by Phil

How does one determine a path, calling, even simply a vocation? Is it the generic, “to serve” the highest calling? The desire to know the creator and to become in union has provided blessings and peace but time moves swiftly and progression is very slow. Still, the journey not attachment to the outcome eh?… or can you be, in my case, more specific? Douglas

I’ll try to answer your questions from a strictly astrological viewpoint, as you could say that astrology has become my “calling” (at this time). I would fully understand if you had doubts about the usefulness of astrology, but hopefully not an outright derision of what Joseph Campbell would describe as”following my bliss.”

I’ve become convinced that a curious and open skepticism is always a sign of good intellectual and spiritual health, so if you are curious and/or skeptical about anything concerning the spiritual or intuitive world, I’d say you are on your own correct path. Please take the rest of this with an open heart and mind, a sort of an “I believe” set of statements that are coming from a (skeptical) lifetime dedicated to figuring out life’s basic questions.

As an astrologer, I strongly believe that a person’s “path” is determined at our birth – not predetermined – but determined, and there’s a huge difference between the two. At birth, the Universe imprints our souls with the timing of our birth via the ever-changing planets. It’s almost as if an unseen hand waved over our tiny newborn bodies and said; “Here’s your basic design kid, now make the best of it. The plan is that there is no plan, simply this basic design.” A lot of this design is progressively manipulated by our parents, siblings, friends, lovers, and teachers as time goes by, but the basic design lingers and motivates some, yet too often festers and cripples others. Other people will effect our lives and paths in strange and wonderful ways, but that’s a response for a different time.

This design (of our life) looks a lot like a road map, and yes – it’s all about the journey – with dirt roads, superhighways, bypasses, bridges and dead ends – all of them leading somewhere, everywhere we look. We learn slowly (or quickly) that we can maneuver any or all of these roads safely in our vehicles (our bodies), and if we’re utilizing our mind’s capacity of free-will correctly, we’ll usually follow the path of least resistance. If everything feels okay, we continue along to see what lies around the next bend, watching for the signs our individual road maps say should be just ahead.

It’s important to remember that others have been down these roads before us, and “Dead End” signs have been posted by people far wiser than any of us. Of course, new trails can still be blazed into various wildernesses, but we need to be open to learning from the mistakes of others from the past – our own past lives for a significant example. Similarly, if we learn from the successes of former adventurers and trailblazers, we get to stand on the shoulders of giants to see where future paths may lead us, by making connections with other paths. Astrologically, these roads might look like our natal Moon and Mercury in our 9th house Sagittarius for example. We will hence “naturally” follow our hearts (Moon) and minds (Mercury) to seek adventure and learning about new lands (Sagittarius/9th house). If our Mercury and Jupiter are in our 2nd house Gemini for another example, we will “naturally” be drawn to expanding upon (Jupiter) a hobby in writing or communicating (Mercury in it’s ruling sign) to scrape out a living and acquire possessions.(2nd house). However, it may not necessarily be our career or life’s work as seen by whatever might be in our natal 10th house, and/or whichever planet might be moving through the 10th house by transit. In either of these very simplistic examples, if there are favorable aspects (the path of least resistance) to Pluto or Saturn for instance, success in our endeavors might almost be guaranteed, but only if we know that we need to activate these paths of least resistance.

Here’s where the demon of free-will enters the equation. We might have a perfect set-up to pursue a path as a brilliant surgeon (Mercury conjunct Chiron in the 6th house, Virgo Ascendant for instance), but if we don’t go to medical school and do the necessary residency requirements, we’ll be sitting at home watching “ER” reruns waiting for the operating room to come to us. Herein lies the difference between determinism and predeterminism: A person with this perfect set-up still needs to go ahead and create their own path, as nothing ever falls through the roof and into our laps. Instead of a creator being “out there” making things happen for us, we need to become our own creators for our own benefit. And then there are the transits, processes potentially lasting for several years when an outer planet like Neptune or Pluto moves over a sensitive natal planet or two. These can present opportunities for us to “go with the flow” of the Universal tides, evolve, and move with the changes the Universe presents. For the more fully evolved individual (not me yet!), we can then do the necessary work toward becoming co-creators with the Universe.

