The Moon is in late Capricorn, about to enter Aquarius. Meanwhile, Venus has just entered Gemini and is applying to create a t-square with Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces. Meanwhile, Mars in Taurus is moving into a square with Jupiter in Leo.
A list of what to watch for given these two transits, and then a brief meditation on the subject of truth and belief.
What to watch for:
* The subjects of finances, financial goals, hardship, and long term planning or building
* Masculinity, machismo, pride, bread winning males, using finances as a weapon or tool of domination
* The need to be self-reliant financially, materially
* Investing and extravagant purchases or penny pinching
* Windfalls and unexpected expenses
* Eyes bigger than wallet
* Attraction to wealth, disillusionment with wealth
* A slow, hard fought victory
* Muscle, strength, force, combat, warriors, and adrenaline
* Big, tough, over the top styles and fashion
* Curiosity leads to a crisis of faith
* Dabbling and toying
* Wandering eyes, wandering heart, wandering mind
* A religious debate
* Revisioning beliefs, dogmas, and doctrines
* Questions about truth, comparisons of experience
* Polytheism versus monotheism
* Integral wisdom versus laws/pre-existing systems
* Morality versus amorality
* Vacillating between options
* Scriptural versus experiential knowledge or wisdom
* Core beliefs..do we need them?
* The equally obnoxious dogma of non-religious people
* Philosophical ambivalence
* Sexual deviance and play…the “apple in the garden”
* Epistemological commitment
Let’s take a moment to look at the Venus/Saturn/Neptune t-square in greater depth. As Saturn is very slow and retrograde in Sagittarius right now, many of us are getting the opportunity to revise or reflect upon the nature of our faith or beliefs. The complexities of the centaur image are sometimes hard to understand in light of the subjects of faith and belief, but it’s a good moment to look at them in depth.
First let’s recall that the greatest teacher in Greek myth was a centaur (Chiron). Then let’s also remember that Centaurs in Greek myth were the most unruly, wild, and disruptive mythical creatures. This dichotomy is present in the image of the centaur itself: half man, half horse. Right there we have maybe one of the simplest descriptions of all religious traditions: the struggle between the ‘lower’ animal nature and the ‘upper’ rational nature. For the most part religions have been built upon the idea that the lower animal nature is problematic: sinful, fallen, ugly, irrational, destructive, unreliable, self-destructive, lustful, overly aggressive, self-centered, etc. From this basic problem (let’s call it the original sin or the fundamental flaw theory), there comes a huge variety of techniques and wisdom that are applied to address this problem so that humans can evolve upward toward any number of goals or ideals (the centaur’s fiery arrow pointing outward and upward): nirvana, enlightenment, the SELF, the higher self, god, redemption, salvation, heaven, etc.
From these techniques and wisdom (really simplifying things here), we can see the development of doctrines, scriptures, dogmas, and religions, as well as a huge amount of cultural/social structures all over the world.
Before we say anything else, the first task is to simply recognize, “This is one incredibly beautiful dimension of the Sagittarian archetype.” Because how many of us can deny the reality of these themes and experiences? We are often torn up by what can rightly be called a lower nature, and we often need to seek a higher calling in order to move beyond the painful snares of our lower nature.
However, we can’t stop here or we won’t have an appreciation for the fullness and diversity of the Centaur/Sag archetype.
The other thing about the centaur is that the rational man grows out of the animal image. Recall that a huge portion of our zodiac is dedicated to animal images! Let’s say that the horse part of the centaur represents the unbound presence, freedom, and naturalness of experience. Experience is non-stop. We are always experiencing. Something new, something different. And as we experience we reflect upon our experiences. Our reflections congeal to create wisdom and knowledge. And yet, experience doesn’t stop. So why should wisdom and knowledge stop? Here we see the unruly Centaur’s first hoof stampings. Because whenever wisdom tries to arrest motion, tries to stop the flow of new experiences, the horse feels as though it is being dominated or controlled by “the man.” And what animal enjoys being in a cage? What animal won’t gnaw it’s own paw off to get out of a trap? We should consider the idea that the freedom and experience seeking horse isn’t just a function of our unruly animal nature, but also the truth of the spirit that will always precede or exist simultaneous to wisdom.
A simple statement from the horse half’s point of view: wisdom is integral (not outside of) experience. And experience does not stop. Experience is eternal, it has always been happening and it will always be happening. It has no ultimate beginning or end. Therefore our spiritual goals are not reachable in any ultimate sense..not in any sense that stops us from the continual experience of being (which is wild and free, unbound, neither right or wrong, moral or immoral).
When we realize this, the rebellions of the horse against the man (the preacher caught with gay porn, the guru who sleeps with her student, the heretic, the rebel, the wanderer, the gypsy and nomadic hippy who won’t get a job) are really just images of the insistence that real wisdom never be separate from ongoing experiences. We rebel against doctrines and dogmas and all forms of “law” when they become barriers to the ongoing process of discovery…to the ongoing process of revelation and truth…which is tantamount to experience itself.
From this point of view can we not better understand our greatest teachers and prophets? So many of them were reformers and radicals. And yet the same temptation overwhelms us when we try to take the teachings of these free-spirited sages and lock them down into the prison of historical doctrines and dogmas. Why are we so afraid of transcending the insights of old prophets and visionaries, religions and traditions? Not “transcend” meaning “one up” but transcend meaning “continue the experience.” To have more experiences, and to have new or different insights and wisdom? Can we not imagine a universe where insight, truth, and discovery are as endless and originless as life itself?
This view is the upside down view of the horse half.
Is it necessary to marry the man and horse together? The Greeks didn’t think so. Instead they simply presented the “isness” of both archetypal tendencies, as well as their struggles, in one single image. Centaurs are wise and controlled sages (like Chiron), and they’re also unruly experience seekers. They are rebels and misfits who break into parties and smash the glassware of doctrines and dogmas, and they are the sages who write scriptures and teach astrology and yoga and meditation and prayer…offering institutions of wisdom for generations to come.
The hardest part of doing archetypal astrology is to resist the temptation to try to “solve” the problems of archetypal dichotomies. We want to “marry the horse and human” into perfect harmony…most of the time we don’t realize that this is simply a horse whispering hypnotism being performed by the tricky man on top. A missionary position pretending its diplomatic.
As long as Centaurs are part of our imagination, so are these struggles. The man half will always be more likely to think they need to be solved. The horse half more comfortable with the struggle.
A simple take away: your experiences keep going, and so does your wisdom. Your problems keep persisting, and so do your solutions.
Prayer: may we learn to harness the horse, and may the horse continue to buck and gallop and surprise us along.
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Image by courtesy of Mike S, at creative commons image licensing