The Balance

Oh, so many dimensions to keep in balance, all the time!  For the next week or so, our balancing act revolves around Expansion and Contraction, with the emphasis on the latter.  You can play with this using your Muscles – have a “look” to see whether your Muscles are expanded (relaxed) or contracted (tight) – your sphincter, gluteus, and jaw Muscles are great places to “look” (feel, actually, but that word has sooo many meanings and connotations!), cuz they measure your stress level.  Knowing your stress level, and acting to relax it, can add years to your life.

Dunno about you, but I was programmed to believe that Expansion is better than Contraction.  But yer Muscles are a good example of the contrary – by and large, it’s their Contraction that does useful work.  You can see stress that way too – as Hans Selye put it, it’s “eustress” – positive stress – that does useful work.  The “labor of love” kinda thing, where yer working yer butt off and loving every minute of it.  And by and large, Expansion feels a lot better than Contraction.  That’s what alcohol does for us, it makes us feel expanded, and that feels good.  Some of us, particularly those of us who were programmed to believe we had worth only to the extent that we served others, can hardly stand to feel contracted.  We hate having to draw a Boundary.

The poster child for Contraction is Saturn, which is standing still this week.  Even more than when a planet is outabounds, a planet’s influence is strongest when it’s stationary.  So we’ll all be feeling the urge to contract.  Lemme digress for a minute to a quote from Pam Montgomery’s Plant Spirit Healing

“When we tell ourselves how we are not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, or not worthy enough, we begin to wage an internal war that destroys life.  It is this internal warring that can cause imbalance, lead to depression, and contribute to illness.”

So often, so many of us respond to Saturn that way.  But that’s not what Saturn is about, it’s what our programming is about.  So Saturn events are always a big opportunity to turn our entire life around, by becoming conscious of this kind of programming, so we can respond to it consciously and lovingly.

Saturn asks us to focus, to concentrate.  It usually asks us to give up on all of our Plan B fallbacks, and put all of our energy into Priority #1.  That’s always scary, cuz our Plan Bs keep us safe from the possibility that we may not be “good enough” to make a success of Priority #1.  Saturn’s always a test, but if we recognize that it’s just trying to pull the best out of us, it doesn’t have to be negative.  In fact, it’s enormously positive – it’s half of life, when we look at life as the dance balancing Expansion and Contraction.

Now, if Saturn is lit up and the Planet is exploring Contraction, does this mean we need to contract along with it, or that we need to expand to compensate?  Well, that’ll be different for each of us and probably different for each realm of our life, and if we experience this question as a dilemma, it just tells us we’re too much in the mind.  Whenever we aren’t sure whether to choose heads or tails, we need to choose the coin.  Life is not binary, and the Universe is not binary.  It’s the mind that’s binary, that thrives on contradistinctions and oppositions.  Never let an Either/Or question slow you down – train yourself to detect the Stop, and switch to Both/And instantly.

Often we experience Expansion in the Fourth Chakra, and Contraction in the Third.  That’s an easy dichotomy to “fix” – we need to keep all of our Chakras open evenly!  We all love to think everything will be wonderful if we just live in the Heart all the time – it feels great to be in love!  But that’s precisely when we need good Boundaries most.  And many of us love that steely feeling of Nobody messes with me! that we get by empathizing with those hardass supercompetent movie heroes and antiheroes – John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sandra Bullock, The Incredibles.  But it’s Both/And.

Next time you get angry or need to set a Boundary, see how it feels to open your Fourth Chakra just as much as you open your Third.  Next time you’re feeling in love or need to express Gratitude, see how it feels to open your Third Chakra just as much as you open your Fourth.  You prolly wanna practice this first in non-critical situations, before you try it when you’re in a job interview or proposing to somebody, cuz for most of us it’ll feel pretty weird for a while, till we get good at it.  First time I ever tried it I was bathed in sweat!  Fortunately, it was during a difficult telephone conversation, so I didn’t have to explain my diaphoresis!

I used to run on a three-mile hilly dirt path through the woods and meadows, six or seven loops at a time.  It always took about a loop and a half of conscious effort before the endorphins set in and made the rest effortless.  Then one day I ran when Saturn was stationary.  It was conscious effort all twenty miles!  I kept expecting the endorphins to click in any minute, but they never did.

On Saturday (January 22, at 9am PST), Jupiter goes back into Aries after backtracking into Pisces.  I’m sure you remember back in early June, when Uranus and Jupiter entered Aries in tandem.  We labeled that a huuuge New Download from your Soul Chord.  Not to be too simple-minded about it, in July both of them turned around, and went back into Pisces, giving us the opportunity to clean up any unfinished business that our Old Identity may have left hanging about.  They turned and went direct again in November, and they’ve been steaming back toward Aries since.  On Saturday Jupiter crosses the line.  Uranus dallies till mid-March, so we aren’t completely done with our Old Business, but we should be feeling a jolt of exhilarating freedom on Saturday, as our New Self expands.

“Should” that is, because we may have to look for it, if the Saturn Energy dominates.  Saturn stands still on Tuesday (January 25), at 10pm PST, and the Moon crosses Saturn a little before 9pm PST on Monday January 24, so the Energy may be strong earlier.  You could feel like a giant tack, as if a giant thumb was trying to push you into the ground.  No worries, just knuckle down and pay attention to what’s most important.  Just focus on one thing, and let go of the rest.  You might have to negotiate with yourself to figure out what’s most important, but if you do, that just says it’s essential work you’ve been putting off too long.  If you start negotiating now, you’ll be ahead.

