Astrology Secrets Revealed: Eric Francis Answers Your Questions
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To sum up, the Saturn return is the time at which Saturn returns to the natal position. Saturn's orbit is just over 29 years, so around age 29 to 30, the planet returns to its natal position and starts a new Saturn cycle. Thus we could call the return the completion of one Saturn cycle, which is a certain breed of experience that loosely but accurately translates to maturity.
Please, don't pelt me with Game Boys and beer cans. Maturity is a good thing. Maturity gives you the freedom to be a kid, a lawyer, a circus clown, a lover, a traveller or a parent. Maturity is a fact of life and Saturn loves it when you say, okay, what are the facts of life? Let's work with them, not against them.
The Saturn cycle is long, but at least it goes all the way around. Pluto represents many of the same issues, but we usually live through one-third of a Pluto cycle, perhaps a bit more. In the Western world, most people can reasonably expect to have two Saturn returns, one at about 29 and another at about 58. Many of the letters I get are from people who are at the second return.
At the Saturn return, particularly the first, there can be a rapid onset of major changes. Most people will get either married or divorced; be promoted, get fired, or quit their job and start a new career; buy their first house or sell one and move; start to make it financially or go bankrupt and start over, or both; and so on. Saturn is not attached to what kinds of changes we make, as long as they work for us in the end. As long as we are getting real. No big deal! Oh, well, maybe.
At return time, we must fully, finally TAKE ON the role of Saturn internally rather than have it work on us externally. My own Saturn return involved mighty changes and awesome challenges, and I would not trade them for anything. For instance, I was working as an investigative reporter and found myself in a First Amendment free speech battle with the New York State government that went all the way to Federal court. My lawyer and I basically worked very hard and kicked ass. We did so working with the system. We dealt with authority on its own terms and had a man-to-man discussion. In the process I grew up. And I faced down the 'dark father' that so many of us fear all our days.
All the work I had done as a journalist came to fruition the summer after I turned 30 in the form of a major investigative feature in Sierra magazine once again dealing with the archetype of the 'dark father' - the corporations that pollute the world. Corporations are a very Saturnian entity and apropos of the return, I entered into a direct relationship with them. I consider this article to be my Saturn Return Ph.D. thesis.
I also became an astrologer. I heard the calling, and I followed it. I found my right livelihood. Now, 10 years later, I am beginning to make some headway. But I have worked at it every day for those 10 years. And on all but a scant few the work was truly satisfying and productive.
The thing with the Saturn return is that basically it gives us an opportunity to actually create all the things we say we want. They will take time; they will require giving up what we don't want; they will require making changes and having faith in the whole process. But Saturn does not fail us when we do what we need to do. And one of my favourite lines of the late, great Patric Walker is: "Saturn always gives us more than he takes away".
I have been pondering Saturn all week in preparation for writing this piece, and thought I would try a new way to explain this planet.
Traditionally, Saturn is associated with three signs, so you might say it has three faces or aspects. Let's call this mini essay The Three Faces of Saturn. This has nothing to do with Saturn in any given sign right now. Rather, each person has each of these signs covering one or more houses of their chart, and this is where we need to do the work of Saturn because Saturn rules that house.
Capricorn we know about. Saturn is said to be the ruler of this sign. This is the aspect of Saturn that deals with authority - of parents, of government, of the church, of institutions of all kinds. This theme of Saturn says that we need to deal with these institutions, the most difficult of which is our parents. As John Lennon pointed out, most people are too enamoured of their parents to really ever deal with them, or to get a grip on their influences, and are complaining that their parents run their lives even into their late years, long after their parents are dead. As an astrologer, I concur. The Capricorn aspect of Saturn requires that we take on that role of parent internally so we don't have to deal with it externally as control and being trapped in over-structured situations. Most people go from school to college to a corporate life and never exist outside these big 'households' and usually have no more power than children within them! And for many, their personal relationships work the same way, as a kind of parental trap. People who keep marrying their mother or father are likely ignoring the Capricorn aspect of Saturn.
This brings up the Libra aspect of Saturn. Saturn is 'exalted' in Libra; exaltation is a kind of rulership. Most people and astrologers forget the importance of Saturn to Libra and vice versa. I would propose that it is co-equal to any of Saturn's other areas of dominion. Libra is about equal relationships. It is about fairness. It is about balance in all aspects of life. Libra has a lot to do with marriage and committed partnership. Libra is the aspect of Saturn that allows us to stand up within our partnerships. Here is the aspect of Saturn that comes up between individuals: a man and a woman, for example, or same sex lovers, or friends, or business partners. Saturn in this respect is about the boundaries we have with people, the rules we live by, the agreements we keep, and the ability to hold commitment. People really struggle with commitment, either not being able to handle it at all, or being overcommitted (or trapped) in toxic situations. When we honour Saturn, that is, when we strive for clarity and maturity and a little bit of structure in our relationships, they work a lot better. Don't worry, Libra still leaves plenty of room for Venus, and Venus loves Mars.
