by Boots Hart, CAP

Monday, February 23, 2015

You Were Searching ... (the Saturn-Neptune Edition)

(left) Saturn (Kronos) by Ivan Akimov (1802, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow)
(right) Neptune by Angelo Bronzino
This post is in response to someone searching for the term ‘Saturn conjunct Neptune’ - which is not just a subject well deserving of a search (whoever typed this one gets applause) ... it’s something I’ve done a lot of research on firstly because of that most human and obvious of reasons (Neptune and Saturn are very prominent in my chart) and secondly, because as I’ve said before, time and cycles of time have always fascinated me - and Saturn/Neptune is a known synodic cycle, said cycle being the time it takes for a pair of objects (in this case, Saturn and Neptune) to conjunct and then conjunct yet again.

Synodic cycles are interesting: they seem to mark chapters in human development, whether that pertains to us as an individual, or society in its own right. And since over the years I have looked into this particular planetary twosome, this is going to thus become the post I put all of that into - which is one of the other purposes for this blog: to record information for freely searchable future reference ... and in this case it’s my hope I get it all written down.

After all, if I don’t, there may have to be a Saturn conjunct Neptune II: Return to Impossible Possibilities.

Also: considering the many nuances to go through here, this is the only search term for today. (See what happens when you hit something I’ve studied in particular?)

And if by chance you’re thinking ‘this isn’t about me or MY chart,’ think again. Sure, you may not have Saturn conjunct Neptune natally. And you may indeed have a Saturn positioned somewhere which Neptune’s current 164-year orbit isn’t going to get to during your life span.

But you DO have a Neptune in your natal chart ... and Saturn only takes 29.46 years to toddle once around the Sun, during which time, transiting Saturn will conjunct your natal Neptune. For instance, if you were born between the years 1970 and 1984, give or take a couple of weeks at either end of this period when Neptune was either coming out of Scorpio or going into Capricorn, your Neptune is in Sagittarius. And since Saturn arrived in Sagittarius as of December 2014, at some point between December 2014 and December 2017 when Saturn moves its ringed self into Capricorn your Neptune is going to get conjuncted.

So I’m just sayin’ ... you might want to read.

Besides, 2026 will eventually get here.

That date aside for the moment (I’ll get back to it), most astrologers (or astrologists, as some prefer) would agree that to put Saturn and Neptune into the same astrological breath, sentence or conjunction is very much akin to be connecting that which is tangible with something which is intangible in real time ... which if you think about it is just a tad hard. Saturn defines everything which ... well, everything which can be defined. It represents realities and facts as things we can depend on and structure our life around (Saturn) or on.

So this conjunction is connecting the highly definite with that which is Neptune and thus quintessentially nebulous...? Yes, it is. We’re talking about conjuncting Saturn with that which not only can never be defined but which always ends up revealing some vulnerability in US when we go to rely on it ... at which point we suddenly discover what we thought was so real is actually an illusion.

OUR illusion.

That would be very Saturn-Neptune, a quotient in which the Neptunian side of the thing can never be proven - it can only be trusted or relied on in faith.

Sometimes the Saturn in this pairing represents the strength with which we deal with some Neptunian weakness or vulnerability. Sometimes Neptune represents the softening of Saturn's exacting edge, allowing for a bit of humanity all around. With Neptune around, all can be wonderful if you don’t have to depend on it, which is why Things Neptunian include the lovely dream, the inspirational moment and that universal if ill-defined moment when on the brink of slipping into slumber all is released without prejudice, care or conscious effort.

Neptune's rings (photo credit: NASA-JPL)
And yes, Neptune can be the very essence of the haunted personality which manifests in any number of maladaptive and generally repetitive cycles even when someone knows full well that things are just fine.

