Planetary Meditations

better living In this article series (4 parts) we are going to meditate on the spiritual lessons of the planets, and reflect on how we can more impeccably and courageously fulfill the instructions that our birth charts encode and convey. This article will present basic meat and potatoes astrology -- no fancy techniques -- but from the perspective of how can we use every experience to become more fully enlightened beings.

Meditations for Multi-Dimensional Living

As we advance in our studies of astrology, we become centered and prepared to meet whatever comes. We also learn to use our will to shape what unfolds, acting in accordance with our planetary instruction manual. Astrology teaches us that there are infinitely varied ways to be an awakened human being, and it encourages us to embrace our own path. It reveals the yoga, the spiritual practice or life-road that best suits us, and the steps we need to take to come into greater balance. It teaches us to awaken through every experience, meeting each moment with courage.

Astrology teaches us there are moments of a specific duration that have a particular theme or tone. Certain types of experiences are likely to occur under the influence of the various planets: Mercury--the stimulation of new ideas. Saturn--work and responsibility; Venus--love, aesthetic enjoyment, and sensual pleasure. We develop a sense of how long these experiences may last. We learn not to freeze any moment or experience or emotional state into permanence. Everything is changing. Reflecting on the ever-changing celestial pattern, we start to live as the witness, the one who sees all with compassion.

At the center of the chart is the Self, I Am, the field of consciousness. We are the purusha--the tranquil, eternal Being, not the constantly changing flux of events. Events change. We are unchanging Presence. Our awareness shifts and evolves through each experience; everything is given to us as a gift, a lesson. I witness myself going through a variety of experiences, some pleasurable, some boring or tedious, some exciting, some gut-wrenching. But none of these experiences is what I am. I am the consciousness that grows through the totality of all experience. I dispassionately witness what happens, and through each experience my consciousness expands.

Essential for Tranquility: Offering of Gratitude

Essential to our cultivation of tranquility is the offering of gratitude: gratitude for all who have nurtured and sustained us and contributed to the formation of our character, values, and goals: parents, siblings, teachers, colleagues, children, and friends. And gratitude for whatever is happening in our lives, for the perfect way that things are unfolding. What else is astrology if not the study of the orderly unfolding of the universe? The planetary cycles proceed according to their intelligent and relatively predictable course.

Our goal in astrology is to align ourselves with the larger rhythms of life. We experience disharmony when we are out of tune with these planetary cycles, with the natural rhythm in which things want, and intend, to happen. We want neptunian bliss at the moment when the universe is calling for attention to our feelings or relationships, or grounded attention to the home or workplace. Our task is to tune our beings to the vibration of each planet, responding to each, as needed, to fulfill the intentions and dictates of each planetary god and goddess.

Sun

The goal of astrological yoga is to become a more and more impeccable embodiment of each natal planet and their activations by various transiting and progressed planets. As we do so, we become more and more whole human beings, more multidimensional, until ultimately we become fully actualized on all levels.

To do so, we need to understand and honor the intentions of each planetary principle. We learn to express an inner cohesion and attitude toward self that we call the Sun, our conscious identity, that way of being in which we are most fully alive, creative, and filled with light. A central goal of this incarnation is to be most fully and consciously a Taurean, a Libran, an Aquarian type of being -- and to actualize this way of being through the field of life in which the Sun is placed. Any approach to astrological yoga needs to begin here. So, for example, a woman with the Sun-Mercury in her 6th house has been working all her life. She has a baby while transiting Saturn is moving through her 5th house and thinks that she wants to have two or three babies and quit working. But when Saturn goes into her 6th house a year later, she decides to go back to work. She is racked with guilt and afraid that she is letting down her child by working. But the reality is that the family needs her income and she herself is restless to reenter the workforce. Her 6th house Sun needs this. We need to stay in alignment with the purpose and natural way of being indicated by our natal Sun. I have the Sun in my 4th house, and I can barely be budged from my home, a fact to which all my friends will attest. Understanding the placement of the Sun is fundamental to the process of astrological yoga.


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Moon

We also must attend to the ever-changing wellspring of our emotions, our innermost needs and dominant feeling states -- our Moon level of being. Our feelings bubble and well up like hot springs in the desert. They moisten us, make us feel real and tender. A woman I counseled had a manic demeanor, laughing constantly as she described her struggles in life. As I explored with her the symbolism of her natal Moon conjunct Saturn and Neptune in Libra in the 8th house, she began to sob as we explored her underlying feelings of sadness, depression, desolation, and fear of abandonment in relationships. 'Yes', she said, 'this is the dominant feeling state I return to again and again.' So we utilize astrology to understand our emotions and inner needs.

