A Steady Gaze: Full Moon in Sagittarius 2017

 A swing high above Saturn by NASA's Cassini spacecraft; photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Cornell, via Wikimedia Commons

 A swing high above Saturn by NASA's Cassini spacecraft; photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Cornell, via Wikimedia Commons

Full Moon @ 18 degrees Sagittarius 23'

June 9, 2017

6:10 AM Pacific

9:10 AM Eastern

This month, the Full Moon culminates in the tropical sign of Sagittarius conjunct Saturn. It brings to a head the consequences of several choices recently made and an awareness of the reality of certain limitations we’re currently dealing with. In Sagittarius and forming a t-square with the Sun in Gemini and Neptune in Pisces, this lunation may also bring about a critical testing of our beliefs, ideologies, and faith in the universe/God/Goddess/higher power. With this potent Saturnian energy, the Full Moon also correlates with the manifestation of situations which require the solidification of commitments. 
This weighty Full Moon has a quality of seriousness with a focus on a specific mission, goal, or purpose. The Sun in Gemini creates some tension because there is an equally powerful desire for variety and a tendency toward distraction which can leave us running in circles, unable to tend to our responsibilities and more important priorities. Saturn in Sagittarius suggests narrowing our focus and sacrificing anything superfluous to avoid getting lost in uncertainty, confusion, and vagueness of purpose. In fact, this Full Moon is helping us to more clearly define or accept our purpose, whatever that may be.
In the days leading up to the Full Moon, look around for environmental cues that could be helpful in making more conscious choices and decisions. If you’ve been working hard toward some end goal, this Full Moon could help to bring about the rewards of your labor. But don’t expect any opportunities which manifest to be easy pursuits. Whatever shows up alongside this lunation is going to require time, energy, discipline, and hard work to reach success. Full Moon’s often coincide with an influx of excess energy, though some of us may respond to this particular lunation with feelings of depression, hopelessness and futility. 

This is because Saturn is always forcing us to face our limitations and employ reality testing to keep our ideals in check with what’s actually possible. If you find yourself feeling frustrated or sad, check in with yourself and take a sober look at what you’re dedicating the majority of your time and energy toward. We all need a purpose and some sense that we’re guided by a higher power; this is simply human nature. This lunation could be a powerful wake up call for some to rediscover their connection to a higher source and to connect with a divinely guided plan for their life. 
And remember, whatever you’re feeling is only transient in the moment. It will pass in the following days. Take whatever awareness or realization you acquire with this Full Moon and use it to guide you out of the fog of uncertainty and existential angst. Reflect deeply upon any potential commitments you’re considering at the moment. This powerful Full Moon is helping to provide us with a much needed perspective to take us to higher ground in our personal and professional lives. Most of all, pay close attention to your feelings and emotional center. It will have a lot to tell you about your current life direction. As always, have faith and trust the flow.

Love and Blessings,

Chad Woodward

You did not come to Earth without a guide. Evolutionary Astrology is a powerful tool for self-discovery and an exceptionally helpful guide in times of uncertainty, crisis or stagnation. Click here for reading options and pricing.

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Mars Conjunct Saturn: How Far Will You Take It?

By Sonoradocent (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Sonoradocent (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Over the next several days, the planets Mars and Saturn will make a conjunction in the tropical zodiac sign of Sagittarius (exact on Aug. 24). You can see this in the sky after the Sun has descended. Looking westward after sunset, you will first notice Mars and the supergiant, binary star Antares (known as the heart of the Scorpion). Both objects have a distinctly reddish hue. In fact, the name Antares derives from a Greek title which meant “equal to Ares” or “equal to Mars”. While Antares rivals Mars in its brightness, you will glimpse its distinctive, effervescent twinkle; its light reaches us from a distance of 550 light years. 

Mars, however, has a steady glow and will appear directly to the right of Antares. And just above and to the right of these two red, luminous objects, you will find Saturn, much fainter but just as steady in its brightness as Mars. Mars, Saturn, and Antares will be slowly descending behind the Sun as they come into alignment. And how might this event show up in your life? As with anything astrological, the possibilities are vast. But Mars, Saturn, and Sagittarius represent a specific archetypal field, one that will be quite distinctive. 

Mars is the archetypal warrior--but deeper, it represents the archetypal field governing primal desire, getting what we want from life, fighting for our right to what we want and our right to life. Mars symbolizes the “fight or flight” response ubiquitous to any sentient being with the ability to run or defend itself. And also, Mars is the sex instinct. It’s deep, red color evokes passion and primal thirst--craving, wanting, desiring. It is an archetype that is reactive and impulsive; it doesn’t think things through. 

