Saturn teaches us patience, discipline, and the cycles of the land. We don’t push rose seeds into the frozen ground in winter, forcing them to grow; they will not grow, it is not their time. And we will only get frustrated or hopeless for no reason at all. It just isn’t the right time yet. Saturn teaches us that time, and timing, of the cycles of the land. His wisdom asks us to shift our eyes and attention towards all the things we can be doing right now, because there is much to do, appreciate and learn; so that one day, when spring comes our hands are ready, our hearts are ready, for the rose who dreams of us.
In a way, our natal charts are essentially a spiritual study of that which is consumed by time. Every single one of us is a little seed, which has its unique burns from the sun, impressions and imprints from all the past lives, and its own nutritive cycle that it needs to grow as beautifully as it. Once we understand our nature, our soil, our underground, the weather and the climate, then we know better how to grow in our own way and come into our full essence. Our natal charts show us these natures and cycles – for we need to know what to burn, what to eat and what needs to be devoured completely so that we reach our soul’s purpose.
The stars, the moon, the planets, the constellations, are all only great indicators of the signs of time – of how time consumes us and how things are woven into the cosmic fabrics of consciousness – it is our understanding of a current moment, it is a language longed to be understood but will forever remain somewhat mystical because one of our greatest lessons in life is to trust and uncover our own secrets.
Saturn is one of the planets that I find to be most misunderstood, feared and often vilified, so today I wanted to share with you my own personal insights of it as a spiritual astrologer. We’ll begin with the deeper esoteric meaning of Saturn, what is its spiritual purpose and how it may play out in our life, and I’ll end the discussion with an example of its placement in a natal chart.
In ancient astrology, the planet Saturn was seen as the holder of knowledge, order and time; and what knowledge meant was essentially the knowledge that was passed down through generations and the laws that were brought about to promote order, security and growth. From an astronomical point of perspective, Saturn is the furthest planet visible from our earth with the naked eye; and the rings around it emphasized this theme of time, timing and a certain kind of order, of the karmic wheel, of cause and effect. This is why Saturn is known as the lord of karma; and he is also called the father of time. So for example, if you have Saturn in your natal 7th house, your marriage will last a long time, a life time.
Saturn is he who stands at the Gate of Initiation. What Saturn opens for us are the doors towards spiritual maturity, and this is not going to happen overnight. There will be important wisdoms to learn through him, and through the years, and he’ll offer us opportunities for a deepening. What we choose to do is only up to us – and whom we choose to become will be based upon our choice of action and response.
What lies beyond the naked eye are then the planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, which were considered of different kind of consciousness, portals and opportunities for awakening that a person might have – and yet, these could only be reached at their purest and highest manifestation of energy, only when the native is able to pass through the rings, or tests of maturity, of Saturn. Saturn is the part of us which has the ability or opportunity to grow into spiritual wisdom and spiritual maturity, and through that personal accountability, we’ll then be able to engage with something of higher resonance and be able handle its energies of more evolved state. Otherwise, without being prepared on a spiritual and maturity level, and having the discipline, integrity, responsibility and self control, we’ll just fall into a rabbit hole, a spiritual abyss, of which we’ll feel lost.
So in a way, Saturn is also the guardianship of consciousness. Saturn rules the throat chakra, and before activating the crown and third eye, an individual first has to stimulate personal awareness from the level of the throat. This is why Saturn rules with responsibility and boundaries – because one must know the power of words, how to use words, and how to use the energy unmanifest into the manifest. The way a person expresses themselves tells you so much about who they are and their maturity level.
We are here to learn to master limitations – this is why we are bound by skin, and bound by time itself – because only when we master that, our within expands in a true way. We are not here to fall into limitless desires, limitless wants, limitless options, limitless partners, limitless scrolls on social media – all these only distract us and numb us down. They rob us of experience and growth. They rob us of creativity. They rob us of self accountability. It makes us lazy, ungrateful and incapable of creating something, for often times, people create more meaningfully out of limitations. Saturn is the part of us that allows us how to actually create long lasting and meaningful relationships; because it reminds us that the only reason why the grass may seen greener on the other side is because they are taking care of it. So Saturn says, “stay here, be humble, be dedicated, be patient, work on this, put in the effort”. Only then, love will happen; and true expansion of heart and soul growth will happen.
Saturn is about disillusionment and it connects us to our humanness and humanity. Humility is a virtue, and it is the bridge to love and wisdom; it’s the most human of all virtues, and it is the key to spiritual maturity and wisdom.
