Right now: Moon at 4°36' Leo, Sun at 1°07' Aquarius
Father Time Is All Spaced-Out
Chapter 6 from "Astrological Repair Manual" by Alexander M Zoltai
We've left the three transpersonals far behind but clearly not forgotten. As we approach Saturn we notice it's quite a bit bigger than Neptune or Uranus, obviously composed mostly of gas, but with a bright, pastel yellow atmosphere.
Hmmm... This character is the one who cut off his father's penis... This is the guy called Father Time and he carries that sharp scythe...
This is also the planet that gets the worst press from traditional astrologers.
So what's wrong with this function? Nope, not gonna answer a question like that; I'm too hopelessly optimistic. I'll answer this one instead: What's right with this planetary function?
First, the most right thing about Saturn is that is represents Structure. After having been through the realms of Regeneration, Visions, and Transformation, it can feel pretty good to pull some structure around oneself-get things organized, clarify issues, make a few definitions. Of course, if we were going the other way, we'd be leaving this structure and looking forward to a transformation of possibly rigid definitions, checking to see if our clarifications are really clear enough, changing the priorities of our organizational plan.
This ability to see any function from both "directions" is a valuable talent to have if you're thinking about using astrology. It isn't enough to just stay free of limiting categories for any particular planetary function, it's also important to see the function operating in many different roles.
Language and our use of it become critical factors when we begin to apply astrological knowledge to our lives. For example, take my use of the phrase "limiting categories" two sentences ago. Limitation is also one of Saturn's functional purposes, but a healthy limitation of some field of endeavor is very different from imposing limiting categories on ourselves.
Let me say this another way. Astrology has ten major functions, represented by the cycles of planetary bodies, that can be used to gain meaning about the various aspects of our character. Even though I won't be covering it in detail in this book, you can also pair these cyclic functions, finding the time periods that occur when one that's faster is tracked as it, first, "lines up" with a slower one, then makes a full cycle around and back to that alignment. If we pair all ten functions in this way, we end up with 45 cycles that explain the interactions of two functions at a time-their intermingling actions.
Since all the functions can be used with all the other functions, you need to stay very flexible in the way you view their meanings. You can't go so far that a function changes its basic meaning just because it's interacting with another one, but it's important to know that these meanings certainly can bend and sway. Kind of like that time you went to some social gathering and had to keep certain aspects of yourself from showing too strongly...
This whole discussion of language, meanings and the need to be clear about the structure of the words is quite Saturnian, too. It's like a relationship where Saturn is dancing with Uranus and Saturn is doing all the leading. If Uranus were to lead, there would be meanings changing into each other. Confusing? Try thinking back to last chapter's discussion about the bad kid changing into a good citizen. It was the same person the whole time-their Saturnian structure didn't change-but they went through some amazing Uranian transformations.
So, now that Father Time is all spaced-out, I'll reveal another major truth about astrology: no one symbol or function or planet or sign or house (we'll meet signs and houses when we get closer to Earth) - none of these factors has any meaning all by itself. I can say Saturn means Structure, Limitation, Clarification, Organization, etc. but it gains its meaning from its cycle as it relates to other cycles. How could structure even be defined if there weren't things that needed to be structured?
One of the backbone sources for the meaning of any function in astrology is the length of its trip around the Sun. For Saturn, it turns out to be real close to 30 years with the half-cycle at 15 and quarter cycles around 7-something. When I was young it was common to hear: "Ya can't trust anybody over 30." Oh, my! I wonder if those saying it were under thirty and probably not averse to a rather disorganized and freewheeling life-style?
Right around thirty is when most of us have finally "found ourselves". We usually find it necessary to stake a claim for the pattern of self we've decided to be-lay out the pattern for others, organize our time in society to accommodate the clarity of self we now feel.
And now I hear some people saying, "Oh yeah? Thirty was hell!" But do they realize that whatever difficult or negative period they were experiencing might have been there to clear the decks so they could claim a stronger place for themselves-make a clearer pattern of living?
The half-cycle of Saturn is just as important for Identity Formation (key Saturn phrase there). But, at fifteen, we're putting out (for all to see) what we were born and raised with. We're also finding out what others think about that identity pattern and, possibly, trying to either hide it or flaunt it even more. The transition at thirty is qualitatively different. We've been through one whole cycle of identity formation and we're trying to squeeze out whatever doesn't really belong to the real self-condensing, confirming, clarifying, defining.
Now, while we're circling this symbol of patterns and organization, would be a good time to lay out one of the most important structural concepts in astrology: the Squaring of the Circle.
Every cycle, whether with one planet or two, has a beginning. It has a middle and an ending, too. Simple, eh? Yet many astrologers forget this view of life. They look at the position of a planet in a birth chart and freeze it there, trying to milk it for more meaning than it can give. We're born with the planets at certain positions determined by our time and place of birth. The important thing to remember though is that the planets keep moving and so do we. Life and people evolve. These motions in astrology are called Transits and Progressions and are two topics that must be left for you to discover in the references recommended at the end of this book (and, for discussion in Books Two and Three).
Way before you attempt learning about all the meaning possible with moving planets, you need a firm grounding in the field they move within-the circle or cycle. Each one has its moment of beginning when things are new and fresh-either exciting or scary. Each cycle also has its ending, which is the same moment as the beginning of a new cycle. But rather than thinking of this evolution of meaning as an old phonograph record, spinning endlessly, we should concentrate our positive minds and see each ending and rebirth happening on a new and higher level-a spiral of ever-ascending and fulfilling meanings.
The first half of any cycle is all about taking the new materials we have to deal with and shaping them according to the vision we (hopefully) had at that magic moment of rebirth. If we aren't facing our astrological cycles and our very lives in this way, we're shortchanging ourselves!
The exact middle of any cycle is the time when the vision of the beginning can flower and fruit-come to its highest personal consummation of expression.
From the middle to the next rebirth is the time to share the fruits we've garnered with others-to make the function(s) valuable in others' lives.
The two quarter phases-halfway from beginning to middle and halfway from middle to rebirth-are times we can use to firm up our directions, shift gears, if necessary, to get back on course, make sure our roots are firmly planted (personal or social), and gain strength for the push to the color and magic of the middle; or the raking of leaves, the seed-tending of the time near rebirth.
You're going to find that The Instructions and its system of interpretation doesn't deal with these moving functions. Like I've said before, this book is all about giving you the right Perceptions so that any further studies you might engage in can be positive and profitable. If I'd never mentioned this important concept of the General Cycle, I would have been shirking my duty...
Right now, we have to fire up the engines, kick out of orbit, and head to the planet whose function is, in many ways, the exact opposite of Saturn. Think I'll go up to the observation bubble and watch...
Read more chapters from this book:
Chapter 1: Xena and the Hordes
Chapter 2: The River of Death
Chapter 3: Idealism Abounds
Chapter 4: Venus and Her Father's Penis
Chapter 5: Transpersonal Awareness
Chapter 6: Father-Time Is All Spaced-Out
Chapter 7: Promiscuous Gods
Chapter 8: Chaos
Chapter 9: The Ancient Warrior
Chapter 10: Home Sweet Home and Lunacy
Chapter 11: Acid Love
Chapter 12: Messenger of the Gods
Chapter 13: Plasma Love
Chapter 14: Galactic Visitors