Thursday, February 27, 2014

Weighs Heavily on the Heart--A Gaze at Sobering Saturn, Part 1

photo by Patricia Herlevi
Poor magnificent Saturn earned a reputation as a malefic thanks to ancient astrologers who saw Mars, Saturn and other planets as "bad luck" planets.  However, Saturn might seem like a planet of hard luck, hard work, and no fun.  It comes off as Cinderella before the ball and before the prince as she scrubbed ashes off the floor or Snow White when she was abandoned in the deep woods as an infant.  True enough the early years for Saturn types (Saturn Sun, Moon, Rising, 10th House Capricorn, 10th House Sun or stellium of planets in Capricorn) require patience, determination and grit.

Astrologer Donna Cunningham delved into a special Saturn type group born between 1988 and 1990 when Uranus, Saturn and Neptune formed a triple conjunction in Capricorn.  Any child born during the late fall and early winter of those years could have up to seven  planets in Capricorn.  Visit Donna's blog for more details.    Liz Greene wrote the fabulous book,  Saturn, A New Look at an Old Devil and astrologer Stephen Forrest was born under the sign of Capricorn.

Saturn reminds us of diamonds in the rough that with the right polishing become sparkling jewels.  Capricorn and Saturn types believe (maybe too strongly) that nothing in life is worthwhile unless you worked hard to achieve that goal.  In a country with a strong puritanical work ethic, Saturn types come across as heroes as they roll up their sleeves and work 50 to 60 hour weeks to build software or real estate empires.  The downside of this Saturn work ethic is that too much work causes health problems and Saturn types have a difficult time receiving gifts from others.  They feel that they have to pay off a debt to someone for showering them with kindness.  Kindness without strings seems foreign to Saturn types.  Capricorns have confessed to me that they enjoy giving to others and their communities but receiving is so hard for them. They attach guilt to the generosity of others, as if these hard workers don't deserve a few kudos now and again.  Come on, Saturn, lighten up.

We often hear about the Saturn return especially when we're fast approaching it as we rush through our twenties like bulls in the streets of Pamplona.  Saturn frowns on the rashness of youth and forces us to grow up, mature and develop during a two and a half year period that takes place between age 28 and 30, though my Saturn Return lasted until I was 32 years old.  For some folks (those with a lesser degree of Saturn in their chart), they get married, buy a house, and commit to a real career, as opposed to a job around this time.  Those with stronger Saturn in their natal chart or who didn't get Saturn's lessons prior to the return, experience sickness, accidents (especially if aspects of Mars and Uranus are involved), divorce if they married early, a unemployment or an identity crisis because they were fulfilling other people's needs instead of their own.

A Saturn Return is not a punishment nor is it a curse from a malefic planet.  At some point in our youth, we face this initiation which brings us into the maturity of adulthood.  I suppose this would feel like a struggle for Aries and Aquarius types since Aries prefers to hang onto youth and race around and Aquarius rebels against anything that smells like authority, including their own inner authority.  I know as a Cancerian, my Saturn Return dragged me by the hair as I whined and complained about the losses I experienced, including my health.  However, this loss of health led me to alternative medicine, environmental advocacy, and green architecture.  I embarked on a spiritual path to find myself and gained wisdom along the way so I love Saturn now.

Another transit that takes place every 28 1/2 to 30 years is when Saturn conjuncts the Natal Sun.  We don't hear about this transit as often as we hear about the Saturn Return, but this Saturn-Sun conjunction brings up its own issues including delays in gratification, divorce (if a marriage is unworkable), job loss (if it's not the right path) and on a physical level, we lack vitality at this time.  We might even work too hard because we feel like the losses we experience are caused by laziness.  People often suffer from depression during this period, feeling that life is too heavy and hopeless.  Then Saturn moves on to the next sign and the clouds suddenly lift.

Saturn opposite Saturn brings up brings opposition in the form of delays, a difficult boss-employer, or some type of health challenge involving the structure of our bodies.  But these challenges act like polish to the diamond that causes the jewel to sparkle.  Saturn reminds us that our efforts bring lasting value and even legacy.  I'm thinking of James Dean's chart with Saturn and Mercury in the house of career (10th House).  Even though this actor died at the age of 24 and he only starred in three movies (see chart exploration in the tab on top of the blog), his legacy lives on sixty years later.

Those of us born with Sun, Moon or Rising sign in water signs are experiencing either a conjunction with Saturn in Scorpio or trines.  Scorpios experience the conjunction and would do well to read the information I gave on Saturn-Sun conjunction.  Pisces and Cancers ride the waves and reap the rewards of your past efforts now.  Taurus experiences the opposition until Saturn transits into Sagittarius in late December, but Capricorns and Virgos experience a lovely sextile where they also reap the rewards of their past efforts.

I caution those of us experiencing the flowing aspects to practice integrity in our personal and business lives or experience Saturn's wrath when the planet squares, conjuncts or squares our natal Suns.  Remember that many astrologers connect Saturn with karma with the belief of what we sow we reap.  So even if you feel like a lucky devil at this point, moving upward in your career, remember to be kind, generous and honest with those you encounter.  You'll want that generosity returned when you experience challenging aspects with Saturn down the road.  What goes around comes around and with Saturn it comes around eventually, when we least expect it.

In Part 2 of A Gaze at Sobering Saturn, we will explore Saturn in the 12 Signs of the Zodiac.

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