Why Darwin’s Saturn is in Sagittarius in the 12th house
The signs are all based on one of four astrological elements, which are fundamental constituents of the Zodiac.
The Fire element is the energetic spirit that invigorates and animates everything, bringing a vivid focus to the present. It is through this special focus that the intrinsic meaning behind all appearances and events can be intuitively seen, and it is through this focus that a keen interest in the future is naturally developed, and via enthusiasm, effortlessly maintained. It is through the fire of passion that our desires so often become inflamed into life, or are over-indulged. And it is through Fire that individual identity, the self, is discovered and deepened. Fire searches for vision, and when the Fire of our own self and truth starts arising within, even just a flicker of it, then the innate purpose of our whole life at the soul level is also correspondingly kindled, stirred into consciousness.
The Air element is mind and mental connectivity in all its manifestations, and the intrinsic mental faculties that arise from mind – e.g. curiosity, cognition, understanding, and communication. Air is breathing, thoughts and thinking, evaluation and analysis, building ideas into concepts, records and knowledge, relating things and people to each other, creating organisational frameworks of all kinds, and making social connections and networks of all types on all scales. Air is about making distinctions, developing intellect and viewpoint, discerning proportion and balance, finding objectivity and perspective - and ultimately silence.
The Water element is the domain of feelings and emotions, moods, and psychic attunement to objects, events and other beings. Through Water the organic relationships that exist between people, animals, plants, soil and rock can be absorbed into our awareness, becoming emotional nourishment. Feelings are closer to the Soul than thoughts and the physical body, and are the way in which humans grow in comprehension and compassion. Psychic and emotional awareness and sensitivity combined with understanding of oneself, the environment and others helps develop the intelligent aspect of consciousness. It is also through Water that the connection we have to all that exists can be experienced on a soul level. However if our feelings or emotions are blocked over a sufficient period of time we start to become crippled in the heart, and that then causes suffering in the soul. Water flows, and it is when feelings can flow freely within our self, between ourselves and others, and between ourselves and the environment that life can develop in the heart and soul, that love can arise from within, and spread as warmth and beauty to all around.
The Earth element is matter, the material - physical substance in all its energetic expressions, its ever-changing forms. Physical substance is that which has shape, and mass - and together these two things (shape and mass) create form. The Earth element encompasses all such physical forms.
Shape is the amount and proportions of space that an object occupies. And mass is the intrinsic inertia of an object (it’s resistance to being moved), and also its gravitational pull on or to all neighbouring objects. Thus the Earth element exerts a grounding influence on us all.
Individual particles of matter however manifest both as pure energy as well as objects having a fixed form. This is because essentially energy and matter are one and the same, even if this is not obvious in the view we have of anything through the senses in the physical realm. Thus forms can be, and are always potentially capable of being, modified, and is why when our inner psychological state changes and as a result we move into a different energy, this becomes correspondingly reflected in our external world, even in a physical way. Such a visible expression of cause and effect helps us to calibrate our desires and integrate our efforts. Regardless of our evolutionary stage, it helps to guide us towards intentions and actions based on an expression of goodness.
However matter is generally perceived as being opposite to spirit and Fire antagonistic to Earth. And in everyday life this is all too often how it plays out – Fire can often seem self-important and impractical, and Earth can seem overly mundane, materialistic and serious. Yet on a deeper level Earth and Fire are complementary, matter and spirit are connected in an intricate relationship. It is the Earth element that gives a context for our emotional and mental development, and the conscious unfolding of the purpose of any incarnation as we live it. Purpose emanating unconsciously from the Soul, stimulated into consciousness by Fire as Fire, and then consciously integrated and directed throughout one’s life by the Sun (ruler of the central Fire sign). It is through the interaction of spirit with the physical, material dimension of life that we humans can grow from the experiences created, the lessons generated, and the inherent meaning this reveals to us on a soul level. In this way the Earth element is a vital formative factor in the evolutionary journey of the Soul.
Saturn is the ruling planet of Capricorn, the third and most developed of the Earth signs (and thus the most complex). Capricorn holds within it the assimilated knowledge and understanding intrinsic to both Taurus and Virgo, and through its own learning brings the Earth element development to a culmination. Capricorn is at home in the world, as the world is made of matter, and matter Capricorn understands. And as the final Earth sign, Capricorn is indeed the potential master of matter, and being Capricorn’s ruler it is that towards which Saturn intrinsically strives, although in such a quest motive is everything. Without a sense of higher purpose Capricorn psychology can easily generate behavior that is short-sighted, highly self-serving, callous and potentially ruthless. Capricorn views things on a global scale, and often sees the world first and foremost and as a huge resource that can be exploited for maximum gain (at least through patriarchal eyes it does). Only after that does it see the world as a place where we can have a home, and where we can be at home (the Cancer polarity) – which we can manage sustainably. Yet when Capricorn desires to do good, via Saturn it can transform matter into objects of sheer wonder (e.g. the Pyramids, Stonehenge, the Taj Mahal), or create organisations for practically managing and helping the world (e.g. the United Nations, Red Cross) and organise (sometimes very) beneficial actions for the benefit of the Earth and it’s dependents (e.g. national Environmental Protection movements, Global Fund-raising concerts for Relief funds).
Mars, signifying our conscious desires, is the last outermost personal planet. Moving beyond the personal, Jupiter’s big energy quickly pulls us into experiencing things on a larger scale than ourselves or our personal concerns. It opens us up to possibilities and understandings that are of a global or cosmic nature or concern. To be part of what is happening simultaneously everywhere is a very expanding experience, and is where Jupiter naturally tries to take us – forever into more expansion. However in order to assimilate this beneficially, we need to synthesize this whirlwind journey of experience into understanding. Fortunately this generally happens naturally over time (more or less), and to the extent it does we are able to develop a panoramic viewpoint and extensive wisdom.
