The opening scene of the sacred Indian text, the Bhagavad Gita, reads, “On the field of dharma, on the field of Kuru, assembled together desiring to fight, Were my armies and indeed those of the sons of Pandu–how did they act, O Sanjaya?”
As anyone knows who has read the Gita, the rest of the Gita summarizes a conversation between Arjuna, the military leader of the Pandavas, and Krishna. The content of the conversation revolves around Arjuna’s dilemma. If he fights he will kill people he knows and loves, and if he doesn’t fight he will betray his post in life as a warrior and protector of his people (and people will be harmed that way too!). Taken metaphorically, the great wisdom text begins with the same dilemma that we each find ourselves in throughout life.
* If I walk a spiritual path I will be potentially “harming” my relationship to the world I love. The people, activities, desires, I have in this world I will have to go to war with, inside and out, and that may alienate me from others or from myself. It will be difficult.
* On the other hand, not fighting and staying in the world would deny the spiritual call that I feel, the spiritual call that is somehow natural to who I am and what truly defines my worth and destiny. This would also do me harm.
* How should I act?!
The opposition between Mars and Saturn brings to mind the difficult opening of the Gita and the “battleground” we each find ourselves in as spiritual beings living in a material world, or vice versa. Mars/Saturn brings to the forefront of our consciousness the constraints of material duties, bills, ambitions, unavoidable confrontations, and ongoing struggles or obstacles. But it also brings to the forefront of our consciousness the need to fundamentally change our approach to how we meet these challenges. Mars/Saturn is about the need to approach life’s challenges using different skills, different tools, different beliefs, and a deeper overall awareness of how we should “act” in order to find spiritual happiness within the constraints and confines of life’s inevitable battles.
At the heart of Krishna’s instructions for Arjuna there is one theme repeating (at least in this student’s view) and that is the theme of the love of God and the way that the love of God seats itself in us and becomes a force that is constantly refining, purifying, and guiding our actions “in the world.”
It’s my deepest belief that astrology also helps us to recognize the divine within the midst of all the archetypal “scenarios,” the battle-fields of human experience. In this way astrology is constantly blessing, and sanctifying, or even redeeming all the different challenges we face in life while also reminding us to act from a place of love.
So whatever Mars/Saturn “challenges” we might be facing right now, are we also able to see within the challenge the call to refine how and why we act however we do? Are we allowing the opposition of these two forces to refine and shape our actions in the world?
Prayer: Teach us how to act.