The Lorekeepers: Saturn in Cancer

Hello, and welcome back to  journeys. 🙂 This will be my only post this month, as I have unfortunately injured my hand – this writing was finished before my injuries. Since my hand will need several weeks to recover, I will only be posting once per month during this time.


Today I am sharing about Saturn in Cancer, which is considered a difficult Saturn for a number of reasons, but in this message I would like to show those of this tribe that there are some surprises in this influence that often get glossed over and that they have an important karmic task and the wisdom to enable its successful completion. The difficulties of the placement are forges in which this wisdom encounters realities which it must adapt to, the tribe being one which must proceed cautiously and sensitively in this process. Perhaps more than any other tribe of Saturn this tribe is bound by the emotional pull of its conscience, but it encounters sticky situations that require lateral thinking to bypass in order to appease that conscience.

In an earlier post I wrote the following on the nature of Saturn cycles, which I am repeating here in full to provide context for this message on Saturn in Cancer:

“The Saturn cycles are connected with cause and effect in terms of generational impacts – with how we as a people enact our awareness of natural universal laws. They govern the limitations which seem to restrict or deny communion between generations, the rigid structures or traditions that define them. Every generation likes to represent itself as an authority on something, and the Saturn cycles are connected with how that plays out.

The Saturn macro cycle is what truly separates us, one generation to the next. The gulf of experience opens its maw wide every 30 years, leading to a seeming abyss between older and younger groups of us. It is an illusion of time, a conjuration of world weariness, but a potent one. There is effort and work to be done in bridging this gap – think of a first talk between a 15 and 45 year old person – but as is the way with subterranean Saturn and his crushing pressures, there are diamonds in this coal. It will take time and effort to mine, but once fashioned it long outlasts us. This cycle is all about major efforts we can make together that span decades. Once consciously engaged it also empowers us in the mass clearing of human karma. The macro cycle divides into quarters of about 7-7.5 years each, one for each of the 4 Elements, and its how a generation (and its individuals) handles its karma and what it understands from any failures at these times that determines the effect it will experience at the next quarter.

The micro cycle of Saturn in the 12 signs opens a 2.5 year window into which individual souls are incarnated by the Greater Selves as part of a specific thread in the Great Work. This thread re-emerges in a new form every 28-30 yrs (i.e. as part of the macro cycle) and in human terms is related to the karmic consequences that are necessary for human awareness as a whole to comprehend its own nature and ultimately to be its own conscious architect. Within the micro cycle, Saturn is busy building and preserving ancient and customary ways against the ravages of time, it is a preservative factor in generational astrology that can allow us to transmit wisdom through the ages. It mimics the generational effect of the macro cycle (which we experience most often with our parents and grandparents) on a personal scale, so that we can feel that distance and gap with people who are our nearer our own age. For example, the Saturn in Taurus generation will have a difficult time integrating its own experience and understanding of life with that of anyone born under Saturn in Leo, Aquarius or Scorpio, signs which square or oppose Taurus, and this difficulty will be strangely like the difficulty we have relating to our own parents or grandparents way of looking at life – if we can just get out of our own limiting way, it can permanently open things up for us. On the other hand, those with Saturn in an Earth sign (Taurus, Virgo or Capricorn) can help us to build what we each came to build, like a far less stern and authoritative parent or grandparent, but this means the core lessons we need to understand will come more slowly and stealthily. This kind of co-operative effort will still require effort and patience, but in strange ways, time itself will be on our side.”


The resonance between Saturn and Jupiter means that Saturn stays in 1 sign of the zodiac for about 2.5 years on average, roughly 250% of the time Jupiter spends in a sign, and so within each Saturn macro cycle there will be 2.5 complete sets of Jupiter macro cycles. This context with Jupiter will create a significant but not terribly obvious bias within the Saturn macro cycle to a part of the zodiac which effectively de-emphasises about three signs. For example, during the most recent Saturn macro cycle measured between Saturn in Cancer (1973 – 76) and Saturn in Cancer (2003 – 2005), Jupiter visited every sign three times except for Sagittarius, Capricorn and Aquarius which he only visited two times. This pattern will be different depending upon where in the zodiac we start to measure the Saturn macro cycle and it will gradually shift from century to century.

The length of the macro (orbital) cycle of Saturn means that, if you have Saturn in Cancer, when you are about 29 the people being born will also have Saturn in Cancer and the people who are about 58 will too, along with anyone surviving to the age of about 87, making 3-4 living generations of Saturn in Cancer at any one time, which means that as time passes you will all be able to relate your experiences together even though they come from very different times, even eras in human terms. This is another reason why Saturn represents relations with elders and grandparents – this knowledge was experientially acquired (often from observing the influence of Saturn’s cycle and perceiving how it connected with actual experience, but also through other means). They did not simply decide that Saturn influenced relations with elders, they observed it at work. This emphasis on actual observation of astrological effects (rather than being told by an astrologer what they are) is what is missing from modern astrology and what I attempt to restore with the 26 keys. Time is far more cyclical than linear – it is a vortex, like life.

