SATURN/URANUS IN SAGITTARIUS:
Published in 1987, Welcome to Planet Earth
Note: In the first article of this series, I talked about the process of articulating the crystal of knowledge. I noted the years 1987 and 1988 when Saturn and Uranus are conjunct in the final degrees of Sagittarius as crucial for that defining process. In this second article I attempt to bring this discussion down to earth, showing how Saturn/Uranus works in daily life
One fine November day I was lunching with a friend at one of our favorite restaurants. Munching on Greek spanakopita, Sandy and I talked of self-discipline, and of our schedules and plans and the filing cabinets I was finally getting for my office. I told her that for the first time in my life I was directly facing my priorities: what they have been inadvertently in the past; what I consciously would like them to be in the future. I also mentioned that I was encountering an enormous internal resistance to this project, which surprised me. Why get emotional over such a dry subject? As we talked, I began to realize how much I feared taking charge of my life, how afraid I was of success — and failure: of real responsibility.
During the week of that luncheon date, transiting Saturn was making a final opposition to its placement in my natal chart, 12th to 6th house, in the signs of Sagittarius and Gemini. Perfect time for the kind of discussion we were having, as well as for facing, embracing, and finally erasing that long-held unconscious resistance.
As we left the restaurant, I suddenly remembered our young friend Jewel, a crystal saleswoman, born with six planets in Aquarius! — ruled by Uranus. I had heard that Jewel had just arrived back in town with a new load of crystals and when I told Sandy she grabbed my arm eagerly, and said, “Let’s go!” Thus it came about that within one hour of talking sternly about things Saturnine, we were sitting in Uranian Jewel’s kitchen, excitedly holding to the light one marvelous crystal after another. Thus did Uranian spontaneity unexpectedly overcome my Saturnine plans for that entire afternoon.
I tell this story to illustrate the juxtaposition of Saturn and Uranus, now current in the heavens and due to remain together for two full years.
Yesterday, I was lunching with another friend, Clare, in that same restaurant. This time it was our conversation which reminded me of Saturn/Uranus. Clare is 42 years old, a member of the Saturn/Uranus in Gemini generation (see the first article on Saturn/Uranus in the Capricorn edition of WTPE). This generational signature is a major feature in Clare’s chart — and in her life. Saturn and Uranus straddle either side of her Descendant, conjunct. We would expect her to manifest Saturn/Uranus in terms of relationships with others.
This past year, as transiting Uranus was crossing her Ascendant and opposing her natal Saturn/Uranus, this normally shy and reclusive woman suddenly (Uranus) found herself in relationship with a man 14 years younger. (Their Saturns are opposed to each other, an aspect often found in student/teacher relationships of widely separated ages. Each of them feels responsible for the other; each offers the other perspective on his/her way of learning from experience.) This man was Uranus to her Saturn. Unpredictable, irresponsible, exciting, he jarred her out of long held habits and opened her to an entirely new world. His surprises thrilled her, stimulated her (Uranus); made her want to pin him down, commit himself to her (Saturn). Instead, he insisted on his freedom to come and go (Uranus), and taught her to live in the moment, spontaneously (Uranus).
The relationship is over now, and Clare is changed. Before, she had been fearful of the Uranian elements in her own character, and used Saturn to keep them at bay. Now, she welcomes her intuitive impulses, and expresses herself more freely.
Over lunch Clare told me about an incident that happened to her recently as transiting Uranus opposed her natal Saturn/Uranus/Descendant conjunction for the final time. At the end of a long frustrating day at work, she almost bumped into a man coming in the door at the same time as she was going out. This man, she said, “always pushes my buttons, and this time he had a sort of smirk on his face. It just made me wild! Stepping outside, I immediately slipped on the ice and fell to my knees (knees: Saturn). Being down on the ground for a couple of minutes, I suddenly and clearly realized (Uranus) why I had fallen. I had allowed my distaste (i.e., judgment: Saturn) for this man to throw me off- balance (Uranus). I had returned his nonverbal dislike of me with equal intensity. I didn’t stay in my center, so I fell. It is interesting,” she concluded, “that when an event like this happens to me now I look at it almost immediately from a metaphysical perspective. I see (Uranus) the lessons (Saturn) it teaches in life.”