If a human could be said to be spooked by their own shadow, that shadow would be their astrological Neptune. Neptunian things exist and often flourish so long as you trust them ... and Saturn represents that state of being which exists in reality. Granting that from sign to sign and house to house any set of symbols manifest differently, people with a natal Saturn-Neptune conjunction may excel in one area of their life and yet have substantial issues in another such as in the case of someone who is able to survive a lot of rough-and-tumble in their career with barely a break in stride but who at the same time is hugely sensitive. Or maybe they’d be sensitive to their own insecurities, but still perfectly capable of being hugely insensitive to insecurities in others. Seeing that on some level Saturn always refers to our ‘career’ in life, Saturn-Neptune can also indicate a Saturn career in any typically Neptunian field such as the arts, pharmaceuticals, the oil industry, charity work - or any of the helping professions which help those unable to help themselves in some regard.

Because this conjunction is going to get transited (over and over again) in any natal chart, which planet numerically comes first will also have some bearing on how the person experiences life: Saturn is all about clarity - sometimes even to the point of chilling clarity, and Neptune is a shifting, ever-present and ever-changing fog. With Saturn first and Neptune numerically second, barriers, facts and limits (the Saturn part of life) will tend to get ‘fuzzier’ or melted away as the planet which transits Saturn moves on to Neptune. So maybe everything is tough until you try it and then (much to your relief) things turn out not to be as bad as you thought they would be. Or maybe you’re someone who is diligent and uber-determined until something bursts your Neptune bubble, dream or illusion. Can you reassemble yourself? And if Neptune is transited first, will you learn to trust the process and to try as hard as you can on faith - a quality Saturn generally honors unless we’re trying to do something which is utterly Neptunian and unrealistic to begin with?

Saturn-Neptune by conjunction asks whether reality, whether or not we conceive of that as our reality or not, is worth trusting. This isn't easy; the natal square between these two symbols is known for all sorts of 'coping mechanisms' which either mimic or are out-and-out personal addictions. The conjunction isn't known for such manifestations, but the fact that the square is tells us that this intersecting of the "Is Factor" and "Maybe, if..." quotients are something natives either (Saturn) work to learn to harness responsibly (taking their 'medicine' along the way) or which they (Neptune) accept should be offered on faith but never insisted on, as insistence is a manifestation of ego (i.e., 'my way is the right way') and therefore contrary to core Neptunian values, which in conjunction to Saturn would indicate a 'dissolving' of what gets built, despite best intentions.

So this conjunction usefully asks whether we are willing to ‘see’ clearly and see beyond today. And yesterday, too - which could sometimes be even harder what with all Neptune's inbuilt-wistfulness (read: insecurity in and about time) and Saturn’s time-bound preference for the timely, the real, the proven, the status quo and certainly that which is blatantly proven by history.

Yes, even if given Neptune's presence Saturn's version of history could be include a little 'fuzzy calculus' and preferential editing in the mix.

This conjunction occurs every 37 years or so - over this past century there was one Saturn-Neptune conjunction in early Leo back in 1917, a second Saturn-Neptune conjunction in 1952-1953 in Libra, and a third Saturn-Neptune meeting in 1989 (into the earliest part of 1990) in Capricorn.

Furthermore, each one of these conjunctions came with its own special quirk. The Leo conjunction was in trine to dwarf planet Eris (discord), which on one hand marks this as a time when these planets by transit would indicate WWI ... and on the other (as a natal indicator) would speak to those who ‘came out of this period’ able to see challenges as motivation, as negatives - or as opportunities, any part of which could be used to benefit All (and therefore the Self as part of that All) ... or no one but the Self as part of a search for achievement and personal success.

Those with a Libra Saturn/Neptune conjunction have been faced with a substantially different dynamic. Currently in their early 60s, these people haven’t faced the internal yea-or-nay of the Saturn/Neptune-conjunct-in-Leo group, but then their general Saturn mission didn’t include the (Saturn) long-term Leo lesson in development of Self. Instead, this Libra Saturn/Neptune group has been getting a life doctorate on the subject of how to get along (and not get along) with others ... (nicely folded into) .... how to get them to get along (or not get along) with you. This conjunction in Libra differs from the Leo version also in that Saturn in Leo is Saturn in a sign (of detriment) where Saturn tends to act pushy (even arrogant), where Saturn in Libra aims for the noble and good thing and has to hone the Self along the way to getting there.

