Saturn has been making its way through Libra lately, the sign in which Saturn is exalted. What is it about the great malefic that works so well in Venus ruled Libra, a sign that represents balance and justice? How do the burdens represented by Saturn relate to the sun sign most notorious of keeping things light?

Perhaps an anecdote about a friend’s recent “leadership” workshop might help explain exactly how the bondage, responsibilities and weight of Saturn do so well in the realm of relationships.

My friend’s weekend long workshop was more or less like a life-coaching session where things began to get fairly personal very rapidly. My friend was not expecting this and had no interest in sharing intimate parts of her life with people she had just met. I had just attended something less intense, but in one aspect, similar. It was a meditation sangha in which people became quite personal during the discussion and I felt slightly put off as I was new to the group (I’m sure it would be more natural for long time attendees).

We both noted that other people seemed to have an opposite reaction than ours. And there are to be sure, many people who harbour a desire to share deeply intimate aspects of their lives with people they have weak ties with. Personally, I’ve never liked the idea of group retreats where people dig around their psychological shit and share it with each other in order to catalyze these emotionally intense, transformative experiences. But I do understand why so many modern people seem to crave it. The rawness of it. The seeming authenticity.

Ultimately, we agreed that this kind of sharing – between complete strangers with no real ties and who will never see each other again – struck us as lazy. Of course it is easier to reveal your vulnerabilities to a stranger rather than someone you share so much more of your life with. Doing the latter means dealing with the consequences of such revelations the morning after. Ah, consequences, another Saturnian thing.

Saturn in Libra also speaks to me about responsibilities. And I think the reason why I can’t seem to get into this constructed “safe space” for intimacy is because of the lack of responsibility. I don’t believe in intimacy and authenticity of any real depth without effort and without bondage. While I could have a powerful connection with someone after an initial meeting, for that connection to have weight, that shared emotional depth would need to deepen with time, to develop organically within the larger context of a building a solid, committed, longer lasting relationship. Sometimes it never gets there and that’s fine too. You have a special moment with someone, but that’s all it is. That moment in time.

The final reason this type of sharing, the close sharing that lacks Saturnian elements, doesn’t sit well with me is because I think it reinforces a false dichotomy between how you behave everyday and who you “truly” are inside, “uncorrupted” by how you interact with your environment. This dichotomy is a model of the self that is widely accepted, but as is typical of a modern ethos, it is highly atomizing and privileges the internal psychology of the individual over the psychology of the group. I think only modern people could consider a kind of highly constructed social interaction more authentic than everyday life.

I’ll tell you what is authentic to me. It’s helping me move my furniture, loaning me stuff, buying me cough syrup when I’m too sick to hit the drugstore. It’s taking the effort to keep in touch, it’s asking me about my day and wanting to know, it’s buying me gifts or sending me articles just because you were thinking of me. And it’s doing things you don’t want to do like going to a dinner party full of strangers, doing the household chores, having it out in an argument. If that sounds terribly boring, for sure, it can be. But if you want the grandeur of life and for that to have any substance, you’ll have to follow Saturn’s lead by working hard and exercising patience first.