AstrologyForTheSoul Home Saturn in Libra, Haiti, and Mars in Capricorn
In This Issue: January 19th, 2010 
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•   Saturn in Libra, the Earthquake Tragedy in Haiti, and Mars in Capricorn
•   Aloha from Arizona
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Saturn in Libra, the Earthquake Tragedy in Haiti, and Mars in Capricorn
January 19th, 2010


All our hearts are broken by the unimaginable reality of the earthquake in Haiti. Reports are that 50-200,000 could be dead. Astrology doesn’t help us to help these millions of suffering people, so it has very questionable value here. I think the important thing is to take action and give, to pray, and to open our hearts to those who are suffering. But for those who study astrology, there is always more that we can learn and unfortunately this event gives us something terrible to look at.

In my opinion, one planet more than any other tells the story of what happened in Haiti: Saturn in (tropical) Libra. Before Saturn moved into Libra a few months ago on 10/29/09, I began writing an article about this powerful transit. For some reason I didn’t finish the article until today. The earthquake in Haiti is unfortunately a very good example of what Saturn in Libra is capable of.

If you’ve been schooled in modern astrology, there’s a good chance you might not catch the incredible paradox of Saturn in Libra. It might be the single planet-sign combination that fascinates me the most, and it’s going to be there in the sky until October 2012 (though it will retrograde back into tropical Virgo for a few months from 4/7/10 to 7/21/10). Let’s have a look at the general nature of Saturn in Libra and then come back to the terrible devastation in Haiti. The following section is what I wrote a couple of months ago about Saturn in Libra, and then Mars in Capricorn for comparison's sake (Mars is not in Capricorn now, though):


Why is Saturn in Libra so interesting? Because it's a major contradiction in terms. Saturn is “exalted” in Libra and only in Libra. But Saturn, of all planets, makes us think of depression. “Exaltation” and “depression” are literally opposite concepts in astrology. Each traditional planet is “exalted” in one sign, and “depressed” in the sign opposite to its exaltation. “Depression” is often stated as the planet’s “Fall” in the western tradition and as “Debilitated” in the Hindu tradition; but the original term for this planetary condition resembles depression, or being cast down low. I frequently use the term depression for it, as do many others. This is no more “negative” than a planet facing hard aspects. Planets can be challenged by aspect or sign placement among other things. But planets in their fall or depression are certainly challenged by that fact. Thus Saturn is in its depression in Aries, but that’s another matter for another time.

Exaltation is one of the most fundamental principles throughout the history of astrology, and it shows us the sign where a planet’s nature expresses itself most intensely for good or ill (often for good, sometimes for ill). Exaltation is an extremely useful and important concept, one which modern astrology has largely and in my opinion sadly ignored. Modern astrologers often threw the baby out with the bathwater in the process of making astrology more humanistic. Concepts like exaltation and depression are not based on a simple notion of "good" and "bad." They are complex, rich concepts that can fully be understood in an empowering and humanistic way.

So here we have the planet of depression in the sign of its exaltation. That’s the contradiction, but in studying astrology we constantly have to learn how apparent contradictions can and do co-exist, because that happens all the time in astrology. When a planet is exalted, the feeling of exaltation is normally the opposite of depression. It’s most commonly (though certainly not always) uplifting in some way. So Saturn is in Libra, where Saturn feels really, really good. This is Saturn’s happy place. It’s the sign he looks forward to visiting more than any other sign. This is Saturn’s personal Disneyland and it’s where Saturn gets high. An exalted planet means that many things pertaining to the planet will feel uplifted and positive, especially the positive things that pertain to that planet. Some of Saturn’s positive significations include goals and career matters, hard work (sometimes done in isolation), duty and responsibility, structures and structuring, discipline, more ascetic spiritual practices, and humility.

When a planet is exalted, we will also see the positive nature of its exaltation *sign* also positively emphasized. Here it’s Libra: close relationships and friendships, learning to relate to those who are different, emphasizing peace, bringing about justice, the arts, intellectual objectivity, fairness, and compromise.

