Reaping the Harvest
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Getting Inside the Story
I have learned a great deal from my experiences of this pattern, and I am different now because of those experiences. I have not surrendered my point of view, but I am able to see now how it is perhaps not the absolute standard by which all other points of view should be measured. I have learned not to push my truth onto those who are not ready to hear what I have to say. I have learned that humor, appreciation and a willingness to contribute something positive yield far more satisfying results than serious intensity, arrogance and criticism. I have learned humility in recognizing that my creative effort at best adds something of value to a symphony of voices; and at worst, gets lost in noise. I have learned that when it does get lost in noise, this is not a measure of my worth. I have learned to some extent to control the monkey mind that spins out into self-flagellation, paranoia, and/or angry projection. I have learned to listen to others with whom I disagree. I have developed a greater interest in seeking common ground than in fighting for my own turf, and I have learned to walk away from an argument that is going nowhere. I have found peace in living a relatively small life with quiet integrity, and no longer beat myself for what has not happened.
These may scarcely sound like victories to one who has not struggled with my issues. But so it is for each of us. What comes easily to me may make your life hell, and vice versa. In the end, there is no measure of spiritual evolution other than that which belongs to each of us individually. Others may look at my life – or any life – with First Attention and not see much that is remarkable. Indeed, most of us will fade into oblivion shortly after the body falls away.
Yet, every life also tells another story – revealed through an application of Second Attention – that is potentially heroic in its gradual integration of small personal victories over internal patterns that are invisible to most, and of consequence to few beyond the immediate circle in which one lives. It is this story that begs for audience. And it is this story that the appropriate cyclical history can reveal with supportive coaxing from an astrologer – provided the astrologer is willing to let meaning emerge from a birthchart in dialogue with a client, rather than attempt to impose meaning onto it.
Using a Knowledge of the Symbolism as a Framework for Listening
This does not mean that an astrologer practicing recapitulation rather than interpretation must abandon his or her knowledge of astrology. Quite the contrary: it is a broad flexibility in understanding a language whose symbols breathe and transmute as we bring consciousness to them that allows us to watch the soul gradually emerge from its suffering to become worthy of it.
In my own story, for example, knowing that Saturn is the main protagonist and the agent of change guiding my slow evolution, I can see more clearly those moments in which self-doubt ripens into greater confidence, frustration deepens into patient determination, and self-righteous assertion of authority mellows into a more mature self-possessed wisdom. All of these possibilities, among others, exist along a continuum most astrologers would associate with Saturn. Self-doubt is Saturnian, but so is hard won self-confidence – and the gradual shift from one to the other through a series of experiences in which self-doubt leads to suffering and suffering teaches something is a process guided by Saturn.
Rather than interpret Saturn in a birthchart to mean either self-doubt or self-confidence, or something in between, the astrologer practicing recapitulation listens for the story that reveals the process by which one expression of Saturn – usually problematic at first – gradually becomes another – usually one more useful or satisfying. There are often many stages to this process, and these stages can be tracked progressively through memories related to the appropriate cyclical history of Saturn transits.
In relation to my own story, when I remember being recognized for my skills as a writer and editor at the Kundalini Research Institute during the first waning square of my Saturn-Saturn cycle; or the publishing of my first book during the waxing square of the second cycle; or the writing of a much more ambitious book during the second waning square – my Second Attention applied to these events reveals a gradual transformation from self-doubt to confidence in living color to be a triumph on Saturn’s arduous path to self-mastery. It is this revelation – coaxed into awareness through applying Second Attention to key moments in an astrological cycle – that has allowed me to see how indeed, over the course of a lifetime, I have become worthy of my suffering – by taking Saturn’s lessons and opportunities for growth to heart.
If instead of interpreting the birthchart, or reading it for our clients, we can allow ourselves to listen to the story of a pattern encoded in the chart, evolving in cyclical time from suffering into worthiness – with our astrological ears on, the heightened awareness of a mutable fated mutated that we help bring to the client’s story will be all the remedy the client needs to claim the pattern for themselves as a true triumph of the spirit in the face of meaningful suffering.
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