The Gods of ancient Greece didn’t bother too much about common morality. But two things really set them off: hubris and a lack of hospitality.
The Gods of ancient Greece didn’t bother too much about common morality. Deeply flawed themselves, they could be petty, selfish, vengeful, jealous and cruel. They weren’t interested in impure thoughts or the venial sins of men and women. But two things really set them off: hubris and a lack of hospitality.
Hubris is sometimes defined as arrogance or pride - but it’s more than that. It involves an overreaching on the part of human beings. Hubris is an affront to the Gods because it grasps for something that uniquely belongs to them.
So hubris makes sense. But hospitality? This seems a surprising preoccupation in ancient culture. What of charity? Compassion? Altruistic love? Surely these are greater virtues than hospitality. Underpinning the virtue of hospitality is the notion that any stranger you encounter could be a God in disguise: the lowliest, most desperate refugee asking for sanctuary, the outcast who is judged too weird or subversive for inclusion, even the sinner deemed too evil to reform. Any of these could be a God.
Thus, hospitality incorporates the other virtues: charity is giving to others, according to their needs without thought of recognition or recompense; compassion, from the root “con” meaning “with” and “passion,” meaning “suffer” actually begs us to suffer with others; and altruism, or Agape, as the Greeks called it, is a kind of universal, unselfish love, beautifully demonstrated by the act of giving hospitality to strangers.
I’ve been thinking about these two concepts a lot - Hubris and Hospitality - since Saturn came to call in my Astrological Fourth House. It’s a place traditionally associated with home, family, roots, foundations, and the father. Saturn is known as the great taskmaster of the Zodiac. He brings duty, responsibility, and burden wherever he goes. Obstacles, delay and loneliness are his constant companions.
So when Saturn moved into my Fourth House in 2020, I expected some heaviness and hardship on the homefront, perhaps involving expensive repairs or increasing work from my home based Astrology business. All of which did transpire. Recently separated, I was now the sole breadwinner in the household. For the first time in 20 years, I alone was responsible for the maintenance, upkeep and expense of the household. Moving to a new town in the middle of a pandemic pretty much guaranteed feelings of isolation and loneliness. I naïvely assumed that these extra burdens and expenses would cover my debt to Saturn.
Then, in March 2022, just as Saturn reached the engagement range of my natal Sun, I received a phone call that would change my life. The nursing home in Ontario that housed my father had decided to close, giving its residents just six weeks to find new placements.
As the last surviving child in my family, I was my father’s closest kin and power of attorney. It only made sense to move him here. My doctor agreed to take him on as a patient, and, following the three month waiting period, I assumed we would find a suitable place for him in long term care.
I took leave from my day job to look after Dad. With several serious health issues, including diabetes that required four injections daily, he required full time care: three meals a day, laundry, bathing services, housekeeping, nursing, and an errand runner. At the retirement home, there was a full staff to care for residents - PSAs, cooks, servers, nurses, recreation coordinators, administrators, janitorial staff. Now it was just me, my 19 year old son and my dog, “Shiva the Destroyer.”
It is easy to be generous and magnanimous when your houseguest is generous Jupiter or voluptuous Venus; Mercury can be charming and fun; even argumentative Mars can prove helpful with repairs and renovations. But Saturn is a challenge. Saturn is relentless, slow, painstaking, isolating and hard.
It is one thing to be hospitable to our friends and family, especially when their visitations are brief. We happily prepare special meals for our loved ones. It is a pleasure to ready the house for our guests and plan interesting outings for them. But when days turn into weeks, and weeks turn into months, patience and graciousness can get stretched mighty thin.
All of the little tasks I once approached so cheerfully now felt like drudgery: three meals on the table every day rain or shine, daily loads of laundry that must be soaked, scrubbed, washed re-washed, and dryed. Life became a blur of soiled sheets, overturned urine jugs, bathroom accidents, pills and injections, endless fiddling with remote controls, TVs blaring in every room, fixtures ripped off the walls, suspicious smells, doors left ajar letting little dogs escape.
I’m no saint. There are moments every single day when I feel frustrated, annoyed and impatient. At times I am anything but hospitable. But I truly believe that Saturn is the bearer of substantial gifts as well as hardship (though his gifts are often much more recognizable in hindsight).
So what are the blessings Saturn bestows? Maturity, self-reliance, authority, respect, self- knowledge, time. Saturn delivers consequences and a healthy dose of reality. He strips away our facade, uncovering the bare essentials of who we are.
Dad’s presence in my home has brought up a lot of memories and realizations about my psychological conditioning. All my faults and dysfunctions have been exposed. Saturn in the house of home and family has revealed some pretty serious cracks in the foundation. Though painful, this process has been instructive and transformative.
I’ve learned the true meaning of hospitality and I’ve learned a lot about hubris too. Struggle, suffering, uncertainty and being wrong are part of the human condition. There is no transcending the limitations of human fragility no matter how old we get or how many dues we pay or how much we "do the work." There is no get out of jail free card. Leading a spiritual life does not exempt us from pain but it does give meaning and substance to our suffering.
As Saturn nears the end of his stay in Aquarius I am amazed and gratified to see all the gifts he has bestowed: my family relationships are stronger than ever; I have forged some tremendous new friendships; my business is growing; Dad is completely off the insulin, and Saturn has ground away some of my roughest edges. When I moved into this house it was my fervent wish, that it would become a happy, lively, active home, filled with friends and family. As I looked around this Christmas I couldn’t help noticing that this wish had been granted. There was a lot of noise, chaos and dirty dishes but the house was filled with love and laughter. I can’t tell you how touched I was to hear my Dad say that this was one of his best Christmases ever.
It’s funny, we spend a great deal of time and mental energy, fearing consequences, dreading additional burdens and responsibilities. But when we finally accept the call to duty and responsibility, we gain a sense of liberation too. It’s like graduation….from primary school. I’ve still got many more years of education before me. But if I know anything about Saturn it’s this; he is a wise and patient teacher. He will keep showing up, as long as it takes, to teach me the hard lessons of life.
What have you learned these past three years? What blessings has Saturn bestowed? If you haven’t claimed them yet, there’s still time.
I wish you and yours a very Happy New Year,
Peace my friends,
P.S. There is still time to register for my course Get Lucky in 2023. Get 25% off with Coupon code 25FOR23 at https://www.novascotiaastrologer.ca/courses
Categories: Ancient Astrology, Aquarius, Astrology, Big Dreams, Chronos, Compassion, Cosmic Dance, Greek Mythology, Horoscope, Hubris and Hospitality, Psychology, Relationships, Saturn, Self Help, Self-Awareness