Planets: Saturn—ray 3 (sacred)

Ray 3 triangle

G Ray 3 (sacred planet)

Method: Intensification, growth through the opportunities of crisis

Rulerships: Orthodox: Capricorn Esoteric: Capricorn Hierarchical: Libra
Dignities: Exaltation: Libra Fall: Aries Detriment: Cancer Leo
Paired planet (Ray 3): Earth
Symbol: G a cross surmounting the left of a semicircle
Saturn triangles:

Saturn: general information

Saturn has a complex role in esoteric astrology, depending on context. In the vast cosmic sense it conveys the first ray energy of will from the Great Bear via Leo (see triangle) to our solar system, yet also governs the general third aspect of matter or cosmic form (or to us: intelligence, mind) in this solar system, and consequently life in the “three worlds” of human experience (physical, emotional, mental).

Saturn is the focal point for the transmission of cosmic mind to our entire seven planetary schemes. (TCF 378)

Further, for life on the fixed cross it is the planet that provides opportunities for the development of the second aspect of consciousness and love/wisdom (see triangle). So look for the placement of Saturn in an esoteric horoscope to find the area (by sign and aspect) where opportunities of crisis will be experienced. This is an essential part of the overall Fixed Cross experience, and its placement in a sign of each cross will suggest whether these crises will be primarily: material (Mutable); emotional (Fixed); or mental (Cardinal).

So although Saturn’s role in esoteric astrology may appear complex and slightly confusing for a Ray 3 planet, it serves the purpose of the three main principles in quite distinct ways:

  1. Will: the quality of persistence (mental)
  2. Love-Wisdom: the provision of opportunity (emotional)
  3. Intelligence: the field of experience (physical)

The Saturn scheme is esoterically regarded as having absorbed the “frictional fires” of solar space. (TCF 1154)

This quote from A Treatise on Cosmic Fire might sound a little remote or cryptic, but makes sense when stepped down to the human level. The most important way that Saturn influences our development is neatly summed up by the following succinct phrase:

This is the planet which conditions primarily the point in evolution where choice definitely becomes possible, where rejection of opportunity or its acceptance can consciously be undertaken, and the shouldering of personal responsibility becomes a recognised fact in a planned and ordered life (EA 19-20 emphasis added)

The role of “friction” is a tidy metaphor for this process, as “fire by friction” is how we experience resistance to the karmic necessities of the learning process, while enduring the long period of repeated trial and error, which act to burn up that which veils the steadily increasing brilliance of solar fire (EA 444). In other words, we only learn to become more soul-focussed—the “solar fire”—through the friction of (often bitter) experience.

That evolutionary journey, encompassing:

  • the shift from passive learning by repeated experience (fire by friction)
  • through gradual understanding of the consequences of our behaviour (solar fire)
  • to a position of active conscious choice (“electric” fire)

is summed up neatly in the following passages (from The Old Commentary), which accurately represent the broad sweep of the influence of—and humanity’s journey through—the three crosses, Mutable, Fixed and Cardinal:

Amid the whirling forces, I stand confused. I know them not, for, during all my past, they swept me up and down the land wherein I moved, blinded and unaware. From place to place and point to point, they drove me up and down the land and nowhere was there rest. (Mutable)

I know them now and here I stand and will not move until I know the Law which governs all this movement up and down the land. I may revolve and turning face the many different ways; I face some wide horizons and yet today I stand. (Fixed)

I will determine for myself the way to go. Then onward I will move. I will not travel up and down the land nor turn in space. But onward I will move. (Cardinal) (EA 20, bracketed text added)

These three facets of Saturn sum up the entire process of inner growth, each leading to what is termed in the esoteric philosophy as the paths of: probation, discipleship and initiation and their associated initiations or beginnings.

Focussing on the central stage of development for those undergoing conscious inner growth, Saturn’s role as provider opportunities for the development of greater awareness (by which imposed limits become respected boundaries) was misunderstood in traditional astrology as a “malefic” influence (difficutlies, challenges, delays etc.). This is transformed by experience on the Fixed Cross, where Saturn:

brings about… certain great points of crisis which are unavoidable and present definite opportunity. Saturn is dominant in bringing this about. (EA 350)

When successfully handled, each point of crisis—while initially unwelcome—leads to greater understanding and a consequent expansion in consciousness. Eventually, these crises become identifiable as cautionary limits to unproductive behaviour, and are willingly heeded. Saturn thereby shepherds us toward a more productive and less impulsive path; the resulting “skill in action” leads to a calmer, less reactive and more proactive path through life’s challenges and choices.

Alan Leo makes a salient observation about the overall role of Saturn in this process:

The highest mental attribute of Saturn is perfection … giving an intense desire to find out the true state of things. … Saturn delays, retards and hinders for no other purpose than that perfection shall be reached by all things and all [people]. Saturn concentrates and purifies until all impurities are, as it were, precipitated to the bottom of each earth life, until right action is performed for right’s sake only. —Alan Leo The Art of Synthesis, p93

In a greater role as one of the key planets in a series of three triangles (EA 436) at the very root of esoteric astrology, Saturn is:

primarily concerned with presenting opportunity to the Hierarchy and its affiliated disciples. The phrase that “Saturn is the planet of discipleship” is basically true because [the individual in the general population], except in group formation, does not come so potently under its influence. For the Hierarchy—as a group—is facing a great crisis of approach to Shamballa, analogous to that confronting Humanity today, as it seeks approach and contact with the Hierarchy. Thus there are two inter-related crises affecting both Humanity and the Hierarchy, and these should produce—if correctly effected—that which is called alignment or integration, resulting in a far freer inflow of divine energy. Both these “approaches” (which are in the nature of magnetic attractive “pulls”) are conditioned by Saturn; in the case of Humanity this pull comes via the Hierarchy and—apart from that Hierarchy—mankind cannot today surmount or properly handle the crisis. This should be remembered and should speed the work of the disciples and aspirants of the world as they struggle for human liberation (…) The intervention desired should come via the Hierarchy, if it is not to be too destructive in its effect. (EA 440)

Saturn: Rulerships

Orthodox: Capricorn

Details to follow of Saturn as exoteric ruler of Capricorn: the drive to establish material achievement.

Esoteric: Capricorn

Details to follow of Saturn as esoteric ruler of Capricorn: stability of purpose, consolidation of the personal self as a vehicle for the expression of greater purpose.

Hierarchical: Libra

Details to follow of Saturn as hierarchical ruler of Libra: the ideal state of balance, the deep patience of global justice, the stable portal to another phase.

Saturn decanates

In conventional astrology, decanates simply follow the rulerships of each elemental triad, but the information in Esoteric Astrology is inconsistent. For more information, see notes about the decanates, and the “decans” tab under each sign.

Saturn Dignities

Exaltation in Libra

To follow

Fall in Aries

To follow

Detriment in Cancer

To follow

Detriment in Leo

To follow