Feng Shui Your Inner Environment

by Guru Rattana, Ph.D. - Issue #90 - June 24, 2004
Sun and Saturn in Cancer - Capricorn Full and Cancer New Moons

The Sun enters the Cancer zone JUNE 20th at 5:57pm PDT and stays until 4:50AM PDT JULY 22. In Issue 88 and Issue 89 I wrote how Gemini is currently being challenged by Pluto in Sagittarius to tell the truth. Cancer is being challenged by Saturn to get real. Saturn is in Cancer waters for two years, from June 4, 2003 through July 16, 2005. The major life lessons being brought to the fore by Saturn will be in our face while the Sun is in Cancer this year. We will be starkly reminded when the Sun conjuncts Saturn at 16° Cancer July 8th and during the Capricorn Full Moon (10°) July 2 at 4:10am PDT (11:10am GMT). The Cancer New Moon (25°) July 17 at 4:24am PDT (11:24am GMT) will be a time to assess our ability to consolidate our inner space.

The Four Basic Elements

The first four Zodiac signs introduce us to the four basic elements and their manifestation in our physical incarnation:

Aries introduces us to the Fire Element and to vital aliveness. We discover our identity, which over time develops into a healthy (hopefully) ego, consolidates in soul identity and expands into I AM consciousness.

Taurus, the first Earth Element, gets us in touch with our body. We learn that our body has basic needs, which include comfort, security and pleasure. We learn how to take care of our physical form with proper food, nourishment, shelter, things and touch.

Gemini, the first Air Element, makes us aware of our mind, which opens and expands through experiences that stimulate and activate this vital organ. We become aware of positive and negative, polarities, choice, and the need to develop the power of discrimination.

Cancer, the first Water Element of the Zodiac, plunges us into the sea of emotions. The fluid domain of feelings immerses us in the unpredictability, instability, and ever-changing nature of the water element. Cancer obliges us to expand our consciousness to include the shifting sensations that course through our body. To deal with our emotional body we must enter our inner space, which includes and integrates our mind, body and emotions.

The Moody Moon

Each astrological sign is associated with a planet, which is called its ruler. Cancer is ruled by the Moon. Understanding the Moon, helps us understand the essence of Cancer. The Moon is the archetype of our inner life, which can be either a source of distress and torment or the basis of our most profound and connected happiness. The Moon represents the subconscious where buried emotions are stored. In their most repressed and destructive expression, the emotions become the rage of the subjugated feminine. The Moon is our mood, which is constantly changing. Just as the Moon waxes and wanes, dies and is reborn, our emotions shift and our mood is continuously transformed.

The Moon is the archetypal Mother who gives nurturing and nourishment. The Moon embodies the fundamental characteristics of feminine energy - flux, change, uncertainty, interdependence and merging. Feminine energy obliterates boundaries and distinctions, and communicates through the unspoken word. The subjective Moon represents the instinctual self, that remembers what is consciously inaccessible to the rational mind.

Cancer Nurturing Environments

Cancer's territory is all levels of our environment - our physical home, our family, our inner space and Planet Earth. Cancer energy embodies the most feminine receptive principle. She is the mother who nurtures, feeds, protects and supports life through kindness and caring. The feminine qualities and human needs embodied in the Cancer archetype are too often ignored, denigrated and overridden by the demands of a logical, male-dominated, competitive culture(1) and outwardly directed and controlled psyche.

Cancer reminds us of the importance of returning to the fertile inner soil, from which our creativity blooms and where our wisdom resides, where we find the essence energy and power of our primordial soul. Inside the Crab's delicate shell, we draw our attention inward, so that we can identify the needs of our body, listen to our emotions, honor our soul and follow our heart.

While the Sun is in Cancer we are invited to explore and cultivate our inner space. This is the time to empty accumulated garbage, to create an open and receptive space, and to cultivate an intimate relationship with our emotions as the sensory system of our soul.

In the Southern Hemisphere of the Planet, Cancer comes during winter, when the days are short and the nights are long. This is an ideal time to meditate and tune into our inner space.

