Sustainable Development Goals, the United Nations and the Libra Full Moon

A significant event in the heavens occurred during the period of the Sustainable Development Summit at UN Headquarters in New York. The full moon (with the sun in Libra) was late in the evening of Sunday, the final day of the Summit. And it was not just any full moon – popularly called a ‘Supermoon’ the moon was especially close to earth so it appeared much larger in the night sky than usual. And there was a full lunar eclipse producing a red effect on the moon. There have been only 4 full eclipses during a supermoon since 1900 – so this was an unusual astronomical event. It should not surprise us that a significant alignment in the heavens was accompanied by such a significant gathering at the UN.

From the ageless wisdom perspective humanity is in process of shifting from a culture characterised by Pisces – a culture of separation and devotion to an ideal – towards a culture characterised by Aquarius with keynotes of wholeness and sharing.

Up until now the challenge of incarnating wholeness has largely been a struggle led by pioneering individuals and fringe alternative movements. Yet now we are entering a time when the systems and structures of society and of law are consciously facing Aquarian challenges – and doing so in Libran ways.

Three things stand out in the Libran perspective. Law; balance; choice.

Law. The image is of the scales of justice. In psyche and society Libra provides the environment within which we learn to regulate our actions and to take steps that will bring our actions into line with higher principles, ethics and values. This is an accurate description of the Sustainable Development Summit that concluded on Sunday September 27th (the full moon day) – and that began on Friday with the extraordinary energy that flowed into the General Assembly Hall during the Pope’s visit. The events of Friday at the UN were described in a blog by writers from the Guardian:

To cheers, applause and probably a tinge of relief, the 17 global goals that will provide the blueprint for the world’s development over the next 15 years were ratified by UN member states in New York on Friday.
After speeches from Pope Francis and the Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, and songs from Shakira and Angelique Kidjo, the ambitious agenda – which aims to tackle poverty, climate change and inequality for all people in all countries – was signed off by 193 countries at the start of a three-day UN summit on sustainable development …

The 17 Goals spell out a vision of right relations for all peoples and all people. The statement Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development signed by leaders on Friday the 25th develops and amplifies the Four Freedoms, the UN Charter and  the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We are determined, this statement affirms, to end poverty and hunger, in all their forms and dimensions, and to ensure that all human beings can fulfil their potential in dignity and equality and in a healthy environment. This is the first time there has been such a mutually agreed and complete vision for what humanity as a whole, as a species, can achieve in the next 15 years. How appropriate that the Day of Declaration – the Day when the Goals were formally adopted – should be the first day in New York of the 5 days of the Libran Supermoon Eclipse.

Balance Libra also brings energies of Balance. The image is of the scales swinging up and down as dualities come into more intense relationship and competition. These dualities include the central core dynamic of the psyche as soul and personality come into opposition. The quest is to find balance and harmony – not an extreme identification with one pole or the other – but a measure of stability and poise. One of the gifts of Libra is the ability to stop the swinging and to be still for a period of time. It may appear that nothing is happening – that things are continuing as they always were in this quiet. Yet below the surface in the recesses and shadows of identity and self-hood, deep changes are proceeding. Intuitive impressions are flowing. There may be no dramatic outer action but the quietening of conflict and the stilling of the emotions allows the core of the personal identity to begin to shift.

In the world this moment of reflection is occurring – symbolised perhaps by the humility brought into the UN Chamber by the Pope, and by his representation of a vertical approach to human issues and challenges. There is deep thinking at all levels about how to make a globalised world work for the welfare of human beings and the planet. In this deep thinking, subterranean changes are occurring in consciousness; and most importantly in the shift from nationalism to a more universal identity there is a genuine mobilisation of the will. The Sustainable Development Goals, as challenging to countries of the North as to the countries of the South, bring with them a call to every person of goodwill.


