|artwork: Susan Boulet|
It was good to hear from you and to hear you are well. I simply haven’t been able to write till now, but here I sit, staring at the computer screen back in my astrology “office” in Newport, R.I. I left Sophie and Alistair to come back to care for my mother in the nursing home. Her stroke was massive, and the astrology charts are blatant in their verdict. All the signs are there: the subtle and foreboding omens of a mind and body slipping away. I feel exhausted in dealing with a problem that has only one solution—death. This is the final act in a long and tortured relationship that has been bandaged, but not healed. But no matter how much one may know in one’s mind that the end is near, and try to put it all in perspective, the reality is always a shock. And I can feel my grief…
This morning when I went to the nursing home, my mother was scared and wanted to talk about dying. I told her how I had heard that dying is sometimes compared to slipping out of an old shoe that was too tight. She seemed to like that. The nurse came by with some pumpkin pie and I fed us both, spoonful by spoonful, and there was something about feeding her this way that felt healing. Then I rubbed her feet for a few moments before I left and went back to my “sanctuary.” It was hard to leave, but yet I couldn’t seem to stay longer today…
Kendra, did I ever tell you about where I work? Sometimes I think of it as a sanctuary—it’s a small room with high ceilings and dark wood walls. It has a small fireplace, two comfortable olive green chairs facing each other with a large amber stained glass light between them. There’s a Victorian writing desk on the side—it’s made from a deep grained oak and has several drawers and secret nooks. It’s called a Larkin desk, and was traditionally bought with coupons by Victorian ladies who bought enough Larkin Soap! On the desk I keep a fountain pen, a leather journal, and an ink-stained blotter that I found in Florence once. The amber lamp casts a soft glow across the writing table, and I love the spare moments when I actually use my old pen and journal. There’s a bookcase next to the desk and at least a dozen journals I’ve kept through the years.
Anyway…when I sit at the desk I look out the front window to see the old Redwood library with its enormous copper beach tree. (How appropriate or strange it is that the historic library and the astrologer’s office should be right opposite each other!) When I first opened this space I wondered if the townspeople would even allow an astrologer on this well-heeled end of Bellevue Avenue. So I found an antique pendulum clock and put it in full view from the front window, hoping that the Victorian ambience would not feel threatening. So far it has worked! And for me it has created a sacred space.
The only anachronism here is the computer, but I must have it for the astrology programs. And here is what I’m staring at: Mom is 88 years old, with transiting Saturn conjunct her natal Saturn in the 12th house, and Uranus conjunct the Moon. The transiting Uranus on her Moon is the shock of this change, this stroke. The restrictive 12th house atmosphere of the nursing home and her paralysis is echoed in the 12th house placement of Saturn….and she’s having her third Saturn Return. The Saturn metaphors of transition with solitariness seem fitting. And dying is both work and letting go…ah, not easy! Everyone has a third Saturn Return around the age of 88, if they live that long—did you know that? Not all of us live to see it or live through it, but how interesting that it’s seldom talked about.
Death is usually indicated in the chart of a person who is close to the dying person—rather than the person themselves. It often marks its presence by a strong Jupiter transit in the caregiver when it’s a matter of “When will she be released? And me?” And I see that Jupiter will be aspecting my Sun within the next couple of weeks. And with her 3rd Saturn Return happening at the same time as Uranus, the planet of sudden change, aspects her Moon, her emotions—well, this is as close to a prediction of a death as I’ve ever seen. In fact, if it doesn’t happen now, I think my faith in astrology will be severely tested…we’ll see…the question is: Can we do any more healing between us? Till later my dear~Isabelle