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Astrologer Moses Siregar III

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      Background on Saturn
     Copyright 1998-Today Moses Siregar III

Saturn has long been considered "The Great Malefic" -- the bad guy who brings loss, disappointment, pain, illness, loneliness, and sorrow. And to be honest, this difficulty is usually (not always) what we observe and experience when Saturn comes to visit.

On the other hand, the modern, New Age, view of Saturn says that Saturn is a great teacher, and that the most difficult experiences can and often do promote the greatest growth. This modern view also maintains that if we dedicate ourselves in the areas where Saturn is active for us, that Saturn can become our greatest strength and friend. Saturn, the ancient "planet of karma," can also be our boon if we have done our work--the karmic paycheck can definitely be a nice and positive bonus for effort made, and this is absolutely true.

I think it's best to remember both views of Saturn. The old view says, "Ouch, that looks hard." Realistically, when there is a lot of Saturn in a life (in the birth chart), in a certain period of time (because of transits, progressions, or the solar return), or a relationship (because of synastry or the composite chart), that black and white view that says Saturn indicates difficulty is
usually true. You may have noticed that difficulty exists on planet Earth? Well, Astrology symbolizes all of life,  and Saturn is a symbol the difficult. My honesty here goes against the modern astrological trend to dress Saturn up in a pretty dress and blur its rough edges.

everything can be transmuted and transformed through consciousness; such consciousness is relatively rare, but to those who are focusing all of their energy on waking up, all of the most difficult astrological symbols can certainly be alchemically transformed into gold. To mistakenly think that Saturn is just bad leaves no room for free will and positive action. And, it is possible to be honest about what is "hard," without thinking that "hard" is "bad." Life exists because of the interplay of opposites like hard and easy, and to live life fully is to embrace, and thereby evolve beyond the attachment to one, and the rejection of the other.
It's interesting that
sat is sanskrit for Truth, and an urn is a container; Saturn secretly holds our Truth.

Saturn is like the Drill Sergeant who is hard on his/her cadets because s/he cares about them and does not want them to go off into war and get killed. You hate the Drill Sergeant when s/he feels cruel and mean; but you love and thank the Drill Sergeant later when you can understand what a great and important service s/he did for you. There is always a benevolent presence behind the tough love of Saturn. If we can learn to trust Life unconditionally, surrender, meet our feelings compassionately, and then take action, Saturn becomes an invaluable ally on the journey towards awakening. We can cultivate the realization that "this would not be happening to me if it were not the best thing that could happen to me, and at some point (maybe even after this life) i will be able to look back and know this for sure." Then we can accept difficulty, and with a positive attitude we might even open to the gift that such an experience is, even in the midst of it.

To truly honor Life and its apparent imperfections, maybe we can even celebrate pain and difficulty when they are present. Maybe this is just what makes life so sweet, so beautiful, and so precious. Maybe we can appreciate the parts of us that are the least polished and presentable. Maybe those are just the parts of us that make us so interesting, so lovable, and so wonderfully human.

If you are a perfectionist, Saturn will be hard for you. If you cannot embrace the unformed and rugged aspects of self, relationships, and life, Saturn will never quite become a friend. But if you can see that you, others, and Life are perfect just as is, then Saturn is recognized as just one of the wonderful ingredients that is continually stirred in the crazy and delicious pot known as Life. Give thanks for Saturn. What other option do you have?

Addition October, 2004:

Here's something else that deserves mention. For some charts, Saturn can become much more benefic (easy) planet while Jupiter can become much more malefic (hard) planet. This does not change the fact that, on their own, Saturn is always "the great malefic" and Jupiter is always "the great benefic". But under certain conditions, and I think this is mainly a consideration that comes from Vedic astrology (which this course does not cover), Saturn can put on a much happier face. For example, in my own chart, Saturn is much 'friendlier' than he is in the average chart, while Jupiter is much less friendly than he is in an average chart. A Saturn transit is still hard for me, but generally not as hard as it is for the average chart, however some Saturn transits have been enormously good for me; a Jupiter transit is still wonderfully expansive for me, but the afteraffects of it can sometimes be much worse for me than for the average chart. And while Jupiter can sometimes give a lack of boundaries, overconfidence, overindulgence, and overexpansion, Saturn can sometimes provide maturity, restraint, responsibility, and success. So astrological definitions like benefic and malefic are not perfectly cut-and-dried and black-and-white. All of astrology's life forces truly have their light (positive) and shadow (problematic) sides.