Pleasure has a place in discovering your soul purpose. It either takes us into addiction, and then recovery helps us discover our purpose, or… if we engage pleasure with curiosity, not shame, we might be able to go straight to discovery.
– Dr. Toni Galardi
One more week give or take for Mercury in retro in Pisces. I am going deep into the watery realm of Pisces as this is such a time to be exploring the God that exists in our shadow. Yes, Pisces rules the direct experience of God or if you prefer, the mystical realm. And, it also rules sensuality and drugs. What is the God of your shadow? What addiction has or is taking you to a deeper relationship with your soul?
I thought I would share a little about one of the 20th centuries most prolific writers who became famous after giving up his partying ways to join the Catholic monastery. The Trappist life is about as austere as it gets and yet Thomas Merton, known to have had plenty of women in his college days, was not ordained until age 34. In his short life of twenty more years, he wrote more than 50 books.
To quote wikipedia, “Merton was a keen proponent of interfaith understanding. He pioneered dialogue with prominent Asian spiritual figures, including the Dali Lama, and the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh.”
Ahem, he also authored successful books on Zen buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism in the most conservative era of the 20th century, the 1950’s!
There is a documentary on Merton’s life on Amazon and a journalist makes the comment that after many years in the monastery, Merton was invited to speak at a major conference in San Francisco in the 60’s and while they were having coffee in a cafe, he became quite distracted by all the beautiful scantily clad women he observed.
This piqued my interest. So, of course, I had to look at his chart and there was an accurate time of birth. Fascinating.
Thomas Merton had a Pisces rising so he gave the appearance of a monk but was a true radical activist in his core. If he hadn’t made so much money for the church, they may have never let him engage with the East and his passionate commitment for us to understand Eastern religious philosophy in the West.
Thomas Merton had 6 planets ( if you include the north node) in Aquarius in Aquarius’ house, the 11th. Aquarius of course rules the rebel, the future, and bringing humanity into oneness. However, his moon was in Leo in the house Leo rules, creativity, fun, and personal love in great ease with his Venus in Sagittarius in the 9th house of publishing. That’s a lot of fire in the planets that rule love and sex.
Here is a quote that so expresses his Leo moon: “The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them.”
Perhaps, if Thomas Merton had not had his 20’s to live in the world with all its sensual appetites, he may not have been able to transmute those passions into his work as a writer and author away from the world. And he was very passionate about writing. However, one can only sublimate carnal passion for so long.
He began having aches and pains that took him to the hospital where he would hear on the radio of the social unrest, Kennedy’s and then King’s assassination. This galvanized his writing to take on a social activist’s tone. A passionate but semi-clandestine relationship with a young nurse called Margie Smith, was discovered by his superiors at the Abbey of Gethsemani, who issued him an ultimatum of choosing between the woman and a reaffirmation of his vocation as a celibate monk. He chose to cut it off but shortly after, he supposedly died of electrocution ( Aquarius rules electricity) from a fan after getting out of the shower not long after breaking off this relationship. An autopsy was waived by the church.
As we get closer to the elections, I close with this from Merton: “Instead of hating the people you think are war-makers, hate the appetites and disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed – but see these things in yourself, not in another.”
What Merton was not able to reconcile was his own personal passion ( moon conjunct the south node in Leo) and his impersonal mission ( stellium of planets in the 11th).
What we can take from this is to include time in our lives for monastic retreat to be curious and inclusive as to what we are truly passionate about now with non-judgment. What is calling your soul needs a respite from the world as part of every week. Every day taking time to feed your soul by asking it, “what will nourish you today, my friend?” Otherwise, the shadow gets our attention through our addictions.
Astrology Tips for Your Work Week
- Mars comes back into bounds Monday March 2nd. Hopefully, this will calm everyone down a bit as we move to election day.
- The moon will go out of bounds on Wednesday March 4th for about 4 hours. With Mercury in retro until March 10th, I would not recommend making any important decisions that day. When a planet goes out of bounds, we see the extreme version of that planet. In the case of Mars, it brought excessive anger out in people. With the moon, we make emotional decisions that we regret when Mercury turns direct and we see more clearly what to do.
- If you must make a decision on something before March 10 when mercury stations direct, Monday and Thursday are best.
One last quote from Thomas Merton’s journal: “This day of my life will never come again.”Imagine beginning each day with that contemplation.
With great love and affection,