The Curse of the Claw – thoughts on the Saturn in Scorpio transit

Please be aware, this is an introspective post, as in I’m just going to let my thoughts flow freely and see where they lead me. This may be very long and tedious to anyone other than myself. You have been warned. I could edit out the dross, but then there would be nothing left of it, and sometimes the dross is the best bit… or so I tell myself, and I agree. Sometimes.

I post these sort of private conversations with myself to remind myself of what I have said, give my thoughts body and make them real, but also in case anyone is looking for these words, or if something I say may benefit someone other than myself.

When I was a child I watched a darkly comic series created by Michael Palin and Terry Jones called Ripping Yarns. Snippets of several of the episodes stuck in my mind and pop up when something reminds me them, but the episode which I connected with the most was The Curse of the Claw.

In a dark and stormy night, Sir Kevin Orr is visited by a bunch of strange men: Captain Merson leading an expedition to the Naga Hills of Burma with a few natives in tow. On hearing this place name, Sir Kevin gets excited and tells Merson a long hidden secret.

He grew up in a very strict house. His parents had his sister imprisoned for putting too much butter on her scone and his brother killed for walking on the flower beds. Young Kevin had a secret sweetheart, Agatha – so secret that she herself didn’t know. The only excitement in his life was visiting his Uncle Jack, who loved dirt and filth and had about every disease known to man.

On his sixtieth birthday, Uncle Jack told his now grown nephew a secret: he had taken a sacred claw from the Naga hills in Burma, but had discovered there was a curse on it. The owner had to return it before his sixtieth birthday to the tribesmen or die. Kevin promises to do his best and on no account to touch the Claw. He tries to persuade his parents to let him go, but of course they refuse. His father touches the Claw in spite of Kevin’s warnings and breaks two legs just as a thunderstorm tears the house apart. Kevin runs away with the Claw.

He becomes captain of the Greasy Bastard, a small ship carrying rubber goods between England and Burma. But the Curse starts to operate on him, and he finds himself attracted to the Chief Petty Officer Russell. After some agonising, he discovers that Russell is a woman and that in fact nearly all members of the crew are. The voyage becomes a paradise and they don’t want it to end when they reach Burma. Kevin tries to explain the situation to his crew, but Russell throws the Claw into the sea. The ship explodes and Kevin is the only survivor.

He returns to his uncle, who tells him that the Claw will find a way to return to him and that he shall live in this house until it does. Then he dies. Kevin, after his parents’ death, marries Agatha, and lives happily in his uncle’s house until the morning of his sixtieth birthday, when he finds his wife dead and the Claw lying next to her. He hands it back to the Naga tribesmen. But it has one final trick to play on him: his uncle and wife are returning from the dead, Kevin and Agatha become kids again and suddenly his father is standing in front of the door to fetch him.” – summary of The Curse of the Claw – Ripping Yarns via Wikipedia

I don’t really know why that episode struck such a deep chord with me, perhaps because I was fascinated by the macabre. I loved watching horror movies, reading ghost stories, and I had an intense passion for deadly mysteries and monsters. I became completely obsessed with sharks. That which lurked in the deep drew me in and held me in a mesmerised trance. Darkness became my home, a place where I felt safe, hidden, protected because others were afraid of the dark and so it kept them away. In the dark I could keep the things which were precious to me. My secret treasure was secure.

In my natal chart I have Neptune and Mars in Scorpio in the 3rd house of the mind and communication. Pluto, Scorpio’s ruler is in the 1st house of the self, the home of Aries. Aries, the sign ruled by Mars is on the cusp of the 8th house, the home of Scorpio. Which means energy wise that there is a strong Scorpio vibe to my chart and within me. Being secretive is natural to me. As is delving into darkness and feeling very comfortable there, perhaps a little too comfortable.

Now you would think that with all this dark energy in my chart that I would be a vortex of negativity. But I don’t see myself that way, perhaps because Neptune is in the mix deceiving me, perhaps because by embracing the dark and negative I have discovered the blessings which it bestows on those unafraid to face it, perhaps because my chart also has many positive placements too. Uranus in my 1st house is conjunct Jupiter in the 2nd house, as well as being conjunct Pluto. When I fall too deeply into the abyss within, a switch is flipped and something pulls me out. I can go from dark despair to exuberant enthusiasm very quickly. One minute I want to kill myself, seeking complete annihilation of self, and the next minute I am bouncing around with intense joie de vivre in ecstatic love with life.

