Astrology: Saturn in the Signs

Hendrik Andriessen, “Still-life composition with human skull, globe, books, crown, miter, bubbles, mussel shell with bubble pipe, holly crown on skull, watch on table, candlestick (with reflection of artist’s portrait)“, Flemish, painting, 1650.

While every planet will always maintain its fundamental character and function no matter where located, how that character and function is expressed will be modified according to the sign in which they are housed. Saturn is the disciplinarian of the zodiac, and his purpose is to provide a sense of structure and maturity in the personality. As he is the Lord of Karma, working with Saturn’s occasionally oppressive energy becomes easier as time passes, as experience is gained through the various houses of life experience, and a greater sense of self-comprehension is achieved. Saturn’s energy is never easy, nor is it meant to be. Saturn always gives us a sense of insecurity, no matter where he is housed, and this negative effect is pronounced as the contacts to personal planets and points grown more and more complicated.

Consider him as a grandfather figure – older, wiser, stricter and more accomplished than you can ever be. It only makes sense to heed his lessons and warnings, as those who refuse to accept his limitations will often find themselves feeling like Sisyphus, forever pushing that stone up a hill, never achieving their goals, because they are not going about their tasks correctly. Working with Saturn takes a great degree of patience and respect, honoring the spirit of time, discipline and the virtue of hard work and focus.

Saturn in Aries: In Aries, Saturn is at his Fall. The Aries essence of Cardinal Fire is of no interest to dour, paternalistic Saturn. His energy is expressed fitfully, and a sense of suppression is constant, as the impulse to action and accomplishment feels stifled and squelched. Aries is impetuous, bold and courageous. With Saturn breathing down his back, he feels insecure about accomplishment and often second-guesses his actions. Not a comfortable energy. At its best, this energy can be found in the archetpye of the perfect soldier, ever ready to submit to authority, who will direct the individual’s energy as circumstances require. Self expression is subsumed in favor of supporting the Other.

Saturn in Taurus: In Fixed Earth Taurus, Saturn expresses himself comfortably, with a sense of solidity that borders on the stolid. Conservative and patient, insecurity and hindrance may be felt in approaching the topic of enjoyment and sensuality. These things can feel excessive and decadent. Saturn in Taurus wants to accumulate resources, comfort and security, but will never feel that it is quite enough, and frequently finds that however hard one tries, the material realm does not satisfy. At its best, this energy can be found in the well-established, dependable patron or matron of the arts, ever ready to lend a stabilizing force to the needy and underdeveloped, as the structure of acquisition is well understood.

Saturn in Gemini: In Gemini, Saturn expresses himself with careful consideration. At odds with the typical Gemini nature, as Mutable Air is rapidly moving and somewhat superficial in approach, Saturn here will become very focused on details, on accumulation of data, and acquisition of expertise. This Saturn is not satisfied with a superficial approach, and insecurity will center around not knowing enough, not being smart enough, and not feeling confident in self-expression, scholastic or intellectual capability. This basic insecurity can conversely result in complete expertise as the impetus is always to improve on what has already been achieved.

Saturn in Cancer: In Cardinal Water Cancer, Saturn is at his Detriment. The passive, feminine and tender nature of Cancer is at odds with the stern, cold and forbidding nature of Saturn. This is an uncomfortable situation, as the individual will live with a very basic emotional insecurity. Expressing emotion will often be suppressed, though the importance of being emotionally present and responsible in relationships will be given great importance. This individual can often feel a sense of hand-wringing when confronted with an emotional scene, as understanding of the underpinning is there, even if the capacity to participate fully is diminished.

Saturn in Leo: In Fixed Fire Leo, Saturn is at his Detriment. The warm, gregarious, proud and fun-loving nature of Leo is directly at odds with the proper, straight-laced and conservative Saturnian energy. The individual feels insecure about self-confidence, and any sense of pride in accomplishment is undermined by nagging self-doubt and inward self-recrimination. An uncomfortable interplay between the very human need to shine, and the basic essence of self-abnegation makes for a constant feeling of suppression. At its best, this can evolve into a stately sense of social accomplishment, of becoming a proud role-model of upright, socially valued behavior.

Saturn in Virgo: In Mutable Earth Virgo, Saturn expresses himself with precision, focusing on pursuits of the intellect, reason and rationality. Meticulousness in detail is heightened, as well as an increased interest in duty and performance of those duties which directly assist others. Attention to hygiene, diet, health and welfare of those less capable of managing matters independently is positively enhanced with this placement, as is scholarship, research and domesticity. Insecurities focus on the idea of not being perceived as correct, proper, fastidious, or “good” enough. Being caught in an error can prove immensely embarrassing, and the Saturn in Virgo native will go to great pains to avoid any such circumstances.

