Devouring Time ~ July 30th-August 5th, 2018

Sonnet 19 by William Shakespeare

Devouring Time, blunt thou the lion’s paws,

And make the earth devour her own sweet brood;

Pluck the keen teeth from the fierce tiger’s jaws,

And burn the long-liv’d Phoenix in her blood;

Make glad and sorry seasons as thou fleets,

And do whate’er thou wilt, swift-footed Time,

To the wide world and all her fading sweets;

But I forbid thee one more heinous crime:

O, carve not with the hours my love’s fair brow,

Nor draw no lines there with thine antique pen!

Him in thy course untainted do allow

For beauty’s pattern to succeeding men.

Yet do thy worst, old Time! Despite thy wrong

My love shall in my verse ever live young.

This week, the Sun continues to luxuriate in the golden light of Leo, its place of rulership. When the Sun returns to its domicile, your heart becomes illuminated. Glowing from within, you may find yourself prone to flourishing gestures of love and affection. And there is a special warmth in the blood that nourishes inspiration, pouring forth in stories, songs, and poems.

And speaking of stories, the zodiac itself is a symbolic story used to describe the Sun’s annual journey through the heavens. You can think of the twelve signs as various chapters detailing the Sun’s eternal return: rising and falling; dying and being reborn.

Thus, during Leo season, where the Sun is glorified, there should be a special feeling of arrival! The Sun’s time in its place of rulership is a tale of enthronement, a grand coronation for the divine light in the cosmos.

On a personal level, astrology associates the Sun with the sense of self, born from the light and heat inside your heart. Thus it is in Leo season when you can become reignited by the desire to know thyself.

But to find your place in the Sun will not be without struggle. This week falls in the middle of a tempestuous eclipse season, made all the more difficult by the retrograde motion of Mercury and Mars. There tends to be so much loss during times of great change that you may miss the heroic element in your own story.

The challenge is to evolve your sense of self to a higher level, transmuting the darkness into light. Though this time is tinged with the agonies and pains of transformation, the Sun’s placement in Leo will remind you of your own capacity for strength and courage. And to meditate upon the light of the Sun, the center of the solar system, is to acknowledge the light in your heart, the center of your being.

This week brings only one significant aspect. On Wednesday, August 1st, Mars retrograde in Aquarius will make an exact square with Uranus in Taurus. The feeling of unrest and uneasiness, stirred up by the lunar eclipse, will sharpen to a point.

This is the second of the three Mars/Uranus squares occurring between May and September, so this week represents the middle of a lengthy internal process.

This square represents a very disruptive energy, associated with fits and spasms of crisis and alienation. Mars/Uranus squares tend to bring manic and volatile situations, summoning disenchantment, disgrace or disgust. The purpose of these feelings is to drive you far outside of your comfort zone, pushing you to stretch towards a new idea or a new way of doing things.

Remember that inspiration often arrives after a period of despair.In the face of circumstances that seem beyond your control, the rebellious spirit of Mars Rx in Aquarius along with the heroic pride of the Sun and Mercury Rx in Leo will inspire you to curse fate and defy the stars.

Feel the universal rage at being eaten away by the devouring jaws of time.

Since Aquarius is ruled by both Saturn and Uranus, Mars’ retrograde represents a wild vacillation between order and chaos; restriction and liberation. Squares to Uranus summon a need to break through limitations. This week, time may begin to eat away, but this will summon your instinct for rebellion. 

Before the discovery of Uranus in the late-18th Century, Saturn was considered to be the end of the universe. As such, Saturn was attributed with being the lord of time and space, representing all the restrictions of material existence. But when Uranus was discovered, human awareness was pushed past the walls of time to infinity and beyond.

Through some disruption and surprise, this week’s square between Mars and Uranus has the potential to expand your imagination beyond its former limitations.

Since there is nothing new under the Sun, human history is filled with great art and philosophy that describes the struggle with time. The finite nature of life is the source of both tragedy and purpose. It seems that humanity’s battle against time is timeless. One succinct and potent offering on this subject can be found in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 19.

The first 18 Sonnets in Shakespeare’s collection are love poems, addressed to a fair youth whose beauty is compared to a summer’s day. But in the 19th sonnet, a notable shift in tone emerges. No longer is the fair youth being addressed. Now the poet must confront the enemy of love, devouring time.

Devouring Time, blunt thou the lion’s paws,

And make the earth devour her own sweet brood;

Shakespeare poetically describes time’s devouring nature, which indiscriminately destroys everything of beauty and strength.

Pluck the keen teeth from the fierce tiger’s jaws,

And burn the long-liv’d Phoenix in her blood;

With courage, he stares straight into the widening jaws of time to make a plea. He describes the ubiquity of loss in the world but accepts it. Even the mythical Phoenix, solar firebird of death and rebirth, must one day be devoured. He allows for time to do as it will, but makes one urgent request. He begs time not to devour his lover’s beauty and youth.

But I forbid thee one more heinous crime:

O, carve not with the hours my love’s fair brow,

Sonnet 19 is a very brief battle, for the author knows from the beginning that he is destined to lose. Time conquers all earthly things. 

Yet do thy worst, old Time! Despite thy wrong

My love shall in my verse ever live young.

In the concluding lines, Shakespeare rescinds his plea, granting time its voracious appetite. He knows what the legendary Gilgamesh once knew: that immortality is achieved through art. Through his verse, his lover will live forever.

So this week, if the Mars/Uranus square wears you down with feelings of helplessness or frustration, remember that you are on the verge of a breakthrough into a new reality.

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 19 serves as the perfect reminder that anger, anxiety and urgency can often inspire a new way of seeing things. Though Shakespeare had no prayer of preserving his lover’s youth in the physical sense, he successfully found a way to immortalize his tender affection. For more than four centuries, his love lives in his verse, forever young.

 

all artwork by Émile Friant

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