I have been cooking up some longer-form writings that go along with Saturn’s conjunction with the South Node from now through October. Intuitively, I was led to focus on this extended conjunction, and I have found a whole lot of meaning and focus—and even a shimmer of light for the world in the midst of the anthropocene. What follows was written in a burst following the writing of my previous post inspired by the book Of Water and the Spirit. It concerns Saturn’s role in the protection of indigenous and magical traditions and truths.
Saturn’s Role in the Divinities
When I think of the sacred healing modalities in astrological terms, I see them reflected in the planets who orbit the Sun outside of Saturn. Uranus, the ruler of astrology; Neptune, a magnet of emotional and psychic insight; Chiron and soul-sprung healing; and Pluto of the underworld, where deep shifts and true transformation begin. These planets are not visible to the naked eye, and so were not discovered until thousands of years after astrology as we know it was first taking form. For these millenia, Saturn was known as the most distant planet in our solar system, and so it carried indications of endings, limits, boundaries, and borders.
The truth that revealed itself in time is that Saturn is a guardian of the magical outer planets, and so in order to properly harness and engage with their magic, a person must pass first through Saturn’s rites. Without enduring Saturn’s lessons, we cannot properly respect the power of the outer planets. In intact indigenous cultures, this equates to initiation. Of course, in dominant culture, we have nothing like initiation. But Saturn doesn’t care. Everyone who lives to see their thirties goes through a Saturn return, and this initiation is formed around the birth chart and life circumstances of each person.
Improper (and dangerous) practitioners of the divinities are those who lack a developed respect and reverence—Saturn lessons—for their tradition, be it astrology, tarot, shamanic journeying, energy work, etc. Saturn will always stand guard before the bridge that connects humankind with the magical practices and access to greater truth. In traditional cultures, rituals, initiations and tribal elders serve in this Saturnine role. In modern dominant culture, however, Saturn has become terribly polluted, and perhaps mortally injured, in its guardianship of the sacred.
For numerous off-base reasons, dominant culture teaches little-to-no respect for the aging population. Their wisdom is dismissed as out-of-touch with a rapidly-changing world with limited capacity for the creative reflection which would translate elders’ lessons into applicable teachings. Dominant culture has replaced elderhood with institutional, dueling authorities on Truth: science and religion. The integrity of these institutions is constantly derailed by their adherence to modern times’ hulkingest power and the most tragic manifestation of Saturn: colonialist capitalism, its foundation of false scarcity leading to greed and competition, and the cruelty inherent.
For the time over which these trends have developed, the divinities have been skillfully casted into irrelevance by manifestations of the polluted Saturn. Nonetheless, they still exist in some form, and are practiced and appreciated by a small portion of the population. Saturn’s 2020 conjunctions with Pluto will perhaps help heal dominant culture’s darkly mutated forms of the planet (edit: In retrospect, you can’t say they didn’t try!), and the journey toward a more healthy Saturn may indeed begin. But whether or not this occurs, spiritual practitioners have a duty to uphold their traditions, and to pass their ancient knowledge on to descending generations. Along with the world’s intact traditional cultures, these orphaned diviners—outside of the rare, misaligned practitioners—still have some semblance or variation of a properly functioning, spirit-protecting Saturn. And perhaps that will serve the world to come as our disconnected populations search for grounding.