Out beyond Jupiter, Saturn also has a far-reaching influence. It cannot be otherwise, as at least in the physical universe matter is everywhere, and our bodies are made of this very same matter. Chemical elements are simply atoms of a single kind. And all the chemical elements of which Earth and everything on it are made have all originated from outer space. Hydrogen is the lightest, simplest and most abundant chemical in the universe, and is the principal kind of atom in stars. Due to the intense temperature and pressure at the core of stars thermonuclear fusion turns these hydrogen atoms into helium, and then as the different types of stars age, between them into all the other chemical atoms in the known universe, which are ejected at (or near) the end of the stars life into space. And it is from these chemical elements in space that Earth has formed, and it is from Earthly chemical elements and molecules that our bodies have been created. And so the actual material atoms which our body is made up of, all of it, originated from outer space. We are immersed in a universal sea of matter and Saturn, the ruler of Capricorn, is the form and functioning of this matter.
In this way Saturn always reflects that we are an intrinsic part of the entire physical universe - a universe that is full of forms operating to and within universal laws – and as such via our physical forms, our bodies, our existence is also governed by these very same natural universal laws - physics, chemistry and biology. Although through Saturn we are connected to the whole physical universe, because of Saturn we are also bound into form and at any point in time must operate within the confines of our body, and the environment it is in. This has a natural restraining effect on the potentially never-ending expansion of Jupiter.
The first introduction we have to Saturn in our life in a tangible inner way usually comes about the age of 7 at our first (transiting) Saturn square (our natal Saturn), when we achieve our first major consolidation. Just as matter clumps together because of the force of gravity, with Saturn our psychological material and understanding contracts from time to time into a more solid psychological structure within us, into a “knowing” that has become so definite and real for us (having being born from long arduous experience) that it settles “into our bones” as our personal authority. This 7 yearly consolidation that happens throughout life, and the midway points in between (at the semisquare) reflected by Saturn’s transit of our chart, either gradually crystalizes us into an overall psychological state of maintenance and defence, or one of strengthening resilience, maturity and readiness for further challenges - whatever they may be.
In one way, in terms of perception and understanding, Saturn is a measure of where we’re at - depending on how we relate to the matter in our lives. Do we identify so much with the material that we forget that it is not simply a black and white substance - it is also energy in a form? And this energy can move from form to form. Once we understand this we can also realise that the forms matter takes are not absolute, and can stop becoming slavishly identified with the forms in our life. From this we can understand that it takes energy to build anything into a form, and also that the only permanence a form has is that created by maintaining the input of energy into it. This applies as well to the form of our body (and thus in many ways to its health), the form and organization of our situations, the form of our personal life and the involvements in our relationships, the shape and arrangements of our social networks, to the whole pattern and configuration of our entire world structure. These things all need energy to maintain them in their current form, or to build them into a different form, into something more necessary or desirable. Otherwise degeneration sets in and the form starts breaking down more and more, until all the components making up the form are released from that form.
When forms are understood like this the “burden” that is so often associated with Saturn is able to be changed into an acceptance of matter - of the material, of the actual nature of it. But if we don’t understand form in this way then we remain grossly identified with the body and material objects, and the process that Saturn correlates to can be variously experienced as frustrating, restricting, unforgiving, unyielding, onerous, heavy etc. But as it becomes understood - that at times working with matter is just as much working with energy as it is working with something solid, then gradually Saturn can become more and more satisfying, and eventually can be enjoyed in full.
Just as matter (Earth) builds upon itself in so many different ways to create all the physical forms (Saturn) in the universe, as discussed above Saturn also represents the forms of the mundane conditions and situations that are part and parcel of our personal and social lives. And on a more subjective and intimate personal level Saturn also represents the psychological walls we build for protection and within which we house our “sense of self”, and the scaffolding we use as we build more substance into our sense of self and extend our control over our self and our environment. With this inner development and building up of psychological substance in our sense of self, Saturn represents the inner platforms we establish to support all development, new ventures and extension into the world. So Saturn represents the forms matter takes, the mundane conditions of our lives, our ability to physically protect ourselves from the environment, and also the inner psychological forms and structures we use to protect our sense of our self, also to develop it further and make it more substantial. And regardless of what particular form the conditions of our lives and our sense of self are in, it takes a constant input of energy to keep that form in place.
These characteristics of Saturn are always modified in manifestation however by the structure (Saturn) of one’s cultural environment. In some countries oppressive social and economic conditions are maintained by a constant input of energy from a tyrannical regime to make sure things stay that way. In other countries this also happens but not so overtly and some mundane self-determination is possible. And in other places it is relatively much easier for individuals to determine their mundane conditions because they are able to effectively alter the nature and quantity of energy they are putting into their personal, social, economic and political environment at will. And thus a change in the form of their conditions naturally follows, which is then correspondingly reflected in a changed “form” within, a different sense of self - inner and outer are always connected (the Cancer/Capricorn polarity in this context).
Because Saturn correlates with the form and functioning of matter, and matter is regarded as “real” (actual, has a verifiable existence which no-one disputes), Saturn is associated with reality. And this core characteristic of Saturn is where it is the most revealing. Our core reality is that we need to survive in the world and this determines the primary experiences we have. To effectively deal with the world we have to navigate all its structures, starting with the physical reality. We can’t walk through walls, or walk on water, and there is no need – we can thrive perfectly well without doing either. Then the reality of the social environment is huge. The world is massively populated with people, and national boundaries are a reality, as real as any cold concrete prison floor if you deservedly or through bad luck end up on one for actually or apparently transgressing the laws of any nation. Then within that the cultural expectations of a country, the acceptable customary responses in all the various social situations – which are not enforceable by law but nevertheless are responsible for a multitude of hidden walls and doors wherever you go that are just as real as any prison floor.
