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Saturn, the Late Bloomer: Understanding the Long-Range Dynamics of Saturn in the Horoscope

by Ray Grasse

Hare and TortoiseWe’re all familiar with Aesop’s fable of the tortoise and the hare, in which a plodding tortoise manages to win a race against a speedier competitor, as a result of its slow and steady persistence. This story is usually rolled out as a morality lesson about the importance of tenacity: Stick to your guns, we’re told, and you can win out over those who charge out of the starting gate full of passion and speed but lack staying power.

For astrologers, though, this tale could just as well serve to illustrate an important facet of the planet Saturn – namely, its "late bloomer" quality. We tend to think of planetary principles in terms of static meanings, but it’s good to remember that they also manifest through a complex set of developmental dynamics over time.

That’s especially true of Saturn, I’ve come to realize. Simply put, whatever it touches in the horoscope tends to reach true potential only after years of struggle and maturation. One way or another, for better or worse, Saturn’s full effects unfold very s-l-o-w-l-y. This doesn’t mean that Saturn can’t lead to remarkable achievements early on, because it sometimes can – like the person with Saturn conjunct Mercury who shows signs of intellectual genius from a young age. But even in these cases, we’ll tend to see enormous hard work and effort being applied, or that early brilliance will ripen into something deeper and different as the years progress. Either way, it’s an expression of the gradual dynamic characterizing this planet.1

This essay is taken from Ray Grasse's book "Under a Sacred Sky" which can be ordered at Wessex Astrologer or amazon.com
I’ve come to believe that understanding this dynamic is critical toward not only grasping the role of Saturn in the chart, but also unlocking the entire horoscope itself. Why? In a way, it goes back to some of the very things we normally dislike about this planet: hard work, struggle, recurring obstacles, and so forth. By way of contrast, whatever Jupiter touches tends to indicate where things come relatively easily and flow more naturally. Saturn is not like that. Whatever it touches is where you usually have to work hard for whatever you get, and you can face major hurdles just to reach "the finish line." There’s a silver lining, though, and it’s this: The sheer amount of hard work you apply to that area can bring about a level of mastery you probably wouldn’t have gained otherwise – and that, in turn, can affect everything else in your life. No small matter.

In this article, we’ll explore how the late-bloomer influence of Saturn can affect the other planets in one’s horoscope. As far as aspects are concerned, it goes without saying that the stressful contacts to Saturn (square, opposition, and often the conjunction) are the most challenging of all, yet they also increase the potential for failure or success in those areas. (That’s especially true of the conjunction, which seems to bring out both the best and the worst in Saturn at once.) What I’ll be laying out here are primarily best-case scenarios, showing what can result if a person learns to channel these energies in the most constructive way possible. Whether someone actually chooses to go that route is difficult to say, since it hinges on many things, but we can do our best as astrologers to encourage that possibility.2 That said, let us turn our attention now to Saturn’s influence on the largest body in our solar system.

Saturn–Sun

I call this connection the struggle to shine. The Sun in the horoscope symbolizes our essential identity and the impulse to express that character before the world. When Saturn is closely involved with the Sun, it makes for a more strenuous effort in forging our public or professional identity, or in gaining respect for that creative light. We may feel blocked in that effort, as though we’re standing in the shadow of others, whether that be a prominent or powerful parent, more successful peers or co-workers, or even an intimidating boss. For that reason, I’ve sometimes referred to the Sun/Saturn combo as the "Rodney Dangerfield" aspect, after the late comedian who gained fame for the line "I don’t get no respect!"

The silver lining here is that that sense of frustration compels us to work that much harder to "prove" ourselves and step out from behind those long shadows toward greater respect. Remember, there’s almost always a strong element of "compensation" involved with Saturn: Whatever it touches can be where we feel somehow inadequate or even inferior, and we are prompted to struggle even harder to make up for it. It’s like the old Avis car rental commercial from years back, when the company was trying to compete with Hertz: "We try harder!" Finally, after much constructive effort, individuals with this aspect finally step out from those shadows and into the spotlight, to be honored for who they really are.

George HarrisonA classic example of this dynamic is Beatle George Harrison, who had the Sun and Saturn squaring one another. He often hinted at the frustrations of being in the shadow of both John and Paul, but he eventually achieved acclaim not only for songs like "Something" (called by Frank Sinatra one of the greatest songs ever written), but also for solo albums like All Things Must Pass. In a fitting synchronistic touch, the name of his own record label was Dark Horse!

