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Want to learn more about how to do astrology? You've come to the right place!

SATURN

Ashley Thiessen

The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
— J.R.R, Tolkien

saturn

Nothing can hide in the fields when the wheat has been threshed in the fall. The land is flat, and barren, after the harvest has stripped the grass away. But on cloudy autumn nights, when the air is cold and black, nothing can be seen for miles around. And those nightmarish beasts that stalk the night can crawl close to town, and snatch the unwary ones who wander where it is not safe.

Knowing this, walking home through a field at night, your mind is opened up to all sorts of paranoia. Your eyes, blinded by darkness, see shapes moving in the distance. Your heart is alive in your chest, beating against the heaving of your lungs. Fear grips you. Panic drives you. Do you run, and try to dive into town, and risk being chased? Or do you crouch down and hide, frozen, until the danger passes, and risk being caught? 

Saturn is the part of your mind you turn to when you are afraid of things outside your control and need a plan of attack. She is a crone with bad experiences, is honest about the dangers, and realistic about all possible outcomes, but she can still help. She tells you to be cautious. Move slowly, but deliberately. Make less noise, takes your steps carefully, calculate what you do. She makes you creep up the long way home, all the while carrying a stomach wrought in anxiety, and a mind heavy with doubt. But despite your initial cynicism, Saturn gets you home safe. And rewards your bravery with what you were searching for - a home, safe from the terrors of the night, and an experience that can never be taken away from you.

SYMBOLISM

The glyph for Saturn is the alchemy symbol for lead. It is also a combination of a crescent and a cross, like Ceres and Jupiter. Like Ceres, it is a stylized sickle for a god of nature and harvest. But unlike the upright sickle, with symbolized growth up and out of the soil, we have a downward sickle, symbolizing harvest and growth down into the earth. Here we have grounding matter above, weighing down the mind or spirit of a person. It is limiting and restricting, but also deeply focussed, and long-lasting in how its energy endures. 

IN ASTROLOGY

I told you in my last article that Jupiter and Mercury were opposites (the higher mind and lower mind, respectively). What you will hear more often, however, is that Jupiter and Saturn are opposites, since one expands, and the other contracts. As Dana Gerhardt wrote in her article, Saturn's Chicken Bone and Jupiter's Magic Tablecloth, "Jupiter is expansive, billowing with opportunities, increase, generosity, good luck, and good fortune. Saturn solidifies and contracts. It brings obstacles, sorrows and delays; also structure, responsibility, effort, and achievement.

Our name for this planet comes from the Roman god Saturn, the equivalent to the Greek Cronus. Saturn and Cronus were gods of agriculture, symbolizing the reaping of the harvest and, in turn, the wealth and abundance that came with it. One of their symbols was a sickle or a scythe, a tool used to cut grain in the fall. But this god was also frequently confused with or associated with the god of time, Chronos, since they had similar sounding names. This is what led to Renaissance artists to create the iconic Father Time figure and medieval artists to create the Grim Reaper - the connection being how time and death both cut lives short, like the autumn harvest cut the life from the fields that grew all summer. These symbols put together has made the modern astrological Saturn not only a symbol for "reaping the benefits" of your hard work, but also of fear of death and the unknown, the pressures of time, and "reaping what you sow" in every sense of the word.

Many people come to Saturn because they are afraid of it. It's a planet of hard work, difficult lessons, delayed gratification, and challenges to overcome. Saturn is seen this way because, before the development of more sophisticated astronomical tools, it was the furthest planet that could be seen with the naked eye, and so was characterized as cold, distant, withdrawn, and detached by nature. It became unfriendly and unfeeling, compassionless, reserved, and unapproachable. And yes, when your Saturn is unhealthy or immature, it can become the Great Malefic it is rumored to be. It can be a planet governed by fear and caution. But the modern view of Saturn is much more dynamic than the old one, and has many more positive things to say.

