Exaltation of Saturn in Libra

Monique Pommier  © 1997 

I was brought into light by the shade of great enemies — Agni Yoga, v. 270

Saturn, the archetypal dweller on the threshold

The seventh exaltation resonates with the first (the exaltation of the Sun in Aries)  as its echo and counterpart. Through the opposition and complementarity of the signs Aries and Libra, a polarity is revealed between the Sun and Saturn, and a partnership exalted between their functions within the universe and the human psyche.

Saturn is the “Satan” of the old astrological lore, carrier of all fateful events, negative dispositions and malefic influences.

In their exalted rapport, Saturn and the Sun are set across the horizon, “back” to face — as twilight to dawn; as fall (LI) to spring (AR); as the unconscious shadow to the radiance of the Self; or as the enemy-friend guarding the next gate of the emerging Self.

The sun sets and “falls” in the West (LI) — the West of all “Satans.” The “Light from the East” falls in the Western worlds where “gold” materializes and science and technology are exalted. Yet, scientific achievements bear witness to the penetration of matter by the light (of human intelligence) and its arising within it.

Their exaltation in opposite signs reveals an underlying partnership between the two principles. On one hand, Saturn-Satan is set up as a partner to the rising of the sun; it is a key participant in the dawn of dynamic selfhood. On the other hand, the self-expression or the creative will of the exalted Sun (Sun in AR) calls for the balancing and adjusting function of Saturn (LI). Saturn is the dark partner in the exaltation of the light, the pressure of the “not-self” destined to elicit Selfhood in the evolving consciousness (SU), the resistance of matter which makes spirit “spring” (AR). It is by having to emerge from the limitations of imprisoning matters that the self is exalted.

On the archetypal threshold that Libra represents, Saturn stands as the dweller who veils and eventually reveals “self”. He guards a temporary ring-pass-not of self-experience and holds the key to the next broader sphere of reality and identification. He builds and guards the widening structure of selfhood — ever a custodian and sober reminder of the relativity (LI) of identity (AR).

Saturn as universal dweller: the relational necessity of creation.

The exaltation of Saturn in Libra also points to the relational foundation of creation,  the relational nature of the axial law along which the universe, and anything in the universe, constitutes itself and evolves. This ongoing “con-stituting” of the world-Fact – the task of “setting up” (lat. con-statuere”) an evolving world as a coherent manifestation of its indwelling self – is the exalted function of Saturn, and in fact a literal translation of Saturn (statuere) in Libra (-con). In the accomplishment of this task, Saturn stands for the Law which faces and confronts each and every expression of free will (Sun in AR) in the world — the relational Necessity (SA in LI) which governs universal existence. All that springs from the initiative of men and the creation of “gods” is naturally placed in the balance of its relation to the whole and subject to the adjustments which the needs of a greater context require from the singular expressions of its units.

Saturn’s exaltation in Libra suggests that law, which the planet is known to wield, is about justness in relationships. The creative impulse of an individual (Sun in AR), touching the “bounds” of the whole, meets this law of all-interrelatedness (SA in LI) which confronts the “initiating” one with adjustments of will to will, action to reaction, rights to rights, freedom to freedom, or particular idea to comprehensive purpose. As Libra guards the horizon of Aries with the measure of the “Other,”  Saturn  makes its rounds on the “borders” of any creative source,  dwelling where the expression of s/Self meets resistance — this can be the resistance of matter to Spirit, of man’s egotistic will (“Satan”) to God’s will, or it may be the resistance of a person or a group’s integrity to someone’s actions or ways, or the resistance that a greater purpose opposes to human initiative throughout cosmos.

Saturn is the resistance of Necessity. It represents the necessity, intrinsic to universal Being, to venture both freely and as One — in the freedom of each unit and the convergent will of the whole. This Necessity is, in a certain respect, the essential axis of the universe. While it appears as horizon (LI) and border to the individual will (Sun in AR), the law exalted in Libra is an axis, a central reality, a hub where all motions – pulls and counterpulls – of cosmos resolve into the central spine of evolution.

In terms of human experience, this spine translates into the law of karma. Karma is the law of universal adjustment — the inherent tension-towards (‘ad’-) that which is just and around which the integrity of the universe constitutes itself. The resistance of Necessity is the reality of the universal Dweller. Even though the dweller often seems to come and meet us from the peripheries of experience, it pertains to the indwelling Self and is the projection, disguised in the objective facts of life, of one’s very will-to-integrity — the will to be One, as a person or as a universe. It is the shadow cast on circumstances by the distance between  personal inclination and the central axis of Being. The peripheral encounter is but the reflection of a one-sidedness in our relation to ourselves, an off-centeredness in our alignment to the whole, a bias in a group’s relation to its Self.

This spine of universal justness is the expression of the evolution of the whole as One  Self, truly creative and free throughout its parts, while inevitably One. It builds itself around the very core of the universe — the free will of creative Being. In fact, the law of  adjustment and right relations is like a natural ossification of this universal marrow of free will, an “invertebration” of the vortex of Being precipitated into existence — the armature of spirit and the existential manifestation of freedom.

Saturn is the custodian of the “central boundary” where the will of each is met by  necessity or the will of the whole, and where everyone’s choices condition the whole. It “articulates” the freedom of each with the integrity of a totality—the existential fact of separateness with the essential reality of Identity. The law, which Saturn represents, is the expression of the inner equilibrium (LI) which, claiming its necessity through karma, affirms the stance (SA) of the One Self we are as a universe.

Adjusting will to Will, Saturn balances cause with effect — the effects caused by any expression of will. It limits and rebalances the expression of individual free will with the effect of its enactment on others. It redresses the part with the response of the whole, reshapes it to its need. The natural limit to what we do to each other and to the whole is ultimately the “resistance” offered by the hub of the one Life which passes through the core of each and all of us — the reality of our essential Identity. The law of karma is the expression of this fact in time and space.

The law of right relatedness is the call of universal Identity throughout the worlds of duality. What I do to you is what I do to (my)Self.

To each limited perception and separative action which diffracts the lines of a vaster plan and distorts the axis of a greater sphere to which we pertain, karma sooner or later presents “the other” side — the counterpart which implants or redresses within each entity (be it a man, a group, a nation, a planet, a solar system) the axis of the whole.

Through the sweeping tides of offenses returning as pain, of omissions returning as summons, through debts reborn into sacrifices, flaws bent into faculties, karma weaves this “righting” of relation which builds the spine of the great world-being. Ceaselessly are decisions offset by the current of a larger Necessity, chosen directions ebb under the flow of greater realizations, old thought-waves are whip-lashed by smiting events — self is confronted and reshaped by Self. As the tides leave on the seashore a distinct spine of  sand – the trace of their encounter with the earth – Saturn weaves the shore of spirit in the denser worlds of human matters and the laws of human living on the shore of divine freedom. On the shore of eternity, it weaves the spine of history — the design of events created by human choices. In space, it crystallizes the objective worlds— the mineral skeleton which a logoic Life leaves on the shores of Matter.

Saturn shows the reverse side of the freedom of spirit. An astrological evidence of this is found in the hierarchical rulerships of Aries and Libra (the “reverse side” of Aries)— Uranus and Saturn. It constitutes the matter side of God, the mask of duality (LI) under which manifestation in time and space veils the One, or the mask of resistance through which the lesser worlds experience the promptings of soul or spirit. Saturn represents that with which these lesser worlds  carve the existential face of Divine Freedom — the laws. Laws are but the reverse side of Freedom—the back of God, in the same way that karma is but the “other” side – “our” side, the dual side – of Oneness. Karma is both an effect of the Oneness-that-is and a builder of the Oneness-to-be.

 Saturn — the backbone of the universe

The axial function of Satan in Dante’s spiritual geo/cosmography illustrates this idea. As the two travelers of the “Divine Comedy” reach the threshold between the “downward spires” of hell and the upper worlds of Purgatory and Paradise, a powerful image unfolds of Satan as the spine of the lower worlds, head down into the abyss. Hell and paradise hinge on his hips (LI). He is the “diabolic” one—the one “thrown across” (Gk. dia-bolos) space to separate heaven from hell and darkness from light; thrown across eternity to ripple it with the cycles of Time and the spirals of Evolution (the circles of the “divine comedy”). He is the “divider” (devil/diabolos) arisen from the natural foundation of the world to raise self-awareness—what rents the seamlessness of the world-Being with the polarized currents of free will. By the same token, he is the passageway for the world to turn into its self and stitch with human choices a central seam of unity in freedom.

As Law is the precipitate of the universe’s spirit and karma the effect of Oneness in the dual worlds, Satan is the precipitate of the universe’s freedom.