Mercury

We also operate as beings of the mind, vibrating with the mental perceptions, insights, and conceptions of Mercury, searching for new information and learning to communicate our ideas, our emotions, our desires. For example, one woman with a natal Mercury-Neptune conjunction spends much of her free time reading metaphysical books and writing poetry. A man with transiting Saturn conjunct natal Mercury is struggling with writing his doctoral dissertation, learning how to organize his ideas, and present them in an acceptable academic form.

Venus

Attuning to Venus, we realize that we are also beings of the heart, desiring to share our inner beauty, our touch, to delight in each other's presence, to give and receive love and affection. Venus is the planet of the tastes, and represents the enjoyment we get through appreciation of whatever is refined, cultured, pleasingly formed. A woman with transiting Saturn conjunct natal Venus in late Aries in her 4th house recently bought a house with her boyfriend. She is so happy, they have made such big commitments in such a short time, and she just loves fixing up her home. Venus is the focus of her evolutionary path at this time.

Mars: Motivation, Initiative, Vital Energy

We also vibrate to Mars, our needs as animals for strenuous physical movement and exertion, for rutting and humping, for release of energy through the body, through uninhibited expression of our drives, our desires, our anger. Mars is the root energy of motivation, initiative, the vital energy we need to pursue our varied ends in life. A woman with progressed Sun square Mars became incredibly combative for a while. She became obsessed with karate and weightlifting, and had numerous angry disputes at home and at work. But she felt she was growing tremendously by becoming more direct, blunt, and assertive. She said, 'I am very angry lately, very into my body, and into being like a wild, fierce animal. I cruised a bar the other night and took a guy home, totally out of character for me. What is happening to me? Why am I fighting with everyone in my life? Why can't I meditate?' Apparently her wholeness of being requires integration of the Mars principle, which was rapidly transforming her way of being. There is a time to be quiet and yielding, and there is a time to directly go after what you want.

Jupiter: Seeking Knowledge, Wisdom & Truth

At the level of Jupiter we become more intellectually cultured and aware of the broader issues that give life meaning. We seek knowledge, wisdom, truth, and aspire to a more expansive living -- drawn toward travel and adventure, learning, and the company of the learned. Under Jupiter's influence, we learn that there are brief moments of opportunity when we can expect some helpful opening of doors, where we are gracefully shown the way forward to a better future. Jupiter is fortuna, life as cornucopia, a garden of delights, always fulfilling our desires in some measure. A schoolteacher who had been ill for several years and not working asked me, 'Are there any signs of luck for me in my career?' I noted that transiting Jupiter was passing through his 10th house, stationary retrograde squaring natal Jupiter in Sagittarius. Within two weeks he had several excellent job offers in the field of education (Jupiter in Sagittarius). Jupiter often brings improvement of some condition of living, and it causes us to reach higher and aspire to a more expanded condition.


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About the Author

better livingGreg Bogart, Ph.D, MFT is a Bay Area psychotherapist, and an astrological counselor who has taught and practiced professionally since 1981. He the author of four books, including Astrology and Spiritual Awakening, Finding Your Life's Calling, and Therapeutic Astrology: Using the Birth Chart in Psychotherapy and Spiritual Counseling. You can order these books online, or directly from the publisher, Dawn Mountain Press, PO Box 9563, Berkeley, CA 94709; Tel: (510) 412-0486. This article was first printed in the April/May 1999 issue of The Mountain Astrologer. For subscriptions or back issues, call 800-287-4828 or go to www.MountainAstrologer.com Additional articles by Greg Bogart, reviews, and book ordering info can be found at the Dawn Mountain website: www.jps.net/gbogart/dawnmtn.html To contact Greg Bogart, please call (510) 412-0486, or email [email protected].


{mospagebreak}

Planetary Meditations for
Multi-Dimensional Living

by Greg Bogart, Ph.D.

CONTINUED FROM:
Part 1

(In this series of articles, we meditate on the spiritual lessons of the planets, and reflect on how we can more impeccably and courageously fulfill the instructions that our birth charts encode and convey. This article presents basic meat and potatoes astrology -- no fancy techniques -- but from the perspective of how can we use every experience to become more fully enlightened beings. )

Saturn

better living Then our task is to actualize our aspirations and goals through our disciplined and sustained efforts. These are the lessons of Saturn. We learn to fulfill the requirements of life within form, within the structures, responsibilities, and commitments that give our lives focus and stability. We build the edifice of our lives one slow step at a time. Inayat Khan said, 'Love climbs the mountains of life, step by step.'

