Meet the two giants, Saturn, the second one in the picture next to simply enormous Jupiter, and Uranus (turquoise) third in the picture, next to lovely blue Neptune. These four dwarf the other planets of our solar system. What makes Saturn and Uranus so interesting is that they are the co-rulers, in a very strange partnership indeed, of the Sign of Aquarius.
Since we are moving into an Age of Aquarius this Sign concerns us all, not to mention the fact that each of us also has the Sign of Aquarius somewhere in our Birth Charts. The House Aquarius falls in or demarcates will be a place of experimentation, rebellion, creativity, a source of depression and frustration – and perhaps also of visionary leadership.
Likewise, we all have the planetary rulers of Aquarius – Saturn and Uranus – in our Birth Charts, in mathematical relation to each other as well as to other important features of our charts. So, depending on the position of these powerful planets, and the House Aquarius falls in, some folks may actually be more Aquarian than the Sun Sign they were actually born under.
And Saturn and Uranus are an odd couple indeed – Saturn so uptight, rigid and habit-driven, Uranus such a free, rebellious spirit for whom habit is a kind of death.
Understanding Aquarius * Bringing Saturn Back Into the Picture
In the Classical (at least Medievalist) tradition, Uranus was unknown, and is still not used or associated with Aquarius which is deemed to be ruled by Saturn. Nor is Uranus used in Vedic, or Indian (Hindu) Astrology.
But in western astrology, little is said of Saturn as a ruler of Aquarius. Most astrologers and consumers of newspaper astrology simply recite the formulaic picture of Aquarius under the influence of Uranus – off-the-wall, zany, creative but somewhat mad, and so on. Even serious discussion of Uranus and Aquarius leaves out the impact of Saturn on those born under this Sign.
As an astrologer – and as one born under the Sign of Aquarius – I believe we need to assess the roles of Saturn and Uranus together to explain Aquarius as a personal Sign, and in terms of its influence as an emerging Age characterized by grass-roots revolutionary movements (Uranus) and theories, but also their proclivity to form vast ideological or intellectual frameworks which work to constrain, even strangle, the original revolutionary gains.
So, in this post, I’ll talk first, at length, about Saturn, and later, in somewhat shorter form, about Uranus.
Aquarians themselves, and those who study them, can confirm that this Sign can often exhibit Saturn’s tendency to be morose and socially inept being both bossy and judgmental, unappreciative of the contributions of the team they are supposed to be so good at forming and leading.
Aquarians tend to be both sociable and solitary in an odd combination and Saturn plays a role in these qualities more than does Uranus. Saturn’s key archetypal energies of Father, Law, Karma and Structure very much relate to society and government, while Uranus is more abstract, understood in creative, electrical, even cosmic energies.
So this impenetrable, often rigid wall of privacy which shields the complex inner life of the Aquarian comes from Saturn’s traditional role as Limits (of the known plantary system in medieval times). This are of privacy is also one an Aquarian may experiences as confinement, one they are no more able to get out than others are able to get in…
Keep in mind too that Aquarius is a fixed Sign along with Scorpio, Taurus and Leo, so there is this still Center from which – on any given issue – an Aquarian is unlikely to budge…
Shamanic Healing * Mysterious, Beautiful Blue Rings and A Blue Hemisphere
Another odd thing about this couple which rule Aquarius is that, to the surprise of all concerned, Saturn and Uranus share a beautiful blue ring. The outermost ring of gas giant Uranus is a bright blue, scientists found in 2006. Saturn is the only other planet with an identified blue outer ring in the solar system. Both blue rings are associated with small moons; Saturn with Enceladus and Uranus with Mab.
“The outer ring of Saturn is blue and has Enceladus right smack at its brightest spot, and Uranus is strikingly similar, with its blue ring right on top of Mab’s orbit,” said Imke de Pater, professor of astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley.
