A group of therapists came together in Europe to participate in a ten-day workshop.
As was the custom, at the start of the gathering, the attendees gathered together in a circle to take make introductions and share a little about their practice and history.
About halfway into the process, a woman explained how she’d worked for years in a mental institution counseling dozens of patients each day. And then, after a pause, her face became grim. She continued:
One day while she was eating her lunch one of her clients committed suicide by jumping off the roof of the institute. The patient fell right past the therapist as she was eating her salad.
The woman’s breathing became rushed, she was crying and right on the verge of losing control.
But the leader of the workshop sensed that something was ‘off’ about the woman’s state; there was something not quite genuine about it. She seemed to be working herself into an agitated condition to alert her colleagues about the intensity she’d experienced throughout her career and how that intensity made her special.
At the end of her story she looked to the leader of the group for acknowledgment. And then everyone else in the circle turned and looked to the leader too. A concerned silence hovered in the air.
And then, after a pause, the leader shrugged his shoulders and announced:
“Okay. New rule. No jumping from the roof during lunch.”
The woman and all of the other participants in the circle burst into laughter.
You Didn’t Jump. So You’re Still Here!
I like this story as an allegory for looking back and reviewing the past seven years that accompanied the just-finished square between Uranus and Pluto; two of astrology’s most misunderstood and misinterpreted planets.
If you haven’t jumped off of a bridge yet, well, congratulations, you’ve passed a series of initiations that you were destined to encounter (should you consider your soul an agent of consciousness that traverses from life to life).
Your presence continues within the pulse of life. You’re still here and entwined with — and required to participate in — the incessant woof and warp of living.
This circle story also shows how we might expand beyond our pipsqueak sense of self, with its attendant stories and dramas that color and define us. The story also shows how the ordinary can shift to the extraordinary by involving humor as a transcendent ingredient. Life is tough, it sucks sometimes and then we laugh (or cry) and then we carry on.
I’ve written a lot about the alignment between Uranus and Pluto on this site, and discussed in detail some of the socio-cultural fallout with my colleague Jessica Murray. But now, as the final square clicks in and out of exactitude, I’m going to share some personal anecdotes, observations and insights with you.
Some Backstory First
Modern astrologers write from a Jungian perspective about the trio of planets that reside beyond Saturn (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto). Because those planets orbit the Sun at a glacial pace it’s easy to associate them with ‘collective’ time — cultural trends and geopolitical movements; or even the rise and fall of civilizations — when you consider Pluto’s 248-year orbit around the Sun.
But let’s not forget that cultures and civilizations are aggregates of individuals. Folks like you and me. And, should you be open to an atypical perspective, the outer planets also mark moments in life that deconstruct your conventional sense of self.
If you are committed to upholding the values and standards you inherited from your family, church or the various authority figures that influenced your life, well, it’s likely that your ability to find resonance with the outer planets hasn’t developed.
Many people do not ‘register’ the outer planets in a personal sense, in much the same way most people do not practice Zen or involve their lives with depth psychology or spiritual practices that unravel the dominance of the ego and its allegiance to the instincts. This isn’t a judgment, just an astrological statement of fact.
The dominate theme of my work with clients during the past seven years has involved the personal particulars of accommodating the acceleration of consciousness that’s symbolized by the Uranus Pluto square. An unrelenting pressure that feels (to those aforementioned instincts) like a battle to the death.
Here are some notes, observations and insights I’ve gleaned by tracking my own experience and that of my clients. Make what you will of this. Nothing is etched in stone.
“We are not stamped at birth with our destiny, nor even our personality — there is no imprinting — but, being the person we are, we are born at a time that announces who we are.
Our destiny may be indicated at birth, but its realization lies in the future — indeed tragically it may never find complete fulfillment.
It is a pity that the idea of destiny has almost completely slipped from human consciousness, thanks to the propaganda that physical causation is the only causation in town, so that everybody must look to the past for meanings. The answers must lie in the genes, or in the childhood situation, and so on. Some of the answers may indeed be found there, but the true significance of our journey — like all journeys — lies in where we are going, not where we are coming from.
Aristotle wrote in the fourth century BC that the ‘nature of man is not what he was born as, but what he is born for.’
And I like this quotation from Nietzsche: ‘Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today.’ ”
– Dennis Elwell
from Astrology is a Foreign Language on Skyscript
Break, blow and burn. Van’s incantation will take you up and out; this song amazes me over and over again.
