: perseverance furthers – it furthers to have something to do. But I find myself just staring at the tea cosy hugging the teapot and a memory comes up.

I was at a checkpoint and there was a queue of Palestinians standing there, waiting to be let through. The Israeli soldiers, twentysomethings, were, I think, slightly enjoying the power they had over these poor sods, who were standing there just wanting to go home after work. The soldiers wave me forward. One looks at my passport. Yes, you can go. But hang on, what about them? They can wait, says he. Then I shall wait too. He looks at me: hm, an awkward fucking foreigner. I refuse to go through until they let the Palestinians through. I’m tired and want to go home too, after a long day in Jerusalem, but no.

They lock me in a room and I sit there for an hour. Later, a soldier comes in, stands there. I’m sitting there, looking at him. He’s American – probably an enthusiastic recent immigrant who has performed aliyah, return, fulfilling his own dreams of a new life. Suddenly he says, “You know what? We were talking yesterday and wondered how you English make tea”. “Excuse me?”. “Yeah, make tea – how do you English make tea?”.

Well, within twenty minutes I’d got them to assemble the bits and I showed them how we Brits make tea. This is what happens sometimes, in the bizarre movie of conflict. All the soldiers were in with me now and we were all drinking tea and chatting. “Okay, you can go now”, says the officer – he’s twenty years younger than me. “But what about them?”, I say, pointing to the Palestinians, still queueing. He looks at me, looks at them. I can see his mind, calculating.

A bit pissed off, he goes out, opens the turnstile and shouts at the Palestinians – “Go!“. They look surprised and start trooping through, wondering whether it’s a trick. By now there must have been two hundred of them. It took a while. They all troop off into no-man’s land, toward the gap in the further security wall, heading for home. “Okay?” say the officer, looking at me. “You’re a good man”, I say, “But you could have done it earlier”. “Get outta here”. “Enjoy the tea – pity I couldn’t bring you some of my Mum’s fruit cake.”

As I walk out I wonder whether a bullet might follow me, but no, I’m a privileged Brit and it would cause an incident, and this is apartheid and this is how it works. I walk alone through no man’s land, watched by young, bored soldiers imprisoned in their watchtower, all busily doing their military service and probably wishing they were in a nightclub in Tel Aviv.

I go through the gap and twenty or so Palestinians are there, waiting. I recognise a few of them. They take my bag, grab me and lift me up on the shoulders of two of them, jibbering together in Arabic and carrying me like a caliph to a waiting taxi. As we drive away, we all wave. The taxi driver takes me to a cafe in Bethlehem. “My father, my mother, my brothers, you have tea with us – you good man.”

Tea. It must be ready by now. Has much time passed? The stove is warming up. My eyes have dried. I go wash my hands and face, pour the tea and drop down, exhausted, in my seat. Somebody help me, yeah. It’s getting light. A bevvy of crows is now sitting, blown in the wind, on top of the farmhouse roof. My back is aching.

And so begins another day. ‘A bad day’. This is what you get sometimes, with cancer – bad days. But Lynne is coming tomorrow – this makes me cry again. She’s so good to me. The aching is easing now. I’m coming back. It’s a Thursday, I think.


Thank you, everyone, for your lovely comments. I’m sitting here the day after, drinking kombucha, the fogs of Penwith are drippily enveloping the farm, and I’m still alive and getting there. Penny, who comes every Thursday, gave me a revelation: it’s not arthritis but sciatica! Though I might have arthritis too. Goes to show, the trade-off we have medically: modern pharmaceutic drugs undoubtedly do save lives when it’s a dire emergency, which it was for me last year, but they also can charge their price in side-effects. If my cancer diagnosis in Nov 2019 had been one month later there’s a good chance I wouldn’t be here now. But then, holistic treatments have problems: too many specialists and no complete all-round healthcare, and it can cost a bomb, so it benefits the relatively privileged only.

Anyway, from an awareness viewpoint, I had a revelation yesterday. I found I was able to be completely involved in the process but also the Watcher within was witnessing it simultaneously, and this was a great gift.

It’s bizarre saying this, but cancer has been a gift – though obviously it’s difficult too. But then, for the astrologers amongst you, I’m on a Neptune opposition Saturn, and this whole journey was triggered a year ago while Saturn-Pluto were doing a trine to my Saturn. So this is a lesson in turning Saturnine experiences into something good: Saturn is a Teacher you cannot run away from, and its beneficence lies in wringing us out, shoving us through the mangle and breaking our bones, metaphorically or literally.

The sciatica comes from the fact that bone marrow cancer eats your bones and, in my case, it caused some of the bottom vertebrae of my back to collapse – and now my sciatic nerve is getting squeezed. I’m going to visit John, my chiropractor in Hayle, and also discuss this with Liz, the haematologist at Treliske hospital.

I wrote this piece unpremeditatedly, while still in the process. As a writer I have five decades’ experience, but something more has emerged since cancer entered my life. I wasn’t actually seeking your sympathy – I sought simply to share a situation that is not uncommon, but many of those who experience it aren’t as articulate as I. I was aware I was channelling not only my own pain but that of many others out there in the world, many of suffering alone and uncared for.

While writing this, Lynne arrived for our customary fortnightly long weekend – it’s such a relief when she comes. While talking to her just now, I was saying that beyond all the treatments and therapies that can be done, the key issue in healing is happiness. I’m fundamentally happy, despite everything. There’s a key also in the word ‘suffer’, which means ‘allow’ – permission, acceptance, taking things on board.

