The moving finger writes…
“The moving finger writes; and, having writ, moves on: nor all thy piety nor wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line, nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.”(i)
That opening quote from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam has been running through my mind for weeks. It has such a fated Saturn/Pluto flavour…
The word Fate is derived from the Latin ‘fatum’…literally ‘thing spoken (by the gods)’, a dictat which is not negotiable. It’s an uncomfortable, awe-inspiring word, one with which humans throughout history have never managed to get comfortable, for all our contemporary cleverness and increasing technological sophistication.
Living within the bleak symbolic terms of reference of Saturn/Pluto as its new 33-year cycle gets under weigh, tends to make us more contemplative of how far the writ runs of our ability to control very much at all.
I have just had a very brutal reminder of this. My husband Ian and I were married a few months before the November 1982 Saturn/Pluto cycle began, and he was felled on 12th January 2020, the very day of its ending, by a fatal stroke. I am grateful that he exited this life fast, with minimal suffering and very peacefully – just as he always said he wanted to go.
However, as well as coping with the shock, grief and loss, I have been processing a deep sense of awe in the face of what feels like Fate.
Having been born with (far too many!) Leo planets in the twelfth house, it has always been my way to seek creative perspective on whatever happens to me, mine and the wider world by setting personal dramas in the context of a bigger picture, if possible.
I wrote this column in the contemplative, twelfth house phase of what has been an exceptionally hard year for our planet and its occupants. The New Moon in Aries to me always signifies the true beginning of the year. In 2020 it occurred on 24th March, just after Saturn’s ingress into Aquarius on the 22nd March.
Along with many other astrologers, I have been awestruck in contemplating the symbolic drama taking shape and playing out in our tiny corner of the cosmos in the last couple of years in particular.
The Uranus/Pluto square separated at last with Uranus entering Taurus; Neptune’s ongoing transit through its own sign of Pisces eroded all kinds of boundaries, shattering our illusions of separateness and independence worldwide; Saturn/Pluto gradually claimed centre stage from 2019; and the last Jupiter/Saturn conjunction cycle in Earth for over 200 years is preparing to conclude, entering the Air element with a highly dramatic flourish – with Jupiter and Saturn meeting at the winter solstice 2020 at 0 Aquarius.
Astrologers have been aware for some years that we are going through a period of epochal change: a world turned upside down, right now by corona virus, as I sit in social isolation at my desk trying to make sense of it all.
I’ve been puzzling for some months over a contradictory symbolic picture: on the one hand, we are at the beginning stages of one of the most important, harshly challenging cycles, ie the 33-38 year Saturn/Pluto cycle; on the other, we are not only approaching the end of the 20 year Jupiter/Saturn cycle begun in Taurus in the year 2000, but the end of a whole era of that cycle’s moving through the Earth element.
This shift, ‘…the transition of the conjunction from one element to another – the ‘Mutation Conjunction’ – has always been considered to be of particular importance marking a major shift in emphasis and orientation in the world…’ (ii)
As most countries in the world struggle with the virus, its effects and implications, the above symbolism in its contradictions seems to be describing our collective state with an eerie accuracy. World-wide events attendant upon the ending of the 1982 Saturn/Pluto cycle and the beginning of the new one in January 2020 have made it brutally clear to us as a human community that our cavalier, exploitative behaviour towards our Mother planet since the start of the Industrial Revolution has got to change if we are to survive. Business as usual is no longer an option.
In order to ram that point home to us so that we don’t return to ‘business as usual’ when the corona virus crisis passes, as we have done with previous viral outbreaks eg swine flu and the SARS epidemic, this particular virus crisis is different in scale and degree.
All our organisational systems from health to education to finance and business are being upended. Everyone is feeling the pain, one way or another. Anyone could die of this virus, even Trump or Bolsonaro. (Quiet, in the cheap seats!…)
That beginning/ending pattern suggests to me that our painful learning process, sufficiently protracted and purging that we will not (or cannot ) return to our old ways, is set to continue for quite a while to come. We have to get to the very end of the old Jupiter/Saturn order which began with the conjunction’s first venture into the earth element in 1802. That does not happen until the winter solstice of 2020. Until then, we remain in both symbolic and literal quarantine, in detention, one way or another – caught and penned in between a beginning and an ending.
However, as the Irish poet W.B. Yeats famously observed:
“…If Jupiter and Saturn meet,
What a crop of mummy wheat!…”(iii)
This rather melodramatic statement, typical of Yeats’ style and very appealing to a Leonine Celt like myself, is essentially positive.
The times we are living through for the rest of this tough year and beyond, are turbulent and pivotal as we shift from one great historical epoch to another. The shift looks likely to reset humanity’s ways of living with one another and our fellow creatures on Mother Earth.
But, as the Yeats quote so vividly states, out of the decay of the old order comes vibrant new growth. So – let’s all grit our teeth, be stoical, start where we are and do what we can to help effect the change that needs to come.
Saturn is now in Aquarius. Let the symbolism inspire us!
(i) This line originates in English in Edward Fitzgerald’s translation of the poem ‘The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam’, 1859
(ii) Baigent, Campion and Harvey in “Mundane Astrology” (publ. 1984, 1992,1995), p185, who also describe the conjunction as ‘…the ground base of human development which marks the interaction between perception of ideas, potentialities (Jupiter) and their manifestation in the concrete world.’( Saturn) (p184)
(iii) This quotation is from the first verse of ‘ Conjunctions’ from one of W. B. Yeats’s most obscure collections of poems, the “Supernatural Songs.”
1150 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2020