On February 18th, Saturn went retrograde and will continue its seemingly backwards dance until July 9th, 2013. Planets periodically “move backwards” in their orbit- but this is based on our relationship to them from an Earthly perspective only. Retrogression has to do with the various elliptical orbits of the planets and the Earth’s movement around the Sun. This change in planetary perspective does effect us, however. It’s a trick to the cosmic self essentially, and reminds us that what often appears to be moving backwards is still part of a forward moving universal perspective even when it does not appear to be so.
When a planet retrogrades, it behaves like the nodes Rahu and Ketu- neither of which are real planets. Rahu and Ketu are mathematical points found where the Earth and Sun’s ecliptic planes intersect. Very metaphoric indeed. They are called shadow planets for that reason and make us behave from our shadowy places as well.
Retrograde planets increase in strength (up to three times their normal power) and it puts this emphasis on clean up, repair and re-do’s. It’s as though the planets are giving us a second chance at life and we often find ourselves revisiting what was seemingly lost previously. The indication of the planet in retrograde motion (plus its placement in transit and how it’s situated in your own chart) will, however, dictate its specific effects on you.
Saturn is currently in its sign of exaltation, Libra, and sitting with Rahu (See my previous article on Rahu and Saturn in Libra) which is an intense combination. It is considered Rudra energy (storm energy) when these two mix. Complicating matters, Saturn’s retrograde motion disturbs its exaltation status. When an uccha (exalted) planet is retrograde, it acts uccha banga (debilitated). So this is a game changer actually.
Retrograde Saturn will have an effect on the emotions because of his aspect to Cancer (ruled by the Moon, our emotions) and also because the tendency with retrograde Saturn can be depression and feelings of loneliness. Retrograde Saturn natives tend to be fixers, which can be a problem unless safe, effective boundaries are learned and maintained.
With Saturn’s Aspect to Aries, there may be a desire to fix the Self. This could be a good time to get serious about a new health routine, Spring detox program and a healthy exercise regimen. Take the detox one step further and purge other areas of your life while you’re at it. Go for an entire re-boot inside and out: mental, physical, emotional, spiritual.
Saturn’s aspect to Sagittarius can bring a desire for increased knowledge and wisdom. A desire for inner growth may increase at this time. You may find your Self re-visiting lectures from a beloved guru, opening books that have a bit of dust on them, or gaining new insights into your Self and your relationships as a result.
Saturn in Libra will bring the desire to clean up relationships, re-visit old ones, fix broken ones and find a sense of completion within relationships if at all possible. Don’t overdue it here! Know when to close the door if necessary. Maintain appropriate and healthy boundaries.
As far as the effects of Saturn’s retrograde motion on us, it will include many of the aforementioned subjects and themes as well as those topics discussed in my previous article (Rahu and Saturn in Libra). In my opinion, the general clean up will involve business, relationships, desires, health, sexual issues and even death could be addressed and re-visited. Hopefully we will find some healing and even closure during this backwards dance.
Saturn & Rahu + the Nakshatras
The nakshatras help us refine our understanding of the transits and the expressions of the planets. Saturn is in Swati nakshatra right now until early November when it moves to Vishaka. Rahu is currently in Vishaka and moves into Swati on June 30th. Rahu and Saturn will both be in Swati nakshatra for roughly five months before Saturn makes the shift into Vishaka.
Swati nakshatra is ruled by Vayu, the wind god, and therefor is connected to movement. Interestingly, Swati nakshatra is ruled by Rahu, which makes for an interesting story exchange between the two planets currently occupying the same sign of Libra. The symbols for Swati are a sword, a sprout and coral, and it is connected to the chest. This nakshatra is good for benefitting one’s own work as well as benefitting other’s work. It is moveable and easily changes. Saturn is ruled by air (vayu) anyway, so it can accomplish its tasks in this nakshatra and find harmony with the movement and change.
Saturn in Swati is another indication of building and creating growth, and is ruled over by the planet Rahu- so expect big, elaborate plans. The rulership of Vayu here is associated with movement and can bring the strength one needs to be powerful and “get the job done.” Rudras are storm gods, and the strength of the Rudras come from Vayu himself. He is an amazing feat to reckon with. As a sail directs the ship with the assistance of the wind, he can be harnessed and used for powerful action.
