Saturn: Trainer for Excellence

Phyllis Firak-Mitz, MA. Whenever I find myself griping about Saturn, or agreeing with my clients that Saturnian circumstances are some sort of cosmic bad luck, I have to snap out of it by reminding myself "Hey! Saturn is on our side! Whatever challenges it brings are tailor-made to help us fulfill our highest potential. Saturn's not against us, it's for us!"

But this Saturnian support is not always apparent. Unlike other planets that freely shower us with abilities and opportunities, Saturn seems to offer no more than frustration and lack. But that's only stage one of Saturn's empowerment strategy. Behind our Saturnian limitations lies a brilliant scheme to help us find out what we are made of. If we're willing to work with our Saturn, it ultimately reveals some of our greatest strengths and gifts as well as the skills necessary to satisfy our highest destinies.

Working with our Saturn generally means either facing some intimidating feelings of lack or overcoming a formidable obstacle. Although this process can range from annoying to life-threatening, it yields tremendous results. I've noticed that the power and abilities we generate as a result of facing our Saturnian challenges can actually point us to our life's work. For example, I've counseled clients with Mercury in strong aspect to Saturn who experienced early childhood problems either with the mechanics of speaking, like stuttering, or with the emotions of speaking, like feeling no one is listening to them. But instead of being defeated, these clients became determined to be heard, and ended up as professional speakers, singers, and teachers. 

I've seen clients with Saturn in hard aspect to the Sun or Pluto manage to overcome abusive authority figures, then go on to become protectors of others who are abused. Sometimes the benefits of facing our Saturnian challenges lie simply in the satisfaction of learning to do something that was initially very hard, such as respecting ourselves no matter what, or in the triumph of recognizing the value of our accomplishments. By taking responsibility for the problems of Saturn, we gain self-mastery.

I compare Saturn to my (relentless) personal trainer, Ross. Just as Ross adds weights and resistance to my workout regime so that I increasingly strengthen and define my muscles, Saturn brings a steady stream of situations of resistance that strengthen and define our skill levels and abilities. The difference between Ross and Saturn is that Ross (mercifully) eventually goes home. Saturn is our personal trainer for life.

Helpfully, Saturn spurs us on to success by striking a chord of drive and ambition in us. We want to be important and masterful in the areas Saturn influences, but we have to be disciplined and responsible for ourselves in order to develop that mastery and respect. If we don't catch on to that, and if we still expect things to be handed to us, we can feel stuck and thwarted. Following are some of the ways I have seen my clients (and, of course, myself) misuse the energies of Saturn to hinder, rather than develop, growth.

1. Resisting Authority

A person may feel he or she should be the one in charge without paying Saturn's dues. I once had a very bright and ambitious client with a 10th-house Saturn. She complained bitterly that she had had a series of jobs in which her bosses would never promote her. I asked her if she excelled at the tasks assigned to her. "No," she said. "What they asked me to do was so stupid that it was a waste of my time. They didn't know what they were doing." I described how her 10th-house Saturn involves a work-your-way-to-the-top strategy of success, and part of that work was to endure tasks that she felt were too ordinary or unimportant for her to be bothered with. Just as musicians have to practice hours of musical scales to establish a technical support for their creativity, Saturn asks us to practice the basics of the sign and house where it's placed so we truly learn the skills to succeed. I told her that patience and endurance are the keywords to success in our Saturn-related areas. That means cooperation with, and perhaps learning something from, authority figures who may not seem to be noticing our genius. With that my client was able to see that her "subordinate" position was not an under-recognition of her true abilities, but a meaningful stepping-stone to her brilliant career.

2. Resentment

Attitude is one of the most important factors in utilizing our Saturn. If we give ourselves messages about Saturn's challenge such as "This is not fair" or "This is too hard" then we may unsuccessfully search for others to relieve us of our Saturnian challenge and thus delay the process of mastery offered to us. Instead, I encourage my clients to reframe their perceived burdens into avenues of masterful leadership.

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For instance, I once counseled a Virgo teenager with Sun conjunct Saturn who was the oldest child in a single-mom family. He constantly complained that he had no father to turn to for advice. He also resented having to baby-sit his siblings.

I pointed out that his strong Saturn indicated his fate challenged him to acquire a particularly strong sense of self-reliance and inner authority by developing a strong "inner father". I also encouraged him to recognize how his babysitting had taught him confidence and leadership skills. I'm pretty sure he thought I was nuts back then. But now, ten years later with a new business and family underway, he jokes with me that his "inner father" has helped him achieve his success.

