Scorpio – Masquerade!

the-doctor-and-river-songThe Doctor: “Can I trust you, River Song?”
River Song: “If you like! But where’s the fun in that?”

The Sun has moved into Scorpio.

I like to understand the nature of this time of year through the Celtic celebration of Samhain, because the Celtic tradition first and foremost acknowledges that the entire realm of the supernatural is real-but-not-real, here-but-not-here, there-but-not-there. In this regard, Scorpio is the intriguing sign through which we navigate our relationship between that which is visible and that which is invisible, that which is apparent and that which is apparition.

danuIn Celtic lore, the Tuatha Dé Danann are a mythic race of supernatural beings who live inside the earth. At the time of Samhain they emerge from the Underworld to collect their dues for having provided a good harvest earlier in the year.

Six months ago the Sun was in Taurus, the sign opposite Scorpio. In the northern hemisphere, the world flourished with life abundant in rich, exuberant color and a wild diversity of creativity and design in the form of flowers of all kinds, plants, trees and lush sensual gardens of earthly delights. Now, with the Sun in Scorpio, as these riches turn back toward the Underworld and the Tuatha Dé Danann emerge on Samhain, it’s a time to give something back for everything you enjoyed in the six months prior.

This might be the true meaning of “letting go” when it comes to Scorpio. Rather than a last-minute faux-“release” of something gross and nasty you discovered in a recent therapy session—something you didn’t really want anyway and can’t wait to get rid of—Scorpio is the release of something more valuable, perhaps something creative, something truer that comes from the inner depths (preferably from the deepest supernatural depths which touch the timeless), perhaps something that can be a resource for others.

The autumn season in western culture sees an onslaught of “new releases” in stores every year in advance of the Christmas money-making season. Perhaps the meaning of Samhain can shed a bit of new light on why so many artists release new music and new books at this time of year, and why movie studios often wait until autumn to give us the best of what they’ve got. Maybe it’s not just the commercialization and commoditization of the holiday.

portrait-picasso1See, the creative Sun in Scorpio goes into stealth mode and dons some kind of mask when presenting the deeper self on the stage of the world. Pablo Picasso, born with the Sun in Scorpio, knew all about this. He said, “Good artists copy—great artists steal.” Life is a masquerade! And masks come in many forms. Masks have been part of culture for thousands of years. There is a lot of talk these days of authenticity and the removing of masks in order to reveal one’s true self. Yet, the tradition of putting on masks isn’t to hide the truth at all—rather, the tradition of masks is to present the complex truth in its deepest form. Masks cover up what is on the literal surface, allowing us to reveal something deeper about human nature without getting it confused with the actual person presenting it. With a mask on, one can present something more truthful, more powerful, more lasting, and even more troubling. Scorpio gets down to those depths.

some-cool-masksThe facts of life never present the whole truth of life. Facts are merely facts, and facts have expiration dates. Facts die, as people do. To present one’s more authentic self and the deeper aspects of human nature beyond the facts requires a mask, to show the archetypal truth, the truth that lasts through time and appeals to far more people than do the facts of your life. The truth wears many masks and comes in many forms and guises. That’s what keeps Scorpio true to its own nature. And it’s what keeps life exciting! And mysterious! Of course, the mask used to reveal the deeper self can also be used, as the Phantom sings in Phantom of the Opera, to “hide your face so the world will never find you.” Once a mask is donned, how do you know what is real and what is not real? What is true and what is a lie? Who can you trust? We can get quite lost in the dark, twisted every way in the labyrinthine lairs of life. Herein lies the real complexity of Scorpio. Yet, truth is reliable, like the thin thread tying Theseus to Ariadne as he entered the labyrinth to slay the Minotaur. Follow the thread—trust your instincts—and the truth will out.

Originally posted in 2013.

© 2016 Shawn Nygaard & Imagine Astrology – all rights reserved

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Scorpio – Masquerade!

Saturn-Neptune and the Making of Soul

I’ve got a few blog posts in the works, to write a bit more in the coming months. Meanwhile, I have a new article coming out in the next issue of The Mountain Astrologer, called “Welcome to the Jungle, or Back to the Wild Frontier – Reflections on Saturn in Sagittarius.” It will be well worth checking out!

Also, this Wednesday evening, September 21, I’ll be teaching a webinar at Nightlight Astrology, called “Saturn-Neptune and the Making of Soul.” You can click here for more information or to register (it’s a donation-based webinar). Here’s the description:

Now that the exact passes of the Saturn-Neptune square have come and gone, this webinar takes a look back at what has happened between the first square on November 26, 2015, and the final square on September 10, 2016. It’s been quite a few months, and as this description is being written, there are still two and a half months left! Tonight we’ll take a look at events from this intense period of time and put them within the framework of what Saturn and Neptune contribute to “the making of soul.” And, where are we going from here?

