Category Archives: Astrology Article Archive 5 – The Cycles of Saturn

Stories from the coal face! Saturn in Scorpio Part 2

All powerfully charged dimensions of life belong to Scorpio: that stage of the human journey challenges us with those facets of life which most powerfully compel us, attract us, repel us, scare us – and transform us….

To read Part 1, click HERE. In this second post I will be having a look at some personal stories…..what is beginning to take shape for individuals as the planet Saturn settles into its 2012-5 symbolic journey through the thirty degrees of the sign of Scorpio? What is beginning to emerge from the murky depths of what we don’t want to face? Where do potential transformations lie?

image:  Cafe Astrology

Helena‘s feedback shows clearly that her work has already begun. In her birth horoscope Chiron, the asteroid signifying both wounding and healing, is placed at 4 degrees of Scorpio. The planet Saturn, noted in its traverse of Scorpio for purging and cleansing deep-rooted old patterns which only serve to hold us back, currently transiting Helena’s Chiron, will not have finished its work there until a year from now:

” Early in September 2012 I caught a nasty cold from my granddaughter which kept returning, bringing with it headaches, wheezing and sneezing, and as it continued, low energy, tiredness and low mood.My usual enthusiasm for life felt much diminished. By the end of October I was still unwell, and had decided I really must DO something about this. So I visited a reputable nutritional specialist one of whose approaches was to test for food intolerances.

I am a sceptic ( in the open-minded sense of the word!) but felt I had nothing to lose by doing this. In sum, she provided me with a professionally administered boot up the ass regarding the toxins which were affecting my energy and well-being (despite my having a more than averagely healthy diet) and gave me the motivation to begin, in essence, a detoxing regime which I anticipate will take around a year since I want to do it gradually.

So – I decided to cut out sugar apart from what occurs naturally in fruit and vegetables, reduce dairy foods by two thirds, and cut out tomatoes altogether. The gadget she had attached to my left middle finger by which she measured my body’s energetic response to a wide range of substances, positively shrieked when it encountered tomato. Exit tomatoes from my life.

Result? Within thirty six hours the draggy cold had dried up and gone. My energy levels quickly improved dramatically. And my catarrh has virtually gone. I sleep better because of this. One month on, I feel better than I have for years.

But for the first three days of the new diet regime, as I detoxed from sugar in particular, I felt wretched. Headaches, feeling weepy – and anger, accompanied by very old feelings of family pain from issues belonging to childhood. And as I write – very aware of family of origin issues in the present, manifesting through younger members of my family……time to face more emotional challenges rooted in the past, as well as purging my diet of toxins. I feel this Saturn  transit over Chiron, very powerfully on several levels……”

Saturn by transit has not yet reached Flora‘s Scorpio planets, as we will see shortly. Nevertheless, she is beginning to see the possible shape of  things to come, emerging from the murky depths….

“I have Neptune conjunct Venus in Scorpio (8-12o).  Over the next year Saturn will transit the conjunction.  In 2002 I almost had an affair – it was very traumatic and confusing: transiting Neptune was squaring that Neptune conjunct Venus in Scorpio at the time.

During the recent Saturn in Libra period (Autumn 2009-Autumn 2012) my (long) marriage has been tested again, although I have been finding things hard going for some time. I have a lot of respect and love for my husband, but I am finding that we have less in common as time goes on and that he is more and more restrictive and smothering.  Sex has been a very intrinsic part of my marriage as one might expect of the conjunction being in Scorpio – there is a lot more to be said about that but I do not wish to write too much.  Suffice to say it is a highly important aspect of our marriage to him.

About eighteen months ago when Saturn, transiting through Libra, was conjunct the Sun/Moon midpoint I met someone. He is married with children and of course so am I. We care deeply for each other and have even spoken of being together one day.  Whether this happens or not remains to be seen as the obstacles to doing so are perhaps too much. But I do feel this year may well bring all that into focus….”

Tough realism is needed, and willingness to confront some of the less attractive facets of ourselves, others and our family history during this Saturn in Scorpio transit. It helps to remember that whatever we have to face is not unique to us, but part of collective human suffering. Self pity should be strictly rationed! Considerable clarity and growth can be the reward if we persevere with self honesty, compassion and patience with self and others.

Never more so than when travelling through Scorpio, Saturn challenges us to separate out from what we are not – in order to become more fully who we were meant to be.