And, as of October 2019, fresh analysis of Cassini’s data reveals that Saturn’s Moon Enceladus is now considered a major candidate for hosting biological life. Is that because of the “Blue Ring” and something unknown to us which it signifies? Maybe there is a hidden connection between Saturn and life on planet Earth. Since Aquarius is the Sign of Man, or Humanity, Saturn’s rulership of Aquarius may yet turn out to be a very obvious one…
Note too that Saturn reveals a lovely blue northern top, or hemisphere despite the usual assumption that Saturn is a yellow planet. But this vast expanse of blue is evident to us when Saturn’s rings are going through a “ring plane crossing”. For those like me who are exploring “Shamanic Astrology” one thought comes to mind: Blue, especially deep blue, is the colour of healing.
At some level, then, I think that both planets have unique healing powers which are available for us to tap into. This is true whether you are a Sun-Sign Aquarian, or simply have Aquarius somewhere among your planets and/or other key points and bodies in your chart. Finding and opening to “Blue Uranus and Blue Saturn ” may bring healing of oneself, and it may also open up the Path of the Shaman.
Saturn’s Structure Meets Channeled, Other-Worldly Innovation of Uranus
Both Saturn and Uranus provide Aquarius – and the coming Age of Aquarius – with its two keys to great transformations. From Uranus comes inspired, dramatic innovations indeed. Surprisingly, these are often then supported by the capable system-building influence of Saturn.
It is Saturn which enables the Aquarian visionary to put new structures in place after the storm of Uranus which may level an old society, relationship or intellectual paradigm in science, medicine or politics, for example.
Thus Aquarian Kitaro built up a huge repertoire of Uranus-inspired other-worldly music; Mozart – another Aquarian – visualized the entire structure of his compositions, including detailed notation, in his mind before writing it down. Kitaro describes this ability as well.
With both Aquarian musical geniuses, we see how Saturn’s Structure-Building comes in, apparently through Higher Mind, set on fire, lifted to cosmic levels, almost certainly through the higher vibrations of Uranus, co-ruler of Aquarius, lifting Saturn energy far beyond its “limiting function” as seen in its more mundane settings.
Albert Einstein was not a Sun Sign Aquarius, but had Jupiter (philosophy/religon) in Aquarius. He demolished, to a large extent, the old view of the universe, putting in place a vast new system of physics with tremendous implications for a physics/philosophy integration and new vistas of religious belief.
US President Obama, with Aquarius Rising, forced into place a huge new healthcare system. This was to be for the masses – a truly revolutionary Aquarian ideal, albeit one carried out in ways which felt like Saturn’s restrictive system. Vladimir Lenin, Father of the Russian Revolution of 1917, had his Moon in Aquarius…this revolution was supposed to be for the masses, but became a classic case of ideals crushed within a vast system of power.
The Jesuit priest and scientist Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin had his Mid-Heaven – the peak of public life achievement – in Aquarius. He built a massive system of thought (Saturn) which the Catholic Church recognized as a fundamentally new religious world view (Uranus) and initially suppressed. Yet Saturn – Father Time – rules the timing and longevity of Aquarian futuristic visions; after his death, and very cautiously, some of the Church’s intellects began a “rehabilitation” of Teilhard de Chardin’s bold and boundary-breaking work.
Ken Wilber, a Sun Sign Aquarian, continues to build a complex, ever-expanding framework for Integral, Transpersonal Psychology rooted in the work of “Spiritual Evolution” – in the footsteps of such thinkers as Teilard de Chardin and Sri Aurobindo. Ken Wilber’s work is a vast, comprehensive attempt to “explain everything” and he continues to influence many with his vision. Like most Aquarians, Wilbur tends to take fundamental insights from other thinkers and/or traditions and depart, sometimes radically, from these to build something uniquely his won.
