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Saturn-Ketu Conjunction 2019

The dreaded conjunction of Saturn and Ketu is upon us, with profound Implications for those who understand how to harness these difficult energies for spiritual growth. But for others and the world in general, expect the tension of this conjunction to erupt into all sorts of material unpleasantness— frustration, despair, retaliation, strife and violence.  

I’ll start with the remedies. My advice to you for this summer is threefold. Stay disciplined with your spiritual practice; retreat alone into nature, tuning your heart to its elemental pulse; and even when you feel like throwing everything to the wind, remain diligent with your practical responsibilities, which will likely feel more burdensome than ever. 

Though these things are always important, this summer they’re the rudder to keep you gliding high. I’m talking to myself here as much as you, because the agitation of this unsettled energy is building in my own life as I write. I feel a mighty pull towards disengagement, yet each day the chores and duties mount. I chip away at them as I can, nose to the grindstone, the horizon—that place where sea meets sky in infinite blue—continually beckoning. However, I understand what this tension signifies, and know it can (like all challenges) serve as momentum for the soul’s evolution . . .  or precipitate a downwards spiral into mud.   

The Saturn-Ketu conjunction, which began March 6th and lasts until January 24th, 2020, tightens this summer. Saturn and Ketu will be on the same degree (or nearly) from early May until late September. This is an extraordinarily rare phenomenon. Saturn and Ketu are both malefic forces, slow-moving and powerful, and of opposing natures, so that the compounding of their energies creates tension, both physical and psychological.  

As planets (grahas), Saturn and Ketu are aspects of cosmic intelligence, which is Singular in its essence but refracted into nine rays as it materialises from Pure Spirit into differentiated psychic matter. Just as white light passes through a prism and becomes a rainbow of colour, so does pure consciousness differentiate into the different rays of awareness. Though the planets are complex and distinct, the highest impulse of all of them is towards the One Pure Spirit—though eons of karmic unfolding on the material planes may be necessary first. Each planet modulates with high and low expressions, and this is what you need to understand for Saturn and Ketu as these energies impact your life this summer.  

Saturn creates limitations. His energy is cold, heavy, slow, dense, contractive, conservative and inwards. The most feared planet in India, Saturn provides the lessons of hardship. Disease, failure, sorrow, scarcity, misery and death all come through Saturn. But Saturn is also the Lord of Yoga, because his ultimate gift is wisdom . . .though the path to its realisation may be very long indeed. The material limitations Saturn imposes onto life can manifest in seemingly opposite ways. On the one hand, their impact restricts and denies, as the list of Saturnine woes above implies. Yet on the other hand, the limitations Saturn produces—even as they entangle consciousness at a very low level of evolution—can manifest as worldly success and power. Yet that worldly stature comes with a good amount of worry, anxiety, control, defensiveness, suspicion and greed. Here the restriction is psychological. It is material attachment grounded in fear. However, in the fullness of time, Saturn’s lessons fructify, as the ephemerality of all things material becomes apparent. Whether by the path of suffering or the path of material ennui, Saturn lifts the veil of ignorance, revealing the light of Eternal Truth. The ultimate gift of Saturn is thus transcendent wisdom. But in the meantime, he’ll make you “carry your cross” through life.  

Ketu personifies the mystical. Whereas Saturn piles on work and duty, Ketu withdraws into dream, dissolution and fantasy. Whereas Saturn is associated with dirt and lead, Ketu represents subtle energy. His nature is pitta—hot, irritable, erratic and prickly.  Wheres Saturn confronts us with material limitations, making us mould ourselves to their boundaries, Ketu as serpent slithers around them, usually unconsciously, retreating into a literal or metaphorical state of altered consciousness. In his high expression, Ketu grants intuition, psychic ability and enlightenment. In his low expression, he brings mental imbalances of all kind, even to the point of psychotic criminality. Highly unpredictable, of variegated colour, naturally malefic, Ketu appears in the classical texts “decked in silk, flowers, garlands and sandal paste”, in other words, with sattvic undertones that highlight his essential contradictions. Linked with darkness, he radiates a mysterious light, his serpent body bedecked with a single jewel. Though Ketu too brings transcendence, his slippery path meanders through strange territories replete with nihilism, depression, crime, substance abuse and abandonment. 

These two forces will be working in synergy all summer through the medium of Sagittarius, a fire constellation associated with higher knowledge, generally a sattvic environment, yet not without its pitfalls too. When under malefic influences, Sagittarius generates false confidence, a myopic ego-identity puffed up with its arrogant“know-it-all” certainty. In this low expression, it leads to“pride that cometh before the fall”, toppling individuals and institutions that seemed to be invincible.  

Daily news presents a line-up of situations which could explode as disaster this summer, if Ketu, Saturn and Sagittarius all manifest in their lowest forms through certain powerful individuals. Tension between the USA and China, Trump’s threat to Iran, volatility in the Middle East and Africa, division in Europe, Brexit and political chaos in the UK . . .  all these power plays continue on the world stage, while climate change and the extinction of species threaten life on earth as human civilisation has always known it. The Ketu and Saturn conjunction creates frustration that could ignite one or more of these scenarios. 

Jyotish is not a crystal ball, so I can’t say exactly what will happen, but something will! The news just reported that a 102-year old woman in a nursing home in France,—apparently very agitated and confused—murdered her 92-year old neighbour, a classic case of Ketu energy expressing through its low register. 

So back to my remedies for you (and me) this summer.  These practices can mitigate the effects of this challenging karma, which gets even more complicated as other planets will get involved too. . . . First of all, devote yourself to your spiritual practice—japa, meditation, yoga, prayer—not just for the benefit it brings to you, but for the radiance it can send out to those on this planet most in need.  Second, retreat into nature, not just to revitalise your spirit, but to breathe love and support onto all those life forms suffering from human abuse. Lastly, persevere with whatever duties and responsibilities you face, not just to take care of yourself, your family, your finances, your job (all that is important), but to discover for yourself the secrets of karma yoga, what Krishna taught in the Gita and Saturn reinforces, “Action in inaction and inaction in action”. 

As long as you remain embodied, you cannot help but act. So do the needful, but let go too! Let life flow as it will. . . .That undercurrent of inaction—which is Ultimate Reality—sustains it all. Ultimate Reality keeps everything in the three worlds humming along steadily. As Krishna teaches,  “Yoga is skill in action.”  Understand that, and you can relax about everything else!  


Om shanti