Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Jupiter, Saturn & The Superego


Jupiter and Saturn, the biggest of the gas giants, loom large in our solar system. The Earth aside, most people could pick out Jupiter and Saturn from pictures, but might have trouble recognising Mercury and
Venus. Saturn in particular is instantly recognisable by its iconic rings. We all also recognise fear, guilt, pessimism and melancholy and are familiar with the concepts of duty, responsibility and authority, with each of us having our own particular experience of and relationship to these feelings and concepts. We are also invited to learn lessons about reality and are forced to recognise that life brings limitations, that wrong-doing tends to get found out and that there’s always a price to pay, one way or another. Like the actual physical planets, these feelings and ideas loom large in our consciousness and to astrologers, of course, they are all associated with symbolic Saturn.

We also recognise, and tend to aspire to, optimism, self-belief, growth, humour and goodwill. We are now in Jupiter’s symbolic territory, the great astrological beneficent, generously bestowing good luck and bonhomie. Unlike Saturn, Jupiter is about what we feel we can get away with, but here’s the rub. Eventually our luck runs out, especially if we fall into the Jupiterian sins of over-confidence, arrogance, irresponsibility, pride, over-indulgence and blind optimism. Then we realise that Jupiter can dupe us and like Saturn is a great teacher. It’s about morality, wisdom and belief in a higher power as a guide to coming into our own power. Like Saturn, ultimately Jupiter is about authority and moral conscience, but accessed by a different route.

Jupiter and Saturn are the social planets and psychologically, they resonate with the superego. Our superego grows from our childhood experience of parents and other authority figures. We learn from them what is acceptable, what the rules are, where the limits lie and our sense of right and wrong; our moral compass. This helps us learn how to conduct ourselves according to what’s socially acceptable and to find our place in the world.

Eventually, we need to stand in our own authority and to be authority figures for others and so the traditions of right and wrong, of acceptable values and appropriate behaviour, are passed down.

The Saturnian superego can be too punishing, too led by fear of authority, by a sense of duty, by unconscious guilt, the inability to say no to the demands of others at the expense of our own needs. Our lives can become self-limiting or we are too controlling of ourselves and others, harbouring out of proportion feelings of fear and guilt. Saturn by sign, house and aspect in our birth chart can say a lot about our relationship to fear and guilt, but it’s also about fears overcome and proportionate guilt that leads to the authentic desire to make reparation. Saturn sends us lessons disguised as challenges and obstacles that can help us get our lives on track. Whenever we feel and respond to the pull of authority and to life’s oughts, shoulds and musts, we are in the realm of the Saturnian superego.

Saturn in Aries for example, can represent a fear of taking authoritative action or of acting selfishly. Perhaps in the past, you never learned to make your own decisions, or were inordinately punished for making mistakes, or have internalised selfishness as a solely bad thing, when of course, healthy selfishness is a necessary requisite of self-care. Finding the courage to stand in your own authority or to assert your own needs appropriately and act decisively is perhaps the route to finding a better balance between your own (your ego’s) needs and those of external expectations (the superego).

The challenge of Saturn in Taurus is to not get stuck, but to still seek security and social acceptance through maintaining loyalty and reliability. The fear here might be around losing control of your desires.

With Saturn in Pisces there might be the fear of falling apart, or difficulties around idealisation or escapism. The discipline of service and expressing empathy and compassion without losing a boundaried sense of self might be the ego’s path to working through the superego.

With Saturn in Cancer, the superego demands a strong but healthy sense of and respect for the authority within a family (the concept of family is used loosely here and can mean our family of friends and colleagues as well as family in the traditional sense). In this context, Saturn in Cancer asks us to grow into our own authority and give and accept respect when the time is right. There is also, through experience, the working through of feelings of insecurity and vulnerability. Learning healthy emotional expression and nurturing others with appropriate boundaries can help build security and allow the fulfilment of duties and ambitions.

The lessons of Jupiter are a little easier to take for granted. The old adage applies: when opportunity comes knocking, you have to be there to answer the door. In other words, the Jupiterian side of our superego, like the Saturnian, also demands effort. If something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Arrogance and overconfidence and grabbing what we want from life without adhering to basic morality causes damage to others, more widely to society if we have power, but ultimately it hurts the self. We can step into Jupiter’s wisdom and experience the positive growth and opportunity it offers, if we apply realism, by running it past the ego, rather than by letting the ego run it. This reminds of another old saying, pride comes before a fall.

