Saturday, June 27, 2015

Saturn in Scorpio: Sex, Power and Old-Age

This piece was prompted by a news item in which a 55 year old headmistress, who has won awards for turning schools around, was sent to jail for 8 years for having had sex with 2 teenage boys, both under 16, while she was in her twenties. 30 years ago. One of the complainants said he enjoyed it at the time, but now he sees that it was wrong. So clearly the woman needs to be publicly shamed, have her career destroyed and - probably the least of it - be sent to jail.

We are in the last days of Saturn in Scorpio; he will soon turn direct and leave the sign for another 25 years. So I expect him to be quite visible over the next 2-3 months.

The accountability (Saturn) of older people (Saturn) for their past (Saturn) sexual behaviour (Scorpio): this has been a major theme in the UK over the last few years, as celebrity after celebrity has been dragged into the courtroom to answer for who they’d had sex with many decades ago.

And quite rightly so, in many cases. It began with the appalling legacy of the late Jimmy Savile: people who had been afraid to speak out in his lifetime began coming forward, and the floodgates opened to a widespread and hidden culture of sexual abuse (Scorpio) by powerful people (Scorpio). It has been mainly in show-business.  

There are long-standing allegations of paedophile rings amongst that other form of show-business – the one for ugly people – and these have had something of an airing: but it is proving far harder to bring accountability. Which shows, I guess, that politics is the more powerful form of show business.

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The collective being what it is, issues become black-and-white and the bad guys get turned into monsters. Like the above headmistress. There she was, this woman we admired, while underneath, all the time, she was a monster and we didn’t know it. (This, incidentally, is a perennial theme in the US, from the Salem witch trials of the 1690s to the current TV series Homeland.) The reality is she’s not a monster, she did things many of us could have done if we weren’t afraid of getting caught, and the fact that we turn these people into monsters so readily, proves the point: we demonise others to shield us from ourselves.

It’s classic shadow stuff, and again this is Scorpio territory. Saturn brings accountability and order to different parts of collective life and society, depending on what sign he is in. And in Scorpio, the collective shadow is likely to be revealed through the issues he highlights.

Sex and power is a perennial issue. It has always gone on and always will go on and it is good that it is being addressed. But is a power imbalance always unequivocally a bad thing? The inevitable black-and-white way that the collective mind works says yes. But what about bosses having relationships with their secretaries, doctors with nurses, rich old women with young men: should they too be brought before the courts, or allowed to marry, as they often do? My point is that though lines need to be drawn, they are not always going to be clear cut, and that power imbalances - perceived or real - can be the grist of relationships.

The background to Saturn in Scorpio has been the new puritanism, which began some decades ago and which has resulted, for example, in grandparents being afraid to have their grandchildren on their laps because of how it may be seen.

This will probably cost me a few readers, but what I call the dinosaur feminism of the 80s and 90s demonised men and their sexuality (remember 'all men are rapists'?) It happened while Pluto was in Scorpio – (3 cheers to Camille Paglia for speaking out against it) – and for a while it was hard to feel good about being a man. That has changed, and I feel there is more respect now between men and women. And it was probably the only way it was going to happen, after so many centuries of imbalance between the sexes. But I think we are left with the new puritanism – which could also be seen as a backlash against the permissiveness of the 60s.

So we are messed up about sex. We have been for centuries in one way or another. 500 years ago children in their early teens got married. Henry III's wife Eleanor was 13 when they married in 1236. Nowadays you are a pervert and a paedophile if you have sex with someone under 16, and if you get caught your whole life will be destroyed and you will be publically shamed. I’m not advocating any answers here, because as they say, it’s complicated.

The reason I have been able to say anything at all is because a woman got caught having had sex 30 years ago with 2 boys under 16. If it had been the other way round, I would have had to keep quiet. I’m not defending these things. What I’m arguing for is the cultural space not to be mindlessly damning.

