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King Saturn and the Archetype of the Father

[ 0 ] March 20, 2010 |

Written by Sherene Schostak and Stefanie Iris Weiss (the Saturn Sisters) for the 2010 International Astrology Day Blogathan

Daddy
by Sylvia Plath

You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.

Daddy, I have had to kill you.
You died before I had time–
Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,
Ghastly statue with one gray toe
Big as a Frisco seal

And a head in the freakish Atlantic
Where it pours bean green over blue
In the waters off beautiful Nauset.
I used to pray to recover you.
Ach, du.

In the German tongue, in the Polish town
Scraped flat by the roller
Of wars, wars, wars.
But the name of the town is common.
My Polack friend

Says there are a dozen or two.
So I never could tell where you
Put your foot, your root,
I never could talk to you.
The tongue stuck in my jaw.

It stuck in a barb wire snare.
Ich, ich, ich, ich,
I could hardly speak.
I thought every German was you.
And the language obscene

An engine, an engine
Chuffing me off like a Jew.
A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.
I began to talk like a Jew.
I think I may well be a Jew.

The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna
Are not very pure or true.
With my gipsy ancestress and my weird luck
And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack
I may be a bit of a Jew.

I have always been scared of you,
With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.
And your neat mustache
And your Aryan eye, bright blue.
Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You–

Not God but a swastika
So black no sky could squeak through.
Every woman adores a Fascist,
The boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you.

You stand at the blackboard, daddy,
In the picture I have of you,
A cleft in your chin instead of your foot
But no less a devil for that, no not
Any less the black man who

Bit my pretty red heart in two.
I was ten when they buried you.
At twenty I tried to die
And get back, back, back to you.
I thought even the bones would do.

But they pulled me out of the sack,
And they stuck me together with glue.
And then I knew what to do.
I made a model of you,
A man in black with a Meinkampf look

And a love of the rack and the screw.
And I said I do, I do.
So daddy, I’m finally through.
The black telephone’s off at the root,
The voices just can’t worm through.

If I’ve killed one man, I’ve killed two–
The vampire who said he was you
And drank my blood for a year,
Seven years, if you want to know.
Daddy, you can lie back now.

There’s a stake in your fat black heart
And the villagers never liked you.
They are dancing and stamping on you.
They always knew it was you.
Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through.

Who’s Your Daddy?

When most people think of the Cosmic Taskmaster, better known as King Saturn, they think of words like: mean, cold, dictatorial, brutish, depressing, and harsh. (And those are the kinder adjectives.) But we’re going to tell you a little secret about the ringed planet today, folks: Saturn has a heart, and although it may not be easy to find, it’s certainly worth looking for.

Like a father who pushes you harder and harder to do well in school, Saturn has your best interests in mind. You may not like having to stay up late doing algebra problems until the solutions click, but Saturn will keep you glued to your chair until it happens. You’ll hate him for it, but when you get the A, you’ll probably be grateful. And years later, when that work ethic wins you a stellar job in your field of choice, well, you’ll know that those brutal hours staying inside working while your friends played were well worth it.

Speaking of daddies, we don’t call Saturn Big Daddy by accident. He is not just symbolic of the father, he is often represented by real life experiences with your real life daddy. Whether he’s biological, adoptive, or step, the man you know as father is the man that probably shows up in your chart as Saturn’s placement by house, sign and aspect. When Saturn makes major aspects to its natal position throughout your life (at the ages of 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, and so on) father issues are usually significant. For women especially, the dreaded Saturn Return is not just about the crisis of turning thirty: it’s often the first time that they fully understand the impact that their relationship with their father has had. For better or worse, they unmask their boyfriends and husbands and tease out the bits of daddy in them. They meet their own inner authority and learn to re-parent themselves. It’s time to really leave the old family home and go out into the world, whether daddy was a good, loving provider or an abuser or even a totally absent ghost dad.

This is where you find Saturn’s heart, finally, if you look closely enough for it. Because even if your father was one of the mean ones, you can see how he was hurt, abused, left alone to fend for himself, or unrealized. You see how he got mean. If your father’s perfectionist, high expectations made you into a self-critical mess, you can forgive him for making you insanely neurotic, because you get that he just did it because of what he went through before you were born. If your father was a no-show, you’ll finally know why, in the profoundest spiritual terms, his karma got to be that way. You will find your daddy’s heart, and that’s where Saturn’s heart lives.

“Just say No”: Boundaries, Integrity and the Art of Self-Possession

“For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give—yes, no, or maybe—
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.”

– William Stafford

What part of “no” don’t you understand? Sadly, many people in this world, starting with our parents, do not understand that no means no. Despite obvious body language like shoulders up to our ears, arms-crossed and crinkled brows, others may refuse to get the subtle (or not so subtle) hints that we are being pushed beyond what we are willingly consenting to. Even if we verbally decline, our words can be twisted or flat-out ignored if someone has a stronger agenda they insist on getting passed. We learn from a young age how to behave like good little “people-pleasers” in many instances, for survival’s sake. But the difficulties ensue when those behaviors carry over into our adult lives.