Then there is the Aquarius aspect of Saturn. Dangerously, this is the aspect that astrology is trying to leave behind. After the astrologer Raphael I (founder of Raphael's Ephemeris) arbitrarily pronounced Uranus the ruler of Aquarius not so long ago, astrology began a trend away from considering Saturn a ruler of this sign. For sure, Uranus has a lot to do with Aquarius. But only so much. We need the structure that Saturn offers in order to handle the social contract - that is, the basic rules of community and coexistence - that are so necessary for Aquarius. The Aquarian aspect of Saturn is what holds community together. It is what binds us to our friends; it is what makes us stick together for the common good. The Saturn aspect of Aquarius is also what helps us differentiate ourselves from our friends and associates and stand as an individual amongst them. Do we have trouble with this, or what? Are we the most pathetic bunch of conformists in our society? How else could the advertising industry get away with their assaults on individuality and dignity? The Aquarian aspect of Saturn gives us the strength to be ourselves, and this we must do, or be lost in the sauce of meaninglessness.
How are you doing on each of these three themes? Where are these three signs in your natal chart, and how do the affairs of those houses look when you consider the three faces of Saturn?
We are all blessed to have a rather Saturnian woman named Tracy Delaney in Liverpool who helps me keep my writing together. She has just put together a web page of my writing on Saturn, which you're invited to visit, and which I'll develop as the months go on. That is located at Saturn Resource.
Also, a Saturn return e-group is forming at Yahoo groups. For an invitation, drop a note to Chelsea at email@example.com
One last resource. I think that Melanie Reinhart has written an excellent book that addresses Saturn better than any I have seen. It's called Saturn, Chiron and the Centaurs: To The Edge and Beyond, and you can walk into The Astrology Shop in Covent Garden, London, UK or order it by mail from www.Astroamerica.com.
Here are some reflections on your new questions. As I read them each week, I want to respond to all of them, and I would love to do each of your charts individually (time permits only a few individual readings each week, but I am still doing those few for now). I try to select questions that are well-stated and represent the views of other readers.
Please remember to write out your birth data using letters and numbers, such as Feb. 30, 2929, as opposed to 2/30/29! Thank you.
There are many questions I receive where the most appropriate way to handle them is in a series of astrological sessions, with the full compliment of charts and much time to listen to what the clients has to say. It is not merely the astrological factors that must be considered - that is usually the easiest part of the work; there are the inner challenges you face, the issues, the quest for growth and dealing with the necessity of change. In astrology there must be a human factor; we are not mechanical objects, and while the planets can be reduced down to calculated movements, the information must be processed mentally and emotionally.
Sun sign horoscopes are intuitive, and sometimes they can work very well to provide insight. But they do not respond to the specific circumstances of an individual's life. Despite having devoted much of my writing career to writing horoscopes, I have to acknowledge their limits. What they have is the gift of that moment of contact when we need it, and hopefully enticing us to go deeper into some form of self-development, be it astrology or another. But as you are describing, they can miss the point where certain major factors are involved.
Now, prepared chart reports such as Jonathan offers can add many layers of depth, and they are a relatively small investment. Jonathan's and those of a few other writers are worth that investment. Yet I consider these a viewpoint to consider, and a tool to help you explore. Where astrology is concerned, they are the beginning, not the end! You are not actually in process with an astrologer or a therapist who takes the journey with you.
Given the depth of changes you have experienced, I highly suggest working with a therapist who can assist you in the process of going through so much at once. Whether we have help or not, when these changes come, we will be attempting to process them, and grow and adapt. There are people in the world who have devoted their lives to assisting others in just this kind of process. Their entire energy field is tuned to the work.
Finding a good therapist can be challenging, but sometimes we get lucky.
The challenge is finding a person who is actually healthy or well on the road to being so. You need someone who will encourage you to live your life your way. A therapist must be honest; he or she must have a diverse background and exposure to the world outside his or her own culture; he or she must be truly self-educated, as well as trained. Most of all they must be compassionate with good boundaries. This is a tall order. Therapy is only as good as the therapist; the same holds for astrology. But I encourage you and others in times of deep upheaval or change to have a person in your life who is devoted to helping you to ground out, balance out, and face the changes you are going through honestly. This person must have no personal interest in you except your weekly fee.
Yet there is a pitfall in seeking any form of help in a time of deep vulnerability, which is that we are showing up vulnerable! We come to the work in a compromised position, and this gives anyone, therapist, astrologer, even concerned friend, a lot of power. So you need someone who is able to hold onto your power in a clear, gentle way and have it for you when you're ready to claim it back.
Without even looking at your chart, it sounds like you are experiencing Pluto transits. And it sounds like you are in the aftershocks of your Saturn Return from 2000, a subject which will be developed in this column over the next few weeks, and about which I've posted additional material above.
So now as for your chart. Pluto transits indeed. You have the Sun and four other important points in Pisces; Pluto has been making a long square to these points since around 1997. But why the big changes now? I would propose that you've been getting messages for a while. But also, Pluto is approaching a square to your natal Sun, the core of your being. Squares, particularly to the Sun, are about real changes; they often emerge as events such as you are experiencing. But as we go through them, we grow, we change, we evolve. We become the person we really are.