Those who are having difficulty with a Saturn transit need to get grounded and adjust better to the requirements of living in a body, in a material and temporal world. 90% of my astrological work involves helping people at the level of Saturn, with problems of social adaptation, career choice, material struggles, and the maturation they bring about in us. If someone who is lost seeks direction through astrology, he or she will find it by locating the natal and current transiting positions of Saturn. These instruct us about where in our lives we need to work hard to build greater stability. Our goal here is to become well adapted, to live more or less comfortably within the societal-cultural environment in which we find ourselves. We are concerned here with accommodating ourselves to the world, its institutions, and the structures that it imposes.

Saturn, with its regular and unceasing transit cycle, makes repeated, cyclic visitations, presenting us with a series of lessons of practicality, maturity, and stability. Every 7 - 8 years Saturn makes a major aspect to its natal position. These constitute a progressive series of lessons that always refer to Saturn's natal house and sign placement, as well as transiting Saturn's current house and sign placement.

For example, someone who has natal Saturn in the 7th house might have significant issues regarding marriage and partnership at each stage of the cycle. One woman with Saturn in the 7th married at age 21 (Saturn 3/4 square), had two children during her Saturn return (Saturn in Leo), deepening her marital commitment. At age 36 (Saturn 1/4 square), while Saturn passed through her 10th house of career, she went back to work and started building a new career. This caused some conflict in her marriage because she had less time to spend together with her husband. At the Saturn opposition (Saturn in her 1st house) she had many important decisions to make with her husband about one of their children (natal Saturn in Leo). They had to be responsible adults together. This year, at her 3/4 square of Saturn, her children left home and went to college. She is developing new interests with her husband, and they recently sold their home and purchased a new one in another city (Saturn in 4th house). Just from tracing the Saturn cycle we can see the outline of some of the major events in her life: marriage, giving birth, new career and success, responsibilities and decisions regarding children, a happy empty nest, and relocation. It is the same for all of us. Our lives unfold on schedule following the regular rhythms of the Saturn cycle.

In some instances a person will struggle with the lessons of Saturn, the lessons of maturity. Consider the story of a man with Saturn-Neptune in Libra in the 8th house: At his first Saturn return, he got married. He couldn't find a job and fell into a pattern of drinking and drug use (Saturn conjunct Neptune). By the time of his 1/4 Saturn square at age 36, he had become a full-blown alcoholic and cocaine addict. And then during his Saturn opposition in his mid forties, he got divorced (Saturn in the 8th house). The harsh reality of alimony and child support forced a major self-assessment that led to his cleaning up, going through detox, getting a regular job, and paying child support (Saturn in 2nd house opposite 8th house Saturn: shared finances, financial obligations to others). He had not been coping well with reality during his Saturn return. So fifteen years later, at the Saturn opposition, he needed to grow up and accept his responsibilities.

This example also illustrates a basic principle of Dane Rudhyar's philosophy -- that cycles are unceasing, and that even if we fail to achieve all the goals of a particular cycle, the compassion of Being always provides another opportunity to complete the unfinished evolutionary business of the past. Astrology is a way of living that instills in us faith in our ultimate ability to achieve our evolutionary goals, because even where we have faced obstacles or failures, we trust in the unfolding of new cycles in the future.

Uranus

If one measure of our evolution is our ability to cope with the physical world, then another measure is our responsiveness to the principle of change -- Uranus, the symbol of our active urge for metamorphosis. Uranus asks us to express whatever within ourselves is most unique, original, and unusual. Transits and progressions involving Uranus mark moments when lightning strikes, electrifying us, revealing a new and often unexpected direction. We get involved with new activities that may seem strange, but that later may be perceived to be revolutionary or cutting edge.

If Saturn is the reality principle -- our need to accept the limits of the world and work within them-- then Uranus challenges the reality principle through the principle of invention and novelty, the capacity to reshape reality. Challenging convention and our conditioned perceptions of what is real and what is possible, we feel an irresistible excitement about a particular topic, interest, or pursuit -- and often a kind of fanatical dedication to this project. (Remember being convinced that a particular diet or health product or enlightenment course was going to revolutionize the world?)

