Apr 5 – Aug 25, 2017
Planets in retrograde are not actually spinning backwards – it is entirely an optical illusion as seen from Earth. Backwards motion appears to happen when Earth passes slower moving planets in the outer solar system. In astrology, this illusion manifests as a “backwards” functioning of the planetary roles. Click here to learn more about retrograde.
For about 4.5 months out of the year, Saturn is retrograde. When direct, Saturn in Sagittarius builds wisdom and experience beyond individual consciousness. When retrograde, we are shown instead to the highest version of ourselves. The retrograde is the nitty gritty, the true purpose of any transit, the point at which we see what we are really supposed to be learning. Our quest for understanding is about to become a very personal journey. Whatever you’re working on will be amplified to extreme proportions and more immersive than you could have ever imagined.
One way we can satisfy both Saturn and Sagittarius is in the acquisition of skills/trades in a certifiable setting. This is the perfect time to go (back) to school or vocational training. Learning pleases the archer; regulated, officious environments like school/apprenticeship gratifies Saturn. Also watch for the continued arrival of mentors – this is the natural result of Saturn the Patriarch coupling with Sagittarius the Just.
I think we have all felt pressured since the beginning of this transit in December 2014 to rid ourselves of complexes and live more authentically. We are aligning with empowering and uplifting spiritual philosophies in order to achieve this liberation. The centaur demands that we evolve rapidly, yet Saturn demands that we remain structured and disciplined. Saturn contracts, and Sagittarius swells. Sagittarius rules truth, morality, seeking and higher learning. Sagittarius is a free thinker, but not Saturn. He is a realist, borderline sadist, with no patience for complacency or inaction.
We will be placed in grueling circumstances where we must discern with utmost prudence what we deem right and wrong. How far will we be pushed in the wrong direction? We may begin on a path that seems perfectly fine, but if there is one tiny aspect that doesn’t fit, Saturn turns us back to the end of the line to start again. Saturn Retrograde does not indulge carelessness. Even when we are cautious, meeting our own neurotic standards, we will not be left to our own devices.
Sagittarius is an optimist and idealist, but he is also an escapist, a willfully blind man, who, rather than grope in the darkness he so adamantly denies, lives only in the light. He tells himself whatever he needs to uphold illusion and gleefully ignores that which rankles. A wide grin and booming laugh as he moves away. Saturn Retrograde is not having any of this. In the end, the centaur dissolves to reveal his true nature, and justice rules the land. You may run until you can’t breathe anymore, but these horse legs do not tire, my friend. Speak your truth now lest it rears its magnificent head. Resist the urge to clam or flee. Saturn Retrograde is the work, the work we have to do before we step completely into Sagittarius’ effervescence.
Saturn moves slowly and deliberately, especially when retrograde. His lessons are necessary evolutionary catalysts, but not necessarily enjoyable as they concern the inevitable. Saturn Retrograde demonstrates that nothing is worth having if it is does not take time and work. We must face and define spiritual blocks with the knowledge that, in so doing, we effectively dissolve their power. Indeed, to know the problem is to know the solution.
The beliefs we carry will be heated to scorching. During Saturn Retrograde last year, I intensely questioned my pursuit of yoga and what it meant to be a yogi in the Western world. All of these concepts in which I had become so embroiled were now beckoning to be known on a personal level. It is a privilege to ask – who am I really in the midst of these books and theories? How do I transmute this wisdom so that I might become it, live it, be it?
Some of the many aspects include Saturn trine the Sun in Aries on April 17. We’ll see this again on August 13 when the Sun is in Leo. This is when we actually gravitate toward Saturn’s beloved responsibilities, self-discipline and orderliness. This is a slow day, a day which favors method and respect for process. Foolishness and risk-taking are off the table.
On April 24, and again on May 11, Saturn forms a trine to Mercury in Aries, first with Mercury retrograde, then direct. We will see this aspect once more on July 19 when Mercury moves into Leo. This is, once again, all about discipline and orderliness. But with Mercury, this aspect speaks to the left brain. Plans and people must fit into what will prove to be a very rigid mental framework. Even manner of speech here is sparse, succinct. Deference will be given to plans which are clear and realistic, and we may be rather obsessed with planning. The mind races with potentialities and vivid simulations before a decision is reached. We will be somewhat negative in character.
The big news is Saturn trine Uranus on May 19, an aspect we just saw on Christmas Eve 2016 for the first time since 2003. We’ll be visited once more by this aspect on November 11 before it disappears for another 13 years. These planets are what we call “outer planets” (farther from the Sun, as it were) and they deal strictly in matters which pertain to the larger arc of life. This is an overall benevolent transit which helps us find or create a pleasurable environment. It is not just an environment, however, but a microcosmic translation of a much grander design invisible to the eye. Change is a constant any time Uranus is involved, and what is sudden is good. This transit may herald a shift from a depressed state to one of true happiness. It is a stalwart guide, time-tested like the barnacled seaman’s wisdom.
On June 15 Saturn opposes the Sun in Gemini. This aspect is characterized by poor self-control. Feelings of inadequacy and self-consciousness lead us to beat ourselves up emotionally and analyze everything to death. We might knowingly choose the hardest possible path or deny ourselves pleasure. When Saturn interacts with the Sun, ruler of the ego, self-censoring happens and we become engrossed by how we are perceived. We might feel guilty drawing any kind of attention to ourselves, and unclear as to what we should or should not do. From CafeAstrology: “As the Sun rules our conscious mind, it does enough censoring on its own. It is the ‘adult’ within us. Saturn, on the other hand, is more like the ‘parent’ within us. We need parents to guide us when we are children, and to some degree as adults, but for the most part, we don’t need to be censored indefinitely–something that seems to be the case with Saturn-Sun hard aspects, except that the censoring and parenting is coming from within.” Hopefully we realize before it’s too late that the inevitable restrictions we face as a result of having too high of standards are self-created, born of loathing.
On June 18, Saturn opposes Mercury in Gemini. The self-censoring described above pops up again. Since Mercury is master of communication, Saturn censors words here. We will be tight-lipped and unemotional in the face of awkward social circumstances and immature behavior. Words, when they do fly out, are simply not understood. Judgement runs sharp, as does an intense need for privacy. All communication will be strained and deeply uncomfortable. Defense mechanisms of a particular ferocity spring out of a pit of insecurity. Those who portend to be confident are wilting none too slowly on the inside. Outside certain realms such as work, these individuals are meek and solitary, not knowing what to do with themselves. Their character is stern, harsh, negative, with darkly shaded humor, and it marks them like a black snake curled around their neck. All parties leave feeling misunderstood, and Saturn keeps humming.