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Archive for Friday 17th June 2005

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Awaiting Saturn

Dear Friends and Readers,

We passed through a major aspect in the past few days -- the Sun opposing Pluto. And it was a week of big news but not big news. Two things come to mind: Michael Jackson was acquitted of messing with little kids; and, also in California, there was a dud earthquake off the coast Tuesday night. Well, not exactly a dud at 7.0 on the Richter scale, but considering that tsunami warnings were sent out from Mexico to as far north as Vancouver, British Columbia, then retracted an hour later, it was a fairly calm incident.

Since this was The Little Tsunami That Wasn't, I won't post the chart here, and instead it will be on Planet Waves at this link. However, briefly, look at the exact quarter-moon, the close Sun-Pluto opposition, and the very late degree Scorpio rising.

At the moment, there are a lot of questions pouring into this page on two main subjects -- next week's Capricorn Full Moon on the Summer Solstice, and Saturn entering Leo. The Cap Full Moon -- one of two that's coming (the first is June 22 and the second is July 21) -- occurs right on the solstice, and that is BIG news. When an exact lunation occurs the day that the Sun changes seasons, we have two major cycles overlapping and the power of the energy can, and often does, change the world.

To avoid writing about things twice, I'm going to focus here on Saturn in Leo, and then focus on the Capricorn Full Moon chart Planet Waves on Friday. We'll post the article to the cover, so that everyone can read it (including non-subscribers! So please subscribe, since I know you appreciate when we do stuff like that). It's an extremely interesting chart, it portends some big and surprising changes in the United States -- particularly for the government -- and I am very curious to see it with the asteroids in, which I have not yet done.

In today's column, I'll begin the discussion of Saturn in Leo, which comes around again for the first time since the late 1970s on July 17, 2005 and takes us through Sept. 2007. This article is just a warm-up. There are many issues to cover. Some are personal. Some are about the state of the world. Saturn in Leo will develop over time; there is only a limited extent to which it can be predicted; and we need to respond to events and developments -- on all levels -- as they occur.

But let's start with the basics.

Saturn takes 29-1/2 of your Earth years to go around the Sun once. On average, it spends just a little under 2.5 years per sign. Each sign change comes with a shift or adjustment in the world in which we live. If the theory of astrology holds up, these sign symbolism of these changes should in some way reflect the times in which the transit is happening.

For example, during the Saturn in Taurus phase of the late 1990s, the world witnessed a major VALUES crisis (very Taurus, but also very pathetic) over the affair between Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. And there were two huge values events on the economic level: the crash of the Nasdaq stock exchange (the so-called dot-com collapse), and the 'California energy crisis', involving high prices, energy shortages, rolling back-outs, a lot of money changing hands between California and Texas, and a company called Enron (which would become big news a couple of years later).

The big, peak moment was April and May 2000. There was a really cool afternoon during a big banking conference in Washington DC where a whole bunch of protestors were raising hell, and the banking guys were getting word of the stock slide just as they were arriving in town. The summer of 1999 was also critical in the Saturn in Taurus era (the famous Aug. 11, 1999 eclipse), as was the U.S. election rip-off of November 2000. Ah, the good old days.

When Saturn is active, we also see the changes in our own lives. Saturn is about big decisions, changes to the structure of our experience, our work, developments in our most important relationships, and where we are located on the planet. Saturn is about all the processes that TAKE TIME and have LONG TERM RESULTS.

We've made up a little timetable that tracks the sign changes of Saturn since it began a new cycle in Aries. See if you can tell some stories from your personal life, your growth, your relationships and so on, based on these dates. Here it is:

Saturn Sign Change Table

Note that when Saturn is changing signs, sometimes it retrogrades back into the old sign for a few months. It does not do that with the change from Cancer to Leo.

This cycle will have some relevance to everyone, regardless of where your Saturn placement is. If you want to know where your Saturn is (for added personal reality), I suggest you get your chart made up from Jonathan's service, from, from, or by Or find a friend with decent software, such as Solar Fire and ask them to make it up for you. If you work or play with astrology regularly, or are vaguely curious, please do invest in a good chart.