Under Uranus, we are filled with the inspiration to do something that is really exciting and often really weird -- like when I was 21 and had my Uranus square and I decided to become an astrologer! A man I know, who is passing through his Uranus opposition, suddenly decided to quit his job. A woman with progressed Venus square Uranus announced to her husband and two children that she was deeply in love with another woman and was moving out to buy a house with her. It all happened so fast. Such is Uranus. Uranus is the planet of self-liberating choices; it teaches us to set ourselves free and see how much is possible, if we will only trust our intuition and inner genius, and live according to the law of our own being.

Uranus is the principle of mutation. When we mutate, others may view us as fools or laughingstocks. We may feel like outsiders living on the edge of conventional society, but we accept that one condition of our freedom is to bear the discomfort of standing apart from the collective in some aspects of our lifestyle, beliefs, or commitments. The condition of the seed is a useful metaphor for the Uranian crisis of liberation. Do we live as decaying leaves, bound by the doctrines, values, and assumptions of a decaying industrial culture -- which is increasingly shaped by the global news-entertainment- disinformation media which encourages us to live primarily as consumers in a society saturated with advertising -- numbing ourselves to global environmental breakdown? Or do we become seed persons, dedicated to a future cycle of existence? Uranus says: Assume the condition of a seed, 'pregnant with a living futurity.' Become the root and origin of new life, of future cycles of cultural rebirth. You are of the new world, leave the old behind. All it takes is the courage to change.

Uranus is a crucial planet for the growing number of people in our society who are becoming self-employed, independent contractors. While the uncertainty of this lifestyle is nerve-wracking for some people, Uranus teaches us to be grateful if we are able to stop working 9-to-5 jobs, to step out of the hive condition. As much as possible I try to live according to my own rhythms. At least a few days a week I sleep, wake, work, stretch, play, and hangout as my own nature feels in the moment. This freedom has been a blessing to me, because the blueprint of my own being can unfold when liberated from a rigid schedule, and given time to grow. Uranus teaches us to create our own patterns of living, and from these are born our own innovations and unique ways of being. Of course, Uranus is also about adaptation to rapid changes in collective patterns of living, including those due to the impact of new inventions and technologies. For some people this means exploring electronic culture and internet commerce, while others feel excitement about new developments in biology, space travel, or digital audio recording technology. Uranus makes us aware that we need to adapt, get up to speed, and keep contemporary, or we will be left in the dust.

 


 

Book by this author:
better living
"
Therapeutic Astrology: Using the Birth Chart in Psychotherapy and Spiritual Counseling"
by Greg Bogart

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About The Author

 

better livingGreg Bogart, Ph.D, MFT is a Bay Area psychotherapist, and an astrological counselor who has taught and practiced professionally since 1981. He the author of four books, including Astrology and Spiritual Awakening, Finding Your Life's Calling, and Therapeutic Astrology: Using the Birth Chart in Psychotherapy and Spiritual Counseling. You can order these books online, or directly from the publisher, Dawn Mountain Press, PO Box 9563, Berkeley, CA 94709; Tel: (510) 412-0486. Additional articles by Greg Bogart, reviews, and book ordering information can be found at the Dawn Mountain website: www.jps.net/gbogart/dawnmtn.html To contact Greg Bogart, please call (510) 412-0486, or email [email protected]. This article was first printed in the April/May 1999 issue of The Mountain Astrologer. For subscriptions or back issues, call 800-287-4828 or go to www.MountainAstrologer.com

 

 


{mospagebreak}

 

Planetary Meditations for
Multi-Dimensional Living

by Greg Bogart, Ph.D.

CONTINUED FROM:
Part 1 & Part 2

(In this series of articles, we meditate on the spiritual lessons of the planets, and reflect on how we can more impeccably and courageously fulfill the instructions that our birth charts encode and convey. This article presents basic meat and potatoes astrology -- no fancy techniques -- but from the perspective of how can we use every experience to become more fully enlightened beings. )

Neptune

better living The next station of our journey to freedom and awakening is that of Neptune, lord of the fog, dissolver of certainties, revealer of non-ordinary states of consciousness. At this level, we may transcend our physical and mental limitations, perceiving our oneness with other people and other life forms, consciously identifying with plants, animals, whales, with mountains and storms, with the earth itself. We experience that we are not bound by ordinary physical boundaries. For example, we may intuitively know the thoughts of others; telepathy is real.