A similar example can be seen in Rolling Stone guitarist Keith Richards, who was born with an opposition between Saturn and the Sun, and who worked for decades in the shadow of his extraverted bandmate, Mick Jagger (a Leo). In recent years, though, Richards has gained increasing attention for his work, not only as a solo artist but through the success of his autobiography, A Life.

Other famous individuals with Sun–Saturn connections: Salvador Dalí, Jeff Bridges, and David Carradine (square); Sting and Guru Maharaj-Ji (conjunction); Steven Spielberg (sesquiquadrate).

Saturn–Moon

This one can be called the struggle to relate. Whereas the Sun is more professional and public in its expression, the Moon is more private and personal in tone, manifesting largely through emotional connections with friends, family, or partners. When the Moon comes into close contact with Saturn, the result can be serious inhibitions or blockages in forging emotional bonds, as well as in receiving nurturance from others. This is arguably the most difficult of all Saturn combinations, yet even here there is much room for improvement. For example, the sheer pain of dealing with this energy early on sometimes causes the person to eventually work through those emotional blocks using therapeutic methods or spiritual work of some kind, or through channeling those energies into some symbolically meaningful avenue. Consider my female client who suffered terribly as a Saturn-Moon result of being adopted into an unloving family, but she later vowed to make up for it by showering her own children and grandchildren with affection, working hard to become (in her words) a "model parent." The pain she experienced as a child made her more aware of the pain in others, which she sought to heal – a good example of the more positive side of compensation.

Sometimes food can be the pivotal symbol reflecting the energies of the Moon. One client spoke about being homeless and near starvation at times during his childhood, which compelled him as an adult to enroll in cooking classes at a culinary school. He eventually became a master chef in a major restaurant, where he now donates a certain amount of left over food to down-and-out people at a homeless shelter. He has Saturn opposing his Moon.

I’ve noticed that a surprising number of my creatively gifted clients also have a marked Saturn–Moon connection in their horoscope. I suspect some of that may be due to the insecurity this pattern brings, which causes them to seek out public approval in later years. Perhaps they felt starved for attention early on, and now they’re going to try to get "fed" by the world in other ways.

Another possibility is that the Saturn–Moon energy has the effect of drawing these individuals inward in ways that prove useful for their creative work or reflection. And over the long run, the sheer frustrations brought on by this pattern early in life can become so pent-up that these people really have to find an outlet of some sort later on, simply to keep a grip on their sanity. As one musician who has this aspect said to me, during his childhood he felt as though his emotions were completely bottled up, but when he writes or performs music nowadays, it’s like a cork is being taken out of the bottle and its contents being released into the open air.

Others who have Saturn–Moon connections: Bob Dylan (conjunction); Jack Nicholson and the Dalai Lama XIV (opposition).

Saturn–Mercury

This one might be called the struggle to communicate. I know of no better story to illustrate this combination than the life of legendary Greek orator Demosthenes. According to Plutarch, Demosthenes experienced great difficulty speaking publicly while young, because of both a speech impediment and breathing difficulties, which caused him to talk in staggered, clipped sentences. But in classic late-bloomer style, he tackled this problem by working on his diction and projection, using such unorthodox means as speaking with stones in his mouth and shouting into the surf. The end result was that he became what some regarded as history’s greatest orator. One doesn’t get much more Saturn–Mercury than that!

Edgar CayceThe "sleeping prophet" Edgar Cayce had Saturn and Mercury conjunct when he was born, and his talents as a medium and metaphysical teacher unfolded relatively late in life. Individuals with this planetary combination frequently have the potential to become profound thinkers, with an ability to reflect deeply on life’s big questions. Yet, strangely, even with the so-called harmonious aspects, these people often suffer from a deep sense of inferiority about their communication skills or even their intelligence. Because of their slow and deliberate way of pondering problems, perhaps, they can mistake their own slowness for stupidity – and occasionally, others do, too. Albert Einstein also had Mercury conjunct Saturn and was thought to be mentally slow as a child. We all know how that one turned out.

