The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Saturn & Jupiter in Existential Balance

Astrologically, we equate responsibility with Saturn.  With Saturn, we undertake our duties and obligations seriously and in this way, we achieve.

When things go wrong however, we’re more reluctant to take responsibility. Thus the downside of Saturn is fault and blame.

In On the Genealogy of Morals (3:15), Nietzsche has suggested that fault and blame are the bitter fruits of ‘responsibility’.  This is because in our society, responsibility is not understood in terms of our ‘ability to respond’ but instead in terms of the spirit of revenge.

In existentialist terms, the spirit of revenge is a powerful narcotic that numbs the inevitable pain and misery of existence.  ‘Shit happens’.  It happens despite the ‘best laid plans of mice and men’.

When we respect misfortune as an inevitable part of living, we can utilise our innate ability to respond to life  (Nietzsche).

But whilst embraced by the spirit of revenge, no man can respect true misfortune.  He can have no understanding of the context in which misfortune manifests.  Focused on channelling his passions into vengefulness and spite, such a man can never respect, let alone love,  anybody or anything.

Only a foolish man believes that each misfortune which befalls him, was intentionally directed at him.   Yet many of us do just that.

A more productive approach might be to take ourselves less seriously.   This might be achieved through the more positive aspects of irresponsibility – i.e. having lightheaded fun.  Not only does  light-heartedness promote health, but it also helps us to learn – and accept – basic realities about life.

The natural antidote of Saturn is Jupiter.  When Jupiter  functions properly,  we are optimistic, take chances and have good luck.  Too much Jupiter however leads to extravagance and frivolity – hence the bad associations with irresponsibility.

In my book, balance is the key to health and happiness.  It would seem Nietzsche might agree.  According to him (in a theme developed by Kundera in his novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being), the heaviest burden (responsibility) is also boundless freedom (irresponsibility).

In this regard, taking responsibility for your own life allows you to accept it for what it is – a game of chance in which sometimes you win… and sometimes you lose.

Blaming yourself or others achieves nothing but more pain.


Existentialists & Freedom of Choice – The Great Aquarian Myth

There isn’t an immediately obvious connection between Aquarius and existentialism, but please – hear me out.

Ruled by the opposing forces of Saturn (status quo) and Uranus (breaking new ground), Aquarians are  faced with impossible choices like those highlighted in the myth of Prometheus.

Prometheus was an altruistic demigod with the gift of foresight.  Seeing primitive man unable to keep warm or cook his meat, Prometheus  had a choice;  either (1) accept the great god Zeus’ refusal to share holy fire with mankind or (2) take action against the status quo.  He ‘chose’ the second.   For his efforts, he was chained to a cliff where an eagle picked out his liver anew.

According to Richard Tarnas, the archetypal complex of Saturn-Uranus  expresses itself through polarities. [1] Never are these tensions more manifest than when Saturn and Uranus are involved.

Thus it’s not surprising then that Saturn-Uranus can result with the phenomena of ‘choice angst’, which was dubbed by Maureen Dowd (herself born with Saturn square Uranus) in her 2009 New York Times article “Blue is the New Black”, as “the modern disease”.

According to Dowd, too much freedom of choice is inherently stressful. Existentialists would agree. Understandably then, given the tensions between Saturn and Uranus, it’s on the horizon of the Age of Aquarius that choice angst is on the rise.  Further, because Aquarius’s role is naturally that of an unappreciated visionary, then like the existentialist (who emphasizes freedom of choice and personal responsibility in a hostile world), Aquarius feels the odd man out.

Even worse.  Although both existentialists and Aquarius (Prometheus) seemingly have choices in reality they don’t.

This is because in order to be true to his nature and purpose, (and to do otherwise is for existentialists the ultimate bad faith) Aquarius must shatter the status quo (Saturn) and break new ground Uranus).   In other words, Uranus always wins out where Saturn is involved.

It is for this reason that I suggest that real freedom of choice in the Age of Aquarius is the great Aquarian Myth.


[1] World Transits 2000-2020 – An Overview, Journal of Archetypal Cosmology, Autumn 2010. – According to Tarnas, this Aquarian interplay between Saturn and Uranus is exactly what we’re experiencing with the current polarization of American politics; conservative, reactionary parties, such as the Tea Party movement, define themselves as the force of freedom and rebellion, with a generally right-wing anti-progressive ideology (Saturn) yet consciously adopting the methods characterisation of radical protest movements and demonstrations (Uranus).  Saturn is in opposition to Uranus from 2007-2012.

Indeed, Tarnas suggests that the name ‘Tea Party’ itself reflects the interplay of Saturn and Uranus, a symbol of America’s own beginnings when the country’s eighteenth-century founding fathers (Saturn) also called for liberty and rebellion (Uranus).  Remember that Uranus (the modern ruler of Aquarius) was first discovered in 1781 at the time of the French and American revolutions.  Until that time, the astrological ruler of Aquarius was Saturn alone.

%d bloggers like this: