Introducing Phonosemantic Meditation (PM)

You are invited to follow a new series of Facebook status updates at Joe Perez – Author which introduce the practice of Phonosemantic Meditations. These are simple sacred utterances or mantras which have the ability to re-orient one’s relationship to language — and foster the emergence of a trans-linguistic awareness — over time through repetition.

The practice builds day by day by linking the phoneme meaning — say, /kɛ/, for the start of the word Care — with the energetic posture by mindfully recognizing the Lingua-U equivalent hexagram, ╎╎╎╎│┆, in your speech kinesthetics and by expressing the subtle energy in your body’s posture.

Each day has both a morning and evening practice. There are 729 distinct meditations over the course of the calendar year, two per day. In a year’s time, as the stations of the Kalendar are traversed, the entire Lingua-U alphabet is enfolded into your awareness through this simple daily meditative practice. In this way, your awareness of the subtle connections between speech, body, and the natural world coalesce in a new harmony.

Phonosemantic Meditations are a core daily practice necessary for the study of Integral Magick. If you are at all curious about developing tearing down the body/mind barriers created by a lack of a more comprehensive language awareness, or if you want to up-level your subtle energy work, “like” and share these posts, and begin to use Lingua-U’s meta-map of a Universal Language of Energy to enhance your spiritual development.

While mantras have been around for 1000s of years, there’s never been a fairly comprehensive set of them suitable for meditative practice and inquiry until now. That’s the point of up-leveling your existing mantra practice, if you have one, with Phonosemantic Meditations (PMs).

There are 729 different hexagrams which depict mantras for reciting, two per day for an entire solar year. A simple way to get started with PMs is to recite the vowel sound expressed in the first two symbols of the day’s hexagram. Today it is ╎╎, which is the schwa vowel or “ə” sound as in “custom”. Add this vowel to your sitting meditation or yoga practice in an unobtrusive way. Change the vowel every 40 days with the start of each new month of the Kalendar.

In this way, you can begin to know the inner nature of nine common vowel sounds, the nine Secondary Vowels of ‪#‎LinguaU‬. As you are ready to deepen your practice, you can learn to express the consonants like ╎╎╎for K or combine them into consonant-vowel expressions like ╎╎╎╎╎ for /kə/ or ╎╎╎╎╎ for vowel-consonant expressions like /ək/.

The Black Stone Is Now Available For Purchase!

kalendar-stone

At long last, release the Kraken!

The Wheel of Existence turns at the Common Era’s most extraordinary time imaginable. After billions of years of evolution, a Rounder has been born at Zero who returns from Beyond to dwell amongst the mortals.

He is Kalen O’Tolan. His young appearance belies the secret of his immortality, an Aeon-spanning Kalendar to which his life and times are aligned. As the world of the Iron Age advances to heighted culture and civilization, he ages slowly in his boyhood. Kalen is aided by parents of mysterious ancestry, his loyal brother and tenacious sisters, the Wizard Aupaiaaqua, and other extraordinary beings.

The old world of Magic is dying, and every magical Power is set for turmoil. Corrupted and evil, Aries-Pisces leads the fight to destroy the Rounder and seize the Artifacts of Orr which the boy Kalen is charged to find and protect. Kalen must obtain the Black Stone and win the trust of the Great Bear who will lead the forces of Animwaa in the War of the Zodiacs.

Miraculously, the future of humankind depends on the outcome of the hero’s quest. A terrifying calamity called the Nadir approaches the world in 2,111 C.E. Kalen must find a way to communicate with someone alive in the present day who can alert humankind to the approaching threat in order to take corrective action before it’s too late.

The fate of Existence itself depends on Kalen’s ability to influence the development of Lingua-U, a new Universal Meta-Language, in our time. The Black Stone comprises two distinct works: “The Omphalos of Delphi,” a fantasy novel, and “The Surrender of Symbiosis,” an epic-length philosophical poem. Both books are joined under one cover and offer interwoven explorations of human meaning-making at the foundations of consciousness.

The Black Stone is the first in a series of nine genre-disrupting works offering a mix of fiction, poetry, art, and philosophy. Together they will make up The Kalendar Series, an epic volume which tells a single story spanning the entire globe of the Earth beginning more than 2,000 years in our past and ending nearly 1,000 years in our future. This is a work that testifies to the emerging human capacity to create languages, tell stories, paint pictures, sing songs, and predict the future from an integrated sense of a unique identity as participants and co-creators in the evolution of Kosmos.

