Guest post by: Nyssa Grazda
The universe has provided astrologers with a vast array of exciting material recently, from the Solar Eclipse in Leo whose shadow covered a massive swath of the United States, to the Uranus-Saturn trine in full-effect most of the year. But one of 2017’s most fascinating alignments is a topic not typically investigated, one where a planet derives significance from its’ convergence with a mysterious point in space.
In 1932, physicist and engineer Karl Jansky was conducting tests for the Bell Telephone Company, which had recently expanded their market for telephones running on shortwave radio frequencies. Utilizing an advanced antenna, he had detected a puzzling hum of unknown origin. Initially assuming it to be the byproduct of the Sun’s radiation, Jansky tracked the anomaly over the course of several months, noting that it peaked in strength four minutes earlier each day, correlating not with our solar time, but with sidereal, or star time. In this way, he pinpointed the frequency’s origin to the Galactic Center: a supermassive black hole hidden within the constellation Sagittarius, speculated to be the source of the Big Bang. The discovery pioneered the field of radio astronomy, and Jansky would have continued his investigation had not Bell denied further funding, as apparently their phones were working fine.
So what does the Galactic Center, or GC, mean for us? To get a good idea, we can take a cue from the ancients. Vedic texts speak of the Cosmic Egg, or Bramanda, which is born out of chaos and expands infinitely. In Egypt, the Sun God Ra emerged from a “Cosmic Egg” that emanated from Nu, the waters of chaos. The Greeks have the Orphic Egg, or the World Egg. There are many tales that illustrate the same basic principle in Norse, Chinese, and African mythology, et al. Sometimes the egg splits in two, forming heaven and earth. Sometimes the egg is surrounded by a snake (denoting the Milky Way). Sometimes the Sun is the “yolk” of the egg and the whites form the Moon. Delicious. Yet in each story the egg symbolizes the self-contained potential of all that is or will be. It’s subsequent expansion from the point of singularity shows us the infinite potential of humanity as we undertake experience. To understand the GC is to understand our relationship to source, our concretization from frequency to 3-dimensional matter.
When a planet transits the GC, currently 27 degrees Sagittarius, it comes into contact with the hum of the original frequency (some call it the AUM, or OM,) and down here on Earth, cultural changes are activated, without which we’d stagnate. This year, the planet Saturn has formed several conjunctions (or alignments) to the GC, beginning late last February on and off through May. On November 6th it began its steady march to it’s final exact conjunction on November 23rd. We will be at the receiving end of this energy until the middle of December. Following that, it will be roughly another 29 years before it makes this aspect again.
Saturn represents the archetype of the lawmaker, the financier, the grandfather, and in his manifestation as Cronos, the “Lord of Time”. Its placement in a natal chart illuminates how individuals rise to challenges presented by restricting and limiting forces, confront fear, struggle with vulnerability, and build structures in life to provide stability and safety. He shows us the territories where we cling to our ego when threatened by change. Because of this, people tend to think of Saturn as a curmudgeonly planet and all-around killjoy. But Saturn also shows us pathways to adulthood, educates us in responsibility (and later on, wisdom), and hinders overindulgence in fantasy, thereby enabling us to find direction. It also doesn’t like cheap talk and wards off drama. And hey, sometimes fear is great catalyst for getting your shit together.
It takes 28 or so years for Saturn to make its full rotation around the Sun. A “Saturn Return”, which occurs when the planet returns to the location it is natally in ones’ birth chart (between 28-30 years old), dismantles structures we’ve built around ourselves for protection that actually keep us from growing and learning. A long-term relationship may come to an end, a job may be lost, a roommate may move out. Grappling with these unexpected curveballs teach us how to use inner strength to persevere.
As the Earth orbits the Sun, the Sun orbits the GC, so Saturn conjuncting this point functions a bit like a Saturn Return but on a grand scale. In this case the institutions that dismantle are not personal ones, they are communal – they are global. Only when we recognize the cracks in these foundations can we begin installing new conventions that are grounded in a more favorable cultural context.
With the GC lying within the constellation Sagittarius, Saturn will be triggering change within Sag’s purview. He is the archetype of the explorer / philosopher / seeker. Through him we expand our understanding of the world through higher learning and exposure to new cultures.
So what have we seen this year? Travel bans, border enforcement, mass deportation, the demonization of minorities, threats against the LGBTQIA community, economic uncertainty as nations vie for independence, the legit possibility of nuclear war. Not to mention the Saturnian subjects; police brutality and conversations around mass incarceration. Some of you may be thinking, “Saturn is a dick”. He’s not – he’s merely a catalyst exposing the flaws in all of these structures built upon fear. He’s showing us the consequences of complacency and holding us accountable for our mess. And the Galactic Center, the all-knowing, ever-expanding source from which we all originated, is likewise chiming in with a “Nuh-uh. You can do better”.
As with any transit, progress is rarely made overnight. Upending a cultural paradigm means, first and foremost, acknowledging your place in that paradigm and committing to some revisions. Saturn teaches us how to organize, and we are seeing a lot more commitment to organization at the ideological level (Sagittarius) – how to unite behind causes (GC), to make our voices heard and participate in the dismantling of systems that have failed us in the past. Through it’s Capricorn rulership, Saturn’s ties to finance coupled with Sagittarius’ abundance suggests we ought to be looking for ways to spend our money in accordance with our moral compass. The GC enlightens us to the fact that there are humanitarian consequences stemming from our purchases and politics. We don’t realize this when we engage casually. Understanding how you can affect change often takes some serious de-programming.
The gravitational pull of a black hole is so strong that even light cannot escape. For this reason the Saturn/GC conjunction echoes the theme of Scorpio Season, of Eclipse Season, of the whole damn year really: confronting the shadow. Saturnian institutions, those built in the spirit of colonialism, fostered by patriarchy and upheld by capitalism, have a lot to answer for at present. In addition, Saturn is currently square to Chiron, an asteroid known as the wounded healer. Chiron, (another centaur in mythology,) illustrates how we address trauma, and through the process transcend it to become teachers. A square in aspect is an energetic confrontation between two planets in uncomplimentary elements – in this case Saturn in Sag, a masculine fire sign, and Chiron in Pisces, a feminine water sign. Chiron in Pisces represents the wound of the collective spirit – how we struggle to connect consciously to others.
The structures we have built favor the limiting framework of the patriarchy (masculine fire), while discarding or suppressing empathic/psychic frameworks (feminine water). Subsequently, scandals are being unearthed in Hollywood, #metoo is electrifying the conversation around abuse and harassment in the workplace and beyond, the reality of white supremacy is increasingly spotlighted. Saturn also deals with lineage and in square we are forced to sit with how colonialism has wrought tremendous repercussions on indigenous cultures and people of color. The ancestral wound is looming large this year. As we grapple with reconfiguring our relationship to social constructs, the idea of a more sustainable paradigm is projected onto the map of human consciousness via the GC. We want equality, and the GC is the great equalizer. As-above-so-below is a primal reality.
So where do we go from here? December 19th, 2017, Saturn will move out of philosophical Sag and into it’s “home-sign” of Capricorn, where it will no doubt feel very comfortable stacking up new institutional models. When that happens, it’s up to us to steer the narrative. Despite all of it’s turbulence and mess in dredging up the shadow of bigotry, 2017 has shown us new techniques by which to engage through technology and form community. It has also presented us with vocal new leaders who galvanize dialogues around the hard questions, not just pay them lip service. We are living during an extraordinary age where we gain insight on how to take visionary energy (GC) and turn it into something concrete and sustainable (Saturn).
Some ideas on this restructuring and contributing to a new framework:
- Give your money to womxn and POC to level the playing field historically stacked against them by patriarchy and privilege.
- Shop small businesses instead of large corporations/conglomerates – call out those who do not treat their employees with the dignity they deserve. Don’t buy from companies that steal the work of independent artists.
- Write to your lawmakers to make your voices heard.
- Support water protection + protectors / back environmental causes so that Earth’s beauty can still be discovered and explored 100 years from now.
- Work to disentangle yourself from misogyny (this is a toughie my friends – I’ve been working on this one all year and had no idea how insidious it would be. We’re taught from a young age to value ourselves based on the approval of the male gaze. Fight this one and fight it hard!)
- Know your worth. If you are performing any type of labor, you are entitled to compensation. Especially in esoteric fields there’s this idea that money and spirituality don’t mix. They are inherently tied together. Emotional/spiritual labor is a valuable service. Don’t work for free.
- Challenge yourself to recognize your own privilege, and the ways your privileges intersect. I am white, I am cis, I am able-bodied. The way I move through the world is determined by these factors. When you break down how the world gives you passes, you begin to notice the disparity in how it treats others who lack these privileges. You cannot fight for others until you have the blinders off.
- Listen to people with different cultural perspectives, from different backgrounds, of different countries and races. If their opinions are triggering, reflect on why that is and reset before engaging. Strive to understand their ideology. Admit when you require more knowledge. Words are magic, and conversations are spells. Use them both intentionally.
- Use action and organization as compliments to love and light. You can’t just “love and light”-away injustice.
This is only a jumping off point. As the Galactic Center mandates, there is an infinite array of possibilities available to create change if we listen to each other and help lift each other up, and Saturn gives us the ability to lay new foundations and build on a better vision of the future. It may feel right now like everything is crumbling, but it’s only to make space for a reality that is infinitely more inclusive, expressive and beautiful – a mirror of divine potential.