For fans of the band Tool, yes this is a reference to their song “The Grudge.” These musical magicians are opening a window for us to one of the many ways Saturn effects our lives – the end of the cycle, when Father Time “comes back around” to demolish false constructs. I’m writing this today because (as of December 2017) Saturn has “come back around” to His home sign of Capricorn, heralding an end of a 30 year cycle. What does that mean for you and the world at large?
Who is Saturn?
All the luminaries (Planets, the Sun, the Moon, and Comets) represent aspects of Human Consciousness – for example, the Sun represents outward personality (our “Star Sign”), Venus represents relationships, Mercury represents communication, movement, and wealth etc.
Saturn Himself represents the most profound and inescapable aspects of life – time, death, structure/limitation, laws, prohibition. The archetype can either be a repressive one which smothers freedom and individuality or it can be nurturing and liberating. It all comes down to our relationship with it, whether we’re allowing it to work in our lives.
In Western society today we’re mostly in rebellion against Saturn. We feel time, death, and limitation are insults to our freedom. Some people even go as far to equate Saturn with Satan – they see Him literally as “the Adversary” and completely evil. This unhealthy relationship has been the cause of so much personal and social fallout as many of us refuse to grow up, never develop a deep relationship with time, deny death, and resent any structure or law which doesn’t suit us personally in the moment. We’re unhealthily individualistic, causing our relationships, families, economies, and governments to fail. Despite our assumptions, the embracing of these Saturnian principals actually gives us the security and freedom we desire.
When the free-flowing Feminine spirit meets the hard boundaries of the Masculine it has form to build something within. It’s protected from the chaos outside of the boundary as much as it’s imprisoned within it. Without that boundary, spirit will forever aimlessly spread out into the cosmos – spreading itself too thin, as it were – and more isolated – ultimately to be eaten up by stronger forces which do have boundaries and structure. The universe is a violent place full of beings and systems, feeding off of other beings and systems for their own growth. We need Saturn’s guidance and protection.
Who is Saturn to Me?
For your own enlightenment, calculate when your Saturn Return occurs – we’ll cover this later.
Each luminary makes its way through the zodiacal wheel, telling the story of its archetype in a person’s life from beginning, to challenges, to flourishing, to more challenges, to achievement, and ultimately the end. Life is cycles within cycles. We recognise that as we culturally celebrate our “Solar Return” – what we call our Birthday. We gather with loved ones, celebrate, and reflect upon the year that passed. We don’t, however, do this for other planetary returns. For most of us, these come and go, and we’re none the wiser. Events happen in our lives and in our consciousness, and we attribute no particular order to them. The Saturn Return (when the planet enters the sign and degree He was in at our birth) is probably the most significant as it signifies the end of a cycle involving our understanding of the world and our place in it.
This event generally occurs every 28 to 31 years, giving us an ultimatum: throw out the old toys, test your assumptions, and be ready to have a fresh new perspective handed to you. You have roughly 3 decades to build your web of ideas, ideals, associations, and social life – then Saturn will come back around and ask you to step back from the canvas and ask “what works?” Depending on how much of a good boy or girl you’ve been all that time, it may be easy or difficult to be that honest with yourself and find the courage to walk away from the old beliefs and patterns which built your now-former life. Surrendering completely to this process is the ideal, as Saturn will “lift you up like a child” on His shoulders to give you an exciting panoramic vision – but to avoid the issue, to live in denial that the jig is up, He will “drag you down like a stone.” The Alchemical process of the universe is always trending toward completion and greater majesty, so it is always cleaning house and getting rid of what doesn’t work. If you get in the way of that cleaning process, you’ll find yourself in the bin as well. A saddening but great example of this is “The 27 Club”, a name given to an exhaustive list of musicians and actors who died at the age of 27. Surrounded by such negative influences, being worked to death and having drug abuse inflicted upon them, they were unable to make the last stint of their Saturnian transformations into fully grown adults.
Fun Fact: the Prefrontal Cortex in Humans (responsible for conscious decision-making) is not completely developed until between the ages of 26 and 28.
Saturn comes back around. Lifts you up like a child
Or drags you down like a stone to
Consume you till you choose to let this go.
Choose to let this go.