The Pope’s words to the General Assembly about the will are worth noting:

Solemn commitments … are not enough, even though they are a necessary step toward solutions. The classic definition of justice which I mentioned earlier contains as one of its essential elements a constant and perpetual will … Our world demands of all government leaders a will which is effective, practical and constant, concrete steps and immediate measures for preserving and improving the natural environment and thus putting an end as quickly as possible to the phenomenon of social and economic exclusion, with its baneful consequences: human trafficking, the marketing of human organs and tissues, the sexual exploitation of boys and girls, slave labour, including prostitution, the drug and weapons trade, terrorism and international organized crime. … we must avoid every temptation to fall into a declarationist nominalism which would assuage our consciences. We need to ensure that our institutions are truly effective in the struggle against all these scourges.

Choice. Above all Libran energies lead to and result in a moment of choice. All of the introspection, the engagement with law and the concern for balance is held within a purposeful objective. Libra may appear to sit still but beneath the surface there is a trajectory towards choice – so that we can speak of before Libra and after Libra. Hence it rules the transition time. And hence we should be thinking about events and developments in these early decades of the  21st century in terms of decision time. This is choice as initiation – choice to act in line with the wholeness vision – choice to respond adequately to the clear message of the International Panel of Scientific Experts on Climate Change – choice, to really put some muscle into the Sustainable Development Goals and into the build-up to the important Conference on Climate Change in Paris in December.

The Summit was not the only event at or near to UN Headquarters during the period surrounding the Libra full moon. Monday, September 21, was International Day of Peace. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon rang the Peace Bell and called on the world to observe a minute of silence at 12 noon.  Tens of thousands of people around the world followed the call, dedicating themselves to work for peace and sharing in countless vigils of silence, prayer and invocation. Students attended a video conference at UN Headquarters (linking with students from around the world) and participated in a Peace Prayer Flag ceremony.

Throughout the week New York City observed its annual Climate Week, including a conference on Wednesday Corporations and Climate Adaptation: Innovation in Emerging Economies.  And on Thursday evening Pope Francis arrived in the city, touching huge crowds by his humble presence and his message of simplicity, ending poverty and support for the most vulnerable. 

Friday, opening Day of the Summit marked the beginning of a host of events at and near the UN. The following day, Saturday, business leaders from around the world met for the United Nations Private Sector Forum 2015, focusing on the private sector’s role in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. On the same day Project Everyone  launched a week of media activities designed to alert all 7 billion people on the planet to the fact that the SDG’s put a wise, mighty and definitive plan on the table for the future of our planet. The best chance of the Goals being met during the next 15 years, the Project argues, is if everyone on the planet is aware of them. A Global Citizens Festival  in Central Park, broadcast around the world by MSNBC and BBC, included a performance by Pearl Jam incorporating Nelson Mandela’s Make Poverty History speech.

On Sunday a leading group of innovators (technologists, engineers, scientists) working on projects to achieve one or more of the 17 SDGs gathered at the UN for a Solutions Summit. Also on Sunday 80 world leaders gathered at the UN to mark the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Women’s Summit. They made personal commitments to end discrimination against women by 2030 and together announced a series of actions to kick-start rapid change in their countries.  And for two days, on Sunday and Monday, a community of global community leaders and social activists met in New York at the Social Good Summit to discuss the role of media and technology in answering the question: What type of world do I want to live in by the year 2030? 

Also on Sunday there were reports following an informal meeting on climate change between Ban Ki-moon, French President François Hollande, and Peruvian President Ollanta Humala that countries are rallying behind the call to reach an effective agreement at the Paris Summit on Climate Change in December. The 3 leaders announced that governments are broadly supporting an agreement in Paris that will accelerate investments in clean energy and spur a global, low-carbon transformation well before the end of the century.

The range of events and agreements at and around the UN during the period of the eclipsed Libra Supermoon are evidence of an unprecedented concentration on the new agenda for a sustainable future. The challenge now is for people of goodwill (in government, popular movements, professional and business organizations, as well as in their individual lives) to take ownership of the Goals and ensure that that they are reached.