It’s a good day to talk a little bit more in depth about Saturn’s recent entrance into Sagittarius, especially as we’ve just recently seen the visit of the Pope to the US and then another school massacre that apparently included targeting Christians.
The entrance of Saturn into Sagittarius signals, among other things, the conquest of extreme or conservative ideology, beliefs, doctrines, and dogmas, as well as the need for moral or spiritual reform or the revisiting of past beliefs and our relationship to motivating ideas or principles generally.
While the Pope was here, for example, though he spoke in favor of moral reform, immigration, the environment and a better distribution of wealth, he also came down heavily against pro-choicers and non-traditional family structures, and he canonized Junipero Serra, who in addition to being an effective builder of church missions was also an agent of cultural genocide. The Pope also met with Kim Davis (the county clerk refusing to issue gay marriage licenses) and encouraged her to “stay strong.” However it’s now being said that the Pope was manipulated into his meeting with Davis by right wingers in the US who wanted to force the Pope’s hand on gay marriage, despite his desire to stay out of our culture wars. The back and forth around the Pope’s mixed teachings has been a hot topic for several weeks now.
With the college shooting, like the church shooting over the summer, believers were specifically targeted. Just like last winter when Saturn entered Sagittarius the satirists at Charlie Hebdo were targeted by extremists, and just like at the moment the conservative right through the fiery arrogance of Donald Trump is making a strong return to US politics. These are scattered images, but pay attention to the intensity of beliefs, the conquest of truth, and the intensity of conservative ideology all around the world in the next few years. Watch as we are each called to examine the principles that define our lives, as well as the seriousness of our call to seek out truth and understanding in all areas. What is walking our talk and what is extremism and judgment?
Saturn is also a deceptively deceptive planet. By that I mean that we don’t usually see Saturn’s trickster nature because we get so preoccupied with his restrictive, concrete, and prohibitive qualities. We miss some of his subtler qualities. For example, one of Saturn’s most tricky qualities is his tendency to convince people that his insights or his archetypal qualities are beyond, above, or separate from everything else. As Saturn is the most distant of the visible planets, there is a distinct feeling of observance, distance, or remoteness to his moods and atmospheres. This can influence us in a sign like Sagittarius by convincing us that the principles or beliefs we live by are somehow above, beyond, or separate from life on earth…as though they are cosmic “laws” that transcend life on earth, rather than being part of the expression of nature.
In fact, the traditional Jewish observance of the Sabbath on Saturday (Saturn’s day) is related to the idea of “ceasing from labor,” and it similarly implies that though God’s work in creation is related to the rhythms and established features of nature (creating heaven and earth in 6 days and resting on the 7th), God is also above and beyond, completely outside of nature. That this “resting” and “separateness” would be celebrate or shared in on Saturn’s day has been speculated to be part of the same Mesopotamian, Babylonian and Egyptian traditions that saw Saturn’s day as the weekly “day of completion,” a day whose planetary symbolism (signified by Saturn) takes us beyond the component pieces of the world and into its wholeness in eternity (which was associated with Saturn). Many scholars say that prior to the Jewish exile, when they would have been in regular contact with these cultures/civilizations, there was no 7 day Jewish week with a 7th day Sabbath on Saturn’s day.
There is actually something quite beautiful about Saturn’s completeness, or separateness, when it comes to beliefs, religion, and principles. The idea that there is order and organization, rules and laws joining everything together is at the heart of most ancient astrological traditions. Not surprisingly, James Hillman once said something like, “The field of astrology is given to Saturn, who imagines a perfect order between heaven and earth, governed by just and eternal cosmic principles.”
However, Hillman also wrote that Saturn struggles with the extremes of impotence and lechery, back and forth. For as long as we worship an abstract notion of completion, wholeness, or supreme transcendence, we also build up an excess of what Aristotle called “Pneuma,” or something like divine or imaginative power. When transcendence and perfect principled completeness stays in the foreground of our experiences for too long we essentially become overwhelmed by its numinous seed, and we therefore begin to lust for the stuff of this world with a hunger equal to our projection of “higher” powers. Or, the retention of the imaginative seed of transcendence sterilizes and we become impotent, crabbier and crabbier, or more and more “stuck in our perfect but isolated picture of completion.”
This is Saturn’s deceptive deception. This is his dark angel allure that we almost always get taken in by before we know it.
The outer planetary discoveries of course mark and important shift in consciousness, a shift that denotes that there are principles that begin to transcend the notion of completeness itself. Or at the very least, they coil the serpent power of our cosmic imagination back in on itself so that we’re no longer able to project such simple notions of order and law without the equally bizarre notions of chaos, unpredictability, random mutations of law, creation out of nothing, or the paradox of soul and its incalculable laws.
These are important things to know as Saturn moves deeper into Sagittarius, for the imagination of truth, order, and completeness is especially charismatic and wily in the sign of the Centaur. I for one am going to try to remember during this time that the work of creation is beyond counting or remembrance, beyond completeness or computation…because it is also beyond our comprehension. And then I also plan to continue taking my Saturday’s off and though I’m not Jewish I will continue to kiss my fingers and touch them to the sign of the Sabbath the former owners left on the doorway to our home.
Prayer: Help us to refine and investigate the order of our beliefs and principles, help us to rest and remember the transcendent law givers and foundation holder…and then, help us to remember that which is right here in front of us, constantly mutating into truths and principles beyond formulation