With Saturn and Capricorn energy being so heavy in the collective through early January of 2019, I decided to return to Erin Sullivan’s Saturn in Transit to understand the role Saturn plays in our growth as human beings. We tend to resist Saturn transits and believe we need only hang on until the time of restriction, frustration and even depression passes. I have found myself scouring the ephemeris, counting off the days and weeks until I am fully out of the clear of a Saturn Sun opposition, Erin Sullivan reminded me that doing this deprives us of transiting Saturn’s gifts.
Transiting Saturn aspecting a personal planet may awaken old complexes. Saturn to the Moon, for example, may bring up abandonment issues from early childhood. Feeling somewhat blue and forlorn, we can find that understanding the role of Saturn helps us confront our past and find a more conscious and practical way of nurturing our inner child. Saturn to Mars presents us with the reality that we cannot simply will life around us to fall in with our plans. We must find ways to work through our frustration and accomplish our goals in the real world. Saturn to Venus may bring the end of a love affair along with the realization that we have given away too much of our power to the relationship and now need to reclaim it. At each point in Saturn transits, we may be discouraged, sad, frustrated or lost – but using this energy consciously, we are able to grow. “A realized Saturn brings peace of mind that cannot be paralleled,” Sullivan writes.
Most striking in the Saturn transits are what Erin Sullivan calls “the natural cycles of Saturn,” that is, when Saturn is in square, opposition or conjunction to its natal place. Every seven years or so, these aspects perfect for all of us, creating “clearly defined stages of social, biological and conscious development in the individual.” Six year old children, Sullivan writes, tend to blurt things out regardless of response. By seven, they have developed a filter and understand adults have certain expectations regarding what is and is not appropriate. Their Saturn, in a sense, is awakened at the first Saturn square and begins to play more of a role in the child’s personality.
The tension 14 year olds feel at the first Saturn opposition may lead them to challenge authority as they attempt to individuate against society’s norms. At the waning Saturn square, 21 year olds are attempting to form a life direction while either meeting or resisting society’s expectations. When they reach the Saturn return around age 29, they feel more pressure to “sort things out” and commit to life as an independent adult. Those not on a fulfilling career path or life direction may face crisis now and make the changes needed to progress – or else they calcify and live an increasingly unhappy life. This cycle is then repeated through the second and third Saturn cycles, with the same themes emerging through differing life circumstances.
Another important cycle of transiting Saturn is across the angles of the chart, which Erin Sullivan calls “The Heroic Round.” Equating the experiences evoked by Saturn in aspect to the angles with the Journey of the Hero, Sullivan tells us that The Call to Adventure begins as transiting Saturn reaches the Midheaven. We may at this time want to test ourselves and break from the security of our settled life. By the time Saturn crossed our Ascendant, we enter “The Threshold Struggle” as we break from society and commence a journey to discover our own hidden strengths. At the IC, we experience “The Atonement” when we confront our roots and then discover our treasure or “our personal destiny.” We will bring this treasure out into the world as Saturn reaches our Descendant, our “Call to Return.” What we have discovered about ourselves and our gifts has been burnished through our experiences as Saturn completes its journey under the horizon of our chart, and now we bring this richness to society. This process will culminate as Saturn returns to the Midheaven and a new Call to Adventure begins.
It is difficult to convey the richness of Erin Sullivan’s study of Saturn in just a few paragraphs. This book is a priceless resource for understanding any transit of Saturn we or our clients are facing. The best tribute I can pay is to declare that I am actually now relishing my encounters with transiting Saturn and am eagerly anticipating the growth and awareness I will experience during my natal Saturn square later this year. If you are or are anticipating a significant Saturn transit, I would love to hear from you what gifts this deeply rewarding planet brings into your life.