“I would love to, but…”
Three months ago as much of the US was being put under Stay at Home orders, Saturn was in the last degree of Capricorn and starting to make initial ingress into Aquarius. After nearly three years of moving though Capricorn, he entered the Aquarian preview phase on March 22nd, spending a few weeks in that sign before moving back into Capricorn to finish up the stay there. Astrologers say that this sneak peek into the next sign often gives hints of what the upcoming 3 year stay in that sign will be like.
At the beginning of the year, I was eagerly awaiting this time. My Ascendent is in Capricorn, so Saturn rules my 1st house. Saturn there (along with Pluto) is transformative, but a heavy type of transformative. The steady and slow effort of climbing a mountain rather than the glorious bloom of a flower. The 1st house is the house of the self, the body, and one’s identity. I was looking forward to having some time off from the weight and pressure of Saturn’s presence there.
“I can’t because…”
In many ways the past three years has been a return to the self and redefining who I am in this phase of my life. Looking back over Saturn in Capricorn I thought I understood how this time was shaping me, but it wasn’t until Saturn reached Aquarius that I was able to get a better perspective on it. It was like when a film suddenly zooms out revealing a larger and more complicated landscape. I was missing big pieces of what Saturn needed me to know which didn’t come into view until he stepped out of Capricorn.
As events and plans were being cancelled due to the pandemic, there was sadness, disappointment, even anger, but I’m embarrassed to say – relief mixed in that emotional cocktail. That relief made me feel so guilty. Yet, it that was a big clue that led me to what Saturn in Capricorn was trying to show me.
“I don’t think so.”
The combination of having school aged children and no job has led me to volunteer for many different roles in the past few years. I’ve taken part in moms organizations, and helped often at the school and in scouting groups. I like being able to contribute my time to helping my community. It’s not only altruistic, but also often social and creative. I get as much as I give in many cases.
One day while volunteering at the elementary school, one of the teachers greeted me and said how much she liked seeing the “happy, helper moms” at the school. This was pleasing at the time, but now gives me pause.
Saturn is harsh and scary. Pulls no gut punches. Wait a minute? Was that really what I was becoming, a “happy, helper mom”? Because that’s not where my talents or my desires lie.
“No, thank you.”
For as much as I’ve enjoyed volunteering, these obligations had started to chafe. Volunteers can be hard to come by, and I’ve found myself taking on more roles and not stepping aside from the roles I already had simply because no one else would do it. Often, if a volunteer cannot be found to run a fundraiser, activity, or program, the threat of that thing just not getting done looms large. Everything became laced with the sense of after all – “it’s not like I have a job”.
It wore me down. I started to dread even the little things that I would previously delight in and felt completely drained after helping out for even a little bit. My other life responsibilities, plans, and interests took a hit.
From the vantage point of Saturn in Aquarius, when it seemed like the whole world was shut down, I could see the paths on the mountain I was climbing for the first time in a long time.
The volunteering didn’t stop when everything moved online, much of it just moved online, too. There was hosting an online scout craft every other week, and calls for other ways to help from home. For some of my peers, the pandemic seems to have given them a burst of energy and drive which I envy. For me, the dread intensified.
So, I started saying “No”.
At first, the “No” was laced with sympathies and reasons. My stomach twisting and cringing that the requester is OK with my refusal and forgives it. Now, more often than not, it’s just a simple “No”.
Isn’t it strange that a “No”, a “Refusal” can bring so much freedom? Saturn is often described as the planet of boundary and limitation. Its rings and place as the farthest of the visible planets attest to that. The feeling is especially intense now with the restrictions on movement, social events and gatherings, and not really being able to go outside the boundaries of one’s own home or neighborhood.
Yet, by saying “No”, I’ve been able to breathe life into the activities that bring me life. I’m choosing to spend time and effort on my home, family, garden, tarot, and blog. There is a serious return to personal health goals, including spiritual and magical ones. The dread has started to recede as I claim more and more of my time. Saturn is also known as Father Time.
In retrospect it seems quite obvious that Saturn transiting a Capricorn 1st house would put a huge focus on negotiating personal boundaries and realizing limits. As he moves back into Capricorn, I expect that I’ll get a lot of practice saying “no” more often. We’ll go over every existing obligation with a magnifying glass until the end of the year, and just maybe get a chance to try some of those other paths I spotted on the mountain from the Aquarian clouds.
Note: Cover image of cards is from the game, “Exploding Kittens”.