3. Other People's Opinions

We must develop our own inner authority and not bow too readily to the authority of others. I recently spoke with a talented musician whose Saturn in Libra was in the 1st house. He said he decided to become an accountant because that was what his parents thought was realistic for him, and now he dreads going to work everyday. When I asked him why he doesn't try music for a living, he said it was too late and it would be "too hard".

We pay a high price when we ignore our inner authority in our Saturn-related areas. If we don't develop our Saturns, we have a constant feeling of missing out on something rich.

4. Blaming Others

It's very easy to find someone or something to blame for our plight in life -- especially in our Saturn-related areas. But Saturn teaches personal responsibility and shows us that life is about the choices we make: some might be good, some might be faulty, but we are accountable for them all. Saturn also reminds us that the most important recognition is the recognition we give ourselves.

Until we learn these lessons of Saturn, we may bring forward a constant stream of difficult personalities or "petty tyrants". These people are part of the learning process. It's their job to point out where we may need to take more personal responsibility and develop maturity, or where we give away our authority and can still get our "buttons pushed". If we can stand up to such people, we can stand up to anyone.

I ask my clients: Who holds them back in their Saturn-ruled areas? Many times they report a succession of restrictive relationships: demanding and critical mothers, dictatorial spouses, bosses who could not be pleased, and so on. My clients are then able to see that they have allowed someone or something to hold them back. They begin to see that maybe there could be an alternative approach. They recognize that they may be doing something to fuel the difficult situation, and that they have options in interpreting and responding to the situation. As they see the growth potential of taking responsibility for their own choices and self-approval, they begin to take dominion over their lives.

It has been incredibly liberating for some clients just to know that there was supposed to be someone critical or something limiting in their Saturn areas to serve not really as oppressors, but rather as character builders. That dispels the expectation that everything should have gone a certain, easy way, and gives meaning to any struggles that may have emerged. When my clients are able to reframe a demanding spouse as an avenue to learning inner authority and personal power, much forgiveness can take place.

5. Feeling Inadequate

I frequently discover that my clients have an ideal of perfection that they feel they should measure up to in their Saturn-related areas. Many times those standards are simply unrealistic, or they are someone else's standards that my clients have mistakenly taken on as their own. I find that, as a result of these too high expectations, clients judge themselves and/or their accomplishments to be inadequate. They erroneously suppose they are falling short of something that they feel they should have or be.

I recently counseled an actress with Saturn in her 5th house who is on a popular sitcom. When I mentioned the fact that she was famous she said she did not feel famous enough. To reinforce this inner demand, she managed to attract a manager, a husband, and a therapist who also thought she should keep doggedly trying to achieve more and more. Yet her dilemma was that she did not want to add to her professional workload. She wanted to have some kids, tend a garden, and enjoy herself. When I speculated that building a loving personal life was part of her Saturnian challenge in addition to mastering her entertainment skills, she was greatly relieved. Her inner resonance was to cultivate both a personal and a professional life, and it was important for her to recognize the validity of this lifestyle choice.

6. Envy and Jealousy -- or Accomplishment

We want a lot for ourselves in the areas that Saturn influences, but if what Saturn demands from us to achieve this success seems too hard, we can give up. If we see that others have gone on to achieve these things, however, we can become envious or jealous of their success.

For example, I had a client who had a 9th-house Saturn in Gemini. Although she was a gifted writer and taught literature for decades, she was terrified to submit her works for publication. She told me that every time she picks up a novel written by a woman, she cringes with envy thinking it could be her ideas written on the pages. When I asked her why she didn't submit something to a publisher, she told me she didn't want to go through the ordeal of rejection slips in the mail.

If we are unwilling to overcome the initial fears and obstacles of Saturn to develop our talents, we may find we are painfully envious of others who have. That discomfort is a wake-up call that we are unresolved with our decision not to pursue our dreams. It's a message that we need either to declare the dream as something we choose not to pursue, and appreciate that choice as valid, or to set out to create for ourselves what we want.

Saturn's message is "Discipline and responsibility lead to true freedom". By encouraging our clients to be strengthened, not defeated, by Saturn's challenges, we can be greatly instrumental in helping them achieve their greatest dreams. They will thank Saturn for being their personal trainer for excellence.

?1998 Phyllis Firak-Mitz - all rights reserved


Recommended book:
saturn in transit
Saturn in Transit: Boundaries of Mind, Body, and Soul

by Erin Sullivan.
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About The Author

saturnPhyllis Firak-Mitz is a counseling astrologer whose focus is describing ways the mundane and psychological aspects of our birth charts serve to support our spiritual unfoldment. Phyllis is a keynote speaker at the NORWAC Conference in May 2001. Conference information is available at 206-545-2912. For information on private consultations with Phyllis, call (303) 730-6680.







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