First Post! The Four Pillars of Life

Reflecting on a situation or even reading about it can sometimes help makes sense when we are confused or perplexed about a situation.We all strive for security and knowing the place of things in our lives. It helps us move through the world with a greater sense of ease.  As Maslow defined, we need to have food, shelter, clothing, and security in place before we can move towards self-actualization.

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In the ancient Indian scriptures, it is said that there are four pillars of life: dharma, artha, kama, and moksha. Of these four aims or pillars, dharma is righteous action or doing our duty in life.  Some of these duties are universal, such as being an upstanding citizen/ resident of your town, being a good child/sibling/ parent/ grandparent, etc, being honest kind, charitable, et al.

Then there is the more personal karmic destiny pattern for us, which, if we can access ourselves, or with the assistance of a guide, can match our innate skills to a profession or trade.  Another of the four pillars of life is artha. Artha is often translated as money or wealth. What do we primarily connote with security? Money and even a residence.  Kama can be involvement with a partner but, it is also whatever we find enjoyable or pleasurable in life, whether it is desserts, travel, expensive jewelry, or designer clothing.  Moksha is spiritual liberation. Quite often, we want to pursue loftier ideals but then there are the bills to be taken care of, the kids to be fed, the emails to be answered, etc and the laundry list really comes up in times of mediation.  As if the usual list of items to attend to were not enough, many have recently reported to me that their list has recently expanded. Things have surprised people and have made them wonder what in the world is happening.

We have different ways of marking significant events in our lives. There is the calendar, the seasons, birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays.  Astrology is a science of looking at the placement of planets (visible or invisible to us) and then interpreting their effect on us. Western astrology is based on the placement of the Sun is in the tropical zodiac according to the calendar and then labeling a person an “Aries”, “Taurus”, “Gemini”, etc depending on the constellation that the Sun is in and attributing certain universal traits to each of these labels. More often than not, we can resonate with some of the qualities found in these labels.  Sidereal astrology adjusts for the precession of the equinox and looks at the movement of the planets and stars and how they interplay in our lives.  

If we treat our astrological charts as a snapshot of the heavens at the time of our birth and acknowledge that patterns that are illustrated as a result of these placements, then it can follow that there will rarely be two individuals (outside of twins) who can claim to share the same photograph or astrological blueprint.Certainly a child born at this moment in the same locality that you were born in will not have the same astrological patterns as you. Yet, over the period of your life, you will undergo some similar experiences: education, career, relationships, travel, maintenance of health, etc.  Astrological interpretation is said to be both static as well as dynamic. Certainly, your chart does not change; however, the planets continue to move daily at their own pace and few are in the same place today as they were at the time of your birth.

We can all see the movement of the Moon daily as it waxes and wanes from full to new and back again. The Moon stays in a constellation 2.5 days, so it is changeable in many ways.We can liken this to being a guest in different hotels; we bring our “stuff” with us, but don’t leave a lasting impression on any one place.  If we stay in a place, i.e. our home, for a period of years, then we can leave a more permanent mark on it, even if we later move on to inhabit another place.

Similarly, in Vedic astrology, or Jyotish, we say the slower moving planets create the more lasting results.  The Moon is the fastest moving planet and Saturn is the slowest moving planet.  While the Moon inhabits each of the 12 constellations for 2.5 days, Saturn stays for 2.5 years.  Definitely enough time for us to feel its impact in all our lives.  In Eastern or Vedic astrology (Jyotish), Saturn entered the constellation of Leo on July 15. There are technical astrological explanations as to why this is a difficult placement for Saturn, which would seem quite complex to the majority of readers. The impact that Saturn has on each individual will vary depending on the personal dynamics of their chart and what planetary cycle they are running.

          Saturn has a strong need for security. Generally, whatever house (or bhāva as we say in Jyotish) Saturn is transiting in your chart, you will seek out methods to help make you feel secure about the matter related to that house. You will do so again in the way indicated by your own personal astrological tendencies.

          I heard from a friend who had been out of touch with friends for years, just as Saturn was at 00:00° Leo and had moved into a house in her chart that had to do with extended family.  Another friend sprained her ankle just hours before Saturn moved into Leo.  Someone else began worrying excessively about her child as Saturn entered her house of children. Yet another individual journeyed overseas (Saturn is often connoted with foreign people or objects).  Others decided to seek counsel as Saturn moved into the house related to advice.   Somebody inquired about going back to work full-time as Saturn was about to re-enter their house of career.  For some, where Saturn was transiting a house of business, they were re-negotiating contracts (having a strong contract in place can assist in feeling secure).  For many of these people, Saturn was also activated by their astrological periods (dasha (major period) or bhukti (sub-period)) in their charts.

       Saturn has often gotten a bad rap, in that it is a “malefic” rather than a “benefic” like Jupiter or Venus. Yet, being slow moving, it can teach us very valuable life lessons if we are willing to listen.  It can make us stronger by facing up to challenges and help us prioritize things in our life. We cannot work towards achieving moksha if something does not come along to shake us out of our conditioned beliefs and habits and put us on the path of seeking a higher level of understanding of events. Contrary to popular belief, Saturn is there to help us break free of our patterns and conditioning, rather than punish us.  It is a matter of perspective and we often lack the objectivity to step back and look at the events of our lives in a semi-detached manner. That is why people often seek out astrologers or counselors, to help them put what seems to be a blurry picture in focus.

     What changes have you noticed over the last few weeks and what lessons did you learn over the last few years?

Recent Comments

  • http://jill%20mengesha

    August 6, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    Thanks for starting the astral blog – it will be interesting to tune in. I hope to learn more about astrology and perhaps about “what’s going on.” I agree that a sense of security is of utmost importance to stretching out into the world. Jill M

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