Category Archives: Saturn and the Saturn Cycles (9 articles )

As the Aries New Moon dawns: A Saturn Return Tale…

We have all had life-changing moments. Some, we only recognise retrospectively. Others hit us like lightning bolts, metaphorically pinning us to our seats. Literally, in my case. I remember it well, that scuffed red velvet chair in that rented room in a friend’s scruffy flat. I was twenty-nine years old (Saturn Return, anyone?), embarking on social work training. Navel-gazing, therefore, was the order of the day – in fact of that whole year.

Lightning Bolt

Lightning Bolt

There I was, seated on that chair, reading Carl Gustav Jung’s  Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Seven years previously, I had embarked on pondering how I could improve myself as a consequence of deciding to face up to the unsparingly honest comments of a good friend on aspects of my behaviour at that time.

Following that, at twenty-seven and an astrology dismisser, I had encountered astrologers, astrology and an initial dip into my horoscope which had shocked me with its accuracy – especially its uncomfortable ability to pinpoint, as well as the plusses, those minuses in our character which so often get projected onto others.

The whole tenor of my self-challenging and self-learning at that stage was this: by gradually dragging into conscious awareness as much as possible about the difficult and dark sides of myself, I thought I could perhaps in time get rid of them, along with those contradictions in my character and behaviour which were causing me so much stress and pain.

This being the quest, I suppose it was inevitable that extensive reading should eventually bring me to Jung… then, sitting comfortably on that red velvet chair, I read this:

‘…Therefore the individual …has need, first and foremost, of self-knowledge, that is, the utmost possible knowledge of his own wholeness. He must know relentlessly how much good he can do, and what crimes he is capable of, and must beware of regarding the one as real and the other as illusion. Both are elements within his nature, and both are bound to come to light in him, should he wish as he ought to live without self-deception or self-delusion…..’ (i)

The lightning bolt was realising the futility of trying to cast my dark energies as ‘bad’ and trying to suppress them. In that truly life-changing moment I saw that the work ahead lay in creatively facing, owning and constructively channelling that vital energy which flows from sincere attempts to reconcile the opposites which are inherent in the whole of life.

Since we are each a tiny chip of Life’s vital force –  something which astrology illustrates wonderfully through the medium of our horoscopes – we need to own and work with the whole spectrum, not just the shiny end.

I have had a lifelong interest in science.  I see it as one of many lenses through which to explore why we are here and what it may all mean. In an open-minded world, astrology and scientific exploration would go hand in hand. Happily, in some quarters now they actually do!

Being a person with many twelfth house planets, I’ve been driven all my life to set our tiny personal lives in the context of the Big Picture. Both science and astrology have provided huge help in this. It has struck me for a long time that contemplating the Big Bang, the best scientific theory currently available to us regarding how our universe began, is a wonderful starting point for work on reconciling the opposites.

That vast explosion which gave birth to everything we can conceive of, was an event of monumental destructiveness. But it was also an event of  monumental creativity without which we would not exist, nor would the glorious beauty of this world.

Chaos theory has in its turn shown us that we live in a vast energy field, rippling with ever-repeating patterns from the vast down to the minute. This maps well onto astrology’s archetypes: we can regard each planet as a mini energy field, each offering a range of possible manifestations arising from the same recognisable core.

Jung put the links between the vastness of universal energies and our tiny human existence very succinctly:

‘…Our psyche is set up in accord with the structure of the universe, and what happens in the macrocosm likewise happens in the infinitesimal and most subjective reaches of the psyche….’ (ii)

Contemplation of all this inextricable interweaving of what we culturally term ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ energies, via what I have understood both from science and from the teaching and practice of astrology, has helped me greatly in the never-ending process of reconciling and uniting my own opposites. I truly hope I have been able thus to offer out some inspiration via my vocational path, to clients, students, and readers over the years.

Here is an apt last word on the topic from ‘Alice’, taken from an article I wrote a long time ago, asking students for their feedback on ‘Astrology as a Healing and a Wounding Art’ (iii):

‘…The more I learned about  the interacting energies within my chart, the more I could accept myself and stop having to put on an act. The energy I had previously been using to keep Pluto well at bay, could now be directed towards more constructive pursuits. I felt freed. The healing had begun…’

PS: I’d love to know what happened to that red velvet chair!