People with Saturn in Leo are now entering their Saturn Return (around age 29-30 or 57-58, though the effects can start earlier). This is the famous transit wherein people actually tend to grow up. It is the most important passage into adulthood, particularly the first Saturn return. Typically, we find our true career, we find a meaningful relationship, we end a long-term relationship, or something settles and becomes more solid. Many people get married or divorced around this time. It can be a time to devote yourself to personal healing.

Or everything blows up and we remake our lives -- better than before. These are all natural changes for the Saturn return.

The Saturn return presents problems for people who resist it: who pretend the changes aren't necessary, who ignore a calling, who stay in a relationship that's hurting them, or that was really over years ago, or who don't take their growth and healing seriously. For them, the Saturn return can go on for many years. So, with this transit, it's best to 'vote early and often'. Do what you have to do. As the astrologer Patric Walker once wrote, 'Saturn always gives more than it takes away'. And -- what it takes away is usually stuff we don't need anyway.

There are related transits earlier and later in life. People with Saturn in Aquarius are now entering their Saturn opposition (around age 44 or 73). People with Saturn in Taurus or Scorpio are now entering their Saturn square (around age 7, 21 or 35). These are the major, seven-year cycle turning points of Saturn.

You get extra Saturn if you have Leo or Aquarius rising, in which case Saturn will be transiting your ascendant or relationship angle. This also counts if you have the early degrees any fixed sign on an angle. (The lower the degree number, the sooner you will have the Saturn transit. However, Saturn entering a sign has an effect on the whole sign and on the corresponding four -- for example, Saturn in Leo has the greatest effect on anything in Taurus, Leo, Scorpio or Aquarius -- the fixed cross).

If your 10th house cusp is Leo, then you're going to have some serious Saturn action -- and it's big, because Saturn through the 10th gets some serious results where our profession is concerned.

Indeed, Saturn always gets serious results, and often those results were long in the making and can be unexpected at the time they arrive. It's the workhorse of the planetary pantheon; no job is too hard or takes too long for Saturn. The traditional counsels are patience, work, rest, and keeping your sense of humor.

As for Saturn in Leo specifically. Both Leo and the Sun are astrological energies that can, for the most part, endure anything. What Saturn, Leo and the Sun have in common is a sense of responsibility and of purpose. But it's important not to get discouraged. In this world, what we think of as good takes a lot longer than what we think of as evil. Therefore, we need to give our efforts at growth, expression and becoming time to develop.

The last time Saturn was in Leo, between 1975 and 1978, the world faced fuel shortages. Jimmy Carter was the U.S. president. In the wake of this, instead of re-electing Carter -- a man who urged people to turn down the thermostat to 68F, and gave speeches from the White House wearing a cardigan to set the example -- Reagan took office and the conservative revolution was begun.

What Saturn and Leo don't have in common is that Saturn can represent shadow and Leo can represent light. Saturn can represent restriction and Leo wants to express itself in a big way. The two can work very well together, but this calls for a special kind of awareness; a special devotion to actual conservatism (that is, conserving and self-control, rather than raw fear and control drama). In the Saturn in Leo time, the Western world may need to do with less. We may see big changes in the value of things -- Leo is the gold standard of astrology. We will need to learn something very rare for our society -- efficiency.

We certainly did not learn it the last time around. A lot of people now drive three-ton SUVs.

Whatever we may think, we do not live in sober times. Across the horoscope dial in Aquarius, there is the great and powerful planet Neptune, which is broadcasting a strange fog through the media, religion, and the world of ideas; and none of it is particularly realistic or intelligent. In many aspects of life, we have a kind of sick idealism that needs to assess itself, but cannot. Saturn is slowly going to make its way to an opposition to that Neptune -- and that is going to be a wakeup call.

But something comes first. An important factor in all of this is Chiron. When Saturn enters Leo about one month from now, it immediately opposes Chiron. This is the fifth opposition of Saturn to Chiron in recent years, and the first with both planets in the new signs. (The Saturn in Cancer, Chiron in Capricorn oppositions happened in September 2003, October 2003, August 2004, and December 2004.) The last of these came with the Asian tsunami.

Here is the chart for the Saturn ingress to Leo, below. See where it makes aspects to your chart. See what shapes the patterns make. See if you can feel the story that this chart tells.

