Many youths today are attracted to folk singers using a guitar to accompany themselves; and the Spanish type of passionate and seemingly utterly free songs which belong to the category of flamencos stir great enthusiasm in a growing number of American devotees. Early in this century, most musicians thought that all these folk songs were spontaneous expressions of the common people, especially of peasants in village festivities or around home fires during long and lovely winter evenings. It was often said that in these songs you could hear the very soul of the people unhindered by the learned rules of professional music, freely singing itself in moving improvisations.
However, when learned composers — like Bela Bartok in Hungary and Romania — came to collect and study a great number of the popular songs of their countries, or when deeper students analyzed the foundations on which the Spanish flamencos were built and the traditions indelibly connected with the playing of the guitar or of other popular instruments, it was discovered that the songs which expressed so spontaneously and perhaps naively the "soul of the people" were actually based on the modes or scales of the still older music of the church or on involved numerical and symbolical concepts whose sources could be found in Pythagorean or mystical-occult traditions. Even the word "flamenco" proved to be derived from the name of the bird flamingo and to imply a complex background of symbolical meanings traditionally associated with this bird.
If I mention these facts, it is because they are most revealing, inasmuch as they show how the seemingly most free and spontaneous expressions of simple and untutored people are actually conditioned by patterns and concepts which were formulated by men carefully trained for long years in places of sacred, religious, or occult learning. These men steeped in sacred thought had provided in the past foundations of a new culture; the symbols and the artistic and musical proportions they embodied in sacred images and chants later on were taken over, simplified, divested of their deeper meanings, and used as the framework within which "the people" came to express in spontaneous utterances their feelings, their love, their anguish, their reverence before the great mysteries of ever-renascent life and ever-present death.
In other words, wherever we find spontaneity and improvisation in collective popular outpourings of feelings, we should realize that this seemingly absolute freedom is only relative. The improvisations are basically structured by patterns and concepts created beforehand by great minds who established basic forms and scales, also by inventors who built instruments according to symbolical shapes (for instance, the guitar was conceived originally in relation to the shape of a spider — an animal much used in primitive symbolism because of its ability to weave according to accurate geometrical shapes).
The True Freedom
The conditioning of structure and the freedom of the spontaneous flow of feelings: these two elements constitute the essential polarities of human behavior. Spontaneity requires a deeply accepted sense of basic structure. Someone, somewhere did the planning, the thinking which sought to express a fundamental attunement to the great rhythms of life, of the earth, of the whole cosmos. In churches, temples, schools of initiation, or guilds, the principles of this attunement were absorbed, unconsciously in most cases, by the peasant, the neophyte, or the apprentice. Thus, structural foundations were provided which became the framework within which spontaneity could manifest freely just because it was held within secure bounds by the once "sacred" structures of symbols or musical scales.
Structure and spontaneity: these two factors within all significant human activity can be said in astrology to correspond respectively with Saturn and Venus. Saturn refers to the conditioning framework within which the emotions of the individual person (or of a human collectivity) are safely free to express themselves in shapes, gestures, or tones — thus, through plastic arts, dancing, and music. Venus gives to the poet his moods, his anguish, his ecstasies; but Saturn provides him with collectively understandable words and syntax. "Chaos" begins when the traditional frames of reference of a culture (Saturn) are either destroyed consciously or carelessly ignored and individuals sing, paint, write without any understandable or communicable frame of reference, glorying in unconditioned, unstructured, uncommitted spontaneity.
"Chaos," nevertheless, can mean — and it did mean in ancient Greece — a state of "con-fusion" (the "melting pot" of races and cultures) in which old and obsolete structures and traditions are "fused together" in order that new symbols and new modes of behavior may emerge. The process of structural dissolution (Neptune) follows the shock of a new revelation (Uranus) and leads to a condition of atomization (Pluto) required for the emergence of new potentialities of integration (the as-yet-unknown planet Proserpine?).
