Underrated Saturn and Overrated Jupiter

Newsletter 95 –

Yes, you heard that correctly.

The intention of this article is not to put either planet down but to provide a more in depth look at these two important social planets. Since Jupiter and Saturn (along with Chiron) find themselves positioned in orbit just after the five personal planets, i.e. Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus & Mars and just before the “universal” archetypal planets, i.e. Uranus, Neptune & Pluto, they are referred to as social planets. In your natal chart, Jupiter has much to do with how you expand yourself or enter and interplay with the society around you. At the same time, Saturn is extremely conscious as to how you position yourself within and structure your given society.

Even so, we find astrology in a new age – one that quickly and appropriately is separating from its ancient, arcane and limited categorizations of these two major planets. In the not-so-distant past and even today, many astrologers label Jupiter (or the sign Sagittarius which it rules) as the ‘Great Benefic’. In the same vein, Saturn is commonly seen as the Great Malefic (along with Mars.) Nothing could be further from the truth and the weight of continuing to bear the burden of these Dark Age attitudes towards Jupiter and Saturn constantly leaves astrology a step behind true archetypal understanding.

Starting with Jupiter, commonly known as the ‘good luck’ planet, we do in fact see that Jupiter consistently does makes doors of opportunity open easily and propitious breaks land in your lap rather effortlessly. There once was a Sagittarian male who experienced a Jupiter return (which happens for all of us every 12 years) who got an opportunity to travel (Jupiter) selling (Jupiter) religious (Jupiter) radio (Jupiter) advertising (Jupiter) over a wide geographical area (Jupiter). The money was good (Jupiter) and he lit up like a Christmas tree at how the opportunity just ‘came to him!’ Jupiter is like that. Many, many times it does bring us good luck. Of course, just like Jupiter, when the clouds cleared and he learned more about the job, it wasn’t for him. There was more to it than met the eye. Typical Jupiter story that you usually don’t hear about. Jupiter is also looked at in astrology as the planet that delivers ‘good karma’ (and of course the reverse is said of Saturn). Jupiter does not always bring “good luck” and it is not usually a good idea to buy a lotto ticket when Jupiter is activated in your chart. People are always looking for easy formulas. Astrology is too wild to provide that.

It is important for us to understand why the Jovian (Jupiter-like) and Sagittarian archetypes take shape as they do. Jupiter’s job is to expand and to do so without worry.

Jupiter is pre-Saturnian and doesn’t inherently understand boundaries

Of course, this leads to its shadow side which is carelessness and irresponsibility, or blind-optimism. When Jupiter is strong in our natal chart or we experience a strong Jupiter transit, all of a sudden we FEEL a great sense of well-being. This is one reason people love to hang out with those with a strong dose of Jovian energy. They give off a sense of, “C’mon, don’t worry about it! It’ll be fun! Join the gang! Let’s have fun!” It’s definitely contagious.

Sagittarian souls are usually filled with a bright, confident sense of “if you approach life with a great positive attitude, it’ll all work out.” And, they’re usually correct. People with strong doses of Jupiter in their natal charts give off an optimistic sense and a zest for life, especially when it comes to traveling, reading and learning. When you think of Sagittarius, think of The Comedy Network’s Jon Stewart. He is Jovian to the core.

On the other side of this article, contained within a HUGE ring of ice, we find the “task-master”: Saturn. The planet of death, restriction, aging, etc. After all, He (Chronos) did eat all of his children because he didn’t trust them. A very poignant point.

In addition, without exaggeration, Saturn is known as the planet of bad luck, hardship, disease, poverty, father-time, fear, punishment, karma, pessimism, contraction, strain, discipline, seriousness, etc. I think you get the point. He really has a bad reputation.

Granted, many of the worst times of our life are Saturnian times as many fear with great dread their “Saturn-return” which occurs in our life approximately every 28 years. Knees hurt, teeth get diseased, skin ages; all common by-products of a Saturn transit. Saturn must also be looked at very carefully (THE Capricorn word) in the natal chart. (Every Capricorn will say goodbye to you as you exit with the phrase “Be careful.”)

Birth charts with ‘hardships’ indicated by Saturn have common manifestations as weakness, pessimism, greediness, gloominess, etc. I’m actually getting tired writing this! Ha! I think you get the point, and it’s well time we get to the point of this document. The REASON Saturn is so difficult when it transits is mostly because we want a free ride. We want Mommy to solve our problems or Daddy to take responsibility of our life.

Therefore, when we duck our responsibilities, Saturn makes us pay. It’s not that he’s keeping score; it’s our insides that have an inherent sense of what is right. If Saturn represents anything, he is ‘right vs. wrong.’ Saturn’s job is to consolidate refined energies into form. This is why it is not only surrounded by ice-rings but was the outer-most visible planet for most of our recorded history. Saturn keeps it all together, like a shepherd.

So, already, we can see that just as the shepherd keeps the sheep contained, away from straying, we see the misnomer applied to Saturn as a “limiter.” If he didn’t “limit”, you’d lose your sheep. And, on the physical plane, that’s a no-no. It is much more accurate to define Saturn and the sign that it rules, Capricorn, as being based upon two words: make sure.

That’s precisely what Saturn does. Every Capricorn you know, that what they’re always doing at their core: making sure. Well, this is what leads to the common adjectives for Capricorn: dependable, dutiful and responsible. This is also what lends the title of Father of the Zodiac to this sign. Capricorn wants the ball in its hands as the game clock is ticking down (see LeBron James, Steve Carlton and Drew Brees.) Capricorns rarely can shake this feeling of duty; nor would they want to. When the party is over, it’s dad who usually gets to clean up the mess, just like Pluto traveling through the sign of Capricorn is doing now from the excesses of the Pluto-in-carefree-Sagittarius-era of free credit from 1995-2008.

