Here’s a delightful painting by Francisco Goya depicting Saturn (or Cronus) having one of his kids for lunch.
Saturn rules over Capricorn in astrology. For that reason, Capricorn is considered to be the “grown-up” sign. Some of the interpretations of this painting on its Wikipedia page claim that the image represents “the conflict between youth and old age” and “time as the devourer of all things.”
If I wasn’t a childless vegetarian, I probably would identify with this painting. But I am a Capricorn, and I am looking forward to Saturn’s ingress into my sun sign on December 20. As I have mentioned before on this blog, I had a really good run the last time this transit occurred.
That wasn’t the case for everyone, though. What I do remember about the time was the spectacular death of the eighties. Saturn in Sagittarius had inflated the economy while simultaneously creating a climate where the public-at-large began to resent the “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” that had defined the decade.
What followed was the recession of the early 1990s. I’m not an economist, but from what I understand, there was plenty of financial tomfoolery involved in the downturn. Right now, the stock market is booming, so it would be no stretch of the imagination for me to predict an impending bust.
Instead, I’m going to predict something else — something I alluded to a few days ago. We’re on the threshold of a cultural shift. Frankly, people are really phony right now. Saturn in Sagittarius has allowed many individuals to succeed by painting an idealistic, inflated portrait of themselves through social media. We’re living in the age of the Instagram influencer who documents a fabulous life that we should all aspire to live.
It’s stupid. I know people who take more selfies in a day than I’ve taken in my entire life, and I’m full of myself. They attempt to portray themselves as lifestyle gurus and style experts simply by regurgitating each other’s stupid, uncreative content. “Look at the foam on this latte I ordered! Someone else made it, but they made it for me!” “Check out this designer top I’m wearing. I haven’t bought it because it’s $500, but don’t I look great in it?” “Hey, here’s another inspirational quote about self-acceptance I didn’t write that tells the world what a wonderful person I am.”
As a grouchy, old Capricorn, it all makes me angry. Not angry enough to eat the young, of course, but angry enough to point out that it takes no fucking talent to share other people’s creative content in order to make yourself look like something you’re not.
What I remember most about the transition from the eighties to the nineties was the big change in music at the time. Suddenly, authenticity was the order of the day. Acts like Soul II Soul, Sinead O’Connor, Sonic Youth and Public Enemy came out of nowhere. There really was a cultural shift away from what had come before. MTV’s “Unplugged” even debuted in January of 1990. That alone provides a metaphor about what was happening in the world.
I believe that we’re on the cusp of a similar cultural revolution. Capricorn may be associated with status and social-climbing, but it is also associated with having an authentic product to sell. If you’ve got nothing to offer in this brave new world, you’re going to find out that you are worth a lot less than your balance sheet indicates. The deficit is unsustainable.