Saturn, scapegoats and the blame game

Capricorn 2007

Some time ago a friend of mine and I were discussing the structure of a book she was writing. One of her topics of expertise is patient rights, and we ended up discussing the responsibilities of the different parties involved and how this is seen by different groups in society.  As soon as I hear the words ‘structure’ and ‘responsibility’ in the same conversation, I immediately think of Saturn – my brain is now programmed so that this is unavoidable for me. It can’t be helped. I realised, however, that by discussing the way this archetype can work in the real world, the information provides a way of structuring information, in this case for a book, and generating new research areas. 


Capricorn – step by step to the top

The planet Saturn has always been associated with the sign Capricorn, and in traditional astrology with Aquarius, before Uranus was discovered. But since that is the topic for the next post we are getting ahead of ourselves, so we will stick to the Capricorn side. Saturn was, pre-Uranus, the last outer planet. Beyond that there was nothing. So Saturn has to do with boundaries, borders, limits. Outside these limits was, and is, a scary unknown place. So Saturn always brings up fear. Fear of the unknown or going beyond our limits, or our fixed patterns. But Saturn is also the wise old man and is therefore associated with teaching and learning life’s, sometimes hard, lessons. He is associated with authority, someone who has earned a place as a ‘tribal elder’ through experience and by getting older.

Saturn is highly visible in many traditional people, elderly people and in scientists. The way it works well in science is the earthy, proving side; structured experiments, solid grounded work. But it can lead to the fixity one sees in many elderly people who are both mentally and physically inflexible. A few weeks ago I was on the receiving end of this quality and if you read Dutch, this Volkskrant article will illustrate how this works. (pdf files can be read with a free download of the adobe reader from the adobe website). An elderly astronomer had discovered that astrologers are having a congress in the astronomy museum in Utrecht and has stepped out of the board at the thought of an astronomy building being used by such lowly beings as astrologers. How dare ‘pseudo scientists’ be allowed to use this building. Sacrilege! Saturn very present here.

So back to my friend with patient rights, because the groups we discussed can be seen in all walks of life and particularly in companies. It is interesting to note here that a lot of government organisations choose the 1st of January to start new enterprises, which gives them a heavy dose of this Capricorn archetype.

Who’s to blame?

Taking the patient rights topic in a geriatric environment as an example, we have several groups. Doctors and patients of course, but also family, nurses, carers and sometimes government organisations. In the case my friend was looking at, there was also the press.

Responsibility. Tricky topic. The nurses blamed the families for interfering. The families blamed the hospitals for bad care. The nurses blamed the doctors for not knowing what was going on. The doctors blamed everyone and in particular their managers. The patients were often suffering from dementia so couldn’t blame anyone – but could also not be expected to take any responsibility. And everyone blamed the system.

But often the families would only accept advice from doctors. And often doctors expected to be in authority and acted accordingly, sometimes in a God-like fashion. In the end, of course, the patients suffer and no real structural problems get solved. The press however have fun looking for scapegoats and who is really at fault. When we see this much blame, we have to work with Capricorn – also incidentally a goat (although originally he was a goat-fish!)


Goatfish – from several sites – I can’t find the artist to give them credit.

Recognise the scenario?

All of this is Saturn at his worst. No-one wants to be responsible for elderly sick people. We don’t have time – another issue under Saturn’s domain. Time. Saturn is the grim reaper, the one who rules time and hard work. We don’t relish that either – old age and hard work. This archetype is very underrated in current western society. Give us botox , fast food and the quick fix.

Enter a new goat

In a lot of companies, including the British Health Authority the NHS, at this stage enter … THE CONSULTANT. The answer to a maiden’s prayer, who will fix everything. Now a good consultant can go a long way to solving problems, mainly by using Saturn’s good qualities of structure and introducing a reality factor. But I would contend that there are not many really good consultants. More importantly, what is needed is a change in the level of consciousness of all involved and this is a personal journey. This of course can be aided by others along the way, but consultants are normally paid for the ‘quick fix’. So we go around the same loop and have one more person to blame. A great scapegoat the consultant, as he is not one of us and he leaves after a short period of involvement.