In 1996, I traveled through south India with my father while transiting Uranus was square my natal Neptune. One night we checked into a hotel room, turned on the light in the bathroom and found a cockroach the size of an armadillo. Being a good, nonviolent spiritual kind of person, I picked up my Birkenstock sandal and thwacked the cockroach as hard as I could. The carcass was duly disposed of. The next day we were riding a bus for many hours. At one point we both dozed off and an hour or so passed without our speaking a word. Then I turned to my dad and said, 'I could kick myself for not taking a photo of that cockroach. Nobody is going to believe us when we tell them how enormous it was.' My father's face turned white and he looked stunned. He said to me, 'I was just thinking the exact same thing.'

At the Neptune level we become open to magical occurrences, synchronicity, or meaningful coincidence of events. Neptune is a very psychic planet. The other day I was talking to an Indian shopkeeper (back home in California) and I told him I was an astrologer. He asked me, 'What does it mean when you think something and then it happens? The other day I was thinking about someone I hadn't seen in three years, and the very next day he walked into my store.' I said it means that the two of you are connected, and that such experiences remind us that any perceptions we have of boundaries and distance between us are illusory.

Under Neptune's influence, we are pulled by the invisible undertow of Being -- beyond the shores of ordinary consciousness and all familiar spatial reference points; we begin to feel soft, liquid, fluid. In alchemy, this process is called solutio, the dissolution of the base metal (lead) of the ego so that it can be transformed into gold. We experience ourselves being melted down. We feel weak, helpless, as if we have no backbone or will of our own. At first, this can be quite frightening and confusing; but if we relax into this state of liquidity, we may perceive that all of creation is pulsating with one scintillating Consciousness.

During Neptune transits or progressions we may taste the condition of limitless Being, Love Absolute, becoming more translucent, blissful, and expanded. We may experience contact or union with God, the Beloved, the Self, the One in All, the numinous presence which all spiritual teachers tell us is our true nature, and which we can perceive once our consciousness is cleansed and freed from its bound condition. The pain we experience during Neptune's visitations are a direct reflection of our unresolved attachments and desires. To the extent that we cling to form and certainty, we experience fear and resistance to the formlessness and ambiguity of Neptune. As we let go of fear, compulsive desires, and material preoccupations, we begin to merge into the tides of Being, which wash us clean and carry us into the ocean of freedom.

When Neptune is active in our lives we may develop greater fervor for enlightenment or union with the divine. Often when we are strongly influenced by Neptune (natally or by transit or progression), we begin to ask, 'How can I proceed toward enlightenment?' And the answer comes: Follow in the footsteps of those who have awakened. Go to qualified instructors to learn techniques of self-transformation, do these practices with diligence, and see if you are not transformed. With Neptune's grace, we learn to quiet the mind and begin to hear the voice of wisdom within. As we do our spiritual practices, and imbue them with our intensity of longing for liberation and illumination, then the sparks of awakened consciousness burst into flame. Neptune teaches us to let go the limitations born of false identification with body, mind, emotions, and desires, and to experience ourselves as pure consciousness, vast as sky.

Neptune symbolizes the awareness, described by Hawaiian Huna teachings, that there are no limits. This awareness coexists paradoxically with our Saturnian awareness of the reality of limits. At first, the 1998-1999 square of Saturn and Neptune feels like a clash between our dreams and ideals and the cold, hard reality of the world. To some of us, this can feel very discouraging and disappointing, as if our worldly responsibilities bind our spirits and the reality of our current station in life falls short of our ideal. Yet astrology teaches us that we are all in the process of building our dreams (Saturn-Neptune).

Mastering the conditions of this earth is the prerequisite for receiving the deepest outpouring of grace and spiritual blessing. We must become solid vessels (Saturn) into which Spirit flows (Neptune), where its effulgence can be held, embodied, and expressed in well-crafted forms. Limitless possibilities are unfolding on planet Terra, and we are the vessels, as we learn to manifest, one step at a time, our dreams, our visions, our archetypal and spiritual potentials. The very goal of astrological self-study is to become an avatar of oneself, to bring about what Rudhyar calls, 'the union of the precisely differentiated divine and the perfectly integrated human -- an avatar or divine manifestation. This is the marriage of heaven and earth.' The 1998-1999 Saturn-Neptune square is one phase of that cycle that began at the conjunction in 1989, a cycle dedicated to efforts to incarnate our ideals and dreams. Think about how far you have come in this process since 1989, and see how this Saturn-Neptune square is a challenge to overcome the fear of failure, the sense of disappointment and discouragement, and to continue to build the edifice of our freedom. Indeed, it is a challenge to more fully incarnate the 'precisely differentiated divine', as symbolized by our birthmaps.

