…..what would you do if your computer started printing out your innermost thoughts and feelings……
If images sometimes say what cannot be said in words then the sculpture pictured below is perfect for the reflections and intimations that it brings up at this time. It is both ancient and contemporary, has a philosophical edge and embodies an harmonious marraige between technology and poetry, between rigorous process and unremitting humour – qualities that may well be our saving grace as things progress in the coming times. It has an edge that allows the frisson of paradox to energise rather than confound our sensibilities, and it oozes beauty and charisma…..this is the sign of a living symbolism at work and, for me at least, Joshua Harker’s ‘Crania Anatomica Filigre’ (1) achieves all of this and is a powerful, poigniant and provocative symbol well and truly belonging to our times…..
When I first became aware of this image it had an immediate impact, instantly spoke to these qualities and, serendipitously, captures the essence of a very intriguing astrological alignment that has been building for some weeks now, and which is exact as this article is published – Saturn trine Neptune. It is an alignment that, like the sculpture, I feel, brings an underlying flavour of our current paradoxical nature into much needed focus.
The link above will take you to Joshua’s website where you can find out more about his work and how this piece in particular came into being – it has been made through computer generated 3D printing and this makes it reproducable. Infact, the process itself, could also be the perfect exemplar for the alliance between Saturn and Neptune. In this article we’ll look more at the personal aspects of these planets and their current influence………but, first, lets put this in context.
The current planetary climate tells us there will be plenty of time and opportunities to dive down the particularly interesting rabbit hole that is opening up in our patch of the universe…..watch this space. And, we’ll come to that part soon enough!…..all in good time, all in good time……
…..which is very much the positive spin on the message from Saturn and Neptune right now. The planet Saturn has been slowly turning the amplitude up on the trine with Neptune over the last couple months.
They are now both in the first degree of Scorpio and Pisces respectively…..and they will be revisiting this aspect in six months time, so, not only does this meeting effectively frame the upcoming eclipses, the cross-quarter fire festival of Samhain as well as the December solstice, but, whatever is set in motion now will revisit us around Beltain, by way of these two great planets influence. All the more reason to get real about whats happening now…..
….the question is, ‘who’s to say whats real?’. If it seems like this is a time when ‘the reality principle’ itself in the dock and, no matter how much we agree or disagree, no matter how emotional our testimonies are likely to become, and by all acounts, they will, every individual’s testimony counts. But, how to speak of such things?!
Where Neptune dissolves and diffuses Saturn concretises and defines. Poetic licence rules with an iron fist when they unite their energies. ‘Holding it all together’ and ‘going with the flow’ are no longer hippy mantras but mutualy bound neccessities that must find a synthesis. For us the computer screen world has become a worm-hole into the universes of the imagination and these in turn become real by virtue of the underlying force of their emotional impact – every IT savvy advertising executive knows how this one works.
In their current relationship and positions within the tropical zodiac these two great planets are holding court behind the scenes as the world becomes synthesised within liquid crystal manifestations of constant change awash with emotionally charged gravity waves emanating from deep within the ocean of primal consciousness…..Neptune is, at time of writing, stationed in the first degree of tropical Pisces and is about to go direct just as the ringed planet has entered Scorpio. Saturn will be residing in Scorpio for a little over two years, so we are sure to be hearing more about his presence in the eighth sign as time progresses, especially in the coming months. The trine may well have already shown signs of its influence – its something hard to pin down, not least for the polarised nature of the two planetary influences, and I have been wondering just how the trine would become manifest.
The relationship between these two powerful planets is often flagged up as difficult and fraught with an underlying emotional intensity, but, it can also be incredibly creative, with the necessary awareness, intuition and resources to hand in negotiating the undercurrents – and there are plenty of those around at the moment.
The meeting of their seemingly polarised energies has complexity, in a psychological as well as an intrinsic sense, and, while its qualities may well evolve slowly enough to become tangible in the mundane world, Saturn and Neptune’s collaboration is often one that ‘defies the definitive’ and operates through psychological and emotional dynamics. It can, if not registered consciously invoke a kind of archetypal torque that manifests as a feeling of creeping inner overwhelm, but, there is a positive spin to this as it is also a feeling that benefits by expressive release, as it is essentially a root force of creative energy. The predominance of one planet over the other will determine how this manifests, so how they fall in your charts is key to how you will experience this phase of planetary evolution. Either way, it is bound to be an emotional experience, especially with both planets in water signs now.
