The Saturn Principle in the Cycles of Life
SINCE SATURN GOES around the Sun every twenty-nine to thirty years, there is a first Saturn Return around age 30, a second Saturn Return at ages 58 to 60, and a third return at about 88 to 90. Obviously, our age when experiencing the various Saturn transits through each house tremendously affects the nature of the process itself, and that is what we can become much more conscious of during our second Saturn phase. At each Saturn Return, we experience the maximum pressure to conquer the weakness in ourselves that is blocking growth; we have the opportunity to pierce the resistance that is keeping us from breaking through into our greatest potential evolution.
One of my favorite Saturn stories is of Helen, who drank her way all the way through two Saturn Returns. Helen became a heavy drinker in her late twenties, and she continued to struggle with alcoholism throughout her thirties. Saturn was in her 9th house, meaning that the process she needed to master was integration of spirit, but she had a severe emotional communication block, caused by profound, unexpressed grief over the death of her mother at an early age. This block intensified her separation from spirit; communication/integration of self is the subject of the house opposite the 9th--the 3rd house.
Helen managed to avoid integration of her emotional needs at her Saturn Return by drinking whenever she needed to go deeper into herself. She drank more and more to avoid facing the intense emotional pressure that was building inside, as it always does during one’s thirties. The most intense phase of her alcoholism peaked during her Uranus Opposition, in her case at age 42. When the family realized she needed to be “fixed,” she was “cured” by a hypnotist.
Helen could have progressed to a profound level of consciousness expansion had she undergone depth therapy to help her stop repressing her grief. Instead, she experimented with hypnosis, since it was prescribed by a doctor, which simply programmed her subconscious to avoid drinking.
Helen stayed on the wagon until about age 56, when Saturn was approaching its second return. The pressure again mounted to look at her severe inner pain, and she took another drink, right at a point when she was experiencing intense emotional blockage with one of her children. The disease progressed more rapidly this time, and she attempted suicide.
As soon as the uncomfortable push of Saturn lifted, she dried up and joined Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), which made it possible for her to stop drinking, just as hypnosis had done almost thirty years previously. However, her ability to communicate has remained almost totally blocked, because she missed a second chance to master the Saturn process. The block with her own child was a potential gateway to her own inner grief, just as the initial loss of her mother could have been a bridge to the spirit world had she been able to deal with it in a healthier way by getting therapy at that time.
Saturn motivates us to learn the lessons we need in order to evolve. Whatever the purpose of our lives, Saturn creates the process we need to accomplish that purpose. Since Saturn is the taskmaster, the disciplinarian, for many the natural reflex is to resist growth--like Helen. But if we avoid Saturn’s push, we’ll abort growth, because the only way to avoid the push is to cop out--to drink, use drugs, be a ski addict, chase miniskirts, be a compulsive shopper, or become a New Age workshop junkie. Ages 28 to 31 is the best time to examine all our addictive tendencies and the lazy ways we avoid hard realities, and to make choices about how many of these patterns we’d like to transform.
The old conflict over the demands of the father versus the child’s desires tempts us all to resist the lessons of Saturn. But if we consciously employ our best powers of discipline to master the part of ourselves that we have always resisted, we will have a tool for activating our real purpose in life.
If you’ve already had a Saturn Return think about the changes you made around that time and try to intuit which house Saturn was in. See how balanced you are now on that polarity. The goal of Saturn Return is to balance all polarities so that we are able to utilize the powers inherent in all twelve sides of ourselves to achieve emotional maturation during. Let’s look at the six polarities, the questions they raise, and some applicable universal resolutions and teachings about these issues.
Polarity One: 1st and 7th Houses
The first polarity turns around the issues of self/other. Am I deeply immersed in myself and not relating to others? Or, am I so caught up in a relationship that I am not sure who I am? Resolution: merging. As you discover who you are, give all that you find to your partner. As you are immersed in the other, see clearly and deeply that you are your partner. Teaching: the Mayan saying “In Lak’etch, I’ ll Laken”--“I am yourself, you are another.”
Polarity Two: 2nd and 8th Houses
The second polarity turns around the issues of grounding and emptying. Am I stuck in a house in the midst of a fifteen‑year accumulation of possessions and feeling like I can never leave? Or, have I so let go of things I need for living that I am not grounded? Resolution: higher ethical sensitivity. Take for yourself what you really need from the Earth and enjoy all your pleasures. Let go of every single thing in your life that is not frequently needed or used. Teaching: the Native American saying “The Earth is your Mother and she freely offers to you all that you need.”