Be careful to distinguish between what’s most important to you, and what’s most important to someone else to whom you usually give your power.  Don’t exclude the possibility that pleasing someone else may well be the most important thing in your life at this juncture – that’s perfectly valid.  But you wanna be conscious of making that choice, and you wanna be conscious of any jealousy you or someone else may have about that, and deal with it using your newfound skill of keeping Both your Third And your Fourth Chakra open equally.  If you have to do that verbally, you prolly wanna keep your Fifth and First Chakras open just as much as well!  In any difficult negotiation, Manganotantalite is your best friend.  Wouldn’t it be amazing to live most of your life with all of your Chakras open equally!?!?

I find that it’s far more important to know when a planet is standing still, than to know whether it’s “stationary retrograde” (about to go backwards) or “stationary direct” (about to go forwards).  The more sensitive you are to the Energy, the longer the time when you’ll feel the Station.  I usually feel an outer-planet Station (like Saturn) for about a week, prior to the Station.  Then once the planet starts to move again, the sensation drops off quickly.  You can dig yourself a hole by failing to recognize that a Station is happening, attributing the feeling to some aspect of your life, and making decisions accordingly.

For instance, Saturn may be asking me to tighten up a Boundary a little with a friend.  But if I don’t know Saturn is acting up, I might blame my feelings on my friend, say so, and create a lot of unnecessary havoc, maybe even losing the friend.  The most important thing could just have been tidying up my relationships.  I might indulge in I hate this job thoughts, give them unwarranted credence, and make a decision to quit, which could subject me to unnecessary hardship afterwards, when I discover that there aren’t any better jobs to be had.  The most important thing may just have been adjusting my attitude, or getting along with someone when I was stuck in Either/Or with them and their values, or seeking a profession that I enjoy doing.

If we’re conscious of any astrological event, the Energy drops off quickly after the event.  If we aren’t conscious, our decisions can extend the Energy indefinitely.  A classic example is the 9/11 trauma.  The nasty Saturn-Pluto Energy that prompted 9/11 was finished by the Summer of 2002.  But George II and his Lizardly cronies, for their own political purposes, exploited the Energy to meet their own ends, and we’re still suffering the consequences.  Wouldn’t you rather it was your love partner or your fantasy lover that’s feeling you up?  It was another King George that presided over the events leading to the original Tea Party.

While it’s more important that Saturn is Stationary than that that it’s Stationary Retrograde, it’s worth our time to consider the Retrogradation as well.  The outer planets go retro every year; since we go round the Sun faster than they do, we pass them, so they appear to be receding from us, or moving backwards, for a while.  Saturn goes retro on January 25 at 18 degrees of Libra, and turns direct again on June 13 at 10 degrees of Libra.  Basically, a Saturn retrogradation in the center of Libra means that we’re reconsidering (Retrograde) how we use Boundaries (Saturn) in our relationships (Libra), or reconsidering how open we are to relationship – and our relationshit (the issues that relationship inevitably brings up).

In general, Libra eschews Boundaries, because Libra’s mission is to establish a harmonious connection.  Libra’s more about meeting you than about getting met.  To another sign that might be codependence; to Libra it’s integrity.  The central third of Libra, though, is the “Aquarius decanate” of Libra.  In the Aquarius decanate, Libra begins to put relationships into context, granting continued nonjudgment to relationships that meet an appropriate social/philosophical framework, and beginning to develop Boundaries with those that don’t.  The Boundaries are “primitive” – they’re more likely to be curiosity about motives than exclusionary.  In the first third of Libra, the Self is invisible; it’s all about Other.  By the second third, the Self begins to have some preferences.

The implication is that there are things we’ve been taking for granted, without realizing that we could express an opinion or have a preference or exert any healthy control.  The entire “Shadow Period” of a retrogradation begins when the planet first crosses the retrogradation zone.  Between October 23 and January 25, Saturn crossed this region going forward.  For each of us, issues about Boundaries or Contraction/Expansion may have arisen during this period.  During the retrograde span, we reconsider how we want to relate to these issues.  Then finally, from June 13 to September 18, Saturn crosses the region for a third time.  This is when we implement our reconsiderations, and act to set our new Boundaries.

So that feeling of having someone’s thumb pressing on the top of your head, if you feel it, could be accompanied by thoughts about how someone offended you, or how you gave someone too much benefit of the doubt, or how you need to make a change in your relationship with someone, or in your relationships in general – to be more accepting perhaps, or more assertive about making space for your own beliefs and values, or both.  The important issue here is Responsibility – ability to respond rather than react.  In other words, if you’re in Blame, you’re on the wrong path.  It’s never their fault.  It’s always How did I let that happen? It’s not what they did wrong, it’s How could I have set better Boundaries? If you’re dealing with anger or a feeling of oppression or feeling wounded, tap it out.

You want to release your emotional attachment in the privacy of your own Energy System, so you can respond dispassionately and fairly when you revise your Boundaries.  Remember the context – we’re adjusting to a new Identity in alignment with a New Soul Chord Download, and working out a Grand Cross (which is always about Balance) balancing new and old Identities with the direction of History/Herstory and our own Karmic path (that is, Juno, Jupiter-Uranus, Pluto, and the Moon’s Nodes).  The elements of Grace are about the new paradigm that the Planet is moving into (fresh Violets in an ancient pottery bowl – Chiron-Neptune), or Miracles, and our own personal Values (Venus).  So it’s not about  burning bridges, it’s about laying the foundations for a whole new infrastructure.

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