Like the Buddhism saying is: Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water; after enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. When I think of Saturn I think back to a woman who in her early 30s went to India to study Vedic astrology with a spiritual teacher. For years though, all she did was work in his charity, do administrative tasks, do household chores and tend to his gardens. For years, he didn’t actually even teach her anything; and she was frustrated, wondering “Why am I here? I am not learning anything.” Years passed by and as her teacher became old, she began tending to him; and while tending to him, and caring for him, he bagan sharing with her his deeper knowledge and wisdom. She is today an amazing Vedic astrologer and teacher; and she realized that all those years she was actually learning a lot also. She learned patience, humbleness, hard word, dedication and discipline. These built her ability and capacity to integrate the deeper knowledge and wisdom.
Devotion is the veil through which awareness shows its beautiful face. And this is what Saturn is. We need to jump some hoops, through his rings that encircle him, to reach the wisdom of his essence.
Wherever Saturn is in our natal charts, we become very aware of this area, and of ourselves in relation to this area. It’s not hidden from us. And yet, it is usually from negatively skewed perspective also, in the sense that we are overly self critical and really hard on ourselves or others. For example, Saturn in your natal third house can show that you feel insecure in your speech or self expression, or in the way you speak or things you say, or you might even feel not really smart or intelligent. And yet, each word spoken by you may sometimes carry a lot of depth and wisdom, even if you don’t say a lot of things. There is a slowness to Saturn because of how far away it is from our earth, remember that he is the father of time, which essentially shows our learning of life’s lessons through a kindness and patience of rhythm. Don’t be too hard on yourself, and remember that it is a process whose intent is growth and maturity.
Saturn is the part of our natal chart where we are asked to look into more deeply, not out of fear, but for the purpose of healing. It is usually related to some past life experience in which you might have felt restricted in some way, and in order to push beyond that limitation, which might have been still burdening you subconsciously, you will now have the opportunity to heal it. So it isn’t about avoiding Saturn – it is only calling you towards healing. For example, if you have Saturn in your 1st house, your path of healing may eventually involve spending intentional and meaningful time alone; and finding peace and solace in your true self, your true voice, and the beauty that you are outside of how others see you. Healing essentially means to bring something into balance – so we are not here to avoid Saturn themes, nor be afraid of him and that part within us which he is, we are here to find that middle path and let love return us to love.
Relating to time, and the passage of time, Saturn is a great indicator of what’s passed, as well as being a wise teacher informing the present. Traditional astrology may often hold Saturn as a malefic planet, a bringer of limitation, restriction, hardship, coldness, struggles, frustration, karmic debts and self denial. Traditional astrology may often hold judgments around all of the planets and signs in its regular interpretations, and Saturn often plays the villain in the script of life.
But this is a very limited perspective, and quite a negatively skewed and depressive evaluation filled with fears and biases, despite what the ancient wisdom tells us. To me it’s always been kind of like the path of money: create flaws and fears and insecurities in people, so that you can then sell them fixes or remedies. I can’t even begin to count the amount of clients I’ve had through the years who were completely terrified by some astrologer giving them “predictions” which horrified them. Please be mindful of who you listen to.
In spiritual astrology, Saturn is the Dweller at the Threshold, the keeper of the keys to the gate, and it is through him alone that we may achieve eventual freedom and spiritual maturity through self-understanding. In Shamanic Astrology for example, the judgment around planets or aspects such as conjunctions, squares or oppositions, are completely done away with and replaced with intent. And for Saturn, the intent is growth, mastering limitations, growing through limits and boundaries, and eventually – coming into and rising of spiritual maturity.
Saturn is about “getting real”. It’s about facing the burdens we carry and letting go of those burdens that no longer serve us. When a person is experiencing a Saturn initiation, for example during their Saturn return, it requires a person to make a significant change, to take responsibility, and make decisions about what does or doesn’t work in their life.
Saturn is also about our bones and the foundations – so it is asking us to pay attention to our foundation, to what we are building, for it needs to have the strength to carry us. You need to build a home on steady foundations, and this takes time. And you also need to tend to it, care for it, otherwise there will be cracks. Saturn asks us pay attention to the bones of our lives, the underlying structure or foundation that has served us in our lifetime. He asks us to grow up, to mature in alignment to what our purpose is all about. What can we do to better ourselves for our own healthy future? How will those decisions impact our soul’s intent?
The orbit of Saturn is what produces the initiations; and the initiations come roughly every seven years by transit. The seven years is significant, as our own human body recycles all of its cells about every seven years.
