A friend just asked me, what is going on in the astrological skies? At first I thought to myself, not much. Pluto is not aspecting other major planets, neither is Uranus. But then I realized that Neptune is indeed not quiet. It is making a square to Saturn and has been off and on for at least the past 6 months. It is strong again now as Saturn prepares to push past the square, until it comes to make a conjunction in late Pisces, 8 to 9 years from now.
So what does Saturn square Neptune mean? And we could go even more subtle and ask what does the 2nd square mean (when Saturn starts to travel toward the conjunction)?
We can also peek at the signs and qualities involved. Sagittarius and Pisces, both mutable signs. For now however, let’s stick with the first question.
Saturn square Neptune: nuances flavors essences. Saturn is the disciplinarian and “he” gets a bad rap at times. But as I have mentioned in previous posts and articles, Saturn is vital for our society and vital for our inner growth. It is the structure around which the other energies of the chart flow. Saturn rules the bones and hard structures in the body and likewise without Saturn, the astrology chart might rapidly collapse. And then there is Neptune.
Neptune rules the swirling, churning, tidal oceans of emotion and creativity. He indicates mystical or psychic ability when positively aspects certain planets, and Neptune will indicate deception, delusion or illusion when making hard aspects with other planets. Some astrologers even say that Neptune symbolizes the entirety of the unconscious and therefore Neptune will play some role in all aspects of the mind – thinking, intuition, feeling, etc. Therefore Neptune goes really really deep. Things emerge out of the oceanic collective unconscious and disappear back into it. Therefore Neptune may even play a part in life and death myths. (To keep this post close to 1,000 words, I won’t say too much here.)
Saturn wants to build up a personality. And if the individual has to have more alone time, then so be it. You rarely find a CEO or General Manager who has a lot of friends on equal footing. More like a social butterfly who has learned to smile whenever it is needed. The ambition (Saturn) is far more important than the substance of their relationships.
Neptune is actually quite the opposite. Neptune says, let me sacrifice my own desires and personal achievement for the good of the collective whole. Neptune would rather set himself on fire than cause a lot of harm to the people around him (say by laying off a whole bunch of employees as a CEO). Neptune and Saturn are basically opposites in a number of ways.
Saturn’s shadow is workaholism and too much structure and rigidity. Think of the shadow aspects of Capricorn and Aquarius (Saturn is basically a co-ruler here, after Uranus of course). Cold, harsh efficiency. A machine as far as optimal function and productivity are concerned. The empirical scientist who turns and runs as soon as certain emotions are brought up or displayed. Saturn loves the cold, hard facts. Research and realism are Saturn’s domain. He must learn to build in some heart and warmth and loving and kindness – and relaxing ease. Take a vacation, no structure to the days and do some art when the urge strikes you (Saturn might have a difficult time with this at first).
Neptune on the other hand, his shadow is escapism. Plain and simple. Escaping from the fact that drugs were used at the person’s birth (this might show up as Neptune conjunct the Ascendant or Moon). If this was the case, it could lead to the individual being really really good at dissociating from their body. Neptune loves colorful romance and idealized rose-colored-glasses wearing fairy tales. Neptune inspires the poets and the lovers and the artists and the playwrights. Just make sure that deceit and delusion do not follow along with those artistic endeavors (substance abuse anyone – Neptune’s calling card).
So what can happen when Saturn’s realism confronts Neptune’s desire for escaping into the collective unconscious? Sacrifice is one possible outcome. Honestly it depends on what this configuration is falling on in an individual’s chart. If Saturn is making a square aspect to Neptune in the sky above, but in your personal birth horoscope it is not actually touching anything (not in orb with any aspects to your personal planets) then you might not notice much at all.
However, if Saturn is making the square to Neptune above and in your personal astrology chart it is (the transit of these two planets) aspecting your Mars – maybe Neptune is conjunct your Mars by transit and therefore Saturn is also making a square to Mars, then you are bound to feel this energy. In this case you might temporarily sacrifice your ability to stand up for your needs and your desires. As the Saturn / Neptune square basically can last for 2 to 3 years, this might indicate that initially, you are making sacrifices and chewing on some old deep piece (subconsciously) and then once this aspect has been going a while you learn to stand up for yourself. You do the healing indicated by Mar’s position and sign and aspects in your chart. Maybe you overcome some self-doubt (if your natal Mars is making a hard aspect to Saturn or Neptune) or you overcome some early developmental piece through further learning and emotional process work.
Sometimes Saturn / Neptune hard aspects can indicate that Saturn is supplying Neptune’s active imagination with grist for self-doubt and worst-case-scenarios type of thinking. If this is happening, I might suggest yoga or bodywork or mindful exercise (Tai Chi, Chi Kung, martial arts, swimming perhaps) to come back into your body. This might especially be the case if this Saturn / Neptune aspect falls on or near Mercury or the Moon.
From a medical astrology standpoint (and I must make the disclaimer here that if you have a health issue, please take it right away to your nearest trusted licensed health care provider! *** seriously, I’m not a doctor ***), Neptune and Saturn can indicate a fascinating series of events as well. Neptune can cloud health issues – you might go to the doctor with Neptune conjunct your Sun or Moon and the doctor doesn’t understand you correctly or shrugs your issue off as not being that serious (or if Mercury is also retrograde) reads your test results wrong – which can either be a disaster or an error that leads to your eventually getting good news after a bout of worrying. Neptune can throw a wrench in the medical astrology works. And then there is Saturn.
Saturn can indicate a lowering of the immune system for a number of reasons – over-work, too much stress (may be you have been the primary caretaker for your aging parent for 6 months now and you are starting to get exhausted), etc. When Saturn crosses the Ascendant, this is usually when we get a longer bout with a flu virus or other disease that comes from the immune system dropping temporarily. This is especially true with Saturn conjunct the Ascendant, Sun or Moon (or making a square). And if Neptune gets involved with these three planets / influences as well, there is sure to be an interesting few months of health ups and downs.
So to conclude this piece, Saturn and Neptune make for very interesting (and basically polar opposite) bedfellows. Saturn is the solitary leader, the one blazing a new trail or climbing the career ladder. Neptune is the delicate artist who is sensitive to very subtle layers of emotion and energy. Neptune can sometimes indicate healing abilities – at least energetically (especially with a well-placed and well-aspected Chiron). They both have interesting and varied forms of shadow sides. And when they get together, growth and insight are likely – but it is through some suffering or sacrifice or suppression for a time.
Many things are possible when these two get together. And thankfully, they have been close to each other for close to a year and now are starting to go their separate ways. Astrology is a complicated subject and it is good to have a qualified astrologer look at your chart to take into consideration all the nuances and aspects.
Thanks for reading!