by Steven Forrest
Chiron makes a Station on the Fourth of July, turning retrograde at about 2.5 degrees of Aries. Meanwhile, Saturn is already retrograde at about 5.5 degrees of Capricorn. So they are making a square aspect within about a three-degree orb right as those Chironic energies come to a peak.
Here’s where it gets strange. Since both bodies are retrograde after the 4th, Chiron is already “ahead” of Saturn in the backwards race – and Saturn is too slow to catch up. Chiron escapes into Pisces on September 26th. Saturn, already seeing the futility of the chase, gives up on September 6th, turning around at about 2.5 degrees of Capricorn and heading direct again.
Chiron doesn’t venture back into Aries again until mid-February 2019. By then Saturn is too deep into Capricorn for the square to form. The next perfect – or “partile” – aspect that the two bodies make does not happen until 2021 when they are sextile for a few months. By then Saturn is out of Capricorn and into Aquarius, while Chiron is still in Aries.
Still, anyone who says, “Saturn and Chiron don’t actually form a square in the northern summer of 2018” has spent too much time in front of a computer and not enough time looking into the famous crystal ball we call Reality. By the time Saturn stations in early September, the two bodies are only about 1.5 degrees apart from a perfect 90-degree angle – and, as squares go, that is essentially indistinguishable from exactitude.
Let’s unpack the meaning of this aspect starting with the integration of the two basic archetypes. Then we will add the sign context – Chiron in Aries is a different beast than Chiron in any other sign. Ditto for Saturn in Capricorn. Then let’s think about the “close, but no banana” qualities of this square “that almost wasn’t.”
Chiron is famously the “wounded healer.” That’s a powerful metaphor. We can learn so much from our own wounds, provided we make some progress toward healing them. And if we accomplish that feat, we can help others who are in the same predicament. War veterans, for example, can help other war veterans far more than people who have never seen a battle. That is the “wounded healer” – and the high-end of the spectrum for Chiron. But we must never forget that Chiron starts with the wound itself. There is no guarantee that anyone will carry that wound forward into healing, let alone into the realm of such generosity of spirit as we see in “the wounded healer.” Where Chiron lies, the danger is that you might just spend your life bleeding.
Saturn, meanwhile, is the planet that gives us the ability to do what we do not feel in the mood to do. Anyone up for visiting the dentist? Giving the house a good cleaning?
The point is pretty obvious: while no one wants to do those things, we are in trouble if we don’t. Welcome to Saturn. But every front has a back – one face of the dark side of Saturn lies in failing to live up to the adult responsibilities of life – and paying the price of the consequences that naturally follow. Your teeth falling out, for example.
Another trap lies in over-doing our responsibilities to the point of exhaustion – or in letting other people define our responsibilities for us in ways that do not suit our actual evolutionary path.
Squares indicate that “push has come to shove.” They are not always “bad” – sometimes we need a bit of a crisis in our lives. It provides a necessary wake-up call. But you do not get away with much during a square aspect.
Putting Saturn and Chiron together, we might speculate that “a place where you have been bleeding” (Chiron) “hits the wall” (Saturn). Reality asserts itself in muscular fashion, especially if we have been denying it. Limits are contacted.
Chiron seems to have a real affinity for operating through the physical body and its various vulnerabilities and potential maladies. Thus, these Chironic-Saturnian “limits” are likely to make themselves felt for many of us in the form of physical afflictions. Each one of them is best interpreted as “a sign from the gods” that you need to take better care of yourself. You need to respect those limits that are being telegraphed to you.
Medical astrology is a deep subject, but here are few quick suggestions. Aries pertains to the head – so any pattern of headaches would be a classic signal here. Aries is also related to all the ways that our physical bodies register stress – and report it back to us: racing hearts, higher blood pressure, nervousness, insomnia.
Capricorn and Saturn both relate to the muscular and skeletal system. Noticing any stiffness? Maybe a pain somewhere that you are semi-successfully ignoring? Stop ignoring it!
Going deeper into the sign dimensions of this transiting Chiron-Saturn square, let’s realize that Aries is the Warrior. It excels at being brave in the face of fear and pain. Meanwhile, Capricorn endures – remember, in the northern hemisphere, Capricorn is the sign of Winter. Words like “long-suffering” and “stoic” come to mind. So Capricorn and Aries both relate powerfully to what we might call “character” in a person. They are about “walking your talk” and keeping your promises. Beautiful stuff – until the body breaks down under the weight of all that virtue. Even if your best friend is on her deathbed, you might still reach a point where you simply must sleep. Even if your kids are starving, you will still come to a time when you need a bite of food yourself – or you won’t survive to hunt up some food for those kids tomorrow.
How do we know when we have reached those kinds of limits of endurance? Sometimes we don’t. Some of the most inspiring stories about human courage, integrity, and character are accounts of people “who went beyond their limits.”
But no one actually ever “goes beyond his or her limits.” That is why they are called “limits.” We use the metaphor of “going beyond” only as a way of honoring the heroic possibilities in human nature. When a true limit is reached, it is reached. We hit a wall. Something breaks. Maybe it is you.
While Saturn and Chiron dance their near-square this summer, I suspect that the evening news will reflect a tale or two of the far-limits of human courage and endurance – and maybe some sad ones that take everything a fatal “inch” further than those limits.
Meanwhile, in your own life, let’s try to get it right: pay attention to the signals you are receiving from your body, mind, and spirit. Find some pockets of peace. Don’t walk away from all your responsibilities – but do reflect critically on where they originated and whose responsibilities they actually are. It is time to edit your responsibilities in the light of two principle insights: who you really are as distinct from what other people want you to be, plus a compassionate take on the emerging reality of your own limits.
As we have seen, the square of Chiron and Saturn does not really “consummate” this time. Let’s tie that piece of the puzzle into the analysis. The first point I would make is crude but fundamental: the square is close enough to count. I believe that you can take everything in this little essay to heart pretty much as it is. That is especially true if you have astrological sensitivities around early Arian or Capricornian degrees.
Still, the astrological sky is eloquent and speaks a nuanced language. There is meaning in this “near miss” aspect. What can it be?
My first guess is that for many of us, this (northern) summer will provide some early warnings about situations which need to be addressed for the sake of our long-run well-being. In other words, I suspect that it would be possible – even if monumentally foolish – to “muscle through” these signals in pig-headed fashion, downplaying the significance of our own emotional states and of the “communiques” we are receiving from our own bodies. Many of us will be able to “get away with that” – at least for a few months. It is a dumb choice however, as we would surely pay the piper down the road as some future edgy aspects form in our own charts.
And we never have terribly long to wait for one of those.
A disciple once asked a master, “what is the secret of your enlightenment?”
The master replied, “When I am hungry, I eat. When I am tired, I sleep.”
Try it this summer.