On my second Saturn return I was laid off from my job as a paralegal and blindsided by my boyfriend’s unexpected breakup with me (because he was going to Ireland and needed to be free). The loss of my job and the end of my relationship caused me considerable anguish, but this was not the first time I had faced challenging circumstances without immediate or foreseeable resolution.
I had a mortgage to pay and six beloved cats to care for, two of whom required costly veterinary intervention which I was now unable to afford. The reality of ageism that often hindered employment prospects for women my age was very much on my mind. I worried that I would not secure another job in time.
For many years my spiritual take on things guided me to be diplomatic, kind, and patient. At work I did my best to apply my skills. I had been an understanding and accommodating girlfriend. My commitment to aligning my actions with my words exemplified my belief in living a righteous life, as I understood that.
I know that despite earnest efforts to lead a virtuous life, the unexpected will always come knocking. However, I firmly believe in our right to pursue a meaningful and fulfilling life despite lacking basic security and maybe even because of it. I understand that difficult circumstances can present as an opportunity to cultivate resilience (even if such was not intended by whomever intends them), and navigating between the proverbial rocks can even encourage a certain bravado for embracing the unknown. (Honestly, what other choice is there?) I sought solace in the belief (and hope) that my challenging circumstances were not insurmountable barriers but ones that could actually become stepping stones for growth. Through my commitment to this belief, I fostered a mostly brave mindset and reminded myself to remain curious for how my life would unfold. I was not an entirely passive observer, however. I did try to be an active participant in my life, even as I knew that re-establishing stability would require the cooperation of others.
Unable to find another job, I experienced the loss of my ailing cats. I sold my home below market value for quick cash. I bade farewell to Boulder, Colorado, the place I called home for over three decades and the only place I have ever felt was my true home. Leaving Colorado was a profoundly sorrowful event. This beautiful State had been my sanctuary, and I never anticipated leaving it. I was heartbroken.
I eventually found myself in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I took a studio apartment in a non-profit, cooperative-in-name-only housing complex that also barred pets. (This was a huge red flag. A place antithetical to pets is spiritually incompatible with me.) To qualify for the apartment since I no longer had an income, I took early social security, thus reducing for life the amount I would receive, and to keep my cats I obtained a letter from a physician stating that I medically required their emotional support. (This had always been true, but now as a renter I was subject to verification under the Fair Housing Act.)
Despite my tireless efforts (all told, I submitted 300 resumes), I was unsuccessful in procuring another job. My last law firm job in Colorado was the last job I ever had working for someone else. It became an early retirement that was not planned for or wanted. (Permanent job separation for older workers who cannot find another job because of age bias is an endemic issue in the U.S.)
In Albuquerque I soon encountered abandoned cats suffering the ravages of homelessness. They walked through the complex where they were unwelcome. Some hid under cars and others found their way to the nearby arroyo where they were chased by unleashed dogs and had rocks thrown at them. Deeply moved by this feline crisis and not knowing I would face significant backlash, I embarked on a mission to save them.
I established feeding stations and shelters in the arroyo, providing much-needed sustenance and refuge. They say you can’t herd cats, but all I had to do was convince one cat that the arroyo would save his life, and the others followed. Despite my meager social security check, I regularly spent some of it to buy food and shelter materials. After a year, a resident who had loudly professed to hate cats was moved by my persistence and offered ongoing financial support for their care.
The arroyo as a thoroughfare for the homeless and drug dealers is a story in itself. It was not the safest place for the cats’ rescue or me. My first three years in Albuquerque I cried every morning, shaking my fist at God and cursing He/She/It/They/Them and any other shameless entity or deity that could have helped but didn’t, that had clearly done nothing to prevent my separation from Colorado and the job I needed to stay there, and which resulted in my descent into this hell of poverty, not to mention, the extraordinary unsavoriness of the arroyo and its giant roaches.
Each morning for three years I stood in the arroyo, screaming at God and standing in sundry garbage smeared with the retch-inducing proliferation of dog and human feces. By the fourth year it was clear that no deity was moved by my angst and didn’t give a shit about my grievances, so I ended my screaming despite the satisfaction I had derived from it.
My efforts to save the cats continued to backlash, some of which included threats to my life and the cats’ lives. My adversaries refused to recognize the urgency of the cats’ plight, and many simply didn’t care. They mistakenly viewed my intervention as a perpetuation of the “cat problem.” Despite relocating the cats from the complex to the city-owned arroyo with which it unfortunately shared a border, some residents went out of their way to destroy my shelters and feeding stations. Their pronounced opposition to live-and-let-live was harsh and dispiriting, but I was damned if I would break my commitment to keeping the cats safe and getting them rehomed.
Despite my neighbors’ harmful interference, I continued to educate them on my mission. Over and over, I repeated my plan to emotionally and physically rehabilitate the traumatized cats to prepare them for placement in either the private or city shelter. Until they were deemed handle-able, they would not be accepted at the shelters. My explanation of this reasonable and do-able plan fell mostly on deaf ears. Despite the opposition, I continued to rebuild the shelters and feeding stations each time they were destroyed. I believed that helping these innocent creatures was a task of paramount importance. Besides that, my love for felines goes deep and beyond language. Their beauty and grace moves me, and brings joy to my heart.
The five years I lived in Albuquerque continued to see abandonment of pet cats from the surrounding apartment complexes. By the end of that time I had successfully rehomed every cat that had been left behind by their former owners. A few ferals had also found my feeding stations, and one in particular became attached to me. I took the ferals to a sanctuary located in another city, but when I moved to Taos, the friendly feral came with me. I knew that cats would continue to be abandoned in Albuquerque (as in so many elsewheres) and was deeply saddened knowing that I would not be there to help them. But I needed to keep following the unfolding direction of my own life. Truth be told, I was worn down by what it took from me financially, emotionally, and physically, to save these cats. I also knew that had I stayed, I would have continued to rally for the cats until I couldn’t.