The most significant turns or initiations of Saturn, and what they mean are:
Age 7-8 is the first quarter square of Saturn, during which time the first real desires of the soul for having responsibilities and tasks arises in some shape or form.
Age 14-15, the first opposition of Saturn occurs, during which you are initiated into individualization, self responsibility and accountability, and basically, putting in the work and being self reliant.
Age 29-30, is your Saturn return – one of your most important times of your life. This is when you step into true adulthood and responsibility of the soul is initiated.
Age 35-36, is when Saturn matures, and there is a major shift of responsibilities, and your energy suddenly feels lighter, as you are entering a new phase with significant relief of all passed Saturnian lessons.
Age 43-44, is your second Saturn opposition, related to reviewing your life, how far you’ve come and your accomplishments.
Age 58-60, is your second Saturn return, a completion of a 30 year cycle, your role is redefined, and in many ways, it’s a clean slate, it is a new beginning!
Age 73-74, is an initiation for refinement of wisdom and knowledge.
Saturn plays one of the biggest roles in a person’s life phases, especially as it concerns participating and owning up to one’s life choices and responsibilities. Saturn’s influence is not there to make our life harder just for the sake of making it harder, but rather to provide a focus towards being responsible for one’s life path. The Saturn initiations may often times force a person to see what is right in front of them, the weigh the consequences of their actions and offer them opportunities to decide the life that is aligned with their path.
Individually, we have to make choices that are aligned with our soul’s intent and this is where Saturn can help us. He is not a part of the chart to fear nor avoid, it can be very healing. Saturn helps us become aware of structures we’ve carried since childhood, the judgments, the guilt, trying to be perfect, the injustices in the world, the biases and judgments we might carry towards others and our parents and lineage, or just the cracks within structures and the limitations of our world. Saturn is here to help us by acknowledging the rules and structures of our past and building a framework to serve and create our new story, individually and collectively, one that is more purposeful, meaningful and efficient. Saturn is about discernment and clarity of mind, out of which new better worlds can be build, both inner worlds and outer worlds.
Our own image or form shifts over time as we grow and evolve both the mind and body. Saturn is a way to honour ourselves as we mature over time. The Saturn initiations are essentially maturity markers and windows of time in which we may choose to invest in ourselves at a higher level.
As the father of time, Saturn blesses us with time itself – with age – because aging, while it may not feel glamorous, is a gift. It is a gift to live. Time is our greatest constraint and limitation, we are bound by it, but if we can choose to “master” it, to make each moment purposeful with the way we love our family and shaping and expressing love through our lips, hands and ordinary gestures along the circling staircases of our life, this is where the expansion happens.
We have markings of time all across our human skin. We have wrinkles to remind us how much we’ve laughed, we have dark circles to remind us we have someone to stay awake for. But on the inside of our forearm, there is a tenderness of skin that never ages, and that too is a part of time. It is a tenderness available for us to tune into inside of ourselves, a softness, a compassion, a humility of deep love and gratitude for how far we’ve come and how much we’ve loved and been loved. Sometimes we made silly mistakes, silly judgments, we let our egos get the best of us, and we weren’t always the most responsible, but hey, that’s just life. Today is not too late. Tomorrow is not too late also.
Natal Saturn in 7th House:
Now let’s go through an example, and suppose your natal Saturn is in the 7th house. Many people fear this because of traditional fear-based thoughts and projections, but this is often a protective position. Due to past lives, Saturn’s hand may gently protect the native from getting married too early, because it could be to the wrong person. This is because the native may just be a bit too kind or giving when it comes to relationships, and yet they are usually very gentle, kind, diplomatic, elegant, so many people are attracted to them, many of whom will be from past lives, and some of whom are just not good.
In order to protect you, Saturn may give some fear or doubt or even physical distance (for example, meeting partners from overseas and long distance relationships), so that you have the time to mature into seeing the other person for who they truly are; and stay away from the wrong ones. Be discerning, and when people show you who they are, believe them.
As we mentioned in this article, Saturn is the part where we might have been restricted in past lives, or something became out of balance, and now we’ve come here to heal this i.e. bring it into balance. And in many ways, this placement shows that you might have been a bit too giving or felt restricted by marriage or partners or “other people” to the point of negating your own self. And so you come into this life, and you might feel a bit of fear when it comes to committing, or you just end up in relationships with people who may not be the most mature or responsible or giving.
