Saturn-Neptune Opposition I: Disillusion & Awareness


I guess it's about time we started discussing the impending opposition of Saturn and Neptune… since it is arguably the most important astro-aspect affecting us over the next year or so.

This is the first of several detailed transmissions I'll be offering explicitly on this Saturn-Neptune topic over coming months, considering its importance to our current place in the world. Between now and July of '07, we'll witness three peaks of this transit (the first is on Aug 31 06)… and by the end of this time, I predict we will all have a more conscious awareness of how we've become dissatisfied, disconnected from inspiration, and resigned to falling short.

Sounds fun, right? Well, there is 'fun' in accepting reality, then working it back within range of our ideals. Once we admit the truth, the load is instantly half as heavy… and we can reassign our creativity toward improving upon it from there.

Saturn is always the harbinger of reality checks. Saturn makes things real whether we like it or not, with his constant reminders of limits we've reached and additional efforts still to make. He teaches discipline and respect for enduring achievement… at the expense of our childish desires to do whatever we want, without regard for short-term responsibility or long-term costs.

Above all else, Saturn forces us to grow up—or continually suffer, at the hands of our own refusal to do so.

The Neptune archetype, meanwhile, seems to fly in the face of everything Saturnian in nature. Where Saturn urges conservatism and grounded practicality, Neptune inspires idealism and faith in a higher purpose. Saturn encourages us to honor tradition and restraint; Neptune leads us to seek transcendence, with total conviction, in the most irrational of places.

Neptune is the fantasy to Saturn's reality—or (phrased from a more pro-Neptune vantage) the beauty, romance and spiritual bliss to Saturn's stick-in-the-mud literalism. As Neptune would relish in pointing out, what you see isn't always all you get.

Naturally, you can imagine a meeting of these two dissimilar planetary forces, in opposition like two formidable rivals seated across a conference table from one another, isn't always easy. It's the two voices in your head arguing with each other: Are you being silly to believe in such Neptunian truisms as 'love conquers all' or 'just do something that feels right, and the money will follow' or 'God is everywhere'? But if you preemptively refute all unprovable matters on logistical Saturnian grounds, aren't you freezing yourself into place and shutting off from the benevolent magic of life?

As you probably realize, neither voice is 100% right or wrong. Both Saturn's and Neptune's principles are important to revere, in order to lead a balanced existence. Too much Saturn, and we surrender to accepting reality as it is… without hope or vision for better times, and without openness to other perspectives. Excessive deference to Saturn may supposedly keep one safe and surefooted—but also saps the joy and spontaneity out of living. But too much Neptune, and we escape to a rose-colored world where we naively think wishing and praying will save us every time… even as we drink our sorrows away or desperately wait for Prince Charming to whisk us to the castle of our dreams. Excessive allowances made to Neptune will lead us to lose ourselves, in elusive grasps, ineffective motions and moody hypersensitivities.

At this opposition between Saturn and Neptune (the 'full moon' phase of their approximately 36-year cycle), we hit a point of recognition of where the balance has tipped too far one way or the other. We've done everything we 'should've', but there's a core of meaninglessness taking up space in the center. Or we've gotten nowhere fast, by resisting the necessary compromises to our ideals and floating detached from the real world. In either case, the realization often bears a rather deflating, depressive air to it.

One thing these two planets share in common is a propensity for emotional dissatisfaction—though the sensation stems from widely divergent sources. With Saturn, it's the pessimistic belief that this is all there is, and the resulting resignation to an eternity of the same. With Neptune, it's knowing how much there could be, and feeling endlessly underwhelmed by the pervasive absence of this imagined perfection.

The main theme, then, of this upcoming Saturn-Neptune opposition is acknowledgement of the rift between (1) our wide-eyed, idealistically-driven visions of human unity, hoped-for betterment and/or the quest for higher meaning and (2) our constrictive reality, crystallized in its current state through habit, cynical apathy and/or despotic imposition.

Over the next year or so, this theme will play out over and over again—in our personal lives, in the global political scene, in popular culture and metaphor. In some contexts, the missing voices of 'the people' (and 'the iconoclast', 'the counter-culture rebel' or 'the team player'), most recently obscured and blurred into ghostly immateriality by Neptune in Aquarius, will seek to reassert itself… to compensate for its over-permissiveness by rallying behind a renewed faith. In others, strong charismatic leaders and stars will need to recommit to responsible selfhood, as signified by Saturn in Leo… to ensure their grabs for love and attention are backed up by genuine generosity, not just hungry egos and charming personae.

In all areas, we'll be called on to try delicately balancing reality with vision, and self-expression with the greater good. Any rising dissatisfaction will serve as an emotional thermometer, to inform us where we must work harder or believe bigger. Solemnity and discontent, if used properly, should be calls to action.

This week, we get a taste of the Saturn-Neptune flavor, when Mars in Leo (recently conjunct Saturn) forms the opposition to Neptune (on Wed Jul 5). Its effect can be evidenced in the confused reactions we receive, as if our egoic actions somehow miss the mark (but we're not sure how), and the ineffectiveness we feel when our efforts appear to disintegrate into fog. Pay close attention to faint traces of melancholy, disillusion or flatness—over the coming months, these will be your keys to salvation. More later.