When discussing Neptune we cannot fail to mention the possibility that we will become confused or disoriented, unsure of our direction, addicted, or avoidant. I know four alcoholics with natal Sun opposite Neptune. (Of course, I also know many psychics, astrologers, and very enlightened folks with the same aspect). Neptune in the 4th house is a common symbol for people with alcoholism in the family system. There is also the issue of deceptiveness, lies, and sneakiness. I have seen many people who, when Neptune transits into their 7th house, get involved with nebulous, dishonest people, or their spouses begin to act like total flakes, or become drunks, or act totally unreliable. Not surprisingly, some of our biggest liars in the White House have had strong Neptunes. Think of Richard Nixon with his Sun-Neptune opposition. Clinton has Neptune conjunct Venus and Mars, so he lies about his love life. Then you have a congenital liar like Reagan, who had Neptune opposite Mercury.

Another big problem when Neptune influences us strongly is that we tend to feel so sorry for ourselves. The 1998-1999 Saturn square Neptune instructs us to master Neptune's condition of weakness, to vanquish self-pity, and to arouse confidence in our ability to concretize our inner vision. We are to transmute our suffering and self-pity into a state of universal compassion, responsive to the sorrow and suffering of all beings. We are to be strong, to master our discouragement, and to express daily our reverence and gratitude for the sacredness of life.

This brings me to another crucial issue. Most of us start out using astrology to try to fulfill our personal desires, and it can be very helpful toward that end. But at some point we recognize that astrology is actually teaching us to transcend our desires as we begin to fully cooperate with the universal will. We begin to understand that, at any given time, a path is open to us that emphasizes certain archetypal themes and possibilities, and not others. We sense how this path asks us to fulfill certain conditions and responsibilities for our benefit and growth, and ultimately for the betterment of the Whole. And so we surrender to the unfolding order, the natural way of things, in alignment with planetary rhythms.

As we study our charts it is helpful to ask not just, 'What do I want?', but also, 'What is my responsibility to the universe? What does life want me to do now? Is it to make money, to make music, to make a child, to grow food, to withdraw into inner silence, to stimulate my mind through reading and learning, to form networks of community with others?' We cross an important threshold when we go beyond an approach to astrology based solely in personal desire (and where we often compare our paths to that of others), and when we begin to fully embrace the path that is revealed to us as our right road. We start to sense who and what life wants us to become. We begin to cooperate with whatever wants to unfold -- to the best of our ability to discern this through astrological study. Indeed this is the essence of the whole matter right here. We view the planetary symbolism of our birth charts and transits as a roadmap and a directive, guiding our actions and choices, and revealing each step that will lead us toward wholeness.

Neptune's initiations teach us to free ourselves of the anxious struggle for survival and security, to turn within in union with the source of all. We gain the detachment that enables us to lift our consciousness beyond mundane concerns and into the inner skies of the mind. We continue to resolve issues at the socio-cultural and individual levels -- remember Saturn's tasks are unending -- and we grow in knowledge of who we are as individuals and how we can fit in and contribute to the collective. But when we are influenced by Neptune we also feel drawn by a tidal pull toward meditation, and it becomes more effortless to merge directly into the Absolute.

 


 

Book by this author
better living
"
Finding Your Life's Calling"
by Greg Bogart
Info/Order this book


 

About The Author

 

better livingGreg Bogart, Ph.D, MFT is a Bay Area psychotherapist, and an astrological counselor who has taught and practiced professionally since 1981. He the author of four books, including Astrology and Spiritual Awakening, Finding Your Life's Calling, and Therapeutic Astrology: Using the Birth Chart in Psychotherapy and Spiritual Counseling. You can order these books online, or directly from the publisher, Dawn Mountain Press, PO Box 9563, Berkeley, CA 94709; Tel: (510) 412-0486. This article was first printed in The Mountain Astrologer. For subscriptions or back issues, call 800-287-4828 or go to www.MountainAstrologer.com Additional articles by Greg Bogart, reviews, and book ordering information can be found at the Dawn Mountain website: www.jps.net/gbogart/dawnmtn.html To contact Greg Bogart, please call (510) 412-0486, or email [email protected].


