Waking up in Tomar, the day after our arrival from the Azores, I feel down.
“Oh my god, you too?” Ton groans, turning to me. His eyes peek above the sheet and they don’t look cheerful. 
“I had a weird dream,” I growl. “It felt like I was in a void. I couldn’t get up nor down, had no idea where my life was going and whether it would end well. I seemed paralyzed, and I still feel that way.”
“That must be the paralysis from your family line,” Ton nods. My father indeed suffered from polio, paralysis, as a child, and that theme plays on in my life in many ways. 
“I have dreamed about old family patterns as well,” Ton remarks. “About my grandfather who was too good for this world, but ended up dying penniless at the end of his life. In my dream I felt a similar fear; the fear of losing it all.”
“Looks like we are being confronted with old karmic patterns again.”
“The devil is in the tail,” Ton replies, and I know what he’s referring to. When we go on a journey with a group, we open an energetic and psychic field by stilling and slowing down, until a theme reveals itself that needs change. Initially it is a shift in our own psyche, but eventually it also helps shifting on a more collective plane. But we never know when that work is done. It ends when it ends, is one of the well-known rules of Open Space. And that’s not necessarily at the end of the journey. Sometimes the story continues after coming home… 

When our group was on the island of Faial in the Azores, it was striking how easily we could sink into meditation. We closed our eyes with the intention of stilling for a moment, but in doing so we naturally sunk into a long long silence. Tuning in to the ocean and the large marine mammals, we seemed to go into a kind of sleep state; our brains in alpha, theta or who knows even delta waves. I can’t find good information ons the brain activity of whales, but in my imagination we tuned in to their brain waves. Slow, deep … To end up with them at the bottom of the ocean, in our deep subconscious.  Maye that’s what the aboriginals refer to as the dreamtime state, a brain state in which something really new can be created.

When we opened our eyes again, it was as if we were standing in a large constellation. Suddenly all the events and objects arranged in the room took on symbolic meaning. For example, there was a stick broken in two: the head and tail of the snake, or in other words the lunar eclipse and the solar eclipse that we were just in between. But also a kind of black cube in the center of our circle, a pulpit and a large heavy lava rock that stood for something immovable. 
“There is also a black presence in the room, a kind of devil, but not necessarily evil,” one of the men in our company remarked, pointing to a certain place in the room.
When I physically placed myself on that spot, as if in a constellation, I felt the power of Saturn. The great karmic planet often represented as Satan. The Lord of Time, he who traps us in the unwieldy material world where time reigns, he who makes us learn our life lessons and pushes on the painful spots that need our attention. I felt him as immovable, supreme, ruling over all life on earth. Not evil, indeed, but simply fulfilling his role. 

With Saturn so clearly present in our company, the rest of the constellation suddenly became a planetarium, and all the symbols in the room took on new meaning. Our altar on a kind of black cube represented the Earth with its fixed laws, its immovable structures, the matrix. It was only when one of the women of our party stood on the black cube and made her voice heard through the rawest sounds, that the powerful autocratic feeling in Saturn diminished. Until finally he surrendered to the power of Uranus (the planet of revolution) and Neptune (the spiritual planet) behind him. Dissipating into the new.

With Saturn in our midst, we realized that we were all triggered in one way or another in our own karma, our own immovable matrix. What is it that makes us cling so tightly to the old, to a matrix that no longer fits a world as we dream of it? What is it that in our old life so pulls at us that we cannot move forward toward the new? It was perhaps no coincidence that we were called to come together in between the lunar eclipse of March 25 and the solar eclipse of April 8: a two-week time portal in which we are confronted with deep-rooted, unconscious shadows; with that which keeps us in the old; the Saturnian influences in our own lives.

In the group we managed to handle these energies well. But as we made our way back home, we all had our personal Saturn part to contend with. One of us got sick in the stomach, another in the intestines, a third suffered a financial bummer upon returning home, and we were invited to sink into… depression. Me in particular, because depression is my legacy through the maternal line. And a feeling of paralysis, standing still, not getting through something, is my legacy through the father line. I get to experience it even more these days. Old dormant discomforts, insecurities and doubts resurface en masse. Again I wonder what I am doing here. Here in Portugal, but perhaps also on Earth. And again I feel a deep deep sorrow. Of something that once was but is no more.
“Perhaps that depressed paralysis feeling is not yours alone, but hangs throughout Portugal,” Ton remarks. We have indeed felt before how a kind of sleep hovers over the country, like a blanket lying over an ancient past, evoking a great melancholy. The saudade, as they call it here, with a beautiful word. But in real life it weighs enormously. And it apparently is accords with my own karma.
“It’s up to us to lift that blanket and release the energy that lies underneath,” Ton concludes, finally getting out of bed.

And he is right. You can’t change anything collectively that you don’t change in your own system. So I suspect that until the solar eclipse, I may scour deeper to the bottom of my own subconscious until those old pains are truly freed and a new energy is being opened. And in the same way, I guess everyone has their own Saturn energies to deal with these days.

It ends when it ends. Or so the rules of Open Space teach us. Hopefully it all clears up after the Solar Eclipse.

Read my book ‘Into the Unknown, Sprong in het onbekende’ (Dutch version) about this challenge we are all part of: to step into the new and face our fears but also our greatest hopes in doing so. The English version will be available soon.

Anne Wislez
Author: Anne Wislez