The problem is simple - and quite understandable, actually. Ultimately Saturn asks what we are willing to make of our Self and its promise is that others (and life, and the world) will reward us for what we’ve earned. So since Leo is all about developing that Self, that leaves us to applaud ourselves - which is not only not much fun, but which when done with a bit of Leo drama sounds a bit odd.

And yes, sometimes a touch arrogant - sometimes when all that a Saturn/Neptune in Leo person is doing is having a bit of personal fun.

(And yes, therein lies the problem, on occasion.)

Saturn in Libra is entirely different. Libra being the sign all about our relationship to others (and this world) and how the world (and others) react to us depending on who we really (Saturn) are and who we have (Saturn) worked to become ... Saturn in Libra becomes the hallmark and essence of what you put out comes back to you - which underlies why Saturn in Libra is a positive if the native is honest with themselves about who they are and what they are doing with the understanding that they are only going to get back what they put out there.

'Shadow of Demarcation' - In this photograph, Saturn's upper hemisphere is tinted
in green and blue and its lower hemisphere appears in
more creamy, warm-hued tones
(photo credit NASA JPL)
And then we factor in Neptune, which in Libra - a sign ruled by Venus - emphases the ‘hands off’ side of relationship, namely that which is platonic in the highest humanistic sense of the term. With Saturn, such a Neptune can indicate a negative blindness or a positive willingness to (Saturn) work interactively on (Neptune) faith - of some sort.

The tendency with Libra involved is to think that we need to have faith in them ... where the reality is that we need to have faith in our ability to be our Self in spite of whoever ‘they’ are - or in spite of whatever happens.

We don’t want to think that.

It’s true anyway.

As for what interesting modifier this conjunction is connected to, that would be Ixion.

Yes, Ixion the Plutino.

The thing about saying Ixion is a Plutino (for those who don’t want to go read the whole Ixion saga at the moment) is that while yes, the term ‘Plutinos’ is a reference to Pluto, what it means in terms of our current conversation is how like dwarf planet Pluto, Ixion’s orbit around the Sun is controlled and modified by Planet Neptune’s magnetic resonance.

So it’s back to Neptune.

Also unlike the Eris-to-Neptune/Saturn connection: that was a trine. Ixion to Saturn/Neptune is by conjunction, and that’s a whole other animal. Trines are about things already in motion where conjunctions refer to embodiment or being so directly confronted with something as to be either ‘saddled’ with it, unable to see it for what it truly is (good or bad), or so much in sync with/part of it that it is easy to (Neptune) assume that (Saturn) you’re the only party (Saturn) responsible for anything. Or maybe even everything ... (Neptune) imagine that.

This ‘Neptunian loop’ (or ‘echo,’ if you prefer) may  seem to make it harder to recognize some (Saturn)  realities as the realities they are - a situation which can simultaneously lead to insecurity on the inside and difficulties on the outside even while the ‘double helping’ of Neptune may well lend an ability to endure a lot even while you’re (as they say...) crying on the inside, knowing there’s nothing to do but surrender to the reality of whatever is going to (Saturn) be/become the (Saturn) reality you’re going to be (Neptune) inspired by next.

Probably more than either the other two conjunctions during the 1900-1999 period, this Ixion - Saturn - Neptune conglomeration is probably ripe to be affected more by house placement as well. The strong houses for Saturn will be the 7th, 10th and 11th, meaning effort is easy to summon up and/or maintain as required. The difficult houses for Saturn will be those in opposition to the above - namely the 1st, the 4th and/or the 5th, reflecting a Saturn placement which will tend to test the boundaries of any personal (1st house) agreement, long (4th house) term responsibilities and sort of as we discussed with regards to Leo (Leo being the natural sign of the 5th house) issues with frustration and often enough, rates of gratification.