So as with Jupiter the connection with Saturn can be significantly bolstered and fed through interaction with anyone born in the same Saturn ‘tribe’ – it is a generational and sociological trait, known as a cohort in sociological terms. With Jupiter, contact and working in tandem produces a greater hope, sometimes fruition, prosperity and abundance, but within your Saturn cohort the effort put in determines whether something enduring will be built or the flaws inherent in the weakest link will bring about failure.

Here is the current piece of this pattern:

Saturn in Cancer 1900-2100

  • 24 Aug 1914 – 7 Dec 1914; 11 May 1915 – 17 Oct 1916; 7 Dec 1916 – 24 Jun 1917
  • 20 Jun 1944 – 2 Aug 1946
  • 1 Aug 1973 – 7 Jan 1974; 18 Apr 1974 – 17 Sep 1975; 14 Jan 1976 – 5 Jun 1976
  • 4 Jun 2003 – 16 Jul 2005
  • 14 Jul 2032 – 27 Aug 2034; 15 Feb 2035 – 11 May 2035
  • 1 Sep 2061 – 24 Nov 2061; 16 May 2062 – 28 Jun 2064
  • 28 Jun 2091 – 9 Aug 2093

Note that Saturn often dips in and out of a sign due to its annual retrograde motion. In these cases I have placed the beginning and the end of the passage in bold.

The tribes immediately before and ahead of the one you may be born into will hold the greatest common significance in terms of shared struggle and hard won wisdom through experience. The others go further beyond your reach and the generation gap then becomes a property of Chiron, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. However, the Saturn in Cancer cohort ahead of you connects with the Saturn in Cancer cohort ahead of it, forming a chain along which the connection can still flow providing that there is a living link in the chain. This is part of the wisdom of the elders I was referring to and part of how it is effectively preserved and ‘passed down’ through time. In many cultures this was so developed that individuals were assigned as ‘keepers’ over specific strands of wisdom.

Note that the modern Saturn in Cancer pattern encompasses people born during the two World Wars, and that it marks the beginning of one (the first) and the end of the other. This is fitting given that Saturn in Cancer creates protracted challenges based on territory and nationhood, ancestral land, racial heritage, the pressures of a family unit and national identity, gloomy pressures and restrictions in families, housing crises, ‘bunker mentality’ and the karmic effects of past collective feelings. It is also worth noting that, overall, it seems that Saturn in Cancer brings an end to large conflicts rather than igniting them (as indicated below), frequently because people tire of them and the weariness begins to be felt at governmental levels.

egg-721315_1920The Saturn in Cancer theme is one in which the cohort is often deeply depressed and struggles to protect its nests from life events, a path in which souls must learn – over a long period of time – that only by caring for one another can we overcome the sense of futility that there is no point to life. Once these souls learn how to draw the appropriate lessons from their life experiences they become a power for encouraging humanity to protect the vulnerable and the weak. When the tribe fails to draw the appropriate lessons it becomes too gloomy, too armoured, too defensive and reactionary, too hung up on the weight of its history, too unhappy with family or home life the way it is and too rigidly and negatively influenced by the limitations and failures of its past and its parents and grandparents. Blockages have usually arisen in the expression of feelings of devotion and sympathy, usually by the imposition of authorities or realities which have cut it back and limited it. They can make smooth progress in dealing with such issues by interacting with the Saturn in Scorpio or Saturn in Pisces tribes (or with individuals who have an emphasis on these signs) but can encounter real difficulties in working alongside Saturn in Aries, Libra or Capricorn or those with an emphasis on these signs. Both Taurus and Virgo provide needed stability and confirmation to Cancer, and so Saturn or an emphasis in these signs can help move things forwards when they get stuck (and that goes both ways). All of this, of course, also applies to the aspects Saturn in Cancer has in the natal chart.

underwater-1283558_1280On the macro scale of notable events, here are some from the events from the above periods I dug up from wikipedias timeline that resonate with Saturn in Cancer. Doing some research into these events and meditating on the themes connecting them through time (bearing in mind what I have said in the previous paragraph) can provide further insight into the nature of this pattern and its tribe:

  • 24 August 1914- 24 June 1917 (excluding certain dates as shown above): World War I is breaking out and then spreading across Europe – food is rationed, homes are clouded by fear; Battle of the Somme; in the Dolomite mountains, 100 avalanches bury 18,000 Austrian and Italian soldiers; Panama Canal is inaugurated; the first ship ever to be sunk by a locomotive torpedo fired from a submarine (HMS Pathfinder); German submarine U-9 torpedoes three British Royal Navy armoured cruisers with the death of more than 1,400 men; British super-dreadnought battleship HMS Audacious (23,400 tons), is sunk by a minefield laid by the armed German merchant-cruiser ‘Berlin’; torpedoing of the armoured cruiser SMS Prinz Adalbert results in only three men being rescued from a crew of 675, the greatest single loss of life for the Imperial German Navy in the Baltic Sea during the War; the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States officially opens for business; first everyday items made of stainless steel come into public circulation; U.S. Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan resigns over a disagreement regarding his nation’s handling of the RMS Lusitania sinking; Mexican Revolution (main sequence) and the Arab Revolt; British Womens Institute founded; the ‘Great Retreat’ of Russian forces out of Poland (then part of Russia); military conscription begins in the US; the military tank is developed and deployed; the first American Indian woman to appear before the Supreme Court of the United States as a lawyer (Lyda Conley) is admitted to practice there; Franz Kafka publishes ‘The Metamorphosis’; Alfred Wegener publishes his theory of Pangaea; Einstein’s theory of general relativity is formulated; William J. Simmons revives the Civil War era Ku Klux Klan; ‘Fordism’; Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis or Rosicrucian Order is founded (now largest Rosicrucian organisation in the world); Dadaism; the first successful blood transfusion using blood that had been stored and cooled; Emma Goldman is arrested for lecturing on birth control in the United States; toggle light switch is invented by William J. Newton and Morris Goldberg; U.S. President Woodrow Wilson signs a bill incorporating the Boy Scouts of America; an anti-prostitution drive in San Francisco occurs and police close about 200 prostitution houses; Rasputin is murdered; ‘Our Lady of Fatima’ apparitions occur.
  • 20 Jun 1944 – 2 Aug 1946: World War II ends (this leads to mass suicides in Germany and Japan, Operation Paperclip, the atomic era, the start of the Cold War and the emergence of new global power structures); Tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of souls drown (sometimes 4-5,000 at a time) with torpedoing of submarines and warships (MV Wilhelm Gustloff, with over 10,000 mainly civilian Germans, is sunk by three torpedoes from the Soviet submarine S-13 – up to 9,400 are thought to have died in the greatest loss of life in a single ship sinking in war action in history; Adolf Hitler survives an assassination attempt led by Claus von Stauffenberg; dharwad-240539_1920Anne Franks hiding place discovered by Germans; the story of Auschwitz and the ‘Final Solution’; ‘Battle of the Bulge’; world’s first undersea oil pipeline is laid between England and France; liberation of Paris; first V-2 rocket attack on London takes place; Dutch famine known as the ‘Hunger Winter’; Roosevelt becomes the only U.S. president elected to a fourth term; Roosevelt suddenly dies of stroke while in office; Erik Wallenberg and Ruben Rausing invent a way to package milk in paper; Arab League is formed; United Nations established; creation of the World Bank; Bank of England nationalised; Arthur C. Clarke suggests the idea of a geosynchronous communications satellite; Project Diana bounces radar waves off the Moon, measuring the exact distance between the Earth and the Moon, and proves that communication is possible between Earth and outer space, effectively opening the Space Age; Sony is founded under a different name; the Atomic Energy Agency established; the first underwater test of the atomic bomb (USS Saratoga).
  • 1 Aug 1973 – 5 Jun 1976 (excluding certain dates as shown above): Watergate scandal; Concorde flight arrives, opening era of supersonic travel; Sydney Opera House opened; Mariner space probe is launched and becomes first probe to reach Mercury; Pioneer 10 sends back the first close-up images of Jupiter (Pioneer 10 later leaves our solar system carrying a golden plaque, depicting a man and a woman and information about the origin and the creators of the probes); Skylab is launched; the Endangered Species Act is passed in the United States; ‘Three-Day Week’ electricity consumption reduction measure introduced in UK due to coal shortages; a large Song dynasty trade ship from the late 13th century is dredged up from the waters near the southern coast of China; the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and Denmark enter the European Economic Community, which later becomes the European Union; 71 day standoff between federal authorities and American Indian Movement activists; Johnson Sea Link submersible becomes entangled in wreckage of World War II destroyer leading to deaths by carbon dioxide poisoning; United States Drug Enforcement Administration is founded; 1973 Oil Crisis; the Universal Product Code (barcode) is scanned for the first time; Ceefax (one of the first public service information systems) is started by the BBC; the Rumble in the Jungle; Arecibo Message; Dungeons & Dragons fantasy tabletop role-playing game is first released; Altair 8800 is released, sparking the microcomputer revolution; Microsoft is founded; Apple Computer Company is formed; International Women’s Year is launched (the name given to 1975 by the United Nations; since that year March 8 has been celebrated as International Women’s Day); Thatcher becomes Britain’s first female leader of any political party; Australian TV goes full colour; Khmer Rouge genocide begins; Vietnam War ends; Jaws is released (this sets the ‘summer blockbuster’ release standard); The Emergency (a prolonged state of national emergency) declared in India; Maoris march to claim their land; Harold Wilson resigns as Prime Minister claiming to be physically and mentally exhausted (he is having his second Saturn return); ‘Cod War’ (over marine territorial rights) between Iceland and the UK ends.
  • krubera-cave-124 Jun 2003 – 16 Jul 2005: The largest expansion to date of the European Union takes place; first European Constitution established; Orange Revolution in Ukraine; Second Congo War (which left millions dead) ends in peace accord (which does not bring peace); Saddam Hussein captured; Charles Taylor resigns and flees Liberia; Mars makes its closest approach to Earth in over 60,000 years; Europe’s first mission to the moon is launched (SMART-1); China launches their first manned spaceflight (Shenzhou 5); NASA announces that the Mars rover Opportunity has confirmed that its landing area was once drenched in water; Cassini–Huygens spacecraft arrives at Saturn; the Bull Ring in Birmingham is opened (Europe’s busiest shopping centre); Israeli warplanes strike alleged Islamic jihad bases inside Syrian territory; last Concorde flight takes place, closing era of supersonic travel; same sex marriage begins to be legalised in the US and elsewhere around the world; Facebook launched; Gmail launched; Youtube founded; popular TV show ‘Friends’ ends; Madrid terror attacks; Smoking bans in public places introduced; extent of clergy sex scandals begin to come to light; stampede occurs at the Mandhradevi temple during a religious pilgrimage, killing 291 people; North Korea announces that it possesses nuclear weapons; Chechen school hostage crisis holds nearly 1000 children hostage; Olympic flame returns to Athens for summer games; explorers reach bottom of worlds deepest known cave (Krubera cave); previously unknown human ancestor discovered (Homo-Floresiensis); Earth is hit by a huge wave front of gamma and X-rays from a Magnetar neutron star (the strongest flux of high-energetic gamma radiation measured so far); Eris is discovered; Huygens probe lands on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn; Deep Throat’s identity is revealed (see Watergate scandal, above); Make Poverty History campaign launched; The Return of the King takes over 1 billion dollars.