Mars is also out of bounds (through the end of Oct.), beyond the Sun’s highest declination in the sky. While Mars is inherently autonomous from the ego (if you’ve acquainted yourself with your sexual instincts you know what I’m talking about), it is even more so when out of bounds. So, while you may notice your inner Mars on overdrive lately (creating a deeper awareness of addictive tendencies, violence, hostility, or rage), it presents a unique opportunity to rise above these destructive qualities. Why? Because Mars out of bounds is a time to detach our primal instincts from ego-driven motivations. 

We might say, it’s an opportunity to channel our Mars-like passion toward something above and beyond what we’re used to. It gives us a chance to gain objective insight into these “lower” manifestations of Mars, allowing us to gain perspective about a deeper purpose they could be utilized to achieve. And along comes Saturn, the archetypal task-master. Saturn is the God of time, it represents the archetypal field dealing with discipline, focus, hard work, structure, and great works. Saturn is restrictive and presents us with obstacles, challenges, limitations, and the harsh lessons of reality. 

If Mars is about impulsive action, Saturn is the braking mechanism. In the brain, Saturn has a resonance with the prefrontal cortex which deals with impulse control, and interestingly, this brain region isn’t fully matured until we’re in our late twenties, after a full cycle of Saturn around the horoscope (the infamous Saturn return). So, if you find yourself coming up against a wall, presented as a limitation, rethink your strategy or realize that you need one. If your impulsive behaviors have been on autopilot lately, it might be time to reel yourself in and channel your enthusiasm toward productive activities that require discipline, focus, and long-term planning. The combination of these two archetypes is difficult to integrate. Mars wants the freedom to explore all of the possibilities it desires, but Saturn says, “No! Make a choice and commit to something”. 

Saturn can present Mars with some harsh realizations about reality, but can also assist this archetype in uncovering its ability to focus its passion toward more rewarding and long-lasting achievements. How will you focus your passion over the next several days? You may already be considering it. Conversely, Mars can temper Saturn’s overt, practical focus by adding some adventure and life force back into the current narrative. If you have been under the dark spell of Saturn, ready to give up, losing the will to move forward, depressed, over-burdened by some overwhelming limitations, Mars can help by rejuvenating your passion or willingness engage with life.

Both Mars and Saturn are square to Neptune, too. Those things that are failing or collapsing may be giving way to new visions and the awareness of deeper realities more aligned with your spiritual purpose. This brief window in time also offers a deeper glimpse into our delusions and self-deceptions. If you strive to remain realistic without losing the will to live, this configuration will give you access to a new way of relating with those things you never thought could work together. Take advantage of this launching pad; it will assist you in carrying out your ideals in the real world. Remember that a reservoir of strength and courage lies deep within you. It’s more available to you now than ever. How far will you take it? 

You did not come to Earth without a guide. Evolutionary Astrology is a powerful tool for self-discovery and an exceptionally helpful guide in times of uncertainty, crisis or stagnation. Click here for reading options and pricing.

Saturn and the Apotheosis of Ego

False color image of Saturn taken from Voyager I. Photo by NASA, Wikimedia Commons.

The planet Saturn takes approximately 29 years to orbit the Sun. As it moves through the houses of the natal horoscope, it crystallizes and compresses those life arenas – solidifying their awareness into consciousness. Because Saturn deals with limitation and the restrictive barriers of reality, it symbolizes the boundary of ego; the temporary identity the soul cloaks itself with each incarnation.

With every passage or significant transit of Saturn, something solidifies within the individual. At the ages of 28, 29 or 30, the planet Saturn completes its cycle around the Sun, returning to the precise position it was at one’s birth. This significant event is known as the Saturn return, a critical stage of growth and development each of us experiences as either a crisis or a blossoming of ego potential.

At the Saturn return a piece of us dies and a new identity is born. How we each choose to handle this momentous period of time will very much determine the rest of our lives. Saturn urges us to let go of our adolescent identity and to step into a more mature and fully developed self. It can be a period wrought with tension and an impetus to “grow up”.

Successfully navigating the Saturn return is crucial in taking advantage of this powerful launching pad which catapults the individual into an entirely new reality—one that was totally incomprehensible beforehand. Astrologer Steven Forrest, in speaking about the Saturn return, likens the experience to a second puberty. It is indeed the Saturn opposition, which occurs at ages 14-15 that completely segregates the individual from childhood.

