I once heard Robert Hand talk about Saturn in an early period in astrological history (Babylonian/Egyptian?). Saturn was not usually named, but called “the Sun at midnight.”
Saturn was not seen as a malefic — the question “Have you seen the Sun at midnight?” meant “Have you confronted Saturn?”
Those of us with planets or sensitive points in late Scorpio (or in 8th-harmonic aspect to 24°- 30° Scorpio) are now in some version of serious inner inquiry. Saturn got to 23° Scorpio in March, went retrograde, then turned direct at 16° in late July. Saturn just arrived at a new degree (24°) on November 1. The current weeks — until December 23 when Saturn enters Sagittarius — are Saturn’s first transit through these late degrees. Certainly, the ground for Saturn’s work has been well prepared (Saturn entered Scorpio in October 2012), but these late degrees are quite ready to complete the confrontation with Saturn in this cycle.
Alchemical and esoteric texts speak of Saturn as the planet of discipleship. Saturn is connected to the negrido, the blackness wherein the great work of self-knowledge starts. In Scorpio, this is not an intellectual pursuit, but rather a confrontation with one’s inner reality in often painful ways. Saturn is known of course to bring states of depression and melancholy, but these emotional experiences can lead us to begin to see in the dark, to see what has heretofore been hidden. (1)
(In alchemical language, the next stage is often said to be the albedo, the white phase, wherein we have a new understanding of ourselves, or a particular problem, and see a way to keep going.)
But now we are still moving towards the center of ourselves, where the seed of change can be most potently ignited.
Saturn’s connection is also to boundaries, the land of the “ring-pass-not” in esoteric lore. These rings, so astoundingly beautiful with Saturn — do not pass any opportunity you may have to see them through a telescope — are often imagined as the beliefs, the ego structures, that keep us separate. Saturn also suggests the temporarily impassible frontiers; with time, and with enormous patience and attentiveness, we observe ourselves carefully, slowly, and kindly.
Scorpio holds the deep mystery of all that is unredeemed, all those who have gone to the land of the shades, those parts of ourselves, heretofore unseen, unfelt, or trapped in memory or regret.
These last few weeks invite us to not move too hastily away from attending to the unconscious and the invisible world that is replete with meaning and carried through emotion. (2)
For some, this will be inevitable, as there is no ego structure left to keep the interior life at bay, and some certainly have the patience to wait, to sense as meaning begins to unfurl from the inside out.
Saturn has a way of stripping away aspects of consciousness wherein we prefer to dwell, those arenas (seen often as the Sun and the Moon) where we are recognized and rewarded, or at least feel comfortable. Saturn in Scorpio’s many gifts include the deep intelligence of instinct and intuition, and the acceptance that much of our inner lives cannot be put into words.
I have found a few poems from that often unspeakable land.
Rilke’s poem, Pushing Through, is often quoted as solace for the process of grief. It speaks of the essence of Saturn in Scorpio. We only have a few more weeks (well yes, a short revisit during his retrograde phase in summer 2015, but by then we will have tasted the spirit of Sagittarius to guide us), so let’s make the best of it.
It’s possible I am pushing through solid rock
in flintlike layers,
as the ore lies, alone;
I am such a long way in I see no way through,
and no space: everything is close to my face,
and everything close to my face is stone.
I don’t have much knowledge yet in grief –
so this massive darkness makes me small.
You be the master: make yourself fierce, break in: then your great transforming
will happen to me, and my great grief cry will happen to you.
Rainer Maria Rilke (translated by Robert Bly)
And this, by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.
Trust in the Slow Work of God
Above all, trust in the slow work of God
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new. And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability-
and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you.
your ideas mature gradually – let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste. Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow. Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be. Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
Above all, trust in the slow work of God, our loving vine-dresser. Amen.
(1) I have been wondering about Sect in this regard — see The Astrology of Sect by Chris Brennan (TMA 12/10) and Understanding Sect by Austin Coppock (TMA 10/13). Although Saturn is in Sect in a daytime chart, maybe those born at night have a somewhat easier passageway into the kind of interior process I am describing here. People born at night are naturally “beholden to the forces” of the night, both in symbolism and experience. (To quote Austin Coppock: “The implication of Sect is that the time one was born marks one as being more beholden to the forces of either day or night.”)
(2) Although likely known by mystics and healers since the beginning of time, the idea that ancestral memory may be carried in the DNA has been a theme in scientific circles with the current transit of Saturn in Scorpio.
See “Scientists have found that memories may be passed down through generations in our DNA”: The Mind Unleashed