Saturn Return success stories are always preceded by a prolonged phase of obsessive work, self-doubt, rejection, and fluctuating finances. You could vary the ratios and throw in a toothache or sore neck but that’s the sum of it. But with persistence, the results can be unbelievable.
Oxygene, Jean-Michel Jarre’s super-influential electronic album, emerged from his Saturn Return in 1976. He made it in a makeshift kitchen studio, with salvaged second-hand gear repurposed and held together with sellotape. Yes, he is a versatile Virgo.
Saturn Return Made Him
Pretty much nobody aside from his then partner, the actor Charlotte Rampling, got his vision at the time: A composition about climate change, the biosphere, music you’d listen to on the Moon, frequency designer, tracks with numbers, not names and synthesizers.
Dozens of record producers rejected it. As Jarre told the Guardian, “they all said ‘you have no singles, no drummer, no singer, the tracks last 10 minutes and it’s French.’ Finally, a niche record company that normally released jazz music took it on, warily and after heavy lobbying.
The critics universally slammed it, calling it “derivative, lacking heart, ponderous and electronic muzak.” Even the musicians’ mother hated the album, asking why he had to put a skull on the cover and call it after a gas. But it quickly sold 15 million copies, immediately establishing Jarre in a rare stratum of artists who can make serious bank and count as cultural innovators.
Now He’s An Artificial Intelligence
Or, as his site puts it, “Composer, performer, producer. Visionary, innovator, cultural ambassador.” He’s a triple Leo – Ascendant, Saturn, and Pluto. That Saturn Return kitchen grind formed the foundation for a series of spectacularly flamboyant and big-vision live shows.
Perma-cool and always artistically relevant, he’s regularly cited as an inspiration by creatives, including those who have not even had one Saturn Return yet. He looks ludicrously youthful, has enough money to back the causes he cares about and Oxygene became “a crucial building block for everything from techno to ambient to new age.”
Why not see any Saturn conjunction, not just the Return, as an era when – with intensive focus – you can build a foundation?
Jean-Michel Jarre had a day job. He could have slept/partied through all those nights or shrunk back from the early criticism/lack of interest. It would probably have been easier at the time to make a less courageous creative decision. But he stuck at it, dodgy equipment, no sleep, claustrophobia, criticism and all. Thirty years later, Jarre spent his second Saturn Return in Merzouga, Morocco, putting on a free show with local musicians called Water For Life.
Last year, a few months before Saturn conjunct Pluto (the same alignment that he was born under) he announced his latest project: Eon, himself as an artificial intelligence algorithm.*
*In case you’re wondering, Uranus in Taurus is coming up to square his natal Saturn and he has a natal Uranus in Gemini sextile to his Saturn. Additionally, he’s got Jupiter in Saggo/the 5th House trine his Saturn/Pluto trine Midheaven.