Tag Archive | Vedanta

Saturn square Neptune in the winter of our discontent

It may only be winter in the southern hemisphere, but it may as well be across the entire planet this season, as hard reality bites into the dreams of glory for all of us.

Saturn square NeptuneThe square alignment between the slower outer planets Saturn and Neptune became exact in mid June, gradually separating to a maximum of only 1.5 degrees by mid August, and then, due to Saturn’s going stationary and then direct in that month, slowly narrows the gap until they align exactly yet again on September 11. This all occurs (in the tropical zodiac) between 10 and 12 degrees of the mutable signs Sagittarius and Pisces respectively for Saturn and Neptune. So throughout this period from June to September we can consider this square alignment to be active.

Two more contrary planets you will not find in the myths and symbolism of astrology. Saturn symbolises the hard reality and limitations of the material, while Neptune is associated with the mystical, ideal, visionary and abstract. When they align in a challenging 90 degree angle like this we see the symbolic struggle to ground or realize the dream. It symbolises confusion about what one really wants, frustration in co-ordinating efforts. Or just at the time one is about to realise one’s goals, circumstances – or one’s own insecurities – pulls the rug out from under one’s feet. This is traditionally the dilemma of the self-defeatist, like Arjuna the mighty warrior on the battlefield of Kurukshetra in the sacred Sanskrit Vedic text of Bhagavad Gita. Although fully competent to do battle, he wavers at the last minute due to confusion as to what is right and wrong, what is moral or not, and almost walks away from the fight in surrender, until Krishna, his friend and advisor instructs him on the value of the transcendent view of reality – a paradox if ever there was one. That is Saturn challenging Neptune for you. How to understand the immanent in the transcendent, spirit in matter, the abstract ideal in the world of apparent limitation and imperfection.

The self-defeatist is one who has lost the battle before even starting, and this is the danger symbolised by the current alignment this season. Confidence is sorely tested and uncertainty abounds. Faith is shaken by unexpected circumstances. This is when it is wise to simplify our everyday lives in order to avoid complications. When we begin to question our very goals and ambitions for ourselves, when we feel as if we may be unworthy or unqualified, or that the universe is not constructed to allow us such goals, then disappointment, discouragement and pessimism are the likely outcomes. However, these may all be illusory or even worse, self-fulfilling prophecies, where the mind of the self-defeatist becomes his or her own worst enemy. The solution is to not take yourself too seriously at this time, to keep it simple, and refrain from any major decision-making or changes if at all possible.

Another manifestation of the Saturn – Neptune square is illness, either a psychological caving in, or a physical difficulty, and the fear of loss of control that follows. More precisely Neptune is associated with poisons, drugs or pollution, and if we look at global affairs during this season, the Rio Olympics is a perfect example, with the risk of disease affecting the entire event. Athletes from all over the world now fear attending the Olympics due to the chance that they may catch the Zika Virus or due to the unacceptable levels of pollution in the Rio waters that could easily contaminate any visitor. Another challenge is the doping scandal amongst some athletes who are now being banned from competing. The problem is that an entire nation of Russia is being banned even though only a few of their athletes were found guilty. In both these incidences – disease and doping – we see the dreams of sportsmen and women who have sacrificed so much to attain this lifelong dream of making it to the Olympics, being systematically dashed in true Saturn square Neptune style. They are defeated before they even begin. Some simply refuse to attend out of fear over contagion, while others are unjustly deprived. The classic challenge of dreams and ideals versus hard reality of strict standards and laws. Even if those laws seem unfairly politically motivated. The sacrifice of one’s dreams due to realities of the world should be avoided now as much as possible. The challenge now is to make our dream a reality, so keep the faith comrades.

