The Suffering of Time

Love and Desire

Perhaps love is only possible in places where it’s understood as a grace or gift, and by necessity, to come and go of its own accord. Love then, is truly beyond any grasping, holding or securing on our part. We can only submit to its power, never fully possessing neither her pains nor delights so graciously bestowed upon us. These limits, Saturn’s way, might seem imposing, thwarting our dreams as beyond what’s possible. But Saturn*, Kronos, is the ancient reminder that there are limits to this Earthly marriage of spirit and matter embodied within the delights of the sense world.

Saturn blowing smoke into the picture

For us mortals, is not desire then, a being in want, seemingly perpetual? And perhaps, isn’t being-in-want a hunger for change, change imposed by Kronos’ time, satiated, content or complete, all by necessity temporary? How can being in time ever reach any such steady state? Surely the constancy of desire binds us to time, to birth and mortality. Perhaps though, time’s bounty and providence provide that which we might abide more faithfully to, through the images that move us into a deepening appreciation of meaning and purpose. Every possibility and nuance of God lives through us. Our individual fate then is our portion, our share of the Whole, unique and separate as we must be. An incomprehensible gift it is just to be alive (Jupiter).

Love’s boundless mystery, beyond our share (again Jupiter), seems both pregnant with possibility, but also suggests the possibility of refusal to unveil the bride. Impersonal, it holds and carries all of the deepest hopes, dreams and reflections beyond what any one of us could know. Without human embodiment though, do they stay forever untarnished without the mess of time’s daily fare of coming and going?

Meaning and Purpose

Beyond the base needs of food, water, shelter, and after such has been granted, what? What does desire want in its ceaseless weaving of us through the finite vulnerability of living and dying? Or, when not satiated, where else can desire take us?

Heaven and Earth

Perhaps it is this: to submit to time what belongs in time, to learn to dance with its capricious hold on us, step to the changing, ceaseless rhythms, as they come and go. They move us, shape us. Must we lessen too, the idea of one’s self as the sole creator of the dance and of our very being to accept the invitation? Can we not only see, hear and taste, but be present to the eternal nature of a love so great it must create; must make manifest, even imperfectly an expression of spirit through matter (or spirited matter)?

Not only to speculate, but what is it to experience the eternal nature that we sense, even if only glimpsed in tiny bits and pieces? Desire then, perhaps seeks out these missing pieces as if to make or see whole, perhaps to heal, or to see and feel the wholeness we come from and really belong to. Is that what we see within the mirrors of each other, and especially through the beloved?

Can it be enough to recognize that we are indeed pieces of the whole? For how else can nuance, specificity and the peculiarly odd nature of separation be expressed without time, the temporary, which places such a heavy burden of coming and going upon us. It weighs us down into a life that must continually give way to change and someday, death.

Only time can tell, true, and perhaps, only we humans can know desire in this way; we the tiny scintilla, endlessly reaching out to light a fire, when, or if, we fail to experience its already sustenance through the eternal breath tethering us to life. Breath, the seeming disembodied spirit, cannot not be. That we are possible, and we obviously are, proclaims through us creation as that which is, as it is, within the bounds of eternal possibility. For how can such an apparently inherent possibility come into being?


Love is free then, yes, but what does that even mean? Love, in some ways, always fails within the limits of time, as it can never completely give us that wholeness of self, or completeness that desire eternally seeks. Then, might we say that love is free through acceptance of the limits we mere mortals are subject to? …and to love and be loved seeks a willingness to submit to the human condition that might disappoint when we ask for more than our share? …and within the perpetual mystery not only of the other, but of one’s self?

This mortal life, within the bounds of such a perfect place that permits such a thing as human being, allows not only a glimpse, but a tiny unique expression of the enormity of God. In this sense, God is beyond necessity, but the love that creates is necessarily fully free to allow for any and all possibilities, including love’s desire and hope, time’s suffering and all that comes and goes through you and I.

*In Hellenistic astrology, Saturn is said to be the greater malefic, and to the ancients, was the end of the heavens, while Jupiter, the greater benefic, was Saturn’s son, one of the few that escaped death by the hand of the father.



15 thoughts on “The Suffering of Time

  1. theburningheart

    No wonder even the Greeks divide love into a few categories, as Agape, Eros, Philia, Storge, Philautia, and Xenia.
    I will only say, anyone who lives a long life, we go through our own experience on each form of love, and come to terms, or not, with it.
    Personally I acquired my understanding of love, as Dante’s opening lines of his masterful Inferno, from his Divine Comedy:

    Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita 1.1 When I had journeyed half of our life’s way,
    mi ritrovai per una selva oscura, I found myself within a shadowed forest,
    ché la diritta via era smarrita. for I had lost the path that does not stray.

