Friday, June 1, 2007

A Fresh Look at Saturn

Much like Pluto, the planet Saturn has long suffered a bad rap from traditional astrologers and lay people alike as a diabolical fly in the ointment, when in fact, Saturn indicates many opportunities for our own personal, and societal growth. Therefore, it is my intention for this month’s article to illuminate the gift of Saturn, and perhaps inspire us all to utilize the benefits these opportunities bring.

According to the science of Astrology, there are two paternal planetary influences in our solar system; Jupiter and Saturn. Each of these fatherly planets takes on a significantly different role in promoting our personal and spiritual development. For instance, Jupiter is the indulgent father who, when he is not being restrained through hard aspects or retrograde motion, indicates an open door for gainful opportunity and expansion. He blithely pats us on the head and sends us merrily on our way absolutely unchecked, unless other planetary influences become involved. This can be beneficial in many ways, and can also lead us into a bit of a jam if we don’t use our heads a bit. Jupiter rules Sagittarius, and those of us who know a Sagittarian or two can testify to just how unbridled these fun-loving people can be under the supervision of such a lenient ruler!

Saturn, on the other hand, is the seemingly stern disciplinarian associated with restriction and limitation. He rules Capricorn, who calmly accepts the responsibilities and limits that Saturn imposes, and co-rules rebellious Aquarius, whose unconventional nature has been tirelessly flinging itself against the bars of Saturn’s constricting traditions for quite some time.

Aquarius represents freedom, after all, and Saturn’s insistence on boundaries, discipline, schedules and limitations has been a source of profound discomfort to Aquarius’s free-flowing habits. A modicum of relief appeared when Saturn, who had likely grown weary of Aquarius’s unflagging attempts at mutiny, went into semi-retirement some time in the 19th century, passing the baton, and most of the responsibility, over to Uranus, who seems to resonate more closely with Aquarius’s unpredictable behavior.

It should be said, however, that we impulsive Aquarians, as well as everyone else, would do well to embrace the opportunities and discipline that Saturn seems to impose, as the effects of such limitations can ultimately free us from irresponsible patterns and inclinations that can trip us up, ensnaring us in a bit of a nasty episode or two that may be difficult to shake off. Conversely, it is also important to insure that we are not seduced into remaining in a habit of unmoving stasis due to Saturn’s more depressive qualities.

As a bit of an aside, it’s interesting to note that while Aquarius is eccentric, freedom-loving and spontaneous, Capricorn resists change like the plague, choosing instead to duck themselves deeply beneath the covers of a situation long after its use and joy has run out. It is quite likely that Capricorn is the inspiration behind the term “comfortable rut.” Capricorn tends to take on a woeful, depressive stance – likened in my mind to A. A. Milne’s gloomy, yet endearing Eeyore – while Aquarius bounces around like the hyper loveable Tigger…sometimes bouncing itself right off a cliff! Small wonder that Saturn can be a bit grumpy with these two to watch over! It also leads me to wonder how Saturn ever got assigned to Aquarius in the first place. I feel a research binge coming on…

Ah, but it is time now to refocus on the task at hand: learning to appreciate Father Saturn.

Saturn has two faces; that of the strict authoritarian whose actions seem to manifest in some level of pain, and that of the benevolent teacher, who inspires us to utilize these painful experiences of restriction and discipline in order to gain greater clarity and fulfillment. Yes Virginia, there is an intrinsic value in our experiences of pain. As difficult as they can be, these experiences can awaken a deeper insight within ourselves, inspiring us to release our minds from past conditioning as well as our attachment to the past, and to discover our own internal values that are held deep within. How else will we discover profound, joyful freedom if we aren’t first inspired to throw off the chains that bind us? Saturn brings our anguish or imposition into the forefront, forcing us to meet it head-on if our intentions are to find joy and fulfillment on the other side.

This is where we meet our choice-point: Do we decide to work toward freeing ourselves joyfully, or do we elect instead to wallow in despair? Free will is the name of the game here, and we always have the opportunity to exercise it, regardless of how scary that may seem. Saturn’s role is integral to this process, and when we begin to embrace and appreciate his contribution of introducing the motivation for this change, he will transform before our eyes from the fearsome father to the benevolent one.

By his placement in both house and sign in your personal natal chart, Saturn indicates which areas of your life that you are likely to feel held back in your self-expression, embroiled in self-denial, frustrated, or faced with difficulties. Know that Saturn, in exposing these conditions, holds the keys to the gateway of eventual freedom via a deeper personal insight. We merely have to pay attention, focus ourselves on the desired goal, and allow Saturn to give our ideas form.

As if this wasn’t enough to chew on, I’m going to throw one more thought in the mix. Approximately every 30 years or so, each of us experiences a profound growth opportunity called a Saturn Return, in which Saturn transits the exact location of our natal Saturn, which is called a conjunction. These are some of the most challenging, and the most important times of our lives, in which we make quantum leaps in maturity. While they may be seen as excruciating by some, it’s all in how you look at it. This time is of endings and new beginnings, and will be dealt with in one of two ways. If you have been living your life up to this point in full resonance of your soul purpose, this period will mark a time of the completion of one stage of life, and the beginning of another, more mature stage of life. This period could be likened to a rite of passage, as it were.

If you have been living your life to this point in a manner that has been out of alignment with your soul purpose, this could be seen as a time of great crisis, or as an opportunity to get yourself back on the right track. Saturn urges you to face the issues you have neglected, do the requisite work to realign yourself with your true purpose, and embark upon the next 30 years with more wisdom and maturity. You would do well to avail yourself of this opportunity with courage, rolling with the punches, and doing the essential work so that in another 29 years, you are not obligated to experience an even more challenging Saturn Return. As far-fetched as this may sound, you may even wish to look upon this time with much enthusiasm and anticipation, knowing that you are fulfilling your soul’s desire for progress.

If you are nearing your second Saturn Return, say around 58-60 years old, you may be faced with the need to make some radical changes in your life. These changes may be in the form of releasing yourself of outmoded habits and thinking. I suggest you observe yourself objectively, and make the necessary changes, no matter how challenging they may seem. If you do, it is likely that your golden years will be much more rewarding.

The length of time each Saturn return lasts can vary individually, according to the nature of the sign Saturn is placed in, and the size of the house in which it resides. Generally, Saturn Returns last approximately 2 ½ years, and if it’s anything like mine, it could go as long as 4 ½ years. Utilize this time to its utmost potential, and you will benefit tremendously. It’s of added benefit if you know when your Saturn Return will begin, so that you can reflect upon the requisite issues covered ahead of time, in order to be better prepared.

It is my desire that this article has been helpful in sharing a fresh perspective on Saturn, and a new appreciation on how he operates so that we can all best use his influence to our full advantage. Remember that it’s all about free will, so next time Saturn places a weighty finger on our heads, forcing us to stay grounded and focused, we can choose to groan under the weight of it all, or find the moxie to face the lesson with fervor, forging ahead toward the sure promise of eventual freedom. Remembering always that fear is actually False Evidence Appearing Real; perhaps we can then liberate ourselves from such an illusion.

June Celestial Events of Note:

Mercury Retrograde in Cancer, June 15 (Please see archived article on Mercury)

New Moon in Gemini June 14

Summer Solstice June 21

Full Moon in Capricorn June 30

Have a wonderful Summer Solstice, everyone!

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