  Planted upside down in the moral psyche, Saturn-Satan elicits the building up of conscience, and on the hips of the psyche that conscience represents, the engulfing circles of hell “convert” into the aspiring cycles of purgatory and the ascent to paradise:

When we had reached the point at which the thigh revolves, Dante recounts, just at the swelling of the hip, my guide, with heavy strain and rugged work, reversed his head to where his legs had been, and grappled on the hair, as one who climbs – I thought that we were going back to Hell.  “Hold tight, my master said – he panted like a man exhausted – “it is by such stairs that we must take our leave of so much evil”…  “Before I free myself from this abyss, master,” I said when I had stood up straight, tell me — how is he so placed head downward?  Tell me, too, how has the Sun in so few hours gone from night to morning?”  And he to me: “you still believe you are north of the center, where I grasped the hair of the dammed worm who pierces through the world.  And you were as long as I descended; but when I turned, that’s when you passed the point to which, from every part, all weights are drawn...[1]

 In this dramatic illustration of Saturn in Libra, the world stands on Satan’s hips (hips are traditionally ruled by Libra). It revolves around that power which precipitates the “paradise” of the formless worlds into time and space, while offering the very steps of return from “hell” to “paradise.” The world revolves around the “diabolic” hip joint which articulates the abysses of the world-matter with the heights of the world-light. The gravitational point, the “riveting” center of separative gravity is also the pivotal place of the world’s panting efforts out of the downward pull of matter. It is at this threshold of deliberate choice that shifts occur in the orientation of consciousness — out of the self-centered worlds of Satan into the radiant worlds of the Sun.  The hips of Satan are the very hips of the world consciousness.

Two dimensions of Saturn need to be distinguished: as the separative law of matter and form, Saturn generates the gravitational field which resists the unboundedness of spirit for the sake of building self-consciousness and securing personal boundaries (its exoteric rulership of Capricorn); as the synthetic law of spirit, Saturn resists the limited expression of a self and challenges the bent of particular choices and ways for the sake of a more comprehensive design (its hierarchical rulership of Libra).

Dante’s picture shows how these two sides of Saturn articulate around the “hips” of the great Divide; how they struggle in man’s efforts to negotiate within his consciousness the pull of matter and the pushing through of spirit — self and Self. The dynamic effect of the Saturn principle – its central presence as Satan in the world-picture – shows itself in the twisting motions and inner shifts of evolutionary choices through which mankind slowly raises its Self.

The separative law of matter hides the promise of individualized selfhood. Within the particular gravitation of a person’s psychic field are hidden his/her stairs to the Light; within his/her unconscious ‘tendencies’— deliberate spiritual “intendings” await. The line of least resistance of the lower nature (“below the hip”), “the point to which, from every part, all weights are drawn,” is also the path of highest resistance for the soul, a path of soul invigoration paved with opportunities of reversal through effort, of liberation through steadfastness. More and more clearly identified as the threshold of the soul realm draws near, the line of most resistant self-preservation or irresistible self-focus points precisely to the steps of “heavy strain and rugged work”  across the next threshold of selfhood.

To Satan’s upside down position, bound to the alienating urges of separative selfhood, Dante opposes the upright stance of spiritually intent being. Around the commanding presence of Satan/ Saturn, automatic inclinations find their way into autonomous gestures of Self, tendencies are reversed and arise as intentions.

Saturn is the “staircase” of the world’s emergence from its captivation by the gravity of all matters. It is the builder as well of the gradually emerging spine of a world raising its self from unconscious activity to Presence. Saturn is evolution in the making. By affording each and all with the opportunity to spiral up from self-centeredness to Self-“centration,” it induces choice. From the precipitate of humanity’s choices, Saturn builds history; and with the cement of history, it ossifies the gradual en-vertebration of our universal stance — the bone structure of our evolving world-self.

 The builder of the spine of selfhood — Other of God, Other of man 

“Satan’s” precipitation of creation opens the way of choice: to be pulled down or to step up. Through Saturn’s divine adversity, man can wrestle his stance from the pull of “egocentric gravity,” reorient to the “light” and align himself to a wider sphere of Identity.

The sign Libra, in which Saturn is exalted, is the hip of the zodiac and the central “articulation” of the One — the place, archetypally, where the zodiac “bends” to join itself, and each zodiacal end bends to join the other .

It is so not only in the sequential exoteric space of the zodiacal circle, but in what A. Bailey calls “intermediate space” as well: …“The constellation Libra, she says, occupies a unique place in the Great Wheel, for it is the energy coming from this constellation which controls what we might call the “hub of the wheel”. This is that point in intermediate space where the twelve zodiacal energies meet and cross. Libra, therefore, controls the “moment of reversal of the wheel” in the life of every aspirant” [2] … the point-moment where each meets  his other.

Satan is “the other” of God. He divides the One Logos along his very Logic of freedom, the principle of selfhood.

Saturn is “the other” of man. The dweller who represents what separates man from (him)Self, he stands on the threshold of his expansion into a larger sphere of identity. He is the face of his limitations and the step across his ring pass not. He meets man across the aisle of his day and stands in the way. Dressed in turn as friend or foe in the ambiguous garment of Libra, he confronts man’s dual nature with the divinity hiding under his weakness or the evil lurking under his brilliance. He may wear the “sublime” we fear, as well as the weakness we deny.

As Satan is the adversary of God and his most intimate co-laborator, Saturn presents the human being with adversity — the adversity he needs in order to build his right stance in spiritual being.

The biblical God himself, the very god who casts down Satan-the serpent, occasionally takes on the ambiguous character of the Adversary. He tries to kill Moses after sending him on his mission, “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Go back to Egypt…’ On the way, at a place where they spent the night, the Lord met him and tried to kill him.” [3] He attacks Jacob at night, after saying: “Return to the land of your kindred, and I will be with you.” [4]

The mysterious episode of this nightly encounter is another quasi-mythical presentation of Saturn in Libra. Like Dante’s Imagination, it presents a turning point and a threshold of reversal. Jacob is coming back from twenty years of exile, having fled the killing rage of his twin-brother Esau — his “other.” Approaching Esau’s land, he sends messengers before him to appease his brother with presents. The day before the encounter, he is distressed and “afraid that [Esau] may come and kill [them] all.” [5] As he is “left alone” that night, having sent his two wives and eleven children across the stream which borders the land, “a man” meets him and “wrestles with him until daybreak.” Who this “man” is remains mysterious. He is the archetypal “Other,” whose countenance shifts in the shades of the night — the obscurity of the divided consciousness. If he is a lighted one, why does he want “to go, for day is breaking…?”  If he is a powerful one, how is it that “He could not master” Jacob? In fact, seeing he could not master him, he “dislocates Jacob’s hip.” Yet, of him Jacob will say, “I have seen God face to face.”[6] Is he a man? Is he a God? He seems to carry the ambiguity of Jacob’s alternate perception-of, and identification-with his own higher Self attempting to “master” his frightened psyche. His shifting face is that of the archetypal Dweller on the threshold that separates ego and Self — the “man” and the “God”, the inner “brothers.” A threatening adversary, the mysterious man turns to be a blessing angel (“I will not let you go, unless you bless me”). From under the attack of ego fears, arises the blessing of the indomitable Self. Two, yet one.

Saturn is the other face of the Sun, the fear of the separate which summons the dawn of the One, the illusion of duality through which each unit grows into its Self. Fear is the “devilish hip” of soul-strength, the spasm of the ego against soul love or spirit Life. It points to the articulation of the spiritual man within the lesser self. It indicates where the hip may be located within the psyche — the revolving threshold between the exile of enslaving fears and desires and the reunion in solar freedom; the shifting point of personal illusion where hell can turn into paradise. It contains the very steps out of the ego’s gravitational field; it points to where the soul can find its surest grip out of the present “infernal” circle. In the fear of internal or external adversity dwells the opportunity to find a wider based “balance” by with-standing (SA in LI) God’s power or matching soul’s pressure with its “equivalent” – “equal valor” – or to step through destabilizing doubts and “dislocating” forces into the daybreak of fuller selfhood.

