March 30th, 2011

Life After a Jupiter Saturn Opposition


First the good news: Yesterday’s opposition between Jupiter and Saturn was the last of the series. What started in 2000, when the two giants conjuncted in Taurus, has now reached it’s fruitional stage — which is what any opposition connotes. A seed is planted at the conjunction, development occurs as the two planets move apart, and then reaches a crescendo at the opposition. Which was yesterday.

OK, so the ‘Where’s my Xanax’ news? Traditionally the years that follow the Jupiter Saturn opposition are years of attrition, stymied growth and stark rationale for modest optimism. Traditional astrologers attribute a growth phase to the first ten or eleven years that follow the conjunction (from 2000 to 2011); Jupiter has jurisdiction of this phase. But the period following the opposition, which starts today, is Saturn’s. Picture Saturn rummaging around his tool shed, looking for his pruning shears. Now begins the cutbacks, the trimming, the ‘nose pressed to grindstone’ phase. A balancing and correcting period that will give a ‘reality check’ to whatever grew and gorged turning the eleven years post the conjunction.

In psychology, Saturn corresponds to facets of the Father archetype that are implacable yet resolute. Never much fun, but necessary to develop a realistic approach to life. Saturn’s function is to establish an internal organizing principle within the psyche that allows us to experience freedom and growth in a balanced way. Without resistance in life we’d never understand the concept of liberation and freedom. As Freud showed us, the two impulses are inseparable — the pleasure principle in an eternal dance with the reality principle.

This is especially true when Saturn is transiting the sign Libra, as he is now. Remember all the trepidation, hand wringing and catastrophic thinking that followed the big economic crash in 2008? Well, now we’re ready to witness the actual fallout — Jupiter, you could say, sort of goaded the hysteria (the quintessential planet of grand gestures and even bigger dramas). Now we’ll come to understand, truly, the meaning of ‘bailout’, as cultural and economic safety nets begin to fray and fail globally. With Saturn, when gentle hints fade, coercion follows. Alignment with Saturn’s principles of the pragmatic, the systematic, are crucial. The step-by-step approach will dominate the next eleven years of this cycle — as both planets move back towards their next conjunction in 2020.

Suddenly what was enough to survive on, to make ends meet, isn’t enough anymore. Haven’t you pondered this in your own life? I’ve wondered the same whenever I visit the city (I live on a small island), and watch folks load up on crates of food at Costco, or sit in crowds in the waiting rooms of tanning salons, or pump gallon after gallon of gas into their monstrous SUVs — often with five or six kids ping-ponging around in the back seats. Where is the money coming from to keep all of these pastimes and amenities whirling and twirling? Are people continuing to live off of their credit cards — as I fear, or am I just witnessing the new ‘Future Consumers’ today. Those wealthy denizens you read about, the 1% of the population that now holds the majority of wealth in the country. I doubt it’s the latter — but I could be wrong. The metaphor ‘running on fumes’ keeps coming to mind. A phenomenon which, of course proceeds: ‘running on empty.’ But dear goddess, don’t share my inquiry with anyone. No one wants that sort of wake-up call right now. [Cut to close-up of an old-fashioned telephone, ringing into oblivion]. Crash!

Americans by nature do not understand the word ‘no.’ It’s part of our collective heritage (with Jupiter in Cancer conjunct our nation’s natal Sun, bigger and ‘more’ are always better and better yet). True, Jupiter married to the Sun represents the American psyche’s undaunted optimism, that ability to rise up and reassert the Jupiterian vision of solar (life-giving) hope, after calamities and humiliating plunder (see the Great Depression years and the bank crisis that precipitated them.) But this fiery, bloated, boisterous conjunction also fosters a distorted sense of proportion, and worse, lends an air of entitlement to one’s expectations. It’s this air of entitlement that drives Saturn crazy. Saturn’s motto is ‘you get what you work for.’ And transiting the sign Libra, as he is now — Saturn offers elegant severity — the scales don’t swing wildly; their contents are carefully, slowly meted. So much so you feel like screaming as you watch the slow measuring of options. You get exactly what you get, and not a drop or dollar more. Plus we must learn to share. Libra is opposite the ‘me-me-me’ sign of Aries (where Jupiter is currently transiting). So get ready for dividing and equalizing.