But the great asset I draw on too – and I say this for folks younger than me who are trying their best to follow a path of change and spirit – is the fruits of fifty years of psychospiritual work, and reasonably good diet and lifestyle. In my case, I’ve nevertheless incurred cancer, but my immunity and my psyche are pretty robust as a result of my history and attitude, so I encourage you to keep on your path of growth, however you do it, because it does pay dividends. Keep it up, you good souls out there. But there’s always a twist to everything in life: my cancer is caused by toxicity, seemingly not by lifestyle issues – in my case radiation and electromagnetic exposure (phone, wifi and nuclear).

Bless you all. Thanks for being with. I’ll be offline for the weekend – and that’s part of my therapy too! Love, Paldywan Kenobi.

Powers That Be

Gurnard’s Head, West Penwith, Cornwall

There’s a lot of conspiracy stuff going on right now. In my estimation, some of it is more or less correct, and quite a lot is projection and a rather paranoiac interpretation of life, history and geopolitics.

In a way, conspiracy thinking is useful. Divide and rule. Polarise the debate. Analysis paralysis. Release some useful information, knowing that some people will interpret things extremely, then rubbish them. This is partially deserved because of many conspiratorialists’ deficient sense of historical and political proportion. Shit does happen, yes, but a lot of what looks like shit isn’t really.

Nothing is as black-and-white as we might wish. It’s not just smoke and mirrors: reality is like that, a matter of perception and interpretation – Buddhists, the world’s first psychologists, have been teaching us that for over two millennia.

There’s a selectivity to conspiracy theories: it’s easy to rail against things we hate and resent, but we fail to go the whole way – conspiracy buffs still love their mobile phones, oppress women and believe whites are in charge. Some have a strange way of adopting populist right-wing politics.

I was a victim of conspiracy at age twenty, persecuted as a dissenter and dealer. The masons did it for me and I landed up in trouble, eventually seeking refuge in Sweden. I learned something from that experience: my oppressors lacked true intelligence and they were on the wrong side of history. I felt sad for them.

They are victims of a virus, an emotional-mental virus driven by fear, a narrowness of spirit that believes that self lies at the centre of all things. A fear of the vastness, of ‘God’, of the other inhabitants of the universe.

Here we come to Covid. I’m going to say something strangely controversial: Covid is a great gift. It represents a solution, a breakthrough, a relief, the beginning of a great healing. By saying this I seek not to deny the dead and the suffering (I’m getting my fair share). The best medicine does taste bitter. But Covid is saving us from far more deaths and much more suffering later on.

How so? Covid is accelerating change and bringing forward issues we need to face. We were too busy deluding ourselves, avoiding the big questions. It’s significant that Black Lives Matter is coming up right now – black people are beginning to assume their future role as leaders of humanity, following after the Chinese by the end of this century.

They raise a bigger question on behalf of all of us: is the system here for the people, or are the people here for the system? Thanks to African-derived people for bringing this up: their frustration is sufficient to actually rock the boat.

We’re being saved from a bigger catastrophe. We’re being let down slowly in an incremental series of shocks. Though some are dying and having a hard time, these shocks are saving us from a bigger, potentially terminal, catastrophe. The soul of humanity is in a process of redeeming itself. It’s a shock even to archangels as they watch a world die, and they debate how they might save eight billion hurt, damaged and excarnated souls from a destroyed Earth, who risk infecting the wider universe with their anger, ill-will, corruption and pain.

On the news, as I write, in a shocked tone they are announcing that the UK economy shrank by 20% in April. Well folks, this is a gift. It has long been needed. The economy will have to shrink yet more in order for us to achieve sustainability. People have had a revelation through Covid: a realisation that the lives they lived were not the lives they feel best living and giving to their kids.

Now we shall see who has the guts, the necessary despair, to follow through.

Problem is, there are conspiracies. And some things look like conspiracies but they aren’t. Covid was not caused by conspiring humans – that’s too narrow and reductionist an assessment. But, given that Covid is happening, power-holders indeed are making use of Covid as a way of increasing social control, reinforcing fear, making money and pursuing their agendas, driven by a fear of losing power, of facing their naked truth. But it’s not a neatly simple conspiracy, and there are also rivalries at the top.

Some things look like conspiracies but they are often coincidences, fuckups or groups acting in concert since they share interests – there is an ingrained, conditioned tendency amongst humans to act in self-interest and we’re good at it. Also, conspiracies, even the great Illuminati themselves, even when advised by the greatest of professors, do not have all the answers or exercise their full intelligence, because they are limited by fear. And as white men, their time is ending.

And as an educated, relatively privileged white man, my time is over.

Conspiracies rarely work properly. They can jog things in certain directions to an extent, but look more closely at the main issues that have been labelled as conspiracies in recent decades. Most were screwed up, or circumstances overrode them, or they’ve created unintended consequences. Oil interests did not succeed in the Iraq war. The British empire fell, and badly. PNAC, the Project for a New American Century that devised 9/11, is producing the opposite result longterm to what was intended. Organisational systems are clunky. There are wild cards. And the world system is inherently flawed and self-destructive.

If Covid was indeed thought up by a conspiracy, then they needed to think further. It wasn’t a good plan. They could have done better. The mobile phone and EM conspiracy is far more effective than Covid, though fortuitously Covid has given it a lift. No, if Covid was devised, it was devised by nature and higher powers, as a perfect awakening plan. Shake up the humans, twist their arms, put a spanner in their works – give them a revelation exposing where power really lies.

Besides, are you not part of a conspiracy? If not, why not? People think Big Brother is the only show in town – this is a father/authority complex that obscures clearer vision. No, it is not the only show. History is on the side of the conspiracy that has thus far been suppressed: the people, nature and the ways of the universe. The Unconscious always wins because the Conscious and the Ego are but concepts, complexes. However, they’re strong, and people sincerely believe in them. If in doubt, head for the nearest security – we all do it.