But strength isn’t always a good thing. If we equate strength to loudness, there is a point at which your ears hurt, after all. So where Saturn may trend towards ‘overdoing’ either through action, insistence or restriction when positioned in the 10th or 11th (its  houses of natural rulership, challenging us to set limits as a measure of discipline on the Self), Neptune in the 12th represents a tendency to be very hard on one’s self with regards to ‘measuring up’ if  simultaneously unrealistic when it comes to the distinct probability that the dreams being held so dear would not be so wonderful in reality ... or that they are merely ill-conceived or unfeasible, all of which is a variation on the Neptune in 12 tendency to place faith in ideals to a greater degree than others in such a way to risk (and incite) greater disappointments and a greater sense of overall vulnerability which in Leo would be about the Self, in Libra would be about the validity of the relationship (whether it’s based on anything real) and/or whether others can be trusted.

And all that is without Saturn even being part of the picture.

As for the 1989 Saturn-Neptune conjunction in Capricorn, that one occurred in conjunction with Facies, a nebula long referred to in astrology as a ‘fixed star’ simply because astrological names come from a time long before telescopes could differentiate between a distant single star and the sort of distant star cluster known to us as a nebula.

Whatever name used, Facies has a reputation for presenting ‘complications’ and complicated scenarios, which in a sign about achievement and worldly standing (Capricorn) speaks to challenges neither easily dismissed nor easily worked through.

Two of Saturn's moons, Rhea in the foreground and tiny Epimetheus in the background
orbit with Saturn in the background and Saturn's rings all around.
(photo credit: Cassini Spacecraft - ISS, JPL, ESA, NASA)
With Neptune in Capricorn evoking everything from powerful illusions to illusions of power amidst a general questioning of what ‘world standing’ means ... with all this cast against Saturn in Capricorn’s strictly structural (and structurally strict) standards for achievement, most of the ‘fallback’ positions became all about holding into (or reverting to) some a status quo, sometimes even when said status quo was plainly outmoded. And all of which has ... and is likely to continue playing out in the lives of those born during this time as experiences which are as introspective (Saturn-Neptune) as speculative (Neptune-Saturn) ... with plenty of questioning between.

And then, about the time these people reached twenty-two (which for the record would be just after their first Chiron square), along came 2011 ... and Pluto’s conjunction of Facies - which would also be Pluto conjuncting the Saturn/Moon in the chart of any person or other entity (businesses, products, nations, organizations, etc.) ‘born’ during this time.

If you’re one of these people (or you own or are part of some company or whatnot founded during this 1989 time) you’ve probably noticed how messy these past couple of years have been. The worst of it would have been in 2011 through January 2013, but Pluto has only exited the orb of conjunction to this Saturn-Neptune conjunction as of November 2014.

And now Scheat is going to get eclipsed - which means anyone with this conjunction is going to have their Saturn-Neptune eclipsed, a three-year process which is bound to strip away many built-up walls (physical, emotional and otherwise) as we all learn that though life may not be what we want it to be, it still can be good. Productive. Worth being part of.

We just have to get past our Self ... and ourselves.

In conjuncting Facies, Pluto would also be conjuncting the Saturn/Neptune conjunction in these charts at a time when the young adults living those lives were just realizing some things (Chiron) can’t be learned in advance: you have to live through them and work with them in order to learn from them - or about them.

Some members of this natively Pluto-in-Scorpio generation will have reacted well enough. Others will have reacted by running scared (fear being the negative side of Saturn’s energetic) and still others will have felt discouraged or confounded by something unexpected altering their plans. Whichever group they belong to, much of their positions on things and overall priorities will begin to change as we move through 2017 into 2018 - the period during which this group will arrive at their first Saturn return and become (as we all do) more real, realistic and practical about life as a whole.

As for the next Saturn-Neptune conjunction, Saturn will begin catching up to Neptune (i.e., it will enter the five-degree orb of conjunction) during April of 2025  with Saturn and Neptune perfecting their conjunction (initiating another 37 year Saturn-Neptune synodic cycle) on February 20, 2026 - which I told you I would get back to (and now I have). Since this conjunction occurs in Aries, this will have Saturn in the sign opposite that (Libra) in which Saturn is exalted and where Saturn’s ability to ‘require’ standards manifests as a need for integrity of thought, in one’s words and with regards to agreements, lest all one does come (in time, time being Saturn’s byline) to nothing.

Or at least nothing you intended it to be.

