What Saturn Means in Astrology
Saturn is changing signs on March 8th 2023 and I have had hundreds of questions about this, so it’s time to look at the meaning of Saturn in astrology – in detail.
Most famous for its rings, the planet Saturn is associated with the following words – below – similar to the idea of being ‘ringed’ or encircled, in Roget’s International Thesaurus.
In your birth chart, Saturn by zodiac sign and house will show you where you experience this list of outcomes.
By transit, when travelling through his cycles of the 12 zodiac signs, Saturn will also bring this, through the house of your chart which is affected. In this feature I will show you how Saturn has operated while he has been in Aquarius in your Eleventh House of friends and groups. I will also look at how he is going to function in his new sign of Pisces. I’ll also take a look at how Saturn works in your birth chart, which you can see right now, if you are a Premium Member.
The Saturn List in Astrology
This photograph above from Wikimedia Commons shows you how Saturn in astrology looks – and feels.
Saturn Through the Signs
Saturn in this sign in your chart shows where the thresholds are. This is where you are blocked and face barriers. Where you are restricted and restrained. The famous learning experiences of Saturn come from being obstructed. On your Saturn Return, as you leave your twenties, Saturn returns to the same sign and degree it occupied at your birth and you have an important year or two, of dealing with heavy new thresholds. It’s the same as you leave your fifties. Saturn in astrology is sometimes a long lifetime experience.
Which Life Area is Affected? For Life?
Aries: Image. Reputation. Appearance. Profile. Title.
Taurus: Money. Property. Charity. Business. Possessions.
Gemini: Siblings. Cousins. Media. Short Journeys. Internet.
Cancer: House. Apartment. Family. Household. Town. Country.
Leo: Courtship. Sex. Pregnancy. Infants. Children. Teenagers.
Virgo: Workload. Wellbeing. Health. Mental Health. Routine.
Libra: Partnership. Conflict. Duets. Duels. Marriage. Divorce.
Scorpio: Legacies. Inheritance. Wills. Dowries. Joint Finances.
Sagittarius: Foreigners. Foreign countries. Academia. Publishing.
Capricorn: Position. Status. Career. Academic Career. Vocation.
Aquarius: Friends. Groups. Social Life. Social Media. Networks.
Pisces: Religion. Therapy. Psychics. Tarot. Hypnosis. Dreams.
Saturn in Transit
Saturn is in Aquarius as I publish this on December 17th 2022 and he will move into Pisces on March 8th 2023. You will feel a bump. The world will experience a big bump. The astrology of Saturn will be live.
The sign Saturn moves through shows global thresholds, restrictions and obstacles. Saturn has been in Aquarius (groups, friends, social life, networks) since December 18th 2020.
The pandemic, Covid-19, has limited our social lives. Groups are super-spreader events where infection with the virus spreads. In this same cycle, Elon Musk has purchased Twitter and issued new curbs and thresholds.
The Roman Saturn
Modern astrology is Roman in origin. The glyph for Saturn on your computer is based on a designed scythe. There are eight parts to a scythe and the ‘ring’ is the sixth. Scything, or old-fashioned mowing by hand, is circular in motion.
The earliest known use of threshold (a Saturn concept) in the English language is from 888 AD and is believed to be related to Old English threscan, from which we get the word thresh.
As threshing comes after reaping in farming, we can see how our ideas about Saturn come from centuries of astrologers making connections and observations. They still work today. This cover of Saturn, by Liz Greene, shows the scythe.
Over the last 2000 years or so, we’ve come to see Saturn as The Grim Reaper (one of his disguises) as the third Saturn Return, in advanced old age, can literally limit your remaining years. Saturn in astrology is also here to cut out, another one of his functions, and to cut off.
You Reap What You Sow
The phrase “You reap what you sow” is linked to Saturn. To experience the same kind of things that one has caused other people to experience – karma. Saturn in astrology is very much about karmic returns.
The original phrase is from Galatians 6.7 in the Bible,
“Be not deceived, God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
Saturn in Aquarius – Reaping in Action
If you impose boundaries, set limits, restrain and confine on a Saturn cycle, you will be similarly restricted. If you set up barriers for others you will meet obstacles. If you try to block or curb, you will also meet your threshold. Elon Musk is a good example of this on Twitter in 2022. He is issuing new rules and people are leaving. Saturn in astrology often shows up for people who don’t seem to use it.
