Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Two Faces of Saturn

I read on the BBC News site that the kids of rich parents in the USA are more than twice as likely to have mental health problems compared to the national average. For reasons of pressure to excel academically, as well as in sports and socially. The US has Sun square Saturn - Sun in Cancer, Saturn in the 10th. That square seems to me to describe much of how the West works - and China too, now, where 3 year-olds are being sent to boarding school.

What astrological signatures run through your family? Everyone in mine has a hard aspect from Saturn to either the Sun or the Moon. It's textbook - they are capable, hard-working, and over-invested in wealth and social position. I'm the white sheep, and I've spent my life living the shadow side of that Saturn, working through his denial of inner values, turning him into the crucible for inner work that is also one of Saturn's meanings. Interestingly, only one out of 6 children in the next generation has that signature - something is changing, a shadow is lifting.

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The outer planets have become the sexy ones in modern astrology. Saturn used to be the big cheese before they were discovered. He had, for example, the meaning of Death that Pluto now has.

But Saturn we can actually do something with. The outer planets are much harder to ‘work’ with – if you even try to do that, you have in a sense got them wrong.

The outer planets are your fate, mediated by Saturn. They are the necessary outer and inner events that move your life on in some way, but which you have no control over. The outer planets were discovered because of scientific advance, and at the same time they are a remedy to the hubris of that advance, which can make it seem like us tiny human beings are all-powerful.

So they were discovered synchronistically – a psychic imbalance was building up, and in different ways people started rediscovering those enduring powers that provide the backdrop to human consciousness. For psychology, it was the Unconscious. For astrology, it was the outer planets.

But Saturn is key when it comes to taking charge of our lives. And he is also key, because he can see the outer planets, to knowing the limits of being in charge. And those limits really are quite narrow in the larger scheme of things.

At the same time, Saturn can get carried away when he only looks one way, earthwards instead of back out to Uranus and beyond. Saturn has 2 faces, expressed by the 2 signs he rules: Capricorn and Aquarius. And Aquarius is now co-ruled by Uranus.

So it’s kind of all in there. In Aquarius, he is in partnership with freedom-loving, rule-breaking, progressive, creative Uranus.

We need both. We need Saturn as Capricorn, the ability to find our place within the world, to build our lives. But we also need one eye looking elsewhere, the ability not to take all that too seriously, to see it as contingent, and to see new possibilities. Saturn is responsibility, and in Aquarius that responsibility is to the future rather than to the past.

The 2 Saturns split in our culture in the 60s. The counter-culture arose, that took pride in rejecting the values of a one-sidedly materialistic Saturn in Capricorn. It was necessary, and it was polarised, and that is the way things often happen. But those 2 cultures are still part of one whole, they are not complete in themselves, and they need to be able to speak to each other. And they find that hard, Aquarius and Capricorn can find each other ridiculous. Government and its protesters are often miles apart.

It has to start within ourselves. Unless we have both faces of Saturn up and running, what hope have we of changing the world? Protesting, for however worthy a cause, becomes a way of disowning ourselves, fighting that within us which we do not find acceptable. I see it in the ‘alternative’ culture all the time – these rigid oppositions to mainstream currents and particularly to government, and I think I wouldn’t want you guys in charge. 

In the US particularly, the opposition to and mistrust of government is huge in a way it isn’t over this side of the pond, and it seems to come from across the political spectrum. That is a country that is deeply not at ease with itself. And I think it comes back to the complexities of its Sun square Saturn.

A country is like an individual. They are both made up of 10 planetary powers, and the voices of all those powers have to be heard by the leader Saturn. In a dysfunctional individual or country, some of those voices are being judged negatively and shut out by Saturn. And probably plonked on someone else.

If you become a complete human being, even to some degree, that in itself affects the world. Not just in your immediate relationships, but almost psychically, like a bit of wholeness is put out there in the ether.


Vanessa said...

I really liked it, especially as it helped me understand Aquarius responsibility towards the future. Very relevant points about the US culture as well.
But what struck me the most was the point of how it's changing the family astro signature. Thanks for posting.

Unknown said...


thank you for reminding me about the Aq/Uranus side of Saturn. on my birthday this year, Saturn is exactly conjunct my sun, and it has worried me a bit, but now it seems that "contingency, and not taking things too seriously" is probably closer to the meaning... I have been such a capricornian Saturn for most of my life - may be time to lighten up LOL

Unknown said...

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Diane L said...

Very similar Saturn patterns in our family. I was the out of step one for years.

Spot on about USA. Sad that.

Anonymous said...

Good stuff here. Your skill in fleshing out the human need for compartmentalizing our differences using an astrological perspective is useful....and thought provoking. Thank you for your inspiring work.