We also need to interact with others in our environment to procure shelter, food and clothing, and collectively meeting these basic needs brings us together in our local communities and the larger cities and wider provinces within which they reside. And the relationships and activities we have in these settings establish the external reality of our everyday lives – based on our survival needs. And parallel to this we have all our personal relationships - from mere acquaintances to the closest of friends, from passing lovers to long-term partners, from immediate family to the widest of extended family connections, from people we struggle with or who struggle with us, to open or hidden enemies … all our personal relationships also contribute to our reality in varying degrees of significance.
Obviously we have this basic desire to survive. But beyond that we have myriads of other desires that are all based on needing certain experiences. And it is in the process of pursuing our desires that we create all the structures in our life. These structures that we create on an ongoing basis on many different levels channel our experiences along a singular path, or along several paths - a path or paths of our own making. Saturn is about managing this aspect of our lives, this whole process, and involves setting goals and steadily working towards them. The more purposeful (Sun) our path through life is, the more constructive our total experiences are, and this is then reflected structurally (Saturn) in our consciousness as developing (Saturn) awareness. And this in turn constitutes our core inner reality, its structural actuality. The level of our awareness and the proportion of our consciousness to unconsciousness is what it is, and it is Saturn that correlates to this undeniable inner structural reality. Although we can always deny it to ourselves and/or hide it from others as much as we like, we wake up every day exactly where we are in consciousness, with not a fraction less and not a fraction more of it than that which we have. This is a Saturn phenomenon, “suchness”, as certain as physical matter is what it is – and any imagination to the contrary happens within consciousness not outside it. Saturn represents all that cannot be denied.
It is this core nature of Saturn, correlating to reality that is also the key to mastering many of its challenges. If we stay with what is subjectively true for us, and also what is objectively factual, we stay with our own reality. But doing this can sometimes be a challenge in many ways - to our ego if it contradicts either our inner image of our self or our sense of personal safety (Cancer); it can be threatening to our social respectability (Capricorn) or to personal and social support (Leo/Libra/Scorpio/Aquarius); or it can even put our physical life in danger (Pluto). Because it can be very frightening in these situations, a common Saturnian reaction can also be to hide from the truth. And here is where Saturn gets revealing, as the moment we do this we move into the false. And because Saturn correlates to the substance of any form, when we move into the false we lose the inner substance that the very certainty itself of the truth always bestows. The resulting lack of inner emotional stability can easily affect us physically and is precisely why lie detectors work.
This whole area is the true battleground of Saturn. For when we face our vulnerabilities and fears - our feelings of inadequacy, our fear of failure, our loneliness, our self-denial; when we are feeling blocked in our self-expression or foiled in our external progress, or defeated in our contests with situations or others, disappointment of all kinds … all these feelings in ourselves (often labelled personal “weaknesses” by the critical face of Saturn in ourselves or others) are things Saturn is often embarrassed by, ashamed of, wants to hide, to camouflage … but which instead need to be acknowledged and lived. And in doing so, paradoxically this immediately brings inner strength which helps deal with each difficulty. But the more we push the reality away the more we become separated from our own truth and the inner relaxation, calm and freedom that brings. And always with Saturn the way through this battle is to take responsibility for the outcome to any situation as much as possible. Operating as objectively and efficiently as one can, and being determined to find a solution, one learns to keep digging deeper within oneself, to persevere until the solution to the problem is found.
On an individual level these are the main functions of Saturn - to force us to acknowledge and process all our emotions, to replace our fears with strength, to develop the capacity to solve our own problems, to grow through our experiences, and to become authentic through living our own reality whatever it is, and in so doing developing an inner centre that is real. It is through our own experience that true growth comes, and it is this that becomes our real knowledge – everything else is borrowed knowledge, good maybe as an inspiration and a guide, but not as something to hold onto forever. As we develop more and more of our own knowing from our own experience the more we consolidate our sense of self, thus eventually becoming free from the need for validation from external authority; validation from one’s own true inner authority in the end becoming more relevant and meaningful. Because the more we dig deep into ourselves to explore and uncover who we are, the more we become integrated, and the more we can actualise our purpose (Sun). And only we can do that – no one else ever can. And once we understand this all comparison becomes meaningless, even if it continues at some level out of deep habit.
This is one of the gifts of Saturn – integrity. Eventually coming to realise that unless we have experienced something for ourselves we have nothing. All the wisdom of Jupiter means very little until it also becomes our own truth, as a result of our own experiencing. By working hard to root out all our conditioned responses and reactions to everyone and everything we eventually return to our innocence, and as we gradually remove the false from ourselves and our lives we progressively reveal our essence. However from the beginning of life most of us have been (to varying degrees) impacted by others on a personal, social and collective basis - conditioned to be other than our natural selves. And as well most of us bring into each life a legacy (Saturn) of unconscious conditioned responses and reactions to all manner of things – things from the past still unresolved and carried within our Soul (Pluto). So one of the core learnings of Saturn is to develop our capacity to be authentic in each life situation we find ourselves in, including all our current faults and imperfections, to be real – this is who we are. To realise that no God or Goddess is guaranteed to treat us as special in any way, and that if we want a certain result we need to try and create it ourselves. Taking responsibility in this way paradoxically also brings freedom. If we assume full responsibility for our situation, or at least our attitude and response to it, then we are simultaneously free to act in our response in any way we feel to. We become neither beholden to nor dependent on anyone. But it doesn’t mean being a loner, or not accepting help, it simply means we wake up to and start actualising our potential. Capricorn, the 10th house and its cusp all represent the area of the sky directly overhead at birth, from where the planets bear down on us most strongly. Correspondingly, this part of the chart represents the area where the influence we have on our environment is potentially the most pronounced, and Saturn shows the process we go through in making that potential influence actual and real. So now we can look at Saturn in Darwin’s chart.
