Saturn square Neptune

The 270° square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces (both currently retrograde) has been in play since late 2015. As one of the dominant astrological themes of 2016 it deserves its own post.

Saturn is the wise elder of our solar system ~ paternal pragmatic mature responsible ~ he brings a dose of reality to whatsoever he contacts, setting boundaries, limits and slowing things down. It can be quite abrupt and even depressing as we come to terms with the Saturnian facts.

Neptune is the mystic ~ dreamy spiritual elusive transcendental ~ it’s subtle vibration often goes unnoticed as we are so busy with our “real world” concerns. But without Neptune life is lacking. We humans are connected to our spirit source, and something in us knows it = Neptune

When these two vastly different planetary influences meet this way, the energy is palpable. The square aspect brings friction and agitation regardless of the players involved. In this case the two signs involved are mutable (adaptable and comfortable with change), but Sagittarius is Yang fire and Pisces is Yin water. Sag wants freedom to explore understand expand and philosophise, while Pisces yearns to return to oneness, connecting with something larger than itself.

The distinctions are important, providing balance when the contact is made. Neptune knows no bounds ~ it can be chaotic lawless and anarchic. By contrast, Saturn is boundaries ~ limiting and restrained. Saturn’s realism and structure will temper Neptune’s fantastical visions and daydreams, helping us to bring them closer to manifestation. Saturn reminds us of the need to work ~ show up and make real tangible effort in pursuit of the heights that Neptune inspires.

Aspects are always seeking integration ~ as two planets come into contact we on Earth experience conflicting yearnings and can make effort to assimilate these in creative ways. Can we amalgamate chaos with order?

Inner work and spiritual practice are meaningful ways that we can make use of this moving square. Neptune represents spirituality and the unconscious, while Saturn symbolises work and practice ~ walking our talk.

Where we are unable or unwilling to consciously assimilate these energies we might find ourselves waking with a hangover, perhaps in both the metaphorical and the all-too-real-world head-thumping sense. As we mindlessly ramble on down Neptune’s slippery and treacherous low-road, allowing ourselves to be tempted time and again by the urge to temporarily escape reality, this year’s astroscape points to the folly of persistently choosing this well-worn path, strewn with lost shoes (glass slippers?), beer bottles, littered ciggie butts and polaroids of long-forgotten moments once considered unforgettable.

I wish not to be a killjoy. A well-lived and happy life must surely be filled with joy, laughter, good friends, and be punctuated with celebratory indulgence. But we cannot fool ourselves forever that such indulgences are necessary on the first Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday et al of each week, can we? And how much joy do we really find in these chemical-fuelled moments? Do the inevitable consequences feel disproportionate to the pleasures we sought the night before? How long can we claim debaucherous shenanigans to be an immersion in illuminating new experiences?

Twenty-sixteen poses these uncomfortable questions.

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Can we allow the well-lit clearly sign-posted boundaries of Saturn to guide our return to more authentic and transcendent Neptunian destinies?

Saturn in Sagittarius implores us to seek our own truth. For most of us, that truth cannot be found at the bottom of a whiskey bottle, or in the smokey blur of stoner-dom, or in the disturbingly repetitious thoughts of a meth habit. The truth is that we use drugs to change the ways think feel and behave.  But frequent drug use creates many more problems than it can ever solve.

To every thing there is a season. I am not arguing for nanny-state laws of prohibition, or self-imposed blanket bans that lead us away from whole-hearted living. We are human beings, blessed with conscious minds with which we are able to make discerning choices. There are certainly moments in life where a given substance can enhance an experience. But the key is to make decisions guided by an inner compass oriented toward our highest good. To weigh our options mindfully, then accept the consequences.

Just as Saturn aims to balance Neptune, Neptune seeks to inspire the stoic straight-laced Saturn ~ urging us to find commonality with our fellows, to develop compassion, to go with the flow and enjoy the moments in life that are all so fleeting.  Neptune reminds us to nourish the part of us that knows we are connected to something greater than ourselves. Inviting us inwards, to the silent still portal of divine experience. Measures of Saturnian success and status have no place here.

I have noticed that sometimes, among communities of spiritual people egos run rampant in ways that eclipse more traditional egoic arenas, such as perhaps the business world, medicine or show biz. It seems that the more time one spends devoted to practices intended to evolve consciousness but that are depleted in their value by their use as a tool of ego enhancement, the more points one is awarded in some spiritualist prizefight. To maintain an appearance of detachment in the face of life’s most challenging emotional upheavals is valued above authenticity and vulnerability. This feels to me to be another misled manifestation of the Saturn Neptune square. The application of Saturn’s ego boundaries to Neptune’s realm of mystery.

Saturn always demands integrity. Neptune inspires communion with the divine. No one can know the inner life of another. Despite low-road Saturn in Sagittarius’ insistent sermonising, God is not some abstract dogmatic conceptual doctrine found exclusively within the walls of a cathedral, ashram, chapel, synagogue or mosque. God is alive, dynamic, evolving, omnipresent, experiential, infinite love, found in the hearts of the incarcerated and indoctrinated alike, in badly lit shopping malls and magnificent sweeping landscapes…

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View from atop Sacre Coeur, Montmartre

In everyone

and everything

every atom of this expanding universe

Saturn+Neptune ~ one without the other and we are lost, either in the grey board room of conformity, or the technicolour haze of delusion