Reflections on Saturn Moon

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Lately I have been reflecting on my Saturn Moon and trying to get a deeper understanding of my defence mechanisms. In reality my moon placement has other contacts, too.  But the Saturn Moon side of me, as I age is throwing up information, particularly at this time of year.

If the Moon in our chart represents the mother she is our earliest experience of containment, nurture and home. But we are born in to a family, too.  In my case the family was already well established, my parents had me late in life, both had Sun Saturn Mercury conjunctions.  So I have been reflecting that perhaps our sense of the Moon contains all the individual members or our home as well, and the emotional sub tone of our relationships with them, too.

When I was born my eldest brother was 17, and my eldest sister 16. In fact in the surrounding neighbourhood there was a fair bit of talking going on. As my sister used to wheel me around in the pram people would throw questioning glances at her, was I her child?

This morning I went to buy some Christmas gifts and got chatting to the sales assistant she has a child of 18 and another child of aged one year.  I told her of my elder sibling being around the same age distance from me. “How was it for you?” She asked. ” It was complicated”, I said, in some ways like being an only child and having a number of people play a parenting role.

I was very young when my eldest sister left home, only 3 and I missed her a lot.  When my brother married and left home I was 7.  We don’t really know each other very well.  I have some difficulties as our lives have followed very different directions and to be honest as upset as I have been, at times in not getting much from him emotionally, lately I feel he has tried to reach out.  I probably hasn’t been easy for him either, with the variations in ages.   However we have things in common.  We both came from a family short on emotional nurture, so lately I am questioning how realistic it is, to have certain expectations of him, expectations that have often led to disappointment. Might it not be a little self centred?

My brother is highly successful but a quiet achiever. He is understated and thoughtful, at least that is what I am learning of him now (probably a lot like my father who was also Virgo with Mercury and Saturn in conjunction there). Both individuals found it difficult to know how to respond emotionally and to express themselves. There were no spontaneous displays of feeling or embraces.

I am beginning to realise it isn’t that my brother is unfeeling and doesn’t care, it is just that he holds his feelings quiet close to his chest and finds it hard to communicate.  Also his life is about work, achievement and business, though in later years I have noticed he has began to change.  My father was very similar (he had Sun Mercury and Saturn conjunct in Virgo which speaks of a serious internal disposition).

This Saturn Moon legacy of mine speaks of a family where duty and hard work came before emotional expression and connection.

In the book Saturn : A New Look At An Old Devil, astrologer Liz Greene expresses it thus:

In the Saturn Moon childhood “there has been rather a lot of emphasis on duty and the appropriate forms of behaviour. Sometimes Saturn Moon contacts are concurrent with a childhood that is difficult because of financial reasons; sometimes there is an abundance of material comfort but little warmth or spontenaeity of emotional expression. The mother is frequently undemonstrative or a disappointment in some way”

in addition

there is “a well defined stamp of emotional close fistedness which infers a long past of learning to control the feelings beginning at an age where feelings, freely expressed, are the only outlet a child possesses for communication. There is often a brooding loneliness about this contact….an aloofness and isolation that is not easily broken.”  

I must be honest. It’s painful to even read those lines, let alone share them in a blog! I am becoming all too aware of my tendency to brood but I do question if all of this brooding is negative or whether it leads to a capacity for introspection and depth that has gifts.

I notice the held back tendency of mine, especially around my beautiful dog Jasper, who is full of bounding enthusiasm. At times I feel he represents for me the child in me, that I try to reign in, in the way I was reigned in by my Mum. (She used to put me in a harness when I was young, like a dog on a lead) and was always unsettle by my (to her) “overly dramatic” nature.

I have been considering these influences lately, especially around Christmas when the tendency I experience to withdraw and isolate is conflicting with deeper longings to be a part of things.   I hope it’s not boring to say again (am I brooding?). My father was diagnosed with cancer and died quickly following an operation around Christmas in 1984.

At the moment I am in the midst of watching the HBO series In Treatment which focuses on the life of a psychotherapist, Paul (played by Gabriel Byrne) and his patients.  Paul is treating a couple Jake and Amy who are having problems connecting.  Amy’s  father died in childhood. The shadow of this death is reverberating in Amy’s life and affecting the way Amy is erecting defences by pushing away tenderness from her husband which threatens to awaken the pain over the loss of her Dad.

Amy suffers guilt surrounding her father’s death, she had left him sitting outside on the kerb to go into the shop and get a second ice cream and while she was in the shop her father is hit by a runaway car and dies.  In the  episode I watched last night both Amy and Jake begin to be aware of the ghost of this unconscious influence over their struggle to love, connect and find intimacy.

I have digressed a little here but I did feel an echo when watching this episode of the series last night, of how a death can lead us to withdraw and put up protective defences around closeness.   I am considering this in relation to my behaviour around my brother, the part I play in maintaining a distance from a person on whom I project some of my own fears.

