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Saturn Retrograde:

Your Easy Guide to Paying off Karmic Debts

We know Saturn as the task-master of the astrological planets. If retrograde planets turn their energy inwards, does that mean that we’re our own worst enemy during Saturn retrograde? Maybe. Silencing that harsh inner voice can be difficult during Saturn’s retrograde period. More the point, however, it’s a period when karma becomes important. It’s not for nothing that Saturn is known as the Lord of Time!

What Happens When Saturn is Retrograde?

All planets turn retrograde from time to time, but what does that even mean? It means backwards motion, but it’s important to understand that no planet actually moves backwards through the heavens. When Saturn goes retrograde, it simply appears to be moving backwards from our vantage point here on earth. It’s an optical illusion, but in astrology, a symbolically important one.

Saturn spends around 4.5 months every year in retrograde motion, so Saturn retrograde is not an unusual thing. Around 35% of people are born during a Saturn retrograde period, so they have what we call a natal Saturn retrograde in their birth chart. For the rest of us, if the part of the celestial sphere that Saturn retrogrades through in any given year is also important in our natal chart, that’s when we feel the effects of this backwards tour most keenly.

What Is the Importance of Saturn Retrograde in Astrology?

In astrology, Saturn energy rules discipline, responsibility, hard work, duty and boundaries. Saturn is often blamed for placing roadblocks in our path – but that’s just this teacher planet’s way of making you step up and take the initiative.

When Saturn goes through a retrograde motion, that energy is inwards focused within us, rather than outwardly focused on the world. This means that Saturn retrograde is a very good time to learn from mistakes and to review how well – or not – we’ve taken responsibility for our own lives recently. If you haven’t done your duty or lived up to your responsibilities, then this can be a distinctly uncomfortable period with feelings of guilt or inadequacy. However, there’s always a positive with Saturn (even if you sometimes have to look hard for it!). By figuring this out now, you won’t repeat the same issue in the future.

Saturn is associated with karma and karmic destiny and it’s during Saturn retrograde that this becomes more obvious. Think carefully about what unconscious patterns from the past – or from a past life – you might be repeating. Saturn retrograde gives you the chance to nip this in the bud and to use Saturn’s astrological discipline to re-focus, re-think and re-aim.

Saturn retrograde is therefore a good period in which to try past life regression therapy, or to undertake counseling for anything which has negatively affected you over the previous year. This is an opportunity to dump your baggage and to more forward with a clearer head and heart.

A hidden positive of Saturn retrograde can be that depression lifts, especially for someone who has a difficult Saturn in their natal chart. External pressures may seem to subside, making it easier for you to see the beauty in life. You may also find it easier to discern your sacred purpose during a Saturn retrograde, which in itself can be a catalyst for better mental health.

Saturn Retrograde in the Natal Chart

Generally speaking, those born with Saturn retrograde in their birth chart may have been given a lot of burden and a sense of duty at an early age. These individuals take their obligations very seriously indeed but are plagued by a feeling of not being good enough and not wanting to let others down. It’s a great help for these people to be given considerable responsibility as the faster they learn that they can actually cope, the faster they will heal.

Some natal Saturn retrograde people may also struggle with boundaries, finding it difficult to say no to the demands of others. This can quickly lead to a feeling of being put upon and a considerable store of resentment.

On the positive side, natal Saturn retrograde individuals are often wise beyond their years, and considerably more in tune with their karmic destiny than others.

Saturn Retrograde Transiting the Astrological Houses

When it comes to retrograde planets, the zodiac sign the planet is traveling through gives us an overall flavor of what to expect, but this changes during each retrograde motion period. For a better insight into what to expect during a Saturn retrograde transit period, we look at which astrological house the planet is moving through.

Saturn Retrograde Transiting 1st House
Having Saturn retrograde transiting the 1st house can feel a bit like an astrological vacation. An easing of day to day pressure may lull you into a false sense of security, but this planet still means business. Try to focus on who you are becoming, rather than on who you currently are. If in doubt, look to your natal chart for karmic signals.