Endnotes

This post is a slightly edited version of my bi-monthly column for Dell Horoscope Magazine  ‘The astro-view from Scotland’  from the March/April 2019 Issue.

(i) and (ii) From Late Thoughts, last chapter of ‘Memories, Dreams, Reflections’ by C. G. Jung, published 1962 (recorded and edited by Aniela Jaffé.) (iii) From Apollon, The Journal of Psychological Astrology, Issue 3, August 1999.

Lightning Bolt

Lightning Bolt

1000 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Dell Horoscope Magazine 2019

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page of Writing from the Twelfth House

Honouring Jupiter in Scorpio, Saturn in Capricorn, and “mummy wheat”…

“…If Jupiter and Saturn meet,
What a crop of mummy wheat!…” (i)

As regular readers of this blog will know by now, in my horoscope a third house Jupiter in Scorpio squares no less than six planets in Leo in the eleventh and twelfth houses. Whether I like it or not – and often I do not! – the Big Picture issues of why are we here, and what is it all for, and what can we do to inject meaning into it, have been a lifelong preoccupation.

With the above line-up, the shadowy borderland between life and death has always intrigued and fascinated me more than many other people, most of whom sensibly appear to prefer to dwell on more concrete and less threatening matters.

In my case, I have noticed over the years that significant events of an in-depth Scorpionic nature seem to bracket the beginning and ending of the 11-12 year Jupiter in Scorpio cycles. I would be most interested to hear from readers if this has also been the case for them!

At the start of my second Jupiter in Scorpio cycle,  having been fascinated for a couple of years previously by Egyptian mythology (ii) and the question of where we went after death, both my beloved grandfathers died within a few months of each other when I was eleven years old. This was my first conscious encounter with grief and irredeemable loss, and the recognition of how fleeting human life really is.

And now yet another Jupiter in Scorpio cycle, the one which began in 2006, is coming to an end for us intense Scorpionic types. I have to confess that I am beginning to look forward to Jupiter’s ingress into fiery, optimistic Sagittarius in November 2018.

Early in September 2018, with another personal Jupiter in Scorpio cycle ending along with transiting Saturn in early Capricorn opposite 10th House Mars in Cancer, the sign of home, family and roots, I did something I have never done before, and will probably never do again. I returned to my native island – to visit and honour the graves of my ancestors.

On the 2.5 hour ferry crossing, as I gazed pensively out to sea, those lines from Yeats quoted at the beginning of this post came strongly into my mind, and stayed there…I’ve learned over the years not to question fragments floating up from the unconscious which refuse to leave until I have paid full attention to what they mean – although their full significance often takes some time to manifest.

Firstly I visited my sister’s grave – she died two years ago the day after my birthday. Then my parents’ grave. Then my Whitaker grandparents. I brought a beautiful simple bunch of purple and white, long-stemmed flowers, placing some from the same bunch on each grave – thus linking the generations. This simple ritual felt deeply meaningful.

Ardroil Cemetery, Uig

Ardroil Cemetery, Uig

My husband and I then drove to the wild, beautiful Atlantic coast of my native island where my Maclean and Macleod ancestors are buried, being fortunate to have fine weather for this part of the pilgrimage. There at Ardroil is a stunning sweep of beach, above which the cemetery sits. I picked some wild flowers, including delicate purple harebells, laying a few flowers from the bunch on each family grave as we located it. My Macleod grandparents including beloved Grandpa Calum, and my mother’s brother and sister with their spouses, are all there.

It is quite something also to be able to view the burial stone of your great-grandparents; I especially honoured my psychic great-grandmother, known to all and sundry in our family as ‘Granny Uig’. My memoir “Wisps from the Dazzling Darkness” which gives an account of my own paranormal experiences, is dedicated to her.

It also occurred to me, as I contemplated all those graves, that one word encompasses two significant branches of the essence of Jupiter in Scorpio combined with Saturn in Capricorn: gravestone.