“A sort of Lord of the Rings meets Integral Spirituality meets The Canon of Supreme Mystery (among others). If you enjoy — and are ready for — sprawling epics built with spiritually integrated circuitry, The Black Stone is for you — brilliant, compelling, original, beautiful.” – Ken Wilber, The Integral Vision.

Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Kalendar-Book-One-Black-Stone/dp/1495187705/ref=sr_1_1

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Kalendar-Black-Stone-Book-One-ebook/dp/B01F4E1LL8/ref=sr_1_cc_1

New Zodiac Sign No. 6: The Vulture

The sixth Animwaa of the Bear-Yak Zodiac is the Great Vulture, Vija, Social Purifier, and Most Just of the Fierce Friends.

6. The Vulture

Correspondences

Army: The Fierce Friends

Role: Social Purifier

Constellation: V

Enneagram: No. 1, The Perfect Foe

Kalendar: ││┆╎, ││┆┆

Old Zodiac: Aquarius 5° – Aquarius 11°

Dates: Jan. 25 AM – Jan. 31 AM

Complement: Chicken

Description

The Great Vulture is one of the most extraordinary heroes in the story of Kalen’s childhood. Vija, the Great Vulture, found a Vultur Gryphus, a Great Condor of the South, and persuaded him to travel far from his Andean home. Together with the Great Vulture, Almity the Giant Condor crossed thousands of miles and braved many obstacles on route to the Castle of Wands which held Kalen captive, until at last the opportunity came for him to perform a great deed at the boy’s hour of deepest need. The Great Vulture herself watched Almity’s extraordinary rescue unfold from a perch on a tree at the Castle’s base. Vija was prepared to do many things to rescue Kalen, for she had never before been so outraged by injustice than she was upon hearing of the boy’s sad tale from Beionai, the Great Bear.

Kalen taught the Great Vulture many things about the bird’s spiritual significance. Vultures are patient beings who deliberate reflectively. They take time before making decisions and choose paths based on keen insights. Often they see and make use of what others overlook, refuse, or discard. They see many alternative possibilities and use all of their senses in navigating through difficulties. Vultures can be fiercely protective.

vulture1Vija was called the “Social Purifier” because of her ability to address injustice, advocate for the disadvantaged, and cleanse impurities in difficult situations. The Great Vulture not only played a central role in Kalen’s rescue from the Castle of Wands, she also played an enormous role in the overthrow of Aquarius, the Water Bearer (or Water Hoarder, as he came to be called). Aquarius saw himself as being concerned with humanitarianism and creating a more just social order, but Vija uniquely saw how Aquarius fell short. He believed he was doing good deeds, but he was actually merely justifying his own wealth, privilege, and power. Vija saw everything Aquarius abandoned, oppressed, or marginalized. And Vija set in motion the collaborative effort which would undo the Water Hoarder and inaugurate the rise of the New Zodiac.

Linked to the last five degrees of the first decan of Aquarius and the first degree of the second decan, Vija shared two character traits with the Water Hoarder: social conscientiousness and introspection. Intelligent and just, observant and transformational. The Great Vulture was a match, trait for trait, with Aquarius, and she was there when the time came for the Water Hoarder’s fate to be sealed.

An Apology as A Former Marc Gafni Defender

In 2011, I became friends with Dr. Marc Gafni, currently the head of the Center for Integral Wisdom. I visited him and listened to him extensively discuss the allegations of various parties (mostly women alleging emotional or sexual abuse), and learned that he had an archive of private materials in his defense. I perused the private materials and, after some deliberation, came to see matters much as he did, as a misplaced and unsubstantiated vendetta.

In all of my deliberations, I relied mainly upon public information and his private archives, except for one scandal. It was the scandal that brought Marc and I together, actually. Tami Simon, the head of Sounds True, cancelled Marc’s book deal, alleging that Marc had been inappropriately involved with two persons, one a student. Marc expressed regret about some of his behavior, such as asking for privacy/secrecy from the women, but not all of his behavior. I interviewed the two women and attempted to interview Tami. When Tami refused an interview, I posted a blog post with my interview questions for her. I really didn’t feel I had enough information to judge Tami, but I did feel that Marc’s behavior while problematic was not an obstacle to his continued involvement in the Integral community.