The hardest lesson to learn with this placement in this life is knowing when to walk away and end a relationship that isn’t working anymore. Sometimes you may put too much pressure on yourself and carry all the responsibilities of the relationship, thinking that you have to do more work etc. when in fact, it is actually your partner who may just not be able to or willing to do some work or put in more effort. A relationship is a two way street, and unfortunately not all people are able to give – not because they don’t love you, but because they may just not have the capacity to give. People can only meet another as deeply as they’ve met themselves.
And sometimes your lesson in this life may be just that love is not enough, and that’s a very hard yet humble truth. Or perhaps the lesson is about guiding you towards having more expectations in love and relationships from a partner, and that you need to be more discerning, and that it is okay to have expectations – in fact, every woman should expectations, self respect and choose wisely.
There is a humbleness and a very attractive, delicate and kind aura about people who have Saturn in their 7th house, so the chance is that people will be very attracted to you – which means that you need to be able to discern and choose the right partner for you. You might be good for them, but are they good for you? What do you need?
Natives with Saturn in the 7th house usually have a gift for engaging with the world in a really deep and meaningful way; in fact, you are here to be with other people, and grow on a soul level through the otherness. You are here to be with other people, your soul needs this to heal and to grow, which is different from those who have Saturn in their 1st house, who need to spend time alone and in retreat for their soul growth. Natives with a 7th house Saturn may become amazing leaders or humanitarians, who genuinely care for people, are compassionate yet intelligent, and create real impact on a global level for the betterment of humanity.
With Saturn in the 7th house, each relationship may feel important, even destined. And most of them are. Each will be offering you an opportunity to mature, grow up, and realize what you want and what you need in intimacy and relationships. You’ll be peeling the layers of yourself to come into deeper love and intimacy, and it is said that the higher expression of this placement is meeting and marrying your true soulmate in this life.
Try not to be too giving, set clear boundaries, know your worth and build a good self esteem, and don’t stay in relationships or work partnerships or friendship with the wrong people – because there is a tendency to stay too long and keep wanting to “work things out” out of kindness or out of some subconscious feeling that you owe your loyalty or debt to someone, even though you don’t. There can sometimes be an almost entrenched sense of loyalty into you, usually passed down from your family lineage, which can in fact be to your detriment, where you put yourself last, or don’t feel your needs should be respected, or you sacrifice your own needs for people whom you don’t owe anything to. First and foremost, you must stay loyal to yourself; and then to those you love and who truly love you too.
For some people with this placement, it could play out the other way – perhaps they are the ones that need to learn more maturity within relationships, be a bit more compromising and allowing for the various nuances of human nature and other people’s unique personalities; perhaps you may need to learn how to deal more maturely with other people, and learn about interdependence – how to give to another not what you want but what they truly need. No matter which way this placement plays out though, there will be growth through the otherness, and relationships will be a major theme in the path of your life.
The lessons your learn with Saturn usually peak around your Saturn return; and after the age of 36, you should feel a relief and change in energy entirely. During your Saturn return, if you are in the wrong relationship for you, don’t hold tightly if things fall apart – know it was for your highest good, and in time, you’ll see it very clearly. Don’t resist these changes. Focus on what you learned through awareness and reflection, and try to separate with holding gratitude in your heart on how your joined path together contributed to your life. If you yourself put an end to it, don’t worry, don’t feel guilty, things are just aligning even if you can’t yet see how or why. Do not ever stay with anyone out of guilt, because guilt invites self punishment; stay away from “rebounds”, don’t rush into things, and try not to “mother” your partners.
You can often be too mature in knowing how to deal delicately with others, where as they don’t. Love is not a one way street, and it isn’t about suffering, be discerning, and please do not stay with people who don’t treat you fairly; never be too over-compromising and set clear boundaries with others.
Don’t close your heart because of bad experiences. Heal through whatever may need healing, take your time, but do not harden your heart. Remember that tenderness on the inside of your forearm; trace your fingers along that and remember it. It’s good to wear our armours, because our vulnerability is not meant to be shared with everyone, so we need to honour them and be grateful for their strength, endurance and protection, but we also need to know when and for whom to take them off. Don’t imprison yourself because you’re trying to protect yourself. Keep your heart gentle and open, and love will find you in a true, real and deep way.
Don’t settle, look for someone who is supportive of you and emotionally mature. Once married, it will stand the test of time. Hand in hand, holding on holding strong, you’ll be sitting on that front porch, near a beach somewhere, smiling and reminiscing about the paths you walked on, and all you’ve been through, together, hand in hand, holding on holding strong.
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Cover art: The Boat by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, via Wikimedia Commons.