I think the man who said he enjoyed sex with his teacher at the time, but now sees it as wrong, has been brainwashed by our culture of damnation. I agree with him, it was wrong – but to have someone destroyed 30 years later for something you admit to having enjoyed at the time? Would I regret it if it had happened to me? How many people are being persuaded by the new puritanism that what happened to them was far worse than it actually was, and how damaging is that? And that is not to take away from the awful things that have actually happened: but can they be properly understood if all we do is damn and destroy the perpetrators? Is it any different in essence to saying that the perpetrators are possessed by the devil and leaving it at that?

Saturn in Scorpio has brought a measure of accountability to the issue of sex and power. But I don’t think it has brought understanding. It will bring improvement for a while, but in a climate of fear.

And while we’re on the subject of Saturn in Scorpio, a news item today is entitled The taboo of sex in care homes for older people. It says “There may be a kind of all-pervading silence surrounding sex in later life, but that is not because it isn't happening.” The idea of older people having sex being OK - now that would be a good outcome of Saturn in Scorpio.

Personally, I have always found the idea of people who are more than about 15 years older than myself having sex a bit distasteful. I still do a bit of a double-take at the idea of gay marriage. And I recoil when I see people with disfigurements. This is all visceral, Scorpio stuff which Saturn asks us to think about. The one thing not to do is to pretend it’s not there.


Link said...

Hmmm.. 'coming out' to point out the astrology behind the wave of pedofiles exposed across the planet because a woman was caught doing same and then admitting you're only doing so because of this, does seem more than a little tit for tat. But I guess that's what the 'battle of the sexes' does for us. Volleys get fired by either 'side'.

I have male friends who believe women hold all the power in sexual politics (and this is the reason women should perhaps be loathed.) When I point out rape and murder statistics to them, their only argument is to say that 'men get raped too.' So it's all alright then.

Barry Goddard said...

No, it's not tit for tat; it's that I think a lot of women would rightly find it presumptuous of me to comment on their possible experience as victims of sexual abuse. At the same time, I think the issue has become one-sided, and this incident seemed to provide an opportunity to say what I thought without having to presume on women's experience.

Anonymous said...

It also seems like this is underpinned with the compensation culture. Out others by playing the victim and give me a handful of dosh.

weaver said...

this is one of the very best posts I have read in a long time, here or elsewhere.
honest and excellent

Barry Goddard said...

Thanks. It seems to be getting a mixed response in Facebook groups - some really like it, others calling it typical male bullshit etc. But I suppose I expected that!

Debbie Rutter said...

Alleluia- I don't know how you do it but as usual you've hit the nail on the head. Well done.

Anonymous said...

Long time reader but posting as anon as this happened around where I live.

I have been uncomfortable about many of the prosecutions - feels a bit like he said, she said and what was considered acceptable 20 - 30 yrs ago is suddenly not acceptable so its criminal behaviour. No excuse though for people in power to take advantage of others.

Its not just in sexual matters where we have become holier than thou - parenting has now become an area where parents (esp females) are looked on as poor parents if they don't come into school for endless meetings, drive the kids from activity to activity, watch their every move, compete to have the best easter hat etc etc

gawd_almighty said...

It's interesting to see how Saturn's progress through Scorpio is manifesting itself in this way in the UK - revelations about paedophilia in high places - while in Spain, where I live, it's directly linked to 30 years of corruption among politicians of both main parties coming to light. I can't work out why this is, astrologically, especially given the fact that no-one can agree on an astro-date for a chart for Spain. But it will be interesting to see - given the fact that Spain has crucial game-changing general elections coming up in October - what the final jolt of revelations will reveal here when Saturn definitively leaves Scorpio. Hopefully it will lead to the slate being wiped clean on what is still an inherently post-Francoist socio-political system. Viva la libertad!

Anonymous said...

There are moves, particularly in the US, but also the UK, to define it as rape for a man to sleep with a drunk woman, unless he can prove consent. Its no defence for him to also have been drunk, and if a woman sleeps with or touches a drunk man this won't be considered rape. I wonder if this will also be applied retrospectively. If you have slept with any drunk women in the past you may be considered a rapist in the near future.

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