There are hidden capacities within each of us. Perhaps they are not so much hidden as unused, but so far as they are unused, unnoticed, unaddressed, they are much like superpowers manifesting for the first time when found, much like the origin story of nearly every mutant in the X-Men, much like how Superman’s powers didn’t quite show themselves until puberty. It had often been the case in comic books that superpowers either remained latent and were activated through a freak accident or were gifted to a given character. Think of Flash, Captain America, Green Lantern, Hulk, the Fantastic Four, the Silver Surfer. Spider-man. The Inhumans. Consider, even, an untrained witch or wizard in Harry Potter like Harry before he got his letter. Often, super powers are learned and appear rather mundane. Consider Batman. Consider Iron Man. Half of Daredevil’s powers were “gifted,” the rest were the result of intense training.
And training. It is always the case that a hero doesn’t just have powers but trains to use them effectively. This is why the X-Men have the Danger Room, the Fantastic Four have their own methods, and Doctor Strange his own. Consider that Reed Richard’s technological prowess is far more valuable than his ability to stretch his body, that Spider-man often wins a fight not because of his ability to climb on walls but because he tends to crack jokes or merely jabber away, confusing his opponent. Reed and Plastic Man have the same super powers, but Plastic Man is a second-rate superhero at best while Reed sits at the very top of the list of the greatest super heroes ever to have existed such that none of his peers would question this for a second.
There are hidden capacities within each of us and they are always a part of us whether they are actively expressed or not.
I’m going to tell a little story. It will be rather personal.
September 17, 2015:
My partner was out of town as he frequently is during the school year. Before work, as I occasionally would, I decided to trim my hair and trim my beard by myself — over the summer I had kept my hair very short. Then the guard slipped. As simply and suddenly as that, a spot on my head held no hair at all. I panicked. I panicked hard. But I still managed to think fast. I had had my morning routine timed out just right so that I could make it to work on time. So was I still going to show up for work?
Obviously, I didn’t have the sorts of hairstyling talents to turn the mistake into something artsy and creative, so I did everything I could to make it look… like it wasn’t a huge mistake (It was a huge mistake). I cut all of my hair all of the way down, and for the first time in years, because I thought it would match the new look better, I shaved my face with a razor. Clean. Smooth. Thus it was that the only hair on my head was contained by my eyebrows. I was to myself nearly completely unrecognizable.
The panic didn’t go away, but I did make it to work, where I sort of tried to hide from everyone. Due to business it did turn out to be a short day for me, fortunately, and once released, I went straight home. I paced back and forth in the kitchen, wondering what I would do for lunch. I didn’t trust myself to do something as complicated as prepare any sort of meal for myself, as shaken and upset as I was — more upset than the circumstances called for. I threw a hat on and headed to the Mexican restaurant near home.
Only a block down the main road, I was faced with the general truth that if I can’t even make myself lunch out of severe anxiety, I should not then drive; I accidentally let up on the brake as cars passed in front of me. I nearly attempted what would have been a failed run through a red light. If my anxiety had been severe at the start, I don’t know what one would call my state then. I returned home and poured myself a gin and tonic and sat outside in the Sun, trying to figure out what to do, feeling like a failure, feeling like I had seriously damaged myself. Had I seriously damaged myself?
I could grill. It was a happy activity, a natural choice, or it would have been if I had been able to get the damned thing lit. I sat on the back step again, gin in hand, and then a few drops of rain, straight out of a perfectly clear blue sky, landed on my clean-shaven face. It was strange. Mostly it made me angry. Why was the Universe going out of its way to do something apparently impossible just to spite me?
Another gin and tonic and some YouTube videos. Random videos. I posted a comment on one of Mr. Nagel pertaining to philosophy of mind. I supposed I respected him, but he said something disingenuous, as I felt, so I called it out and stopped watching. Restless.
I then decided to take a walk all the way downtown, which is only about three miles. As I approached, I checked the time on my phone, and out of habit I checked my astrology app. My heart drops. Saturn was in the last degree of Scorpio, straddling the cusp of Sagittarius, its placement in my natal chart. By some definitions, this was the very beginning of my Saturn Return.
I had explained what this meant to my partner a few times, though it was always lost somewhere in translation. I had explained that Saturn’s return could be thought of as the time when Saturn returns to “speak” on the matters he had spoken on when the native had come into being as a separate entity in the world — the time of birth. The Saturn return is said to be a rough time. Challenging.
I had explained that Saturn’s return is the time either when things come to fruition or when Saturn lays the smack-down on you depending on the way in which you had fulfilled Saturn’s message at your birth, the message through which you were created. If the message had not been expressed through you, it would be expressed to you.
Do I turn around? Why would I turn around? I really felt I should turn around. But I didn’t. I didn’t. I instead just continued forward, and that was the beginning of the end. I felt that a part of this was entirely out of my hands, that I’d already set the chain of events in motion… but I’d heard the call to stop — if that’s what it was — at just the right time. The call to stop. Perhaps if I show restraint… if I show restraint…
Saturn respects restraint… My fifth house Saturn in trine aspect to Venus. In Aries.
I stopped suddenly at the restaurant in town. The one I had helped to open, but which had closed, then wouldn’t rehire me when they’d opened again. I was supposed to hold resentment against them, but just couldn’t do it (don’t worry, I got that covered now). I ordered a beer and the least unappetizing thing on the menu. The owner and one of his managers came to talk to me, to see how I had been doing. Small talk. I behaved as though I were far too happy to see them. I think I was obviously nearing drunk.
I leave an entirely too generous tip for the server. And then I leave. With no plans. Just across the street is the more popular bar in town, and the only one where I’d had any positive experience at all.
