2017 was, for many, a terrible year. I think I have heard more people say that they are glad to see the back of it than in any previous years. Over the Christmas period there was a lot of illness and I have never known so many people in my environment who have, or have had, cancer. It’s been tough. Thankfully, not for me, although sadly I lost one of my cats. But that is a different kind of feeling to what I have been seeing around me. Loss and grief are Neptune’s domain and I see that too of course, as death and loss are always part of life. However what I see more of now, seems to be Saturnian, and that’s not surprising when we take the amount of Capricorn in the heavens into account.
Astrologers are always asked for forecasts at the beginning of each year. We use our favourite tools to do this, a common one being to take midnight on New Year’s Day as a seed or birth moment for the year and interpret possibilities from that. Another is to see which zodiac signs the slower moving planets travel though in the course of the year. But no matter which way you look at it, this is a very Capricorn-Saturn year – the sign and the planet going together.
The sky as I looked up from my roof on New Year’s Eve:
Right opposite the Moon is Saturn – under us at that moment. On a positive note, you could say he has our back this year. He is sidling up to Venus, the Sun and Pluto. All in the sign of Capricorn, this is indeed a ‘heavy duty’ – perfect Saturn-Capricorn words – combination for 2018. Last year I wrote about 2017 being Capricorn on Steroids. I hope we learned something about how to use this energy, as it seems that 2018 will give us even more exams on the theme of reality hitting.
The signs of the slow-going planets from Saturn outwards, give clues as to the nature of the zeitgeist for periods of time. Neptune stays in Pisces this year – I have written on this before – an example from April 2011. Uranus changes sign in May this year – from Aries to Taurus – where he will stay for about 7 years. This is very important and I will write about this in Aries or Taurus time. Saturn moved back to his home (in Capricorn) near the 2017 winter (for me here in the north) solstice, and he will stay there until 2020. Pluto also stays in this sign this year, where he has been since the financial meltdown in 2008. I have written often about this, starting back in 2007. So we have a Saturnian influence not only in the ‘seed moment’ of 2018 but in the sky for the entire year, and this is my focus here.
From the World Health Organisation website – figures from 2017: “According to the latest estimates from WHO, more than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015.” A staggering amount of suffering. The latest estimates were part of the reason for this topic being a focus of World Health Day on 7 April, 2017 called ‘Depression: let’s talk’. Prince Harry and the Cambridges were also involved in a similar campaign ‘Heads Together’, which aimed to stimulate people to seek help with mental issues. Many people are feeling really down now, and true depression tops the list of causes for ill-health. Suicide is sometimes the result of depression, particularly among teenagers. Older people too suffer with depression. Fear and anxiety are part of it – something I think we can all relate to in these troubling times.
Here is the WHO info video, and although I agree wholeheartedly with the fact that ‘Let’s talk’ is part of the solution, I really object to the fact that the reason for doing something about this is cost! But if that’s the way to get something done, I’m afraid we do need to start there. In an ideal world we would want to help people who suffer anyway, but with the level we are at consciousness-wise, financial considerations are to the fore.
But the question is: how to help?
My other objection is of course that society throws drugs at this to solve the problem. So I was heartened to see an article this week (link below) that questioned this. “These drugs are having a positive effect for some people – but they clearly can’t be the main solution for the majority of us, because we’re still depressed even when we take them. At the moment, we offer depressed people a menu with only one option on it.” And “It turns out that between 65 and 80% of people on antidepressants are depressed again within a year.” So clearly drugs aren’t the answer.
If you follow my posts you will know I subscribe to what I call astreopathy – ‘like curing like’ as in homeopathy but with astrological archetypes. The Saturn archetype is the one I link with depression. The word ‘saturnine’ means gloomy, sombre, melancholy and miserable, which is not for nothing! So what can we learn by looking at depression with an astrological eye?
Well, probably a lot of what is in the article! The medical world tried to create a structure for diagnosing depression. A checklist – a good Saturnian idea. Saturn brings up fear and one reaction is to invent some rules to cope with it. All the ridiculous rules around air travel, such as putting mascara in a plastic bag and having to show it to security, are a case in point. Some rules are a good idea, but too many rules are clearly counterproductive and annoying. Following the diagnosis book rules (DSM) meant that people suffering grief were diagnosed with depression and given medical solutions! To me that is mixing up two archetypes. Grief is Neptunian (as are drugs) and painful. It is a part of life but too much of it is a problem too.
