Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Teachings of Saturn for 2009

In last month’s article, we began an in-depth look at the wisdom our Universe is sharing with us this year, via the perpetual dance of planetary movements and interactions in the sky above. These movements and interactions serve as road maps or instruction manuals, if you will, indicating the shift in energies we are constantly experiencing both on a global and personal level. If we pay attention, we can learn a great deal about what to expect in the year to come, and how best to utilize this knowledge to its full advantage on our personal and collective journey through the year. Last month, we began by having a look at Jupiter’s very cool trek this year through the sign of Aquarius. I don’t know about you, but I can already feel the exciting shift in energies, which are definitely for the better!

This month, we’re trying our hand at deciphering the messages of Saturn. What’s that? Did I hear a collective groan from my readership when I mentioned the planet…Saturn? Hah! There it is again! (Better watch it; you guys are bringing out my impish nature.) Well, contrary to what you may have heard, felt or believed about our second fatherly planet, I’m here to fill you in on the extraordinary long-term benefits that we experience if we’d only heed the advice he gives.

Yes, I know that he’s the quintessential taskmaster, hell-bent on getting us to straighten up and fly right. Believe me; I’ve had my share of lessons taught by his firm and very deft hand! However let me ask you this, where would we be if our only planetary father figure was the ever-indulgent Jupiter? Really now, think about it; how would we evolve and become our highest potential if the only form of guidance we received was an indulgent pat on the head and an unbounded allowance to go forth and do whatever we please? (I know, it sounds real good to me too, but let’s be reasonable here.)

Saturn is what inspires us to actually “show up” in life and strive for better, both personally and communally, by indicating the consequences we experience when we don’t. While we always have a choice in the matter, following Saturn’s wisdom means that we’ll most likely end up on the sturdier, more-beneficial-in-the-long-run ground of just about every situation. There’s that collective groan again. I’ll bet the only ones out there not groaning have a heavy Capricorn influence in their charts. It’s either them, or others who are mature enough to see the wisdom in my words. Yep, it’s true…most of us tend to agree with our elders just a little bit more with every passing year. It’s okay, you know. We can remain young at heart while we embrace the wisdom of the ages. Trust me, it’s been done.

Okay, now that we’ve relaxed a little, let’s take a peek at what Saturn’s showing us this year. Beginning in September of 2007, Saturn made his shift away from Leo and into Virgo, and will remain in the present transit until October of this year, when he moves into Libra. This change in Saturn’s energies from the self-involved influence of Leo to the practical and service-oriented energy of Virgo is indicating some pretty massive changes that we are all experiencing directly. Virgo is earthy, practical, and very concerned with making things work efficiently and fairly. Saturn’s trek through Virgo is inspiring us to push forward with the “greening” of our lifestyles and our planet at an accelerated pace. It’s important to remember that inspiration by Saturn can come at us full force, if we don’t act upon his more subtle hints first. Either way, his message will be heard. It is entirely up to us which way it will be.

As an aside, I often wish my column came with a soundtrack. It would be so much fun to select corresponding music to convey the mood of my work most effectively. Like that last sentence would have a kind of powerful, ominous tone playing while you read the words. Ah well, it is not yet meant to be. Perhaps soon, however…

One example of the extreme way Saturn teaches that comes glaringly to mind is the crushing weight of gas prices on just about everyone’s budget (except those who are involved with Exxon, of course) that we’ve recently experienced, which inspired us to face our destructive dependence on oil and to demand more research into alternative fuels and transportation methods. More people began purchasing hybridized and fuel-efficient vehicles than we’ve seen in a long while, most of which are imports, which in turn is forcing our domestic automakers to shift gears in a hurry, and develop more green technology if they want to survive. We in Michigan desperately want our domestic automakers to survive, because so many of our manufacturing jobs and satellite businesses are dependent on the auto industry, much like a wheel and spokes on an axle.

You see? Saturn’s lessons may be painful initially, but we often need to get a feel for the negatives of a situation before we can really appreciate and take decisive action toward creating the positive. Such is the nature of the human condition at times. It wasn’t enough that we knew our oil gluttony was creating political, social and ecologic upheaval. We actually had to experience its effects first-hand, on an economic level, to finally motivate us into action. At the end of the day, however, we and future generations will be so much better off by the changes we are being compelled to make now.

Another example of how Saturn in Virgo is teaching us a harsh lesson is the results we are now experiencing from our move away from traditional, independent farmers to industrial, corporate farming complexes. While we’ve long known about the dangers of pesticide use on our produce, and felt bad about our dying independent agricultural heritage, only a small percentage of society had taken steps to become more deliberate in their consumption by purchasing only organic foods and locally grown produce. The majority of us have blithely gone along with taking for granted where our food comes from, and how it is prepared. That is, until recently. We’re now being rocked to the core with some pretty scary effects of our acquiescence in the form of people getting sick by eating mass-produced leafy green vegetables as well as prepared peanut products from an industrial farm in Georgia.

