By Thanksgiving Eve, the Moon once again joins the tightening grip of the Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Capricorn, which is exact on January 12, 2020. As the Moon illuminates the struggle between Saturn, which signifies reality and its fundamental structures—the order of our day-to-day life—and Pluto, ruler of the astrological underworld, which has swept us into a powerful current of chaos by its demands for truth within those structures, we are increasingly stunned by unrelenting individual and collective upheaval. I know that many of our fellow travelers are fatigued by this struggle, but this is not the moment to withdraw into passivity—rest maybe, but not apathy. The Saturn/Pluto conjunction signifies a shift in the world paradigm and this is not a shift you can avoid, for while it is happening collectively, it is also happening in our individual lives. This is one of the reasons so many of us are stymied or stuck making fundamental decisions about where we want to be, who we want to be with, and what we want to be doing. When the world is tilting its axis and the new direction is not yet known, it’s hard to figure out where and how the pieces of the puzzle fit together.
By Monday, December 2, Jupiter enters Capricorn, ending its transit of Sagittarius—it won’t be back in Sagittarius until 2030. Among many things, Sagittarius signifies the search for truth, and these past several days, as I watched the impeachment hearings, I was once again struck by the significance of our current historical moment, which can be categorized as a search for truth that is individual as well as collective. It’s through Jupiter and Sagittarius that we become aware of different belief systems, and often when confronted by a multiplicity of spiritual, religious, and philosophical systems, it’s easy to become cynical and dismiss them all as mere human constructs and therefore lacking any validity. Conversely, we can become adamant about one-way and one-way-only, which lays the foundation for fundamentalism of every denomination. But either of these extremes dodges the work it takes to understand the deeper truth underlying all the many ways there are to reach an expansive perspective that measures itself against a higher power, no matter what we name it. The Sagittarian search for truth is a spiritual search. Now, as Jupiter moves into Capricorn, we move from that metaphysical search for truth to a “stick to the facts” attitude that wants to delineate fact from fiction. This is the job of Capricorn and Saturn: to distill wisdom from experience and to know the false from the true.
All of this led me to contemplate the Egyptian goddess Maat—the goddess of truth, and the personification of the concepts of law, morality, justice, order and harmony. She was the goddess who regulated earthly life in accordance with celestial cycles—the repetitive motion of the stars and planets, the delineation of the seasons, the telling of time and the order that those patterns provided. Order is the antidote to chaos, and for the Egyptians chaos included violence, disharmony, and the potential to do harm or evil.
Maat is most famous for the Weighing of the Heart ritual, a ritual that took place in the afterlife in the Hall of Truth, where each soul would stand trial for the life it had lived. The Egyptians believed that each individual had personal responsibility for his or her life, and that the measure of the soul’s true integrity could be found in the Hall of Truth, as each heart was weighed on a scale against the white feather of Maat. If the heart was lighter than or equal to the feather, the soul would dwell in the starry realm. If the heart was heavier than Maat’s feather, the soul would be devoured by the goddess Ammit and thus doomed to live in Duat, the Egyptian underworld, for eternity. This is the Egyptian judgment day, with fate decreed not by an external judge, but by one’s own heart, which alone knows the truth of how we have lived. I can’t help but think that the zealots trumpeting the specious claims that Ukraine interfered with the 2016 election would find it hard to pass the Maat feather test.
This week’s column (# 1,196) is an anniversary column—I’ve been writing ithe Aquarium Age weekly for twenty-three years now, and it’s remarkable to me that each week I still find something to say. I often worry about repeating myself—and those worries are not unfounded; I’ve certainly written about Saturn/Pluto more times than I care to count. And Mercury Retrograde? Sheesh!
But this column continues to be a labor of love, and while I complain about it sometimes (but only to close friends), I love writing it. I am deeply thankful for its success, a success that’s been dependent on its readers. So on this Thanksgiving, I give thanks for you and I pray that your day of gratitude brings you a deep and abiding appreciation of all we’ve been through these last many years and all we are going through now. You are my fellow travelers. We are in this together, and I am honored to walk beside you.