Also, when a planet is exalted we often see its nature directed towards loftier subjects, including spiritual subjects or philosophies. Many alive today were born with Saturn in Libra conjunct Neptune; these two placements together can show a particularly spiritual inclination.

On the other hand, *everything that Saturn signifies* can and will at times also be “exalted” or emphasized and exaggerated while Saturn visits Libra. And Saturn represents many of the things we most fear in life. He’s the so-called “greater malefic.” There’s fear itself, depression, isolation and loneliness, various hardships and challenges, health problems (Saturn often focuses on the knees and teeth, but can indicate many chronic problems), poverty, humiliation, deprivation and even death. Also note the record cold temperatures in many places recently as Saturn is also cold, and can symbolize winter.

By now you are probably seeing the contradiction. Saturn in Libra will exalt the positive significations of Saturn, and even many of the positive significations of the sign Libra, as well as a general spiritual inclination; that’s very nice. And because it’s “exalted,” it will often feel just plain good. But it will also emphasize and exaggerate the very nature of Saturn himself, and that can be quite intense. That's what's happening in Haiti right now.


Before we go further with what to expect from Saturn in Libra and looking at Haiti in particular, let’s look at a comparable situation that you are probably more familiar with: Mars in Capricorn (this also turns out to be especially relevant now, because Haiti’s chart shows Mars in Capricorn square to Saturn in Libra). Mars in Capricorn is similar in that it’s the exaltation sign of a traditional malefic or harsh planet. This is also a kind of contradiction in terms (lofty, but grounded; and both intense and soothing). Let’s do the basic math again.

Mars in Capricorn first means that everything “Mars” is emphasized and exaggerated, for better or worse (often for the better, but certainly not always). So on the plus side, it gives energy and drive, passion and enthusiasm, a desire to excel or do great things (Mars stuff). It also brings out many of the more positive sides of the sign Capricorn, so it’s very pragmatic, determined, and professional (Capricorn stuff).

However, it’s also the exaltation of the “lesser malefic,” and therefore many of the more undesirable qualities of Mars too. Many Mars in Capricorn people tend to rub at least some people in their lives the wrong way. Usually this is because of the aggressive, competitive, and ambitious nature of Mars; an exalted Mars doesn’t always know where to find the brake pedal. Some of these folks seem too sharp, directly or indirectly; sometimes they deal with significant close others who take on those aggressive qualities (they aren't always necessarily so Martian themselves, but then they still have to deal with this strong Mars archetype in some way). They tend to be familiar with intense, hot expressions of Mars in one way or another.

Here’s where there’s a big contradiction in terms, though, because Mars in Capricorn is also in its sign of exaltation, and any planet in exaltation also has a more “soothing” or attractive quality about it. So Mars in Capricorn folks will often reflect this contradiction of being both very likable and pleasant and inspiring on the one hand, as yet find themselves in the middle of some major conflicts that they are often largely responsible for (if you know enough of these folks, you’ll eventually see this contradiction at work).

This is one way that Mars in Capricorn differs greatly from Saturn in Libra. Saturn in Libra is more common among people who don’t rock the boat, or may even be too timid to do so. Mars in Capricorn more likely finds itself in the midst of conflicts. But of course there are always exceptions to general rules.

We see the intense nature of the problems and suffering of Mars in Capricorn in square to Saturn in Libra (two extremely powerful planets, due to exaltation) in Haiti’s chart (more below on that). Mars is not currently in Capricorn. Mars is in tropical Leo and sidereal Cancer, but I wanted to make the comparison between Saturn in Libra and Mars in Capricorn to show what happens when a so-called “malefic” becomes exalted. It's complicated.


One thing this tells us is that Saturn in Libra will probably be felt very different ways at very different times, even by the same people. At one point it could feel very uplifting in general (exaltation), with benefits for career (Saturn) and relationships (Libra). At other times, the more difficult nature of Saturn could itself be highly emphasized: suffering and lack (and don’t forget about the doctor, the dentist, and the tax man). Yes, this is chock full of contradictions. We’re talking about Libra after all, a sign which is itself full of contradictions that need to be reconciled (though Libra is the very best sign at doing just that).