Bear in mind that the above examples are the result of our not taking decisive action when the facts and opportunities were first presented to us. Saturn steps in when many other methods of waking us up have failed. He is the loving disciplinarian, after all, and all his lessons are for our own good.

The good news is that we can choose to pay more attention to the information we’re given, and then act upon it appropriately. If we do this, then Saturn can just sit back, sip on a cool one and monitor us from afar. A much happier situation all around, I’d wager.

So what is Saturn saying to us this year? Well, Saturn in Virgo ties in nicely with Jupiter’s work with Aquarius. We’ve ushered in a new political administration that has great promise and leadership. Our new president is a man who has already indicated his desire to change many of the issues that have brought us to our knees. He has already begun this shift by demanding that great strides be made toward alternative energies, updating our infrastructure, and revamping the healthcare industry into something far more functional and accessible to all. All these demands are within the domain of Virgo. President Obama has also asked for our help. Instead of pretending that he has all the answers and taking a God-like stance, he’s asked us all to work together, cooperatively moving toward the rebuilding of our country. This is decisively Aquarian in nature. The cool thing is that I think we’re ready to do just that, and the majority of us have chosen a leader that inspires us along.

During Saturn’s transit through Leo, a common trend developed where people became more interested in helping themselves, and less interested in helping others. The principals of the Law of Attraction became whittled down to an endless wanting and a focus on self-gain for many individuals, which is not the greatest path for spiritual growth, and not the original intention of LOA. Many took on the less savory Leo characteristics of self-absorption, narcissism, self-concern at the expense of others, and paying lip service to spiritual beliefs in an ego-based effort look good, without really practicing them. Saturn in Virgo is asking us to understand that getting everything we want is not necessarily the goal of spiritual evolution. Saturn in Virgo helps us to realize that each of us has a duty to heal ourselves by reaching out to heal others. When a friend asks for help, instead of asking yourself, “how will this affect me?” or “what will this cost me?” think instead, “how may I serve?” Virgo is a sign of service, and is teaching us that we will find true fulfillment in being of service to others.

There is a great deal of work that needs to be done, and Saturn in Virgo is now inspiring us to get on with it, already. There is a strong need to move away from the waste and lack that we’ve experienced in a global economy, and to get back to basics by forgoing the long-distance commute and working closer to home, cultivating personal and community gardens and farms so that we are more self-reliant and supported by cooperative participation. Mutual interdependence that reacquaints us with our neighbors and communities will help us to know that we don’t have to face what we’re facing alone; that we are all, every one of us, in this together.

We need to bring back the individual farmer who works closely with the true cycles of nature. We can all support this shift by purchasing produce grown locally by independent farmers. You will find them at nearby farmer’s markets during the warmer months, and independently-owned grocers usually purchase only locally grown produce. You can ask at the counter if your favourite grocer supports local farms.

On a more individual level, Saturn in Virgo is indicating several things that we need to start paying attention to and taking action toward improving. One major thing is the state of our health. Many of us have neglected or ignored the more subtle suggestions we’ve received in the past, and Saturn will show us what needs attention, and will use any means necessary to motivate us toward a healthier direction. The best way to handle this, and to avoid any harsher prodding, is to begin to do the things we need to do on our own. This can include getting a full physical, committing to a healthy diet and exercise routine, and freeing ourselves from any unhealthy habits that can have a destructive effect on our bodies and minds.

There are many Virgos, and people who’s natal Saturn is in Virgo, who are experiencing a pretty heavy state of affairs, depending on where Saturn and the Sun are in their individual natal charts. This is an important time for your personal evolution, and an opportunity for you to face the things that you have resisted facing, or simply weren’t aware of and need to be. The best way to work with this energy is to go with it, stop resisting, and pay attention to what you are learning. There is great benefit in what you are experiencing. Know that, have faith in it, and act accordingly. You will be all the better for having experienced it.

Something for us all to watch for with Saturn in Virgo is that we don’t take on the more fearful energies of this sign. Virgo can be a nervous worry-wart by nature, and we need to guard against any nervous, OCD-type behaviours that are more destructive than helpful. A better way to channel this energy is by taking up activities that sooth Virgo’s nervous energy, such as gardening, yoga, martial arts, handwriting letters, engaging in service-oriented volunteer work, helping a friend in need, reorganizing your home, detoxing your body, mind and spirit, and engaging in group activities that reach for a higher level of global well-being.

There is so much more information about this important transit that I’d love to share with you, and yet I feel that I’ve given you enough to chew on for the time being. As I mentioned earlier, Saturn will shift into Libra in October of this year, and I’ll elaborate more on what to expect when we get closer to that time.

May we all enjoy the journey!