• Train with three letters


    In Back to Basics 1 I explained some of the meanings of the personal planets and I also included Saturn in this article. Since Saturn is now at the forefront in planetary happenings I thought it might be a good idea to look deeper into the meanings of this planet and also to explain the Saturn cycle.

    Saturn has an orbit of 28-30 years and stays in each sign approximately 2.5 years. In ancient times and until quite recently (1950’s), in traditional astrology, Saturn was known as the “Greater Malefic” with Mars being the “Lesser Malefic”. With the advent of a more psychological or soul-centred approach to astrology, Saturn has been given more of a “teacher” role albeit often a very strict one too!

    In fact, I believe that most astrologers still look with trepidation to a Saturn transit to the personal planets wondering just how hard it may hit and if preventive measures can be adopted before the transit in an attempt to soften its effects (by looking ahead to which house Saturn is transiting and to which planets or angles it will aspect during this transit).

    Saturn restricts and contracts the area where he is to be found in the natal horoscope, giving structure and form which require effort and responsibility. In this way we can learn to develop a sense of personal worth based on experience and gain wisdom through the structured application of knowledge. However, in its negative manifestation we may experience Saturn as limitation, restriction, pessimism, loss, depression and a general sense of inadequacy.

    The house where Saturn is to be found in the birth chart denotes the area in our life where we are unsure about our abilities or where, for some reason, we show fear or inadequacy.

    Ivy. M. Goldstein-Jacobson “Here and There in Astrology”, first printed in 1961) designated the following meanings to the position of natal Saturn since where we have Saturn is where we “cut down”:

    1st house: self-consciousness, low self-esteem, burdens to the native early in life

    2nd and 8th house: power to save money and a tendency to hoard

    3rd and 4th house: builds a valuable patrimony, in the 3rd a relative could withhold something of yours for a certain time (structured thought process in 3rd and/or responsibility for siblings, I add)

    4th house: a dark, gloomy home atmosphere (or a restrictive parent, I add)

    5th house: responsibility for children (or taking your talents or hobbies seriously, I add)

    6th house: a hard worker sometimes with little profit or appreciation (or a serious health/diet addict)

    7th house: late marriage (or a stable relationship, I add)

    8th house: gain through wills, legacies or alimonies. Shrewdness in dealing with other peoples’ money

    9th house: a second marriage will involve a notable age difference (or scepticism in religious matters, I add)

    10th house: many a fall both physical and circumstantial (but also responsibility and success, I add)

    11th house: the native will outlive many of the family members (taking responsibility for groups, I add)

    12th house: alienation from father but also secret and private affairs becoming public

    I have added the more modern interpretations to these placements too, since Mrs Goldstein-Jacobson, although a fantastic, experienced astrologer, had the tendency of her era to be rather gloomy about some interpretations.

    Grant Lewi, described the transits of Saturn through the twelve houses as follows: “from the 4th to the 10th house men rise to, or assume, their maximum power, reaching a second peak as Saturn conjuncts the Ascendant, receding from fame and success as Saturn transits the 1st to the 3rd houses.”

    Saturn transits to its own natal position or to the personal planets in a natal theme, always denote change in some way. With the first Saturn return (to its own natal position) taking place between 28-30 years of age, a moment in life when we should know where we are going and how to get there, the second Saturn return at ages 58-60 should see us preparing for retirement or at least slowing down our work schedule to dedicate more time to our personal satisfaction. Intervals of approximately seven years when Saturn squares, opposes and then squares again any given point in the natal theme can also be scrutinized since the same themes but with a different twist will also re-present themselves in our lives at these times.

    A retrograde natal Saturn will slow down or delay until later in life the promises of that particular position, it may also indicate problems with the father figure (if aspects to the natal Sun are involved) or vacillating between being capable of handling the affairs of the house where Saturn is to be found and not knowing how to deal with them.

    Noel Tyl writes that the Saturn retrograde is a pause for responsibility, there is a disruption in what ideally is expected in the development process, with a sense of incompleteness. For him, a person with Saturn retrograde craves love above all, especially self-love.

    What do you fear and in what sector of your life do you feel “inadequate”? Where is Saturn in your natal chart?



    Goldstein-Jacobson I.M. (1961) “Here and There in Astrology”, Notebook for Saturn, pp.18-24, Pasadena Lithographers, Pasadena, Cal. USA

    Lewi G. (2004 reprint) “Astrology for the Millions”, Strong Men of Destiny, pp 35-38, Indigo Books, New Delhi, India

    Sullivan E. (1992), “Retrograde Planets”, Natal Saturn retrograde, pp.111-116, Samuel Weiser Inc, York Beach, ME, USA

    Tyl N. (2012) “Synthesis and Counselling in Astrology” The Occurrence of Saturn, pp 35-38, Llewellyn Publications, Woodbury, MN, USA