Posts filed under lyrics

Grand Trine in Water - Memory of the Future, Part 1

Right now we are immersed in a Grand Trine in the element of water, a rare astrological event linking Jupiter in Cancer, Saturn in Scorpio and Neptune in Pisces in harmonious aspects with each other. The watery ways of the previous and next few days can set tones or feelings reverberating for Jupiter’s entire transit through Cancer, which ends July 16, 2014.

To best understand the element of water, I first go to the often-overlooked distinction between spirit and soul. Within this distinction, the spirit tends to fly high and look forward and ahead, aiming up and out, looking to transcend the world below, rise above it all, and escape the events of the past. The soul tends toward descent, moving downward into the depths to what’s buried underneath or left behind, reflecting on history and loss, welcoming shadow and darkness as rich and necessary terrain for soul-making. The spirit is, naturally, spiritual; the soul is more psychological (“psyche” means “soul”). The spirit seeks clarity and vision, while the soul lingers in the mysteries and unanswered questions of life and death. The spirit is excited, optimistic and jubilant, while the soul tends to be more depressed, moody and downtrodden. This bi-polar combination of spirit and soul in each of us allows us to, in the words of Mother Abbess, climb every mountain and ford every stream until we find our dreams.

The four elements—fire, earth, air and water—work nicely within this distinction. From the archetypal perspective, fire and air have spiritual connotations, while earth and water connect more naturally with the soul. The Grand Trine in water, then, moves us into the mysterious ways of the soul, its emotions and feelings and sensitivities and longings and desperations, and the kinds of experiences that “make” soul, if we’re willing to dive in and get wet.

Water is connected with memory and reflection, and like the soul it operates indirectly. We see this indirection in the creatures depicting the three water signs of the zodiac. The crab of Cancer walks sideways on the beach, thanks to the bend of its legs. The scorpion of Scorpio stings from behind, thanks to the bend of its tail. And the two fish of Pisces, with eyes on the sides of their heads, don’t exactly look at the world in a straight-forward manner. They see from the sides. Additionally, the two fish are usually imagined swimming away from each other, rather than toward each other in the direct, head-on approach of, say, fiery Aries. The soul expresses itself indirectly through symbols, through metaphors and stories, music and poetry, and through artwork. Water is about imagery and imagination. When you stand in front of Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” the painting says so much. It evokes enormous feeling, yet does so indirectly. We see “Starry Night” and pause to reflect on where it takes us. Imagination opens up. To “reflect” means to “bend back.” The reflective soul looks backward, behind the mere what-you-see-is-what-you-get arena of life.

The element of water also shows itself in our lives when we lack obvious and clear direction, when our vision of the future is foggy and blurry, leaving us feeling bogged down with uncertainty or confusion, or feeling stuck. The Grand Trine in Water isn’t a time of productivity as much as it is a time of experiencing life on an emotional level, or imagining the year ahead, or reflecting on matters important to your soul. While not productive in the usual sense, water does lend itself to improbable solutions, as seen in The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy grabs a bucket from the sidelines and splashes water all over the Wicked Witch of the West, melting her away. An indirect solution to a very real problem, coming in sideways.


There is a saying, that Time is a river that flows in two directions: the future and the past. While we tend to think of memory and reflection in terms of the past, science now knows that the place in the brain that remembers the past is the same place in the brain the imagines the future. This is more in tune with how ancient Greek culture viewed memory. To the Greeks, memory was a goddess named Mnemosyne, and Mnemosyne was the mother of the Muses, the protectors of the arts, history, music and dance. The musing involved with writing poetry or history is the same musing through which Van Gogh painted “Starry Night” and the same musing with which we remember our lives, with any imagination. Jungian analyst Lyn Cowan writes beautifully about Mnemosyne in her book Tracking the White Rabbit:

“Mnemosyne is like a theater, upon whose stage the Muses perform what we recall of our lives. They take a person’s or a people’s history and shape it, re-shape it, animate it, sculpt it, draw it out, set it to music, give it color, set it free through verse, release it into the air of spoken words so that it may fly ahead to become images of the future.”

The meaning of “muse” includes “to wonder” and “to dream.” Another meaning is “to waste time.” This is a large part of the nature of the Grand Trine in water. It’s a time to muse, even if it feels like you are wasting time. It’s a time to imagine, reflect, remember, wonder about the past and wander into the future, feel deeply, feel deeper, feel confused, feel all over the place, splash about, muck about, drink it in and draw it out. It’s about being in present time, knowing that “present time” has nothing to do with Time. Most spiritual practices today attempt to leave the past behind, simply let it go.  As if.  That's what the spirit desires, but that rarely, if ever, actually works. Why? Because it abandons the soul. From the soul’s perspective, if you listen today to your favorite song from 1984, it does not take you out of today or the present moment at all—it connects you with the realm of Mnemosyne, the eternal and timeless terrain of memory and imagination.  The memory and the connection and the feelings of listening to that song add depth and meaning, substance and strength, continuity and richness to the present moment and to the whole of life.  History is far more than just a series of events that happened "back then." Its Muse is named Clio, and she tends the fertile grounds of history from which the present and the future grow.

Posted on July 18, 2013 and filed under archetypes, astrology, lyrics, popular culture, symbolism.

