Saturn: Looking Back at 2015 and Moving Forward

Eye of TimeI have always liked looking back on the year, to see what kind of sense it gives as it comes to a close. What shape has it had? What light or shadow has it left in our hearts? Much of our work in astrology touches into the future, and at a time when our sense of the world is shifting under our feet, it is particularly important to understand where we have come from.

People have been shocked by the shootings in San Bernadino, in Paris, in Tunis, by the images of hundreds of thousands of refugees pouring across the boundaries of Europe, some drowning, some dying, still coming. Fear has been strengthened by anti-immigrant rhetoric, by increasing cruelty and violence in the name of religion, and in all of this we see the signature of Saturn in Sagittarius, the sign of borders, faith, and foreignness. Saturn conjures up our fears. We ask: What danger lies outside and what is in ourselves? We question how to stay open, whether we can still hope. 

Saturn squares Neptune through the summer of 2016, and our dreams seem fragile – we wonder if they will make it. We are dreaming about breathing clean air - now and in the future - and hope the documents signed in Paris will come to something. We hope for solid ground under our feet. These agreements feel like a child’s soap bubble: breathe on it, keep it floating, flying longer.  Can the old dreams, the old visions, still shimmer for us, or are they about to fade away?

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The Moon, the Musician, and the Listening Public

by Lynn Bell

This article was first published in the Apr./May 2014 issue of The Mountain Astrologer and is reprinted here with permission.

Frank SinatraThe Sun and the 5th house — the house of its joy — are connected to the making of music, to dance, to pleasure. Music in this sense brings us to life; it enlivens and electrifies. Our feet tap, our bodies move; we may be silly, sexy, inspired. At a concert with thousands, we may roar and dance to frenzy and, with or without the help of mind-altering substances, enter the Dionysian dimension of music carried by Neptune and the other outer planets. Yet, there is another piece to the experience of music, the music that stirs our inner tides for weeks, months, or a lifetime. Some songs are played again and again. Some music is listened to for what it touches in the listener, and in this sense, music is connected to the Moon.

Our moods and feelings all link to the Moon in the birth chart. The Moon makes memories as well. A song that gets everyone up and dancing at a  party, decades after its release, will also have this lunar dimension. As we dance, we remember dancing another time. We remember another self and the feelings of that time. Not long ago, I was at a party in Dali in southwestern China. As the night wore on, we gathered on the rooftop around a musician who began  to play, and as he sang, the others listened and then began to join in. The music wove me into the feelings of the group, even without understanding the words. It strengthened my emotional connection to that place and its people.

Musical memory is one of the last faculties to be extinguished in patients who have lost everything else, and some researchers believe that it works on a unique circuit in the brain. (1) The mind has elements of Mercury, the rational and logical, but is also a lunar terrain of images, dreams, reflections. The Moon helps to connect the work of a performing artist with both the hearts and minds of the listeners and, in this way, may be the key to popularity. It is also a planet of the inner life. So, how does this dual nature of the lunar archetype, the personal and the public, express itself in the charts of musicians?

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Some Thoughts on the Saturn Retrograde Back into Scorpio

by Lynn Bell

Charleston NC Shooting ProtestJune 19, 2015, Paris

Saturn slipped back into Scorpio just a few days ago. You may have felt it in your dreams. The dark, labyrinthine feeling was there for me, even before I’d tracked the planetary shift, signaling a time to go back and give attention to undigested emotions, to psychic free radicals. In the body, Scorpio is connected to eliminating toxins, And Saturn here wakes the residue of past emotions, it reveals the distortions in our perceptions…shows us where we may see the world through a glass darkly. 

In the mirror of the world, a young white man walked into a church, sat with a prayer group for an hour, and then shot nine black members of the congregation. The horror of this event is unspeakable, He literally tried to kill faith. One drug-addled lost young man, writhing with white supremacist fantasies, killed pastors and librarians and youth counsellors. Good people, kind people. We can think of this as a prompting to take note of what in ourselves might rise from the forgotten past, some archaic emotional reflex that is destructive to our faith in ourselves or in others. 

Again, looking at events in the collective, one of the world’s major religious leaders, Pope Francis, has just written: “Earth, our home is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.” Wake up, he says. change, take action, or vast suffering will occur.