So there’s good news and bad news about Saturn being in Libra. In many respects, Saturn in Libra will feel like a very pleasant thing. But at times, Saturn in Libra could be very, very challenging. Planetary exaltation very often has a spiritually uplifting quality about it; that’s in fact one of the common hallmarks of exaltation. So the hardship that Saturn in Libra brings about, in particular, will often have a very spiritual purpose or result. For example: spiritual practices involving some kind of austerity, such as meditation, solitude, service, or sacrifice for others. You’ll see a people deriving major benefits from a commitment to spiritual practices that require some kind of renunciation, isolation, or incredible discipline. In fact, that is one of the best ways to try to work with the strong nature of Saturn now. The early founders of yoga taught that, “The amount of happiness in life is proportional to one's self-discipline." For many of us, this will be golden advice during Saturn in Libra. Further, Saturn in Libra can be about turning suffering into spirituality.

This will sound strange, but how will you choose to “suffer” during Saturn in Libra? By the kind of suffering that you’d rather not experience? Or by deliberately imposing discipline on your life in order to meditate, write, volunteer your time, work hard, or give of yourself? The nature of Saturn in Libra will manifest in everyone’s life in one way or another. We can always honor the planet’s nature by giving it a place in our lives. Saturn in Libra isn't just about kicking back and enjoying the good life (though it can be partly about that, due to the influence of Libra). Saturn in Libra will often be enjoyable and mellow, but *too much* of that will probably just make Saturn restless and more demanding in your life (especially now that Jupiter is in tropical Pisces, a transit that often makes our discipline and boundaries weaker).


What about relationships? Unfortunately, it’s not that easy a question to answer, and the truth is another little-bit-of-this, and a little-bit-of-that (we are talking about a planet in Libra, after all). Will Saturn challenge our relationships? Many times, yes. Will it strengthen our relationships? Many times, yes. Saturn tests and challenges what it touches, always. That’s its nature. But it is exalted in Libra, and in the case of exaltation, the meaning of the sign will also become stronger. Relationships that aren’t based on good foundations will certainly be challenged and in many cases these will come to an end.

The ones that are on good foundations will be challenged too. Is your relationship fair and balanced? Are both partners putting in what they need to, or is one person doing all the heavy lifting? Are you working on your major relationships, or getting lazy about them? You may have to, and luckily you will probably get to, see what’s happening in your relationships more clearly and honestly. Saturn requires work, but it also rewards work. Saturn in Libra will at times require us to operate alone. It will also at times get us to strengthen the most solid relationships we have. Libra, the realm of reconciling opposites.

In the end, I think Saturn in Libra is more likely to exalt relationships than anything else (though there will of course be exceptions). It’s more likely to strengthen good relationships, and get us to work on our relationship skills so that we can make them better. Saturn exalts, or loves, committed relationships that help keep society healthy and strong. There’s more than enough potential for that here. It can also be very good for professional relationships, so it’s a good time for networking also.

By now, hopefully you can probably see why this is a hard transit to predict. It could really strengthen many relationships and practically destroy others. It could bring a lot of material success to some, and abject poverty to others (and some may ride the roller coaster of both). It can lift up those who are disciplined and mature, while flattening others and pushing them towards a spiritual rebirth.

My spiritual guru Ammachi (the “hugging saint,” from India) has Saturn in Libra in both western and Hindu astrology (in the 1st house in Hindu astrology, in the 12th house in western astrology). She is in many ways an exemplar of the exalted or spiritual approach to Saturn. She was born into serious poverty and was mistreated in many ways by her family (partly because she would take things from her family to give to the most needy people she could find), but she turned her low station into austerity and spirituality. She has always strove to uplift the poor and needy, and to comfort the suffering. She works so tirelessly that she has hugged some 26 million people, raised tens of millions of dollars for charitable causes, and runs dozens of major charitable projects that she has founded. She gives everything, and asks for nothing.


Does Saturn seem to play a major role in the devastation in Haiti, astrologically speaking? Absolutely. Let’s look at a few reasons why.

