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My main blog is 'Writing from the Twelfth House', exploring astrology's many highways and byways ... updated September 2019 after taking a break from 2016. (Also - check out an extensive article archive May 2008 - May 2016: celebrating our connections with '...mystery, meaning, pattern and purpose...') 'Astrology: Questions and Answers' is now an astrology article archive June 2013- August 2019. Drop by and enjoy browsing its many and varied topics! Psychological astrologer, writer, teacher, mentor: MA, Dip Ed, Dip Social Work, Dip Psych Astrol. Working in person and on Zoom.
Posts I Like
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- A Survey for the Capricorn Stellium Generation Donna Cunningham
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- Venus In Aries Square Pluto In Capricorn – Ticking Time Bomb May 23, 2022 Elsa
- Astrology for May 23-29, 2022 | Mars and Jupiter in Aries: Back to Work May 23, 2022 April
- Reading The Red Book (42) – Seven Sermons to the Dead May 22, 2022“… what they rejected will be most valuable to them.” Philemon’s words uttered after the sixth sermon to the dead We have now reached the sixth Sermon to the Dead, which you will find in the third section of The Red … Continue reading →Symbol Reader
- Reading The Red Book (42) – Seven Sermons to the Dead May 22, 2022
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- Triplicity Rulers in 15th Century Spain May 23, 2020 Grandtrines
- Saturn Square Uranus December 24th of 2021 (2021-12-24) December 18, 2021 Grandtrines
- Jamestown Colony Solar Eclipse 1607 a mystery May 7, 2022 firstname.lastname@example.org (Jude Cowell)
- New Moon Eclipse musings April 30, 2022 Fernanda Paiva
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Tag Archives: Saturn Return
I always seem to have a favourite word. Maybe that’s one of the hallmarks of being a writer. It’s probably tiresome for other people when I cram it into conversations. By now, I’m sure you are quite desperate to know what the damn word is this time.
Ok. It’s ‘liminal’. From the Latin ‘limen’ meaning ‘threshold’, it refers to that stage in life when one is hovering…departing from what is in the past: not quite at home here in the present: not quite arrived there, in the future…it’s an uncomfortable, fluid state to be in, but highly creative and full of potential.
How about this contemporary usage, definition from Wikipedia: ‘…More recently, usage of the term has broadened to describe political and cultural change… During liminal periods of all kinds, social hierarchies may be reversed or temporarily dissolved, continuity of tradition may become uncertain, and future outcomes once taken for granted may be thrown into doubt…’
I don’t know about you, but this to me sounds just like where we are collectively on planet Earth at present. Let’s hope in the long run – which we baby-boomers likely won’t live to see – we end up with something better than the mess we have now.
‘As above, so below’ : no contemporary astrologers have come up with a pithier definition of the essence of our art than did fabled Ancient Egyptian sage Hermes Trismegistus in the equally fabled Emerald Tablet. Hermes was conceived as apparently hovering between the divine and human worlds.
Down here in that all-too-human world, thinking about Hermes in relation to the world ‘liminal’ is providing me with some inspiration; much needed in my case, as I hover uncomfortably and uncertainly between the end of one 12 year Jupiter cycle, and the beginning of a new one.
Jupiter cycles have always been a big deal for me, since third house Jupiter at 19 degrees 07 Scorpio squares all six of my Leo 11th and 12th house planets. I wrote about the dubious but transformative delights of this astro-lineup in my very first column for Dell.
This idea of hovering between the divine and human worlds might be of some comfort and inspiration also to those of you readers who are ending one cycle at present, without being able to see how the energy of the next one is going to form. Standing in this liminal place, one cannot bully, cajole or entreat the new order to reveal itself. There is divine time, and there is human time.
This may sound pretty mystical, but my feeling – from both personal and professional experience– is that the deeper wisdom of our soul knows the direction in which we need to proceed in order to become all we can be, and how long it may take to get there.