The Angles of an Astrological Chart

Each of the four angles of an astrological chart aligns with a specific time of the day and corresponds to a different aspect of our lives.

The ASCENDANT corresponds to SUNRISE. In a birth chart this is the Zodiac sign that was on the horizon when we were born. The Ascendant or Rising sign indicates beginnings.

The MIDHEAVEN, at the very top of the chart, is the zenith point or NOONTIME. Our Midheaven tells us about our role and identity in the world, denotes public view and is an indicator of destiny path and success. The sign at the cusp of the 10th house of Capricorn, ruled by Saturn, indicates how we can best deal with the demands of public life, career and recognition.

The DESCENDANT, opposite the Ascendant, corresponds to SUNSET. We have completed the personal territory of houses 1-6 and enter into houses 7-12, where we are involved in relationships and external life.

The IC (Imum Coeli), NADIR or lowest point on a chart corresponds to MIDNIGHT, the moment that one day passes and another one is born. This point, between death and a new life, is our most inner and intimate experience of self. The IC is the cusp of the fourth house which is ruled by Cancer and the Moon.

The fourth house and Cancer connect us with midnight reality. We are all alone in the dark. What is accessible to us is beneath the surface and very private. Here we connect to our roots, our soul, our body, and the Earth. We learn how our feelings, nature, and center of being sustain us. Our goals are to hold this sacred space for me to be me, for me to listen to me and to fill the space with love.

Saturn is in Cancer for Two Years

This is not an easy time for tender Cancer. Saturn has been visiting Cancer's home for the last year and will continue to be Cancer's guest for another year. The issues that are looming during the two year period that Saturn is in Cancer (June 4, 2003 through July 16, 2005) will be highlighted during this Full Moon.

Each Full Moon illuminates where we are out of balance and the price we pay for this imbalance and incompleteness. At the Full Moon July 2nd, Capricorn reminds Cancer that male authority and stability is a key element in achieving emotional balance. The Capricorn/Cancer Full Moon illuminates how the male and female polarities complement and assist each other. Integration of polarities always brings a leap in consciousness and the next level of empowerment. In addition, the Sun meets (conjuncts) Saturn at 16° Cancer July 8th. The Sun is within 6° of Cancer on the Full Moon July 2, when the Moon is in Capricorn. Capricorn is ruled by Saturn. Saturn/Capricorn energy thus weighs heavily on the sensitive Cancer emotions.

During this two year period, we feel a strong urge to get real and to make progress on personal, family and domestic issues. We need inner clarity and strength to deal directly and honestly with the issues confronting us. Commitment will sustain us through the process. Caring will help us establish the common ground necessary for resolution.

Those with Sun, Moon, Ascendant and other planets in Cancer are profoundly affected by Saturn's visit in Cancer. Those with Saturn in Cancer will experience their Saturn Return. Saturn returns to its natal position every 29 years. Depending on the degree of our Saturn, this happens when we are between 28-30, 58-60, and 88-90. The first Saturn Return can be a heavy initiation into adulthood. The second Saturn Return can be a welcome opening to adult maturity, at last! The third Saturn Return can deliver us into a comforting wisdom of our later years. How we deal with Saturn will depend on how much we enjoy the visit. We will be obliged to deal with the issues set out below, and a greater level of maturity will be the result. Make your choices carefully. This is the beginning of a new 29 year cycle.

Saturn Maturity

We often cringe when we think of Saturn, for it is associated with depression, alienation, melancholy and solitude. Our fiery ideas seem to lose their glimmer under the heavy hand of cold, calculating Saturn, who serves to remind us of the hard work that is necessary, to meet the challenges of bringing our ideas into physical manifestation. When progress seems slow, warm fuzzy support seems unavailable, and our intended result appears at be distant in the horizon, then we are experiencing Saturn energy.

It is important to fairly interpret Saturn's influence and to make ourselves available for the ultimate benefits of our Saturn transits/visits. Below I summarize five Saturn themes and lessons.

