by Boots Hart, CAP

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Saturn and Medea Direct

Medea by Klara Ziegler

The mythology…and the metaphysics of Saturn come to us in many a shape and form, one of the most vital of which – and at some level perhaps the scariest – is that of Saturn as the emblem of time. The idea that time itself is infinite and that ‘our time’ is both that we must cope with as our reality and the very reality that the time we have to be part of and active in ‘our time’ is limited can be very disquieting.

There’s another aspect of Saturn’s metaphysical meanings which is equally challenging, namely of Saturn as our ‘limits.’ We’re used to think of Saturn as the ‘extent of our grasp’ and thus, in keeping with its astrological rulership of earthy Capricorn, the emblem of our achievements. We’re even used to thinking of Saturn in its more airy form, where in Aquarius Saturn serves to symbolize how our ‘mastery’ (achieving an understanding of) things helps us find our place in this world, for good or ill.

I often think about Saturn as the walls we build to keep others out or to protect our Self. That seems to be part of Saturn’s functionally ‘exalted’ association with connective and relational Libra, which in practice seems as evident with a chart where Saturn is in Libra as one in which Saturn is in the chart’s 7th house.

And maybe that’s a clue to exaltations. Exaltations, which have to do with the house a planet falls in, seem as important as planets in signs, though they sure don’t get as much attention!

I've included the 'modern' planets (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) in this list of 
'traditional' rulerships because it would seem all three planets have been so
widely accepted as rulers of their respected signs. Once Pluto was "downgraded"
to dwarf planet it seemed logical that all the other dwarf planets (Huya, Eris,
Sedna and Haumea, among others) should also be assigned to signs of
rulership and detriment, but that hasn't happened yet.
As is evident from the above, the list of traditional Exaltations and signs of Fall
don't include any of the 'modern' planets (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) nor any
of the important asteroids, dwarf planets or asteroids. This doesn't mean that
astrologers don't think of them as functional (I certainly think of such things) but
the world's astrological community hasn't decided to mix any of these 'new-fangled'
ideas in with those which have come down to us - principally from ancient Greece  

Beyond this is another side of Saturn – Saturn as the idea and the reality of that individuality which on one hand makes us each so unique and valuable…and which on the other side means that we’re separate. We’re not ‘part’ of anything or anyone else at that vital and vulnerable level which incites all those feelings of loneliness. Or that nobody really understands us. Or – maybe – that as much as we want to and as long as we may know someone, we really never know who they are.

Not totally.

Being that Saturn is passing through Scorpio, every ounce and measure of all those things are in play now as Saturn goes on station to go direct. The moment of ‘turnabout’ comes on July 8th at 5:13 in the morning (UT/+0 time) and that gives us a rough ‘station allowance’ window which begins on July 6th and which extends through July 10th…but which may quite possibly be ‘felt’ a bit before or a bit after those dates – especially once you factor in your particular time zone.

The degree that Saturn is doing its turn in is 4 Scorpio, a degree which by definition is personal – and perhaps even physical. How we get along with others, what it takes to get along with them and whether we are ‘aligned’ with the right people is all up for testing, and since lore for this degree stresses whether we understand the ‘art’ involved in doing whatever it is we’re doing, we can all expect a note or brush with our own best abilities and our own sense-memory with regards to weakness.

Remembering that Saturn went retrograde back in February at 11 Scorpio (a deeply emotional degree which touches on our ability to balance that which is ‘native’ to us and that we want to build or achieve in the present) this can be a time when a lot of things come to the surface. And since most of us are ‘working’ on several things at once in our busy, daily lives, this may be a good time to get some perspective on where and what you’re on track with, and what is still some sort of personal stumbling block. Events now will tend to show up where we’ve been thinking too narrowly, and where we’ve managed to create difficulties for ourselves by various forms of zealous (and emotionally driven) perspectives which at their core have far more to do with our not wanting to have some idea or concept ‘invalidated’ by its not being right for everyone, or not being accepted by everyone than anything else.

Father Time as depicted in the Library of Congress' Rotunda Clock (detail)
(Sculptor, John Flanagan, 1896)

As happens with Scorpio, the tendency will be to deny. Or to lash out. Or to project onto others the inability to accept or think more broadly or ‘take criticism’ when the real issue may well be our own narrow perspective or inability to see things in any other way than that which suits our fancy and makes us feel good.