Some of these associations should be clear to anyone with a knowledge of astrology – food rationing, the British Women’s Institute and International Women’s Day, the ‘Cod War’ between the UK and Iceland, the many deaths involving submarines, apparitions of Mother Mary, the invention and deployment of armoured tanks, political, economic and cultural unions of entities into ‘super-families’, the stressing of ‘family’ values, the creation of national banks and the events involving people struggling to keep claims to their ancestral lands all resonate quite clearly with obvious Saturn in Cancer qualities. The transit also has connections to the resignation or death of ‘political fathers’ and figureheads, particularly in the US (which is a Cancerian nation by the declaration of independence). Other events have abstracted meanings – the Crab approaches essential meaning sideways on (or perhaps it is the other way around) – and so I will need to explain the intuitive logic behind them, but I hope that once this is perceived it becomes clear that Cancer is just as enigmatic as the other Water signs can be, even when Saturn is involved. First, we need to look at how Saturn typically functions in this sign.

In terms of the zodiac, Saturn generally needs as much heat as he can get – when he is cold, he is very, very cold, verging into icy and inclined to be too skeptical, mean spirited and pessimistic – but he is as a rule complicated or restrained by both Cancer and Leo (which place him far away from his own signs and therefore do not suit him) and somewhat more pressured and frustrated in his functions and more unable to build lasting structures when in Aries, so two of the 3 Fire signs come with a catch for him. His most supportive signs to be in are his own, Capricorn and Aquarius, and the sign of his exaltation – Libra. Being cold and dry he is generally better in the daytime and in the daylight, placed in Fire or Air (Air especially as it will also give him some moistness) between dawn and dusk and above the horizon because then he is warmed up (less pessimistic and brittle). During the daytime he is supported well by all the Air signs (where he is then in his Triplicity) but the Fire signs are an improvement for him day or night (he is also always in his Triplicity in a Fire sign at night, but this is a secondary or ‘backup’ form of support through Triplicity).

reservoir-1030292_1920In Cancer, then, he is ‘in detriment’ and not terribly happy – it is cold sign and one in which he generally finds nothing familiar or amenable to his nature, he is in a far flung territory where his skepticism can easily become stubborn pessimism and he can get nostalgically or fearfully stuck in the past. If such a Saturn is placed in the night sky, far from the Sun and so receiving no warmth at all, he is completely frozen and will easily lead the entity to becoming stuck in situations. Being unable to find the Fluid he needs, the Electric Fluid, such a cold Saturn puts one firmly in mind of tenacity and persistence but also the punishing and often self defeating grip of the crab on its threats and treasures. Such a Saturn is likely suffering from some kind of bunker mentality, a withdrawal into a shell or fortress through fear of danger and as a means to keep the world around it safe and protected. It is frequently crippled by vulnerabilities and anxieties over which it feels there is no control, life feels like it is mostly an uphill struggle and the soul spends a great deal of time pampering the nest against leaner times, which are always gloomily expected. To lift Saturn out of this Magnetic slump the soul needs to set an emotionally meaningful goal and begin working towards it with increasingly incremental success.

Essential dignity can lift the heaviness of some of these feelings. In terms of essential dignity in Cancer, Saturn finds a small degree in the last part of the sign, from 26° to the end. These are his terms or bounds (Egyptian) and in the case that he lands within them it changes things. In this case, the last degrees of Cancer offer Saturn a currency he can understand in the form of the relationship between scarcity and productivity – Cancer is keenly aware of the fact that the lack of something is a great motivator in acquiring it, and these terms reinforce that truth with experience. Sometimes, these bounds also trigger the Cancerian empathy with the realisation that any gain we do make in life is at the expense of someone else, someone who usually has less than we do. So Saturn can become more charitable at the end of Cancer, less keen on being stingy with its care, and we should see this as common traits in those born towards the end of his time in the sign.

