Marking the boundary between intellectual (Aquarius) and material (Capricorn) forms, Saturn, master of time and space, finds his old bones wedged in the median realm of the imaginal world (Pisces). Tasked with holding the tension between science and sensing and the mythopoetic world of meaning, the Grim Reaper steps back in time to 1818 to deliver a message to modern humans.
Standing at the threshold between the Age of Reason and Romanticism, Saturn meets Mary Shelley’s seminal fantasy fiction, Frankenstein, a tale of the proverbial mad scientist driven to push the boundaries of advanced technology, with little consideration for the soul of all things. (1)
Saturn, the outlier, oppositionist, arbiter of liminal spaces, wades into Piscean waters with two fishes swimming in contrary directions, held together by a string of meaning. Bringing an icy temperament, Cronos must find his way in their eternal dance between the material and spiritual realms.
Rising to the surface of cold, murky waters, the boundary keeper between what we know and don’t know grapples with the timeless question: “What does it mean to be a human?” For Dr. Victor Frankenstein, that critical inquiry is inconsequential to his blinding desire to create “life”:
One man’s life or death were but a small price to pay for the acquirement of the knowledge which I sought, for the dominion I should acquire and transmit over the elemental foes of our race.
Drunk on science and ambition, Dr. Frankenstein epitomizes the limits of the Age of Reason, when science and “rationality” were prized over faith, symbolic language, and supernatural realms. Driven by soulless technological knowledge, the monster he creates breeds unintended evil in the absence of the sacred:
I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart.
Symbolizing the emerging Romantic era (a reaction to the failures of the Enlightenment), the monster, a sentient creature with human emotion, is abandoned and shunned. Helpless in a Piscean double-bodied reality, he acts human, but doesn’t look human. Misunderstood and alone, the monster’s anguish leads him to revenge and violence.
Frankenstein is Born
The event chart of the first release of Frankenstein paints an accurate picture of Shelley’s ground-breaking novel and the zeitgeist of the times. Released on January 1, 1818, Saturn had just entered Pisces one month earlier, heralding a major shift from his dignified seats in Capricorn and Aquarius.
Anchored in the emotional depths of Piscean waters, Saturn wrestles with the edges of boundless potential and the impending loneliness that follows. No stranger to isolation and solitude, the Lord of Death must dive deeper into the emotional turmoil of disconnection too often overlooked by his stoic disposition.
Echoing Saturn’s cold ingress into big waters, the novel opens with Captain Robert Walton’s pending passage through the desolate Arctic Ocean. Like Victor Frankenstein with his scientific hubris, Walton fervently follows his ambition to explore uncharted territory. The journey leads to Saturnian seclusion, a pervasive theme for Shelley’s three main characters:
How slowly the time passes here, encompassed as I am by frost and snow … I have one want which I have never yet been able to satisfy and the absence of the object of which I now feel as a most severe evil. I have no friend.
Loners and outcasts, each must wrestle with alienation, not only from society but also from God, and the inner struggle with their conscience.
Embroiled in the unintended consequences of the first Industrial Revolution, the god of death visits the life-giving temple of Jupiter, transmuting the waste of dead matter back to life. As the monster’s body is crafted into existence, so is the reader’s consciousness awakened from the conditioning of the material paradigm.
Amplifying the confusion that can ensue in mutable water, readers must grapple with the question, “Who is the real monster?” True to the nature of the double-bodied signs, the name Frankenstein has often been mistakenly used to refer to the monster, rather than his creator.
Master alchemist Mars, retrograde in Gemini in the Frankenstein publication chart, sees Saturn by whole sign house. Wielding a mercurial scalpel, he provides testimony to a novel riddled with the after-effects of scientific discovery. Seemingly moving against the daily motion of the stars, Mars loses his self-agency. The sorcerer’s apprentice, in Mercury’s sign, knows enough to cast a successful spell, but may be unable to reverse course.
Saturn, the final judge, knows we reap what we sow, bringing the inevitable destruction of unbridled imagination to our attention. Ensconced in something fishy, the taskmaster draws a firm line when Jupiter’s resourcefulness goes unchecked.
Point of No Return
Mounted on a half-human, half-horse creature in his fiery home of Sagittarius, Saturn’s traditional host Jupiter espouses dogmatic viewpoints across a philosophical landscape. Blind passion runs high. The archer’s arrow is taut, pointed to the sky. No one knows where the poison-tipped arrow will land, though hopes are high.
Jupiter sends a dominant square to challenge Saturn’s cold, distant, and objective approach, while Venus’s copresence helps establish a bridge upon which sterile facts meet ethical considerations. But is it too late? By whole sign, retrograde Mars squares Saturn and opposes the planets in Sagittarius, but Mars will not perfect the square to Saturn before turning direct. The point of no return has been reached — Frankenstein’s monster takes his first breath.
Jupiter’s conjunction with enchanting Neptune exacerbates the thin line between fantasy and reality, while Saturn’s exaltation ruler Venus flanks Neptune on the other side. Swept up in birthing a new kind of human, blissful songs distort Frankenstein’s inner voice of reason:
A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me. No father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve theirs.
Saturn, as a guest of the exalted ruler Venus, is impacted by her power, and Venus, in turn, is impacted by her guest Saturn. Offering a double-sided effect to the newborn, Saturn brings ugliness into Aphrodite’s domain and Venus allows the beauty of the ill-fated creature to surface:
Believe me, Frankenstein, I was benevolent; my soul glowed with love and humanity; but am I not alone, miserably alone? You, my creator, abhor me; what hope can I gather from your fellow creatures, who owe me nothing? They spurn and hate me.