Saturn Ingress Leo - London chart

I'll be telling the story of the Capricorn Full Moon chart Friday at Planet Waves. Please drop in, and please subscribe -- it's how we sponsor this juicy project on, and you'll get to read my horoscopes twice a week and much else besides. Details at
Oh yeah -- one last thing, a few months ago we put together this Saturn Resources Page for readers of this column. Here is the link. It will keep you busy a while.

Here are a few of your questions this week.

Cutting-edge Capricorn

Hey Eric,

I Object, Your Honor! :-) As a Capricorn myself, I thoroughly object to the notation on the Ruler Chart in your answer on Cainer's site last week. You say, "Capricorn - Saturn - Modern Ruler, None (Modern? Capricorn?)"

What is it with all you astrologer types who knock us poor Capricorns as stuck-in-the-mud-traditional types -- :-P I know many old-fashioned people and most of then are certainly NOT Capricorns. In fact the Capris, to a person, are mostly just termed 'eccentric' by everyone who knows them. And they are more 'progressive' in their thinking than the Libras, Arians, Scorpios, Sadges, Leos that I seem to attract in droves.

In ancient India when the Puranas (ancient Vedic texts) were first written, they were called Purana coz it meant 'modern' today that word (and the texts) literally means old, even ancient. So, for all you know we may be cutting edge and everyone is just looking at it the wrong way. What do you mean by 'modern,' anyway? And why oh why are we so slandered? :-P

(from a 'modern' sea-goat)

Dear Sea-Goat,

Ah yes, just like a true Capricorn: a little formal, willing to assert yourself, quite intelligent, and witty enough to get everyone with a brain laughing.

I was counting on that Cap sense of humor of yours to pick up the fact that I was, in part, poking fun at the traditional qualities of the 10th sign of the zodiac. However, as I am a practicing Capricologist, with many years of experience and a fine collection of Capricorn charts and interesting people in my life who prove astrology is real, please note that I did not say, "stick in the mud." Or "boring." Or "old fashioned."

No, no, no.

First, a technical clarification: a modern planet means since a planet discovered the dawn of science. The opposite concept is traditional planet. The first modern planet was Uranus, discovered in 1781. Astrology generally refers to Uranus, Neptune and Pluto as the modern planets. I would also include Chiron, and at the moment, there is good work being done on many new planetary discoveries, such as Sedna and Varuna. But technically, as a term of art, the strict answer is: modern planet = Uranus, Pluto, and Neptune.

Now, back to Capricorn.

Have you ever met an actual goat? Of course you have. Have you ever met a boring goat? I doubt it. They are some of the most alive critters you'll find around a farm. Anyone who will stroll up to you and eat your jacket, or whack your leg with their head to get your attention, is having a good time.

However, we can't avoid the fact that Capricorn is the sign of tradition. And tradition is an interesting thing. It is a living thing. One of my teachers, a radical rabbi named Arthur Joseph Kushner, once gave me a little talk on the subject. He said, basically, that if a tradition does not change, it is dead. Capricorn, being very much alive, is the sign of the LIVING TRADITION.

And with the addition of modern planets and modern rulers, the tradition of astrology is changing, it is growing, and it's demonstrating to the world that it's not stuck in old-timey, spooky Medieval thinking, but rather that it can adapt and develop. And these adaptations are all subtle acts of revolution.

Richard Tarnas, author of "Prometheus the Awakener" (the best book on Uranus), notes that Uranus is considered the planet of revolution; but in mythology, he was the Greek sky-god who was overthrown by Saturn (the ruler of Capricorn). Saturn gets none too little credit for its ability to bring change to the world. But plenty of change it brings.

But the kind of change that Saturn, or by extension Capricorn, inaugurates has a lot to do with understanding the foundations of history. You were born Jan. 3, the same day as J.R.R. Tolkien. This is a Capricorn writer who was so in touch with history and the pre-historical past that he wrote an entire mythology as a gift to England, which he felt needed a set of national and cultural myths it could call its own. Like any good mythmaker, he worked with existing stories but approached them with a fresh point of view. He presented ancient stories to the contemporary world, and he certainly rang a bell.

Tolkien approaches the past, and relates the past and to the past -- whether it happened or not -- as if it was real and as if he were there. His history in "The Silmarillion" goes back to the beginning of time and proceeds to the end of the Third Age, when "The Lord of the Rings" begins. These renditions of history are directly applicable to the times in which we live. They are ancient, but distinctly modern in a very old way. Welcome to Capricorn.