The day we were due to leave, I went with some cousins to visit an exhibition called ‘Blazing the Trail for Stornoway Women’, a celebration of island women held to commemorate the centenary of them getting the vote. A star of this show was my feisty grandmother Bella Whitaker, the first woman ( in 1907) to make the main speech at her own wedding, and one of the  first two female town councillors ever elected in Stornoway – they were fearless in taking on the patriarchal dominance of local authority affairs at that time.

Then I left, feeling proud, realising something which felt very powerful: not only had I been honouring my ancestors, but had also been letting them know silently, symbolically, that I had done my best with what they had handed on.

Sitting gazing at the sea on the return journey, I understood why that Yeats quote had been inhabiting my mind for weeks: the ‘mummy wheat’ symbol of death and regeneration from  ancient Egyptian myth is a powerful way of describing how we arise both physically and in spirit  from the lives and deaths of our ancestors…

Endnotes

(i)

This quotation is from the first verse of  ‘ Conjunctions’ from one of W. B. Yeats’s most obscure collections of poems, the “Supernatural Songs.”
And, for a definition of ‘mummy wheat’: from the Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary (2nd edition): ‘…mummy wheat — a variety of wheat, _Triticum compositum_, said to have been produced from grains found in Egyptian mummy cases…’ If anyone is sufficiently excited by the notion that wheat can indeed be grown from Ancient Egyptian tombs, here is the link to follow: http://stupidquestionarchives.blogspot.com/2008/03/mummy-wheat.html

(ii)

There is no complete text of the myth of the Ancient Egyptian god Osiris’s death and his restoration by his sister/wife the goddess Isis. However around 3000 years ago, ‘….In the early dynastic period Osiris became identified with new grain that rises from the earth, nourished by the waters of the Nile. He is pictured lying as a mummy beneath the grain which sprouts from his body, while a priest pours water on him. It’s interesting to note that at this time mats of earth with sprouting grain were placed in tombs of the dead, therefore making the connection between grain that rises yearly from the earth and immortal life…’ 

To read the full text of the article to which the above quote belongs, click HERE.

Zodiac

Zodiac

1100 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2018

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page of Writing from the Twelfth House

 

The Cycles of Saturn: Growing up time!

Today’s Neptune turned newly retrograde in Pisces, conjunct the Moon as I write, has brought an interesting wave of returns:  lovely feedback for my writing, some money due, an old favourite track “The Ballad of Lucy Jordan” playing real good, loud and free in Kelvingrove Park, and my return to a favourite lunch haunt being livened by a gaggle of very drunk, very loud, very happy young women.

And here, with kind permission of  The Mountain Astrologer Magazine, is another recent article of mine – stepping aside from that Neptune wave: my exploration of those vital formative cycles of that planet who rewards honest self-examination and patient, realistic effort over time. A slow burner, but a giver of rewards truly worth having…

saturn

saturn

Cycles of Saturn: forging the Diamond Soul

As ever, your comments, observations and shared experiences are valuable – and welcome!

150 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2017
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Saturn Return research study needs YOU!

It is my pleasure from time to time to promote quality work from fellow astrologers in our world-wide community. I’ve found over the years that interest in the 29-30 year Saturn Return, that astrological “coming of age” which we all go through at the end of our twenties, never wanes. Working with the Saturn Returns of 29-30 and 59-60 is a special interest in my own astrological practice. So – I am most happy to introduce what looks to be a very interesting and valuable piece of astrological research, soon to be conducted by Erica Jones who keeps a brilliant blog over at Real Imaginal.

Here is the promotional information for the survey:

Through March 31, 2017, professional astrologer Erica Jones is conducting a “Saturn Return Survey” that is open to **select members** of the generation born with Saturn-Uranus-Neptune in Capricorn (1988-89).

The survey link is here:
http://bit.do/SaturnReturn

As thanks for participating in the survey, the first 15 respondents are eligible to receive a 20-minute reading from Erica as a thank you gift. Another 15 of the total remaining respondents will be drawn at random to receive a 20-minute reading from Erica as a thank you, after the survey closes on March 31.

The survey data will be used to help raise astrological community awareness of some of the needs and common experiences of those with the Saturn-Uranus-Neptune stellium in Capricorn, so that astrologers can be better prepared to support this generation through the important life passage which corresponds to Saturn returning to its natal position, i.e., the Saturn return.