When looking at Darwin’s chart specifically from the point of view of Saturn, there are several key things to register. Firstly Saturn is in the 12th house with Scorpio on the cusp, and in Sagittarius. The next thing is that Capricorn (the sign Saturn rules) is on the 2nd house cusp. Thirdly the natural Capricorn house (10th house) starts where its cusp is, and this 10th house cusp (in the Porphyry system) is where the Midheaven (MC) is in the chart, and the MC is in Libra. This gives us the central experiential framework and needs involved in Darwin’s Saturn energy and its expression – the 12th/2nd/10th houses, with the natural understandings of Sagittarius/Scorpio/Capricorn/Libra governing it’s functioning.
Darwin’s worldly process (Saturn) is naturally going to be centred in his search for ultimate meaning and experience in his life – with Saturn in the 12th house, and in a close balsamic conjunction to Neptune (which is also in its own 12th house, the last house in the natural zodiac, and a balsamic conjunction also representing the end of a cycle — all greatly amplifying the significance of Saturn being in the 12 house in this situation). That ultimate meaning will be derived from an expanded viewpoint regarding, and an intuitional understanding of, himself at the Soul level - Saturn is in Sagittarius (overview, understanding) with the ruler of Saturn (Jupiter, expansion, intuition) in a new conjunction to Pluto (the Soul). Darwin would feel (Jupiter in Pisces) mental exploration (Jupiter in 3rd) to be a natural part of this search. He would have many thoughts (3rd) about his life in general, about himself as a person, and about his true nature (Pisces), which would all stimulate his search for that meaning.
With Scorpio on the 12th house cusp an unconscious drive for inner transformation would also be a part of his search for deep meaning. He would feel unsettled and frustrated at a Soul level due to many uncompleted desires (Scorpio) percolating in his unconscious (12th) – desires to know and experience the inner or hidden secrets of life (Scorpio). Whenever these desires floated into his subconscious via dreams at night or dreams during the day, or more clearly into his mind via sudden insights or as visions (12th), they would inject new material into his awareness and his search for meaning. This would be both deeply invigorating yet also highly confusing at the same time, but he would constantly sense that the clues to what he was looking for would be found through the active use of his mind (the ruler of the 12th house -Saturn’s house- is in the 3rd house conjunct Mercury).
So the reason Darwin was driven to use his mind so much stemmed not just from the sizeable past life momentum he had developed in using it (Pluto in 3rd), or the huge energy he had for mental activity in this life (large stellium in 3rd), but also his deep need to release repressed desires that kept seeping up from his Soul, mostly into his subconscious mind but sometimes directly into his consciousness. These fragments became mixed into his life on two different levels – that of his spiritual yearnings and his sense of unity in life (12th), and that of his everyday life (3rd house). The effect of this would be to keep him focussed on his need to find some way to bring his mind to a point of restful equilibrium (packed 3rd house with PPP in the 9th), through satisfying his deeper longings for a personal experience of oneness that he could objectively know and validate (Saturn in 12th conjunct Neptune in Sagittarius, ruler Jupiter in Pisces in the 3rd … psychologically Saturn is about finding one’s authenticity, which leads to one’s personal truth, and needing to objectively validate that; the 12th house, Neptune and Pisces are the experience, energy and attunement to Oneness; Sagittarius and Jupiter are seeking understanding, knowledge, the truth; and the activity of the 3rd is gathering as much information as possible, and classifying that information).
Objective validation always involves at least the 10th house, and to an extent the 11th house, because public involvement and agreement is necessary for external validation, and external validation is required for anything to be truly objective (Saturn). Thus the results of Darwin’s quest needed to manifest in the 10th, so that the Saturn energy which was the driving force behind the search could be satisfied, due to the results being able to be objectively verified. And Mars (conscious desires) in the 10th house provides a good avenue for release of all the fragments of uncompleted desires arising in his 12th house (via the Scorpio cusp) to become consciously channelled into his worldly life (10th) and acted upon (Mars). With Mars in this position (10th) Darwin clearly intended to create as much as possible the means to actively release in a definitive way (10th) any repressions that surfaced in his life, in order to allow his search for ultimate meaning to proceed uninhibited (Mars). With Libra on the 10th house cusp he would generally be mindful of the social limitations surrounding his behavior, yet with Mars in the 10th the need to assert his right to individual expression would be pronounced (10th), and no doubt on occasions tend to be extreme (Libra).
A key factor in this search for ultimate meaning in life – a search that will involve very personal elements from deep within Darwin mixed with much public involvement – will be his needs concerning survival, values and self-worth (Capricorn, the sign Saturn rules, is on the 2nd house cusp). His innate needs and understandings in this area will constantly condition his evaluation of options and priorities (Saturn) concerning his efforts to establish and prove himself in the world (Saturn), and in how he manifests the results of those efforts (10th). With Capricorn on the 2nd house Darwin’s efforts in life for tangible achievement (Saturn) would have been done with self-preservation issues firmly in the back of his mind much of the time, as the 2nd house is about one’s survival and what is needed for that. This would have brought caution as a value into his methods of operating, which would have manifested as a “don’t upset the authorities” kind of restraint in his mind regarding whatever he did. This is because Capricorn on the 2nd house is about taking responsibility for one’s survival needs, and thus valuing whatever endeavour is made towards this a great deal due to the usually considerable personal effort invested (Capricorn). At the same time being aware of the impact (Saturn) that the world (Capricorn) can have on one’s survival needs, for example if certain interpretation of laws, or the changing of laws, puts one at a personal disadvantage. With Capricorn on the 2nd house cusp there would be an awareness of the value in presenting himself in a conservative fashion that would not ruffle the feathers of anyone in authority. This would tend to further moderate his Mars in the 10th need to have freedom to act upon whatever desires arose at any time. The possibility of some tension around his desires at times is also reflected by the FQ square between his Moon in Capricorn (also in the 2nd house) and Mars in the 10th.