With each of these periods, the opposition and the conjunction (return), there is the emergence of a new world—new desires, feelings and urges. Our priorities drastically change at these times, in ways that we couldn't possibly comprehend prior to. We encounter entirely new responsibilities and limitations that greatly challenge us beyond anything we've encountered before.

Saturn is a force of considerable pressure; the friction it often ignites forces us to change our act, to “get with the program”. As we mature, we soon realize that we have to conform to certain rules and codes of conduct if we wish to successfully participate in the world. Human society, as well as the natural world, has strictures put in place which everyone must eventually learn to follow if they wish to survive.

Saturn teaches us how to play the game. Those that fail to conform, to some extent at least, often spend their lives fighting a battle with the world around them—like constantly pushing upstream, against the current. Too much conformity can of course stifle true individuality and change, but there must be a balance between playing the game and breaking the rules.

Uranus, the planet just beyond Saturn, allows us to find the loopholes. But Uranus’ secrets are unveiled only to those who master the Saturn passageway. So in reality, it isn’t until one has completed the Saturn return that Uranus fully emerges into consciousness, inviting us to transcend the limitations of the physical world.

Once we pass Saturn’s test, we gain access to the Uranian/Promethean landscape; we now have the opportunity to create our own rules, to step up and govern our own reality—to do as we please. The Saturn return is really the introduction to Uranus which culminates at the Uranus opposition at around age 42. To responsibly utilize Uranus, we must master Saturn.

True Uranian consciousness requires maturity and integrity. In astrology, we associate Uranus with creative genius, sudden revelations and technological breakthroughs. Uranus allows for the manipulation and control of earthly matter; but without maturity and integrity, this can turn ugly.

We have to wonder whether the technological advancements of our modern era were created by those who had truly mastered Saturn. In looking at the polluting effects of fossil fuel consumption and nuclear energy, we eventually come to the conclusion that without Saturn, Uranus can bring havoc and destruction to the world. 

This is a critical insight in understanding the Saturn return, or any significant transit of Saturn in the natal horoscope. If we don’t master the rules, if we don’t learn to respect and honor the limitations of the natural world, we succumb to destructive tendencies and are overwhelmed by the chaos that is ubiquitous to the universe.

Saturn with a scythe, sitting on a stone
and clipping the wings of cupid. By Ivan Akimov,
Like a child that is raised without boundaries, free to do as he or she pleases, they eventually find themselves untamed, out of control and lost in the world. Saturn’s structure is a vessel we must construct to make our way in the world. In order to properly build this vehicle, we need to follow directions and paths previously laid.

Embracing Saturn means having respect for the wisdom of our elders, ancient knowledge and the traditions of the society we’re a part of. To successfully break free of tradition, we must have fully acquainted ourselves with it and assimilated its essence. All great artists mastered the techniques created by previous masters. Uranus cannot successfully blossom without the foundation of the past, without the wisdom of its forebears. 

In many spiritual traditions the ego is an obstacle to be overcome, mastered and transcended. In western society, the ego is a primary focal point. Modern day popular culture glorifies the ego to the extent that we idolize individuals who have exemplified the height of egoic development. In a world of Facebook and American Idols, the “false” self truly has a powerful grasp of our collective psyche.

So, in reality, in the western world at least, a strong, developed ego or sense of self is paramount to functioning in the world. The ego can be defined as the “I” or “Me” within an individual. It is a conglomeration of likes or dislikes, preferences, and external inputs that make up “who we are”.

From a more spiritual perspective, the true self is beyond this ego mask. Behind the façade of ego, lies the true soul essence, which is free of attachments or concrete forms of identification. This more authentic self rarely finds expression in modern western society. We cling to ego in order to survive and interact with others.

So, depending on your perception, ego isn’t necessarily a “bad” thing, and there are periods in our life when we should actually be more focused on its development. That initial period of life is the time prior to our Saturn return. While Saturn makes its way around our natal chart for the first time, back toward its natal position, we are in a process of ego development; that is to say we’re in a process of defining ourselves as separate from the external world.

The first hard Saturn aspect to its natal position occurs at approximately the age of seven, when transiting Saturn squares its birth position. This is a time when a child first develops its own individuality as separate from its mother. Logic and rational thought processes emerge within the psyche, so that a child is able to comprehend the rules, boundaries and limitations presented by the external world and society at large.

It is evident that fairly young children who have yet to experience their first Saturn square exist in a world that is more unified and cohesive than more fully developed adults. Trying to teach a very young child “do’s” and “don’ts” or complex rules or codes of social conduct can be very confusing for a child because they have yet to develop the capacity to comprehend it.

