Greeting travelers- Happy Tuesday.

This week I'll be focusing on the planet Saturn and its recent movement into the sign of Sagittarius where it will be for almost three years, until December of 2017. But before I get to all that I would like to make a brief PSA...

This week we are coming up on Mercury's first retrograde for 2015. We've been in the shadow period since the 6th, which was also the day Mercury moved into the sign of Aquarius. The shadow period is the span of time/space that Mercury will retrograde back over. Mercury is normally quite a speedy planet, zooming through the zodiac about one and a half signs per month. Since this upcoming retrograde doesn't leave the sign of Aquarius that means we have all the way until mid-March with the lessons of this transit. I'll be writing more on it next week, but for now your homework is to start your checklists and start double-checking your actions, if possible, before you make them. The next two months have a lot of lessons for us about communication, especially within groups. Don't put anything out into the ether that could come back at you with cranky karma. Be nice, be kind, be generous. Watch carefully for groupthink mentality and notice if you're playing into it either with unquestioning agreement or iconoclastic urges. Be as objective and spacious as you can be. Retrogrades summon all the "re" words, which as I said, we'll get into next week. But for now, try not to do things that will need to be re-done, or say things that will need to be re-said. It's better to take your time and do the job well; better to cool down and respond rather than react. You know it.

photo credit: Renee Sills

Ok! Saturn in Sagittarius! Yes. This has been a long time coming. Since October of 2012 Saturn has slowly been making its way through Scorpio. Saturn, the planet of discipline, aging and the maturing process that happens with time. Scorpio, the sign of dying, transformation, rebirth and the intimacy that arises with loss. The last two years have been a time for deep self-reflection, all kinds of therapy, and getting to the root of things. Many of us have had to sit with enormous amounts of fear, some of which was certainly brought up by the reflections of our more unsavory selves, the parts we wished we hadn't seen. But Saturn in Scorpio does the work of bringing what needs to be brought to the surface, of limiting our options for distraction, and basically giving us no opt-out. Either do the work or don't. If you don't do it, the icky habits, patterns and demons will become more fortified, and the things that suck today will suck harder tomorrow. Saturn in Scorpio's lesson is that the only way out is through, and to get through you have to get real. Saturn will retrograde back into Scorpio from June through September of this year, so if you feel that there's still some muck to wade through, don't worry because you'll have another chance. All the "re" words apply to Saturn retrograde and take an extra flavor of discipline. You can think of Saturn retrograde as the stern schoolmaster who asks you to remain, revise, redefine and refine until you get your lesson right. You'll hate it now, but you'll be oh-so-grateful later on. Trust me. Do the work.

For now though, Saturn is in Sagittarius. Sagittarius is the 9th sign of the zodiac and arises from the intensity of Scorpio's harsh lessons. Sagittarius wants to understand, give meaning, and move above and beyond the Scorpionic experience. In the desire to transcend Sagittarius rules religion and religious organizations, philosophy and higher learning, foreign lands and foreign places, gurus and teachers... Sagittarius is the seeker of meaning, the wanderer, the wonderer. In Sagittarius knowledge and understanding move us through and beyond the pain of transformation. Our faith, philosophy, and experiences remind us that the world is so much bigger, that there are so many people and stories and different perspectives out there, and that is the stuff that lifts our eyes and hearts out of Scorpio's darkness. The season that Sagittarius rules is the end of autumn and the winter solstice. In the darkest time of the year Sagittarius teaches us to hold the flame of faith and attend to the brilliance of divinity as we understand it.

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Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter ('Ju'=God 'piter/pater' = father) the God of expansion and generosity. Sagittarian energy is known for its optimism as well as it's detachment/attachment pattern. The dark side of Sagittarius can clearly be seen in the dark side of dogmatic religious beliefs and fascist philosophies. The grand idea can often be detached from the real need, and can reduce complexity into binary in order to exist. This side of the sign is where we look into the distance to avoid looking into ourselves, and where we trust with blind faith, allowing ourselves to be led into belief systems that don't allow themselves to be questioned.

In the next three years Saturn will bring the saturnian words: authority, responsibility, mastery, structure, discipline, restriction, oppression, (back) into the sphere of religion. Watch for faith leaders becoming stronger political forces and hopefully being responsible to the underlying intentions of their faith, rather than playing slave to rigid or polarizing rhetoric.

Pope Francis (front 3rd R) poses with religious leaders during a meeting at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences at the Vatican December 2, 2014.

If we look under the divisive arguments between them, religions are usually made up of the same stuff: Be as kind to others as you would wish in return. Don't steal. Don't lie. Be generous, especially with those who have less than you. Have faith in something bigger than yourself and honor it. My hope for all of us is that we can be our own Saturnian taskmasters, and truly come on board for one of the biggest spiritual lessons of all: Honor yourself as worthy, and see that others are the same as you. Buddhist wisdom begins with compassion, and compassion is based in solid self-respect... Compassion knows the difference between self-respect, self-love and self-care. Saturn is here to help us learn:

- Self-respect comes first. Respect yourself enough to not be a jerk, because you know it will come back to you. Respect yourself enough to do the right thing, to be a stand-up person, to say nice things about people, to be honest etc. Even when you hate yourself, feel like sh*t, and are eating all the wrong things. Self-respect is not self-love, or self-care. It's acting responsibly and expecting the same from others in return.

- Self-care is the action that you take that makes the above easier. It's much easier to be nice when you are not eating stuff that makes you feel like junk. You will probably be a kinder person if you get enough sleep. If you get enough exercise you will have strength of will and confidence. And if you pamper yourself once in a while it might just make you more generous. Self-care attends to your temple, but it is not the spirit that resides within.

-When you respect yourself and you care for your temple there is space for self-love to arise. This is not the self-love that makes you better than anyone else (that is called self-centeredness, and is less love, more insecurity.) This self-love recognizes your own basic goodness and worth as a human, and isn't about beating yourself up for your imperfections. This self-love is comfortable enough in itself to see the basic goodness and worth in others, and doesn't get caught up in their imperfections. This self-love is not easy to find for many of us, but when/if we find it- we have it.

My Saturn in Sagittarius prayers for us all are that we may find true self-love. The kind that Jesus, and The Prophet, and Gaia, and God have all told us about... The self-love that knows that we are made of the same divine thread that sews the entire fabric of creation, all that was and will be. My prayers for us are that we are responsible to this love, that we become righteous authorities of this love and masters of our own worth. My prayers are that we have the discipline for it, because Goddess knows that self-hatred is bought and sold to us everywhere and is addictive. My prayers are for the spiritual leaders to channel the faith that is true self-love, to let it flow through their sermons and songs, and for all of us to become the spiritual leaders.

Blessings on the voyage loves.

Special thanks to Carol Ferris for sharing her Saturn/Sagittarius wisdom!

Our next Embodying the Zodiac Class is on January 27th! Aquarius 7-9PM Be Space - 211 SE 11th $15

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