Jupiter in Gemini offers personal growth and usefulness through learning a variety of skills, being curious, connecting through communication and following a wide range of interests that satisfy the need for variety and also benefit society. The Jupiter in Gemini superego can be given to over-thinking, perhaps anxiety. Using critical thinking, discernment and fact-checking are key growth areas for Jupiter in Gemini, to avoid shallow fact collecting, or becoming a know-it-all without substance.

There’s an inherent tension with Jupiter in Virgo because while Jupiter likes to think big, Virgo tends to think small and humbly. Expressed negatively, this can manifest as critical nagging and pettiness, towards others, but can also manifest as self-criticism because it’s a placement that seeks perfection. Helping and serving society is the best approach here, as well as building confidence through making the most of the innate common sense of Virgo.

Jupiter in Capricorn knows it can’t get away with shirking on hard work and discipline, but Jupiterian optimism can feel hard to come by. Confidence comes through the patient pursuit of opportunities and taking one’s social responsibilities seriously.

In Scorpio, Jupiter has a weight and an intensity that can inhibit the growth and expansion that Jupiter promises. Exploring deep emotions and allowing wisdom and trust to develop through experience is essential to developing a strong inner confidence and quiet optimism. And there’s a priceless well of resourcefulness with this placement and an innate sense of intuitive understanding that can be excellent in a crisis when service calls.

The working out of the superego is not a one-time thing, it’s a lifetime’s work. A strong ego is needed to find the balance between the superego and the id, which represents our largely unconscious primitive drives which unlike the superego don’t distinguish between right and wrong. The id says I want this and I want it now! The superego says you can’t have it, it’s wrong. It’s the ego’s job to find the balance to satisfy the id’s demands in a way that is acceptable to the superego (i.e. acceptable to society). Understanding what Jupiter and Saturn mean, by sign, aspect, house and transit can help us to align our moral compass. It can help us deal with obstacles, grow into emotional maturity, become useful world citizens and demonstrate responsible authority. We can aspire to have the confidence to reach for the stars with our feet firmly on the ground.

Broadly speaking, we can find the ego and id in our charts in our personal planets and angles and in the aspects they make. The outer planets have their place too, and in our charts, I feel, they represent more than just generational collective unconscious urges, especially in tight aspects to personal planets by nativity or transit. Even so, we might look first to the Jupiter and Saturn complexes in our charts as they are the gateway to helping us negotiate our way through the realms of the outers. Jupiter and Saturn are ultimately our path to something beyond ourselves, to something societal and communal, to wisdom, growth, moral and spiritual authority and personal gravitas.

I’ll end on a short, but currently relevant case study to demonstrate some of the points I’ve made. Donald Trump, who has just lost the US presidential election, has transiting Jupiter in Capricorn, along with Saturn and Pluto, opposing his Venus-Saturn Conjunction in Cancer in the 11th House. Natal Saturn in Libra in the 2nd House is also widely Square Venus-Saturn and has recently received a Square transit from Jupiter in Capricorn.

Saturn in Cancer is about family and we know that, as President, he has kept his family close and this has served him well, but he now needs them to help his ego accept the reality of loss and concede, something most of them appear not to be doing. The Opposition of transiting Jupiter in Capricorn to Saturn in Cancer and its outgoing Square to his Jupiter in Libra, is also asking him to take his social responsibilities seriously. His superego needs to do the right thing and surrender. That his natal Jupiter is Conjunct Chiron suggests the need for the healing of his superego and because he still, for now, holds the highest office in the USA, there’s the need for healing the superego of the nation itself after such a divisive campaign (it’s interesting that President Elect Biden has been speaking a lot about healing since he won the election).

Trump’s evident over-confidence, arrogance and irresponsibility, Jupiter’s negative expressions, has meant that he has finally run out of luck. He now needs to concede and collaborate, but instead he has demonstrated a fragile ego by instead deciding to take his defeat to court. It would now serve him well to heed the lesson of his Saturn in Cancer in the 11th; that healthy, boundaried emotional expression and a graceful support for the transition of power, can help him build a new sense of security for himself and in the nation and perhaps preserve his legacy with some dignity. His Jupiter in Libra in the 2nd House suggests that the path to growth is through understanding the value of collaboration and cooperation. He should pick up the phone and talk to his successor. Sadly, I’m not optimistic that this is the route he will follow, it seems that his defences against his vulnerability and insecurity are too strong. Which is a shame, because ultimately, Jupiter offers the opportunity for grace, if pride can be overcome.

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