I rely very heavily on my mind to keep my system and moods balanced. My Mercury is squared by Mars, and trines Uranus and Jupiter, so it acts as a go-between for my dark and light, my positive and negative sides. My Mercury is in Aquarius in the 5th house of creativity and fun and games. My mind is very playful, very agile, and it gets bored easily, which is helpful because it tells me bluntly when I’ve been dwelling on something for too long and drags me out of my Scorpio tendency to obsess like a happy child wanting to play – Come on, come on, you have to see this thing I’ve found over here it’s amazing! It is a master of distraction, as well as being very direct. If I’m wallowing in doom and gloom, it will say – Okay, poor you, now drop the weighty cloak of self pity and let’s go dance in the rain until the Sun comes out to laugh at our clumsy dance moves. Sometimes I go willingly, sometimes I fight it (Mars square Mercury).

My Mars is connected by a sextile to my Moon (emotions), it makes my rather reserved Virgo Moon passionate. However my Moon is in the 12th house of hidden things and the unconscious, the home of Pisces. It is squared by Neptune and opposed by Venus in Pisces. Neptune connects to my Pluto too. So I also have a lot of Piscean energy in my chart, which makes me emotionally elusive, evasive and quite hard to know. Even I don’t always know what I feel, even when I am feeling very strongly and deeply. It takes a long while for my feelings to rise to the surface, to move from the subconscious into consciousness, which is why I am slow to react, and need time to contemplate before I know what the sensations within are telling me.

Even when I know, I don’t necessarily share that knowledge. My emotions often hide from me, and I often hide my emotions from others. People can feel vibrations emanating from me, my Moon is conjunct my ascendant, and they sometimes react to what they think I’m feeling before I have decided what it is that I am feeling. There have been many instances of confusion due to people projecting their own emotions, and especially their darkness, fears, and shadow selves onto me, the Moon on my Ascendant makes me into a mirror for others, and with Venus in Pisces I tend not to set people straight until they annoy me. My Venus is trine my Mars, and although it is very gentle, patient and tolerant, it has a tipping point, then my Mars takes over and says – Okay, I’ve had enough of this shit!

Recently I have become more adept at reading my natal chart, at observing how the energy flows along the lines which connect the planets by aspect. Part of this new awareness has come from seeing and experiencing how transits change the dynamic in my chart and in my life. Perhaps this is due to the fact that my chart is being hit quite strongly by some very powerful transits. Transiting Uranus in particular has been zapping me for a few years now. 2011 and 2012 were years defined by the bolt of lightning from the blue, transforming and changing how I saw myself very radically. It was exhilarating and I emerged from the cocoon I had gone into when Neptune squared my natal Neptune, with a new lust for life and new experiences. The momentum was frightening, it was the most exciting and thrilling rollercoaster ride I had ever been on. I knew the pace would eventually ease up and that the ride would come to an end at some point, but I didn’t expect it to end so abruptly by hitting a wall. 2013 is that wall.

There is quite a bit going on in my chart through transit aspects. I have focused on some, less on others. I have felt some more viscerally than others. Uranus and Pluto the most because I am very conscious of their energy, having them in the 1st house means I embody them whether I like it or not. Sometimes I really don’t like it because I experience myself as a freak in a world which wants to throw freaks off cliffs. I quite like it at other times because being freakish can be fun, rules burst like rotten fruit when they get thrown at me. It’s a complex relationship. My life has always been influenced by the chaos these two unleash when working together. The challenges they bring with them are hard and fast, but always worth taking. I think. Sometimes I don’t think that at all. They do give an incredible ability to bounce back from all sorts of situations, but it’s usually at a steep price. You have to let go of everything which you were holding onto for dear life and take a leap or drop of faith. Faith in yourself, because where Pluto and Uranus are concerned, you are your religion and belief system.

I was so focused at the beginning of this year on the chaos Uranus and Pluto have been creating, that I overlooked Saturn. I don’t like Saturn. My natal Saturn has always been a thorn in the side of my ego. It squares my Sun and continuously makes me feel crap about myself and anything I do is never good enough. But since transiting Uranus will soon conjunct my Saturn and transiting Pluto will eventually conjunct my Sun, demanding a complete rethink about how I view myself and my impact on society, my creative input to the world (Sun in the 5th house), I thought it would be a good idea to get to know Saturn a bit better, especially as it is the ruling planet of my Sun sign, Capricorn. I’ve never liked being a Capricorn, mostly because I’ve only ever experienced the negative side of it, the scapegoat and devil incarnate side. With natal Saturn squaring my Sun I attract criticism from others, the levels of which sometimes even surprise me. Some of the things people have said and done to me… really made me hate people for a long time. Capricorn also represents the hermit, and I seriously considered becoming one full time. However there are other sides of me which like people, and understand that how others treat you reflects who they are, not who you are. Realising that helped me a lot. It enabled me to see that for whatever reason, perhaps having Chiron in the 7th house explains it, I make a very good dumping ground for the wounds and disowned parts of others. Maybe I give the impression that I can handle what they can’t. I’m not really sure what impression I make on others… that too can be found in my chart, quite a few aspects underline my inability to see and feel what others see and feel when they come into contact with me. It’s my main blind spot.