I have a friend and accomplice also born Jan. 3, named Steve Bergstein. He is a civil rights lawyer, which means that he has to take the oldest principles of law, understand them, and apply them to modern times. He has to explain why the tradition is applicable now, or how we apply things that happen now to the concept of tradition. He is extraordinarily young to be arguing before federal appellate panels, but his proper, formal exterior, his polite and retreating demeanor, and his ability to function a little like an encyclopedia get him pretty far. He wins cases on constitutional grounds long considered to be useless. And he seems boring -- until you find out what an opinionated maverick he is.

I have another very good friend in New York named Christopher McGregor, who has both a Capricorn Sun and Moon (as do you). Chris, after doing a number of other kinds of work (including being an excellent auto mechanic and litigating many constitutional cases against the government, as he is a self-trained lawyer and legal historian), has found a true calling in handling extremely complex title searches involving antique deeds.

Antique deeds?

These are deeds for often extremely expensive properties that describe where the property is by saying it goes fifty paces from the old oak tree, up to the property line of old man Steadfedbetter, then proceeds ten links of chain down the hill to the pile of rocks by the creek. The chain of title needs to be reassembled, verified, and brought up to the present day, so it will stand up in court or with a title insurance company. He can put these ancient things back together and find the property on the ground like nobody else. Chris is rather frightening to those who perpetuate fraud by raising clouds of confusion created by the language in these documents, which can date back to land grants in the 17th century.

The thing about Chris is that he's a revolutionary -- one of the most honest to God true ones that I know (he refers to himself as a nonviolent revelationary).

A man I did not know, the beloved Che Guevara, was another master of both tradition and revolution, and he had the Capricorn Moon. Che was scholarly, intelligent, trained as a doctor, formal in his appearance, loyal to the last day of his life, and the engineer of the Cuban revolution.

Capricorn is a very interesting mix of energies. And in a most bizarre way, the essence of the idea of modern.

Objection sustained.

Next case.

Identifying Aspects -- Plus Exaltations

Dear Eric,

This may be a really silly question but.... is there ever an occasion when each planet is in the sign it rules?

Also, I wonder if having fewer aspects in a chart is a good thing? I don't seem to have much going on with interactions between planets, but tend to think this means less causes of friction? But maybe I am optimistic :)

Tina Louise

Dear Tina Louise,

Gawd, I hope not. The person would disappear into their chart. Plus, it would be a chart with a 'splash pattern' -- all the planets spun out in a circle. These are challenging charts because we all need focus and concentration in order to get anything done in life; fortunately most charts have unevenly distributed planets, and this provides people with the leverage they need to get through the day. A pile of planets really helps. It's not easy, but man, it's good for you.

Often that leverage is also provided by planets being allegedly poorly placed in signs. A planet can function exceedingly well in a sign opposite the one it rules, or where there is no apparent relationship. It does so because it can gather attention, energy and effort and in a sense, build itself up to something greater than it could be otherwise. (This is how Chiron works anywhere, and the effect is the same when a planet is in a sign it is not supposed to get along with. It's a bit of a pearl in the oyster effect.)

Tina Louise chart

As for your chart, you have quite a few aspects, including a stellium in Aquarius offering many conjunctions for you to sort out (Saturn, South Node, Mercury, Jupiter and Mars), as well as a number of squares to those planets from Neptune, which will take you very nearly forever to figure out but which will teach you a lot in the process, as well as an opposition from Chiron to Pluto (many people have this, and it's quite interesting and works very well to bring out the highly compatible energy of both planets), Mars opposite Uranus, and not to mention a wide but meaningful Sun-Uranus opposition that is the very essence of an the opposition aspect.

You have LOT of aspects. I have not even mentioned many sextiles to your Aries Moon. I suggest you pay for a real printout of your chart from a true chart service - Jonathan's online chart service.

Speaking of Rulerships

Last week I mentioned that I would do a bit more on a couple of the other essential dignities, including exaltation.

When you think of exaltation, think of my late Uncle Dick. He was a member of the Protective and Benevolent Order of the Elk. Each year, the Elk Lodge would elect its grand poobah (to borrow from the Flintstones) who was called the Exalted Ruler. And for a while, Uncle Dick was the Exalted Ruler of the Elks. We were all very proud of him.

