Saturn has received quite a number of negative reviews in traditional astrology: above all, it is associated with “karma” (of the “burdensome” type), past life “sins” one has to duly pay for, physical deformities, moral incongruence, and basically all that is associated with “pain” and “grief”. Let’s look at this planet from different angles:
As some branches of Vedic astrology would declare, Saturn is to be feared and respected as the “Lord of Karma” which would “deny” or “delay” certain pleasures of life. However, most Vedic texts do include certain “remedies” (mantras or charitable actions) that can appease Saturn’s wrath and harshness, especially as it transits sensitive points of the birth chart.
In psychological astrology, however, Saturn is usually associated with familial, social and behavioral “conditioning” formed in the psyche of the individual during the early phase of life (specifically, before the first “Saturn Return” at around the age 29). The individual is then encouraged to gain awareness of the existence of such “default” psychological patterns in order to be able to modify or disregard them before embarking on the path of “individuation”.
Additionally, some schools of psychological astrology would consider Saturn as an “impetus” for “growth”, i.e. as a slow and steady dosage of healthy “distress” which would eventually “push” the individual to go beyond a certain “obstacle” in a particular area of the psyche in hopes of achieving a level of “mastery” in that area. In this sense, one’s initial “weakness” as symbolized by the condition of Saturn in the natal chart, can very well lead to “excellence” and even “recognition” over time.
Yet, a third approach is also possible: in evolutionary astrology, Saturn mostly denotes the “method” through which one constructs one’s “conscious” experience, as well as one’s probable “quality” and “form” of “consciousness”. It is important to recall that in evolutionary astrology, Uranus denotes the individual “unconscious” mind. Chiron is probably a tentative “bridge” between the “unconscious” and “conscious” areas of the psyche. Saturn, however, stands for whatever that enters the full grasp of “consciousness” after being filtered through (or “leaking from”) the “unconscious” sphere. In this sense, Saturn is a symbol of all we “construct” and “maintain” consciously, be it habits, conditioning, or just the “way” we “build” our world or “defend” our perception of it in general.
Additionally, because of the fact that Saturn rules Capricorn which stands in opposition to Cancer, the sign associated with “mother”, Saturn can also stand for the disciplining and conditioning aspect of “father”, which is different from the creative and encouraging aspect of “father” symbolized by the Sun.
It is also important to understand that “father” does not necessarily refer to the male parent, as it is a word used in evolutionary astrology to refer to the parent or parental figure who is primarily associated with educating the child with regards to the notions of “right” and “wrong”, conditioning the child to behave in socially acceptable ways, and preparing the child for encountering the outside world. In contrast, “mother” is the parent or parental figure, male or female, who primarily has the role of “nurturing” the child and offering “emotional” protection to him or her in a rather unconditional manner. Ideally speaking, through a healthy interaction of Cancer and Capricorn archetypes (Moon and Saturn), the individual will feel loved at home, and also will be able to respect the Law and function within a moral framework in society.
What do I think about Saturn?
Personally, I understand this planetary energy as that which gives finitude to the infinite (Neptune). As human consciousness relative to Earthly experience can only happen within certain boundaries in order to have an individual significance, Saturn makes us live only one life out of many possible lives.* This is precisely for us to make that one life as personal as possible, and to “see” only one world out of many possible worlds, in order for us to make that world a familiar place we can safely operate within (Polarity point of Cancer, relative to Capricorn which is the sign ruled by Saturn). In other words, Saturn is that line which is masterfully drawn in the sand of infinity in order to create a unique shape which only resembles us and nobody else.
In this sense, Saturn is as vital in our individuation process as the Sun: it shows how far the light of our Sun can travel before leaving the visible horizon, and thus how far we can reach out to create (Sun) anything which is tangible enough to be seen, recognized, and rewarded. As the Sun inspires and Saturn defines, the individual will have two wings to fly to the zenith of Human actualization of his or her God-given potential.
As a general rule, the area of the chart dominated by Saturn usually points to an initial inhibition, and yet a life-long potential for achieving excellence will exist in precisely the same area. Furthermore, the condition of Saturn in the birth chart would indicate how one’s “consciousness” forms and functions, as well as how the disciplining aspect of the “father” figure was perceived. In reading the following posts, it is vital to keep in mind that what will be presented will be a very general outline of the possible implications of certain Saturn placements and configurations, as Saturn has very specific implications in each natal chart (specially in tandem with the Sun), and one rule cannot possibly apply to all.
What will come next?
In the next post, I will address Saturn in the First House, in Aries, or in association with planet Mars, as well as the opposite polarity of Saturn in the Seventh House, in Libra, or in association with planet Venus. That post will be followed by more posts, covering Saturn in all the Signs and Houses of the birth chart, as well Saturn in aspect to other planets.
* “An unlimited life does not make you exist, but a limited one makes a big presence.” I Ching, Hexagram 54