|Posted on February 3, 2012 at 2:20 PM|
“If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place.” ~ Lao Tzu
In late December there was an oped piece in the New York Times, by Pico Iyer entitled “The Joy of Quiet” which addressed the subject of ‘Stillness’, and how it is being seen as a commodity these days. People are opting out of cable access, internet access, and seeking places devoid of cell phone towers, in order to decompress. Inundated by news streams, images and data, the mind is overwhelmed, and it becomes difficult to ‘shut it off’. Quoting from Nicholas Carr’s book, “The Shallows”, Mr. Iyer tells us:
....after spending time in quiet rural settings, subjects “exhibit greater attentiveness, stronger memory and general improved cognition. Their brains become both calmer and sharper.” More than that, empathy, as well as deep thought, depends (as neuroscientists like Antonio Damasio have found) on neural processes that are “inherently slow.” The very ones our high-speed lives have little time for.
What seemed “emancipating” in the Neptune in Aquarius instant-access-information era, will soon prove to be overwhelming, as Neptune moves into Pisces for the next 13 years. In order to benefit the most from this era it will be necessary to slow down a bit. It will come to our attention that our mental and physical health will depend on it. Actual physical changes have been noted in the part of the brain associated with memory, after practicing Mindfulness based stress reduction, a form of meditation. Stress affects heart disease, cancer, asthma, obesity and mental health.
So with Saturn, the planet of discipline and restraint, coming to station retrograde this week (think self-discipline and self-restraint)... try to be ahead of the trend, and see how you can integrate some Neptunian stillness into your life. Whether you roll out the yoga mat, take a long walk, or meditate... find a way to create your own retreat of stillness, silence, and calm, in your daily routine.
For the week of February 3rd thru February 10th, read your rising sign as well (you can now calculate your Ascendant/Rising sign on the bottom of the Home Page, if you know your birth time):
If you have ever been snorkeling, then you will know what the water is like when the ocean is choppy or turbulent. It stirs up the sand and silt from the bottom and makes the water cloudy and difficult to see through This is what the mind is like when it is agitated. Particularly if your life is especially busy. But if you were to take a few moments each day to compose yourself, seek tranquility and stillness, then like the ocean when it is calm as glass, the sediment in your mind will settle to the bottom and all will be clean and clear again. In this way you can handle even the most distracting schedule.
As Uranus travels through Aries it will occasionally make you aware of how necessary it is to let go of the past or past expectations. As your ruler Venus also enters Aries next Tuesday, it will approach Uranus, and in so doing will let you know, in some way, what needs to be relinquished. We all have a tendency to cling to those things that we are accustomed to because they bring us comfort, but they can also serve as crutches that prevent us from embracing the freedom to discover ourselves. Neptune’s entrance into Pisces this week, presents an era of networking with people of like mind, and similar ideals. It may seem counterproductive, but your stillness will be found within groups: prayer groups, meditation groups, a choir, a band, some sort of spiritually oriented group, or a walking or hiking group... somewhere where the mutual consensus contributes to peace of mind, body and soul.
There is a Full Moon on Tuesday that will be attended by Gemini ruler, Mercury. Sometimes, with such a Full Moon, there is a lot of conversation, a lot of talking, a lot of phoning, texting, emailing... but not so much listening. Mercury now in Aquarius is excellent for seeding creative ideas, and this can be quite exciting. But it can also lead to information overload around the Full Moon. This is when stillness comes in handy. It can serve as an intervention, allowing you to objectively look at all of these ideas, instead of being overwhelmed to distraction. Sometimes the solution you are looking for can not make its presence heard because of all the other noise. Through stillness you can promote focus.
With Neptune’s entrance into the sign of Pisces, Cancer will find themselves more motivated to incorporate a more spiritual quality to their lives. This can be through religious education, inquiry, or study. But it can also be through a transcendent experience that confirms that there is more to life than just competitive material goals. In their pursuit for meaning in their lives, Cancers will seek the mystical the spiritual, as well as the spiritual expression through art, and even political movements that stress inclusion and social concerns. Neptune scoffs at boundaries, and now in the sign of Pisces, some how your connection with others, with the rest of the world, just opens up.