In 2012 and 2013, I collaborated with Marc on a variety of projects, the most important being my work to help ensure that the website for Your Unique Self got off the ground. For over a year I was an independent contractor for the Center for World Spirituality (which would later be renamed CIW).

Continue reading “An Apology as A Former Marc Gafni Defender”

Release Date Announced for The Black Stone

black-stone-front-cover

I am pleased to announce that Tangent Publishers, an imprint of Integral Publishers, has announced its intention to release The Black Stone (the first book in The Kalendar Series) on May 1, 2016.

Woo-hoo!

At long last, you will soon be able to read my first book since 2007’s Soulfully Gaya peek at a New Magic which is arising in our midst. Stay tuned.

For more information about the book, visit the home page for The Kalendar Series.

George Monbiot’s “Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems”: A Review

George Monbiot‘s article, “Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems”, is a good summary of the Left’s problems with liberal economics, and one which indicts the Left too for not having come up with a better alternative. It helps to elevate the word “neoliberalism” into one which is simultaneously a centerpiece of Left-wing social theory and also boogeyman — one which, as the headline says explicitly, is “at the root of all our problems.” The diagnosis is wide, but flatland — only the Lower quadrants get a look.

The challenge for an Integral economics is substantial, particularly when popular sentiment among integrally informed folk these days seems to be all about simply adopting whatever the Left is doing. To meet the challenge Integral thinkers must give more than one side of the story. While honoring the prophetic streak in writers like Monbiot, we need to show the fuller picture revealed by a post-Green meme lens and demonstrate the utility of a more Integral economics. When the Left’s critique of neoliberalism is combined with everything good about liberal economics, we can arrive at a more realistic vision with pragmatic steps to move us forward. As Hillary Clinton recently lectured Bernie Sanders, it’s easy to offer a diagnosis; it’s harder to build solutions.

Monbiot concludes: “A coherent alternative [to neoliberalism] has to be proposed. For Labour, the Democrats and the wider left, the central task should be to develop an economic Apollo programme, a conscious attempt to design a new system, tailored to the demands of the 21st century.” There are currently programs in existence which seem to be pursuing creative approaches, but none have reached the place where governments can create policy alternatives. In my view, Integral economic thinkers ought to be part of the task of envisioning alternatives to our economic status quo and we should bring many insights obscured to flatland economic systems. But we need at least as much energy devoted to reforming liberal economics so it works better and more equitably, extolling its virtues and accomplishments, and resisting the effort by writers like Monbiot to proclaim the death of liberalism as a failed God.

Announcing a New Facebook Group: “Integral Agape”

On April 14, I created Integral Agape, a new Facebook Group located at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1098302913523392/

Here is the group’s description:

In Integral philosophy, we distinguish between Eros and Agape. Eros is the force driving creation to reach higher and higher. Agape is the transcendent force reaching down and including lower levels. Both of these drives are necessary and important … and they manifest up and down the Spiral of existence at every level.

This group is focused on Agape: the self-immanent, descending current of evolution. In politics, this take the form of a focus on preserving what needs to be preserved, maintaining healthy values, and conserving valuable traditions. We are not defenders of the status quo, but we believe progress needs the attention of an integrally-informed consciousness in order to move ahead responsibly and deliberately.

We focus on what we do not to exclude Eros, but to ensure the integrity of the Spiral in which the Ascending and Descending currents meet. In that sense, our “conservative” ethos is married with a “progressive” spirit.

And here is my post today:

Yesterday on Integral Global, Theo Horesh asked: “Whether or not we want to support the Sanders campaign, the question remains as to whether the most inclusive mass movements will be supported or subverted by integral thinkers.”

I didn’t write a long response. But I pointed to something else I wrote earlier yesterday which expressed my vision of Integral Politics as a sort of Integral Methodological Pluralism in the political sphere, serving as a universal donor of wisdom to every first-tier political meme as it is embodied in particular parties and institutions. I concurred with him that green/socialist political movements have a ways to grow before entering maturity and having their full impact on the USA in particular, and I opined that the Integral movement needs to support their emergence. But support and subvert are not necessarily opposed! I said that the Green Meme will wreak havoc if left to its own devices (so will any first-tier meme), and needs to be subverted to avoid potentially catastrophic missteps, and to protect the health of other valid political memes (values and real people and institutions) up and down the Spiral.