These new potentialities, however are not arising "spontaneously" in the usual sense of the term spontaneous (meaning literally "of one's own"). They manifest at certain times within "seed men" who have experienced Plutonian "hell" in the darkness of the underground (the place for all seeds before germination); but these potentialities manifest as the result of a "descent of the spirit" and this spirit is that of God or (which means much the same thing) of man, the soul of humanity as a whole. Only later will the result of this divine impregnation — the little germ — break through the crust of the old seed. A spontaneous breakthrough? It is indeed, but each germ carries within it the genetic pattern of the life species of which it is an expression; it carries a Saturn-emanated structure.
There may have been a mutation leading to some structural modification, perhaps a radical transformation; yet it still is structure. It results from a planning activity. The medieval sculptor was presumably free to imagine new forms which revealed under Venus' inspiration the surge of feelings that truly were his own; yet his work did fit into a specific place within the immense edifice of the cathedral. It belonged to a vast human and cultural effort. He may not have known how he knew why he used certain shapes and proportions; but that unconscious knowing was the voice of Saturn within him — Saturn, which originally was the ruler of the Golden Age (i.e., of the very beginnings of a great cycle of human evolution).
Saturn, Ruler of the Golden Age
We have lost the sense of this original Saturn symbol. The adolescent, stirred emotionally by Venus and rushing along Mars' paths of unstructured desire for whatever object does the stirring, rebels against any Saturnian constraint. Saturn is no longer for him the father-god whom his childish insecurity once revered and loved, and who indeed had structured his being. Perhaps the "god" lost his divine stature by proving himself to be an unsubstantial figure, unable to radiate the feelings of security the growing child needed for his growth. The "human, all too human" father appeared then to the child as being an autocrat, making arbitrary demands and being himself full of fears and anxiety. The teen-ager, as a result, most often today repudiates all fatherhoods, all Saturnian images. He craves to express himself "spontaneously," to do just as he "feels," in unconditioned and uncommitted freedom — or so he believes himself to be free!
But this repudiating of Saturn is not at all the same kind of repudiation as that of the more mature person who has experienced Uranus' revelations and the dissolution and atomization of the ancient images and symbols of a tradition by which he had been structured and to which he had become consciously committed. The 12-to-14-year-old adolescent has not actually known the conscious and individual acceptance of a Saturn tradition. He has only been passively subjected to the more or less arbitrary authority of parents and teachers of early school grades. This is, indeed, an entirely different situation. If the adolescent rushes out into his teen-age world rebelling against any authority, he does not do so because there is "chaos" (as I defined the term) within him but because there is blank emptiness; and he tries desperately to fill this soul emptiness with all kinds of stimulation — which our greedy society abundantly provides for him in the form of lurid TV, magazines with voluptuous illustrations, and sexy paperbacks — for the teen-agers constitute a wonderful market for profits of all sorts.
In nineteenth century Europe, boys aged 16 to 18 went to college eager to find the kind of Saturnian frame of reference which they could consciously accept as individuals instead of being passively subjected to it as when living in their family dominated by a more or less effective father figure. The universities often became centers of revolutionary activity, for the youth, confronted with broader and challenging new concepts and eager to commit himself to this greater Saturn, represented by often eminent and progressive teachers, accepted deliberately this Saturn as a framework into which to pour an emotional spontaneity.
This Venusian spontaneity was then not dissipated into constant semi-sexual promiscuity with girls of his class; and his "wild oats sowing," though cruder in most cases, was less energy scattering because rarely invested with deep emotional significance. Marriage, after leaving college, most often re-energized the Saturnian traditions of his family; but then it was a consciously accepted Saturn. It was a Saturn which the young husband, usually working along ancestral lines, knew he would use authoritatively to frame the nascent consciousness of his own children.
The Teen-Ager's Search
The real problem for the teen-ager of today who finds no really vital and compelling Saturn foundations in his paternal home is to find a valid Saturn image embodied in a person he or she can love and respect — a person who can provide him or her with a new and greater frame of reference for his Venusian emotional spontaneity. It must be a frame of reference that is inspiring, dynamizing, and inclusive — that demands of the youth a repolarization of his or her aimless life-energies and that is powerful enough to be acceptable as if it were a taskmaster whose discipline one willingly obeys. This is why German youth once joined the Nazi Party and French teen-agers not long ago enrolled in the underground of activists' groups in Algeria and in France; they were ready to sacrifice their lives because the "Movement," or the Party, provided them with a structural framework which stabilized and gave form to their until then aimless, incoherent, unstructured, and — above all — empty lives.
