The Moon is just past full, and Mercury is currently at the heart of the Sun (cazimi). Meanwhile Saturn is slowing down to station and will turn retrograde by this weekend, the Jupiter/Saturn square is nearly exact, and Venus is moving into a square and opposition with Saturn and Jupiter in the next few days.
I woke up this morning feeling as though the eclipse had already happened yesterday. Nonetheless the eclipse will be lingering for the rest of this week as we pass through a number of powerful aspects yet to come, especially the stationing and retrograde of Saturn. On this note, let’s take a moment today to reflect on the archetypal significance of a planet turning retrograde, and then let’s talk about what this might mean for Saturn in particular.
Each day planets are carried through the sky in a clockwise direction. Planets and stars rise, culminate, and set. Then they anti-culminate and then they rise again. This cyclical motion has been thought of by many astrologers throughout the history of astrology as symbolically representing the generative motion of the cosmos itself, the hand of the creator, or the prime mover. It is referred to as the primary motion of the heavens. However, at the same time the planets (‘wanderers’) move against the grain of this primary motion, moving counter-clockwise through the zodiac from our perspective. The planetary movements through the zodiac have thus been called “secondary motion.” Symbolically astrologers have compared these two categories of motion to concepts like the many compared to the one, or the realm of the changing and the unchanging, or even the notion of becoming versus being. From our vantage point on earth, the planets in their secondary motions are therefore symbolically related to the rise and fall of everyday events and temporal phenomenon. They are related to choices and circumstances and changing environments and very loosely the idea that there are many independent factors, moving at varying/independent intervals, that interact with each other to construct a more complicated web of experiences.
This isn’t to say that the secondary motions of the planets are entirely free or unstructured. Each planet obviously has a predictable speed (though it changes) and an established synodic cycle with the Sun, among other predictable qualities. Nonetheless, the secondary motions of the planets is different from the primary motion of the sky, and the difference becomes especially poignant when we examine the nature of planets turning retrograde.
For example, Saturn is currently slowing down in his secondary motion and will shortly appear to move backward through the zodiac. If Saturn is moving in the opposite direction of his normal course this means he is getting swept up in or suddenly moving along with the primary motion of the sky. We can draw a number of symbolic conclusions from this observation:
* When a planet slows down and stops it is as though it is losing its own power or volition
* When a planet slows down and stops its as though a symbolic spotlight is shining on that particular planet for a period of time
* When a planet falls back into the primary motion it is as though it is getting swept up by circumstances or forces beyond it’s control…the hand of God, fate, etc
* When a planet moves backward through the zodiac its as though the planet is being drawn backward into the past
* When a planet moves backward through the zodiac its as though its normal ability to signify its more positive elements is thwarted or weakened (it’s getting overwhelmed or overpowered by something)
Now applying all of this to our upcoming Saturn retrograde, we might see some of the following themes:
* An amplification of Saturn in Sagittarius themes: the intensification of our beliefs, philosophies, or an academic or spiritual return to something from the past. Religious, cultural, political conquest, competition, and crusading. Expansive experiences that also mature, deepen, fortify, and structure.
* An amplification of Saturn’s negative side: death, mortality, limitations, struggle, oppression, violence, road blocks, set backs, fear, and rigidity.
* Visiting something from the past that is serious and focused but perhaps related to an increase of wisdom or knowledge or conviction simultaneously.
* As Saturn is currently in a tight square with Jupiter the Jupiter/Saturn themes will likely peak at the same time: old/young, parent/child, past/future, establishment/anti-establishment, hopeful/realistic, naive/experienced, spring/winter, etc.
The fact that Venus is walking into the Jupiter/Saturn square might suggest that friendships, partnerships, love, and other Venus themed things will be at the center of what Saturn’s station is all about this week. One thing that comes to mind is the idea of a difficult turning point, perhaps a relinquishing or letting go (in line with today’s eclipse) related to someone or something we hold dear, or perhaps a more realistic evaluation of various relationships in general. Venus moving into a square with Saturn as he stations is also perhaps a signal of Venus’ values coming under the scrutiny of various spiritual, philosophical, or religious doctrines..like that lovely dinner conversation suddenly turned anxiously political or religious, or like the exciting moment where you realize you’ve found a new style or artistic mode of expression that is more in line with your convictions or beliefs.
In conclusion, both the primary and secondary motions of the sky are always working together, just like the polarity of the yin and yang also reflects the totality of the Tao. We should remember this right now as some of our most intense of astrology of the year is taking place and some things may happen that are both difficult and beyond our control. We have to remember that even when something is beyond our control there is always greater intelligence or a deeper motion at play… working all things together for good.
Prayer: “A student asked: The music of the earth sings through a thousand holes. The music of man is made on flutes and instruments. What makes the music of heaven?” His teacher responded: “Something is blowing on a thousand different holes. Some power stands behind all this and makes the sounds die down. What is this power?”
(from The Way of Chuang Tzu)