Rising from the Ashes

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As I was reflecting on the nature of the recent “astrological weather” this summer, I was reminded of the legend of the Phoenix – who must burn to a pile of ashes in order that she may be reborn anew.

For those who follow the movements of the planets through the zodiac, chances are you know what I’m referring to. However, lets paint the picture for the “rest of us” to have the benefit of a little piece of astrological awareness. It all started around April 25th of this year (2019). Saturn met up with Ketu, the South Node of the Moon in the later degrees of Sidereal Sagittarius.

This can be considered a notable event in the sense that Saturn and Ketu move slowly and therefor had not crossed paths in the same constellation since around October of 2007. So this is, in other words, about a once in every 12 years occurrence.

However, what was far more rare and unusual about their rendezvous this time is that Saturn just happened to begin his retrograde cycle on April 29th. The timing was such that these two malefic “partners in crime” began to journey together within a tight conjunction of one degree until October 1st! All made possible by virtue of the fact that Ketu’s ‘modus operandi’ is to move backwards slowly through the zodiac at about the same pace as Saturn’s average retrograde speed. Which for all of us down here on earth seemed to be a kind of omen for five months of relative uneasiness.

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Let us understand something about Saturn and Ketu, and what they have in common. Saturn, being the furthest away of all the visible planets, can represent separation or loss. Ketu signifies spirituality and liberation, the dissolution of the separate ego in order that the underlying unity of existence may be experienced. Saturn is also represented by the Air Element, while Ketu is of the Fire Element.

As these two journeyed so closely together for all these months, it seemed to evoke an intense Kālī type of energy – fiercely burning away or even destroying things of the past which may have no longer been useful. Depending on how this transit aligned with ones’ individual horoscope, this will have been experienced in a particular way – generally depending on which house corresponds to the constellation of Sagittarius.

So, the good news is that loss and destruction are absolutely necessary in order for new growth to occur. I have a fond memory of one teacher, Swami Satyadharma, once telling me “Don’t worry. Whenever you lose something, it means that something new is coming!” And this could not be more clear at present, with Jupiter getting ready to move into none other than Sagittarius November 5th.

Jupiter is the greatest benefic, the planet of growth, expansion and optimism. He is very strong in Sagittarius, as he is right at home in his own constellation. Therefor, though we are now in the wake of Saturn and Ketu’s intense and arduous demolition, Jupiter is about to arrive on the scene to put all the pieces back together in a fresh, new way.

Thus, I cannot think of a better analogy for this “cosmic unfoldment” than the Phoenix who has burnt into a pile of ashes, in order to make way for rebirth and renewal. And how fitting that all of this is happening in fiery Sagittarius!

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