Teaching Its Lessons
Just as an infant exemplifies Jupiter’s enthusiastic expansiveness, an old person shows us something of Saturn’s timeworn qualities of constriction and contraction. In the eternal cycle of things life eventually narrows towards death, and Saturn’s unpopular task is to teach us the lessons within these ageing processes of time. Still, in the aged person, as much as arthritis, slowness and dreariness we expect to observe knowledge, maturity and self-discipline. This point illustrates the twin aspects of this much-feared planet.
It invariably requires repeated life lessons over a significant period of time to learn how to live in a manner that is sustainable and wholesome within the context of our community responsibilities. There is an undeniable duty that arises simply because we are alive – whether we like it or not, living on this planet Earth carries a burden of care and fair exchange; no free lunches. Many people experience this as an inner pressure to achieve something definite in the world and it is by doing so that we learn the deeper meaning and value of our capacity for work.
Such striving ambition to gain and hold positions of authority and influence is funded not by expansive joyful creativity but by a defensive urge for safety, security and self-preservation through tangible achievement, self-reliance and the development of inner strength. These are enduring qualities that enable us to weather the storms that life throws up and they cannot be learned without rigorously concentrated experiences where the physical body is so often threatened by discomfort, pain, starvation or other deprivations. Tests of endurance are necessary examinations; they are incentives to encourage or force us to do what otherwise we would not do.
The very principle of form is what gives structure and stability to our lives, and in social terms this translates as tradition, morality and law, policemen, father figures that wield authority and finger-wagging priests – in other words the enactment of discipline and punishment. We live in a world that is subject to the operation of cause and effect and so we will inevitably reap what we sow: if we act irresponsibly there will be a penalty…so says Saturn. This physical world is to do with limitation, scarcity and consequences – it is the very realm of Saturn, the wielder of karma.
Many people lack the prudence and maturity to consider the implications of their behaviour and yet intuitively understand the idea that ‘there is no such thing as a free lunch’. Doing something we know is wrong casts a shadow upon the conscience, creating a misalignment within the emotional body leading to a hesitancy to reveal our true position, and even includes the repression of feelings. In most people emotional blocks concentrate into knots of ingrained fear that lead to inflexible behaviour patterns and the consequential stiffness of the physical body that accelerates ageing and death.
In order to avoid this unfortunate outcome it is not enough to be responsible to others we must also be responsible to ourselves, by being truly authentic. If not real then we are false and there will be a price to pay for this dishonourable life attitude. If deviating from our true nature then Saturn is a rough task master that shows the limitations of false ego and demands that a person’s fundamental character is revealed – the purity of the true self that is not fashioned by social requirements or the shallow trivialities of what makes us popular; such ego games do not allow the necessary depth to experience and express the truth of who we are. We can’t have everything, so what actually do we choose? Such choices define our worth and our identity. Who are we when the chips are down?
Saturn’s job is to reveal in hard terms what is true when all fantasy and illusion is removed. It can be very strict, even merciless and painful when there is resistance – then we can expect the personality to display scepticism, a suspicious wariness of anything new, a cold, detached conservatism and in everything the risk of crystallisation into a general life-denying rigidity. Yet when willingly accepted into conscious awareness, its influence leads us to sensible caution, seriousness, worldly acumen, patience, practical economy, impartial justice, enduring values, moderation, orderliness and efficiency, which together establishes the profound wisdom that fosters inner peace.