Image: Vestal Virgins
Tuesday morning at 8:34 EST, just an hour after a full Moon in Virgo, Saturn leaves his own ideological fortress of Aquarius and cannonballs into the ever changing, interconnected waters of Pisces. There are many things to say about this, but instead of just saying more things, I want to propose three concrete actions to welcome Saturn to Pisces this morning:
Write down what you believe
Write down what you do to enact those beliefs every day
Notice the differences between those lists and what you actually do
This morning’s full Moon is in Virgo, a sign that is particularly supportive of this kind of truth-seeking, and is all about doing the work. Virgo evokes the image of Vestal Virgins, who are not a bad symbol of walking a spiritual path, or committing to a liberation practice. These priestesses were appointed by the Emperor of Rome, who chose them as prepubescent girls. They went to college, and then lived a life of service and chastity tending the temples of Vesta for thirty years. But then, they were, literally, liberated. They had no familial bonds or servitude to a husband, were well respected, and able to live with more rights and privileges than other Roman citizens, particularly women. The host of this full Moon, Mercury in Pisces, will be navigating a difficult situation, and will pretty much only be able to handle larger truths. The Moon and Sun will be in a tight and harmonious relationship to Uranus, the planet that represents big, liberating lightning strikes of change. They will also be in a somewhat difficult relationship to Mars, the planet that describes our actions. All full Moons are a culmination or a reveal, and this one seems to reveal the truth of your actions. Are you walking your talk? What are your actions in service to? Are you freeing or imprisoning yourself? This full Moon might shine a light on a disconnect between what you believe and what you enact that keeps you from being free. It also indicates that if you do not like what you see, you can change what you are doing.
It’s quite elegant, the way the full Moon contains a helpful set of images and directions to have at our fingertips as Saturn enters Pisces for about two and a half years. Saturn could very easily represent profoundly deepening your commitment to spiritual practice, and I hope that is what it represents for you! But for most of us, it is far more likely to represent a few years of struggle with all the thousands of different flavors of “spiritual bypassing,” by which I mean all the ways we use spirituality to avoid, instead of face, the hard work of spiritual growth. You can spiritually bypass by using your practice to shame yourself or others; try to stay comfortably and passively in the realm of “absolute truth” when your participation in the realm of “relative truth” is required; collapse into toxic positivity; or try to call your indifference equanimity. And while “spiritual bypassing” is a term that is much easier to apply to someone who is being irritating in a community of practice than it is to apply to oneself…
…today’s a good day to ask yourself if there’s just a little bit more you can do to walk your talk. Maybe today is a good day to make up a fifth bodhisattva vow:
Spiritual bypasses are numberless
I vow to claim them
And you know, if this joke is falling flat because you do not know the other four bodhisattva vows and how impossible they all are and how that's the point, make a joke up that works for you. It’s important! If you can be light about it, and recognize that nobody walks their walk all the time, and that we are all always kind of falling off of our real work as people, and then getting up and trying again, then shining some light on the ways in which you use your spiritual life to hide from the incremental skill-building it is trying to give you is a fantastic use of today’s astrology. Think of it this way. Actual Vestal Virgins would be buried alive if they let the fire go out, or were found to have broken their vows of chastity. And yeah, I have spent years of my own inner life metaphorically burying myself alive for all my sins. It turns out shame spiraling is one of my favorite ways to stop walking my talk! Instead, try to see if you can use the bigger forces of today to just notice the disconnect between your beliefs and actions, and ask yourself good, curious, loving questions about even one of those moments. Just being able to see one disconnect between your actions and your beliefs is an accomplishment that can propel you, like a Uranian lightning bolt, toward your own liberation.
Oh, and if you see that you talk about your meditation practice or think about meditating more than you actually meditate… you’re definitely not alone! Consider joining me for Free Virtual Zazen most weekdays 12:00–12:15 EST. This regular, free 15 minute Zoom consists of a short reading and ten minutes of silent meditation, and only requires a little uninterrupted time. No chanting, no prostrations, cushion optional. Register below!