I think what Theo was asking for is best handled really in a sort of Integral Progressive movement, much like there are also Integral Christian and Integral Buddhist scenes. I said, “Let the IPs choose the best way to move progressive issues forward — e.g., support Sanders or Clinton? — and let the Integral Conservatives or whatever they call themselves (though they are seemingly not to be found at this Facebook Integral-themed group) choose the best way to advance conservative causes in an integral direction. One group represents the impulse to Eros and the other to Agape, and let them each check the others’ Phobos and Thanatos. Nothing like this has ever been done in any other political movement, though in a sense it could be seen just as an expression of the emergence of ‘wings’ in the Integral political scene. The idea that the Integral movement — uniquely charged with protecting the entire Spiral — should *only* align itself with ‘progressive’ political causes, indeed those affiliated and endorsed by only one first-tier meme, Green — is frankly a bit frightening. It may answer the challenge of the hour, but it is short-sighted in the extreme. It is the perfect recipe for a nightmare scenario. Let Green do Green well. Let the post-Green memes do what only they can do.”

It was in writing these words that I realized that lo and behold *I* was one of the Integral Conservatives that I was talking about! In conversations on Facebook since last fall, I had been consistently saying and liking things that were closer to the political mainstream (Hillary Clinton as opposed to Bernie Sanders, Democratic Party as opposed to Radical Left, conventional reality vs. conspiracy theories, etc.) It seemed that 90% of my Facebook friends were all drifting farther away from the mainstream and into this new-fangled radicalism. Well good luck and God bless with that, but I’m ready for something different. The majority of people on Integral Global and similar groups sometimes seem to want nothing more than Green philosophy and spirituality with a few sprinkles on top, rebranded as “Integral”. Every day it’s the same thing: more Wilber bashing, more rabid anti-capitalism, more Hillary derangement syndrome, more conspiracy theories, more calls for Revolution!(CC NC-ND), and more silence about how much this is really in tune with the fuller, expansive spirit of Integral. I don’t think they’re all bad Integralists (not by a long shot), and I certainly don’t think they’re bad people, but they’re out of touch. I just think it might be an appropriate time to let the spirit of Agape run wild.

If you feel a kinship to our purpose, you are warmly invited to join Integral Agape.

New Zodiac Sign No. 5: The Viper

The fifth Animwaa of the Bear-Yak Zodiac is the Great Viper, Eimiqua, Visionary Companion, and Most Dangerous of the Fierce Friends.

5. The Viper

Correspondences

Army: The Fierce Friends

Role: Visionary Companion

Constellation: B

Enneagram: No. 1, The Perfect Foe

Kalendar: ││┆│, ││┆╎

Old Zodiac: Capricorn 28° – Aquarius 4°

Dates: Jan. 18 AM – Jan. 24 PM

Complement: Emu

Description

The Great Viper’s loyalty to the Great Bear’s cause was very much in doubt at the start of the War of the Zodiacs, but in time he proved himself a true member of the Fierce Friends. The power of the Ro was strong among the reptiles, and they divided when the time came to choose between the Second Wave Zodiac and the Third Wave Zodiac. The reptiles, like the rodents and some other animals, were maligned at the start of the War. Their loyalties were divided between the Ro and Bei, and reformation movements spread which not only divided species, but even families. The most wicked and corrupt reptiles affiliated with Aries-Pisces; the Reformed Reptiles, led by the Great Viper, chose the Bear-Yak.

Kalen met Eimiqua, the Great Viper, at a perilous time in his adolescence. The creature curled on his spine and spoke to him of a desire to know his own place in the Kosmos. He bit Kalen who began to hallucinate. He envisioned the Viper as the shape of Kosmos itself, a magnificent Spiral shown with nine glowing orbs. Eimiqua knew only of seven, and he bade Kalen to describe all nine of the orbs. Kalen described only seven orbs, but gave clues regarding the other two orbs. The Hanimwaa stated that if the Great Viper led the reptiles in the War of the Zodiacs, he would see the other two orbs as well and his knowledge of them would be unsurpassed among the creatures of night vision. Eimiqua shed his skin and joined the Fierce Friends.