The design here is clear … the conscious desire nature (Mars – where we first glimpse our Soul’s desires as they arise instinctively into consciousness), is tightly structured in Darwin’s consciousness. Mars is naturally a fiery, instinctive, single pointed, active and highly assertive energy. And Darwin’s is placed in the 10th house, potentially a position of maximum influence on the environment. However it is hemmed in from all sides which creates the effect of channelling it – being in Libra (its natural opposite sign) its focus becomes diversified with a need to consider other people and to act in a balanced way; and the square from the Moon in Capricorn introduces a personal need to always be responsible; while the quincunx from Jupiter makes sure any out of place ego play or excessive selfishness backfires more often than not. So the only direction in which Mars can really expand is via it’s mutual reception with Venus (the ruler of Mars is in Mars’ own sign) which is an easy flow of energy into the house Venus is in, the 3rd, where as we know there is a “mountain of work” to be done, the perfect place for Mars’ energy to be channelled.
Having Mars expressing itself towards the world from Saturn’s natural house in such a controlled (Capricorn) fashion, distributing the results of the 3rd house research to significant people (Libra), is an excellent structure (Saturn form) in Darwin’s chart for maximum output and beneficial results. And the underlying reason for such a form being created, through which Darwin had no choice but to operate, was because of the Full sesquiquadrate from Pluto in the 3rd to Mars in the 10th. The Soul required Darwin in this life to expand his understanding of the nature of the existing social and regulatory customs and pathways in his society via his work to fulfil it’s purpose, which was to get the recognition from other scientists that he craved (Sun and Chiron in Aquarius, with Chiron squaring the lunar nodal axis), and also hopefully therefore as a by-product, an acceptance of his work and thus material progress (Moon in Capricorn in 2nd).
Saturn is about structure, and at this point we can see that the chart itself is in a bowl shaped structure (all planets evenly spread out within one half of the chart only), with Mars the leading edge of the bowl. This shape denotes a self-conscious person due to holding all their energies within themselves (in the bowl) creating a containment of themselves, and thus an elevated awareness of themselves. Darwin’s energies were all assembled in the eastern (Ascendant) side of his chart, which is the hemisphere of the chart in which all the energies are rising towards the Midheaven, and are thus in the process of gaining in relative strength and influence as they approach the central point in the sky overhead. This creates an energy system that tends to impact itself on its environment (as opposed to the situation where all the planets are in the western, Descendant, side of the chart creating a receptive energy system that is easily impacted upon by the environment).
Darwin was indeed pregnant with a great mission and needed to be in some kind of control of his environment in order to facilitate his progress, and this spatial arrangement (Saturn) of his planets in the chart, and what it allows, shows a coordinated strategy (Saturn) in operation by the Soul in terms of aligning everything possible in favour of success in this lifetime. Because all of Darwin’s energies were contained within him the way they were, it meant he was also simultaneously aware of the corresponding emptiness in his experience reflected by the other (empty) half of his chart (there is no currently activated energy there, no planets). This sets up within him its own dynamic of uncertainty about everything that empty half represents – he simply has no direct experience of it – and this can easily become a frustration in itself, and a powerful motivation to fill that emptiness with something.
In Darwin’s case his Soul has set up this arrangement of his energies, with Saturn (along with Neptune) in a commanding position in the occupied half of the chart, as Darwin very much needed to contain all his energy, desire and purpose as much as possible so that he could coordinate a life of meticulous application into a grand result. It was this result (Saturn) that once produced meant he would have something to give to the world, something he would be able to flood the empty half of his chart with. But until he had the result he needed to contain his total energies so that they were more easily able to be channelled virtually en masse into the rigorous scientific process necessary to do what he had to do. Here we are seeing in stunning clarity (visually, graphically) how Saturnian requirements dictated the exact shape, the precise psychological form required to hold the Soul’s consciousness for optimum fulfilment of Darwin’s desires. Which would be achieved through acting upon desires in a controlled way (as previously discussed), and fulfilling them in a productive manner (Mars in 10th) thus leading into the new experience signified by the empty half of the chart, starting with the 9th house containing the coveted PPP.
So these are central things to register, and in so doing we have outlined the areas of his life where Darwin is going to be engaged in the process of actualizing his potential to influence society (Saturn), the approach he will take as he does that, and the understandings that are behind that process and that will moderate it.
Let’s now have a look at Darwin’s past lives to see how events have developed in relation to Saturn. The Soul’s very distant past has been extensively covered in detail in previous posts so we will just summarize it in relation to how it has influenced the evolution of Saturn. We know that the Soul of Darwin has not always been late 3rd stage individuated. In its consensus days it had deep and seemingly endless struggles (Saturn) with survival with loss of family lives and deep prolonged stress and suffering as a result. This steadily led to a great wounding to it’s self-worth, and after lifetimes of physical, emotional and mental hardship, agony and deep guilt the Soul became hopelessly depressed. Feeling an utter failure the soul looked for ways to escape society, which resulted in much time spent in institutional isolation of various kinds. With unending time to reflect this in turn gradually brought about a great disillusionment within the Soul - the combined effect of all that had come before (Neptune in 12th). And because Neptune is ruled by Jupiter which is in Pisces, and Jupiter is ruled by Neptune in the 12th …. there would have seemed to be no escape from this deep depression and disillusionment (please reference previous posts for all the astrological signatures relating Saturn and Neptune to all the planetary SNs and this past life context).
