Tag Archives: The Saturn Return

Waxing and waning crescent phases – heralds of the future…

I first encountered the late, great mundane astrologer Charles Harvey when he gave a lecture in Glasgow in the early 1980s. At that point I was grappling with the intricacies of chart calculation (yes, folks, there was an era when we had no option but to do that manually!) and learning the basics of interpretation. I was then only dimly aware of the profound significance of planetary cycles and their bearing on our collective and personal lives.

One hour in that lecture theatre with Charles, quite simply, threw open a door for me to hitherto unknown, compelling territory where – to quote Charles quoting Plato (something he was very fond of doing) ‘Time is the flowing image of Eternity’: with the planets in their never-ending cycles being the instruments of Time. I have never forgotten that first introduction; fascination for the timing and wisdom planetary cycles have to offer has deepened as my personal time has unfolded.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”.(i) Whether the cycle is huge, like the 500 year Neptune/Pluto one, or small, like the monthly Sun/Moon one, the same basic stages apply: seeding, germinating, sprouting, flowering, ripening, harvesting, dying back in preparation for the new.

In considering the unfolding of any cycle, we can’t do better than to use the symbolic template of the monthly 29.5 days Sun/Moon cycle – easily observable in the night sky above us to guide us in our reflections, actions, and choices.

The crescent moon, first indication that the energies of a New Moon are beginning to take form in the world, does not appear until two or three days into the cycle. As a rule of thumb, that is around one twelfth of the whole 29.5 day period.

From that first encounter with Charles’ inspiring perspective, over the years of continuing to work with clients’ and students’ horoscopes as well as my own, I became increasingly fascinated with the developmental significance of the first and final twelfths of any cycle (equivalent to the waxing and waning crescents): not least because of the enduring fascination over millennia and all cultures, and its significance in mathematics, of the number twelve.(ii)

(I should perhaps declare the possibility of some personal bias here, though: as well as having far too many planets in the twelfth house, I was born in number twelve of the street in which my parents lived at the time!)

I slowly began to notice that the ending/balsamic/twelfth house phase of an old cycle seemed to carry clues – seeds – in an individual’s horoscope regarding what the major themes arising in the new one might be. Recently, it has occurred to me that one can apply this principle to the very much larger cycles of collective life too, something about which I am currently writing at some length.

Focusing for the moment on the opening twelfth of personal cycles, the one which ‘delivers’ most clearly is the 29/30 year Saturn cycle. I’ve seen innumerable examples over the years, of how the most significant changes which were decisively to shape someone’s life thereafter, appeared more clearly in the two or three years post Saturn Return, than in the year of the Return itself.(iii)

In my own case, I changed career, becoming an unqualified social worker on my Saturn Return. In the subsequent two to three years I qualified in my new profession, met my future husband – and began seriously to investigate astrology.

I had a bafflingly accurate horoscope reading in my late twenties following a chance encounter in a launderette in Bath, Somerset during the twelfth house phase of my first Saturn cycle: this shook my scepticism (based on the usual ignorance) to the core, sowing seeds of which I was then completely unaware which would later grow into a career of nearly forty years’ duration.

My previous column mused on the conundrum in which we are currently held this year, metaphorically speaking: the new Saturn/Pluto cycle which will force us to re-define how we live as a human collective has only just begun.

But two Jupiter/Saturn cycles – one of twenty years, the other of over two hundred years concluding the Jupiter/Saturn series through the Earth Element since 1803 – have yet to end, with a dramatic flourish at the winter solstice of 2020.

The 2000 to 2020 final Jupiter/Saturn cycle in Earth can be seen as the twelfth house phase of the long cyclic journey which began in 1803, as the Industrial Revolution started gaining the momentum which has totally transformed how we live on Planet Earth.

The first significant event of that 2000/2020 cycle, which took place at the ‘crescent moon’ stage, can be seen as 9/11, the terrorist attack taking down New York’s Twin Towers on 11 September 2001 which has resulted in a hugely disruptive re-ordering of geo-political structures right across the globe.

