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Saturn and Knowing Your Limitations

We look to astrology to guide us to our full potential, but astrology can be just as valuable when it shows us our limitations. This is not to say that we have to accept these limitations but we can’t be expected to overcome them until we know where they are. And when we want to see our limitations, we often end up talking about Saturn.

Very often, these limitations are hidden within our greatest gifts. Albert Einstein is one of the most admired geniuses of  all time. One of the keys to his remarkable intellect is represented in his horoscope by the conjunction of Mercury with Saturn. (Click on Albert Einstein to see the chart.) The combination of these two planets is prominently placed in Einstein’s Tenth House of career and it allowed him to restructure our understanding of the universe. But this same adherence to the structuring qualities of Saturn also revealed the limitation of Einstein’s genius.

In Oct. 1927 the greatest scientists in the western world, including Einstein, Marie Curie, Max Planck and Niels Bohr, attended the Solvay Conference in Brussels. In that conference Werner Heisenberg presented his “uncertainty principle,” a theory that described the interactions of atoms in the quantum realm as a being totally untethered from the structure of everyday reality. Among the anomalies Heisenberg pointed out was that knowing one attribute of an electron in this quantum realm made knowing its other attributes impossible and that, in this ultra-tiny environment, a thing could be both a wave and a particle at the same time.

Einstein was having none of this. For the next five days he applied his remarkable mind to poking holes in Heisenberg’s mathematics. However, each of his objections was swatted away by Heisenberg and his mentor, Niels Bohr. Finally, the frustrated Einstein proclaimed, “God does not play dice with the universe.” Bohr answered, “It is not our place to tell Him how to run the world.”

With Saturn conjunct Mercury, Einstein could visualize new approaches to the structure of the universe but he could not accept Heisenberg’s idea that quantum mechanics functioned without such a structure. Einstein spent the rest of his career grousing about quantum mechanics and trying in vain to discover a theory that would unite all reality in one logical structure.

Of course, Saturn also played a major role in Heisenberg’s horoscope. It is square his natal Moon. (Click on Werner Heisenberg to see the chart.) This aspect by Saturn had a lot to do with Heisenberg’s mathematical skills. (We could say the same thing about Einstein’s Saturn.) But it also inclined the scientists to seek emotional security in the structures of his nationality. When Hitler took over in 1933, Heisenberg didn’t flee as so many German scientists and intellectuals did. He felt that his loyalty to his country had to outweigh whatever reservations he felt toward the new regime.

Because of his unwillingness to break free of his identity as a German, Heisenberg found himself at the head of the German effort to build an atomic bomb. Even though this in project achieved nothing, and even though Heisenberg went to have distinguished career as a scientist after the war, the shadow of his collaboration with the Nazis hangs over his legacy.

We all need boundaries. We need a line between right and wrong, good and bad and sense and nonsense, and that’s what Saturn gives us. But sometimes those lines become walls that limit us intellectually and emotionally. When we understand the nature of those limitations we are better able to deal with them. We may not always be able to overcome them, but we can make them less restrictive.

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