Slowing Down: Saturn goes Retrograde 2019

Saturn Retrograde
Saturn in shades: April to September  2019

Saturn goes retrograde today, April 29th –  and I can hear a chorus going -oh No!!!

But he is still in Capricorn in his dignity- and the chorus of hope returns -YES!!!

But wait, let’s calibrate a bit. So this is a position of strength going backwards (apparently) and so not quite as bad as if he were backtracking in any other sign with less dignity.  This is both Good and Bad and both not-so-good and not-so-bad  all blended leaving us somewhere in the middle, which is like the sandwich of life, from which we rarely get a reprieve. Could this be one of Saturn’s famous lessons – to neither become overexcited nor over depressed?

But another layer is that Saturn is conjunct the South Node and alarmingly close to Pluto, which is itself also in Capricorn and has also just gone retrograde. This carries more of a symbolic message. So there might be a sifting and sorting out of buried issues that we would rather not see floating to the surface. Where they come from we may not know as it could be the kind of things have that dogs our lives and it won’t be resolved until it is resolved. And to imagine that all will be well once Saturn goes direct on September 18th may be wishful thinking. There might be less tidal drag and we may feel less pressured,  but there is still the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto looming in January 2020.  What we have is in effect Saturn in shades, and that means taking on board the shadow side of all he represents- see the word list below.

Saturn Devouring his Children,’ Francisco Goya

There are people who instinctively moan about the negatives of Saturn. Perhaps they have never ead Liz Greene’s refreshing ‘new look’ at the old devil with her in-depth explanation of Saturnian themes?  But the reality is we might welcome this retrograde until September 18th as without Saturn, very little would get done. The world is infra-structured through effort that only calling on your Saturn requires- and I am speaking as someone who has done the long haul – two Saturn returns in tropical but still a back lag in Vedic.

Any retrograde asks us to do a bit of reviewing which is always a useful thing to do in terms of assessing the learning gain of recent months. So the question is are we doing our Saturn or is our Saturn doing us?  Do we instinctively reject our Saturn or can we begin to own it more? Saturn reminds us that life is hard, where we have to do long, repetitive, tedious and often thankless tasks to achieve anything of substance.  It is the daily slog that rarely shows immediate results as it challenges our abilities to do ‘deferred gratification’ which according to psychologists is the hallmark of the matured personality.  So to rail against Saturn, as to rail against social change, to blame it for your hardships could work against you as that approach is like a  petulant child refusing the medicine that will cure them just because it has a taste they don’t like. The parents always nod and know they will eventually get learn to accept it more.

One very Saturnian insight to understand is that sometimes that which we loathe is actually good for us, and the reverse – that which we adore may be bad for us – but to take this as far as loving what hurts us would be a distortion of this principle. Could we not just strike a balance?

Some Key words for Saturn:

Strictness   Discipline   Difficulty   Boundaries    Teacher  Professor    Lessons    

Reality    Hard    Definite    Concrete   Structure   Fear Strength    Learning     

Rewards    Goals    Awards    Melancholy   Depression    Builder  Constructive     

Dogma     Stasis      Crystallization   Stern  Right    Law   Contain    Restrict     

Bones     Teeth    Skull  Honours   Stable   Grounded Manifest   Realise  Climb    

Fate   Stoical   Resilience   Repression   Old age   Death   Limitation   Diligence  

Moralistic  Rigid  Spine  Achievement  Holding back  Success  Karma  Patience

Claudius Ptolemy
Ptolemy from National Library of Scotland

Saturn  is often associated  with Fate, but Fate is much misunderstood concept. It does not consign us to endless terrible experiences, according to Bernadette Brady that is Fatalism, a different ‘Life’s a bitch’ type thinking. The gods may be cruel and capricious -that’s their prerogative- but even if sometimes we feel we are their playthings, we can hack into the rules of the game using astrology and leverage some decisions for ourselves and get one over the gods.

If we go back to Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos he said: “we should consider that even with events that will necessarily take place their unexpectedness is very apt to cause excessive panic and delirious joy, while foreknowledge accustoms and calms the soul by experience of distant events as though they were present, and prepares it to greet with calms and steadiness whatever comes. ”

That foreknowledge can help us stay calm is as relevant today as it was 2,000 years ago as a lot of people seem to be losing nuance and balance. So calmness and steadiness in turbulent times does not excuse you from being subject to the same forces, but it may give you that advantage of preparedness, of a kind of acceptance that at least you knew it was coming, so when it does, it is no longer a surprise.

Saturnus
Saturnus by Pollidori da Carravaggio

Look to the house where Saturn is placed in your natal chart, so if that is the 2nd review your values and possessions, if it is the 5th, perhaps slow down with creative projects and get more reviewing and planning done before making a fresh start. If it is in the 9th, it might be time to review your core beliefs and religious attitudes – are all of these still relevant? and so on.

With me, it is in the 6th, and I have had to perform minor corrections of muscular skeletal alignment upon instruction from my Chiropractor who is also a yogi. It means doing a series of physiotherapy exercises daily and I know deep down this makes sense, that if I  diligently do each one of the repetitions,  no matter how boring they are, then it will eventually correct the imbalance, but if I forget to put in the daily effort, it won’t. It is that simple.

I recently received a pdf from Tony Howard and this sums up what I would be forever repeating to clients to get more fully in touch your Saturn and incorporate the positives of that planetary energy.

Howard’s ‘Five Keys to Mastery’ are:

1) Mastering Time  

2) Commitment    

3) Strategic Planning    

4)  Consistency and Regular Effort

5)  Accountability

and these reminders would be true whether Saturn is direct or retrograde. It may be slightly harder to do, or require more focus during the next months until September, but to fully own your Saturn it would be useful to keep these ideas in mind and do what is necessary to do. In other words ‘collaborate with the inevitable’ and make conscious that buried stuff that otherwise might appear as ‘fate’.

Saturn Key Words
Key words for Saturn

We might very well slow down and avoid any controversies, mind our own business,  refill in all the forms, do all the homework, ask a few key questions, write more in our diaries, face up to our own responsibilities and just get on with what you have to do with less resistance.  Check in with your own integrity.  Choose your own counsel before consulting that of a professional. That might not seem very easy to swallow with world events creating confusion, and the media bamboozling us into believing the single narrative, but probably it would be healthier in the long run.

Whether it is going forwards or backwards, love and honour your Saturn, as loving that which is good for us long term, while it may not seem sexy in the moment, is likely to be more constructive and useful. It is just harder to do.  Get out that strategic planner or go back to the drawing board,  start laying out some projects which will take extra work but may in the end bring greater satisfaction and if there is any fun to be extracted, let’s hope we may find it.

Saturn in Capricorn goes direct on  September 18th.

Pluto in Capricorn goes direct on October 8th.

Jupiter in Sagittarius goes direct on August 11th.

© Kieron Devlin,

Proteus Astrology, April 29th, 2019

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