Understanding Saturn in your natal chart
I am in a conflicted relationship with Saturn. Being an astrologer born with Saturn in Libra conjoined my Sun in the 12th House, I have spent countless hours meditating on the meaning of this placement. Ancient astrologers tell us that Saturn finds its joy in the 12th House and that it is exalted in the sign of Libra. But what does it mean when Saturn is in its joy and exalted? Can it be a good thing when the planet associated with toil, melancholy, limitations, old age and death is happy?
I can tell you that most Sun/Saturn delineations I have read do not fit my personal experience. I had a relatively easy childhood with supportive parents who valued and loved me for my individuality and always encouraged me to shine my light. I didn’t experience harsh discipline or pressure to conform to pre-existing societal norms. If anything, I was encouraged to be myself. My self-expression was always valued, so much so that my first real job at 18 years of age was on the stage, playing guitar and singing my songs in front of thousands of people. What followed my rise to stardom was the anticlimactic realisation that I didn’t want to be on stage. I didn’t want to be signing autographs and I didn’t want people looking at me! Fundamentally, and to the great dismay of my father who played music all of his life without ever reaching the peaks of fame I had so easily attained, I wasn’t comfortable being SEEN.
Psychological and archetypal forms of astrology love to explain Saturn through the lens of the parental care we’ve received as children. How we deal with rules and limitations being put on us and how that informs later narratives that play repeatedly in our lives until lessons are understood and integrated. I wish it were that simple, but it seems that Saturn reflects both outside circumstances and self-imposed limitations. Like Chiron, Saturn’s location in the birth chart can be a place of convoluted perceptions, a kink in the line that is supposed to be supplying juiciness and joy in our lives rendering that area dry, deserted and sterile until we learn to consciously cultivate and replenish the soil.
Saturn was given its dark associations due to being the most distant and slowest moving of the five traditional planets. Its distance makes it a symbol of cold, austerity and hardness. In this respect, Saturn represents isolation and limitation, but also responsibility, seriousness and longevity. Its pale brilliance represents darkness. All that is black, sinister and obscure and, by extension, fear, the occult and evil. Seen in another way, it also represents deep thought, making it a symbol of memory, reflection and structure. The slow motion of Saturn makes it representative of time, maturity, old age, decline and finally, death. As such, Saturn becomes a symbol of containment, frugality, hard work and austere actions that demand order. Its action in astrology always implies responsibility and duty.
When consulting clients about the place where Saturn is located in their birth charts, I usually try to use uplifting words like perseverance, wisdom and mastery, because, let’s be honest, wherever Saturn is located in a birth chart most likely symbolises a place of hard work, effort, limitations and difficult lessons that get triggered at key moments in your life.
Saturn has a 28/29-year cycle with every seven years representing important developmental stages that usually bring Saturnian themes to the forefront. These themes often relate to important yet difficult realisations about your path, especially if you have lived in denial about the things that are dysfunctional or not quite aligned in your life. Whenever you try to turn a blind eye or pretend that you don’t have to deal with something essential to your developmental process, reality, aka Saturn, comes back to haunt you. This is the role and function of Saturn; to place limits and to slow things down so that you can take a good look at yourself and assume responsibilities that are supposed to be yours to assume.
The result of the Saturnian process (unlike Pluto) is always integrative and usually brings clarity and positive results in the long run. However, when Saturn knocks at your door, you have to be willing to meet the teacher and do your homework. The longer you wait, the more severe the teacher and the heavier the burdens.
Understanding Saturn in your natal chart is a lifelong process that can be simplified by your willingness to meet its lessons consciously. Saturn transits through a sign for approximately two and a half years, which means that people born in the same year usually have Saturn in the same zodiac sign, which is first and foremost a generational indicator. However, the house in which Saturn sits in your birth chart depends on the time you were born, and that location is unique to you. On which door is Saturn knocking in your birth chart? Here is the best and the worst of what one can expect from Saturn in each house.
Saturn in the 1st House: self-made
Saturn in the 1st House doesn’t wait around for someone else to tell them what to do. They often are self-made individuals who know that if they want something done, they have to do it themselves. The 1st House relates to the personality, and Saturn in the 1st House can endow the native with a harsh filter through which everything is assessed critically, including themselves. At best, this could mean an efficient and systematic approach to life and someone you can count on to not only get the job done but get it done well.