 Out of the hand to hand wrestling, or more exactly in the equilibrium of the two (Li), a new strength emerges in Jacob — the spiritual authority (SA) of the one who has “measured up” (Li) to God: “Your name shall be Israel, because you have been strong against God, and shall prevail against men.” Like the straight spine stemming from the balance of the hips, an exalted stance (SA) stems from such measuring up (LI). This spiritual spine (SA) rests on a new co-measurement (LI) of the lesser man with his divine self. It arises from a unifying within Jacob of “the one” with “the other” (LI), which the embrace with Esau illustrates the following day. “Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept…”[7]

In the unification of soul and personality staged here, Jacob’s spirit – the spirit of Israel – takes its stand. The spirit of Israel is a spirit of union-reunion of the two – sons of Isaac  and by inference sons of Abraham (Isaac and Ismael). Soon after, the birth of Jacob-Israel’s twelfth child heralds the radiant leadership of an archetypal One-among-the-twelve, a human jewel in a lotus of twelve tribes. He has crossed his inner “gap” and founded his spiritual stance in the embrace of his “two,” in true selfhood (SA in LI).

Interestingly, this new stance and moral status of Jacob-Israel is rooted in a limp—a dislocated hip. So are Saturnian strengths within the psyche rooted in a particular lack of balance, a certain dysfunctionality which exalts the “righting” work of the planetary principle. Such strengths arise in a place of flaw or disproportion, of inappropriateness or in-adequacy, a place that needs realignment, fine tunings and adjustments. We learn from Jacob’s name that he was born “The one who supplants.”[8] Born second of the twins, he had bought Esau’s birthright for a lentil stew, then usurped their father’s blessing destined to his first-born. Now, at this turning point in his life, he finds himself overwhelmed by the return of the “supplanted” twin [9] and almost overthrown by his Dweller. In this facing and union with his own unredeemed self, a new equilibrium is found.  A central spine of leadership and national identity emerges from the reunion of the two. It is rooted in a limp — precisely the karmic adjustment for a will-to-supplant.

It is interesting to consider how this very theme of “supplanting” the “other” and being supplanted seems to have haunted the history of the Jewish people and fed the collective shadow which ended up turning a diffuse fear into a sore fact in the Middle East. Rampant as a threat in the centuries of diaspora (where the Jew was made into “the other”), the mythical fear of being supplanted has now been given the solid “grounds” of a resented fact — of lands and occupied territories.

Can a right line be drawn between the two brothers and sons of Abraham — Ismael and Isaac? Can a rod be forced into the tenuous line of unstable borders and settlements?  Or will a spine of right relation emerge from an as of yet unthinkable embrace of each twin by the other? Will the other have to be met through fear and night as the hidden face of God and make the first one “limp” in the blessing, supplanted by a realization of unity? Jerusalem, the city of Peace, is at the heart of the question, as Shamballa – the city of Peace – (ruled by Libra) holds the axis of our Identity as a globe.

This profound theme of supplanting, which carries collective fears, projections and demonizations, contains no less than the Idea of a unified world-consciousness and the germ of a global spine. The “Axis” forces of World War II – one of the most monstrous lines to have divided mankind – were if anything a caricature of this. The twentieth century “Satan” stood on the obsession of supplanting—of replacing what he perceived as the supplanting will of the Jewish people with a dominant Aryan race. Saturn is exalted  in the idea which has been striving to shape the spine of the collective goodwill ever since — that of right relating among “United Nations.”

From the biblical Satan to the “man” who wrestles with Jacob, to Hitler surging on the path of humanity, Saturn is the Other who eventually elicits the One and straightens or “rights” the relation of the partial consciousness with the whole.

Continuing down the Judeo-Christian line of authority figures (SA), these reflections about the character and identity of Saturn conjure up the figure of Moses. In the process of becoming the leader and “spine” of the Hebrews (SA), Moses has to stand up to (LI) their collective dweller by the red sea – the Egyptian Pharaoh – until the ineluctable contractions of karma, the ten plagues, deliver the path across which he can take his people into a new sphere of integrity. Of this sphere he is the axis, the “staff of God” among his people. He is their “I,” and his sign – the sign of the serpent-staff [10] – is an evocative replica of the satan-spine of Dante’s world axis — an emblem of the bipolarity of a world rooted in free will. The poles of matterbound lawlessness (snake) and spiritual lawfulness (staff) are the two poles of the divine axis of free will which runs through the universe as the very “I” of its Identity. [11]

This sign of the “Divine Spine” with which Moses is invested announces his spiritual mission as the Law giver. When he brings the Tables down the mountain, it is the backbone of a divine order that he plants in human matters to draw the line between right and wrong (SA in LI) — a structure of commandments destined to shape and organize human living according to the basics of right relating.

We find in the biblical account a transparent illustration of the idea which had emerged above— of Saturn as the Law and of the Law as the back of God. Moses, who has asked the Lord to show him his glory, is granted a vision of his back, “See, there is a place by me where you shall stand in the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.”[12]

The Law-bringer is the one who knows “the back of God” and seeks to shape and organize the social world into the objective – “reverse” – side of God it is meant to be —  a world which would reflect divine rapports and relationships. Destined to frame and build a social organism, the stone tablets of commandments are divine vertebrae taking hold of the chaotic matters of human living. Within the backbone of “do’s” and “don’ts,” the glory of God stands hidden, and although the influx of Life “passes” down, it is unknown and unfelt as such. Yet its presence creates the pressures and tractions necessary to shape the stance of a human group and “straighten” the behavior of its individual members, until the basic laws of human living become as instinctual as physical balance and coordination.

Saturn is the other side of the living God – its existential side – the reverse side of the hub of Being — the backbone which ensures the active penetration of the commanding marrow of Life into the many lives.

The significance of the law is in its slow bringing of the Below “in accordance” (LI) with the Above, so that a degree of spiritual integration may begin to show in the physical life (SA). “Have them make me a sanctuary (SA in LI) in accordance (LI) with the pattern I showed you on the mountain, so that I may dwell among them.”[13]

Laws (SA) are the expression of the ongoing ad-justment – that is the bringing about of a just relation (LI) – between the peripheries and the core of worlds, between concrete matters and their idea or spirit. “A law, says A. Bailey, is but the effect of the continued intelligent activity of the Life aspect as it works in conjunction with matter” [14]. It is the unfolding conjugality of the two (G). Saturn’s essence is the co-laboration (LI) of matter and Life, the many and the One. Its manifestation is the law (SA). The law is the temporary seal on what constitutes at a certain point of the evolving consciousness a “fair” relation between the right of matter and the right of spirit.

The inner reality of the law “exalted” in Libra: Love

With the next law bringer, the Christ, the “back of God” begins to glow with the living element of the law and its letter: the spirit of right relatedness and the substance of love. Now the Face of God passes among humanity: “Whoever has seen me, has seen the Father” [15]. That the exacting and punishing old testament God would reveal his face of love on the earth speaks to humanity’s readiness to see with soul into its own soul and to respond in its choices to the soulful quality of “lawful” actions — to imbue itself, its law abiding self, with soul, solarity, Christhood. The divine blood running through the human, then planetary body actualizes the ensouling presence of the one sun of Self. In the new “commandment” given by the Christ, “that you love one another,”[16] the Capricornian back of the law discloses within its tight texture and rigid bones of rules and practices, the unifying force of love — the wise will to harmonize and unify (LI) which is, in truth, what inspires and “inspirits” the disciplining character of the law. The law is exalted in the principle of just relation which lives in its core. In the exalted understanding of the law, it may be more “right” to heal a fellow man than respect the interdictions of Sabbath. It becomes more “just” to forgive than throw the stone of retributive “justice”.

The multiple rules and regulations of the old law sought to remind the externals of existence of their greater model — to carve the letter of  God in man. They marked this rapport in the flesh (circumcision), in the rhythms of time (from Sabbath to festivals), in the proportions of space (the Temple), in objects and rituals. The one commandment of the new law awakens the spirit of all lawfulness in the inwardness of the human soul. Stepping closer into its essence, the law is no longer an external consolidator of social order, appropriate conduct and structures of living. No longer does it seek to take hold of human behaviors, but to inspire the soul.

The face of the Christ does not pass by human behavior, hiding behind the hand of commandments, but through the consciousness, as the inner response that vivifies right actions and just choices. Christ Law “justifies” by love. The “justification” of human life shifts from right doing and rule-abiding to right relating, from the measure of righteousness which may characterize it, to the measure of love which motivates it. Man finds his stance as a “just” through the circumcision of the heart – by removing the externals from the essential – no longer in the circumcision of the flesh.

The descending inflow of the soul principle of love into the core of humanity was the “exalted” outcome of a new balance that the Christ established between the solar and the earthly. He adjusted the light of the earth to the ray of the Sun he was bringing down a cosmic “Sinai,” allowing for a new measure of solar life in the earth [17]. The raying forth of his presence among mankind realigned the human consciousness to the axis of the solar whole. Typifying exalted Saturn on a new threshold of collective consciousness, he released the old ring of its righteous personality into the larger sphere of its soul. He infused the “right” forms of living with the life of their meaning, and, in a most radical act of harmonization, bathed the earth in the “blood” of the Sun.