I know that I often act as an agent of change in people’s lives. I seem to have that effect on places too. Every building or area I have ever lived in has undergone a transformation when I have moved there. I suppose you could say that happens anyway everywhere, but I know people who have lived in places which rarely if ever change. Just being myself seems to annoy the hell out of people, as though they are offended by my existence. I am very shy and don’t tend to impose myself on others, yet they often react to my presence by trying to impose themselves on me. They then get frustrated because I react to their behaviour by analysing it. Initially this is because I am open to change and maybe I should change who I am and how I live, so I check them and their life out to see if it is something desirable for me, and I often find the flaws in their thinking, more often than not I find the hypocrisy hiding behind the veneer of righteousness. This is familiar territory for me. It is the place in which I grew up.

A couple of nights ago I dreamed of my mother. I don’t like dreaming about her, because the dreams are usually very true to life, heavy and unpleasant. In the dream my mother, treating me as her personal dogsbody, sent me to make an appointment for her at a hairdressers. She is a Leo, her hair was very important to her. I went to do my duty and I began to chat with the hairdresser, we had some laughs and were enjoying the social interaction, when in walked my mother. The hairdresser noticed the change which my mother’s presence brought about, and pointed out that one minute I was alive and vibrant and the next minute it was as though I had left my body and all the life had drained out of me. It’s a pretty accurate description of what life was like with my mother.

I recently had a similar interaction with someone else who is very similar to my mother. This person thinks they are the embodiment of the Sun, that they are ultra positive and bring joy wherever they go. My mother saw herself that way too. Yet I always experienced my mother and this person as the exact opposite of how they saw themselves. As soon as I was in their presence I felt the life and joy drain out of me, as though they were sucking my positive energy from me into themselves leaving me empty. No wonder they see themselves as ultra positive, they are drunk on other people’s positive vibes, and they think they are joy bringers because everyone they come into contact with gets drained and therefore appears negative to them.

Having the Saturn square Sun aspect makes me vulnerable to accepting other people’s negativity, and allowing them to steal my joy. I discovered this fairly early on in my relationship with my mother. If I had something which made me happy, she would try to take it away from me by any means possible. I felt that somehow it was a sin for me to be happy, because she reacted so negatively when I was. I recall once going out for the day with some friends to an amusement park, and when I returned I was zinging with excitement. My mother had a tantrum and ripped every last drop of enthusiasm out of me. She had agreed to let me go, but apparently I wasn’t supposed to enjoy myself. She did this so many times… and it took me a while to realise that I had to hide any joy I felt from her. But even that was bad, because she then couldn’t feed off of my positive energy and this made her even more vicious. When I introduced her to my partner, she took him aside and told him that there were things about me that he didn’t know, that only she knew, and he would do better to stay away from me because I was a dark pit of negativity. My partner thought she was a bitch and decided to stay away from her.

There have been many people who have confirmed to me that I am not a vortex of negativity. I know I’m not, but… doubtful doubts. If enough people dump their disowned shit onto you, you eventually start to wonder if the shit belongs to them or to you. The person who did this to me most recently, well it took me a while to notice what they were doing even with all my years of experience. I can be very dopey. They kept telling me how wonderful they were, and I sort of accepted that, they seemed so adamant about it as though their very identity depended upon its being true, but it bothered me that every time I interacted with them I felt tired, cranky and they always left me with the impression that I had let them down somehow, that I was never good enough for them. I looked forward to the times when they didn’t need me to boost their ego, or to listen to them tell me stories about how positive they were and how negative everyone else was. I suspected that they told the same stories about me to others, how negative I was, and what a downer I was on their positivity. They confirmed this one day when I caught them off guard. And that was my tipping point… actually my tipping point came before that, when they came to me looking to dump their negativity onto me and steal my positivity, only their very sensitive to others self didn’t pick up on the fact, even though I had told them, that I was going through some very intense stuff and so the regular me would be unavailable for an indefinite amount of time. They tried to take what I didn’t have to give and they got a blast of my Mars in Scorpio – I’ve had enough of this shit!

So what has all of this got to do with transiting Saturn?