The healthy Saturn is focused and disciplined. She realizes that in order to achieve her goals and be successful, she needs to prepare detailed lists, research into the early hours of the morning, pour over the numbers, and stay realistic. Saturn knows not only how to work hard, but how to work effectively to get the long-term results she is aiming for. Think about it like a garden: you work the soil, pull the weeds, banish pests, and trim back dead stems. In this way, Saturn shows you how to take responsibilities seriously and work a little bit everyday, to keep your "garden" from growing wild and useless. At the end of all that hard work is the harvest, where you collect the fruits of your labour, reaping the benefits of countless hours of tilling and toiling under the sun. And because you got these things thanks to your own work and willpower, they mean so much more to you than the things you were given for free.

Saturn is wise. It is not Jupiter's expansive, philosophical or spiritual wisdom; it is an old wisdom, withered with experience. When you look at your Saturn Sign, you see how your fears have governed you into thinking and acting the way that you do. But your caution makes you careful, and focussed, and able to center your energy over what you want to achieve. When you finally face your fears, Saturn will reward you with what you set out trying to do - rewards which reflect where your values lie, and what it is you want most in the world. 

RULERSHIP AND EXALTATION

Traditionally, Saturn was Ruled by both Capricorn and Aquarius, and Exalted in Libra. But after a few hundred years of fickle back-and-forth, Uranus was eventually given to Aquarius and Saturn has been Ruled solely by Capricorn since the mid-20th Century. I, however, see Saturn as Ruled by Capricorn and Exalted in Aquarius. If you've followed by articles so far, you should be used to this by now!

Capricorn is the earthier side of Saturn, which is realistic and practical in the way it sets out to do things. They assume a leadership role under the assumption that nobody else is capable of doing things as well as they can, but have similarly pessimistic attitudes about themselves from time to time. Aquarius is the airy side of Saturn, which, despite its outward confidence and certainty, feels inwardly awkward and insecure. They see the world as flawed and in need of fixing, and can see all the logical solutions to the problems humanity faces. Both of these Signs have strong masculine qualities of being cold, dry, rational, and for basing their opinions on facts and principles. They both are mature, success and achievement-oriented by nature, and possess and incredible work ethic driving them toward their goals. Each of them has control issues and refuse to be governed by anybody else. And they both have strong ties to their father-figure, first idolizing him, and then being disappointed in his human failings.

Saturn, then, is in Detriment in Cancer and in Fall in Leo - two dramatic, emotional, and deeply sensitive Signs that do not naturally fit into Saturn's cold shell. Both of these Signs are closer to their mother-figures, who are traditionally the more comforting and loving of the two. Both can be so emotional that they are accused of being immature, and both can be so caught up in their own feelings that they lose sight of the bigger picture around them. Cancer is a notorious homebody, likely to abandon their own ambitions in order to take care of their home and family. They may be security-seeking and cautious by nature, but they are less likely to face their fears and overcome challenges when they can retreat into isolation instead. Leo is similarly content relying on others to take care of them while they lazily pursue their creative ambitions. They have big dreams and glamorized ambition, but lack the work ethic needed to actually pull it off. Both of these Signs need to face their fears and work harder if they want to be successful. Saturn won't reward you unless you put the effort in!

SATURN THROUGH THE SIGNS

SATURN IN ARIES denotes challenges and hardships relating to your strength and independence, usually in the form of it being taken away or diminished when you were growing up, and needing to build up again as an adult. You may have had a dominant parent, or it may have been another force in your life, but you know what it is like to be controlled and heavily restricted in what you can do, where you can go, and how you live your life. You arrived into adulthood weak and insecure, and forced to become independent for the first time. Saturn's voice gave you many reservations about how capable you were to handle things on your own. But over the years, you worked to build up courage, strength, self-love, and confidence. And since you now know the value of these things, and what it is like to live without them, your independance can never be taken away from you again.

