by Steven Forrest
Saturn is the planet that gives us the ability to do what we do not feel like doing. When was the last time you felt like going to the dentist? Or cleaning the house? But consider the consequences if you simply decide to blow off those little duties.
Well, your personal “forever” is likely to be shorter and less pleasant.
If Saturn could Tweet, here is what it would say: Every action, wise or foolish, has consequences. Now do whatever you want.
Capricorn is similar in nature. Up here in the northern hemisphere, the Sun’s entry into the sign of the Sea-Goat signals winter’s beginning. And in winter, in order to survive, we must do many things that have nothing to do with satisfying our immediate appetites: getting out of bed even though it’s cold, for starters. Chop the wood, shovel the snow. Make 678 beans last until the Big Thaw . . . whenever that decides to happen.
Winter isn’t “mean.” It intends you no harm. Like Saturn, if it could speak, it would say “do as you please.” Freeze and starve if that’s what you want, in other words.
You can readily see how Saturn and Capricorn are a matched pair. They agree with each other. They’re both practical. They’re both realistic. And no one would mistake either one for a party animal.
When astrologers see this kind of natural affinity between the spirit of a sign and the spirit of a planet, they call it rulership. That’s just fancy talk that means they are connected energetically. And Saturn rules Capricorn. They are twin children of different mothers. When Saturn enters Capricorn, the synergistic acceleration they both experience is extreme. The match hits the puddle of gasoline. The steroids hit the cyclist’s bloodstream.
That particular energizing marriage of sign and planet happens this month, on December 19 at 11:48 pm Pacific Standard time . . . near midnight, in other words, which means on December 20 for many of you. Once there, Saturn remains strongly-placed in its own sign until March 21-22, 2020, when it begins crossing into Aquarius. (Saturn re-enters Capricorn via retrograde on July 1, 2020 and finally, solidly enters Aquarius on December 17, 2020.) Traditionally, Saturn rules Aquarius too, but that’s another big story, and one for a future newsletter.
Again, both Saturn and Capricorn give us the ability to do what we do not feel naturally inclined to do. We mentioned dental visits and housework. What about resisting temptation? When was the last time you woke up one morning and said, “Gee, there is nothing I would more enjoy doing today than resisting a sweet, juicy temptation?”
Obviously very few humans have ever faced that particular dilemma. Temptations are . . . tempting. And yet, for all our fantasies of deliciously surrendering to one of them, what would happen to us if we had zero ability to say no? Think how much you would weigh, for starters. And of course, think of the wreckage of your life if you acted on every single sexual whimsy you had ever entertained.
D.H Lawrence wrote Lady Chatterley’s Lover in the 1920s, but published it privately. By the standards of the day, the book was unabashedly obscene, laced with explicit sex scenes and “dirty” words. Years later, with the cultural climate changing, Penguin Books decided to publish it anyway. That quickly triggered a seminal obscenity trial in Great Britain. The trial took place with Saturn in Capricorn, between October 20 and November 2, 1960. Reflecting the alterations in the sexual zeitgeist, Penguin won the case – and almost immediately sold three million copies of the book.
The times they were a-changing.
This is a critical Saturn-in-Capricorn point: how exactly do we define what is right and what is wrong? Much morality is obvious and universal here – murder is unacceptable, forcing one’s self sexually upon another person is unacceptable. But many behaviors are not so clear. That’s because a lot of aspects of “morality” are merely cultural. People are mostly sexual beings, for example. Is it wrong for a society to allow its artists to explore that subject in explicit, adult terms? In the U.K., the answer before 1960 was, “Yes, it is wrong. It is obscene.” But after 1960, it was OK.
Here is a pivotal notion in all this: Neither Saturn nor Capricorn, contrary to the pop astrologers, are inherently priggish. They’re just trying to do the right thing in a world where the rules are constantly changing.
Some more proof of that particular pudding: Synchronistically, on May 9, 1960 – still with Saturn in Capricorn – the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the birth control pill. That event contributed mightily to the so-called sexual revolution of the time. Anyone who believes that Saturn and Capricorn are prudes is going to have a hard time accounting for the fact that their fingerprints are on “the Pill.”
I make younger folks laugh when I feign a shaky geriatric voice and say, “I remember virginity.”
But I actually do. And then came The Pill.
Ready or not, here comes Saturn in Capricorn again. For the next three years, there will be a collective focus on the re-definition of morality, integrity, and personal honor. The scope of that collective focus will range widely. The focus will not only be on sexuality. The idea that “character counts” is due for a renaissance.
