Aimless: Lessons from the Square

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Saturn’s position in the sky has moved, and I’m coming out from under one of the toughest astrological transits I’ve experienced. For the past ten months, Saturn has been square my natal Venus and Moon. My natal Moon in Pisces rules my Sun sign (Cancer), and natal Venus in Virgo rules the sign of my Ascendant (Taurus). Opposite each other in my natal chart, these two points serve as the primary centers through which flows the energy available to me for living, being, understanding, relating, and expressing. With Saturn square these two points, my energy, feelings, intuition, emotion, and ability to relate felt constrained within a cement culvert. This has been a physically and emotionally uncomfortable epoch.

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Overlapping with the Saturn square, Neptune has been conjunct my natal Moon and opposite Venus. This numinous and pleasant transit began in spring 2015 and will continue through spring 2018.

The Neptune energy feels comfortable to me: I’m at home in the depths of these waters, and I love the feelings of connection and heightened sensitivity, aesthetic and intuitive, that the Neptune energy brings. This transit also moves more energy through these two central points, which heightened the sensation of constriction caused by Saturnian structures.

Feeling the constraints of Saturn energy during this Neptunian epoch has been uncomfortable, to say the least. I felt bound inside, as if steel girders lined cement culverts, restricting intuition, feeling, emotion, and most of all, the ability to give and receive love.

Now that I’m moving out of it, and reconnecting to intuitive happiness, I can see that I learned valuable lessons during this time. When I was in the thick of it, even though I knew intellectually that we sometimes learn our best lessons during difficult transits, the most that I could do was have faith and patience and just get through it.

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Already, the memory of the physical, emotional, and psychological discomfort fades. Feeling the pleasure of connection brought by Neptunian energy, I forget what it felt like just a few weeks ago to feel cut off and isolated. Because I did learn a lot, I’m already to able to look back at these past ten months fondly. Before I forget entirely–and before I’ve completed the integration of the lessons–I want to write about the experience to preserve something of it.

During this time, everyone with natal planets in aspect to Saturn and Neptune felt something of its square. In fact, all of us on our planet felt these tensions in some way as the bands of contrasting energies moved onto our earth at right angles. I’m sure I haven’t been alone in what I felt.

Because of Saturn’s retrogrades, I experienced three direct passes of the square, and each brought a different lesson.

The First Pass: Don’t Resist Resistance

When I first felt the constriction of this transit, it seemed to come out of the blue. I’d been enjoying the free and loving feelings of the Neptune transit, relishing the pleasures of a heightened sense of visual and musical aesthetics. Life was feeling very sweet, indeed.

And then, I began to notice that I felt tight inside. My boyfriend began to notice that I was contradicting him in conversation. When I looked up my astrological transits, I wasn’t surprised to see that Saturn was involved.

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When I began to notice that I was resisting, my first inclination was to resist more–I didn’t want to be experiencing resistance! I’d been enjoying the universality of the delicious Neptune transit. But resisting the resistance didn’t work: it only made it worse.

“Don’t resist the resistance” became my motto during the first pass of the square.  It helped until it stopped helping, which was after the square moved a few degrees from each planet.

The Second Pass: Witness to Past Trauma

During the second pass, I was caught off guard by a sudden feeling of anxiety. As I investigated it, I found behind it a memory of a traumatic moment related to fear of abandonment. This was the first of a train of events that presented themselves to me to be remembered, witnessed, and released.

It was painful and frightening at first. Through time, I learned to feel the safety of the present moment while releasing these past hurts and fears. As their residue washed out, I felt whole. The constriction of the Saturn square still exerted internal pressure, but with less stuff inside to rub against it, the discomfort had lessened.

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The Third Pass: Loving the Whole Person

During the third pass of the square, I was reading one of those works of literature that has the power to change a person. This was another incident of “The Timing of the Text,” which I’ve written about before, during which we’re introduced to a work that presents exactly what we need exactly when we need it.

The work that served this purpose for me during this time was Senna’s The Racket-Rotter Chronicles. It’s a beautiful, challenging work dealing with trauma, violence, and the healing powers of witnessing and love.

Part of the novel takes place in a region of torture and abuse. While reading this, I began to see this setting as a metaphor for the inner landscape of one of the characters. I saw that those of us who’ve experienced trauma (which, as Doreen Virtue points out, is pretty much every sensitive person alive on the planet) carry within us realms like this.

When we enter into an intimate relationship with someone, as close friends or lovers, we can sometimes see into these inner realms, these worlds of hurt and of other people that we carry around within us.

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The energy of Saturn allowed me to look at those I’m in intimate relationships with stripped of illusion. The gauze of love and romance which typically colors my perspective was ripped off, and when I looked at those I was closest to, I could see faults, short-comings, prejudices and biases, and hurt. In other words, I could see them as people, not Gods or ideals, just people.

Love, in addition to being a pleasant feeling, is also an action: When the pleasant feeling is restricted, can we continue to love? When we see the other as just a person, not an idol, can we still love? When we come up against their hurt, when they are triggered, when we are triggered in response, can we find the presence of mind and heart to continue to love?

In the final arc of The Racket-Rotter Chronicles, the act of witnessing past pain–the pain of one’s intimates and of one’s self–offers the true expression of love. This love brings unity and healing: wholeness.

