Held in the Grip of a Saturn Return

Capricorn Research is not into exercise. With the Sun, Moon and Ascendant in Capricorn and Mars almost totally absent in Pisces, the belief is that doing is a very overrated pastime. With an apex Neptune and the lights in the 12th, non doing is the key. They say Capricorns are innately ambitious, but this particular goat’s aims are completely inverted. The goal is to go through a whole life time using as little muscular effort as possible.

In my twenties and thirties I was a keen fell walker, but even this was done with ingenious ways of thinking to provide economy of actual movement. It was a solitary pursuit, a meditation.

During my fifties, in recognition of the fact that these walks were becoming fewer and farther between, I took up golf. The famous adage, allegedly first coined by Mark Twain that its “ a good walk, spoiled “ is not my experience. Indeed the stimulus of occasionally having to hit a ball with a long stick, provides a mental focus that is often absent when just walking in the hills.

The thing that would spoil the good walk would be playing with anyone else. Not having a competitive bone in my body or the least interest in chat, means that I always play solitary. The only competition is with the self.

Golf is a game that is entirely played in the head. In a tournament lasting 4 days, the total amount of actual action for any player adds up to about 10 minutes, the rest of the time is spent walking or standing about. The thing that causes all the trouble is the wandering mind, constantly replaying previous shots and fearful of repeating mistakes. This non presence at the tiny microsecond of actual contact with the ball will trigger involuntary muscle movement that will cause havoc as you end up in the rough if your lucky.

There is nothing so unforgiving for inattention as the flight of a golf ball. It’s Zen and the Art of the Golf Swing. Although few people would agree, Capricorn Research firmly believes that the popularity of the sport is entirely to do with it being the closest that its practitioners ever come to meditation in their lifetime.

Not that this approach to the game is going to yield spectacular scores, as a handicap in the mid to late twenties testifies.

I have never made any money from astrology, its study has always cost me far more than any actual cash received. This state of affairs has never been seen as a problem, more a liberation because I do not have to compromise the subject that I love in order to earn a living. My sole ( soul ) income comes as a hands on healer. For 25 years the harnessing of Neptune’s spiritual energy and Saturn’s practical hands on skills has enabled me to be one of the most successful in my world.

But because I earn my living through my hands which requires a profound level of freedom and release, I am loath to compromise this in order to hit a golf ball at the weekend. I have always struggled with the idea of the golf grip. The very word ‘ grip ‘ implies some kind of muscular effort is required to take hold of the club.

The old Zen saying where the master asks the disciple if he can grasp hold of emptiness seems appropriate. The follower makes ever increasing attempts to clutch at thin air until his teacher puts him out of his misery by showing him an open hand upon which rests the whole Universe. This same open and released hand should make no attempt to grip the club, in doing so it would contract and create a tightness to the swing. The open hand should envelope the club, not grip it.

However this reluctance to grasp the club has always cost me in terms of it slightly slipping in my hands at point of contact with the ball. In order to accommodate it I have adopted an interlocking of the fingers which helps to steady things but means that it is difficult to get the whippy action that really propels the ball at speed. This compromise has been accepted however.

Everything was going fairly swimmingly until my 2nd Saturn Return. The famous transit first made its presence felt at the end of last summer when an allergic reaction caused one of my hands to become inflamed. This had an inevitable impact on my work as Saturn is in my 10th house. Whether or not it was caused by playing golf is hard to say, but it certainly made it much worse. So by the time Saturn came to its exact return position at 17. 50 Scorpio in early December, I was forced to give up my favourite pastime.

Any readers that understand and have experienced the workings of Saturn by transit will recognise this theme. Saturn always holds you back and stops you from doing the things you want to because you have to focus and the necessities of life, like earning a living.

Transits of slow moving planets usually have a threefold cycle. The first is when a transiting planet goes over a natal planet’s degree point. At some later date it will stop moving forward and turn retrograde returning to trigger the same degree point for the 2nd time, and then later it will go forwards again hitting the point for the 3rd and final time.

So Saturn will invariably hit you 3 times, this may be contained within a relatively short period of a month or two but it will frequently be dragged out over the best part of a year, meaning that the whole period has a flavour of restriction, frustration and lessons to be learnt forced upon you. Saturn’s progress through Scorpio has been slow and drawn out much to chagrin of many natives of that sign.

Giving up playing golf in December is not really a hardship to be honest, but when the Spring came this particular goat was beginning to get bored with the planet’s restraints. Saturn stopped in the first week of March and started to go backwards. As a triple Capricorn, I do not resent Saturn’s influence like many other signs, I am used to it and will often try and find out what lessons its requiring me to learn. Its usually asking for some kind of extra discipline and for me to seek my own ways out of the problems presented to me.

Just as Saturn started to turn retrograde, I decided I was going to go back to playing golf, but this time to use two gloves in order to protect my hands. This worked but it played havoc with my so called golf grip. The interlocking combination is impossible wearing two gloves, and so I was having to find another way to steady my hands at impact. I came up with an alteration of my left hand position that seemed to give me more stability but as with every thing in life generally and in golf in particular, whenever you make an adjustment of any part everything else must make compensatory adjustments.

At first I thought my new action was working, but as the retrograde Saturn came closer to its natal position I realised that these compensations were becoming more and more disastrous for my swing. By the time Saturn reached its natal position for the 2nd time, I could no longer hit anything straight, I was having trouble avoiding passing cars with my drives. By this stage the allergic problem that instigated all this had long gone, but even with one glove I had completely lost my swing.

I was sorely tempted to give the game up all together, but Capricorns are stubborn so I decided to celebrate Saturn’s 2nd contact in June 2014 by going on a golf beginners course. This course quickly abused me of my newly constructed golf grip but all the advice given just seemed to make things worse. The effort involved in trying to make adjustments just adds to the problem.

So Saturn was continuing in its retrograde motion and I was trying to change things based on an approach that was completely alien to my own nature and outlook on life. The results were getting worse by the day. The 3rd week of July, Saturn became stationery. This was actually my worst point in terms of my swing but I decided to give up trying to improve it altogether, and go back to treating the whole thing as a walking meditation again. I also decided to radically shorten my backswing to go for even more economy of effort. Instantly my swing improved, the less I thought about it the better it was and as the planet started to move forward for the last time I began to get the old feel back.

Interestingly that very week when Saturn started to move forward was the one where the fortunes of the England cricket team and captain Alistair Cook in particular turned round radically. Cook is a fellow Capricorn, in fact his Sun is within 20 minutes of my own. He also has Saturn in the 2nd half of Scorpio so has also been on the receiving end of a Saturn Return, albeit obviously his 1st one.

I have always felt drawn to Cook’s understated way of captaining his country. He is a prolific batsman and tactically astute captain, but both of these skills have deserted him recently as England were hammered in Australia during the winter and first Sri Lanka and then India made the team look clueless. Cook was being widely pilloried and most punters and ex players were lining up to have him dropped from the captaincy and even from the team itself. But then just on the very day that my golf swing came back to me without trying, Alistair Cook lost a toss and India chose to bat first. Cook admitted that he would have also opened the batting had won it, but he was saved from this error as the Indians fell apart as the English bowlers ripped through their batting.

England won the next 3 matches in increasingly emphatic style and with it the series with Cook’s captaincy and batting both being praised to the rafters and most of the punters apologising for doubting him.

My golf has been improving in a way parallel to Alistair Cook’s fortunes, but it has made me truly grateful to the fact that I don’t have to go through a Saturn Return on the back pages of every newspaper in the land.

With increasing confidence I decided to book a golf holiday for the last week in August to coincide with the final 3rd contact of my Saturn Return. I was a bit daunted by the fact that Mars was also exactly conjunct Saturn at 17.50 Scorpio on the first day, but felt that if I could truly not care about the results of my swing and be open to any lessons being dished out, it could well work in my favour.

As I result I approached the holiday in as mindful and non caring a way as possible and this enabled me to make a tiny adjustment to the old interlocking grip, changing the point of contact from the base of the fingers to the first knuckle. Instantly I was hitting the ball as never before with a much more whippy action.

I have now come out of the Saturn Return with my best ever scores under my belt, despite or probably because of the fact that I am using even less effort than ever. Not only that there is the added bonus of knowing that these are things that I have worked out for myself which fit beautifully with my overall philosophy of life, whilst ignoring all the advice to the contrary of several so called experts.

I have to add that the Saturn Return has had an impact in many areas of my life besides my golf swing, but the pattern has been similar. Trying to ” get a grip ” does not work, best to accept and let go instead.

I love Saturn, its there to teach us a lesson and it can be true that these are learnt the hard way but maybe we only feel it as a frustration because we are wasting our energies in inefficient directions.

Saturn says you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need.



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2 thoughts on “Held in the Grip of a Saturn Return

  1. Dear Capricorn,
    A couple of my older close friends did not survive the second Saturn return.
    I believe you might be thrilled when pluto, Sun, Mercury and Saturn will be conjunct 22 deg Capricorn in 2020.

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