(1) It's Time to Let Go and Move On

Depressing facts may be signals that we have outgrown certain circumstances and relationships, which must be left behind in order to mature into a more complete expression of our identity. If excessive effort seems to be required to make something happen, or the impediments are overwhelming, then we have two clear indications that something must be released in order to move forward. Effort is required, but the effort that we make should be in freeing ourselves from the past, not trying to hold on. Patience is required to build something whose foundation is rooted in solid ground.

(2) Maturity, Dignity and Satisfaction are the Results

Saturn adds a mood of seriousness to our situation. Although this is not a light-hearted, frivolous time, the effort we put into this period can reward us with a deep sense of relief. If we persevere through our Saturn visit with a willingness to learn, we can graduate to another level of consciousness. Transformation is required to mature. We not only attain more maturity, we also achieve a sense of dignity and find a feeling of self-worth, all of which leave us with a deep reservoir of satisfaction.

(3) Self-Sufficiency, Boundaries and Authority

Saturn teaches us about separateness, how to distinguish ourselves from others, and motivates us to make our unique contribution in the world. The drive for self-sufficiency and concrete accomplishment require the development of inner authority and clear and precise boundaries.

Saturn pushes us toward conscious differentiation, and reminds us that we cannot develop and maintain our unique identity if we are dependent upon cultural, maternal or paternal approval. Our ability to develop an autonomous identity can be thwarted by our abandonment programs. Whether actual, programmed or imagined, we must confront our abandonment issues and quit abandoning ourselves.

(4) Responsibility, Integrity and Wisdom

To succeed in Saturn territory, we have to cultivate and utilize the masculine attributes of focus, commitment, discipline and persistence. We have to take responsibility for ourselves, to be able to make decisive choices, and to act with full integrity. Restricting circumstances serve to remind us to respect our own limitations, to live within our energetic limits and to find reasonable boundaries. The spirit of both Saturn and Capricorn is wisdom. Wisdom grows like a majestic tree as we connect with our inner male authority.

(5) Daylight Reality

Saturn and Capricorn live in daylight reality. They govern the concrete, practical, physical reality, which requires specific facts, rules, law, order, structure and hard work to survive and thrive. In the real world there are obstacles that must be overcome, limits that must be accepted, and rules that must be obeyed. We can excel, prosper and achieve a deep level of self-confidence if we slow down, and take one careful, calculated step at a time up the bean pole of life.

In sum, Saturn energy does not have to manifest as deprivation. Saturn energy can manifest in very positive and indeed essential attributes as discipline, thoughtfulness, and self-control, as well as a sense of duty and the capacity to relate to others with conscientious care and attention.(2))

Cancer and Saturn Collaborate

One of our basic psychic needs is for freedom. While Saturn is in Cancer we may feel a lack of freedom, tied down, and exhausted by too many family and domestic duties and obligations. The depression mentality lingers and we succumb to scarcity thoughts, of not enough love, money and support to go around. At the same time we may feel nostalgic, and long for old times when life seemed to be easier and simpler.

Yet we also feel compelled to resolve family issues, and to restore an atmosphere of love and support between family members which has been missing. We are guided by an inner wisdom that tells us that patience pays. Saturn invites us to slow down, pay attention, consolidate, solidify, so that we can alchemize solutions and attract resources and opportunities.

A second need is for space. While Saturn is in Cancer, our inner environment feels disorganized and burdened with negative thoughts, worn out beliefs and alienating shoulds. We get in touch with the excessive clutter in both our outer and inner space, and how clutter annihilates the experience of openness.

Saturn is motivating us to clear out the trash, and clean up our physical house and our inner home. It is time to create an area in our home reserved for our spiritual practice. An altar, and space to meditate and practice yoga facilitate our inner journey. Both are necessary for creating an inner sanctuary and feeling at home and at peace in this world.

The month that the Sun is in Cancer is a cyclic return to oneself, our yearly house cleaning. While Saturn is in Cancer is a time of inner renewal. We have two years to feng shui our house and our inner environment. Our goal is to make both feel so welcoming and safe that we easily schedule sacred personal time in our inner sanctuary.

