Much of what I do as an astrologer is look at people’s transits: the things that the Universe is doing with (and to) a person at any given time. Often as not, a client will contact me when a difficult transit is reaching its peak, and that’s not surprising. People tend to go to the doctor when things are serious, and not when the first sneeze happens.
Just as when someone visits the doctor, it’s not at the beginning or the end of an illness: it’s the middle. Saturn transits are a big part of what brings people to an astrologer, and I’ve found that the “dramatic structure” (if you will) of a typical Saturn transit matches the three-season structure of HBO’s The Leftovers.
I am a huge fan of The Leftovers, which returns for its third and final season tonight. But I can see why others are put off by it. It is one of the bleakest damned things ever made for television. Other shows may be about how our heroes overcome adversity; The Leftovers is more a story of how to endure loss.
The Leftovers is set years after an event where, mysteriously and completely without explanation, 2% of the world’s population simply vanished. It’s like The Rapture from Christian belief, except that this event didn’t just take “the good ones”: it was completely random… willfully random, if there can be such a thing. But this is not a show like Lost (also produced by Damon Lindelof) where something strange happened and there is a big mystery to solve about what it was and why it happened. The Leftovers is simply a show about the aftermath of tragedy, and how we deal with it. As a result, the setting of the show is just exactly like our world is now… except much crazier.
Weird cults have sprung up: some offering strange hope and others embracing the meaninglessness of individual existence. Some people want nothing more than to move on with their lives. Others haven’t got a clue how to do that. Some actively want to forget, and others willfully won’t. Many of the survivors – the “leftovers” – have lost their minds. And yes, if you are thinking “this is a giant metaphor for the state of America after 9/11” you be absolutely right. But the show is more than that. It’s an extended, unflinching look at how we build our lives from the wreckage of the big, ugly, and apparently random events that sometimes get thrown our way.
If you know nothing of the show, based on my description you may very well be thinking “wow, that sounds really interesting, I should watch that” or “that sounds relentlessly painful and I’ve never watch that.” Either response, or a combination of the two, is equally correct. Like a difficult transit or a tragedy, what you do with this new information and new circumstances is entirely up to you.
Saturn transits tend to have three “seasons” to them, like The Leftovers. There is the initial transit, then Saturn retrogrades and the transit strengthens up, and then Saturn goes direct and completes the final pass. Or as I sometimes like to put it: “The truck runs you over, the truck backs up over you, it runs over you again.”
Although it was almost certainly unintentional, the three-season arc of The Leftovers seems to be following this pattern: tragedy, adapting to tragedy, and then a final Apocalypse. Certainly a typical Saturn transit isn’t that horrible — but they’re usually horrible enough. But since we’re talking about television, then yes… we could be looking at the literal end of the world on The Leftovers. Once the Season Three premiere has aired, I’ll be back to have another look at how The Leftovers is approaching that final pass of the ultimate Bad Transit.