Before the crucial moment that would “balance out” the karma of the earth, Jesus-the Christ faced a Dweller, when “he was left alone that night.” “He took with him Peter, James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. And said to them, ‘I am deeply grieved, even to death’ [18]… In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.”[19] Fear and inner struggle signaled in Jacob the pending adjustment of self. With Moses, the pressure of growing responsibility (SA) elicited a sense of inadequacy and reticence, “O my Lord, please send someone else” [20]. Jacob was facing his personal dweller; Moses, “his people”‘s dweller. The Christ faced the planet’s dweller — the “karma of the earth,” that which held the earth “in Egypt,” bound to the repetitive memory of matter.

On the threshold of the larger sphere of consciousness into which he is ushering humanity, the Christ grieves, fears and sweats. His sweat is the sweat of the earth overwhelmed by its coming transfusion with solar life— the sweat of matter called to transmutation, separateness called to union, reticence called to trust, power hunger called to feel, slumber called to wakefulness (the sleeping disciples), weakness called to strength.

What sweats under the pressure of the Saturnian threshold is the resistance of an old context of life and the defense of habitual borders: the resistance of the ring-pass-not about to be supplanted, the veil of consciousness about to be rent or the envelope of life challenged to outgrow itself; the grief of surrendering a previous integrity to a greater integration; the distress of a self harnessed into a larger “I,” of lesser wills challenged by a more comprehensive motivation, “way, truth and life.”

The agony of the Christ through human resistance and fears precedes the great realignment – the cross – which precipitates sunlife down into the earth. Dante’s crossing of the threshold of hell held a parallel imagination of the resistance and sweat which accompany the reversal of polarity from gravitation into matter to aspiration into light —the shift from night to day which symbolizes the “turn” from personality to soul centeredness. Before supplanting the tree of the Fall with the cross of redemption and turning Satan’s spine into an axis of solar light, before transfusing the knowledge of what to do (law) with the Life of why do it (love), the Christ knows the agonizing “panting and sweating” of the earth turning to the sun. He knows the dark sweat of humanity reorienting itself to soul light.

A “measure” for this radical shift of polarity is offered in the contrast between Dante’s “point to which, from every part, all weights are drawn” and the all-attracting point of the sun of Self suggested in the Christ’s words, “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me.”

In the uplifting draft of the Christ, the “centre of gravity” shifts — from “Satan” to Christ, from self-centeredness to soul. Mankind is “uplifted” by the “exaltation” of the Christ. Human beings are drawn to a new “gravity” — from karma to dharma.

 The exaltation of dharma (SA): the fusion of spirit and matter (LI)

The new solar stance that the Christ principle kindles in the spine of mankind is engaged by the unifying chord (cross) he stretches (LI) between the will of matter and the will of divinity at work within the human. “Just-ness” of being for humankind arises from a similar embrace of greatness and nothingness, deep will-to-unity and constant experience of dissonance, separateness, adversity.

In Gethsemane, the great solarizer is brought to the beginning—to mankind’s recurrent beginnings of fear and anguish. As he penetrates deeper into the mysteries of the matter he is about to traverse and vivify, the Christ experiences the hells of human kind. To “turn around” the global Adversity, he lets its “gravity” take hold of his vehicles and by descending along its pulls and surrendering to its wills (kissing Judas, sweating in anguish, throwing himself to the ground in distress, dying into the blindness of men and the matter of the earth, “descending into Hell”), he takes hold of all matters which in him “turn to light”: “Very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they saw that the stone had been rolled away.” [21]

Similarly, it is by climbing down the hip of Satan that Virgil and Dante had found themselves standing up in the light of day. “Tell me, too, how has the Sun in so few hours gone from night to morning?” 

  And it is by surrendering to the night of his Enemy that Jacob passed the threshold of his old ring-pass-not and walked into the Day of his true self and destiny… “The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel”...

Through the Christ’s great surrender, the sun rises in the earth, the soul of mankind leaps forth from its “tomb” and is brought to life within the consciousness. “Very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, …they saw that the stone had been rolled away.” The law of the Christ has rolled away the law of the stone. The sunlight has counterbalanced in the earth the commanding weight of the past, the soul principle has overturned in mankind the gravitational pull of matter.

Saturn’s exaltation in Libra speaks to a Christ-like stance of the soul-conscious human being balancing spirit and matter — ever more exalted spirit with ever more entrenched matters.

As in the embrace by Jacob of his dweller-angel, this full embrace by the Christ of the cosmic polarities (LI) at work in the earth is key to his power to reverse dark into light and resurrect death into life. His radical inclusiveness opens within the human consciousness the threshold, sealed until then, between lunar and solar worlds. His “going down” opens the way for mankind to raise itself from its lunar self-consciousness to a solar consciousness of itself as one living being.  He is in fact this threshold  between hell and heaven—personal separateness and soul unity.

It is on such a threshold made of the two arms of the cross bridging the gaping abyss of the lower worlds that the icons of the Eastern church represent the resurrecting Christ. While a first glance sees him lifting “the dead” with his outstretched hand, a deeper look reveals how it is the fullness of his radiance, encompassing of depths and heights, that “raises” and draws them irresistibly into the light through the gate he has opened between earth and sun, between the separate spheres of personal existence and the one sphere of soul living. Such full embrace of the worlds-extremes (LI) is key to the mediating dharma (SA) of humanity and may well be the exalted law of human beingness.


*      *

I was atrembling, because I’d got to decide, for ever, betwixt two things. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself: “All right, then, I’ll go to hell” – and tore up the letter.” [22]

Saturn — the path between the Two in the psychosocial worlds

These archetypal dimensions of Saturn find their reflection in the ongoing Saturday of human experience, the centuries and life times of learning and tests between the eclipsed sun of Friday and the rising sun of Easter Sunday—between the eclipse of spirit in human matters and the emergence of soul in the consciousness.

Saturn is known as the structuring agent of the world. In the physical body, it rules the backbone and the skeletal frame. In the social body, it rules the law; in a company, the administration; in a nation, the government; in the zodiac, it rules Capricorn.

However, this skillful structuring, constructing and organizing is but the effect of Saturn’s essential work: to balance forces and synthesize polarities.[23] Erecting a house, planning a project is based on the intelligent arrangement of components and forces. Saturn constructs. And structuring is a work of co-relating. This speaks to what lies deeper than the planet’s expression of its dignity in Capricorn: its exaltation in Libra, the sign of balance and relatedness.

The spine and the skeletal frame constitute the physical structure of a human being insofar as they solidify and support the symmetry, lit. the co-measurement of forces which allows man to find his balance and build his relation to the world. It is equally true that the uprightness of the spine is the expression of the unique psychospiritual balance which define human beingness —  between the gravity of a physical self and the Light(ness) of a spiritual Self.

 Saturn’s exaltation speaks to the equilibrium of standing man, the uprightness of the spine stemming from the hips, straight and steady amid the pulls from right and left, the pushs from without and the counterpushs from within, the attraction from above and the gravity from below. In the light of Libra, the lessons and disciplines, limits or fears which Saturn is known to symbolize appear as methods of training in “equitation.” They teach the human being to find his stance in “riding” life, master the ongoing shifts of equilibrium, and  manage the proper negotiation between swaying forces, such as the elegant stride of “equus”, the horse, demonstrates.  A stern lightness and a definite liberty emanate from the horse-rider and his supple equilibrium (the liberty of equity). It is the freedom of the stance which takes each of its steps from the equipoise where opposite forces balance each other.

To the third Ray which Saturn and Libra convey is addressed the injunction: “Let the two paths converge. Balance the pairs of opposites and let the path appear between the two.” [24] Where Gravity and Levity converge, where the pulls of right and left find their equilibrium, Saturn weaves a Spine, a Path, a Law.

Saturn is the middle way which balance opens or reveals. Beyond the traditional meanings of the planet which convey its impact, its effects and the means to carry its purpose, Saturn’s exaltation in Libra exposes the essential motive of the planet: to “let the path appear between the two.”  

The steady gaze of the charioteer on the seventh tarot card – which resonates with the 7th planetary sphere (SA) and the seventh zodiacal sign (LI) – offers a similar image of Saturn’s exaltation—that of a sober and attentive steadfastness which clears the way as it balances opposites. From the hips down [25], the charioteer’s body is concealed by his chariot led by two horses of different colors moving in opposite directions.  Alone he stands, dressed in a costume where dissent and ambivalence are suggested in the Janus-like faces disregarding each other on his shoulder-pads. Amidst discordances and divergences, he holds a scepter of justness — emblematic of his inner spine as one who masters the horses of life; he is the one who rides the central way — the narrow way he creates by letting synthesis appear out of the on-going balancing and com-pression of divergent forces and contradictory factors.