Inner/Outer - Resolving the Apparent Conflict

We all experience the challenge of balancing our private and external lives, symbolized in our tenth house/Capricorn destiny/career/public recognition arena of our lives, and in the fourth house/Cancer home/personal/inner arena of our psyche.

We must explore the world and offer our gifts to feel useful and to support ourselves. However, we create problems for ourselves when our naïveté, ignorance, greed or neediness make us vulnerable to psychic theft. We commit a crime against ourselves when we agree to external bargains at our inner expense. These can be job related, relationship involvements, unwanted pregnancies, and all the other ways that we overextend ourselves in order to please, placate or profit.

We must also stay connected to the inner waters of our soul or we will wither. Chronic fatigue and depression haunt the homeless who are not in touch with their life source. So how do we deal with what can seem to be an inevitable conflict between our inner and outer lives? How do we balance the need for privacy and the demands and need for public life?

The other day I was playing with a new astro-cartography program, that analyzes how different locations offer different energies, and present us with different challenges and opportunities. A complementary way to see yourself in a new environment is to make the new location as the location of a birth chart. It is so revealing to see this new chart. The Ascendant changes, so how you see the world may slowly shift in a new location. The houses shift, so the arenas of action shift accordingly. But Voila! there you still are. The signs of the planets and their angles or relationship to each other are exactly the same. We are confronted with the obvious. No matter where we go, there we are!

We take ourselves with us wherever we go, and this is the key to how we can resolve the inner/outer dilemma. We have to connect with ourselves and take ourselves with us in all our life activities. Our external journeys include everything we do inside and outside our physical homes, our jobs, shopping, parenting, and relationships. We have to train ourselves to not get lost in our relationships and worldly endeavors. We have to learn how to stay inside our skins so we can be lead by our soul, so that our foundation is stable, so we can maintain our natural rhythm, and not get disturbed in the commotion.

Nurturing Our Roots

Cancer rules the territory of the emotions. Male-dominated cultures consider emotions superfluous: annoying weeds that get in the way of cultivating a green grassy yard or a prolific garden. This attitude towards emotions instructs us to try to ignore them, suppress them or at least hide them from public view. The pitfall with this attitude is similar to the situation with weeds - emotions incessantly continue to reappear. The problem with weed killer is that it often also kills your grass and your plants. Trying to deny or get rid of our emotions creates similar results. In the process we sabotage our health and happiness, impede our worldly success, and wound our spirit. Sooner or later we realize that our emotions create our reality, whether we are aware of it or not (and we usually are not). Our awakening to the power of our emotions motivates us to figure out how to embrace and utilize this vital source of creative energy.

Emotions are our roots. How we take care of our roots determines how our garden grows. If we are dissatisfied with our garden, we must tend to the roots to alter the quantity and quality of our harvest. If we don't feel and acknowledge our emotional energies, our roots dry up. Our thirst becomes unidentifiable desire. When we don't know how to take care of our desire energy internally, we try to satisfy it externally. Our external focus takes us farther and farther away from our roots. In addition, our insatiable emotional demands send out needy vibes, which repel the connection and the love that we are so desperately trying to find.

Most people attempt to ignore their fear, depression and rage. We know something is brewing deep within, but we don't know why, and don't take the time to figure out how to access this part of our being. We hope that our mask will camouflage our emptiness. We hope that the fires will go out on their own, or at least smolder unnoticed. We pretend to care, to be cool or to be in charge. We hope that our external image, our relationships and our career will substitute and prop us up. However, it is our own psyche (Cancer, our Moon and the 4th house), our inner soil, that props us up so we can have an image that is backed up by substance, relationships that we enjoy but aren't dependent upon, and a career that rests comfortably on the foundation of self-worth and self-love.

Enter We Must

Cancer is about building an inner home with the substance of our emotions. Our external world, image, relationships and circumstances can, and often do, collapse without this secure home base. The problem is that we have locked ourselves out of our own home. All the lights are out and we are afraid to enter, but enter we must. The good news is that our inner home is reserved just for us. No one else can enter. We can be totally alone and enjoy complete privacy. The challenging news is that we have to clean out the cobwebs, make peace with old ghosts, and make it cozy and inviting. We are in charge of turning on the lights, watering our emotions - succulent, sleeping plants that may have turned into annoying weeds in our absence.

