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Saturn: Evil Planet?

Astrology says the planets Mars, Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto can disrupt our lives. The most dreaded is Saturn, the planetary “taskmaster” who can weigh us down with responsibilities and consequences. Our natal Saturn sets our life tasks upon our shoulders. When transiting, as it always is, Saturn camps out in each zodiac signs for two long years. When I complained about transiting Saturn a friend said, “Saturn is always somewhere” —and that’s true.


Saturn is now transiting Sagittarius, where it will spend all of 2016. On a global level, this means you’ll notice less of a party mood and more serious debate about religion and philosophy. And maybe entertainment doesn’t seem so entertaining anymore. But Saturn is one of the “personal planets,” and its effects show up in daily life. Nothing awful will happen; it’s just that life is less fun.

My natal Saturn is in House 1, house of the self and the load of karma I was born with. Saturn in House 1 made me unusually serious and a hard worker. Family snapshots show a serious toddler. As a flower girl, age seven, my unsmiling face ruined somebody’s wedding photos. I started working, cleaning houses, at age 13. Saturn in House 1 can also mean I’m a depressive, old before my time, or will carry heavy burdens, visible or not. For years I wore only black. I thought black clothes were simply practical: Everything matched.

The flip side of having natal Saturn in House 1 is how I have learned, through various Saturn lessons, to lighten up, go out and socialize and play, wear bright colors and fun shoes. I’m still learning from my Saturn. Only last year did it occur to me to highlight my hair. For me, life truly began at 40. Now I prioritize fun and plan to have more. I’m still discovering things I love.

That was worth learning, so thank you, natal Saturn in House 1. But that’s not the end of it. We all must deal with Saturn’s transits through each of our charts’ 12 houses. If Saturn is transiting your house of home and family (House 4), does that mean the renovation might take two whole years? Or that family life will be a drag? Maybe. Sometimes. But focusing on the negative only brings you more of it.

Look at Saturn’s good side: When leaving an astrological house to enter the next one, transiting Saturn leaves a gift, often a big one. On the day transiting Saturn left my third house (of communications) for the fourth (of house and home), I got a phone call: a story I wrote won a $5,000 prize. With the money—and Saturn then beginning its transit of my fourth house—I bought my first real furnishings and rugs. It took a planetary gift that big and obvious to convince me that Saturn always leaves a gift. Look for them. That’s 12 big gifts every 29 years, which is the length of time it takes Saturn to transit all the houses in your chart. And every 29 years Saturn changes your life. For the better or for worse: Saturn leaves that choice to us.

Father Time
Father Time

Part of what makes Saturn seem heavy is that he also embodies Father Time. Yet he’ll magically turn ordinary human aging into glorious maturity. Mature people have been around the block and know the grass isn’t greener. Experts at cooking, fishing, caring, financing—whatever they’ve spent their lives perfecting—they will teach you if you ask. They know a lie when they hear it. Appearances matter less. Maturity only makes life more enjoyable.

A Saturn transit through any house or sign might feel as if it’s grinding you down. Saturn’s transits—no one says they’re easy—are “polishing” you, preparing you for life’s next phase. The lesson might be persistence or commitment: “You can do it.” Or it’s about adding muscle to your moral character. Saturn’s gifts include discipline, sobriety, goal-setting, and understanding that life doesn’t last forever, so you shouldn’t spend it miserably, or bemoaning Saturn transits. Saturn is always somewhere, and you’d have tasks and challenges in life whether there was a Saturn or not.

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