The figure of Arjuna looms behind this charioteer, evocative of a higher threshold of dualities on which everyone sooner or later must find his/her stance — a greater Saturnian ring one is summoned to ride. As Arjuna rides his chariot on the battlefield where his brothers, sons, nephews and teachers are assembled in opposing armies ready to confront each other, he “casts his eyes on all these kinsmen stationed on opposite sides… and his limbs fail.” He says to Krishna: “I cannot hold myself steady; my mind seems to whirl.” [26] How to “stand” the thought, how to under-stand the action of having to wade through the blood of friends and relatives to vindicate truth, law and order and regain the kingdom usurped by his brothers? Arjuna’s inner equilibrium is unsettled. His heart challenges his mind. His commitment to his duty flinches under the overwhelming rush of feelings.

In this “dislocation” within himself, in this gap between two aspects of his nature, Arjuna’s higher self in the form of Krishna opens the unitive perspective of the soul – the perspective of eternity and immortality – and, beyond his insufficient spine of human integrity and noble virtues, (“I cannot hold myself steady”), arouses the greater stance of a spiritual realization. On this threshold of a more universal selfhood, mortal perception dialogues with immortal knowing, finite man with universality of soul, duality with nonduality. Arjuna realizes the relativity of death and life, of slaying and grief, attachment and pain, success and failure; he sees the relativity of time [27], action and inaction. In the relativity (LI) of the spiritual perspective, a new path (SA) appears between the two — a way to “understand” duality — to stand (SA) in the “evenness” of yoga (LI). [28]

Having reversed his “gravitation”, Arjuna rises for the battle.


In the three preceding steps, we have followed the Saturn principle across the three worlds — from the physical balance of the horseman to the psycho-moral stance of the charioteer, to the stature of the self-realized warrior who takes his stance in the paradox (LI) of  human/Being.

Depending on the nature of the old ring of consciousness being straddled, different dialogues and struggles are engaged on expanding thresholds of maturation: personal impulses wrestle with society rules, astral defenses with mental awareness, personality’s status quo with the soul’s living truth, soul meaningfulness with spirit necessity, and forever duality is challenged, its breath taken away by the embrace of non duality. All such trying thresholds disclose under the stern features of Saturn (as the guardian of boundaries) his true objective to bring about a higher level of right relatedness and “equi-liberation,” in order to open “between the two” the path of a more comprehensive stance — where the two are “taken-hold-of-together,” in the archetypal embrace of Jacob-Esau.

The various meanings of Saturn as a planet of boundaries and limitations, discipline, testings and necessary learnings, do find their foundation in the purpose of Libra — to create the “way which leads between the two great lines of force”[29]. They refer to various ways in which the planet brings about the approximation of a “golden mean” where polarized and even mutually exclusive, it seems, impulses or necessities find the way to engage in unified creative steps.

We see this exemplified quite clearly in the psycho-social functions of Saturn:             While, physically, Saturn builds the skeletal frame and closes the skin which separates us and make us distinct from one another, in the psyche it builds the ego structure (SA) which gradually defines our relation (LI) to the world through an analogous process. In the physical cosmos, its sphere constitutes the traditional border of the solar system it envelops in its orbit and skin, while in the soulful cosmos of astrology, Saturn is the celestial charioteer who rides the threshold between personal and transpersonal realms of “selfhood”. Microcosmically, it holds the personality in the ring and skin of a self-definition which corresponds to the boundaries of its current sense of integrity.

The process of personality structuring begins early on, through the necessary experiences of separation the infant undergoes while organizing himself as a distinct person. Nothing less than the skillful wisdom of soul love can truly fit the parent to be a just parent— a good custodian of “right” ego building; a good builder of psycho-moral spines (SA). Such parental wisdom demonstrates in a “good enough” balance between mirroring and limiting, allowing and containing. The presence or lack of this balanced response of parental love along the early trials of ego formation is a determining factor in the child’s future ability or difficulty to relate to others. The Saturnian function of parenting is clearly exalted in the intelligence of such balance for which love is the only wise synthesizer. To produce balance, it must wield balance. What ‘just’ parenthood seeks to hold together and harmonize is, on one hand, the reality of the world-soul which the infant consciousness is still living in, and on the other, the fact of the dualistic world of separate egohood he/she must be assisted to unfold. One requires full mirroring, the other demands boundaries.

What proper separation (SA) fosters is indeed relatedness (LI)—individualized relatedness to others and to the world.  If the limits which Saturn (as the parent) proceeds to set in order to “raise” the child are appropriately balanced with nurturance and mirroring of the sun-child, a healthy human being edifies him/herself, well-relating thus autonomous, secure thus self-sufficient, trusting thus strong. Emotional and mental health stems (SA) from this middle ground (LI) of a mindful blend of expansive freedom and contracting limits which allows the delicate growth of the child to organize itself, clear of the rigidity induced by lack of nurturance or excessive restrictions; clear as well of the chaos left open by a lack of caring limits.

If the young personality is not properly supported to structure itself, emotional and social health is often compromised. Unreasonable fear coupled with lack of restraint, too many defenses from not enough boundaries will continue to defeat the stance of the destined-to-be charioteer. Saturn’s dysfunctions cover a vast spectrum, from the slight ‘limp’ expected in the area of its zodiacal placement in a chart, to the various maladaptive disorders of the socially and emotionally ill: the antisocial character, in whom the Saturn function is clearly flawed; the so-called “borderline” personality who lacks the healthy “middle line” of a spine of distinct selfhood. As to the drifting rafts of psychosis, who is to say where, how or why the mast of selfhood was damaged or broken down? or how the mental “status” (SA) became “dis-organized”?

The planet of separation makes relating possible by limiting our “being” to help define “self” and objectify others. It takes us out of the early fusion with the mother-world into realizing our distinctness and coming to terms with the existence of others. It configures a code of relating and consolidates the ways in which we negotiate inner and outer world, self and other, personality and Self.

Saturn organizes our sense of social appropriateness, civic and moral conscience, self-sufficiency, reliability and integrity. Initially, these are made of learned behaviors and values absorbed from early sources of authority (SA) — family background, codes and rules, parental style, social thought-forms, national traditions, cultural ways, educational values.  They become sealed into the physical-etheric memory (SA) and so lay the foundations for a life work of improving the balance between freedom and responsibility. Also sealed into defining thoughtforms or unhealthy defenses are the experiences of doubts and fears, mistakes and punishments, guilts and “shoulds” that resulted from interactions between the unformed ego and the environment “conforming” it—only substantiating with fresh experiences old karmic patterns (SA) which the soul came in with the intention to tackle.

The vertical stance of “I”-ness is the generic path which seeks to appear between “the two” — of social circum-stances and instinctual self expression. Within it, the autonomy – the self-determined (auto) lawfulness (nomy) – of a unique “I” gradually reveals its individual path of dharmic choices and works.

The regulating role of Saturn between worlds interfacing each other manifests itself in the organs it rules: not only spine and skin, but also the spleen. Interestingly, Rudolph Steiner explains that the spleen “compensates the irregularities in the rhythm of man’s nutrition to adapt them to the regularity of blood rhythm”. In other words, it serves as a custodian of the “balanced” life of the blood, guarding the threshold of physiological equilibrium necessary for the blood to carry the rhythmic life of the Ego or soul. It constitutes around the life of the self within the blood a sphere of adjustment which protects it from the unruly whims of human astrality and maintains the proper relation between the  Egoic life anchored in the blood and the natural surges of desire or fear.

Saturn — Law as the spine of a balanced social body 

In the social body, Saturn does its work in the skeleton of rules, codes and laws which hold a group or a nation in equilibrium (LI) and preserve its togetherness in a certain “con-stitution.” It is by means of its constitutions and laws that a society attempts to regulate its exchanges and inter-actions. The laws draw the lines of human behavior deemed compatible with the life of a particular group at a particular time. Their application serves to redress and rect-ify, if need be, the invisible axis where the free will of each meets the rights of all and the equilibrium of the whole. They define the consequences destined to counterbalance (LI) the violation of such line of no-trespassing (SA) and to restore the integrity of the moral spine necessary for the chariot of a society to move on its path.  The laws are the hips on which a society stands upright. What the English speaking world studies under the term “Law”, the French studies as “Droit”, lit. “The Right “or” the Straight”. The laws are the structures which allow a group and each of its members to move forward in a creative balance of freedom and responsibility. The law formulates the relation of individual and society’s rights; it rectifies the balance between the instinctual arrythmias of the unit and the tentative regularity of social living. Law, “The Right” (SA), is meant to promote the equal rights of each (LI), and to organize the right relation between individual and society — the social contract.  It is the ring (SA) of their wedding (LI).

