Astrology: Saturn Overview

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Henrich Aldegrever, Saturn Holding an Infant and a Scythe, Germany, 1533, engraving. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (not on view).

“If the Devil doesn’t exist, but man has created him, he has created him in his own image and likeness.”

Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, 1879-1880, bk.5, ch.4.

Saturn represents our basic capacity for structure, discipline, faithfulness and tenacity. Saturn’s energy is somber, mature and immovable. A strong Saturn provides us with the ability to actualize our creativity, manifest our will and weather periods of difficulty. There is a certain solidity to an individual with a sound Saturn function; they seem responsible and capable of doing the right thing when required. Ever attentive to duty, Saturn does not suffer fools gladly, and an excuse of presumed innocence is no excuse at all to the Lord of Time. He has seen all, and is pitiless in his summations. A diminished Saturn often results in deep insecurities which can be difficult to overcome a fearfulness and inability to take part in the parade of life in a functional, beneficial capacity. It often takes many Saturn transits to comprehend how to work with his energies in a positive, productive manner, especially if there are negative aspects between Saturn, the personal planets or points in the chart.

  • Domicile: Capricorn (December 21- January 21) and Aquarius (January 21- February 21) (though modern astrology has assigned rulership of Aquarius to Uranus). As ruler of these signs, Saturn is considered “at home” here, comfortably, and powerfully expressed. Note his rulership of signs which are associated with Winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Saturn is cold, dark and constraining, much like Winter.
  • Detriment: Cancer (June 21- July 21) and Leo (July 21- August 21). The planet’s energies express themselves with difficulty in these placements. In Cancer, Saturn has difficulty living with the emotionalism, unconsciousness and sensitivity of the sign. In Leo, Saturn is compromised by the sign’s tendency to pride, ego gratification and self-adulation.
  • Exaltation: Libra (September 21 – October 21). The planet is at his best in this sign, at his most effective and full embodiment. Libra offers Saturn a rejoicing in the cool aridity of its sign, seeking harmony and balance in all endeavors. Consider the perfection of great works of architecture or diplomacy.
  • Fall: Aries (March 21 – April 21). The planet is weakest here, operating under a condition of handicap and thwarted expression. Saturn in Aries has difficulty managing the sheer willfulness and impetuosity of the sign. Saturn’s essential nature, tending towards containment and discipline are at odds with Aries’ impulsiveness and lack of constraint.
  • Natural house rulership: 10th house. The tenth house is our public face, and is associated with our most visible societal station, reputation, achievement, ambition and career aspirations.
  • Associated with works of malediction, the dead, darkness, old age, loneliness, animosity, grief, hiding, inferiority, chronic illness, rudeness, land and land ownership, art, architecture, construction, industry, Lucifer, mountains, obedience, pain, orderliness, the past, persecution, the police, prison, punishment, repentance, resistance, retreats, rigidity, sadness, solemnity, severity, servitude, selfishness, scruples, spite, stagnation, starvation, studiousness, suspicion, terror, thinness, tombs, ugliness, twilight, the vagus nerve, wealth and miserliness, woes and worries.
  • Saturn’s astrological glyph ♄ represents a sickle, traditionally used for hand threshing and reaping.
  • Saturn’s colors: black, dark blue, dark green, grey, brown.
  • Saturn’s plant associations: aconite, asafoetida, aspen, barley, beech, belladonna, blackthorn, cannabis, comfrey, hemlock, hemp, henbane, indigo, ivy, pansies, pine, poplar, poppy, as well as violet, willow, witch hazel and yew.
  • Saturn’s mineral associations: asbestos, bismuth, black tourmaline, gypsum, jet, lead, obsidian, onyx, smoky quartz, smoky topaz.
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    Saturn during equinox, natural color. Cassini Equinox Mission, July 2008