Bringing Second Attention to the Story

June 2014

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A cyclical history of Saturn transits to Saturn/Mars-Mercury opens a number of windows through which this pattern can be seen. The story begins with a critical father, who I realize in retrospect, was my role model for negative thinking, a chronic sense of frustration and despair, self-criticism and criticism of others, a sense of scarcity and inferiority, a workaholic ethic, and a sense of perpetual frustration in reaching for dreams that were beyond my reach. I grew to appreciate my father’s redeeming virtues later in life, but in was in my relationship to him that the seeds of the pattern I am exploring now were planted.

During the first waxing square, I got into trouble with school authorities for getting into daily fights on the playground, angry at being confined in an institution whose rules and values chafed against mine – although at age 7-8, they were more unconscious than clearly defined. During the opposition – at age 15-16, I felt an overall sense of anguish, anger and irritability, self-doubt, and mounting anxiety related to the thought of taking my place within a society to which I did not feel I belonged. I also felt great deal of drive and determination that pushed me forward in spite of my self-doubt, and this sense of determination contributed toward a certain level of success at school. By the time of my first waning square (at age 22-23), I had taken refuge in a yoga ashram – away from the culture to which I could not relate – and became part of the Kundalini Research Institute, where I embraced a wonderful opportunity to develop my skills as a writer, a teacher, and an astrologer. I began graduate school at this time, where I eventually earned a masters degree in counseling psychology, and began to build the creative foundation for the work that I am doing now.

By the time the cycle had come full circle (during my first Saturn at age 29-30), I had left the ashram, and wound my way to the land cooperative where I live now. At the time, Greenwood Community was a group of six adults and about thirteen children, who were working together to save the land adjacent to them from being clearcut. I felt aligned with this cause, and blessed to have been taken to such a place, and shortly after my Saturn return, became a member of the land cooperative that arose to protect the endangered forest.

My second cycle of Saturn transits to Saturn/Mars-Mercury reveals many moments in which my involvement with the other members of the land cooperative caused friction, and spawned animosity rooted in poor communication. In addition, as I worked to gradually build my career and my reputation as an astrologer, I often found myself at odds with my colleagues who seemed to insist that astrology was a science while I was (and am) adamantly convinced that it is not (see my earlier blog series Why Astrology is Not a Science). To supplement my income, during transiting Saturn’s second opposition to natal Saturn/Mars I started a business buying and selling college textbooks, and in the early days found myself arguing with some professors, college administrators and occasionally campus police, who did not see the value of my services as I did. Throughout this period, I butted heads on a regular basis with unfriendly motel clerks, bank tellers and mutual fund representatives, used car salesmen, adversaries on the opposite side of various political issues, a number of intimate partners who failed to measure up to my anima image, people with whom I have tried to collaborate creatively, and a number of friends whom I alienated with my dogmatic insistence on being right, and on calling them for being wrong.

It has been exhausting reading back through my journals, and feeling the cumulative impact of this pattern playing itself out in countless arenas throughout two full Saturn cycles, and then some. But it has also allowed me to realize that something has shifted in me as a consequence of all these experiences. From the standpoint of First Attention, I have been battered and bruised by my insistence on being right, and on defending my point of view – and in my mind at least, my integrity – from all attackers. From the standpoint of Second Attention, I can now see that my true reason for these experiences was to gradually lead me to the place where I was ready to become worthy of my suffering – by letting go of the very large chip I have carried on my shoulder, probably since before birth.

The last post in this series is Reaping the Harvest.

To read more blog posts, go here.