One of this year's major aspect patterns is the Saturn-Chiron Square. It is already in play, and will go through the end of 2017. This is the second year in a row we've had a major, year-long aspect pattern involving Saturn. So in order to gain perspective on this year ahead, let's first take a look back at last year’s Saturn-Neptune square.
Goodbye, Saturn Neptune Square. What did we learn?
Saturn in Sagittarius spent nearly a year, from fall of 2015 through the fall of 2016, squaring Neptune in Pisces. (You can find my writings about that aspect here). The overall theme was “The Dream vs. Reality.” During the challenging Saturn-Neptune time, we were called to take practical action on our dreams – or give up on certain dreams entirely if they did not pass the reality test. We were forced to measure our mere wishes against the cold, hard facts. One way to cope with Saturn-Neptune was get ourselves centered through a regular spiritual practice. The point was to find meaning amidst the turmoil, and to strike a balance between faith and practicality. Whether or not we were able to do these things, we likely experienced some disappointment and confusion as we reckoned with the dissolution of structures within our individual lives, and across our country.
2016 was certainly a year in which many of us faced the loss of a reality that used to exist, or the dissolution of beliefs that we had erroneously held true. I refer not only to the unfortunate election of a Reality TV star as the U.S. President, but also to the wider influence of Saturn-Neptune. I think of Brexit. I think of Syria’s refugee crisis. I think of the darkening of the European political landscape that reflects a desire to return to a “traditional” time (shadow Saturn) in which things were simpler, and – pun intended – more black and white.
But that reality also never existed. Many are scrambling to recover a past that never was. A large portion of the collective seems to have turned toward the dark manifestation of Saturn energy to solve Neptunian problems. Saturn rules boundaries, restriction, and limitation. Globally, we’ve seen the mantra to build “walls” – metaphorically or literally – against the influx of a perceived overwhelming threat (Neptune).
In our individual lives, the work has been to learn to surrender (Neptune) to that over which we have no control. And, to put our shoulder to the wheel where we do have control (Saturn). All we can ever do is play out our individual part.
But a gift of Saturn is that it lifts the scales from our eyes. So now we are undergoing another year-long Saturn square transit, this time to Chiron in Pisces. Let’s take a look at how we might meet the challenges of this pattern.
Saturn in Sagittarius
Let's start by considering the meaning of Saturn’s presence in Sagittarius. Saturn entered the sign on December 23, 2014, and will leave it on December 19, 2017. Sagittarius is the sign associated with finding meaning, with the search for our personal truth. I think of a line here from Pontius Pilate in the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. He says, when debating with Jesus:
But what is truth? Is truth unchanging law? We both have truths Are mine the same as yours?
Saturn’s time in Sagittarius has forced us to contemplate personal and collective truths. It has become abundantly clear over the past year that we do not all share the same truths. But some of us (of any political or religious stripe) may still feel that their Truth is unchanging law. Sagittarius is also associated with religion and dogma -- the beliefs that people espouse in order to give their daily lives meaning and structure. It’s very challenging for many to let go of these deeply held views – and to acknowledge that the views of others may also hold the seeds of Truth.
So the question on our plate now is: Can we grow up (Saturn) in this area? Saturn in Sagittarius asks us to open consider that some of our Truths may be wrong. Or, that someone else’s opposing Truth is just as correct for them as ours is for us. This requires a high level of maturity, wisdom, and patience – in other words, positive expression of Saturn.
Chiron in Pisces
Chiron is about wounding and healing. Healing with Chiron comes through the conscious realization of the sources of our wounds. Chiron transiting Pisces (April 2010 – April 2018) makes us aware of our collective wounds about being too sensitive or empathic. It can also bring to the surface an awareness of the suffering of other beings – people and animals. The opportunity of Chiron in Pisces is to be aware of this attunement to the suffering of others, and to see how in this suffering, we are all one (Pisces). The challenge of Chiron in Pisces is not to numb out, shut down, or withdraw in self-protection. We need to acknowledge the suffering that surrounds us, and to see how another’s pain is equally our own.
Saturn Meets Chiron
I am calling this connection between Saturn and Chiron “The Inner Child Meets the Inner Adult.” Because of Chiron's mythic connection to childhood wounds, Chiron patterns also may involve Inner Child work. Often, the wounds derive from our childhood traumas. Some tension will be involved between the Child within vs. the archetypal Parent within that pushes us to mature. We need to strike a balance between meeting the needs of our Inner Child and attending to the responsibilities of life as dictated by our Inner Adult.
Chiron is also associated with mentoring, and Saturn represents the archetype of the Elder. There can be a powerful opportunity for each of us this year to own the authority of our experience and skills. We can heal ourselves by sharing our wisdom with others.
Here are the potential uses of the energy of Saturn square Chiron:
The shadow expression
Avoiding responsibility, agonizing over old hurts, letting resentment brew, self-punishing behavior, over-sensitivity, escapism to avoid pain, martyrdom
The optimal expression
Recognizing the need to heal, no-nonsense attitudes toward self-care, letting go of the past, taking appropriate responsibility, taking an objective view of one’s challenges, volunteering, mentoring
The choice lies with each of us. I suspect that the opportunity is to become more spiritually grown up than we have ever been. We do this by acknowledging the suffering – others and our own. Then, we do what we can.