In myth, Gaia gives her son Saturn a scythe to castrate his father (her husband) Uranus. The idea of being ‘cut off’ is Saturn, in astrology.
The Saturn Return
This British VOGUE photograph of Adele with her Saturn tattoo is a brilliant capture of what it feels like to leave your twenties and enter your thirties. It was taken by Steven Meisel and many stargazers I know sat up and took notice of this great example of Saturn in astrology.
Saturn takes 29.5 years to orbit the Sun, spending about 2.46 years in each sign of the zodiac.
Your Saturn Return is typically as you approach the age of 30 and deal with marriage, which restricts you to one partner for the rest of your life. This is where the idea of Saturn and responsibility comes from. Your freedom is ring-fenced.
Other lovers are cut off. You may have a baby near 30. More thresholds and curbs. You may get promoted. Take out a mortgage. All this restricts you and confines you – for a reason.
Saturn comes back again 29.5 years later, around the age of 60 and of course, you may become divorced; you could become a grandparent; you may pay out your mortgage and move. Saturn comes back again, if you are lucky, another 29.5 years into the future.
One reason Saturn stretches patience is his retrograde. He stands on the spot and then turns backwards through a sign. It’s rather like a person (house guest) who brings all sorts of restrictions with him.
You hope he’ll be gone eventually. Then he stops. He digs his heels in. Then, he actually reverses his plans. You are stuck. While you wait, you learn more. Saturn in astrology is often seen as a teacher. That’s why.
Saturn Retrograde in Pisces 2023-2026
Including the shadow periods, Saturn in astrology moves like this 2023-2026.
Saturn 1-7 Pisces
March 17th to October 11th 2023
November 28th 2023 to February 14th 2024
Saturn 12-19 Pisces
March 19th 2024 to February 23rd 2025
Saturn 25-29 Pisces
April 6th 2025 to May 25th 2025
September 2nd 2025 to February 14th 2026
Are You a Sun Virgo?
If so, Saint Valentine’s Day (February 14th) 2024, 2025, 2026 takes place with Saturn going backwards and forwards in your solar Seventh House of marriage, common-law marriage, separation and divorce. These particular Valentine days present more restrictions, curbs and obstacles to you than usual.
It’s only common sense to be careful who you make commitments to, if you are a single Sun Virgo going into this cycle. If your marriage is on the rocks, then Saturn will test you on February 14th of those years.
Other common outcomes of Saturn Retrograde in your Seventh House, if you are a Sun Virgo are: your new boyfriend’s former wife delaying the divorce; your new widower companion’s children obstructing your relationship and so on.
Saturn is best handled by asking older, more experienced people what to do. Consulting professionals. And – sometimes you just sidestep and avoid. Astrology is about ‘forewarned is forearmed.’ Another outcome is a huge change in your husband or wife’s circumstances. This brings in new restrictions, curbs, barriers and so on. The wedding vows are then underlined.
When Saturn Changes Signs
When Saturn changes signs, you are free, in that area of your life. When Saturn leaves Aquarius on March 8th 2023, the pandemic restrictions will end on friendships and groups. Those restraints and thresholds will be replaced by a completely different situation, on March 24th 2023, when Pluto enters Aquarius. I’ll talk more about Pluto at a special event on February 5th and 12th 2023 on Zoom, as a guest of The Astrology Collective
When Saturn Moves Out – Release
Of course, when Saturn leaves one sign, and goes into another, you are presented with borders and confinement in another area of your life. Yet, having put up with him for a long time somewhere else, you may feel as the Romans did, on Saturnalia. The festival dedicated to Saturn.
The statue of the god in the Temple of Saturn had his legs and feet covered with bands of wool which were removed only on December 17th, the day of the Saturnalia. (From Rome: An Oxford Archaeological Guide, Amanda Claridge).
Saturday (Saturn’s Day) some 2000 years later is the first free day of the weekend. It’s the equivalent of Saturnalia. Christmas is also close to December 17th. Again, it’s a holiday. A release and a relief. The end of a Saturn transit feels like a Saturday, Saturnalia or Christmas.
The End of Saturn in Aquarius in March 2023
Saturnalia in Rome was a holiday from all forms of work. Schools were closed, and exercise regimens were suspended. Courts were not in session, so no justice was administered, and war could not be declared.
