My skywatching experience two mornings ago was the most satisfying and joyful of my life. I think this peak experience came together because of a number of factors. First, it was a culmination of a regular practice this past year of intentionally getting up early to watch the sky, take photos and video, and do my astrological practice out in nature rather than abstracted by an ephemeris, which had been my primary practice for years. Doing this practice many mornings this past year became a positive feedback loop, and it has brought me so much happiness.
It was also, of course, the incredible rarity and beauty of this particular alignment. Even though I knew it was likely to be very special, I really had no idea what the particular formation would look like each night from this latitude, from this city, from each of the unique vantage points I selected for viewing. It is an exciting practice, and I wish I knew how satisfying urban sky walking could be earlier in my life here, but now I know.
Another huge and unexpected factor, that I could have never predicted, was the totally unique circumstances for viewing this alignment under the San Francisco Shelter in Place rules. The city was totally empty from 4 to 6 am, devoid of cars and people roaming the streets, and there has been this feeling of safety and solitude for communing with the sky. These weeks San Francisco has felt like small-town Mayberry, and to walk the pre-dawn streets has been so peaceful. These mornings have been so crucial to my mental health in these very challenging times, and for this I feel blessed.
In this video you will hear my sense of wonder as I see these five planets rise over the east bay. I was up early enough, and the weather was good enough, for me to be with the alignment for over two hours. As I took it in I could feel the scales of time that these planets represent, and you will hear me travel back in time on the 30 year scale of Saturn, the 12 year scale of Jupiter, and the shorter scales of Mars and the Moon.
I think we are called to envision our future on these scales of time, and also to integrate the past in these same increments. This is such a great moment for going back in time in your imagination to what was happening 30 years ago, and for integrating that period of your life as well as what has transpired since then, from the perspective of now. Equally helpful is to have a 2 and 12 year vision for the future. What timelines are you aiming for a month from now, two years from now, 12 years from now?
We are of course called on the spiritual path to "be here now," but in order to do that well I feel we need to participate in the natural process of integration and visioning that happens on these scales of time. It is hard to be here now if you are unable to deeply integrate important past experiences, or if you wander aimlessly into the future without holding strong intentions.
Don't be disappointed if you missed seeing the alignment this week. Even though Mars will not come back to be with Jupiter and Saturn again, every month through December we will get 3 days when the Moon will return to be with them, and it will be very cool to see this. The Council of Elders will reconvene each month though December, and it will be a great opportunity for regular ritual and prayer, as well as a chance to check-in with our planetary guides for encouragement and solace.
It will get brighter through the Summer and will be visible most of the night. In July and August when the full Moon rises it will be very close to Jupiter and Saturn (and Pluto), and then visible all night. Late in the year it will be beautiful at sunset with a crescent Moon.
So there will be lots of opportunities to get out under the sky and be with both our mother Earth and our protective Sky. Blessings!