Another global event symbolising the Saturn – Neptune square is the Brexit vote. Saturn symbolises borders and boundaries, while Neptune is the opposite of all-inclusiveness or the dissolving of boundaries. Here the vote was cast and the borders and boundaries of Britain were once again firmly constructed as the inclusion in the EU came to a jolting end, thus challenging the foundation of the EU as a valid entity, testing their raison d’etre, their confidence and the confidence of the economy. The square alignment of these two planets is also associated with a weak or absent father or leader figure, and both Cameron, prime minister of UK, as well as Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party have been seen to be weak leaders whose leadership has been challenged. Curiously Cameron will resign in September, the very month that the square alignment becomes exact yet again. The leader or father figure (symbolised by Saturn) is being challenged (square aspect) as weak or is being lost due to the shake-up (Neptune). So much confusion, uncertainty and crisis of faith is being felt throughout the world now as a result of this simple Brexit referendum vote and the economic and political implications that will occur now during this alignment and beyond. Now Scotland, Ireland and others are all questioning their identity and allegiance to either UK or EU and this identity crisis will possibly rock the world still further in the coming months.

I wonder what the upcoming elections in South Africa on 3 August will manifest, falling on the day that the Sun trines Saturn as it squares Neptune? Already political killings are occurring, much like the assassination of British MP Toni Cox recently, just before the Brexit vote, by a fanatical nationalist. Here the ANC leadership is in crisis mode with internal factionalism, what to speak of opposition attack. The raison d’etre of the revolutionary liberation party is being questioned, with its leader President Zuma under severe crisis as weak and corrupt, with his over 700 criminal charges being reinstated now. Another manifestation of this aspect is guilt, which comes from the word “geld” which means to pay. Curiously one of the political parties campaigning for the August elections in RSA has been disqualified simply because they did not pay their entry fee in time. They confused the date of submission. In other words one can become easily confused about the hard realities of the law when Neptune in Pisces squares Saturn in Sagittarius. Also President Zuma has to pay back the money, well at least R7 million of it, used to upgrade his private home. Payback time is here for those who have tried to blur the boundaries to suit their selfish interests. As with Brazil and UK, South Africa’s leader is being ousted and we find ourselves in the classic Saturn square Neptune scenario of a people with a weak or missing father or leader figure. Even Lesotho, a country wholly surrounded by South Africa, is in crisis with a questionable leadership, and is having an existential crisis of faith, debating whether it should simply join South Africa as a new province. Thus all over the world the boundaries and borders are being dissolved or redrawn across the map under these winds of change.

Guilt, however, should be avoided in our personal lives during this alignment, for often it is exaggerated. It may stem from feeling as if you are guilty of a debt and must continually make reparation or pay some sort of penance to God or Guru. If you feel the debt to the spiritual master must be repaid, then the route indicated at this time of Saturn – Neptune square is renunciation, without being too much of a martyr of course. This aspect is the archetype of the ascetic, monk or hermit, all noble callings for those who have realized the purports of the Vedic or Buddhist teachings. Practically (since not all of us are ascetics) one can simplify, cut out the superfluous and discipline oneself now in order to make concrete some higher ideal or vision. Selfless service is also recommended, which reminds us of the importance of compassion in a seemingly heartless world. Pay it forward and you are the beneficiary of a bigger heart. Remember that this alignment is exact again on the anniversary of 9/11, an event which has forced us all to keep an open heart and never become closed to the other who is merely a mirror of our self.

Source: https://julescape.wordpress.com/2016/06/29/saturn-square-neptune-in-the-winter-of-our-discontent/

Western versus Vedic Astrology

AstrologyWhen considering Western astrology (tropical zodiac) versus Vedic astrology or Jyotish (siderial zodiac), one may ask, “what’s the difference?” Well to be exact, the difference between the tropical and siderial zodiac is 23 degrees. That is the fundamental difference in the zodiac wheel of 360 degrees. If we go back around 1500 – 2000 years we see that the two zodiac systems were aligned. However, due to the precession of the equinox, which moves at around 1 degree every 70 years, the alignment has drifted to about 23 degrees apart. So for example any planet within the first 23 degrees of a sign of the tropical Western zodiac, will appear back in the previous sign of the siderial Vedic zodiac wheel. The precession of the equinox is a 26000 year cycle, where the earth wobbles on its axis, and thus the two zodiac systems would realign every 26000 years, when the wobble came back full circle to its original position. By staying true to the positions in the heavens of planets used thousands of years ago, the western system has moved out of alignment with the actual literal or real zodiac used by Jyotish and by astronomers globally. So the Vedic positioning of the planets is the accurate one literally speaking, and yet both systems have revealed themselves to be remarkably meaningful and valuable in their results. One can only wonder about this.

