Saturn’s glyph is “the cross of matter rising through the crescent of the soul.” As Alyssa Sharpe says, “it’s the cross on the hill where you die.”
Saturn drives us to understand the nature of our pain.
It is diurnal (a planet that is more constructive in a day chart and more destructive in a night chart), restrictive, limiting, and focused, and represents responsibility in all forms, as well as structures.
Saturn takes 29.5 years to make a full revolution around the zodiac. The completion of one full zodiac loop signifies the Saturn return; the first of which is a poignant time of maturation and transformation through the fire.
Saturn’s retrograde cycle happens yearly; it goes retrograde for approximately 4.5 months during a one-year period (as contrasted to Mercury, which moves faster than Earth and has a 4-month retrograde cycle; Mercury goes retrograde for approximately 3 weeks every 4 months).
Saturn is what makes things tangible; it produces physical manifestation of ideas and concepts. Psychologically, it represents our experiences with both inner and outer authority, and indicates our perceptions of the rules of society and the world.
Saturn is the triplicity ruler of air by day and rules one air sign (Aquarius) and is exalted in another, Libra. Saturn is supported well by Air signs because Air is inherently objective and fair. Saturn likes earth signs, because Saturn manifests things into the physical. In fire, Saturn can become aggressive and lose its ability to be fair and balanced. In water, Saturn drowns. Yicky emotions.
Saturn through the Signs
Saturn in Air Signs:
Saturn in Gemini:
Because of Gemini’s duality, Saturn, which makes the rules, here might manifest as having double standards of behavior. Saturn in Gemini can try to find alternate rule interpretations to rationalize its desires and actions. Their rules and limitations can seem arbitrary. In a daytime chart, where Saturn is supported, the unpredictable standards may work. In a nighttime chart, Saturn ends up “peregrine,” or “wandering,” from 1 to 20 degrees and 25 to 30 degrees of Gemini.
Saturn in Libra:
Saturn is exalted in the sign of Libra! Libra energy is a good fit for Saturn. Saturn in Libra doesn’t get to set the agenda, but is well supported and informed and makes fair, balanced, just, and impartial rulings. Here, Saturn understands the nature of relationships and lessons of personal responsibility. It recognizes the need for a balancing of opposites and inner integration. Saturn in this sign also has more of a potential to understand the traps of projection onto another individual in the quest for wholeness and partnership. The shadow aspect of this placement is the attraction of relationships that bring much sorrow or difficulty due to a refusal to recognize that our relationships are a reflection of ourselves. We seek in others what we cannot consciously express, and the things about others that irritate us our things we are unconscious of within ourselves.
Saturn in Aquarius:
Aquarius gives Saturn the most structured and stable energy of the air signs—in traditional astrology, Saturn rules Aquarius! A bit stronger than its Libra exaltation, here Saturn calls the shots and makes the rules, and enforces and interprets them. This placement cares about the rules and structures that will support the integrity and safety of the group, and allows for the greatest level of individual, personal responsibility. Saturn will tear down and rebuild new rules as they outgrow their usefulness. Aquarius’ definition of a “group” is very flexible and can be subjective.
Saturn in Earth Signs:
Saturn in Taurus
Like most planets in Taurus, Saturn here is oriented toward the physical and sensual. It is more focused on work ethic than enthusiasm, and Saturn in Taurus can be a party pooper. Saturn here values the finer things in life but will earn them through hard work and perseverance. It might also instill feelings of guilt for taking time to enjoy the benefits of hard work. Saturn is mostly peregrine “wandering” in Taurus, except for from 22 to 26 degrees, where if has some dignity and can be aware of the importance of enjoying the spoils of hard work.
Saturn in Virgo
Saturn in Virgo can be super womp womp. Saturn is rules, structure, authority, and responsibility, and Virgo is obsessed with details, perfection and can be very critical. Since Virgo zooms in, it has a hard time with larger perspectives and the bigger tasks at hand. The lesson here is to learn that sometimes, simply accomplishing a task is important instead of doing it in a strict, particular way. You can deviate from the plan and still complete the mission.
Saturn in Capricorn:
Saturn rules Capricorn and is very strong. Uninhibited, it is free to create appropriate structures and rules to protect the group’s integrity. Sound similar to Aquarius? Capricorn also loves to take personal responsibility, as Capricorn is all about that ownership. Saturn operates with clear autonomy and is very grounded, practical, and traditional. It doesn’t have the high and airy global Aquarius perspective, so tends to uphold tradition. Saturn in Capricorn just cares about the rules being upheld and personal accountability, whereas Aquarius will easily change the rules if they no longer serve. A lesson here is to recognize when to follow through or shift a dynamic that may no longer be applicable, instead of staying a course just for the sake of precedent or discipline.