The other major world-changer which began to accelerate from 2000 has been the massive rise of a computer and smartphone-expedited inter-connected world.

Ever since Saturn moved into Aquarius in late March 2020, and lockdown has spread to varying degrees across the map in our collective struggle to contain the covid 19 epidemic, we have seen the seeds of a new world order emerge with the massive rise and spread of internet platforms such as Zoom.

It’s a very difficult time to be a human –  and the best break the planet has ever had from our increasingly destructive activities. 

I’m finding it useful to regard the first twenty year Jupiter/Saturn cycle in Air from Winter Solstice 2020 to Hallowe’en 2040 ( WHO chose those dates?!) as the emerging ‘crescent moon’ phase of a very long cycling of Jupiter/Saturn through the Air element.

This suggests the need for us as a human community to learn patience and humility in the face of the regulating planetary cycles which have been symbolically pointing out two very significant things to which we should be paying close attention.

One, we have come to the end of a whole way of living on Planet Earth which has become increasingly unsustainable by any of the creatures inhabiting it. Two, it is going to take us at least the next twenty years, realistically, to re-shape our world into a new order which hopefully will be an improvement.

This will be led by an emerging generation of young folks whose ideals, on the whole, seem to be more collective and environmentally responsible than the materialistic baby-boomers of my generation whose race is almost run…

Endnotes

i) The Bible: Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 Verse 1 King James Version (KJV)

ii) https://gnosticwarrior.com/meaning-of-the-number-12.html

iii) For an in-depth article related to this topic, see “Shadow Transits – A Hidden Forecasting Tool” by Frank Clifford: https://www.astro.com/astrology/tma_article150504_e.htm

(This post is a slightly edited version of my 29th Not the Astrology Column featured in the July/August 2020 Issue of the UK’s Astrological Journal, edited by Victor Olliver.)

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1150 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2020

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see About Page 

Harry Potter and the Joyful Child, Part 3: A midlife paradox

To read the first two parts of the Joyful Child series, CLICK below:

The Sun, the Saturn Cycle, Harry Potter – and the Joyful Child

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Part Three

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The Sun God  - spark of immortality

The Sun God – spark of immortality

http://www.maverickscience.com/saturn.htm

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Point of entry

From the Saturn return at 29-30 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 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.”   (iv)

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 few 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 aging body has been carrying something else through life which is different, ageless, separate from the physical – that spark of immortality which comes in sometime before birth, flying free at physical death.

Thus, as mortality’s approach becomes more and more difficult to ignore, a major compensation can be offered by that  which is clearly immortal becoming more and more evident by contrast.

Midlife can be a depressing time. Vitality declines, children have either flown the nest and you miss them, or have their own problems which can bring yet more responsibility to you at a stage in life where you are tired of being responsible. Careers can pall. Dear friends die. You realise how fleeting life is, and how little of it you have left. But as always, there are choices. The paradox noted above brings a great opportunity for reorientation and renewal.

Increasing trust in the immortal spark within, that Joyful Child which has survived the batterings of life and still retains a sense of the importance of making a creative response, can strengthen existing belief that life continues in some form when the body dies – or help that belief to grow.

Conclusion

I would like to conclude this essay by returning to what I have called the Otherworld, that magical domain which is the natural habitat of the Joyful Child. Its importance was highlighted in the 18 March (2000 – AW) copy of the magazine The Week, where Jolyon Connell was writing about  a current  “golden age for children’s fiction” with reference to an article by S.F. Said. (v). The success of current children’s authors led by Roald Dahl and J.K. Rowling, “owes much to the way they appeal to grown-ups as well as children – and not just for nostalgic reasons.” .

Connell’s observation a decade ago is still very much relevant now. He observed that in those writers one finds good old-fashioned storytelling, strong plots, and that quality which is present in all the best children’s books, but often missing in adult ones, ie a sense of wonder, of  “being alive to the world.”

