In a month, Saturn, a/k/a “the reality principle,” or “the cold hard truth of the matter,” is entering Jupiter’s abundant sign of Pisces, which speaks to grand themes like “the fundamental oneness of all multiplicities.” I’ve written about preparing for this transit by starting a spiritual practice, so that you can deepen it and give it rigor in the coming years, and that still holds true! Another great way to be ready for this transit is to prime yourself to consider that there must be multiple truths, simply because each of us is bound by our subjective experiences, which are different. This is a big tone shift from what we’ve been living through the last three years. Saturn in its own sign of Aquarius, like Pisces, is about unity. But the mechanism for that unity is ideology. Instead of accepting multiple perspectives, everybody in Aquarius believes in one thing together. This is not inherently a bad thing! There are lots of things we want in a society, like justice, that can only be held as a common ideal because they are impossible but totally worth striving for. But you know, we are all pretty familiar by now with the downsides of ideological thinking. We are less inclined three years into Saturn in Aquarius to see people who we don’t agree with politically as people, and more inclined to see them as the political Other. The ones who condone violence. The ones who are breaking the country apart. The ones who are crazy. And there’s a way in which this is a feedback loop. People that you call crazy almost never respond by looking at their own behavior and saying, “Yeah, I see your perspective. That belief I have that covid is simultaneously an evil government plot and just a cold is a little unmoored, even contradictory. Thanks for the feedback!” More often, they will do even crazier stuff. This could be simply because people tend to meet resistance with resistance. Or because their sense of shame is activated. Or they grew up seeking negative affirmation. It doesn’t really matter what their intention is. What matters is that even if they are saying something that puts your mouth on the floor, they are a person who is acting that way for a reason that makes a lot of sense. To them. And that is hard to see right now.
Saturn in Pisces, especially at the individual level, is a profound opportunity to build skills for relating to people who have different experiences and perspectives. We can all practice relating to one another in ways that room for all those subjective, or “small-t,” truths that we all carry along to any interaction. If we are activists, we can move from practices that call out injustice in shaming ways that shut people down, and learn skills like deep canvassing and calling folks in. If we spend a lot of time online, we can invest in journalism that probes how conspiracy theories and cults proliferate, thereby sharpening our own discernment and also maybe finding some empathy for the folks in our lives, maybe even ourselves, who kinda became wingnuts about one thing or another during lockdown, for completely understandable reasons. If you are an organizer, teacher, artist, or any other type of creative collaborator, you might invest in learning an evaluation technique like participatory action research. It is insanely effective, and so Saturn in Pisces, because it evaluates things people make together, as they are making them; in ways that share the power of evaluation and account for the subjective reality of everybody who is making it; iteratively, so that you can use what you’re learning in real time. And if you’re in a position of organizational leadership you might enjoy delving into one of a big handful of interesting books that are all about leading a self organizing, emergent system.
Astrology is an archetypal system. And the funny thing about archetypes is that often the thing and its opposite share the same archetype–they are revealed as sides of a coin. Saturn in a sign that’s about everything being connected, while also hanging out with Neptune, the universal solvent of planets, could easily describe all that conspirituality huckstering new age nonsense that’s clogging your instagram feed blowing up into a total menace of misinformation. It could also describe the dissolution of key institutions and organizations that we need. But the other side of the coin is super interesting! Saturn in Pisces is also a great time to apply rigor to understanding how we got to this confusing, ideological moment, how to reconnect with one another, and how to build structures that are a better fit for complex humans who contain multitudes. And contradict themselves. And need love and compassion.
If you want to go down this road with me, here’s a short Saturn in Pisces reading list.
Loretta J. Ross, “Calling In The Calling Out Culture.” Not published yet, but can be preordered via her website. Ross is a longtime feminist activist whose focus is primarily reproductive justice. Her compassion and keen ability to keep her eye on the goals of activist work are deeply inspiring.
Derek Beres, Matthew Remski, Julian Walker, “Conspirituality.” Similarly not published yet but can be preordered. In the meantime, I strongly recommend the podcast. These journalists are bringing their full subjectivity and life experience as people in the wellness, new-age and yoga communities who, at least in Remski’s case, have gotten caught up in high-demand organizations or bought into wellness hucksterism, without sacrificing rigor.
Richard Sagor, “How To Conduct Collaborative Action Research.” This slim book for teachers is a great introduction to action research because it is practical and grounded in the primary political reason to take on the task of self-assessment–empowerment. Very useful if you are doing iterative work in groups that needs periodic self reflection… but also needs the latitude to unfold creatively.
E. Alana James, Tracesea Slater, Alan Bucknam, “Action Research for Business, Nonprofit, and Public Administration: A Tool for Complex Times.” If you find that Sagor’s book was inspiring but you need something a little more grownup looking to show your boss, board members, employees, or similar… use this book!
adrienne maree brown “Emergent Strategy.” All I can say about this book is thank goodness brown wrote the manual for using Saturn in Pisces to make the future we want instead of grind this destructive present into oblivion in 2017!