The astrological cycles can put us in touch with that spark of divinity within each of us, offering profound insights into what a waning cycle has been about, and what the newly-forming one might bring. They also teach us that ‘… there is… a time to every purpose under the heaven…’ (i) .
Our egos, located in human, ordinary time, can often rail against this when we don’t like what we see of the shape of things to come, or how long a particular transitional period is going to take. Try consulting your ephemeris, as I did at the end of 1998, to realise that I was about to have a series of sixth house Neptune oppositions to twelfth house planets lasting from 1999 until 2012, as well as the ending/beginning of five major cycles.
It was some immersion, I can tell you. Did my ego rail against it? You bet. I had to quit my career in 2002, and did not begin to surface, via writing on the Web at first, until 2008, not returning to consulting and teaching until 2012.
But guess what? I now look back on that period, when I felt liminal approximately twenty-four hours a day for years, as the most soul-enriching of my entire life.
One of the many lessons I took from that period was to pay close attention especially to the feelings of restlessness, dissatisfaction and uncertainty which herald the end of, for example, the 29-30 year cycle of Saturn which we all share. Many of us recall – or are experiencing now! – the turbulence and pain of the end of our twenties, from which most of us emerged or will emerge by around the age of thirty-three with a much clearer idea of who we are, and most importantly, who we are not.
Those difficult feelings and experiences occurring in the twelfth house phase of any major cycle are part of the dissolution of the old order of that part of our lives. An ending must take place– so that new energy may arise, taking us forward to the next stage of our unfolding.
Astrology’s great gift is to show us that we are not random butterflies pinned to the board of Fate. We each have our small, meaningful strand to weave into life’s vast tapestry.
In the end, it was consent to my tough and frightening period of liminality, patient waiting, the love and support I was fortunate to have, and trust in the wisdom of the Unseen that got me through.
So, my liminal fellow travellers, take heart. The old order may be waning, but something fresh and new is surely arising…
(i) Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 King James Version (KJV)
This slightly edited version of my bi-monthly column for Dell Horoscope Magazine first appeared as ‘The astro-view from Scotland’ in the May/June 2018 Issue.
1000 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Dell Horoscope Magazine 2018
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:
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.
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.
Saturn: A New Look At An Old Devil
by Liz Greene.
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.)
This isn’t directly related to the Saturn Return, but your post raised another question for me. If the earth’s moon is treated for symbolic purposes as a planet, what about the moons of other planets, like Saturn? After all, Saturn has 62 moons (although not all are named and some are quite small). Still – that’s a lot of stuff whirling around out there!
The essential point to make is that astrological symbolism first arose and was consolidated at a stage way back in history when humans could only inform themselves of what was going on in the heavens via the naked eye.
By an astronomical quirk, the Moon is 400 times smaller than the Sun, but 400 times nearer the Earth, so we see them as the same size. Thus they were given equal significance in symbolic terms by our ancient ancestors.
The sheer majestic visual power of the regular cycles of solar and lunar eclipses, when Sun, Moon and Earth are precisely aligned in the heavens, amplified and added awe and significance – affirming the symbolic power of the Earth’s Moon in the eyes of the ancient peoples of the world.
This sense of significance continues to this day. Do you recall the enormous fuss that was made of the 11 August 1999 eclipse, as we all awaited the Millennium with the dreaded Millennium Bug hanging over us? Here is just one of the predictive articles which appeared at the time: http://astrologer.ru/article/cassini.html.en.
Needless to say, Paris did not go up in flames, and we are all still here, as far as we know!
Huge advances in space exploration and observation in recent years have certainly brought a vast amount of planetary gravel of varying sizes and significance to our attention – including the 62 moons of Saturn – as well as many exo-planets unknown until fairly recently. Many astrologers now include, for example, a variety of asteroids and other bodies in their astrological research and horoscope interpretation.
Maybe I’m just lazy – but I tend to think that basic astrological symbolism is complex enough to produce very accurate, useful interpretations for my clients and students and that the more complexity one introduces, the less clarity one achieves.