Languishing in such psychological pain it is highly possible that the personality has then tried to take its life, commit suicide, as an attempt at the ultimate escape (Saturn balsamic conj Neptune 12th). With such a sense of futility (Saturn in 12th) having reached to the Soul level (Scorpio on 12th house cusp) a highly desperate state of affairs has manifested, and suicide may have seemed a perfectly viable option. If so, such an experiment would have obviously failed in terms of permanent ending of the Soul, as that is not possible. And after the act the Soul would have reviewed the life, and manifested the next life registering that suicide was not an option anymore. If this was what happened, then once such an extreme action has been experienced life has a new edge to it.
However these lives were also the turning point for the Soul, even though the inner despair would have been more intense than ever, as from this ultimately desperate position it sparked the Soul “breaking out on its own (SNs in 1st) in search for more meaning in life via a huge desire to escape from the mundane – the result of a courageous and defiant reaction which had arisen up within the Soul as a result of years of struggle and hardship which the Soul had believed in for a very great number of lives out of sheer necessity because that was the Soul’s primary experience for such a long time”. And we know that point was probably when the Soul of Darwin started its journey away from the Consensus. However with Pallas in a crescent square to Saturn, there is still an imprint in the Soul structure from those very distant, distant times, the sense of inner compression is still there after so long … an ambivalence in the psyche, a lingering unconscious fear of failure and a subtle temptation to leave the body as one possible way of dealing with that.
We know that from that point however the Soul has in a way never looked back. From one extreme to another, it’s reaction at the Soul level to being stuck in hardship and misery for so long gradually manifested as more and more restlessness, a great thirst to travel and experience many different cultures (SNs of Mars & Uranus in Sag 1st, SN of Jup in 1st). And along the way the Soul’s mind engaged and expanded itself in all the ways previously discussed, leading to the current life with Sat balsamic to Nep in Sag as a result. And now after all this travelling and studying of nature Darwin has seen a great deal, and been changed a great deal. He has become highly creative and sensitive (all the Pisces factors etc.), and he knows in his bones (Saturn) that there is more to life than what can be seen (conj to Neptune and in 12th) and he wants to know what that is very, very badly. So in this life, in what further ways will Saturn structure Darwin’s life and conscious experience?
Firstly with Saturn in Sagittarius Darwin has chosen a democratic country with a capitalist economy in which to be born – a “free” country. This was a vital ingredient that has given him an open field in which to pursue his desires, a wonderful freedom of movement, speech and action. Secondly, for all the reasons previously given, via his Capricorn 2nd house he was able to create a basis for solid financial support. With survival and his work taken care of his only other desire was concerning a family, which he managed to conveniently pluck from the existing family structure. So these structures facilitated the basic fulfilment of his core desires – survival, work and family.
Once the macro structures of one’s life are in place (as above), we need smaller structures, inner platforms, to facilitate development of our existing work and new ventures. For Darwin he needed to create plans, record his ideas, devise experiments, create organising and classifying systems, prepare budgets and apply for funding etc. Much of this involved his Mercury FQ square Saturn, and represented a significant challenge to him. Darwin would have been under a lot of tension often, just dealing with the fact this all needed doing and in finding the form and mechanism for these things – the FQ square is a crisis in action and these kinds of tasks were not necessarily interesting to him nor initially natural (with Saturn in Sagittarius and Mercury in Pisces he was first and foremost hungry for the big picture) but this Saturn square forced him to become disciplined early on. His desires (Mars) for publically (10th) verifiable results (Saturn in Sag) absolutely necessitated perfection (Saturn conj Neptune) in these administration areas and thus he had no choice but to develop his Mercury Saturn square to its fullest potential or otherwise suffer enormous inner conflict around his work. It was also a very beneficial development as he needed his logical mind to be impeccable in its ability to communicate all kinds of information to all kinds of people both written and orally, and only by developing such a disciplined Mercury was this possible.
Helping ease the way in all his work related concerns and relationships of course was his Venus FQ trine to Saturn. This brought a great deal of personal confidence and professional structure into relationships that would have opened doors that were vital. Combined with his Capricorn Moon, even as a young person he could exhibit a worldly maturity that was attractive to adults much older than him, and without these important connections he would never had been able to do what he did. With Mars in Libra clearly indicating his Soul’s desires for professional (10th) relationships, Saturn trine Venus gave him the capacity to truly fulfil that desire. It would also have allowed him to easily attract women if he so chose to when feeling sexual. He was married but concealed (Saturn in 12th) flirting may have been an interesting pastime (Venus in Aries in 3rd) to him, although it’s unlikely to have ever amounted to anything more than that (Saturn is usually too confined by an awareness of responsibilities and repercussions).
So these were some of the ways in which Darwin’s external experiences were shaped by Saturn structuring, which in turn affected how he actualized his potential to influence society. But perhaps more interesting is how his inner world was structured. With Saturn in the 12th conjunct Neptune Darwin was a very hard person to fathom, sometimes referred to as an enigma by his peers. To understand this we first need to explain the significance of the 12th house. The 12th house is the final (and natural Pisces) house, a water house.
