Don't panic.

Gemini Saturn Returns

Saturn in Gemini is born for brilliance.

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By Eric Francis
Planet Waves Digital Media.
Additional research: Debbe Faulhaber.

<><><>Saturn has a shitty reputation. Let's face it, anything whose name evokes images of the grim reaper, mean schoolmasters or the "devil" has been slandered almost beyond any hope. Anyone who has heard of the Saturn return, and is about 27-29 years old, is likely to be reading this article very nervously, waiting for me to tell you what a bad person you are, that the fun is all over, and to calmly inform you of what kinds of disasters are about to unfold in your life. Don't waste your time worrying; this is an optimistic report, though realistic and practical. I'll do my best to provide you with basic information designed help you make the transitions of these years easier and more meaningful, and provide some insight about your Saturn placement. That is what astrology is for.

<><><>I do, however, come from my own viewpoint. I am a productive person and I work to send a positive message of productivity. I think that people have a responsibility (a Saturn word) to ourselves to be useful, as well as to have a good time. One would be fairly meaningless without the other. So, when speaking of Saturn, I'll be focussing on the productivity side of things, with the awareness that getting things done, making progress, growing and creating are their own reward.

<><><>We talk a lot in our culture about being "abused." But what about being joyfully used?

<><><>Most people, especially young people, feel fairly useless, undisciplined, scattered and confused. (That's what you all tell me.) If you feel this way, Saturn will help you, though remember that Saturn helps those who help themselves. He likes the influence, the impetus for change, to come from inside, because Saturn is part of who we are. In Gemini, Saturn relates to the mind and its maturing process, though it also relates to preserving intact some element of youth. The younger we are, the closer we are to heaven, the undying world, and the clearer is our memory of eternal consciousness. This is preserved by Saturn in Gemini, try though the world may to make us feel uncomfortable being alive. The notion of psychological maturity can seem rather daunting in a world where just about everyone seems to be on the brink of insanity, and where we seem to know nothing for sure. So I would say that the essence of Saturn returning in Gemini is: Take what you know, and use it. That is to say, use what you know. Why pretend to know things or not know them, when you can just learn, know and act accordingly? Simple enough forumula, and safe enough advice to offer. This is a time to think for yourself, not to let your parents, lover, husband or whever think for you, or pretend to.

<><><>This can be a time of getting married, of getting divorced, of a first child being born, or making a real decision about what one wants to do. Some people get rich, some get fired, some go bankrupt and some start their first serious business or creative projects. Some get their first "real" job; some get their first serious promotion; many politicians enter public life at this time. It's all the same thing, relating to the core theme of structural changes.


A Technical Interlude

<><><>Through the winter, Saturn moves through the last six degrees of Taurus, wrapping up a nearly three-year visit to that sign (as of this writing it's stationing at the 25th degree of Taurus.) I looked at the Taurus Saturn returns last year in an article in this link, though much of what I offer here is reasonably meaningful for the Taurus Saturn people as well. There are, however, some major differences in how Taurus Saturn individuals will relate to their experience of Saturn -- of being far less flexible, for one thing, and this can require some work and patience. On the whole, I would estimate that a Taurus Saturn return would be somewhat more difficult than a Gemini Saturn return, though it's a very individual experience. On April 21, Saturn enters Gemini, where it will be through mid-2003. Saturn return is a long phase with many far-reaching implications, not a single event.

<><><>The results can begin to be apparent immediately, or take years to be seen, or both. When working at its best, the Saturn return removes what does not belong there, which takes time, helps build a more solid foundation, which takes time, and lays the groundwork for building the new cycle of life, which takes time to develop. Saturn is Kronos, also spelled Cronos, the root of the word "chronological," or "in time." Saturn's events ground us in time, in the structure of time, and allow us to use time more wisely. If you are in your Saturn return, buy yourself a watch, and wear it on your wrist.

<><><>In ancient times, Saturn represented the barrier between the solar system and the firmament. He was the boundary between the known and the wild cosmic unknown; between rationality and insanity. Now that new planets are being discovered, starting with Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, and continuing with Chiron and the Centaur planets, we have less to fear about what is on the other side of Saturn, though this energy still represents an important edge that it's wise to work with very consciously.

<><><>Saturn's presence in Gemini has very significant meaning for anyone born between June 1971 and July 1973, as well as some parts of 1974; May 1942 and June 1944, who will experience the beginning of their Saturn return, a transit that occurs in the lives of all people around the age of 29 years old, then again at about 58. This happens because Saturn takes 29 years to orbit the Sun. When it completes one orbit, counting from the time of birth, we have completed one cycle of life experience relating to the themes of that planet. Using planetary cycles is perhaps the oldest system of reckoning personal growth, and it's about the best there is.


Coming of Age

<><><>Nobody who succeeds in any significant way on this planet does so without Saturn. If we don't muster enough Saturn on the inside, as discipline, direction, and awareness of necessities and limits, then we get it from the outside, in the form of disciplinarians, limitations, lacks and enforced boundaries. We need to be masters of our own structure and resources, or risk getting caught within the structures of others, or trapped in the scarcity principles that dominate world thinking.