Go in alone? I’m used to doing everything alone. That is, until two years ago. Moving in with your special someone takes much of the solitary out of your life by its very nature.
I went in alone. I had another drink. Just one. Then I decided to take a walk. So I walked through campus with the notion that I’d stop by the restaurant where I work, which was actually much too far to walk, anyway — stupid idea. And then it very suddenly begins to rain. Not just any rain. This was cold, pouring rain and it immediately completely soaked me. So I hid under the nearest overhang and waited. And waited. And then gave up and headed back to the bar. I didn’t have much option.
I had made my decision not to turn around and go home. And the Universe held me to it.
The decision had been made some time prior, but this was the moment the decline really began to happen. I ordered a few — several — more drinks and made a fool of myself. But at the time I was too drunk to notice or care. I’m glossing over them, but don’t under-estimate those five words: made a fool of myself. In a very different way, fueled by ethanol rather than razor blades, I was to myself unrecognizable.
Somehow aware enough to know I must not order another drink, I headed to a different bar (whether I did or not order another drink is another matter altogether as I can’t trust my memory beyond this point). Here, I have no idea why, I tried to climb the the wall surrounding the outer enclosure, the area where people went to smoke cigarettes. It was a weird crazy stupid drunk thing to do. Some guy stopped me. He was absolutely convinced that I was trying to kill myself and that I needed Jesus in my life. Thus, the next hour was spent in debate — the kind of debate I was all too ready for.
Damnit. I got this. This is my thing. If I weren’t so far gone, I’d have this dumbass destroyed.
But I was so far gone. I did, however, manage to work him round in rather drunk circles before pointing out that the entire conversation was based on the false notion that I had been trying to kill myself in the first place. And then he went to get another drink and then I slipped away and headed home, very wobbly, very upset, and more acutely aware of my disfigured face and so many shortcomings. I did want to kill myself. The guy was right, though his evidence for it was all wrong.
I do a number of very drunk, rather shameful things on the way home, part of which involved lying in the grass by the side of the stream in the darkest shadows I could find, watching the stars spinning overhead as the ground wobbled and rolled beneath me. I was the very picture of pathetic, dirty drunkard.
I woke up the next morning not quite sure how I had gotten into bed, as miserable as I have ever felt. Too miserable to feel anything actively. I felt simply disgusting. Ashamed. Ashamed. Ashamed.
I took a shower. Barely. It didn’t help. I dropped back into bed. Somehow, my laptop lay just there. It’s never there.
Shame. Shame. Shame.
Priya, I’m really thinking about killing myself…
Somehow, she got a hold of my partner, who got a hold of my mom, who got a hold of my brother. Priya, my partner, my brother. I was falling to pieces, apologizing for things no one understood, insisting that “I broke it.” “I broke it,” I said. “I broke it! It’s all broken, its all broken, I am a bad wrong thing…” I definitely wasn’t making sense to anyone. “I don’t want to leave you!” “I am a bad wrong thing. I’m so sorry!”
I was, as never before, speaking as though killing myself were truly an inevitability I had no control over and didn’t want. I certainly did not want to leave the person I loved most.
“I broke it.”
Somewhere along the way, the police were called to check on me. And then the ambulance was called. And after several hours of nurses and doctors screwing around in the hospital here in town (though I really had no idea where I was), I was taken to a mental hospital in a town not very far from here.
This is where I end the story.
A rather similar thing occurred six months prior, by which I mean that I went out by myself, drank entirely too much, made a fool of myself, and felt awful for a long while. Miserable, but not so much that I fell entirely to pieces and wound up in the hospital. It was a bit of a turning point, though.
Six months prior, Saturn was stationed, about to turn retrograde, five degrees from his placement at my nativity. Was that the official start of the Saturn Return? Or when Saturn first entered Sagittarius on December 24th 2014, the day my partner visited family — without me — and I was, without a car and having not been scheduled most of the week at work, essentially forced to spend several days completely alone during a family-oriented holiday?
Saturn returned to his position in my natal chart exactly on December 18, 2015.
After I left the hospital, I was driven. I had been given access to paints while I was there and for the first week after I’d gotten out I took to painting at least a little every day, sometimes a lot. And I did paint at least a little every day. The first day out of the hospital I also committed to NaNoWriMo — National Novel Writing Month — and to learning to write code. Until summer came around, when I finally chose to take a break, I wrote at least a little every day, maybe with an odd exception here or there, and each month had seen some new project.
Eighteen months later I am still driven. Some unstoppable force is pushing me forward, some undying fire ignited. I have been writing, yes, but much more than that. I have been reading — teaching, even. I have been working my way toward creating a name for myself as a local astrologer, something I never thought I could actually do. And now a trip to Mexico with an old friend and possibly a trip to New York City with my brother is in the works. I’ve been learning to make youtube-style videos all while working more and making much more money than I normally do.
By the Hellenic definition, I believe, my Saturn Return doesn’t end until Saturn enters Capricorn. It seems both the sign and actual angular proximity signify the Return. Does this period of motivation end in a few months? So many questions. Most importantly, however, I have direct personal experience of what Saturn is about. If you don’t demonstrate having learned your lesson, your “mission” the forces collectively referred to as Saturn will come down upon you, relentlessly forcing the mission upon you, at which point you are crushed or adapt, and once those forces are wielded in accordance to their purpose you can ride them like a wave, unyieldingly pressing forward with the power of a mountain glacier — steady in a way the explosive forces of Mars are not. Determined without the draining of energies that are the result of the emotional release, the energetic expression of intense passion.
I feel as though Saturn had doused me with terragen mists, unlocked my X gene… bitten me with a radioactive hummingbird. The result, the purpose, what it all means… we shall see.