Saturn in Capricorn: Reality-Check Time


I cannot wriggle my ass away from this desk-chair, as badly as I might like, because I've got to get this work done.

Saturn's moved into Capricorn this week (on Tue Dec 19), and it's my job to discuss this major news with you… at least if I aim to continue earnestly fulfilling this role of 'astrological writer' I've created for myself.

If I'm to be taken seriously in my self-selected position, I must report on the biggest astrological headlines as I see them… and Saturn's arrival to its ruling earth-sign for the first time since 1991 certainly qualifies. One cannot be an 'astrological writer' without actually writing about astrology, nor consider it a full-on 'position' without doing so repeatedly. And if one wants to write about the current moment's astrological happenings, there's a requisite timeliness to the task. (Trust me, you can't write last week's horoscopes a month or two from now, once you're in a better mood. Folks won't stand for that. Out-of-date horoscopes are rarely good for more than lining a bird's-cage.)

If I write about astrology with consistency over a stretch of time, presumably improving in quality as I refine my craft and determine which of my efforts are and aren't producing the results I seek, I will gradually earn my reputation as a competent astrological writer. That earned accomplishment is nothing more than the sum-total of countless moments when I chose not to wriggle away or goof off or fuck around (even if, in the midst of many of those moments, I would have preferred to do just that) and instead sat my butt down and wrote about astrology.

If, on the other hand, I'd decided to chase a moment's whims more often than not, to dismiss the critical longer-term value of hunkering down now (and again tomorrow) by putting off my work another day (and then another), that reputation wouldn't fly no matter how much conviction I showed when calling myself an 'astrological writer'. There'd be no goods to back it up. Reality would deny my claims. I'd discover the grave truth that I haven't achieved what I set out to do… and if I still sought to achieve it, I would need to toil harder, smarter, and/or longer toward my goal. Or I could perhaps accept I'm just not cut out for this; it's not well-suited to my skills or temperament, or I just don't care about it like I used to.

But this rumination is not about me or my professional aspirations, no more than it's about you or yours. It's a real-world example of how Saturn, the god of linear time and how we constructively use it (or passively let it use us), operates. As an archetypal force to draw upon, Saturn represents the self-disciplining drive… a deliberate intent to strive for the actualization of particular aims, effects, or outcomes at the logical expense of others, an approach which demands ongoing commitment to reining in fleeting desires and impulses on behalf of some greater return.

While we may talk ourselves up with the feelgood belief that 'anything's possible', Saturn reminds us not everything is possible at the same time or in all cases. Certain actions, intentions, and attitudes are easier for some people to adopt, and harder for others. Saturn signifies the personal challenges, inhibitions, and constraints we each must confront in accepting things as they are (rather than how we wish they were). Life is undeniably unfair, and we can only work with what we've got; that's just how material reality functions. Once we come to peace with our specific slice of this reality, though, we're each capable of accomplishing wondrous feats—but not overnight, and certainly not without steady attention and honest labor.

In this regard, Saturn is fairly straightforward when in Capricorn, a sign it governs. Saturn in Capricorn is so strong because its call for sustained investments of constructive energy is rooted in the earth-element's tangibility: Set your sights on a concretely attainable goal. Figure out the surest way to attain it by assessing the conditions, studying prior efforts and experiences, and racking your problem-solving brains for their brightest ideas. Next, start enacting your strategy, step-by-step, with a cautious eye monitoring any unanticipated developments or changes-in-circumstance. Tweak the strategy, based on the data your observations glean. Continue along, acting by design, selectively adjusting tactics or targets, refusing to stop until you've given it your best shot. You will succeed at your goal (or whatever it's morphed into)—or you will have to recognize this one's just not going to happen for you.