Viper was called “Visionary Companion” because of his ability to offer candid advice about future events which was highly accurate, strategic, and unsettling. He also roused primal instincts of aliveness and sensuality in those whom he influenced. His mere presence could call attention to levels of raw energy that were otherwise unnoticed. As the War of the Zodiacs emerged, Eimiqua traveled in the world of reptiles gaining support for a new alliance, and he was instrumental in bringing Gecko and Frog to the battle. His ability to shed skin often accompanied his own changes or heart or mind.

The Great Viper was the only Animwaa tasked by the Great Bear to work to defeat both Capricorn and Aquarius. Although Viper was not present at the Battle of Red Cliffs, he once encountered and fought the Sea-Goat in a manner which gave Kalen valuable information. Later his battle with Aquarius, with other reptiles at his side, gave fire to the Third Wave’s cause.

Linked to the last few degrees of the third decan of Capricorn, Eimiqua shared two character traits with the Sea-Goat Monster: restlessness and practicality. A greater influence is the first four degrees of the first decan of Aquarius, which bring about the traits of individuality and complexity. These traits are reflected in the choices made by Viper in his notable forays with the old Zodiac.

Big Kettle Worldviews, Guardian Angels, & Violet Magic

I’ve drawn some inspiration for Integral Magic™ from some sources you may regard as unlikely. But before I go there, let me tell you what I have rejected.

I have rejected the conception of magic popular in contemporary books in the fantasy genre. Not just because the idea that speaking magic spells is saying words in Latin is a little overdone. You don’t have to be widely read in the fantasy genre to understand that even in so-called fantasy literature, fantasy is … well, too fantastical to be real. But what I’m working on is literature both fictional and real. There are fantastical elements and some explicitly fictional stories, but I am not interested in what can be called lies. I am interested in the Light that is shed by looking in places that are very often overlooked.

Real magic is what I think is missing in the world right now on a scale and scope to have an impact on the way ordinary people live their lives. It’s missing because people have forgotten the way language and symbolism really works. We have forgotten on a massive scale to the point where our contemporary worldviews are mired in delusion. I aspire to change that, and I am doing what I can. I am aspiring not just to write fantasy books or create a new magical system … I am aspiring to usher into being a Big Kettle Worldview capable of saving the planet and making lives better and helping the co-existence of the physical and spiritual planes of being.

I needed to walk between the worlds more than just a little bit to be able to envision magic in this way. All good magicians have had to develop relationships that have helped them to navigate in the realms others fear to tread. I don’t talk about this aspect of my work much. It’s not really the best time for this conversation and some things are best kept private. First I need to build the Big Kettle Worldview. Then I need to make it impactful in the world. Then, if the need arises, we can discuss the spiritual relationships which have nourished me.

There are a few things that I ought to say at the beginning. I have written publicly that I was inspired by the Archangel Gabriel in fabricating the elemental building blocks of Lingua-U. We have communicated in a variety of ways including oracular divination using the New Book of Changes and the New Canon of Supreme Mystery (my work in progress). We have spoken using my own approach to mediumship. And we have spoken through an intermediary spirit (a “guardian angel”) whose identity I have decided to only partially reveal outside a close circle, hints given in The Kalendar Series for those who are interested in such things.

Without spiritual communication, I could not have developed the Integral Magic to the point where it stands today. Talking to angels can be disorienting. One can lose one’s self in the process. I have also taken “breaks” from spiritual communication when it was necessary for me to re-calibrate my personal mental and emotional well-being.

Perhaps my spiritual guide is not your Archangel Gabriel or perhaps I am just talking to my unconscious self or perhaps no such being exists? Go ahead and hold your reservations, questions, and doubts. I didn’t bring up the subject to enter into a full conversation about it. That isn’t important right now. I respect your beliefs and I have developed confidence in my own. I’m telling you this because I think it’s important that a Big Kettle Worldview make room for people who talk to spirits … and even include the perspective of the non-human entities and angels who want to speak to us.

