AGE 66: HOLDING THE TENSION OF THE OPPOSITES; SATURN SQUARE SATURN
"You are an alchemist: Make Gold of that." --William Shakespeare
At age 66 Saturn moves into a waning Square to itself. This isn’t classically a tough transit but it can be a testy time when we are called to finish, complete or change what had its beginning around the Second Saturn Return. It can also be the time when you become an alchemist; but we’re coming to that...
But first, we know that Saturn always responds well to WORK and CONTEMPLATION, and if you’re willing to do it, this transit need not be too difficult. In Saturnian times sometimes illness emerges, and although it’s not specified for this age, it can happen at any time in the Third Act of Life, and it’s worth mentioning now...here is a journal/blog entry of mine that speaks to this issue:
Each day I take 14 pills. I take them 4 times a day spread out from 8:00 am to 3:00 am—yes, I wake up at 3:00 am!
Without these pills I wouldn’t be alive—I have to take a blood thinning pill, a blood pressure pill, a statin for heart issues and a post-herpetic pill for nerve pain. (Yes, I had shingles 5 years ago.) And then there are more, including the supplemental vitamins...you don’t need to know the list.
Why do I mention this? Because I don’t want my readers to think I’m unfamiliar with illness and the necessary requirements to stay ‘healthy.’
Just after my Second Saturn Return at age 59, I began writing books. I willingly lived with a schedule that got me up and at my writing desk at seven am most days. I gladly pushed myself for 6 or 7 hours a day....I fought back tiredness and moderation as the adrenaline was flowing, and--many cups of coffee later over several years—I ended up with four published books and in the emergency room.
When I turned sixty-six, and too many cups of coffee later, I began three years of dealing with the ‘demons’ brought about by the too muchness of my writing life—I was afflicted with issues with the heart, the GI, and anxiety and insomnia aggravated by 3 visits to the ER due to uncontrolled blood pressure and atrial fibrilla- tion. It was made worse by a cardiologist who gave me even more potent dangerous pills than I needed. Grate- fully, my new cardiologist found the right combination of medicines—and I’m now maintaining “healthy” most of the time.
What was I not conscious of before I became ill? What did I not want to admit? Was I pushing up against tired- ness or a deeper unwillingness to slow down?
So, does this qualify me to write about aging? Does seventy years and fourteen pills help me to qualify?
Many of you know the story of the spiritual teacher, Ram Dass, and author of the book: “Be Here Now”. He was writing a new book on aging when he was in these years. One day, as he was laying down resting, the phone rang. It was his publisher saying that his book was good; but not good enough; it lacked depth and conviction. Puzzled, he laid down again and proceeded to have a major life-threatening stroke. For the next 5 years Ram Dass fought for his life and his ability to move and speak again. Finally, he emerged with a best-selling book called “Still Here” which spoke to his experience of aging and illness. Now, he had no lack of conviction.
Most of us don’t need to have a stroke of enormous “bad luck” like that. But sometimes that is what it takesto do the humbling things that age demands. In my case it was years of illness and fourteen pills. For Ram Dass it was a phoenix like recovery; a near death experience that took enormous courage and work. Interesting though, he admitted that before the stroke he knew he had high blood pressure and simply didn’t take the pills. Sometimes it takes a lot to acquire the humility that age demands.
Sometimes, especially if you’ve been ill, you may find that you have the initial passion to do something, but you’re afraid that you might not have the energy to sustain it. That was my case; I feared if I slowed down I would lose steam, lose the momentum and then fall prey to procrastination. How hard it can be to find your- self at the peak of inspiration only to realize that you fear losing the endurance to express what you love!
Sometimes it’s a matter of waiting, healing, and strengthening our body and spirit so that we are strong enough to do what we want to do. And then pacing ourselves. (Ram Dass and I were both impatient with our book writing process and didn’t honor the needs of the body.)
In the creative process, we don’t want to think: I’ll never do this again! No, instead “doing the Saturn work” can be about waiting as much as by doing, and holding the flame of the alchemical fire at a steady even temperature instead of burning ourselves out. This is the nature of “Alchemy” where we’re holding the flame constant while “holding the tension of the opposites until the third emerges.”
Except from New Book: Astrology for the Third Act of Life. Direct link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1727202198