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2015, A Fiery Year Begins

by Lynn Bell

Je Suis CharlieAs 2015 begins, Paris, and the world with it, has been shocked, torn, and brought together. ‘Je suis Charlie’ is everywhere. It is stretched out at bus stops, on storefronts, handbags, and coats. It is written on the faces of young girls, flashed in neon across the top of the Arc de Triomphe. Yesterday, two million people poured out into the streets, because we could not do otherwise.

Astrologically, 2015 is a year of fire. Just before the New year, Saturn entered Sagittarius, a sign that has much to do with our search for meaning. Sagittarius is expansive, energetic, philosophical; the archer is half animal and half human. As with any sign, there are multiple levels of expression, which range from boundary crossings and crusades to a desire for divine connection. Sagittarius needs to go somewhere. It can be the hunter, the wanderer, the military monk, the one who tells you how to see the world and what it means. The energy of the sign opens us up and sharpens our aim.

With Saturn, it can signify the rigidity of the true believer, a hardening of boundaries and beliefs. When Saturn enters a sign it reveals the limits of an archetype, whether through excess or poverty. In Sagittarius, it pushes us up against our own lack of faith in the future. The way we respond, the virtues we stand behind, will in large part determine what happens next. Along the path of Sunday’s march, one resident hung signs that said Liberté, Liberté, Chérie; Freedom, Beloved Freedom.

The fire of freedom, or fanaticism, runs upon the same trajectory. It is we who choose to hate or love, we who choose how we express our anger, our solidarity, our joy. For a number of years astrologers have been speaking about the Uranus-Pluto squares, a long-term series of aspects that have opened up multiple fractures in our world. While the last of these squares is in March 2015, the influence of this long cycle will last for several more years, at least till 2017. It came into effect as early as 2008, though the first exact square was in 2010. This cycle has its origin point in the 1960s, a time of great social freedoms and conflicts, when a rainbow-hued, multicultural vision of society first emerged. That non-judgmental vision helped bring advances for woman and minorities, for sexual choice and freedom of belief. Now, at the square, we confront a fundamental question: Is openness always a good thing?

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Astrology’s Place in the World

A Conversation with Alexander Ruperti... on Astrology’s Place in the World

by Lynn Bell

This article was first published in the Dec./Jan. 1998 issue of The Mountain Astrologer and is reprinted here with minor editorial changes and with permission.

For those of you who wonder what is possible after the second Saturn return, Alexander Ruperti’s story is an inspiring one. Born of a Russian father and Austrian mother on May 23, 1913, at 10:11 p.m. (rectified by Dane Rudhyar), in Stuttgart, Germany, Alex came to England at the age of two. Although he became a British citizen, he has lived in Switzerland since 1939. Ruperti first encountered astrology in his 20s and became a member of the Astrological Lodge in London in the 1930s. Soon afterward, he read Dane Rudhyar’s seminal work, The Astrology of Personality, [1] which was first published in 1936. Rudhyar became the main influence in Ruperti’s astrological life, and they maintained a correspondence throughout Ruperti’s long and distinguished career as a physical therapist and osteopath.

Ruperti’s astrological career began in the early 1970s, when he became part of the International Society of Astrological Research (ISAR) for Switzerland and began to lecture internationally. At 84, he still travels and teaches regularly in France, Switzerland, and Spain. He has written seven books, but only one in English, The Cycles of Becoming. [2] In 1984, with Marief Cavaignac, he created the Réseau d’Astrologie Humaniste, a group dedicated to the dissemination of Rudhyar’s ideas and philosophy, where the notion of personal evolution and consciousness is central to the practice of astrology. There are branches of the association in most of the large and medium-sized cities in France, Switzerland, and Spain, and it has been an important part of the renewed vigor of astrology in France in recent years.

This interview took place in June 1997 when Alex Ruperti and Marief Cavaignac were in Paris for a few days.

Lynn Bell: Alex, can you tell us something about your beginnings in astrology? How did you come to astrology?

Alex Ruperti: It was almost by chance. I was staying with a friend who had received a parcel of books, and since he had to be absent during the day, he said, “If you open that parcel, maybe there’s something that will interest you.” In it, I found Charles Carter’s First Principles of Astrology. I said to myself, “What on Earth does that mean?” I knew nothing about astrology, but I was intrigued, and I started reading it. As a result, I firmly decided to go further and see a professional astrologer to have my chart done.

LB: That was in London?

AR: That was in London back in the beginning of the 1930s.

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