Saturn in Pisces: Do Effort and Surrender Go Together?
Right now — and for the next several years — Saturn is transiting through Pisces, which calls for a bit of a stretch for many of us. Saturn is your drive to work hard, persevere, do your duty. Ralph Waldo Emerson voices Saturn’s manifesto in New England Reformers when he writes, “Work, the law saith to man, in every hour, paid or unpaid, see only that thou work…” Saturn is an earthy planet — it rules earth sign Capricorn — so it tends to work toward concrete results, with practical, step-by-step methods.
Yet Pisces is the sign of mystics and visionaries. Its bent is toward the inward, non-egoic and spiritual, toward self-emptying, union with something larger than ourselves, transrational moments of vision and inspiration. With Saturn in Pisces, our stern will, our capacity to do the things we don’t want to do, is being harnessed to the intangible, aiming us toward something we can take with us when we die.
Saturn in Pisces suggests that we make a disciplined effort to loosen ego’s grip, open awareness to the benign vastness that surrounds us, let compassion and humor shape our perception of the human drama, liberate ourselves from the yoke of anger and hurt through forgiveness.
In addition to having a solid understanding of your natal Saturn, a look at the house Saturn is transiting through in your chart can suggest the activities that may help or hinder your work. What should you focus on? Is there a way your focus can serve as a vehicle of transcendence? As Virginia Woolf writes in A Room of One’s Own, “... for clearly the mind has so great a power of concentrating at any point at any moment that it seems to have no single state of being.”
Here are some more question to ask yourself as you navigate Saturn's transit through Pisces:
How might you benefit from some spaciousness, silence, solitude?
“Ah listen, for Silence is not lonely:
Imitate the magnificent trees
That speak no word of their rapture, but only
Breathe largely the luminous breeze.”
- from Corot, D.H. Lawrence
Is there a way your effort or discipline can reveal the interdependent nature of life on earth?
“We’re all members of a single body, to degrees that we have no idea except in moments of what might be called revelation. Oh, I believe it. Yes. And the idea of all of us being members of a single body, so to speak, has a religious connection. I think it’s literally true: we live or die together. And the influences just of one person on another — any two people who know each other— are absolutely staggering, if you trace them. It’s the essence of our lives, that interrelationship.”
- Ross Macdonald (pen name of Ken Millar) quoted in Ross Macdonald: A Biography by Tom Nolan
Could a daily swim or time spent on or near water open your mind and heart to divinity?
“I know nothing that can give a better notion of infinity and eternity than the being upon the sea in a little vessel without anything in sight but yourself within the whole hemisphere.”
- Samuel Pepys, quoted in The Unequalled Self by Claire Tomalin
What happens when you surrender to flow?
Is there a discipline that allows you to enter what Joan Fairfax in The Fruitful Darkness calls “that threshold space between worlds… the interworld between us and the sacred [where] the gods finally arise?” We might also call this threshold space the theta brainwave state, or flow. How do you lose yourself in flow? Fishing, gardening, prayer, meditation, dance, artistic practice, writing, reading, running, singing, listening to music…….?
Can you bring compassion and humor to the reality of the human predicament?
Leonard Woolf captures this predicament in his last book, The Journey Not the Arrival Matters. In Victoria Glendinning’s biography of Leonard Woolf, she says: “[Leonard] wrote in his last book that, under the eye of eternity, nothing human was of the slightest importance. But in one’s personal life, ‘certain things are of immense importance: human relations, happiness, truth, beauty or art, justice and mercy.’”