Saturn is well known as the Celestial Taskmaster, and very few of us relish the idea of being called into the principal’s office. However, there is another side of Saturn that is truly wonderful if we get to know him for who he truly is. Liz Greene says, “[Saturn’s] face as the Beast is well-recognized but [his] alternate face as the Handsome Prince is not often considered; however, without both of these, the symbol cannot communicate its meaning.”
As Saturn and Neptune approach the third phase of their opposition cycle, it may be useful to delve a little more deeply into both gods as we strive to balance the two forces. Saturn is the architect and builder of the structures which give form to our lives. Saturn gives us rules and boundaries to keep society functioning smoothly, and confers on us the discipline and ability to work hard and seek achievement. Saturn’s influence also builds strength of character that helps us withstand the storms of life, a characteristic not often recognized.
It is this quality of building inner strength that I value most about Saturn, but in order to obtain this gift we must follow his rules. When we have Saturn prominent in our charts or affecting us by transit, Saturn demands certain things of us. He wants us to spend time alone in introspection. He wants us to evaluate what we have done with our lives and what we have accomplished thus far. He demands that we seek nothing less than perfection and is ready with criticism when we fall short of our goals so that we will work to correct our errors. He restricts us from enjoyable pursuits unless we have achieved those goals, and creates blocks and disappointments until we do.
The gift that follows includes material success and achievement, but more than that there is a gift of strength and power that comes purely from within one’s own self and is not dependent upon the opinions or aid of others. Saturn bestows an attunement to the material world that cannot be obtained through any other influence, and with it an ability to persevere through the most difficult of circumstances.
Saturn’s purpose is to challenge the aggrandisement of the ego – following the expansion of Jupiter, Saturn imposes restrictions and constricts our impulse to want to fly with the gods. Saturn brings us back to earth, where we must deal with the mundane, day-to-day worldly existence. It enforces solitude and forces us into contemplation in order to increase the depth of our wisdom and insight. In order to accomplish this, it often thwarts our own desires, frustrating us with its limitations, rules and boundaries and forcing us into a more introspective existence. That is particularly true now, as Saturn travels through the sign of Leo which rules the Ego and its creative expression. Saturn’s role is to force us to confront anything in the realm of ego that lacks truth. He shines a light in the darkness, instigating experiences that may not be comfortable but which are always pathways for growth and transformation.