Before then, however, he is without a zodiacal paddle, and this accounts for the vast majority of the tribe. The Active Water of Cancer can be rapid and turbulent, pulling us in unexpected directions, including under. The sensation of drowning – of not being able to breathe – can haunt these souls not as a physical thing but as an astral or sometimes mental one. Worry spirits prey upon them and feast. They need to face up to imagined fears, things that they have learned to fear in the past but which have no substance now, and also the higher order fear that mortality makes devotion futile. If Saturn is being challenged or issuing challenges along squares or oppositions, karma will be thick in this direction and the issues of planets at the end of these aspects are usually inhibited, blocked or denied with great stubbornness.

Even with a well aspected Saturn in a warmed position, stubbornness will be a stumbling block. It is one of this tribes universal traits and if Saturn is emphasised we see a great unwillingness to budge over issues which it has feelings about. To illustrate the problem, think of the stereotype of the ultra-controlling parent who knows what is best for us from their own experience. It cannot be reasoned with by the common logic, as I will explain later, and so it easily becomes intractable. In terms of accidental dignity if he is Angular it can make him incredibly pugnacious and stubborn, but this time in terms of our ability to shift his form and expression in our life. Things will only take shape exceedingly slowly and with continued effort in this respect. This is extra difficult if his qualities have already grown very obstinate by being plunged into a cold and dark atmosphere. It is already hard to shift the restrictions, gloominess, handicaps and problems of Saturn in Cancer and requires a continued application of time and exertion. However, the persistence and tenacity required in order to overcome these difficulties is character building, particularly with respect to the feelings.

Saturn is detrimentally deprived by the Active Water of Cancer because generally it is not receptive to his influence to face reality at all, tending to live in imaginary worlds and to build only a brittle shell between the soft white flesh of the crab and the outside world, and perhaps more painfully, the ‘pincer it’ approach of these people to life makes them defensive, protective, cautious, and emotionally vulnerable; yet there is a pain even deeper at the root of all this, because the truth is these people are both the broken-hearted children of the world and its loving parents; they continuously walk into the tests and trials of Saturn wide armed and open-hearted like a child who takes the hand of a grown man they have never met when they become separated from their parents. Again and again they are puzzled, as they cry, why did the pretty coloured coral slice me like razors?


Was it something I did wrong? Why can’t I take sweets from just anyone who wants to give them to me? Why is this family so broken? This may look like naivete but it is more akin to a deep trust and an inner emotional awareness of the caring world we should naturally be living in. And so although they are canny and wary enough to never go back to the same razors edge they will go continually paddling into the metaphorical coral of life, drawn again and again by its beauty, arms spread and eyes wide with childlike wonder. This gives them a power to nurture and care for others, to be the parents of the world who know its lurking dangers, but it is a painfully long rocky shoal that they must pass through on tender, bare feet before they truly come home. They must learn like all children that there are reasons to be cautious and reasons to be careful, but this lesson does not end with childhood, it stays with the tribe throughout life, steadily developing an armoured crust around their innate sensitivity, which they end up perceiving as a vulnerability. Hear me, children of the ancient crab! – your sensitivity is your legacy, not your curse! It has been hard won across many lifetimes, and you are here to share it in ways that make a practical and measurable difference to the lives of those you share it with. You are a born caretaker, whether you like it or not, and you must find a way to show that to the world around you that does not leave you feeling used or vulnerable. It is a life task.

Often there is a Saturnine influence in the background of the family, a firm authority of some kind or a broken, fractured, heartrending lack of nurture, a separation or alienation. Painful examples of this can be found throughout history – Eric Clapton was born illegitimate and raised by his grandparents, and his 2 year old son fell 40 floors from an open hotel window; Edith Piaf was born under a street lamp and just left there; Michel Nostradamus lost his wife and children – his entire family – to plague; Napoleons childhood was miserable, as he stated:

“The cries of the dying, the groans of the oppressed and tears of despair surrounded my cradle from the hour of my birth.”

gorilla-1385688_1920This is profoundly important to understand. Whatever form it takes, it is not a punishment. It is a necessary experience that triggers the awareness we need, the Saturn in Cancer empathy and the awareness that there is a more natural and nurturing way for the world to be. The lack of something triggers this awareness because this is Saturn in Cancer, not Jupiter in Cancer. Abundance does not make necessity clear. The empathy being built by Saturn in Cancer is based on the notion of alleviating emotional suffering through becoming acutely sensitive to the need to soothe it, and in then perceiving the ways this needs to happen.

Significantly, however, Saturn in Cancer often tends to emotionally bond with the motherly and thus alienate the fatherly. It can happen the other way around, but this seems to be less common in my experience. There is thus a lack of the awareness that the father role, while not actively participating in the emotional nurture that is commonly associated with our images of a healthy family, is as important as the mother in the provision of this nurturing love because they provide all the support and material structure upon which it all depends. Saturn takes this matter to task, and many of the tests of time are then concerned with correcting this. A parent may be missing in childhood as a means for these life lessons to take form. The path here is that of transcending not only any lack of nurturing in our childhood but also the imprint of the inner parent that we have adopted as a result.

