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A New Look at an Old Devil
By LIZ GREENE
Red Wheel/Weiser, LLCCopyright © 2011 Liz Greene
All rights reserved.
in the watery signs and houses
A traditional reading of Saturn in the signs and houses may be found in a number of textbooks. Some are more psychological in their orientation, but the majority are concerned with his limiting and delaying influence upon the material plane or the world of events. This is certainly a valid method of interpretation as he unquestionably coincides with hindrances and the frustration of the even flow of material and emotional comfort in life. An analysis of Saturn's effects by aspect is also available from many sources, and this area also has been well documented through observation, experience, and tradition. The form side of Saturn's expression has in fact been most adequately covered and will continue to be so as further research is done in the areas of midpoints, harmonics, and medical astrology; however, it is the inner meaning which here concerns us.
No interpretation of Saturn by sign, house, or aspect can be complete, of course, since it is necessary to synthesise these elements and align them with the combination of Sun, Moon, and Ascendant first of all, corresponding with the individual's conscious expression, his unconscious or instinctual reactions, and his behavioural patterns. These isolated factors in combination with Saturn become the spinal column of the natal chart from the point of view of character. They will in a very concise manner shed light on what the individual wants (the Sun), what he needs (the Moon), the style in which he goes about getting these things (the Ascendant), and the thing within the man which causes him either to fail or to be dissatisfied once he has achieved his desire (Saturn). This is, of course, grossly simplified, and entire volumes could be filled on all the known meanings of the Moon alone; however, from this relationship of four factors—and every trinity must in the end be integrated by a fourth factor, a psychological as well as an esoteric law—we may gain insight into the meat of the individual struggle toward greater consciousness indicated on every birth chart. There is no chart which does not contain Saturn, however dignified and admirably aspected he may be, and there is no life without struggle.
We are taught in esoteric doctrine that the physical plane is the plane of effects, the last and densest of a progressively more subtle series of states of consciousness. Many people conceive of these planes as having a location spatially, but they have never been described in this way: the planes refer to states of being, or of awareness, rather than of place, and all coexist simultaneously at the same time and all the time, in all planes, and at the same point. This is a difficult concept for the rational and one–pointed intellect to grasp as it contains a paradox and must be perceived through the intuition which is capable of reconciling the opposing ideas inherent in a paradox and seeing them as one unit. This concept of the planes does not contradict the findings of psychology although the terminology used by both ways of thought is different. The man who is following the devotional path will find the language of the esoteric teachings comfortable with its references to soul, to spirit, to illumination. The man who is following the path of mental development may find it more acceptable to think in terms of conscious and unconscious, of repressions and peak experiences, and of the total integrated self rather than the Monad. It does not matter particularly which set of terms is used to understand the development of man. The worlds of the body, the feeling nature, the mind, and the intuition are essentially the same as the physical, astral, mental, and spiritual planes.
No event or mundane circumstance can occur without having first been set in motion by an idea, charged with emotion, and then manifested as an action. Beyond these three stages of an experience lies the meaning of the experience in relation to the whole, which it is the function of the intuition to perceive. The world of feeling lies directly behind the world of events, and it is this world with which the watery signs and houses are concerned. The astral plane symbolises the "wish life" or feeling nature of humanity, and the astral body—or feeling nature—of an individual man is often the world of causes for everything which happens to him in external life. He is, however, largely unaware of the potency of this feeling nature, particularly at the present juncture where emphasis is placed on external behaviour rather than on the quality of desire. As long as something is not "done", the individual will convince himself that he has no desire to do it; consequently, the power of the feelings increases because they are forced underground, into the realm of the unconscious. From this subterranean position the feelings will force a man to action or attract certain kinds of illnesses or behavioural patterns which he does not understand, and which may hurt him, and which appear to be coming from somewhere else. Psychic energy, like physical energy, cannot be destroyed; in fact they are the same, both kinds of energy, and will merely follow a different channel of expression if the usual one is blocked. Blockage on the level of the feeling nature is symbolised by Saturn in a watery sign or house, and true to form the psychic energy which would ordinarily seek release through expression of feeling must take another channel of expression—frequently through the physical body or through certain kinds of events.