NOTE: The survey is open to those born on the following dates:

Feb. 15, 1988 – May 26, 1988
Dec. 3, 1988 – Dec. 9, 1988
Nov. 12, 1988 – Jan. 21, 1989
Aug. 13, 1989 – Oct. 10, 1989

(The reason for this restriction is explained on the first page of the survey.)

Again, the survey link is here:
http://bit.do/SaturnReturn

I do hope as many as possible of you will participate. As my regular readers will know, I love doing astrological research myself: it’s what makes astrology come alive. Many thanks!

Zodiac

Zodiac

********

350 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Erica Jones 2017

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

 

Thinking about Saturn: the Second Saturn Return and Beyond

In keeping with the transiting retrograde Mars/Saturn midpoint squaring my natal Ascendant, I have been feeling pretty Saturnian of late. Much is written about the first Saturn Return; not so much, about the Second. So, for those of you going through this crucial rite of passage at present – and anyone else who feels like a spot of advance planning! – here are my thoughts:

Saturn

Saturn

By the second Saturn return, we can see what our lives have become — and we can see what it is too late to change. This is one of the most fundamental differences in perspective between the second and the first return. At age 30 we have probably still to sow the most productive seeds of our lives — what we have already sown is still only germinating. But by the approach of 60, we are reaping the harvest and are confronted with the stark Biblical words “As you sow, so shall you reap.”

Saturn is the planet of strict justice. Blind, stubborn, arrogant, or fearful refusal to face certain basic realities in life, as the second cycle unfolds, skews the life path further and further away from who we could become – were we able to acknowledge and accept who we actually are – rather than try to be who we are not. This can bring increasing pain, dissatisfaction, emptiness, and depression as the second Saturn return approaches.

Franz Hals: an image of serene later life

At one end of the spectrum are those who arrive at this stage feeling that their time on this Earth has not been wasted. They have very few regrets and are prepared to face the final thirty-year cycle of life with equanimity, perhaps rooted in great spiritual depth. These people usually retain a zest for life and its remaining possibilities.

At the other end are those who have sown meanly, poorly, or fearfully, and are reaping a harvest of regret, bitterness, loneliness, physical ill health, and fear of the waning of physical power and attractiveness in the inevitable decline toward death.

Most of us will arrive somewhere in the middle range: satisfied with some aspects of our achievement and disappointed by our areas of failure — or those things that fate appears to have denied us without our having had much option for negotiation.

I see the main challenges of this stage as follows:

* first, to value what we HAVE been able to do

*second, to come to terms with and accept those failures or disappointments that it is now too late to change

* third, to find, within the limitations and constraints imposed by our state of mind, body, spirit, and bank balance, some further goals that are realistically achievable, which bring a sense of meaning and enjoyment to whatever time we have left.

Recommended book: 

Saturn A New Look at an Old Devil

  Saturn: A New Look At An Old Devil
by Liz Greene
.

  Info/Order book.

______________

ENDNOTES

The full text of this article “The cycles of Saturn: Forging the Diamond Soul” was first published in the UK’s ‘Astrological Journal’ (Nov/Dec 1996), and subsequently in ‘www.innerself.com’ and ‘The Mountain Astrologer’ (Feb/Mar 1998)

It was  included in  The Mountain Astrologer’s “Editor’s Choice” : 43 previously out-of-print articles from TMA in the 1990s, available on CD from the autumn of 2010.“The Mountain Astrologer” is recognised as the world’s leading astrology magazine.)

 

Zodiac

********************

550 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2016
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Working Saturn/Neptune…a New Moon meditation

I use a very graphic, grounded, simple image to help my students get to grips with the inter-relationship between the longer-lasting planetary transits of Saturn, planetoid Chiron, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto and the faster-moving Moon, Sun, Mercury, Venus and Mars. I ask them to imagine cooking a pot of soup.

The Moon, Sun and inner planets meeting the slower-moving outers is like turning the heat up under the slow, steady bubble of the soup for a short spell. The effects of this bubbling-up are usually powerful, symbolically pushing us towards the potential for greater awareness, and hopefully positive change. But the circumstances are usually pretty uncomfortable, at times highly disruptive. Painful too.

