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Astrology Articles
Article Title: Saturn - Teacher, Taskmaster & Friend
Date Published:
- by Marion  March
[This interview took place on 7/25/2000. Clarke Fountain, the editor of Astro*Talk Online Magazine, spoke by conference call with Gloria Star.]
Why do we fear Saturn? Why do we tremble when someone mentions that Saturn is going to conjunct our Midheaven or Ascendant? What is it about, this large planet (2nd largest in our solar system) that is not a personal planet yet has such a strong influence on our childhood, our development, our life? Perhaps by considering the innate and archetypal principles involved, we can better grasp the meaning of the cyclic movement of Saturn through the horoscope.

In mythology, Saturnus is the Roman counterpart of the Greek god Cronus, the god of time, and son of Uranus and Gaea, the earth goddess. Saturnus married Rhea and fathered many children, including Hades (Pluto), Poseidon (Neptune) and Zeus [Jupiter - ed.]. Saturn had a terrible habit of eating his own children, mostly out of fear of being dethroned by them (like he had done to his father Uranus). Therefore, Rhea started hiding some of the children and one of them, Zeus, grew up secretly in a cave on Mount Ida in Greece. When he became an adult, he efficiently got rid of Saturnus to become the undisputed king of the heavens.

Maybe that's why we're so afraid of Saturn, we still see him as the child eater - but maybe we also feel Saturn's fear of dethronement and our own insecurity makes us overreact. In the olden days Saturn was considered totally "malefic," evil and destructive. But modern astrological interpretations are very different from the mythological ones. Life has changed since the ancients interpreted the skies for us.

Our keywords for Saturn today are: form, discipline, responsibility, the urge for security and safety, organization, ambition and delay. Saturn rules theory and scientific law, older persons, depth, patience, timing, tradition, conventionality, orthodoxy and productive use of time. Saturn represents the principles of truth, of contraction, of solidification, of wisdom and of aging. Its action is slow and lasting.

Saturn rules the sign Capricorn, so we blend some of the Capricornian qualities with those of Saturn. Cautious, scrupulous, business-like, practical, hard working, economical and serious. Of the more negative tendencies we add egotistic, domineering, unforgiving, brooding, inhibited and status seeking.

Saturn is also the natural ruler of the 10th house of honor, reputation, standing in the community, status, fame, business and social activities and most of all, our ego. It shows how the world sees and evaluates us, but do we really know how we evaluate ourselves?

In chart delineation we usually say: wherever Saturn falls in the chart is where we feel least secure and tend to overcompensate. Why does Saturn make us feel insecure? Possibly because we see Cronus, the god of time, translated into our "Father Time" as the reaper who, with his sickle, cuts down our earthly life. Thus Saturn represents the first law of manifestation, namely the law of limitation. Our earth life is limited and eventually has to end in the death of the body and that scares us. But is limitation so bad? Would you really always like the Jupiterian principle of "the sky is the limit?" If you have a tumor, would you prefer the Jupiterian expansion or the Saturnian limitation and restriction?

In anatomy, Saturn rules the skin and skeletal system. Now if we had no skin to limit our bones, where would we be with bones dancing around and popping out every which place? So when we think in very practical (Saturnian) terms, how bad are certain limitations?

Let's approach Saturn from the psychological angle. Why do we overcompensate wherever Saturn is placed or where it rules? Because we are not sure of ourselves in those areas. What makes us insecure, psychologically speaking? Saturn is demanding - its principles are truth, responsibility (mainly for our own actions) and the knowledge that, as the great poet John Greenleaf Whittier said:
"The tissue of the life to be We weave with colors all our own, And in the field of Destiny We reap as we have sown."
Paraphrased from the familiar Biblical saying "Whatsoever a man soeth, that shall he also reap." What a tremendous responsibility that places on us. That means I, myself can shape a part of my destiny. I am responsible for my actions. But that also means I can't blame anyone else and this is a hard nut to swallow. It is much easier to say, "fate is against me," "my parents are to blame" or my race, society, my neighborhood…anybody but me.

If you believe in reincarnation, you even may go a step further and say that we decide when to be born, and in the overall picture are predestined as to when to die; we may even come here in order to learn certain lessons of life and thus fulfill another cog in our pursuit of breaking the eternal cycle of Karma and Dharma and becom[ing] one with the Universe. In esoteric astrology, Saturn is the "Lord of Karma." Whatever state of evolvement we have reached before determines the form we take the next time around. Whatever lesson we did not learn, we try to master the next time. That is the meaning of Karma: cause and effect, action and reaction, what we sow we will reap. Whether [in] the esoteric or mundane, psychological humanistic or any other approach[es] to astrology, Saturn's meaning is the same - never punitive, not good or bad but…we are our own judge! And that is another problematic area. Who really wants to judge oneself and judge truthfully and honestly as Saturn demands - that's a tall order.

