Another look at Saturn

I’ve been thinking a lot about Saturn lately; probably because I’ve got Saturn transiting through the 12th house. And now it’s working its way towards Venus, which is easily arguably my chart ruler.

Saturn represents structure, boundaries and limitations. Psychologically speaking it represents the ego, not as some central point of I, but as a structure which we have developed to cope with the world around us.

Interestingly, I think as we tread the path Saturn represents self-enforced or self-chosen limitation. In the world of form limitations are a self-evident given. One the one hand, a clear form enables the light to shine through it into the world. And on the other hand a form that we struggle with enables us to confront the delusion in our own minds. And this is I think where the role of sila, or ethical conduct, comes in on the spiritual path.

For this reason, ethical conduct is as much a practise as meditation. In sila we are constructing a new form, which acts as a vehicle of the light, but it is not the light. To quote Bodhidharma: Buddhas do not observe precepts. Buddhas do not break precepts.

To free the mind from all improprieties is the Sila of Mind-essence;
To free the mind from all perturbations is the Dhyana of Mind-essence.
That which neither increases nor decreases is the ‘diamond’ of Mind-essence.
‘Going’ and ‘coming’ are only phases of Samadhi.

The Sutra of Hui Neng

But I think there’s more to it than this. We are simplifying our lives, reducing all of the unnecessary clutter. But we are also expressing our true nature. Meditation is ultimately an act of self-expression in a very concentrated and very limited form, i.e. sitting on a mat. This is what gives this mode of self-expression its power. Sila is like this, but carried out into the world.

In the form that we construct through sila, we see our desires made naked. Yet our very nature is free, so in the same way we choose to liberate ourselves from that very same desire and live moment to moment, just like in the moment to moment awareness of dhyana. All forms are after all impermanent. Coming and going are only phases of samadhi.

So who knows what Saturn will bring, as it continues the transit of the 12th house, but it does seem to be the clearing up of old forms and the preparation of new ones.

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