Saturn in Water Signs:
Saturn in Cancer/Saturn in the 4th House:
Saturn is quite challenged in Cancer, as it is in all the water signs. Cancer pertains to emotions, nurturance and protection, and meeting emotional needs, which are fundamentally subject, irrational, intangible, and impractical. Saturn lives for structure and organization. Saturn here is overly self-reliant, which isn’t terrible but can lend a hand to emotional disconnect or an inability to give and receive nurturing. The lesson here is learning where to draw the line and distinguish between one’s own feelings and emotions and others’ emotions and reactions.
Saturn in Scorpio:
Saturn in Scorpio is a bit of improvement for the water signs. Unlike in Cancer, where Saturn is in detriment, Scorpio Saturn is only peregrine (from 1 to 27 degrees), so it wanders a bit in this unfamiliar territory. Scorpio’s emotional experience is the deepest and most intense, so it doesn’t express itself on the surgace very well. At face value, Scorpio Saturn comes off reserved, limited and controlled, but Scorpio needs to express itself eventually! Suppressed emotions may come out as explosive in nature; transformational and destructive in true Scorpio form. It can also be asserted through manipulation, control, or hidden passive aggressive ways. The lesson here is to learn how to structure and take responsibility for the deepest emotional and soul needs, including the desire to connect with others on an all-encompassing level.
Saturn in Pisces:
Saturn is less fundamentally uncomfortable in pisces than it is in Cancer and Scorpio. Here, Saturn is tempered by the universal compassion of Pisces. However, Saturn prefers boundaries, whereas Pisces abhors structure and wants to melt everything into the All. Saturn in Pisces may struggle with its boundaries and search for a point of balance, because Pisces operates on the energetic, spiritual level whereas Saturn requires tangible results.
Saturn in Fire Signs
Saturn in Aries
Saturn is in fall in Aries—and peregrine wandering for all but the last 4 degrees of Aries. Saturn in Libra is the fair and balanced judge; Saturn in Aries is the judge with a personal vendetta. It is driven to express its individual identity, but wants to be responsible for the repercussions of its actions. Aries, though, is least aware of other people and is solely focused on self and may lack diplomacy or people skills. The lesson of this placement is self-limitation, and maintain strong personal boundaries to respect other people.
Saturn in Leo
In Leo, Saturn is mostly in detriment, and is peregrine for the last 20 degrees of the sign. Planets in detriment are strong, but may flex in inappropriate ways. Saturn in Leo, as is usual for Leo, can be self-centered. Leo wants to be open, warm, and generous, whereas Saturn is practical, structured, and limiting. Saturn in Leo can be more stingy and more focused on the need for acknowledgment and attention. Saturn in Leo individuals may worry about their self-worth and value But in the first 6 degrees of Leo, Saturn is dignified and able to function well. But for the last 20 degrees of Leo, Saturn wanders until it learns the lesson of connecting with something larger than itself. Giving can help these individuals to share their gifts and realize their potential.
Saturn in Sagittarius
Sagittarius is the happiest Saturn gets in a fire sign. Saturn doesn’t have any essential debility in Sagittarius; Saturn and Sagittarius both understand universal law. Sag is on the quest for higher truth and the connection to all creation. The sign may be a bit abstract for Saturn, but the planet can appreciate the structure of Sagittarius’ philosophical ideals and higher insight. The challenge comes with Sag’s desire for spontaneity, impulsiveness, and freedom, while Saturn operates in the realm of boundaries and limitations. The lesson here is to let go of perfection, let other people have their own perspective, and accept the ultimate unique subjectivity of universal truth.
In addition to the sign Saturn is in playing a role, the house position is important, as are the aspects. Since Saturn takes over 2 years to travel through a sign, the House it is in plays an important role as to how the energy plays out in one’s life. The aspects are also poignant to Saturn, because almost anything Saturn touches, it restricts. Sometimes other planets help to loosen up Saturn’s rigidity, but Saturn is that deep psychological force of fear and responsibility like no other.
Saturn is a magnificently valuable teacher, and although its presence may be depressing, there is no life without struggle: it’s just a question of how and where is occurs. Saturn’s influence is an anchor to many charts, and can be used as a key (alongside with the deep wounds of Chiron) as to what an individual must work on in their life.
If you would like to learn more about your Saturn and Shadow Integration, read Char’s column at Numerologist, “Shadow Integration: How to Use the Darkest Parts of Your Natal Chart to Illuminate Your Greatest Strengths.”
To receive a Shadow Integration Natal Chart Report—a unique astrology technique she developed to focus on your shadows and how to integrate them towards your soul’s higher purpose—visit Chartreuse’s page here at Sharpe Astrology and follow the link to the Age of Eleven GemINI Consults page.
[Reference: Burk, Kevin. Astrology: Understanding the Birth Chart. 2001: Llewellyn Publications]