Depression is saturnine
But depression, if it is truly saturnine, has different causes and therefore requires different suggestions for solutions. The root of the word depression comes from de: down, and press: use force, i.e. to push down. It is an active verb. However these days it is more commonly used as in being acted upon. So if you are depressed, something or someone is pushing you down. Herein lies the clue as to how Saturn can help. I will italicise Saturn’s words. Firstly we need to get clarity on who or what is pushing us down. Who or what has authority over us. Whose rules are we adhering to? What makes us feel physically heavy? The thing many people do at this stage, when they know the answer to these questions, is another Saturnian thing – blame. Our employer, our partner, the government, the weather, the president is at fault. But what needs to happen here is a reality check. This is what 2018 is good for. We need to take responsibility for the fact that we are, in some way, agreeing to follow others’ rules. That we are bending to the authority of our boss or partner, and, in the case of the article, our doctor! The article makes clear that the evidence for using drugs for solving depression is very flimsy if not fake, but many bow to doctors’ suggestions, without doing the hard work of looking at their own lives and finding out the truth about cures.
Yes changing your job, leaving a partner, or ignoring the authority of a doctor can be difficult, but by not doing this we are agreeing to being in a submissive, ‘pushed-down’ role. Saturn is about time: we think we have time to do this. But life is too short! I believe we all have a purpose, and I agree with the article: as well as needing practical shelter – food and a stable home (all Saturn) – we need to feel we are useful and have a goal and a purpose. My experience with clients is the same as that stated in the article – most people don’t like their work – the article suggests a figure of 87%. They stay in their job for even more Saturn reasons: fear, climbing the responsibility ladder, ambition (usually with someone’s else’s idea of what an achievement actually is), having a proper job, and a big one – not feeling good enough or qualified enough to do something more fulfilling. Doing this leads to the stress epidemic we have – and we now know that stress is a major cause of illness, including cancer. Living up to someone else’s expectations can be fatal! And anyway, it is impossible.
The article concludes with the idea that we need to have power, but for me that is another archetype – Pluto-Scorpio – which can cause other problems, but not depression. What we need to do with depression is claim back our own rules and dare to go for our own goals. To do the work to feel good about ourselves and – yes, we may need help to do this – someone who can give us structure and teach us how to define our own goals and claim back our own time. A ‘wise elder‘. Aging is also a Saturn phenomenon and many older people suffer from depression. The solution is the same – we need to help our rapidly-growing older population to regain purpose, and value their experience, rather than throwing them on the scrap heap! And give them our time.
So Saturn is not all bad
This year is about facing reality and doing something about what we need to change to feel good about ourselves. We may complain about political leaders, but as a collective we chose them! At individual level this can be frustrating. However, the more people there are who are fulfilling their purpose, the better the world will feel. We can do something about that and now is the time! Saturn offers determination, concrete results, perseverance and discipline – don’t waste the opportunity in 2018.
It’ll get you in the end
As it is with all planets, Saturn has a cycle – his is about 29 years. This cycle shows one of harvest – things that have been planted coming to fruition – and this can be good or bad. We are seeing the long-term results now of what we planted in the last time periods that Saturn was in Capricorn. As Saturn is about physical borders and boundaries, just a quick look at the last two cycles gives some clues as to how the world reacts to this cycle. Looking at these times on a personal level can also be fruitful. Between 1959 and 1962 the Berlin Wall was built, and a full cycle later, between 1988 and 1991, it came down and we had the reunification of Germany. This last period gave us the Tiananmen Square protests and the Desert Storm operation in Iraq. It also saw the release of Nelson Mandela after almost a full cycle, and the end of the Cold War when Gorbachev and Bush (the older) got together. Germany is again facing a need to ‘reunify’. The country is split in a different way now. Are the US and other countries involved in expelling Iraq from Kuwait, now reaping the ‘rewards’ of going against Iraq?
South Africa is again holding authority figures to account for their actions. And what of China? This from the Human Rights Watch site: “New mechanisms to act against rights violators abroad are renewing hopes that one day those responsible for the Tiananmen Massacre could be held accountable,” … “This should give pause to President Xi and other Chinese leaders who continue to commit serious rights abuses.” So this should be the year!
Saturn is the old school master walking through Capricorn areas ready to rap you across the knuckles. Make sure, particularly if you are in a Capricorn work area (teaching, accountancy, architecture, management and government to name a few), that you are doing your homework and acting responsibly – doing your duty. Doing the right things at the right time brings its own rewards. And remember after the darkness of winter, spring returns.
Interesting Websites of the Month
A long but really important article – the article on depression mentioned above.
What other astrologers are saying
A couple of the many examples:
From Steven Forrest
From Laura Boomer-Trent
Some I made earlier
All my Capricorn posts are relevant for this time of year.
Quotes of the Month
“You don’t have to live a lie. Living a lie will mess you up. It will send you into depression. It will warp your values.” Gilbert Baker, artist involved in the rainbow flag.
And some good Capricorn advice. Although Oprah is an Aquarian (of course!), she has Saturn as part of her vocation, which you can see in her step by step approach.
And lastly: ‘At night the stars they put on a show for free…’ Carole King and Gerry Goffin.
I love this song – especially that line of course. As Capricorn is a goat who likes to climb mountains alone … quite good advice, I think, for 2018.