In prior posts, I’ve investigated several different ways of astrologically identifying your past and future karma using invaluable information gained by attending workshops/retreats lead by Judy Hall many years ago. We’ve looked at the Sun, Moon, nodal axis, and karmic relationships (through synastry). Now, it’s time to look at the placement of Saturn in your charts, as being ruler of the boundaries (the ‘ring-pass-not’) between the personal planets and the collective planets, he is truly the Lord of Karma.
Saturn / Lord of Karma
Astrologically, Saturn is equated with ‘virtues’ such as responsibility, duty, and obligation. Heavy going! Given this is karmic astrology, it was never going to be easy. Saturn may not be the brightest light on the block (we leave that to Jupiter), but he lies at the base of all our accomplishments. Hence, Saturn is often considered somewhat tedious (bywords include self-control, tact, thrift, and caution). But he is very necessary. In effect, Saturn equates to your backbone.
On the other hand, never forget that Saturn is two-faced – both a friend and a foe. With one hand, he gives you that structure & strength necessary to succeed in life but with the other, he makes you feel as like a foolish failure. This is why Saturn is oft associated with fault, failure, fear, guilt, and blame and, for this, he gets deserved bad press. When things go wrong, as inevitably they will do with Saturn, it’s easy to blame others. But in reality, when Saturn is in play, you cannot afford to blame anyone but yourself.
I suppose that at the end of the day, Saturn is doing us a favour by highlighting where it is exactly that we’re most vulnerable. How else we could we shore up those weaknesses to be strong? Given that as Judy Hall reminds us, karmic astrology is based on the premise that we are eternal, spiritual beings reincarnating into a physical body in order to perfect ourselves through multiple incarnations, it only makes sense to pay close attention to the lessons that Saturn would have us learn.
|Sign /House||Karmic Issue||Lesson to Learn|
|Aries / 1st House||Blockage in self-assertion||Karmic duty - when you're young, this feels like a burden or curse but as you grow older and more willingly take up obligations presented, it will get easier.|
|Taurus / 2nd House||Deep seated fears of poverty and/overcompensation for previous materialistic lives or consciously taken poverty vows.||Develop more traditional and healthier notions of what security and personal safety might mean.|
|Gemini / 3rd House||Blockages with communication - hearing or speech impediments and/or learning disabilities.||Need to find workable balance between when to speak and when to hold your tongue as well as taking full advantage of any/all learning opportunities, even it not of a traditional kind.|
|Cancer / 4th House||Feeling always cut-off from others and/or growing up in a strict household.||Drop expectations that you will be treated coldly and without affection and replace them with a warm and welcoming heart.|
|Leo / 5th House||Feeling inadequate/insignificant and/or ability to procreate or otherwise create.||Stop looking from validation from outside and learn to value yourself for who you are and what you create.|
|Virgo /6th House||May manifest in chronic health problems and/or living in servitude to others.||Instead of being evil, your body is a temple and when you are called upon to serve others, choose to do so with an open heart.|
|LIbra / 7th House||Blockage relating to partnership, old promises kept that are no longer valid or necessary.||Need to develop a healthy and happy relationship with yourself.|
|Scorpio / 8th House||Difficulties in sexual expression and/or intimacy - likely manifesting from prior celibacy vows - your own or inherited.||Take personal responsibility for your role in sexual relationships which in turn allows you to risk true intimacy.|
|Sagittarius / 9th House||Dark night of the soul - crisis in religious or spiritual or philosophical beliefs - likely to have arise from many prior lives bowing to the dogma of others.||Strike out and find your own path.|
|Capricorn / 10th House||Often manifests as debilitating fear of failure in worldly pursuits, especially in younger years.||Once you access your innate inner authority, this placement can help you achieve success especially in older years.|
|Aquarius / 11th House||Often manifests as feeling out of step with society, as well as deeply critical of your fellow men.||Realign yourself to 'higher' vibrations and in doing so, become a wise guide to lead your fellow men.|
|Pisces / 12th House||Often manifests with generalised feelings of guilty and powerless and/or fear of being out of control||Know thyself - and release the past and embrace not your inadequacies, but instead your personal strength. With age this becomes easier as you gain discipline and confidence.|
My Saturn is in Libra in my 4th house and I can definitely relate to feeling cut-off from others. Although not authoritarian in any sense of the word, the home in which I grew up was most certainly not warm and cuddly. My mother took centre stage and as I’ve noted in prior posts, tried to ‘steal’ my personal identity so that she could live her own unfilled life through mine. I was given every opportunity to do whatever it was that she’d not been able to do, which included piano lessons, which I did not want and never had wanted – but nevertheless got along with a whole load of guilt.
When assessing the karmic effects of my Saturn during this lifetime, it’s important to note that it doesn’t stand alone in my 4th house but is closely tied with Mercury and Neptune. This put me smack, dab into the mystical/pragmatist dilemma which combined with my communication karma, leaves me pretty much in fantasy land. I have what I have named the ‘Henry James’ syndrome’. Most of his novels (including my absolute favourite, The Portrait of a Lady, explore themes where naïve Americans go back to their European ‘roots’ to obtain the education and polish they didn’t get in their native land.
But eventually (like Henry James himself) they must come to terms with their roots, or otherwise wander aimlessly like Peter Pan. Those of you familiar with that brilliant 19th and early 20th century American author will know that he died here in England, never having returned home to America for other than a brief visit. Some might say that he was the archetypal Peter Pan, the lost boy, the eternal youth.
It’s not lost on me that in some strange way, I might even be a reincarnation of Mr Henry James – although clearly lacking his immense writerly talent. I myself have lived abroad in Europe for nearly thirty years and have not returned to my native land – even for a visit – for 18 of those years. I’m not actually certain where that leaves me. But as I started this series of karmic astrology post to help deal with some very complicated karmic issues that and most unpleasantly surfaced over the past month, I hope to make some progress on this.
(to be continued)
 In this regard, the history of Bildungsroman might be interesting – coined as it was in 1819 and ‘born’ around 1795-96 with Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship by Goethe. It’s a ‘coming of age’ story – but isn’t just passive – it really features a ‘sensitive’ person who goes in search of answers to life’s questions – and not so much about making money or getting a job.
And (perhaps not so surprisingly) the Bildungsroman ‘model’ is essentially German. Indeed, perhaps all ‘portrait’ motifs have some basis here. Certainly, there’s suggestion that this basically is what The Portrait of a Lady is all about – the title suggests it as does the plot – both indicating that this is a story about ‘process of development’. It’s more than a biography but shares some elements especially covering a lengthy period of time and includes accounts of (painful) experiences that ‘teach’ the heroine about herself and the world.
The end result is an ‘ethically charged change in consciousness’ – or what fiction writers know as the character arc, through which a series of what might otherwise be perceived as isolated events, characters develop toward what might be considered to be Aristotelian ideas of ‘virtue’.
But back to Isabel Archer herself, our heroine in The Portrait of a Lady. Apparently, James broke with the conventional resolution of the Bildungsroman because Isabel’s story doesn’t come to an end with the end of the book. It’s left open-ended and I wonder how this better suits her than if we closed her down however carefully and comfortably. I have a feeling that she and her story hold an important key not just for me but for everybody who wants to learn from his/her mistakes.