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

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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

 

Saturn in Sagittarius: the Joyful Child grows up

Saturn is settling down for his journey through the exuberant, joyful sign of Sagittarius for the next two years or so. Mars is currently conjunct Jupiter in Virgo (in my First House) as I  reflect on the importance of Jupiter’s natural, spontaneous exuberance being modified and curbed by Saturn’s practicality and realism if we want to generate anything lasting in our lives. This reflection has made me think of  the importance of retaining the capacity for simple joy, as Life tosses its inevitable challenges our way.

Beautiful Saturn

Beautiful Saturn image

In honouring both Jupiter and Saturn, then, let us first celebrate the spontaneous, resilient, Joyful Child within all of us, explore how it fares as we mature. If we are lucky, this part manages to survive the batterings, brutalities and tragedies of existence,  continuing to provide inspiration and faith that life is worth living.

Who, exactly, is this Child? The basic stuff of which s/he is made is the element of fire, that which the gods prized so much they wanted to keep to themselves. But Prometheus stole some, hidden in a fennel stalk, and gave it to us. He was savagely punished for his misdemeanour – but ever since, we humans have had at least one chip of that magical, divine substance lodged in us. Everyone has some, some people have too little, others have too much.

What is it? It’s the spark of divine light, that which tells us we are special and immortal, that  we’re here for a reason, that our lives have a purpose, that we have a future worth seeking out. It fuels wonder, injects the passion of inquiry into mere curiosity, causes learning and exploration to be a joyful end in themselves. It gives the capacity to look out at the world with a fresh set of eyes, take pleasure at what’s there because it’s new, exciting. It brings spontaneity and the gift of laughter. It fuels play, which is at the core of a response to life which is fundamentally creative and imaginative.

Bountiful Jupiter

Bountiful Jupiter

It is highly protective and supportive of life, especially when the going is rough, giving the hope that things will get better. It enables tough times to be survived through the unquenchable belief that suffering may be awful, and protracted – but it means something; it is not just the random brutality of quixotic gods, or fate.It brings the capacity in extremis to laugh at the sheer absurdity of life, and oneself – a capacity which can drag one out from under the worst of times for just long enough to reaffirm that life, despite everything, is worth living.

The precious creature formed from such magical substance never grows up in the sense of assuming worldly responsibilities, and never gives up on life’s possibilities and delights. It cannot be ordered forth – just appears, then disappears : will o’the wisp. Readers will recognise the Sagittarius/Gemini polarity here!

Leaving the Otherworld

The advance through adulthood as the Saturn seven-year cycle unfolds, alters one’s perception of what it is to be young. Having been scarred by life as we all are, watching a pre-school child absorbed in play is delightful, but also poignant. Delightful because it  demonstrates clearly that there is another world than the one we usually inhabit  which is full of  Saturn’s deadlines, duties and demands.

This Otherworld is full of goblins and fire engines, magic bubbles and imaginary friends, bright green tigers who speak, and amenable adults happy to give you the keys to the scary castle, where you can spend days of adventure without anyone telling you that it’s impossible for giants to keep a special pocket full of ice cream that never melts, just waiting for you to come and eat it.

It’s poignant because we  wonder, looking at this absorbed child, how s/he will cope with an adult world whose entry tariff is extracted from the struggle between the fantasy world of childhood where anything is possible, and the reality testing which takes place as we grow and confront the limits which life sets for us.

The seven-year stages of the Saturn cycle offer a helpful containing context within which to explore how the Joyful Child within us fares as life’s journey unfolds. There is a case to be made for not starting children at school until the first square of the cycle. Five or six, the common age, seems too early to remove children from the Otherworld of play and unbounded imagination. Shakespeare vividly expressed the average child’s response to being dragged from the Otherworld :

“And then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel,

And shining morning face, creeping like a snail

Unwillingly to school.”   (i)

If we did start children at the later age of seven or eight, socially disruptive though that would be in many ways, perhaps it would give more time for the Joyful Child’s domain to become established. Thus  it might be easier for the growing person to retain contact with the Otherworld as a source of inspiration throughout life.

Essentially what happens from the time of starting school through to the first Saturn square, as we step across the boundary of family, is that the Joyful Child begins to hide, its energy becoming redirected, as we become more aware of ourselves in relation to what the outer world expects. By and large, that outer world is more interested in us being able to tie our shoelaces, read, tell the time, and be truthful, than it is in knowing what a wonderful chat we had in Chinese last night with the  bright green tiger who sleeps under our bed.