Life seems empty if there is no Saturn structure to hold together and give direction to the emotional contents of everyday existence. Such a life has only one determining aim: self-indulgence. Self-indulgence is the negative aspect of Venus. Venus represents primarily in man his "sense of values"; but without some Saturn-projected frame of reference, the only acceptable value is to bring oneself "pleasure" — all kinds of pleasure, from masturbation (solitary or not) to sports car speed. A life controlled by the driving urge to get pleasurable sensations and "kicks" is a life in which the Saturn factor has abdicated or has been dethroned, perhaps murdered. The majority of fathers in the United States have abdicated; many have been dethroned together with the great symbols of tradition; and quite a few are ruthlessly destroyed by their embittered or utterly bored progeny.
Today , at the threshold of a significant period opposing Saturn to an explosive gathering of Pluto, Uranus, and Mars in Virgo, the issue takes on a crucial and critical meaning. We have to understand what Saturn signifies as "divine ruler of the Golden Age" — a new golden age that sooner or later must come; only we must be clear as to what characterizes a "Golden Age" and not fall for sentimental old stereotypes, which is what most people do!
It seems evident that the Virgo planets in months just ahead will not tolerate the Saturnian patterns of a society whose "gods" are dead and replaced by autocrats (ruthless or benign as they may be) who cannot demand allegiance from the youth or impose a discipline which nothing any longer supports except matters of convenience and comfort. But out of the Piscean "sea," a new Saturn may arise, a truly "divine" ruler who will "rule" from within souls once more filled with significant life contents and dynamized by noble enthusiasms and the joy of self-overcoming. It is he for whom the souls and minds of today's empty men and frustrated women should look. His power resides in his ability to convey a new and greater vision of universal order as well as individual order and in the sense of stability and structural direction which his very presence arouses in men and women desperate enough to have no choice but either dreary emptiness or structural integrity (i.e., self-discipline). There are today so many of them!
The Kingdom of
the Father (Saturn) Is Within You
Saturn and Venus: structural order and spontaneity. These two factors are within each of us, and both are necessary for the harmonious development of a radiant and full personality. There can be no fullness without a Saturnian container to hold the energy of the feelings and no radiance unless these feelings have come to maturity — that is, unless they can flow steadily and with consistency out of a soul secure enough to empty itself willingly and lovingly. The energy of Venus has to be oriented and directed or else it oozes out and becomes wasted in a peripheral and superficial activity in which the central self of the person has actually no part at all. There must be "planning" but not a binding, stifling, and bureaucratic kind of planning.
Some years ago, in a motion picture entitled "The Inn of the Sixth Happiness," a young Chinese captain, enthused by the ideal of a new China, confronted a wise scholar. The young soldier ebulliently proclaimed that his life was totally planned in his dedication to the cause he served; and the old man answered with a sad smile: "A life that is planned is a closed life. It can be endured, but it cannot be lived." If so, it is because the true nature of planning is misunderstood. Wise though he was, the old scholar did not realize apparently that however free and spontaneous his own life seemed to him, nevertheless, it was inherently structured by an ancient tradition; it was held together by an innately accepted ritual of conduct; it had direction and purpose. But that direction and purpose, and the very bearing so characteristic of the old-type Chinese sage, were not rigid. They held but did not bind. They were the manifestations of a Saturn power inherent in the personality, not the products of a frightened subservience to a tyrannical order imposed from without.
When Christ in the Gospel speaks of "the Kingdom of Heaven," he refers to an order that is realized within the total person; and he opposes this order to the arbitrary commands of the ancient kings-autocrats or even to the somewhat more impersonal Roman Law, symbolized by "Caesar." Heaven, for the ancients, meant first and foremost the representation of universal order. It meant "cosmos" as opposed to chaos; and cosmos in Greece referred also to "the Beautiful." Order and beauty are one. Both imply harmonious proportions and the adequate adjustment of every part of a whole to the effectual workings of this whole.