Similarly, Rob Zoller, world leader in Medieval Astrology, is another Aquarian who exemplifies the Uranus ability to create something radically new, or something old presented in a striking new way, combined with Saturn’s ability to enfold it in a large structure which helps to consolidate it for presentation to the world. Note: Rob Zoller was born January 25, 1947, and died on January 24, 2020,
Charles Dickens, an Aquarian born on February 7, 1812, was a great writer “for the masses” who gave public readings of his work to packed houses even when very ill. He was an outspoken social critic, using his popular works of fiction to highlight grass-roots Industrializing Britain and its terrible toll on children, among other themes (Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, and so on). His work was serialized in public newspapers of the day, and was among the first works of literature available for the lower classes on both sides of the Atlantic.
Saturn – The Great Teacher
Astrology has learned through centuries of observation that Saturn has a teaching influence. Saturn’s lessons have more to do with life’s lessons, including recognizing and working through Karma, than learning a craft or skill.
And Saturn’s presence is a flag warning us that our labor will be long and intensive before gaining tangible rewards -indeed, we may need to abandon the idea of “reward” where Saturn is at work in our lives. For if there are worldly rewards by the time we receive them we will be wise enough to find them uninteresting.
As a Teacher Saturn is rather old-fashioned in that there can be an element of chastisement for the pupil who gets ahead of him or herself. This is likely the reason many Aquarians can be seen to “rise and fall” – often in terms of reputation and ambition in their public lives. And in their personal lives too there is often a price to be paid for pursuit of their visions; ill health, poor relationships and strained finances can be constant companions for the Aquarian…
These following examples illustrate the debilitating impact on the genius of Aquarius of Saturn’s “restrictions” and Uranus’s extreme energy overflowing natural boundaries:
Charles Dickens had an unfulfilling marriage in which he kept producing children who never were able to become financially independent and was chronically ill. He seems to have been dyslexic and to have suffered from epilepsy and many other chronic, debilitating ailments throughout his life. He was extremely ill on many of his reading tours. He was often in dire financial straits despite his fame…Who knows what more he might have given the world had his life not been so overshadowed (Saturn) by ill health and financial desperation.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin created a vast, highly original (Uranus) framework (Saturn) for a new, joyous understanding of creation, evolution, history and redemption – yet his work was severely criticized and restricted from publication by the very Saturnine Catholic Church throughout his lifetime – in other times he would have died as a heretic. The price for remaining within the Church he loved was to be an outsider whose influence was barely tolerated and sharply truncated by a church which is recognized to be one of the largest and most powerful Saturn structures on Earth and in history.
Ken Wilber has had a severe, chronic and debilitating illness for many years, and his work is seen to be declining in influence…
Rob Zoller, astrologist, developed Parkinson’s disease, and was apparently swindled (Saturn always takes its cut) by some of those close to him.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died young, developing several chronic and at times crippling illnesses; before he died he became convinced he had been poisoned, but the symptoms of his final illness could fit many diseases, according to diverse medical opinion. Yet the point remains – Saturn gave to Mozart the incredible near-perfect scaffolding of genius-level pieces of music whose sound lifts the human spirit to realms beyond this world. Yet Saturn “took its cut” – terminating Mozart’s life in what seems to have been the very midst of his creative prime.
Yet as we can see, Saturn’s Role as Father of Time ensures that all of these figures of genius do live on – their work may have been cut short, but it flows into History as immortal.
Saturn The Great Timer
So Saturn may “take its cut” but it also rules Timing and the Seasons of Life. It reminds us of the limits of ambition, of human time, of karma and its related destiny. Saturn reveals to us – at any given point in time – the art of the possible, the natural limitations we need to respect, and the timing of deep change, at various times of life.
To learn from Saturn’s influence, we must slow down and discover what it means to attune ourselves to a Season. And this, after all, is the central message of the ancient I Ching. The oracle properties of this Chinese classic flow from its incisive delineation of the nature and possibilities of a given moment in time about which the inquiry is being made.
Attuning to Seasons, short and long, is a remarkable spiritual achievement; it does not come easy. So Saturn is said to teach patience and endurance, and for those with great gifts, it seems also to be the ever-present Teacher who reminds its pupils of their human status and the natural limits which goes with this.
Saturn, Lord of Karma
Saturn is considered pivotal in the Birth Chart in terms of reincarnation and karma as a system of learning here on Earth. Where Saturn is found in a chart usually suggests a Story or karmic pattern connected with learning some very difficult lessons – where we have perhaps refused, for a very long time, to re-imagine a situation or relationship, or long-held prejudice of some kind.
As we have seen, these stubborn thought patterns can be rooted in Saturn’s fixation with logic and system – thought run amok in many cases. Saturn shows us where we become righteous and dogmatic, where we refuse to entertain evidence and other challenges to our belief systems. Where Saturn resides in the birth chart can be a clue to where and how we have imbibed deep-seated beliefs in religion and clan structures which hold us back from becoming truly free individuals.
Russia, Saturn and Group Karma
Russia is considered to be an Aquarian nation. Certainly its history of violent revolution and civil war reflects at the very least the Aquarian Moon of Vladimir Lenin.
Such a Moon relates to its Sign of Cancer not as the small clan or family but to the Nation or Motherland. His Aquarian Moon pushed Lenin’s “maternal instincts” to the extreme to transform Mother Russia into a new Home for Russians.
But Saturn’s influence cast a massive shadow over this Uranus-infused Moon. Lenin’s vast structure stemmed from an equally vast ideology derived from Marxism and it produced a tyrannical framework which enveloped every aspect of Russian life.
Boris Yeltsin, a Sun Sign Aquarius, wanted to dissolve this old structure and revolutionize (Uranus) Russia, but was unable to shake off the old Saturn tyranny of the Soviet Union’s secret police system – a legacy of a “grass-roots” revolution gone bad.
Nor could he resist the looting of Russia’s assets (he personified Saturn “taking its cut), and the lure of creating a system designed for one thing only – keeping himself in power. We also know that he was an alcoholic and this illness was a Saturn presence which stunted the creative leadership he began with as an Aquarius under the influence of Uranus.
Saturn influence is still at work in Russia, driving Group Karma towards an outcome still buried in Time. Russia’s Tryant-Masses karmic relationship repeats down through the generations, now manifesting in Vladimir Putin as the new Saturn. Here we see Putin’s rigid ideological framework combining mystic, religious, nation-building ideology with his historic understanding of himself as a Father (like the Stalin he admires) of a strong, resurgent Russian Motherland.
How To Live With Saturn
With Grace, we can soften the impact of Saturn, shorten the time of challenge, and lessen the price that we would pay by learning the lesson through endless lifetimes. but we must face up to those Saturn elements which are negative and to which we are unconsciously drawn or which we openly admire – the archetypes of Miser, Harsh Judge, Cult of Authority, Dictator, Patriarchy, Political Ideology (especially fascist), and perhaps above all – Religious Dogma. These are the parts of our characters which the I Ching refers to as “inferior elements” within.
Of course, Saturn has – like all archetypes – excellent qualities such as the ability to “ripen” our gifts and knowledge into Wisdom. We learn to be patient and to look back and see how our lives have truly had meaning where we saw none, and where something that seemed very wrong at the time had its own redemptive purpose. We start to sense Seasons – we don’t plant in a Winter, we wait for the Spring. We accept the possibility that some of the harder parts of the Road were the natural, unavoidable results of our own choices, in this lifetime or another. We realize Saturn really only comes into play when we have ignored all other promptings from the Universe.
Great Cycles: Our First, Second, and (Often) Third Saturn Returns
Saturn takes a little less than 29 years to go around the birth chart and arrive back at the place in the sky that it was when we are born. Age 27-29 marks the First Saturn Return, and approximately 29 years later, between 56-59 we have our Second Saturn Return.
