Saturn in astrology often gets a bad rap – who wants to love a planet which channels every stern headmaster ever, stepping in to stop all the fun and reminding you that you still haven’t lived up to your potential? It’s true that Saturn energy is a tough taskmaster, but personal and spiritual growth comes through tackling Saturn’s challenges and learning the lessons this planet is determined to enforce. It’s important to remember that Saturn’s somewhat dour reputation comes into its own just when we need it most, too. In a real crisis, the stability and focus of Saturn energy has a lot to offer.
What Does Saturn Symbolize in Astrology?
The astrological Saturn is all about responsibility, duty and limitations. This is sober, serious energy and it comes with an authoritative voice. You can think of Saturn as your inner parent. Saturn brings you self-control and resilience, and a healthy respect for boundaries. Structure and conformity are also Saturn qualities, as is determination. Saturn energy is hard working and disciplined and not given to flights of fancy.
What is the Mythology of Saturn?
The Roman god Saturn was the equivalent of the Greek god Cronus. Originally an agricultural god, Saturn presided over the feast of Saturnalia, a mid-winter period of merry-making. However, because the planet Saturn was the furthest visible planet in the sky at that time, and because it had the longest observable, repeatable astronomical cycle, Cronus and Saturn eventually came to be associated with time – this is where our word ‘chronology’ comes from, and it’s why Saturn is often depicted as an old man carrying a scythe. Astrologically, this association with time and age gives rise to many of Saturn's qualities.
What Is the Importance of Saturn in the Natal Chart?
Saturn in the astrological natal chart highlights where in life you may face burdens, limits or fears, and it suggests how you both express and react to authority. In astrology, we look to the sign and house position of each planet to shed light on your drives and motivations; a strong Saturn in your chart may suggest that you are driven by a sense of duty and responsibility. Saturn’s house and sign position in your chart will also reveal the lessons you are likely to learn in this lifetime - your Saturn sign is where you grow and mature. Saturn is sometimes known as the planet of karma, because it teaches us that our actions have consequences, always.
Key Facts About Saturn in Astrology
Positive expressions of Saturn energy: responsibility, determination, authority, focus, ambition, hard work, rationality, common sense, control, tenacity, perseverance
Challenging expressions of Saturn energy: pessimism, coldness, rigidity, inflexibility, cruelty, narrow-mindedness
Saturn rules: Capricorn. It used to be considered the ruling planet of Aquarius too, until Uranus was discovered. A ruling planet in its own sign tends to be the purest and most positive expression of its energies.
Saturn is exalted in: Libra. An exalted planet is usually strong and works positively.
Saturn is in detriment in: Cancer. A planet in detriment is typically quite weak, with its energy manifesting negatively or being misused.
Saturn is in fall in: Aries. A planet in fall is usually weakened, although positive aspects to the planet will help.
Let’s take a quick look at the planet Saturn through the zodiac signs and houses to see how this responsible planet’s energies play out in day to day astrology:
What Is Your Saturn Sign?
Saturn in Aries or Saturn in the 1st House
Strengths/challenges: very authoritarian and determined to get your own way, but with little care for the consequences.
Growth opportunity: learn that respect must be earned, not automatically given to you.
Saturn in Taurus or Saturn in the 2nd House
Strengths/challenges: tons of tenacity, but change is stressful and it’s easy to get stuck in a rut.
Growth opportunity: dare to step out of your comfort zone once in a while.
Saturn in Gemini or Saturn in the 3rd House
Strengths/challenges: a powerful and effective communicator, able to command respect, but often cynical and with a somewhat negative life view.
Growth opportunity: focus your intent on the best possible outcome, not the worst.
Saturn in Cancer or Saturn in the 4th House
Strengths/challenges: a fearsome defender of loved ones. Emotional security is vital to your wellbeing, but expressing emotions is a struggle and self-doubt is common.
Growth opportunity: look to help others instead of focusing on self-pity.
Saturn in Leo or Saturn in the 5th House
Strengths/challenges: proud and autocratic, rather serious. Intensely loyal, but sometimes that loyalty will be seriously misplaced.
Growth opportunity: seek out the joy in life and do more of what makes you smile.
Saturn in Virgo or Saturn in the 6th House
Strengths/challenges: A methodical, almost obsessive sense of duty and responsibility. Self-confidence is easily undermined by your inner voice.
Growth opportunity: cut yourself some slack; you hold yourself to higher standards than others.