Whether focusing on inner work, world work, letting off steam or channeling the archetypal into creative work, care must be taken in how we respond to the pull of the emotional charge and how we translate it into our thoughts and actions. Neptune can stimulate the former and induce powerful sea-changes in our lives, Saturn can provide the latter by contextualising and bringing these changes into focus. Collectively, the combined energy could see concrete expression of powerful emotions en-masse, and this would benefit most from the discipline and focus that Saturn can bring – but, thats often a hard call and requires strong leadership.
The symbols thrown up from the deeper areas of consciousness throw an arc of numinous life force between the personal and the transpersonal realms, and these carry the charge safely, providing a live container that shields and translates where otherwise we might become swamped, over-identify or become contaminated with the archetypal force and its numinous influence. Many artists work naturally with this connectivity, especially where their work is both deeply expressive and symbolic by nature, but, being connected with the transpersonal realms and how they shape up in the personal, a true test of our boundaries and psychological integrity, with Saturn and Neptune at work in unison the simple answer is to lighten up and play – as the old saying has it, ‘kiss the Devil on the mouth and he turns into the Sun’.
The strangest of bed-fellows at the best of times, there is always that uneasy tension between Saturn and Neptune – their’s is a fertile paradox of a relationship. Astrologers, I have noticed, tend to come down on the negative side when describing the qualities and effects at work here. But, the positive side, if emphasised with the trine, is one that embues reality with a transmutational numinousity and requires direct encounter with symbolic power to become graspable – in other words its perfect for engaging in some in-depth therapeutic artwork! The effects can be both powerfully and beautifully creative, not to mention a little surreal…..but, lets see if we can further flesh out Saturn first, without breaking into too disrespectful a smirk……
……no, Seriously! Saturn is serious business. He is a kind of hardened patriarchal chief exec. amongst the planets, not necessarily top of the heap, even if he’d like you to think otherwise, but, to extract the goodness of a smile from his dour demeanour requires work, hard work, of the kind that delivers never to be forgotten experience; there are no free lunches at Saturn’s boardroom table and we should never expect there to be – no matter where you sit at that table, no matter whether you are faced with questions of your own mortality, the residue of your own past actions or the challenge of building something of consequence in this lifetime, you are there to learn……..Saturn holds the key that winds up this mortal coil and, as guardian and arbiter of the incarnate branch of its sacred laws, is the disaffected mentor of soul making experience. Standing at the threshold, between the personal and transpersonal realms, the incarnate and dis-incarnate, Saturn does not suffer fools gladly, which is a challenge here because……
……Neptune, by contrast appears the complete anathema of Saturn – defying containment and holding court at the edge of our solar system to galactic energies and interstellar space, Neptune is really ‘out there’, almost recklessly affected to the point of being without substance. This planet, attributed the heart of the mystic and the eye of the dreamer whose reach knows no boundaries, is wayout beyond the personal homelands of the inner planets – this is a planet of the greater community of spirit, by effect on earth ‘the holy ghost of the Great Mother’, which may surprise some – Neptune is, not in effect alone, but, by all accounts and without a doubt, predominantly a feminine planet, and we’ll expand more on this symbolism another time as it is such a commonly held misconception.
There are, of course, masculine and feminine attributes to all the planets, however, astrologically, its the effects that matter. Where Saturn concretises, Neptune pervades and, as such, Neptune’s power resides in the numinous realms out of which the power within symbolism itself has its roots…..oceanic, atmospheric, archetypal, relating to the sub or unconsciousness, Neptunian influences, being transpersonal by nature, bring us into contact with qualities, values and experiences that wash away boundaries and allow a flow of both undercurrents and rip-tides to pull and push on our emotional bodies, operating beyond the physical realms that are Saturn’s domain of manifest power. Where Neptune and Saturn meet though is in their fundamental nature. Where power wells up, connecting us with the primal matrix of creative energy and processes, both of their attributes apply……and, within the individual, both planets offer the keys to individual freedom, delivering through their own dissimilar archetypal qualities and the manner in which these give access to greater wisdom through experience and self reflection. And theres something of the universal and the personal melded in the symbolic valency of the skull.