    Ahi quanto a dir qual era è cosa dura 1.4 Ah, it is hard to speak of what it was,
    esta selva selvaggia e aspra e forte that savage forest, dense and difficult,
    che nel pensier rinova la paura! which even in recall renews my fear!

    I got to say that, out of that experience I owe my handle name: Theburningheart.
    And only can wish for every one to experience it, and come out of that savage forest, instead of a broken individual, a new person.

    Nice post Debra. 🙂


    1. Beautiful it is to feel the renewal of the heart. A wonderful, perhaps paradoxical thing it is too, to come out of that forest grateful for renewed orientation and yes, passion for a greater love that is beyond all time, place and desire.

      I’ll think of Dante’s words now whenever I hear your handle. Thanks for sharing that story with me, Brigido, and as always for your note.


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  3. Debra,

    Your words strike at the very heart of the river of consciousness, and it is almost painful to acknowledge the power of these sentiments as you expressed them, but they ring so true that we cannot but help do so.

    Recognizing that Love is a “grace or gift,” and not a natural entitlement of our humanity is urgently needed in our modern society. Understanding that “we can only submit to its power,” and that “neither its pains nor delights can be fully possessed,” is a truth rarely emphasized in the general population these days. We routinely see individuals trying to possess them, and refusing to submit to its power, often with tragic results. We are flawed beings, we humans, and often refuse to acknowledge what is patently obvious, but your expression here forces us to confront this truth.

    I was particularly gratified to read your description of love as “the Earthly marriage of spirit and matter…embodied within the delights of the sense world.” While the sense world alerts us to the visceral embodiment of love through our intense desires, the sense world only points to something far grander and more vital in our experience of life. Even just the emotional power of the grace which inhabits these experiences, points to the spirit which is foundational to that grace, and the ebb and flow of life and love, are fundamentally a result of the same rhythms which point to the foundations of formulating the meaning and purpose they serve.

    We must have some reinforcement or confirmation in our lives in order to appreciate that even the deficits and struggles of life must be included in order to arrive at the affirmation that it is “an incomprehensible gift just to be alive.” Such a conclusion may be much more challenging to someone deprived of basic needs or afflicted by “any and all possibilities,” but it is the same struggle we all have based on the myriad possibilities for each life.

    You challenge your readers with postings like this one, but we are the better for it.

    Warm regards…John H.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, John, for your kind reply. Agreed, the difficulties in our culture, for seeing that the powers that reside outside of our control might sometimes benefit us are overshadowed by so much pain and suffering of individuals. In some ways we’ve lost the language or the permission to speak of these things and address them, outside of conventional, culturally approved remedies, be they pharmaceuticals, or the rigidity of a belief system of any kind.

      For myself, pain and suffering, along with a lifetime fascination with spiritual practices, and the mentors and angels that have graced my journey, frequently point back to the importance of keeping at the importance of love, beauty and grace and not to settle in with the notion that I can fully comprehend them without practice and prayer. The insights in this post are though, just that, insights. Can I incorporate them into my life? Can I remember to cultivate compassion for myself and others? Yes, quite the challenge.

      It has been a difficult year of many changes for me. Change, of course, along with hardships, as you point out, are several of the many huge catalysts for returning to spiritual practices. I am grateful for at least being aware of the necessity for attending to the more primary issues of being human.

      Thanks for the note! Happy holidays to you and your family.


  4. Hello, my friend – I am much better, again. As Saturn has shown me over and over again, to endure time is to also face the gifts 🎁 on the illusionary “other side.” The gifts that only suffering revealed.

    I did not see your reply until now, and I am so grateful for your kind-hearted and tender response, and I equally send you much love as you move through, deepen, and reflect!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I need to read your contemplation –
    I’m really feeling the “limits” of Saturn right now and all the Jupiter delights I can’t partake of quite like I’d wish… desire is very curious, indeed – but my back pain makes everything unfortunate through that lens. Jupiter joining with Saturn and Pluto just augmented my “unsolvable limitation” or at least it seems that way until something new is revealed. Fortunately I know that circumstances and planets will eventually transit on…. revealing new awareness. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh Ka, perhaps your backache is your suffering through time. Yes, some intense transits here and to come.

      Having just recently begun to put on the lens of an astrological eye in a deeper and more personal way, all of is happening in my life has opened up to me a richer sense of the ceaseless patterns. Although I might feel the gain and expanse of perspective, beyond the awareness, the days still carry their own weight, some lighter, some heavier than others. There is a much greater heaviness in recognizing the repetitious cycles of what endures, for better or for worse. 🙂
      Much love to you!

      Liked by 1 person

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