Members of this tribe may be too emotionally inhibited and shy as a result of their past or their family circumstances. They may feel isolated within their own family or feel lumbered with responsibilities to it, and yet they will typically take family responsibilities and parenthood seriously. In cases they will take them too seriously, which would be another manifestation of fear – the fear that if they stop doing these things the entire family falls apart. Sometimes, the soul is so afraid of having a family that it does not want to start one. In such cases the soul may need to let go of family issues that should really remain in the past. An unhappy childhood cannot be changed but we can change the way we behave now and we can certainly change the way the future crystallizes. Anxiety and fear of the future arises within the tribe from a lack of trust and self knowledge of its own instinctive capacity for emotional vulnerability and the positive growth this gradually brings. In order to experience true relaxation in life they will probably need to embrace the future with more enthusiasm by coming to terms with the past, learning the lessons that must be learned about family and using those lessons to restructure the emotional self.


If members of this tribe find themselves becoming instinctively emotionally inhibited, blocked or tense it is perhaps because of this fear of allowing the emotional self to be open, with repressed feelings having grown out of proportion and then spawning vulnerability. The need for respect from and for family members is greatly felt, as security within the home is very important to the well being of this cohort. Because Cancer rules over all aspects of domestic life and because Saturn represents the path of testing through necessity and learning, there may be many difficulties with their homes in life as well as family. If Saturn is frozen they should be slowly made aware that they can be hypersensitive and too defensive, approaches which isolate them from the very people they are lovingly devoted to.

The short story is that something in their past has partially shut down their ability to show devotion and that consequently showing devotion now brings them troubles. Something has caused them to develop a hardened and brittle exterior in order to protect themselves within it and now they are in danger of being encased in scar tissue. It can become difficult for anything to truly make it through the barriers to affect how they feel, and it is equally difficult for them to fully interact with the emotional world. In order to overcome this problem they have to struggle to re-emerge from the armoured shell that has accrued around them. In his book ‘The Inner Sky’ Steven Forrest touches upon this problem in his description of Cancerian strategy:

Bostelmann_Bathysphere“An automated bathysphere. Its purpose? To map the seabed four miles below the ocean’s surface. To extract samples from the sediment. And to return intact to the mother ship. One strategy supersedes all others: The bathysphere must survive. The sea presses at it, sounding the walls for any weakness, any flaw. In that unmitigatedly hostile environment, defense is everything. Without armor, the delicate sensing devices within the vessel would be crushed in a microsecond.

Yet, there must be gaps in the defense. A solid wall of steel two feet thick would protect the ship perfectly. Too perfectly. Without breaks in the armor, the bathysphere could not interact with the environment it was designed to explore. There must be windows for the cameras. Wires must run from the interior brain to the exterior eyes and ears. There must be internal storage bays for material gathered from outside.

The bathysphere’s designers face a difficult problem: if they defend the machinery too well, the ship will not do the work for which it was created. And if they do not defend it well enough, the vessel will be destroyed by the environment it was designed to penetrate.

It is the same with the Crab…Cancer’s goal is to maximize the intensity of its interactions with the world, while simultaneously protecting its finely tuned emotional sensibilities. To surround them in a shell of steel would allow the fragile mechanisms to endure. But life is more than endurance. The Crab’s strategy is to create the minimal defenses consistent with survival.”

This is very pertinent to the task of Saturn in Cancer, wherein (especially with a barrier like a frozen Saturn) the design of the bathysphere has placed too much emphasis on defense and protection and not enough (or any) on interaction with the environment, leading to it becoming a steadily sinking tomb of lead with no portals. This leaves the individual with the task of removing significant defenses and turning them into emotional sensitivities.

It is this point that explains part of the reason why Saturn in Cancer is connected with space probes – they must be built to withstand intense forces that would crush them, but be sensitive enough to show us valuable treasures once they get to where they are going. In terms of essential meaning, they are just another kind of submarine. But we are still only paddling on the shore, and this ocean has murky depths. It’s time to plunge.


Saturn plays the long game. Cancer is a lateral strategist that grows anxious when forced to take the direct approach, which is perceived to be extremely vulnerable to interception. This being the case, the logic of how to play this particular long game is obscured and requires imagination. This also applies to the nature of the events that resonate with Saturn in Cancer. Einstein invents the theory, and one Saturn orbit later the science is being dropped on Japan. Another orbit passes and an energy crisis leads many countries to switch to nuclear power and protests arise against its deployment, while at the same time the power of the atomic age is setting up the microcomputer revolution. One more Saturn macro cycle later and we are launched into the world of online social networking, while Tritium is leaking and contaminating the groundwater at Exelon’s Braidwood station, Ukraine has to build a new shell (called a ‘sarcophagus’) around Chernobyl and Iran and Libya are coming under pressure from the IAEA while North Korea is reactivating reactors and announcing it has nuclear weapons – just as Edward Teller (‘father of the H-bomb’) dies.

