Saturn Cycles in Jungian Astrology

by David W Rosling

November 2014

The new Jungian astrology, which equates psychological archetypes with planetary principles and the four Jungian functions with astrology's four elements, has revealed an interesting perspective on Saturn cycles. Its premise basically is that as the personality unfolds in any individual life it progresses through distinct stages where various elements of the personality dominate. Each quarter cycle of Saturn (roughly 7.4 years) corresponds to a planetary archetype and each transition between quarter cycles brings a crisis with its own unique and predictable characteristics. In addition to this, the planetary archetypes alternate in polarity through the series of quarters, with each negative or "introspective" archetype expressing itself through the preceding positive or "extraverted" one, creating a combined effect of each pair in the sequence. The lunar period is a prenatal stage wherein the physical body and the vital etheric body underlying it are being developed. The kinaesthetic faculty of' sensation and touch is unfolding and the Earth element (Prithivi) is dominating.

The first half cycle of Saturn is a period of emotional unfoldment, divided into two quarters. The first of these is the extraverted Sun Animus quarter where the vital or life energy is being co-ordinated.This is the energy which sustains the etheric or vital body which inits turn manifests as physical energy. The second of these,the introspective Mars-Anima quarter, is where the principle of desire, which always manifests through the medium of vital energy, is being developed. When astrologers speak of Mars as being outgoing and aggressive they are really describing the combined effect of Mars (which is negative) and the Sun (which is positive) as one expresses the etheric body manifesting through the physical. In the second half cycle of Saturn we find two mental stages. The first of these is the extraverted Ascendant-Persona quarter, where the lower externalized mind or social modus operandi is being unfolded. The start of this period marks an abrupt shift of apparent personality characteristics because it is the transition from the emotional-feeling function (Water) to the mental-thinking (Fire) function. The automatic unfoldment which takes place up to this point is similar to the physical development of the foetus before birth, where it passes through the complete physical evolutionary history of Man up to the present point of evolution. The very troubled times of the present generation are largely caused by the evolutionary transition from emotional to mental, which is a major crisis in human development.

A significant proportion of the population is or will be shortly passing through this crisis of "baptism", a kind of evolutionary puberty. The main focus of concern in the Ascendant-Persona stage is belongingness and social conformity (extraverted), whereas in the Mars-Anima stage it is dedication, commitment, and loyalty (introverted). Today's status quo generally reflects a blend of these two archetypes. The Anima stage is very connected with family, whereas the Persona stage has much to do with the world of work and business - and we see the choice being made by many nowadays to give up some aspects of family (emotional) in favour of career (mental). The last quarter of the first Saturn cycle is the introspective mental stage of Jupiter-Ego, and here the concern is one of expanding awareness, re-living of memories, and a growth of sensitivity to the inner meanings of life. It is a period for development of self-esteem and conscientiousness. The inner identity of the Jupiter-Ego principle expresses itself through the outer or social identity of the Persona.The two work together, but few know the distinction in their own lives between the true conscience of their heart and the mask they wear. Because the Ego expresses through the Persona we term the Persona-dominant person "ego-centric", but this is not the same as the true ego-centred introvert who knows who he is and has achieved self-esteem.

The first half of the .second Saturn cycle is divided into the mental Venus-Alter Ego archetype of subliminal or abstract (higher) mind, which is extraverted, and the intuitive Mercury-Self principle of integration and meaning, which is introverted. Intuition expresses itself through the subliminal mind, and for this reason astrologers mistakenly think of Mercury as mental. In its manifestation it is, but in its essence it is not. This is why the theosophists say that Buddhi(intuition) comes to birth on the plane of mind. The same error is made in describing the Air element as mental. Air is Intuition, expressing through the Fire of mind. The first quarter of the intuitive-mental period is a stage of understanding, systematisation of one's life, and achievement of autonomy and independence of thought. It is also a period of seeking and searching for answers, and one of inspiration.The second quarter of this period is one of integration, balance, and the creativity which results from self-actualization. It is a period of' harmony and reconciliation of inner self to outer circumstances, and of inner freedom with outer restriction, as symbolized in the Crucifixion.

Childhood is an emotional period of development. In the first seven years this is primarily an expression of basic aliveness or vital energy. Then from seven to puberty the quality of wishfulness or desire becomes dominant. Before seven the pancreas is very active, and we actually see a kind of "diabetic" quality displayed by pre-school children in their mood swings, temper tantrums, etc. This is the period of Animus development. After seven the spleen becomes more active, as the more introspective Anima develops. At puberty we have the culmination of emotional formation in the crisis of "baptism". The unfoldment of the Anima and Animus, which follows "inherited" lines not unlike the process of physical heredity, is particularly related to the auditory faculty, which dominates this period.

Adolescence is the period of Persona development - of learning how to interact socially, of formation of a modus operandi or role mask for interacting with the world. It is a period of career and social goals, and also one of great activity, being the period of adrenal dominance. The visual faculty starts to play a dominant role here which lasts until age 37 when mental unfoldment ends. Around twenty-two a transition is made to the Ego stage where affairs of the heart start to take priority. This begins the traditional period of marriage and family, its first stage lasting to the end of the first Saturn cycle at around twenty-nine. This is a period of developing self-esteem, conscientiousness, and group (family) awareness. It is the period which will be most strongly remembered later in life, a period of love. The thymus gland is active at this time. Twenty-nine to thirty-seven is a period of vocational realization.

The second Saturn cycle is inaugurated by a period of searching, inquiry, and striving to find and manifest one's purpose in life. This is when a person discovers what he really wants to do, when he finds the vocational niche in the world which is his key to harmony, balance, and success. The early thirties years are a period of "getting it all together", of adapting one's pursuits to the emotional and physical realities present in one's life. Around age 37, when one's direction has been firmly established, there comes a critical point of transfiguration where the mental nature is fully developed and ready for "birth". This is a time of reaping; of seemingly magical recognition of merit and achievement of success. Harmony comes through fulfilment. This transition brings a great sigh of relief from the struggles which started at puberty when the fully formed emotional nature was "born". Finally, after so long,there comes an unbelievable period of calm and rest, at least relative to the past. This is a period of self-actualization and fulfilment which,once its full impact has been absorbed, culminates in a certain detachment from the life process to date. After satisfaction there comes a diminished interest, a renunciation and turning away from previous personal and material goals. Age 44 marks a point of liberation, equivalent in one's life to the evolutionary transition of the Crucifixion. It is literally the change of life. The mountain of Self has been climbed and the person is now successfully "over the hill".

Thus, in summing up, we have the following formative periods and transitional crises:

Prenatal period

Age 0 - formation of the physical body

Age 0 to 7.4 - birth of the physical body

Age 7.4 to 14.7 - early childhood: formation of the Animus

Age 14.7 - crisis of puberty: "birth" of the emotional body

Age 14.7 to 22.1 - adolescence: formation of the Persona

Age 22.1 to 29.5 - formation of the Ego

Age 29.5 to 36.8 - formation of the Alter Ego

Age 36.8 - crisis of transfiguration: "birth" of the mental body

Age 36.8 to 44.2 - integration of Self

Age 44.2 - crisis of renunciation: "birth" of the intuition


(ix) I.R.C.S. Medical Science, 1979, 7, 124.

(x) Journal of Geophysical Research, 1966,71, 3, 951.

(xi) Alexandre Dubrov, 'The Geomagnetic Field and Life', Plenum Press 1978.


Back to In The Loop main page