With the Moon activating the Saturn/Neptune square we’re getting a preview of what’s to come over the next year and a half or so. Saturn/Neptune contacts create a range of complex themes. To understand them we have to first recall the individual archetypes of the planets. With Saturn we have a kind of hard, cold, weighty and restrictive or even depressive conservatism or concretism. Saturn reflects the mundane world, along with all the duties and hardships of being human. Saturn reflects time and process, age and maturity, as well as decay and doubt. Neptune on the other hand embodies an almost polar opposite field of expression. Neptune represents the other worldly and the altered state. Neptune is the dream, the myth, and the fantasy, the transcendent yearning for the spiritual rather than the limitations of the material. Neptune is also the illusion and the intoxication of the senses.
When we combine these qualities during a Neptune/Saturn hard aspect phase, we’re essentially getting a long period of time where these qualities will both struggle and synthesize with each other over and over again; sometimes more subtly and other times more loudly (depending perhaps on the positions of the planets in your birth chart, or where you live and what’s happening around the planet, etc).
The Saturn/Neptune combination can express itself through alternating cycles of limitation and inspiration, faith and doubt, seriousness and fantasy, altered states and sobriety, dreams and reality, or time and the timeless. Saturn/Neptune can also help to build bridges between an ideal image, vision or dream and the “real world.” Saturn/Neptune is also the intoxication or delusion of an ideal world…utopianism (for example the current Saturn/Neptune cycle began with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the start of the dissolution of the Soviet union in 1989). Saturn/Neptune reflects our desire to bridge the two sides of the brain or “marry the opposites” in some grand spiritual state. To create “heaven on earth” or to incorporate the angelic into our daily existence.
Saturn/Neptune for people who are drifting around in Unicorn town might be the need to come down to earth and ground the fantasy images of the new age within a 9-5 job, a project or set of practices and disciplines, or a more sobering relationship with doubt and mortality. On the other hand, Saturnine people may find themselves guided by a transcendental yearning…a hand reaching from the mineral realm into the stars.
Saturn/Neptune might mean a period of highly lucid or tangible dreaming. The cult classic film “Waking Life,” for example, is an examination of hard existential questions set against the backdrop of a young man’s night of dreaming. The film was being made during a Saturn/Neptune square in the late 90’s, and the inspiration for the film’s style (directed by Richard Linklater) came from a silent film director named Max Fleischer, whose style was first used during a Neptune/Saturn conjunction in 1917 (the same year the Soviet Union was established as a kind of utopian society project, again reflecting the Neptune/Saturn themes). Interestingly enough, just as Linklater’s “Waking Life” was being finished, under a Neptune/Saturn square, he was also beginning his project “Boyhood,” which just won the Golden Globe for best drama and was also nominated for best picture at this year’s academy awards show. The project of course reflects the Saturn/Neptune themes…the dream or vision, the revolution of cinema (an art form given to Neptune), and yet the long, hard, slow process (Saturn) of the film’s production. The film depicts both the timeless qualities of life (Neptune), but also the slow, hard, facts of life, along with its depressions, limitations, and normalities (not to mention again its 12 year production timeline!). The film is at once transcendent and mundane, normal but also timeless. Linklater was born with a harmonious aspect between Neptune and Saturn, and most people who have seen his films would agree that his work has a simultaneous “normal but timeless” quality that marks his unique vision of life.
The potential for new achievements in film and cinema are great right now, but there is also the sense of an impending death in Hollywood as we know it. The long/slow and heavy process of Saturn within the Saturn/Neptune square is also reflecting the growing popularity of massively produced, 50 to100 hour long television series, where the scope of the vision (Neptune) is matched by the length and development of the characters and plot throughout time (Saturn). A normal 2 hour movie is starting to feel both shallow and comparatively uninspired or “unreal.” We want “real” (Saturn) imaginal worlds (Neptune) to sweep us away (Neptune) for long periods of time (Saturn), so that our experiences of these timeless archetypes (Neptune) might be more concretely developed and lived through (Saturn). Is it possible that this movement in TV and cinema is reflective of a spiritual thirst that’s growing in the collective psyche? Are we looking for the divine to permeate our everyday life more deeply, more regularly or “normally”? Interestingly enough, The Soprano’s television show also began under the Neptune/Saturn square of the late 90’s and didn’t concluded until the next Neptune/Saturn aspect in 2007. It was one of the first shows to transport us into another world (Neptune) for an extremely long time (Saturn). The cinematic world featured the ongoing psychotherapy, dreams, and inner life (Neptune) of Mob boss Tony Soprano (played by James Gandolfini, who also had a harmonious Neptune/Saturn aspect in his birth chart), set against the cold concrete realities of mob life in New Jersey and New York (Saturn).
Whichever way we choose to look at it, Neptune/Saturn will be simultaneously exposing us to the spiritual AND the material, the dream or the vision AND the realities of time and space, in order to find a bridge between the two, or a more appropriate understanding of the necessity of both individual realities (especially if we tend to learn more toward one than the other).
Prayer: The long and winding road, that leads you to the door, will never disappear… (Paul McCartney, born under a Sat/Nep square)