I’d like to give the last word in this post to Scottish poet Christopher Whyte, who has several planets in Scorpio:

” Forgiving life and, in the process, forgiving oneself, is one of the toughest enterprises of all.”

This statement for me sums up the essential challenge of Saturn in Scorpio, whatever our personal stories ….

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Many thanks to those of you who sent in your feedback but which I have not had the space to feature. It is my intention from time to time to post some individual stories, since showing how astrological symbolism plays out in real lives demonstrates more clearly than anything else the validity of the astrological model as a means of attempting to understand ourselves both individually and collectively. So – do continue to send in your stories! But please, only disclose what feels comfortable for you to reveal. And by all means use anonymity. Helena and Flora are not the real names of the contributors featured in this post.

1000 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2012
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

 

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Saturn through Scorpio : “Sex – Death – and Taxes….” 18th November 2012

“As above, so below”

 This ancient maxim sums up the interconnectedness of all life, a reality which periodically pushes itself to the forefront of our awareness when nature wreaks savage destruction and we are confronted with power which we are utterly unable to control.

Force of Nature

Force of Nature

For example: the aftermath of hurricane Sandy will continue its devastating effects on many lives long after it has ceased to be immediate headline news. But it may also force the upper echelons of political power in the USA at last to take the threat of climate change seriously and stop blocking those who are at least trying to do something about it.

“….If the worst Atlantic storm in U.S. history holds an economic lesson, it is this: We all need to come to terms with the cost of climate change….”

Being forced by circumstances beyond our control (which often have their genesis in collective or individual choices made long ago but now forgotten) to confront profound and threatening matters many would rather not face, sums up the symbolic action of Saturn  – the stern old patriarch of the planetary pantheon –  as he purges his way through the sign of Scorpio once every 29/30 years.

Saturn entered Scorpio early in October 2012 and remains there until September 2015. Time to clean up our act, individually and collectively (i).

Though the lenses of sex, abuse of power, and death – three of of Scorpio’s key themes – we can see the collective challenges of this shift already. In the UK, as Saturn began his sojourn in Scorpio, sexual abuse scandal began early in October with utterly shocking revelations of the activities over many decades of Jimmy Savile – probably the worst paedophile in UK history rapidly  spreading to permeate much of UK’s institutional life.Then sexual misbehaviour scandal surfaced at the top of the US military and continues to rumble on.

Yesterday, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard ordered a rare Royal Commission, the highest form of investigation in the country, into how churches, government bodies and other organisations have dealt with possibly thousands of child sex abuse claims.

And the Indian government is currently putting diplomatic pressure on the Irish government over the death of a young Indian woman resident in Ireland, who was allegedly refused an abortion despite miscarrying, dying of blood poisoning as a consequence. There have been mass protests in India and Ireland as a result, calling for reform of Ireland’s abortion laws.

An old cliche has it that Scorpio’s main realms are ‘sex, death, and taxes‘ – the latter is certainly coming into sharp focus too, as the European Central Bank puts increasing pressure on debt-ridden economies., eg on 9th November …. “More austerity may please the Germans, but it is an unnecessary tragedy for Greece ….”

Following hard on the heels of considerable relief at President Obama’s re-election, which  possibly heralds the slow death throes of the hegemony of angry WASP males in the USA, we have the dreaded Fiscal Cliff looming in January 2013 – “….the effect of a number of laws which (if unchanged) could result in tax increases, spending cuts, and a corresponding reduction in the budget deficit beginning in 2013….”

At a collective level we can certainly see the power and challenge of  Saturn’s symbolic journey through Scorpio – only just beginning. There has been an eruption from the murky depths of material which we would rather had stayed there. Now we have no option but to face up to what confronts us. It is a slow, painful process. But when the collective wound is cauterised and cleansed, there is a chance for some healing to begin….

Do the same underlying principles apply to individuals as well as nations? What do you think? In the next post, following shortly,  I will be having a look at some personal stories…..what is beginning to take shape for individuals? What is beginning to emerge from the murky depths of what  we don’t want to face? I am reminded of a counselling supervisor I had many years ago, who every so often would hit me with the following challenge: “What is it you don’t want to talk about today, Anne? Let’s talk about that….”

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NOTES

(i) those readers who have studied astrology to a level ‘beyond the sun signs’ will also have noted that this symbolic energy is amplified by mutual reception with the planet Pluto, ruler of Scorpio, in the sign of Capricorn. Also, for the next year Saturn makes a beneficial link by trine aspect with the planet Neptune. 

