I woke up this morning with a good dose of self-doubt, but also knowing it would appear a lot better once I was up and about! Partly it’s just a vitality thing, once you’re up you have more energy to deal with stuff. But also at night your guards are down, the underworld and its demons reveal themselves, which I’m sure is a good thing, providing we can see it as that.
It’s a fragile thing, our consciousness, it has to keep switching itself off to re-group. It’s like a bubble on the surface of a pond. At night we merge into the pond. At death we merge into the pond.
And then my thoughts drifted to the Soul of the World. The split in our culture between inner and outer. Inner is where the soul is, it’s the place of feeling and interiority and psychotherapy. Outer has become the place of science, the blind, mechanical, meaningless universe that (at worst) it envisages.
James Hillman has pointed out that Soul needs to be restored to the world, to bring us back to how the ancients felt. Otherwise psychotherapy is of no use to the world, it does not change it. I have heard or read 2 people in the last day talking about Teilhard de Chardin (who I have not read) in this respect. As a balance, in one instance, to Jung, who tended to locate the Soul within. And that de Chardin locates it without, seeing the whole universe as one big ensouled evolutionary process (albeit from a Catholic perspective.) (See The Archetypal Cosmos by Kieron Le Grice.)
de Chardin had Sun in Taurus conjunct Neptune - the Soul (Neptune) in Nature (Taurus). Jung had Sun in Leo square to Neptune - the Soul (Neptune) in the individual (Leo).
And all this connects with the planet I want to say something about, Saturn. I did a vlog on him, and the picture quality was crap and I haven’t got time to sort it, so here goes.
Saturn is the planet that helps us ground our lives, to give it shape, to take our spirit if you like and make it take form in matter. He is the planet who says “Don’t tell me about your visions unless they grow corn.”
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He is the planet of responsibility, hard work, patience, discipline and on a deeper level, setting our goals, even our vocation, in the world – he is the natural ruler of the 10th house. But those qualities of responsibility etc don’t necessarily come easily when we are young, which is why the Saturn Return, aged 29 or 30, can be tough. By the time of our second Saturn Return, however, aged about 58, we know those Saturnian qualities, they are second nature, so Saturn becomes a planet of abundance instead of restriction.
He was classically one of the bad guys (along with Mars), but nowadays we say it’s about learning to work him, learning his qualities. Venus-Saturn has a particularly bad press, but I don’t think it need be like that.
Venus of all planets needs Saturn. Venus is romance, Saturn is common sense. They are in that sense opposites. Saturn on his own can marry someone just for the money or social position, Venus on her own can marry someone just because they look like a god or buy her flowers. Put them together, give them 20 or 30 years, and you can get some sound judgement around relationships. And relationships that work.
So Saturn at large makes our lives real, actual. Because of the split in our culture between spirit and matter, because of the denial of spirit by Saturnian science and by our ‘work ethic’ (with its promise of salvation), people on some sort of mission for a wider meaning often have a hard time with Saturn. Creating a life that works, that does not look down on and reject society (as banal or run by ‘evil’ capitalists or governments or whatever), yet keeps the sense of vision.
The imbalance is also the other way: we have become so good at creating wealth and inventing new technologies, that pursuing that is all that can seem to matter. This is negative Saturn: you are only what can be measured, the ‘inner’ does not exist.
This is often the problem where you see the Sun in hard aspect to Saturn. These people are very good at working hard, at achieving, but it is never enough, they are not ease with themselves, they cannot stop. The Sun is in square to Saturn in the US Chart, and you see it there, the great ability to achieve, to send men to the Moon and to become the world richest and most powerful nation; but tremendous judgement around it, dividing people into winners and losers, only feeling OK if you’re working hard. That’s another bit of Saturn – the snobbery, the creation of hierarchies of wealth and social position and the invidious looking down on others and the (secret) worship of those ‘above’ you.
So Saturn can scoop you out, in the sense that only that which can be measured has value. BUT, he can also be a protector of the inner world. He creates boundaries, and negatively this can mean loneliness and isolation (as in Venus-Saturn, until we have learnt his lessons). But positively it can mean solitude, the monk's cell, the alchemical crucible, the conditions for inner work.
So this is the point I want to make about Saturn. He is not just the worldly taskmaster telling you to get on your bike. He has an inner quality which in our world we tend to undervalue and forget. He can help us listen to ourselves, to what we are feeling, he protects us from all those voices – many of them internalised – telling us what we ‘should’ be doing, or that we’re not good enough. Saturn has a discerning quality, he can show us what to listen to within, and what to acknowledge but not to heed.
Above all, because he judges and measures, he can help us place value on the inner world, on feeling, and help us shut out the voices that say otherwise, that say being busy and working is all that matters. I have a picture of a bottle of medicine in my head, it’s called Saturn’s Remedy, and it’s a dark liquid and we need to take it once, maybe twice a day and it has a picture of a benevolent looking Saturn on the label and the medicine has a kind of magical quality that takes us inwards to another world.