The skull, in true Saturnian manner, delineates our physical frame in a manner afforded by no other bone in the body. While our brain, the immensely powerful processor it houses, impresses its shape and volume from within the matrix of bone, the mind that percieves and thinks by virtue of its ‘in-house’ processes is by no means either defined or de-limited by the skull’s physical boundaries, far from it – and, likewise, the fluid imaginative patterning of the skull in this sculpture is true to Neptune’s qualities. Our personality too may well have its physical countenance molded and present to the world for all to see by virtue of the underlying bone structure of our face, yet, it is the flesh that ages and changes with the vissisitudes of life, is the expressive map of our life journey – Neptune reveals the illusiory nature of appearances through the metaphysics of Saturnian time. Yet, even with the most vivid imagination, stripped back to the bleached and stark ‘death’s head’ reality of the skull, we are hard put to ‘envisage’ the countenance it might have supported. That is nominally a physiological skill reserved for the pathologist sculptor (an astonishing example of which you will also find on Joshua’s website) – a typically Saturnian application of Neptunian attributes.
……look more closely at this image and you will notice an inner level at work, suggesting the embodyment of this skill at another level – within the skull is yet another smaller one, suggesting an in-dweller, one who observes the observer, who ‘sees with other eyes’ and this is also a skill afforded the shaman and seer, whose inner eye is alive to the world beyond the world…..but, well be taking that particular route next time…….this is a great time for otherworldy art to be birthed, and given that it is also a time in which life may well be seen to be imitating art, also gives us much food for thought…..what would you do if your computer started printing out your innermost thoughts and feelings……
For now, dwell on this image – it has much to say that cannot be said by words alone……
(1) Many thanks to the artist Joshua Harker for the photo of Crania Anatomica Filigre which was supplied by him and is reproduced here with his kind permission.
This month sees the great changes in the world reaching down to root level – we are entering a phase of high resolution transformation in which the challenges of the physical will ask us to tap into our inner resources with pragmatic focus. The pull of the mundane is strong throughout this month so inner balance and adaptation of our medicines to the times will help us to remain centered within the heart, and we will need this as the the very fabric of the matrix is now beginning to shift with kaleidoscopic energy. Everything counts, so…..
Now in the flow, the April New Moon is a way marker amidst the great changes and picks up on the March astral influences, carries them forward and stimulates us into taking up the roles we are each called to with renewed commitiment and dedication. Emergent energy, carrying the ‘I Am’ affirmation from Aries, almost seems to engulf this Moon. Within the quickfire and intense process that we are now seeing, the world has been shaken by recent events in the Mid-East and Japan – and what is the best way to respond? Perhaps we should ask the Powerbrokers who continue to wield the ugly sword of righteous murder, against the people and against Nature, in the name of democracy and profit – perhaps not, we are no longer pawns in their game; rather, ask the courageous workers of Japan who have staked their lives on saving the country from nuclear meltdown. And this while the Ring of Fire is reverberating with quakes on a daily basis, many in the 4.5 to 6.5 range, many around Honshu and the Asian Pacific faultline – Earth is not to be ignored in the face of political unrest and usury. She will have her say……
We begin this report with the mundane view because it is going to be key to how we bring our personal paths to bear within this Moon cycle….although the New Moon opens a new cycle it is the cycle itself, especially in its first two quarters, that will determine how we percieve our course for the month. Patience and compassion are called for, looking to the inner wisdom that is growing within; at the Full Moon we will return to review where we stand and take our work further forward…….as much apparent lunacy as there is in the world, it is going to highten our balanced sense of self, our purposefulness within the world. And, talking of lunacy…….
Uranus has been joined by Mars in the second degree of Aries – and, lo! the Koran burning Pastor is in denial of the consequences. When Mars conjuncts with Uranus we get an energy that must find some form of expression – it is most dangerous when it finds its lowest form, can manifest as shock tactic fundamental extremism and will do so with unpredictable consequences, apart from the fact that we know it will be provocative to say the least. If these two planets working together find the high side of expression Uranus and Mars can empower us with radical inventiveness and inspire new paths of manifestation for spontaneous acts of courage, a pragmatic counter to the aggressive and irrational unconscious drives of its low side. On 2º Aries Uranus conjunct Mars brings a cold edge to the Uranian energy, and challenges us to look without flinching at the effects that acts of aggression have in the world. The Sabian symbol for this degree is ‘Objective Consciousness’, hard core facts and seperation from feeling. While it is an energy instilled in every soldier and its intrinsic denial is behind every case of PTSD emerging from the war zone, it is also intrinsic to the symptoms of the deeper wound, and reading the symptoms is as much a part of our healing as working from the heart. We cannot ignore its effects, especially now……will governments take responsibility? Whether they do or not, it will be up to us to step up to our calling and, as individuals, work together to make the difference. Re-volution reaches far beyond our politics.