I cite these two examples, my lunch dates with Sandy and Clare, to give an initial impression of the manifold ways Saturn/Uranus can work in daily life. Such correlations between inner and outer events are easy for me to see now. There was a time, however, when I had trouble seeing them. My mind was not playful enough (Uranus); I was too focused (Saturn) on looking for the “right” way to look at things (Saturn). My dogmatic attitude was deeply ingrained (see first article in this Saturn/Uranus series); I tended to think there were only a specified number of ways in which any particular correlation could be viewed.
Twelve years ago, I was beginning my study of astrology, devouring books and staring into charts. My learning was full of frustration. I thought I was supposed to pin down (Saturn) astrological configurations to one or several ways of functioning. Or I thought I should. Or I was afraid of the alternative: infinity.
Gradually, over a period of years, the deep meaning of astrology began to seep into my psyche. Almost without noticing it, the dogmatic attitude began to release its grip. Instead of looking for precise definition, for rigid bounded meaning, I learned to play with astrology, the way I play with my dreams, circling round and round the object of contemplation, penetrating it here and there, trying out one interpretation to see how it fits, how well it resonates with other ways of looking. In place of definition and clear-cut linear logic, I began to utilize metaphor, image, analogy.
As time went on I would sometimes find myself deep in spontaneous meditation, feeling the reality of a planetary energy, its pulsing presence in my life. Little by little the mysterious axiom was sinking into me: Every part is equivalent to any whole and every whole is part of another, larger, more inclusive unity.
I was switching from left to right brain in my effort to embrace the mystery of astrology. And I was discovering that there is no one right way, there are as many ways as imagination and intuition can bring to bear upon a situation. Each way offers its own kind of truth, when viewed from its own perspective. Yet there is room for discernment here, too. For some ways are more fruitful, riper than others. These ways are keys, they open doors I never knew existed, and provide vistas of breathtaking sweep and sensibility.
The world of astrology seeped into me slowly, first changing the way my mind worked, then deeper, allowing me to center my entire being within the whirl of ever-widening and deepening circles and spirals, and their relations, the patterns of change. This enabled me to read my life symbolically, through the lens of astrology. Its symbols became signposts, markers, clues to the meaning in things. They resonated with meaning. Infinite meaning. There is no end to it.
Heraclitus was right. We don’t ever step into the same river twice. The only constant is change. Perhaps it’s a good thing I didn’t know this when I began to study astrology. The magnitude of the task would have seemed not only impossible, but terrifying.
There are many ways to go about understanding the meaning of an astrological configuration. The most obvious way is inductive. We talk to and observe others with this configuration in their charts, we observe world and local events during the time such a configuration is in place. In this approach we generalize from facts to theory, moving from concrete examples to the more abstract form which they embody.
Alternatively, we can work deductively. In the case of Saturn/Uranus, we meditate on the meaning of both planets singly, and then attempt to synthesize those meanings, how they would work together. Using this apriori method, it would seem these planets are so diametrically opposed in meaning that there is no way they could blend. Saturn is conservative, rigid, formal. Uranus is radical, spontaneous, unpredictable. Saturn builds forms. Uranus shatters them.
Yet a third way to understand the meaning of an astrological configuration is to observe our experience of it within ourselves. This approach is both clinical and personal; indeed, it cultivates a kind of deliberate schizophrenia, whereby we are both fully engaged in our experience and, at the very same time, acting as fair witness to that experience. This approach has advantages over the other two.
First, we presumably know ourselves better than we know anyone else. This can be argued, of course. Some would say that our knowledge of our own selves is too subjective, too colored by personal experience and taste and prejudice. So let me qualify that, to say we are more familiar with ourselves than with others. Moreover, we presumably have immediate access to the memories of an entire lifetime as well. Personal memory and old diaries are prime matter for research projects involving transits and progressions and their effects upon the configuration in question.
Secondly, most of us are self-centered. We can concentrate longer and more deeply on something if it touches our own lives. Indeed, when considering the personal experience of an aspect as contradictory and paradoxical as Saturn/Uranus, focus and concentration may go on for years, may even be life long, as we struggle to harness the tremendous forces such a dynamic involves. Then, what may be experienced in early childhood as temper tantrums, and in adolescence as the pain of a blocked explosive tendency, may evolve in full maturity into the joyful expression of disciplined creativity.