Saturn in Scorpio - Dark Eyes and Dark Nights

“I wear my sunglasses at night, so I can, so I can see the light that’s right before my eyes.”—Corey Hart, Sunglasses At Night, 1983 “We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.”—Goethe

On October 5, 2012, the planet Saturn moved into the sign of Scorpio, where he will reside for close to three years.  There’s a turning point in any good story when the tension mounts, the suspense heightens, and despite the increased intensity of the experience, something deep within compels you to stick around—fixed at the very edge of your seat—to see how it’s all going to work out.  This would be akin to the Saturn in Scorpio point of the story.

Things get dark when Saturn moves into Scorpio.  If Jim Henson can go there in order to create “The Dark Crystal,” which came out right when Saturn last entered Scorpio in late 1982, my hunch is we all can.  Interestingly, “The Dark Crystal” captures the symbolic essence of Saturn in Scorpio with uncanny precision, and for his efforts Jim Henson even won a Saturn Award (seriously!) for Best Fantasy Film.  While I can’t promise Saturn Awards for everyone, suffice to say that Saturn in Scorpio is really a time for recognizing that there’s a whole lot more going on in life than typically meets the eye.


The late, formidable depth psychologist James Hillman, who was born in 1926 with Saturn in Scorpio, often noted about his work, “I have a dark eye.”  Probably a good quality for the eyes of a depth psychologist!

On February 2, 1985, a little girl named Melody Gardot was born with Saturn in Scorpio in her birth chart.  In November 2003, young Melody was hit by a car while riding her bicycle (transiting Uranus was square her Saturn), landing her in the hospital for a year, on her back.  Since the accident, Melody rebuilt her life and has become a highly-acclaimed, exquisitely elegant jazz singer, playing her music in dark, intimate clubs all around the world.  Her songs include “Deep Within the Corners of My Mind,” “Your Heart Is As Black As Night,” and “So We Meet Again My Heartache.”  Curiously, “The most noticeable effect of the neural injuries she suffered is that she was left hyper-sensitive to both light and sound, therefore requiring her to wear dark sunglasses at nearly all times to shield her eyes.”  (Wikipedia)

Meanwhile, an interesting phenomenon occurred between 1983 and 1985, the period of the entire Saturn transit through Scorpio, when a huge surge in the sales of Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses led to the height of the company’s success.

Olivia Newton-John sported shades on the cover of her 1983 hit single, “Twist of Fate.”

Tom Cruise danced in his underwear and sported his sexy Ray-Ban shades while going about his "Risky Business" (1983).

At the same time, sexy Corey Hart hit the big time with his song "Sunglasses At Night":  “I wear my sunglasses at night, so I can, so I can see the light that’s right before my eyes.”

In 1983, country singer Kenny Rogers released a pop album called “Eyes That See In the Dark.”

In 1984, Tina Turner launched her massive comeback album “Private Dancer” with the lyrics, “I’m a new pair of eyes every time I am born.”

Movie Director James Cameron, born with Saturn in Scorpio in his birth chart, included the now-famous line “I see you” in both of his top-grossing movies “Titanic” and “Avatar.”  In "Titanic" Rose says to Jack, “You have a gift, Jack, you do.  You see people.”  To which he replied, “I see you.”  Jack could see into people, see their gifts, something about their inherent nature hidden in the dark.

Looking back to an earlier Saturn in Scorpio cycle, William Golding published his "Lord of the Flies," featuring the infamous Piggy’s shattered lenses on the cover.  The shattering of his lenses left Piggy in the dark, unable to see in the manner he was most accustomed.

When Saturn is in Scorpio, we see "through a glass darkly,” like x-ray vision.  The x-ray machine was actually invented while Saturn was in Scorpio.  We can see what is not typically seen under bright-light conditions.  It’s as if we all don Ray-Bans for the duration of the transit.

When our eyes enter darkness, our pupils dilate.  The muscles of the eye relax, causing the pupil to fully expand in order to obtain more light.  Dilated pupils enable us to see better in the darkness.  This is significant for Saturn’s transit in Scorpio and is the essence of the “in-sight” often associated with Scorpio.  The darkness has purpose.

Now, stretching our expanded pupils way back to the year 1542, we see that the young man who would become Saint John of the Cross was born with Saturn in Scorpio in his birth chart.  Amidst the toughest of life circumstances he would glean insight into what he called the Dark Night of the Soul and from that darkness he wrote one of the most mysterious and magical pieces of mystical poetry ever written.  The poem, with its reference to moving through life with “No other light, no other guide / Than the one burning in my heart” (Starr) is resonant of the particular experience of darkness we encounter with Saturn in Scorpio.


Both Saturn and Scorpio rule over the cold and dark places on earth—everything from cellars and mines to refrigerators and freezers.  Similarly, both Saturn and Scorpio rule over the cold and dark places of the human psyche.  Like a Detective exhuming a long-buried grave or sweeping away cobwebs to investigate cold-cases long-forgotten and left behind, Saturn in Scorpio asks us to look deeply into the dark of the present, the past, and ourselves, to find important flickers of life, valuable new evidence that may have been overlooked, neglected, or not recognized for its full worth when interrogated under brighter circumstances.  It’s a time to let the dark be the dark and allow our eyes enough time to adjust enough to expand intimately, inwardly, so that we can more fully see through the light that is already there.

Posted on October 18, 2012 and filed under archetypes, astrology, lyrics, popular culture, symbolism.