The concept of different planes or states of consciousness which are all part of one life, but which may not be clear or known to the conscious mind, is most helpful in understanding the kind of responsibility which Saturn requires. As the majority of people are polarised in their feeling nature and are motivated by desire, it is particularly important to understand this principle if any sense is to be made of a watery Saturn. It is useless, of course, to tell the average man, come for an astrological consultation, that his pain is, finally and ultimately, part of the growth and evolution of a larger life of which he is a part; it does not help him to overcome his personal problem in terms that he can understand. Nor is it likely that he will be interested in the fact that the soul of the earth itself is preparing for initiation into a higher sphere of consciousness and that his personal struggle is intimately connected with this larger struggle. He will simply want to know why his wife left him, or why he has arthritis, or why his business has collapsed. If he can understand, however, that there is more to him than the small and feeble spark of his conscious awareness and that in coming to terms with that in him which seeks expression but which he has blocked through fear, he may be able to accept his experiences as a positive and necessary phase of growth and prevent their future repetition, he can acquire a sense of meaning and purpose in his life. He may even find that his wife comes back.
There is an aspect to Saturn which is given insufficient attention yet which holds much of the key to his meaning. This is his penchant for disguise, beautifully symbolised by the Egyptian myth of Osiris who, in flight from the wrath of Set, first changed himself into a sea–serpent and then into a crocodile—the original bestial symbol of the sign—to avoid detection. We may see the remnants of this disguise in the mountain goat who has a sea creature's hind quarters. A goat he may be, and his natural habitat may be the barren slopes and crags of the highest mountains, but when necessary, he can swim in the water of the emotional world and can effectively disguise himself in the face of necessity as some other sort of creature. There are many other references to this deliberate duality which is unlike the natural instinctive duality or flexibility of the mutable signs. One is the Roman god Janus, god of gateways, for whom the predominantly Capricornian month of January is named and who was possessed of the remarkable attribute of two heads—so that he could look backwards and forwards, ostensibly, guarding where one has been as well as where one is going, but also because he was, figuratively as well as literally two–faced.
There is also no sign other than Capricorn which is represented by two distinct glyphs, drawn in totally different ways. This may seem like a small point, but those acquainted with either the esoteric realm or the realm of psychology in its deeper aspects will recognise the fact that there are no coincidences.
We are familiar enough with that innate trait of the strongly Capricornian individual to justify the means by the end and to accept willingly the outward trappings of submission for a period of time if these will eventually help him to earn the fruits of his ambitious. Yet Capricorn is not ordinarily considered a deceptive sign, in the sense that the Piscean in his vague elusiveness is deceptive, or the Geminian in his tendency to work his way into an intellectual corner and trick his way out again, or even the Scorpian who cloaks his essential emotional vulnerability and sensitivity with a barrage of false clues. It would pay to look twice at our hard–working, self–disciplined mountain goat for no one overcompensates as readily as he. We have many signs and planets which change colour like chameleons: all of the mutables, also Cancer, the Moon, Neptune, Mercury. But all these are instinctually changeable and fluctuate because it is their nature to do so whether the circumstances require it or not. Only Saturn calculates his defense, in the same manner as a competent solicitor, both to protect himself from the attack of the environment and to protect himself from the conscious discovery of the individual himself. Yet it is the individual who initiates the protection in both cases.
It is the free will of the individual, contingent upon the degree of his self–knowledge, that decides whether Saturn will be lead or gold or any of the intermediate states. His position at birth may be read in either of two ways, or both simultaneously, and his contact with other planets may bring out two apparently contradictory modes of expression at the same time. Freud termed this state ambivalent emotion; he was the first to postulate the idea that we may both love and hate someone at the same time and one does not negate the other. Things are never as they appear with Saturn; and whenever there is light, there is shadow. The understanding of his innate duality, and the necessity and value of this duality, alleviates much of the pain of the struggle.
Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces and their corresponding houses—the fourth, eighth, and twelfth—are directly concerned with emotion and with motivations which lie below the surface of consciousness. Saturn in any of these signs or houses is extremely elusive because the average individual is rarely aware of the unconscious emotional frustration which lies behind his actions; he only knows that he is isolated and emotionally vulnerable, if he knows even that much. Saturn in these signs and houses is most typical of the kind of pain on the feeling level which finds its way to the therapist's couch, for often an objective viewpoint is needed to help guide the man through the mazes of his own feeling nature.