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750 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2012
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

 

Farewell – the Libran Saturn Return!

The planet Saturn entered the sign of Libra on 30th October 2009, and is currently poised for entry into Scorpio on 5th October 2012.

Those of you born between Autumn 1980 and Autumn 1983 – when Saturn was last in Libra  – will then emerge blinking into the light – hopefully having made some of the changes necessary for old baggage to be shed, and with new challenges to take on, as you move into the second thirty-year cycle of Saturn, the great definer….have you done that? Let’s take stock….

Saturn - welcome to the Real World!

Saturn – welcome to the Real World!

wordsources.info

The planets in their cyclic rhythms symbolically weave the story of our collective and personal lives through space and time. These cycles vary enormously: from the tiny 29.5 day dance of the Sun and Moon, to the vast epoch-defining cycle of Neptune and Pluto, meeting only once every five hundred years.

The planetary cycle which has most penetrated the popular imagination, however, is the 29-30 year cycle of Saturn, commonly known as the Saturn Return. Stay with this post, those of you with no astrological knowledge born between Autumn 1980 and Autumn 1983 (i). You’ll gain some useful perspectives….

How many Returns?

In a long lifetime, you may have three Saturn Returns: one at 29/30, another at 59/60, and a third at 89/90. The first one, however, is arguably the most crucial and the one upon which this article is focused. But any Saturn Returners just completing their Second and Third Returns are most welcome to read this article – and send me their feedback!

Saturn the cosmic Tester….

The Saturn Return is very much about defining yourself: separating out from what you are not, in order to get closer to the grain of who you are meant to be. We all go through it with varying degrees of success and failure in being able to clarify who we are – none of us is capable of sorting everything out, even in a whole lifetime, never mind the first 29/30 years!

Saturn Returns vary in degrees of challenge, levels of difficulty – and, let’s not forget! – of achievement as a result of honestly taking stock of what needs to change and making that change happen. This is not a time to stick your head in the sand to avoid facing painful truths about circumstances, people, or your own attitudes and beliefs which are holding back your progress as a developing and growing person.

Locating Saturn – currently leaving Libra

Let’s now move from those general principles to looking at some specifics. Plotting Saturn’s current position, observable against the 30 degrees section of the zodiac which we call Libra, is a good way to illustrate this.

In its 29/30 year cycle, Saturn moves through all twelve zodiac signs, spending 2-3 years in each. An Aries Saturn Return, for example, is very different in flavour from a Pisces Saturn Return. Thus Saturn’s underlying principles just described will be seen through the filter of the particular 2-3 year period in which you were born, irrespective of your Sun or Star sign.

The Libran Saturn Return

In astrological terms, Saturn is traditionally ‘exalted’ – ie in its most favourable placing –  in the airy, rational sign of Libra. Thus the generational group born between Autumn 1980 and Autumn 1983 (i) is by nature more inclined than the rest of us towards the well-known Libran virtues: detached reasonableness, a strong sense of fairness and justice, striving to achieve balance and harmony in all spheres of life, but especially in relationships with others.

Thus the Libran Saturn Return has been especially tuned, in essence, towards finding balance in all areas of life and sorting out what you want from what you do not want in relationships. Remembering that Saturn really turns up the heat and piles on the pressure where we are most dysfunctional and, in Libra’s case, indecisive, I thought it would be a very good idea to put flesh on the bones of the theory by asking some real live Libra Saturn Returners for their feedback!

Investigating Real Lives

I was really pleased to come across a group of four friends, living at very different locations in the UK and USA, none of whom have studied astrology but all of whom were willing to participate in a mini research study.They were all born between Autumn 1980 and Autumn 1983 (i) when Saturn was going through Libra.

I researched whether one could detect the challenges and disruptions characteristic of astrology’s description of the Saturn Return in general, and their Libran one in particular, at work as common factors in all their lives from autumn 2009 until now – and was not disappointed! This short article can only provide a flavour of their lives and the detailed, interesting feedback they sent me:

Anna’s boyfriend died in an accident, she got a new job, and emigrated to the USA. Barbara obtained a new job in a new company in a different part of the UK much nearer her partner, and bought a new house. Caroline split up with her partner of seven years, but they have recently got back together to try again. Diana faced many career challenges and disruptions, and the end of a three year relationship. (ii)

In conclusion….

