Saturn in a horoscope.
Out of all planets in a horoscope, Saturn gets the worst reputation. Anyone who learned anything about astrology dreads the words “Saturn return” and anxiously follows the movement of Saturn through the Zodiac belt, mentally preparing for the contacts of Saturn with the planets in the birth horoscope.
Saturn was named after the God of Time (Saturn, or Cronus in ancient Greece) and is known as a planet of maturity to astrologers, the one that reminds us about our age, our responsibilities, and our limits. Saturn in the birth horoscope appears in the sectors of the horoscopic wheel that are associated with the areas of life limited to us: in the house of money, it may indicate inability to generate enough money and possessions; in the house of children, it may signify infertility; in the sector of relationships, it may suggest bad luck in relationships. When contacting other planets, Saturn affects their performance as well: a contact to the Moon, the luminary associated with emotions, may bring depression; the contact to Mercury, the planet of communication, may limit the communication abilities (physical, psychological, or circumstantial); a contact to Mars, the planet of action and motivation, may paralyze our ability to act and defend ourselves. Saturn’s presence is generally associated with afflictions, scarcity, ailments, obstacles, blockage, despair, burden, deterioration, inhibitions, and physical limitations.
Probably because Saturn signifies everything that we would like to forget and that makes us uneasy and anxious, we often disremember its positive qualities and effects as well. In fact, Saturn is also associated with rewards and recognition, with maturity and authority, with ambitions and achievements, with structure and order, as well as with older people and with father figures.
The way Saturn in your birth horoscope manifests in your life largely depends on this planet’s position and condition: the sign of the Zodiac, the position on the wheel, and the contacts to other planets. Evaluation of the Saturn’s strength and condition requires professional astrological skills; the details of such evaluation cannot be briefly described to someone who is not a serious student of astrology. If you are interested to find out, ask your astrologer to evaluate and explain your birth Saturn. If Saturn is well positioned and strong (for example, in one of the signs he rules – Capricorn or Aquarius), its effects may be more beneficial or mixed: it will bring the positive Saturnian energy into your life and will manifest more often as ambitions, achievements, and authority rather than scarcity and limitations. If you have a well-positioned Saturn in your birth horoscope, you may also experience better Saturn returns and current events associated with Saturn movement in the sky. For example, in my birth horoscope, Saturn has negative characteristics and positive ones. My Saturn return and any events associated with Saturn making contact with my birth planets have been of a mixed nature: these periods of life have been extremely difficult and exhausting, but always very rewarding and beneficial at the end. For someone who has even better Saturn in their birth horoscope, similar astrological events can be associated with tremendous growth and recognition, but for someone with poorly placed birth Saturn, their Saturn returns and other Saturnian events are full of loss, depression, and devastation.
What is the Saturn return that brings so much fear to anyone who knows the effects of Saturn in a horoscope? Saturn return is the time when the current position of Saturn in the Zodiac belt in the sky is the same as it was at the moment of your birth, when Saturn “returns” to the same spot in the Zodiac where it was then. It takes Saturn 29.5 years to make its way through all Zodiac signs and to return to this position. Thus, we have Saturn returns when we are 29.5, 59, and 88.5 years old. Most astrologers agree that the return does not take place just on the day when the position is exactly the same as it was at the moment of birth, but rather lasts from the moment when transiting Saturn enters the Zodiac sign of your birth Saturn and lasts until transiting Saturn leaves the sign of your birth Saturn and moves on into the next Zodiac sign. This period lasts about 2.5 years and can start as early as at 27 years of age (if your birth Saturn is at the very end of a Zodiac sign) and ends as late as at 32 years of age (if your birth Saturn is in the very beginning of a Zodiac sign and the return starts at 29.5 years of age).
Saturn returns signify milestones in our lives, the times of maturation and embracing new responsibilities. The first Saturn return is often coinciding with the formation of a family, birth of children, finishing higher education, or establishing yourself as an independent fully grown person with all the responsibilities of the mature age. This period often brings unpleasant revelations about the difficulties of life and about limitations of our natural or societal abilities. For many, this is also a time when we learn to cope with the death of people we love – our grandparents or parents. If your birth Saturn is well positioned in a horoscope and astrologically dignified, you may end this period not only with the new responsibilities and new understanding of the grownups’ life, but also with a few achievements and recognitions that may propel you into a new period of your life and give you new strength to proceed on your life path.
The second Saturn return (2.5 years any time between 56.5 – 61.5 years of age, depending on the position of your birth Saturn in a Zodiac sign) is usually the time when we transition from an active professional and family life into the new phase of life. For many, this is the time to retire and to completely change their life styles and daily responsibilities; for others, this is the time to say goodbye to grown children moving out of home; for so many this is the time to bury their parents or even partners and to let go of hopes that did not come true. Again, depending on the position and qualities of your birth Saturn and on your life choices, this may be a devastating time if you come to it unprepared, or it can be a time of recognition, rewards, and celebration of your accomplishments in life. People usually describe their second Saturn returns as less challenging and less devastating than the first returns, may be because of the wisdom and realistic expectations associated with the age as compared to our twentieths.
The third Saturn return at 86 – 91 years of age is yet another milestone: if you live until this age, you automatically achieve enough to celebrate your third Saturn return! No matter how long you plan to live, this is obviously the age to summarize your life and to adopt a new approach to your everyday routines and obligations. This may be the most liberating Saturn return of them all, or it may be a time when your health limits your abilities to proceed with the life style you are accustomed to.
It helps to be prepared for your Saturn returns and to embrace the events and feelings it brings into our lives. If you are just starting your independent life, prepare for challenges and rapid growth that your late twentieths will bring. If you have gone through one Saturn return, remember what was happening during this time and prepare to confront challenges of a similar potency, but now with the wisdom of your 50+ years and the stamina of someone who has lived through one of those times. If you are approaching your third Saturn return – you are the winner, whose choices and resilience paid off and has been rewarded by the long lifetime.
Saturn does not stand still between the returns – it is constantly moving through the Zodiac making contacts to your birth planets and to your birth Saturn. You may experience the effects of these contacts throughout your life between the returns, and your astrologer will prepare you for these events and advise you on the best course of actions to survive and to use the events to your advantage. Most Saturn events are associated with the feeling of aging, realization of limitations, stress and depression, but also with achievements and recognition. No matter how positively or negatively you experience Saturn returns and other Saturnian events, Saturn is, without a doubt, a very serious and powerful planet. The sign ruled by Saturn, Capricorn, is represented by a goat and usually depicted as a mountain goat – an animal with stamina and mastery to climb the highest peaks, someone who stands alone on the top after a long difficult road up. This is how Saturn events in our horoscope feel – as incredible achievements, but also as unbelievable perseverance, strength, and loneliness.