by Boots Hart, CAP

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Saturn Retrograde - Phaethon Direct

Seen above: Saturn's north polar hexagon, dwarf moon Mimas
(246 miles/396 km across) and part of Saturn's A ring
(photo credit: NASA, JPL, Caltech, Mar 2013)
With less than a week before nature displays her spectacular nature through gracing our planet with a total solar eclipse at 29 Pisces, the soul-searching nature of the eclipse is well upon us. We may not even notice it ... but something is ‘moving’ us from somewhere we have been to somewhere we need to be - particularly on a very personal and esoteric level.

How deeply or intrinsically your life - or more perhaps your feelings about life (and your life amidst all) is impacted ... ultimately ... by this eclipse has everything to do with your personal natal chart, of course. But we do know those who will ultimately find these weeks past and ahead together forming some greater life ‘turning point’ will like as not have a planet, node, dwarf planet, axis or cusp point in aspect to the eclipse’s position (29 Pisces), which would be true if they fall within the following range(s):



-degrees affected using standard (Ptolemaic) aspects- 

-Conjunction (5 degrees of orb): 24-29 Pisces, 0-4 Aries

-Squares (5 degrees degrees of orb): 24-29 Sagittarius, 0-4 Capricorn ... (and) ... 24-29 Gemini, 0-4 Cancer

-Opposition (5 degrees of orb): 24-29 Virgo, 0-4 Libra

-Trines (5 degrees of orb): 24-29 Cancer, 0-4 Leo ... (and) ...  24-29 Scorpio, 0-4 Sagittarius

-Sextiles (3 degrees of orb): 26-29 Capricorn, 0-2 Aquarius ... and ... 26-29 Taurus, 0-2 Gemini

-Semi-sextiles (1/1.5 degrees of orb): 28 Aries-0 Taurus, 28 Aquarius-0 Pisces

-Inconjuncts (1/1.5 degrees of orb): 28 Leo-0 Virgo, 28 Libra- 0 Scorpio


In fact, in looking at that list, the degree that Saturn is going station-retrograde in (4 Sagittarius) is being eclipsed-by-trine.

Totally eclipsed-by-trine - which takes us right to that lore which speaks about what eclipses are on the metaphysical level, as that effect is - and is going to be felt by us for some time yet to come. When a solar eclipse ‘hits’ a point in your natal chart, lore tells us there will be an ‘evolution’ of sorts pertaining to that symbol, the house it resides in and the metaphysical meaning of the planet ruling the cusp of that house - and that said evolution will continue for a full three years (36 months), with some sort of ‘twist’ or ‘shift’ occurring about six months before the process ends.

Saturn Retrograde (glyph chart)
March 14, 2015 - 15:03 (3:03 pm) UT/+0 - Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)
Saturn Retrograde (text chart)
March 14, 2015 - 15:03 (3:03 pm) UT/+0 - Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)
Things - even people - tend to ‘disappear’ during, or through processes associated with eclipses. And while some of those ‘disappearances’ may occur as part of the ‘evolution’ just talked about, if there is going to be a sense of loss associated with a solar eclipse if happens more often than not at the eclipse comes into force.

That would be now ... or more to the point, partly now and also partly having to do with things which have deteriorated or shown themselves to be ‘breaking down’ (beginning to crumble or end) over the past two months (i.e., during the pre-eclipse ‘break down’ period).

Mind you, there is virtually no connection between the actual point of the eclipse and whatever has been acting on or in your life to change things. What is happening now (or at the time of any solar eclipse) has very little to do with where we will go or what we ought to be doing. Instead, what the eclipse will tend to act on is what we shouldn’t be doing ... or maybe how we shouldn’t be going about doing things.

In other words, the eclipse - which is strongest in your life when it aspects YOUR chart - is not ‘about’ what someone does to you, or whether you lose your job, buy a house, have a child, fall ill or get happily married for the rest of your ever-after life.

Solar eclipses are not about that - they’re about how that which is “going away,” be it that job, your former lifestyle, life as a single person - or even your health - it’s about something which your previous “status quo” was keeping you from doing.

Or being.

The point in your chart which is being struck - or in this case, the global transiting Saturn which is being ‘hit’ by eclipse at 4 Sagittarius - represents something which has outlived its purpose. We are used to it and most of us will tend to assume that it is integrally connected to ‘how life is supposed to be’ because we have learned to live with whatever it is.

Life, however, has other plans - bigger plans. And our wanting to keep things as they have been doesn’t fit - hence the eclipse.

Yet as things are being ‘taken away’ through the process of an eclipse, something else is being revealed. Maybe we see it because we’ve been started out of complacency by being tossed out of our comfort zone, but whether or not that’s the reason, the metaphysics of the eclipse say that when something in ‘everyday life’ (the Moon) moves in front of (takes priority over) our (Sun) conception of life as we know it - when all then “falls dark,” we will see revealed that which we aren’t using in everyday life - the Sun’s corona.

