Deb McBride

Mercury, Saturn and Sattva

November 28, 2017

Here in Costa Rica, I have the great fortune to be studying Yogic Philosophy with a wonderful teacher named Simon Haas. Simon has written a book called the Book of Dharma, which describes the four qualities of dharma and how to use them to make enlightened choices. He is British, spent many years studying and living in India, but now lives here in Costa Rica. This and the fact that I am able to study with him, I consider miracles. 

Simon is now teaching us about the Bhagavad Gita and the other day he explained the Four Gates of Discipline of speech in Sattva. For those who are not familiar, Sattva is one of the three Gunas, or qualities of behavior patterns of individuals. Ideally we would like to stay in Sattva, because it is characterizes lightness, purity, peacefulness and balance. It’s where we are undisturbed, compassionate, humble and wise. Healers and true spiritual leaders have the quality of Sattva. The other two Gunas are Rajas, the quality of passion, action, ambition and what are typically known as the seven deadly sins and then Tamas, which is self-destruction and other negative feelings such as vindictiveness and disorder. However, Tamas does rule the area of sleep, which we all need, but really it’s ideal if your only state of Tamas is when you are sleeping. 

So, if we stay in a state of Sattva, we are detached, but connected to Source. We do not react wildly when someone hurts us. We are clear, grateful, meditative, at peace and loving. In a perfect world, each of us would strive to remain in such a calm, connected state, despite what life throws our way. 

If you wish to remain in Sattva when speaking with others, it is important to recognize and exhibit the Four Gates of Discipline of speech. This is from chapter 17, text 15 of the Bhagavad Gita: 

Words that do not disturb others, that cause no agitation

Words that only speak Truth

Words that are Kind or loving

Words that are Helpful

Now, here is where I pause to bring in the astrology of the moment. Mercury is in the sign of Sagittarius and is about to turn retrograde (oh joy!). As we know, Mercury rules all speech and communications. In its retrograde and then direct journey, it will conjunct Saturn three times. The first time is November 28, the second time is December 6 and the third time is January 13. This means Mercury conjuncts Saturn, moves past it, goes retrograde on December 3rd and then comes back again to conjunct Saturn, both times in the sign of Sagittarius. It will eventually turn direct on December 22, move forward through Sagittarius, into Capricorn and then conjunct Saturn again, as both planets have changed signs. 

Saturn is often harsh, critical, judgmental and can be unkind. The fact that Mercury will join it three times can easily cause us to speak words that are like Saturn in flavor. We may be thinking harsh thoughts, we may wish to criticize someone or lash out at them for how they have treated us. When in Sagittarius, Mercury and Saturn are fiery and can speak in a frank manner. People often don’t think before they speak. Therefore, this is a time when people may be hurtfully honest or just plain hurtful. During this time, we can be self critical as well, which is also not helpful and is actually counterproductive. 

While Mercury is joining Saturn, it would be wise to follow the Four Gates of Discipline in speech. Think about any message you wish to convey – does it meet the criteria of the Four Gates? If you answer “no” to any one of them, then you need to review and change what you wish to say before you say it. Or perhaps not say it at all. It’s important to pay attention now. Mercury and Saturn are also “disciplined speech” and this is a great use of the available energies, instead of using them to criticize. It’s also a perfect time to mentally focus on a project that needs your attention to detail. And this could be a very fitting time to start a meditation practice. Mercury and Saturn lend themselves to a disciplined mind and one can learn a lot about calming one’s own mind through meditation.  

There is also an evolving story at this time, as there always is with Mercury retrograde. It would be starting around now, the end of November and would continue through the last conjunction with Saturn. Perhaps it’s something you are trying to figure out in your life that will go through its stages until it is cleared. This is an important time, as Saturn will be leaving Sagittarius, where it’s been for 3 years and going into its own sign of Capricorn. Since Mercury will connect twice in  Sagittarius and then move ahead to a different sign, you may have an entirely different perspective on the matter once the last conjunction occurs in Capricorn. 

Whatever the case, make your best effort to stay in Sattva – not easy, but quite possible. 


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