On Saturn in Sagittarius: Fragment of a Queen's Face

Fragment of a Queen's Face, Metropolitan Museum of Art,   http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/544514

Fragment of a Queen's Face, Metropolitan Museum of Art, http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/544514

Last week I found out that we owe money in taxes. A lot of money. More money than we have. We had great fortune in 2014: We were able to buy our very first house. Especially in Queens, where the housing stock is limited and the prices astronomical, on just one steady salary that seemed like a coup. But we sold investments and stretched ourselves thin to do so, apparently too thin. I wonder if you’re ever ready to hear that you owe the IRS ten times the amount you have in your savings account. I certainly wasn’t. And from the stricken, colorless look on Lang’s face when I relayed the message, he wasn’t either.

Saturn is transiting through the 8th house of my birth chart. Among other things, that could correlate with a restriction in shared finances. Yep, there’s that. But I find Astrology most helpful when it moves beyond describing circumstances and into illuminating our own thoughts and behavior. Saturn is where we can be too prone to caution, hesitancy, fear. Saturn asks us to mature and develop integrity, to make a great work. Transiting Saturn, moving through my 8th House and approaching my natal Mars, is asking me to confront my fears and hang in there in 8th House areas: Sex and intimacy, shared resources, death and rebirth. To grow up. Not in a stoic, controlling way, but in a patient, persevering way. Why? How can walking through a hard and scary transit like this help me? Well, it helps to ask the lessons I still have to learn about Saturn, the 8th House, and the current sign of Saturn, Sagittarius. I can pretty much bet I haven’t aced all three.

Sagittarius energy in our charts challenges us to be confident, adaptable, honest, cheerful. Ruled by Jupiter, the King of the Gods, it asks us to expand and see the big picture. The negative face of Sagittarius is jumping to conclusions, overextension, dogmatism, excess. I’ve spent almost 39 years “doing” Sagittarius: Along with Mars, my natal sun, Neptune and Mercury happen to be in the sign. But transiting Saturn is asking me to focus on exactly how I’ve been doing Sagittarius. Have I taken the higher or the lower road? Have I been stretching in the ways that have the most meaning for me? Saturn the Authority in Sagittarius is not asking me to stop reaching, but rather to course-correct. How have I been frittering away resources? How have I been blinded by my own opinions? I can see that I’ve put a little too much focus on materialism and not enough on generosity of spirit and encouraging others. I haven’t fully embodied that Sagittarius optimism, versatility and faith. Putting in some patient time learning Sagittarius skills will help me mature in the lessons of my sun, Mars, Mercury and Neptune: My purpose, my will, my understanding and my connection with the divine. I’d say any transit that can teach me all that is worth whatever crappy bill I have to pay right now. This is just a wake-up call to the real work I have to do.

Transiting Saturn brings up issues from our natal Saturn placements as well. With my natal Saturn in the 5th House of children, creativity and self-expression and in the sign of Leo, I can be hesitant-to-severe in all those areas. When things are tough, pleasure, joy and spontaneity are the first things to go. My knee-jerk reaction to the accountant’s call was to CANCEL ALL FUN. Stevie Wonder concert with my family that night? Cancel. $12 lunch with a friend that had been planned for months? No way. Time to hole myself in a room alone until the debt is fully paid. But the sign of Sagittarius is asking me to see the ways I can risk and stretch in how I’ve always “done” Saturn. As Steven Forrest says, difficult aspects or placements are about integration. We have to pay the piper – we overextended and made silly errors in withholding. But the big picture is that two fun outings with cherished others will not send me to IRS jail. This scary time is helping me see the ways I routinely block myself from experiencing joy. I want to try a new way.

So Saturn asks us to mature, have self-discipline and integrity, but there’s a way to do that without despair or pessimism. That’s the part I’m still learning. While I managed not to lash out at my accountant when he delivered the news, I was harsh with Lyndon instead while he was getting ready for school the next day. I felt no ground beneath me – just guilt about not earning a steady salary and fear that I wasn’t pulling my weight. When I’m overwhelmed or not aware, I can be the negative face of Leo with Lyndon – arrogant, bossy, as well as the negative Saturn -- tyrannical and harsh. “Lyndon, you have to get your act together! You’re eight years old now! You have to stop being a space cadet!” I’m ashamed by my behavior and embarrassed to share it. He’s freaking eight. Sometimes he’s going to take a little too long in the shower at the expense of getting his schoolbag ready. Sometimes he’s going to need help and guidance. I need to practice giving it to him with patience. I can do better. Saturn in Sagittarius is asking me to mature and expand in the way that I parent. Along with self-expression, joy, pleasure and creativity, throughout my life Lyndon himself is the great work I’m being asked to develop skill and persistence with.

I apologize to Lyndon while we’re walking to the bus stop. As always, he’s kind and forgiving. But I don’t want to take advantage of his sweetness. With this 8th House transit, I’m being called to transform some of my fire into right action. The right action with Lyndon is cherishing him persistently, even when I have to teach him. I have to confront my fear that he’s not measuring up in some way, because I have a fear that I’m not measuring up in many ways. The truth is we are both growing every day and we are always blessed.

Finally, the 8th house of joint resources represents more than just money. It also represents joint talents and gifts. Among the gifts Lang and I strive to build and cherish are faith and love. If I can hang in there during this scary time committed to transformation, this time will be more than about just paying the craziest tax bill I’ve ever seen outside someone in the entertainment industry. It will be about maturing in a deeper way, making a great work of courage, intimacy and optimism. Being reborn.

While I can see that letting go of things I no longer need to make way for change and growth is ultimately good for me, it’s just really hard. I can’t dance around that Saturn bit. It’s tough. And throughout the week, this new commitment to the IRS feels too much to take. I notice a Sagittarian desire to flee. I challenge myself to stop and reflect: How can I be exploratory and truthful instead of restless? How can I be versatile and philosophical, generous and optimistic? Well, if this is 8th House work, I have to go deep. I find Lang and tell him how frightened I am by all of this. I tell him how hard it is for me to believe that I won’t be let down. I’m just so scared. He has his own fears, and this is giving me a chance to help him heal those. Facing this mountain together is challenging Lang and me to have a deeper level of sharing. It’s challenging us to explore whether we’ve been truly stretching or just settling in the House of sex and bonding. There are ways we’ve both failed to honor our depths. We can do better.

We’re all facing something right now. We’re each being called to face a different mountain with as much perspective, good humor and enthusiasm as we can possibly muster. And to reach and venture with patience, steadiness and discipline. Saturn in Sagittarius asks us all to make elder work of the quest. Any great quest can take a while, and any great work could benefit from some optimism. E.L. Doctorow said writing is “like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” That pretty much sums up this transit as well.

Keep your headlights on and drive carefully, but stay on the journey and keep the faith. This too shall pass. And if you can manage to both stretch and put in some work, you’ll be further along when it does.