Finally, from around 84-86 we have our Third and Final Saturn Return. Interesting, this final Return of Saturn coincides with the dramatic First and Only Return of Uranus at age 84, making this a very dramatic and interesting turning point in one’s life.
All three of these Returns mark changes in theme and circumstances so large that it is as if we really about 3 “lives” within one…Indeed, to live past 30 in olden times, when Saturn was the final “outer” planet known, was an achievement and almost as if one were then embarking on a second life. How much more so, to live past 60 – and thus embark on yet a “third” life! People do die at these Returns so that they seem still to be natural “exits” placed along the way. Most will say that a Saturn Return does bring some form of Death.
Many report that the First Saturn Return beginning shortly after turning 27 is extremely difficult, as if they have no idea what is happening to their life and no direction seems to be on the horizon! “This too shall pass” is the mantra…Whole new life directions and structures often do emerge as this period draws to a close. Astrology is unique in recognizing these “seasons” and helping us prepare for them and make the most of them, for each has its deeper purpose, as well as its time, and fits into our Life Plan, though we may not see this till much later.
At Home In Uranus, Co-Ruler of Aquarius
Uranus is the modern ruler of Aquarius and most people can see the relationship here much easier than they can see Saturn ruling Aquarius. That is because Uranus has qualities we associate with the Aquarius Archetype very readily, at least in the West.
And in many ways, Uranus is a less demanding influence to live with than Saturn which is laden with historical and mythological archetypes like Time, Karma, Authority and Structure. Uranus, on the other hand, is so apt for Aquarius because it captures the wild Freedom so associated with the spirit of Aquarius.
However, there is much to this planet which is still very mysterious, and it is fair to say we have only some impressionistic ideas about its impact as a planet. It has some odd “unorthodox” features as a planet, and was discovered around the time of the major revolutions of the 18th century (French and American) so it was felt it should be assigned rulership of the equally nonconformist, “revolutionary” Sign of Aquarius. So far, it seems like this has been a very good match – here is what one science teacher and Uranus enthusiast has written:
“The best planet is Uranus—Uranus the bizarre. Uranus the unique. Saturn may be flashy and pretty, and Jupiter may be huge and dramatic, but they can’t hold a candle to Uranus’s intrigue. While all the other planets spin like tops around the sun, Uranus lies on its side. It isn’t the farthest planet from the sun, yet it manages to be the coldest. Its magnetic field is nowhere near where it’s supposed to be, and its ghoulish blue-green atmosphere seems to alternate between dull stagnation and fits of activity.
“Even its name is unusual. Uranus is the only planet with a name derived from a Greek deity, rather than a Roman one. Correctly pronounced “YOOR-uh-nus,” it’s an homage to the Greek god Ouranos, Father Sky—who, it bears noting, is the father of Cronus (Saturn), and the grandfather of Zeus (Jupiter).” David Moscato, The Many Mysteries of Uranus: An Ode to the Oddball of Our Solar System, published in The Atlantic.
According to Zechariah Sitchin (The Twelfth Planet), translation of Sumerian clay tablets describes some remarkable events which formed our Solar System – one of them involves a massive disruption sending Uranus into a new position from which it has never recovered a normal orbit.
It is easy to see why Uranus was a natural match for the Sign of Aquarius – for this planet seems to describe so much of what we see in the way Energy manifests through this Sign.
Note that while Sun Signs portray character and personality traits, their ruling planets describe best the forms and behavior of Energy which seem to animate a particular Sun Sign.
And the energy of Uranus is – what we know of it so far – remarkable. It has this unusual blue ring and other features such as its unusual magnetic field which support Astrology’s association of Uranus with advanced forms of healing and with electrical systems including that of the human body.
In a related association, Uranus is said to symbolize and rule the Higher Mind, as Uranus is considered (in occult lore) to be the higher octave of Mercury, which rules the ordinary levels of Mind.