As a way to compensate for that sense of inadequacy, these individuals can work hard to "bootstrap" their way up into intellectual respectability, often through self-education and extensive reading. Abraham Lincoln had Saturn square his Mercury and rode this energy all the way from a log cabin in Kentucky to the presidency of the United States, studying books every step of the way. Such people also have an uncanny ability to distill into a few words ideas that others take entire volumes to lay out – Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is a beautiful example of that (while Einstein is remembered most famously for even less than that – a simple equation, E=Mc2!).

Others with Saturn–Mercury aspects: Isaac Newton (square), Marlon Brando (opposition); Tina Fey (conjunction), Grandma Moses and the writer David Foster Wallace (conjunction).

Saturn–Venus

I call this one the struggle to love. Saturn–Venus connections are notorious for creating roadblocks in someone’s romantic life, and though that’s often true, this combination can also lead to lasting partnerships, while also conferring a much deeper understanding of love than most will ever know. By analogy, who has a greater appreciation of water – the person swimming in the sea off Fiji, or the person crawling through the desert sands toward an oasis? When Saturn–Venus people finally do discover love, they taste it with a richness that can be truly profound.

I sometimes call this pairing the "ugly duckling" aspect, because of how it affects a person’s experience of their own beauty over time. Venus has much to do with personal charm: How refined and ingratiating are you when dealing with others? How alluring do you appear to the world? The answers to these questions hinge to a great degree on the condition of your Venus. When Saturn is involved with Venus, it can therefore make people with this pairing feel gawky or insecure about their attractiveness early on, even to the point of feeling ugly or coarse (especially in the case of the hard aspects). Though they sometimes present an aloof front to the world, inwardly they may be feeling like an outcast, someone who has been "left out."

Diana SpencerBut as these individuals mature and learn to break out from their shell, they become far more comfortable in their own skin, and others start seeing them differently, too. Think here of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady and the work that went into making her a "proper" lady. Or consider the real-life case of Princess Diana, who had a trine between these planets and ripened from a skinny, shy girl into a symbol of glamour in her final years. (Having a late-bloomer chart doesn’t necessarily guarantee longevity, by the way! It’s always proportional to the life you do live, whether that be to age 9 or 90.)

When it comes to money, the late-bloomer side of Saturn–Venus can manifest as the "rags to riches" syndrome, where a person goes from relative scarcity to considerable affluence later in life. Look at some of the economic heavy-hitters with a strong pairing of Saturn and Venus: Bill Gates (conjunction), Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com (conjunction), and Oprah Winfrey (square), to name just three. When a square or opposition is involved, it can lead to major ups and downs in someone’s financial fortunes, of course, but it doesn’t necessarily deny the fortune itself.

Venus also plays a part in creativity, so when paired with Saturn this sometimes makes for a slow-unfolding dynamic in someone’s artistic development. Famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright had a tight opposition between Saturn and Venus, and in addition to his notoriously checkered Saturn, love life, by many accounts he experienced the most fruitful phase of his career between the ages of 70 and 90.

Other individuals with Saturn–Venus connections: Michelangelo and Joni Mitchell (square); Georgia O’Keefe (sextile), Lord Byron, Auguste Rodin, and John F. Kennedy, Jr. (all with the conjunction).

Saturn–Mars

Simply put, this is the struggle for courage. Some of us remember the ads from our childhood comic books about the 97-pound weakling who gets sand kicked in his face by the bully at the beach, but goes on to become a body-building marvel who can stand up to anybody. That’s not a bad depiction of the Saturn–Mars dynamic. As a result of feeling insecure about their assertiveness or physical strength, these individuals often wind up working that much harder to develop their muscles, figuratively or literally, and can become surprisingly powerful in the process.

Bruce LeeOne of my male clients with a conjunction between these planets was tormented as a child by a neighborhood bully, who constantly called him "wimp." This led him to begin an intensive regimen of martial arts training, and he eventually earned a black belt in karate. A similar dynamic is portrayed in the film Rocky, where Sylvester Stallone’s character manages, through sheer grit and determination, to climb his way from underdog status up through the prizefighting ranks toward respect and prestige. Bruce Lee, who was born with an opposition between Mars and Saturn, worked his way back from a crippling injury to become arguably the most famous martial artist of the 20th century.