  Early adulthood

Saturn Cycle

Saturn Cycle

The first Saturn opposition at 14/ 15 is the point where we take bigger steps out of family, begin to challenge parental authority,  and move towards greater identification with the peer group.The need to play and daydream which is fundamental to the Joyful Child’s world, and the creative energy fuelling these activities, gets sublimated further at this point. It channels into the pursuit of achievement of an academic or vocational nature, and exploration of the  exciting, troubling world of relationship and emerging sexuality  as bodily changes propel the young person towards physical adulthood.

The Joyful Child’s impetus towards discovery and exploration of the new, engages in a complex dance with the tough Saturnian realities also emerging.Too much time spent playing, not enough on taking responsibility, can have a high emotional cost, eg exam failure or unwanted pregnancy. 

The waning square at 21/2  brings with it the world’s expectation that we should begin to assume adult responsibility, get a job if we’ve been studying for years, get serious. Many people marry or enter into long-term partnerships at this stage, perhaps out of unconscious fear of facing the adult world and its responsibilities alone. I have gained the impression from my varied professional work with people of differing ages over a  long period of time, that part of the vulnerability of this life stage comes from a realisation that childhood is, indeed, over.

Recently I came across a scrapbook of newspaper cuttings from a column I wrote in my early twenties. In it was a piece called “Thoughts on Childhood” which supports the view  just expressed :

“ I am close enough to childhood for my memories still to be clear and reasonably untainted by the rosy hues of nostalgia, although I realise now that as soon as we have ceased to be children, the world of childhood becomes a closed world to us, one which we can never recapture except through flashes of memory and watching our own children grow up. As adults, no matter how hard we wish to recapture the feeling of childhood, we must always remain ‘ watchers by the threshold.’ ”   (ii)

This is a critical age, in terms of the emerging individual’s capacity to retain that  spark of vital creative energy which ensures that  engaging with the world as it is does not mean stifling the Joyful Child, who  has been curbed by now, and knows that much of the time it’s not safe to be too overt. But it is important that the re-channelled  energy continues to flow.

It can express itself in passionate commitment to a career, as opposed to  working purely to provide life’s necessities. It can manifest through joy in good friends, or absorbing hobbies and interests outwith work.For some people, early parenthood brings, along with responsibility, the opportunity to view the world again through the eyes of their growing children.

There is also a direct route for expression through the sheer animal vitality of youth, which all by itself can make life feel worth living. I recall a middle-aged male friend of mine’s recent comment on seeing a young man running effortlessly up several flights of stairs recently, not because he had to,  just because he could. “ I can’t do that any more – my back’s too bad !”  remarked my friend. “It made me feel wistful, reminded me of the youthful grace and energy  which I once had.”

Point of entry

From the Saturn return at 28-30 onwards, the major underlying task changes: from discovering the overall shape of who you are in relation to your own life, to beginning to use the platform you have built as support in offering your unique contribution to the wider world. By this stage, the balance achieved between necessary realism and the joyous, inspirational, creative aspects of life is crucial to how the next 14/15 years unfold. The poet Dylan Thomas senses and honours the presence of the child he was,  in his marvellous “ Poem in October” written on his thirtieth birthday:

“ And I saw in the turning so clearly a child’s forgotten mornings……where a boy…..whispered the truth of his joy

To the trees and the stones and the fish in the tide.”

In the poem’s last verse, he writes 

“And the true

Joy of the long dead child sang burning

In the sun.” (iii)

For Dylan Thomas, as for many poets and even more of us ordinary citizens, being in nature can powerfully evoke that within us which never ages, which rejoices in being alive, and is powerfully connected to the endless cycle of birth, maturation, decline, death and return.

The thirties and forties are decades where a major challenge lies in the grinding process of reality testing our hopes, wishes, dreams and ambitions against the world as it is. Most of us eventually get to the Saturn opposition of the mid-forties: we are still here,  we may still be functioning tolerably well, but we’re not young any more.