[To discuss this issue at length is beyond the scope of this article, but an excellent take on the subject is presented in Magical Child by Joseph Chilton Pearce.]

Saturn’s transits prior to the first Saturn return work to segregate the individual from the external environment, to create a separate sense of self that is unique and distinct. After birth, Saturn slowly creates barriers and separations between the internal and external world.

After all, Saturn is the last of the planets visible to the naked eye. It is quite literally the boundary of the visually perceptible outer reality. The period leading up to the Saturn return is a period of preparation and quite appropriate for ego development. 

We could say that Saturn contains the contents of the natal horoscope within a clearly defined structure we call the ego. The “unseen” or recently discovered planets thus symbolize the aspects of the psyche imperceptible upon first glance. They are the concealed forces within the psyche churning in the background of consciousness.

Thus, Uranus, the first planet beyond Saturn, symbolizes the confrontation between the ego (the self) and the hidden persona that lies just beyond the threshold of conscious awareness. At Saturn return, we each experience what we could call an apotheosis of ego—the process of the past 30 years culminates and takes concrete form.

Promethus by Stephan Kovarik, 1969.
This is crucial to understand, because without allowing for the healthy development of individuality prior to this state, we can end up stunting our own growth, we can end up feeling lost and unable to express ourselves to the fullest. This can lead to feelings of anger, frustration and resentment later in life. The Saturn return is a time to step up and into this fully developed sense of self—a time to announce who we truly are, what we stand for and to make our own way in the world.

These are all obvious Uranian issues. After successfully crossing the Saturn return threshold, we now have access to these “higher” planetary vibrations. We are no longer confined to the limitations of Saturn and the ego template. But with every process of blossoming and culmination, comes the subsequent breakdown and decay.

Just as a new self emerges, the ego begins a process of deterioration. The period of life proceeding the Saturn return becomes far more conducive to the pursuit of spiritual interests and inclinations. This instinctive desire for spiritual attainment is a response to the unconscious realization that there is something more to us than the false and fleeting ego identity. There are higher laws and codes of conduct than those presented by society and the natural world.

Thus, as we move beyond the Saturn return, we learn to live by our own more spiritual laws. Having learned, mastered and conformed to the limitations of the social complex we live within, we now have the opportunity to transcend, challenge and even overwrite the strictures that once bound us.

When the Saturn return presents us with a crisis, we have to ask ourselves some serious questions. Am I actually pursuing the dreams and goals conducive to personal ego fulfillment? Am I dreaming too much and not taking the practical steps and actions toward the fulfillment of those dreams? More than at any other time in life, the Saturn return can truly make it or break it for many people.

What you have conceived of doing as you mature needs to concretely take shape and form at this time. Ego fulfillment is at its peak and there’s a definite sense that it’s now or never. When we fail to take the leap during a significant Saturn transit, we often feel stuck in situations that are no longer suited to our growth and development; we feel stagnant and bored with life.

When Saturn passes with little effort on our part we find ourselves trapped in a life devoid of passion--mundane and unfulfilling. The Saturn cycle helps us to define ourselves in our own way. When we consciously work with Saturn we are able to not only create the life experience we always dreamed of, but we’re able to do as we please, free from the demands or expectations of others.

A clearly defined sense of self allows us to be who we are, say, do or think in our own way, but in order to do that we have to step up and take responsibility for our own lives. To accomplish our dreams, we also have to do the work necessary for mastering techniques and acquiring the appropriate skills. That means no shortcuts—just pure hard work and effort.

But the rewards are long lasting. While Saturn may feel difficult, cold and sometimes overbearing—the greatest joy and sense of fulfillment accompanies a successfully navigated Saturn passage. When Saturn arrives at your doorstep, either through transit or the return—it’s a time to push yourself beyond the threshold toward growth and maturity.

When you feel the urge to move on, to step up and evolve past stagnating and worn out structures, it's time to follow your inner guidance. The soul seeks only to evolve. When we get in our own way through resistance and fears, external circumstances force us to grow up and the experience is generally rather unpleasant to endure.

During any Saturn cycle, just remind yourself to keep moving, to keep pushing beyond the threshold. Know that if you’re responsible and accountable for your actions and that you’re doing the best you can do, Saturn will assist you in the manifestation of your dreams. After all, no one else is going to create them for you; you have only yourself and Saturn to help you out. 

Eco-Ego by Laís F. Camargo via Wikimedia Commons.