But I am open to conversion, as always…..well, depends on what it is!
AND – New visitors and Followers out there! Do drop by with your observations….. and, of course, your Questions….on any astrological topic.
400 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2013
Part Two: here we move from astronomical description to a discussion of the astrological symbolism, core meanings and varying levels of manifestation of the Saturn principle; ending with some concrete examples of people’s actual experiences at the Saturn Return point. And, of course, inviting YOU to offer some examples from your own experience.
Staying with the astronomy reveals to us where the symbolic meaning of the planet Saturn comes from. Until the 1780s when Uranus was discovered with the aid of modern technology, ie the telescope, only seven planets were visible to the naked eye: Sun, Moon (which is treated for symbolic purposes as a planet) Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Saturn thus for most of astrology’s history defined the farthest limits and the boundary of the known solar system. It was the ring-pass-not.
The astronomy passed into the mythologies of various cultures, in the West appearing as Saturn in Roman myth, Chronos in Greek myth. The figure of the stern old man, carrying a scythe with which to cut down humans who had reached the outer limits of mortality, long ago passed into popular culture where it still pops up in various guises.
In astrological symbolism, which has very strong ties with myth as can be inferred from the names of the planets in our solar system, Saturn became, in essence, the drawer of boundaries and setter of limits and definitions.
Thus everything in our world which does this: walls, bones(which hold us up), skin (which holds us in!), structures of all kinds, worldly status and position, all outer forms of restriction, are part of Saturn’s external portfolio of manifestation.
At an inner level, fears (which bring psychological limits and restrictions), the ability to set necessary psychological boundaries, determined refusal to be ground down by the world’s and other people’s restrictions, willingness to shoulder responsibility, having a grounded outlook based on realism, all belong to the wide range of characteristics and qualities which arise from the core meaning of astrological Saturn.
Even without knowing much astrology, you can probably already see from this the fraught nature of prediction!
In my view arising from long experience, a view shared by many other astrologers, it is more constructive first of all to describe to our astrology clients the core meaning of all the planetary symbols and their interactions. In this way they can get an essential grasp of what is taking place on their life’s stage, before we proceed together to explore the range of possibilities which can and do arise from each core meaning, and how the client may be able to move to more positive modes of expression.
The return cycle of Saturn completes four key stages of development: age 7/8 years, 14/15, then 21/2, then 28-30.
The first stage represents the first steps towards more autonomy and independence from parents and family. The second takes this further, tying in with puberty and all the challenges accompanying it, including defining oneself more via the peer group and less with family of origin. The third should represent a further stage of developing autonomy via completing one’s education and entering the world of work and perhaps more committed relationships.
I hope, as we approach the end of this article, that you can now see why the fourth stage, ie the first Saturn Return at 28-30, is a major turning point in the process of becoming an adult: still (ideally….) connected by bonds of love and responsibility to parents and family, but having established an adequate degree of personal autonomy. It symbolises the completion of the first cycle of growth and maturation.
The determinants of the Saturn Return apply not just to human beings, the focus of this discussion, but to anything born in a moment in time and completing its first cycle of formation and definition.
Partnerships of a personal and business nature, marriages (does the seven-year itch now make more sense?!), friendships, educational institutions, Facebook, restaurants, yoga studios, banks, chain stores, you name it, all face the same essential challenges at each stage within the cycle as well as at its completion.
It is not possible amid the messes, fudges and failures of an average human life to achieve perfect completion of any life stage. The point is to have made a good enough job of the Saturn Return transition to find yourself standing on a firmer and more realistic foundation to your life after the Return, than you had before it.
Coming back to the point I made that many branches can and do arise from the same core of any astrological symbol, people make changes or have changes thrust upon them which on the surface seem very different.