{mospagebreak}

Planetary Meditations for
Multi-Dimensional Living

by Greg Bogart, Ph.D.

CONTINUED FROM:  Part 3

(In this series of articles, we meditate on the spiritual lessons of the planets, and reflect on how we can more impeccably and courageously fulfill the instructions that our birth charts encode and convey. This article presents basic meat and potatoes astrology -- no fancy techniques -- but from the perspective of how can we use every experience to become more fully enlightened beings. )

Pluto

better living Recently I have had an interesting change in my own spiritual practice. After years of meditating alone in a room with my legs crossed in lotus position, now I like to go outside in nature and practice meditation standing up, preferably near a tree, with my hands in one of two gestures. The first is to place my hands out with my palms facing up, in a gesture of receptivity, feeling like an empty vessel, ready to receive guidance and assistance, open, surrendered, serene. This is the practice of alignment of the personal will with the universal will. 'I want whatever is best for the greater Whole.'

The second gesture is to raise my arms up with my index fingers pointing outward, into space. As I do this, I radiate light from my heart, sending forth my clearest emanation, and I project mental images of my unfolding road and its desired qualities, invoking the future and literally drawing it toward myself. I call this principle the formative use of will, which in Astrology and Spiritual Awakening is called the kriya shakti, the power of visualization as a form of invocatory magic -- an essential skill for any initiate on the Path. Indeed, I would define astrology as the use of the formative will guided by planetary symbolism for the purpose of unfolding our evolutionary potential.

To establish the right use of the will we have to undergo tests of our intention. Major steps along the way in our preparation to be instruments of transpersonal activity occur when we undergo the tests of Pluto, which refine our character, and purify us of our imperfections. Pluto aids us in the removal of impurities, causes us to exhaust our karma on all levels, and gradually frees us of craving, attachment, and fear.

A woman I just counseled has been living in ashrams for years and practicing meditation and celibacy for the past several years. Transiting Pluto is now conjunct her descendant and she is compulsively attracted to an alcoholic plumber who hangs around in bars with criminals, bikers, speed freaks, and tough guys. Fascinated by these people and their world, she feels herself drawn into a journey through the underworld, to explore the parts of herself that this environment evokes. She has started smoking cigarettes and drinking, reflecting a general hardening and cynicism of outlook that is quite in contrast to her blissful devotee outlook of the past several years.

Her new boyfriend is fiercely jealous and becomes violent on occasion. She says she likes this man and finds him attractive while all the men in the ashram are, in her words, 'emasculated wimps'. Her rational mind fights all of this, knowing that this man is wrong for her, that she wants to walk on a spiritual path and live in the company of other seekers. But her soul is somehow hungry for this experience. And she asks me what is happening to her, is she going crazy. And I say no, not necessarily, for her evolution right now may require that she experience the sleaze of the underworld, to complete her attraction to this life, as well as to exhaust definite karmic ties of attachment she appears to have with this man.

We have to live out all our karma and potentials, not just 'good' and 'nice' ones. The goal is wholeness, not an unbalanced holiness. This is a one year transit of Pluto to an angle, so it may not mean that this becomes her permanent way of life, but there is something unfinished for her about sex, booze, and violence that she needs to explore.

Another woman with transiting Pluto conjunct her natal Moon, ruler of her Cancer midheaven, has been the direct target of acts of racial hatred. She tries to understand, why? The big question that always arises at such moments is whether we become so damaged and traumatized that we ourselves become armored, filled with hatred, resentment, and negativity. Plutonian crises challenge us to eliminate these toxins from our consciousness, but often only after we have encountered them in ourselves or others. Pluto confronts us with this material to teach us to let go and cleanse ourselves of the poisons of lust, greed, and hatred.

Under Pluto's influence, we may need to release (volcanically at times) the accumulated pressure of unexpressed feelings, and to recover repressed perceptions, insights, or memories. A woman with transiting Pluto conjunct a natal Sun-Saturn conjunction in her fourth house, had stunning realizations about the incestuous childhood relationship she had with her uncle, and came to the decision to finally tell her parents, after a lifetime of depression and hiding the truth. The revelation of these secrets fell like a bomb on her family. Pam's parents were blown out of the water. Her father immediately cut off all contact with his brother, her uncle, causing a radical shift in the dynamics of the family. With Sun-Saturn in her 4th house, lots of responsibility had been placed on her since childhood. Now she realized that she didn't have to hide the truth to protect her parents; she is not responsible for their well-being. The upheaval she caused in her family, the rift between her father and uncle, all of this had needed to happen for years. What needed to happen finally happened, with great force.