I shared in another blog posted last week, that I had resistance to connecting with my brother at Christmas. He always spends Christmas overseas in America. We usually connect in the few weeks before. I often leave these sessions holding back tears which I don’t feel safe enough to share.  Inside I wonder why he always goes so far away around the anniversary of Dad’s death.

I shared in a post how I struggled with the thought of meeting  on Tuesday night.  Initially I said I would not go, then I changed my mind, only to have an attack that made it impossible to get out of the house.

The following night my brother called to say goodbye, he expressed his disappointment. It has been hard for me to feel my brother’s love. I could not hold back the tears.  I shared some of my grief over Dad, over my own lack of family.  He didn’t say much but he was kind and I was aware of seeing things from his side:  he lost his father too, they were close for many years, working side by side.  He never mentions Dad much, but I am sure he feels the loss too, he doesn’t have many places to share it. His wife is rather critical of feelings and harsh, not a nurturer.

The following morning I spoke to my mother. She told me how disappointed my brother had been that I could not make the dinner. He had come over to see her and for the first time picked up a photograph of my father taken when he was ill from the table. My mother was crying as she told me this.

I shared with my mother that I was beginning to realise that my brother grew up at a time in which Mum and Dad were struggling to build a new life. He lived through the painful and traumatic years which involved time as a very young child living with my parents while Dad was stationed in the Dutch East Indies during the early 1950s during the time that a precarious fight for independence from Dutch colonisation was underway and made conditions dangerous. He shared the early years of their return to Australia where they had no money much.

My father struggled to earn a living, as a returned Dutch serviceman his qualifications as an engineer, which were considerable, were not recognised by the Australian Government. Despite the fact the Dutch East Indies forces played a huge part in the protection of Australia from enemy attack by the Japanese, no recognition in the form of financial support was ever received.

As a young adult my brother worked in the family businesses of which there were three, very long hours. Together he and Dad worked to build an empire. There was a lot of work, work, work, not any time to just play, laugh, goof off and relax. Illness took my father in the mid 1980’s. For over six years, prior to his illness Dad was under both enormous financial and emotional stress, my eldest sister had a breakdown and had been abandoned by her husband, my brother was overextending the company he and my father ran through borrowing money offshore at a time of economic collapse.

One thing that occurred during this time was that my eldest sister, who died this year, became psychotic. During the psychosis she rang my brother and accused him of devil worship. The devil : Money. In truth she had fallen foul of trying to live up the family ethos of overwork with little emotional nurture.

Over the next four years things fell apart for my mother and father.   Following my father’s death my mother lost her mother, my sister who had had a stroke and had lost her husband and four children struggled and Mum struggled to support her.  She then ran into a new relationship out of loneliness and in a flight from grief.  My brother went on from strength to strength, in time amassing a large fortune from his development activities.

For me the loss of my father at 22 led to a time of travel and then a move to a new city where I could be far away from the family and their businesses. I wanted so much more than this, at a time when I did not know what I had really been through growing up in such a family, I also did not truly know the wounds I carried and what my soul was longing for.

Being pushed into a solitary path of travel after my father died, I took to addiction and hid the scars deep inside. I partied and tried to forget, I struggled a lot in relationships to connect and experienced several painful endings before getting sober in 1993 when transiting Chiron passed over my natal Pluto in the first house.

By the late 1999’s my husband and I tried to make an overseas break but the truth is, where ever we go with our particular legacy we still carry it. In the end it asks to be dealt with and so, in time, after two years of therapy and the opening to my deep feelings we returned, and in time that marriage went into the fire.

It has taken me about 14 years to come to more awareness around my Saturn Moon issues, from the time I started therapy to understand my own issues as well as my struggle to individuate in the midst of all of these familial forces understanding and insight has grown. The journey is ongoing. In the absence of therapy, at present, this blog and my journaling takes its place.

This morning I got a greater insight into my brother. I saw how my own disappointment and frustration at him was really something that needed to be accepted and how much of my resentment and anger came out of an ignorant or childlike place. In the end my expectations have been unrealistic, they may also have been a bit self centred and narcissistic.

Maintaining a distance is, perhaps, something I have chosen to get a better perspective and to protect against a sensitivity to hurt, it may also be an attempt of a growing part of myself to achieve separation and growth (and yet, and yet I long so much to connect deeply and share emotional intimacy). There were times a while back I really opened my emotions to my brother and I got stung by him. It was enough to make me clam and up and be fearful of opening my heart again.

It really has only been following my older sister’s funeral that I feel my brother has shown me much in the way of respect.   When I gave a eulogy for her, I spoke to the heart of what I saw as my sister’s struggle, probably with a depth that my brother was not capable of. I know he felt it.

On Wednesday I let my pain out. I bore with the struggle that was taking place. The longing to connect (so often thwarted and ending in misunderstanding and rejection) and the desire to protect and keep myself whole, safe, intact and emotionally real was bringing about a deep inner struggle which in true Saturn Moon fashion manifested psychosomatically.

