Thursday, June 2, 2011

Saturn vs. Neptune

Quick astrology lesson: In astrology, Saturn is the planet of structure, responsibility, and self-discipline. He's boring, but stable; shy, but reliable. The area where he has influence can make you inhibited. Basically, Saturn is the planet that says, "No, you shouldn't do that." Neptune, on the other hand, is known as the "great deceiver". She--astrologers give a feminine influence to this planet even though the god is male--provides us with imagination, creativity, and spirituality but also delusion, doubt, and addiction. She rules the arts, especially music, and provides an interesting counterpoint to Saturn, saying, "The only limits are the limits of your imagination."

Before I knew anything about astrology, I knew that I had difficulty being creative and could never understand why. I started lots of projects but didn't finish them. I did well with anything where there were very solid rules (Saturn), and struggled with more free-form projects (Neptune). Once I finally started studying astrology in depth, I found that Saturn is a very powerful planet in my chart, ruling my rising sign and Moon sign (both are Capricorn). All of my serious relationships before I got married were with Capricorn women, for example, and as people will tell you, I'm very serious about playing by the rules in every facet of my life. Play Monopoly with me and you will see what I mean; don't even think about pulling out the house rules on me, buster. It's tournament rules or I don't play. Saturn strikes again.

What makes things more interesting in my astrological chart, however, is Saturn and Neptune are "opposed" (180 degrees apart).  Think of the great rivalries in any discipline. Yankees vs. Red Sox. Cowboys vs. Redskins. The French vs. the English. For me personally, in high school it was BC High vs. Catholic Memorial; in college it became Susquehanna vs. Lycoming, and in grad school it was Maryland vs. Virginia. That's how they behave in my life.

Saturn and Neptune are always at odds for me. Neptune drives to create but Saturn picks it apart. Neptune says "Look at this awesome thing I created!" and Saturn says, "It's not good enough so no one will like it, let alone care." (Saturn can be an asshole sometimes, but at least he kept me out of trouble in my youth.)

At one time, I was a musician. I started taking clarinet lessons when I was about 10 and played woodwinds all the way through college. I majored in music and considered making my living that way, and at one point in my life music was all I wanted to do. I loved playing and did it all through college, especially jazz. Once I got done with college and went on to grad school, real life took over.  I got married and started working, and went on with business as usual. No more music. Saturn was exceptionally happy. But when I stopped playing jazz, Neptune was left out.

Tonight, here in New Orleans I got to see live jazz, a very rare occurrence for me. This band was amazing, even more so for me since I understand the amount of work and talent it takes to be a professional jazz musician. And for them to walk in and say that they don't use sheet music? Wait a second, back up. Even the best big bands use sheet music. Not these guys. They walked out and played from their heart, but they were definitely attuned to each other as a group. Then, the big brother of the bandleader, Branford Marsalis, just shows up during the second song. This was an awesome surprise! Branford is an extremely talented saxophone player, and I couldn't have been happier to see him show up.

Anyway, it occurred to me that jazz is actually an allegory for Saturn and Neptune working in harmony. There is a form--music has a structure--but in jazz, it's extremely relaxed. Everyone is working toward the same goal but how they get there is determined during the song. And people get to show off their individual creativity and yet be part of something larger.

Maybe I'll have to dust off my sax when I get home and just play for a while. Then maybe I'll be able to work on a tarot book--I've started at least four but haven't finished one.

For tonight, I'll be happy knowing that Neptune got a lot of attention, and it felt good.

No comments:

Post a Comment