Vayu brings a sense of unrest, can bring a lack of grounding, create change and travel. Nothing is static with this nakshatra because of Vayu’s movement. Both Rudra and Vayu carry a bow and arrow, which links them and their powerful forces. Vayu can bring powerful storms as Rudra does, but it can also be gentle and subtle, which Rudra can not. Vayu is the wind itself, where Rudra is the calamity of the storm. The strength of all the Rudras, however, comes from Vayu. Hanuman, known for his immense strength and power, was a son of Vayu. Use the power of Vayu properly and it can take you far. Let it scatter you, and you will get lost on the Path.
Vayu is prana, the universal breath of life. The five Vayus cause proper function within the body. This pranic force is our internal wind, the wind of life, the breath of the gods, the impeller of life, and the root of speech. When Vayu is in balance, the body is healthy, when imbalanced, disease forms. This is a good time to be vigilant in your relationship to prana. Pranayama, yoga, movement of the body, is essential. Since Saturn is here, he requires you to be aligned with a regular, established routine as well. Create a daily practice of moving the body, sweating and stretching, if you don’t already have one. Likely, you will be forced into it if you are not already taking his advice. It is said that when Vayu is balanced there is health, and when imbalanced, health problems arise.
It is important to tend the emotions with Swati nakshatra, because emotions often get lost or forgotten, swept aside here. People can become detached or unaware of their emotional depth. This lack of connection to the emotional body can lead to pranic and energetic blockages which will lead to dis-ease and dis-harmony eventually. Utilizing body-centered Expressive Art Therapy is a perfect tool to use at this time in order to ensure the relationship between emotions and body are being strengthened. Moving the body, cultivating somatic awareness, using one’s creativity through artistic means, all while connecting the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual bodies, creates an ideal partnership for ensuring the pranic winds are moving your emotions, rather than letting them stagnate within.
It is inevitable that the areas discussed previously- business, relationships, desires, health, sexual issues and even death- will begin to move, change and strengthen. But with Saturn’s retrograde movement until June, it might seem like things are moving backwards first!
Rahu in Vishaka brings another element into the mix. Vishaka is ruled by Indragni, a dual god, and is ruled by Jupiter. Vishaka is a nakshatra that brings mixed results, is considered “mild” and “hard” so you never quite know what you’re going to get. With Rahu, you never quite know either, so here we get a double question mark in some ways. Indragni brings together two forces: Indra, the high king and political power coupled with Agni, the high priest and spiritual force. Together they form an alliance that is a powerful, alchemical duo. The symbol of Vishaka is a decorated gateway, and essentially Indragni is the portal where all offerings must pass through as they are offered to the gods. The offering is transformed at this portal, as it passes through, and then the gods ingest these gifts. Without Indragni overseeing the process, the transformation would not be possible, nor complete.
Vishaka is related to connecting and creating support and its rulership by Jupiter can bring expansion and knowledge with it. This will work well for building new relationships, growing one’s business and finding new ways to find sustainable support.
Indra is a powerful god, while Agni is the fire of life itself. We can associate Vishaka with many sacred portals- especially the mouth. Food is an offering to the gods and the Agni fire turns it into life-giving sustenance. This is a time to create sacred ritual with seemingly mundane affairs. Create an altar if you don’t already have one and start a daily ritual of offerings, gratitude and silence. Make fire offerings to Vishaka on your altar. Be present to the alchemy afoot in your life. From digestion, to altar offerings, to love relations, to balancing your asura (demon) energies, find the transformational tools within your life and all around you. Don’t forget to say a blessing of gratitude before you eat!
Watch for aggressive desires to achieve, jealousy of other people’s accomplishments, and an overly competitive nature. This can be a time of strong leadership, building powerful alliances, navigating political roles diplomatically, and success in business. Vishaka can indicate relationships that provide nourishment and support, as well as alliances. It can also indicate transformations to you and the things that nourish and support you.
The themes for this time period of Saturn and Rahu in Libra- while Saturn is in Swati nakshatra and Rahu in Vishaka nakshatra- bring our focus to change, mobility, transformations and alliances through business, relationships, love, passion and power. This is a time to be vigilant with health matters, the sexual organs, second chakra matters, and pranic flow within the body systems. Navigating the intense storm energy that will flare in these areas of life is essential. Right now we are being given an opportunity to learn how to move with our storms, rather then let them move us. Learning to master how we direct the sails of these intense storm winds will create a new kind of power for us and a new awareness about our own inner power. Use the storms to bring you insight. Expand your tool kit, engage with your mental, emotional and physical bodies in new ways, and harness the stormy Rudra energy.