Furthermore, in occurring at 0 Aries this conjunction is accompanied by not one, but two fixed stars: orange star Deneb Katos (Beta Ceti) in constellation Cetus and famously fixed red star Scheat - which in being at 29 Pisces is in line to be hit by this March’s 29 Pisces Solar Eclipse with exacting exactitude.

Said to bring a harshness and qualities of restraint and limitation, the first of these stars (Deneb Katos) isn’t written about much. But its constellation (Cetus) though popularly depicted today as a whale, originated with the idea of a classic ‘sea monster.’ And yet, this is the first star in the zodiac lists (by degree order). So is this star about the process of ‘being born,’ or ‘giving birth’ to something in one’s life, making the ‘whale’ more of a ‘whale of a job’ and the ‘sea monster’ the oceanic depths of Pisces just ‘behind’ and our instinctive desire to avoid and (if possible) deny our own vulnerabilities?

As for Scheat, Scheat is a star which in most general terms is about being denied or denying something ... generally to, or about others. And for good or ill, that fits certain modes of both Saturn and Neptune. Neptune effects are often said to ‘veil’ us - or the truth, depending on how willing we are to face our own feelings (and where they come from), particularly with regards to lingering feelings of vulnerability, that being what often sets Scheat dynamics off, whether in us or on the part of those we are interacting with - which is a good part of Scheat’s Piscean, critical degree presence.

When Scheat is triggered, nobody responds as you think they will - or as you think they should, or as you would hope they would because right is right and facts are facts and all that. That doesn’t mean things will work out badly, but it does virtually ensure that we will feel badly. And since Pisces as a sign is all about getting us to feel, and in particular about getting us to explore our most human and problematic human, mortal feelings, that’s about reality.

And reality is symbolized by Saturn.

Also to consider with any such conjunction: the state of the planet ruling the sign. Obviously the Sun (ruler of Leo) never goes retrograde, but Venus (ruler of Leo) does, Saturn (ruler of Capricorn and co-ruler of Aquarius) does and so does that spicy little ruling planet associated with Aries named Mars.

If the planetary ruler of this conjunction is retrograde in the nativity, in the return chart for that planet (anywhere along the lifeline) or a solar return chart, this conjunction will be turned inward ... or at least need to function/be functional 'internally' before anything which is going to (Neptune) satisfy the native is going to be (Saturn) done. Matters which pertain to this conjunction will also tend to be somewhat delayed or require/be in the process of getting a restructuring, some 'reconceiving' or some 'reinventing' during periods when that planetary ruler of the conjunction goes retrograde. 

Also ... as touched on earlier, transits to Saturn conjunct Neptune depend in part on which planet numerically comes first, as that’s the planet which is going to be transited first, sort of ‘setting the scene’ for that which follows. conjunction can be problematic. Currently in Sagittarius, Saturn itself will be entering Capricorn in late 2017 - just as Saturn comes into orb to sextile Neptune, representing an opportunity.

Will we take advantage of that opportunity when it comes along? Or will we not realize that the reality we’re resisting is meant to be our own?

That’s an answer well worth searching out - which in this case would mean searching within.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
To the Person who searched for "Saturn conjunct Neptune,"

Are you still glad you asked?

Seriously, I hope this is of some help to you ... and others. It's not the world's easiest configuration, but some very accomplished people have this conjunction in their chart (which among other things proves that we can get past the Saturn-Neptune habit of creating some 'reality' in our mind which turns out to be OUR reality ... but not that of anyone else!).

But some people with this conjunction do find ways to use it well. In fact, it may be that very separation - that of success (which is a Saturn quotient) from satisfaction (which is far more Neptunian) which lies at the heart of many of the challenges you (assuming this is your configuration) will experience. So if you can keep those two things separate as you utilize the strength and grace of this configuration while doing each to your level best within the astrological boundaries provided (no running afoul, please), there is much to be (Saturn) learned and gained - which whether you (Neptunian) know it or not will (Saturn) earn a satisfaction few who do not spend a lifetime wrestling with the finer points of (Neptune) infinite (Saturn) finality will ever know. 

All the Best,

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