I hope I’m not stepping on any religious toes here, but there’s a saying that “the Lord helps those that help themselves.” I see this as being only partially correct, and perhaps ultimately deceiving. Astrologically speaking, “The Lord” is only the Universe’s imprint on our natal design, while transits and (slow) progressions serve to help us evolve. The map-maker is impersonal in this regard, only showing the individual what is possible and potential. The individual must then decide for themselves which roads are to be taken, and exactly where their own path of least resistance leads to.

Being in a particular job, or finding yourself involved in a particular hobby, might seem to be the right thing to be doing at a particular time, but may not be your life’s work or “calling.” You may find any activity to be personally fulfilling, but not necessarily financially rewarding, or perhaps the other way around. Those would be the compromises we too often need to make in order to pay the bills in order to survive. If we can combine the two (fulfillment and reward) we’ll find ourselves ahead of the game in what Joseph Campbell describes as “following your bliss.” I’ll paraphrase this and call it “following the path of least resistance,” with the necessary caveat that such a path should harm no one, and ultimately serve the higher good of the community, both locally and globally.

There’s one planetary transit in particular that is fascinating to observe, and this involves real-time Saturn on our natal Pluto. Saturn represents responsibility, maturity, constrictions, authority figures, and learning the big lessons of life. He’s basically our inner adult telling us to grow up, and while we may not always want to take responsibilities for our own actions or our own lives, Saturn teaches us we need to face up to these necessary evils. The myth of Pluto as ruler of the Underworld speaks of the cycle of death and rebirth, and why we have returned to the Earth plane in our current incarnations. Real-time Saturn on a natal Pluto would therefore be asking us to take responsibility (Saturn) for why we’ve returned from the dead (Pluto) – the big “why am I here, and what is my life’s purpose?” questions.

Of course, a person must become aware that this transit is occurring, and take measures to lead a self-examined life while simultaneously following their bliss, discovering their past-life mysteries, and trusting their higher selves for guidance. Utilizing our birthright of free-will is key throughout this process in order to activate this transit and make it real.

This is all about becoming co-creators with the Universe to make a better future for all of us, as this holistic approach is by definition universal.

The fascinating thing to me about a Saturn on Pluto transit for our collective well-being is the person’s age in which this transit occurs.

Because of their very different orbital speeds (Saturn 30 years, Pluto 248 years), this transit is happening for an increasingly younger set of sub-generations. For instance, people born between (roughly) 1939 and 1956 have their natal Pluto in Leo, and Saturn has passed through Leo between July 2005 and September 2007, giving all of us in this generation our Saturn on Pluto transit during the past two and a half years, starting with the elder folks within this subset first.

Saturn has since moved into Virgo, and the Good Professor will be offering a younger generation many opportunities to discover their life’s purpose – those born between 1956 and 1972. In other words, people at this time within the (approximately) 52 – 69 age bracket have already had their Saturn on Pluto, while people currently in the 36 – 51 age group will be getting theirs in the next 2.5 years.

If you believe as I do that we are entering the most critical phase that we as a species have ever encountered, it’s reassuring to me that younger, stronger, more energetic, and hopefully more idealistic people will be discovering their life’s purposes in the next few years. Between 2010 and 2012 (!), people currently aged 24 – 35 will begin there Saturn on Pluto opportunities, with many of these younger folks going through theirs simultaneously during their Saturn return, a slightly (or very) different set of responsibilities (Saturn) for discovering why they have returned from the underworld/death (Pluto).

Beyond that? The phrase “… and a child shall lead them…” comes to mind as people born between 1984 and 1995 will be getting their chance to make their karmic (Pluto) responsibilities (Saturn) a reality. This alone gives me optimism for the future. Of course, a Saturn on Pluto transit is only one event to consider for an individual’s life purpose, and people may have already received their calling way before Saturn intervenes. Al Gore for instance had been trying to warn us about global warming for years before he worked on “An Inconvenient Truth” during his Saturn on Pluto, and all he did was win a Nobel Prize, an Oscar, and much more recognition by living within his life’s purpose, so a Saturn on Pluto can be maneuvered very successfully.

We mere mortals are on our own, no? Peace, Phil

Order a Life Purpose Reading