SATURN IN TAURUS gives you many fears and reservations about material insecurity - being poor, going bankrupt, theft, being evicted, your belongings being lost or destroyed - which likely stem from your parent's financial stressors growing up. You are so afraid of being without, that you set aside your own personal health and happiness in order to be more financially secure. Unfortunately, in order to keep a steady income, you waste time on jobs, projects, and other ventures that end up doing nothing for you personally. Saturn will reward you for facing these fears and overcoming them, such as leaving a job you hate and taking a loss in favour of a better life for yourself. Although this planet is the source of your anxiety, Saturn gives you gifts and talents that carry you forward to where you need to be. You are tenacious, determined, a perfectionist, and careful. And you have enough work ethic to carry both yourself and your family to higher heights.

SATURN IN GEMINI means you have always been quiet person, who takes their time thinking, speaking, and moving in a deliberate way. Whether due to speech impairments, learning disabilities, shyness, or something else, Saturn gives you anxiety about your intelligence and communicative prowess. You prefer to sit and listen rather than partake in a conversation. You may also prefer to read and write as a way of communication because you can sit and think about it first, edit what you are saying, and then send it off when you feel ready. But luckily, Saturn gives you the uncanny ability to master things on an intellectual level when you are really engaged in the subject. With gifts of memorization, rationality, and an aptitude for science, math, and logical reasoning, you can take any subject and learn everything there is to know about it. And once you learn how to face your fears and speak up, you can help other people understand things better as well.

SATURN IN CANCER is in its Detriment position. Your deepest fears of being alone, being abandoned, and not being needed all stem from the broken relationship you have with your mother. Your relationship with her was limited or restricted in some way, and did not allow you to bond with her as fully as other people bonded with their mothers. As a result you have difficulties progressing forward with your own family life because your fears hold you back and skew your behaviour. Some very important milestones need to happen before you will be able to comfortably move forward in becoming a parent and homeowner. First you need to make amends with your mother and clear away all the old emotional debris between you two. Then you need to journey inside yourself through introspection to understand where your problems with trust and intimacy lie. Once you have done those two things, Saturn may reward you with the opportunity to progress - hopefully, toward having a family of your own to dedicate yourself to, and a home that you can built your life on.

SATURN IN LEO is in its Fall position. It is difficult to say when exactly you became so self-conscious of your creative ventures. But whatever the cause of your insecurities may have been, the end result is the same: the idea of having your work put on display and judged by others scares you more than anything. You may withdraw into privacy, or you might become dramatically (and falsely) confident. But deep down, you are worried about rejection, embarrassment, ridicule, and even being outright ignored. In your youth, you will face enormous difficulties because of your "shrinking violet" nature. But those critical voices will be a part of what motivates you to succeed, to prove yourself as worthy of praise. If you face your fears and show off your creative talents (publishing a book, or posting your art in a public place, for example) Saturn will reward you with success. So stop worrying about what other people have to say, and go do it!

SATURN IN VIRGO means you feel pressured to live up to other people’s standards of perfection, because of the fear of not being good enough as you naturally are. Other people's beliefs, values, religion, standards of beauty, views on sex, and gender roles all became your own. And you sought to not only be the perfect child and the perfect student, but later on also the perfect spouse and the perfect parent. All this pressure you put in yourself gives you major performance anxiety and a deeply rooted insecurity that is hard to overcome. It certainly won't be easy to rewire your brain from the ground up, and it won't happen overnight. But luckily, Saturn gives you an incredible work ethic, intelligence, discipline and skills like organizing, planning, detail-oriented task managing, and rational thinking, all of which can see you through to success.

SATURN IN LIBRA gives you a fear of being alone, which spurs you to go out and find a spouse, best friend, co-worker, or other one-on-one relationship to keep you company. Paradoxically, as desperate as you are for love and companionship, finding somebody to love is difficult. You are picky, shy, and have a difficult time getting close to people, generally, you just want to pick one person and get close to only them. You do best in long-term, monogamous relationships. If anything you actually feel safer being married or committed, as the promise of them always being there gives you a greater sense of security. True to Saturn's nature, you are slow to commit and slow to break away, and your love life is marked by long periods together and long periods of being alone. And while you may not have had very many relationships, those that you do have are very special to you.

