the planet of form, structure and hard, cold reality, takes about 29 years
to orbit the Sun, spending a bit more than two years in each sign. It entered
Cancer in June 2003 and will remain there until July 2005. The sign through
which Saturn is passing at any given moment is a place for both contraction
and construction, delay and, with persistence, delivery. Saturn is the
planet that says “no,” but means “yes.” It shows where the boundaries and
limitations are, but with a potential for such clarity that the steps to
overcoming them and constructing something new becomes evident.
tradition branded Saturn the “Greater Malefic,” the most difficult
of planets. Like the march of time that marks the end of mortal life,
and the force of gravity, it keeps us in place. Existence as we know
it would be impossible without Saturn. It's the great separator that
carves individual existence out of the universal whole, defining the
boundaries of new life. Saturn is weighty, associated with lead, fear
and falling. The Biblical idea of the Fall of Man reflects the “sin” of
separation that occurs with each human incarnation. It reminds us that
our very existence is a “fall” from the godhead, from the universal
to the particular.
Rules and Inner Realities
the key, or ruling, planet of Capricorn, a worldly Earth sign that
tends to focus on concrete accomplishment, professional recognition
and social status. Capricorn's hallmark is ambition that allows us to overcome
personal weakness to achieve success. Saturn's role is to define
goals and help us remain steadfast in meeting them despite obstacles
from without and within.
the sign opposite Capricorn. Its realities tend to be personal, emotional
and subjective. Rather than hardening itself against life's challenges
in the pursuit of its goals, Cancer's focus is on enriching one's inner
life, one's home and family. Since it's a Water sign, feelings count
more than objective reality.
in the sign opposite its home sign is considered to be challenged and
weakened, and said to be in its detriment. The qualities of planet
and sign do not blend easily, often resulting in an imbalance that
requires conscious effort to overcome its conflicts. Saturn, traditionally
a toughie, can be insensitive to Cancer's feelings. Emotions are blocked,
denied or distorted. Cancer's flow can be dammed up with obstinacy
and insensitivity to core issues and needs. It's a bit like having
an army general running a nursery school. The desire to serve does
not necessarily match the competencies required for the situation.
to Saturn (or any authority, structure or system) is in understanding
the real meaning of responsibility. In the world of so-called adults,
this is about gaining control, organizing and structuring. Saturn sets
schedules, establishes rules and attempts to solve problems. Human
emotions, however, don't function well when they're dammed up behind
the barriers of rules and regulations. Responsibility is not, then,
about control and regulation, but about the ability to respond. Saturn
in Cancer requires a softening of Saturn's rigid rules in order to
adjust to the naturally shifting needs of real human beings.
saying “no” to subjective feelings, Saturn's purpose now is to say “yes” to
them in ways that recognize our impractical needs. Saying “yes,” though,
is not about giving into every whim but, like a loving parent, shoring
up the banks in which the river of feelings flow. Taking responsibility
for our emotions is not a simple matter of containment, but an ongoing
process of recognizing them and adjusting in whatever ways are most
supportive and nurturing.
Need for Security
and Cancer have strong needs for security. The combination of the two
can amplify this issue, intensifying fear and uncertainty. While this
is an experience felt around the world, the story is playing out dramatically
in the United States, a Cancer nation born on the Fourth of July.
September 11 touched the national psyche in a way that has made fear
a more tangible component of daily life. The country's Cancer president,
considered a protector by some, has played on this fear with ongoing
rhetoric about external evil. There has been little or no discussion
of the United States' role in the conditions that threaten it. Rather
than face the challenging and complicated questions of why we are in
this state, laying blame without taking responsibility is the path
of least resistance.
Cancer (sign of the suckling infant) can leave us fixated with an image
of helplessness, a feeling of being overpowered by forces that can
only be repelled, not understood. But personal, national and international
security requires more than regressing to our most infantile state.
Safety begins with accepting that life is never completely safe. None of us will
get out of here alive. None who feel joy will avoid feeling pain. It's
tempting to fall into despair, or to mask hopelessness by striking
out at our enemies, yet this is a denial of process, the very essence
of life itself.
and safety we all seek is not a state that can be achieved and maintained
forever. While the international stage allows us to play out these
dramas in more explicit terms of “us” and “them,” we each still ride
the emotional tides of security and insecurity. Saturn in Cancer cannot
banish fear, but neither does it require that we raise its primal
response to a level where nothing else can be heard. For, in fact, there was fear
before 9/11 and there has been joy since. The contractive force of
self-protection is only one arrow in the quiver of the conscious warrior.
We have hope, curiosity, invention, reflection and negotiation, as
of the conditions that assail us from the outside, Saturn in Cancer
reminds us that the real war on terror is internal. Safety, such as
it exists, comes from listening to our emotions with enough gentleness
to hear them and enough maturity to know how best to respond.