Saturn in Capricorn can help us mightily in structuring our objectives for their likeliest success… though we must be unerringly realistic about our own qualities and capabilities, the material conditions in which we're operating, and the relative suitability of any goal we decide upon. Capricorn is often considered to be the zodiac's master of earthly achievement, but this distinction brings with it a renown (justifiable or not) for being coldly calculating. When we devote ourselves so attentively to prevailing at a chosen purpose, we can't invest as much care or consideration into other matters, especially those which pose a competitive risk to our attention. It's a simple tradeoff, a mathematics of resource-allocation. But when these 'other matters' include our physical health, our emotional well-being, and/or our relationships with friends, family, and loved ones, the sacrifices may not be worth the potential payout.

How badly do we want to hit our target? How much are we willing to give up to secure the prize? What else is more important to us than this? These answers are for each of us to decide, by weighing our priorities and making the judgment-calls we deem most appropriate to the results (i.e., the type of life-balance) we seek.

Saturn in Capricorn not-so-gently nudges us toward these matter-of-fact calculations, in a process of stripping the full range of our various ambitions down to the barest bones. When we root out the uninspiring interferences, impractical follies, and dead dreams, we're left with only our sturdiest pillars of enterprising interest… and from that stripped-down perspective, we're better able to frame the base-support schematics of a structural framework that'll effectively support, by design, whatever we build next.

Saturn in Capricorn oversees the erection of weight-bearing structures, the efficacy of skeletons, the 'good bones' upon which the meat of future accomplishments must be hung if they're to successfully stand under the strains of material being. Impressive rhetoric, wishfulness, a good heart… these alone just won't cut the mustard when facing a formidable danger, under duress, hungry or hurt, clawing for dignity. Only what's proven to hold up (or at least has damn solid engineering behind it) is worth hitching your long-term viability upon; everything else threatens to wash away or collapse in the next storm.

If we're being unflinchingly honest with ourselves, there may be sobering emotional repercussions from meeting Saturn-in-Capricorn's challenge to acknowledge what isn't built to last, likely to succeed, or aligned with our most vital practical interests. But contending with any corresponding disappointment and grief now—while also reorienting our efforts so they're more resoundingly directed toward our highest strategic priorities—seems preferable to waiting in panic or denial, until grim-reaper Saturn lowers its scythe and no further preparations can be made. No earthly life-form escapes this scythe's recurrent boom, in its many varied expressions.

In making peace with the sobering reality-checks coming courtesy of Saturn in Capricorn, then, we must also be emotionally reasonable with ourselves about what we can and can't control. Capricorn's characteristic 'ambitiousness' pushes it to strive for its absolute best in all situations… an admirable aim perhaps, but one which also sets up near-impossible standards, a bar that's always being raised higher just as it's almost reached, often leaving Capricorn to suffer the self-critical impression of never doing or being 'enough'. One more reality-check: We will always fall short of our highest potential.

In our calculations, we must also weigh our constant striving-for-the-best against the attitudinal relief that comes from inviting certain self-imposed pressures to fall by the wayside. This, too, is part of our Saturn-in-Capricorn duty—to not willingly enslave ourselves beneath a never-ending pile of responsibilities and restrictions, to choose our labors wisely and let our humble selves off the hook for the rest. It's well-known that individuals with a strong Saturn and/or Capricorn signature grow lighter and more carefree as they age, provided they carry on the lifelong work of progressively unburdening themselves of one inessential albatross after another.

I'd be remiss not to point out, now that it's in Capricorn, Saturn has also begun its gradual approach toward a conjunction with Pluto (which has been in Capricorn since 2008). While I will reserve my fuller commentary on this impending Saturn-Pluto conjunction for a later time (but, oh, yes, you will hear more about it), let me at least mention here this aspect greatly ups the stakes on what exactly we'll reap as a direct result of either earnestly taking on our Saturn-in-Capricorn assignments or turning a willfully blind eye to them. More intense life-overhauls, and more powerfully transformational dividends if we do our work. More potent obstacles, and more extreme fallout if we don't. Nothing about any scenario will be casual, trivial, or without its logical consequences.

Saturn will be in Capricorn until December 2020 (with a preliminary visit to Aquarius between March and July of that year). Saturn conjoins Pluto in January 2020, though arrives within a five-degree orb of exactitude by early '19.