Given today’s headlines, doesn’t that ring true? I suspect we will have a few “morality plays” acted out on the collective stage. Bad guys will be caught and they will pay the price for their deeds.
Underlying all this is the critical evolutionary idea: When Saturn enters Capricorn, morality is being re-defined. There will be heated dialog between those who would defend the old judgements and those who see the need for more breathing room. Scoundrels will of course try to take advantage of the ambiguity, but ultimately a new consensus will arise.
The changes in sexual mores that date to the 1960s have created many instabilities in society, but they have freed us from so much needless shame and secrecy. Who would go back to those prim times? But I do sometimes miss comedians who could tell a joke without using the famous “f-word.” I miss love songs about wedding bells.
Sorting all this out is never easy. In fact, the very month that Saturn entered Capricorn back in 1959, Pope John XXIII called for what became Vatican II – a major gathering of Roman Catholic church leaders to address the relationship between the church and the modern world. John XXIII himself said that it was time to "open the windows and let in some fresh air." (By the way, the Council actually occurred with Saturn in Aquarius.)
Similar times are upon us again. The world is so different today. We all need some of that fresh air. How, nowadays, do we define right and wrong? Social media has changed everything. Even courtesy is being re-framed. “Fake news” has blurred the very nature of reality. Kids can see almost anything on the Internet. The globalization of the economy is only advancing. The gap between rich and poor is widening. In America, every psychopath seems to have the right to carry weapons that would have been the envy of Attila the Hun. What about genetic engineering? Abortion? Refugees? Sex with robots? First person shooter video games?
You know the list. And over the next three years, you will vote on the moral answers. The entire world is on the cusp of its own version of Vatican II.
Those puritanical moralists who tried to ban Lady Chatterley’s Lover look rather ridiculous nowadays. The book no longer stands out as particularly scandalous. They lost their case. But it doesn’t always work that way. In 1930, with Saturn in Capricorn, the United States adopted the Hays Code, governing standards in motion pictures. Here’s the first line of its General Principles. “No picture shall be produced that will lower the moral standards of those who see it. Hence the sympathy of the audience should never be thrown to the side of crime, wrongdoing, evil or sin.”
But who is to define sin? Obviously, the commissioners volunteered. Like the Old Testament Jehovah, they issued an edict: thou shalt not eat the fruit of this one single tree in the garden. And they won . . . for a little while. The dark side of Saturn-in-Capricorn involves an obsession, usually proven futile in the end, with controlling the future, trying to force it into some kind of lock-step consistency with the past. But film evolved anyway, as did the culture as a whole.
The Hays Code was established in 1930. By the 1950s, it was mostly in tatters. By the 1960s – and Saturn’s return to Capricorn – the Code was effectively abandoned. Saturn entered Capricorn in January 1959, shortly before the release of Marilyn Monroe’s masterpiece, Some Like It Hot. The film was produced without Code approval, mostly because of cross-dressing and vaguely-implied positive references to gayness. Its mega-success is viewed as one of the final nails in the coffin for the old system. (Great article about it here, looking back from a modern perspective.)
A lot of people saw Some Like It Hot. It still tops lists of the greatest comedies of all time. And remember that Lady Chatterley’s Lover sold three million copies. Who bought it? People “hungry for sin?” . . . more like people hungry to taste “the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” These were modern people who wanted to base their morality upon their actual experience.
All astrological symbols have dark sides. Christmas season is upon us, and thinking of the uptight, withholding, judging, bitter side of Saturn in Capricorn, my mind immediately goes to Charles Dicken’s immortal character, “Ebenezer Scrooge,” the cold-hearted skinflint in A Christmas Carol. That book was published on December 1, 1843. You guessed it – with Saturn in Capricorn. An archetype was born – or to say it more accurately, an ancient archetype took on a new guise and a new life in the collective imagination. Even today, almost two centuries later, no one can hear the phrase “that guy is a such a Scrooge” and fail to get the meaning.
We have no shortage of modern Scrooges in the world. I suspect that some of them are about to receive sobering visits from the “ghost of Jacob Marley and his visions of Christmas past, present, and yet to come,” so to speak.
In Dickens’ book, Scrooge of course experiences a moral awakening and is redeemed. Our best prayer this season is that a similar awakening arises in the hearts of high-rollers who would withhold the “Christmas goose” from those who are starving, destitute, and abandoned. Under Saturn’s fierce synchronistic rays, these contemporary Scrooges are likely to encounter some excellent reasons to treat the Bob Crachits of the world with a bit more kindness and humanity.