Rave on John Donne, rave on thy Holy fool
Down through the weeks of ages
In the moss borne dark dank pools
Rave on, down through the industrial revolution
Empiricism, atomic and nuclear age
Rave on down through time and space down through the corridors
Rave on words on printed page
Rave on, you left us infinity
And well pressed pages torn to fade
Drive on with wild abandon
Uptempo, frenzied heels
I’ve written about filmmaker and provocateur Adam Curtis before. I suggest you read that post, Pop Culture’s Edgiest Truth-Teller, to see more of what he’s about.
But do so after you watch his latest short documentary that he created for the BBC’s year-in-review program 2014 Wipe. He spins an eerie cocoon of unsettling facts, images and propositions — all centered around a condition that is just as apt to American economics (and the political machine that support those tactics) as anything coming out of Russia or the UK. (I’m deliberately being vague so you watch the video below).
Curtis’ audio visual inquiry is an apt mirroring of the final release of the in-progress Uranus Pluto square (culminating in May of this year). Another way to read this square, as related to what Curtis is highlighting, would go like this:
It’s through the deliberate manipulation of future shock (a Uranian theme that the futurist Alvin Toffler framed many years ago) that a massive rape and robbery (big Pluto themes) are underway — all under the auspices of destabilization and confusion. That condition, too, would be the Pluto part of the equation — where any sense of proportion is lost. Where larger-than-the-imagination fortunes are the prize; as Curtis notes related to the mystery of ‘quantitative easing':
Who to trust as a vetted and informed realist for information delivery? And what if the destabilization and confusion are simply natural byproducts of a sociocultural breakdown that is inevitable when any system has maxed out its lunacy cycle. Perturbations are the norm in science when one form or system is impacted by another. The question remains as to what, exactly, this other system connotes. Evo- or de-evoltuion?
My sense is that all of this is a kind of ‘spinning beyond one’s personal control’ phenomena that our connection to the Internet exacerbates and throws into high relief. Bold, monstrous motions like this by an economic political body are akin to larger-than-life ‘selfies‘. Only the caption here would read: “Look! I can rape an entire culture.”
This is crime as art, and all artists, despite the threat of legal ramifications, want credit for their creations. And now the entire world can watch. But through a confused, scattershot lens.
The problem with predictions, especially astrological ones, is that they rarely, if ever, come to pass. So why do astrologers bother making them and why do readers keep reading them? I’d suggest you skip the obvious answer and consider what the writer Chuck Palahniuk tells us about the power of distraction — which in many ways predictions turn out to be:
“People don’t want their lives fixed. Nobody wants their problems solved. Their dramas. Their distractions. Their stories resolved. Their messes cleaned up. Because what would they have left? Just the big scary unknown.”
Of course much of the lure (and lore) of predictive astrology is about filling in the “scary unknown” with imaginary possibilities; scenarios that may or may not have any connection to how reality flows. As a diversion and pastime I suppose this sort of nonsense is entertaining, but if you’re sincere about employing astrology to assist in the development of consciousness — no.
With Saturn’s recent entry into Sagittarius this theme — diversion and how it robs us of our allotted amount of time in life — becomes a self-assessment worth engaging. To not examine our life with this intent we fall prey to a harsh form of self-loathing; the shadow side of Saturn’s transits through the fire signs. Here Saturn decrees: “Create!” To not is to live a half-life.
The all and everything of astrology is about light. The generation of light, the mechanics of light — the movement and dispersement of light and how light enlivens the inert qualities of a body (yours, or say, a planet’s), when it interacts with the atmosphere of said body. That catalytic force translates into expressions, facets or faces of being that make each form or entity unique.
This is why astrology is always fresh — or should be. Meaning, in order for astrology to be relevant to each of us in the here and now it must be released from the too-tight limitations of predictive language, which always reflects back on a lexicon that is ultimately limited in that it has little to do with where everything, everyone is now.
The Saturn of 200 years ago is not the same Saturn of 2015, anymore than the you of 1985 is related to the you of 2015. This is the shortcoming of the notion that astrology is a language. Better to say that astrology is informed by a living logos than a set of conceptual descriptions etched in stone. Free astrology from the notion of archetypes (by which it is currently crippled) and you enter the ‘scary unknown.’ And that’s a good place to start living from should you desire a sense of life that is always fresh; free from someone else’s opinion or cosmology. Again, this is a Saturn in Sagittarius theme. Not everyone will rise to this sort of clarion call of freedom.
Saturn, as the furthest planet from the Sun that allows light to be reflected back to earth and recorded with the naked eye, pinpoints where the pile of grist awaits each of us. Meaning, within the theater of reality, wherever Saturn is transiting the prima materia (the starting material required for any alchemical process) arises, making itself known through the various themes and reality bands corresponding to the signs (or planets) being transited. Read more