This morning as I spoke to my Mum I felt into the heart of her suffering and loss, as well as that of my brother. I thought about how the loss that occurred happened for all of us and affected us all in different ways. I felt some of the pain and sting receding and compassion and insight dawning.

As I write this blog over the days of Uranus station direct in my 8th house, I reflect on the legacy of my Saturn Moon which has Pluto thrown into the mix. I think of the very dark places I went when my buried emotional hunger and need, the longing of the small child to be held and to connect deeply went astray over long years. I think of the hopes I had in five relationships that turned to ashes and dust, returning me to new pain which contained echoes of old. I see that, hard as it has been at times, in some way I found the capacity to bear it.

Perhaps I may always feel a little imprisoned in my ability to connect, trust, reach out and bond emotionally due to my history. I notice when the desire to do so comes, simultaneously an inner voice sends up all the doubts and reservations. I feel the Dweller on the Threshold, at times barring my way from connection and movement forward towards connection, happiness, lightness, joy and hope.

At times I feel like a deeply introspective watcher whose way is barred, the exile who only witnesses others receive these kind of gifts. I acknowledge the reality of that, and just for now I breathe through it. I know I am not the only one to feel this way.   In so many ways I am blessed because there is love around me and there are other sunnier influences in my chart too.  Sometimes love doesn’t come in a form we recognise or fully understand and yet, it is there.

Even in my very painful past relationship there were moments when we connected. In the end the way into each other’s hearts was lost and the barricades came down, from the other side .  One of my ex partners even said I had shown him more capacity for love than anyone he had med, but he was not in a place to receive it.  My last partner  decided to project a lot of his own shadow onto me, he was not ready to engage with the pain and deeper work that was needed to bring us through to connection. I had to make the journey alone, was sent back to myself for the fifth time.

In her writing about Saturn Moon Liz Greene expresses the view that for the Saturn Moon person the way to love and peace comes through the giving up of the longing for the security and warmth of familial love and leads us towards a certain kind of independence, perhaps not asked of others without this kind of contact.

She writes

Saturn’s gift of independence usually follows on the heels of failure or disappointment because only failure appears to be sufficient to cause a person to question himself or develop the necessary wisdom and strength. The security of family ties is an illusory one, and it is often very dangerous to assume that one has the right, because of blood ties, to command emotional support from others. …. As (the Saturn Moon person) builds his own inner stability and taps the resources of his creative and intuitive side, he generally finds that he does not have to demand the affection of others. This is offered to him freely, because he has something to offer – a whole person.

I take comfort from those words on some level and feel them to be deeply true. A lot of growth has taken place in this direction during the past 14 years as Saturn as travelled around my chart and is now close to squaring natal Pluto in the first house which speaks deeply of the importance of my struggle for differentiation and individuation.

It seems to me that Saturn then, offers us through the hard experiences a way forward that can be lonely and tough but on some level has great gifts nevertheless.

As I face Christmas in my own orbit with little Jasper by my side, I feel grateful for this astrological knowledge, which in some way gives me the ability to make gold from what could be seen as darkness.   This knowledge gives me a way to find the light hidden in the shadow of the darkness of Saturn’s influence which falls across my heart at times like a ghost, a dark angel or spectre.

Inside my little house I will turn my energy back towards comfort, centring and emotional nurture.  I will distil the wisdom of Liz Greene’s words and  fall back on my own gifts whilst also reaching out to family with a more complete understanding of the very real necessity and reason for their limitations, asking nothing of them and finding a way to give love.

Last night I had dinner with my Mum and sister and towards the end of the night we which lifted the lid off some painful issues.  Mum and I were able to share our grief and speak  and be listened to with love and respect.  We both cried, I opened my heart.  Mum wrapped her arms around me and told me how much she loves me, how much she sees me struggling with my self esteem, how much she longs for my happiness. It was a precious moment. I shared with her that I feel quite deficient at times emotionally with this Saturn Moon legacy, at times I don’t see my true heart clearly.  But I do know it is a heart full of love, that is what gives me he capacity to be with sadness and pain.

Maybe one of the legacies of my Saturn Moon tends toward the negative, which makes me sad. (Reading that back I see it still contains a judgement for Saturn Moon sees into the dark heart of truth, maybe it just doesn’t need to make a permanent residence there).

I don’t only have the Saturn Moon I have a lovely Sun Mercury Venus Jupiter too and a warm ascendant and North Node in Leo.   I feel how much these parts of me want to love and embrace life, I am just not always that sure how to go about it. I seem to have deep fears. Maybe the acknowledgement of all of these is important.

Maybe Saturn is, at present, asking me to give it a voice to show my weakness to expose my deeper vulnerability at a time when I am sure others are feeling vulnerable too. To put it out there. And for today that is what I will do. To find out how others struggle and feel similar too.

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