Justice (LI) is the more conspicuous principle which inspires legislation. In this we see the refraction on the social dimension of Saturn’s exaltation in Libra. If the restricting limitation of legality which one individual may claim and another rebel against is an expression of the Saturnian principle (dignified in Capricorn), its purpose, exalted in Libra, speaks in the silent stance of the judge who lends his right ear to the accusation, his left ear to the defense, and deliberates a sentence. In this weighing and counterbalancing, the judge enacts the social effort to adjust a disequilibrium and redress the line of relatedness and relative congeniality on which society stands and from which it moves. The laws are a precipitate of societal living. They crystallize the social contract which binds each to the freedom of all. They ossify the backbone of constraints which afford the relative freedom of a human community — and its freedom of motion. Overtaken by lawlessness, a society becomes paralyzed.

However absolute and “written in stone” (CAP) a law may be within a particular frame of time and place, in essence it is relative (LI). The metallic ring or jail wall which concretize the experience of the law for whoever tries to bend or “break” it, is at the same time a tenuous threshold of human debate (LI), endlessly adapted and renegotiated across the nations and the ages.

If the Capricornian nature of Saturn does solidify the bones and joints of a social entity, its Libran essence lives and moves in the center of gravity of this entity’s evolving consciousness — “the point where all weights are drawn.”  It seems that for such an entity, this “point” lies in the current issues around which a group gravitates. We can observe how the new questions and considerations which temporarily summon the “wrestling” of opposite contenders or parties on the social stage end up bringing about the synthesizing step of a new  law or social standpoint— a new vertebra in the group’s spine.

“What-is-right,” intrasocially as well as interpersonally, is in essence a constantly evolving negotiation (LI) between one principle and another, one priority and another, between ideal principles and practical wisdom, impersonal and personal perspectives. This never-ending challenging process is what allows the evolving consciousness to creatively define its auto-nomy, that is its own law.

Huckleberry Finn is torn “betwixt” “the right thing” according to his social context and “the right” whisper of his deeper conscience — and the battle makes him tremble. Where is hell, where is heaven, the one on the threshold wonders with Dante. As much as selfish impulses threaten the social equilibrium, so do higher impulses from the soul, when individual conscience arises clear and strong enough to “tear” the social construct and topple the righteousness of a moral majority. Confusion as to “right direction” is key to the challenge of this place of choice: “I thought that we were going back to Hell,” says Dante at the crucial point. Echoing Dante, Huckleberry Finn thinks he’ll “go to hell” by responding to the “deep down” of his heart and ignoring the pressure of his society’s “right”:

“I was trying to make my mouth say I would do the right thing, and write to that nigger’s owner and tell where he was; but deep down in me I knowed it was a lie… So I was full of trouble, full as I could be and I didn’t know what to do…  I was a trembling, because I’d got to decide, for ever, betwixt two things. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself: ‘All right, then, I’ll go to hell’ – and tore it up.” 

Sometimes, precisely what seems like the way “into hell” reveals “the way between the two”. On the other hand, some suffer the opposite illusion as they emancipate themselves from basic moral rules, ignoring the rights of others in the name of higher causes or higher reasoning.

The fact is that the only “right” way to transcend – yet not transgress – the old Mosaic law (SA in CAP) of moral commandments and interdictions is to orient oneself to the vanishing point of this law’s perspective — the “fulfillment” of the Law, which the Christ referred to when he proposed love as the new foundation and viewpoint for what is “right”. In this new alignment, confusions and divergences (external or internal) converge to rest their case in the higher balance he stretched on the human horizon, unfolding the exaltation of Saturn in its simplest glory: “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (SA in LI). This epitomizes the essence of the Saturn-Sun / Libra-Aries axis of the world consciousness: the other is self, the One self.

The Christ awakened and incarnated what “fills” the bones of the law and animates the structuring forces of the universe— the living substance of lawfulness: love. Only through the balancing and unifying forces of love, through the rhythms of mutual recognition and understanding (between intrapsychic forces as well as between individuals or groups) is the experience of the commanding and restricting character of the law transcended, while the central place of peace, to which Saturn guides the world’s stumble, draws near. The transcendent law of Saturn in Capricorn becomes the immanent law of Saturn in Libra; the  corpus of laws becomes a shell to the essential law — to relate to the “other” as “self”; a shell to the “justness” which emerges from the common denominator of “self” upon which the world stands. If Saturn finds its dignity in maintaining sheltering structures (CAP), it is exalted in its building of the central  axis of “right” relatedness which gathers and holds the world together around its universal marrow, while being also what propels it “in its own right”.

As the human being evolves and his consciousness unrolls in ever wider rings from Moses to Christ, from Saturn-in-Capricorn to Saturn-in-Libra, from lives of respecting commandments to lives of responding to the principle of love, then lives of actuating universal will (“The Father”‘s Law), he is presented with endless gates of expansion at which Saturn meets him to reassess, adjust and seal for a time the particular “contract” or equilibrium which corresponds to his point in evolution — whether it be the stage of his soul-personality relationship and the status of his relation to the world (reflected psychologically in his ego structure, morally in his attitude towards his rights and responsibilities), or later, that of spirit and soul relation.

Guarding the ring-pass-not of the spheres of Being, Saturn dwells on the threshold of all vertical and horizontal relations as the spirit’s “magistrate” exposed to the two advocating voices his function is to bring together and hear. Responding to one and responding to the other, seeing the necessity of the one and the purpose of the other, trusting both and challenging each, he proceeds to draw the line of a judgment and to seal a verdict. Standing as their balancing point between the expression of two free wills and rights – a lesser and a greater – (individual and society, personality and soul for instance) Saturn opens a way of “good enough” equitation through “the between” of man and man, of dweller and angel, later of soul inclination and spirit purpose. He “passes judgment”— in other words, he allows a middle way to pass between the two and consolidate a “justness” around which realities reconfigure their spaces and redefine their relation.

The path of Saturn is ever a path-to-be — a path which doesn’t exist until a poised stepping forth walks it, and in walking it, creates it.

 Saturn — the two-faced Lord of a creative present

The present is the epitome of the path that Saturn, as Lord of Time and Karma, builds between past and future, between the conditioned now and the eternal Now. He stands on the crest where past and future meet— veiled in the limitations of exoteric time or the thresholds of inner developments— and precipitates the forces that give shape to the now. Under the constraints of time associated with his dignity (in CAP), his purpose is to apportion duration as it is needed for its operations of adjustment (LI). Within the tides of karma he regulates, he seeks to compensate a past lopsidedness in which the present continues to limp. Within the task he exacts of the moment (whatever its nature may be), his aim is to apply the pressure needed to raise the spine of dharma and tend the construction of a universe true to its spirit. The path of the present is a path of constantly creative work, however consciously taken up or eluded, however playful or painful.

The present is ever a check-point where Janus, the two-faced god of doors, Lord of the Capricornian hinge of successive years (January), ad-justs the rider on the road. Each conscious moment is an opportunity to adjust the present to the eternal Now and realign oneself to Self; to meet old conditions with active creation, to fill existence with Life. We tend to see and limit Saturn to one of its faces — the one which faces us, the “limiting” one which reflects our present identification, the past side of the crest of the now. In Libra, however, Saturn’s essential two-facedness is brought to light. Satan and God. Adversity and Good. The tests, limitations, frustrations, pains or fears which the present brings are recognized as opportunities to relate with what has been excluded or supplanted, neglected or unclimbed into, denied or declined by the consciousness, so that through a new balance painstakingly established, the middle way of our spiritual stance may shift, and the orbit of our living extend to a wider sphere of greater awareness and responsibilities. “Your name shall be Israel.” Spurred by the pain of contraction, which is ever the pain of the limited self, we find the way to encompass more. If Saturn protects with outer authority, imposed discipline, or inner defense mechanisms (CAP), it is as a cautious custodian, judicious and wise with the boundaries needed and well-versed in the proper timings to (sur)mount them and so broaden the seat of the riding soul. Saturn is the rope-dancer of all middle ways and each singular path. He is the dweller of all the thresholds which man encounters and feels the pressure – and fear – to step across.

