When we think of the scope of a human life, in addition to birth and death, our minds start to list the standard benchmarks that happen in between, such as learning how to drive, turning eighteen, getting the first job, getting married, having children, retiring. However, it seems to be taken for granted that these benchmarks are largely man-made and constructed by society. To use the language of astrology, these benchmarks are significant only in the realm of Saturn – the realm of time and space and the world that we have constructed within it.
Without the man-made concept of time and the legal transition into adult (the law – another man-made concept), a person living to see 18 transits of the earth around the sun would have no special significance. Legally, living to be 18 years old grants a person the ability leave home and start their own adult life, become legally bound to a life partner in marriage or join the army and die in a war. The importance is placed on the passage of time itself, and not the experience and knowledge gained during the time. Perhaps one individual has not gained enough experience to successfully start charting their adult lives. Perhaps another individual had already gained the knowledge and skills needed to “be an adult” by the time they were fifteen, but were legally delayed in putting this experience into action for three years.
These are the challenges of living in a world that values systemization and output more than purpose. At some point, all of the laws that govern our land were enacted for a reason, and so were all the institutions and schedules that structure our lives. What’s happened is that all of these, in our system of priorities, have evolved from services or tools to make our lives better and actually become the goals and the should-have’s or should-be’s that cause anxiety. They have become agents of conformity and the barometers of whether we are “on track” or “living the right way” regardless of our individual paths. As our society has become more and more complex, these structures have multiplied vastly. We actually live in a society now where the goal of the majority of the institutions we are immersed in are to encourage conformity in the populace to ensure its own continuance. The world we have created has become so complex that it would be very simple for a person to live the entire span of their life doing what is expected of them and never asking themselves what it is they really want to do. And all of this has combined to fundamentally alter our concept of what life is and for.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
This is the question we all were asked as kids at one point, and it has become so cliché, that we take its asking, and also its implications, for granted.
Note the specific phrasing of the question. It is always asked “What do you want to be” not “What do you want to do?” “What do you want to accomplish?”
The modern world has trained us that in order to be a part of it, we must have a specific role, and that there is a list of these roles to choose from, and, especially when we become adults, we must work towards becoming that person until the identity has become crystalized.
When we enter the institution of school, we are imparted knowledge on how to read and write and understand the world, but also given specific training about how to excel within that institution, taking tests, doing homework, working in general. The training intensifies as we progress through grades. Later, focus emerges on college, and, in general, only those who were most successful in learning how to excel in the institution of school are allowed to proceed further down the path of conformity and worldly success.
If you take some time to examine the stresses now that affect you in adult life, most of them are probably related to your ability to conform. Pressures of conforming to employer’s demands, physical appearance, attire, hobbies, interests, romance, living arrangements, location and even fun. Financial pressures can fall under this umbrella as well, for why do you feel you need to have these things that you want to have?
The last two paragraphs have been especially general and broad. To clarify, I’m referring only to the institutions as agents of conformity. School, for children, is indoctrination into society and the way it works. Its goal is to prepare students for the next level of indoctrination in college. College’s primary goal, in spite of the great amount of awakening we are likely to experience there, is to prepare students for the workforce. Many of us have probably encountered the teachers who truly encourage us to be ourselves and “follow our hearts,” and we probably remember them fondly. Within the institutions of conformity are inspired agents who promote innovation and soul. What this article is proposing is not that conformity and the agenda of our world is bad, but that the institutions change to balance output of conformity with an encouragement of true self-knowing.
As the emphasis on only conformity and structure has its consequences, so too does the other end of the spectrum – of living completely free and following the (supposed) whims of the heart every single moment. Conformity, and other emanations of Saturn actually have a great many benefits (and these will be discussed at length in a future article). For starters, conformity allows us to have our society and live the comfortable lives (with the lower portion of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs taken care of) that we do. Having external pressures to rise to can cause people to grow in very positive directions if they weren’t otherwise challenged to do so. The problem is that our society is structured in such a way that too much emphasis is put on conformity, and the proof is in how collectively shitty a lot of us feel. Depression is a very natural response to living in a world where so much is demanded of us that we cannot hear our own souls. And those demands are so great we have even developed medication to help us conform to society’s standards of happiness and productivity.
Until the world we live in becomes more balanced, we are challenged to to individually leave our Saturnian shackles from time to time and explore the freedom and possibility at the other end of the spectrum. Imagine your life without your daily schedule, without your home, without your relationships, without any of the things, places and people that exist outside of you on a daily basis. Go even further and let go of all your habitual responses to and behaviors in the world outside of you. Immediately your life potentials skyrocket, and you’ll probably feel light enough to actually take flight. This is the realm of Jupiter, Saturn’s opposite. As with any spectrum, the best place to be is usually the middle, and balance between the emanations of Saturn and Jupiter are crucial to a healthy life, healthy society and healthy world. We will explore this further in future articles as well.