neon saturnThe cosmic headline this week is Saturn’s move from Virgo to Libra on October 29.

Since September 2007, Saturn in Virgo has required intense inner work and personal growth. The Hermit is one of Virgo’s archetypes, and this has been an inward-turning time to deepen, strengthen and purify the self.

Virgo is also, of course, the Virgin, representing not chastity but self-possession — “she who is whole unto herself,” as described by Marion Woodman. Finding this place of inner wholeness requires stripping away what is extraneous — possessions, activities, beliefs, relationships… — to uncover our true essence.

Emerging from the crucible of purification, it’s time to put this inner work to the test through encounters with “the other.” Libra the Scales, ruled by Venus — Goddess of love, beauty, culture and the arts — is the sign of partnership, collaboration, cooperation, and (of course) balance.

Saturn is traditionally considered “exalted” (strongest) in Libra. Astro-blogger Elsa P. writes:

Saturn is exalted in Libra and it is easy to see why. Who wants a WEAK relationship, hmm? Who wants a flimsy arrangement, a partner you cannot rely on, etc? With Saturn in Libra people are going to want to form strong bonds. This applies to partnerships of all kind. Marriages, business partnerships, other types of alliances.

If you are unable to commit and be a mature and reliable partner with Saturn in Libra, you are going to find yourself deprived of relationship. Put simply, you will be out of style. Who wants to marry a flake again? Yeah, that’s what I thought. (see her full post here)

While Saturn is in Libra (until October 2012), relationships will be the arena for the most intense work, and the greatest rewards. The concept of projection will be particularly useful during this time, as Saturn in Libra’s ultimate lesson is that everyone in your life is a mirror, reflecting back to you some aspect of your self.

As described by Liz Greene: “We seek in others what we are not able to express consciously ourselves; and we also hate in others what we are not able to express. No perfect match with another can create inner wholeness.” (from Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil)

The “inner wholeness” we seek from others can be found through others, when we recognize our projections and reclaim those rejected parts of ourselves. Saturn’s upcoming square with Pluto — exact for the first time on November 14 — will offer plenty of growth opportunities in this respect, as we encounter our shadow selves as mirrored by our partners.