Saturn Learns to Swim

Saturn enters Pisces on March 7. 

Saturn is the last of the planets that can be seen with the naked eye. The system of astrology was based on ancient Babylonian cosmology. Babylonians believed the earth was at the center of the universe, and around it was a big bowl, a vast enclosed dome. The outermost ring was called the Primum Mobile, prime mover, source of all.  That was the realm of the eternity where you found the highest deity. Just within that, was a sphere of fixed stars followed by the spheres of the planets.  The planets functioned like gods or mediators, that transmitted the will of the supreme deity down to the sphere of the Earth. Each planet has its own domain, its own sphere of influence, its own responsibilities, and its own way of acting. When a soul was ready to incarnate, it traveled through these spheres to earth. The first sphere it encountered was the sphere of Saturn.  That is why Saturn traditionally has been associated with boundaries and structure. It represented the limits of what was known. Saturn stands for the principles of restriction and limitation and the giving of form. It is the keeper of order and is the planet of time. It represents unadorned reality, depth of thought, discipline, perseverance, ambition, laws, and justice. It can also represent stagnation, fears, and misfortune.

So, what does this mean for you personally? Saturn plays out in archetypes. The energy of the archetype is rooted deeply within your soul and subconscious. Saturn can show up for you as an authority figure.  Perhaps Saturn is your father or a father figure who has high expectations and inspires fear or an excessive wish to please. Perhaps Saturn shows up as a favorite teacher who encourages you but also holds you accountable.  Saturn could be that boss who intimidates you. Saturn does not have to be scary or intimidating. Saturn may show up as a kindly grandparent, encouraging you and bringing out your wish to do your best.  For me, I like to visualize Saturn as a wise elder, encouraging me to embrace my status as crone.  A famous astrologer, Steven Forrest, says “Saturn is the planet that gives us the ability to do what we don’t feel like doing”.

For example, when was the last time you were in the mood to visit the dentist? or clean the house? Saturn’s energy can also be captured with the phrase “you reap what you sow”. In essence, it is karma. If you have been prepared and diligent about doing tasks that are not fun or glamorous, but necessary, you will reap the rewards of Saturn. If you have not, you will also reap rewards of Saturn.

What does it mean for a planet to be in a sign?  Signs don’t “do” anything. If you think of the planets as the “what”, the signs provide the “why and the how”.  While traveling through a sign the planet takes on that sign’s identity, it’s way of looking at the world, its personality and motivations. Each sign has a planetary ruler, the planet that resonates closely with that sign.  Certain signs facilitate the expression of planets more easily than others.  A modern concept is to think of the ruler as the landlord of the sign. Saturn has been traveling through its home signs for the past five years. As Saturn enters Pisces, it is not only entering a new sign, but a sign with which  it has very little natural affinity. 

For the past 5 years, Saturn was in Capricorn and then in Aquarius, both signs it rules.  Capricorn is an earth sign. It starts things, and builds things that are tangible. It is associated with government, financial structures, and societal hierarchies.  It is ambitious, disciplined and strives for success. Aquarius is an air sign. It is humanitarian, innovative, but cerebral.  It is forward thinking, taking in the big picture so it can sustain societies. In these two signs, Saturn is the ultimate conservative of the zodiac.  In these signs, Saturn is focused on building and maintaining hierarchy and social order. But, It can also be aloof and and fixed in its thinking, convinced it is always right. Saturn is now diving into Pisces, a water sign known for its compassion, its imagination and creativity. Pisces see and feel the unity of all things. It is represented by the two fish, swimming in opposite directions and forever tied together with a cord.   What happens when Saturns dives into this pool?  Does he feel his foundations are being dissolved, swept away?  Or does he respond by creating a container for the Piscean oceans?  Saturn practices include self-discipline, character, integrity, self-respect, and maturity. What happens when Saturnian discipline serves Piscean purposes?

Want to please the great god Saturn while he’s showing us his Piscean face? Here’s an example: Set your alarm for 6:00 AM and get up and meditate for half an hour every day. Saturn loves commitment and regularity. He loves to see promises made, but more importantly, promises kept. Saturn loves to see sustained commitment. He has no affection for mere dabblers.

Healthy, positive responses to Pisces do not need to be “religious” or even obviously spiritual. Everyone has some Piscean energy in them. Any time we surrender to the vast spaciousness in our own minds we are doing Piscean work. Creativity in any of its forms is a spiritual practice. Are you an artist of any sort? Commit more deeply and intentionally to your artistic process and you’ll be responding well to Saturn in Pisces.

Another way to express Saturn in Pisces is to make a practice of developing your dreamy visionary side. I think we can all agree that the past 5 years have not been the most visionary or imaginative period for our society.  Maybe what we all need is a 3 year break to daydream, to vision, to imagine what we could be. Give yourself permission to take a walk every day, time when you listen to nature and let your mind wander. Or set aside time to sit by the window and daydream. Carl Jung tells us  “The primary activity of the soul is imagination”. With Saturn traveling through Pisces, this is our opportunity to dream and allow Saturn to help us make those dreams real. 

Perhaps another facet of the work of Saturn in Pisces is to learn flexibility and adaptability?  Saturn has been in signs that want us to start and sustain things. These are important tasks, but if practiced exclusively, you can be too driven, too rigid to fully express your gifts.  It is just as important to learn to go with the flow, to see what works, what does not work and adjust your plans. The two fish swimming in opposite directions, tethered together are the ultimate example of how to adapt.They symbolize the dual nature of Pisces individuals, who can be both dreamy and practical, sensitive and strong. The fishes represent the Piscean ability to navigate between the conscious and subconscious worlds.

Finally, arguably the most important task of Saturn in Pisces is to practice compassionate acceptance of other people. There’s not much that is more Piscean than a kind, open heart. To be in harmony with the cosmos for the next three years, while striving to practice that kind of compassion may prove very difficult. But luckily, Saturn is the planet that gives us the ability to do what we don’t feel like doing. Compassion sometimes requires discipline too.

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