Childhood scars leave us unconsciously terrified of standing up for our own needs in even some of the most basic of ways. We just can’t bare the thought of pissing anyone off, or worse losing love or approval from others—in some cases even people we don’t actually like. And on a deeper unconscious level we may actually fear some kind of annihilation if we don’t adhere to the demands of others (often carried over the omnipotence we project onto parental figures as a child). This is deep, unconscious Saturn at work.

Think of the devilish figure of Saturn eating his own offspring when they try to go against him. Clearly this is a terrifying reminder of why it is so important that we embrace Saturn in the inner realms so we don’t experience his wrath coming at us from the outer world, usually in the form of a tyrannical figure in our lives. You’d be amazed how many of us have been caught in the grips of such projections coming at us from a “big bad world” or a devouring version of the cosmic taskmaster via cruel authority figures, abusive, controlling men and “daddy” figures gone awry.

Setting limits is a tricky art when navigating passive-aggressive behaviors, manipulative self-interests and plain-old bullies. This is why so many self-help books and psychologists get teased for the constant insistence on the need for boundaries. Why is this so important? What does it have to do with Saturn? Where do we start?

If you think of the rings of Saturn, you get the visual image of a physical boundary. Saturn reminds us to draw our lines in the sand, define, demarcate, contain and hold our own. And this is not a wavy, changeable, wishy-washy “I’m ok, you’re ok,” fuzzy bubble. Saturn rules lead—concrete, solid as an ancient rock—it’s domain is matter itself. On a psychological level this is crucial, because it’s the way we define ourselves, possess our value system and ultimately author our own lives. Either we create the rules in our lives or we live by someone else’s. Once we back down from our own standards because we crave approval or fear dislike from the outside—we’re as good as devoured by our inner Saturn. You can kiss your self-esteem and backbone goodbye every time you betray yourself like that. And you’ll feel it instantly with Saturn’s signature “lead in your bones” depression.

Before we can claim self-possession and have authorship over our lives, we must first get clear about what our bottom lines are. This is the real Saturn work. Saturn requires solitude and grave self-reflection gleaned from hard-earned wisdom, of the blood, sweat and tears variety. “No pain no gain” is one of Saturn’s favorite idioms. We learn from our mistakes—often the hard way, but the point is to learn what we will no longer tolerate, and again the importance of saying no. We lose the precious Saturn commodity of time when we are fuzzy about what we are saying yes and no to in our lives. If we aren’t clear about it, we are deep in the dark and we’ve basically given our power away. This is where the expression “the devil will find work for idle hands” comes from. This applies to scheduling our time as well as allocating our personal power—if we don’t have clarity and intention about how we are marking our moments, we’re basically inviting in any “devil” of distraction or addiction that fits the bill. They will then make the decision for us.

If there is no clear delineation between where I end and you begin—although very romantic in some kind of fairy-tale, idealized or spiritually realized Neptunian sense—you can imagine how mucky this can get in terms of relationship projections. Hello co-dependency in all its gory glory. Saturn is the archetypal god best equipped to teach us how to author (literally to become the authority) in our own lives, by having a strong delineation about who we are and who we are not. Ultimately this is what comprises our moral fiber and personal integrity—without which we would all be spineless (Saturn rules the bones) jellyfish. For that we should be grateful to the teachings of Saturn.

Go back to your daddy, your father figures, your teachers, your tyrants, and all the people, places and things symbolic of Saturn. Cast away your fear, your dread, and your resentment and find a little forgiveness. But don’t forget your boundaries. When it comes to Saturn, your own power is at heart of the matter.

Recommended Reading

Leaving My Father’s House by Marion Woodman

2010 Astrology Blog-A-Thon Categories and Participants

Pluto Problems Got You Perplexed? Here’s What Helps coordinated by Donna Cunningham at Sky Writer

Look After Saturn and Saturn Will Look After You coordinated by Mandi Lockley at Astro Air

Passing the Test and Trials of Saturn to Build Better Relationships coordinated by Jeffrey Kishner at Sasstrology

Uranus in Aries: Claiming a Self-Reliant Future coordinated by CJ Wright at Auntie Moon

Vibration Presents: A Collection of Articles about Combining Essences and Astrology coordinated by Donna Cunningham and Vibration Magazine

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Category: Saturn Return, Saturnian Archetypes

About Stefanie Weiss: Stefanie I. Weiss, M.A. is the author of nine books and an astrologer in private practice in New York City. Her latest (non-astrology book) is Eco-Sex: Go Green Between the Sheets and Make Your Love Life Sustainable (Crown Publishing/Ten Speed Press) She's the co-author of Surviving Saturn's Return (Contemporary Books) and Fate of Your Date (Chronicle Books). She is the author of Spirt Animals: Unlocking the Secrets of Your Animal Companions (Chronicle Books, 2009). Her other books have covered yoga, veganism, grief, the beauty myth, and much more. To learn more about Stefanie, visit her websites: http://stefanieirisweiss.com & http://ecosex.net. View author profile.

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