For those born between May of 1942 and May of 1944 Saturn and Uranus were conjunct in early Gemini. Of this group of people, a smaller subgroup also has personal (i.e., short-cycled) planets (Sun, Moon, Venus, Mercury, Mars) in geometrical aspect to the Saturn/Uranus conjunction. It is this subgroup which has very likely focused in a sustained manner for many years on Saturn/Uranus. For us, our generational signature assumes a very intimate meaning, and the lives we choose to lead are — for better or worse — exemplary.
Take myself for example.
A Case History
I was born December 19, 1942, at sunrise. The double Sagittarian Sun and Ascendant) influence was further magnified by an opposition of Mars in early Sagittarius to the conjunction of Saturn and Uranus in Gemini. The opposition between Mars and Uranus was near exact and the entire three-planet configuration was placed in the 6th and 12th houses.
When I was nine months old, two temporary aspects converged to correlate, precisely with the primal trauma in this life: 1) Transiting Uranus crossed natal Saturn; 2) the progressed Moon, originally in Taurus, and widely conjunct Mars/Uranus, moving at the rate of 1° per month, crossed the Mars/Uranus axis at 1-2° Gemini/Sagittarius. This double-crossing (note pun!) was experienced as total rupture. My father shipped overseas, to the Philipines and World War II.
Keep in mind that this Saturn/Uranus generation cut its eyeteeth on that devastating war. Indeed, Saturn and Uranus conjunct is one of the signatures of that war (the other being the entrance of Pluto into Leo). If this generation is to combine Saturn and Uranus in a healthy way, it will be in part to heal the forces of alienation that cause war.
The combination of Saturn and Uranus could be said to signify the American ideal of individualism, where everyone strives to be free and independent of everybody else — thus, when carried to extremes, alienated. This symbolism is appropriate for a nation founded during a Saturn/Uranus trine (Libra to Gemini in 1776) and which made liberty and freedom its founding words. However, the way we have used the meanings of these two planets betrays our yet unevolved status as a nation. We use these planets to glorify the continually expanding boundary system (Saturn) of the individual (Uranus) ego (Saturn). We have yet to recognize the right relations of these two planets to one another. Saturn needs to serve Uranus, not the other way around. Unless we align our separate egos within the larger context of the group, we fail to consider others’ needs. In the absence of this context, we feel alienated from one another. It is but one short step from this feeling to active fighting. War is but a perverted attempt to close the distance between us.
In the 17th century the philosopher Hobbes said the natural state of humankind was to be at war. This remark is symptomatic of Hobbes’ role as a reflection of the then emerging industrialization of the European world. Three hundred years later, industrialization has been perfected to the point where it now tends to prevent us from experiencing the natural world.
Our all-too-human race has unthinkingly ruptured original bonds — with each other, with our planetary home. Because we no longer feel safe in nature, we feel the need to defend ourselves — from both nature and each other.
Many of the Saturn/Uranus in Gemini generation were ruptured from their fathers in infancy. As college students, we called ourselves existentialists, and were “alienated” (in Erik Erickson’s then emerging use of the term). How synchronous! That we, who were born during the years of fiercest fighting during World War II are now coming into our prime as transiting Saturn/Uranus in Sagittarius opposes our original natal Saturn/Uranus conjunction and coincides with the world-wide awakening to nuclear omnicide. [This was written a few years after the Nuclear Freeze Movement began.]
We Saturn/Uranus people are wounded; our wounds go deep and they have bred a compassion for all living things: that original Saturn/Uranus closely trined at our birth the planet Neptune as it entered the sign of Libra for the first time in 165 years. This entry in turn coincided with the birth of the United Nations. We aim at undoing (Uranus) what was done to us (Saturn) by returning the world to its original unity in the spirit (Neptune); we seek to balance (Libra) freedom (Uranus) with fairness (Libra). We are here to bridge the old Saturnian closed, hierarchical, materialistic institutions with the new Uranian open, democratic, networking electronics.