Another real-life example of this pattern is writer Ernest Hemingway, who had Saturn square Mars. As a child, he was surrounded primarily by women, and his mother even sometimes dressed him up in frilly girl’s clothing. One doesn’t have to be a psychologist to realize there may have been compensation behind Ernest’s macho posturing as an adult, including his well-known penchant for boxing and big-game hunting. Yet, for all of that, those who knew him well attested that he was a genuinely courageous figure who showed no fear in the face of danger (an attitude that may have stemmed partly from an out-of-body experience he had on the battlefield during World War I). Rightly or wrongly, for many of his generation, Hemingway became a living symbol of courage and virility – quite a contrast to the girlish "mama’s boy" this sensitive Cancer seemed just as likely to become early on.

Others with Saturn–Mars connections: the original "97-pound weakling" Charles Atlas (conjunction), Ted Turner (opposition); Michelangelo, Jack LaLanne and John Dillinger (trine).

Saturn–Jupiter

We can label this one the struggle for meaning. Here, the slow-developing dynamic of Saturn tends to express itself in spiritual or ideological ways.

Consider the example of my friend who was raised in an ultra-religious environment, which had the unintended result of causing her to disavow religion entirely and become a "borderline atheist" in her 20s. But like a prodigal child returning to the fold, she slowly rediscovered religion and eventually became an ordained pastor herself. When friends from her 20s meet her now, she says, they can’t believe she’s the same person they knew back in the old days. It’s worth mentioning that some believe that both Buddha and Jesus had this conjunction in their horoscopes; if so, that would fit this dynamic well, since both broke free from their received religions in order to form their own spiritual traditions.

In a more general way, Jupiter governs one’s opinions and beliefs, as well as the urge to express these to the world. The combination of Jupiter and Saturn is therefore one of the chief indicators of a spiritual teacher or professor. Beatle John Lennon had the conjunction between these planets; he not only underwent major shifts in his attitude toward religion (think back to his falling out with the Maharishi, for one), but also wound up experiencing enormous backlash for his public comments on religion. When he said in 1965 that the Beatles are "more popular than Jesus," it led to protests around the world from religious followers and leaders, who misinterpreted the comment completely. In some ways, Lennon is now remembered almost as much for his political and spiritual views as for his musical output.

Sidney PoitierIndividuals born with this combination can be forced at times to take a stand regarding their ideological principles, in ways that might entail sacrifice or setbacks. Yet, ultimately, such challenges often have the effect of strengthening their moral resolve, or can even lead to greater things later on. Early in his career, African-American actor Sidney Poitier (with the square) was offered an acting role that he felt was demeaning to blacks, so he refused it – despite the fact that he and his wife desperately needed money. But as difficult as this choice was, he knew it was the right thing to do and later described it as a turning point in his moral growth, while also pointing out how it paved the way to better acting roles.

Jupiter also governs institutions of higher learning. One client of mine with Saturn–Jupiter square described being sidetracked from obtaining a degree during her college years, then eventually going back to school in her early sixties to finally obtain that much-sought diploma. As is often the case, the Saturn influence didn’t so much deny a dream as delay it – and in her case, that delay gave a deeper appreciation for the real meaning of education and knowledge than most younger students probably ever experience.

A variation on this theme is visible in the life of psychedelic guru Timothy Leary, born with a conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter. Fired from a teaching position at Harvard, he eventually wound up spreading his ideas to a far larger audience than the school ever provided – which included (ironically) going on lecture tours to college campuses across the country. The dicey chemistry between Saturn and Jupiter can also be seen in Leary’s lifelong battles with the law and judges, which culminated in various arrests and his serving time in prison.

Others with Saturn–Jupiter combinations: Sigmund Freud (square), Sting (opposition); Krishnamurti and scientist John Lilly (trine); Galileo

and Bob Dylan (conjunction).

Saturn–Uranus

This pairing might be called the struggle for personal freedom. Uranus governs one’s sense of individuality, so when Saturn couples with this planet, there can be a battle between conformity and rebelliousness, between the urge to fit in and the urge to be free. These people can experience repeated problems trying to forge their own idiosyncratic path, in the effort to "do their own thing."