This concerns competing viral thoughtforms. There is the Logic of Destruction and the Logic of Life. We’re all being faced with another layer of a perennial question: which side are we on? The battle for the hearts and minds of humanity is hotting up, and our children and grandchildren have come here for it. There’s more to go.

There’s also a further truth hidden behind this. Life is a movie, a phantasm, a fiction. Everything we have ever experienced passes. There’s light and dark within all of us. Light shines awareness on hidden things, and darkness gives meaning to light.

Both levels are true. This paradox doesn’t make sense, but rationality is a construct, an explanation, not a reality. So, listen more clearly to things than to people. The fear of death that so dominates the Covid crisis arises from a fear of facing a deeper truth: the unavoidable truth that life is like a fart in the Void and we’re all forgotten. Everything that starts comes to an end.

So give thanks – we live in blessed times. The curtains are being opened, stage by stage. The main problem is summed up by philosopher Edmund Burke: for the triumph of evil it is necessary only that good people do nothing. And that the goodness within all of us remains dormant, withheld, concealed unless we let it out.

So yes, be aware of hidden dynamics in our society, of where the power is believed to lie, but get on with your life while you have one.

Follow your truth. Be willing to self-question and re-evaluate. This way, the evolution of humanity is accelerated. This way we avoid disaster. This way, we teach our children well, conveying a lesson they won’t be taught in school. To qualify as humans we need to pass the tests of heart and soul. Pass this, and we qualify for the next stage.

Well, that’s what I believe, at least. With love. Palden

Carry that Weight

Cape Cornwall as seen from the Nancherrow valley
Cape Cornwall as seen from the Nancherrow valley

I keep on falling into eureka-traps. This has been a lifelong blessing and a bane. They usually come late in the evening and, from that moment on, I’m compelled to pursue them. It starts with a brainwave, a prompt to look a things through a certain optic, often to overcome my own resistances too, and then it relentlessly unfolds from there. Currently fuelled by rose congou tea, interspersed with sips of a homoeopathic remedy made of potentised lava from the Hekla volcano in Iceland.

Or perhaps it came when Lynne and I recently visited Bosiliack Barrow, a late-neolithic chambered cairn. That’s a great place for fetching insights. Sometimes it’s as if the spirits of the place almost want to blurt them out, excited that at last they have a receptive ear. Many of my archaeological revelations have originated there, and Lynne seems to ‘get’ stuff too, and she’s always glowing afterwards. I struggled along on my sticks, with Lynne patiently following, to ensure I wouldn’t fall – but having four legs is pretty stable, to be honest, even when the world is wobbling.

Anyway, I’d been resisting this because I somehow knew it would open up a line of work that would proliferate endlessly, and part of me is tired of these eureka moments. I love them too, and it’s my life, but I’m on a major Neptune opposition Saturn transit at present and I’m feeling the weight of it. Feeling the weight of my patterns. Feeling the weight of my back – it hurts continually – and I’m gravitationally compromised.

This new project started actually because I realised there was a gap in my book concerning sacred geometry. I’m not good at it, you see. I’m good at visual pattern recognition but not at numbers – azimuths, angles, proportions, pi and phi ratios. So I was holding back, putting up a prayer that a geometry expert might appear – and they didn’t. Spontaneously, last night, fullmoon as it happened, I sat down, shrugged shoulders and started playing around on the map.

Within two hours I had a load of significant geometric triangles. It was quite a shock, how easily it came. Now I have to measure angles and distances and try to figure out the meaning and significance of all this. The 1% inspiration bit is over and 99% perspiration bit is yet to come. I’ve just started this map and it’s unfinished, an experimental draft map at this stage.

It’s here:…

This’ll probably provoke a torrent of e-mails, messages, YouTube videos, most of which I can’t reply to, and requests to make maps of Northumberland or Essex, to which the answer is No, please do it yourself and show me what you come up with!

You see, I might sound vigorous and in good shape, but I’m not. Recently I’ve been labouring, achingly holding myself up, experiencing difficulty looking after my house and cooking, and I get terrible fatigue. My former neighbour Penny has just started helping me though, which is an immense relief. I’m a domesticated Virgo who usually runs a good house, but I can’t keep up now. My bathroom is spotless and she’s attacking the kitchen next.

Never in my life have I expected to be cut down like this. I never knew what fatigue or cancer could be like until I started experiencing them personally. Early on in my cancer treatment I felt I suddenly aged to about 95, and I assumed I’d grow back down again to my current bodily age (70 in September), but it’s hardly happening. Well, perhaps I’m 88 now. I’ve got chemo side-effects to deal with, such as arthritis (aching hips) and neuropathy (feet filled with chilli-pepper, it feels like). I can no longer tell how much I’m young at heart and how much I’m a grumbly old codger.

At least in body. I’m such an incorrigibly positive fucking optimist, and my heart, mind and soul are doing just fine, in a way – if anything, cancer-riddled self-examination has been a gift, an uplift amidst the grinding pain and the threat of early death. But I have my down moments, and recently I’ve been wading around in the underworld, dredging my fears, grinding my stuff and talking to myself too much.

I let it out through the keyboard. Only some of this is visible to you folks – much of it is accumulating in the book I’m writing, hidden away on my computer. It’s not available except for a sample chapter and contents list for publishers. Or it’s longterm projects that emerge gradually, like the Meyn Mamvro archive. I spend endless hours on these things.

I get dual feelings. I love my work yet I’m tired of keyboards. Been a keyboard-slave since about 1964, when I started annoying my mother by using her clackety old mechanical typewriter. By 1971 I started out on the world’s then fourth largest computer: it had a memory of 64k! It was all Fortran IV, punchcards and dot-matrix printouts.

