^^Quite possibly the most perfect Saturn Retrograde in Aquarius theme song: “I’m not your friend….”
In recent weeks, defining Saturn has turned retrograde in social Aquarius and as such it is a good time to be defining for ourselves what our deal-breakers or lines-in-the-sand are regarding friendships. Saturn turning retrograde is an ideal time to say “no” to something; to turn a lesson down that we do not need in life. Looking over our past experiences (because this is always the best teacher, no?) to inform our present and future, the next four months are a fertile time to be asking ourselves what we won’t put up with from friends anymore. This will be different for everybody of course, but resonant themes might include things like the balance of time or effort towards working on the friendship, for example – if we feel like we’re always doing the work, or that we make more time for somebody than they make for us, this is probably a problem. Other topics that can gain greater resonance at this time might include whether or not we can count on a friend to truly support us through challenging times (Saturn is so often hardship-related energy), or whether or not they act like a parent in attempting to control us/our life choices and thus fail to respect our free will – anything Saturn-oriented is inclined to take on a parental flavor. Our friends are not required to agree with everything that we think, feel, or do – in fact, being able to occasionally “check” each other in healthy ways because we want the best for each other is something that sane and good friends should do. But we cannot direct others’ lives for them, either – the ability to respect boundaries and others’ right to learn from and through their mistakes is equally important. Nobody wants a friend in their life who constantly tells them what to do or *not* do; that just smacks of a control issue – Saturn is bossy, authoritarian energy when not kept in check.
I think perhaps the most important question to be asking ourselves at this time: If we were to have a problem with how a friend was treating us, would they take it seriously, conscientiously, and work on the issue? Or would they perhaps instead be resistant toward being accountable for their behavior? If the answer is the latter, defining such a person as a “friend” could be unwarranted; an acquaintance, perhaps, but any friend of real substance or value can/will own their mistakes and work to strengthen the connection rather than become cold, aloof, & distant if/when we’ve told them a behavior isn’t working for us and we have instead found it alienating. I think one of the social problems we all face these days results from the collective dilution in the definition of the word “friend” – social media platforms have made it easy to maintain a thin and detached definition of what friendship is. The ironic effect: Instead of social media being used for its highest purpose – which is to truly make society more connected – it has normalized a less caring, less involved level of interaction; just with a greater quantity of people. If Saturn teaches us anything, though, it is quality over quantity. Always.
Saturn in Aquarius is the time to work on any problems in our friendships. Should we fail to and thus be derelict in our duty in this regard, we then lose the right to be shocked/surprised when karma boomerangs back on us later and someone whom we’ve previously called a friend/relied upon for support suddenly doesn’t have the time for us or doesn’t want to put in the effort anymore – Saturn is known as the Lord of Karma for good reason. Surely if this global period of social isolation has taught us all one thing, it is that life is short and – particularly as we age – nobody wants to be lonely and without tried-and-true friends they can depend on. Since March 2020 Saturn in Aquarius has taught us much about the nature of our friendships and – more importantly – what we need to straighten out and get right in this area of our lives. Boundaries and standards have come into vogue in this arena, as has looking at our own limitations, lacks, or stumbling blocks and where there may be some onus on us to up our game and be a better caliber of friend ourselves – taking personal responsibility for where we ourselves may have come up short is always a good look when Saturn is involved.
But particularly now with Saturn having turned retrograde and the second of three squares between Saturn in Aquarius and socially-oriented Uranus peaking in just about an hour, it is a perfect time to be considering what’s *not* in a friend. Just say “no” to qualities and characteristics in a friend that don’t make the cut and re-assess your level of commitment – it’s OK to re-classify someone in our friend zone and downgrade them to “associate” level if we’re having an ongoing problem with their behavior that seems resistant to resolution, or perhaps take time away from the friendship to re-assess whether it still has a purpose or use in our lives. This can be tricky territory, however – low-vibration Saturn in Aquarius thinks nothing of using its social connections for personal or professional advancement in rather selfish ways that benefit the user. Hi-functioning Saturn in Aquarius, however, sees the purpose of community as being an opportunity for everybody to contribute and to be included in some way; regardless of how limited their capacity or role may be. The latter honors each person’s humanity and respects their limitations; the former takes a very self-interested cut-and-dried approach to how their social connections facilitate or hinder their ambitions without considering what they themselves are or aren’t contributing. All of these themes are very timely considerations at the moment.