With Venus having gone through a long square to Saturn, and now the Sun square to Saturn, the subjects of betrayal, oaths, broken promises, secrets, and honesty have all been major issues over the summer months. We unfortunately live in a day and age where the spiritual phrase, “don’t have any expectations,” too frequently becomes an excuse for oath or promise breaking, betrayal, and damaging secrecy in relationships. We respond to every disappointment by too quickly telling ourselves it’s our expectations and idealism that’s to blame, rather than allowing ourselves to feel hurt or betrayed by someone breaking their word or commitment to us.
Similarly, we justify all kinds of selfishness in the name of things like individuation or “spiritual growth and development.” We convince ourselves that our broken promises and the compromise of our word to others is justified because we imagine that it was angels intervening, rather than our integrity collapsing.
Healthy confrontation and sharing the truth with each other becomes impossible in a day and age when indeterminate free will and individual growth are not only the gold standards but also the unspoken religious dogma.
It’s too easy to take someone’s failures, or our own, and try to shake silver out of the pant pockets. We reference childhood, we talk about acceptance, we flip perceptions until flaws looks like hip, surrealist paintings that we can’t possibly be upset about (it’s too ironic or beyond morality!). Or worse, we talk about how this hurt we feel, this betrayal or disappointment, is actually of our own making…we CG Jung our way into seeing how this disappointment is really just “my own stuff talking.”
Another popular approach to dealing with disappointments is to talk about the need to do healing work on ourselves. We heal our relationships, we really work to let things go (that’s what we say), we heal our ancestral lines, and then we talk about all of our healing accomplishments for several years whenever the basic painful events or stories come up again. “I’ve already DONE that work,” we proudly say, as though we’ve won some kind of secret martial arts competition that most others simply weren’t invited to attend.
In all of this we also frequently say that to experience disappointment with someone else’s actions, to be hurt, or to hold each other to agreed upon standards, oaths, promises, or codes of conduct in relationships, is to “judge” each other.
Who is it that’s so intensely afraid of judgment, so angry and pent up about this word? Who is the one wanting to forever curse and ban judgement from our experiences of each other? Who is it that wants to destroy all categories and structures of morality or social conduct? And what’s the difference between this kind of destruction and any other form?
When we want to be whoever we want to be, all the time, 24/7, without any limits, we are missing out on so much. The limitations of our bonds, oaths, and commitments are part of what gives us essence, dignity, place, time, and orientation. Being in right relationship with one another, looking for the fine print within our sacred contracts, and within ourselves, puts us in right relationship with everything else. As the I Ching says, “When people obtain their proper places, they fulfill the great norm of Heaven and Earth.”
To think that this order is of our own making, remaking, and destroying, 24/7, is hubris. Our commitments to each other, to our calling, to our work and study, to ourselves and family, and to our spiritual or religious practices are built upon the idea that our actions matter to more than just ourselves. And when the integrity of these commitments erode, it’s not enough to simply talk about acceptance or letting go of ideals. Of course acceptance, forgiveness, and trust in the process are essential when faced with any trials or tribulations in our relationships, but these qualities are necessary specifically because a violation of conduct, order, and sacred contract has been broken or abandoned. The laws of the universe aren’t going away just because we accept or forgive or love the idea of unbounded freedom. Grace isn’t grace and freedom isn’t freedom without law also being law. The concepts relate fluidly…and in their relating we find a mirror image of our own relationships at play. Grace and freedom are cheapened without a respect for oath, promise, bond, commitment, limitation, and law. The most radically free and graceful idea is also that we are not completely free to be whoever we wish and we are not completely unlimited in our potential.
Difficult Venus retrograde square Saturn lessons…and many more beyond today’s thoughts.
Prayer: help us to be who we say we are and to hold sacred our vows and commitments to ourselves and others