Saturday, September 01, 2012

A Ramble Around Soulfulness

I suppose I’m always grappling to have a soul. And I get glimpses occasionally of how to do it in this culture, where for a long time we have been truncated by what Jung’s spirit guide called ‘the poison pill of science’.

I’ve been influenced more recently by Patrick Harpur’s book The Philosopher’s Secret Fire, in which science is presented as a series of mythologies. I like to view everything as mythology, and that way you don’t need to oppose anything. For when things are soulful, there is flow, you let the whole of reality flow through you.

Fundamentalism, the idea that there is only one true reality, whether scientific, Islamic, free-market capitalist, liberal democratic or whatever, stands in the way of soulfulness, that flow that connects the individual to the whole universe. BUT.. fundamentalism is just another mythology, it’s just a story that things are only one way. Viewed like that, it doesn’t need to be opposed, you can just let it flow through.

I think there’s probably always been fundamentalism, or degrees of it. It happens whenever we try to fix things as like this or like that. It’s probably human nature. So that’s another reason not to oppose it. Which is different to disagreeing with it. 

Soulfulness and inwardly taking a stand against a group of people – whether it’s bankers or right wing politicians or Monsanto or hippies or lefties – are not compatible. That doesn’t mean not protesting at some of the things people do. But to do that, and not become inwardly polarised and dismissive, is difficult and, I think, quite unusual.

I often come back to the 4 elements in astrology. I can overlook them because they are so basic, but they are powerful and tell us a lot. They each have their soulfulness.
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Incidentally, one of my arguments for science being a sub-branch of astrology – instead of, impertinently, science claiming to stand in judgement over astrology – is that astrology is a system of knowledge that uses all 4 elements, whereas science really only uses 2, Air and Earth, and is therefore only a partial system. Science theorises (Air) about observed results (Earth). Astrology also sees intuition (Fire) and feeling (Water) as means to knowledge. This is why I find it hard to get my head around the academic study of astrology, or any of the arts and humanities, because academia is nowadays in thrall to such a large extent to science and its dry and partial methods.

At a seminar I was at many years ago, Liz Greene pointed out that if an element is lacking in a person’s chart, it can become a major focus of that person’s life (can become – they may also live quite happily without it!) If we have several planets in an element, she said, that element is well-adapted in us, it is civilised and easily useable. If it is lacking, on the other hand, it is undifferentiated from Nature, and therefore can carry for us the raw power and creativity that you find in Nature.

The classic example is Einstein, who had just one Air planet, Jupiter in Aquarius in the 9th, square to Pluto and opposite Uranus. Yet his ideas changed the way we saw the universe, they had that kind of raw power. Aquarius is science and innovation, Jupiter is philosophical and expansive, the 9th House is ‘higher’ learning and teaching. (As Neptune has passed over his Jupiter in the last few years, so has Facebook been filled with bogus Einstein quotes!)

A perhaps cruder example is Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has one earth planet, Moon in Capricorn in the 6th House. From the body-building Mr Universe to the Terminator, the emphasis has been on raw earth power. The Moon is embodiment, the 6th House is health, Capricorn has practical ambition.

Last night I was back in my yurt after several weeks off because of the weather. The yurt is in a field with a mare and foal, up and behind the house. When it’s cold and wet it’s not so good, but when it’s warm it’s like heaven. It’s silent, with a view over the Teign valley. And in many ways it’s the Earth element.

I have one personal planet in Earth (Mars) and one sort-of-personal planet in Water (Jupiter). I am drawn to people and situations that have those elements, they can carry a deep attraction for me because I don’t experience them readily for myself. I carry Air and Fire in me, I don’t need to go and find them. But when I go to the yurt after a break, I remember earth, soulful earth, which I tend to forget about. My partner has 5 planets in water, and that has a deep draw for me, being around her I learn water.

Of course, those elements can be soulless. A bank, for example, could easily be soulless earth (though remember TS Eliot worked in one!) You could say that Neptune is the planet of soulfulness: it flows, it connects, it feels. And you could say that Saturn is the planet of soullessness: it can value things and people one-sidedly in terms of usefulness and money. Of course, Neptune can be in a bit of a dream, never quite connecting with life, never quite growing up. And Saturn can be the opposite, connected and real.

I like the combination of Saturn and Neptune: the embodiment (Saturn) of Soul (Neptune). Saturn needs to be in the service of the outer planet Neptune, but it’s often the other way round, because Saturn is the more obvious, tangible planet. Saturn, for example, trying to make something 9 to 5 that can’t be 9 to 5. Saturn, for example, as manager in the Health Service (Neptune), where counselling is given in a series of 6 sessions, the aims clarified at the start and the outcome measured at the end. People, of course, do not work that way. This is Saturn dominating Neptune.

As William Blake said, the Body is that part of the Soul which the 5 senses perceive. Neptune is so much bigger than Saturn.

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Unknown said...

Beautiful, insightful. Thanks

Maya said...

Thank you for such a thoughtful, soulful post - and thank you too for pointing me in the direction of The Philosopher’s Secret Fire, which I've just ordered from Amazon. I'm writing a series of novels on the theme of science and religion as mythology and this seems a fascinating look at the subject.

I'm all earth and fire, myself, not much in water, only Chiron and MC in air. My partner is a double Gemini and I write for a living.

GypsyRose said...

Lovely post. Thank you.

LotusLady9 said...

Thanks so much! I have Saturn in Pisces at 29 degrees in my 6th house in my natal chart. I was perplexed by the Sabian and Kozminsky symbol interpretations but have managed to find more meaning. Your column as always has helped me once again to add more depth to my interpretation.

Vanessa said...

Gosh! What I needed! Very insightful, specially the part about Saturn and Neptune. Thanks!