Yet, over time, those same developmental tensions can spur them to develop an even stronger sense of who they are, and such individuals may even become a force for change in the arts, science, or politics. There’s an important lesson here about the value of Saturn, in terms of how the roadblocks it creates force us to become stronger or at least clarify our perspective. And without those restrictive structures to butt up against, we wouldn’t develop nearly as clear a sense of our own values or boundaries in that area. As they say, the ringed planet is a hard taskmaster sometimes, but it’s a great teacher.

StingRock-and-roller Sting has a square between these planets, with Uranus being the focal point of a t-square. In his memoir, Broken Music, he describes the frustrations of working in a regimented classroom job teaching at a girl’s school, but then throwing caution to the wind by relocating with his family and joining the rock band The Police. But even that began to feel restrictive for him, prompting him to again break free and chart his own course as a solo act. It’s been a path of increasing individualism and personal freedom, and it probably wouldn’t have happened if Saturn hadn’t provided the limitations that prompted Sting to crystallize his personalized vision.

Bob Dylan was born with a conjunction between Saturn and Uranus. Early in his career, he ignited controversy in the musical world by breaking loose from the folk community so he could head off into more personal directions, climaxing in a literally electrified performance at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. In a still broader way, though, his entire life has been a struggle with the whole issue of freedom, since finding his own personal space in the midst of massive public scrutiny has taken on growing importance. With his natal Moon sandwiched between Uranus and Saturn (a planetary trifecta that can make relationships especially challenging), it’s easy to imagine the frustrations he’s experienced dealing with the pressures of countless people wanting a piece of his time.

Both Dylan’s and Sting’s careers illustrate another way the Saturn– Uranus combination can manifest over time – namely, the struggle to reconcile old and new. One may feel torn between the limitations of tradition and innovation and can even teeter-totter at times between these extremes. Yet, sometimes that late-bloomer dynamic can result in an effort to synthesize these opposing forces into an original fusion, reflecting the influences of both old and new simultaneously. In Dylan’s case, he didn’t abandon traditional musical forms so much as incorporate them into his newer experiments. Likewise, though Sting has worked largely within the rock-and-roll genre, he’s managed to introduce progressive and jazz influences into his music along the way, while occasionally dabbling in more traditional musical forms as well, as with his 2009 album, Songs from the Labyrinth and his 2014 Broadway musical The Last Ship.

Others with Saturn–Uranus aspects: Karl Marx and Dan Rather (square), Elvis Presley (sextile), Barbara Streisand (conjunction).

Saturn–Neptune

This combination might be described as the struggle to transcend. Sometimes referred to as symbolizing "the mystic urge," Neptune fuels the desire to escape the shackles of ordinary life in order to pursue loftier ideals or experience more ethereal feelings. The coupling of Saturn with Neptune can therefore bring about disappointments or disillusions as one grows older and discovers that certain closely held dreams and desires are actually illusions – or simply unobtainable.

Yet, that same suffering and disillusionment can bring about a profound sensitizing of the soul, which can then be channeled through creative, spiritual, or social avenues. Consider the case of Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, born with Neptune widely conjunct Saturn; he took the innate pain and heaviness of this aspect and funneled it into brilliant films about life’s weightier matters, such as The Seventh Seal and Scenes from a Marriage. In a way that’s similar to Saturn–Moon combinations, the innate pain of hard Neptune–Saturn aspects may further serve to fuel creative activities because of the need to find constructive outlets for bottled-up emotions.

Kathryn BigelowThe career of another filmmaker, Kathryn Bigelow, illustrates how this planetary combination can sometimes produce a slow ripening of aesthetic impulses, not unlike Saturn–Venus. A member of the early 1950s generation that had Neptune and Saturn conjunct in their charts, she reached her greatest success at the ripe young age of 58, when she became the first female ever to win an Oscar for Best Director at the 2010 Academy Awards – she’s a cinematic late-bloomer, you could say. Saturn rules discipline, so when it is linked with Neptune, there can be extraordinary discipline directed toward other Neptunian arts, too. Fred Astaire had a tight opposition between Saturn and Neptune, and the long years of hard work he devoted to mastering his footwork (Neptune) led to extraordinary success as one of the premier dancers in the world.