The Solar Eclipse of July 11, 2010 as photographed in French Polynesia
(photo credit: Denys, 2010)
And that’s the point of the eclipse. Coronas represent things which under normal conditions we don't notice, see or consider ... which just like the corona, could be very special. Even close to magical. That special quality is what we are 'left' with when something in our life gets 'eclipsed' and taken away. And since what’s being eclipsed here is Saturn (the keywords for which include time, responsibility, limits, slow growth, earned rewards, accomplishment, loss, determination, fear, structure, consequence and that kind of leadership which in positive mode leads by example and which in negative mode leads by edict, rejection, punishment and “might makes right” choices or acts of retribution) ... while something very Saturn-like is being 'taken away,' what we are left with is even more valuable.

And why is it more valuable?

Because it's unique to us. 

Saturn is currently moving through Sagittarius - the sign of education, legal debate, exploration (not necessarily discovery), travel, expanding horizons, religion (as opposed to spirituality, which is Piscean) and any/all means by which information is disseminated, be it false or true, be it kind or unkind, be it warranted, useful ... or simply something someone is putting out there because they’ve stubbed their ego’s toe.

In Sagittarius, Saturn represents that which are seeking to help us find a path to some accomplishment or goal and all the lessons, critiques, modifications and re-thinks we will experience by feeling called upon to examine all which we come across in the process of seeking that path (or more progress along that path). Judgment - and the spirit in which judgments are made are primary challenges here with a lot of ‘cutting off’ of opportunities and rejecting information which in time proves correct being the danger ... and ultimately that which will dampen, limit or end up causing someone not to succeed and achieve their (Saturn) goals and aims.

Moreover, that judgment and judgments may be a problem now is being underscored. By what? By the fact that Saturday the 14th (the date Saturn goes retrograde) is also the first day of ‘rock comet’ Phaethon - currently in retrograde - going on station to go direct come Monday, March 16th.

So that means Saturn’s station occurs ... and that as Saturn goes into retrograde ... or as part of that process, Phaethon is going direct.

Phaethon by Hendrick Gottzius (Netherlands 1558-1617)
So what does Phaethon represent?

That answer is probably best told as a thumbnail of the myth. Phaethon is a teenager - a teenager as convinced of his own ability and near-immortality as any teenager is when, through a bargain with Apollo, he ends up with the right to ask the god for something mortals normally can’t have or ever get.

And what does Phaethon ask for? Proving for all time how important having a spiffy ride is to teens, Phaethon asks to drive the Chariot of the Sun.

And Apollo, being the god of (among other things) honesty, can’t go back on his word.

What this speaks to is the power of immaturity - or its Doppelganger, a lack of willingness to act mature) and the ‘I WANT IT!!!’ cravings which arise in such a vacuum of self-discipline from time to time, testing even our inner Apollo - that inner sense of ‘the truth of the situation’ which knows when we shouldn’t do something, but which in a Phaethon situation can’t override the (Phaethon/too-youthful) inability to conceive of lessons and consequences life has not yet taught.

In Phaethon’s case, the results were utterly disastrous. When the chariot’s four horses realized an inexperienced hand was holding their reins, they began running wild - which would astrologically now be in the process of happening, which may have already happened, or which is being seen to now be on the verge of breaking out. Taking the bit in their teeth, the horses galloped off-course, soaring so high and close to the Sun itself that Phaethon’s hair and clothing caught on fire, causing him to fall to the far-below sea - and his death.

Pride goeth before the fall, indeed - that is one of things we confront through ‘Phaethon Periods,’ one of which begins as Saturn goes retrograde. Will we experience such urges, first person? Or will we see someone else acting as their own Phaethon, getting carried away with some vision they have of (or for) their Self? (And if so, what kind of bearing does their hard-headed insistence on some fantasy they have about that Self have on us?)

And ‘fantasy’ is a correct term here as Phaethon is going retrograde in Pisces - a sign which is always about experiencing our own feelings about things (or people). Even more than that, Phaethon is going direct in an emotionally confrontational degree - 17 Pisces - which in guaranteeing some sort of emotional upwelling aims to get us to look at our feelings in real time, basing what to do once we get that far not on what we’d like to do, but rather on  on broadly accepted (the most broadly, whenever possible) ‘rules’ (or) ‘standards.’

And that gets us back to Saturn (symbol of rules and standards on a social, societal and personal achievement level) rather nicely.

Or not so nicely, depending.

One other note on 17 Pisces (as long as we’re here)... 17 Pisces is a degree one astrologer specifically refers to as one which bars or bans dependence during the early/early adult years, lest that lead to being overwhelmed or (conversely), ‘going under’ - whether that means going under emotionally, financially, spiritually, physically (or any other way).