Make no mistake. The world badly, even desperately, needs a Big Kettle Worldview … even if it doesn’t know it yet. Worldviews aren’t what people think they are (unless those people have a Violet lens on Reality), bundles of abstract concepts and cultural artifacts tied tightly together like twigs. Worldviews go deep to the core tree-trunk and deepest root of Who We Truly Are, down to the molecules and the quarks, expressed in elemental numbers and letters and symbols that move before we even notice, changing our thoughts for us, transformation happening in secret.

To really change a worldview — or effect any deep, lasting socio-cultural change over a period of hundreds or thousands of years — one needs to get primordial, as primordial as possible in one’s given time and place in history. In our day, Lingua-U and the other technologies of Integral Magic are rearranging the building blocks of thought, feeling, spirit, and soul. These existential structures are creating new ways of being human available to anyone who learns how to use them. This is why Integral Magic is so important, much moreso than fantasy magic: it’s as real as Real gets when you are living at the sanguine edge of consciousness.

Integral Magic includes practices which give us access to unseen realms of existence which are inhabited by sub-personal, personal or trans-personal energetic forces. Learning to navigate these subtle energies is essential to discovering one’s own identity as one develops at the Violet station of consciousness. Learning to work with subtleties — including linguistic energies — on a daily basis is essential to human development and flourishing at this stage of our planet’s existence. If you are not willing to explore what this means, then you are not ready to receive this teaching.

New Zodiac Sign No. 4: The Platypus

The fourth Animwaa of the Bear-Yak Zodiac is the Great Platypus, Zhoona, All-Embracing Perfectionist, and Most Extraordinary of the Fierce Friends.

4. The Platypus

Correspondences

Army: The Fierce Friends

Role: All-Embracing Perfectionist

Constellation: B

Enneagram: No. 1, The Perfect Foe

Kalendar: ││╎╎, ││╎┆

Old Zodiac: Capricorn 21° – Capricorn 27°

Dates: Jan. 11 PM – Jan. 17 PM

Complement: Opossum

Description

The Platypus traveled far from her home in Eastern Australia to join the First Army, carried by her magical instincts and surviving in a delicate balance of life. Zhoona was part of the First Army’s original meeting at the start of the Red Jewel, and subsequently she delivered the battle cry and call for emancipation far and wide. She was a favorite among the “First Friends”, befriending everyone and earning praise for her tolerant and loving nature.

Kalen taught her that the Platypus is a one-of-a-kind creature, set apart from other species, and must follow its own way in life. Because of its similarities to other animal groups, it is friendly with land animals, water animals and birds, but it does not run exclusively with any of them. Its unique nature is a function of its inner drive for completeness and desire to embrace diversity. At the same time, it is not a pushover. Possessed of venemous spurs, it will attack anyone foolish enough to take advantage. Like Bear and Bat, Platypus is a largely nocturnal animal. Nevertheless Platypus also enjoys daytime activities, especially on cloudy days.

Platypus was called “All-Embracing Perfectionist” because of her desire to please everyone and make friends wherever she went while remaining her own special self. Unlike shape-shifting or color-changing animals, Zhoona did not need to change who she was to fit in. She was often the subject of admiration and envy for wide-ranging abilities. In the early years of the War of the Zodiacs, Zhoona worked to forge alliances between animals who usually would not work together for common ends, especially between aquatic and subterranean species. Her perfectionistic streak shone in her refusal to take no for an answer.

The Great Bear gave the Great Platypus two key roles in defeating Capricorn: First, as one of the only two aquatic creatures in the First Army, she would need to turn the river-dwelling creatures against the Sea-Beast. Working in collusion especially with Fish and Beaver (an ally of the First Army), she would need to educate the river creatures and encourage them to rise up against their wicked overlords in the Old Zodiac. Second, as the only subterranean creature of the First Army, she would need to bring news of the War to all the animals living underground which she could find.

Linked to the third decan of Capricorn, Zhoona shared two character traits with the Sea-Goat Monster: a strong desire for functionality and efficacious activity married with keen organizational skills. Her practical side allowed her to prioritize her actions to make sure she was acting in the best interest of the New Zodiac (and if she strayed, Bat was never far behind to reprimand). At the same time, she did not set about her task single-handedly. She forged teams and alliances devoted to the common purpose, and sent them out to fulfill their duties. At times, Platypus was tempted to treating her friends as cogs in a machine, but she never took it so far as Capricorn did routinely. She kept herself squarely focused on overcoming the oppressive regime of the Old Zodiac.