In the mundane, Saturn’s face-off with Jupiter continues to be triggered by the New Moon, as if to prolong the interrogation of our ethical and moral limitations. We know that governments cannot continue to act in the name of Democracy while blowing up the opposition, and this energy is also expressed in the lower vibration of Saturn and Jupiter. The forces of containment vieing with the forces of expansion with heavy effect. The higher vibration shows us that, in reality, the two are seeking a way of working together, however, with the New Moon activating the Jupiterian end of this pervasive stand-off, we may well see the transformative side of Jupiter coming through as pressure builds on the contollers and overlords from within. The people are inflammed with growing spiritualised desire to see change at the root, and this Moon will make sure that this is seeded – it is an expression of Venus in Pisces sextile Pluto, now vacillating in early Capricorn. It is at the heart of the courage being shown in Japan. It brings the radical edge of compassion into the world. When Masaru Emoto called the world to prayer, to ask for forgiveness from, express gratitude towards and to seek healing for the Waters, he was expressing the high side of Saturn and Jupiter, the water crystals manifesting the sacred geometry of the heart, toned by feeling and spirit. There is a great teaching in this – we do not need to wait for the call to work with the medicine in this way…….if we make such acts an integral part of our everyday life Life will be transformed……
The benific side of Saturn will fund us with support in this, especially if we are able to capitalise on the Mercury retrograde energies of inward focus and communing with the spirits. We know that the dangers from focusing through his low side are present as well – with behind the scenes strategising and covert agenda’s that seek to maintain control. However, we may be able to see this at work, to see through the deceptions, if we hold to the center and utilise our sacred point of view, our ‘seeing’. For example, we may observe a change in policy and shift of focus if the US government goes into shutdown on April 8th when interim budget cuts run out of time. Mercury retrograde will square US Mercury, challenging open communications, and the Moon on the US Descendant will signal the time for the people to claim their power in the face of the governments apparent inability to work on their behalf….but, I digress….and we must not forget that we are on the verge of a new spiritualisation of our reality.
Neptune is flowing into Pisces for a four months stay, and while he is there, ruling the mutable nature of our spirituality, we will get a taste of the great collective shift within that will truly begin to counterbalance all this tumult in the world – this will be our signal and the real work we have come into this time to engage with will take on new dimensions. The boundaries will open and if you have been diligent in holding to your heart center and witholding from reaction to or inculcating the influences of the mundane, you will discover that your own boundaries too have become radically changed – entering this zone of shifting boundaries and timelessness we will be able to take our innate spiritual powers to another level! Intent is everything in here, so too our center…..
The esoteric can be intoxicating, but, it can also be the gateway for fundamental healing. With Chiron already in Pisces we can expect Neptunes influence on Chiron to bring a pragmatic shamanic quality to the shift . Time dissolves as we enter the world of the shape-shifter – up pops the white rabbit and down the worm-hole we go …..
Nothing is quite as we expect it to be as we make that journey – the preparation began this Equinox when Uranus brought us to the gateway, shook its foundations and was followed by Jupiter pushing on the sacred portal that Saturn stands guarding – if we look at their opposition more from the esoteric we will see the doorway now opening. The polarising tension they have brought has sustained Uranus’ shockwaves – it is also like tightening a drumskin and raising its pitch, and this too now gives a clear mandate to bring our work in the world to a higher purpose – we can follow that beat.
So many of the above influences are calling us to stay with our feet firmly planted on our own ground, to work with our own innate wisdom; it is a personal response and we know that, individually, we will do so as one, fractals of the whole. While the planets fund us with cosmic energies for change our Earth is reminding us of the sacred nature of Nature. Neptunian influences are a foretaster. As Neptune enters Pisces ‘for good’, early next year, accessing the oceanic realms of the Dreamtime, our Earth will be showing us that our task is to fully realise our role as Keepers of the Sacred Garden and, as Rainbow Warriors of Peace, manifest the coming Fifth World from within. The prophecies have been preparing us for this – in the last decade our regard for them has changed, now we are collectively remembering – they were never just stories to be heard and wondered about; they are the deep source of our knowing, about our purpose and how to prepare – we will sadly miss José Argüilles’ visionary leadership and inspiration in helping us to wake up to them. There are many visionary leaders present with us in our times, but, right now it is up to us all to step into our own roles as leaders, each in the way most suited to us, and care for our personal medicines as we do so……the responsibility of the healer is also to maintain their own health, the more so now as Transformation emerges from within.
