Posted by: Zane Maser | January 6, 2010


When the cup is empty, for whatever reason(s), it’s empty.
While it’s empty, be empty.
We have to validate our own experience,
whatever it is, because if we don’t,
no one else may!

The gently scented, aqua-colored candle I lit right after Zoe’s death burnt out last night. I gasped when I saw the light extinguished, the wick laid limply on its side in final repose. In spite of this tribute’s ending, Zoe’s exquisite inner light burns eternally. Hers is inextinguishable, as is my spiritual light and yours and the light of every other living form. Whenever there is breath, the little, Divine torch of the heart burns steadily on.

This morning is an uninviting, monotone of grey, and our eclectic bird family, which we enjoy watching as they snack on the millet, bread, and nuts we put out, seem to be on vacation at other neighborhood feeding stations. Curling up in a ball under the covers, like a cozy feline, feels utterly attractive to me at the moment. I am motionless—for now, at least. My mind and body tell me to pay heed to a more leisurely tempo and thus preserve my transiently depleted energies. My inner self asks: “so, tell me what you are most in need of? What is your heart whispering?”


Mama Cat and her kids relaxing some years back

In retrospect, it seems my psyche was already preparing me for the drastic changes ahead. On December 16, before I had any conscious inkling we’d begin a new year without our Zoe, I drew my annual Sacred Path Card™.1 It was #17, the Moon Lodge card, which denotes “Retreat.” In essence, this card suggests a period that is barren and infertile. Thus, I must allow ample time for entering the silence of my inner sanctuary, there to trust whatever guidance comes from deep stillness and intuitive receptivity. My best course is to withdraw, rest, replenish, reconnect inwardly, and receive. While respecting this cyclic need for inner solitude, my cup will gently re-fill. And when the time is ripe to re-engage, I can begin our emerging chapter, brightened and vibrant.


Bacca asleep, all tucked within


Sketty in deep sleep on Chris’ desk

It seems my personal life is an accurate mirror for the powerful Cosmic energies right now that are sending an unmistakable message: move mindfully and with greater awareness of the effects you set in motion today as they will be your consequences in the future. As above in the Heavens, so below on Earth; as inwardly in my life, so outwardly in the Cosmos. This is a fundamental Universal Law, because all life pulses to this divine beat.

At present, two planets—quick-footed Mercury and fearless Mars—are both traveling in what is termed “retrograde motion.” This term comes from the Latin “to step backwards.” Symbolically and sometimes literally, we may have to tread the same stretch of road! Save for the Sun and Moon, the phenomenon of retrograde motion happens with all the other planets. As the Earth turns daily on its own axis and annually circles the Sun, from our earthly perspective the planets appear to move backwards at periodic intervals in their cycles.

When a planet is retrograde, we need to slow the pace of life, which today is mindlessly frenetic for most people, in large part due to being over-committed and unable to say “no.” During this brief time of downshifting, which requires a greater than normal degree of patience, we will likely encounter some kind of blockage or restraint, delays, frustrations and irritability, recurrences, returns to previous conditions, or reversals of events or circumstances. It’s an astute choice to follow the wisdom of the Taoist Sages who advised “take no unnecessary action.” Economize and conserve your resources on all levels! In this case, less is better. It is, however, a judicious hiatus for introspective re-flection, re-view, re-assessment, re-vision, re-finement, and re-creation. We can craft an entirely fresh, more workable template for our life.

Mercury continues to be retrograde until January 15, while Mars will linger so until March 10. To a large extent, our day-to-day life is primarily governed by the energies of Mercury and Mars, as well as the Moon. So, their backward movement implies that now is not the best time to move forward in active motion, but rather to allow our mind (Mercury) and our normally more assertive energy and enthusiasms (Mars) to lay fallow as our physical and mental soil is re-stored to accommodate the new growth that will be more appropriate for the weeks and months ahead.

To illustrate, a hard-working yoga teacher is currently laid low by a recurring ailment that saps her normally vivacious engagement with life and her students. Such a circumstance usually comes about when we do not listen to the internal warning system of our body as we go at our habitually unsustainable rate until our psyche steps in and says “enough.” If we continue to ignore the warning, we set ourselves up for an “outer” or “fated” event, such as a broken bone, severe illness wherein there is no choice but to lay bedridden and resting, or some other harsh restraint(s) that finally demands our attention.

This rude awakening also happens in situations wherein we need to move on but resist the inherent sense of risk, such as a relationship, marriage, or work in which the meaning has withered and died. These types of hard knocks “appear” to be externally caused, when, in reality, it is the intervention of our spirit meant to fling open the doors to set us free toward new growth. Only by daring to risk the unknown can we fulfill the “soul contract” we agreed to prior to being born into the physical dimension for another round of lessons at Mama Earth’s Boarding School.

“Retrograde” cycles are highly purposeful in the natural flow and ebb of energy, because it’s an ideal time to consciously probe the depths of what motivates us and to focus specifically on and align our intellectual (Mercury) and physical (Mars) intentions. If we’ve done our internal work well, our cup is once again brimming with delectable nectar.

In 1936, the wise and loving spiritual teacher, White Eagle, offered the following guidance, which is well worth pondering, especially during the interval when Mars is retrograde (approximately every two years and two months): ”Salt we find is associated with Mars. The influence of Mars on humanity is [ideally] of a purifying nature. Salt mixed with water clears away all the elementals, is very drastic, but a splendid healer and purifier.” If we allow the very clear, purposeful energy of Mars to do its highest work, our souls can be purified.

Relishing much-needed rest in 2004

Getting my bearings is a unique process, one that can neither be rushed nor compared to the internal process Chris is experiencing. I have to curl up, with my head tucked in, my heart protected, my thoughts unclear, my taste buds unresponsive, my usual joy suspended, and my pulse quiet. When asked the secret of his Enlightenment, the Zen master stated simply, “When I’m hungry, I eat; when I’m tired, I sleep.”

If you have experienced such a life-stopping, life re-directing death of any sort—physically, emotionally, mentally, vocationally, financially, or spiritually—perhaps you can relate to this quiet period meant to replenish our energies. But, if my experience is out-and-out nonsense or foreign to your perspective, that too is perfectly okay. The manner in which you experience loss and death is as valid and significant as mine.

My re-activity toward massive change
and re-structuring may not be yours
and yours reactions may not be mine.
But both are entirely okay.
Let us honor the diversity of one another’s differences
and embrace and celebrate our unity.

Similar Offerings:

• Fallowness

• Saving Precious Energy

• Slow Down!

• Beautiful Breath

• The Temple Of Silence

• A Salute to Brothers (more about the planet Mercury)

• The Beastly & Blessed Moments of Mars (all about astrological Mars)


  1. Jamie Sams. 1990. Sacred Path Cards™: The Discovery of Self Through Native Teachings. HarperCollins Publishers. 325 pages.


Text and Photos © by Zane Maser, 2010. All rights of Zane Maser and SunnyCat Astrology reserved worldwide.

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My editorial guru and technological wizard is Chris Maser, my delightful husband.

If you are interested in an astrological consultation and/or a specific question answered by a horary chart, please visit SunnyCat© Astrology.

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