SATURN IN SCORPIO gives you a fear of other people having power and control over you, since your past has been marred by physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse. For example, you may have dealt with overbearing family members or partners who insisted on being involved in every aspect of your life, and who told you what to think, how to act, and what to believe. Most likely, they invaded your mind, your emotions, and your sexuality, shaming you and coercing you into their ways of being. Nobody let you be who you wanted to be or listened to you. Since then, you developed serious trust issues, and are now very cold and restrictive in letting people in. Although it sounds impossible, it is your desire for control that limits you, and you need to learn to give up control in order to regain it. The more you pursue power, the more it consumes you, and the more you feel you need it. Allow other people to do things outside of your influence and knowledge, and grant them the autonomy you never had. They need it, and you do too.

SATURN IN SAGITTARIUS limits your freedom to a frustrating degree, although it is self-imposed just as much as it is put on you by others. For example, you may have grown up being restricted in where you can go and what you can do. But your fears come from within your own self, and for good reasons. If you were given autonomy before you were ready the result could be reckless endangerment of yourself, addiction to various vices, and a devastating lack of stability in your life. Although difficult, being limited in your self-expression forced you to build up deep inner stores of discipline that others do not possess. The gift at the end of your journey is power over yourself; the power to adopt new beliefs, take yourself on adventures, study whatever you choose, and to basically live your own life on your own terms. This is an awful lot of power to have, and it must only be given to you once you have learned enough self-control to handle it.

SATURN IN CAPRICORN is in its Ruled position. Your difficult relationship with your father limits the depth and breadth of your relationships with others, and confines you to long periods of isolation. Loneliness, depression, and pessimism follow you, and you turn to drugs, alcoholism, and workaholism to grant you a temporary escape. Despite everything you've learned about Saturn so far, sometimes the answer is not to stick with it and see things through. Sometimes the answer is to rethink the path you are on. As you grow older your needs, values, and beliefs will change, and your goals should change with them. You are not disappointing anybody by abandoning a goal that is no longer viable. Your father will not think less of you for not being exactly like him. Love should always be given freely, not with restrictions and limitations and stipulations. And if it is being held back, rather than pursue it, it may be best to just let it go.

SATURN IN AQUARIUS is in its Exalted position. Since you were very young, you've had a fear of vulnerability, which makes networking and making new friends difficult for you. You may have been an isolated loner without any friends. Or you may have had friends, but they were never very close, trustworthy ones. You want to stand up and be counted as an individual with your own values and ideas. You want to show them all how capable, smart, and talented you are. But the fear of not being liked or accepted makes you ask, "Will they still like me when they see who I really am?" So you restrict or control your actions to appeal to others, then feel upset at the rejection you feel for not being allowed to be your authentic self. Eventually, when you face these fears and put the work in, Saturn rewards you with a small group of very close, life-long friendships, with a group of people who love and accept you for who you are. But only when you learn to like and accept yourself, and start letting people get close to you.

SATURN IN PISCES has a fear of confrontation, and difficulty dealing with conflict. It begins early in life with you wandering through the world timidly, quietly overwhelmed by the chaos of your family home. Alcoholism, addiction, abusive relationships, religious oppression, being taken advantage of, manipulated, and so on may make several appearances before you reach middle age. In your early life likely dealt with unfulfillment and fear by being escapist and self-indulgent. But when you learn to handle your emotions in a healthy way, the rewards you gain are more precious than gold. When you embrace your right to happiness instead of waiting for others to give it to you, you become the author of your own desires. No longer dependant on other people to make you happy, you are free to do as you please and stir bliss into every day of your life. You do not need anybody; you are autonomous!

CONCLUSION

For something I wrote for Saturn in Pisces, I said, "This planet will never give you a challenge you cannot overcome, with a reward always equal to the work." But I may as well say it to every Saturn placement. You are overly cautious and limited by fear. But you are just as capable of overcoming that fear on your way to success when you finally take those first steps into the unknown. As someone who is Saturn dominant myself (meaning, my Saturn in Aquarius in the 5th House is the strongest aspect of my personality), I want to encourage you to read up on your Saturn placements and do the work necessary for you to achieve your dreams. Nothing that comes easy is ever worth it - trust me! This is my life!