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[Witch Way] Volume #3 Issue #6 -- As The Wheel Turns
November 13, 2010
|Hi, Samhain & Thanksgiving & Yule, oh my!
I hope your Samhain was exciting and enjoyable. I spent the night of Samhain with the Vikings, this side of a portal to Helheim, saying goodbye to a dear friend who passed a few weeks ago, and to the sister of a very close friend who passed back in April.
There are a lot of people who ask me why if I’m a Witch, do I spend so much time with Heathens? The simple answer is that I like the people, and enjoy the rituals they create. There are so many open rituals to choose from, but most of them have little or no energy. They don’t move me. Blot with the Vikings, moves me.
Heathenism is not my Path, and it never will be. Even so, the ritual of honoring The Gods is universal, and very moving when done right. If you’re lucky, it’s just boring, when done wrong. I would encourage everyone reading this, to go out into your local community, and find others like yourself, on your Path, or not, and get to know them. Ask if you can join them for ritual, and see what magick there is around you. You never know who you might meet.
A Monthly Column For Astrological Insight
This month’s column is going to be all about the Planet Saturn and its influence here on Earth.
First, a little background. “Saturn” is the Roman name for the Greek Titan Kronos. Kronos was the tyrannical father of the senior Greek gods--Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hera, Hestia, and Demeter—whom Zeus had to overthrow in order to save the lives of himself and his siblings. The names of Kronos (the Titan) and Chronos (the Greek god of time) are often confused. Saturn is named after the Titan, but there are some correspondences to the god of time as well in Saturn’s influence on Earthly events. More on that later.
Saturn is the most distant Planet that is visible to the naked eye. Therefore to ancient astrologers Saturn appeared to patrol the edge of the Universe, ensuring that the bodies already within the Universe stayed in, and anything that did not belong stayed out. Not only was he the dutiful and distant enforcer of the ultimate boundary, but he was incredibly slow. Saturn’s orbit is the slowest of the visible Planets, compounded by the fact that he spends about 5 months of any given year retrograde, the most time retrograde of any of the visible Planets.
Saturn requires two to three years to move through a given Sign of the Zodiac. Jupiter, Saturn’s closest neighbor visible to the naked eye, requires only one year to cover the same distance. These observations, along with observations of events here on Earth when Saturn transited other Planets and the various Signs, led ancient astrologers to draw certain conclusions regarding Saturn’s nature and influence. Many of these conclusions are still proving relevant today.
Saturn represents that which “grounds” us. This influence can be positive, in the sense that it can bring us back to Earth after our flights of fancy and provide the to-do lists that transform yesterday’s dreams into today’s accomplishments. Unfortunately Saturn is much better known for the negative side of his influence, where he acts like a parent that “grounds” a child that has misbehaved.
Saturn represents boundaries, limitation, accountability, duty, responsibility, and rules. Some astrologers (myself included) believe Saturn is the astrological embodiment of the father-figure and represents the influence of the father and authority-figures of all kinds in a person’s life. Where Saturn appears in a person’s natal chart is where the person will often have to take on twice the responsibility to get half the results others get.
Saturn’s influence is not entirely negative, however. If all of Saturn’s hoops are jumped through, the person will end up an authority in the area that was giving them difficulty, and learn how to create things that are truly timeless. Saturn’s influence will often show how seriously others take a person, and how and whether an individual will leave behind something others consider truly significant.
When looking at transits, Saturn may be the single most important Planet to watch. Almost any transit that relates to Saturn will have a physical— often unavoidable— manifestation for us here on Earth. Saturn is the least “touchy-feely” Planet, and the one most concerned with where the rubber meets the road. Often the area of one’s life Saturn’s transiting influence is affecting, feels overburdened like carrying around a backpack full of cement.
We are greatly weighed down by responsibilities and accountability in the area Saturn is affecting in our lives at any given time, and anything related to this part of our lives may seem to take twice as long and three times as much effort as it normally does until Saturn leaves it. This can manifest in a positive sense, in the form of a promotion we’ve long worked for, or having a new baby, or in a negative sense as our past irresponsibilities catch up to us in forms such as legal troubles, insistent bill-collectors, or illness.
Saturn’s influence is strict and impartial. Where you have been responsible you will be rewarded, and where you have been irresponsible you will be punished. Awareness and responsibility are key when dealing with Saturn’s influence.
I’ve also discovered an important corollary to Saturn’s influence: Saturn always gives warnings and opportunities to change our course before we hit the final wall he administers, but most of us are too wrapped up in our own agendas to pay attention until it’s too late. For example, the last time Saturn formed a square with my natal Mars, I abruptly lost an important source of income.
