Synastry Studies: The Saturn/Saturn Opposition

This is one of those inter-chart aspects no one talks about in synastry–the attraction of the Saturn/Saturn opposition between natal charts. It’s always been around, with couples, working partners, and friendships, but it seems to be more prominent than ever now. It’s turning up more and more in the synastry work I do, almost to the point where I can say it’s commonplace. Some of this is because the stigma of relationships with age differences has worn off, but I have a suspicion, from the couples work that I do, it’s because we’ve lost touch with Saturn somehow and now leave it to synastry to get us back in touch with him again. After all, Saturn is exalted in Libra.

By rights, a Saturn/Saturn opposition should repel. The two Saturns have opposite agendas. Saturn being the practical fellow that he is, he needs to accomplish concrete things according to the sign and house he appears in. Saturn opposite Saturn, logically, should have different goals. His sights would be set in opposite directions.

But it doesn’t seem to work that way. Saturn has a tendency to ‘hook’ what it can’t get on it’s own–perhaps more than any other planet, again due to his practical, ‘real life’ bent. A Saturn/Saturn opposition occurs when two people are born approximately 14 years apart. This would seem like a substantial chunk of time difference, which might throw up more hindrance than help when two people are trying to relate. Well, from the outside it might. From the inside, the couple doesn’t seem to notice it at all (at first). In fact, couples with Saturn in opposition are the most prone to that strange demon of romantic alliance, The Saturn Pull. As Liz Greene has pointed out, when it sees something it wants, Saturn can act like the most inflamed Mars. When Saturns are in opposition, what they want is their own completeness, which manifests as ‘other’ in a very concrete way. They will do anything, alter anything, to get nearer to this sense of wholeness.

How many of you remember what you were like at age 14? What were you like emotionally, how did you feel about yourself? This is the time of the first Saturn opposition to itself, often the most difficult, because we’re utterly inexperienced at this kind of tearing. Often it’s a time of raw pain, of feeling inadequate, of wanting to be treated like an adult but having the responses of a child–not to mention the raving hormones of a body trying to grow into itself (Saturn is connected to the lunar cycle). We hate ourselves and we hate the world, we blame our parents for bringing us into the world (Saturn/Moon of course). Most of all, we begin the painful process of growing into what we know, deep inside, we need to become.

This happens during the opposition because Saturn is conjunct it’s own polarity point. It gets its first sense of what its duties and lessons are, about what it needs to be and do. It also knows that, right now, it’s entirely inadequate, in terms of life experience. The knowledge of how far we have yet to go can often be depressing, and is a big part of the Saturn cycle. Yet still we take our first faltering steps towards responsible maturity. As we move on with Saturn, particularly at those times when it squares, opposes and conjuncts itself, the lessons get easier or we bear them better. But as always with Saturn, because he is so reality bound and so attached to time itself, we learn our lessons slowly and sometimes we skive off and miss them altogether.

When a planet lands on its own polarity point, the ripeness for projection is immense. Oppositions often repel and disassociate before they begin cooperating. Using the example of the 14 year old during the Saturn opposition, rejection (parents, authority figures, the ‘demands’ of the world and daily life) is two-fold. On the one hand, we are defining ourselves by declaring what we will never be or become, often embracing the things that differentiate us from our families and our day to day environment. On the other, we often rebel by refusing to acknowledge some of the unavoidable elements of living–growing older, making committments and taking responsibility for one’s life. As Buffy the Vampire Slayer, font of all wisdom, has said, “The hardest thing in life is just living in it.” (Buffy understood Saturn. Sarah Michelle Gellar was born under Aries, but it’s often mentioned in the series that Buffy’s birthday is January 19, 1981. If you put up a noon chart for Los Angeles for that day, you get a very Buffy-appropriate chart, with Chiron prominent.) From this opposition point, which represents the first ‘full moon’ of Saturn and the beginning of our conscious action, we lope into adulthood.

When the 14-15 year difference appears in a relationship, we are brought back to this earlier reject/embrace dynamic. Each person comes to represent for the other all that we need to be, do, and learn. Being on the polarity point gives it a certain potency, particularly in a sexual relationship. It is potent, and it is mutual. The Saturn/Saturn opposition can have a lot of staying power–it may not be a pleasant stay, but it will stick because the couple are involved in an elaborate dance of growth, responsibility, and mutual recognition. Saturn love stays active when lessons are being learned, and the Saturn/Saturn opposition gives it a lot of fodder. This aspect does not tend to disintegrate from familiarity, like Saturns conjunct, or get tired of the fight like Saturn square Saturn. The danger is that it sometimes continues out of mutual feelings of responsibility, when calling it a day might be more appropriate. Saturn opposite Saturn can fall into a stalemate.

Whatever the couple has left behind during their individual Saturn development will come to the fore in the Saturn-opposition relationship. Whether this is a good thing or not (and whether or not they have the maturity to handle it) depends on each person’s relationship to his or her own Saturn. Each Saturn will have to be analyzed. I have no mathematical data on this, but from my observation problematic Saturns tend to attract strong Saturns. Someone with a strong Saturn in the 10th house, supported by trines and sextiles, will seem heaven-sent to a Saturn besieged by squares and buried in the 12th. Often the dominant Saturn will have a strong feeling that something is owed to the partner, and often the strong Saturn is surprised at the neglected pockets of growth that get turned out as the relationship blossoms. The strong 10th house Saturn may have careened through life in pursuit of a career, never encountering the family responsibilities that crop up as part of his partner’s Saturn falling into his fourth house.

Inevitably, and efficiently, the Saturn opposite Saturn relationship will cause us to face our fears, avoidance, blockages and irresponsible actions. There can also be a lot of inner and outer accomplishment, with Saturn mutually providing practical advice and support. If we’re in the Saturn opposition relationship, we need to be prepared for the raw exposure of our failings. Unlike the ‘ripped to the bone’ feeling that Pluto contacts can bring, Saturn simply supplies us with a laundry list of our inadequacies. Fortunately, this goes both ways, and can help us balance not only our Saturn duties, but the rest of the chart as well. When the Saturn opposition works well, we can have a loyal help mate and a true partner as well as a lover.

The danger of Saturn opposite Saturn comes when we don’t evolve on our own, but let our partners live out our Saturn for us. Then we remain closed to our own growth, the stalemate creeps in, the opposition tears, and we are left to hook our Saturn issues on another victim. Saturn will not be ignored, and must be dealt with in a practical, real-life way. It’s possible (but not desirable) to let others live out our other planetary energies, but not Saturn, the planet of personal responsibility. Ignoring our responsibility to ourselves often leads the relationship to a quick demise. Embracing and emulating the positive Saturn qualities we see in our partners can provide the relationship with a strong core of well being.

I’d like to hear if others have seen a rise in this aspect in the past few years. It seems to me that it’s all over the place.

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