Grass Roots Electrification and Social Justice
Uranus also rules the Internet, as a vast living network of energy which seems very like the weird dramatic electrical and magnetic systems on the planet itself.
The Internet has created a nervous system for humanity which makes us into a Whole. This great grassroots communication system seems literally made to facilitate and launch the Age of Aquarius.
For, corresponding to the 11th House in the Birth Chart, Aquarius rules grassroots vision and humanitarian concerns. Where Saturn’s influence may suggest the rule of International Law, the encoding of International Human Rights, an International Court of Justice – all good Aquarian ideals, Uranus now adds something new and explosive. With Uranus embodied in the Internet there exists a network to create and connect global community at every level. The internet transmits on a collective level the power of Uranus to electrify, to erupt in sudden, violent, unpredictable, creative, and revolutionary movements, memes and motivations.
In the Internet, Uranus is both medium and message.
Uranus Brings Sudden Inspiration, Shock, Awakening
For the Aquarian, Uranus is something lived, not grasped in intellectual terms. The Aquarian responds to the force of Uranus as a channel, so that he or she finds themselves saying something that is shocking, insightful, truth-telling, and often irreversible – all in a few breaths.
There is a sense that the Truth is always more important than the job, the relationship or the good time – and it often costs the Aquarian all three, at any given time.
Uranus is the gift that gives Aquarians their unique role in an office or classroom – or family. They will be the Voice of secrets and shadows without even realizing this until it is all over – when they are driven out as the group’s scapegoat.
So there is a collective dimension to the individual Aquarian which is almost never a mere option for him or her. They love to contribute to a team, but once they see “the whole blueprint” – and they will – it is hard for the Aquarian to hang around to work on the parts, and the friction will begin. Time to move on.
The mysterious, visionary, other-worldly gifts of Uranus take the Aquarian beyond space and time. When they come home to Earth, they are still strangers. Like Uranus, they orbit to a rhythm whose origin and meaning is still hidden, and this leads to a life often best lived alone.
Thus Saturn, with its stern order and monastic disciplinary tendencies, is a friend to Aquarius – for without this Old Teacher in attendance, this solitude might be quite hard to bear. But as it turns out, the Aquarian is happiest when turning a vision from Uranus into a blueprint for others under Saturn’s exacting guidance…
It is therefore hard to have a relationship with the Aquarian, and it is said they should only marry each other! For the Aquarian is not his or her own person – there will always be two others in the relationship – they just happen to be planets, not people.
In each person’s Birth Chart, Uranus, like Saturn, behaves differently, depending on the Sign and House it is in. However, it is in the nature of Uranus to bring sudden large events and changes. So although Uranus takes 7 years to pass through a House (area of life) in the birth chart, the life-changing events happen much more quickly than that…There may be more than one in that 7 years, and certainly it may take 7 years (a natural cycle) to fully make all the adjustments necessary after Uranus explodes the fireworks!
Even for those who not Aquarians by Sign, where Uranus is found in the chart helps us recognize clearly where we are most unpredictable to ourselves and others and also the direction from which many shocks and surprises are going to come in this lifetime.
It can be hard to make promises or sustain an endeavor in the area of where Uranus is exerting its effects. It can be frustrating to realize that in this area of life Uranus is functioning like an on-off switch over which we have no control. One simply has to let go or receive, depending on what arrives. In that area of life, it is best to have backup plans, and a very philosophical ability to “let go, and let God”…
For Uranus has its gifts – and they do seem often to be from God – like the music he hears which Kitaro says is from Heaven. As this beautiful planet with the eccentric wobble on its axis makes its dignified, lengthy orbit around the Sun, it will connect with other parts of the chart – and thus our lives. As this occurs, its super energy can transform everything we know in a heartbeat.
And somehow, no matter how long it takes us to understand, we will come to see that this was essential for the Path and – like Aquarians do every day – start again with the coming of a new Dawn.