Article ‘Astrology, the Mother… and Saturn’

English: Auroras on Saturn. Français : Des aur...
Image via Wikipedia

Astrology, the Mother… and Saturn

Around twenty years ago, I completed an astrology correspondence course. I had long been fascinated with the subject and this school stood out for me because of its distinctive approach, combining astrology with psychology, with a very holistic way of looking at individual birth charts.
Now, of course, astrology to most people is merely the sun sign nonsense we consume every day in papers, magazines, on TV and online. This too was my understanding of it until my grandmother died. I remember some of her magazines came to our house, and in the astrology section at the back of one, the astrologer discussed the position of other planets and in particular, the Moon, which, among others things, was considered to be a major significator of the mother in an individual’s chart. From this point I was hooked, and read all I could despite the derision from those who thought they were more logical than me.
Maybe for this reason, it wasn’t until I was well into my thirties that I decided to study the subject more seriously. Once my decision of school and which Diploma to study was taken, I became aware of their different stance in regard to the mother significator. They believed that Saturn and not the Moon was important in regard to the mother. The Moon was in fact the child, Saturn the mother and the Sun, perhaps logically, was the father.

Deutsch: Der Vollmond, fotografiert in Hamois ...
Image via Wikipedia

At first, I was a little perplexed. The Moon, with its associations with the menstrual cycle and its ever changing nature, is perhaps more obviously feminine and thereby ‘motherly’. And then Saturn (Greek Chronos), who according to mythology was the lame god who devoured his own children! Yet, when I fully digested what was said, I saw the ‘logic’ of this stance, because it was all about the mother’s traditional and perceived role in our upbringing and not necessarily to do with gender at all.
Saturn, we must remember, until the late 18th century with the discovery of Uranus, was the farthest known planet and represented, to the ancient and medieval mind, a boundary, a necessary restriction of our universe and therefore our psyche, hence its often very grave and baleful astrological reputation, as the English composer Gustav Holst’s take on the planet elucidates. The ancients’ saying ‘as above, so below’ typifies this belief that outer events mirror our inner worlds.

English: Gustav Holst (1874–1934)
Gustav Holst. Image via Wikipedia

If we think of the mother’s traditional role, she (or this function she performs) is the fundamental teacher, our first contact with the world, as well as nourisher and provider. She makes us see and feel – experience – a version of reality. So, if we forget the gender of myth, which after all, has a lot to do with astrology in its grand summation of all the world’s mythology, we can equate the understood Saturnian role with the mother.
I realised that this so-called ‘gender bending’ wasn’t exclusive to astrology. The German language, for instance, sees the Sun as feminine (die Sonne), the Mother as masculine (der Mond). And we should also remember that Old English (Anglo-saxon) being a germanic language, also reflected this in regard to the Sun and Moon until the three genders melded into one in Middle English. Incidentally, quite what this might mean for the ‘collective psyche’ of the English and German nations, I’m not sure.
Unfortunately, Sun sign astrology has only cheapened what is a very old (the oldest!) science based art. A planet, let’s say Saturn and its association with the mother, must be understood by sign, house position, quadrant of the chart and its aspects. Nothing can be taken out of context with the interpretation.

Saturn astrology
The astrological glyph for Saturn. Image via Wikipedia

One extreme example I thought of, using this methodology, would be Saturn in Cancer, said to be in its ‘fall’ because it would be opposite the sign it rules, Capricorn. Wherever Saturn appears in a chart by sign, house and aspect, we might impute that’s where there is a sense of lacking, restriction or difficulty. In Cancer, one interpretation might be that there is a problem dealing with emotion or maybe the family.
If Saturn was also found high up in the chart, not considered too helpful as it is a grounding, formative principle, then this person might feel very exposed and insecure through his life. If Saturn was also unaspected, that is, it had no relationships by degrees with other planets in the chart, then this would only compound the sense of isolation and vulnerability.
Now this would be where the good psychologically attuned astrologer would come in. If we accept that Saturn stands for the mother, then he/she could tentatively ask question about the his/her relationship to the mother, and thereby, a relationship of understanding and exploration could be formed between the astrologer and client. They could explore avenues, looking at the birth chart as a whole, ways of compensating perhaps, if indeed the experience of the mother was difficult for the individual. It might well be found, that this person did indeed have a very difficult (perhaps wholly absent) experience of the mother and that this led him/her onto high achievements through much hard work as compensation for this feeling of something missing.

