While it’s a cliche that we must toughen ourselves to face the unknown, the known, not the unknown, seems to cause the greatest fear and resistance. The ultimate fear – death – we might consider an unknown, regardless of our beliefs. But the known fact we are perishable is one we keep out of our minds most days. That we will one day die is a great Known.
This very pithy but insightful post by Dharmbir Rai Sharma explains the fear of the known in terms of the mind:
In reality, though, the unknown can never cause fear because fear arises from thoughts and thoughts are always in the realm of the known. The mind cannot produce anything that is totally unknown. So fear is not related to the unknown but to the possibility of the loss of the known. An extreme example is the fear of death. It is obvious that no body knows death. Knowing implies past experience and the very concept of past, present, and future vanishes with death. No one has ever come back to relate his or her experience of death. The fear is not of death itself but of losing what one has – the life and everything related to it. The fear is of the loss of the known.
When seeing a dead bird on the ground recently, it struck me how pervasive death is. Yet I think about it rarely although it’s everywhere. How many thousands of beings are dying within my periphery daily?
In astrology, Saturn represents structure, authority, time (as in Old Father Time) and limits. Death is the running out of time. Death is the separation from the corporeal body. Only our bones remain, which are ruled by Saturn. Death releases us from Saturn.
While those familiar with astrology tend to fear Saturn (irony mark here) as it represents limitations, disciple and that which we must develop, we actually hold onto Saturn very tightly. No matter how much we chase the other planets in our horoscope from love (Venus) to success (sun), Saturn is our very existence, the canvas upon which our lives are painted.
We love Saturn but don’t always realize it.
The sun is currently transiting Capricorn (ruled by Saturn). Let’s spend this Capricorn season giving Saturn some love.
Loving Saturn: Winter
Every year in the northern city (in the northern hemisphere) where I currently reside, there seems to be amnesic confusion about winter. I’ve spent most of my life in this region and each and every year in winter it: 1) gets cold; 2) snows or sleets and 3) produces head colds.
Yet each and every year in this region it seems surprising to folks when these three things occur. Each year winter effects are received as some odd anomaly, some weird aberration. Yet it’s a known event. Both the known and winter are Saturn.
In the cold northern hemisphere, winter begins in the sign of Capricorn ruled by Saturn. This is the time when natural life dies to be reborn in spring. As with Saturn itself, there is a dread that accompanies this season when we must introvert – stay indoors. Staying indoors produces the Saturnine afflictions of physical illness due to proximity to others and melancholia due to lack of sunlight and activity (today termed depression).
My advice to those who grew up in warm climates and find themselves in the northern hemisphere is to plan for winter from starting a hobby to finishing a project to studying. Unfortunately this advice is not always well received and once someone responded that he “shouldn’t have to do that.” Of course, he doesn’t – he’s welcome to experience the pale, cold, melancholia in pure form. Some enjoy Saturn as they do whiskey – straight up.
Loving Saturn: The Past
Saturn to some astrologers represents karma, or that which must be resolved from past actions. Saturn representing structure also has affinity with tradition which is a tie to the past.
Living in the past is not recommended but we in the US may have thrown the baby out with the bathwater. Understanding the past and how it leads to the present is very different from living in the past where one dwells on nostalgia to feel comfort to an excessive degree and rejects present experience. It’s Saturn (and time) speaking when someone says, “Things were better when I was a child.” You hear this Saturn phrase each and every generation.
Americans are particularly prone to disdain for the past as Richard Hofstadter explains in the 1963 work Anti-Intellectualism in American Life. Hofstadter explains that “America has been the country of those who fled from the past.”
On the positive side, Hofstadter explains:
Among other things, the American attitude represented a republican and egalitarian protest against monarchy and aristocracy and the callous exploitation of the people; it represented a rationalistic protest against superstition; an energetic and forward-looking protest against the passivity and pessimism of the Old World; it revealed a dynamic, vital, and originative mentality.
While all this was both good and important for a country developing itself, the peril according to Hofstadter is that “it led to a disdain for contemplation which could not be transformed into practical intelligence and for all passion which could not be mobilized for some forward step in the process.”
Those individuals and cultures with disdain for the past are avoiding the introversion that comes with contemplation. Understanding the past without getting lost in it is a Herculean task as Saturn is gravity which pulls with a mighty grip. Possibly this is why so many fear solitude – this is when you are unable to extrovert; when forced to focus inward, the past often makes a clarion call.
Loving Saturn: The Saturn Corporation
On January 7, 1985, during the sign of Capricorn (ruled by Saturn as we know), the Saturn Corporation was registered as a trademark. This car company went defunct in 2010.
Like its namesake, the Saturn car was promoted as durable, reliable and long-lasting (like your bones). It’s always of fascination to me how we disdain astrology and mythology in this country yet use astrological and mythological names for so many things (Ford Taurus, Mercury car, ISIS fundamentalist group, Apophis comet, etc.).
Unfortunately the US disdain for astrology was of detriment to the Saturn Corporation. Had this company realized that US culture was Saturn-averse, they might have chosen a more American-friendly planet such as Uranus (our national moon sign based on July 4, 1776 is Aquarius) or Jupiter (we might have a Sagittarius rising which is believable due to our collective need to monitor physical weight).