I’m deep in the first semester of my research degree at Monash University, and so enjoying breaking new academic ground for myself. It’s so engrossing that my intended blog post for this weekend on the cultural factors in menopause hasn’t been written yet. And I cancelled my planned webinar for Thursday because it just didn’t feel like the right time to launch something new. When I don’t do what I said I would do, (not my favourite thing at all), I check out the astrology to see what is going on. And yes, an answer came!

This is a real “Chop Wood, Carry Water” week. It is indeed, not a time to start something new. Saturn is stationary having just turned direct. It is not moving at all until Thursday when it starts to shift very, very slowly. At the same time it squares Neptune and the lunar nodes, while Mars approaches. That’s rather astrobabbly technical but what it means is, everything feels a bit squirrelly, elusive, and awkward. So don’t expect too much. Don’t push the river. Just be happy to do what has to be done. It helps if you can slow down and do whatever needs to be done carefully, mindfully and gratefully.

Be aware that people may be feeling isolated, gloomy, pessimistic, trapped and even hopeless. If you are feeling any of those things, integrate the archetype of Saturn by contemplating the reality of your present moment, and resist the temptation to indulge in whatever fantasy of doom or self-centred pity you tend to play with when life feels unexciting, restricted, or dry. Within such times the opportunity to actually learn something often arises. The depth of the psyche is available. Values come up for consideration. Make sure you are living in accord with the ones you believe in the most. That will soothe your heart and lighten your spirit.

“Chop Wood, Carry Water” is an old Zen saying for getting on with life, for doing what needs to be done. (The original proverb is “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water; after enlightenment, chop wood, carry water”, meaning, among other things, don’t think life is going to be all sparkly and special because you got enlightened.) The short version, “Chop Wood, Carry Water”, is often recommended as a spiritual practice for times of trial, or for those who tend to over-dramatise life, or for when one is distracted to the point of losing touch with reality. It is healing for the nervous system to simply do what needs to be done, and not to look beyond the present moment other than in the context of purely short-term, practical considerations. So enjoy your simplified, low-expectation week, and make the most of the slowdown before the next round of new starts and major decisions, which will begin to kick off with the Full Moon on Thursday.

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