Tag Archives: Moon

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!

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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

The Moon’s Nodes: Top Post for 2011

For many years I had a Moon’s Nodes obsession: perhaps not unconnected with the North Node exactly conjunct my Midheaven at 29 degrees Taurus, square a Twelfth House Sun/Moon conjunction……I read somewhere in my very early years of studying astrology that the South Node conjunct a Scorpio IC indicated having been burned as a witch in a previous life. This piece of conjecture gave my MC/IC axis a kind of dark, scary glamour.

This February 2011, I presented my findings from a 50,000 words research study, written to complete my Diploma in Psychological Astrology some years ago, called “The Moon’s Nodes in Action. This series of posts has proved to be the most popular read of 2011. Interestingly, most of my responders, fellow Nodes-obsessives like me, chose to reply by email rather than direct comment……to check the series out, click below:

The Moon’s Nodes in Action, Part One

Moon's Nodes

Moon's Nodes

http://www.astrologyclub.org/articles/nodes/nodes.htm

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150 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2011
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

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Winter Nights – embracing the darkness

A core memory from my Hebridean childhood is located in winter’s depths. Whilst dashing out to play after our evening meal, running up the garden path, breath frosty on the clear cold air, a glance at the pitch dark sky stopped me dead. A magical swirling dance of colour was washing the Northern sky with translucent radiance. I held my breath, friends forgotten,  gazing for a long time at the wonderful display. Gradually, inevitably, it faded and vanished.

This first experience of awe has remained etched on memory. It imprinted on my soul, at a very young age, a deep intuitive sense that there is a sublime mystery at the core of the interplay between light and dark.

The Northern Lights

The Northern Lights

Subsequent adult reading provided a scientific explanation for the phenomenon of the aurora borealis. But science cannot explain the sense of wonder and awe which the Northern Lights has evoked in countless numbers of us since our remote ancestors scanned the skies, seeing the Divine in natural beauty, and eventually in its predictable rhythms. Knowing that the Moon, for example, had its pattern of waxing and waning enabled our ancestors to plan the best times for planting, travelling, and timing their religious rituals. But the Moon’s guiding light could only be accessed in the dark of night.

We need winter. We may not like it much, especially in the frequently wet, grey dreariness of the West of Scotland at this time of year! But we need it, and the darkness that goes with it. A long rest refreshes the earth, revitalises it; new life quietly germinates in the dark, bursting forth in the miraculous renewal of spring.

We need the dark. Within the year’s natural cycle, the diurnal alternation of light and dark brings restful silence at night and the restorative power of sleep, without which all creatures including us would burn out and die before their time. We are in danger of forgetting this – at our peril – as an increasingly technology-driven culture sweeps the world, creating the illusion that we can live sustainably and healthily in defiance of the ancient rhythms set by the great cycles of nature.

One snowy winter’s dusk, I failed to return home from primary school. A snowstorm was blowing up with a fierce gale. Worried, my mother sent out a search party. I was found, in a state of some distress, almost white with snow, pinned against a fence. A slight child, I had been blown and held there by the wind. Where I grew up, we didn’t need to read books to understand the fierce destructive power of nature as well as its unearthly beauty.

From those childhood experiences on, I have walked the well trodden path underlying all faiths which seeks ways of affirming connection with that vast Power which runs nature, the Universe and everything, reconciling dark and light, going way beyond time.

Whilst reflecting on the profoundly mysterious and paradoxical relationship between light and dark, with which we humans have always wrestled in one form or another, the phrase ‘dazzling darkness’ came to mind. It persisted for days, until eventually I located the source.

It occurs in a fascinating article, which I had first read in 2002, titled

“A RELUCTANT MYSTIC: God-Consciousness not Guru Worship” by John Wren-Lewis. (1)

The author describes how, at the age of nearly sixty, retired and with a distinguished career as a scientist behind him,  he had spiritual consciousness “thrust upon me….without working for it, desiring it, or even believing in it.”

It was 1983. Wren-Lewis was in Thailand, in a hospital bed, hovering between life and death, having eaten a poisoned sweet given to him by a would-be thief. What happened next, a ‘near death experience’(NDE), he describes as follows:

“I simply entered – or rather, was – a timeless, spaceless void which in some indescribable way was total aliveness – an almost palpable blackness that was yet somehow radiant. Trying to find words for it afterwards, I recalled the mysterious line of Henry Vaughan’s poem The Night:

‘There is in God (some say)
A deep, but dazzling darkness’
.”

His return to life, as the medical staff gradually won their battle to save him, was not in any way accompanied by the typical NDE’s classic sense of regret or loss at having to go back to the world of the everyday. It was, in fact, “nothing like a return….more like an act of creation whereby the timeless, spaceless Dark budded out into manifestation”. Furthermore, the experience was “indescribably wonderful.”

In Wren-Lewis’ own words “I now know exactly why the Book of Genesis says that God looked upon all that He had made – not just beautiful sunsets, but dreary hospital rooms and traumatised sixty-year old bodies – and saw that it was very good.”

Moreover, this heightened awareness did not leave him. A permanent shift, without any effort at all, into what he calls “God-consciousness” caused him to do further reading and research beyond accounts of NDEs into the “once-despised world of mystical literature and spiritual movements”. But he rejects the notion held by experts in many religious traditions that the path to God-consciousness, or Enlightenment, or Nirvana requires years or even lifetimes of intensive spiritual effort. After all, he’d been handed “the pearl of great price on a plate” without ever seeking it, and found God-consciousness to be quintessentially ordinary and obvious – a feature emphasised by many mystics.

I was so intrigued by Wren-Lewis’ startling account  that I re-read the great Victorian psychologist William James’ classic book “The Varieties of Religious Experience” for the first time in nearly thirty years. This confirmed what I had already known but forgotten: a great many people who have profound religious or mystical experiences have them in nature.

I felt grateful then for that brilliant encounter with the Northern Lights, so long ago but still clearly remembered, which affirmed my need for ‘God consciousness’ before I could ever articulate it.

We need awe: it points our vision towards the sacred. So, readers, embrace the darkness if you can, these winter nights – you never can tell what wonders may reveal themselves ….

(1) from Self & Society Vol 29 Number 6 Feb-March 2002 (pp 22-24)

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(published in ‘Magnificat’ magazine (UK) winter/spring 2007 )

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1000 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2008 and 2011
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page