The last week of November 2016 saw Mercury in Sagittarius briefly charging-up Saturn, in long-term square to Neptune in Pisces for most of the next year. The first week of December saw the Sun shine a fierce light on the same territory. Those of us with planets/Nodes/Angles in the first ten or so degrees of the mutable signs are likely to have had an uncomfortable fortnight.

Here’s a taste of what my particular soup is like at present, so to speak…

I’ve recently had nearly a year of Saturn transiting my South Node/IC, widely squared by Neptune. Currently, Saturn is transiting my Fourth House, T-Squaring the Ascendant/Descendant axis which has Neptune currently crossing that axis, squaring Saturn. A potent and uncomfortable planetary brew!

Yesterday, with the New Moon just taking shape in optimistic, philosophical  Sagittarius, was a really good, nourishing day. Perspective has been emerging on what has been a very difficult fortnight, including a whole week of a very unpleasant cold which has pushed me into rest and seclusion. I have often found – perhaps not unconnected to having several Twelfth House planets – that big psychological shifts are accompanied by the necessary retreat period that a short bout of illness brings…

In essence, I have been wrestling with what matters to me at the very core, and those encumbrances I really need now to leave behind. All very connected to Saturn over the IC, moving into the Fourth House, and the square to Neptune’s prompting to allow certain ties to dissolve, and certain old disappointments and hurts to slip into the stream of  Time..I now have at last gained some very much needed detachment from pathological aspects of familial bonds and feel freer just to let people go, for good or ill.

Life, of course, in its usual fashion presented me with a tough test of this hard-won perspective. The day that the Sun was conjunct Saturn, turning up the heat on the Saturn/Neptune soup so to speak, a much loved young relative set off on a three-month solo trip to India…to date, he has sent me six pictures of  splendid colonial churches, sinking into decay…so I know he is ok thus far!

One of the great gifts of Neptune, which is a hard gift to appreciate, is that it dissolves those Saturnian structures which not only keep our lives on track, but also can keep us stuck in patterns which are undermining and/or blocking our development. I was reflecting on this when I dipped into an interesting-looking new online astrology magazine, Real Imaginal, created by Erica Jones.

She mentioned  Healing Fiction,  a book by archetypal psychologist James Hillman, in which he claims that “… a fluidity of identity, a multiplicity of perspectives—in short, the presence of an uncertainty which offers the possibility for a creative response—is what will foster psychological wholeness and good health…”

This quote sums up beautifully what I currently think and feel about what the current Saturn/Neptune square is offering us, if we choose to work with it as honestly and creatively as possible. None of it, of course, is easy. Throughout the difficult two–week period just described, one of  Jung’s observations kept coming to mind: “There is no coming to consciousness without pain.” 

I would be really interested to have some feedback from any of my readers who feel able to share their experiences of those two weeks…or any thoughts on how to work constructively with Saturn/Neptune…

Zodiac

700 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2015

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

 

Saturn/Neptune and the Winter Solstice: wisdom from ‘Sophia’s Children’

It’s moving to see in how many ways the archetype of Descent and Waiting is celebrated across cultures and faiths as the Winter Solstice draws us in towards its dark, nourishing embrace. Jamie, over at one of my favourite blogs “Sophia’s Children” has just published a soul-nourishing post, in which she points out that ‘…aligning with the Spirit of this time and season is in our cells, bones, and DNA … the ancestors remember and whisper to us…’

2589725-midwinter-winter-solstice

Winter Solstice: Capricorn

Jamie says:

“…since we now have the Saturn-Neptune Square as a key archetypal-energy ‘headliner’ for the coming year, let’s remember Caroline Casey‘s perspective of Saturn‘s archetype encouraging us to “be the authors of our own lives,” reclaiming our authentic vision (Neptune) and our author-ity (Saturn), and establishing healthy boundaries where they might have been a bit squishy and power-draining … or softening boundaries that are calcified and overly rigid (Saturn and Neptune).

To read more of this wise and comforting post, click HERE

Zodiac

Zodiac

200 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Jamie S. Walters  2015

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page