Joyful Responsibility and Responsible Joy? | Weekly | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
Joyful Responsibility and Responsible Joy?
Amanda Painter

Esteemed astrologer Robert Hand has described squares between the Sun and Saturn with this question: “How much self-gratification do you owe yourself, and what duties and responsibilities do you owe others?” You very well may be grappling with this question, especially if you’re only now getting around to some form of “summer vacation.”

The late-Leo Sun is square Saturn in Scorpio now, and the aspect is exact tomorrow (Friday) at 7:40 pm EDT. Chances are you’ve been feeling its influence all this week.

With the signs involved, “self-gratification” in the form of play, creativity, pursuits that hearken back to childhood, and perhaps some desire to have a bruised ego stroked may form one side of the equation. On the other side you’re likely noticing questions of financial stability or limitation; the boundaries (real or perceived) of sexual energy and sharing; and the need to see what has truly changed in those areas in the last two years (and last few months).

For many people, the very mention of responsibility, authority and limits calls to mind baggage-laden images of restrictive parents, domineering or punitive employers, and a long list of “shoulds” guaranteed to dampen one’s mood. Or it might kick up a streak of rebelliousness if you have made a habit out of defining yourself in opposition to anyone who has ever tried to tell you what to do.

None of that is much fun. In fact, it is downright energy sapping. It can even influence people to self-sabotage their own goals. If you take refuge only in self-gratification without taking any responsibility whatsoever—whether for your own emotional reactions, your desires, or the effort you need to make to get from Point A to Point B as an adult—it’s hard to get very far in life.

Same with taking responsibility for the ways you may project negativity onto others who you perceive to hold power over you. Often when we feel powerless in the face of authority, we’re actually projecting our own negative perceptions of a situation onto the authority figure we’re dealing with, rather than seeing the power we truly have or the ways we’re holding ourselves back.

As children, often we do not have much power; as adults, we can carry that child-parent dynamic with us, when it has longed ceased to serve us. So how do you deal with that if you’re facing it now? How do you find the balance between self-gratification and your adult duties and responsibilities?

Step one is to check your assumptions about the things being required of you that you don’t feel like doing. Are they really that bad/boring/wasteful/time-consuming/difficult/pointless, etc? Is there truly nothing valuable you can gain from doing it? Does it contribute to a greater whole in ways you have not thought about yet?

Another step, again suggested by Robert Hand, is to see if you can convert your sense of impatience with any restrictions into self-discipline. That sounds great—but how the heck do you do that? Last I checked, nobody had invented a self-discipline magic wand. Imagine how different the world would be if someone had.

What is "self-discipline," anyway? Is it really just forcing yourself to do what you don’t want to do? Or is it more like allowing yourself to find some spark of childlike wonder, play or learning in what needs to be done—curiosity mixed with satisfaction in accomplishment?

That sounds simplistic; perhaps in some situations it is. But in researching the astrology to write this, I was reminded of this little deck of inspirational cards that used to be at my former chiropractor’s office. I forget the name of the deck and of the man who created them, but one of the cards stands out to me. It said something like:

“Do only what brings you joy. If that is not possible, find joy in all that you do.”

Again, that sounds simplistic, but I think it holds a valuable key to Sun square Saturn and this question of taking responsibility, yet enjoying life. So often, how we feel about what must be done—and getting ourselves to do it—just comes down to perspective. A perspective of opening ourselves to curiosity, learning, accomplishment and generosity goes a long way to being able to find joy in one’s duties, as well as in the activities that we do for our own pleasure.

And yes, sometimes it takes more than a blog post to get us there. Therapy is a valuable tool in getting out from under the shadowy thumb of whoever used to wield power in our lives. A reality-check conversation with your most motivated friend could help you pick that lock, too.

One final note about the Sun in Leo square Saturn in Scorpio: moving right along with the Sun as it finishes in Leo and enters Virgo Sunday is the asteroid Eros. Eros is named for the god of love and erotic energy.

This is a good time to practice taking responsibility for your own orgasm, pleasure, libido and self-love. If that isn’t the perfect merging of self-gratification, responsibility, love and joy ever, I don’t know what is.

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