Our world is changing from within….the heavens are changing within – Change is our new Body – we are becoming transubstantial and, within ‘that which knows’, the elixir of our spiritual alchemy is reaching manifestation point. It is a crucial moment in the ongoing process of conscious global transformation – now the World Medicine we hold within must rest within the changing world without. Then we can entrain with the crystallising energies of Saturn while retaining the potential growth factor of Jupiter – timing is everything, so we do need to know when to wait and when to act.
We cannot anticipate how we will look to each other beyond this process, so the emphasis really is now in trusting our own personal transformation as the template for outer change, and there are energies in the heavens that will help us at this stage. In Pisces, Chiron conjunct Ceres, and Venus sextile Pluto in Capricorn, remind us that we are here to face the reality of our collective wounds and seperation from the natural cycles of Life, and that we can do this by being with Nature. Earth is funding the fundamental relationships we have with Nature with the transformative power of deep commitment and belonging. Once again, this is fundamental to our role as Keepers of the Garden of Earth. The cultural paradigms of the industrial world have taken us a long way from this deeper connection.
The higher vibrations of the planets also show us the way. Wisdom too can be the prerogative of Saturn and he can be very grounding with this – once we are able to overcome the stultifying effects of fear, his shadow is transformed into steadfast courage and dedication – he helps us earth. In Libra this becomes the power to form right relationship, and within our mandate, becomes the manifestation of unity with ‘all our relations’. But, we can find inspiration from the strength of the courageous workers at the Fukushima nuclear plant, the spirit of the Japanese people, their integrity and the outpouring of immense compassion that we are seeing emerge in response – Earth is speaking to us, it is real. It is clear, the Sacred Hoop must be restored. Jupiter expands the call and helps us raise the energy that will bring the medicine to bear. The New Moon seeds this energy within us and Mars brings Uranus the compelling fire of realisation that we are the Birds of Fire, the Warrior Guardians of our entry into the Fifth World. Neptune’s entry into Pisces signals the first wave of the spirit world merging with our own in consciousness, the timeless higher dimension that generates the sacred geometry of the Flower of Life within our true nature – sweet is the nectar that Hummingbird finds there, the Medicine of Joy – it knows no boundaries.
When time dissolves, the boundaries between things become maleable – all we know is at our center. This is the pathway of inner light – the emergent consciousness of the Goddess returning. Her intrinsic wisdom is manifest in all things and harmonises all within the one. We continue our daily lives through Her grace……she also carries an earthy knowing that will help us ground our mandate. For all the otherworldly nature of the shamanic shift it is the middle world we always return to……integration is our objective. Even at the heart of the storm the world assumes its customary dimensions, and we continue, infused with spirit. It is very much about being natural within the world. To close, some words from the Oracle will elucidate…..
Hexagram 36 of the Oracle of Changes contains this line in the commentary :
‘though one harmonizes with others, one is not influenced, and though one associates with others, one does not become clannish.’
What does it mean that ‘one does not become clannish’?
What is clannish reflects the varying patterns that exist within us and around us – we recognise our kinship with each other through this. And yet ‘though one harmonises with others, one is not influenced’ by the entrapment of energies within the mundane. Why build a world on difference when the nature of difference is change itself? It is like mistaking the burning wood for the fire…….wood, flame, ash and heat, it is all one.
This hexagram came up in response to a request for an overview for this Moon cycle. Its name is ‘Concealment of Illumination’ – it never ceases to amaze how this ancient oracle responds with timely and aposite advice – here it exactly mirrors the heavens and earth. The image contained within the hexagram is enlightenment hidden within difficulty. We move amongst the people without outward show of our inner illumination, yet following our seeing, we know each other. We know we cannot fight fire with fire, so we gently nurture the elixir we have generated, through concealment. In this way we can be broad in our perspective and adaptive in our responses, able to integrate within the masses. It means being discerning while being unobtrusive : ‘one is like the Sun, which is bright when it rises, but, also bright in secret when it has set.’ Fire returns to the Origin……
……the Black Sun of the Fifth World rises in the Raven’s eye, She blinks and the Wheel of Law becomes the Seeing Eye of Magic . At the heart of the storm all is still and the inner eye is filled with light…….as the seer wends the city streets, no outward show, ordinary to all, illumined in all…….
Oracle of Changes references : The Taoist I Ching, Thomas Cleary & Liu I-ming, Shambala Publications, 1986