Back when we were small children, many of our fathers were shipped overseas. The original rupture in loving, sustained family relations was the primary fact of our young lives. Our mothers lived in constant gnawing fear that their young husbands would never return. In any case, her fear communicated itself to me. (I have sensitive, psychi Neptune in Libra conjunct the MC. She has her Sun in Libra exactly conjunct my Neptune.) Fear (Saturn) of change (Uranus) was imprinted on my psyche from a very early age.
Like many women whose men were overseas, Mom lived for those three years with her parents — trying not to make too much trouble for them. Unfortunately for her — and therefore, for me — I was an extremely fiery, energetic child (Sagittarian Sun in the first house conjunct Sagittarian Ascendant, Sun conjunct the Galactic Center at 27°, Mars in Sagittarius opposite Uranus). In order to get me out of their presence, she confined me to my crib alone for long periods of time (Saturn attempts to dominate Mars/Uranus). This did not have the effect intended. I rocked the crib, banging my head (Mars) against it with such fury that I scooted the crib around the room. Desperate, mute, my mother stood by while my grandfather nailed the crib to the floor (Saturn wins).
So, the first two obvious effects of the original Saturn/Uranus signature and, in my case, its opposition to Mars, were the following: 1) the abrupt departure (Mars/Uranus) of my father (Saturn) and its devastating effect on my mother — and me (Moon in Taurus, a Moon which is especially dependent and needy of emotional stability; 2) the suppression (Saturn) of my unusually fiery energy (Sun/Ascendant/Mars/Uranus).
Three years later, when my father returned, progressed Mars was just beginning a three year crossing in opposition to natal Saturn: It took those years for my German father to establish dominance over my fiery nature. I still remember the anger and frustration (Mars/Uranus, blocked by Saturn) of that early time, and until very recently have actively hated (Saturn/Mars/Uranus) my father (Saturn).
Note: Reader, please be aware. I do not blame my father or my mother, or the war, or any other early circumstance for its effect on me. Like many astrologers, I assume that my soul chose my birth time and place, and therefore the original Saturn/Uranus/Mars configuration under which to be born this time around. I assume that this configuration both endowed me with much mental and nervous energy (Mars/Uranus) and at least in my early years, attracted experiences that would tend to prevent its expression (Saturn).
Ultimately, the habit of discipline (Saturn) I received as a child would prove beneficial. But first I would have to undergo the inevitable rebellion (Uranus) against the claustrophobic structure (Saturn) of my childhood. This rebellion did not take place until I was 26 years old. I was a late bloomer; so the change, when it came, was catastrophic.
When I was a child, the net result of Saturn’s early conditioning was a fearful, compliant, and sickly little girl who simultaneously attempted to please her father and stay out of his way. The original Saturn/Uranus/Mars configuration pushed itself down into the unconscious. This meant, inevitably, that sooner or later it would be projected out. Projection took three forms: interpersonal, religious, and global.
My tall, imposing serious stern German father — a physician — was the ultimate Saturn projection. Memories of him during those years are of a hard taskmaster, exacting, remote, rule-bound, and liable to sudden explosions of temper (Uranus) when his rules (Saturn) were broken.
I tried hard to please (Neptune in Libra conjunct MC, square first house Venus and Mercury in Capricorn, trine/sextile to Saturn/Uranus/Mars), and identified with Saturn at the expense of Mars/Uranus. I was a shy, stern and dutiful child, taking on much responsibility as the eldest of eight children.
But not even my father could contain all the fiery energy I had in me to project. The strict morality of Roman Catholicism received some more of the energy, Big Daddy in the sky being the perfect Saturnine judge.
A final projection was global. Mars/Uranus was projected out, not just onto my father’s temper, and not just onto what I had been taught was “God.” That fiery energy connected with fearful and apocalyptic fantasies of the end of the world, an end which, I thought, could and would come at any time. I was Chicken Little, and the sky was bound to fall in.
The Bomb is inside me . . .
Touch me, and I explode.
This way of speaking may sound poetic, a bit dramatic; actually, it describes a literal truth. My mother says that from the time I was three years old I refused to be touched (Natal Sun at 27° Sagittarius, progressed into Capricorn, Saturn’s sign, at the age of three.)
