by Tony Howard
At this point you’re probably well aware that Saturn is now transiting Sagittarius. I know a few Scorpios who were impatiently waiting for the ingress! Now the Sagittarians get to quiver (but if you’re really quivering, keep reading). For Steven’s take on this transit through each of the 12 houses, check out the audio release from last month.
Here are the dates of Saturn’s time in Sagittarius for those who don’t have them:
- December 23, 2014 through June 14, 2015
- September 17, 2015 through December 19, 2017
But rather than wax poetic about what this transit could hold in store, I want to see what folks born with Saturn in Sagittarius can teach us via the hard-won lessons they’ve already learned. Following are some highlights culled from the biographies of five prominent people born with both the Sun and Saturn in Sagittarius.
When a planet makes contact with the Sun, we can see its influence more clearly in a person’s personality. Planets conjunct the sun color the ego and help drive the person’s self-expression. So charts with both the Sun and Saturn in Sagittarius will give us a pretty clear picture of how Saturn might express in this sign of the nomad, explorer and philosopher. By example, these folks’ stories will provide us with food for thought about ways we can intentionally channel the energy of transiting Saturn in Sagittarius to good use.
Sag the Explorer
Prolific sci-fi author Philip K. Dick may be best known for writing several stories that inspired the screenplays for some of the most influential futuristic films of our times, including Blade Runner, Total Recall and Minority Report. But if you’re an avid sci-fi reader, you are perhaps more familiar with his masterwork The Man in the High Castle, or some of his other 44 novels, 121 short stories, or 14 short story collections.
Given such prolific creative output, it’s not surprising that we find some striking planetary signatures in his chart, not least of which is a prominent Sun, Mercury, Saturn conjunction in Sagittarius. Prominent not only because of this tight conjunction that includes the Sun, but also by its placement within 7° of the MC, in one of the Gauquelin “plus zones” associated with career.
Dick’s work embodies the Sagittarian nomad and explorer archetypes in spades, with outer space and futuristic worlds his imagination’s playground and swashbuckling antiheroes grounding each story’s journey. But you can see Saturn’s influence just as well, by way of his ability to produce such a large body of work. Saturn gave form to his Sagittarian big-picture inventiveness. It takes great discipline to write a novel. But to write 44 of them in addition to all of his other writing? That’s something extraordinary.
And when was his most important period of writing? Writer Jonathan Lethem says it began at the end of 1958, at his Saturn return, when he moved to a more isolated area of Marin, divorced his wife and remarried. Because of his Sag conjunction, Dick’s Saturn return likely felt longer than most, with transiting Saturn first hitting his natal Saturn, but then immediately conjuncting natal Mercury and the Sun. It was during this period that he wrote The Man in the High Castle , which went on to win the Hugo Award, science fiction’s grand prize. Good old Saturnian hard work helped him create a concrete and lasting legacy.
Living the Glamorous Life
It took Sheila E. considerable Saturnian effort to find success as a mixed-race female percussionist in a male-dominated field. Born into a musical family, she gave her first stage performance with her father (percussionist Pete Escovedo) at the age of 5, and her first professional performance at 15 (again with her father). From there, with an MC ruled by Jupiter and a Sun-Saturn conjunction in Sagittarius in the 10th house, her career followed an upward trajectory, and she went on to collaborate with pop and R&B greats like Ringo Starr, Lionel Richie, Marvin Gaye, Prince, George Duke and Herbie Hancock. Along the way she also released a handful of successful projects of her own, including a couple of chart-topping pop music singles.
Her Sun-Saturn in Sagittarius signature permeates her memoir, The Beat of My Own Drum, as she recounts struggles with her racial identity and the race, class and gender-based obstacles blocking her path to success. The Saturn piece of this signature relates to the obstacles. Sagittarius suggests a need to learn from and integrate different cultural viewpoints. When we combine the two, one high expression Sheila E. demonstrates for us is that facing those obstacles with verve and gusto can very well pave the road to success. Guided by a renewable source of Sag optimism, folks with Saturn in Sagittarius may have an easier time jumping back on the horse that threw them than the average person. Saturn teaches that patience and continued effort will lead them in the right direction.
Where Gemini excels at collecting data, Sagittarius aims for synthesizing that data into a system. Sagittarius benefits from finding meaning amongst the rubble of conflicting information streams. A cultural view is one example of a system or framework through which we can view the world differently from one another, and thus learn Sagittarian lessons. A spiritual framework is another. A philosophical framework is yet another. And on that note, we move on to one of the great thinkers of our times…
Systems Thinking Embodied
According to Wikipedia, Noam Chomsky is an “American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, logician, political commentator and anarcho-syndicalist activist.” Say that three times fast! The author of over 100 books, his day job is Professor Emeritus at MIT. We might expect to see a stacked 9th house with such a strong higher-education profile, but Chomsky actually shares a similar planetary line up with Philip K. Dick: Sun, Mercury and Saturn in Sag in a tight conjunction. To add to the intensity Chomsky’s Sag conjunction sits right on his Ascendant. And here we have another prolific writer who also takes extensive mind journeys into uncharted territory and, in his case, returns to share detailed maps of complex philosophical and political systems with his readers and students.