This thread is an interesting one because what happens is that a breathtaking insight into the fundamental nature of reality (Relativity) is spun out over the course of a century and what we see are the consequences of misusing these natural laws as well as the fruits of capitalizing on them. There are containment issues at work as shells which we have placed around the titanic things we have created that we do not know how to control but seek to harness are inevitably worn away, leaving us with bigger problems. Yet we can also regard the exploration of our greater home – the solar system – as part of the fruit of this seed. It seems Saturn in Cancer reveals more of the structure of our home system, and the long game may be at work here too. If we consider the discovery of an entirely new genus of human being (nicknamed ‘the hobbit’) as late as 2003 and the revelation of water on Mars, we begin to see an outline of something more profound – that we may be inching towards a realisation of the origin of life on Earth and in our solar system as we dance with Saturn in Cancer. It may be piecing our past together gradually, piece by lateral piece, carefully selecting each step with its precision pincers. It reveals the greater structures of our home (solar system) and may be leading to discoveries about how life was hatched here. If this turns out to be the case, we can expect a major development of the big picture in the early 2030s, the next time Saturn is in Cancer.

We also see the long game being played in the crafting of structures and institutions that eventually enable the modern social networking phenomena. This would surprise many astrologers as it is often attributed to Aquarius or Uranus, but it is a complex phenomena that is composed of many astrological factors. Aquarius and Uranus seem to be resonant with the spread of the technology and the speed of its adoption as well as its mental and social impacts, but Saturn in Cancer is more concerned with what kind of family of humanity we see emerging in those arenas, with what kind of nest we will build for ourselves, and with the emotional impacts on domestic life and family structures. It is gradually forging a family of humanity, leading us to a point where we can see only one race. But what race will we see? What is it that will make us a family again? That is the question Saturn poses here, and it is a difficult one. At this time, the effect of Saturn in Cancer seems to be to further isolate individuals in their shells as they visibly pay less attention to their environment, ironically through being hooked up to one another. How can people come out of this withdrawal from reality? What will make them care enough to look up again? Currently the tribe is busy seeking answers to such questions, even when it does not realise that is the case. This year (2016) a square between Saturn and Neptune is bringing these issues to a turning point. Crises in national identity (Brexit, Trump vs. Clinton, immigration crisis in Europe, etc.) is part of this and will reach critical turning points from which there is no easy return when Saturn enters Capricorn (Dec. 29, 2017 to March 21, 2020). Therefore these are critical moments just before the opposition for this tribe, moments when these questions are having situations set up for later manifestation. The tribe needs to find some answers, especially those with a Cancer or Capricorn emphasis.

In finding their answers, this tribe should remember that it is the emotional consequences that matter most to them. What will be the cost to the soul of proceeding down this or that path, and will those scars ever heal or always serve as a reminder of the past? It is the stress upon the emotional consequences of experience that explains why this Saturn seems just as suited to ending wars as beginning them – the consequences on families and the overall level of astral nourishment that living in the world provides are pretty much the same for people facing the start of a war as those facing the end of one. Things are scarce, and fragile. crab-63084_1920(1)The task of preserving things while avoiding their ossification and petrifaction and of protecting them without smothering them must be navigated intuitively, using the formidable astral radar of the Crab to sense the dangers and pitfalls lurking where others do not.

Yet this is just a part of the task, because then the tribe have to find a way to communicate to the rest of us what that sensory array is telling them, and here come the problems it is less equipped to deal with. Cancer is often deemed to be an ‘illogical’ or ‘irrational’ sign, a reputation that stems from its moodiness and its stubbornness but mostly from a misunderstanding of the logic it uses. There is a logic to tropical Cancer that echoes the backdrop of stellar Gemini behind it in the modern age, yet the means to arrive at that logic are illogical by the way society measures them. To put it another way, Cancer appreciates the security and safety of logic, but it has illogical methods of arriving at its logic.

For this reason, one of the great unsung strengths of this tribe is its capacity to come up with real, practical solutions to anxiety inducing problems, solutions that nobody has thought of yet. Saturn in Cancer has only to convince the rest of us that it is not being illogical at all, but instead that our way of reasoning is broken and dangerous in ways we have not foreseen. For where in the world is the truly caring society?

The Greater Selves perceive Saturn in Cancer as an opportunity not only to advance human understanding in all these areas, but also as a means to reveal their own existence. There is resonance in Saturn in Cancer that touches upon the hatching of life itself, not just from the cosmological and geological perspective but from the spiritual too. The Greater Selves are the Great Mothers of life and the kabbalistic significance of Cancer is that it acts as a channel for the process of the creation of individual incarnations as well as facilitating the movement of awareness from and between the Greater and its family of individual selves. It is the birth canal through which individual spirits are born from the Greater, and by which they are able to feel the presence of their Greater during temporal incarnation. The Greater Self of the Earth itself is also intimately involved in this birthing of individuals, being the Mother of life on Earth, and part of this is an allotment of time – a mortal coil, as it were, that befits the form of experience we take, the bathysphere we build to voyage here. This explains why many of this tribe who take a spiritual pathway in life end up feeling more and more sensitively, deeply and emotively connected to the planet.

