To part 1
Saturn and Pluto
Krishnamurti says: “To find out what happens when we die, you have to die“.
How should this be possible, since every human being wants to live, since all our senses are directed towards life?
Well, there are forces inherent in our very own being which, whether we want them to or not, initiate dying processes, which lead us into these processes and accompany us all the way through them.
Some information about these forces is provided by the horoscope of individual persons, since it records in symbolic language both the personality structure they have at their disposal during their lifetime as well as the challenges and life themes they will be faced with.
This symbolic image of the path of life indicates two planets that stand for processes of death and change: Saturn and Pluto.
Let’s begin with Saturn. He is the guardian of the threshold, the grim Reaper, the Herald of Death, holding in his hand the hourglass that measures our lifetime.
It is this guardian of the threshold whom we meet at the edge of time, when we die physically.
Also, during life he is a stern master and a great teacher, confronting us with the results of our actions, demanding that we examine our personal structures and have the courage to let go of old and constricting ones. Consequently, they will die, and with them a part of us will die, an antiquated form or version of ourselves.
Thus, for as long as we live, we will again and again pass through those gates of Saturn, each time experiencing afterwards that life just goes on.
Pluto is of a different kind. He, too, like Saturn, is a master of death. But he is of a fundamentally different quality. He is like an earthquake, the initiator of a transformation which will shake human beings to their very foundations.
Unlike the forces of Saturn, which over a long period of time leave it up to us to decide whether we will let go of what hinders our growth or whether we are willing and ready to die, Pluto does not offer any such choice.
When he enters the stage, there is nothing we can do to oppose his power. Pluto transforms us from great depths and demands our surrender and devotion, an unconditional “yes” to the shocking experience of the transformative power to which he subjects our being. If we accept and are ready for this process, then in its course we can recognize and understand the goal it serves. And we can become aware of something new that emerges from our being, something new that we had no idea existed or was possible.
Thus, both Saturn and Pluto bring forth the process of “dying daily”, as the Apostle Paul puts it.
The lessons of Saturn teach us to consciously let go of everything, that is, to die to all things that we experience as obstacles in our path.
And we face up to the lessons of Pluto when we say “yes” and have confidence in a process of dying, in a process of transformation in which we do not know where it will lead us.
I died from minerality and became vegetable;
And from vegetativeness I died and became animal.
I died from animality and became man.
Then why fear disappearance through death?
Next time I shall die
Bringing forth wings and feathers like angels;
After that, soaring higher than angels –
What you cannot imagine,
I shall be that.
Mevlana Jelalu’ddin Rumi
Dying during lifetime
It is a common assumption that we live for a certain duration of time and after that death occurs. Strictly speaking, we are hardly born and already the process of dying sets in! On a physical level, in our cells, processes of dying and regeneration are constantly taking place.
In the course of the life of most people, psychological factors increasingly play a role as well. Innumerous disappointments, losses and emotional injuries leave deep traces in our psyche; they can cause us to become hardened and rigid inside, so that we frequently resist even overdue changes or vital healing processes of transformation. Attachments and obsessions, clinging to material possessions, to relationships, to habits, to patterns of thought and behavior can lead, prior to physical death, to an inner paralysis, an ailing on the soul level.
It is a well-known experience of therapists that severely traumatized persons are incapable of participating in life, that they feel as though they were dead inside. But also, others who are less severely struck by fate are often, as time goes by, deprived of their dynamic power, their zest for life, their aspiration for change and innovation. Maybe some of us even believe that in this way we could build a fortress against the transience of human life, against death.
Reversely speaking, if we open up to the fact of our mortality and if we embrace the grace of our dying processes, then we experience their unbelievable transformative power. We enter new space. We become renewed human beings. I suppose this is what Krishnamurti means by his words: “Freedom from the known is death, and then you are living.”
There’s this famous quote by the Apostle Paul: “I die daily”. The unknown comes to us when we invite it into our life. Then the water of life is poured upon us. It cleanses us, heals us and thoroughly transforms us.
(to be continued in part 3)