A woman named 'Ann' was a big celebrity, a well-known businesswoman. When her progressed Sun conjoined her MC, Ann became quite famous. But a few years later, transiting Pluto squared her natal Pisces Sun in the 8th house. She was accused of various unethical business practices, was investigated thoroughly by the government, and enveloped in scandal as the media created a web of lies about her. Reporters were making unfounded claims, unjustly smearing her reputation. Simultaneously, her brother tried to take control of her business, an unexpected betrayal -- a common manifestation of Pluto. (She has natal Saturn in the 3rd house--brothers--by the way).

Ann was eventually exonerated on all charges, but the business went bankrupt, her life was totally exposed by the media, many secrets were aired in public, and she felt completely totally naked and vulnerable. After this debacle, she sold everything and moved with her husband to another country with only two suitcases. She burned the fields behind her. She described this as a period in which her ego had been totally eviscerated, annihilated, purified, and destroyed. But somehow she came through this crisis with deep love toward her brother and all the reporters who had trashed her reputation. She said, 'I feel completely clean in my actions. My conscience is clear. And I feel compassion for the people who tried to destroy me.' This is what I would call a positive response to the challenges of Pluto. Indeed, through losing everything and letting go, Ann had become more fully a Piscean being.

Plutonian events often pose the deepest challenge to our faith in the perfection of how life is unfolding, because these events are often so outrageous and disturbing, shattering our conceptions and dreams of how it should be -- including forced labor camps, Balkan wars, bombings and nuclear tests, destructive floods, El Ni?o, and strange weather. The current earth changes are a balancing of our own karma, our own actions. They are Terra's response to our encroachment. There are simply too many of us producing too many waste products. The planet and many species on it, including humans, are sick. Recent discoveries of mutant frogs alert us to the toxicity of our environment. I read recently that the corral reefs on the ocean floor are sick with seven different types of disease. These are not good signs. The weather is definitely growing more severe.

As transiting Pluto went retrograde in the summer of 1999, a heat wave gripped Texas, Oklahoma, the Dakotas, parts of Florida were up in flames, Mt. Etna has been erupting, and an underground earthquake caused a destructive tsunami in Papua, New Guinea. To me this last is a particularly symbolic event, for Papua, New Guinea was a place studied by many great anthropologists earlier this century. In my own imagination it serves as an emblem of ancient indigenous cultures, and their fragile existence in the late 20th century. With this cataclysmic event for the native people of that country, I feel yet another tangible reminder of the extinction of traditional cultures and ways of life.

For me, the myth of the Great Purification from Native American prophecy is a very helpful guiding image to remember at this time. According to this myth, we are now living in the conditions of a great planetary cleansing. Some call it Tribulation -- a time of balancing, karmic retribution for all beings. Many people are hanging precariously on the edge of a precipice where life and death hang in the balance. For others, it is also a time of spiritual revelation and awakening. Our task is to strive to live in balance and to fulfill the dharma, the way that is revealed to each of us. We have our instructions. I have full faith that many of us who follow these instructions will walk a way of harmony into the new age.

Planetary symbolism helps us understand the faculties and levels of consciousness that we must activate and coordinate to become fully awakened human beings. Enthusiastically seeking to fulfill our planetary instructions, we fulfill the tasks that life asks of us, shouldering our responsibilities, and gradually manifesting our talents, our creativity, our visions. This is the path of astrological yoga.


 

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About The Author

 

better livingGreg Bogart, Ph.D, MFT is a Bay Area psychotherapist, and an astrological counselor who has taught and practiced professionally since 1981. He the author of four books, including Astrology and Spiritual Awakening, Finding Your Life's Calling, and Therapeutic Astrology: Using the Birth Chart in Psychotherapy and Spiritual Counseling. You can order these books online, or directly from the publisher, Dawn Mountain Press, PO Box 9563, Berkeley, CA 94709; Tel: (510) 412-0486. This article was first printed in the April/May 1999 issue of The Mountain Astrologer. For subscriptions or back issues, call 800-287-4828 or go to www.MountainAstrologer.com Additional articles by Greg Bogart, reviews, and book ordering info can be found at the Dawn Mountain website: www.jps.net/gbogart/dawnmtn.html To contact Greg Bogart, please call (510) 412-0486, or email [email protected].

 


 

 

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