One way of putting the current Saturn-Neptune Opposition (which is exact tomorrow) is ‘God helps those (Neptune) who help themselves (Saturn)’. Or as Margaret Thatcher put it, “You create your own luck”. While there’s a certain amount of truth in it, for me it smacks too much of the Protestant work ethic, that there’s some kind of moral obligation laid on you by God to work hard, and if you do, you will go to heaven. A corollary of this is that wealthy people are good guys who will go to heaven, because they have worked hard and helped themselves. And if you’re not so well off, you’re probably not such a good guy, because you’re not so good at helping yourself. By the way, I’ve got nothing against people enriching themselves for its own sake. Particularly if they’ve got nothing more interesting to do, why should I want to deny them a life? It’s just the attaching of a moral superiority to this drive, or ability, that I balk at.
OK, I admit it, with my 2nd House (values, wealth) Moon (security) in Sag (faith) conjunct Saturn in Sag (insecurity, faith and hierarchy issues, drive to achieve), this is a personal, even raw issue for me. But if it wasn’t, I wouldn’t have anything to say!
I think I’d rather put it the Sufi way: ‘Put your trust in God (Neptune)and keep your camel tethered (Saturn)’. There’s no connection here between tethering your camel and God looking after you: he’s going to do that anyway, whether or not you keep your camel tethered. There isn’t the sense that you ‘ought ’ to be keeping your camel tethered: it’s just a bit of sensible advice, and a reminder that God can’t do everything. And it’s certainly not saying that the more camels you tether, the more God will look after you.
All that said, I am not a believer in God, and never have been. I have a sense of, and a trust in, a power that is bigger and wider than the 3-D box that everyday concerns often keep us in. I won’t say this power is ‘beyond the material’, because I don’t consider material reality to be separate from divine reality, that ‘spirituality’ is anywhere other than in front of our noses.
But it’s a good sort of contemplation for a time of Saturn opposite Neptune.
By sign, this opposition is Leo versus Aquarius. So we have the hard-working, achieving, independent individual (Saturn in Leo) versus the sense of divinity and connectedness that we can experience through being a part of the human tribe (Neptune in Aquarius). With the opposition reaching a pitch of intensity, one of the UK government ministers has suggested that some of our City high-earners might consider giving some of what he sees as their excessive bonuses to charity. It’s like this Opposition is addressing some of the excesses of the modern spirit of individualism.
Which, synchronistically, is the theme of a novel I’m reading, ‘Independent People’, by an Icelandic author, Halldor Laxness. This guy, after many years struggle, manages to purchase a piece of farmland in a traditionally haunted valley. You have to admire him for his independence of spirit, but you can see it all unravelling because he won’t pay his dues to the spirit of the place. His wife is sensitive to these things, but on principle he won’t let her put a stone on a cairn at the entrance to their valley, that marks the burial place of the demonic woman who haunts the land.
This novel was written in the early 1930s, and I’m only at the start, but it does seem to be a good example of the current Saturn-Neptune opposition. And it’s a theme that’s even more relevant now than when it was written. Neptune in Aquarius is not just about our connectedness to humanity but to the whole of life, whereas modern life values the lone heroic individual who achieves success for him/herself. The cost to the greater whole is undervalued. Hence the environmental crisis, the addressing of which has been such a big theme of this Saturn-Neptune opposition. It is about a re-assertion of the claims of the greater whole of which we are a part, something that in a smaller society would be harder to ignore.