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In Deference to Saturn

As Saturn creeps through its final days in Libra, it seems there are moments when we can’t wait for it to move along.

The sense of being at the very end of some theme or chapter or area of difficulty can accompany a planet as it gathers itself before moving into a whole other land, in this case, the land of Scorpio on October 5.

In each of our personal charts, Saturn has brought its diligence and grinding stone to the affairs and situations of the house with Libra on the cusp for the last two and a half years. We are in the last days of encapsulating what we can learn about this area of work, both inner and outer. Saturn in Libra may accentuate our awareness of beauty, and, for me, this is one of astrology’s most beautiful treasures — the gift of perspective.

I wrote about (what I think is) a modern concept about the end of the sign in a previous blog: “The first reference I’ve seen to the 29th degree (of any sign) as “the degree of expiation” is in Isabel Hickey’s Astrology: A Cosmic Science (1970). The degree of expiation suggests that all conditions and situations related to the sign have this one last degree, this one last moment to resolve themselves. It has the suggestion of atonement, propitiating a god, or the means through which atonement is made.” (1)

Heaven knows what’s next for any of us, but I’m finding myself wanting to acknowledge Saturn in Libra. (I thought of calling this blog An Ode to Saturn, but then Wikipedia informed me that the definition of ode means a lyrical verse, which I can’t quite conjure up just yet. (2))

So, I am thinking about Saturn’s diligence, faithfulness, and its being the honored guest in Libra, its sign of exaltation. (3)

We can think of one-to-one relationships as the most obvious sphere of Libra; the sign that stands across from Aries pure individualism. In Libra we can listen, cooperate, be diplomatic, and see what the others see.

I actually have had three distinct conversations in the past few days involving a clear intent to sort out areas of confusion and face what was incomplete. I was anxious about one situation in particular, which I had been avoiding for quite a while — nearly a year (!), in fact.

The appointed hour for our meeting came. (4) We both were anxious. A few deep breaths set a slow, steady tone and we were able to be open and vulnerable and forgiving and forgiven. It was a deeply rewarding conversation and I defer to Saturn for helping me stay on track and offering a gentle and dignified passageway into a new time.

These days I’m also collecting my thoughts and examining my priorities. Where is my inner commitment? What am I holding fast to for equipoise, balance, and stability, as we move ahead into the great and wildly unknown future?

I can strive for diligence and honesty — inside myself and with others — in just the right measure, without being rigid or dry or fearful.

Isabel Hickey offers a lovely thought in A Cosmic Science  (1970): “Saturn is exalted in Libra for it is through the sign of relationships that we grow in grace.”

The insights offered by Saturn, about to leave his place of being the honored guest, may be strong for many of us now.

Saturn, thank you for your time in Libra; it will not be until 2039 that you pass this way again.


(1)TMA blog: Total Solar Eclipse

(Although I remember references to early writers who thought a planet lost strength when it was at the very end, i.e., the 29th or 30th degree of any sign, I didn’t have time to research that for this article.)

(2) I did, however, get what we might consider an ode to Saturn in Libra in my email today:


O Lord, it is time
The summer was so vast
Put your shadows on the sundials
And in the fields let the wind loose.

Order the last fruits to become ripe
Give them two more sunny days
Push them to fulfillment
And force the last sweetness into the heavy wine.

He who has no house now will not build one
He who is alone will be so for a long time to come
Will stay awake, read, write long letters
And restlessly walk in the park among the blown leaves.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~

(Translated by Charlotte Schmid)

(3) For more on planetary dignities, see Skyscript.

(4) Although I didn’t elect the time, the stars, as ever, were eloquent. My friend, who is usually extremely punctual, arrived three minutes early, which placed Antares at 9° Sagittarius directly on the Ascendant. In The Horary Textbook John Frawley writes: “Being directly opposite Aldebaran, star of the spring equinox, Antares is associated with the autumn equinox. So as Aldebaran is about inception and new cycles starting, Antares is about closing down and cycles ending. This is by no means always negative.”