Saturn in Cancer and the fourth house
The fourth house, corresponding to Cancer and the Moon, is the domain of childhood, origin, family, and roots. As the base of the astrological chart it represents the base of the individual himself both literally—in terms of the home he has come out of—and symbolically in terms of his inner sense of security and safety. This house describes the emotions and atmosphere which surround him before he is old enough to make a conscious and rational choice about whether he accepts them or not. This house may be associated with the Jungian idea of the personal unconscious and with areas of conditioned instinctual reactions imposed by the early environment.
Because of this association with influences that occur prior to the development of the discriminating mind, any planet placed here is highly suspect because it points to something in the psyche which must be first discovered and brought up to the surface before it can be dealt with constructively. The influence of this house lies like a great moving subterranean river beneath the surface of the later personality which is developed in accord with the Sun and Ascendant; and this river may be powerful enough to dominate the behaviour without being seen. It is a wholly personal house and does not seem to have much to do with the larger area of collective unconscious streams which affect the group emotional life. Because it is so personal, it is that much more difficult to approach with a clear and unbiased eye.
The fourth house is generally considered to be the indicator of the father and his relationship with the individual. This is of course subject to much argument, and the only clear statement which has so far come out of the confusion is that the fourth–tenth house axis refers to both parents. In some ways it is immaterial which house goes with which parent as problems with one automatically create compensatory problems with the other; however, I am inclined by experience to assign this house to the father. As it is he who establishes the backbone of the family, gives it his name, and determines by his presence or absence the security or instability of the child's early life. It is rare that a child loses his mother except by death; but when a marriage fails, or there is no marriage in the first place, it is generally the father who leaves and whose support is withdrawn. The background of a difficult or broken home in childhood is usually coincident with afflicted planets in the fourth house or the fourth sign.
It will be obvious that having Saturn working as an unconscious factor from the plane of the feelings is rather difficult as he is very slippery. He is usually considered, in Cancer or in the fourth house, to suggest conditions of coldness, limitation, authority without love, separation or isolation, and a generally unsympathetic early home life. This is often in a very literal fashion, where the father dies or the parents are divorced or where the father is faired by circumstances to be away much of the time. The isolation may also occur in a symbolic fashion where the father is very much physically present but can offer no love, sympathy, or emotional support—or where he may be loving and kind but is a burden or a great disappointment through alcoholism, sickness, weakness of character, or an emotional pattern which destroys the peace of the home. Or there may be undue emphasis on material development and little on emotional expression.
There are many possible avenues on the mundane level in which a fourth house Saturn may find reflection. The forms are as varied as are individuals. Regardless of which means of outward expression occurs, however, the inner reaction is generally the same; the sense of security, the feeling of protection needed by a developing child as a base on which to build the evolving ego, is denied or frustrated, and the natural expression of feeling which seeks to find unity with family and a sense of heritage is blocked.
It needs little further reasoning to see that this kind of situation, working on unconscious levels, can effectively cripple a part of the individual's emotional nature for the remainder of his life if it is not understood. The mistrust of any emotional intimacy, particularly the kind which revolves around a domestic situation, is usually pronounced; at the same time a craving for something secure and permanent and tangible in the emotional life is also pronounced. It is a rare individual who is aware of this polarity existing within him; he will see one end or the other. He may either be inordinately tied to his family and the place of his birth, or he may hate them or display coolness and detachment. He is never truly indifferent, however, for something which was necessary for his emotional development was missing, and the entire structure of his psyche has had to develop lopsided to compensate for the loss.
There is often great emotional instability with Saturn in the fourth house, and a definite feeling of having been unloved, unwanted, is common. This may not be wholly conscious, however. Nevertheless it will show, in a very obvious fashion, to the perceptive observer. There is also often resentment toward men in general as the father is the first man or symbol of masculinity encountered by the child. This can, of course, wreak havoc with a man's understanding of his own masculinity and a woman's understanding both of men and of her own unconscious male half. This is particularly true if the father is actually absent from the home; for then, however justified she may be, the mother must play both roles, and consequently, whether she is temperamentally suited to the role or not, she must become a dominant or authoritative figure. This is as much true of the weak or inept father as it is of the vanishing one. The areas of the emotional life which can be affected in adulthood are much greater than the sphere of the home, for the fourth house is one of the angles and is therefore more significant in terms of the expression of the man on the physical plane.
Excerpted from Saturn by LIZ GREENE. Copyright © 2011 Liz Greene. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
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