When Saturn is given carte blanche, as he is now, post the big opposition yesterday, it’s important that we have ‘that conversation’ with ourselves, our family and friends. Start with: “Let’s do a reality check here.” What can I cut loose, what can I surrender, what can I trim? What is necessary for me to live a life of simple quality? And what am I chasing or hanging on to that stem from insecurities and deficiencies that can never be filled by material things (or other people).

This means creative, perhaps extreme, budgeting. Also grief: relationships that are plugging a hole in your psyche, in defense of being alone, might be relinquished. Weight is to be shed — literally and figuratively. The beauty of a Saturn theme in motion, as it will be for the next eleven years, is that we begin, slowly, to turn to those resources and skills that support proportion and balance. This always leads to beauty. This is why Saturn is exalted in Venus’ domain — Libra. Of all the various styles of the Zodiac, the Libran manner fits best with Saturn’s function as the great equalizer. He can do his thing with the most ease and economy. Saturn is the most frugal of all the planets. And also, in many ways, the most elegant. Grace: another attribute of Libra.

OK, I can’t end on a total bummer. So here’s this bit of spinning from the windmills of my mind:

Fortunately Neptune is ready to stick his toe into Pisces next month. Sense your third eye — can you feel it buzzing? And then watch what happens to the hegemony of the internet in your life. A spellbinding condition that started thirteen years ago when Neptunian fascination (and the weakness for the hypnotized state) began moving through Aquarius — a style of the Zodiac associated with technology, electronics, and the manner in which humanity considers itself ‘interconnected.’ True, the internet went far towards the concept of being connected, but for all of that faux coalescing — oy! — such an arrid state for the human heart. This is the great Aquarian dilemma: a love for humanity but an awkward, unformed understanding of the emotional needs of the individual.

We’ve become parched for the roundedness of soul as depicted or alluded to in art, poetry and mysticism. It’s fascinating that a true curve or circle can never be created or depicted accurately on a computer. You have to wonder what thirteen years of staring into monitors — where all of the visuals are straight lines, vectors or fake curves — has done to our nature-based being. Our relationship to the circle, a Platonic symbol that’s experienced naturally in the world, is like nourishment to the soul. The circle is always hinting at or telegraphing directly our desire for completeness and unity in life. Consequently, circle-less, the psyche becomes trapped in a grid. Neptune in the mix denoted obsession with this condition. “I’m linearly locked in and can’t unplug!” I consider this every time I walk through the city and no longer see people’s faces — just heads bent over staring into iPhones. Like a mirror, we’ve been staring into our monitors and mobile devices for over a decade now — searching, streaming and Googling for some of that promised ‘interconnectivity.’ Alas… It’s no mistake that the Wizard of Oz‘s Tin Man was hankering for a heart. Something machines don’t have — nor can impart.

Neptune’s movement into Pisces shifts our capacity from the Aquarian concept, to the real deal — instead of thinking about being connected — we actually feel it. And the feeling is much bigger than the small sense of self (that was born 11 signs ago in Aries.) Pisces represents the Totality from which we all spring. Neptune in Pisces will open up unknown glands and hidden chakras within our etheric body, power spots that support pondering the Mystery, the One Substance of life. The unified field that is beyond ‘connecting us’ (as Aquarius does) because it is the very heart and ground of connection itself. Also known as the: “Not one. Not two.” Look that up in Wikipedia.

Saturn in Libra’s ticker tape reads like this: Strip down — (or be stripped), jettison the unessential (or have the superfluous forcibly removed), to reveal one’s essential grounding in Being. Saturn rules the bones of the body. The scaffolding any form is built upon. And at the deepest level each of us is ‘built’ upon Being. Consciousness. Awareness. Our True Nature. Neptune’s transit into Pisces corresponds with a renaissance, a revival in longing and the ways we explore that longing so as to feel connected at the deepest level of our being. We can no longer hunt and peck for it in our mobile devices or computers. We need to focus on sustaining soul — our unique aperture of awareness — to perceive that we’re in this together. In fact the very notion of a separate ‘you’ and a separate ‘me’ is just that. A concept.

Good luck.

Opening art: Melancholy by Edvard Munch 1894/96. The Rasmus Meyer Collection, The Bergen Art Museum.

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