The Astrology of Society’s Expectations and Being Judged
I’ve studied astrology for a long time, and even after years of being in touch with the material, every now and then a piece of dry astrology fact clicks into place, and I gain a bit of life wisdom just from understanding HOW and WHY this fragment of astrology WORKS.
One of such incidents I remember well, was this:
Fact: Saturn takes approximately 28.5 years to complete an orbit around the Sun
That means absolutely nothing at first glance, but a bit of math tells you that relative to where Saturn is at your birth:
– When you were 7 years old Saturn moved to the first quarter point of the circle
– At 14-15 years old it was opposite your natal Saturn
– At 21 years old it’s placed at the third quarter position
– At 28.5 years old it returns to its original position
– Subsequently the pattern repeats itself at approximate 28.5-year intervals
In almost every culture, at age 7 you transit from being a kid to becoming a ‘big’ kid – you started going to a proper school, and suddenly homework just got serious, and god forbid… you were expected to pass tests. Welcome to your first taste of parental, teacher and society’s expectations.
At 14-15 all your classmates seemed to have their style, or their ‘thing’. You felt left out, unattractive, and embarrassed to be seen in any social situation because you felt that the adults were watching and judging you, and you were conscious of looking ‘cool’ in front of the other kids. Perhaps you started noticing the opposite sex, and realizing that their opinion of you was so, so important.
When you finally made the transition to adulthood (people turn ‘adult’ at 21 in Singapore, where I come from, although astrologers beg to differ on this point – see next paragraph) at approximately age 20-23, you’re conscious of not being dependant on your parents anymore – it’s time to make your own living, embark on some kind of career or path. You wonder how you’ll measure up to your peers. Maybe you took on a college degree or career that your parents chose for you (either consciously or subconsiously).
By age 28-30, most of us would have sort of settled into some kind of career, and while you feel that you still have a long way to go, there’s a sense that you completed a milestone that began with your entry into school at age 7. This time of life is known to astrologers as the Saturn Return because Saturn returns to where it was when you were born, and this is where astrologers consider the true transition to adulthood, for here you take responsibility for the choices you made at the three earlier Saturn milestone points. Where you stand at the Saturn Return sets the stage for the next Saturn cycle.
What Saturn Means
From just the analysis of Saturn’s orbit above, you don’t need to know astrology to understand that Saturn represents measuring up, structure, parents and their expectations, teachers and their expectations, bosses and their expectations, long-term plans, tradition and conventionality, responsibilities etc.
On the other side of the coin, Saturn makes you wait for the outcome, makes you WORK for the outcome, gets you stressed up and worried about not ‘making it’, and reminds you every now and then ‘others’ are constantly watching the ‘grade’ you’re getting on the tests that come your way every here and now, just like the way it was when you were 7.
How Saturn in Your Chart Can Manifest as Problems
- You become defensive and sensitive to criticism, either real or imagined
- You fear not ‘making it’, so you overwork, overdo, overstress
- Because standards are high, you constantly don’t meet your own expectations, and over time your confidence wanes, creating a vicious cycle
- You crave achievement in this area so much, and try so hard with so little results (in your opinion) that you become intensely envious of those who seem to surpass your abilities with so little effort
- The required effort is so overwhelming that you give up altogether and reject an entire part of you
I’m not a believer in providing all possible placements for planets, since every birthchart is well and truly unique, and simplifying placements inevitably sounds like I’ve grouped the world’s population into 12 categories. Nonetheless, here are examples to illustrate two house placements of Saturn:
Saturn in the 2nd house (money, possessions, values) could indicate someone who works really hard for money, mainly out of an intense insecurity of not having money, rather than a need for status and power. This person could be very reliable on money matters, for they are likely to take such responsibilities seriously, and would probably have a sound, long-term financial plan in place, though if taken to extremes this person could be a stingy money-pincher. Because of their aversion to risk (because speculation is like, sooo irresponsible), ironically the accumulation of wealth may take a long, long time.
Saturn in the 3rd (communication, thinking, siblings, neighbours) indicates mathematical and scientific ability, due to the structured mental disciplines required for such fields of study. There could be talent in handicraft that takes time and skill to perfect. However this person may be found doubting almost all information coming his way, leading to missed opportunities, and might be very sensitive if his intelligence is ever called into question (real or imagined). In some cases, negative thinking and problems with siblings and neighbours is indicated.