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A allegorical poem discussing low points and our relationships with the mythos and the stars.
Over 26 and 27 August, Saturn will be at its closest to us it has been or will get this year. It will also sit directly opposite the sun from our perspective on earth.
Carl Jung, was deeply interested in the archetypal images that appear in myths, dreams, and even religious texts. Jung's concept of the collective unconscious proposed that there are universal archetypes that exist in the unconscious of every individual, and these archetypes are expressed through myths, symbols, and dreams. For instance, the mythological figure of Saturn can be viewed as an embodiment of the Wise Old Man archetype, a symbol of wisdom, authority, and fatherly albeit stern guidance.
Through the allegorical lens of Mythos and Astrology, Saturn, governs the limitations of the material world, discipline, responsibility, and other more somber aspects of life. It is often viewed as a taskmaster or brooding teacher that presents challenges and obstacles but also grants mastery and wisdom through overcoming them. These contrasting influences are only seen as negative by the immature who are devoured by the unyielding ‘leaden’ propriety of this allegorical force. Saturn is the Roman equivalent of the Greek Kronos, the Titan who castrated and usurped his own distant father and in turn fathered the Olympian gods who he devoured until he was usurped by Zeus (Jupiter).
From an allegorical perspective Saturn stands in stark contrast to the Sun's symbolism, which leans more toward light, ego, vitality, and creative life force and for this reason carried the epithet “The Dark Sun”. The idea of Saturn as a "Dark Sun" is a metaphorical / metaphysical way to express these contrasting roles in human psychology and the mysteries of existence, from which we derive the term “Saturnian”.
Astrology is maybe Less Woo-woo than we imagine?
The reason astrology has an uncanny correlation with what we experience is not because distant balls of gas and nearby orbs of rock and ice describe their influence on us. The ordering principle that activates a quantum field (potential) and renders it actual according to its nature (possibility x probability), is what we see as the mechanics of the universe and the interplay of energy and matter.
The same ordering principle that collapses potential into actual on a gross scale gives us planets and moons and stars and gravity and the electromagnetic forces. The quantum field quite literally defies the scientific rigour of cause and effect, not because it is all random (chaos), but rather because the cause does not always precede the effect they way we expect it to, that is to say, according to linear, forward moving time.
That only works in the physical space-time. At the quantum level, time is abstract because space is abstract and there is no Time without Space and no Space without Time. The set of forces, laws and governing mathematics that creates the exchange between potential and actual, between infinite and finite, between chaos and order, is the Prime underlying Cause.
If you are theologically inclined you can call that the Will of God. If not, it’s the ineffable Great Secret / Essence of Being indelibly at work in all visible and invisible creation / manifestation.
Reality is what is. Reality is Consciousness, Forces and Principles and it’s expression as Form, Archetype and Essence. Truth is what can be distilled via available consciousness, about that essence and the relationships between what we can perceive, understand and integrate as Language.
The universal reality is, there are prime causes which are expressed as arrangement and movement of stars and planets, but also as seasons and fields of energy and consciousness which we are sailing through unaware.
Astrology points, via mechanical analogy, to an imprecise holographic reflection of seasonal moods and temperaments that affect us all. It is how we might converge again, with each other and with Meaning.
APHELION When the earth wanders, the farthest it will, from the Sun, the unnatural darkness that takes good things and breaks weak bonds presses in, like thieves with a graceless blackness, sick and covetous enough to leech the fragrance from holy frankincense. The Knight of Thunder with his wide skirts and quick temper, is distant and courting small dangers. The Knight of the Red Storms is aiming spears at small shadows. Only the Dark Sun, stern and full of art, keeps a brooding and reluctant vigil; it’s Lead become like Iron. Where are the bright souls this night, where are your torches of defiance, where are your anvils, where are your hearts of adamant, where, your fierceness? When the wolves are howling and the flock is maddened, where are the shepherds? Here, where winged Mercury may only find us unreachable and Venus plays the unveiled whore; What then? What then? Find your light. Kindle the flame of your defiance. Temper your iron. Be fierce even in your annealing, in your refusal to be brittle, that you may never break, and cleave to what is good and true, for it needs you now, as much as you ever needed it. © Rocco Jarman
Astrology and Mythology are rich with allegorical context, sand when looked at through a Jungian lens or perhaps the eyes and language of someone like Joseph Campbell, has much to teach us about our Psychology.
The poem uses the idea of Aphelion, the point in an object’s orbit when it is the furthest from the star it orbits. The Aphelion of the Earth is when we are physically the farthest from the Sun, our ordering principle and the closest tangible thing we have to divine power in our neck of the woods. It provides directly or indirectly all the light and energy we have, and it’s mass and gravity arranged all the planets and moons in our Solar system. Allegorically speaking Aphelion symbolizes periods of emotional and spiritual estrangement. It is a time when we are most vulnerable to losing our sense of self or direction, similar to how the Earth drifts farthest from its source of light and life.
Allegorically, Mercury is seen as the Messenger. Venus our symbol for Love and Attraction and Mars our symbol for Conflict and Aggression, opposite poles of the human defaults for addressing challenges. Notably, the Earth follows an orbit between Venus and Mars. Jupiter is the bouncer of the solar system, which uses it’s significant mass and gravity to ‘mop up’ the asteroids which might collide with us, here seen as the lesser, physical threats as opposed to the greater threat which is our sense of spiritual dark.
Mercury, being too close to the sun and too far from Earth to intervene, encapsulates the limitations of even the most agile and clever among us when faced with the weightier, existential challenges. And then there's the "Dark Sun," Saturn, which has often been associated with discipline, limits, and challenges, but also stern and uncompromising wisdom. "Lead become like Iron" the element of resilience and unbending resolve that we need to cultivate.
The poem is a clarion call to action, invites us to "Find your light," to awaken to the gravity of the situation we're in and to the greater responsibilities we've been ignoring. "Be fierce even in your annealing" is the core appeal, incorporating the notion that hardship or challenges can be instrumental in personal growth and transformation. It calls for active participation in one's own process of becoming stronger and more resilient, all the more poignant given the sense existential and spiritual crises we seem to be facing.
The reading on YouTube has a useful commentary.