Saturn’s Garden: Learning to be Perfectly Imperfect with Saturn in Virgo
I’m in love with my garden. The rich warm purple pansies, sunburst marigolds and Mexican dahlias. As I water I repeat the names of my plants like a mantra. I fuss and putter, wrapping the sweet peas gently around the fence, picking bits of debris from the soil. My yard is full of life, overflowing with good smells and color, soon to be bursting with the taste of fresh vegetables and edible flowers.
With Saturn currently sitting exactly on my sun in Virgo by transit, I can’t think of a better way to delve more deeply into the mysteries of one of the earthiest earth planets, than by immersing myself in the beauty of the natural world.
My garden brings me a distinct awareness of the cycles of life, the way the seasons, even here in California, are signaled by specific markers. The boundaries of time set the tone for what lives and dies in nature. What blooms in spring won’t survive the winter, and the heat and light of summer welcome a whole new community of plants. Each flower, tree and bush has a particular signature, a color, shape, texture, smell all it’s own. There’s nothing wrong with the daffodil bulbs that only bloom in Spring, because this is the nature of daffodils.
The planet Saturn also teaches us about cycles, time and limits, defining the seasons of our lives, introducing experiences and lessons that differ depending on whether we are seven years old or 58. Saturn tells us, through our limitations, who we really are.
My roses, five feet tall, and in multiple colors and varieties, bring home Saturn’s lessons in the most paradoxical way. In January I pruned the bare thorny branches back to half their size, and yet almost overnight it seems, these branches have turned lush and green, wild with leaves. Any day now I expect to see the first buds of what will be beautiful, sweet smelling flowers in full bloom by May.
Saturn acts also in this way, pruning from our lives the dead, dormant branches that can sometimes limit our full potential. Cutting back on areas that aren’t working, no matter how much we might like them to be. As we learn to trust the guidance of Saturn, and more gracefully release and let go of those areas, people and experiences that need pruning, it becomes possible to become more fully alive and present with what is left to us.
When Saturn aspects the Sun by transit, our sense of self and identity is shaped and honed. We see both who we are and who we are not.
Saturn aspecting the Moon, teaches us about the unique way we express and experience our emotions, our relationship to nurturing. Aspecting Venus, Saturn shows us our limitations and patterns related to relationship. With Mars we define and clarify how we use our energy, will and passion. Mercury helps us gain more definition around communication patterns. Thus, each planet that Saturn touches comes away with a deeper sense of what its gifts are, of what its true nature and way of being brings into the world.
Patience is my biggest lesson in the garden, learning how to wait for sweet peas to flower, for corn to grow big enough to harvest. I want to plant, water and weed right now, and reap and harvest tomorrow. Saturn demands that I do a little work everyday, parceling my energy out slowly and steadily, rather than in big bursts all at once. If I spent all day watering my plants but then neglected to water again for two weeks, I’d likely kill all but my most hardy plants. To work with the cycles of nature I need to pace myself, watering slowly over time, waiting for the plants to grow at their own rate, rather than trying to get them to grow according to my schedule.
Besides conjuncting my Sun, Saturn is also moving through my 11th house, which rules groups, friends and community and goals and visions for the future. I’m trying to welcome the gifts of limitation, pruning and patience into my 11th house. In keeping with Saturn’s influence, I’m trying very hard. I’m not sure if I’m really succeeding, because Saturn conjunct your sun can feel like being trapped under a heavy, immovable boulder. It’s hard to really get any perspective when you’re buried beneath a large rock.
So rather than struggling against what cannot be changed, I come to know what is real. Observing the particular texture and color of rock, the scent and sound of it, I grow familiar with this influence. Gradually what I perceive as a barrier becomes part of me, as I merge with the stone force, learning to move with it, rather than resisting its pressure.
Saturn slows me down to the speed of mountains, making me notice every detail, every small moment, attuning me to the essence of what blocks me. Saturn demands that I work muscles even when they hurt, slowly and patiently building muscle mass, not giving up. Saturn wants us to continue to do the hard thing even when we see no visible result from our efforts.
Like any good Virgo, I’m trying to do this transit “just right”. I want to emerge from Saturn conjunct my sun in the 11th house having mastered the art of friendship and community. I want to have a brilliant plan for my future, and to successfully have met all my goals. In short, I want to achieve perfection.
Perfection is a word we Virgo’s have a love/hate relationship with. On the one hand we worship at the altar of this unachievable and inhuman quality, striving, like no other sign, to do everything just right. In the process, we manage to do quite a lot, and do it well. Our downfall emerges when our focus becomes fixed and rigid, and we fail to recognize what we have done right, what has been accomplished, searching only to do it “more better”, to be more “right”.
Saturn transiting through Virgo forces one to sit with the discomfort of imperfection. We are invited to learn how to fully embrace the thoroughly imperfect experience of being human, recognizing the raw beauty in our cracks and flaws. Remembering, in the immortal words of Leonard Cohen, to “Ring the bells that still can ring, Forget your perfect offering/There is a crack in everything, That’s how the light gets in.”