transiting Saturn

Turning Saturn Around: 6
Accepting the Invitation

Saturn's rings

This is the concluding article in this series.

As an agent in the process of transformation, knowledge has its limits. There is a point at which it must become understanding and that understanding must inform the way we live our lives: the actions that we take and the way that we use our time, energy and opportunities.

Generally speaking, we spiritually aware people underestimate the scale of the disparity between what we know and what we are able to do. What push the two apart are our emotions. In the moment of decision-making or choice we may fear of the consequences of taking the action that we know to be appropriate, or the cost may seem suddenly too high, or the case against the action that we would take is so great that we may question our grasp of the situation, or we may be overwhelmed with inertia and give up on the struggle.

This is what it means to be human and unintegrated, and it is for this reason that we are under the law of fate: we find it very difficult to align what we know with what we do because of our emotional reactions.

As shown earlier in this series, the sign and house position of Saturn in a natal chart describes the assumptions upon which we base our lives. These assumptions are legacies of old ideas about self, the product of past life memory and conditioning. Generally we do not question them or even realise that we have them because we are so closely identified with them.

Saturn and the Moon, natural allies, will have our lives sewn up unless we are prepared to challenge the assumptions to which they give rise. In the lives of people who have no interest in personal development and are simply concerned with getting by, then the light of the Sun will be very weak indeed: the reflected light from Saturn and the Moon will be much stronger and the past will restore itself, taking over the present lifetime, and like a cuckoo in a nest pushing out what rightfully belongs there.

Knowledge alerts us to the limitations inherent in these assumptions and encourages us to challenge them.

Horoscopy is a very useful tool in the identification of and description of our assumptions. It can even show past life patterns and give us the history of their development during our formative years.

Equipped with this kind of detail, those of us who are conscious of the way we are limited by the patterns, and who are aware of our true identities and what represents the way forward and who are consciously struggling with the past, feel that we must be making progress. And then we encounter a situation in which all our all-too familiar fears and doubts come up. We give into them, we do not take the course of action that we intended and we realise then that for all out knowingness, we are no closer to mastery than we were before.

For a lot of people who are consciously involved with spiritual development, this realisation can be a big enough disappointment to make them abandon their attempts to live purposefully. They give into a sense of unworthiness or feel overwhelmed by the scale of the challenge. Others deal with the disparity through denial of various kinds, and one form of denial says that special considerations apply to family and lovers, and that love is indulgent.

Significantly fewer, it seems, are prepared to recognise that this IS spirituality; that THIS is the transformative struggle that brings about integration, and prepare themselves to meet the challenge again. The problem is in our expectations.

The New Age has been concerned with increasing knowledge, and specifically in becoming more aware of the soul and its ways; it has not been so much concerned with turning that awareness into action. That is not a criticism. It is a statement of fact. In the past twenty-five years it has become easy to forget that there is a distinction to be made between knowing and doing.

How many of us have actually integrated into our daily lives the knowledge that we have gone out to find or paid to receive? How many of us have rows and rows of glossy books to which we cannot find the energy to turn when the going gets rough? How may of us have turned spirituality into a leisure activity that gets abandoned when reality intrudes. And how many realise the waste involved in this? It is like getting decked up for the ball and then declining the invitation.

Gaining knowledge is not the end of the process that we call spirituality; it is one of three stages.

  • The first stage is recognising the need for knowledge.
  • The second stage is acquiring knowledge.
  • The third  stage is turning that knowledge into understanding so that it informs our lives and changes being. This is achieved through work on self  i.e., through action. For this we need opportunities and these opportunities life supplies in abundance if only we can recognise them.

As Ouspensky said: when three things come together something happens, if they do not then nothing happens.

The awareness of the three stages has been a part of esoteric understanding since time began, but the necessity of the third stage is not yet widely understood. As yet, our expectations of spirituality are not adequate to help us deal with stage three but this will change in the coming years, because this omission is now being addressed from a higher level.

And when expectations change we will recognise the spiritual opportunity in the habitual, painful situations that we face in everyday life, the opportunity to take action and work on self.  We will recognise that it is for this that we are here in incarnation, on this planet which ensouls the principle of strength through struggle.

At present we cannot reconcile these difficult situations with our present expectations that spirituality is about collecting knowledge, feeling good and going into a special space. For sure, these are experiences that may inspire and encourage but they are not all there is to spirituality.

To turn Saturn around so that it is facing the Sun and not the Moon, we have to remind ourselves that it is through the quality of our decisions and choices that we will free ourselves from fate and be prepared to hold steady whilst our own decisions, made in full consciousness, unleash consequences and raise our fears. We have to remember when we have aroused in others the anger or displeasure of which we are terrified, or when our failure to please has earned us rejection, when no one around us can agree that we have done the right thing, that this is what a spiritual challenge looks like in real life.

Knowledge, such as that gained from the natal chart can never be a substitute for action but it can help us prepare ourselves for the challenges that will surely come.  If we are dressed we will be more inclined to receive it in a positive way.

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