This article was lifted from a previous tweet thread of mine.
I don’t always entirely resonate with the astrology associations of tarot. I imagine a lot of people feel this way, and especially with The World and Saturn. How can completion be restrictive, controlling?
Over the thousands of millenia that our earth was being created, it was subject to intense heat, pressure, and climate. In these tough conditions, adapted beings and organisms began to grow, which could sustain themselves despite the harshness of the earth’s early years. Much like astrological Saturn, while the foundings of earth can be seen as tough and unyielding, it was that pressure which allowed for complex life to form, and eventually also become intelligent life. Saturn creates hurdles which encourage us to grow.
As a planet, Saturn is a gas giant, comprised mostly of Hydrogen and Helium, the first two elements of our periodic table. Speaking metaphorically, Saturn produces our first steps, and leaves the journey up to us, which is how we arrive at The World’s completion. Saturn is described as possibly having a solid core, though no definite surface. This is so intriguing to me because our earth has a solid inner core, consumed by a liquid outer core. More layers later, we get to our surface, which is constantly changing due to us. While Saturn is, in theory, consistent at the core but adaptable on the visible surface, something we see in astrology, The World is a retroactive look at that, as we have to adapt our tangible route to achieve the goal we persistent towards, resulting in this tarot card.
Another funny detail about the planet Saturn which I view in astrology and in tarot is its shape: Flattened at the poles, expanded at the equator. Symbolically, we can view this as softened extremes, with overarching attention toward longevity and clarity (long view.) By focusing on the whole picture and not on extremes or irrationalities, we appease both Saturn and The World, as both have a focus on foresight and perseverance through controlled action and sensibility.
Saturn is also the only planet in our solar system less dense than water, meaning that (in theory), if we could put Saturn into water, it’d float. The element water in astrology relates to emotional personhood, and Saturn finds one of its detrimental signs in the element. This can, if we continue to be inspired by the planet itself, point to the fact that heavy emotions can drag us down from the objectivity and adaptability that Saturn ultimately needs to be an effective authority and teacher. After all, you’ve never seen your headmaster cry!
All of this goes into how we view Saturn in astrology, and by extension The World in tarot, because completing cycles, cutting strings, and reaching goals all require us to be ready to take a fall, or to adapt a plan. We need to be ready to be self led, and possibly lead others. The World is not a card that we receive when we run forward at the speed of light on our own with no plans. It is a card which represents duty, responsibility, and the success which is birthed from these very things. Saturn, likewise, is the teacher who shows us this.