Saturn in transit: What doesn’t kill you makes you beautiful.

Saturn in Sagittarius has been rough on the mutable signs and for those of you who have any personal planets in mutable signs. That’s you Sagittarius, Gemini, Pisces and Virgo. (The personal planets are: The Rising sign, Moon, Venus, Mercury and Mars.)

Saturn brings endings and necessary changes but those aspects of our life that we need to change, alter or upgrade don’t generally bend with graceful acceptance. It’s human nature to hold on to what we know and to fear the unknown. As the 12th century Sufi poet Rumi said: “We need to be dragged kicking and screaming to heaven.”

Saturn generally feels like hell while he’s in effect in our chart. Judgmental, rigid, red-tape prone, grumpy, workaholic Saturn. Sometimes he makes you wait so long that you finally just say fuck it and give up. Sometimes he’s more cunning and pulls the rug out from under your job or relationship and you didn’t see it coming. Poof, everything has changed in one fell swoop. Saturn doesn’t care if you have time to emotionally process what’s happened. He gets rid of the old and what no longer serves a concrete measurable purpose in our lives. He is the keeper of time and he knows the game of impermanence we’re playing here. He understands practical limitations.

Basically his message is: “Ain’t nobody got time for this, so move on and get something done.” Then he takes out his sword and does his dirty work. Sometime in the future we usually thank him for it, but at the time, it just feels brutal. Saturn has been stationed at 10 degrees Sagittarius for the month of July exactly opposing my Venus at 10 degrees Gemini. What fun!! Can you guess what happened to Venus, the planet of love? A crash and burn ending to a very beautiful love story. Brief but sublime. Suddenly cut off from love. And then, because Venus rules over beauty as well as love, a cooking pot in my
kitchen fell from a shelf, hit my left cheekbone and gave me a shiner that made me look like a victim of domestic violence. That’s right, I got a true black and blue eye. Those things take forever to heal by the way. Saturn/Venus: Limitation of beauty. Saturn/Venus: Blocked love.

I could not make this stuff up if I tried. It’s so textbook astrology that it’s nearly unbelievable even to me. When people say astrology isn’t accurate, I almost fall down laughing. It’s so shockingly accurate; it’s flat out scary! So what do we do when Saturn, otherwise known as the planet of Karma, manifesting as Cronos, the Greek God of time, shows up at our door with his long white beard and his freaky sand hourglass? We invite him in, offer him tea and we say yes to his many upsetting suggestions about how we need to change things in our lives. It will hurt and we will habitually resist, but Saturn is a worthy opponent and it’s better to yield when he’s in the room. It all works out smoother that way. As the great Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh said in an interview when asked “How do you deal with fear?” He responded, “I agree.”

Saturn, being the planet of Karma can bring fruitful changes as well as painful ones. And usually the painful ones at some point bear fruit, and we think: “Wow I had to go through all that shit in order to have gotten to where I am now. I’m so grateful for the suffering that got me here.” It’s easy to say that in retrospect but at the time it just sucks.

The tendency is to blame others, the world and ourselves when things we really love are taken from us, things we vehemently don’t want are given to us, and when we are finally given things we have wanted so badly and once we get them we don’t want them anymore. In Buddhism this is known as the suffering of change.

So how do we accept the non-dual nature of all of our experience and realize that the outside to my inside is not as outside as it appears, nor is the inside as inside as it feels?

If we can say yes and accept the tough lessons of Saturn as necessary and allow impermanence to do it’s thing without too much interruption or objection from our side, then what doesn’t kill us will make us softer, more receptive and ultimately more beautiful.

The great Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron makes the distinction between the heart breaking open and the heart breaking closed. We can either build a wall around our heart and attempt to shut people out to avoid getting hurt, or we can open up not only to our own brokenness but to everyone else’s and experience a rare level of intimacy with human beings in general. We don’t have to break
closed. That is a choice and we also have the option of breaking open. Breaking open requires greater awareness because it is counter-intuitive. Habitually we contract around pain. To move toward pain, to open to it, requires courage and intention. In order to grow, we must confront our mechanical survival-based habits and often do the complete opposite.

Sadness is the great connector. Numbness is the great disconnector. If we can allow our heart to feel pain and loss and not jump to blame, if we can stew and saturate in the broth of genuine heart of sadness, we become good warrior students on a path with heart. We may even become genuinely useful to other people.

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