Saturn in Libra: In Cardinal Air Libra, Saturn is Exalted. The refined, airy nature of this sign is perfectly in tune with Saturn’s aridity and love of all that is cold and classical. Libra finds joy in the idea of perfection, whether it is aesthetic or ideological, and Saturn revels in assisting the quest for beauty, harmony and balance. The perfect architect, aesthetic or diplomat, Saturn in Libra knows how to actualize what otherwise might remain idealized and conceptual. Insecurity arises from erroneously perceived imperfection, from an inability to strike balance, and from any circumstances which threaten to destabilize the otherwise honed and balanced perspective. Ugliness and sordidness threaten the equilibrium, and all must be maintained just so for effective function to occur.

Saturn in Scorpio: In Fixed Water, Saturn expresses itself with an unsettling coldness. Deep waters are no concern for Saturn, as his natural domain is hidden and subterranean. He is comfortable with the watery depths, as they are merely an extension of his regular habitats, and issues of life and death, sexuality, and deep emotion, while seemingly at odds with Saturn’s nature, in fact have just enough gravitas to warrant respectability. Never one to shy from difficult or unsettling circumstances, Saturn in Scorpio is a natural physician, surgeon, psychotherapist or counselor. Insecurity stems from feeling an inability to connect on a deep level, or from being perceived as superficial or, conversely, from expressing depths with too much intensity or passion. Saturn in Scorpio understands these depths, but can feel shy about exposing them to others.

Saturn in Sagittarius: In Sagittarius, Mutable Fire, Saturn expresses himself by offering a steadying hand to an intellect that desires rapid pursuit of ideals and philosophy. Sagittarius is known to rush headlong on the journey of discovery; Saturn placed here offers the discipline and profundity that may otherwise be lacking by the notoriously inconstant Sagittarius. Once a sense of patience, and an understanding of how rewarding the fruits of sustained labor can be, a practical approach to higher learning, open-mindedness and a profoundly judicial perspective can emerge. Insecurity can be found in feeling threatened by ideas and philosophies that seem overly alien, imposing or which otherwise threaten the jovial camaraderie of the Sagittarius nature. At its best, this energy is used as a highly developed arbiter, one who is capable of sussing out truth and fairness in any situation. Law, justice, therapists, artists and writers can find this placement useful.

Saturn in Capricorn: In Cardinal Earth, Saturn is in his Domicile. He is at home, comfortable, perfectly expressing his modus operandi. Here, he is stern, practical, ambitious, executive and unemotional in dispensing authority and actualizing plans. Saturn in Capricorn is the master builder, the laborer who knows the design better than the architect, because not only was he taught by the architect, his grandfather was a master craftsman. His understanding of the material realm is profound. Pitfalls can arise when considering the less materialistic aspects of life, as it is difficult to separate the practical from that which is more tender and open to interpretation. Realms of emotion and spirit, while responsibly addressed, and faultless in execution, can be regarded with a rather chilly eye, as the ultimate consideration is always how to achieve, perfect and realize the goal. Insecurity comes in the form of feeling that nothing is ever good enough, rich enough, smart enough or well-heeled enough. Humble roots may be an embarrassment, even though “humble” may be defined from an entirely subjective perspective, having nothing to do with material want; it is the fact that any weakness, or tiny flaw is perceived as a vulnerability which cannot be tolerated or exposed.

Saturn in Aquarius: In Fixed Earth, Saturn is in his Domicile. As traditional ruler of Aquarius, Saturn finds comfort in the chilly heights of the Aquarian realm. The spheres of high science, theory, utopianism, modernity and an arms-length love of humanity are worthy realms for Saturn to inhabit, as the technicality and diminished emphasis on emotion of the Aquarian is given structure and credence by Saturn’s love of structure and rules. Saturn is comfortable infusing Aquarius with strong parameters of development, as the sign benefits from a strong structure within to explore and experiment. Aquarius respects that which has longevity and stability, sometimes only for the fact that the bigger they come, the harder they fall, and a rebel loves a good fight. Insecurity can arise when feeling “too different”, or misconceived as weird, stubborn or cold.

Saturn in Pisces: In Mutable Water, Saturn flounders as Pisces attempt to dissolve and universalize all that it touches. Saturn here wants to provide boundaries, hard rock for the ocean to crash against, and it works to a certain degree, as Pisces benefits from some sense of containment. Disillusionment occurs when seeking mystical release within the confines of institutionalized thought, and what seems profound occasionally is realized as merely archaic and fancy. Saturn in Pisces can reach the heights of emotional and social communion, but it is best appreciated when grounded in a life that can benefit from, rather than be focused entirely on such pursuits. Insecurity arises when the individual feels unbounded, diffuse, lost or uncertain, as rising panic can mount and destabilize the personality.

“Time’s glory is to calm contending kings,

To unmask falsehood, and bring truth to light.”

William Shakespeare, The Rape of Lucrece, 1594, l. 939.