Saturn elicits the supreme elegance of man, the growing mastery of a stance between new heavens and old earths and the riding of both in creative living. Mastering personality and aligning to spirit, tempted and choosing, tested and overcoming, he clears his path of maturation with what is described as the will of the third Ray (associated with Saturn) —  the will that “produces external synthesis… until there is complete unification between consciousness and form, and later complete atonement between that which is the Creator of both and the relating Principle of spirit-matter.” [30]

The beauty of the Saturn principle emanates from its exaltation in Libra — the tentative precision of the singular path which autonomy constantly opens, out of the creative balancing of whatever two ways, two forces, two wills that may be wrestling on the inner threshold of consciousness, demanding creative resolution. It has the sobering quality of what is never definitive and only defined for a while, never absolutely right, but relatively so; the humility of the “good enough” way which grows in the middle of things, yet constitutes the alignment which, time and again, allows the design to manifest (Uranus as esoteric ruler of Libra); the Tao which allows the rain to fall.

Saturn has the slow majesty of the divine pace — the pace of the gradual co-measuring which rules the edification of everything and the growth of everyone in the universe. It co-measures man with himSelf. It gives the measure of man — the measure of poise he has achieved amidst the dualities, the measure of strength in withstanding divine adversities, hence the scope of his “spine” and the sphere of reality it can sustain; his measure of integration and depth of integrity.

The role of Saturn which A. Bailey describes at the level of humanity clearly exemplifies the above: “A great crisis confronts humanity today, as it seeks approach and contact with the Hierarchy. This approach is conditioned by Saturn… and should produce – if correctly effected – that which is called alignment or integration, resulting in a far freer inflow of divine energy.” [31]

Reading this statement at the conclusion of our exploration of Saturn gives us to appreciate how distinctly Libra reveals – and indeed exalts – the essential design of Saturn. Her formulation confirms what has emerged all along this study as the sequence of the Saturnian experience: Crisis through dis-parity — co-measuring — alignment — greater inflow of Selfhood. The “confrontation” and “crisis” of dis-parity which corresponds to Saturn’s initial impact becomes a pressure-to-align, which eventually allows a “freer inflow” of spiritual living, while enhancing, in turn, the draft of all dualities into the hub of Being.

In the broad vision of the threshold that humanity is approaching and preparing to “sur-mount” or “measure up to,” we see, concisely epitomized in a few key words, the archetypal work of Saturn as it reveals itself most clearly through its exaltation in Libra.

 The Exaltation in a Chart

When Saturn is exalted in a chart, the question is: will the person display an excessive bent for adaptation and compromise based on fear or opportunism (Venus is the exoteric dispositor of Saturn in Libra)? Will the main line of defense be to do-the-right-thing in order to maintain the security of a status quo? Will there be a propensity to stereotypes and conformity in the domain of relationships?

George Bush’s 1992 “No new taxes” seemed to point in the direction of such an opportunistic demonstration of exalted Saturn. In relation to the budget his appointed task would have been to balance (Saturn in Libra in his 2nd house), he apparently chose the Venusian need of his Saturn and avoided the needed confrontation with the economic disequilibrium.

Or will a genuine autonomy grow deeper and reach wider through relational challenges and opportunities to reassess just balance? Will it seek a new creative balance between relational considerations and spiritual freedom, short-term compliance and long-term soundness? Will it question old equilibriums and challenge inner stereotypes to build relations truer to their archetype? Will a unique manifestation of a person’s “power to create” (the 3rd Ray conveyed by both Saturn and Libra, and the 7th Ray by Uranus, Libra’s esoteric ruler) liberate new configurations out of old conformities?

As the esoteric dispositor of Saturn in Libra, Uranus suggests that genuine space for the truth of the other and regard for his/her freedom of spirit is key to “right” relationship. It suggests that relating “simultaneously on all planes of manifestation”[32] is the way to lasting fulfillment in relationships. It may be a central aspect of the dharma of the Saturn in Libra person, through his/her own maturing into such fullness of relating, to become a counselor, a mediator of right relations, someone who allows the path of just rapport to find a fuller spectrum between “the two” – ways, persons or groups – and so restore or increase the flow of spiritual vitality between partners, friends or co-workers. These considerations are not limited to individual relationships and apply to vaster partnerships. Uranus emphasizes the uniquely creative character of all processes of mediation between groups or nations as well as the delicate path to be sometimes tread between the principles themselves — of “justice” and “peace” for instance — between need for justice and diplomatic necessity.

The Libra House

The house ruled by Libra in a chart is an area of life where we need to correct, adjust or realign our perspective or assist others in doing so. Here we learn to clarify where we stand. We seek to define our autonomy in reference to “two sides” of an issue at stake in the house, two angles of perception or understanding. We seek to stretch an old ring-pass-not of comfort (VE) into a greater ring of freedom and truth (UR); to redefine our “standards” and/or assist others in doing so.

In this domain of oscillation and ambivalence, the need and responsibility to define a path and clear a line are exalted. This field of experience provides lessons in clarity, judgment, integrity and commitment. It is an area of training in the spiritual freedom of self-defined integrity and the autonomy of an embraced duality.

Saturn in a Chart

Saturn’s exaltation in Libra brings light on the theme of the “dislocated hip” which colors the expression of the energy of the sign in which Saturn is planted for a life or a cycle.  There is a certain disequilibrium, insecurity or fear in the experience or use of this particular energy, or some exaggeration and overcompensation in its expression. A scoliosis like deviation in this backbone of the self generate discomforts and pains, calling for repeated “x-raying” and reshaping of the thought-forms which frame one’s response and relation to life. We limp in the sign of Saturn. Due to awkwardness of inexperience or past misuse and “supplanting”, there is, initially at least, a lack of mastery and maturity in our  relation to this energy. A karmic groove draws us away from the poised purposefulness of the spirit of the sign. A sense of inadequacy, often overcompensated by some form of excess, seeks to find “equi-liberation”. A lack of measure, balance and wisdom in regard to this energy brings about experiences that prompt adjustments.

At the same time, this is also an area of the psyche where, through the attentiveness and discipline enforced by the naturally “redressing” and tutoring resistance of life, a central task weaves itself, and a special ability and mastership develops (in the way the oyster elaborates a pearl around the grain of sand in its midst). So that the placement of Saturn by sign signals also a particular strength, slowly established by the mastering of this or that zodiacal animal-Life, satan-God or shadow-Angel. By his placement in sign as well as in its aspects to other planets, Saturn hints at the dharmic side of one’s karma.

The particulars of Saturn’s placement in a chart suggest:

• A zodiacal energy one needs to develop a more balanced relation to, manage and administer more wisely, “ride” more equitably. By considering the “right and the left” of the sign, the pull and counter pull of the lacks and excesses which may accompany its expression, we sense ways into a just path between the two — a fine line to be paved step by step; a middle stance to wrestle out of a major line of resistance. For example, the lack of confidence of Saturn in Leo coupled with the “inclination” to dominate calls for a maturation  of the sense of identity and growth in conscious leadership.

• A tentative threshold of maturation and a potential spine of mastery; A type of fear, a line of defense or rigidity, but also a potential strength and earned “authority”, through the working out of a better alignment to the lawful expression of a quality, faculty or power — the dharmic face of a karmic flaw.

• Functions in the psyche (represented by planets in conjunction, square or opposition to Saturn) which are being trained in autonomy, maturity, responsibility, self-standing.

Natally as well as in its ongoing course around the zodiac, Saturn summons us to pave a creative path of “right” expression through the signs— to train ourselves to the perfect pitch of a zodiacal note: Measured daring, tested motivation and tempered leadership in Aries; Balanced relation to material security and comforts, economic responsibility in Taurus; Right relation to mental activity, pursuit of information, speech and communication in Gemini; Conscious and authentic sentiency in Cancer; Just regality in Leo; Appropriate relation to concrete details, analytical and clarifying processes in Virgo; Balanced and authentic relating in Libra; Mastery (versus control) of instinctual energies, disciplined use of personal power and energy clearing capacity in Scorpio; Comeasured relation to one’s vision, path or faith and earned spiritual authority in Sagittarius; Integrity in worldly achievements, right use of authority, managerial strength in Capricorn; Balance of group partaking and individual freedom in Aquarius, and internalized commitment to progressive ideas and group ideals; Correction of self-undoing tendencies, spiritual strength in conscious surrender in Pisces.

The exoteric ruler of the sign in which Saturn is placed in a chart indicates the principle whose manifestation needs reassessment and adjustment (in correspondence to the Venus rulership of Libra); the esoteric ruler points to the principle freed to do its work and increase its influence (the Uranus rulership of Libra) as the individual cultivates a more balanced gait and aligns his stance to the ‘tao’ of the zodiacal energy.

