My Challenging Saturn in Cancer

I’m putting my feet up in my sunny living room on a small coffee table (the one I had shipped from Morocco some twenty years ago with enormous difficulty) as I step into a copy of my astrological chart…

I can actually step into it, you know, with my imagination. Even though my horoscope is on a flat piece of paper, I can walk right into it, stare and gawk – and all the while have that feeling I have both feet flat on the ground. It’s the best way I know to get my feet wet once again – and admire anew the amazing designs and patterns I see in my chart – even though I’ve studied it for years as a professional astrologer.

Decades ago, when I got my doctorate in psychology, I didn’t know there were “professional” astrologers. I assumed they were all quacks and whacky newspaper horoscope writers. I had no idea many dedicated, experienced and successful psychologists were also professional astrologers (and they didn’t tell us that in grad school, either), as well as many therapists and marriage counselors. These professionals add wisdom and expertise to their interpretations.

Did you know there are more than 10,000 in the U.S.? You can always check the Federation of American Astrologers for a name, although they say it’s best, as with all professionals, to hear of one by word of mouth from someone really pleased with their astrologer, and I agree.

Besides not hearing there are professional astrologers, you also never hear a horoscope can have loads of truth and incredible depth. The way astrology is maligned can make me feel really cranky in the morning, especially before my cup of coffee.

Who hears that it can reveal your private life, the way your mind thinks, what you need (even though you may not know it), what you really want (again, even though you may not know it), how you relate to your environment, what your inner conflicts are, your hidden talents?

Have you heard that a horoscope can reveal the trouble-makers in your personality, the tensions tricky to handle and resolve? What’s resentful inside you, what’s mischievous? What choices you have you never thought of?

The most shocking of all….you never hear that you get THE WHY…or something closely resembling it.

I’d like to add you get an INNER SMILE. I remember feeling it blossoming all by itself inside me when I first got my professional horoscope. I was understanding myself in a way I’d never done before – at the same time as being really understood BY SOMEONE ELSE…A STRANGER AT THAT.

The patterns I’d never noticed before in my life! Was I really that blind?

And then I watch the people for whom I now do professional horoscopes get another feeling during our sessions. Self-respect. A feeling of self-respect where previously there had been little. A miracle in itself.

And of course, the shock. Who is used to seeing and being seen so clearly?

I just got up to feed the birds (we get mostly finches here, although we do have two rather large sapsuckers that feed on the suet hanging on the clothesline). Our two resident squirrels have come to greet me and beg. They are so different from each other! One carries around insulation in its mouth for its nest, and dropped down our chimney just before our January blizzard. We call him Santa.

The other is an acorn fanatic (we call her Nutcase) who stands upright (definitely a she, plainly visible when she stands and scratches on our patio glass sliding door) while begging to take an acorn from our fingers.

You’d think Nutcase would trust our acorns by now. Yet she inspects each acorn in detail, turning it around and around in her small hands and testing it with her teeth before she runs off with it to eat in our cottonwood tree or bury near the white and green shed in our backyard. I guess she’s right, though. We’ve given her three acorns that did seem to me lighter in weight than the others. And guess what? They didn’t pass her inspection. Not true acorns at all, I suppose.

The acorn theory of James Hillman comes to mind, only that is something else. (Or is it?) The acorn theory, according to Hillman, is a worldwide myth in which each person comes into the world with something to do and to be. Every person has a uniqueness that needs to be lived and expressed. Exactly what I see in each horoscope I do. (The corollary is it can never be right to try to be – or to think you are – someone else.)

But I am demurring. So let me allow the Saturn in my horoscope to unpack itself around me, exactly the way my new neighborhood did here in the Denver suburb of Arvada when I moved here this past summer.

Arvada…strange name, isn’t it? Sounds Biblical. And it is. According to the Arvada Historical Society, back in the 1850s the leading citizen, Benjamin Franklin Wadsworth, asked his wife Mary Ann to name their new community where the 1859 Gold Rush began. The middle name of Hiram Haskin, her husband, was Arvada, chosen by Hiram’s mother from a map in her Scofield Bible that showed Arvada as an island off the coast of Syria. And so Mary Ann chose the name Arvada.

To enable you to picture it if you do not live here, Arvada stretches from its eastern boundary with Westminster, another Denver suburb, to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in the west. It moves slowly westward on often snow-packed roads heavy with traffic at all hours, then skips and runs through the treeless auto-free White Ranch Open Space Park until the Rockies become too high for it to climb.

