I ♥ Saturn
WEEK FOUR | ASPECTS | MONDAY
We Are… Family?
Imagine you’re invited to a small gathering. Maybe you’re volunteering for a really good cause. Let’s even get extreme with it and say that you and nine other people have been charged with finding the cure for cancer — maybe it’s for your mother, or a child you love.
The catch is that there is a cure. It is accessible, but not obvious. And you’ve been selected by the the Buddha, Marianne Williamson and Oprah — you and these nine other people — to work together, harmonize and communicate effectively enough that the cure for cancer for this one life you so dearly love reveals itself.
There’s you… and nine other people. You’ve got needs, they’ve got needs. You’ve got a story and a set of gifts, and so do they. You work well under certain conditions, and so do they. You all have something in common (you’ve been selected by Oprah, for God’s sake!), but you may not totally understand one another. Yet, you can feel that buried somewhere in you — in each of you — is the thing that connects you:
You’ve got the damn cure for cancer inside you!
Now imagine that, no matter where you go, you and these nine other people will spend the rest of your lives together. In fact, you’ve been together since birth. You’re well-acquainted. You’re a family. But as we all know: family doesn’t necessarily mean endlessly and lovingly combing each other’s hair while watching “Life is Beautiful” in your Snuggies™.
There is struggle. There is conflict. There is harmony and joy and deep resonance. Some of you understand one another, and some would rather sit at opposite ends of the table at Thanksgiving dinner. But you and these nine other people (unlike most of our families of origin) are all working toward something incredibly worthwhile as a team:
The cure for cancer.
Not just surviving, but thriving.
This is what’s happening in your natal chart — and in your body / mind / heart / psyche / spirit — all the time. You (your Sun, your core essence, your organizing consciousness) is in relationship and constant conversation with:
and all for a common purpose: the thriving, thrilling liberating evolution of your Soul.
So, y’know, the small stuff.
(side smirky face emoji)
We know that Saturn is the resident hard-ass. (Every family has one.) He’s the guy who triggers everyone, and we’re never totally sure: Is he/she a genius or a sociopath??!
At all costs, Saturn promotes growth. Saturn knows what we (most of us, usually) don’t yet know: that we humans tend to need a bit of a kick in the pants in order to get out of our own way. (You gotta love him for that.)
So when Saturn makes any aspect (blue line or red line) with another planet, what we’ve got is a growth opportunity. Astrologer Liz Greene says, “With most Saturnian aspects, especially the squares, Saturn is externalized, and something in the environment becomes the guilty party, the cause of the friction and inner disquiet associated with square aspects. The more strenuous the efforts are to get rid of him, the faster he comes back.”
That’s Karma for you.
Have you ever fallen in love with someone (romantically or otherwise) whom you didn’t mean to fall in love with? Someone who, at first glance, just didn’t really float your boat? They weren’t your “type”? They chewed loudly. They said inappropriate things. Laughed too eagerly. Insisted on hugging you too long. Just straight pissed you off?
And then, slowly… almost accidentally… love.
This is what it can be like with Saturn.
Because love, in youth, is an externalized thing. Someone looks the way we prefer, acts the way we prefer, says, does, thinks, moves, behaves in a pleasing way, and we like it. Because it fits into our (mostly) narrow definition of beauty and appreciation. And mostly, these pretty, uncomplicated beings don’t upset us or remind us of the parts of ourselves we’d rather not look at.
Until we grow up. Until our quest for growth becomes more vital than “comfort,” we will constantly be given externalized people and experiences that require us to look around at the cell we’re in and see that the door was never locked.
The position of Saturn in the birth chart are these kinds of “cells”; Saturn’s position corresponds to memories and qualities of which we would rather not be reminded, and which are more or less projected onto others “so that life,” Liz Greene continues, “rather than our own psyche, is the culprit when things do not go well for us.”
Loving another human, we eventually learn, has very little to do with our preferences — and everything to do with awakening.
When Saturn makes contact with another planet, the result is pretty Saturn-specific. We’ll get into the specifics of Saturn aspects on Wednesday, but today, let’s talk generalities. This, I think, is key to understanding the energy patterns associated with planet-to-planet conversations.
A side note: There are 11 kinds of aspects in a birth chart, half of which (in my opinion) are pretty inconsequential. The five listed below are really where the juicy stuff is.
Degrees of separation: 0 – 4
When two planets are anywhere from 0 – 4 degrees from each other (the degree of separation is called and “orb”), they are said to be conjunct. The closer the degrees, the more powerful the conjunction, and the more fusion the planets are said to experience. Planets in conjunction expand one another’s powers, and (when they are particularly close, say, within two degrees) producing an energy that feels as if it’s one entity. These planets are primed for projecting onto one another; they are so close they just can’t see each other. And never can one operate without activating the other.
Degrees of separation: 180
You’re in your house. Whenever you have visitors, they might ring the front doorbell, or they might ring the back. Neither is better than the other, really. Which do you answer?
When planets are in opposition, this is the question you are constantly asking: Where am I set into default mode? The opposition asks that you balance between the two energies and functions of the planets in question. There is polarization, and there is tension, because 9 times out of 10, those planets are in opposite signs. One planet seeks expression and has needs based in one sign’s mode of being, and the other planet is expressing equal and opposite needs across the chart. They goal of this aspect is that we hold both with equal consciousness at any given time, expanding our awareness and adaptability.
Degrees of separation: 90
When two planets form this 90-degree angle from one another, the theme is dynamic tension. It is the most powerful aspect in the birth chart, and the one presenting the most potent opportunity for growth. Between the planets in the square, there is nothing in common — they are in a constant state of dog-eat-dog.
The friction produced by this aspect is one of constant developmental pressure. There is consistent, relentless unrest. In order to survive the pressure, each planet’s energies must evolve, and we must bring furious consciousness to this aspect to avoid the feeling of being overwhelmed and overtaken by warring parts of ourselves.
The good news: evolution. Expansion. Tremendous creative power.
Degrees of separation: 120
Ah, the harmonious, ever-stable triangle. The triangle is the most stable shape of all. Where squares threaten to topple over (imagine the tower of Jenga pieces), planets that speak to one another from 120 degrees across the birth chart are in the same element; they understand one another, and they have the same general needs (as defined by the element). Trines are supportive, collaborative energies. The planets in trine with one another don’t have to work very hard to speak to one another, and there is a feeling of harmonious flow.
However. Trines can be lazy. They don’t have to try — unless, that is, one of the planets in trine is also, say, squared (or in opposition, or sextile). In which case, the supportive energy of the trine gets a little extra juice.
Degrees of Separation: 60
One of my teachers once described a sextile as a “kiss” between planets, and I like this description quite a bit. A sextile is an exciting little electric something between planets — a watered-down trine, if you will, but only in that planets in sextile to one another are in friendly relationship with one another.
I think calling it a planetary kiss is much more apt, given that planets in sextile to one another stimulate one another into action, they excite one another into evolution, and (like a kiss) don’t generate much perspective for one another. The sextile is pleasantly collaborative, and seeks to simplify, so therefore, can be a bit short-sighted. It couldn’t care less, though: kissing is fun.
What are all those people in your chart saying to one another, dear ones?
Examine the blue lines (trines and sextiles) and red lines (oppositions and squares), and see if you can discern some of the conversations happening inside yourself. Don’t worry too much right now about who’s doing the talking (which planet, that is). Just see if you can recognize themes of tension or harmony based on the houses and signs.
In the comments below, I’d love to know what you come up with, how it resonates with you, and, by Saturn’s placement, what kind of relationship he seems to be in with the rest of you.