 The transits of Saturn

We gain clarity and spiritual effectiveneness in addressing the transits of Saturn to natal planets or angles if we ponder them in the light of Libra and collaborate with them in its spirit. It opens the perspective which “exalts” their purpose. When Saturn conjuncts, squares or opposes a planet, a pressure is being applied to a dimension of life or a function in the psyche. An area of experience is summoned to face adjustment, often in very practical ways. The custodian of a deeper order of things moves in the center of the stage, intent on exacting more from a certain function, or reorienting the way it operates.

Whether in the form of a person, a situation or a turn of circumstances, a divine “diabolos” confronts limitations or excesses in the expression of the planetary principle it “trans-sits”. It brings to focus its ring-pass-not in the consciousness (the threshold between its habitual mode of expression and its spiritual potential) and shows a fault line where there may have been no active awareness of an issue. Dwelling on that threshold, it presses the planetary function to adjust to a deeper, vaster, wiser scope of expression. In the process, it may well depress it with a reawakened sense of limitation, fear or inadequacy. It wrestles with it “for a night” — a more or less extended night during which the opportunity is there for the psychological function to redefine itself and develop a new level of maturity or strength. In the end, a psychic threshold is surmounted (that is “mounted over”, overcome). Saturn’s transits present the opportunity for a “night” of “striving” and training into a more mature expression and fuller actualization of a principle. It carries the potential for a “critical” step-of-the-spiral into a new cycle of co-measurement with – and grounding of – the planetary archetype transited.

The subjective doubts and fears or the objective adversity which often accompany Saturn’s transits are but symptoms of the resistance that the old ring-pass-not of a planetary expression/psychological function poses to the vaster sphere it is pressed to adapt to. They are like spasms of the ego summoned to fuller life or greater love. They present man with the god who threatens his “old”. While pointing to some form of immaturity, they indicate the readiness for a new measure of integration and a new scope of “justness” to be embraced by the planetary principle within.

Saturn challenges a previous equilibrium to root our spirit more deeply in the physical world. It forces us to confront some immaturity or limitation and redefine our relation to self-awareness and self-actualization (Sun), security or relationship issues (VE), intellectual activity or communication (ME), drive and self-expression, assertion and will (MA). The adversity helps us to “update” the scope of our strength or wisdom. We are essentially ready for the Saturnian test, because Saturn is the very timing of our readiness for such  readjustment and growth. By dislocating the hip of a status quo to be outgrown, Saturn elicits the counterbalancing process through which a new spine is planted, tilted closer to the axis of a larger context of things, channelling more wisdom,  strength and “lawful” living.

Saturn seeks to implant more deeply within each the axis of the whole. It reshapes individual expression to the necessity of a more inclusive sphere of being. The fear and doubt that its pressure elicits speak to the wrestling between the right of matter to resist and preserve its established “integrity” and the right of spirit to introduce a greater measure of the principle at stake. Aspected by transiting Saturn, our Sun, Mars, Venus, Mercury etc… comprehension or expression is challenged and “reframed”.

As the Biblical Satan gave God the opportunity to take the spiritual “measure” of Job, Saturn grants man the measure of his stature by giving him the opportunity to measure up to a greater potential of self-actualization. It sets the stage for the development of a fuller measure of power, wisdom or love. It invites his Venus to measure up to Sophia, his Mars to the warrior god, his Sun to the sovereignty of a Logos, the radiant power of a star. Saturn’s transit of a planet is an encounter with a particular dweller on the road to the planet’s archetype. Squaring Venus for example, he may appear wrapped in the tight garment of one’s Venusian world, giving us the measure of our “love” and prompting us to outgrow a robe of attachment and fit ourselves to a new measure of Love.

Under such transit, we experience the autonomous, creative character of what-is-right — a Tao each of us must weave between this and that aspect of the issue at stake, an uncharted synthesis between the right of personality matters and the right of spirit in regard to the function considered. When Saturn moves away, we hopefully have built new articulations, drawn new lines, reframed our perspective, restructured our relation to a function or an energy, built a better tent for a planetary God. We now see below us what previously constituted our ceiling.

We have “passed [a] point to which, from every part, all weights [were] drawn”…


*      *

 The Fall of Saturn in Aries

The astrological principle of “Saturn’s fall in Aries” opens the diptych of the Biblical story of mankind: Fall and reversal-redemption. From within the statement, two pictures  emerge: on one side the abyss, on the other the heights of the human drama — the pit and the mountain of Dante’s comedy. Satan as the pitfall and karma of man, Saturn as the mountain of his dharma.

On the left, Satan falls head down (SA in AR) along with manifestation, digging the axis of the mountain of man, the pitfall of Karma. His “precipitation” is the very law of the One “falling” into manifestation (SA in AR). He is the separative force of matter which allows the One to descend into multiplicity.

On the right, the Christ, reversing the fall of Satan, stands on the mountain of man, defying the “gravitational” force and self-preserving law of matter (SA) with the self-surrendering law of spirit (AR); separative instinctuality with the resurrecting life of love. Lifting up the dead wood of creation with the sap of its living element – love – he plants a spiritual tree of life in the skull of the earth (the Golgotha). The tree of knowledge and distinctions is supplanted by the tree of life. The weight and resistance of matter is defeated by the uplifting inspirational force of spirit. The crusts of the “letter” fall around the spirit of the law. Observances around love. Death ends in Life (SA in AR): its cold petrifying power “falls,” thawed by the spring of life. Adversity falls in creative synthesis. Separativeness in the one impulse to Life. Mankind’s karma falls in the free sacrificial deed of a spiritual ram (SA in AR).

The long Saturn-day of gravitation around separative multiplicities disappears in the rising light of the Sun — the sunday of the great “surge” into life and oneness. The old delineations (SA) dissipate in the fire of the new which springs from their nucleus. Saturn falls where the Sun resurrects (AR). The law of spirit  gathers the many to the One.

The “today” of mankind continues to be, in essence, a Satur-day — a day of test and toiling, of disciplines and realignments, of opportunities to adjust and measure up to one’s full stature until “the tests and trials of the crucifixion on the Fixed Cross need no longer to be undergone,” and “complete freedom and liberation is achieved.”[33]

In the life of the individual born with Saturn in Aries, the fall of Saturn may be the greatest limitation. And it may be the greatest opportunity to transcend all limitations.

Saturn’s lameness is related here to the expression of will and self (AR). Fastened and restrained by the Dweller’s pressure to co-measure self-will with responsability to others and the whole, the impulsive and impatient, self-motivated and self-directed Aries energy is guided to greater maturity and trained to new levels of mastery. Initially there may be a reticence to assert, dare, venture forth, coupled with exaggerated reactivity or opinionatedness, uncontrolled or suppressed aggressiveness; fear to confront life challenges mixed with instinctual combativeness covering the evolutive urge to pioneer or lead in one field or another. Saturn sets limits on a certain expression of personal will and asks for a reassessment of motivations and modes of operation. It prompts redefinitions of “courage,” “strength,” “will.”

Where Saturn falls is where it is most lame, most lacking in poise and durability of focus, least effective in its adjusting, co-measuring function.

On one hand, many traits of Aries are the pitfall of Saturn, while balance and the maturation Saturn requires are the nemesis of youthful, impatient Aries. Realism can be quite foreign to this idealistic sign; responsibility and commitment, to its urge to begin new projects; balanced judgement, to its one-pointed enthusiasm or reactivity.

On the other hand, all limitations can be conquered and overcome by this fiery, courageous sign and Saturn in Aries offers examples of mastery in courage of initiative. The restraints fall, the weight and rigidity of the old frames and past forms vanish in the initiating fire of the rising sun. The very notion of Saturn as the cautious and laborious emergence of “right” balance (G) falls in the spiritually “right” — the generative fire of spiritual intuition (AR)— the stance of the archetypal Ram-Lamb.

The realization of freedom of thinking – the free will in the mind – marks the fall of Saturn-Satan (Mercury is the esoteric dispositor of Saturn in Aries). The soul-centered individual works with the awareness that free will rooted in spiritual intelligence can offset the weight of circumstances or thought-forms that bind the present with the crust of the past. As personal drives grow into a greater “will-to-create that which will express the will-to-good”[34], the dharma of Saturn in Aries is to soberly dare the new and wrestle the free out the regressive pull of matter, steadily affirm spiritual will over barriers and obstacles, outburn separative designs in the fire of universal ventures and show that Saturn ever falls in the surge and resurrection of the Sun.

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