Astrologically, the planet Saturn has a bad rap. It’s often seen as the party pooper, the bringer of doom and gloom, the one that creates blockages in the pursuit of our desires. When a Saturn transit approaches, people oftentimes bemoan the restrictions and the sense of containment that they fear will follow.
Saturn, many people perceive, is the planet that says “No.” Yet, in reality (something that Saturn loves), the reasons for the “No” don’t emerge from some willy-nilly dictate to deny us of our mortal pleasures. Rather, Saturn’s “No” help us shape our ability to more consciously say “Yes” to those choices that actually better serve our growth, best interest, and higher purpose. Doors close in order that we can recognize that there are other doors to be opened that can lead to a more promising future.
In addition to the effects that Saturn has upon us personally—whether through our natal chart or by transit—it also affects the collective in regular cycles. As Saturn spends 2-1/2 years in each sign, it does a bit of housecleaning therein, making us aware of that which doesn’t work in different areas of our culture and society. Ideally, as we go through these Saturn transits, collectively we gain the tools to more productively express these areas of life.
Saturn in Virgo: The Craft of Growing and Preserving Food
In September 2007, Saturn entered Virgo, the sign that represents labor, crafts, and health. As Virgo is the sign of the harvest, it is also associated with agriculture and our food supply. Not surprisingly, for the last 2 years the topic of our food—its safety, its healthfulness, its availability, its cost—has assumed a much-deserved spotlight in the media and around the dinner table. Saturn shows us what doesn’t work, and with its recent attention to our food supply, great inefficiencies and insufficiencies have been revealed.
Yet, as Virgo is also connected with attention to detail and craftsmanship, some solutions to the problem inherent in our current food supply have organically emerged. People are taking back their power to provide for themselves and we are experiencing a renaissance of interest in vegetable gardening. In addition to the First Family, millions of Americans are gardening at home, with polls by the National Gardening Association suggesting we’ll see a 20% increase in home vegetable gardens this year compared to last.
Yet, the interest in nurturing ourselves through and taking responsibility for our food hasn’t ended there. There’s also been a concurrent upswing in food preservation, including canning, pickling, and curing. Saving the summer’s bounty for the wintertime has become a craftful hobby for many looking to provide food for themselves and their family in a more economic way. We’re seeing the emergence of “root cellars” and “larders”–popular with generations past–not only into the vernacular but into our homes as well. And there’s a rash of books on food preservation and home cooking projects released this year that are filling the shelves next to classics such as the Ball Blue Book.
The fact this homegrown food movement is so culturally shifting is a reflection that there is something more at play than just Saturn in Virgo; rather, from fall 2008 to spring 2010, we are experiencing Saturn in Virgo in opposition to Uranus in Pisces (in summer 2010, these two planets will also oppose each other from the signs of Libra and Aries). Uranus is the bringer of change, the evolutionary, the revolutionary—words that also describe the mid-1960s, the last time we saw these two planets in a similar alignment. It’s also the planet associated with technology.
Putting this all together, is it any wonder that we are experiencing a revolution in our foodways and one that is being ushered along, in part, by the Internet and social media sites. Never before have we been able to access information so readily nor can we so quickly come together as a group to inspire each other and promote our collective well-being.
A great example, one in which I am thrilled to be a part of, emerged this past week via Twitter. Inspired by the very aptly named “Yes We Can” community canning project in San Francisco, a group—spearheaded by food writer Kim O’Donnel—interested in canning and home preservation coalesced on Twitter. Within 24 hours, we initiated the idea for Cans Across America, a nationwide canning event the weekend of August 29/30. The idea for the event is to bring more attention to the hows and whys of canning and to inspire community get-togethers centered on food preservation. (If you’d like more on the event, go to the website Cans Across America. If you’re on Twitter, you can also get more information by following @Canvolution.)
Yes We Can
Hopefully, another outcome of this Uranus-Saturn opposition is that we change (Uranus) our astrological perspectives on Saturn. Transits of Saturn both individually and collectively need not be thought of as periods of restriction or want. Remember, Saturn points out the “No”s so that we can more readily discover the true “Yes”s, the ones that help shape our lives in more authentic ways. Saturn helps us realize that, in fact, we have the ability to fruitfully pursue life in a more productive and empowered way, in the spirit of “Yes We Can.”