The very nature of Saturn is to limit only because it guards against excess and waste. It is efficient. When we vote, we MAKE SURE each can only vote once. When we marry, we try to MAKE SURE we only marry to one other to avoid that mess. When we hire a caterer to provide food for 100, we MAKE SURE they don’t come with food for 500! This is the misunderstood archetype of Saturn. It’s not only misunderstood by the general public but is largely so by the natives themselves. Many Saturnites get carried away with this sense of control and limitation and in fact do become downers and party-poopers. There’s a great big difference between using common sense and being a downer.

A healthy dosage of Saturn in one’s chart indicates maturity but not austerity. It empowers us with common sense, avoiding a Scrooge-like tendency of miserliness. Were it not for Saturn, we would be in big trouble AND because of Saturn, we DO get into big trouble. Why? Well, what is inside of you takes shape; takes form. We all know it; if you have been harboring hatred, vengefulness or bitterness for long periods of time, it will likely manifest in physical diseases such as cancer. This is no surprise to most modern minds. On the other hand, we’ve all known people are so graceful, loving and forgiving whose worst ailments usually add up to a common cold.

So, just how is Saturn underrated? Saturn is why we are here! We have taken form (Saturn) on a physical planet in order to experience spiritual life, have we not? Saturn allows all of that. And, just like a good father, most get credit for very little when things go right. If not for Saturn, there would be no justice, there would be no buildings held up by pillars; there would be no common institutions attempting to serve the public with an equitable governmental system. We can see so clearly what’s happened to many of our institutions since Pluto (death and rebirth) entered the sign of Capricorn (institutions) in 2008. Oops. It wasn’t that the social pillars weren’t strong enough to carry the weight of an advanced civilization, but more that the underlying corruption gave way to collapse. Government, roads, bridges, confidence in our law-makers, religions, educational systems, utilities, on and on and on…

So, the next time you want someone to fix your problem, don’t ridicule or underestimate Saturn. Capricorn is closely akin to another Earth signs: Virgo. Where Virgo’s nature is to fix and do things “right”, Saturn is here to do its job: making sure.

The problem both have is that they are naturally NOT TRUSTING of the life force itself. By its very nature, one who is always trying to make sure doesn’t necessarily trust the Divine Plan, wouldn’t you say? And, this is what drives Sagittarius nuts about Capricorn. How can we ‘go with the flow’ when Saturn has us on sentry-duty at all times? Things are going to either flow rightly or not.

This the art of balancing Saturnian energy

We have to make sure that we do what we need to do but still allow Source to flow through us, knowing that it has its own inherent intelligence and sense of wholeness. This leads to the number one problem common among those with the strong Capricornian archetype: not trusting others.

Getting back to Jupiter, the overrated now…

Almost a mirror opposite story of Saturn, Jupiter can’t let carefreeness become recklessness; optimism turned into blind-optimism; or sense of fun and enjoyment into irresponsibility. This is where its dark side comes in. And, it’s much more common and troublesome than you might think. So many families suffer if one of the parents has an overdose of Jovian energy; one or both of the parents promise, but don’t deliver. It’s not that they’re outright mean in most cases; the problem is this: Sagittarius is an excitable, zealous sign. They commonly get carried away with the excitement of the next wave. But, all too many times, when reality hits and they see just how much work and dedication is involved, they can tend to back away from committed responsibility. Watch how long it takes a young Sagittarian male to commit to marriage to see what I mean. They just wanna have fun! And there’s nothing wrong with that! We all need to have more fun. But, when it comes to gambling problems, drinking problems, being in debt up to your neighbor’s ears, etc., it’s all too common to find its source in Jupiter/Sagittarian symbols in the birth chart.

When Jupiter transits your chart, it’s very likely that something very fortuitous will effortlessly land in your lap. It’s very common to see it occur more when the client “has been putting out more and more good karma”, you might say. However, many times, upon closer examination, one has to watch for a scam, a used-car-salesman, a snake-oil job. These outcomes appear much more than you might think.

All in all, most Jupiter transits are basically pretty easy and prosperous. A common result is a strong feeling of well-being. These upbeat moods are usually very welcome to most people who commonly are involved in mental and emotional struggles. So, you can very simply see that sometimes when someone says, “Ah shake it off, don’t worry about it!” Things work out great. At other times, maybe you should not have listened to your college roommate and gone out and gotten wasted and maybe should have stayed home and studied instead! You get the point. That’s Jupiter.

The pair of astrology’s Jupiter and Saturn is like having a helium balloon. Without Jupiter, the balloon doesn’t expand and certainly doesn’t rise. But, without Saturn, the knot in the end is missing and the balloon flaps about the room aimlessly. Too many knots, and you can ruin the balloon too. They have to work together.

Now, at a higher level, since we all have Jupiter and Saturn in our own chart, we can see the importance of allowing both of these powerful archetypal energies to work in a fine-tuned manner. A healthy balance of when to expand (Jupiter) and contract (Saturn) is necessary. When to save and when to spend. When to let go, and when to hold on. When to trust and when to vet. When to be sensible and when to return to the whim of your inner-child. These are all symbolic of the need to balance these fundamental astrological social instincts. Have fun, but don’t kid yourself into thinking that following Thelma and Louise over the cliff is going to lead you to some kind of glory.

Good luck finding your Starself!