Midlife

From the mid-forties on, we only have to look in the mirror, or realise that our idea of a good Friday night  is increasingly of going to bed early, not with a hot lover,  but with a good  book, to be aware of the relentless advance of mortality. It becomes harder at this stage for most people to keep in touch with the Joyful Child, keep its energies flowing. For many people,  brutalities of  an environmental, political, social or personal nature have borne down so hard that the vital spark of life borne by the Joyful Child can now fuel only the dogged survival instinct.

I have found that one of the compensations of middle age is deeply paradoxical, and was first alerted to it a number of years ago by a comment made by my late mother-in-law, then approaching eighty.The way she dealt with an old age full of physical infirmity was inspiring. She had a lively sense of fun and humour, maintained great interest in the wider world as well as that of her own family and friends, and kept up a prodigious correspondence right up to the end of her life. The Joyful Child in her was alive right to the end, sustained in her case by a strong, ecumenical religious faith.

“ You know”, she said,“occasionally when I’m not thinking about anything in particular, I catch sight of my face in the mirror and get an awful shock. I see an old woman’s face looking out at me – but inside I don’t feel old at all – I feel just the same as I did when I was young.”

The paradox is this.The body ages to the point where you are faced with increasing physical evidence of the passage of time; but an opportunity can also slowly arise to perceive, with a clarity not possible in youth, that this ageing body has been carrying something else through life which is different, ageless, woven with the physical – that spark of immortality which comes in sometime before birth, flying free at physical death. Thus, as mortality’s approach via Saturn becomes more and more difficult to ignore, a major compensation can be offered via Jupiter:  by that  which is clearly immortal becoming more and more evident by contrast. 

In this way, the great archetypes symbolised by astrological Jupiter and Saturn can achieve balance as ordinary human life reaches its conclusion.

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Endnotes:

(i)  “As You  Like It ”: (1599) act 2, sc 7, l 139, The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, 1999 Edition, p 658, par 26

(ii)  “Thoughts on Childhood” from Personally Speaking column, Stornoway Gazette, September 1970

(iii) “ Poem in October “ from Dylan Thomas Collected Poems 1934-52, Aldine Press, 1972 Edition, pp 96-7

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Zodiac

2,200 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2015

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

 

How do you get the best out of your Saturn/Pluto aspects?

This was the challenging question I was asked earlier today by a fellow blogger –  let us call her Eliza – so I dashed off a quick answer. Here it is – all you folk out there with Saturn/Pluto conjunctions (me!), oppositions, squares, trines, sextiles, inconjuncts, how do you manage those  testing, difficult planetary combinations about which no-one seems keen to write about, very often? (I wonder why?!) And how do you manage friends or loved ones or work colleagues who have them? I would be most interested to hear what you have to say…

Here’s what I replied, off the top of my head and without too much thought. 

SaturnPluto - never give up!

SaturnPluto – never give up!

Ok, Eliza, here goes

Work very hard to face up to the shadow sides of your own nature – power and control issues being paramount with Saturn/Pluto – usually presented via the difficulties you run into with other people. Try over time increasingly to do this without self-punishment but with growing self-acceptance.

This brings a certain amount of freedom:  both to exercise restraint over the harsher facets of the Saturn/Pluto combination – for example the tyrannical, control freak streak –  and to draw on its best aspects, eg the ability to persevere, even in the face of enormous odds, the ability to honour commitments made, however difficult and testing, the ability to apply forensic analysis to sorting out seemingly intractable problems (I have a Mercury/Saturn/Pluto combo) eg in astrological research of which I am very fond.

And – avoid taking the easy way out in situations where you just want to walk in the opposite direction, but know it would be the wrong thing to do.  Saturn/Pluto people never usually get away with taking the easy way out of anything.

Also – lighten up! My Mercury/Saturn/Pluto is squared by a Third House Jupiter; I have quite the gallows sense of humour at times – and a well-developed ability to laugh at my own stupidities. However, be very cautious with a marked tendency to respond to what you perceive as other people’s stupidities in the same vein. I have learned the hard way that this kind of humour is not always appreciated.

Furthermore, I find that a useful life skill to cultivate and practise is that of being forensically honest with myself (especially regarding my own motives at times) whilst realising that other people –  mostly – cannot or do not wish to have that level of honesty applied to them. So – it is very important to develop the ability to know when just to back off and shut up…

There you are, Eliza – I didn’t intend to warble on so much! I do hope some of it at least is of value to you…..

Zodiac

Zodiac

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450 words copyright Anne Whitaker  2015

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page