Foreboding rumblings in the basement make us afraid. We simply don't want to go there. We resist entry until something goes seriously wrong in our external world. When our dreams (fantasies) collapse, we land in the same place we avoided, denied and ignored - our inner home. The cause and the effect meet in the same place. The origin and the solution collaborate to bring us home.

The Call of the Soul

Our return home is inevitably left too long. We let our personal, social and professional entanglements distract us. We yield to external pressures, and even create more demands on our time to avoid our journey home. But the gnawing desire of unconscious attachments, the painful repetition of dysfunctional relationship patterns, the nagging voice spewing out messages of low self-esteem, illness and disease, and our exhausting addiction to doing, eventually oblige us to begin our procrastinated journey. Avoidance and denial sooner or later yield to the call of our Soul.

We are all aware of the psychological component of illness. Cancer specializes in this dysfunction, as a means to get our attention to return to our inner home. When we don't take care of our emotions, we end up sick in bed or in the hospital. It takes a while to realize what we are doing, how our disease is creating time alone to tend to our emotions. At home in bed, is a first step away from external attractions, so that we can reorient our attention toward ourselves.

Our Return Home

Even the most outgoing people enjoy a cozy home. The fourth house and Cancer represent our inner sanctuary, the place where we can retreat and be totally by ourselves. The problem is that until we enter our inner home, the territory seems foreboding. The journey into our inner home is a process that sooner or later we must all take if we are to find inner peace and stability. It is amazing how many of us avoid this journey at all costs. And the costs (lack of peace, prosperity and health) are very high! On the other hand, it is not surprising. We haven't been trained to create a cozy environment inside ourselves. By the time we get to be adults, the mental manipulations and stories and the ravaged, neglected emotions that inhabit our inner space are so out of control and intimidating that we try to escape into other more amusing playgrounds. We avoid what haunts us, but at the same time we lose access to what comforts us too.

Building Our Inner Home

So how do we connect with the roots of our feelings? How do we probe into the deep soil where our emotions grow? The return generally starts out awkward, strange, and uncomfortable.

What is there when we close our eyes? We are usually confronted by unmanageable emotions and screaming thoughts, collaborating to make us feel totally out of control. In our mind we are barraged with a stream of thoughts, memories of failures and successes, and our victim stories (complete with who is to blame). Then there are endless feelings, the source of which we can't even identify. Naming our feelings - anger, fear, sadness, joy - is a first step in self-honesty, and in establishing a conscious relationship with our emotions; but we must be very careful to guide name recognition deeper into the nature of our feeling experience, and avoid slipping into mental analysis in order to escape being with our feelings.

There seem to be endless layers to penetrate in order to reach what we hope will be our true selves. We have to peel off our outer roles of parent, brother, sister, child, friend, lover, teacher (insert your job/career/public image definition) to access our inner core. We have to leave at the door our obligations to others. We have to enter all by ourselves, taking with us our breath as support, and our sensations as our guide.

What is Inside Our Skin?

Something dark is our first experience when we close our eyes. The more we look, the more we discover unending space. Under all the thoughts and emotions, we find a vast space and a silence that we may not recognize. If even for a moment we can access space and silence, we have our first glimpse of our inner sanctuary.

There is also the rhythmic pulse of our heart, that beats independently of our stories and varied sensations. We may sense an invisible web-like substance that holds the infinite space together. The substance is our soul. In this fertile ground our emotions silently drink in life force. There is a root system that connects us with sensations of peace, quiet gratitude for life, and the tender joys of awareness and wonder.

The Health of Our Soul

Inside ourselves we find the ground and the mystery of our being. We find our heart and our soul. We have access to the life force that sustains us and gives us nourishment. We discover confirmation, identify and an affirming spark of hope and faith. We rediscover our inner song and the rhythm of our inner dance. The experience of our power makes our home feel safe and secure. We feel our spirit light the fire in the hearth of our soul.

