In astrology the outer planets in our universe are considered to be transpersonal influences due to their distance from the Sun (and therefore the Earth) and their slow movement. They signify the larger processes at play in the evolution of humanity. Two planets that act as bridge to this development are Saturn and Jupiter, which represent opportunities for personal growth through limitation, challenge and expansion. Both Jupiter and Saturn are significant players over the next few months. This article focuses on Saturn, but as you’ll see Jupiter is also involved in the play- more on that journey soon.
On December 23rd, after a two year & two month sojourn in Scorpio, Saturn moves into Sagittarius. Apart from a brief return to Scorpio June-September 2015, Saturn is leaving its deep intense waters with focus on secrets, desires and the quest for integrity, for enthusiastic Sagittarius, active fire energy, the adventurer aiming for beyond the horizon. Jupiter is the ruling planet of Sagittarius. It’s the biggest planet in our universe, apart from the Sun, with all the other planets fitting inside it. It’s no wonder Jupiter represents expansion. With Saturn standing for the journey to maturity through limitation and responsibility, this coming phase is a bit like having your foot simultaneously on the brake and accelerator. We will need keen discernment to navigate our lives.
Let’s look at some of themes at play so we may understand more clearly what’s unfolding. The energy of Sagittarius is opportunistic exploration. The archer of the zodiac is firing arrows towards the heavens, representing the enthusiasm to engage life’s infinite possibilities and to discover meaning through experience. We make sense of life through the experience of expanding our horizons; travel, encounters with other cultures, philosophy, higher education and religion are just a few ways we do this. The exploration of meaning requires openness and freedom, optimism and faith with the willingness to engage difference. In contrast the planet Saturn rules the limited perspective, our fears and doubts, our response to concepts of discipline and duty, the processes of challenge, maturity and aging. Jupiter is expansion; Saturn is contraction. Saturn in Sagittarius is a quandary – should I stay or should I go? - unless we develop deepening understanding of how the natural forces of growth work.
Looking at these contrasting energies through the eyes of nature, we may see that life is a dynamic synergy of expansion and contraction. Flowers open and close, the sun rises and sets, the tide comes in and recedes, metals are melted then cooled to make new objects, our hands open and close in the process of giving and receiving. Both are necessary. And it is through these natural processes that we develop the wisdom of how earth-life works. For instance, it’s foolish to try launching your boat when the tide is out and you won’t receive a gift if your hands are closed. Wisdom is a quality aligned to both Sagittarius and Saturn, but in different ways - wisdom through experience (Sagittarius) and the maturity that comes from it (Saturn). We have to move beyond our established boundaries in order to grow, then stabilise to integrate that growth. It’s the process of expanding into experience, extracting the learning and maturing enough to establish a foundation of life learning. For us to grow both are necessary; otherwise we keep repeating the same experience, perhaps the same mistakes.
The challenge of unbalanced Sagittarius energy is over-expansion, trusting to luck, recklessness and the grass is always greener. With over-developed Saturn it’s fear of change, pessimism, and over-controlling self or life. Yet with a healthy dose of their balanced energies real growth takes place. The synergy of Saturn in Sagittarius recognizes the boundaries of life in a physical body with the capacity to let the mind soar. It’s the wisdom of timing here on Earth: allowing the wine to mature, the apple to ripen on the tree, that if you plant a seed in cold wet soil it won’t germinate, and the knowing that the rough and smooth are two sides of the same coin. Capricorn (the sign associated with Saturn) is the sign following Sagittarius and therefore its evolution. It recognizes the danger of speed without skill or responsibility, the repercussions of change for change sake. Yet this synergy is also the capacity to know your limitations but say ‘so what’, to go for it through positivity and the knowing life’s infinite possibility. It’s the disciplined response-able freedom of maturity that sees the possibilities, the signs and timing, then waits or moves instantly, the one who trusts in God but tethers his camel and the trailblazer who hits the road fully prepared.
In a car, faced suddenly with a dangerous situation, you slam your brakes on, or accelerate out of it. During this transit it will require keen discernment of when to move, when to stop, to temper enthusiasm with reality, impulsivity with responsibility, doubt with knowing. It’s about big vision, taking small practical steps to accomplish it. We’re in for intense and interesting learning about life’s natural processes of expansion and contraction during Saturn’s journey through Sagittarius. It’s probably best to approach it with Sagittarian unbounded enthusiasm! Apart from a brief respite June-September 2015, Saturn will be in the sign of the Archer until December 2017.