Looking back on it the client had been saying good-bye to me for about a month (and there were needs my client had that I had been neglecting for years) before I was actually told to take a hike in favor of a different service provider, but my attention had been focused on other parts of my life at the time and I failed to notice what was happening. I was told that there was nothing I could’ve done about the decision even if I had been aware of what was coming, but if I had been paying attention to my client in previous years it probably wouldn’t have been an issue.
Even if I’m wrong about that and there truly was nothing I could have done, a little more psychological and financial preparation would’ve made the transition much easier when it came. The moral of this tale is to pay attention to where transiting Saturn is in your chart, and to take care of any small problems that crop up there, or that you notice during Saturn’s stay, since Saturn will quickly bring them to a head if ignored.
As an example of how transiting Saturn affects us on a more collective level, from September 2007 until October 2009 Saturn was in the Sign of Virgo. Saturn’s influence manifested quite visibly during this time in the public’s worried obsession with having government provide employment and health-care to everyone, especially during the 2008 U.S. presidential election.
These areas— health and employment— are both ruled by the Sign of Virgo, and Saturn’s influence both focused the public’s attention on the responsibility our society has to ensure that employment and health-care are widely available, and guided many of us to believe that authority figures (governments, in this case) were responsible for fulfilling this duty. Unfortunately, our own desire to avoid personal responsibility combined with Virgo’s worrying nature seems to have enticed us into an ill-considered course of action. The fulfillment of these obligations has been left in the hands of institutions that are unable to provide what it is we need.
It is easy to fear the accountability and personal responsibility that Saturn’s influence always brings. As inconvenient as these can be, however, it is always far more hurtful to try to deny or avoid the responsibilities Saturn presents us. Our collective experience of the recent Saturn transit of Virgo is an excellent— if painful— illustration of this point.
Saturn has helped show us that trying to make “them” responsible for our health or our usefulness to our fellows is a losers’ game. He is repeating the old saw that if we want something done right, we have to do it ourselves. This is something none of us want to hear, but as is typical with Saturn’s lessons, it is unavoidable.
Right now, Saturn is in the early stages of transiting the Sign of Libra. Saturn entered Libra briefly in late 2009, and re-entered Libra for his full stay in July of this year. Saturn will remain in Libra until October of 2012.
On a personal level, Saturn in Libra indicates a time when joint ventures and plain dealing will probably be the keys to success for many of us. This is not a transit that favors going it alone or trying to game an impersonal system. Forming partnerships to accomplish things and openly settling conflicts will probably be the most direct routes to our goals for many of us while Saturn is in Libra. I’d like to think that on a collective level more public figures will be held accountable for their past actions (or inactions) while Saturn is in Libra, since Libra is the Sign of Justice.
Unfortunately however, this is not guaranteed. In fact, since there are no major transits to Saturn while it’s in Libra— as compared to the long-running Uranus-Saturn opposition that occurred while Saturn was in Virgo— I’m inclined to think this transit is indicating that 2010 through 2012 is going to be a relatively quiet time on the public front, focusing our attention instead on taking personal responsibility to increase the fairness, sustainability and beauty in our private lives.
Saturn contributed quite heavily to giving the 2008 Presidential elections’ drama. A long-running opposition between Saturn in Virgo and Uranus in Pisces was exact on Election Day. Looking back on it, it’s clear that this powerful combined influence indicated that the election was one many people would be heavily invested in, that health-care and employment would be the defining issues of the Obama Presidency, and that self-deception and compromise would be the administration’s Achilles Heel.
In comparison, there are no major transits to Saturn on Nov. 2nd, and therefore even though there is a potentially interesting transit between Pluto and the North Node on Election Day, I expect the mid-term elections to be devoid of wider significance.
Much of the perspective on Saturn presented here may have come across as heavy and depressing. That is the nature of Saturn’s influence, unfortunately, and it’s hard to truthfully describe an influence as focused and responsible as Saturn’s in a light-hearted and carefree way. The upcoming columns describing the influence of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto should be a little bit more upbeat.
I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving. Bundle up good and warm against the coming cold, and I’ll have a column on Uranus ready next month for your reading pleasure.
NOTE: This is not a typical “horoscope” reading, breaking astrological influences down by Sign for a given period of time. The information in this column should apply to most people, most of the time. If you have any questions, or want specific personalized information on how what’s going on in the heavens affects you, contact Jim Trader.
In our lives, we tend not to think of the good times as much as the not so good. If you look back on your life’s events, what comes to mind first, the wonderful times, or those times when something bad happened?
Sure, we can all look back on the good times, but usually we have to do so with intent on those good times. If you think back a week, a month, a year, ten years, the things that tend to come to mind first, are the things that caused us the most trouble. Now this may not be so for everyone, but for most, I think this is true.
Why is it that this is the case? Most of the mainstream would be hard pressed to give a suitable answer. I think if you asked most people, they would simply say “I don’t know.” Looking at it from a Witches point of view, I would have to say that the reason the bad things come straight to mind, is because those are the times that teach us the lessons we need to learn.
Think about it.
What lessons did you learn when everything was going well? Probably few, if any. I won’t say all lessons are hard earned, but the vast majority of them are. It’s the trauma of the events that make the lessons stick in our minds. It’s much easier to remember that a specific choice is the wrong one, if it’s associated with a traumatic event.
These are A.F.G.E.’s (Another Fucking Growth Experience) and these Growth Experiences are also Initiatory Rites. We go through Initiations all the time. I know one Priestess who, when informed that someone has attained a new level of understanding, always asks, “What did it cost you?” If the person can’t immediately give a list of trials that lead up to the attainment of understanding, they haven’t really learned anything.
There are some who ask this question in the Ritual of Initiation. Remember, the Initiation Ritual is an acknowledgement of the fact that the person has already gone through the learning experience.
The original Degree System used in Witchcraft was simply a way to identify what a Witch had learned.
Most people go about their lives unaware of how their actions dictate what life brings to them. When unfortunate things happen, they ask, “Why me?” never realizing that the answer is, “Because you asked for it.” As a Witch, we take responsibility for our lives, and what happens to us. We understand that for every thought or action, the energy comes back to us with more force than we put out. We commonly call this the Three-fold Law.
Because we understand that God doesn’t have some Divine Plan that He has laid out for us, we have the freedom to do what we wish. With this freedom comes the responsibility of understanding that some thoughts and actions are more beneficial to us than others. Of course, we have no way of knowing which are the beneficial ones, until we try. These are the Growth Experiences we all go through.
Why do some people always seem to have crap happen to them? Because they haven’t learned the lessons they were supposed to. Where you are now, is the culmination of the choices you’ve made. If you made good choices, chances are, you are currently in a good place. If you are not currently in a good place, you’ve probably made some bad choices somewhere. Finding the bad choices, and realizing that they are bad choices, is the lesson to be learned.
No one makes perfect choices all the time. If you could always make the right choice, there wouldn’t be any purpose in living your life. Some people seem to already know some of the right choices. These may have been learned in a prior lifetime, and brought into this life. The lessons we learn here can and will stay with us in lifetimes after this one.
Each of these learning experiences is a form of Initiation. By learning the lesson, we are Initiated into the Mystery of that lesson. It is a lesson that no one who hasn’t gone through the experience, can know or understand. That is the nature of the Mysteries. In times past, cultures gathered together some of these into related groups, and ritualized the Initiation. An example of this would be the Eleusinian Mysteries of the Greeks. We as a culture, no longer celebrate the Mysteries. When Christianity came to power, they gave all that knowledge to their God, and they forgot about it. The Mysteries have remained a mystery to all but a few. Because we are taught not to question, we don’t go looking for the answers. Instead we come up with quips such as “Shit happens”, or “The Devil made me do it”.
Because so few people coming to this Path look for teachers, we have far too many of them who never learn to ask questions and seek answers. They think this Path is easy, just read a book or two, and you know everything you need. As long as they harm none, they are doing all they need to, to be a successful Witch. It never occurs to them that they must also take responsibility for themselves, and their lives.
They also wonder why magick never seems to work for them, and why their lives never seem to get any better. Or, magick works…sometimes, but it’s not reliable. A friend of mine who is Gothie for a Heathen Kindred, says that the Gods never give you more than you will handle. They know before you ask, if you are capable of, and more to the point if you will, do the right thing.
It is your choice to decide if you will better your life by taking responsibility for it. Will you take a long hard look at what you are doing, or will you continue to make choices without thought? Will you learn the lessons that are presented to you, or will you continue to repeat them? Will you take what you read here to heart, or will you decide that it’s just a bunch of shit? How your life goes, is completely up to you. You are the only one who can change your life.
For better or worse.
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Until next month, may you be blessed in all that you do, or as we usually say,
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