Starfire by Mary O'Gara, Ph.D., D.D.

What They Say

“Long patience and application saturated with your heart’s blood—you will either write or you will not—and the only way to find out whether you will or not is to try.”
—Jim Tully

Mary O'Gara

Mary O’Gara is a financial astrologer and certified life/creativity coach who work with writers, artists and small business owners. Location and relocation questions are an important part of her work with small businesses. She lives in Albuquerque, NM, and consults internationally by phone and teleconference.




Starfire - September 2016
by Dr. Mary O'Gara, a writer and spiritual life coach from New Mexico.picture








Illustration © 2007 A.M. Scott



star chart

September 2016 - Saturn’s Final Square to Neptune
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Saturn’s Final Square to Neptune


Saturn and Neptune are about as compatible as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Well, maybe they aren’t that friendly. Like rival candidates, Saturn the planet of limitations and Neptune the visionary are squaring off in the sky with the tension between them peaking on September 10.

And, like a political campaign, it’s been a long slow journey with intermediate spats. Saturn and Neptune formed a 90-degree (square) aspect in the sky last November–something akin to the first debates of presidential candidates. Earlier this year, the planets met again while Saturn was retrograde–decision time, a lot like candidates shifting their strategies after the primaries. And now we come to the final resolution.

With Saturn and Neptune, the process is actually both clearer and cleaner than with politicians and the political arena. Saturn represents what some people call “reality”, the physical world around us with its limitations and challenges. Neptune represents what the serious meditators among us call “the real reality,” visionary and artistic and meditative insights.

When the planets meet, we’re forced to deal with the limitations challenging our visions for ourselves–and with the visions we’ve been afraid to reach toward as well as the ones we’ve outgrown.  Much of the work is internal. Clients worry about their health because they’re unexpectedly tired during the weeks before Saturn and Neptune form hard aspects (conjunction, square or opposition) in the sky or between natal and transiting planets.

In an earlier Starfire column I discussed the tendencies for self-sabotage and self-destruction during the Saturn-Neptune square. The final square of the series of three aspects is the least destructive and most productive of the sequence, so for this column I want to focus on strategic planning.

The best strategies come from a high vision, one that takes your breath away because it’s so fulfilling, and a cold hard look at the challenges you face on the way to the vision. You want to build a business, but you don’t have capital. You want to write a book, but you don’t have time.
You want .... but ....

In the previous paragraph, the word “but” is just like Saturn; it cancels the vision. For a first step (borrowed from NLP studies), try replacing “but” with “and” when you talk about a dream and a challenge. “I want to write a book (or start a business) AND I have no time (or money).”
Both statements acknowledge the vision and the challenge, but AND replacing BUT gives you a place to start working on the vision.

The next step in a strategy is brainstorming (Neptune, but also good on Uranian aspects) ways to overcome the Saturnian limitations. Look for simple steps, habits you can build. Unclutter your life. Make a budget. Tell three friends what you want and ask for ideas. Barter if you must. Always have three possible next steps; if one fails, you have two in reserve and can pause to create a third before you go on. (I learned about three arrows in a quiver from Tom Best, an NLP trainer who modeled the work of kahunas in Hawaii; today I tell writers I coach to have a list of at least three markets for any writing project so they have somewhere else to send anything that’s rejected.)

Over time the vision may change as you draw closer to it. You may decide you’d rather have a lap pool than a horse arena.  You may want the freedom of self-publishing or the distribution channels of a traditional publisher. You have to climb one hill before you get a clear look at the next hill (or mountain); think of Saturn as the climbing and Neptune as the vision of the ultimate mountain.  

With the vision secure, or changing as you grow and strengthen the dream, you shift strategies, but don’t give up the dream. That’s the hard part. Most of us need friends, colleagues, mentors or coaches to hold on to the dream while we make the outer world changes we need to support our own choices. The dream is a choice.  The challenges are just life.

The good part of the Saturn-Neptune final square is that we all make better strategic choices now. The problems became obvious in November; by June, we knew what needed to be done, but not how to do it. In September, we can bring the strategies and vision together and plan our first important steps.

One step might be making a list of problems or stressors and committing yourself to resolve those problems within the year. Another might be to make changes in your physical environment to make it easier to reach your vision, whether that means an updated wardrobe or the right music where you write.  

Be patient with yourself about taking action. Mercury will be retrograde from August 30 until September 22. The retrograde period, overlapping the Saturn-Neptune square timing, creates a fine time for weeding out anything that doesn’t belong to your present and future.  Implementing new ideas can safely wait until Mercury is retrograde.

And unlike many fine planning periods, this isn’t going to be one that gives you a long detailed plan moving step by step from present to vision. Plan initial strategies, but be fluid about future steps. There’s no final dispositor (no planet firmly in control of all the other energies) in the chart for the Saturn-Neptune square. In addition, the nine planets are clustered into two groups with Uranus alone (and most elevated) in the 8th house of resources and hidden abilities. You’ll be distracted from overly detailed plans, and you’ll discover opportunities along the way that will eliminate the need for some steps.

The timing is better for business (even creative businesses) than for romance. The Sun is in Virgo, but the overall tone of the chart is Capricorn, the sign made for productivity and executive abilities. With a sub-signature of Cancer, family and emotions will be strong motivators. Cancer’s influence also makes it important for you to nurture yourself and see your personal needs are met.  

Both Jupiter (expansion) and the Moon (personal needs) are in critical degrees in the Saturn-Neptune chart. It would be easy to move too fast or to sabotage yourself by neglecting self-care.
But you’re smarter than that. You can make plans, allow for alternatives, and include plans for a healthier you and a more supportive physical environment.

And then we can all celebrate the end of the Saturn-Neptune factor. The peak is on September 10, and life will be back to normal by about the 10th of October. Mercury will be direct. The tension will ease. And the fortunate among you will have made the plans and taken the steps to raise your lives to a new level. And then we’ll all celebrate surviving Saturn-Neptune again and be grateful the next square between these powerful planets is nearly 15 years into the future.

Mary O’Gara, Ph.D., D.D.