Welcome to Sagittarius season! The Sun shifted into fire sign Sagittarius Tuesday night, marking the final month of decreasing daylight hours. That’s an optimistic way to look at winter! Seeking out the positive glass-is-half-full viewpoint is standard practice for Sagittarius– it’s characterized by a future-oriented, enthusiastic, adventurous, and impetuous energy which helps lift us up into the holiday spirit.
Saturn has been transiting Sagittarius for a few years now, and we’re coming to the end of the journey. The planet of limitation and restriction first entered the sign on December 23, 2014, but due to its retrograde phase Saturn backed up into Scorpio during the summer of 2015. It settled firmly into Sagittarius on September 17, 2015 and will remain there for just 4 more weeks. Before it moves into its home sign Capricorn, I wanted to look back at one example of Saturn in Sagittarius manifesting itself in the world.
Saturn has a restricting effect on us because it tests our strength. It represents the confining limits of reality– where Neptune and the Moon are elusive and imaginative planets, Saturn is stuck in the solid material world, with all its flaws and demands. The lessons we learn through Saturn experiences are invaluable to our growth. We earn dignity and competence through Saturn times because we are met with challenges and loss and have to fight harder for what we want.
While Saturn transits Sagittarius, long-held philosophies and belief systems have been under scrutiny. The polarizing scandals of politics and Hollywood have gone crazy– from Trump-supporters and “fake news” accusations to sexual abuse revelations and NFL protests, it seems like nothing is sacred. Sagittarius, which corresponds to that big-picture, cross-cultural vision, has been reigned in by strict Saturn testing just how inclusive our beliefs really are. Sagittarius is a fun-loving, gregarious sign– and it’s been difficult to feel that type of optimism while Saturn exposed all these lies and weak points in our perception. And in negative ways, this elicits a brash, dogmatic, outspoken quality– the type that won’t tolerate discussion or compromise. It’s depressing to see how awful people have been treating each other, whether we’re talking about powerful movie agents, white police officers, or extreme politicians. But the gift of this transit is the truth coming to light, which ultimately allows healing to begin.
American actress Leah Remini entered the Church of Scientology as a child in the 1970’s. Scientology, which began in 1953 based on the science fiction writings of L. Ron Hubbard, is defined as “a religious course of study and counseling based on self-knowledge and spiritual fulfillment.” Her mother was introduced to the religion by a boyfriend, and the family became Scientologists when Remini was just 9 years old. She was an active member throughout her adolescent and early adult years, advocating the ‘good work’ the Church claimed to be accomplishing as it cleared the world of drug abuse and crime. It wasn’t until the 2006 celebrity marriage of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes that Remini began to question Scientology– when she asked why a particular high-ranking Church official wasn’t in attendance and was met with a harsh rebuke. According to Remini, “The response spoke to the person in me that doesn’t like to be bullied.”
After a few years of searching the internet, observing Church practices, and being interrogated by Church officials, Remini finally split with Scientology in 2013 and wrote a revealing autobiography of her experiences that was published in November 2015. The book, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology elicited such a strong response from other victims of the religion that Remini was inspired to follow the story further. A documentary series was born out of Remini’s interview with former Scientologist Amy Scobee, who was disconnected from her family due to Scientology doctrine. The heart-wrenching revelation that Church practices were destroying human relationships became the central theme of Remini’s work. As she says in the first episode, “I thought I’d be documenting stories of families that were torn apart by the Church’s practices, but what I uncovered was much deeper and darker than I ever expected.” Television network A&E picked up the series, Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, which first aired in November 2016, and has currently evolved into its second season.
This is Saturn in Sagittarius energy at its best, manifesting as the courage that it requires to publicly question a powerful institution. Scientology is a billion dollar entity that uses its enormous resources to maintain its propaganda. Scientology and the Aftermath reveals detailed accounts of witnesses that prove corruption and abuse by the self-proclaimed religion, and in typical blowhard fashion, all the Church can do is deny the claims. But the information is out there, and reality (Saturn) can’t be swept aside in the name of faith (Sagittarius). Saturn in Sagittarius is providing the consistent effort needed to reframe a cultural viewpoint, to help clarify a belief system and put us on solid ground. And most of all, it’s empowering people to take charge of their own faith– to understand that the human capacity to love and forgive far outweighs any promise of redemption by some large institutional power.
“I don’t want people to feel powerless because something seems more powerful than you. Yes, they may have more money. Yes they might have people that intimidate you. But we’re never going to make any change if we’re constantly being bullied.” (Season 1, Episode 4)