At its worst, Saturn in the 1st House could bring issues surrounding self-confidence, making these folks reserved, timid or inhibited until they work on their fear of expressing themselves openly.
Saturn may tend to make learning a slow grinding process by which things get solidified and mastered. Once these blockages are overcome, Saturn-in-the-1st individuals may hold a level of mastery over themselves and their reality that few possess.
Saturn in the 2nd House: self-worth and ownership
The 2nd House also referred to as “The Gates of Hades” is the house that lies below the horizon at your time of birth. Under the ground, the 2nd House acts as the vault in your natal chart where treasures, resources, and anything you attribute value to, is stored. This includes your sense of self-worth.
Saturn here implies that personal values may be linked to possessions and these folks may sometimes conflate money and material security with their sense of self-worth, as if one automatically equates to the other. People with Saturn in the 2nd House may seek both security and freedom through ownership, only to realise in due time that happiness lies outside of what is possessed. People with Saturn in the 2nd House can be conservative and savvy, which comes in handy if you are trying to get rich
in this world.
Saturn in the 3rd House: misunderstood intellectual
Saturn in the 3rd House often produces gifted intellectuals with a profound mentality who may, at times, have an inability to find the proper channels for their ebullient need to verbalise and communicate. Learning can be slow and considerable effort maybe required to refine their thinking, speech and general skills. These folks are extremely curious yet they may at times be plagued by feelings of inadequacy, especially when it comes to the ways in which information is processed.
Being understood clearly and doing things correctly may be important for Saturn in the 3rd House, but it may take time to build the proper structures for this to happen. Once their fears surrounding intellectual or mechanical processes are overcome, Saturn-in-the-3rd-House natives have the ability to make great teachers and produce stable and long-lasting frameworks around their ideas, leading to the eventual mastery of their skills.
Saturn in the 4th House: self-contained
Saturn in the 4th House can bring difficult lessons through familial and ancestral dynamics and, because of its angularity, exert a lot of power on these unsuspecting natives who struggle against what they experience as external pressure being imposed upon them. At times they may appear closed off and unavailable preferring to put distance between themselves and anyone who threatens to cross the threshold into their private world.
In an effort to avoid emotional entanglements, which are perceived as a threat to their inner stability, Saturn-in-the-4th-House people may have the reflex to lock away their emotions, preferring to stay closed off and self-contained.
Difficult family dynamics and the pressure contained in experiences from the past may need to be released as opposed to resisted. In due time, the influence of Saturn here can bring a genuine capacity for inner stability, peace and self-acceptance, once they are able to understand the hold that their upbringing has on them.
Saturn in the 5th House: the burdens of pleasure
Saturn in the 5th House can slow down the creative and generative processes. People born with the planet of boundaries located in the house of pleasure may have a complicated relationship with what they love. These individuals may be hyper-focused on romance, artistic and creative pursuits or procreation, yet at times resists the natural unfolding of these very things in their lives.
People with Saturn in the 5th House may tend to confuse positive experiences with negative feelings, which nullifies their ability to reach for what they want in a constructive manner. This is the classic signature of the misunderstood artist who uses hardship and torment to fuel their poetry and may only feel truly inspired when things go awry.
Happiness can be found once these people learn to rewire their pleasure centres towards healthier expressions of love, romance and creativity, and feel deserving
of such bounties.
Saturn in the 6th House: all work and no play
Saturn in the 6th House doesn’t make any traditional aspect to the ascendant, which means that the Saturnian function may work on a different channel than what these individuals are consciously trying to accomplish. The relationship to labour may be exaggerated or lacking and it may be hard for them to gauge just how much time is needed to learn and complete any given task.
Saturn-in-the-6th individuals are capable of tremendous efforts, however, the end doesn’t always justify the means, and these folks may tend to worry over inconsequential details that lead to stress and physical tension.
Once they learn to be more deliberate about their energy and time investments, Saturn-in-the-6th individuals can find the right balance between work and play while letting go of the rest and creating more space in their schedule for what they truly want.