Help is on its way – Rules rule

Astrology can help here at all levels by providing the antidote to all this negative Capricorn if it is present. It is as in homeopathy, where like cures like. Saturn – but then in positive form.
First provide a clear structure with a mission and a goal – from the top. Companies and people work better when they have a clear goal or focus and where everyone is part of this and buys into the mission.
Within the structure, define clear responsibilities and contracts that can be measured. Both top down and bottom up. Managers can be measured by their staff too, if the responsibilities are clear.
Where someone has good knowledge, they should be given a position of authority. In our example the nurses were often the experts and not the doctors. However nurses often have no authority, just all the responsibility.

A big problem, both here and in many companies, is the amount of time people are asked to work. There have to be some limits here. Many take on responsibilities that are not part of their remit because of underlying fear. Fear of being blamed, fear of not being valued, fear of getting the sack or not getting a promotion or simply fear of not being good enough. This is management abuse in my book. But management have their own fears too and heavy responsibilities.


The television documentary on the NHS is worthwhile viewing (see link below), as the consultant is a well known successful one. Gerry Robinson: “There was just a kind of sense that what you did was you talked about it; you did everything but actually change it. And that whole thing about changing the psychology is always the most difficult thing, and this was very, very deep rooted psychology in the sense of it felt to me like the Civil Service, it was safer not to do something than it was to stick your neck out and take a chance.”


Indeed, the fear side of Saturn is a major stumbling block that needs to be recognised. Gerry Robinson’s pragmatic approach worked well at the NHS. Much of what he did, apart from good communication, was recognising where expertise was, giving people the responsibility to come up with solutions, and mostly urging people to exercise the authority they actually had. All positive Saturn.

So what?

So to summarise – good Saturn or Capricorn traits are: clarity, structure, goal-setting, mission statement definition, wisdom, authority, reality and taking responsibility. But of course too much of a good thing can lead to the negative side: too strict, abusive authority, inflexibility, blaming, fear of changing anything, too many rules, finding those scapegoats, outdated structures that don’t work and too many meetings because it’s Thursday.

So we need to look at where we are responsible and take the rap if need be. Let’s face it, there is nothing more annoying than when you are trying to enjoy a good blame (not your fault after all!) than when the person in question says “yes you’re right, I’m sorry.” And since we’re talking about deadlines, time, hard work and all things Saturnian – yes I’m sorry this post is late. I broke my own rule (Saturn too) of finishing an post in the period associated with it.

Responsibility after 2008? Mission impossible?

In 2008 Pluto will move from Sagittarius, discussed last time, into Capricorn.

The last few times Pluto was in this sign are:
1024 – 1041
1269 – 1287
1516 – 1532
1762 – 1778 and from 2008 until 2024
I give these dates for anyone who wants to study these periods, but not being an historian I am unqualified to comment  in depth on these periods. However I will briefly comment on the links. I would appreciate any feedback from you historians out there. So before 2008, we have a chance to mentally prepare for how we can take advantage of the future by using the positive sides of our friendly goat. This is the benefit that astrology can offer.

The forecasts

Here are two quotes from internet which give the some of the flavour:
Marjorie Orr: “Then (2008) Pluto into Capricorn for sixteen years = complete deconstruction and reconstruction of global economic and commercial structures and systems, as well as major changes in way in which governments work. In past times of Pluto in Capricorn (approximately every 250 years) there was territorial domination on a grand scale by charismatic leaders and ultimately a time of culture, learning, justice and prosperity.”
And another anonymous quote:” This interval presents an astrological window when individual sovereign nations and corporations will be challenged to relinquish control over their domains. This infers that only tremendous calamity such as global warming, regional war, or financial collapse will push sovereign entities to unite for a common purpose and collective security. Pluto in Capricorn provides the celestial motivation for the restructuring of governments.”