This said, with the last of the money that you people on Facebook kindly donated to help me in my cancer process, I’ve bought a new computer – a laptop called a Toughbook (military grade, no less). I got £350 off the price! My old computer died, after 11 years’ stalwart service in deserts, airports and on Cornish farms. I’ve also bought a studio quality sound recorder (£150 off). At some point podcasts will emerge through it. I used to do radio in the Seventies and Naughties, so I’m no stranger to it.

This is the kind of thing I’m doing with my new life. I can’t travel, hobnob, teach, agitate or organise things, so I’m keyboarding a lot, doing that blessing and bane business. At great length. There’s nothing much else to do – I’ve been locked down since November, when I was diagnosed with cancer. But then, half of me is a hermit, and I live in a lovely place, so I’m okay about that.

And the fool on the hill sees the sun go down, and the eyes in his head see the world spinning round…

One of the banes of astrologers is that we’re always asked, “What does a Mars square Jupiter mean?“. Well, at least that’s better than being required to guess some stranger’s sun sign, as if that’s a test of how good an astrologer we might be, or as if getting it wrong constititutes proof that astrology is a load of bunkum.

Here in these words you’ve had an exposition of what a Neptune opposition Saturn ‘means’ – the kind of issues that can come up. In one sense it’s a time of uplift and in another sense it’s about carrying that weight.

The doctor has suddenly remembered I’m here, and tells me that she thinks something more might be wrong with me. They want to fill me with radioactivity and do a PET scan, in the back of a truck in the car park at Trelliske hospital in Truro. I have strong reservations. About the scan, not the truck.

Staying alive takes on strange twists and turns. But at last it’s raining, and nature is drinking it up. Yesterday we had multiple rainbows – perhaps somewhere in the world a great being was being born.

Amazingly, life continues another day.

Please forgive me for (mostly) not answering e-mails and messages. You see, I’m not as active and capable as most people, and if I spent time chatting I wouldn’t be getting on with what I’m called to do. Like the above crazy map-making.

Love from me in Cornwall

Paldywan Kenobi


Social Distancing


This year we’ve stumbled into a yawning abyss called society. There are approaching eight billion of us here on Earth, in various stages of individualisation. Departure. Uprooting. Alienation. Social distancing.

It’s partially a cultural issue and partly to do with urbanisation. Urbanisation is the largest movement of people in the world today. All the world’s population growth is in cities – rural population is declining, paradoxically creating more space for nature. Stranger still, one of the biggest pandemics of today is loneliness.

Yet we’re suddenly facing each other. Saturn and Jupiter are passing into Aquarius, the sign of society, membership, belonging, ideas, plans, principles and ‘how things ought to be’. When Pluto moves into Aquarius in 2024-5 for eighteen years until 2043, well, we enter a social process. Since 2008 we’ve been in a systemic process, and what matters next is people. Last time Pluto was in Aquarius, we had the French Revolution.

Some people give up on humanity, dedicating themselves to the natural environment, or wishing they could or would do so. But if we people don’t change, environmental issues won’t get resolved. We’re transitioning from exploiters to guardians of nature. To do that, we need also to transition from exploiters to guardians of our fellow humans. The main variable is the destruction we permit ourselves to go through to get there. Humanity’s crimes against itself rest on omission and commission.

Uranus and Neptune went through Aquarius in 1996-2003 and 1998-2011 respectively. That took us through globalisation and the social impacts of the economic crisis, which began with food riots, through to the Arab Revolutions – and it didn’t stop there.

No politics or religion were involved in the Arab revolutions: young, marginalised people just wanted to get a life. This matter is still pending. The current frontline is Sudan, with Iraq and Lebanon close behind. And Hong Kong, and Chile, and the emergent ramifications of Covid.

Many issues are pending and our planet has grown anxious. Angst about anything and everything. Partially this is psychological, a winding up of tightening hearts and minds, and partially it is circumstantial, since the world is getting crazier, more complex, polarised and dangerous.

We’re facing up to each other. My freedoms aren’t your freedoms, those people over there aren’t like us, and yet we’re all in the same crowd, utterly dependent on each other.

The world is cleaving into thoughtful and inconsiderate people, empathics and libertarians, public and individual priorities, matters of control, influence and freedom, with surprisingly large sub-surface reservoirs of social schism lurking underneath. “Who’s going to die first?”, “Who can I blame?”, “Who’s going to get the last loaf of bread?”, “How much do I care?”.

Not that anyone really knows what’s going on, and that’s a key part of the training. We’re out of our depth. This is bigger than we can see.

It’s not exactly a disaster. Change always looks like a disaster when we’re plummeting into it. Then it becomes crisis, and then transition, then a stunned quietness, then relief, revival and a new reality. It’s a question of the extent of pain and loss we humans must go through to get there, but get there we shall, by fair means or foul.

What’s wrong is that some people bear this burden of change far more than others – this is a fundamental issue of principle, of sharing. You can’t have privilege and deprivation when, like it or not, you all sit in the same boat.

It’s also about inner resilience – the capacity to make something good out of a bad situation. And social resilience – the capacity to change our social and community ways to meet whatever life throws at us, and regardless of whatever went on before. How to make life as easy as possible in the circumstances we get. How to feed and look after each other, and how to organise that.

It’s a big shock. Things have been going the other way in recent decades – or was it centuries? Humanity is meeting itself. This is the planetarisation of consciousness, the deeper aspect of globalisation. The bit we’ve stumbled upon is the horrifying realisation that we’re all so profoundly different. Yet, just somehow, we’re all part of a human family. And we’re in danger of making a mess of it.

Some of us run forward to change things while we have the chance, and some run back to safe territory to try to keep things the same – and there’s a bit of both in all of us. The bit of ourselves that we don’t like, we blame on others. If we are to survive, the twain must meet. We must get along with people we disagree with. But wait, they’ve got kids and grannies too – they’re just like us.

