“So, you have some dynamic aspects coming up,” I told Nora. “They involve—”
“Oh God! Is it Saturn? Pluto? It’s Saturn, isn’t it?” She interrupted, clearly afraid of what I was going to say.
“Well, it is Saturn that we’ll be looking at, however, it’s already in a retrograde cycle, so that shifts the energy…”
“Oh, I hate Saturn,” Nora wailed, interrupting again. “He’s so hard-hearted. Everything always turns out bad in a Saturn transit. And retrograde…that’s even worse!”
I felt bad for Nora, even if I was a little impatient. If she’d just let me talk… but fear of the outer planets, Saturn specifically, is common. And most people don’t really understand the retrograde of Saturn like they do Mercury’s retrograde, for example, so that makes it seem even scarier.
Over the centuries of astrology’s development, Saturn has gotten a bad rap as the cruel lord of karma who will huff and puff and blow your house down. Actually, Saturn is one of the most useful planets, and though his teachings can be serious and sometimes difficult, his transits—and retrograde, particularly—shouldn’t be feared. Instead, learn to use them to further your own personal growth.
Two Steps Forward, One Step Back
In order to understand his retrograde, it’s helpful to first know what Saturn stands for. Saturn is the ruler of structure, time, goals, and areas where we hold ourselves back out of fear. Honestly ask yourself, “Where am I rigid about my ideas? In what areas of life am I a control freak?” Your answer will indicate where Saturn is operating in shadow in your life and where, in transit, he will likely ask you to examine the cause of your rigidity.
Saturn asks us to be honest, organized, practical, and responsible—all important qualities. When he goes into retrograde, these questions show up less in the external world and more as internal inquiry and pressure. Whatever we may have been working on before the retrograde may stall, and the months of backward motion will allow us to more deeply investigate what isn’t working in our lives. There’s a feeling of two steps forward and then, as we hit the retrograde, one step back. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing; often, our goals and projects will need tweaking before they are ready to manifest in physical reality (another Saturn quality). Saturn slows things down so we have the opportunity to bring forth the best possible solution or outcome.
Believing is Seeing
This year, Saturn goes retrograde in the sign of Sagittarius. His cycle started on April 6, at approximately 28 degrees, and he turns stationary direct on August 25 at approximately 21 degrees of Sagittarius. So, we have about five months to turn inward with Saturn and really take a look at our beliefs and sense of meaning.
We all have to question our beliefs at times; this is how we grow. And many social scientists—as well as spiritual teachers and religious leaders—argue that the search for meaning is the most basic of human instincts and drives, second only to survival. Sagittarius rules meaning, belief, and the continuous expansion of our personal horizons; this sign understands that what we believe is what we see showing up in our lives. With Saturn retrograde in the last degrees of the sign, it’s time to look at how we’ve been moving forward. Have we been manifesting our desires? Achieving results? Building steadily towards our dreams? If not, why not? Are there limiting beliefs at play? Are we retracing old patterns? Why? What are we afraid of? These are the kinds of questions Saturn asks.
Practically, a Saturn retro is a great time to do personal growth work, including therapies exploring the various regions of the mind, spirituality, or philosophy. It may seem like life has gotten a bit serious, as the Sag momentum is tempered by Saturn’s slow pace. But there’s no rush—take the time to examine yourself and your life. If you adjust accordingly, Saturn will reward you after he turns direct again.
If you have your birth chart, notice what house Saturn will be retrograding through. For example, Saturn retro through the seventh house suggests you will be reworking beliefs in the area of relationships. In the tenth house, you’ll be addressing stagnation and progress in your career. In the twelfth house, you may find yourself in a bit of an existential crisis. Wherever Saturn is traveling, things will slow down or appear to contract. Again, this isn’t a bad thing; it’s just a function of Saturn’s refining quality.
If you have personal planets impacted by the retrograde, this will give you another layer of information. It’s a good time to work with an astrologer, especially if Saturn is in square, opposition, or conjunction to your Sun, natal Saturn, or Moon. This was the case with Nora. When she finally let me explain the usefulness of Saturn’s contact with her Sun, she calmed down and even showed a little enthusiasm for what she might learn.
Saturn’s retrograde in Sagittarius is a tremendously useful time. Imagine taking a walk through a forest with your favorite teacher or mentor. You have his/her attention completely. There is time to ask all your questions and receive clear, no-nonsense answers. At times, your energy may flag, but your teacher will wait for you as you rest. He will be by your side the entire journey until you understand how to live your life more fully and richly. This is the essence of Saturn’s retrograde.
Want to understand how to utilize the wisdom of Saturn in your personal astrology chart? Astrology advisors on Keen are here to help—call today!