On Knowing Fear
Saturn stations retrograde in the 5th degree of Sagittarius, preparing to bid Scorpio a final farewell in due course. Since its arrival in Sagittarius last December we have had an opportunity to reflect on our attitude towards the challenges faced and blessings received as we live our lives. During Saturn’s recent journey through Scorpio we faced many fears. Whatever anxieties we may continue to harbour can be cast in a less fearsome light once we remember that fear itself is the challenge, not those things which evoke it. The two years Saturn spent in Scorpio (October 2012 – December 2014) along with the Uranus / Pluto square active since mid 2012, have acted as a purgative on both our individual and collective psyches. And of course as our psyche is purged so too is our life, for it is not possible for one to change without the other. Whether life throws a curve ball to which we must adapt or a mounting restlessness demands we more fully accommodate our authentic self, internal and external changes have demanded profound wisdom from us in recent years, deep faith and a capacity to endure beyond what we may previously have believed was possible.
This retrograde passage of Saturn allows us to take stock one final time before we kiss goodbye to this process. It offers the chance to make final adjustments – an acknowledgement here, an acceptance there, a turning toward something we still fear to see – before we fully embrace two years of Saturn in Sagittarius during which we must live our truth no matter what. Committing without compromise to the wisdom revealed in recent years. When we set out on such a journey, ever deeper into the Real Self, there is no turning back. Each bridge we cross must be burned as we leave, each path walked only once. This month is a time of conclusion and completion. Even fear can subside in those prepared to be engulfed by its mighty presence.
Saturn speaks specifically now of the fear of having our truth judged by another. In alignment with Mercury and the Moon it pokes at our reluctance to simply be who we are – speaking how we feel, what we believe, what we observe – without guile or veneer. There is so much pressure to be otherwise, to conform, to stay silent or speak only the ‘right’ things in the ‘acceptable’ way. The drive to fit in and be part of something bigger is a powerful force in the human psyche. In days gone by it was the only way to ensure survival. Going it alone was a certain path to vulnerability and death. These days we have more choice and can pursue our own truths, but even in doing so we find ourselves seeking others to affirm their worth and thereby our own value. The prospect of standing completely alone – naked but for our own wisdom -can be deeply intimidating, and as much as many seek to embody such freedom, it is a rare individual who does so fully.
But it is happening and there are more each day standing firm in their own truth, no longer bound by the need to explain or justify. In doing so they shake off the projections foisted upon them, the imaginings of those who look on in judgement or condemnation. This aloneness is a powerful theme for us now. It doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the companionship of others or seek support from those who love us, but if we rely too heavily upon acceptance and not enough on standing upright in our own truth we run the risk of anchoring ourselves into a present which was never meant to be the final destination, but instead just a resting place on a far longer journey.
Fear controls us in subtle ways: as the voice of reason and responsibility, as the whisper of ‘common sense’. It speaks about shame and demands we explain ourselves. It tells us we cannot survive alone in a world where acceptance is the ‘all-access pass’ to security and power. It points out the pitfalls without acknowledging the joyful freedom of no longer needing to hide. We may find ourselves facing our fears once more in the coming weeks. It may feel like we have slipped back again, immersed in worlds we thought were conquered. Do not believe the lie! These very fears reveal the exit into light and liberation. They show us where we have adhered ourselves so fast to the opinions of others we no longer honour our own truths. They reveal where our deepest feelings of vulnerability lay, those places inside which threaten our very sense of self. In doing so they invite us to enter the fear, be engulfed by it, allow it to flood through us like a tidal wave. The more we can do so, not stiffening against its onslaught but opening up to its power, the more we can observe how doing this changes the very nature of fear itself. How it gradually shifts into nervous excitement and anxious but somehow enlivening anticipation. How we find the courage to say ‘no’ when we would always say ‘yes’, or ‘maybe’ when pushed to be certain. Gradually and bit by bit, as we move towards our truth and not away from it, fear becomes inspiration, for we know that its arrival signals another dive into deeper authenticity: the next opportunity to more fully embody our sovereign self.
Fear is a great driving force in our world. It shapes our lives in myriad ways. As Saturn travels retrograde in the coming months we must acknowledge its long and powerful reign whilst acting to bring it to an end. It has its place, this fear, but not in the diminishment of our autonomy. To the extent that we allow it free reign it will continue to shrink and belittle us. It’s time to face that fear, be engulfed by it, and in so doing transform it into courage for the road ahead.