– “The Grudge”, by Tool, from the album Lateralus
In the course of a Saturnian Cycle we can easily collect grudges – either legitimate or imagined – and allow them to dictate our thoughts and actions. We may have been hurt by people, hurt by institutions, or hold a general hostility with the world for serving us a shit sandwich. Although it helps to know what we don’t want in our lives, we can develop an unhealthy obsession (known as a grudge) with who/what hurt us. We define ourselves by these grudges and inevitably find the same experiences repeat in our lives again and again – either because we believe it’s what we deserve or we distort situations in our minds to replay the trauma.
Wear the grudge like a crown of negativity.
Calculate what we will or will not tolerate.
Desperate to control all and everything.
Unable to forgive your scarlet lettermen.
Wear the grudge like a crown. Desperate to control.
Unable to forgive. And sinking deeper
– “The Grudge” by Tool
Too many of us are stuck in regret and resentment. For some people it becomes a lifestyle wherein they’re completely oblivious to their constant complaints and their misrepresentations of situations and people in their lives. This outward criticism and projection requires so much focus and energy that we cannot possibly evaluate ourselves honestly – a rot sets in. Over time, aspects of the personality calcify and old habits don’t give way to growth. We become frozen in time, while still aging in an ever-changing world. The contrast between the outmoded personality and the world sharpens, forcing us deeper into denial.
The mentally “healthy” man and woman is not exempt from this process. Most of us have a higher calling in life and should discover it by our first Saturn Return, but the internal and social pressures are often too much. Instead of yielding to universal Will and walking one’s own path, most just double-down on fulfilling social expectations. The result of this is often called “The Midlife Crisis” which is generally said to kick in on the first half of our second Saturnian Cycle (45 years of age). The individual, completely conned out of his or her youth, rebels against a selection of social standards in a misguided attempt at liberation. This behaviour is rapidly becoming accepted. Rapidly becoming the norm.
Give away the stone. Let the oceans take and
Transmutate this cold and fated anchor.
Give away the stone. Let the waters kiss and
Transmutate these leaden grudges into gold.
– “The Grudge” by Tool
In Alchemical terms, our experiences and thoughts are the crude materials that we’ll transmute into gold – how we achieve transcendence. Saturn’s lessons aren’t without compassion. He’s not asking you to forget or downplay your pain and frustration, but instead transmute it. To be more precise, allow it to be transmuted. By learning to surrender our pasts and hurts we take our first step toward healing and a required step before The Alchemical Wedding – The Alchemical “Divorce.” Distancing yourself from your persona in order to find yourself again and returning to that persona with a broader life perspective. This process involves a lot of pain as we objectively review our behaviour and realise that as much as we’ve been hurting, we have also hurt others. As much as we were misunderstood, we have misunderstood others. Whether we are guilty of these things or not, it’s completely healthy and a sign of spiritual strength to review oneself in this way.
The foundation of all mental illness is the unwillingness to experience legitimate suffering.
– Carl Justav Jung, Psychologist and Mystic
In a world of individuals who increasingly avoid the cycles in initiation throughout life, institutions and industries grow bigger in order to cater for and distract those of us who are afraid to face themselves. All manners of entertainment, drugs, and political scapegoats are provided to us by this system. Our economies and governments slowly become our drug dealers of denial.
Who is Saturn to Society?
In the same way Saturn’s Return to His position in your birthchart spells an end, Saturn’s transit into the sign of Capricorn also spells an end. As of December 2017 the clock has been ticking for Western society as we will collectively make a decision on whether to own our shit and overhaul our power structure, or if we’re going to leave that to the politicians, industrialists, and economists to figure out. In the past 100 years of Saturn entering Capricorn, world government has taken those opportunities to clamp down even further on opposing systems. It’s basically a Saturn Return for the entire planet, and like the personal Return it’s not a guarantee of planetary liberation like many Astrologers suggest. This can go either way – transmutation or further into denial and self-destruction. Now more than ever your metaphysical vote counts and you cast it by developing your own connection to spirit. Like other Tarot readers and Astrologers, I can help you with that for a reasonable service fee via this website.
If the world decides to go on ignoring the Saturnian principal, don’t lose hope. Don’t let it crush you. Evil may persist for quite some time and the universal force will allow it to carry on for the sake of Free Will – but Evil constructs faulty systems which are top-heavy and ultimately meaningless. From this day forward, all it takes is one subtle cosmic wind to come by and the whole thing is destined to come crashing down.
Saturn comes back around to show you everything
Let’s you choose what you will, will not see and then
Drags you down like a stone or lifts you up again
Spits you out like a child, light and innocent.
– “The Grudge” by Tool