The sense we have of ourselves is built up in many layers, starting with our instinctive urges in Aries and the 1st house, and any new conjunctions in the chart. These are all our “new beginning” points, where we act automatically if we are not very conscious or in danger, but otherwise spontaneously when we are properly conscious. We get a slight feeling or sense of ourselves from these perceptions and actions but it is usually fleeting (unless of course it was traumatic as in an accident). Even when we have to pause before deciding on an issue or engaging in some daily process, the action we are taking might impact our sense of who we are slightly more, but it tends to fade on a daily basis. However if we have to act vigorously in any situation, one inner result of that is that it wakes our consciousness up a bit, impacts us more strongly – the blood might rush, so it can jolt us and that gives us a much greater sense of ourselves, which can last up to a few days or a week or more. And all these things on different layers of experience are going on at the same time, so it’s all building up in layers, and in this way our sense of ourselves is always assembling itself, and then fading away as new events bring new experiences with fresh impact on us, from which we rebuild our sense of ourselves anew…. and so it goes on an everyday basis.
But underneath this we have a witnessing quality to us, which tends to just be there aware of things subconsciously. This witnessing quality does not change with external events, or with our thoughts, feelings or actions. It always maintains itself - seems to have its own private battery because it’s always on. When we go to sleep at night it is the feeling of ourselves going to sleep, and when we wake up it’s the feeling of ourselves waking up. Falling asleep and waking up are external to this witness, and it is not identified with these actions. It’s the ego, the constant feeling we have of who we are that does not change, that involves a feeling and internalised picture of who we are … as we breathe in and out.
We all need this subconscious sense of ourselves, otherwise we would feel insane. Aha, well we don’t want to feel that do we? This unchanging sense of ourselves is born in the 4th house by the Moon – thus it’s a Cancer understanding and vibration. We need this inner identity to relate our awareness to, hence we sometimes “talk to ourselves”. From our current awareness we are talking to this imaginary “self” that we are. But that’s the thing, somehow to us it’s not imaginary at all, it feels very real, and we may get emotional if this feeling we have of ourselves is contradicted, blocked or suppressed, denied, insulted or exploited. Because our sense of ourselves is different to everyone else’s sense of themselves it is also a sense of being separate to others, although often we long to have that feeling of isolation displaced by being with likeminded people and by having loving, nurturing bonds with others. This is the basis of "family and friends" that is generically valued the world over, and why.
And the polar opposite in the zodiac, Capricorn, in theory guards the entrance to this cave of familial togetherness, inside which the sense of self exists, and protects this sense of self from precisely all those things that would hurt it (contradiction, being blocked or suppressed, denied, insulted or exploited etc.). But often that doesn’t work because no-one can protect anyone from all these possibilities 24x7, and thus we need to get realistic (Saturn) about our sense of self, and keep updating it to be as emotionally self-functioning and self-sufficient as possible (via constructive emotional processing) so that as a living biological system it’s downtime (non-functioning time) is minimised - that it exists effectively, and thus healthily (Cancer, the 4th house and the Moon).
And through each further sign (using Saturn) we add more substance to this sense of self, our ego. A key breakthrough comes through Scorpio, the 8th house or Pluto (the Soul). Here the sense of self is forced to deepen, and much more becomes possible is terms of knowing one’s sense of self. The witness aspect of the self becomes more powerful and steady here. But the stakes are much higher – making the right decisions can be deeply rewarding in terms of pleasure but making the wrong ones can bring great pain. And then we move on through the next signs.
However although all this effort to develop (Saturn) our ego proves very useful most of the time in many situations, there is a side to life where it proves to be of no use at all. Because in the 12th house (or in Pisces or with Neptune) if we try to stay identified with this (now) possibly infinitely beautiful and glorious sense of our self, certainly a very matured sense of our self and no doubt one we’ve become very fond of … inevitably at some point we start to fall apart. And if we persist we steadily become very unsettled and uncertain, often unhappy, ungrounded and spaced out, and eventually delusional, or worst case - insane. All because we fear not knowing who we are - we cannot imagine being happy without our “sense of self”, we have become so very used to it. And thus we hang on to it … firmly (or tightly if we feel we need to). And naturally so – to let go and be a “nobody” is generally very frightening for the everyday awareness that the conscious self generally consists of.
Saturn is the last planet one can see with the naked eye, and so it represents the outer boundary of the conscious self. The planets beyond that correlate with our unconscious self. And accordingly Saturn is very invested usually in protecting this conscious sense of self that manifests in many layers within us, but which has its roots in our Moon, 4th house and Cancer makeup, and binding to our Soul via Pluto, the 8th house and Scorpio. Capricorn and Saturn both need a strong sense of self to function properly, and as the sense of self is an innate psychological form, from wherever they are in the chart they are able to invest in it, build it up, and protect it. This works everywhere except when Saturn is in the 12th house or Pisces, which represent an experience and attunement to a space that is an infinite unity, with no possibility to create forms within. Because no sooner a boundary is created in this space than it is mysteriously dissolved. So no form can ever take shape in a permanent way, at the most it can only exist in passing. In the 12th Saturn simply cannot function as it normally does, certainly not in relation to the sense of self.
How someone is able to be with an energy and vibration such as this depends greatly on their evolutionary stage. Darwin was late 3rd individuated which means his sense of self was highly developed, stable within and without, and reasonably free i.e. unique and original. However he did have a lot of Christian conditioning; many Christian beliefs - ideas about life and God based on the Bible that he hadn’t necessarily experienced for himself or was interested in doing so, but which he nonetheless retained as part of his “sense of self”. With his Saturn in the 12th Darwin would have found his strongly developed sense of self could exist and persist for all intents and purposes, most of the time. He had a staunch Moon in Capricorn and could defend his inner state through emotional control. This would allow him to function in the world and pursue his desires. However he would have been haunted by a nagging sense of uncertainty and insecurity, that felt totally elusive on a mostly constant basis in the background to his daily life. He would be able to maintain this uneasy balance between his sense of being a separate individual, and having a diffused sense of a centre and much reduced power over the environment – by creating a strict routine of work, personal duties, creativity time and family recreation time – a constant time for each in the day, day after day for almost the whole of his married life. Saturn being in the 12th forced him to create a highly structured unchanging lifestyle based around family and work alone. And this was vital for Darwin for several reasons.