This is what’s emerging in the collective psyche, and it’s the big theme for the coming years. Is the system here to serve the people, or are the people here to serve the system? And what tribe do you belong to?

Until recently we were focused on climate change and a plethora of issues that all confusingly melted into a soup of horror – sub-surface political angst.

And now, this, this thing that we all wish we could get control of and cannot. How much it’s a virus and how much it’s a miasm, an epidemic of the psyche, is open to question.

If we dig a level deeper, we’re faced with a test of faith. Not my faith or your faith, but faith.

When the chips are down, how much are we prepared to sacrifice ourselves for what we believe to be good and right? Or is it safer to withhold, let others take the strain and see what happens?

There’s some good news too. But that awaits another day.

With love, Palden.

And if you want a bit more, try this.

Chiselling Tablets

Staloluokta, Lappland
Staloluokta in Sapmi in 2011, 90km from the road and 200km from the shops. Sapmi, the land of the Sami people, is known to many of us as Lappland, northern Sweden

Today I reached a point where it was down to thinking up the final humdinger of a paragraph for my forthcoming book ‘Shining Land’. It’s nearly there.

The great thing about this book, my eleventh, is that I’ve given a lot of time and consideration to every thought and proposition while lodged in the cosmological cocoon of my bed, looking out over the fields and woods at the jackdaws, swallows and buzzards.

With plenty of timespace to think. The book is all about time, space and consciousness. It’s going to annoy the hell out of some sceptics and rationalists, not least during this triumphal period of all-embracing Science.

Now I must review the whole 100,000 word manuscript again, submit it to two ‘expert readers’ to check through the ideas, compile the online appendices, enter the illustrations and maps into the manuscript, and it’s done. Phew. The book will come out, regardless, in digital format: the main issue is whether it comes out in print (the costliest and most complex option).

Then it’s two months of sitting around, kinda fallow, thumb twiddling, wondering what to do with myself. The creative vacuum creeps up afterwards. It does give time and space for things I ignored before, and for dwelling on nothing in particular.

Writing books is a self-imposed lockdown – most of the time an anti-social activity but now transcovidated into responsible self-isolation and social distancing. I’m doing the same thing as before but not, this time, anti-socially. Apparently. These twists of judgement are always strange for Aspies to get our heads around.

I’ve been on lockdown since mid-November, when diagnosed with myeloma. Approaching six months. So there was little change when Covid slunk in like a voracious Neptunian mist, taking over everyone’s lives and tenuous sense of reality. I just carried on – out of my head on chemotherapy and steroids.

It gets a bit boring, this lockdown, even though I have stuff I can get on with, in my slowly ponderous six-hours-per-day, wiped out, struggling way, stumbling around like a 96 year old. I’ve been on my own quite a lot throughout life and get a bit fed up of myself, my own cooking, my repetitive, stuck Virgo patterns and ossified daily methodologies. Why people want to prolong their lives and achieve immortality beats me. But then, ‘You were a strange little child’, my mother once said, and ‘You’re not like the child I brought up’.

Tomorrow, I am appearing on an Indian social psychologists’ online conference on the overall social effects of Covid, giving them a prescribed ten minutes on the psychodynamics of accelerated social-cultural change. Me, a global health expert, hobnobbing with people bearing doctorates…

This is one of the unexpected outcomes of having cancer. Lots of things have changed. Here’s one. People who want to hear me are now predominantly in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, not Europe and America. Growing for years, suddenly it shifted critically, recently. My last book Possibilities 2050 I wrote with them in mind. I made it available for free, so that expense and availability would not be barriers. They can read it on their mobiles, and it uses little bandwidth. Now I’m hearing from really interesting folk in Gambia, Malawi, Uganda, and Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Bangladesh, Tuvalu and Cuba. Magic.

What I like most about this is that, if I’m delivering something people really find useful, it draws something out of me. I’m quite accustomed to being part of something that ought to be much bigger than it is, but it’s good having people gladly soaking up this stuff – and making it their own, doing it their way. Fuck the royalties and getting famous – I just want to get on with what I’m here for before I no longer am here.

These people are not emulating the West; they’re overtaking us. They’re the world’s future and the majority are under 30. Many ideas coming from the back-alleys and the underground in the West have become useful to them. They’ve seen the impositional side of us but there are fertile outpourings from the unofficial culture in the West that are invaluable too. Permaculture being one. Talking stick. Herbalism. Astrology. Holism. Homoeopathy. Anything interesting, stimulating and new.

We Westerners need to listen up. Our majority culture has become sclerotic, stuck in a groove, constrained by its vested interests and comfortaable habits. Yet it has much of value. Especially a lot of the things we haven’t given enough attention to. We were too busy making money, or trying to.

We still want to be the leaders, the teachers. The mission to civilise is still alive and well, as is the hypocrisy. No, we’re the minority and being outclassed. Declining without appropriate grace. But most of us are goodguys and mean well – that’s our asset.

It’s time for us to rejoin the human race. Exceptionalism no longer works. Wanting to be the leaders blocks the flow. Lecturing obstructs hearing.

Yet, as a cancer experiencer, I’m so fortunate to be undergoing treatment here in UK. I have access to the best of conventional and holistic medicine, healers and advisers, people praying and reiki-ing me too, and I’m grateful for that.

I’ve offered myself for research and observation, having had some of the best results seen for years. But no, no interest. Oh well, it saves me being poked, prodded and sent to London!

The Management has recently been doing a little fixing. Normal service is unlikely to be resumed. Apologies for the disruption. Please recycle all used containers and clear up your litter after you.

God bless everyone. Palden.

Oh, and…

I posted this on my Facebook page and it’s relevant here…


I have cancer and I cannot answer your messages, neither can I make a hundred exceptions to this! Similarly, if I tell you I cannot chat, this means that sending me another message in response does not help, no matter how much you care. Sorry, but energy-wise I am half-dead.