Our home base is our rejuvenating center, which takes care of us while we grow, expand and create in the world. It is the home office which guides our actions and wisely determines our choices. It is the source of our inspiration that protects us from pursuing relationships to get attention. It is the connection with our soul that enables us to follow our dreams, and not fall prey to the needs and manipulations of others. We find the arms that hold us now and forever.

Creating Our Foundation

While the Sun is in Cancer, we are invited to find the substance of our feeling nature and the centering mood of Self. Our mission is to consolidate ourselves into a state of BEING that is available to restore and sustain us in our daily lives. We do this by creating a safe space inside, where we are available to love and nurture ourselves.

We find security in our inner space, in our body, in our home, and with Mother Earth. It is this security that is our foundation for operating in the world. Capricorn, Cancer's complement, has this connection built into its symbology. The fish tail of the mountain goat finds its root in the moist substance of the Earth.

During our silent meditation we can be aware of the multiple facets of our foundation - the emotional roots of our existence, the hidden treasures in our body and the earth, the quality and nature of the ground (fertile, barren), the beginning and ending of all things, and early childhood experiences that have created unconscious emotional patterns, and feelings of both vulnerability and purity. The unifying force of all the aspects of our foundation is the spinning, cyclical and evolutionary aliveness of creation. As we feel our roots descend into the sphere of the Earth and into our own heart, we arrive at the center pulse of creation. We are welcomed to the lap of the nurturing and loving Mother.

Cancer and the Fourth House - How We Take Care of Ourselves

The sign on our 4th house cusp, the planets in our fourth house and in Cancer, invite us to care for ourselves in a special way. The sign and element of our Moon also helps us identify what mode of self-care feels the most comforting and nurturing to us. The element of the sign indicates the best way to access our inner sanctuary, and what spiritual techniques feel comforting and supportive.

Fire Signs may relate more to the aliveness in the body and to the pulse of the heart. Aries will need physical exercise to activate awareness of self. Leo will go straight to the heart. Sagittarius looks for all kinds of spiritual adventures.

Earth Signs need connection to the sensations of the body. They also need to feel the stability of the Earth element and rhythm. Rhythmic mantras that pulse through the body are good connectors for the Earth element. Taurus needs sensuality and touch. Virgo needs yoga and joins Taurus in delighting in body massage. Capricorn needs yoga and other forms of physical exercise to feel comfortable in the body.

Air Signs will be more attracted to mental exercises. They can connect with the neutral mind through breathing exercises. Gemini often likes visualizations and gets images inside. Libra craves the neutral mind and can get there through third eye meditation. Aquarius feels restored when it frees its mind of old belief systems and entanglements.

Water Signs need to feel emotional security. Cancer loves to find the familiar cave of the midnight self. Scorpio goes for deep probing, perhaps with a Shamanistic touch. Pisces goes straight to the Divine, no intermediaries necessary.

Relax and Renew, 2nd Edition, by Guru Rattana, Ph.D.

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Kundalini Yoga - Inward Meditation

The meditation to cultivate a neutral mind that I recommended in Issue 89 is a good one to do to pull yourself into your inner space. Using some of the above guidelines about the four elements, experiment and notice what methods work best to pull you inward.

Of course, doing any Kundalini Yoga before meditation is ideal. The Anger Set on page 96 of Relax and Renew 2nd Edition repairs damage done to the nervous system caused by excessive emotional reactions. This is a good set to calm your emotional stress and prepare yourself to go inside.

References and Footnotes

"Fourth House Inside the Cancer Shell", Dana Gerhardt, The Mountain Astrologer, Issue #114 April/May 2004, pp. 49-53.

"The Call of the Hungry Soul: The Moon, Food, Saturn, and Destiny", Darcy Woodall, April/May 2004 The Mountain Astrologer, pp. 30-37.

"Capricorn Full Moon July 2nd, and Cancer New Moon July 17th", Stephanie Austin, The Mountain Astrologer, Issue #115 June/July 2004, pp. 114-5.

1. Austin, p.115.
2. Woodall, p.35.


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