And thus, we feel even more lonely. And we want validation. For many of us this station will have us going back to what we ‘know we do right’ which may indeed be about something we are good at.

But then, again, maybe it’s something (or some perspective) we simply love too much, a note which comes from the idea that asteroid Medea is also going direct  - in Scorpio – on the same day as Saturn (July 8th).

Before we move on here, it’s also worth noting that July 8th is a moment for two other things. The first is a New Moon in Cancer. The second is that July 8th is the last day of the Lunar Nodes being at the Scorpio-Taurus cross-quarter points.

Let’s just put it like this…this is a moment when a lot of things are likely to be ‘coming home’ to us. Both the achievements and the missed opportunities and emotionally-driven mistakes are going to be felt, be known, get muddled over.

Medea is going direct at 16 Scorpio, a second decanate degree which should clue us in to the depth and perhaps the intensity of feelings which go into the issue(s) of the moment. 16 Scorpio being a degree with two very different sort of emotional qualities, our ability to reconcile (and maybe own) our part in any imbalances we see in others, in a situation or in the world is likely to be at the heart of things. And as usual with Scorpio (not to mention Medea), it’s a whole lot easier to say ‘they’re wrong’ than to be honest about that person in the mirror. (Or in our heart.)

So…what’s the challenge here? At it’s base, 16 Scorpio seems to be a test about ideas we believe in and those we are aligned with. It’s about things and people we feel an established loyalty or  easy commonalty with and whether, when someone different or foreign…someone who may not agree with us, or maybe someone who presents an idea at odds with our beliefs – how we treat them and their ideas. The issue comes down to kindness versus inhumanity, and sometimes that’s about us and sometimes that’s about the situation or other person. But in all instances, the question becomes whether we can teach others and ourselves how to be and live in this world without blowing things out of proportion or inciting difficulties because we have – in essence – blown our own position or alliances out of proportion in the situation at hand.

Perspective, in other words, is our friend now. The very dispassionate sort of willingness and ability to be ‘separate’ and uniquely ourselves without alliances (the Saturn part) is being underscored by Medea’s station-direct.

The drama of Medea many of us know from stories – principally the play by the Greek, Euripides. Medea falls in love with the hero Jason – he of Golden Fleece fame – and Medea’s love consumes her. After she bears Jason two children, he leaves her to marry Creusa (sometimes known as Glauce). Creusa is the daughter of a king, and by marrying her, Jason will seal an alliance which will further his very real and very worldly (Saturnine) ambitions.

Jason holding the golden fleece
(photo credit: Bertel Thorvalds)

Apparently he forgot about Medea – just as we may now forget (or realize we have forgotten) there that every situation and every relationship has many sides and many factors. Medea is a sorceress in her own right. She used her powers to protect Jason as he went about his heroic doings. Without Medea, it’s arguable that Jason would have never gotten to that golden fleece, the prize which entitled him to his bride.

Life is indeed very much more complicated than we often think of it as.

The news that Jason is going to marry Creusa drives Medea mad. And whether that surfaces now as anger or insanity (which sometimes look and sound alike) the idea that Medea goes to Creusa with a ‘poisonous gift’ – a dress which burns Creusa to death when she tries it on – is a totem parallel for some of the factors which go into the Saturn ‘life realities’ we are considering at this time.

Medea’s power is said to come from (or reflect) the energies of Hecate, an ancient goddess tied to the ideas of that which is unseen and those powers which ‘lie beyond life.’

Hecate by Johfra Bosschart (1973)
Is that death? Maybe, but not necessarily. And with Medea currently transiting Scorpio, the factors now being tapped into are far more likely to be about how life taps into our inner sense of security through situations in which we think we should (or where we want to) hold power and the ability to exercise control.

Hecate is not ‘evil’…she merely represents that beyond our understanding. Or at least our current understanding, which may be the key to this entire event. That it happens during an ongoing major planet water (read: emotional) grand trine says a lot about the strength and depth and prevalence of our feelings and about how what we are reacting to is in itself about emotionality.

But that doesn’t define right or wrong. Indeed, there may be no ‘right’ and no ‘wrong’ here, merely whether we are willing or able to employ some degree of ‘artfulness’ when dealing from an established personal ‘reality’ (Saturn going direct at 4 Scorpio) which may or may not itself be in (Medea direct at 16 Scorpio) in balance.

