Time.


The ancient Greeks and Romans knew their way around a metaphor. Their myths magically transformed cosmic truths into human-scaled, tangible, and easy-to-understand stories.


One such story is that of Uranus, the infinite Sky God, and his son, Saturn, the God of Time and Death. If it makes it easier to follow, you can call Saturn by his older Greek name: Cronus, the root of "Chronology"- meaning time, order, and the sequence of events such as aging.


Saturn wanted to overthrow his father, Uranus, who embodied eternity. Eventually, and after much planning and manipulation and triangulation, Saturn managed to geld his father, throwing his sex organ into the endless seas. (Side Note: that sky-god penis turned into Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love and Procreation. Yup- Greek/ Roman mythology is off the chain).


By doing so, Saturn became the primary god of this world. Nervous that he would fall victim to the same patricidal impulses that seemed to run in the family, he attempted to eat his own children before they could grow up, challenge and overthrow him.


And he managed to eat all of his children except for the last one, a little guy named Zeus. Zeus was hidden away until his mother could trick her now infanticidal husband, Saturn, and get him to throw up the rest of the Olympians: Aries/ Mars, Hera/ Juno, and all the rest of the gods and goddesses we learned about in school. After collecting his siblings, Zeus confined his father, Saturn, to the deepest depths of Tartarus, keeping him as a prisoner for all time.


So what the hell do these crazy stories have to do with time or with TOTEM or with energy work and astrology? A lot, as we discovered during a discussion yesterday in our "Beyond Your Sun Sign" Astrology Workshop in Oak Park.


Tamara Crowe, TOTEM's Resident Astrologer, was discussing the inherent conflict between Saturn, ruled by Capricorn, and Uranus, ruled by Aquarius. Saturn represents the structures of the patriarchy, time, 3D material reality, responsibility, discipline, restriction, limitation and death. Uranus, ruled by Aquarius, represents change, originality, upheaval, revolution, rebellion and the infinite, procreative possibilities of the multiverse. In other words: they are diametrically opposed to one another. They hate each other, even. And when they face off in Astrology, it's a pretty epic situation.


While we were discussing these differences, I remembered the old Greek myths about them. Of course infinity and timelessness and eternity is always at odds with the restrictions and structures of time and death and material reality. And this was what the ancients were trying to teach us with their stories: that time restricts the endlessly procreative possibilities of existence, that time eats matter, and that, in many ways, we need time and death to give our lives structure, purpose, and meaning in an otherwise undefinable infinity.


Or, as Rust Cohle of True Detective, Season 1 puts it, "In eternity, where there is no time, nothing can grow. Nothing can become. Nothing changes. So death created time to grow the things that it would kill."


A later season of the same show (which I cannot recommend enough) circles around this theme again with the poem Calmly We Walk through This April’s Day, written by Delmore Schwartz. The closing lines are:


"Each minute bursts in the burning room,

The great globe reels in the solar fire,

Spinning the trivial and unique away.

(How all things flash! How all things flare!)

What am I now that I was then?

May memory restore again and again

The smallest color of the smallest day:

Time is the school in which we learn,

Time is the fire in which we burn."


Between Saturn and Uranus, there is no bad guy or good guy. Rather, there is a cosmic dance between primordial forces, one that dictates much of our reality and our experience of the divine. And it's Saturn- or Cronus, Time- that provides us mortal beings the structure to live, grow, develop and die. In other words, without death there can be no life. Without time, there can be no human existence. It's a paradox, yes, but one that makes perfect sense when we think back on the myth of Uranus and Saturn.


And, as is the case with most things TOTEM, it just so happens there is an unusual astrological placement of Saturn and Uranus this week right on the heels of yesterday's discussion, as explained by the Astrotwins at Astrostyle.com:


"Three times in 2021, stalwart Saturn and disruptive Uranus will get into cosmic clashes, locking into 90-degree angles (squares).This battle between old-school and new will shake up society as we know it.


These planets may be next-door neighbors, but they’re the Hatfield and McCoy of the solar system. Each enforces contrary agendas (think “square peg, round hole”) providing for many of our most vexing, intractable problems. And three times in 2021- including today, June 14th- they lock into a stressful square (a 90-degree angle), grappling for the upper hand.


The contradictory push-pull expresses itself in every zodiac sign’s life and also in world events. Can change happen without a collapse of key infrastructures? Can order be kept without suppressing the voice of “the people”? Historically, these tumultuous standoffs can force deep structural changes in society, often involving widespread disruption and destruction.


As suppressive Saturn tightens its authoritarian grip on freedom-fighter Uranus, a war between chaos and control erupts. Like an earthquake, the stable ground beneath us is left shaken. Later, we must rebuild from the rubble. Put plainly, Saturn wants law and order; Uranus wants change at any cost.


We’ve been feeling this since the two planets began their dance in January 2020, bringing everything from economic shakeups to the global COVID-19 pandemic to sweeping Black Lives Matter protests. As the Saturn-Uranus tension reaches a head in 2021, society is embroiled in heated efforts to change “the system” (Saturn) through (Uranian) protests, citizen uprisings and attempts to redistribute rights and resources through the greater population."


Read more about this ongoing astrological feud here: https://astrostyle.com/2021-saturn-uranus-squares/


So what does this mean for us little humans trying to hang out on planet earth? Well, outside of the disruption and tension noted by the AstroTwins above, it also provides an opportunity for awareness around time, scarcity, fear, and how we can make large changes in our lives by destroying old, outdated structures that no longer serve us:

Uranus can lend us a cosmic perspective, empowering us to get out of our limiting, mortal blinders and expand our awareness to the reality outside of 3D time/ space. Uranus tells us that, just because things have "always been done this way", it doesn't mean we have to continue to do them that way. He gives us an out from the oppressive, patriarchal institutions of power that so frequently abuse their power and keep us in prisons of fear, expectation, obligation or scarcity. What prisons do you keep yourself confined in? Do you need to stay there? Do you remember that your soul is eternal and infinite and will not die when your physical embodiment does? What revolutionary work have you come here to do? How can you change the world for the better?

Conversely, Saturn can show us how time and aging and death are powerful tools of transformation, teaching our immortal souls invaluable lessons along the way. What have you learned as you've grown up, matured and gotten older? What cosmic insights have you gained from life experiences? Have you become more compassionate or cynical as the years pass by? What does living in a physical body teach you about existence? Does aging make you feel empowered or humble? Or both? How has your work, your profession, your interest and obligations informed your world view? How does the certainty of death inform your life and your work? What old structures, rituals or institutions have you been drawn to or repelled from? What is your relationship with time?


Man, it's intense. But it's also powerful medicine, to use a shamanic term.


And, if nothing else, take a few minutes today to reflect on the power of time in your life. If you find yourself in "time scarcity", take a moment to re-asses and remember that, while we're here in time/space, the truth is out there in infinity. When we empower ourselves and establish boundaries, we can actually get time on our side, working for us- and not against us. But we have to embrace the reality that, for us, time is like taxes: it's inevitable.


Make your time work for you. Make your life work for you. Do with your time and with yourself what you want and desire....and watch that incredible revolution take root in your reality;)


-Rachel