The Serious Business of Self


In the spirit of last week's injection of fresh astrological blood into our veins, I thought I'd carry on with the hyping of exciting planetary sign changes by offering you a sneak-peak into the next big coming attraction.

Next month, after two long years inching along through Cancer, lord-of-karma Saturn will be crossing over into Leo and shining its spotlight of seriousness onto one of the most sensitive topics of all: our own egos. With Saturn in Leo, it will be the time, like it or not, to consciously decide what we put out there into world as our Self.

Since Jun 03, Saturn has dwelt in Cancer, the sign of its detriment, or that which is opposite to the sign it rules (Capricorn)… in other words, the place where it feels least at home. To be fair, Saturn doesn't exactly hop around playing jubilant little jigs on its flute at any time, no matter what zodiac sign it travels through. That's not his style. Rather, Saturn is a stern authority figure, one that forces us to grow up by pointing out our limitations and expecting us to rise to the responsibility of living within them.

Saturn's tough-love tactics may be tough, but they're also loving. Without defining boundaries and constructing conscious strategies within them, we live too haphazardly and freeform, too likely to make the same mistakes over and over, without learning and improving. And don't we all seek to improve?

As I've described it before, Saturn in Cancer's action is akin to trying to construct a fence around a body of water—the desired object of containment continually seeps through the fissures and cracks because it can't, by nature, be contained. Cancer is a water sign in perpetual ebb and flow. It symbolizes the immediate sensations of personal emotion, the impressions we experience through our bodies (for instance, in our 'guts') that tell us we are taken care of or in danger, that report something is very right or very wrong or somewhere in between.

The challenge of Saturn in Cancer, which we've faced over these past two years, is a rather hairy one: How do we take our own emotional needs and feelings seriously, without becoming either (1) too easily swayed by others' emotional appeals made to our inner nurturers or (2) so emotionally self-contained that we block our hearts from genuinely caring for others?

In practice, it's more difficult than it might sound. If we are undisciplined with our sensitivities, we lose connection with our own emotional intuition, and others' feelings literally become ours. But if we are too strict with how and where we devote our care, then the inherent wateriness that emotionally links us to each other turns to rigid, frigid sheets of ice. Hopefully, during this Saturn-in-Cancer period, we've each found our best mode for paying due respect to our feelings, learning all the while (by trial and error, perhaps) to be neither too self-forgetfully wet nor self-protectively cold.

It's interesting to note that the Cancer Suns of both the US and of its president George W Bush have been impacted by Saturn's transit through Cancer. In fact, in its birthchart (set for Jul 4 1776), the US had three other planets in addition to the Sun placed in Cancer. Unsurprisingly, these past two years cast a sobering and serious air over the country, whether through popular rallying around increased restrictiveness (Saturn) in issues of home and family (Cancer) or in the hearts of those facing a solemn perception that the nation has repressed (Saturn) its caring nature (Cancer). Likewise, Bush, with natal Saturn along with Sun in Cancer, has been facing his second Saturn return over these past months (with its third peak hitting exactitude this week)—while we are not privy to what goes on behind his closed-very-tightly doors (natal Sun and Saturn in his 12th), this period has unquestionably delivered the cosmic fruits (good, bad and otherwise) of whatever he's sown and dropped them right at his feet.

It's also worth remembering that the Indian Ocean tsunami of Dec 04, occurring as Saturn made an exact opposition to Chiron, was a powerful and poignant symbolic manifestation of the Saturn-in-Cancer energy. Rather than a wall built around water, the tsunami was an actual wall made of water… and its ultimate impact, as it crashed against the shores of many nations, was one of raising international care to an unprecedented level. Of course, how deeply those of us who didn't suffer the direct impact were actually touched is a question we each must answer individually. Is it our emotion, or somebody else's?

With Saturn moving into Leo on Jul 16 (where it will stay through Sep 07), our highest duty also moves—from understanding how we feel, to standing up as living expressions of who we are. Leo is the zodiacal king, a regal sign in which the Sun shines its brightest and individuals come into their fullest, with pride and confidence and life-affirming joy. Strongly Leo types are the ones who stand on stage, declaring, 'Look at me!'—a quality that draws as much envy and annoyance as it does admiration and affection.

Misunderstandings about Leo arise when we overlook the main impetus motivating its colorful (and, yes, sometimes excessive) expressiveness—love. Leo is a sign that performs and dramatizes and makes magic and tirelessly courts attention because it seeks the exchange of personal love. Leo wants you to show your love for him… and, if aligned with his higher calling, is equally eager to show his love for you, too.

We all want love. And if Leo is more willing to put his hunger for love out there for us to react to (and, for our collective pleasure, is willing to entertain us in the process), we shouldn't necessarily resent him. We should seek inspiration from his dramatics… and follow suit with our own best expressions of self, expecting to receive the same acknowledgement and love.

Saturn's lessons for us in Leo will involve our need to discriminate between (1) displays of authentic self, with the intention of maximizing the free-flow of expression and love in all directions and (2) flashy attention-grabbing theatrics with no heart behind them, solely to feed the insatiable ego and lacking any return of good favor. Those who know who we are and stick close to that true Self will be rewarded with respect and maturity. The wannabes and greedy impostors will suffer their earned humbling.

This will not be the last you'll hear from me about Saturn in Leo… it's just a little teaser.

Saturn in Leo also means that the twentysomethings born approximately between late-1975 and mid-1978 will be experiencing the infamous Saturn return sometime during these next couple years, if it hasn't started already. The message for you folks is clear, but not necessarily easy to integrate: Time to grow up! When Saturn returns to its natal position, we must accept certain responsibilities we've been able to deflect up until then. As certain vestiges of our previous immaturity must be left at the wayside, loss or contraction of some kind is almost inevitable. And refusing to face the music only makes it worse… if not now, then certainly later.

Saturn return is also in the cards for the mid-1946 through early-1949 birthdate crew, but these boomers have an especially intense period in store over the coming two years. Second Saturn returns have a more final flavor, as many of us don't make it to a third round (which happens around age 87): It's time to seriously decide how we want to live out the rest of our lives, and what patterns of self-disrespect must be broken in order to enjoy truly peaceful 'golden years'.

As Pluto was also in Leo from around 1938 to 1958, the entire extended baby-boom generation is in for a bit of a wake-up call now. Where relationships, family and spirituality have been eschewed in favor of self-concerned pleasure and personal power, expect a difficult reality check—you're getting older, and the 'kids' younger than you are ripe to start getting more of what they want, perhaps at your expense. For all of you, but especially the '46-'49 bunch, it's time to focus on expressing the beautiful love and affection you possess… and not on flashing the wallet or the credentials or the surgically taut faces, none of which will, in the end, get you very far.

As always, I offer myself to you for personal consultations to help you work through all this stuff. Click here for more info…