A secondary or more general difference between Western astrology and Vedic astrology is that the Vedic astrologer focuses primarily on prediction, or the client’s future fame, fortune, and finances, whereas the Western astrologer also focuses – ironically – on analysing personality, talents, potential character and abilities. This appears contradictory to the general understanding that the Vedic wisdom usually discusses one’s true nature, original identity and self-realization, while the west is usually more preoccupied with mundane future potential success or failure. Well it is rather paradoxical that roles seem to be reversed here, but the reason for this is that the West is so much more aligned with the notion of “free will”, where individuals make their own fate and fortune based on their personal desires and choices. On the other hand, the Vedic culture, which has worked for thousands of years with Jyotish as a system largely used for prediction, is steeped in a tradition of predestiny, where according to the caste system, one is born into a certain role, like servant or merchant, based on the father’s position, and that is where one stays. So there is much less room for using free will or conscious choice to make one’s fate or build character. So whereas it initially appears as if Jyotish has the more accurate approach to astrological interpretation, now it seems as if the western analysis which gives details as to one’s personality with its strengths and flaws, seems to be the more appropriate or meaningful one.

There are other differences in the two systems, like the use of the recently discovered outer planets – Uranus, Neptune and Pluto – by Western astrology, but not by Jyotish. These outer planets were, of course, never visible until the invention of the telescope in the west. Still further asteroids – like Chiron, Juno, etc – have also been discovered and named in recent years, and some contemporary astrologers are incorporating their use and interpretation into horoscope analyses too. Jyotish, on the other hand, uses the 27 Nakshatra divisions, or lunar mansions of 13.5 degrees each, to divide up and interpret the horoscope. Thus there are various similarities and also differences in the two astrological systems, and the modern astrologer can happily incorporate both into his or her analysis of any individual. Vedic literature had such a vast library of instruction into the self, the identity and one’s role in the cosmos, that astrology was not needed to understand oneself, but was simply used as a tool of prognostication and prediction for the future of the person in question. The West, on the other hand, had much less instruction into the nature of consciousness, identity and selfhood, that until the advent of modern psychology, astrology was used by alchemists and doctors to analyse the person according to the horoscope with its four elements and corresponding humours (choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic and melancholic). Modern psychological research has subsequently discovered and constructed a system of psychoanalysis, which some find corresponds with astrology and can be used in tandem when analysing personality. And as we advance, we are coming almost full circle, as modern research now sometimes echoes ancient instructions as to the nature of matter, self and consciousness.

Ultimately it seems that as long as one is sincere in wishing to discover the true meaning of life, the true nature of oneself, one will find answers in either system. Even Vedic culture, when seen from a mundane point of view, without accurate spiritual interpretation, can appear incomplete or can limit one to a caste system that traps us in a totally unnecessary mould, based on birth. It is only when we understand the transcendent wisdom of Vedanta that we see destiny to be based not on birth, but on qualities and actions, as stated in Bhagavad Gita. And likewise even modern western psychology is based to a degree on speculation which results in forever revising and reviewing its analysis of consciousness, whereas Vedanta has always had the inside track on that core crucial subject matter. So ultimately astrology, whether western or Vedic, should always be seen in perspective, or in relation to real self-awareness or self-realization, which identifies one as existing before this horoscopic birth, as beyond the limitations and paradigms of the birth chart alone. Nevertheless, if you have your exact time of birth, for both systems are adamant about that foundation, then astrology can aid one in a mundane understanding of personality, and thus like a mirror held up to our ego, reflect back at us what we instinctively already know, but find comfort in re-membering when presented from an apparently objective outside source.