In Noam Chomsky: A Life of Dissent, Robert Barsky writes that Chomsky’s legacy is as both a "leader in the field" of linguistics and "a figure of enlightenment and inspiration" for political dissenters. Again we’re seeing the Saturn signature of hard work at play here. Saturn adds the focus necessary to turn Sagittarian idealism into tangible work. And Chomsky seems to never stop (at the time of this writing he is 86 and still very productive). We can see the strong fire signature at work here, providing the energetic fuel necessary for such labor-intensive endeavors. While other signs might find themselves exhausted by the kinds of inner Saturnian demands that lead to his output, Chomsky’s inner Sag resource seems to be in ample supply.
We can’t let a discussion of the Sun in conjunction with Saturn (in any sign) go by without mentioning father issues. Both planets are potentially symbolic of the father archetype (which is not necessarily the same thing as the bio-dad, to be clear). And it’s safe to say that those born with a Sun-Saturn configuration will have to confront their own father issues and integrate them in a way that will eventually express as them embodying the father archetype themselves. Whether they do that in a healthy way or not is entirely up to them.
Ronan Farrow presents a dramatic case of these dynamics. Born Satchel Allen to Mia Farrow and (perhaps) Woody Allen, Mia Farrow has claimed Ronan may actually be the son of Frank Sinatra, her ex-husband, and apparently, secret lover during her relationship with Woody. Now that’s a headline-grabbing story.
One look at Ronan makes it easy to believe Farrow’s claim. With his blue eyes and winning smile, he looks a lot more like Sinatra than Allen. But as Allen has pointed out (while simultaneously defending himself against the accusations of sexually abusing his daughter), Farrow’s claim may say more about her character than his. Because it would mean that she continued to have an affair with Sinatra while she and Allen were together, and subsequently lied about Allen being the real father in the couples’ child custody hearing.
Like Sheila E., Ronan’s Sun-Saturn complex is in the 10th, and like hers, his public identity is infused with that of his father(s). Interestingly, the Moon also sits on his MC, and he gained public attention by defending his mother’s accusations against Allen. Do you think it’s safe to say that Ronan has a few father issues to work out?
Like Chomsky and Dick, Ronan has a Sagittarian stellium, this time between the Sun, Saturn, Mercury, and Uranus, with the addition of the Moon and the MC in Sag, just 12° away. Now that’s a lot of Sag! With concretizing Saturn’s influence, he’s well on his way to also leaving behind a long resume of achievements that already includes activist, journalist, lawyer, and former U.S. government advisor.
Triumph Over Adversity
Since we’re talking about Sagittarius, it’s appropriate that we go out on a high note. Sure we could argue the opposite with Saturn, but why spoil the party? Amanda Boxtel was already channeling her Sagittarian fire into her love of outdoor sports when, at the age of 24, a freak skiing accident left her unable to use her legs. Saturn is said to rule the spine, which makes sense given its association with structure. Boxtel sustained a permanent spinal cord injury on that fateful day when transiting Mars, Venus and Saturn opposed her natal Uranus (Mars-Uranus interactions are associated with accidents). But in her best Sagittarian form, she ignored the docs who told her she’d never walk again. And here we see one of the highest expressions of Saturn in Sagittarius: triumph in the face of adversity.
Today, with the assistance of high-tech bionic legs, Boxtel is walking again, and according to her website, “is a passionate and dynamic motivational speaker who captivates her audiences with her stories, weaves in the valuable lessons she has learned along the way, and warms their hearts with laughter and compassion.” If you’re wondering how to harness the Saturn in Sagittarius energy in your own life, why not let Boxtel be your inspiration? Best of all is her website slogan, which sums up the best of Saturn in Sag in a nutshell: “Turning no into yes, one step at a time.”
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Tony Howard graduated Summa Cum Laude in history and film from the University of Colorado. His degree turned out to be the perfect precursor to his career in astrology, where his focus includes historical research and chart analysis. His writing has been featured in The Mountain Astrologer and in two Flare anthologies: Astrology, the Next Generation and The Book of Music Horoscopes.
Tony has been researching declination since 2011 and specializes in “out of bounds” planets. He also loves working with and studying aspects, which forms the core of his work with clients. He is the founder of Astrology University.
Saturn has been called “the grim reaper,” “the tough old bird,” and “the devil.” Those attract our attention, but do they tell the whole story?
In this webinar we’ll look at some of the more empowering Saturn dynamics that correlate with so-called “negative” birth chart signatures and key Saturn transits.
You’ll learn 5 key strategies to mastering Saturn lessons. In addition, we’ll discuss several actions and intentions that you can start using right away to improve your Saturn experience.
You’ll come away with inspiration as well as tools you can apply to your next phase of heavy Saturn energy so that you can feel empowered to tackle whatever you face, whether a challenge, a difficult task, or a personal goal.