As I mentioned in the last post, Pluto in a sign seeks to transform everything associated with that sign. What is not pure will be purged. Pluto takes no prisoners to purify the areas he is busy with. Indeed we can see, in many of these earlier ‘Pluto in Capricorn’ periods, territorial clashes. Capricorn is an earth sign, ruling borders and boundaries. So in the literal sense of country borders, I would expect these to be tested and clarified during the next period. The struggles for independence in America occurred during the last phase.

Governments beware

Government has always thought to be under the Capricorn domain too, so cleansing of anything that is not working in a responsible fashion in any government areas, would be on the cards. Government departments, and other organisations, should be gearing up to be able to demonstrate that they have been acting responsibly, otherwise they will be in trouble. Any outdated structures will be challenged in both government and commercial companies.

After a Sagittarius period where knowledge and information have had power, (the internet has given everyone the power to be entrepreneurial), I would expect a gradual shift to more rules and regulations. Credentials, registrations and titles may become more important. After Saggy, Capricorn expects us to deliver. To come up with concrete results and  ‘put our money where our mouths are.’  Companies may go back to being more hierarchical for a time until we learn how to really delegate responsibility and measure results.

Getting what you deserve

An example of this in a completely different setting is the action of Martin Luther in 1517 at the start of one of these cycles when he mailed his 95 theses to the door of the Palace Church in Wittenberg. His protest against the church excesses (Sagittarius) marked the beginning of the Reformation (Saturn to give form to) period in Germany. We see here the associations with austerity too. This also marked the start of the Renaissance, which gave form to the transformation happening in Europe. Hopefully we will see this theme again.

There is a movement afoot in business that I feel will become more important and accepted in this phase, so it would be wise for companies to start thinking about how this could be implemented. That is the idea known as triple bottom line, where balance sheets for companies will contain not only profit in financial terms but will also be expected to cover the people and planet aspects as well. Sustainability will need to be measured and accounted for. For both people and the environment. Hence the three P’s  ‘people profit and planet’.

Punishment and rewards

Other areas which Capricorn rules may also take a beating if there are things wrong.  These are (to name a few):  the building trade, architecture, accounting, teaching, consultancy and career issues, such as counselling, HR and coaching. More regulations may come into force and more concrete results will be expected in these areas. Hard work will be the norm. No more rip-offs from builders, plumbers, advisors, consultants or coaches. In fact an approach of ‘no cure – no pay’ might work well in this period. We can begin to see how the influx of hard working Polish builders might be the impetus for some of the transformations, with the first step maybe being to try to limit them. The goat can be strict and expect results but he is a great teacher and he delivers. There will be many benefits to come out of this period but what usually needs to be faced first, are the challenging sides.

Are we conscious?

But is this mission impossible? Do we have the maturity (another Capricorn word) to be able to make use of this energy?  Is the level of consciousness enough, and in enough people? Don Edward Beck and Christopher C. Cowan  in their work on the Spiral Dynamics model suggested by Clare W. Graves in the sixties, talk about how many people are at the different levels, a concept known as memes. The memes are different colours, and represent levels of the entire model. Space doesn’t allow me to go into the full model but for our purposes here I take these memes to be different levels of consciousness. The meme that interests me for our current purposes is the blue one. This is defined as “doing duty, honouring length of service, stability, obedience to authority, laws, regulations and discipline builds character and moral fibre.”  This sounds very Capricornian. There are levels above and below blue. It is suggested that around 60-70% of the population have either reached the blue level of consciousness or are above it. This seems to imply that we have a good chance of making something worthwhile of the opportunity we will be given between 2008 and 2024. It augurs well.

Faye Blake-Cossar

Interesting websites of the month

For Can Gerry Robinson fix the NHS?

For an explanation of the triple bottom line 3 p’s.

This month’s Quotes

“Liberty means responsibility. That is why most mean dread it.”
George Bernard Shaw.

And because Bob Dylan has a certain Saturnian streak being born when Saturn was close to the moon…
“Blame it on a simple twist fate.” and
“Ah – but I was so much older then; I’m younger than that now.”
Bob Dylan

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