Exaltation is a form of rulership. An online dictionary at Princeton University (we trust them, right?) defines the word exaltation as, "Of high moral or intellectual value; elevated in nature or style; an exalted ideal; a noble and lofty concept."

The glossary at comes up in a Google search with a definition specific to astrology: "The term used to describe a planet that is placed in its sign of exaltation, the sign, other than its one of dignity (natural rulership), in which it functions most smoothly because of the harmonious relationship between planet and sign."

So, exaltation is like the alt-ruler. It has a kind of dignified quality. But what I think is most important is that the ruling and exalted planets function as extensions of the sign they are involved with; and also they help us explain the sign they are associated with.

Here is an example. Pisces has three planets associated with it. One is Jupiter, the old ruler. One is Neptune, the modern ruler. Another is Venus, the exalted planet. I think that each of these three planets offers an idea of what Pisces is about, and may even give us a sense of the different kinds of Fish people there are out there.

Certainly, Venus helps us tune into the feminine and loving aspect of Pisces, and the down-to-Earth quality, that you're not necessarily going to find in big, transpersonal planets like Jupiter and Neptune. Venus personalizes Pisces, and it helps explain why certain Pisces are so driven. And it happens that Venus is rather well placed in this sign as well, meaning it's likely to function happily in the chart in Pisces, other aspects being even vaguely supportive.

Let's try another example, using a modern exaltation. In the old essential dignities chart (located at the bottom of last week's column), some signs don't have any exalted planets in the traditional system. Scorpio is one of them. But at some point, I'm going to guess it was the 1970s, somebody noticed that Uranus (one of the modern planets, that is, discovered since the dawn of science) has some associations with Scorpio.

Perhaps this has to do with a resonance between Mars and Uranus -- planets with very assertive energy. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Scorpio can have a shocking quality. Perhaps this has to do with both Scorpio and Uranus being rather sexy energies. Or maybe it just fit, intuitively. It would be interesting to search the astrological literature for the first references to Uranus in Scorpio being exalted, though it would be a bit difficult to do a thorough search unless someone already wrote a footnoted article.

Uranus is that aspect of Scorpio that is Scorpio but not what you normally think of as Scorpio.

Let's try a third. This is a good one. Saturn is exalted in Libra. Saturn being one of the traditional planets, its position of exaltation is long established, and agreed to by both Eastern and Western astrology.

Of course, when we think of Libra, we think of Venus. And when we think of the energies of Venus and Saturn, well, can they be more different? Those Saturn guys arguing the constitution in federal court, contrasted with the goddess of love eating grapes and strawberries?

And one might say, how can the sign where Venus rules have Saturn exalted? Here is where we need to go beyond appearances and listen to the wisdom of tradition. There is the implication that Saturn and Venus work very well together -- a fact which Vedic astrologers hold dear, and which will prove itself in the charts of the people you work with.

There is also the suggestion that Libra is one of the most Saturnian signs. That is, that Libra bestows stability, strength, official power and the blessing of those who hold official power. In fact, all the things that Libra traditionally represents, such as balance, aesthetics and the law, are things that Saturn and all its traditional energy support quite well.

Saturn helps us understand the one aspect of Libra that few people understand. Libra is often portrayed as the meek and mild sign. Then, John Lennon comes down the tracks. Or Oscar Wilde. Or Pataric Walker. Or Helen Hayes, or Eleanor Roosevelt, or Barbara Walters. People with lasting impact, and people who waved revolutions in their own right, which we know from the above question is the purview of Saturn.

Here's a new chart including rulership, exaltation, fall and detriment. I'll take a look at fall and detriment next week -- but just do yourself one favor -- don't take it too seriously. Planets can do VERY well in their sign of fall or detriment, sometimes far better than when they are supposedly well placed. So if you have planets in fall or detriment, DON'T WORRY.

Here is the chart. Also, remember: the signs applied to the modern planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, are still up for discussion. Thanks for checking in. See you over at Planet Waves, and catch you here next week. Remember, while you're over at Planet Waves, please click on the 'subscribe' link -- you'll be glad you did.

Planet table chart

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