A. Saturn in the 12th is traditionally a tricky place for it, a karmic planet in a karmic house. Here’s the planet that hopefully will provide the necessary structures in our lives so that we can feel solid and secure in the world, but in a house that represents the murky, hidden and fluid world of the unconscious.
It’s a bit like trying to build a tower in quicksand; it will keep on having its foundations undermined and sinking.
Saturn himself is always a bringer of mixed fortunes, a deliverer of karmically driven patriarchal conditioning, of strange internal limitations that are hard to fathom, that also seem to collude with the outer world to obstruct, limit and resist our efforts to make our way. However underneath this layer of limitation is an ancient voice of wisdom that leads us through our struggles towards what the Buddhists call our dharma, that which we must do from the core of our being.
Some of the conditioning that travels down the patriarchal lines in the family teaches that you don’t look within, don’t feel, don’t try to heal, you can’t fix that stuff, so you pack it away, pretend its not there, toughen up and get on with life. This is what a man does! Consequently he gets stuck between worlds unable to succeed inwardly or outwardly and it’s this inner turmoil that makes him so emotionally unavailable, painfully so to him and his children. He may look successful in the world but if you look closely you find a man who’s lost his dreams and who’s innately rich inner life has turned on him.
This is a very black and white description though, because at its best it can also represent a dad who is consciously connected to his inner worlds and so is available as a good role model for his children of how to draw comfort, security and inspiration from the fertile waters of the unconscious and the mystical realms.
Now for the individual with this in her chart, this is a tough mission, as you can’t rely on traditional forms of security, as usually dad is not solid enough to push up against to find your own strength. And so one is forced to seek out forms of security by diving into the very territory that the old conditioning says you don’t go near. So eventually it leads you to get on the spiritual and healing journey.
And if you don’t, you can find yourself equally debilitated or end up in some of the harsher physical places that the 12th House represents, like prisons, asylums or hospitals. Better to get yourself into ashrams and retreats, which are also found here.
Initially this is absolutely necessary for your own personal well-being and to complete certain karmic tasks and debts. But as you go further, you start to find a lower deeper centre of gravity that also bridges the outer and the inner worlds, making things infinitely more comfortable in both places.
Another of the great contradictions with Saturn is that even though he is a source of struggle and limitation, we actually end up working in the areas in our charts that he sits and rules. In the 12th then, people actually end up working with people’s inner processes, often as guides into the unconscious and sometimes literally in the institutions above, because despite the early fears, lack of support and feelings of inadequacy, they eventually discover that they are actually really good at it!
In Gemini, Saturn initially covers over the natural curiosity of the child and the fantastic mental dexterity of the sign with excessive rigidity, conservative thinking and negative beliefs about one’s own mental, intellectual and spiritual gifts. In the 12th then that includes a natural urge to understand what’s really happening behind the scenes in life and what’s inside each of us.
Once again though, as the person slowly works through the old conditioning, they come to discover that they have access to the intelligence of the inner worlds and are meant to mediate that for others. They find a great depth of wisdom and their own inner authority which becomes part of their service to humanity. This is all part of the long term alchemy that Saturn also represents, the transmutation of lead into gold, of old karma into one’s conscious dharma.
The original curiosity of the Gemini child also re-emerges as joy and delight in the natural order of things. I can hear the Dalai Lama’s tremendous giggle now as I write.