This tribe are lorekeepers, vessels of ancient ways and traditions, recorders of history and the protectors of nests. The ultimate test of this Saturn is to move beyond any lack of nurture and genuine care in our past and our family history by providing shelter and sensitive devotion to the many who will come to us seeking our protection, the elderly who need a strong arm to lean on, the infant who is lost, those battered and wearied by the emotional coldness of life. It is to be the door that is always open with a soft bed, hot meal and a broad shoulder to weep on, but never the doormat upon which people wipe their shoes. It is the karmic path of the orphan of the family of mankind who grows through time to provide a place of comfort, a safe haven, to the hurt child within us all. To meet the challenges of Saturn in Cancer we must accept what has occurred, restructure the emotional self, particularly with regard to our family bonds, but also all of our emotional bonds, and not retreat behind stone walls when wounded by life’s ‘slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’ (yes, Shakespeare was born with this Saturn, as was William Wordsworth), but instead to move out and act protectively, empathically and untiringly towards the nurture of the wider family of humanity. It is to know the deep and its treasures and to love the human family, and the ocean of life from which it is hatched.


Saturn was in Cancer for Roman Emperor Avitus, Han Yu, Charles Darwin, Henry V of England, Michelangelo, Queen Elizabeth I of England, William I of Orange, Henrik Ibsen, Galileo, Eugene Delacroix, Alexander Pushkin, Jules Verne, Levi Strauss, Cher, Debbie Harry, Rod Stewart, Bob Marley, Goldie Hawn, Mia Farrow, Eric Clapton, Drew Barrymore, Alanis Morissette, Priscilla Presley, Pete Townshend, Edward Teach (Blackbeard), George Patton, William Wordsworth, William Shakespeare, D.H. Lawrence, Rupert Brooke, Dylan Thomas, William Booth (founder of the Salvation Army), Edward Elgar, Dean Koontz, Nikola Tesla, George Bernard Shaw, Tobey Maguire, Art Bell, Bette Midler, Leonardo DiCaprio, Napoleon Bonaparte, David Rockefeller, Danny DeVito, Chico Marx, Michel Nostradamus, Frank Sinatra, Jerry Siegel, Harold Wilson, Woodrow Wilson, John F. Kennedy, Joe DiMaggio, Ingrid Bergman, Edith Piaf, Glenn Ford, Chinmayananda Saraswati, Russell Brand, Mary Shelley (her mother died 11 days after giving birth, as did her own child), Monica Seles, Sylvester Stallone and Yehudi Menuhin.

18 comments on “The Lorekeepers: Saturn in Cancer

  1. Ok, this is another Jewel of your writings. There is so much to learn from this tribe, expecially in these trouble times. Difficult for my Saturn in Leo understand them completely. Seems a mistery, at some point. Thanks!

  2. Dear Mr. Coleman,
    Thank you for this great Article again! – i also enjoy your images besides the wisdom of your words – there is alot to think about, and i wish you proper healing for your handinjury

  3. “The Saturn in Cancer theme is one in which the cohort is often deeply depressed and struggles to protect its nests from life events…” – I love this.

    Saturn has never been an “easy” planet, except, perhaps when in Libra or well placed near or around Venus. However, Saturn in Cancer must be so difficult: limitations in the very place that you stay, restrictions in familial bonds due to an affinity for lawful parenting rather than discipline. This placement is unmoving, typically a very conservative person, and they rarely stray from beliefs. Without the help of a strengthened Mars, the Saturn in Cancer person could have issues with “keeping up with the times”, a big problem for the ever-growing and technological current generations.

    This is the placement of our over-protective parents and paranoid government. The constant search for physical security reflects Cancer, and Saturn extends that through fear and an innate need for protection. This is also a placement of our patriots and people willing to protect; our soldiers, our police.

    I love reading about history’s correlation with astrology. I can see your connections pretty vividly. Thank you for such a great post!

    • I agree and thank you for the valuable feedback, writing in a void can be lonely 🙂 Although I am not sure Saturn in Libra gets off lightly (and Saturn anywhere near Venus can be very heavy). But that’s a matter for another post 🙂

  4. Hello David!
    Thanks for this nice Article 🙂
    Now I understand significantly better the relation between Saturn being in Cancer (4 Jun 2003 – 16 Jul 2005) and my initial involvement with virtual games in this period.
    I hope your hand heals completely

  5. Wow…thank you for a deeply insightful article on this “tribe.” It totally resonated with me, having this placement in my own chart. It’s a difficult placement to be sure…thank you again.

  6. David, this was a beautiful description of Saturn in Cancer, the best I have read yet. It brought tears to my eyes. I think I have to begin working on this. Many man thanks for posting this.

  7. Many thanks for this article. I’ve come back to it a number of times over the years because it’s the only one that taps into something that speaks profoundly to me… not look for the nurturing & protection that life hasn’t given me, but to do all I can to give this to others…..I have Saturn in Cancer on the cusp of 7th/8th as my chart ruler. Also Sun in 4th, & Moon conjunct MC which amplify the theme.
    A lack of nurture in childhood, a career in restoring historic properties all of which I lost in an ugly way when my partner was killed. These days an antique dealer & I work as an advocate to try to get protection for human rights leaders in conflict zones. Which brings me great soul satisfaction…..

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