There is a Full Moon this week in Leo. Full Moons can represent a culmination, but they can also reveal a contrast. Such as I vs. thou, or whether or not by becoming part of the group, or joining with others, you lose yourself, and your own individuality. Can you be in a relationship, and still retain your integrity? These are the sort of questions that arise. With Neptune entering Pisces this week you are entering an era in which you are realizing that there are not only cultural changes, but your own needs are changing as well. And one of those changes have to do with how much you will be able to depend on others to fulfill those needs. Your life is going to be filled with a lot of questions over the next 13 years, but for now you can start with asking, what are those things in your life that bring you the greatest fulfillment? And start from there.
With Mars retrograde in your sign, it’s all you can do to maintain your composure. And with the Full Moon this week, the amp is turned all the way up. Messages abound, the computer is on 24/7, and the information highway just barreled into your office. When it gets to the point where the internets are speaking to you, and you can’t tell your widget from your whatsit, it’s time for a break. Try turning the volume down on your life for a few minutes a day, when you can shut off the phone, turn off the electronic devices, and allow the noise to settle. If you can, find someone to partner with who inspires you, and with whom you can walk, meditate, sing with, or who will help you to facilitate a more spiritual practice. Stillness and serenity is the antidote for anxiety.
With Saturn stationing in your sign, and your ruler Venus entering Aries on the 7th, people will be acting a wee bit unpredictably, and you’ll be inclined to focus more on self-reliance. There is no doubt that you probably have it more together right now. But having people here today and gone tomorrow, can create a lot of agitation. Neptune in Pisces is about creating a less stressful, more healthful environment over the next decade. This is an excellent time to start considering incorporating moments of stillness and serenity in your daily life, as well as exploring other lifestyle changes which include diet, and/or some sort of exercise program designed to reduce stress. The long range benefits will be worth it.
When you are feeling overwhelmed by how much you still have to do, and still have to catch up with, look around yourself, and see how much you’ve already accomplished. In some respects you are revising your game plan, but first you have to take care of a few odds and ends. It’s also important to take heed of Neptune entering Pisces and beginning a whole new era of creative personal expression. Some translate this as having to be artistic expression. And it can be that. But there will also be opportunities for finding meaningful ways in your everyday life to express that which is intrinsically and profoundly you.
With Neptune entering Pisces, Sagittarius may find themselves at times wandering around feeling like a stranger in their own home or country. If the home situation is not living up to your ideal, or nonexistent at best, having Neptune roll into your living room can be both a blessing and a source of profound consternation. One advantage is that Neptune can do magic tricks. If you can visualize what you would like your ideal home and family life to be like.... with all the details and focus that you can muster behind it... you can approximate something close to that by the time Neptune leaves this sign. In the mean time, seek to find a place at home where you can practice stillness, quiet, serenity. Whether it be a shrine, a hobby, or just a quiet thinking spot, it will make all the difference over the next 10 years.
Your ruler Saturn is stationing retrograde on Tuesday, and at first this can accompany conflicting feelings of responsibility both to work and to partners. At first, as you adjust to the new focus, there may be some resentment, or frustration because things are not moving forward in the direction that you had originally intended. This shift can take some reorganization, and a willingness to readdress projects or issues that you thought were already finished and out of your hair. It is time to reassess your priorities. In your quest to succeed, have you strained and tested your relationships with others? What about moderation and fairness? These are the sorts of questions that retrograde Saturn weather can bring.
There is a Full Moon in Leo this week, which highlights your relationships with others. Either a culmination or a conflict can be revealed that can no longer be denied, as you question how much you are willing to compromise in order to be in a relationship. Can you truly give your all to one individual, while still retaining your personal freedom? The underlying issues in intimate relationships can be brought out in these Leo Full Moons, often leading Aquarius to reconsider that application to the hermitage or to seek asylum in some cause somewhere instead. With your ruler Saturn stationing retrograde in Libra, the sign of relationships, a lot of questions will be readdressed any way about your priorities and relationships over the next several months. This Full Moon will be something of a revelation of what your expectations actually are.
Neptune comes home this week, to its own sign of Pisces. If you didn’t make your salutations to the mystical one last week, you still have the opportunity to do so this week. Neptune is the Lord of music, of art, of enchantment, magic and mysticism. Neptune is found in the ashram, in the monastery, as well as in a fairy circle. Imagination, inspiration, compassion, empathy and dreams are his gifts. And these gifts are accessed through the practice of stillness. This is because Neptune is channeled through the recesses of the mind, which if agitated and filled with emotional turmoil, will only distort the message, leaving negativity and confusion in its wake. So roll out that yoga mat, and allow all the dross to settle in order for the dream to begin.
The above photo entitled "Between Seasons" is by Evgeni Dinev, and his portfolio can be seen here.