It’s easy to blame others. It’s not so easy to see why we – or those we love or are loyal to – incite those others to act as they do. Saying something is ‘wrong’ or ‘evil’ doesn’t fix it – only understanding it and considering why such things happen does. Denial only begets denial, as lack of understanding begets lack of acceptance.

Which is which is now playing out. The more we learn, the better off we will be – and the better we stand to become in the fullness of Saturnine time.


  1. From what you say above Venus is exalted in the 12th house. But, generally Venus in the 12th house is regarded as not a good placement. But it exalts in Pisces. I always thought the reason behind Pisces being its exalted sign is due to the fact that we can give and receive love at its purest form when we are able to dissolve all boundaries. So what you are saying here makes perfect sense. But what happens if your 12th house is Virgo and if your Venus is there? Somewhat of a contradiction…..

    1. This (entirely understandable) mishmosh is about the difference between Rulership, Exaltation and that 'other' concept of Accidental Dignity, which is entirely a matter of house - i.e., the 12th for Venus because Venus IS exalted in Pisces and Pisces IS the natural ruler of the 12th.

      (Long sentence? Breathe here!)

      To sort that through, the planet in a sign of Rulership acts "typically" or "naturally" where the planet in Exaltation 'exalts' the quality of sign or house in the sense that the SIGN'S quality (rather than the planet's) will be strongly expressed by that planet - your example being Venus in Pisces, which barring any terrible placement or aspect has the sort of 'unbounded love' you seem to be referring to.

      Against both of these, placement a the house of 'Accidental Dignity' describes a situation where the planet - regardless of what sign it is or isn't in - represents the tendency to embody that planet's traits (or planetary energy) in a manner consistent with the sign with all that being funneled through the 'realm' of that house.

      So Venus in Virgo in the 12th as Venus in its sign of may well have problems with how to get the job done or sloppiness or timeliness or even a lack of morality - that would be Venus in the sign of Fall highlighting issues with Virgoan dynamics. But in the 12th? Barring modifying factors, Venus in the 12th would also suggest someone who is perfectly okay with working behind the scenes, doing what they do in a 'supporting' role or even a situation where the personality of the person tends to be a bit hidden, whether that's their tendency to be shy or something like they tend to be busy when it would be optimal to be out there seeing and being seen.

      Again without any other factors getting into this mix, I would tend to look at Venus in the 12th - regardless of sign - as a willingness to try to make things happen, and so long as that is on the 'universal' or 12th house scale, good things certainly can happen. The question to my thinking would be more about the personal-versus-non personal dynamic...the expectation versus the willingness to work for the result, the sorting through the reality versus the hope or fantasy about how things could-should know, all THAT stuff!

      Two other factors I would toss in here: in a natal chart, much of the plus-or-minus of ANY of the personally 'operated' planets other than the Sun/Moon 'lights' (now we're talking Mars-Venus-Jupiter-Saturn) are going to be determined by Sect (whether the native is born during daylight or at night). AND there is an All Important Question of the condition of the planet ruling the sign on the cusp of the given house. A Virgo Venus in the 12th could have Virgo ON the 12th house cusp, which would direct us to Mercury's status to see whether the 'good or bad which comes out of the house' (inclusive of planets IN that house) will tend to be positive or negative. But there are plenty of charts out there with things like a Virgo Venus in the 12th with the 'Virgo quality' being energized by a well-placed Mercury (as ruler of Virgo) with the preceding sign - in this case Leo - on the 12th and a sulky, afflicted Sun ruling that 12th. In this example, though the native may try and try and try to master their Virgo Venus issues, they probably won't get there without dealing with some Sun-in-Leo quotient.

      And yes, such issues can change. We can master our reluctance, we can require of ourselves that we do better. In our Virgo Venus/Leo Sun example, we would look for such changes to happen as heavy (outer planet, TNO or Kuiper Belt object) transits move through...OR as a result of solar eclipse hits on/to that Sun.

      It does all sound somewhat contradictory on the surface...which fortunately the observations of thousands of years have helped us learn how to sort through!

    2. Thank you so much for your very clear answer with examples.

    3. You're entirely welcome! Glad to be of service.