And that would fit the ‘loss’ or ‘limiting’ concept which goes with Saturn, wherever Saturn may be.

In this case in particular however, Saturn is at 4 Sagittarius. And 4 Sagittarius - even without Phaethon or 17 Pisces - is known for those qualities we would associate with those who are noble enough to ‘rise above the fray’ and who are human (or humanitarian) enough to fight to protect their very Self - at which point, the gloves (and more) comes off.

Together, these two symbols seem to speak to a prickly sort of very determined feistiness which is unfortunately prone to ‘falling’ (or losing out to) their own weaknesses - particularly those of the emotion-driven kind.

Except the Saturn side of this is getting eclipsed. Not (officially) until March 20th, to be sure. Still ...

Plus there are a few aspects we should think about. Saturn - which is conjunct asteroid Child (repeating that theme of ‘immature’ or ‘immaturity’)

(Okay, more than a few.)

Juno - which goes direct just a day before Saturn goes retrograde - trining from Leo speaks to maintaining a point of view, and when we add in the particular of this being 3 Leo, we think in terms of great potential if not all that much accomplishment (at least yet) - which again speaks to something/someone which is ‘not ready’ in some sense. Or perhaps (since trines speak to ‘ongoing circumstances) something which is still not ready.

And with Saturn being eclipsed by trine, does this speak to an end to something which never quite came to be?

While trining Saturn, Juno will also be inconjunct to Mercury - suggesting a change of heart (read: mind) which is either ‘inspired’ or accepted despite other preferences.

With that Mercury in its own Pisces-Sagittarius square to Saturn, for those who aren’t in love with loud fights and emotional squabbling, good news - Mercury/Saturn squares can be testy, but aren’t often all that loud. If anything, they tend towards silent - which in this case, considering both of these images as resident in your life summons up making compromises with yourself in the name of getting things done.

Or maintaining something you don’t want to deal with in some ‘status quo’ which you can attend to later ... (read: which buys you some emotional time).

And yet ... Mercury is itself (widely) conjunct Neptune. And Neptune is in square to Saturn, a combination which speaks to the kind of internal need to make decisions about things we wish we knew as fact (but which no one can know as fact) which makes most of us terribly squeamish, particularly just before we make that decision or choice. (Which could be a perfectly fine choice, as far as that goes.)

Neptune square Saturn is no fun in individual charts and isn’t much more fun by transit. So that this edition of same (the transit, I mean) began when Saturn entered Sagittarius in late December, 2014...

... and which will end - for a while - come April 17th (UT/+0) only to rear its nebulous icky-squickiness again as of mid-October, 2015 (lasting through the end of January, 2016), all in the wake of Saturn being eclipsed in the here and now.

Something is changing - something essential about each one of us. Those whose natal charts have the usual array of points (planets, dwarf planets, nodes, cusp points) in aspect to Saturn as it goes into retrograde will feel this station more acutely, but we’ll all feel it to one or another extent.

And what would those degrees be?


-degrees affected using standard (Ptolemaic) aspects- 

- Conjunction (5 degrees of orb): 29 Scorpio-9 Sagittarius

- Squares (5 degrees degrees of orb): 29 Aquarius-9 Pisces ... (and) ... 29 Leo-9 Virgo

- Opposition (5 degrees of orb): 29 Taurus-9 Gemini

- Trines (5 degrees of orb): 29 Pisces-9 Aries ... (and) ... 29 Cancer-9 Leo

- Sextiles (3 degrees of orb): 1 Aquarius-7 Aquarius ... (and) ... 1 Libra-7 Libra

- Semi-sextiles (1/1.5 degrees of orb): 3 to 5 degrees of Capricorn or Scorpio

- Inconjuncts (1/1.5 degrees of orb): 3 to 5 degrees of Taurus or Cancer 

Everyone will experience this station to some extent. But those whose charts are affected by Saturn’s station being in orb of aspect to a natal position will feel it more directly, if in terms of the natal position being aspected. (Suggestion: see where such a point falls in your current solar return, too.)

And if you’re someone whose natal chart is aspected by Saturn’s station and the 29 Pisces solar eclipse, you’re already in the midst of a nebulous if emotional experience which may shift a bit as Saturn goes into retrograde, but which is going to continue for some time yet.

With that, back to Saturn’s station diagram, in which we haven’t yet touched on how the Pisces Neptune which is widely conjunct Mercury and square Saturn is also in opposition to Black Moon Lilith, an opposition which though past exact (the opposition perfected back on January 19th) is still in orb, lending a curious quality of something ill-defined and plainly not concrete but which ultimately will not be denied pitted against something which is highly defined and very definite - but wholly unwarranted and in the greatest sense, simply wrong.