“Karma” is a familiar word, but it is often misunderstood. Really, it boils down to one very simple – and very Saturn-in-Capricorn – idea: every action has consequences. Actions and reactions. Realistically, people often do something “bad” and seem to get away with it. But that is an illusion, at least in the long run. The results of the action just do not always appear immediately, that’s all. With Saturn in Capricorn, we will see a lot of such “karmic chickens” coming home to roost, for good or for ill. For those who have behaved badly, the bill is due. And for those who have been kind or brave or altruistic and not yet rewarded for it, this is nothing but good news. Karma can be very sweet.
Here’s a fine illustration of that latter, happier, principle: after twenty-six years in prison, in 1990, with Saturn in Capricorn, Nelson Mandela was released. He went on to become the President of South Africa.
A year earlier, still with Saturn in Capricorn, the Berlin Wall came down, leading to the reunification of East and West Germany. The karma of the political repression of human freedom had ripened.
That same year – 1989 – saw the terrible events of Tiananmen Square in China. More ripening fruit.
Over the past couple of these newsletters and podcasts, I’ve been exploring Jupiter’s current passage through Scorpio. That transit boils down to the emergence into the collective consciousness of much that has been taboo or hidden. We are certainly seeing that Jupiter energy dramatically manifest in the current flood of revelations about the way various “kings” have abused their power through sexual assault and harassment.
No transit operates in a vacuum, and as Saturn-in-Capricorn enters the picture, its interaction with Jupiter-in-Scorpio promises to be spectacular. Little can remain hidden under this combination of influences.
Scorpio always reveals that which has been long-buried, while Capricorn tells us that the karma has now ripened and will manifest materially. The conjoined theme, in other words, will be “the karmic consequences of secrets revealed.” And with Saturn in the mix, the results are likely to be immediate, concrete, and obvious.
What this bodes for Mr. Trump and his merry crew starting about December 19-20 will be . . . well, a fine illustration of how astrology plays out on the stage of history.
There is so much more that could be said about Saturn in Capricorn. We have the archetype of the Elder – something which will surely get a lot of attention over the next three years. Geriatric issues. Senior citizens’ care.
We have also always experienced an awful lot of purely practical inventiveness under this sign. We will see some gargantuan feats of logic and science. Law and government will be in the spotlight, as will banking and the financial industry. These are all obviously gigantic subjects, and beyond the scope of this relatively brief little essay.
As with Jupiter’s passage through Scorpio, as time becomes available, I do plan to record a longer analysis of the meaning of Saturn’s passage through Capricorn, with a focus on its more personal astrological meaning. If you are interested, keep your eyes out for announcement of the recording. For now, I will just make seven root comments about areas of individual focus for each one of us as this massive energy shift takes hold.
- Admit it: you are bored with yourself. Where transiting Saturn-in-Capricorn hits your personal chart defines an area of your life which you have simply outgrown. What is the next stage of life for you in terms of work, love, money, education – whatever houses or planets Saturn is contacting?
- Deep down inside, you are hungry to really get your teeth into something, to do your best. Saturn-in-Capricorn is challenging you. It is saying, “All right, show me what you’ve got. Give me your best shot. It’s time to write your masterpiece.
- To succeed, you will need focus, persistence, patience, and self-discipline. You can’t fake this one. You cannot cut corners.
- There are likely to be moral or ethical issues underlying these efforts. Do the right thing – but make sure that the definition of “the right thing” is your own, with no taint of anyone else’s sermons about “sin” or “duty.”
- You have a right to define your own responsibilities. You have a right to refuse responsibilities that do not fit you.
- If you get this right, you will be tired! But if you turn away from the effort, you will be stuck in a deadening past. Inevitably, you will then be depressed. Which do you prefer, exhaustion or depression?
- Whatever happens, understand that it is your own karma ripening.
Thanks again for tuning in this month. I’ve got the Sun, Jupiter and Mercury in Capricorn myself, so I am fastening my own seat belts for this one. Life is always full of surprises, but I like to try to live my own transits intentionally – which is to say that I prefer think about what the planets are suggesting and then I try to align my personal intentions with that higher will.
You can do that too, and it beats the pants off the old astrological paradigm where we bite our nails and wonder what Saturn in Capricorn will “do to us.” Forget all that “Greater Malefic” claptrap. Saturn can be a good friend, if you are worthy of it.
And, with effort and integrity, you can be.