Also, many times per day I am asked how I am and whether I’m getting better – do you think it’s pleasant answering? I am unwell, and I go up and down on a daily basis – that’s my answer.

When I post material online, it means I am on a rare energy-upswing, and the next one will be four or more days later!

As for Youtube videos, especially conspiracy ones, I cannot watch them. In addition, concerning conspiracy information, please think carefully about these since the net effect of circulating such information publicly tends mainly to build public resistance against such ideas.

Secrets are intended to stay secret for good reasons, and they need spreading secretly, not publicly, because publicly they are not necessarily understood and they get distorted and sensationalised. It’s good to understand this. As a person who has been in war and disaster situations and on the edge of the intel community, I know this, from real-life experience. Did you really think I’ve told you everything I have seen and been involved with?

People (of all persuasions) don’t believe what they need to believe – they believe what they want to believe. This includes conventional mainstreamers. They tend to believe things that are convincingly or sensationally argued more than those things that actually are true or correctly interpreted.

I tend to write convincing things, but you still need to apply your filters to anything I write too!

I love you all and appreciate your presence in my life and your good wishes, but writing to me is counterproductive. It’s all too much to get a hundred mssages per day, only ten of which are genuinely person-to-person. It means I have to wade through all this stuff to find the stuff that matters.

Which is around 3-5 messages per day – many of the ppl sending such messages know who they are. So please please think twice about sending me messages! Thank you so much.

You see, cancer patients need to be straight with people. This can appear to be abrupt or self-centred. No, it is psychological survival – cancer patients are psychologically as well as physically vulnerable, even to well-meaning random bursts of healing and prayer from well-meaning people like you. Your vibes affect us.

Yes, ppl like me do need help, but we do not need verbal suggestions or offers of sympathy – we need ppl to actually do useful things with no fuss. I do actually need a locally-based home help – I can’t keep up with household chores.

Or there’s also the option of not doing things – that’s okay too if you’re straight and simple about it, mainly with yourself. I don’t feel bad toward people who do nothing – so leave the guilt somewhere else, please! It’s okay!

Bless you all. Happy fullmoon. Paldywan.

Back down on the Farm


Recently my emotions have been really close to the surface. I quite easily burst into tears over the slightest thing – a piece of music or even just a feeling of simple gratitude for being alive. Meanwhile, I’m being presented with lists of things to do, while beset with ‘chemo-brain’ and feeling unready to do them – sometimes this feels like an overload bringing up more tears! My immune system, close to zero as part of my cancer treatment, seems to bring an emotional permeability too.

I’m fed up of being unwell, and tired out, of spilling things, missing the toilet when peeing, of early morning aches, being so bloody helpless and dependent. Sometimes I can’t handle it any more and it’s more wet cheeks.

I’ve felt the grief of my parents’ and grandparents’ generations, from two world wars. Grief from the ‘wrong’ deaths I have seen and helped to deal with in the Middle East, in my humanitarian work. Regret over an avoidable incident I was involved with in 2014, killing 200-odd Syrian villagers, that deeply hit my humanitarian instincts. Grief over two previous lives in which I have been a general. Grief remembering my chronologically last life, ending in Austria in WW2 – the memory of an aristocratic altruist in such a ridiculously big humanitarian crisis in war that only small acts of goodness could be done, only some people could be saved, and only some good sense could be inculcated into the madness.


I’m back home on the farm in Cornwall. It feels safer down here, pandemic-wise – for now. The farm is quite isolated. I was supposed to return to Devon next week for a hospital consultation, blood tests and new medication but I’m staying here – we’ll have to fix things in other ways. The farm is the best place to be: I’m fortunate to be here.

Lynne is at her home in Devon, picking up the pieces after the enormous task of caring for me for the last few months. Bless her: she has saved my life and gone many extra miles for me. I was lucky that someone like her saved me in my time of need. It’s good now to give her space, and for me to sort out the details of living independently – we might not see each other for a while. As an astrologer she has clients and students to deal with, and teenagers at home.

I’m used to a hermit’s life and can look after myself most of the time. I’ll need a local helper for an hour a day, and it will take time for me to build up strength and establish a new normal. With the crowd-funded money you people have kindly donated I am kitting myself up with necessaries: the first items are a fridge, a new work chair and a mattress.

The ‘care crisis’ in Britain and similar countries derives particularly from the death of the community and the extended family. A Palestinian family of forty could take in a person like me with no great change to its routines. Often the old people sit at the centre of the compound, with the kids playing around them and people coming and going, though ‘social distancing’ – something that East Asians and Westerners might find more easy than Arabs – will prove difficult there.

An old friend from Leeds, Sian, is with me for two weeks. She’s heading home on Thursday. We used to work together in the Hundredth Monkey Project in the mid-1990s and the Flying Squad that followed after it.  These geopolitical healing projects used group process, meditation and other pressure-cooking techniques to work with events and trends in the world. It’s good to spend time together again since we and the others in the group spent a lot of time pressure-cooking, and it bonded us as souls even though we’ve now closed the project – we could not find new recruits with sufficient commitment.


On Saturday we went to Boscawen-un stone circle, which is 4,500 years old. We did the usual things you do, circumambulating, visiting the stones, being quiet, and sitting by the quartz stone drinking tea. After a while a couple came along. We started talking. Before long I was undergong a profound healing given by the woman, who spoke in tongues, looked me straight in the eyes, grasped and shook my hands, bringing through a very strong energy from beings that seemed to be definitely of the not-of-Earth kind. I let them examine me from the inside. They told me that shadows of grief were around me. I felt energy rippling through me – I was being energy-massaged and manipulated. Since then I’ve been leaking tears by the gallon. Thank you Estelle, whoever you are, for bringing a gift of God in a stone circle.