<><><>Saturn return is a time of change; that is the whole point. Gemini, and indeed all the mutable signs (Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces as well) are themselves about change. The change that Saturn brings is structural, affecting the shape of life, and the limits and containers we live within. The Saturn return will only seem disastrous if you resist change, ignore its necessities, or pretend it does not matter. Where Gemini is concerned, most of what needs to change is your mind. Yes, things on the outside will shift, as ever with the Saturn return, but this transit is a calling to deepen and broaden your knowledge and understanding, and to strive for a mature understanding of life and your experiences of life.

<><><>Simply stated, it is the first full coming of age into adulthood. In our culture, we have no clear divisions between being a child and an adult, between immaturity and maturity. There are no rituals that clearly get us from little to big, from irresponsible and incapable, to responsible for ourselves and for others. We do not know children from adults; children are told they are "grown up" and adults are allowed and indeed expected to act like children.

<><><>Boys can be sent off to murder in war before they can legally drink a beer. Sexual maturity, in particular, is ignored (is there a connection?), and it's considered immoral to teach the ways and means of sexual responsibility and independence. In Hawaii girls (and boys, but nobody watches boys) can legally consent to sex at 14, but in Florida it's 18. This stops no one from getting pregnant at 13; something else does. So what we end up with is a world of muddled values and kids who are taught to have no sense of personal awareness or direction and, as a result, take forever to find their way. Often we take these issues long into supposed adulthood, the 20s.

<><><>The Saturn return puts a natural limit in place. One cycle of experience in the material world comes to a close, and another begins. Saturn is the container in which we grow and thrive; the discipline on which we depend; the teacher who does not waver. Many people about to enter Saturn return are in a state of panic, claiming they have not accomplished anything with their lives, believing they have nothing to show for having lived. It is unfortunate that this kind of expectation for "accomplishment" is laid on people in their 20s, though it is, consistently, and without adequate preparation.

<><><>If your life needs changing, now is the time. If your mind needs changing, now is the time. Delays were fine in the past, but this is the time to make decisions and make progress as a conscious act. The most important thing about the Saturn return is to get it right the first time, which means, more than anything, to pay attention and take action. This transit causes the most problems for people who pretend it's not really happening, who then are forced to live through it over and over.

<><><>So, get used to Saturn, unless, of course, you want your life to become slowly empty of meaning. You might call Saturn our "Zen bones," the framework of our physical reality within the larger metaphysical reality. Saturn not only gets us up in the morning, but also reminds us to be dedicated to the task for its own sake. Too much Saturn, and we become boring lunks, authoritarians and paranoid freaks; too little, and we become Deadheads who never want to get off the road.

<><><>Just enough, and we might become a Jerry Garcia, who had Saturn in Gemini and exemplified some of the best qualities of this placement -- diversity, dedication, flexibility and mental awareness.

Photo of Jerry Garcia at Marx Meadow,
Sep. 2, 1974, by Greg Garr, Deadshots.

Saturn in Gemini

<><><>Gemini is the first sign of the mind (Virgo being the second, and both are associated with Mercury). Gemini is active, restless, dualistic (sees things in terms of opposites), likes to be free and is not easy to tie down. Gemini usually needs other influences to stabilize it. Saturn is the best one, being given to structure, depth, and a kind of pondering mentality that is welcome to easily-bored Gemini. Saturn, on the other hand, can take a long interest in the most seemingly dull matters, and needs influences to lighten it up, to make it mutable (changeable), flexible, and open to outside influence. Gemini is a good place to do that, as are the other air signs, Libra and Aquarius.

<><><>In preparing this article, we have surveyed a wide variety of literature on Saturn in Gemini, and a compilation of our favorite insights are added in a separate link. There are some writers who claim that this is a scattered and undisciplined placement, though their arguments seem poorly founded and ignorant of traditional astrology. Evidence of Saturn finding one of its most suitable homes in Gemini dates back centuries, to the earliest publications on astrology in the English language, and long before. Yet there is ample evidence in the culture that people with Saturn in Gemini make a specific kind of contribution, offering a mastery of the mental plane, often in the realm of media or theatre arts, or both. The real question is what we do with the opportunity this presents you, if you have Saturn in Gemini.

<><><>Jerry Garcia, founder of the Grateful Dead, makes an interesting example. He composed an astonishing portfolio of blues, country, western, folk, folk rock, acid rock, hard rock, rock and roll, ballads and exquisite Celtic tunes, through which his he and band could move seamlessly, from one to the next, in the space of 90 minutes. Here we get a picture of diversity and flexibility within the structure of music and the music business. Garcia was also an excellent collaborator, working with lyricist Robert Hunter, one of the great American poets, for decades, and holding his band together for a quarter century despite the deaths of three musicians. There were years when they played out 250 nights a year. Like the old joke says, how do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice! (Parts of the album "Reckoning" (at times called "For the Faithful") were recorded in Carnegie Hall, by the way).