For the more sociopolitical side of Saturn–Neptune, we can always look to the case of Abraham Lincoln. Born with a conjunction of these planets, it’s clear from his biographies that he experienced considerable suffering early in life, due to assorted professional failures as well as serious relationship issues and bouts of depression. Yet, that same suffering probably fueled the spiritual side of his personality along with the political decisions he’d eventually make. His attitude toward slavery changed considerably over the years, shifting from being ambivalent about it to advocating emancipation. It’s not hard to imagine that his growing sympathies on this issue stemmed at least in part from the suffering he himself experienced throughout life.

Neptune also rules drugs, so it’s interesting to see how the late bloomer dynamic of Saturn–Neptune sometimes manifests with clients in terms of their relationship with drugs or alcohol. At least two of my clients with tight Saturn–Neptune aspects went from being heavy drug users in their younger years to becoming drug counselors, and both are now clean and sober.

Others with Saturn–Neptune connections: Cecil B. DeMille (conjunction); J. S. Bach, the Dalai Lama, Mozart, and Václav Havel (all with the opposition).

Saturn–Pluto

One might well call this aspect the struggle to overcome. Pluto is similar to Mars – both are concerned with sexuality, raw power, and matters of control – but with a subtle difference: Pluto’s power is more covert and subterranean in expression, so whereas Mars might be likened to a stick of dynamite, Pluto is more like a coiled-up serpent. That compressed quality gives Pluto even more power than Mars – for either good or ill. Add Saturn to that mix, and it’s like clamping down on that Plutonian serpent, tightening that already compressed energy – making the potentials for constructive or destructive manifestations that much stronger. For these individuals, the presence of Pluto–Saturn in their lives can often feel as though they’re being forced to contend with titanic challenges. But with that struggle can emerge a degree of willpower that seems almost superhuman at times. These people can move mountains, if they put their mind to it.

Arnold SchwarzeneggerConsider the example of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was born with a conjunction between Saturn and Pluto. It’s well known that Schwarzenegger faced obstacles in his youth that would have stymied most mere mortals, including an impossibly long and guttural name, a thick accent, freakishly angular features, and questionable acting skills, at best. Yet, he prevailed over those challenges to succeed in various careers as a body builder, real estate developer, and box-office megastar – marrying into a prominent family (the Kennedys) and, last but not least, getting elected to a high office in the United States. With each hurdle, his psychological muscles seemed to become stronger and more durable. In fact, there’s some affinity here with his signature movie character, The Terminator: Both share that indomitable drive so common to Saturn–Pluto that keeps them coming back time and again, no matter what gets thrown at them.

We also see this pattern in Ernest Hemingway’s horoscope, as part of a t-square involving the Saturn–Mars aspect mentioned earlier. Hemingway rebounded from various tragedies and brushes with death, and his Nobel Prize–winning novel, The Old Man and the Sea, embodied the Saturn–Pluto dynamic to a "T." It tells of an old man matching wits with a powerful creature of the deep, but persevering in the end and finally towing the tattered remains of his prey back to safe harbor. The story has sometimes been compared to Moby Dick, by the way, which tells its own tale of someone doing battle against a huge creature – and not too surprisingly, Herman Melville had Saturn and Pluto aligned as well (conjunct).

There’s no escaping it: Pluto involves sexuality, too. So, when Saturn joins hands with it, the dynamics of passion become complicated at times, maybe even explosive. Famed lothario Warren Beatty was born with these planets trine, and his first major "breakout" role was in the Elia Kazan classic, Splendor in the Grass, playing a sexually repressed young man.3 Surprisingly, there’s some resonance between this screen character and Beatty’s own life, since he supposedly remained a virgin until age 20 – then apparently spent the next 30 years making up for lost time. When the power of Pluto is unleashed, it is indeed a force to be reckoned with.

Others with Saturn–Pluto connections: Friedrich Nietzsche, Bruce Lee (square), James Dean (opposition); Walt Whitman, Alan Watts, Orson Welles, Oliver Stone, Jack Lalanne, and David Letterman (all with the conjunction).

Final Remarks

We’ve seen just a few of the ways Saturn can influence the planets in one’s horoscope, although we could also look to the house or sign placements of Saturn, any planets in Capricorn, and the houses Capricorn falls on. In other words, all Saturn-related energies in the horoscope tend to have a late-blooming quality to them, unfolding far more slowly over time.

