Going Through Shit: Saturn in the Birth Chart
For the last little while, DMM has been keeping you up to date on what the stars (and your inner life) are up to with our astrology playlist series. Last October marked one full year of DMM giving you the knowledge and music you need to cope with a year of planetary influence! Happy anniversary, congratulations to both of us! Now that we’ve given you the rundown of sign archetypes and the artists that power each season, we’d like to change things up by giving you some more hands-on-help surviving the seasons. This will include updates on planetary goings on, more in-depth information on the Planets and the Houses, as well as Planetary Rulers, Nativity, and all the other astro-facets you have always been too intimidated to ask your hot friend who’s into that sort of thing about. Have no fear, DMM is here!
It’s been a ride thus far in our discussion of the planets and their significance in the birth chart. Thus far, we have traveled through, and discovered the significance of the terrestrial planets Mercury, Venus, and Mars. With Jupiter, we have officially begun to venture into what Astronomers refer to as the Jovian planets. Jovian is another term for gas giant, and the planets there described are Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. It’s worth mentioning that there is a firm delineation between these two groups of planets in Astrology as well. The rocky worlds of the terrestrial planets speak to our internal lives. Mercury is us saying words, Venus is our likes and dislikes. Gassious Jovians deal with what our externals are, how the world around us shapes us. Saturn deals with trying times and challenges, Uranus is new experiences and evolution, Neptune is the dark places, religiosity, metaphysics and blind spots, and tiny Pluto shapes the mentalities and patterns of whole generations. All things that take place outside our bodies and minds, in the big beautiful world. Mars is the go-between of these two forces, but remains grounded even more firmly than the other rocky planets in the self. There’s some irony: the smoky planets with no ground to stand on guide the material world, and planets with solid rock govern the indivineable inner life.
The next planet down the line from big old luck machine Jupiter is Saturn, whose domaine exists very contrary to the idea of good luck. Saturn is known for his rings, which bind him in place. Saturn in Astrology relates to barriers, consequences, slow growth over time, and the lessons we need to learn to grow into who we are meant to be. Things that get in our way, and we learn from. Obstacles. Saturn is a harsh master, and a heavy handed wielder of karmic energy. Saturn allows us to learn the consequences of our actions, forces us to recognize our mistakes, and once we have worked through them, learn, mature, grow, and age. Character building through bad things happening is the purpose of Saturn. Saturn holds a powerful place when it comes to shaping who we become and has a lot of say in career direction as well as personal growth. The Roman Saturn was a god of time, and his rings can be seen as a clock face that tick down the hour marks, marking time, and chapters in your life.
The most significant Saturnine chapter heading comes somewhere between a person's 27th and 31st birthday, with what is called the Saturn Return. Saturn's distance from the sun means it makes a slow in total orbit. It takes Saturn around 30 years to return to the place it was when you were born. With its return, the planet brings about a large Saturnian sequence of events that might be especially trying, but might also be equally rewarding. Saturn puts us through hell, but gives us the opportunity to level up when we’ve reached the end of our trial.
If you have learned anything from this series, it’s gotta be that the planets namesakes place in mythology is very closely tied to its orll in Astrology. Saturn was the father of Jupiter, a Titan from the era before the standard pantheon was birthed. Saturn was often depicted with a scythe, as one of his key roles was god of agriculture, with sowing and reaping representing the creation and completion of natural cycles. Roman Saturn was inspired by the (true?) story of the Grecian Titan Cronus, the father of Zeus. Cronus ruled over cycles and closure, and was present for intense periods of harsh change. Most notable amongst Cronus’ exploits was when Cronus consumed his three children, after hearing a prophecy that they would one day overthrow him (spoiler alert: they did.)
“Saturn Consuming his Son” by Francisco Goya, image courtesy of Wikipedia. That’s our boy right there.
The biggest festival celebrating Saturn's rule was Saturnalia, a time of feasting and gift giving, a Greco-Roman proto-Christmas. It’s worth mentioning that a big Saturn party happened right before there was a new year, at the conclusion of the previous year cycle. Saturn is also associated with wearing a cloak, as his time of celebration (which takes place in the Season of the sign he rules over, Capricorn) both happen in Winter when the weather is cold. A “deathly” figure in a cloak with a scythe: sound like anyone?
You’d the think that with all these themes of submersion and reamgance, Saturn would ruled over Scorpio. In truth, Saturn is the ruler of a sign whose relationship with the light-through-darkness dynamic is more nuanced: Capricorn. If there’s one thing Capricorn knows about, it’s keeping their nose to the grindstone. Cappies lives in a place of constant harshness and progress. They have a wide vision for the things that can happen, and a brutal, crystal-clear vision of what it takes to get there. It takes a lot! Capricorn sees that, and knows what must be sacrificed.
When someone says they are going through some shit, there is intense metaphorical value in what they are saying. Shit is a part of life, it is a once-living thing expelled from life. It is the smell and feel of death. It is also vitally important as a part of the ecosystem. Excrement makes really good fertilizer, something the Romans and Greeks both knew in spades, pun unintended. On its way to the surface in a well-fertilized piece of land, a growing plant will quite literally go through a lot of shit to reach its way to the surface. If it’s going through shit, it’s headed toward sunlight. In the drippy-ass words of King Krule from that one song you loved in 2013, “When you’re going through hell, you just keep going.”
Saturn can be a harsh master, but life can’t be all Venus, or all Mercury, or even all Mars. The outer planets sink into the nature of things, our gnostic centers, the god in every living and nonliving thing. We can’t wait to fuck you up with info on the rest of them. We’ll see all y’all next time, when we discuss the great and powerful Uranus.
With love, and a cool hand when shit is at its shittiest,