Pluto is an influence in astrology that represents the bottom line. Pluto is the clean sweep, and the force to which we are ultimately compelled to respond, no matter what. Clients often ask me, "When will this Pluto transit end?" The answer is that they do not end; when they work, they work as thresholds. We begin the transit as one person, and come out on the other end as a different person, somehow more truly ourselves. That is not an ending, it is a beginning. And you are in the very midst of this change right now - though you are becoming accustomed to the energy of this compelling force, and you are getting the message.
A little bit of history is worth recounting, and I go into it more deeply in my article on the history of Pluto. Pluto was discovered in 1930 and was not accepted by mainstream astrology until some 40 years later, when Isabel Hickey published a little pamphlet that is now included in Astrology: A Cosmic Science.
Pluto is a new influence in astrology, and one that is reluctantly embraced and poorly understood by much of the community. Many astrologers are still scared of Pluto, and many therapists will not go there (that is, into the territory Pluto points to). Pluto could be seen as the depths of our soul reaching up to the surface of our life and saying: this is who you are; these are the ways your outer life and your inner life are not in alignment; you must go through these changes in order to be a whole, clear person.
There are other forces that have been at work; you have a Cancer Moon, and Saturn has recently made a long conjunction. This is a reminder of the emotional level of what you are going through; there is something here about a deep maturing process, and that process can be painful, and it can involve other people in your life.
But you are strong. You are creative. You are daring. And you came into this life with some very specific intentions - consider what they are, and make your best moves. For now, you're on your own, but that's not such a bad place to be.
In fact, your question is a fine place to begin the entire study of astrology. Following the Sun and the Moon for some months is a great way to feel the heartbeat of the planets, and the rhythm of nature - the regular, dependable pulse of the lunar cycle. This is a more feminine and intuitive way to study astrology than boring into books and ideas; it is more natural; and likely, it's more effective.
The best way to get some depth as to what these events are about is to look at New Moon charts for a couple of years, and see what you notice. New Moons make up nearly half the charts in my main notebook. I use them to write monthly, weekly and at times daily horoscopes and incorporate ideas I get from them into those pieces of writing. They can be very evocative. Each event is different. Each tells a story not just about the month that it commences but also about the times in which we are living, because in addition to the New Moon itself, there are numerous other placements and these reflect all the astrology of our era in history.
The New Moon and the Full Moon are part of the same story. Once you have taken a look at a New Moon chart, you can look at the Full Moon two weeks later to see how the story develops. You can also look at the people around you, and at the story of the world as it unfolds. The astrology of any given moment is often nicely reflected in the news and the stories that people tell us.
I would remind everyone that these events are not merely charts. They are celestial experiences and we can feel them very directly, if we tune into them. It happens that this article is posting just before a Full Moon, one that may be very obvious in its presence because it's conjunct the planet Uranus.
Some astrological traditions put a lot of emphasis on the New Moon. Many Vedic (Indian) astrologers consider the New Moon in your sign to be your birthday chart. I would say that if you have a New Moon on your birthday, that is, at least, personal message from the cosmos, and very likely a personal blessing of some kind, and a symbol of profound renewal.
Writing is often a business. You need to learn the business if you want to be a professional writer. Most creative types struggle with this factor, which is that they don't like business. I don't recommend this approach! If you don't like business, get over it fast, or get yourself around people who do like business and who will support you unflinchingly. Writing professionally implies that you will be selling your writing, so you have to get used to putting yourself on the auction block and learn to do it in evermore dignified and compelling ways.
It always helps to hone your talents 12 hours a day. And every now and again someone may reach down from Mt. Olympus and help assist in ways that you will hopefully appreciate at the time. To this end, don't keep what you're doing a secret. Rather, send it to specific people whose work interests you, and put it where people can find it, such as on the Internet and in the hands of editors.
As for your astrology, Taurus is good for the long haul, that's for sure. But there is a lot else going on in your chart, which I can only summarise. You have energy, thank God. You have determination. You have guts. So far so good
Neptune in Sagittarius, it may take you some time to figure out whether you want to be a creative writer or an intellectual writer. In truth, squares call for integrating both sides of the square. So if you are going to be a creative writer (fiction or film for example), expect little satisfaction from anything except work that really feeds you intellectually. If an intellectual, you need to be the creative freak amongst your peers, ultimately offering the spiritual view amidst all the facts and figures.
With Chiron on your midheaven, you can safely expect a rather unique experience of a professional life; Chiron in this position is the professional maverick. You will as a result go through many transformations, and will be guided above all else by a humanitarian spirit.
But hey, learn some bookkeeping, and get a job selling used cars or vacuum cleaners for a couple of months. That will help you shamelessly huck and pitch your writing, which translates loosely to paying the rent and buying food. You can do it. And you will.
If you have read this far, you'll love Planet Waves, my twice-weekly astrology newsletter. This is the subscriber service that sponsors this column and all my other work. You will get two Planet Waves horoscopes (by me) each week, a weekly birthday report that's worth the whole subscription fee, and my essays on astrology, the news and more. To find out more, visit http://PlanetWavesWeekly.com.
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