When Saturn opposed itself for the first time at 14, I fell in love with a boy whose Moon was also in Taurus, conjunct mine. Early sensual needs for touching suddenly resurfaced, and were over and over again denied (Saturn pushed down Moon/Mars/Uranus). Needless to say, the sexual frustration was excruciating. Equally trying were Dick’s eccentric and iconoclastic beliefs. Thoroughly Saturnine myself, I thought his Uranian irreverence shocking, and opposed it utterly.
On the other hand, there were signs, even then, of a more evolved use of Saturn/Uranus. During high school my friends and I (all the same age, with the same Saturn/Uranus configuration) went around as a group of equals (Uranus), rather than two by two like many of our peers. And though I was more conservative (Saturn) than the rest of my friends (Uranus), I did include myself in our far-reaching discussions. We prided ourselves in both openness to new ideas (Uranus in Gemini) and the logic and clarity with which we presented them to each other (Saturn in Gemini).
According to astrologer Liz Greene, wherever Saturn is placed in the chart, there is a source of anxiety or fear. This fear, she notes, ultimately drives the individual to not only develop but to overcompensate for whatever qualities the individual fears s/he does not or cannot have. My life bears witness to the truth of this idea. Saturn in Gemini: the fear of being stupid, or unable to learn, or not being able to figure out what is real, what is not.
This fear manifested first as an early block against mathematics. In first grade I asked my teacher what a number was. She stared at me for a long time, so long my ears burned. Finally, she replied, condescendingly, “That is not a question, dear.” My burning need to ask basic questions (12th house Mars in Sagittarius opposed to Uranus in Gemini) was squelched (Saturn). From that point on, I tried to please (Neptune in Libra, conjunct MC, square Capricorn Venus and Mercury, sextile/trine Mars/Saturn/Uranus), not only my father (Saturn) but my teachers (Saturn), too.
As a ten-year-old, feeling panicky about my lack of knowledge, I decided to read the entire encyclopedia, getting to the “p”’s before other neuroses intervened.
In high school, co-valedictorian.
In college, B.A. phi beta kappa, magna cum laude.
The early fixation on pleasing went on and on, continuing into graduate school. I wrote down what the teachers said, spit their words back to them on exams. Of course I got A’s.
In early 1966 the transits of Uranus and Pluto came together in my 9th house and began to square my Sagittarian Ascendant and Sun. At this point, I attracted the man who was to become my mentor. Joseph was a professor, the gadfly of the philosophy department. He terrified me. I didn’t like him one bit. Tried to stay away. Couldn’t. Was pushed from within into his presence.
Within one year my mentor’s irreverence and iconoclasm had become my own. And his prophecy, that I would not just become his equal, but stand on his shoulders, was well on its way towards fulfillment. Uranus, empowered by Pluto, eclipsed the strictures of Saturn and the effect was both electric and far-reaching.
Before I had been learning how to think logically and clearly (Saturn in Gemini), while absorbing an intellectual tradition (Saturn in Gemini). Now, instead of memorizing teachers and books, I began to question them, deeper and deeper, probing into the root assumptions of the entire history of Western philosophy (Mars in Sagittarius opposite Uranus in Gemini; Mars in 12th house — probe into collective unconscious mind).
Nor was my probing confined to philosophy. The whole of my life began to transform.
I shattered one paradigm, the one I was born into, and entered a much larger one. The so-called definite and bounded reality of Saturn gave way to a space that seemed to travel outwards and inwards forever (Uranus). It was as if I had been looking at lines, and now I was seeing/feeling the reality of the spaces between them. I was diving underneath the lines, seeing them from the other side. What had been obvious began to look absurd. What I had called simple-minded was now the simple truth. And the constant boring routine of the clock’s tick-tock, every moment the same, point by point an endless line of linear time, dropped away. I lived inside the moment, and it swelled and contracted like a living thing.
Before this time Neptune in Libra at the Midheaven square 1st house Venus and Mercury had been experienced as the desire to please fueled by the self-abnegation of Catholicism. Before this time, Pluto in Leo in the 8th house had manifested only as a morbid fascination with death. Now these two mysterious planetary energies came forth in their fullness from the vastness, resonating with each other, linking by sextile aspect — as they do for all of us born during these transfiguring times.