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Saturn-Neptune and the Making of Soul

Uranus, Genius, Awakening, Revolution

I will be presenting a webinar for Nightlight Astrology on March 3, 2016, called “Uranus, Genius, Awakening, Revolution.” If you would like to attend, the information is located here: Nightlight Events – Winter 2016. My webinar description:

Discovered in 1781, amidst the Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, and the scientific revolution, and concurrent with the discovery of electricity, the planet Uranus was first seen when the world was experiencing radical change. What does this mean for Uranus in astrology? This “enlightening” webinar explores the nature of Uranus (known as “the Awakener”), with its ties to the scientific revolution; its mythic dimension associated with both the sky god Ouranos and the Titan Prometheus; and its place in our charts, with plenty of examples woven in, as well as a look at the Uranus cycle and Uranus’ current placement in Aries.

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Uranus, Genius, Awakening, Revolution

Saturn-Neptune and What We Live For

Recently in the United States was yet another mass shooting, and again at a school – this time in Oregon. Addressing the nation, President Obama said, “Somehow this has become routine. We’ve become numb to this.” Like so many major news events, the mass shooting has quickly become ‘yesterday’s news.’

Saturn-NeptuneTo give this a broad astrological perspective, I want to bring in the upcoming Saturn-Neptune square, which has already been active in wide orb for a number of months. The square between Saturn and Neptune becomes exact for the first time on November 26, 2015, when Saturn in Sagittarius squares Neptune in Pisces. After that, exact squares will occur on June 17, 2016, and September 10, 2016. In other words, Saturn and Neptune will be active for quite a while.

Saturn is the planet of limits, rules, and restrictions. Saturn has a lot to do with work, in regard to responsibilities as well as accomplishments. Neptune is a planet of imagination and dreams. Neptune is the ocean, and from water emerges life. Our lives emerge from how we imagine and envision them. Neptune is the dream, in the way described by Norwegian poet Olav Hauge (born with Saturn square Neptune), in his poem “It’s the Dream”:

It’s the Dream

It’s the dream we carry in secret
that something miraculous will happen,
that it must happen—
that time will open
that the heart will open
that doors will open
that the rockface will open
that spring will gush—
that the dream will open,
that one morning we will glide into
some little harbor we didn’t know was there.

What does this have to do with the shootings in Oregon, and with the President’s response? One article I read about the Oregon shooter noted, “People like him have nothing left to live for.”

I feel this is more central to the issue of mass shootings than gun control, and bears directly on the Saturn-Neptune square. As I delved into research of previous Saturn-Neptune cycles in history, I noted a striking theme which presented itself in three different quotes from three very different sources, all under Saturn-Neptune aspects.

The first is from the movie “Dead Poets Society,” which premiered in 1989 at the start of our current Saturn-Neptune cycle. Robin Williams plays a teacher who passionately encourages his young students to immerse themselves in poetry and life. He says, “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. Medicine, law, business, engineering—these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love—these are what we stay alive for.”



Similarly, back in 1936 at the Democratic National Convention (during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl), President Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke: “An old English judge said, once upon a time: “Necessitous men are not free men.” Liberty requires opportunity to make a living—a living decent according to the standard of the time, a living which gives man not only enough to live by, but something to live for.”


Most recently, under the current Saturn-Neptune square, the Netflix show “sense8,” in which eight people from around the world suddenly find themselves emotionally and intellectually connected to each other, featured one character offering profound counsel to another by saying, “At a certain point I realized there’s a huge difference between what we work for and what we live for.”



Thus, when a reporter notes that a gunman had nothing left to live for, what is that saying about our culture?

The Saturn-Neptune cycle offers the opportunity to recognize the difference in our lives between what we work for (which refers to Saturn’s domain), and what we stay alive for (Neptune’s terrain), what makes life worth living. Perhaps they’re not so different for you. Work is work, and even when people love their work, there is more to life than work. Neptune offers endless imaginative possibilities for how we live our lives, separate from and outside of Saturn’s existing rules. When dreaming, the rules do not apply!

William Saroyan, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, born with Saturn square Neptune in his chart, said, “In the time of your life, live.”

When President Obama notes that shootings have become routine and “we’ve become numb to this,” perhaps he’s presenting a country in which cold Saturn has taken hold, where limitations have cut off the possibilities for an extraordinary number of people, cut off the innate ability to imagine better lives … to dream. Saturn is in Sagittarius, a sign associated with not only education, but also with what brings meaning to our lives. As Saturn in Sagittarius squares Neptune in Pisces, we have the opportunity to loosen Saturn’s grip where it grips a little too tightly or controls a little too much, and imagine what it means to live—really live—a meaningful life.

Saturn-Neptune and What We Live For