Shiva and Saturn
It would be difficult to debate Shiva’s connection with yoga as there are numerous commentaries and teachings from him regarding yoga, additionally, he is commonly referred to as Yogeswar, the lord of yoga. Even while reading select puranas, it becomes apparent that Shiva has a strong connection with yoga/meditation as he is frequently referenced as meditating for long periods of time; his dress is that of a renunciant, and one should note his strong association with caves, mountain tops and other locations for meditation. From a Shaivite (a follow of Shiva) perspective, it is Shiva’s meditation that upholds and transforms the universe. It is his relationship with Durga/Parvati/Uma that gave rise to many forms within the realm of creation. But more interestingly, it is Shiva’s relationship with Saturn that is largely ignored yet applicable to students of modern Hinduism/Yoga/Spirituality.
Within Vedic Astrology, Shiva and Saturn are closely linked via the elements and chakras. While Shiva is associated with the atmosphere (antariksha), it should be noted that Saturn is associated with the air element as well; yet Saturn is also associated with the muladhara chakra (root or 1st chakra—earth element). This allows for a powerful manifestation of Shiva’s energies, as Saturn pulls the energies of Shiva into the physical world of the individual. An examination of Saturn in the birth chart can provide some indicators as to how one’s relationship with Shiva will unfold. The birth chart will clearly indicate if the relationship with Shiva will be of a more gentle nature (Shankara) or if our karmas require a more intense transformative relationship (Rudra). But Shiva and Saturn should not be limited to merely harsh and gentle forms of transformation; they also bring healing energies into the physical world, an example would be the well-known Mahamrityunjaya mantra. This is an important mantra to the three-eyed form of Shiva known as tryambakam. Likewise, the bija mantra for Saturn is ‘Sham’, which is an important sound for healing and health.
As Shiva and Saturn are lords of karma, a karmic aspect will often strongly manifest during an astrological period call Sade Sati. This period is Saturn and Shiva’s transit of the moon (the emotional mind). This is a long cycle and can be highly unpredictable. Sade Sati is a seven year cycle where numerous powerful karmas can manifest. But just as there can be karmic challenges, there is also karmic opportunity. It is during this period that one can receive the fruit from actions that they have sown over previous years, decades and lifetimes. It is also a period where intense pressure can be placed upon the emotional mind to transform or elevate; resistance to this process often increases suffering, as we are out of harmony with karmic flow of our life. From a karmic point of view, there is opportunity to release false identifications, illusions and attachments. During this cycle, the transformative energies of Shiva can manifest powerfully within one’s life, so depending on how easily one can embrace this process of transformation will color one’s perception as to whether this is an enjoyable or difficult experience. During this cycle, a key is to cultivate what the ‘Yoga Sutras of Patanjali’ referred to as Ishvara Pranidhana or surrender to God, in this case Shiva. Another key is in developing an understanding of the role Shiva and Saturn play within one’s life, and learning how to work with the roles they play. This is best learned from a Vedic Astrologer.
As previously mentioned, In some texts, it is apparent that Shiva spends great periods of time in meditation. During these cycles, if Shiva were approached in a disturbing manner, his third eye would open and the light would burn up those disturbing the meditation. I have always looked at this from the standpoint that Shiva’s energy was the transforming force or paratapas (supreme tapas) that would burn up lower thoughts, images and projections within the field of the mind. The paratapas reveals the two-fold application of tapas: 1) psychic heat that heals and is transforming 2) physical austerities, such as sitting in meditation postures for extremely long periods of time. Saturn has a similar energy, in the fact that Saturn desires one to move more inwardly, toward meditation, requiring an exploration of the deep inner worlds of consciousness. While Saturn’s energy can be cooling and drying, the addition of Shiva’s tapas increases heat. While both can be drying, necessitating that consideration is given to counter the drying effects of both, this consideration is especially important for those of a 'vata' (ether/air) constitution. Likewise, when we resist this natural cycle of turning inward, the ‘heat’ and pressure naturally increases in an effort to transform one’s consciousness. During Sade Sati, it can be challenging to project outwardly for some practitioners of yoga, as the cosmic flow for them will have a more powerful flow inwardly. This inward flow can be difficult for some individuals and can present challenges in the mundane areas of life, career, marriage, mental or emotional happiness or other aspects of life. The key is in being able to work with these energy flows rather than to resist them and to find a balance where the inward flow is balanced with the outer needs of the individual. Once this 7-year cycle is complete, there will be a respite for approximately 21 years. Then the cycle will begin again. Most people will have this opportunity of purification and inward flow two or three times in their life. Yet, it can manifest to varying degrees with each cycle, and will not necessarily be the same each time.
One can reduce the intense manifestation of Saturn’s energies by not wearing blue, especially dark or navy blue. As a general rule, only an advanced incarnated soul can handle the intensification that blue will have on Saturn and Shiva’s energies. However, if Saturn rules gentle houses such as the case for Libra, the darker blue can bring out more positive qualities. Light blue may reduce the intensity of Saturn’s energy to a degree. As a general rule blue, purple or turquoise stones should be avoided. In fact, even the ‘green turquoise’ should be avoided. It is best to consult with a Vedic astrologer as to the best stones to wear and not wear, as there are additional considerations aside from just color. Additionally, wearing blue can increase the energy of not only Shiva and Saturn, but Kali as well; requiring additional consideration as to whether one is really ready for the manifestation of Kali’s energy.
To work with Saturn and Shiva’s energy and to reduce the intense energy from Saturn, mantra to Shiva may be beneficial. Mantras should be selected through consultation with a Vedic Astrologer, Acharya, Yogi or similar expert. Certainly mantra such as ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ would be beneficial, though there are numerous additional mantras that could be helpful. While often students and writers take a negative view of Saturn, it is important to remember that all of this is part of the karmic process of facilitating personal growth and realization. From this point of view, it is all good, especially if one can remember that the goal is to work harmoniously with these energies.
Learn more about the astrological aspect of yoga with "Introduction to Astrological Yoga" available now!
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To learn more about Shiva, we recommend:
Shiva: The Lord of Yoga by David Frawley
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