Integrating It

So I guess it was worth it. Ten months of physical, psychological, and emotional discomfort. Three seasons that tested my closest relationships further than they’d been tested before. Three lessons that required faith, patience, and trust to move through. And now, coming out the other side, I am already forgetting the difficulties and feeling thanks for the blessings.

For ten months, I felt cut off from happiness. I felt lonelier than ever, and this loneliness brought up memories of a lifetime of loneliness, so that I felt that loneliness was simply my native fabric. And now, the restriction is removed, Neptunian energy flows freely again, and I feel once more that joyful connection with all-and-everything and everyone. I wake up happy now. And instead of contradicting, I affirm.

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These feelings–these experiences–weren’t me. The origin wasn’t in me. It was energy from deep within the universe, moving through me, playing upon the magnetic patterns formed by my natal astrology. The joy and unity I feel now, also, aren’t “me.” They’re caused by another band of energy that flows through, a band of energy associated with Neptune.

As vessels for energy, we’re given gifts of experience, insight, understanding. This is what the astrological transits are for. So, when learning is a part of it, ten months of discomfort isn’t so much. Especially now, when Neptune’s singing that oceanic song, and inside of me, I feel like a cello, reverberating in tune.

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Aimless: Birthday Rambles

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The solar return offers a chance to look back and look ahead.

This is the day of my solar return, and so my thoughts ramble back through the year.

It was a challenging year, personally and astrologically. I lost a few friends (though I gained a few more!), and I’ve been moving through an uncomfortable and restricting astrological transit.

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Sometimes this year I felt under attack by what I loved most!

For the past seven months, Saturn’s been square my natal Moon and Venus, which are opposite each other in my natal chart. As the moon is the ruler of Cancer, my sun sign, and Venus is the ruler of Taurus, my rising sign, my energy flows through the pathways of these two planets.

So when Saturn passes square, the expression of my energy for communicating, writing, creating, relating, and even living is restricted. Add to this that Neptune is currently conjunct my natal Moon and opposite Venus, so there is a lot of extra numinous energy wanting to flow through these two channels. I often thought of river levees and sap running through constricted cells.

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Structure and growth side by side in a forest… it can be a good thing, right?

During the first pass, I found myself resisting everything. As this came to my attention, I developed the mantra, “Don’t resist the resistance!” I suppose it helped a little bit, as the internal structures where shifting and being reformed.

During the second direct pass, roughly a week ago, I was given a direct lesson and some new tools. The lesson involved trauma. One evening, I found myself feeling uncomfortably anxious, which is not a common state for me. As I felt the anxiety increase, the words came, “You are reliving past trauma.” Understanding that this was what was happening, I breathed my way through the experience and calmness came within twenty minutes or so. I had never thought of myself as one who’d experienced trauma, yet for the next few days, I realized that, like most of us living on this planet, I have.

In one of those beautiful gifts of synchronicity, a few days later, I learned that Doreen Virtue and her publisher, Hay House, were making available free e-book versions of Virtue’s Don’t Let Anything Dull Your Sparkle, a book that provides techniques to heal from past trauma. (Later note: the limited time e-book give-away was part of a promotion for an online class offered by Virtue. The book is no longer available for free.)

Reading the first third of this book prompted a shift in me: Virtue discusses the brain chemistry and hormonal changes that occur after trauma and the ways that people become addicted to these stress chemicals and hormones. That’s when they crave drama and fear boredom. Understanding this opened up space so that I could find my way back to peace.

She offers, too, useful tips for difficult relationships we have with others who have experienced trauma:

  1. Have compassion.
  2. Don’t take it personally.
  3. Take care of yourself.
  4. Know that you can’t fix or change the other.
  5. Be a good role model.

(Source: 5 Healthy Ways to Deal with Difficult People in Your Life – Note: this video is also no longer available for free.)

This week, leading up to my solar return, I’ve been practicing these techniques, and I like the way they make me feel: powerful, calm, loving, and peaceful.

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And when you feel good, you can laugh!

In a few months, Saturn will pass for the third time through this direct square, and then it will continue its course, freeing up the Moon and Venus energy pathways.  I hope that during the third pass, I’m able to integrate what I’ve learned–both about the structure of resistance and about trauma–so that the lessons of this transit become part of me.

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Integration: just look to nature to see how it happens.

And what will the new year bring? Once Saturn releases my energy, then Neptune’s gifts will flow unhindered. I’m open for a year of music, art, intuition, dreams, and imagination. It promises to be a busy year for me professionally, too.

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I no longer feel under attack.

The solar return offers an opportunity to set intentions. Here are mine:

  1. Continue reading and writing SimLit.
  2. Continue my involvement with the Simming community through Book Club, Reading Circles, and the Kindness Bench for SimLit Writers and Storytellers.
  3. Play cello. Play piano.
  4. Be the best partner I can be to my best lifetime (and beyond) partner.
  5. Be mindful in daily actions.
  6. Do my best with the professional projects that have come and will come my way.
  7. Have compassion for everyone, myself included.
  8. Practice yoga. Walk.
  9. Treat everyone with the kindness, patience, and understanding I would extend to a best friend, while being my own best friend.
  10. Greet each morning, each moment, each challenge, and the end of each day with gratitude.
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Could it be that gratitude is always enough?

Another year, another day, another moment: Vadish.