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Falling in Love with Time

The start of a new year provokes most of us to look straight into the face of Time and ask: “WTF happened?”

This is understandable because, for most of the year, like most of our lives, we avoid developing a welcoming relationship with Time. Instead, we feel that Time is stalking us, cornering us, going too fast or slow. Time is anything but accommodating, and never feels “just right.”

The Buddhist teacher Tarthang Tulku writes about our relationship to Time like this:

“Existence itself depends on time and necessarily partakes of the derivative past-present-future structure and also of transitoriness.” (1)

This is another way of saying that without Time, we couldn’t see things as they appear in space. And we’d have no way to register experiences because everything, both internal and external, would exist as an amorphic blob — an “everything, everywhere, all at the same time” condition as quantum physics conceptualizes it.

Tarthang continues:

“Things are here, in the present, only to pass out of reach. ‘Things’ are desired … but are ‘not yet.’ We have become so conditioned by this trend that all our hopes and aspirations amount to filling up little slots in a sort of personalized past-present-future grid. We are literally timing ourselves away.”

In astrology, two planets correspond to our day-to-day experience of Time.

The planet Saturn, as a symbol of cyclic Time, marks out Time’s sequencing and demarcations. And in contrast (or compliment), the planet Jupiter relates to the feeling you have when you have slipped beyond Time. As when you are passionately involved with a project, and hours pass without a sense of Time’s presence.

If I had to pinpoint one particular theme for the New Year, it would be a set of opportunities for each of us to experience new dimensions of Time. And this relates to Jupiter’s recent ingress into Aries last December. And Saturn moving into Pisces in early March 2023.

Saturn’s entry into Pisces is an intriguing sort of puzzle, a Zen koan from the cosmos. Saturn’s sharp outlines, that gravity-bound sense that “this is how reality is” begin to soften and morph while the planet transits Pisces.

Solidity appears transparent. So as the year continues to unfold — after the March ingress — the opportunity increases to peer through Time and into the heart of the Timeless.

It’s difficult to write about the Timeless as its very “origin” is in the non-conceptual realm. But once we’ve encountered the Timeless, our experience of quotidian Time is never the same. We know better than to take life at “face value.” And we understand this perception, not intellectually, but down in our bones (where Saturn always registers first).

Attempting to rally and type out the above paragraph is very much the vibe of the upcoming Saturn in Pisces transit. It’s the quintessential quantum physics transit through the zodiac.

Saturn remains in Pisces into the spring of 2025 and favors anyone who works with the arts — especially film, music, and television. And it also brings into sharper awareness the world of those who work within the healing professions. Especially vocations that involve psychology or philosophy (like the existential school of psychotherapy).

The signs Cancer and Scorpio will register this transit as one of resonance — a “being in the right place at the right time” condition.

Pisces individuals might experience an increased sense of pressure in their lives. A requirement to step up to the plate and declare — and then fashion — what they wish to achieve during the next couple of years.

Whenever Saturn transits one’s Sun sign (or opposes it, as Virgos will soon discover), the indubitable awareness of Fate becomes unavoidable. An organic push brings to fruition what might otherwise remain dormant and unlived.

Saturn in Pisces will form a galvanizing (sometimes irritating) square to Gemini and Sagittarius. Both signs rely heavily on their keen intellect to maneuver life. But the new Saturn transit pushes imagination to the fore.

Dreams become emphatic; fantasies more enlivened. Orienting to this new influx requires fresh, untried creative outlets — writing, painting, composing, filming, photographing — all of those media offer opportunities for the Twins and Centaurs.

Aries, Capricorn, and Libra fall more under the spell of the transit of Jupiter — the joie de vivre planet — in Aries. By conjunction, square, or opposition, the Jupiter transit sets the cardinal signs doing what they do best — spinning and initiating. Although this is a shorter-than-usual stay for Jupiter (and will last until mid-May of 2023) — it still packs a punch.

Regardless of one’s Sun sign, Jupiter moving through Aries triggers a newfound audacity. The squeaky wheel not only gets the grease but accolades as well, for being courageous enough to break stalemates and expose oppression. Any condition that hampers personal freedom is ready to be dismantled.

I’d imagine that the sluggish pall that’s dominated culture since the onset of the Covid pandemic will recede — urging us to ditch the outworn and engage with life-affirming causes. We might still be required to mask up here and there, but the days of hiding in one’s living room and socializing strictly over Zoom are over.

That sense of Timelessness we’ll experience with the Saturn–Pisces transit is turned into a one-pointed, self-directed activity via Jupiter’s transit in Aries.

So there is a five-month window during the first half of 2023 to gain significant mileage, not just in pragmatic ways but also in exploring spiritual and philosophical teachings that guide us beyond conventional notions of reality. If you’ve ever considered exploring something like micro-dosing psilocybin, here’s your moment.

When we begin to cherish Time — not in a sentimental, Hallmark card sort of way, Time rises to meet us in a spacious, accommodating manner. And through peculiar synchronistic ways, Time will introduce us to the knowledge we need to accomplish whatever we set our mind to accomplish.

This is how Time and knowledge work in tandem. But first, there must come the willingness to value Time intentionally.

This happens when we have skin in the game. When we actively participate with Time in a loving, respectful way — following the outlines that Saturn provides to create schedules and systems to channel our enthusiasm. To participate in the creation of a new phenomenon for Time to display within the field of space.

Also, again from Tarthang Tulku, is an exercise called “Condensing Time” that I’ve used over time to help move me back into a conscious appreciation of Time. Maybe it will work for you as well:

“Imagine that an average human lifespan is only one year in length. Cultivate a sense of the richness of a whole lifetime — the growth, the accomplishment, and the understanding — being condensed into twelve short months. Reflect on how precious this brief life is and how urgent it is to make good use of the time you have left. Now condense that knowing even further, imagining that the week to come will be a lifetime. Bring this sense of condensed time into the actual rhythms and events of the week. Maintaining this focus can help you develop the awareness you need to wake up to Time right now.”

(1) All quotes from Tarthang Tulku, Time, Space and Knowledge: A New Vision of Reality, Dharma Publishing, 1997.

Frederick Woodruff’s career as a professional astrologer spans five decades. Take ten seconds to sign up for Frederick’s Substack to receive unique reads on astrology, the Tarot, and dreams. His new novel on Jeffrey Dahmer arrives in the summer of 2023. You can follow his research and writing process with the book here.

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