At this time also, Midheaven, Neptune and Pluto began to resonate with Saturn/Uranus/Mars, by sextile and trine, to reveal what had been there all along, a large double wedge formation. I was being reborn, beginning to manifest in a highly individual way (Mars to Uranus, Neptune at Midheaven), the full unconscious signature of my particular generation, those born between 1942 and 1949, a minor grand trine linking Uranus with Neptune and Pluto.
Those of us born between May of 1942 and May of 1944 are a subgeneration within this larger one. We have Saturn conjunct Uranus, so both these planets trine Neptune and sextile Pluto. We live at the cutting edge of the larger minor grand trine generation. We are the ones who must, through our Saturnine sense of responsibility, manifest the meaning of the minor grand trine in its fullness here on earth.
Our signature lies in fire and air (Gemini, Libra, Leo). We are a generation of inspired idealists; we ignite the fires of vision, the reach of human possibility — and spread it round the world. Our coming into public eye for the first time during the late ‘60s and early ‘70s coincided with the transits of Pluto and Uranus, first through the sign of Virgo, encouraging our radical critique of society, then through early Libra and the original placements of our Neptune. Meanwhile, transiting Neptune began to oppose our original Uranus position (and, for those born between May 1942 and May 1944, its conjunction with Saturn). We came alive during those heady times, we propelled the human race to another point in its continuing evolution.
Initiating ourselves unknowingly at first, we were drawn to the sacrament of psychedelics. And we discovered: Reality is not singular, it is manifold. Our experience of alternate realities gave us unusual perspectives on the dominant culture. As we explored the beauty and the richness of our own psyches, we began to recognize how limiting, how impoverished was the “reality” we had been conditioned into accepting as children.
In our early experiments with drugs we were fortunate. Our unconscious energies are linked together in a stable system, the minor grand trine. We could explore other dimensions with little fear and little reason to fear “losing our minds.” Other generations have not been so lucky. Within seven years, Uranus moved out of Gemini and its trine to Neptune. (This aspect in particular signifies the phenomenon of
“alternate realities.”) Uranus then began to square Neptune from the sign of Cancer; thus was a generation born whose unconscious signature is not so stable.
Since Mars and the Midheaven were also part of this energy system, my own transformation was archetypal, it prefigured the miracle which would, during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, achieve the momentum of critical mass, heralding the use of the now common, everyday words “transformation” and “empowerment.”
Transformation crystalized in September 1969, with three temporary aspects: progressed Mars energizing my 21° Sagittarian Ascendant; transiting Pluto squaring my 27° Sagittarian Sun; and transiting Uranus crossing 2° Neptune and 4° Midheaven in Libra. The change struck suddenly (Uranus) as a serious illness in which I almost died (Saturn in 6th house opposite Mars in 12th, sextile/trine Pluto in 8th) and during which I altered, entirely, the meaning I had assigned to my life (Sagittarian Sun and Ascendant, Mars in Sagittarius opposite Saturn/Uranus). Instead of dying myself, I let Big Daddy in the sky (Saturn) die. Therefore, I was free (Uranus). And because I was free of that old Daddy God, I was also responsible (Saturn). Responsible for my life. I encountered the entire spectrum of the heavens as revealed in the patterns of my natal birthchart that fateful day, and my response enabled me to move one complete revolution on the spiral of my own unfolding.
Up to this point I had progressed from good and dutiful child and student, to perfectionistic and obedient graduate student, wife, mother. (Naturally, since I was not truly a conscious being, I had married a man as critical of me as my father.) My meeting with my mentor Joseph began the process of change, and my experience of sudden illness with death staring me in the face accelerated it. For the next 14 years (one half a Saturn cycle), I was to go deeper and deeper into total rebellion against everything represented by my past.
I had moved into my natural fiery self, and the first casualties of this transformation were not only marriage, but motherhood. Something had switched in me; I could no longer care for my children as I had previously. I had become so nervous and high strung (Mars opposite Uranus in Gemini) that I would end up screaming at them for the least infraction (Uranus) of my rules (Saturn). I had come full circle: My father’s explosions were now my own. And as my father left me, so did I re-enact that early trauma 29 years later when I left my children with their father in Boston to relocate in California. A most unnatural act. And a most unusual thing to do, at that time. No mother I had ever known or ever heard of had ever done such a thing. Yet I had to do it. It was both totally impossible and yet absolutely necessary. Saturn, in the form of society’s and my own superego’s judgments, conflicted totally with this new and incorrigible Uranian need for freedom. Had I been psychologically able to, I would have stayed. But I was not. I left my own children. I became a stranger in a strange land.