Yet I didn’t know that in the beginning. For me Arvada began as the one-story foreclosed house next door, still waiting for its new tenants… It unfolded itself cautiously as our other next-door neighbors, the twins with the twin yakking little dogs… It grew in depth as we discovered our back neighbors with the black Labrador with the gruff voice and penchant for lying in the snow on the second floor porch. The unpacking accelerated as we explored the green Open Space in front of our house, complete with biking and hiking trails, small waterfalls on one of the many creeks descending from the Rockies, muskrats, hawks, kingfishers and the ever-present Canada geese.

Open Spaces are a wonderful phenomenon here in Colorado, aren’t they? Tax dollars are set aside to buy land to prohibit development and create natural parks for free public recreation.

I am still demurring. Who likes to ponder the Saturn in their charts, symbol of pain, suffering and yet, possible evolutionary growth taking time and effort?

Of course, my Saturn is not the planet Saturn. It is a symbol of something missing, something needing to be created. (That was determined ages ago by the consensus of many researching astrologers who found a definite correspondence between the placement of Saturn in a horoscope and certain pain or suffering in different aspects of a person’s life. See my blog: Is Astrology…Hogwash?)

Anyway, that particular symbol in my chart is called Saturn in Cancer in the Seventh House (what a name, huh?)

Call it what you will (although don’t call it a planet because my “Saturn” as well as yours has almost nothing to do with the actual planet Saturn which could never hurt me or you even if it tried)… It only shows where the planet Saturn was in the sky when I was born.

Anyway, that “Saturn” of mine symbolizes the energy that is the primary architect of all my intimate relationships. It symbolizes my rejections. My sorrow.  My loneliness. My grave disappointments. The partners too full of themselves to have room left over to love me.

And it did, until I started working on it to change it… Until I realized it symbolized something in me. Namely, that I didn’t have the right feeling about things. That I had to develop and refine my emotional life so I could make the correct romantic decisions. The result: almost 25 years of happily married life.

Oh, my Saturn in Cancer was a tricky one to tame! How many astrological workshops I had to devise for myself to get my emotions flowing and true. So much of me I’d twisted and forced to serve as hotel-havens for those tiresome guests: the drunken man, the faithless man, the coward.

And yes…in the same way some small island, half-asleep and too naïve to think of the coming horrors of destructive mass tourism (the rape of the Spanish island of Ibiza comes to mind)… In that same way I laid out my most stunning beaches for my men – those precious, undefended expanses cleared of self and strewn with countless shining sands of care!

It may seem incredible to you (as it does now to me), but I so innocently gave this cove… and added that one…and gave away all those others, too. I sold this bay but most of me they got for free. (Parts of me made such natural harbors then…. Besides, I was myself so besieged by moody waves of feeling, I thought it my job to save them from their storms.)

I remember visiting the island of Ibiza in the late 60s before the big developers ruined the coastlines with bulldozers and countless drab hotels. There had been artists living there, many of international renown, like Raoul Hausmann. Movie stars. Hippies respecting the fragile goddess of an island, speaking of the island as “Mother,” growing their own vegetables, drying apricots and figs on their roofs, then packing them with dried thyme flowers in tins for winter.

And the natives, many called Pedro or Maria, rode horse carts slowly to market with their sacks of live snails, their eggs and their tomatoes. It was a luscious island decorated in resin-scented pine and splashed here and there in red and purple bougainvillea. Ah, it had a magical, wild allure. Especially those secret, hidden small stretches of shoreline, or calas as they are called, scarcely-frequented jewels of green pine, with tide pools, exotically sculptured rocks and pure white sand.

My lovers. They chipped my rocks; I grew unsure. They muddied my clear tide pools; I lost my vision. My coastal trees they cut down one by one; I slowly lost my stamina. They bulldozed their way into my affections, leaving what felt like huge, ugly concrete structures in my heart that weighed heavy on my moods.

And then I became aware, through a professional horoscope, of my Saturn in Cancer in the Seventh House…It was a description of what I had lived, and a challenge. A description of what was missing in me from birth. Missing? Not exactly. Buried. Submerged. The right feeling about things and people. And the challenge? To evolve past sentimental love affairs. To develop a feeling life that was exceptional…To discover bit by bit, by choosing friends and partners my true feelings would have told me to avoid, that I must be courageous enough to allow myself at all times to know what I truly feel, and live by those feelings. In short, to love what I truly love.

And so I’ll admit to you although it may not be so popular…I truly love astrology. And I love all the benefits it can provide if you really work with what it reveals.

©2012 Francine Juhasz, Ph.D.

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