He concluded by putting forward Said’s view that  many adult readers to their own children are discovering afresh, through the works of  Dahl and Rowling, what great writers have always known: children’s stories can touch “those parts of us that haven’t yet become bored, damaged or embarrassed by existence – and can help those parts that have.”

A prescription for  helping to keep the Joyful  Child alive ? Go and read the Harry Potter books…….. ! Then go check out the latest of the movie series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” –  currently breaking box office records across the world.

References

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

(v) in  The Daily Telegraph, week beginning 13 March 2000. Quoted in The Week, 18 March 2000, p 3.

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To read the first two parts of the Joyful Child series, CLICK below:

The Sun, the Saturn Cycle, Harry Potter – and the Joyful Child

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1100 words copyright Anne Whitaker  2010
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

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On reaching thirty – ‘forging the diamond soul’

As followers of this site will know, I went through a profoundly testing – though ultimately enriching – descent into the Underworld and slow return during the period 2001-8. During this time of retreat I had to give up a busy and successful freelance career, and simply rest, grateful to be nurtured by my loved ones, until my life force returned. Reading and writing were major sustaining gifts – as was a deepening spirituality. I had the time to draft a memoir of my emerging spiritual life up until the age of thirty; not as a continuous narrative, but as a series of key episodes.

It is my intention from time to time to publish some extracts from the memoir, provisionally titled “Swimmer in a secret sea” on this site.

In the meantime, here are some of my musings from the Introduction to that memoir, as I reflect on the great significance of those first thirty formative years in all our lives.

(Although this post is intended for the general reader, those of you who are astrologers will recognise this archetypal thirty-year point as the first Saturn Return.)

If you are approaching turning thirty and finding it hard going, take heart! I have come across many people amongst my counselling clients, students and astrology clients for whom the period of 28-30 was very, very tough. They were certainly hard years for me. But most of us can look back and say “well, that was when I really began to grow up – life is much better now!”

The Diamond Soul

We truly are unique, each one of us. Only one person can live out your or my particular story. But there are certain archetypal experiences which most of us go through in the vital thirty years where we lay the building blocks for our future development as useful adults.

Inspiring people – if we are lucky, members of our own family as well as those met along the road – appear. Experiences which wake us up to new realities come our way. There are challenges or tests which we cope with as best we can. There are questions which are seemingly unanswerable, but will not go away. The longing to feel part of something greater than ourselves tugs at many of us. Deaths of loved ones in early life mark us deeply.

Intense love affairs can turn out well or badly. Friendships are forged which can deeply sustain and comfort us, in which we can show the best as well as the worst facets of who we are. Relationships with parents are revealed in varying contexts, leading us to a more realistic perspective on both sides.

We begin to realise that our most valuable educational experiences probably take place outwith academic institutions. We develop ambitions and set about trying to fulfil them. We deal with the raw joy of being alive, as well as the depths of its pain. We encounter the love that nurtures us, and the wounds that may make us wise in time.

From this long, testing and often painful process of submerging our dreams, questions and ideals in the acid bath of life as it actually is, hopefully we emerge with a good enough balance of optimism, resilience and mature realism to enable us slowly to begin to separate out from what we are never going to become. In this way, we begin to grow more fully into who it is we actually are, having taken a step further towards what the Buddhists call ‘forging the diamond soul‘ …

NOTE!

USA’s  bi-monthly The Mountain Astrologer magazine is recognised as being one of the world’s best quality astrology publications. They will shortly be producing and selling a CD featuring the Editor’s Choice of the best articles which The Mountain Astrologer published during the 1990s. I am pleased to say that the article I wrote in 1998, which features an astrological perspective on life’s thirty-year cycles: “The Cycles of Saturn: forging the Diamond Soul”, will be appearing in that collection. Those of you readers who are astrologers or astrology students, keep checking the site for details! As far as I know, the CD should be available from March 2010.

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UPDATE: the CD came out on 13 October 2010. For details, click on link below!

An autumnal treat from ‘The Mountain Astrologer’ magazine

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……and the memoir, “Swimming in a secret sea” is now published. Click HERE to read it.

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700 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2010
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

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