Astro Journal

Saturn in Capricorn: Responsibility and Self-Mastery

The ultimate reality test has arrived. The hot air and bluster of 2017 is about to be punctured by the Lord of Karma. As I said at the start of the year, any bubbles inflated by the Jupiter Uranus opposition will burst now – if they haven’t already. Saturn is here to make sure you walk your talk. It’s all work from now on!

Saturn transits Capricorn from December 2017 to December 2020. Here are the exact dates:

  • 20 December 2017 – 22 March 2020
  • 2 July 2020 – 17 December 2020

Saturn enters Capricorn the day before midwinter and the Sun joins him on the 21st. Midwinter festivals have been celebrated in the northern hemisphere for millennia with feasting and the ritual death and rebirth of the Sun King. (More on that here: The Origins of Xmas Part 1) The Romans held their Saturnalia festival at this time of year and connected the god with a Golden Age of abundance and plenty.

This side of Saturn reminds us that if we work with reality and abide by its rules, we’ll be looked after and rewarded with whatever we need. But before you start rubbing your hands and making the ultimate shopping list, abundance is meaningless unless its grounded in real need. A closer look at the symbol associated with Capricorn provides a clue to what that means.

Capricorn is represented by a sea-goat, a strange mythological creature that’s part goat and part fish. The symbol dates back to Mesopotamia and the Sumerian god of the waters, Enki. His name translates as Lord of the Earth and he was the god of civilisation, wisdom and culture – one of the ‘real’ Shining Ones, which I’ll be writing more about next year.

The sea-goat connects the earthy side of Capricorn with the waters of spirituality, and reminds us that nothing lasts long in this world if it’s not rooted in the soul. In fact, the highest expression of Capricorn is the bodhisattva. (To understand how this all fits together, dig for clues here: The Origins of Xmas Part 2)

Saturn rules Capricorn so he feels at home in this sign and shouldn’t take long to settle in and get down to business. Things should start to feel a little calmer or heavier as we come back down to earth. You might even feel some relief. Finally, a return to order. Perhaps now we can all stop shouting at each other and get organised and get some stuff done!

Capricorn is about achievement, ambition, and building structures that are designed to last. As an earth sign, it’s focused on reality and pragmatic solutions to practical problems. The Capricorn goat likes to climb and doesn’t give up easily – it’s stubborn, but resilient and determined. (More Capricorn keywords here)

These are all things Saturn has no trouble relating to, so during the next three years it should be easier to tap into the most positive expression of these archetypes. Saturn represents the limitations and restrictions of material reality. He’s often seen as a bad influence, but without this archetype there would be no manifest world. Nothing can exist without structure and order. The problems begin when structures become too limiting.

With Saturn transiting Capricorn this is a good time to work hard at building something solid in your life. Saturn helps to bring ideas and dreams down to earth and give them form, but only if you’re willing to put in the effort. To get the most out of this transit you’ll need to make a commitment and take your life seriously. Saturn demands that you take responsibility for yourself and your choices.

Whatever you decide to do, it needs to be grounded in reality. In other words, your dreams must be realistic. That doesn’t mean you should give up if you’re struggling. It means what you’re doing needs to be aligned with what’s right for you at the deepest level. This isn’t about working hard to impress your boss or make loads of money. And it’s not about submitting to duties that drain your soul of joy or the hard slog of working just to survive.

Now is the time to build the life you want, not the life you think you should want or what others think you should want. The next three years are about creating the structure and foundation for the rest of your life (or the next 29 years, at least). What this involves depends on where Saturn is transiting in your horoscope. But it might mean building a better career, or a healthier body, learning a new subject, getting a degree, improving your mind, renovating your house. Explore Saturn Transits for more possibilities.

To build a life that resonates with your deepest soul you need to know yourself. And to do that you must be honest and act with integrity. Hot air will be wasted now. You’ll be expected to demonstrate your skill and wisdom, and anyone in a position of authority will be tested.

Saturn in Capricorn demands that you carry your own load and live within your means. This might take a lot of work, but to make the most of this time you need to be mature enough to handle whatever reality throws at you. You might need to start at the bottom and work your way up, but unless you sprout wings, there’s only one way to climb a mountain – with discipline, effort, and hard work.