<><><>Well, practice and a little faith. The Dead were the last band to be signed out of the Height generation of performers (late blooming being a Saturn quality), and they were the last to stop touring (as is longevity), being by far being the most commercially successful.

<><><>Unlike a lot of musicians who don't care much for words, when Garcia opened his mouth in an interview, I would find myself wishing he would run for president. True, he had his problems, one of which was that he did not, ultimately, respect common-sense limits on drug use and his physical health. It would appear that cream soda did him in as much as heroin, for he was diabetic. On the physical plane, we are set within the limits of the physical body; treat those limits harshly, and the body can no longer do its job. Garcia died before his second Saturn return, which would be happening now.

<><><>But it turns out that the Grateful Dead are finally being taken seriously now; for years mocked over their free-form, meandering style of playing, they are now understood to be musicians who could work with form and style but were not trapped within either. It's said that they did not know what songs they were playing before they came on stage; they just knew all their songs and went with the energy. Not a bad image of Saturn in Gemini.

<><><>Looking through my files on Saturn in Gemini, I find people whose mental flexibility, but moreover, their mental presence, is a keynote of life. These include Angela Davis, the writer, professor and activist. There is Orson Welles, film director ("Citizen Kane," considered by many to be one of the most important films in American history) and creator of the Mercury Theatre radio program, which broadcast the "War of the Worlds" on Halloween night in 1938. In this broadcast, Welles had everyone convinced that Martians had invaded New Jersey. It is little known that throughout that night -- not just at the beginning -- Welles's announcers repeatedly stated that the program was a joke. In true mercurial style, people heard what they wanted to hear, not what was really said. The next morning, Welles was famous.

<><><>There is Barbara Hand Clow, the astrologer and author (an Aquarius, incidentally) best known for her work with Chiron, as well as her past-life explorations (her "Eye of the Centaur" series). There is George Lucas, creator and director of the Star Wars films. Lucas needed to be ball-and-chained to his desk to write, hated it, felt that he sucked at it, but did a far better job than all the professional screenwriters he had hired for big bucks to write his scripts, whose work ended up in the waste basket.

<><><>In all these people, we see diversity, flexibility, a measurable degree of innovation, and, mainly, sticking at their task for a long time -- just like lots of successful people. Saturn urges us to be patient, to keep at it, to keep trying and, in Gemini, to go with the mental flow.

<><><>For some reason there appear to be far more Gemini Saturn men with striking achievements than women, and, even factoring for the sexism inherent in society, this seems a little strange. But among the women, the most outstanding natives with Saturn in Gemini were actresses or performers, though a fair number are writers. There is Janis Joplin, the rock and blues singer who never made it to her Saturn return; Madeline Kahn, actress and comedienne; Rose Lee Gypsy (born 1914), the famous stripper, entertainer, mystery novelist and TV actress; and Julia Child, the television chef from the 60s whose name is still a household word.

<><><>No discussion of Saturn in Gemini would be complete with mentioning Nicholas Copernicus, a daring scientist (and astrologer) who figured out that the world was round, and went round the Sun, in direct contradiction to church doctrine. There is a real measure of independence evidenced here, not to mention intelligence. Anyone who has ever believed that a Polish joke was evidence that Poles are stupid obviously still thinks the world is flat. Well, maybe it is.

George Lucas

The Maturing of the Mind

<><><>Now is a good time for a brief tirade on how shallow the world is. Speaking as a journalist, I can assure you that most of what you see on television or read in the newspapers is unadulterated bullshit. At best, it's a fraction of the story, refined to sugary perfection like cotton candy, and sold as hard-hitting news.

<><><>Saturn in Gemini must revile at this. I doubt there is one of you not perfectly aware that you're being lied to every minute the television is on. I have Saturn in Aquarius and all I can do, quite frankly, is sit here and write, and sit in my office and do research, and (as they will concur) put up all my friends to do evermore research that I then weave into articles to give to you.

<><><>If you have Saturn in Gemini, I suggest you read. Read everything, but especially read the challenging works that have changed the shape of history. Your mind wants to go deeper. This is a time to absorb, reflect, and make informed decisions. Your curiosity about where you stand in history and the cosmic order are likely to be reaching a peak, though at about the age of 14 you were having similar rumblings. Now is the time to take them seriously.

<><><>You may also find yourself in possession of knowledge that you cannot account for, and this knowledge is the accumulated result of growth, learning and maturity. It is important that you act on that what you know, because action, as Krishna said, is the fruit of knowledge.

<><><>Gemini is the master archetype of opposites, of human dualism, projection and pairing -- but it is the "opposition needed to bring about a basic revolution," in the words of Alice A. Bailey in Esoteric Astrology. "Constant flux and periodic change in time and space which will provide a field of adequate experience" for true spiritual unfoldment. Saturn brings the wisdom of the etheric realm into form; Gemini illuminates Saturn and Saturn stabilizes Gemini, turning its dualism into diversity and flexibility. Some would say this is a formula for freedom. Some would even try it. ++

Saturn in Gemini and the Gemini Sun

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