Surviving Saturn

Of all the gods in the astrological pantheon, Saturn is probably the least lovable. Whether he comes in the guise of the child-devouring Cronus, or the vicious, martial Kali with her necklace of severed heads, it is often very difficult to find affection for this crotchety, old saturnine force that seems to be completely intent on adding as much difficulty to our lives as possible.

In astrology, Saturn is the planet of delay, of obstruction, old age, maturity, hard-work, toil, responsibility, and the all around oppressive heaviness that comes with the burden of being a creature bound by time. When Saturn is in an unfavourable aspect – as he is right now, currently in dual opposition to both Mars and Mercury, and in conjunction with the Moon – our lives suddenly become a lot harder and a lot more ponderous. No doubt many of you are feeling this effect. Whether you’re frustrated by delays, temporal sluggishness, an amalgamation of burdensome and often conflicting responsibilities, or a cruel, and seemingly insurmountable workload, its tonnage is probably finding a way to weigh you down.

I know it is with me! I recently took on a new writing job, and have to complete at least four articles on Buddhism and Meditation by the end of the day. I shouldn’t even be writing this right now – I should be working on the articles I’m actually getting paid for! But money has always been a negligible incentive to me, and I wanted to have a brief moment of fun sharing my thoughts with you, before I get to work.

In spite of all this, we must find a way of loving Saturn. Only through the onerous difficulties that he presents us with are we able to become stronger, more indomitable people. Delays teach us patience. Obstructions and obstacles teach us to be flexible and persistent. Responsibilities teach us to be pure and selflessness, putting other’s interests and needs before our own. And hard work forces us carry on, even when we feel tortured, exhausted, and wounded, never giving up, and eventually mastering perfect equanimity and resolution of mind. Saturn may be a hard task-master. But he does love us, and ultimately only wants us to possess the same invincible wisdom and strength that he possesses himself.

During times such as these, it is Lao Tzu’s inspiring quote “There is nothing that cannot be overcome, there is no limit,” that I find myself chanting as a mantra in near constant repetition. One can never hear this reminder too much. Think about what it really means. Reflect on it. Meditate on it. Witness the true limitless power that resides within you, and you will be able to engage with every day with all the courage and impassive bravery of a samurai entering into battle. Only through repeated hardships, do difficulties become easier and more bearable. Welcome these difficulties into your life as you would a beautiful lover. Peace of mind may be an easy companion to acquire when times are joyous and restful, but unless we practice maintaining that inner serenity, even in times of oppression, then all our training will be of little, practical purpose.

I leave you now with another of my favourite quote from the Tao Te Ching, which I hope will give you the same conviction of will and spirit that it so often has to me:

Forging ahead shows inner resolve

Hold your ground and you will last long

Die without perishing and your life will endure

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