The feeling of this journey is, no doubt, familiar to anyone who has ever broken through Saturn’s boundaries to the wilder realm of Uranus and beyond. No matter how strongly our culture, our personal expectations, and our rational minds counsel against it, the impulse to break free, to step into the unknown, cannot be denied. We don’t want to do it, but we have to. We have no choice. Once a certain point has been reached, the breakthrough comes — no matter what the consequences. Through this suffering, this aching wrenching from what we have always known, through this acting in a manner strange to both ourselves and everyone around us, true individuality is born.
And let me emphasize this fact: Transformation is not really a goal like other goals. Few of us who engage in this process ever really want to — at least not in the beginning. We aren’t trying to get somewhere. It’s not as if we are reaching for something. Rather, we are pushed from behind, as if on a wave. Or better: we are like blossoms, pushed from within, unfolding from the bud.
And when we first encounter a new energy within ourselves, there is a period of trial and error, in which we learn how to use the newly discovered energy in constructive ways. In my case, there were a number of years in which I was a militant feminist, hating (Saturn, in the sense of a wall or judgment against) men and all authorities (Saturn), and insisting on total freedom (Uranus) from all constraints (Saturn).
But before I went all the way out there, I was prudent enough (Saturn does not give up easily) to complete my doctorate with a dissertation that called for a revolution in philosophy (Uranus) and yet did so by speaking the language of academia (Saturn), with an unusual clarity and distinction (Saturn). This work was the first example of what would become a definite direction in my life: to speak about the new (Uranus) in a language even the old (Saturn) can understand. Saturn and Uranus were beginning, even then, to integrate, to fuse.
When I was 39 years old, transit Uranus reached the opposition to, first itself, and then Saturn. This crossing was a two-year process in which the following events occurred.
• In 1982 I established (Saturn) an alternative (Uranus) newspaper (Gemini) to link peace (Neptune in Libra) activists (Uranus) to one another in the deep west region of the United States.
• In late 1983, as Uranus made its final opposition to Saturn and transiting Neptune began to cross natal Venus, it dawned on me that for a peace activist, I was awfully violent. (Saturn/Mars/Uranus as a signature of violence, in this case, mental violence — dogmatic, fanatic, preaching to others: negative Sagittarius.) With this realization, I stopped (Saturn) being a radical (Uranus) organizer (Saturn) and turned within, to find peace of mind (Neptune in Libra, conjunct MC, square natal Venus).
At this point in my life the emotional trauma stemming from the original rupture of myself from my father finally began to heal. As the war had taken my father from me, so had this trauma triggered an internal war inside me — a war that had raged for 40 years. Transiting Uranus had activated that Saturn/Mars/Uranus configuration for the first time when he left. Four decades later, as transiting Uranus again activated that same configuration by opposition, I began to get perspective on the original traumatic conditions of my early life. Only then did I begin to withdraw my early projections of world-wide apocalypse and recognize its source, the continuing war within.
The following two years were devoted to the process of healing. I had to heal both the child within and the father within. I had to allow both the child and the father to become fully present within me again — and feel them both — and mourn for them both. I had to forgive them, for they know not what they do.
During those two years I concentrated on healing myself, for once in my life not expecting any kind of change from my father. As usual, nature provided the miracle when least expected. My father changed too. We had been going through the same process at the same time. Forgiveness was mutual. We now enjoy an easy loving relationship with each other for the first time in our lives.
This past year Saturn has traveled over the same points as Uranus did, several years ago, and the result has been articles like this one, a growing ability to articulate and give form to my process, and to the way that process both participates in and symbolizes the history of my generation.
Though the circumstances of my life are peculiar to me, the meaning of the times during which I was born is common to all of us born then. In this sense, we can say that my process is ours. My rupture is ours. My healing is ours. Saturn and Uranus will fuse, in one way or another, within these coming two years, for all of us whose charts show these two planets in aspect in mutable signs. The Neptunian peace on earth that we long for does begin here, at home, in our hearts.