Ego and the Saturn Return

The planet Saturn represents many archetypes such as father time, old man tradition, the grim reaper and the Lord of Karma. Saturn is the ruler of limitations, fears, seriousness, responsibilities, burdens, and lessons. Saturn also stands for civilization, government, structures, harvests, prestige, maturity, and order.

The Saturn Return is an event of time; the time it takes the planet Saturn to make one orbit around the sun. Astrologers believe that Saturn “returns” to the degree occupied at the time of birth approximately every 29.5 years. At that time, you are faced with a major developmental threshold and into the next stage of life. Many major life milestones seem to happen for people around the ages of 27-30, 58-60, 86-88, etc. For instance, astrologers theorize that around the thirtieth birthday marks a major rite of passage to the actual beginning of adulthood, self-evaluation, independence, ambition, and, if you have done your homework, self-actualization.

With the first Saturn Return, you leave youth behind and enter adulthood. By the time you get to the second Return, 30 years later, you have become a more mature version of yourself. Some of us will see the third Return and, as the lifespan increases, someday maybe even other Returns.

My first Saturn Return represented a test of character. I gathered up my courage and established a few professional goals. In doing so, a better vision of where I wanted to go was established and I entered college.

My second Saturn Return has been different. Nearing 60 years old, I began to feel an internal slowing down, a need to stop striving and doing. Accustomed to old habits, it has been difficult to slow down because part of me, the ego, wants to keep going. In 2010, after a year of several age-related injuries and illnesses, I finally “got it.” If I keep up the younger pace, my body starts breaking down, bringing my working self to a halt…or at least a slower pace.

My ego and I have been through a lot. Today the ego lies like a docile lap cat and a time of rest and reflection enters.

Looking back, all of my developmental milestones required surrender. Challenges occur and to surmount them, one must give up, trust the natural course, and get your attitude to a place of… to heck with it. Interestingly, this simple and yet difficult mind-space, sets you upon the next stage of your development. One must continually give up what the ego wants. WheHorse card in druid oraclen we do, viola…another brain pathway opens and your consciousness expands.

As I was thinking about all the above, I decided draw a card from The Druid Animal Oracle deck. The image on the card was a beautiful gray filly. “Yes,” I thought, “that’s how I feel…great to be alive and, like the horse in the picture, there is a certain freedom.” Then, I thought “but wait…the card was reversed when I first drew it…… So, what meaning would this have?” A familiar refrain began to play in my mind “The old gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be.” ….One of those cosmic jokes, no doubt.

Blessings to All, Toni

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2010 Winter Solstice and the Lunar Eclipse as Metaphor

A holistic vision and an esoteric education have enhanced my life and are part of the reasons I practice a symbolic life. A bonus is an urban life-style which offers up ample time to reflect upon the results of my deep noticing. At this time, after my second Saturn return, my needs are taken care of and I feel completely at rest until I am called upon for whatever comes along.

As I pondered what to write on my blog, few things inspired me. As someone who has read most of her life, what could I write about that hadn’t been said many times before? After contemplating for days on what to write, I came to realize that I did have a few personal perspectives to impart to old friends and the next generation of healers.

First a little bit of astrology: In the Natal charts of the “veteran” and the “baby boomers” you will find a creative and passionate Pluto passing close to old man Saturn who represents the traditional structure of our time. It has been our Nature to be creative iconoclasts and break open the hard shell of tradition. Just as we were “the ones” of yesterday, you, the young of today, are “the ones” who come next. Our ways have dovetailed and you will carry on the work of healing the world.

On the Winter Solstice, December 21st of 2010, I heard on the nightly news that a lunar eclipse was about to occur. This kind of event is rare and it has been several hundred years since the last one. The ceilings in my house are 18 feet high with big windows the full length. We can look at the sky anytime of the day or night. This night, I greeted the big and beautiful full moon in the nighttime sky with more appreciation than usual. A few clouds threatened but thought I might get lucky. As it turned out, the cloud cover moved just about the time of the eclipse and wiped out any hope of actually witnessing the lunar event.

Slightly disappointed, I decided to focus my attentions to my intuitions and learn about this event from my gut feelings and inner vision. As I closed my eyes, the eclipse was taking place on my inner landscape…only much faster. In my imagination, it was over in a couple of minutes. In my mind’s eye, I saw the beautiful full moon and then a shadow coming over it. A moon sliver showed for a moment pointing to the left. The shadow continued and eventually encompassed the entire lunar surface. Then it began to move on. Another, but reversed, sliver pointing to the right appeared for a moment. During this time, I felt a sense of waiting….and then a pause in the dark…a stillness that was completely empty…and then a forward movement. With the image and feeling still resonating, a thought came: “Out with the old feminine and in with the new feminine.” It occurred to me that this eclipse was a “threshold” because it certainly felt like a movement from one room to another. I thought about my Saturn return and how different my ego was from before…during my youth.

Pairing this experience up with the condition of my ego after my second Saturn return, I would say this is a point in my personal history (I can’t claim to speak for the collective.) that I take my seat as an archetypal grandmother offering comfort, encouragement and wisdom to the next generation. With this lunar event, a torch has been passed. Of course I will still be around to counsel and advise but, most of all, to watch lovingly as the younger “ones” play the games we are meant to play during our time on Mother Earth.

Blessings to all, Toni

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Do you view astrology as a belief system?

