February 16, 2013


I have been needing to write a post on Saturn for quite a while, but have been putting it off because it's so much work. There is all this research to be done, all these charts to cast, copy, save, mark, annotate, re-size, save again, upload, position, adjust ...aaargh.

There are two cycles for Saturn's transit which need to be considered. The first is Saturn's relationship to its own place in the natal chart, which measures and times cycles in our lives in 7 year increments. You have no doubt heard of "seven years bad luck," and the "seven year itch." Thanks to Saturn, it's possible to tell when these cycles will arrive in our lives so that we are prepared for them.

The other Saturn cycle is one that defines a person's career and success in life which was taught by a somewhat well-known astrologer, Grant Lewi (June 8, 1902 – July 14, 1951). I will use the charts of two famous people to illustrate his claims, and you may decide for yourself if it works.

The Saturn Return

Every planet represents both positive and negative attributes. Whether they work positively or negatively in your life depends on the signs they are in, their relationship to other planets, and to their position in the birth (natal) chart.

Saturn is the planet which represents respectability, responsibility, maturity, conservatism, seriousness, sobriety, security, dignity, wisdom, reverence, tradition, trust, authority, ambition, efficiency, methodicalness, achievement, organization, leadership, mastery, perfection, and parenthood. It can bring respect, honor, distinction, and esteem.

It can also be disrespectful, lowly, indecent, irresponsible, immature, infamous, materialistic, selfish, mercenary, parsimonious, stingy, capitalist, hardhearted, lazy, introverted, inferior, withdrawn, sulky, brooding, workaholic and slave-driving. It can bring restriction, poverty, loss, sorrow, suffering, grief, depression, and self-undoing.

It takes approximately 28 years, give or take, depending on retrograde cycles, for Saturn to move all the way around the chart and return to its natal place.

Around the age of 7, Saturn makes a square to its natal place. Because you have very little, if any, control over your life at that age, this square aspect usually brings a crisis that involves a parent, the family, or a domestic matter. Sometimes it is the death of a beloved grandparent, the separation or divorce of your parents, or the family is uprooted and moved to a new area. There is also the adjustment to the first year of school.

Around the age of 14 or 15, Saturn opposes its own place in the chart, and you may become a rebellious teen as you try to define who you are as an individual, what you expect from life, how that differs from your reality, and how you will go about achieving what you want. Very often your first job can be timed by Saturn's opposition to itself.

 Around the age of 21, Saturn makes its second square to its own place.  This is a time when you either begin on your own to make important decisions about the direction of your life, or you are forced to make decisions by parents or other authority figures. Some people get married at this age (almost always a mistake), graduate from college and join the workforce, make career decisions, work toward higher educational degrees, accept the responsibility for your own bills, move into your own home or apartment, and so forth.

 Around the age of 28, you will experience your first Saturn Return. This is where you clear the decks, kick out the dead wood, and free yourself for a new phase of life. You are free to make your own decisions, but must make them wisely because you will be living with the results of them for the next 28 years. Difficult and painful if you have not yet accepted a sufficient amount of responsibility for your life, this is the time when you must jump into life and responsibility with both feet. It is often a time when people marry, divorce, have their first child, buy their first home, relocate, feel the pressure to achieve something, become serious about their careers, and realize there are practical necessities to life that they must deal with. There is no more putting it off. The formerly wide-open field of possibility and opportunity becomes increasingly narrow until a path and direction in life are chosen, and your ambition and effort is applied more specifically. It would be very wise to choose a path indicated by the sign on the Midheaven of your chart. Doing so will save many years of backtracking, dead-ends and frustration. This is a time of settling in and settling down to business. The Universe has declared that you are now a mature adult. No more fooling around and avoiding responsibility. The spiritual branch of astrology teaches that up until this time, you have been working off the karma of your past life, those debts are discharged, and now it is time to get to work on the current life lessons. Very often a formerly unknown talent will emerge, possibly something from the past life that will feel like second nature.

A year to a year and a half before Saturn reaches its natal place can be highly stressful. Your mental and physical health, finances, family life, happiness -  all and more may suffer. Life gets harsh and very HARD. That's what Saturn rules - things that are hard, cold, and heavy. No one gets through it without some sorrow and suffering. Do not blame others or circumstances, or karma. Pick yourself up and get on with it. You have to own it. The sooner you do, the less difficult it will be. It is not what happens to you during this time, but how you handle it that will determine the amount of your suffering.

Around the age of 35 or so, your responsibilities increase. You have greater demands on the job, more children, a high mortgage, bigger car payments, and so on.

This next one is real trouble. This opposition of Saturn to its own place occurs around the age of 44 or 45 and is the equivalent of the rebellious teen you were 30 years ago. This opposition, which usually comes at the same time as Uranus opposition to its own place, and Neptune and Pluto's squares to their own places is the proverbial midlife crisis, and / or empty nest syndrome. You're dissatisfied, tired and bored and want to escape the responsibility and repetition of your life. You act out, throw away things you've worked hard for, lose things you love, value things without value, and generally make a mess of your life and the lives of those who love you. If you know this coming, you don't have to fall for it. You can choose not to be an idiot.

 The next square arrives around the age of 52. This is similar to the square that took place when you were about 21. Back then you made important decisions about the direction of your life. This time, you reevaluate them. You question the meaning of life, and may begin to fear growing old. Then you may have married, now you may divorce, or remarry. You might begin a second career in a totally new field, or figure out a way to make a hobby into a profitable business. You may return to school, leave your family to pursue a dream, or take on the responsibility of an aging parent. If you've handled the previous cycles well, then you can now show the world what you've got and what you're made of. 

Around 57-58, Saturn returns to its natal place again. As usual, there is stress, and your health or that of  parent or spouse may be the source. It's a time when you review the past and assess what you've done--or haven't done--with your life and take steps to correct those things. If you've alienated a family member, you may try to make amends. If you have failed to work in areas that are emotionally or spiritually fulfilling as well as financially adequate, you may make the necessary changes to accomplish that. Something you've always wanted to do but put off for various reasons may now take root and bloom. Only if responsibility has been neglected through the cycles will this be an overly stressful time. But if that is the case, some serious soul-searching and self-analysis will have to take place, deep changes made, and possible sacrificing of your material resources for survival accepted.

And then the whole cycle begins again, in the same order with similar challenges. And all along the way, Saturn also aspects all the other planets and angles in your chart, in both easy and stressful ways. 

                                                           Saturn's Temple