When Saturn moved into Scorpio it soon met up with my Mars. It has been sitting on it for a while now. At first I quite liked the discipline it brought to my rather passionate and unruly Mars. It tamed it. It gave more structure to my mind, as it also squared my Mercury. It focused my emotions too by forming a sextile with my Moon. And it brought a degree of seriousness to how I behave in my relationships by trining my Venus. I felt more in control of myself and more able to direct my attention to accomplishing the tasks at hand. I also felt what it was like to be a true Capricorn, with my ambitions for my life and myself firmly centred in my mind. I felt that I had my feet planted more firmly on the ground, and thus more able to stand my ground and less likely to give way.

My Piscean side tends to give way just so I can get away, escape from a person or situation which is making pretty things ugly. My Mercury tends to get bored, especially with nagging and whining, and will agree just to shut people up so it can go out and play. I have high levels of avoidance and irresponsibility… mitigated by equally high levels of Virgo dutiful service and a tendency to sacrifice myself for others.

Yet I have truly felt a change of attitude within myself. I have always been very tenacious (Scorpio’s influence), but prone to losing focus (Neptune’s influence). This transit has turned my tenacity into an inexorable force. With Saturn controlling my emotions I am less swayed by pleas of the poor me kind. I have no time to deal with the needs of others, whereas before I always ceded my needs for those of others due to the impression that somehow my needs were less deserving of attention (Virgo/Pisces axis), that I would deal with them later but this poor person needed succour right away. I used to give away my opportunities for victory to others because it would make them happy and they needed it more than I did. I was not bothered by losing, it came with the territory of living on the dark side (Pluto). But now I want to win. It’s my turn to shine and someone else is going to have help those people who need help, my rescuing damsels, male and female, in distress, my accepting the disowned parts of others, and taking on their wounds to heal them for them business is closed for now. I feel a bit like a Juggernaut. It’s quite frightening in an exhilarating way. All very new to me. I felt it once many years ago, but it terrified the crap out of me then, I was not ready for it.

But everything has a flip side, and at the moment the Saturn transit has turned bad for me. Not bad bad… but I guess to fully appreciate the benefits, I need to fully appreciate the curse which comes with every blessing. It’s strange, as I was pondering the negative side of this transit and writing about it in this post… what I’ve written has brought some clarity. In many ways the dark side of this transit for me is not dissimilar to how I felt in that dream about my mother, to how I felt living under my Leo mother’s regime. And it is Leo season, and Leo squares Scorpio… there must be something there. I just can’t see it… almost, a bit more deep inner digging is required. But I do feel as though the fun has been sucked out of my life in the past few weeks. I quite enjoy struggling against adversity, it uses muscles which I have built up throughout my life. I’m very adept at swimming against the current if it serves a purpose. It doesn’t always, sometimes it is better to let yourself be carried along with the flow… not always. Figuring out which is which is tricky.

There are things I am hiding. From you, from myself… such as the fact that my partner became ill just around the time that I made some progress in this inheritance debacle, just at the time when I could have celebrated a tiny victory. He didn’t do it deliberately, and I’m not surprised considering how supportive he has been under so much stress and pressure, and I should be thankful he waited for a lull in proceedings. My lawyers have gone on holiday, because in Italy in August everything grinds to a halt. So I have no idea what is happening, other than nothing right now. I’m in limbo again. I have lived in limbo before and became very flexible during that time. But now is not the time for flexibility, not according to Saturn, not the way it is affecting my chart. Inflexibility is key… but it feels a bit odd. There are some days when I just don’t recognise myself anymore, but I know this is more me than I have ever been, if that makes sense.

I am not at that point known as the dark night of the soul. I’ve been through a lot of those, I recognise the symptoms. I’m not there yet. It may take a while. The more often you go through them, the more it takes for them to happen. And I know that I can keep going for a long time before my entire system packs up and shuts down. Sometimes this is a blessing… sometimes a curse.

I think I know why I liked that Ripping Yarns story so much… it is sort of the story of my life. And in some ways Saturn is the Cursed Claw. The story definitely highlights for me some of the elements of Saturn’s transit through Scorpio, as much of what is happening now ties in with what happened the last time Saturn transited through Scorpio. I am very different from the person I was then, but some things are the same, some things take a lifetime to change, because you need the knowledge which comes with living a lifetime to transform yourself.

Okay, I’ve had enough of this shit!

A few interesting astrology links as a reward from wading through this:

For more on Saturn in Scorpio – North Node & Saturn in Scorpio: Why things seem dark

For more on Saturn – Learning to Make Friends with Saturn

For more on Mercury square Saturn – Getting Serious: Mercury Square Saturn

For more on the Sun and embracing your creative ego – Full Moon in Leo: Loving Your Brand

And for more about my experience of 2013 so far and the transits affecting my chart:

A Story of Uranus Transiting the Eighth House – according to my blog stats, this is my most popular post.