Beyond Mom and Dad–Saturn as a Relationship Planet (Part One)

Please read “Synastry Studies:  The MC/IC (Part One)” where we discussed various meanings and processes of the IC and began discussing its influence on relationship.  This week, I’m going to discuss  Saturn as a relationship planet  in its neglected role as the natural partner to the Moon, relating to the IC and MC. This is part one.  Part two will be posted tomorrow.

I’ll be making some comments along the way about how the different sexes sometimes handle Saturn. I have to state right off the bat that I’m not suggesting that either sex ‘does it better’ as far as Saturn is concerned.  The Moon/Saturn rift in this culture affects both sexes equally, (to equal damage) and much is dependent on individual charts.  What I am proposing here is to be aware of Saturn in its role as partner to the Moon, and to note if there are problems in the natal chart that indicate this rift.  If the IC is off balance, then certainly the MC will be as well.  This can manifest in many ways, depending on the charts.  The IC is our point of psychological authenticity, and our personal power.  Emphasis on the other end of the axis may cause us to lose our essential selves.  If we can relate it to the Asc/Desc angle for a moment, if I am constantly looking towards the Descendant for fulfillment, I will lose my initial identity.  Likewise, if I am always relating to the MC, or if I am MC prone because of afflictions in the IC, I will look to fulfillment from external circumstances.  I may temporarily fulfill my hungers for legitimacy, while the imbalance within keeps gnawing.  If I am IC-bound, I may be swamped by my internal dynamics and never materialize any of my desires in real terms.  I may look to partners to do that for me.

There have been entire books (well, sections of books) written about the way Saturn behaves in relationships.  Not much has been discussed about why Saturn is a relationship planet at all.  We all assume that you need Saturn contacts in a long term relationship, but why?  Because Saturn rules time?  Because it rules maturity, responsibility, duty?  Perhaps.  Actually, Saturn plays a more primary role in relationship, as evidenced by its rulership of Capricorn and the natural 10th house and its opposition to Cancer, the IC and the feminine Moon.  It is part of an angular pair. Saturn is as much a relationship planet as Mars.

There is a bit of confusion here as the Sun, in its Leonine way, has stolen a bit of the limelight from poor old Saturn.  We think of Moon/Sun as the natural partnership, leaving lonely Saturn to play the role of heavy, or the poor shlub that doesn’t get the girl.  But the Sun/Moon pairing is a different archetype entirely.  The natural partner to the Sun is actually the Earth, which lies at its opposite point in the chart.  This archetype harkens back to primordial days, when the Sky God and the Earth Mother were the primal archetype, the yin and yang of life.  But in the early cultures the goddess gave birth of her own accord. The idea of father as seed-planter is a very different thing, and came along much later.

There is no denying that Sun/Moon contacts are crucial in synastry.  Sun/Moon is an inner marriage,  no matter which partner carries which planet.  This pairing has been called the marriage of spirit and soul, the Moon person grounding the aspirations of the Sun person in a concrete way, yet (usually) effortlessly.  The Saturn/Moon pairing is quite a different matter.  Saturn/Moon is about making and building something of our lives.  And this is what the IC/MC axis is  all about.

Sky/Spirit/Inspiration:  that’s the role of the Sun god, and the place of the Sun in astrological terms.  It brings heat and fire, it expresses and urges.  But what the Sun doesn’t do very well is deal with the real world, and that’s where Saturn comes in.  Masculinity as a concept is the Sun, masculinity as a practice, is both Mars and Saturn.

The common practice in synastry is to use the Moon and Venus as feminine planets and the Sun and Mars as masculine ones.  Look at a man’s Moon and Venus to see what his needs and preferences are, then look at a woman’s Sun/Mars.  This is leaving out a crucial element of the male/female archetype, for both sexes.  This archetype ignores how both sexes relate to Saturn in the process of maturing, and it denies each sex’s complicated relationship to its own relationship planets.  (We will get into this a bit later on.) Saturn is all about how we fill our empty spaces, and that relates directly to Venus, the Moon, and Mars.  As Liz Greene has pointed out, Saturn can act like the most inflamed Mars when it sees something it feels it has to have.

These days, with Saturn and the MC dominant in the culture, we encourage men to get in touch with their lunar selves.  Men can lose touch with their emotional needs and their feelings along the way (which can begin at the Progressed Lunar Return and Saturn return), and can project the IC end of the angle if the influences are strong enough, either being unaware of their needs or allowing partners to carry out the emotional baggage of their relationships.  But why does this happen?  Usually, it’s because the Saturn end of the stick, or the MC, is overly emphasized and more easily accessed, and what has happened is that it has lost its connection as partner to the Moon.  When the Solar/Martial archetype alone is emphasized, Saturn loses its natural balance and emotional grounding in the Moon, allowing the masculine planets (and the MC) to go haywire.

Of course, we all have the Sun and we all have Saturn.  But Saturn as a relationship planet has a particular task of recovery in masculine identity.  I have had many, many male clients come to me with specific Saturn issues to work out in their relationships.  In this culture, Saturn seems to have cut men off from the legitimacy of their inner world.  Saturn seems to be a much more conscious and personal planet with men (unless it is very prominent in a woman’s chart), reflecting their self esteem as it relates to status in the world, and the splitting off of the lunar identity causes much suffering and confusion when Saturn touches a relationship planet or point, or when it turns retrograde or direct.  Women seem to cope better with Saturn and its responsibilities because they remain more anchored (usually) in their lunar selves.  The lunar identity knows innately that to sustain life we must embrace responsibility to life. Women seem to have a more instinctive understanding  of Saturn as the Moon’s partner.  Mars is in a natural square to Saturn (Aries, Capricorn), which indicates more of a struggle, and the Sun is in an inconjunct (Leo/Capricorn).  The masculine planets naturally have more of a ‘fight’ with Saturn than Venus and the Moon do. The Libran Venus is also in square to Saturn, and women with Venus emphasized have more trouble with Saturn (both of these squares have to do with our refusal as a culture to accept the aging process), but Venus is helped by its Taurus rulership in trine and sextile to Capricorn and Cancer.

We tend to see the Sun as a creative force, and it is.  The Sun embodies the ideal of male energy in our culture (in some cultures, the Sun is female).  We all understand how the Moon relates to Mother.  The Sun/Moon pairing involves the interplay (and sometimes the rift) between spirit and matter. However, as of today, birth still requires a male element, and if the Moon is fecund, Saturn is to blame/praise, not the Sun or Mars.  It’s Saturn who plants the physical seed. Saturn as father means Saturn as impregnator in the physical world.  When there is conception, an actual physical beginning (cardinal mode), we’re talking Saturn as Dad.  The Sun is the Leonine father, all-powerful and inspiring,  the guy we admire.  Saturn is the Capricorn father, the guy responsible, the guy who pays the bills and rescues kittens from trees and lectures us when we screw up and goes gray waiting up at night.  The Sun may be where my inspiration lies, but Saturn is how I work it in the world.

Beyond Mom and Dad: Saturn as a Relationship Planet (Part Two)


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