Since early 2015, Saturn has been transiting the sign of Sagittarius. Saturn takes around 2.5 years to travel through each sign and about 29 or 30 years to go through all twelve. When astrologers talk about a “Saturn return” they are talking about Saturn making a full loop through the zodiac and returning to the point it was when you were born. The last time Saturn was in Sagittarius was roughly 1985 through 1988.
The location (sign and house) of Saturn in your own chart is your Achilles’ heel. The weakest link in our armor. It’s where we feel most inadequate. Some astrologers call Saturn “the lord of karma,” as it acts as a kind of spot-check as it transits each sign and probes for weakness. It’s where you will face your toughest struggles and tests, and where self-discipline will matter most.
Saturn in each sign has a specific energy, and as it transits a sign it brings that energy to the surface, both individually and collectively. And in Sagittarius, that energy is all about capital-T Truth. What do we *believe,* in our heart of hearts? What are we willing to fight for? Where is our faith so unwavering that nothing could ever deter us from it? Sagittarius is also about our *freedom*—what defines our sense of freedom? Our ability to believe whatever we want to believe? What is standing in the way of that freedom that needs to come down?
I could not have invented more Saturn in Sagittarius phenomena than Emperor Babyfists’ war on the “fake media,” the rise of “alternative facts,” and the increasingly unavoidable situation we face where people are just living in completely different universes when it comes to what is “true,” what is “fake,” and what constitutes “free.” The only thing that would be more Saturn in Sag would be disclosure, and that might still happen—we’re in this transit for the rest of the year, and typically the last few degrees of the sign are where the “tests” get most intense. So, buckle up for Kang and Kodos, folks. Why not. Things could get real, real weird. Or not. What’s “weird,” anyway? What’s “real?” Who knows!
There is a tool the Wall Street Journal built to view trending news on Facebook in side-by-side feeds: one “red” and one “blue.” These are just different realities. In one reality, the president is a mentally ill malignant narcissist who could very well get us all killed. In the other, he is a true hero, our last defense against mass conspiracies that have enslaved us. In both realities, whatever happens in the external world just becomes more evidence supporting the worldview of choice. “Last night in Sweden” is either clear proof of delusion and unfitness for office or just more proof that we are being systematically lied to by “fake” “failing” mass media.
We are all anchored so firmly in these realities, and so baffled by other existentially conflicting realities, that describing the country as “polarized” is increasingly quaint and old-fashioned. I read a comment yesterday saying “The president could devour a human baby’s heart on live TV and fully 30% of the country would shrug and say he needed the iron to fight the media.” It’s not far off.
Saturn’s last transit through Sag began with the “evil empire” of the Soviet Union’s transition into Perestroika and Glasnost’—political and economic reform programs intended to revitalize a country that had become a victim of its own over-centralization and resistance to change. This was…not popular. Gorbachev faced immense resistance from his own government, elites, and everyday Soviet citizens. The rationing and long breadlines that people think of as quintessentially “Soviet” or a failure of “Communism” were actually mostly a function of the economic turmoil of the Perestroika period and the reintroduction of market forces to the country. “We must stop this movement toward the edge of a great chasm,” one member of the Politburo lamented at the time. “We must stop before we topple into that abyss.”
At the height of the Saturn in Sag transit in 1987, President Reagan—who looks pretty fuckin’ presidential in retrospect, which is a statement I never believed I would actually make—stood in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and famously, dramatically urged “Mister Gorbachev” to “tear down this wall.” Watching the video now actually gives me chills. Thirty years can really change your perspective on something. Meanwhile, good old Pooty-Poot was a charismatically-challenged 35-year-old KGB flunky in Dresden, perfecting his German by pretending to be a translator, busily destroying documents and reporting enemies of the state back to Moscow.
History is all cycles, and astrology is all cycles. Everything is cycles within cycles within cycles. Everything—*everything*—just comes around again in another form. And sometimes it’s not even subtle–here we are again with our old friends the Russians, grappling with these very same notions of truth and freedom and expression. And here we are perched again at our Perestroika moment. Except our so-called president, borrowing from Pooty-Poot’s old KGB playbook, innately distrusts the free press. Sees internal and external enemies everywhere he looks. Wants to build walls, not tear them down.
Of course, Gorbachev’s reforms unwittingly unleashed the massive social uprisings in Eastern Europe that eventually dissolved the country as anyone knew it and ended the Cold War and reshaped the entire goddamn world. But that came *after* the struggle over ideas. First we had to decide what our values were; what it even meant to be free. As Saturn moved into Capricorn—the sign that rules governments, institutions, legal systems, and authority in general—down came the Berlin wall. The USSR dissolved. The entire world experienced a resurgence of nationalism and separatism. A lot of vicious wars were fought and a lot of people killed in the name of those ideas of freedom and truth. Russia transformed into a lawless oligarchical playground that made Pooty-Poot’s rise to power possible, if not inevitable.
If we are repeating the past, it is part of the nature of Saturn in Sag to keep us guessing about what the real truth is, even as we each root more deeply into it. Who is the real enemy of the state? Is it the state itself? Is Babyfists a hero or a saboteur? Is the media lying to us or is it a more critical fourth estate than ever before? Have reptilian aliens taken over the elite? Is this all a hologram? HOW DO WE GET OUT OF THE MATRIX?
One way or another, we will know by the end of this transit in December. The truths we hold to be self-evident now may not be quite as self-evident then. Even good intentions lead to unintended consequences. Even the best ideas have shadows.