An ordered life is a life lived as a functional part of an envisioned "greater whole" in which the individual sees himself more or less vividly a participant. The participation should be spontaneous; yet it should be acted out at its proper place and in terms of its particular function in the whole. It may not be deliberately "planned," but it implies the recognition and acceptance of an overshadowing plan. This recognition and acceptance are expressions of what, many years ago, I called "the will to Destiny." The deeper value of astrology is that it can foster such a realization of every individual's place and function in the vast planet-wide organism that is humanity.
Astrology, however, does not (or should not) deal with events as such. It tells us about the inner order which makes each of us what potentially he or she "is" and about the ordered unfoldment of this seed potential into the tree of personality. Yet one cannot know whether or not, or to what extent, this tree of personality will manifest in concrete actuality the potential of birth. Such a knowledge not only would serve no purpose; it would be criminal, for it would destroy the very sense of spontaneity; and without spontaneity, a life "can be endured, but it cannot be lived."
The error which so many people make is to identify planning with the loss of spontaneity. When doing so, they simply think of the wrong kind of planning. No valid and significant life planning tells anyone precisely what to do in terms of exact gestures or actions. Planning deals with the structural order of a cycle of activity but not with the particular events which constitute the contents of that cycle. The tragic mistake is that we, in most cases, do not differentiate between "structure" and "contents." Astrology deals with the structure of the individuality of a human person, not with the concrete contents of the daily existence of that person. If a national government decides to adopt a five-year plan and strives for a definite percentage of increase in over-all national productivity, this is "planning"; but unless this planning is ordered by a totalitarian police state, it does not mean that every manager of a factory is told what series of everyday actions he must order his workers to perform.
True planning "structures" human activity by giving it a direction, a general goal, a sense of ordered relationship between all the working units involved in that activity. It gives also to these units a sense of "belonging" and a noble pride in achievement when the general goal is reached. This is Saturn at work, a Saturn which gives inner security and strength, yet neither oppresses nor emotionally binds in a stifling manner.
Within the Saturnian over-all plan, Venus can and should operate with creative freedom and soul-exalting spontaneity at every moment and in every detail of operation; yet this freedom and spontaneity should not result in loose thinking, sloppy posture, messy technique, or unfocused activity. They will not produce such results if the sense of order is really experienced within the personality, if it has become an inherent necessity.
Venus, too, refers to the elements of "form"; but it is form in terms of immediate concrete products or actions. Saturn is the principle of structure which orders entire cycles of activity with little concern over particular single operations or gestures. Saturn is the executive who sets goals and general modes of operation; someone else should deal with the comfort, happiness, and cooperative mood of the workers — and this someone is the representative of the Venus function.
Saturn and Venus are found in every birth-chart. Their zodiacal and house positions and the aspect they may make to each other can tell a great deal concerning the manner in which a person is able to integrate in his life the elements of structure and spontaneity. The conjunction of these two planets tends to confuse the issue and to make of Venus the servant of an overbearing Saturn. On the other hand, in the case of an opposition, the spheres belonging respectively to Saturn and to Venus ought to be clearly defined and differentiated. The life as a whole may be well structured; yet the freedom of true improvisation under a distant, but effective, Saturnian guidance should be treasured and easily demonstrated at the proper time and place.
The square aspect between Saturn and Venus is likely to bring conflicts and problems in defining the basic relationship between freedom and planning; while the sextile and trine should vouchsafe a more natural, taken-for-granted perhaps, integration of the two polarities of human behavior.
Obviously, many other factors in a birth-chart are involved in the problem of bringing about such an effective and smooth integration. But no problem can be solved without a clear realization of the factors involved in the problem. What this article has sought to elucidate is the basic distinction that must be made between structure and content; between the forces which give coherence, direction, and purpose to a life and that essential urge for spontaneity and freedom without which there can be no true individual happiness and radiance.
Both these elements of the full personality are necessary. Each should operate in its own plane and time, according to its own function; yet at every moment and in every place, the individual's behavior and his thinking should incorporate something of both, for either one if left alone is destructive of true integration — Saturn alone producing rigidity and sclerosis; Venus, without Saturn's directives and security, wasting energy in self-indulgence.