Here are the charts I'm looking at. The earthquake was on January 12th, 2010 at 4:53 pm in Port au Prince, Haiti:

Here is a biwheel with a sunrise chart for Haiti (Jan 1st, 1804) in the middle ring and the start of the earthquake in the outer ring:

1. For the chart of the start of the earthquake, Saturn was on the I.C. (opposite the Midheaven). This is the very base or bottom of the chart, and it literally symbolizes things that are beneath us, including things that are underground. In this case, an earthquake.

2. Astrologer Lynn Hayes gives the chart of Haiti from the Book of World Horoscopes by Moon Moore as January 1st, 1804. This is the day when the leader of the Haitian slave uprising against the French (General Dessalines) read Haiti’s “Act of Independence.” What does this chart show us? Saturn at 3+ degrees of Libra, one degree from the position of Saturn (4+ Libra) at the time of the quake. Haiti is having a Saturn Return, tightly. Also Haiti’s Mars at 3+ Capricorn, the very same degree as the position of Pluto at the time of the quake. Haiti also has Chiron at 4+ Capricorn.

3. What else was Saturn in Libra doing to trigger such an event? Saturn went stationary less than 24 hours from the time the earthquake hit. Saturn only changes direction like this twice a year, and this is the very first time Saturn has stationed (stood still) in tropical Libra.

4. What else triggered Haiti’s Saturn-Mars square (both exalted) besides Saturn in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn? Retrograde (chaotic) Mercury at 6 Capricorn, just three days away from Mercury’s station. And all of this happened less than 48 hours before the solar eclipse. Eclipses are of course notoriously intense and powerful, and traditionally they are viewed as being relatively malefic or negative (though for an individual they can be quite positive--that's another story). Transiting Mars was also on Haiti’s South Node.

This whole tragedy is such a stark expression of the exaltation of Saturn. It is so incredibly wretched and horrible, on such a dramatic and exaggerated scale. The exaltation of Saturn is showing us the full power of Saturn to devastate, brought out by the tight square to Pluto and triggered by the station of Mercury and the solar eclipse in Capricorn.

By the way, you would have to think that NBC does not employ an astrologer, because they tried to change their late-night lineup during all of this (starting new endeavors during an eclipse is very risky business).

So could this Haiti event have been predicted in advance? If any astrologer out there had been focusing on Haiti’s chart, then some type of major event could have been easily predicted from this. I wasn’t looking at Haiti’s chart, but I absolutely expected to see some serious events while Mercury stationed conjunct Pluto, in square to a stationary exalted Saturn, all around the same time as an eclipse. That’s some very heavy stuff.

For those who aren’t in Haiti or close to people in Haiti, it may just seem to be happening “out there.” But if you believe that we are one, it’s also happening for all of us. In a way, the Haitians are suffering for all of us by facing the full brunt of this planetary lineup right now, which I think should make us want to help them even more.

Unfortunately there is another astrological lesson from this, and it relates to the galactic center (literally, the center of our galaxy), which is very nearly at exactly 27 degrees now in the tropical zodiac. When the earthquake hit, the Moon was at 26.28 Sag, conjunct the galactic center. The galactic center is literally a massive black hole, and despite a lot of false information that’s out there about it in astrological circles, it basically has in my experience a very intense meaning. I have even seen it affect prominent black people in the past, (there were a lot of sports scandals involving prominent black athletes when Pluto was here--sometimes symbolism is fairly literal). Hindu astrologers recognize its connection with the nakshatra Mula.

I have seen that some of the darkest and most horrible things can happen around that degree, like this earthquake. But the best side of the galactic center is the awakening of compassion for those who are suffering so gravely. Those who have planets near the galactic center in their charts can do great things to help people in great need.

Based on recommendations from trusted friends who are familiar with the following charity, my wife and I have chosen to make our donations for Haitian relief to the organization: Doctors Without Borders. Below is a link to their website, although there are other excellent groups also doing amazing work in Haiti. We all have an incredible opportunity to give now, which seems like one great way to honor the meaning of Saturn in Libra.

Doctors Without Borders

Doctors Without Borders
Aloha from Arizona
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Aloha from Arizona,

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