These human stories allow the vividness and relevance of astrological symbolism to manifest. Even through this very brief extract, we can see the particular imperative which the Saturn Return presents, clearly at work.  We can also see how their experiences all centre on relationship, Libra’s especial focus. All four have taken on life-changing challenges, experienced significant losses as well as gains – but feel overall that they have a clearer sense both of who they are, and who they are not – their lives feel more balanced as a result.

Saturn has done his work!!

NOTES

(i) this is a general article only – the particular detail is as follows: Saturn entered Libra on 21st September 1980 and finally left on 24th August 1983. However, for a period of several months from 30th November 1982 to 6th May 1983, Saturn ‘dipped into’ Scorpio which it was to enter fully on 24th August 1983 for the next two and a quarter years.

 (ii) not their real names.

This brief article was first published in a slightly different edition on the blog Love Your Saturn Return , and is part of my much longer recent exploration of the meaning of Saturn Returns incorporating a mini-research study of the experiences of four researchees experiencing the Saturn Return in Libra. It is currently being considered for publication, but will appear here in due course if it is not accepted! 

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1000 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2012
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

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Second Saturn Return and beyond: The Cycles of Saturn part 4

To read Parts 1,2 and 3 of “The Cycles of Saturn: forging the “Diamond Soul” click HERE

Second Saturn Return: Ages 58-59

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.

Facing the Final Cycle of Saturn: 60 +

Franz Hals: an image of serene later life

Franz Hals: an image of serene later life

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frans_Hals

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 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.

( NOTE: The full text of this article 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 recently 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.)

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500 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2012
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page


The Cycles of Saturn: forging the “Diamond Soul”: part 3

To read Part One and Two of this series click HERE

Everyone has their distortions, their failures, their blindness. The gift of the first Saturn return is that the pressures it inevitably applies, bring a great opportunity for us to look at those very aspects we have hitherto been unable to face.

Saturn turns up the heat and pressure so much that the price of continued avoidance becomes higher than we are prepared to pay. Thus, realizing at a heart and soul level that “…the easiest path….is not the path of personal growth has been the major turning point of many a life.

Saturn

Mythological Saturn

http://www.freewebs.com/saturnmen/planet-saturn.gif

Whether a person is functioning in a healthy way by the first Saturn return is dependent psychologically on how well he or she has negotiated the first three stages of the cycle: 7-8 years , 14-15 years, and 29-30 years.

For example, those who have been unable to effectively separate from their mothers at the waxing square at ages 7-8 may still be locked into a dependent relationship at 29-30, thereby distorting their development as the second cycle begins. Those without long-term partners, unable as yet to mature from the challenges of the first opposition at ages 14-15, may not see that being alone is better than being in an unfulfilling partnership, and are likely to carry some self-destructive relationship patterns into the next cycle.

Finally, those who have failed to negotiate effective entry into the adult working world at the waning square of ages 21-22 are likely to have even more difficulty as their 30s advance, unless they can begin to see what self-defeating patterns are blocking their path.

I find it very satisfying to work with clients who are either in the 27-to-30-year phase, or have been through the return and are taking stock at the beginning of the second cycle. It is here that the gifts of astrology are at their most potent, but only if people are willing to face who they are and be open to exploring some possible avenues of development that a good astrology reading can provide.

Clients who are strongly plugged into the energies symbolized by Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto can take a very long time to bring these connections into consciousness. The usual pattern is to be battered and buffeted by these powerful energies right up until the age of 30 and beyond. It usually takes at least this long for such individuals to begin to comprehend their relationship with those great impersonal forces. Then they can consciously begin to align the personal with the impersonal in a more aware, less fearful, and, therefore, more creative way.

Until age 30, life’s energy is waxing. The first Saturn return could be seen as the Full Moon point of life. Thereafter, the body starts to die, energy to wane, and our ability to recover from self-inflicted punishment and the battering of life begins to diminish. Consequently, the margin for serious errors to be made, from which one can recover and even benefit, grows inexorably narrower. The development of self-awareness becomes ever more important, as well as a realistic appreciation of both one’s gifts and limitations.

Saturn A New Look at an Old Devil
Saturn A New Look at an Old Devil

To order this recommended book click HERE

 To read Part 4:  Second Saturn Return and Beyond

click HERE 

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600 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2012
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

The Cycles of Saturn: forging the “Diamond Soul”: part 2

To read Part One of this series click HERE

We all arrive at the first Saturn return at the ages of 29-30.