Saturn in the 7th House: inaccessible
Saturn in the 7th House resonates a self-reliant yet dependable nature with a focus and a simultaneous resistance to forming close attachments. The planet Saturn relates to binding, and these people may have a hard time letting go of their freedom while also looking for committed and
Saturn in the 7th House can block the expression and reception of affection required to form meaningful and lasting bonds. These individuals may hide behind a wall of maturity and self-sufficiency built around their fears of rejection.
Saturn-in-the-7th-House natives must learn to differentiate their reflexes around control, self-containment and fears of being hurt in order not only to get their needs met but also to understand the true meaning of autonomy. Once they work on being more honest about their emotional needs, these individuals can reach solid and lasting relationships and an inner sense of security.
Saturn in the 8th House: a deal with the devil
Saturn in the 8th House is another placement that doesn’t see the ascendant by traditional aspect. What takes place in this house often occurs on a subconscious level, especially the things we’d rather not deal with.
Saturn in the 8th House can have a powerful hold on individuals with this placement, yet the responsibilities that are thrust upon them can feel outside of their control. Subsequently, these individuals may tend to shut down anyone or anything that threatens their sovereignty.
The 8th House is a continuity of the 7th House of partnerships, and what happens here often relates to the contractual agreement and the resources or experiences one shares with others. Saturn-in-the-8th-House folks can feel at the mercy of people but, in due time, will benefit greatly from
Saturn in the 9th House: marco polo
Saturn in the 9th House brings a focus on life-long learning and the refinement of moral and spiritual values over time. The early experience of belief systems, and the pressure surrounding educational or religious frameworks, may exert a powerful hold on individuals born with Saturn in this house. However, these people may simultaneously rebel against dogmatic frameworks, preferring to adopt a liberal approach to their educational and spiritual paths.
Saturn in the 9th House brings wisdom through experiencing foreign worlds and ideas that lie outside of one’s reality, which, over time, endows folks born with this placement with worldly wisdom. This is the signature of the sage, the explorer or the wise teacher. The knowledge acquired here is not from books or established institutions but comes from experience and the insistent need to question pre-existing belief systems.
Saturn in the 10th House: ambitiously resisting
Saturn in the 10th House can bring an extreme focus on ambitions while simultaneously creating a sense of heaviness related to one’s accomplishments in the eyes of the world. Because of its angularity, the 10th House tends to have an important influence, and Saturn here can feel both burdensome and relentless when it comes
to achieving success.
Saturn-in-the-10th individuals may walk a long and arduous path before they know what they want to be when they grow up. Their perceived failures related to being someone and doing something important in the world may haunt them for most of their adult life, regardless of what they do or how successful they actually are.
They may fear taking the risks that are necessary to move ahead in the world, yet once they learn to tame their innate resistance, Saturn-in-the-10th individuals may come to realise that success is a state of mind.
Saturn in the 11th House: I don’t belong here
Saturn in the 11th House can emphasise the alienation that one feels towards society and a disdain for mob mentality. Individuals born with Saturn here may have a hard time feeling connected to others and may resist group participation for fear of losing their individuality in the process.
These folks can at times have too much lucidity regarding social structures and the relinquishing of autonomy needed for collaboration. They may crave social acceptance and connection yet feel unable to truly participate in group settings, which can make them appear impersonal or detached
in the eyes of others.
Fundamentally, Saturn-in-the-11th individuals are humanists in the truest sense of the word, yet they must learn to accept their role as social creatures and accept
that they too are part of the whole.
Saturn in the 12th House: crossing boundaries
Saturn in the 12th House brings a lifelong process of learning the meaning of healthy boundaries. Individuals with Saturn here have a tendency to oscillate between hermetic ways of being and total permeability. The 12th House is another house that doesn’t see the ascendant through traditional aspects, which means that what happens here often feels outside of one’s control.
Folks with Saturn in the 12th House may inadvertently find themselves in situations where they are trapped and have very little control over what happens to them, or paradoxically seek out experiences where they can let go of control entirely.
There can be a sense of imprisonment, either real or imagined, or perhaps a feeling that something terrible is just around the corner. Knowing how to distinguish what is theirs and what belongs to others may only come after total engulfment, however, in due time, individuals with Saturn in the Twelfth can become masterful at threshold crossing.