Just a week before Saturn transited from Scorpio into Sagittarius last December, President Obama announced the normalization of relations with Cuba. Fidel Castro took power in Cuba in 1959 and in 1961, the US ceased relations. That was over 53 years ago. Castro is still alive (I think) and has lived through 11 presidents.
For those on a mission to end Communism in Cuba and see Fidel Castro’s humiliation and demise, the cause is officially over (although normalizing relations may have just that effect).
If you spent 53 years on a mission to overthrow Castro, what do you do now?
In her article, How to Walk Away, Heidi Grant Halvorson states that we often don’t walk away from lost causes due to “sunk costs.” Sunk costs she describes as:
…the investments that you’ve put into something that you can’t get back out. They are the years you spent training for a profession you hate, or waiting for your commitment-phobic boyfriend to propose. They are the thousands of dollars you spent on redecorating your living room, only to find that you hate living in it.
Halvorson states that people are “loss averse” and, therefore,
We worry far too much about what we’ll lose if we just move on, instead of focusing on the costs of not moving on: more wasted time and effort, more unhappiness, and more missed opportunities.
Hippie Lost Cause
In a literary example of a lost cause, Tales of the City, main character Mary Ann is talking to a desperate Vincent. She finds out that his problem is “his Old Lady.” We learn that Vincent and his Old Lady had “fought for peace, forging their love in the fires of zealotry.”
The peace they were fighting for was an end to the Vietnam War. And then the war ended.
When Mary Ann asked what happened to his Old Lady, she learns that it was “the war.” Vincent explains “it was the biggest thing in her life, Mary Ann, and nothing after that quite fulfilled her. She tried Indians for a while, then oil spills and PG&E, but it wasn’t the same. It just wasn’t the same.”
Later in the story his Old Lady leaves him to join the Israeli Army. Vincent tells her that he feels like “the Last Hippie,” but his Old Lady tells him “You’re only seven eights of the Last Hippie.”
Not able to deal with being the last Hippie, Vincent commits suicide at his office – the Bay Area Crisis Switchboard, which helps suicidal callers.
New Deal Lost Cause
A real life example of a lost cause comes from Carlos Castaneda in A Separate Reality. Castaneda shares the story of a friend who was a “very wealthy, conservative lawyer who lived his life convinced that he upheld the truth.”
In the early thirties, with the advent of the New Deal, he found himself passionately involved in the political drama of that time. He was categorically sure that change was deleterious to the country, and out of devotion to his way of life and the conviction that he was right, he vowed to fight what he thought to be a political evil. But the tide of the time was too strong; it overpowered him. He struggled for ten years against it in the political arena and in the realm of his personal life; then the Second World War sealed his efforts into total defeat. His political and ideological downfall resulted in a profound bitterness; he became a self-exile for 25 years.
When talking to the man in his last years, the man tells Castaneda:
I have had time to turn around and examine my life. The issues of my time are today only a story; not even an interesting one. Perhaps I threw away years of my life chasing something that never existed. I’ve had the feeling lately that I believed in something farcical. It wasn’t worth my while. I think I know that. However, I can’t retrieve the forty years I’ve lost.
If our friend hadn’t “threw away years of his life chasing something that never existed,” what would he have been doing?
Sagittarius Need for Meaning
Sagittarius is the mutable fire sign involved in experience and search for meaning. With fire as its element, Sagittarius can turn the quest into a cause and be quite fiery about it. Vincent and his Old Lady “forging their love in the fires of zealotry” is very, very Sagittarian.
Due to the need for meaning, Sagittarians are known to seek higher education and are the textbook philosophers of the zodiac. Search for meaning makes things “foreign” both interesting and appealing; coupled with a need for freedom of movement, Sagittarius is fond of travel, especially foreign or long-distance travel.
While some fear “different,” Sagittarius seeks different the way earth signs seek habit. Sagittarius often comes back from “different” wearing the clothes, eating the food and taking on the mannerisms of those it wants to understand.
The flip side of this motivation is a need to escape boredom and the humdrum of daily living. If long-distance travel and understanding the philosophies of other cultures isn’t enough or satisfying, Sagittarius can take the path of stimulating bad habits that bring on heightened sensations and sense of wonder.
The sign opposite Sagittarius is Gemini which also seeks experience and stimulation to feed the mental processes. Think about Gemini as the stimulation a young child needs to learn and grow. We put mobiles over baby’s cribs to encourage interaction with the external world and mental development.
The Sagittarius experience comes later and today may be different than in times past before the advent of the Internet and knowledge at our fingertips (fingers are ruled by Gemini). As a baby we learn to interact with the environment. Maybe by the age of ten we experience something new – boredom. Babies and toddlers don’t seem to exhibit the traits of boredom (but I’m not around these age groups much so maybe they do).
With boredom comes the need for new stimulation. The farther you stray from home base, the more new stimulation you will find.
The mobile is to the Gemini baby as foreign travel is to the Sagittarian adult. Both are stimulants that help us engage with the world, develop mentally and form new perceptions.
Saturn in Sagittarius
With Saturn, the planet of structure, contraction, limitation and responsibility, transiting Sagittarius, Sagittarius is asked to restrain its natural tendencies to roam freely in search of meaning.
Saturn may take away the passport and ask Sagittarius to sit in a cubicle all day doing the same task over and over. This is killer for Sagittarius.
Why does Saturn do this?
Saturn’s ultimate goal is manifestation which can occur only with focus and discipline. Saturn is saying to Sagittarius that to manifest that “cause,” you may need to sit in a cube for a couple years (the time it takes Saturn to transit a sign) to make it happen.
You can’t manifest “the cause,” Saturn is saying, while you’re also climbing Mount Everest, writing a book of poetry, building a house in the woods, raising six children and running for Congress. Saturn is asking Sagittarius to look its cause in the eye and focus on what it takes to manifest that cause.
At the same time, Saturn might do what he’s done to Vincent in Tales of the City or the wealthy lawyer described in A Separate Reality. Saturn might also tell you that your cause is lost, your mission passed or accomplished. It’s time to move on.
For Sagittarius energy, the end of the mission, the finished novel or returning home from a world-tour can be a tremendous let down.
Neither of these Saturn messages is pleasant for Sagittarius. Whoever came up with the term “harsh reality” may have had natal Saturn in Sagittarius.
Many of the conflicts of my time have had racial, ideological or religious overtones. What’s interesting to me is that these are all taught (there is no such thing as race). What’s forced on you by your environment is Saturn.
Must we believe all that our environment teaches?
Sagittarius tends to look past what the environment teaches which is why it becomes the philosopher (and why it can seem divorced from reality). Saturn transiting this sign is providing opportunity to examine what we are being taught from a racial, ideological and religious perspective.
If none of this appeals to you and you still want to pursue a lost cause, you can always send your petition to St. Jude, the patron saint of “hope and impossible causes.”