Whether we know we’re having one or not, the broad determinants are the same. My metaphor for this return is the recollection I have of a school science class, where I was fascinated to observe the growth of a copper sulphate crystal, which, over a period of weeks, emerged from clear blue water into a highly-defined, beautiful, crystalline shape.

Beautiful copper sulphate crystal

Beautiful copper sulphate crystal

http://chemistry.about.com/od/growingcrystals/ig/Crystal-Photo-Gallery/Copper-Sulfate-Crystals.htm

At the first Saturn return, the crystalline shape that must emerge is that of realism. In a developmentally healthy person, the purity of that crystal of realism isn’t overly tainted by bitterness, cynicism, and disillusion, all of which corrode the soul and limit the potential for further growth. As the crystal of realism emerges, it may well carry with it some pain, grief, and depression. This is healthy and normal enough as part of the process of getting through the 27-to-30-year period. We know from observation of the lives of others, and our own, that this period is critical.

To an astrologer’s perception, its critical nature is emphasized by the knowledge that ages 27-30 brings with it four major symbolic patterns that are all about differentiation, individuation, and the facing and purging of illusions that hold us back from realization of our full potential.

These patterns are: the second transit of the North Node to the natal South Node’s position at age 27; the progressed Moon’s return around age 27; transiting Pluto to natal Neptune between 27-29; and, of course, the Saturn return between ages 29-30, which seems to focus the other three patterns.

Letting go: illusions and defences

Letting go of the illusions and defences that buffer us from the poundings of life, but which also limit our becoming what we may most fully be, can be desperately painful. During this period, I was forced to give up my long cherished illusion of being a writer. It gave me a secret sense of superiority over the rest of the world and met my profound need to be special and different.

When put to the test between ages 27-30, it crumbled. I realized that I had writing talent, for which I received some public recognition, but I also discovered that I lacked the single-minded drive that keeps one at it full-time. With out shedding my illusion and moving on, I would never have been able to develop my other gifts and talents, which began to take shape from my Saturn return onward.

The development of an internal locus of evaluation — a sound sense of one’s own worth that isn’t overly dependent on the approval of parents, colleagues, partners, or peers — is another psychological change that should be happening to a reasonably substantial degree by the Saturn return.

Saturn: taking responsibility

This marks the point in life where we are no longer seen as children or even very young adults by the larger world. We are expected to take responsibility for our own actions, and to be effective in the world as workers, partners, parents, and friends, with no excuses or allowances having to be made for our youth and immaturity.

Ideally, we should also have developed a sense of what the boundary is between our parents and ourselves — between their demands of us and ours of them — and how to respond to them in a mature fashion without falling prey to old, child-like patterns of behaviour. If our parents haven’t been mature enough to let go of us, we should be well on our way towards having the maturity to draw our own boundaries.

Rites of Passage: fire, air, earth and water

Although there is a common core to the rites of passage we all face, birth charts show that there are as many different Saturn returns as there are individuals. With Saturn in a fire sign, one’s core challenge is to find faith in life. This, in turn, fuels the struggle to establish an unshakable sense of self-worth and of the special nature of one’s contributions to the world. The Saturn-in-water person’s major task is to come to terms with the inevitability that we are all separate and alone, no matter how much we may love other people or be loved by them.

For Saturn in air, developing mental discipline, establishing intellectual credibility, and contributing worthwhile ideas to collective life are key formative tasks. The Saturn-in-earth person must form a sound relationship with the world of everyday reality, and pay the physical and material dimensions of life their due, in order to feel at peace within.

Each will have a different journey through the first formative Saturn cycle. The sign and house positions of Saturn, as well as whether it is angular or not, the Lunar Nodes, Chiron, and other planetary connections, provide the fine-tuning that shows the relationship between the archetypal forces present in all of life and the many differing ways they may manifest individually.

Saturn A New Look at an Old Devil

Saturn A New Look at an Old Devil

To order this recommended book click HERE

 Part 3: click HERE

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800 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2012
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page



Aside

“Just as water flows downhill, the tendency in all of nature is to take the easiest path. That direction, however, is not the path of personal growth.” (1)  “…Saturn’s heat and pressure are needed in order that we can develop … Continue reading