Just like the novel’s subtitle, “The Modern Prometheus,” Dr. Frankenstein steals the divine fire from the gods in his desire to know the secrets of heaven and earth. The consequences of science, with its overreaching tendencies, are a harsh reminder of nature’s terrifying power, and humanity’s inability to control it. At the end of Shelley’s legacy story, Frankenstein admits to Walton the failings of his slavish devotion and warns him:
Unhappy man! Do you share my madness? Have you drunk also of the intoxicating draught? Hear me — let me reveal my tale, and you will dash the cup from your lips!
Saturn Meets Mary Shelley
The publication date of Frankenstein coincides with Saturn transiting Shelley’s natal Ascendant — an applying trine within 1°. (2) Placed in her 9th house, Saturn presses a firm watermark upon her publication. Built to last, her novel would be read by millions, indicated by Saturn’s guests, the Sun and Mercury in Capricorn, making a close trine to Shelley’s natal Sun and Mercury in Virgo. Success would not come immediately but gradually, just as Saturn likes it!
Saturn in Pisces: Now and Then
Carrying the lineage of Frankenstein in his weathered bones, the Saturn in Pisces 2023 ingress chart reveals astounding similarities to the 1818 publication chart. Like images from a horror movie returning to haunt our waking and dreaming lives, the fractals of the mad scientist run amok.
God of experimental progress Uranus, mythologically associated with Prometheus, awakens Rahu’s position from January 1818 when the lunar nodes occupied Taurus and Scorpio, as they do today. Epochal monsters, ushered into existence by the dragon head’s ceaseless hunger, send a Scorpionic sting to our conscience. As Ketu cuts the ground under our feet, total control is relinquished, either by choice or against the will of the masses.
Residing in the sign of the Twins, Mars can be curious to a fault, his versatility screaming, “Every problem has a solution!” But now, with a debilitated Mercury in Pisces, the warrior’s natural skill for mechanical gestures can be informed by imaginal ingenuity, or unhinged from reality. Adding testimony, Mars makes a square to an idealist Neptune by 3° in the 2023 ingress chart.
Interestingly, both charts feature Mars in an extended stay in Gemini — one direct and one retrograde. Do the omens point to learning the lessons from Shelley’s gothic novel? Or is her story prophetic?
Likewise, the upcoming ingress chart places Venus and Jupiter — both benefic planets — in a fire sign, only now in action-oriented Aries and averse to (i.e., unable to see) Pisces. Ethical considerations and noble standards are toned down as Jupiter no longer resides in the luxury of Sagittarius, his own temple, and Aphrodite in Aries feels forlorn at the farthest point from her Libra home. Out of sight, out of mind, the benefics are less concerned with Saturn’s affairs. Unencumbered by the moral consequences of what goes on in his own house, Jupiter powers through, fueled by a clever and strategic warrior god.
What does it mean to be human? Who is the monster, really?
These are the questions Saturn carries with him from 200 years ago. How will 21st-century humans respond to the lightning-fast scientific and technological changes before us?
Saturn, the master of feigned appearances in the mutable sign of Pisces, is happy to leave us perplexed if we allow it. According to Liz Greene, Saturn and Pisces share the quality of “vague, illusive deception.” (3) Prolonged themes of suspended reality coat the tongue. Transhumanism, the idea that Homo sapiens can evolve beyond their Saturnian bones, dares to become Merriam-Webster’s most-used word for 2023, 2024, and 2025. In the words of Frankenstein’s monster:
My person was hideous and my stature gigantic. What did this mean? Who was I? What was I? Whence did I come? What was my destination? These questions continually recurred, but I was unable to solve them.
Quickened by currents in the Age of Air and Pluto’s do-si-do in and out of Aquarius, humanity is on the “brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter how we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before.” Referred to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, “it is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.” (4)
How do humans avoid the pitfalls of Dr. Victor Frankenstein at the precipice of epochal change? Will a wise and patient Saturn impose limits on advanced technology, slowing the rush to mass adoption? Or will the Piscean desire to manifest great works of art, for example, be coopted by artificial intelligence before a thorough exploration of the consequences?
The Ole Devil’s largess in Pisces might drive a wedge between the haves and have-nots, the wants and want-nots. If so, will people rise up and claim their corporal power driven by the longing for meaning and connection? Or will humanity turn away from the hard questions and lean on hope and faith, believing everything will work out for the best? Victor Frankenstein offers words of wisdom:
Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow.
References and Note
1. “Shelley started writing the story when she was 18, and the first edition was published anonymously in London on 1 January 1818, when she was 20.” Wikipedia: Frankenstein
2. Mary Shelley, August 30, 1797, 11:20 p.m. LMT: London, England. Rodden rating: AA. AstroDatabank: Mary Shelley
3. Liz Greene, Saturn, A New Look at an Old Devil, WeiserBooks, 1976, p. 18.
4. World Economic Forum: The Fourth Industrial Revolution: what it means and how to respond.
Neva Welton, Michelle Corbesier (authors), and Liz Wickhart (artist) launched Astrum Opus, a Substack astrozine in June 2022. Meandering through a kaleidoscope of creative astro takes, they cover everything from forecasting and chart delineations to archetypes and culture via writing, art, and podcasting. Please visit and subscribe (free or paid)!
Neva Welton combines her MA in Counseling Psychology with decades of esoteric and astrological studies to provide natal and forecast readings and multi-session astro counseling.
Passionate about sharing her love for the craft, Michelle Corbesier offers astrological readings, and private mentoring as well as guiding Nightlight Astrology students through multiple programs.
By day, Liz Wickhart is a Somatic Educator, Body Poet and Artist who incorporates earth, nature, and the heavens into her work. By night, she flies through the ethers of dimensional reality to arrive at fanciful ideas and carbon strength to carry on.