Friday, October 27, 2006

“Is it a firm decision,” Weedy asks, “to retire a year this May?” Lately, I’ve been enjoying my job, even staying late to finish at my desk, having fun helping the students, pleased with my recently hired new staff of student assistants.

“I’m not going to put myself in a position to starve, but so far that’s the plan” I say, “When you called, I was picking out photographs for a magazine submission. And I’m working every day towards developing the business.”

I don’t know where all this is going. I’m following instinct, coupled with a reasonable amount of business experience and using my research skills. I’m practicing the principle of doing what I love and setting my will.

There are days, though, when the endless busy-work makes me feel like my brain is a radio tuned in-between stations, running static. I can barely think through the blur of chores and errands, running on the perpetually revolving wheel of what-I-have-to-do-next. It feels like a slog.

“When I get overloaded,” I tell Weedy, “I remember that I could die tomorrow, or be diagnosed with a disease or hit by car, or the world could suddenly change so drastically that none of what I’m doing will matter at all. The thought cheers me – at least in the sense that I remind myself I’m not in control...that all this won’t matter when I’m dead. You need to keep that in mind but you have to proceed anyway or you freeze in your tracks.”

Twice in most people’s lives (three times if they live to be 86 or so) Saturn orbits back to its original position at their birth and it's a life-altering transit. Marko, who at 29 is going through his first Saturn Return, has inquired as to whether, considering we can reclassify Pluto as a dwarf planet, it doesn’t make sense to rename Saturn, “Flaming Shitbrick.” Jess and my boss at work, who, along with me, are also going through second Flaming Shitbrick Returns, concur. It’s not an easy transit – and it goes on longer than any of us would choose if it were up to us.

Liz Greene once referred to “the cold dead hand of Saturn” and the phrase stuck with me. Symbolically, a strong Saturn aspect translates as a period of time marked by chilled & mixed emotions, hard work, discipline and duty, the crumbling of any structure (real or metaphoric) that we have built carelessly. Foundations wobble and collapse. Marriages fail – or passing Saturn’s hurdles, grow stronger. Careers take other directions. We leave our physical or metaphoric homes, change directions or buckle down and recommit. Some our dearest illusions pop like soap bubbles. At 28-30, we pass into real adulthood and often mourn the loss of a certain kind of innocence. Our deepest fears emerge in the midst of all this questioning and change.

But there is a gift, and I am grudgingly starting to recognize it. You learn persistence.

Saturn’s sign is Capricorn, and it's symbol, half fish, half Mountain Goat, is spirit translating into matter, into physical manifestation. Capricorn builds. Saturn persists.

I let go of my ambition to have no ambition. This is not the time for that.

I release outcomes and keep my mind on what needs to be done now.

I accept that I am not who I was a year ago and am not who I will be year from now.

I let go when I need to, even if I mourn the loss.

I keep climbing.

But I reserve the right to call it Flaming Shitbrick when the climb gets slippery.