Saturn was stationary on New Year’s Eve and we began the new year with Saturn retrograde.
This was brought to my attention when an astrologer sent me a chart done in the morning and inquired why it didn’t show Saturn as retrograde, while the one he had just printed out did. The difference was that the station of Saturn occurred at 11:55 AM EST and the first chart was done before the station and the second was done after it. This seems obvious and with Mercury or Venus it would have been one of the first things to occur to him, but when looking at charts for Saturn’s position one tends to look only at the date and ignore the hour. Saturn doesn’t move that much in an hour or two, and in fact it doesn’t make a lot of sense to give the hour and minute of a Saturn station because we can’t calculate it that precisely. James Neely wrote an article for Matrix Journal some years ago on the problems of calculating and determining the accuracy of stationary times. (It can be found on the Matrix Website at http://www.astrologysoftware.com/resources/articles/getarticle.asp?ID=116&orig) In describing that article, Neely stated: “Roughly speaking, in order to pinpoint a station time to within 15 minutes, we’d have to compute a planet’s position to something like a one hundred millionth (1/100,000,000) of a degree. Considering that one second of arc is one thirty-six hundredth (1/3600) of a degree, you can see what we’re up against.” So it was possible this astrologer was looking at an entirely different time for the Saturn station, it could be different by hours and still be within any range of accuracy that is possible today.
But it was while looking at this Saturn station that I noticed that it’s forward motion was stopping just about 7 minutes shy of being conjunct my natal sun. This made it personal. Saturn stations aren’t rare, Saturn is retrograde for approximately five months out of every year during the time when the sun is opposite Saturn. In fact, a station of Saturn could be be considered more of an earth/sun phenomena than a Saturn phenomena since it is a result of the earth’s motion and not Saturn’s. But, still, when Saturn is stationary on a sensitive area of your chart it is often something to take notice of. Most astrologers would agree that the sun is a sensitive area.
Over the years, there have been a number of different things I have said when somebody asked what a station meant, I’m not sure all of them made sense. I have always reserved the right to change my mind about anything, so what I think now may not be consistent with things I’ve said in the past, but, at the moment, I don’t think a station by itself means anything. It only takes on meaning in context, in a stream of events. This is pretty much true of any astrological significator, or the symbolism in any oracle. Astrology offers the system, the solution, but it lacks meaning until it is applied to a situation, or a question. A question supplies the subject and all meaning is found in the subject. This principle is usually understood today as saying that all meaning is subjective, which is probably true, but it misses a point. Particularly, it misses that much of our lives are spent finding meanings that are shared with others, finding the subjective areas that are objective. But, whatever the nature of meaning, there are many traditions that point to the fact that it is the question, or the person asking the question, that determines the meaning, or answer, to the question. The concept that “the answer is in the question” has been around so long that I don’t believe anyone has suggested an origin for the phrase. Today this phrase is usually understood either in terms of logic or semantics, but I think it’s original meaning is simply found in nature or in occult traditions. Certainly most oracle systems place a lot of emphasis on the manner the question is posed and the way it is understood.
But what if there is no question? This is the case with omens and signs. Then you have pointers to answers but no question to help you understand the answer. This is often the case with astrologers whose practice is limited to themselves. In this case I had a sign, the Saturn station, pointing to myself but I hadn’t really asked a question. I was just going about my business and happened upon it. I still needed to put it in context, to define the subject. Since it was on my sun, the subject was certainly me but I needed to find the right area of my life. The only way I know to do that is to look at my recent history, which means looking at was happening with me during the last major Saturn to sun aspect.
I’ve done this before, so I’ve added features to both Win Star Express and the newer Matrix Time Search to make it easier. If I have Express opened to a biwheel with my chart and a current transit chart, I only need to open the aspect toolbox and press the chart 1 and chart 2 buttons to see the aspects that the transit chart makes to my natal chart. There it’s easy to find the Saturn conjunct sun aspect with the 7′ orb, if I select that and press the “Show Aspect History” button, I get a list of all the Saturn/Sun aspects since I was born. If I have the search program running and showing the Saturn/Sun aspect, I can right-click on that aspect and open a similar aspect history list. This will show me that the last major aspect was when Saturn squared my sun in the summer of 2002. The coming conjunction, which I can see will happen on August 23rd of next summer, will bring a culmination to what I’ve been struggling with for the last seven years.
This year hasn’t been a great year for me. Actually, the last seven years have been rather rough. Saturn may be backing off for a few months but it still intends to proceed and put an end to this phase so I can begin something new. I may be given a breather so I can repair the things I wish to hold onto before it all starts up again. I’ve never been able to decide if I’m a pessimist or an optimist, but sometimes there’s no percentage in expecting anything other than that things are getting better.