Saturn sets limits. For millennia it was the outermost planet of our solar system and is the last one visible to the naked eye. It's where we run into walls if we haven't done our homework, and where we are rewarded with recognition and responsibility when we've earned it. Tracking its transits is an excellent way to recognize where we will encounter barriers and where there's work to be done.
On Feb. 7 Saturn stops dead in its tracks in the last degree of Libra. It turns retrograde then, beginning a period of backward movement that ends on June 24. When a planet is at the end of a sign it's ready to give up the ghost and move into new territory. We've often exhausted the potentials of the sign it's in and are ready for a fresh start. Any planet at the end of accommodating Libra may be tired of negotiations and making compromises. The Libran task of meeting others halfway is followed by Scorpio's desire to cut to the core and attend to essential needs, instead of trying so hard to look good and make others happy.
Saturn's retrograde turn at the end of Libra, though, keeps us from taking this step. It's a signal to go back and keep working on establishing more harmonious relationships. Finding common ground where opposing points of view converge remains critical until Saturn leaves Libra this Oct. 5. It's true that the pacifying part of Libra sometimes leads to a watering down of principles, leaving us in a muddled middle of uncertainty and confusion. Yet dutiful Saturn can provide us with the patience and sense of purpose needed to keep building bridges with others and within ourselves.
Among the most important ways to do this is by accepting our internal contradictions. Most people want freedom and commitment or security and stimulation. We often feel pulled between these opposing forces and find it necessary to give up one for the other. Yet realistic Saturn in Libra reminds us that we want both, which may seem impossible. Nevertheless, our task between now and October is to learn to accept these contrasts and recognize that it's natural to have them. When we can be more open-minded with ourselves it's easier to be less judgmental of others, which is a significant step toward healing relationships.
The same principles apply in public matters such as religious or political beliefs. It's all too easy for me to reject what I see as the fundamentalist foolishness of others. I have no problem erecting walls of certainty to keep out their supposed ignorance. Yet it's really my blindness that closes my mind to their points of view. It's OK to look because seeing does not mean agreeing. I can recognize that military people tend to solve problems with war and religious militants rely on their holy books without agreeing with their positions. But the bridges we need to build now come from open minds that value connection more than judgment. We don't have to get lost in a muddled middle of mushy thinking and wishy-washy behavior, but we can step back from our fears and uncertainties long enough to recognize what's motivating others, which is the first step to making peace with our enemies, internal or external.