Cancer opens a doorway to karmic clearing, pattern-changing and a sharpening of life-purpose. Amongst cancer people I have met, a proportion seem particularly to be taking on a deep challenge of the soul. In my own case, there are shadows of the past to clear, murky things I have touched, errors I have made and things I could have done better, but this soul-challenge now seems to come more from the future than from the past.

Being dealt a bucketload of uncertainty is one of the ways this inner challenge reveals itself. I don’t know how long I’ll live – it could be just weeks. This issue variously faces everyone, but cancer has a way of bringing it to the surface, reminding us how vulnerable we are as humans. We need to talk about this more, to address a cultural taboo around death: one of coronavirus’ many gifts is a reminder of our mortality and insecurity. We need this.

Ironically, I’m on this vulnerability-trip at a time when the whole world is suddenly wobbling with uncertainty. Whenever this pandemic ends, things will not go back to normal. Values are changing. Everything that was safe is now questionable. We’re being levelled out. The consequences of this shared mass experience are far greater and deeper than anyone can see. Society, community and the human family are on the mend.

Here’s a simple rule that they don’t teach in university: when the economy rises, society falls, and when the economy falls, society rises. The next crisis, or the one after that, will concern ‘sovereign insolvency’ – government bankruptcy. That’ll be a shock – gilt-edged guarantees going belly-up. Our current economic crisis in 2020 is, I reckon, the first of three or four to come.

The good news is this: these are mechanisms by which the global economic system is correcting and adjusting itself. To function, it must reflect the ecological and human needs of the time. It’s overdue. Capitalism is plummeting into transformation, stumbling from a competitive, exploitative model toward a cooperative model of operation. Is the system here to serve the people or are the people here to serve the system? This change will be painful. You might have to clean your ass without toilet paper. But working together and looking after each other is the societal model of the future.

Here we go, into the unknown. Saturn is entering Aquarius, heralding a period lasting until 2043 where the emphasis is on society. Not the economy and markets. Not gizmos. People and society: the social contract, its freedoms, benefits, controls and responsibilities. The capacity of humans to live and work together. Exceptionalism. Solidarity. New politics. Equality. Justice. Many hands make light work. These are important because the other major issues of our time will not progress well if social-political issues fail to progress. It’s all a question of human willingness to do whatever it takes to change the world.

The ill, the old and the infirm have been forgotten and sidelined in recent decades. There’s tragedy to this inasmuch as, now and in future, we might have to accept being culled by circumstances such as coronavirus. In wealthy countries we’ve had the luxury of long lives and medical support for the ill and disabled, and this won’t be as possible in future. The therapy for this is to address the question of dying, and the meaning of life. It’s easier to pass away if you’ve fulfilled at least some of the reason why you came – the contract you signed up to before birth.

For Death is lurking on our streets and fear is the wrong response. Coronavirus brings us a taste of reality. It brings gifts: a chance for society to reconstitute. A new political expediency that cares more for people. A need to cooperate and care. A change of values regarding consumption, production and the true worth of many social and economic activities – is arms production really what we want? Are cruise holidays, throw-away fashions, flashy cars and sumptuous restaurants really necessary? Is it more important to earn money or care for our families? And how will we deal with the subterranean rage that lies in the collective psyche?

If you don’t hear from me again, I’ve probably kicked the bucket. In which case, stay tuned and you’ll hear from me sometime, from Upstairs. If this happens, it releases me to help out on the other side – a humanitarian’s work is never done! I’ll be wherever I’m most useful. If I stay on Earth, I’ll write again in due course and keep you posted. Bless you for being with me on this journey.

May you be safe and well. I wish upon you something that the Palestinians have mastered: making the best out of a bad situation and staying happy under duress. When a Palestinian smiles, it shows that they have not lost and cannot lose the war, for they retain their humanity and live to see another day.

If misfortune strikes, ask yourself ‘Where is the gift?‘ – and therein lie answers and avenues of progress. The world is changing and, amidst the tragedy, good things are unfolding – humanity is coming back after decades of cruel, destructive economism with far more losers than winners. This nightmare is beginning to end. But it will take time and many crunchpoints.

Everything is okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end. We all came here to bring light to a benighted world, and we’ve just been given a big opportunity.

Greetings from West Penwith, Cornwall, the shining land of Belerion.

Love, Paldywan Kenobi.

Another Fullmoon


It was the nurse Victoria who delivered a valuable truth. When I asked the doctor about my prospects – and whether and when I’ll get my brains back – he fudged. But Victoria, sitting behind him, came in to say I shall return to a new level and it will be different, and I must accept this. It will take a few months after completing chemotherapy for my brains to return, and they won’t return to what they were before.

I’ve been getting a secondary wave of realisation that my life has really, really changed – and the extent to which this is so. It has brought a sense of loss, but something else has been coming up in its place. I’ve made a decision. I’m taking life in my hands, and I’m going to take on a self-management strategy rather than have a stem cell transplant – the default treatment that seems to work for many people, mainly younger than me.

In my own case, a strong intuition tells me a transplant will either not work or it will bring no advantage. After such a transplant – where they take stem cells from your bone marrow, clean them and pump them back in – it also involves 3-6 months of dependency on relatively intensive care to get over it. In many cases it gives some years of remission. In my case I don’t get the feeling I shall have that payoff. Some people just get six months, and some people die from the procedure. Besides, I can’t realistically manage up to six months of dependency on care – I want to get on with life to the extent that I can.

So I’m choosing another route, an integrative medical route that is partially medical and partially holistic. This has its risks, but so does anything, and it seems to me I can do at least just as well with it as with a transplant. It will be a challenge to monitor and look after myself, drawing healing through my soul, and to be willing to go back on chemo and steroids if necessary.