And this also happens to be the best way to learn about yourself, and about life. Saturn is seen as a teacher because he shows you where you’re going wrong – usually by forcing a confrontation with reality. So this transit is really about growing up and developing self-mastery. It sounds dull, but acceptance of your limits allows you to focus on what’s possible, and that helps you to achieve more in the long run.

The important thing to remember is that whatever you’re working towards, it must reflect who you really are. There’s no point in achieving something that ultimately doesn’t mean anything to you. Take the time to understand the deeper purpose of your life and why you believe you’re here. You don’t want to spend years working towards a goal only to discover it’s not worth it, or that you’ve gone after the wrong thing.

If you feel stuck or held back now, there could be many reasons. Perhaps you’re doing the wrong thing, or you’re doing the right thing in the wrong way. Or a bit of both. Or maybe the timing is off. Sometimes you just have to learn things the hard way. And if you fail now, take the lesson. Learn what you can and move on. You’ll be stronger for the experience by the end of the transit.

Whatever you’re doing, don’t expect results overnight. Saturn slows things down so you can really pay attention to what you’re doing. This is an opportunity to do things well, and what you build now (internally or externally) will last a long time. You could become an expert or an authority in your field. Just be careful not to overwork. You can accomplish a lot, but it could drain all the joy and fun out of your life.

This highlights one of the difficulties of Saturn transits: depression. The heaviness of this time could get you down and you may be more prone to self-doubt and pessimism. Overworking or dwelling on your problems could leave you feeling isolated and lacking in self-confidence, especially if things aren’t going well. You may tend to expect the worst or worry too much about meeting basic needs.

But you don’t have to beat yourself up. Use this time to practice turning your difficulties into virtues like endurance, perseverance, patience, and stamina. Focus on realism rather than pessimism, and remember that depression is a liar. Staying present and accepting limitations can reveal the freedom of living in the moment and the joy of being alive – another clue to why Capricorn is associated with the symbolism of Christmas.

It’s also worth remembering that the Capricorn goat is famous for his black sense of humour. The next three years could be good for satirists and comedy of a darker hue. Things may be getting serious, but that’s no reason for not having a laugh.

Keeping a sense of humour and your feet on the ground will also help you to deal with the dissolution of Neptune in Pisces and the wrecking ball of Pluto in Capricorn. As Saturn joins Pluto in Capricorn, he’ll double down on the Plutonian reality check and demand world leaders act with integrity and realism. Authority figures and people in power are already under pressure from Pluto, but Saturn may encourage more positive reforms. Old structures that aren’t up to the job can be re-made and strengthened, or finally overthrown.

A good example is the Berlin Wall. It was built in 1961, and then torn down in 1989. Saturn was in Capricorn both times, but when the Wall was demolished, he was joined by the conjunction of Uranus and Neptune – a more idealistic time.

Now Saturn is joining Pluto in Capricorn and moving towards a conjunction in January 2020, so the mood is considerably darker. There may be an increased focus on social status and symbols of power, and a return to more traditional and conservative values. We could see less tolerance for the liberal changes that have been happening recently – gay and transgender rights, or women’s reproductive rights, for example.

Saturn in Capricorn could strengthen the authoritarian agenda of anyone in power and current austerity programmes could get worse. Public services in the UK are already stretched to breaking point, and we still don’t know what the effects of Brexit will be on the economy. If we don’t bring some stability to social structures and services, the Saturn Pluto conjunction could hit us hard in 2020.

However, Saturn makes some good alignments with other planets during its transit through Capricorn, so this might provide the encouragement needed to push for positive reform. Governments will be held accountable for increasing levels of poverty and destitution, rising homelessness, food banks, the rationing of care in NHS hospitals, and on and on…

The system is on the brink of collapse and Saturn will either push it over the edge or act to reverse the damage that has already been done. We can expect to see more reputations being lost, and once powerful people falling from grace. But we can also expect the powerful to go out of their way to hang on their power and maintain the status quo – whatever the cost.

No matter how crazy things get in the world, Saturn in Capricorn encourages you to make choices that support your ability to live with integrity and simplicity. We’re moving towards a potentially huge shift in collective consciousness and governance in the world, but it depends on each of us taking our place – no matter how humble that place may be.

Cut the unnecessary out of your life. Be true to your deeper needs, and for goodness sake, grow up!

Image: The Shining

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