A horoscope calculated for January 1, 2000 at ...
A fully cast birth chart. Image via Wikipedia

This is the key, taking the chart as a whole, and not as a guessing parlour game. To create an individualised birth chart, an astrologer needs the exact (if known) time, date and place of birth, so it is a commitment from the client.
So, in the final analysis, do I believe that Saturn represents the mother more closely than the Moon? Perhaps. Of course, there are many who’d say that it’s all nonsense. To be honest, after completing the course, I have only occasionally delved into astrology. It’s a matter of frustration for me. The media have a lot to answer for, leading the ‘public’ to wrong expectations. ‘Tell me what I’m like, what is going to happen?’ – this was what I found most of the time and I don’t believe astrology can predict the future with any certainty. I firmly believe it does have a role to play in helping people as an aid to their mentality. Even the great Carl Jung thought it might have a role in this regard and others since have thought so, too.

*In my next piece, I shall attempt to self-analyse, astrologically, my artistic tendencies.

© copyright dfbarker 2012

24 thoughts on “Article ‘Astrology, the Mother… and Saturn’

  1. Hi,
    Very interesting. I think a lot of people are fascinated by space, planets, and the stars. I love watching documentaries about space, it is just so huge and we are but a tiny little speck in this immediate universe.

    Who hasn’t at one stage or another looked at their star sign in the paper or in a magazine or even online. I used to read mine every week when I was younger not so much now. But as you pointed out it really is very complex, if done right.


  2. i believe that there are so many implications, energetically speaking, from the point of view of planets’ influence on our existence, and there is nothing to laugh about your interest in this matter. personally, i admire you that you’re trying to discover their meaning – they are quite fascinating!
    thank you for sharing your opinions here :).


  3. I’m fascinated by the academic study of ….possibilities. Things like astrology and reincarnation are so fraught with pop-culture and misconception that it is too easy to dismiss them as silly. But there are forces in and around us that science is still struggling to explain and understand. At one time people snorted at the concept of a round world! We have so much to learn, it’s essential to keep an open and questioning mind.

    Part 2 should prove very interesting! 😉


  4. I like that you alluded to how the ancients viewed the planets and their effect on the world. So much has come down to us from past societies–if we don’t understand the original context, the knowledge is meaningless.


  5. Yes, I’m very grateful for your comments. Yes, we used to understand the sky, had a relationship with it, lived by it. But all that got largely thrown out with the industrial revolution. And astrology, whatever we think of it, carries human myth within it, and myth is far more important to us than we realise. Thank you so much.


  6. I love your analogies here, great post on one of my favorite interests. I have delved into Astrology for over 40 years. I studied Psychology for Nursing and have associated characters in Greek Mythology with it. Facinating.
    Yes, Saturn is perfect for Mother and in my case unfortunately it is in Cancer. My Sun, Moon, Venus and Mercury are in Pisces…a stellian LOL
    I am proud of my Leo Rising which makes me a character!
    Anyway, I think our Solar System does effect our beings, just as
    “One could not pluck a flower without troubling a star.” –Loren Eiseley


  7. Hi – thank you so much! I guess with that pile up in Pisces, your spiritual nature must be truly alive, even if Saturn from Cancer might give it a certain amount of channelling – maybe that was the reason you chose nursing? And Leo ascendant, should give great expression to those strong feelings. I’m envious, my ascendant is in Capricorn, which may be the reason I’m often so reticent and slow! But then again, I do believe we can transcend our birth charts, go beyond it. Love the quote, too. Thanks very much!


  8. Very informative, DF. So unselfish of you to share all of this careful research with us here. You know, speaking of gender-bending, I know that in nature, it is often the mother who is most fierce in defending the young. Think of a mother grizzly surprised near her young! So Saturn as war like and aggressive AND the mother figure (setting boundaries, etc.l) makes complete sense to me. I was a most fierce mother in guarding my own young—grrrrrr!


  9. By the way I have been told by my Native American relatives that women are the center, like Mother Earth where it all begins at birth and she is the stronger gender.

    I was drawn back here as I made a mistake in saying my saturn is in Cancer, I don’t know how I got confused there LOL It is in Scorpio…which makes more sense to me.

    Sad you have not delved into astrology as much since taking the course. You seem to be good with analyzing it more objectively. I myself allow emotions too much, but it is still interesting to me.


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