The planets, in their orbital rhythms, are like mighty instruments of time, though each with its own mood. And this includes Sun and Moon in relation to the Earth.
The Sun sets the baseline, and gives us the experience of day and night, the course of the seasons, the cycle of the year. The Moon follows the course of the Sun, but in much less time, lending immediacy to our feeling life. Mercury travels quickly, and like the fleet-footed messenger associated with this planet, he speeds around the world with messages, news, chatter, gossip.
Then there’s Venus, shining brightest like the true love and beauty with which the planet is associated, patiently gracing first the dawn as morning star and then the dusk as evening star.
Mars appears fiery red in our sky, trumpeting through the feeling life with temper and impatience. Jupiter, on the other hand, wants to grow, to take it all in, every experience.
Then there’s Saturn, the furthest planet from us that can be seen with the naked eye, and, as the slowest moving of all the planetary bodies we can see, the one that marks the boundary of time.
Each year Saturn is retrograde for several months, during which time it’s best to reflect on where we’ve been, what path we’ve followed, what are the boundaries of our experience. Then the planet moves direct, as it does this week, propelling us forward into new territory again, to find our way through flower and weed, come what may, and to test ourselves, to see if we are ready to move from chaos to cosmos.
Saturn moved retrograde from May 23rd, 2021 until this week, October 10th, and is now moving eastward against the background of stars, urging us into a mood that makes us aware, as TS Eliot said, that “In the darkness is the light, and in the stillness, the dancing.”
Contemplating this space in time,
From TS Eliot’s East Coker
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
The image above is from the Cassini Mission. Note that Saturn can now be seen low in the southeast at dusk, moving eastward since resuming its direct motion October 10, 2021.
Hear this episode on Interlochen Public Radio and on The Storyteller’s Night Sky podcast.