Saturn in Libra or Saturn in the 7th House
Strengths/challenges: Sympathetic but sensible and practical – a very good friend indeed. You may struggle with assertiveness.
Growth opportunity: learn to say no without feeling guilty.
Saturn in Scorpio or Saturn in the 8th House
Strengths/challenges: exceptional determination, bordering on ruthlessness. An excellent business sense and a quirky sense of humor, but rather manipulative.
Growth opportunity: become more aware of how your actions affect others.
Saturn in Sagittarius or Saturn in the 9th House
Strengths/challenges: no-nonsense, honest but blunt. Intellectually determined and with an innate sense of wisdom which guides instinctive choices.
Growth opportunity: don’t censor your enthusiasm and spirit.
Saturn in Capricorn or Saturn in the 10th House
Strengths/challenges: packed with determination, ambition and inner steel. However, you are vulnerable to emotional exhaustion and to depression and stress.
Growth opportunity: make a conscious effort to look after your mental health
Saturn in Aquarius or Saturn in the 11th House
Strengths/challenges: an ongoing battle between conformity and rebellion. Great intellect and a strong sense of originality.
Growth opportunity: channel your restlessness into campaigning for positive change.
Saturn in Pisces or Saturn in the 12th House
Strengths/challenges: possible inhibition or depression. However, your imagination and gift for manifestation do great things via Saturn’s tenacity and determination.
Growth opportunity: work on learning to trust your intuition more often.
As well as Saturn’s influence in your birth chart, this most grown-up of planets has a major role to play at key moments in your life too, via the Saturn Return.
What is the Saturn Return?
Saturn spends roughly 2.5 years in each zodiac sign, so it takes approximately 29 years for it to complete one journey through the zodiac. The Saturn Return is the name given to the points in time when Saturn returns to the exact position it had when you were born. If you’re lucky, this will happen three times in your lifetime:
· The first Saturn Return, when you are approx. 28-30 years old
· The second Saturn Return, when you are approx. 57-59 years old
· The final Saturn Return, when you are approx. 88-90 years old
What is the Importance of the Saturn Return?
In astrology, the Saturn Returns correspond to key moments of growth and understanding in our adult life cycles.
How Long Does a Saturn Return Last?
A Saturn Return affects each of us for roughly a year, about six months before and six months after the planet returns to its exact natal position in the zodiac - the place we find it in your own personal birth chart. During this year, change, responsibilities and your shifting circumstances will be uppermost in your mind – and understanding the astrology of your Saturn Return can help you make the best available choices.
The First Saturn Return
As the first Saturn Return approaches, we have finished our education and probably started on our chosen career. We may have met our life partner and perhaps have children; we may have bought a house or a car and be living up to the financial responsibilities that come with adulthood. The Saturn Return sparks a desire to make important changes during this period – perhaps committing to a relationship or leaving a first career to re-train for something more meaningful. Extra responsibilities are often taken on around this time, especially within the family. The urge to make drastic changes will spur us on to further growth. In astrology, Saturn’s house and sign during the Saturn return (the same as your natal Saturn placement, remember) can be channelled constructively to ease the passage of these necessary changes.
The Second Saturn Return
Fast forward to the second Saturn Return and we are reaching the end of a working life and thinking about retirement. Drastic change is once again coming and once again Saturn’s energies are providing direction. This is a time for finding new life interests which will sustain and engage us once work has finished; perhaps it’s also a time for a house move, into a home which we will hope will last the rest of our lifetime. Although children have grown up and flown the nest, new responsibilities may be weighing heavy now, especially in caring for elderly parents. Using Saturn’s energy, expressed through its sign and house, will help to find constructive solutions for handling what can be a very stressful period in life – an important practical application of astrology in action.
The Third Saturn Return
If we’re lucky enough to experience it, the third Saturn Return is a time when we need to adjust to the imminence of the most drastic change of all, as our earthly lifetime draws to an inevitable conclusion. This is a time for looking back at the past and for enjoying a lifetime’s worth of memories, but it’s also important to prepare mentally, emotionally and spiritually for what may be to come. It’s here that astrology can play an important role, and Saturn’s house and sign energies will provide the guide to how each individual wishes to approach this uniquely personal moment in time.
So, as you can see, taskmaster Saturn has a positive role to play throughout our lifetimes. In astrology, this planet may represent some difficulties and disappointments, but overall this is how we learn and grow.
What about you? How have you experienced Saturn in your natal chart? Have you been through one or more Saturn Returns? Let us know how it felt!
Understanding the Houses in Astrology