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Genesis of a Historical Novel

Saturday, May 06, 2006

books as counselors

What are my most important thoughts these days? My mood is relatively dark, relatively low--though not too bad--as I examine my life and my achievements critically. This is behavior characteristic of the astrological transit of Saturn through the 10th house of my chart. Wherever Saturn transits, whatever it touches, those aspects of one's life become the focus of serious attention.

Donna Cunningham, in her very good little book How to Read Your Astrological Chart, provides a short list of the typical phases of a transit of Saturn:

  • Confronting lack or loss
  • Taking responsibility
  • Eliminating deadwood
  • Getting your act together
  • Raising the bar
  • Performing at peak
  • Waiting for the right time
  • Reaping what you have sown
The massive pattern of aspects in my 10th house of career and worldly fame shows that I was born to experience conflicts in this department of life. To paraphrase astrologer Robert Hand, difficult aspects to a house (such as mine) show that we are not well adjusted to the affairs of that house. Hence, for me, Saturn as the "report-card planet" is giving me the feeling of a flunking grade--or anyway an underachieving one.

A report card, of course, is not there to harm us. It is simply a message regarding our own performance, generally how hard and well we have worked. It confirms something that is already the case. It's only the messenger. It's feedback, and of course, with any feedback we have a choice of whether and how to use it.

I relate this to the second bullet in Donna Cunningham's list: "taking responsibility". This is one of the main functions of Saturn, the responsibility planet. And this is what I'm currently trying to do: take responsibility for my career, for my life.

I have always been a responsible, firstborn type--almost too much so, in some ways. But my feelings of career stalling and underachievement have had me wondering how my upbringing may have affected me in this respect. Not consciously: for conscious things, I believe, have little power over us. We are controlled by what is outside our awareness. In the past few months I have had some insights into some of these things which have been operating outside my awareness. The insights have come to me by reading books (specifically Neptune by Liz Greene and The Origins and History of Consciousness by Erich Neumann)--which tells me, incidentally, that a book can function as a kind of counselor, if you are open to it. Like a live counselor, a book can help you see around the corner to your own unconscious.

Reading these things has sent my mind spiraling down into the darkness where my personality was shaped. I have had dark, troubled feelings about entrapment in a kind of emotional setup not of my choosing--which I never had the option of avoiding, simply due to the circumstances of my birth.

On Thursday my mother called me up to invite me over for lunch. I accepted, and she made us one of our old-time favorites: bacon-and-egg sandwiches. While Mom fried the eggs in the kitchen, I saw that one of the books on the dining-table was one I was familiar with: You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay. It's a book I've read: the first that put me definitely on to the idea of the mental and emotional causation of illness. I flipped it open and found myself at page 35. Here are the first couple of paragraphs I found there:

Blame is one of the surest ways to stay in a problem. In blaming another, we give away our power. Understanding enables us to rise above the issue and take control of our future.

The past cannot be changed. The future is shaped by our current thinking. It is imperative for our freedom to understand that our parents were doing the best they could with the understanding, awareness, and knowledge they had. Whenever we blame someone else, we are not taking responsibility for ourselves.

Louise Hay was talking to me: she was acting as my counselor. I felt a fluttering of freedom within my breast--a most welcome feeling. Mom came out with the sandwiches and I put the book away.

Later I made the connection to Donna Cunningham and the transit of Saturn, bullet 2: taking responsibility, the very words used by Louise Hay.

The world is a big place; messages keep arriving. The report card is your friend, no matter what it's telling you. Now I look forward to some of the next steps--like getting my act together.

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