Here are some from my experiences of observing students’ and clients’ lives over the years: career changes, marriage/committed partnering, divorce, birth of a child, relocation to other countries, retraining, going back to education, religious conversion, loss of religious faith/atheism, retreat from the world for a period of time in different contexts, taking on promotions or greater responsibility. No doubt you can think of some more yourselves as you read this and think about the people you know.
In writing this article I have focused purely on the core features of the Saturn Return, which apply to everyone and everything born or begun. A great deal of individual fine tuning can of course be done with a properly drawn and calculated horoscope which needs the date, place, and vitally important TIME of birth.
You readers out there will, I hope, have your own variation on this core theme of separating out from what you are not in order to become more fully who you are. It would be great if you felt willing and able to share your experiences with this new learning community at Astrology: Questions and Answers.
AND – New visitors and Followers out there! Do drop by with your observations….. and, of course, your Questions….on any astrological topic.
700 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2013
However, that’s usually as far as it goes. This simplistic and very widespread public face of pop astrology is what the reductionists attack so virulently, without taking the trouble to find out whether our six thousand plus year old tradition might just have more to offer than that.
A bridge of knowledge between pop astrology and the deep and fascinating waters of what lies beyond is the Saturn Return, which in my experience is a term which an increasing number of people know about ‘ beyond the Sun Signs’. Films have been made in which this famous event features – an intriguing fact which I discovered on an interesting site called loveyoursaturnreturn for which I wrote a short article last year. You can also find links there to quality articles by a range of astrologers giving their take on the Saturn return, as well as media references to it.
So – what is the Saturn Return?
Symbolically, it is a major turning point in the process of becoming an adult: a critical step on that lifelong rocky road of separating out from what we are not, in order to become more fully who we are. This turning point occurs around the ages of 28-30.
Where does the symbolism come from?
It comes from astronomical observation of the 28-30 year long cycle of the planet Saturn.
It’s important in developing an understanding of astrological symbolism to realise that it doesn’t just leap fully formed out of someone working on a tabloid newspaper’s vivid imagination. It arises from thousands of years of careful observation and recording of the movements of the planets in our solar system and the correspondences which occur with both the outer and inner lives of the inhabitants of Earth – both collectively and individually.
All the planets move in regular, predictable cyclic orbits. These orbits range in time from the vast, epoch-changing scope of the planet Pluto which takes 248 years to return to its starting point, to the tiny dance of the Sun and Moon which take a mere 29.5 days to complete their cycle.
Saturn’s orbit takes an average of 28-30 years.
Let’s say Charlotte (fictitious) is 35 years old, born in the Spring of 1978. The example chart here is set for midnight GMT (1 am UK Summer Time) on 1st April 1978. In this chart (some detective work here for those of you who know no astrology – yet!) the planet Saturn sits at 24 degrees of the sign of Leo.
(click on image to enlarge)
Moving from The American Ephemeris for the 20th Century at Midnight (my essential book for that desert island. Yes, I’m mad….) where I looked up her birth date, to its equivalent for the 21st Century, I find that Saturn returned to 24 degrees of Leo in late October, November and December 2006, January 2007, and finally in July 2007. Thus Saturn describes in astronomical terms a period of 9 -10 months in Charlotte’s life between the ages of 28 and 29.
I have measured this precisely for Charlotte. However, since Saturn moves relatively slowly, taking 2-3 years to travel through the 30 degrees of each sign, in this case Leo, everyone who is now 35 years old will have gone through their Saturn return in 2006-7.
And everyone now in their mid-60s will have completed their second Saturn Return during the same time period, at the ages of around 59-60. And if you live long enough, you have the exciting prospect of a third Saturn Return in your late eighties. I can hardly wait…..
To be continued – Part Two of this article follows shortly: moving from astronomical description to a discussion of the astrological symbolism, core meaning and varying levels of manifestation of the Saturn principle; ending with some concrete examples of people’s actual experiences at the Saturn Return point. And, of course, inviting YOU to offer some examples from your own experience.
In the meantime, you new visitors and Followers out there! Do drop by with your observations….. and, of course, your Questions….
700 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2013