Saturn in Leo
“And I do vengeance, I send punishment,
And when I am in Leo it is sent”
Has your Chairperson at long last got rid of his/her hand held computer recently? Dumped their Filofax ? Have they at long last stopped using those irritating statements like “Synergy”, “thinking out box” or “touch base with you”? Have you been given a speeding ticket or parking ticket recently? Had a discussion on whether we should smack children or not? How many bosses have given up the rat race to become plumbers? How many people have suddenly wanted to be project Managers by buying and selling houses? Have you been told not to use certain words in case it offends somebody? Take that star of the Christmas tree; have you no shame? Sorry! Sorry! It just slipped out! I meant Winter Festivity’s Tree! Officer! Officer! Somebody’s taking a picture of Nelsons Column! Arrest him; I’m absolutely certain it was that Bing-Larsen chap. Take that England shirt off; don’t you realise how much it offends everyone?
Some of you by now will have realised that I am outlining a trend and that trend is about old Saturn shuffling his way around the astrological houses. For those of you who don’t work in big organisations, you may not have been aware of some of these trends. For the rest of us in the corridors of power it’s been a grim time, unless of course you are the boss. When Saturn was in Gemini we plebes were subjected to the technological wizz-kidd ‘toys’ of our somewhat childish bosses, who organised our working lives by having lots and lots of meetings, with lots and lots of graphs (lots of questions, but we never actually got anything done). At the same time in numerous traffic planning committees, the orders were sent out to put down yellow lines, white lines, traffic signs, speed cameras, pedestrian railings, cycle lanes, bus lanes, and a host of other exasperating ‘traffic calming’ measures.
When Saturn eventually dragged himself into the sign of Cancer most astrologers (myself included) were worried that the financial security of our homes would be under threat, but for the moment that prediction appears to be on hold. Numerous people in good but dissatisfied desk jobs gave it all up to become plumbers, tempted by the talk of six figure pay-packets. Incidentally the word, plumber is derived from the word Plumbum Latin for lead, the metal of Saturn. In deference to our divinations, the building trade has had probably its best time ever, with more houses being built and/or being modernised, but with Neptune in Aquarius the traditional sign of Saturn, it might yet all end in tears. The massive destructive storms throughout the world and the devastating tsunami in Indonesia may eventually be Saturn’s legacy in Cancer. But the image could just as well be all those bosses rushing from one meeting to another clutching their comforters, Opps! Sorry! I mean bottles of mineral water; yep those Cancer bosses need plenty of liquids close to them.
So it is not surprising that for a lot of us, Saturn is still the great malefic and sends a shudder down most natal astrologer’s spine. However, for Mundane, Horary or Electoral astrologers Saturn is regarded somewhat differently. I believe that medieval astrologers didn’t suffer from the screaming add-dabs like today’s natal astrologers when they see Saturn prominent in a clients chart. This can most easily be shown with the coronation of Elizabeth I (Sunday 15 January 1559 os). Her coronation was calculated by her Physician/Astrologer Mr John Dee for the exact moment the crown was placed upon her head. Mr Dee was a rather shadowy figure in Tudor politics being regarded as the original 007 and double agent of his time, but that’s another story. I’m not aware of any surviving document giving the time that Elizabeth had the crown placed on her head but judging from contemporary accounts, and the usual timetable that English coronations follow, it is possible that the exact moment took place around 11am LT.
If so, this would place Venus on the MC and Saturn on or around the Ascendant in opposition to Mars. Hands-up all astrologers who would have done that? Other notable aspects are, Saturn and Mars both Square Jupiter and Moon Sextile Jupiter. There are a number of other subtle aspects in this chart and you can spend many a happy hour comparing it to her birth chart (b. 7th September 1533 os, Sun Square natal Moon) and the coronation chart of her father, Henry VIII. These are all rather hard and some would consider rather difficult aspects. To fully understand Mr Dee’s thinking you have to remember what was happening politically at the time. Elizabeth I was only the second Protestant monarch and only the second English Queen (forgetting the nine day rule of Lady Jayne Gray) after “bloody” Queen Mary. Not only was there the need to get the popular vote but she had to show that she was up to the job after the difficult reign of her Catholic half sister. It is possible that for this reason that Saturn was placed close to the Asc to give her reign structure and a solid base to work from, “I may have the body of a woman but on the inside I have the stamina of a man” is her famous remark. So we should not always look upon Saturn as the disastrous planet it is usually painted. Rather it should be regarded, as a benevolent grandparent that not only restricts our excesses, but also guides us and provides direction in our lives when needed. I liken him to a supermarket revolving door; go too fast and he bops you on the nose, go too slow and he kicks you up the backside. If you avoid the lessons first time round, then woe betide you on his return.
There is an intriguing question concerning Saturn’s placement in Elizabeth’s coronation chart. John Dee was known to have been the astrologer/physician that advised not just Elizabeth but also her half-sister Mary Tudor and some say he also gave clandestine help to her political adversary, Mary Queen of Scots. Elizabeth the ‘virgin queen’ not only had Saturn on or close to the ascendant at her coronation but at the same time Venus was in an almost exactly opposition to her natal Saturn. Was Mr Dee playing politics by ensuring that she would never have a suitable suitor whilst she reigned?
