April 22, 2024

Thoughts on Depression

Thoughts on Depression

With transiting Saturn coming into Gemini this coming May for two years, astrologers will probably see more than the normal share of concerns involving depression. A symbolic link between Saturn and Mercury and reactant (Mutable) Signs will be strongly established.

The point here in “Notebook” is to appreciate depression, its role within development, and to be careful not to jump the gun to extremism in analyses.

For example: who has not been depressed in their life? It’s a natural state to be down, to be sad, to be alone with one’s being in life from time to time, usually in times of lost opportunity, heavy criticism from without, sadness with loss. The majority of us have had those phases when we have even thought about not remaining in this life, usually as a metaphor of disconsolation and a cry for recognition, for rejuvenation. The point is how long does such a period last, how much in the way does it become with regard to relationship, productivity, planning, etc. Any fine textbook on depression will offer guidelines about this, and astrologers simply must understand these parameters well. [I recommend, Klein, Dr. Donald F and Dr. Paul H Wender, Understanding Depression: A Complete guide to its Diagnosis & Treatment, Oxford University Press, 1993.]

Let’s look for a moment at the archetype of depression: Saturn relating to Mercury. We feel that natal, transiting or arcing Saturn to a hard aspect with Mercury suggests depression of the Mercury function; the mind is brought down, held down, controlled, and personality damage can be astir through the mind. But what about relating Mercury natally or by transit or arc to Saturn? Is it that we learn something through time, through duress; is this wisdom in formation?

The relationship of Saturn to Mercury and Mercury to Saturn are so similar. It seems as if a character inclination or a reality consideration -i.e., another force or dimension reinforcing one pole of reaction or the other– makes the difference between hard work, analysis and wisdom AND a sense of heavy responsibility duress and all-pervasive depression.

To resolve such an astrological conundrum, we have to know that the best direction for the astrologer to work is not among all the nuances of the symbolism -not trying to pick out the kitchen linoleum from some aspect relating to the fourth House- but, rather, to work toward the reality of the client, in development, in present situation, and in projected plans.

Case in point (do this chart): female born October 4, 1949 at 10:37 PM, EET in Clocolan, SAFR.

This professional lady is extremely talented in her reality, undoubtedly by virtue of having had to work through all the “challenges” of development, suggested by the following horoscope orientation.

Northern Hemisphere (unfinished business in the early home). Probable sibling tensions as well (3rd House condition, Mars ruling the 11th suggests anxiety focused upon feeling loveable amid everything else). Very strong and deep self-worth concerns through the parents (the Moon, very sensitive in Pisces, rules the 2nd and is opposed by Saturn on the MC axis. Note the retrogradation of the Ascendant ruler (also ruling a parental House) -Mercury, the mind– a counterpoint to development, subliminal agendas. The Sun, ruler of the sibling, mind-set 3rd, conjoined Neptune suggests confusion there, relating to one parent in particular (Neptune ruling the 10th). Mars-Pluto square with Venus in Scorpio (quindecile the Ascendant) suggests sexuality (performance) is a claim to fame here in overcompensation. This may be how she will set herself apart as special. Etc.

This very sexual woman has lived quite some time with a much younger man, indeed a ‘claim to fame’ for her. The man has recently left her. Transiting Saturn is coming to her Ascendant in Spring 2001. Now this certainly can be a suggestion of life falling in on this lady at age 52; age is depressing in a situation like this. But note that tr Saturn will be trine to her natal Mercury at the same time. Perhaps this is a late growing-up time for her! –This is a bona fide link: with this woman, one is aware of her mind working overtime (Mercury trine the Ascendant), bright, resourceful, socially alert to a fault.

At the same time with the Saturn transit, SA Pluto is conjoined with that natal Mercury, ruler of the Ascendant (02/01). Tr Uranus will be square Venus, ruler of the 12th, natally quindecile the Ascendant. -Personal perspective, ways of trafficking with her world -all of this is coming to a point of focus and upheaval, change.

What we could have here is a profile of potential breakdown and depression (the involvement of the 12th House, Ascendant, the Sun, Pluto -see Astrological timing of Critical Illness). BUT will the transit by Saturn trine to Mercury redeem the picture, working within lifelong established, productive channels, suggest wisdom gained through duress, through “normal” depression?

This question must be assessed in dialogue with the client; there is no other way to weigh the balance into either direction.

The first thing to do, in my opinion, would be to make sure the client has a full medical, physical examination to settle many concerns from these measurements. Second, there should be a rich discussion about values –past, present, and future– how they have changed and why they are so important now at this time of life. There is undoubtedly much “unfinished business” from long ago to be settled finally.

So our notebook lesson is a reminder: measurements work through the client to configure reality, to give it personal significance. The astrologer is a guide in this process. Measurements are tip-offs to developmental dimensions; they are not ends in themselves. At its very best, astrology is an alert to changing conditions, to the development of potentials, and to our understanding of the process of becoming.