Firstly he had lived so many past lives in a very expansive and unstructured way. The most recent life he had lived almost out of control, being wild and unruly, and it has given him a love of all that was completely isolated from society, so immersed in nature that he had very little to do with civilisation. This meant he was used to always being in a large undefined space (geographically, exactly like the 12th is psychologically).
Secondly, his experiences he has had of nature for lifetimes have been telling him that there was a hidden connection somehow operating … intuitively he sensed something invisible behind the physical world, or hidden within it, that was larger than the world of the senses. He knew in his bones (Saturn) there was more to life, more to nature, than met the eye. Elusive and mysterious though it was, it was exactly the area he was interested in, and needed to work in … if “work” is possible as such in the 12th. In fact it is more like “coping” rather than working, but it meant he was free to continue without restrictions, as he had in previous lives, and at the same time it forced him to bring a Virgo/6th/Mercury vibration to his life (via his routines which were vitally needed to balance and stabilise his 12th house situation). Provided he took responsibility for his Saturn functioning and made sure it did function sufficiently, having Saturn here gave him full control and the freedom he was accustomed to, to utilise his Saturn energies as he liked. It meant he had a channel, via his human mind, into the vast mystery of the beyond.
And thirdly, as one nears the end of the 3rd individuated evolutionary stage, approaching the transition to the spiritual, nervousness can arise. The sense one has of oneself is coming to it’s culmination, strongest manifestation, and a vague subtle emptiness sometimes appears to be on the horizon. In this inner situation there is sometimes a desire to delay (Saturn) the inevitable by anchoring oneself to the past in some way, by identifying with an aspect of oneself that is known and reliable. And Darwin was doing this through a massive and total identification with his life’s work (Saturn). The highly structured lifestyle and total focus he created around his work because of having Saturn in the 12th was also to create this anchor against the tides of the infinite.
Another reason Saturn was in the 12th house was due to the huge build up of guilt over so many lifetimes, that it was almost more than he could ever deal with, and thus much of it had been pushed deep into his unconscious. His guilt is largely natural in origin and so is not going to fade easily from his consciousness, and his Soul knows the best way to atone for this guilt now is by dedicating his total abilities and skills to some cause, some great sacrifice (12th house), which of course his work (Saturn) represented in that he had an enormous intellect and dedicated his entire life in total to using it for the benefit of humanity.
It was for all these various reasons that Darwin’s Saturn was in the 12th house – it was a space he was already very familiar with at a Soul level. And it was also a space he absolutely needed to be in control of as much as possible, in order to not just repeat his last life, which in a way was productive but at the end of the day changed little from a public perspective, and also left him with unfulfilled desires and very likely feeling frustrated (Saturn quincunx the Noon’s SN). And as his core interest in nature had taken him so deeply into it, that it was as if he was looking at an invisible veil, behind which he had already sensed biological secrets, in this life it was vital that he was able to have a clear and sane head to continue in that mysterious realm. Not just to be grounded himself in his observations and work with biological and geological unity, but so he could capture it and show it to others.
And for that capture the Soul needed Saturn to be in Sagittarius. As we know Darwin had been building to this life of great revelation for many lifetimes now – this has been gone into so extensively by everyone. And we can see this reflected throughout the chart ... PPP in the 9th house, Jupiter new conjunction Pluto, Jupiter in Pisces, Mercury balsamic conj Pluto in the 3rd, Uranus conj the lunar NN and a Sagittarius ASC ... the Sagittarian themes permeate throughout the chart. And because of this here is another case where there is very little choice on the part of the Soul as to Saturn's placement in the chart - the optimum location by far for Saturn is in Sagittarius, to act as a binding and stabilising force for all these higher mind energies, pursuits and preoccupations.
Regardless of where it’s placed Saturn in Sagittarius invokes a need to understand an actual reality as opposed to a theoretical possibility, and also a need to be a little streetwise. In Darwin’s case it was a need to understand what these mysteries he was observing actually were, beyond his or anyone else’s theories. Because no-one had the definitive answers to the questions Darwin was deeply concerning himself with, it may have been tempting at times to pass a theory off as a valid explanation, simply because Saturn’s truth is such hard work, and if any weaknesses in the argument were compensated for probably no-one would be able dispute it anyway. But with Saturn in Sagittarius faith in one’s own theories, or other people’s answers, or even directly in the unknown itself, is minimised ... and a superficial truth will certainly never satisfy. Saturn in Sagittarius potentially brings sincerity and integrity into the search for truth, and being in the 12th, for the whole truth. But whenever he discovered something of the truth it also gave him the sense to thoroughly analyse possible reactions to it (of all kinds not just logical), and also the ability to create effective strategies concerning those premeditated arguments against those possible reactions … to be mentally streetwise (Sag). Which was an important part of his overall scientific work, getting it accepted enough that it was genuinely validated once and for all. This was absolutely necessary in order to avoid another life just the same as Dampier’s – spectacular and brilliant in output, but a relatively dismal failure in terms of reward for that great exertion, reward being recognition for his true worth … the healing he has so desperately needed from the world for lifetimes. So in one sense, ultimately Saturn was in Sagittarius in the 12th house to ensure that Darwin finally got the deepest healing on a Soul level that was so, so desperately needed – he just needed to revolutionize science, as it was known at the time, to get it. Having Saturn in Sagittarius in the 12th helped the Soul to finally turn its deepest weakness into its greatest strength.