I don’t see astrology as a belief system, although I am sure some see it that way. I see it holistically, and more of a way to view the world, a perspective that is broad and inclusive. It is an art and so the information is subject to the perspective and intuition of the astrologer (and their developmental level). The archetypes of astrology have many traits that can be seen as light and shadow aspects. I see the archetypal attributes on a continuum from negative to positive. All levels of the continuum are Divine. When practiced with a broad view, astrology is a spiritual interpretive art form. For more about how I practice, read this article about the Healing Arts on my personal site

While Sun sign astrology is a starting place, it does try to lump the individual into a certain set of traits. One has to consider the rest of the chart, the development of the individual, transits and so on. Astrology is a complicated art and takes many years of study to understand. So, if you have just started, don’t give up. Read books by Liz Greene and Robert Hand to understand the archetypes better.

I try not to have any solid belief system because when you come to conclusions and believe in something, it closes the door to further explorations. I find astrology a fascinating study and who knows, it might even be right on. In my use of it, it has a positive effect on people in that it tells them that they are indeed a part of something grand and Divine….the entire cosmos. That is a new perspective for some. Toni

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Do you have experience using guided imagery with Achalasia?

Elizabeth, No, I haven’t worked with Achalasia (characterized by difficultly or an inability to swallow food) but I have seen the condition. I would bet that guided imagery (GI) would be a good tool to use.

However, I usually start with talk therapy and explore the psychological aspects of a condition and their symbolic implications. In this case it would involve at least the 5th chakra and possibly the 4th. Issues of feeling unloved may be involved, the client may be unable to speak their truths or have an inability to “swallow”what life has handed them. Then I might ask them to shuffle the Tarot cards and layout four cards that represents: the portrait of the self, what is conscious, what is unconscious and an outcome card. (More instructions are in my book Messages from the Archetypes.) Sometimes just being able to talk to someone about psychological issues goes a long way towards client healing. After talk therapy, and when the client was comfortable with our relationship, I would progress to GI…sometimes in the first session but usually at least the second session.

You cannot separate the mind from the body and that with every symptom, we should also treat what is troubling the person emotionally….which may be at the root of the problem in the first place. The unconscious mind speaks to us in symbolic images through dreams and since the body cannot speak, it also expresses itself symbolically. The chakra system is a good energetic map that can lead us and our clients to solutions. There are some good books on chakras: Anatomy of the Spirit by Carolyn Myss, PhD, Eastern Body Western Mind and Wheels of Life by Anodea Judith, PhD, and Healing the Split by John E. Nelson, MD.

Shuffling and laying out a few Tarot cards and having a discussion around their images also goes a long way towards the client bringing issues to the surface to be healed. Then guided imagery to a safe place and then “possibly” progress the imaginary journey to the site of the symptoms in the body (one must go with the psychic flow of the client).

The symptom may or may not be responsive to this type of therapy. It is worth a try before resorting to botox treatment or surgery.

Currently, I am studying aroma therapy and can see that essential oils might also be useful to the holistic practitioner. In this case, it might be quite powerful to breath in an aroma along with GI. You could also bring color into the imagination session too. And on it goes. The possibilities of the healing arts in medicine is endless.
In healing, Toni

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Beginner Therapeutic Tarot Counseling

From my perspective as a holistic nurse with an education in nursing, art, psychology and transpersonal studies, I suggest the beginning Tarot Counselor have the following education.

Starting with mainstream psychology and progress to transpersonal psychology. You may or may not want to get a mainstream counseling degree. I didn’t get one because I wanted to work in health psychology and there still isn’t a good mainstream track for that and so I custom designed my education to suit my bliss.

From my perspective, you are dealing with human conditions and need undergraduate classes in psychology (at least). Basic psychology 101 is an overview of psychology and will broaden your mental horizon. For instance, you will learn what the four tracks of psychology are about. They are behavioral, cognitive, humanistic and transpersonal. Then take a class/s in abnormal psychology. This is a real eye opener class. It has so much information that sometimes it is given in two classes. This will take you a long way in knowing how mainstream views dysfunction and how to see from this perspective. After that you might want to read books by Dr. Arnold Mindell. He sees the same things but frames the dysfunctions as “extreme states”. So one can get two perspectives on “dysfunction” to carry with you to your sessions. It will also serve you well to be able to recognize delusion and psychosis and choose not to work with people who display these symptoms. If you really like psychology classes, personality theory is good too.

If you can find a class on Jungian psychology (he coined the term transpersonal) that will serve you too. If you can’t find one, get a book about him. He wasn’t a good writer and his writing is hard to read. One about his methods are better. This will give you a holistic overview of psychology. Although he didn’t work with Tarot cards, he was familiar with the symbols of transformation, which is basically what you are dealing with as a tarotist.

I do interactive Tarot counseling using a projective technique. To do this type of counseling, you need to study dream interpretation on an ongoing basis. When you shuffle and layout the cards you are basically getting a dream in the form of Tarot images. Also, as you become familiar with your own symbolism, you can discuss it, as appropriate, with the client. For example, “If this was my dream symbol (or Tarot card symbol) it would mean……” Sometimes this works to jostle an insight loose for the client. I might do this after their interpretation. Or I may just offer the traditional meaning of the card.

Take a look at my personal website under biography to see how I undertook my preparation as an alternative counselor . Be well, Toni

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