Few people take this choice voluntarily. Most people take a self-management route only if their condition prevents them from having the transplant.

I have between one and ten years to live, I guess. I want to die well, whenever and however that happens. I’ll stay around until my useful life is done – and then I shall go in grace, inshallah, if life permits this! Since shit also happens. But I think my chances of doing this are greater if I take life in my hands, and it will be my own choice and responsibility.

I shall not be returning to where I was before. For both Lynne and I, my contracting bone marrow cancer was not part of our plan, but it has happened anyway. Facts have overruled everything else. To some extent this is harder on Lynne than on me – it’s really hard being a voluntary carer and there is little support for them.

But I now have a new life: it brings new possibilities amongst the constraints I’m served with. Not least the threat of death, of accepting the Great Unknown like I’ve ever accepted it before. But that opens up possibilities. The edginess of mortality sharpens life’s issues, making every moment a bit more poignant.

Life is a preparation for the moment of our passing.

This said, I’m becoming a bit more capable every few weeks. It’s a long, slow process. My back still cannot support me for more than a minute – enough time to get an item of clothing over my head before I need to hold myself up again! It’s amazing how an experience like this renders small issues, such as going to the toilet, into a big event. It has made me feel grateful for small things – a biscuit, a walk on the moors, a close time with Lynne, a phone chat with my son or hearing about what’s happening with my faraway daughters and their families.

My readings are good. I’m not sure exactly what these mean, but my light-chain readings have gone from 2,000 to 350 to 134 to 103, and my paraproteins have gone from 13 to 7 to 4.9. So in haematological terms, I’m doing well. But the hospital is tending to ignore the other aspect of my condition, physical disablement – this side-effect of myeloma derives from the collapse of two lower-back vertebrae. Unless stopped, myeloma eats up your bones, and this is what has happened. Luckily, I have a really good cranial osteopath, Simon, who is helping me with my back.

I’ve been learning about fatigue. I just can’t manage sometimes to follow through on a conversation. I can shower myself but drying and clothing myself is a step too far. I have new limits. I get totally worn out. There comes a point where I just zone out with exhaustion, having crossed that limit. There’s nothing much I can do about it. It’s a big lesson in acceptance.

My goal, to be able to walk to my favourite power-point, Carn Les Boel, over three miles of rough though inspiring clifftops, might never be achieved, but at least I have a goal to aim for. It’s a place where, as the Yaqui sorcerer Don Juan once said, I could dance my last dance, with the ancient spirits and the Atlantic winds as my witness. But I’ve been there enough times to be able to dance that dance by inner visualisation. I’m still determined to get there though.

It’s funny how, in some respects, I learned everything I need to know in my formative young-adult years as a young hippy and student revolutionary, aged 16-23ish, reading books like Carlos Castaneda’s about Don Juan, forming profound values and making life-decisions that have enacted themselves ever since in the karmic threads of my life.

Everything that has happened since then has simply illustrated the point, testing my capacity to integrate the lessons I learned – on acid trips, particularly – and to manifest those learnings in real, workable terms. Life has been a series of clarifications of lessons learned then, which have remained generally true over the spread of the decades. So do we really learn much as life goes on? Well, yes and no.

I’ve succeeded in some things and not in others – and this is what life on Earth is about. It’s a place to manifest our dreams, knowing that only some will be permitted. We as souls came here to learn such lessons and to make a contribution on the basis of what we have become. I think it was Jefferson who said, ‘it’s not what you get for doing it, it’s what you become by doing it’.

Isn’t it an amazing planetary situation we find ourselves in? Life is a predicament, yet a path of light leads through its intricacies. We’re challenged to stay true to the indwelling spirit within. Falling asleep, the default human pattern in our time, is so easy. But in the end it is the difficult path, a path of self-destruction.

As the 18th Century philosopher Edmund Burke once said, ‘For the triumph of evil it is necessary only that good people do nothing’. This sums up our global situation today. The world is sleepwalking into a big crunch of its own making. A great awakening is due. It has taken longer than my friends and I foresaw fifty years ago. And what and when is ‘too late’?

I’m thankful for the gift that cancer has given. The looming challenge of death sharpens life’s contrasts, offering an opportunity live a bit more fully. My relative disability presents a challenge but it’s doable, and I still hope I’ll be able to walk reasonably freely sometime soon. This will enable me to go home to Cornwall, and I’m so much looking forward to that.

It’s time to go – my energy is flagging, even though I’m writing this in bed. Bless you. Thanks for reading. See you again.

But then, who knows? Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.

Your friend, Paldywan.



Paldywan on safari on a foggy Dartmoor two weeks ago. On last weekend’s expedition to Berry Head near Brixham I managed to walk nearly a mile – though I was shagged out afterwards!

Poor old Lynne doesn’t get much exercise though, walking along at my slow pace… but we enjoyed tea and biscuits back at the car.

More of my story follows soon, when the time is right. My brainz are suffering a chemo-fuelled brain-fog.

But on clearer moments I’m busy writing my book about the ancient sites of West Penwith (trouble coming for archaeologist friends!), and I’m really pleased with what’s unfolding.

Berry Head is a cliff sanctuary (usually known as a cliff castle, but I don’t think they are defensive), of which there are quite a few in Cornwall and Devon. It sits on a 157km long ‘backbone alignment’ that starts at Bartinney Castle and Lesingey Round in West Penwith, passing through the Dodman Point cliff sanctuary near Mevagissey and Rame Head near Plymouth. Impossible, sceptics will say – and this is why I’m writing this book. I rate cliff sanctuaries much higher than most prehistorians, dating them back to at least the Neolithic 3000s BCE (customarily they are dated to the iron age around 400 BCE – CE 100).

Love, Palden

Photos by Lynne.