For example, Saturn in the 7th house may seem to deny marriage or partnership (which is exactly what some of the older astrological texts ominously portend), yet in reality, it more often simply delays it. And in so doing, it sometimes opens the door to a stronger marital bond than if the person had exchanged vows earlier on, like everyone else in their circle. Going back to our earlier example, Warren Beatty was notoriously shy about committing himself in relationship during his early years, but he finally surprised everyone by tying the knot with Annette Bening when he was in his 50s! By all accounts, they’ve managed to raise a happy family in one of the most divorce-prone areas of the U.S. – Hollywood.

CoupleSimilarly, Venus in Capricorn, Saturn in Libra, or Capricorn on the 7th house may produce struggles or frustrations with partnerships early on but with the long-range possibility of greater success in forging stable, satisfying relationships – sometimes as a result of having learned the hard way what not to do. In any event, one has to carefully study the aspects involved to truly grasp the likelihood of either success or failure, and to zero in on what challenges the client most needs to work on.

One last thing: I feel that understanding this side of Saturn’s influence is important for refining not only how we interpret charts but also how we counsel our clients. Countless times through the years, I’ve watched as clients became visibly relieved to hear that the struggles they’ve been dealing might well lessen with time, or lead to successful outcomes. As one young client with both Saturn and Capricorn prominent said to me after our session, "The most valuable thing I got out of this reading today was simply hearing that it’s going to get better. I’ve been thinking that my entire life is going to remain this hard, so just knowing there could be a light at the end of the tunnel makes me feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders." That’s not an atypical comment by any stretch. We shoulder great responsibility as astrologers in helping clients to reframe the challenges in their lives, in helping them to see those problems in a more positive light. Grasping the late-bloomer dimensions of Saturn, I believe, offers an especially valuable tool toward that end.

Notes:

1. With a little help from famed astrologer Alan Leo, British composer Gustav Holst displayed uncanny insight into the archetypal nature of the planets when he composed his popular orchestral suite, The Planets. Listen, for instance, to his composition "Saturn: Bringer of Old Age," and you’ll hear the slowly unfolding, late-bloomer dynamic in exquisite action: The work begins at a plodding pace, heavy as cement and morose as a funeral, but midway through, it shifts gears and blossoms into a spaciously beautiful cascade of strings – still slow and slightly "heavy" in tone, yet transformed by a sweetness that is almost Venusian. All of Holst’s planetary passages are beautifully conceived, but to my mind there are special insights to be gleaned from his take on the ringed planet, which echoes the ancient symbol of the cornucopia – namely, that hidden riches sometimes lie within the brittle, somber shell of Saturn.

2. How can we tell whether or not someone will express the more constructive qualities of a dominant Saturn? That’s an immensely complicated question and can hinge on many things. For example, I know two people born around the same time and date, with very similar horoscopes and both with Saturn–Neptune–Venus conjunctions in Libra. The one person has taken that energy and become a successful musician, while the other has sadly drifted into a life of alcoholism and self-pity, largely over failed relationships. What made the difference? The only major distinction I can make out between their horoscopes was that the first person had a more powerful Jupiter (closely trining the Moon), which possibly gave her more positivity and resilience for coping with the difficulties of Saturn. But whether that’s the key factor is impossible to say for sure, since some individuals overcome their challenging horoscopes even without the benefit of supportive aspects. In the end, it seems to come down to that mysterious factor called "attitude" – and that may or may not be something ultimately encoded in the chart.

3. Oddly enough, Beatty’s second major breakout role in the film industry, as Clyde Barrow in the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde, was again as a sexually frustrated figure. It’s ironic that a sexually notorious figure like Beatty would rise to fame through such libido-challenged roles, but it’s reminiscent of that other Saturn–Pluto figure, Ernest Hemingway. He, too, gained fame for being associated with a sexually impotent character: Jake Barnes in Hemingway’s first novel, The Sun Also Rises.

Current Planets
22-Feb-2017, 15:37 UT/GMT
Sun412'13"9s58
Moon1634'28"18s35
Mercury2415'42"15s26
Venus1120'30"9n21
Mars1848'46"7n19
Jupiter2243'13"r7s27
Saturn2619'59"22s05
Uranus2148'45"7n58
Neptune1125'29"8s04
Pluto1837' 9"21s12
TrueNode323'23"10n16
Chiron2329'12"0n54
Explanations of the symbols
Chart of the moment
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