So what is our normal and human reaction? We put on this great front of "I don't care" or "I am the Rock of Gibraltar and nothing can crumble me." Are we going to admit that we are not really strong? That would leave us wide open and terribly vulnerable. Do we want to be hurt? Of course not! So probably we will hide our fears behind bravura, our feelings and emotions behind coldness or an arrogant air of superiority, all reactions we have seen when analyzing the houses Saturn is in or rules.

Now let us dig a little deeper. Saturn represents the principle of truth. What kind of truth? Earthly truth. Here we are on this earth with two legs, two arms, two eyes and five senses. We may wish to hide in the 12th house and strive for spiritual evolvement, for ESP and intuition and a sixth sense, but Saturn says: "My friend, hiding is going to get you nowhere; learn to use your five senses and face yourself as well as life."

We may utilize Uranus by dreaming of escapades into the future or by giving ourselves to the cause of humanity. But Saturn the taskmaster says: "First you must learn who you are before you can teach or help one other human being, much less humanity. You cannot look into the future until you understand the past and most certainly the present."

Of course it must be glorious to rise from the ashes like the phoenix, to transform or transmute into something we are not as Pluto strives to do, but Saturn the teacher says: "You can't transform until you are formed. Don't run away from life: live it first!"

Uranus, Neptune and Pluto may be considered higher and more evolved than Saturn, since they are further away from Earth, transcendental in name and abstract in effect, but Saturn is the ruler of the 10th house, the highest possible place in the chart. Saturn is what you need to reach for in this earth incarnation. And that is the hardest lesson and of course another reason for our feelings of insecurity. To strive for truth, practical reality and perfection is much harder than to strive for dreams, ideas, concepts and theories which cannot be measured by earthly or concrete measurements.

Saturn is a taskmaster because it demands conscientious effort and serious application. This 10th house Saturn of course represents our ego and here we experience our greatest conflicts or insecurities. What are our real ego needs? Dare we admit and focus in on them or do we hide behind platitudes and phony fronts because this is what we think is expected of us? Can the ego focus in on truth and reality when the word ego itself denies objectivity? Ego is self-is my reality. Saturn says truth and reality. But whose truth and whose reality? Absolute truth? Absolute reality? That cannot exist within our earthly five sense boundaries. The word "absolute" implies perfection and purity, which can only be characteristic of something free from any restraining, including the restraining of senses or dimensions. But Saturn is composed of restraints - form is one of its purposes, so it cannot be absolute truth of reality. Instead, it must be "my truth" and "my reality" in this world of ours called Earth. So in a mundane sense Saturn represents the social truths and realities by setting limits, creating structure and enacting laws.

Once we understand Saturn's true nature and are ready to understand our own limitations, we are ready to accept ourselves in relationship to our world. Self-awareness is the first step to understanding our ego and its needs and taking concrete measures to meet these needs. As we understand the principle, we are ready to climb the next rung on the ladder.

Now where do most of us get lost or hung up? We fail to see that there are as many realities as there are people and instead of taking responsibility for our own actions and living up to our reality, we create an illusion of the kind of reality we think others want from us. My father (Saturn), my church (Saturn), my teacher (Saturn) wants such-and-such from me. The government (Saturn), the authorities (Saturn), my career, my community and so on ad infinitum, all have supposed demands on me. Thus structure becomes rigidity, discipline becomes bigotry, adherence to principal becomes stubbornness, responsibility becomes inhibition, hard work becomes status seeking and the laws of necessity become fatalities.

Once we understand the Saturnian principles, we can apply them to the natal and progressed horoscope, to synastry, to anything astrological or psychological, to life and to death.


Copyright: Marion March

Bio: Marion  March

Marion March is a noted teacher, lecturer and writer on astrology, as well as a valued astrological counselor in her own right, and the mentor of many younger astrologers. With Joan McEvers, she is the author of a series of comprehensive instructional books: The Only Way to Learn Astrology in five volumes, which has gone through many editions, and has been translated (and published) in several languages besides English including German, Spanish and Portuguese.

Other articles by Marion March:

A Different Approach to Vocational Aptitudes   
ABC Basic Delineation #1   
ABC Basic Delineation #2 – The Overview   
ABC Basic Delineation #3   
ABC Basic Delineation #4 – Britain Hails a Future King   
ABC Basic Delineation #5   
ABC Basic Delineation #6 – Correct Birth Data   
ABC Basic Delineation #7   
ABC Basic Delineation #8 - Basic Chart Patterns   3/1/2001
ABC Basic Delineation #9   4/1/2001
ABC's of Delineation: The 'See-Saw' Chart Pattern   5/1/2001
Hey Baby! Interpreting the Chart for Small Children   
The Many Faces of Pluto   

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