The title for this article came from Chauser’s ‘Canterbury Tales’ and anybody that has read them will realise just how much astrology was intertwined into medieval life. The ‘Knights tale’ is regarded as one of the best and Chauser probably took the basis for the story from an ancient Greek or Roman original. The story describes the battle for true love between two rivals for the hand of a princess, both men offer up a request to the gods, one to Mars the other Venus and both are granted their respective wishes. It required the wise intervention of Saturn to find a way to grant their unbreakable vows to each. It is worth repeating the eulogy that Saturn gives to his fellow gods.
‘My dearest daughter Venus,’ said old Saturn
‘My heavenly orbit marks so wide a pattern
It has more power than anyone can know;
In the wan sea I drown and overthrow,
Mine is the prisoner in the darkling pit,
Mine are both neck and noose that strangles it;
Mine the rebellion of the serfs astir,
The murmurings, the privy poisoner;
And I do vengeance, I send punishment,
And when I am in Leo it is sent.
Mine is the ruin of the lofty hall,
The falling down of tower and of wall
On carpenter and mason, I their killer.
T’was I slew Samson when he shook the pillar;
Mine are the maladies that kill with cold,
The dark deceits, the stratagems of old;
A look from me will father pestilence.’
It can be seen that it mainly describes the sign of Pisces but it is the sentence regarding punishment and vengeance, when in Leo, that is the most puzzling. The answer to this is not easy to find in most astrology books but it can be found in a strange source namely that of Alistair Crowley. Mr Crowley, of “Beast 666” fame, is best known for his prolific output of magical and occult books, which incidentally have never been out of print. However, he also produced at least one book on astrology and his “Thoth” pack of tarot cards. The cards are unusual as together with the usual interpretations they associate astrological aspects with the Tarot, in a similar way he connected the tarot with the Quabala and for some astrologers this may be a difficult concept to accept. It should be pointed out however, that if the twelve signs depict twelve differing human personalities and the rest of astrology shows the range of human emotions, then this mirrors the full pack of tarot cards. For Saturn in Leo Mr Crowley’s Thoth pack depicts the minor arcane card of Five of Wands and gives it the name ‘Strife’. Wands in a tarot pack are usually representative of mental thoughts, and the number Five usually represents conflict or the spirit of man. So here we have an image of personal inner anguish and (generally) foretells the possibility of a good personal outcome; but will it be at the cost of a public rebellion? With Neptune in Aquarius, will we really understand what we are arguing about or struggling with?
Political Correctness and Creatures from the Id
From a personal point of view, planetary ingress causes me problems. On the one hand all the evidence points to the fact that ingress can bring about some spectacular death and birth events. But there is evidence that the groundwork is prepared around 7 degrees before the cusp. So will it be a spectacular event or a slow and steady mutation? Personally I think it all depends on the nature of the planet in question. Maybe this ingress will be the downhill slide of property prices, so long predicted. Or possibly we may be selling the family silver (noticed how many family heirlooms are being sold off on TV auction programs?) But for me I predict the end of PR. At the moment political correctness has now reached new heights of madness as the law (and everybody else it seems) tries to control what we can or cannot say or do. But you can’t gag a Leo for long (ever dare try?) and on a mundane level our ego, our inner spirit may well be challenged to its very core. We may take the law into our own hands; we may at long last question our leaders and see the return of political satire as a safe outlet. For now Saturn is moving away from its disease riddled inconjunct with Neptune to the murky depths of an opposition. Have any of you tried to take a photograph in a major city these days? Well you better cultivate a thick skin if you do, as you will find yourself harassed and browbeaten into being moved on or given sideward glances of suspicion by “security officers” or the police. With this opposition to Neptune in Aquarius it looks like its going to get worse as our perception of events, people and places is clouded and distorted. Our nightmares will loom large in our waking hours as every shadow holds our worst fears. Jupiter in Scorpio, square to Saturn will not help matters as big business, religious leaders and creatures from the Id (bird flu, terrorists, etc), toy with our lives.
Even now as I finish writing this article (January 2006) a number of political and religious leaders are in court on charges of “incitement to religious hatred”. Even our own Parliament has not escaped the demand to gag our political thoughts; as the indefatigable Dennis Skinner MP, the “Jack Russell” of the front benches, who is famous for his quick witted sideswipes, has been told to desist from heckling his fellow members of parliament.
But don’t worry; trust me, I’m an Aquarian. Think positive and look forward to the time of Saturn’s ingress into Virgo. Mmm? Err!! On the other hand where did I put that early retirement form? What!! I have to work till I’m how old???!!!!
References and Bibliography:
Elizabeth I, Jasper Ridley, Guild Publishing, London
Born to Reign, Nicholas Champion, ISBN 1855926407
The Queen’s Conjuror, The Life & Magic of Dr Dee, B Woolley, Harper Collins, ISBN 0006552021
Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, Penguin Books, ISBN 0140440224. (Page 69)
A Handbook of Dates, C. R. Cheny, Cambridge Press, ISBN 052177845
The above reference gives a detailed account of the changes from the Julian to Gregorian calendar in England and Europe.
The Complete Astrological Writings., Alistair Crowley, Tandem Pub. Ltd. 1976
The Tarot Handbook. Angeles Arrien, Diamond Books 1995, ISBN 0261665782