Plus there is other thing to note about Phaethon’s station-direct moment on the 16th.

That’s right - as Phaethon goes direct, the Pluto-Uranus square is coming to exact again. That will add even more ‘oomph’ (energy behind effort) to the determination (or determinations) being made during this period. Yet since this version of the Pluto-Uranus square comes to us (courtesy of the lunar nodes) as a t-square, that puts the emphasis on the Capricorn collective: Pluto, Vega, Byblis and Bali - the taking of (Bali) pleasure in that which (Byblis) we know is not just underhanded, but to be utterly disrespected or despised through (Pluto) ‘transformative means’ intended to (or bent on) ‘de-structuring’ some form of (Vega) appeal.

The problem here is pictured as a desire to get to what one loves for its own sake (South Node/Eros). And as part of that (or maybe as apart from that) there’s also a push on to gain sufficient leverage through compromise (or dismantling) of charismatic sources/effects or functional structures (probably long-standing structures) with an eye to being able to do what one wants, as one wants, when one wants, without having to answer to anyone else - about anything.

To this, Saturn either brings support - or, through going into retrograde in a position to receive the solar eclipse by trine speaks to the idea that things are being more or less ‘carefully brought’ into a position where, like dominoes, all will fall into place and through that, be eliminated from consideration.

Saturn is always a symbol of growth. As the planet farthest from Earth which is still visible with our naked eyes, it represents the extent of our grasp - that we can ‘see’ and thus ‘get a hold of’ in a first-person sense. Every year when Saturn reaches its station-retrograde point we are being told that we will be working through and consolidating or building on that which we have already done or already set in motion for a while.

And then Saturn will go direct again, and outward growth begins anew. This time around its virtually assured that part of our ‘retrograde work’ will include dealing with a lot of things we don’t want to think or feel about ourselves ... which could be a ‘group’ statement - and which is assuredly going to turn out to be individually true, up and down the scale.

People who don’t like their astrological Saturn often speak of it as something being done ‘to’ them - but it’s not. Saturn is about being the person we should be but often aren’t because we don’t want to take the time something needs ... because we don’t want to be bothered to do things the right way or because we just don’t like being told what to do. Saturn represents the social fundamentals which underlie society itself and those who lead our societies and nations. Saturn represents all we work for throughout our lives and those ‘marks’ we make on our world. Saturn represents ‘earning’ in every personal sense while teaching us (indeed, by warning us) that our being ends at our skin and that while that makes us a singular human being, it also means we’re all alone in our existing in this world.

And such is life.
Notice to readers: an incorrect sign noted in eclipse inconjunct degrees
has been corrected. Apologies if this caused any confusion.



  1. I sat down to read your post. And I had to read and re-read. Gosh! The trick I guess, is to remain conscious, no matter what!
    Thanks. I appreciate your wealth of knowledge.

  2. Can you do something on The Great Attractor? I have my Jupiter and Midheaven there

    1. Jupiter has been figuring here and there in what's been going on, but you're right - Jupiter hasn't figured prominently in a lot of what has been going on of late, which is probably why so much we all have been hearing about and dealing with has been discussions of/arguments over/theories about what is already in existence or over what is already going on as opposed to Jupiterian newness, which with Jupiter conjunct the MC/Midheaven you would always aim for. (And as you have demonstrated, you'll ask for - good for you!)

      As for where Jupiter is on the astrological schedule, Jupiter will be going direct next month - on April 8th. So you can expect to hear more about Jupiter as we reach the end of March and begin discussing April, though there may be something prior to that time which I haven't noticed yet!
      - Boots.

    2. Thanks for the reply, but I'm talking about The Great Attractor, It's some kind of object at 14 sag, I can't find much info about it. I figured you might know something seem to know a lot about stars and things

    3. Okay, so we're not talking about Jupiter, the size of which causes it to function as a great attractor (as countless meteors dead and asteroids have probably found out over the eons!).

      The other 'great attractor' I know of is an anomaly in an area of the sky that the "cloud" of our Milky Way makes hard to study - hence only a little information being available ... and if we're not talking Jupiter, this is probably what you're talking about. (At least I hope so!) So from what we do know about it ... and though obviously no one is in any position to say anything sure here, I wouldn't be surprised if in the years ahead - as we are able to penetrate such mysteries - I wouldn't be surprised if this 'great attractor' turns out to be one or more forms of astrological 'galactics': black holes, pulsars, masers, etc.(either one which is very, very large or a galactic cluster of some sort). Sorry I misunderstood your question to begin with - your mention of Jupiter conjunct Midheaven threw my thinking in the other direction. If you'd like to know more about astrology's galactics, there isn't all that much written there as yet, but American astrologer Philip Sedgwick has been doing work in this area for some years now - you might want to check out his website and some of his articles -

      Hope this helps!