Saturn Retrograde Transiting 2nd House
Look at your financial woes through a karmic lens. What patterns from the past are you repeating that are leading to excess spending or reckless financial management? Or are you denying yourself the pleasure of a few treats here and there because you’re obsessed with saving money? Your sense of security, or lack of it, is key here.

Saturn Retrograde Transiting 3rd House
During this period, you’ve no doubt got the gift of the gab, but you may be learning the hard way that being a great communicator carries a heavy burden of responsibility. Expect your words to be twisted or misinterpreted, and that’s nobody’s fault but yours. Absolute clarity of communication is the lesson here, so practice being truthful but firm.

Saturn Retrograde Transiting 4th House
With Saturn retrograde in your family zone, your family responsibilities may be shrinking – but far from seeing this is a liberating thing, you may be horrified. Perhaps grown children are leaving home, or an older relative may move into care and no longer need so much of your help – this can bring sadness, for sure. Work hard to try to find the hidden blessings.

Saturn Retrograde Transiting 5th House
You’ve taken too much responsibility for too many things for too long. During this period of retrograde motion, Saturn encourages you to put up boundaries and to let others know that you will no longer be used. Doing your fair share is one thing, but this transit is here to teach you that being a doormat is not good for your health.

Saturn Retrograde Transiting 6th House
Saturn retrograde here can feel like a real challenge to your skills, especially if you’re not able to make as much progress at work as you would like. The key is to be humble. Be willing to work on the basics more and to refine your expertise. It’s not a race. Use this pause to become even better at what you do, instead of allowing resentment to take over.

Saturn Retrograde Transiting 7th House
Focus – intently – on your closest relationship. It needs some tender loving care during this period, but it also needs some realism. If you’ve been giving your lover a free pass for some irritating behaviors, now is the time to get these niggles out into the open. Expect to be told your own shortcomings too; that’s part of the deal. Work on your relationship. Actual work.

Saturn Retrograde Transiting 8th House
This transit is all about control and your karmic need for it – or indeed, your karmic fight against it. Spend some time thinking about how you react to things you cannot control, and how this is affecting your mental health. Is there a better way to handle these challenges? How does power figure in your life? Are you grabbing it or giving it up? Think carefully.

Saturn Retrograde Transiting 9th House
Spend some time questioning your own beliefs. This may be an uncomfortable process, but few things Saturn does are very comfy. They’re not meant to be. Figure out what you really believe and what you’re just clinging to out of conditioning, habit or tradition. Some of your beliefs or prejudices are holding you back and this is time to fix that.

Saturn Retrograde Transiting 10th House
This is a major slow down in your ambitions and career, but it’s a very necessary slow down which will help you to clear some karma, some blocks and some hang-ups. Don’t expect to make a lot of progress fast but do expect to learn things about where your true vocation lies, and how you can get out of a career which isn’t making your heart sing.

Saturn Retrograde Transiting 11th House
Allegiances to groups are being tested during this retrograde period. If you’re not happy with the way a group has been led, you may want to jump ship at this point. Within your own social circle, this could mean a cutting of ties with someone who has let you down or failed to take your friendship seriously.

Saturn Retrograde Transiting 12th House
Saturn retrograde in the most spiritual part of your chart is a big deal and can feel very heavy. Expect to process some deeply held emotions, especially those regarding your past or any trauma you’ve experienced. If you feel that you’re struggling to cope, reach out for help and it will be given. You’re not alone. Trust in those who care for you.

Uranus Retrograde

Saturn

The Moon's Nodes

Mars Retrograde

The Midheaven

Neptune

Venus Retrograde

Your Astrological Mask

Pluto Retrograde

Solar Eclipse

Jupiter

Understanding the Houses in Astrology

Saturn Retrograde

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