After living at the complex for a short while, I became aware that the needs of many residents were not being met, and that many aspects of the complex’s infrastructure required repair, including, but not limited to, the deteriorating roofs and the ancient transformers that supplied electricity to the entire complex. In addition, the concrete on the sidewalks had giant cracks and holes that were dangerous for the elderly residents, especially those who were unsteady or used canes or were in wheelchairs. I knew that to engage change effectively, I was going to need a position of some degree of power and authority.
At the very next annual meeting, I campaigned for one of the open seats on the Board of Directors. To prepare, I spoke to residents, articulating my vision for a revitalized and inclusive community that addressed infrastructure needs and also fostered a sense of belonging and shared responsibility. I promised I would create open communication between residents and the Board. This was a tall agenda, but a crucial one that had been neglected for years. Despite the opposition and resentment from those who disagreed with my efforts to save abandoned cats, I believed I could prevail. I was used to operating from courage and perseverance despite the odds for a good outcome. In addition, a seat on the Board of this complex was not particularly coveted, so that also increased my chances.
I was elected. With this newfound position of power and authority, I felt I could create meaningful change. However, my responsibilities were considerably bigger than what I realized they would be. The complex had no formal property manager. The residents had refused to vote to pay for hiring one. In the absence of a property manager, I, along with my fellow Directors, was thrust into the role of overseeing the complex’s property management, office and maintenance staff. The work required was equivalent to a full-time job, but without pay. I took phone calls at night from residents. In the meantime, I continued to care for and rehabilitate the cats, and was eventually able to place them in shelters where they were subsequently adopted, one by one.
Despite the additional Board responsibilities, I embraced my role as a Director. I knew it was critical to take the bull by the horns, so to speak, to firmly establish a system of effective management. We badly needed to address the complex’s infrastructure issues. I went online to learn the requirements of property management, and the Board eventually hired a part-time property manager who assisted us with budget preparation, employee management, and vendor negotiations. I worked collaboratively with the property manager, the staff, fellow board members and a few interested residents, to develop major new policies that governed the running of the complex and that addressed the needs of the residents. Using my legal background, I personally wrote many of the policies.
The Board was frequently challenged by residents who did not truly understand the needs of the complex. Beyond that, there was disagreement among the members of the Board themselves about how to address the many issues. Some on the Board were domineering and aggressive and not concerned with how their anger and lack of cooperation affected the morale of the other members and getting work done. As a result, the Board lost some members (as historically it always did), but I remained in my role of Vice President, along with the remarkably stalwart and blind President, knowing that the work had to get done. Together, the two of us made a formidable team, and we became the complex’s primary leaders.
The complex had already experienced the resignation of an entire Board of Directors, and the fallout from that was almost catastrophic. With no one in charge, the office staff quit and bills went unpaid. The truth was that every Board of Directors had for years faced a difficult and unfair task. Instead of writing new, relevant policies, approving budgets, and holding a vision for how the complex could genuinely become a cooperative, they also had to manage every aspect of running the entire complex. It was a common occurrence for Directors to exchange insults and create drama as their last act before walking out. The President and I were determined that we would not abandon the complex even if we were the last Directors standing. At the end of our tenure, that was very nearly the case.
How does this personal narrative exemplify, however unique to me, the relentless and even oppressive force of the second Saturn return? Saturn demands a sustainable foundation for all, and a foundation that sustains you as you continue living your life. The rehabilitation of the complex and the cats is a literal illustration of that principle. Saturn cuts out your personal crap — debriding what misaligns. And you don’t have to agree or grant permission. It’s DFY! When Saturn shows up, some or perhaps all, of what we relied on as foundation and identity will slough away.
By the time we reach our 60’s we *should* know who we are and what we are made of. We should be familiar with our strengths and talents and have honed them, and be able to let go of those things — connections, projects, dreams that aren’t really ours, and expectations of ourselves to be this or that — that don’t align with our native capacities and our authenticity, that is, how we are actually designed to express, create, and contribute.
If we don’t know who we are, what we need and what we want, we will have a great opportunity to discover that.
During a major astrological transit such as this one, we can expect our lives to undergo something. It could be the best thing that ever happened to you. Or not. We can always actively witness our process as we surrender to and co-create what needs to happen. Sometimes co-creating is just surrendering and going along for the ride.
It is true that the context of our lives will assist us (or not) with this major life cycle shift. The more our lives do not align with our values, interests, and skills, the more difficult this transit will be. It is also true that if you are caught with your money pants down, your financial stress will be greater. And if you relied on yourself alone to keep body and soul together, this return could be harder.
When the second Saturn return arrives at your door, if you have the resources to ride out the changes your life will be considerably less stressful. I am not suggesting that if you are not ready for Saturn it’s your fault and you should have known better. Sometimes it’s just the luck of the draw that placed you at ground zero when the waters began to rise.
Saturn is Saturn, and human beings, who collectively and individually express the best or the worst of Saturn, are not always kind to their neighbors. They can view with suspicion the “shiny” stranger; i.e., someone not from their tribe, as equally attractive and repulsive, or just repulsive. My situation at the start of the return was not conducive to an experience of ease, but I made the best of it. I was unwavering in my values and beliefs. Because my heart remained open — and caring for the innocent cats helped with that — I could cooperate and even collaborate with Saturn, rending at times as it was. I did make sure to get as much rest as possible.
Copyright © | Gloria Constantin | All Rights Reserved |
Need help or have questions? Contact Me