The date 17th December was also the first day of Capricorn, back then – the signed ruled by Saturn, named for the god (Fowler, Roman Festivals and Beck, Journal of Roman Studies)
Saturnalia also celebrated the harvest and sowing, and ran from December 17–23. According to Varro, Rome’s greatest scholar, Saturn’s name comes from ‘status’ which means ‘sowing.’
What you feel today on this cycle, has a long history going back some 2000 years. When Saturn is in a particular sign and house, by transit, we reap what we sow. So does everybody else. When he leaves, we feel as if it’s Saturday, all the time. We feel as if it’s Christmas – in that area of life where Saturn has been standing.
When he leaves Aquarius and your Eleventh House in March 2023 you feel the ties come off your ankles – in regard to friends and groups.
The Meaning of a Saturn Opposition
Saturn in opposition is in the opposite sign to something in your chart, at the same degree. He can also stand opposite another travelling or transiting planet, or asteroid, and so on – creating a climate of conflict, struggle and difficulty.
Astrology does not have to be complicated. Saturn was in Aquarius, from December 18th 2020 and he leaves on March 8th 2023. Leo is the sign we associate with kings. The king of the jungle. We associate Leo with heirs, spares and pretenders to the throne of the king.
Charles, Meghan and Harry
Saturn has been opposite Leo and the world has seen Charles III opposed by his own son Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan.
We can predict that the battle ends on March 8th 2023. It will be replaced with a transformation of the situation on March 24th, when Pluto goes into Aquarius. A change in the balance of power.
Transiting Saturn Oppositions
Here are just a few examples of oppositions to give you an idea of what Saturn does, when in conflict. If you have natal factors on these degrees in Pisces and/or Virgo then it’s personal.
It is extremely important that you put your health first, near these dates, if you have factors at Virgo 1, 3, 5, 6 degrees. Your wellbeing must be your number one priority. Virgo rules the Sixth House of your chart and that describes your physical state. Saturn will be in opposition, so you need to be far more proactive than usual.
July 20th: Mars 6 Virgo opposition Saturn 6 Pisces
August 1st: Mercury 5 Virgo opposition Saturn 5 Pisces
August 27th: Sun 3 Virgo opposition Saturn 3 Pisces
October 10th: Venus 1 Virgo opposition Saturn 1 Pisces
The Meaning of a Saturn Conjunction
A conjunction in Roget’s International Thesaurus (Collins Reference 2022) is likened to a bond. A juxtaposition. You could call it Saturn plus one. Saturn and (something) together.
In 2023 you will notice these conjunctions first. If you have any factors at Aquarius 24, 27 or 29 in your Eleventh House, then the issue near these dates will be friends and groups.
Remember Saturn in astrology is about restriction, limitation and being encircled, reaping what you sow, you would take extra time and extra care then.
Transiting Saturn Conjunctions in 2023
January 22nd: Venus 24 Aquarius conjunction Saturn 24 Aquarius
February 16th: Sun 27 Aquarius conjunction Saturn 27 Aquarius
March 2nd: Mercury 29 Aquarius conjunction Saturn 29 Aquarius
Saturn in Aquarius Transits in History
In astrology we predict the future by looking at the past. It is very important to remember that The Black Death took place during Saturn in Aquarius, 1346-1353.
The Bubonic Plague spread through fleas, but also the air.
Now, I am not for a minute suggesting you will become infected with Covid-19 just because you have factors at 24, 27, 29 Aquarius. The whole point of astrology is to learn from history. Yet, January, February and March 2023 are when you do not take risks with groups and friends.
The Black Death and Saturn
Aquarius is about crews of people. During the Black Death it travelled on ships. Today Covid-19 travels on cruise ships. Aquarius rules ‘hordes’ of people and during The Black Death, the Mongol Golden Horde army carried the plague. Troops also carried it.
It’s just astrological common sense to be aware of the same cycle, centuries later. Avoid taking risks with crews – your troop – and hordes during the Saturn conjunctions.
Saturn in Pisces Transits in History
In 1346, the first year of The Black Death, we saw Saturn move out of Aquarius (groups, friends) and into Pisces (religion, the church).
So, exactly the same cycle is happening twice, and here we are with an airborne pandemic.
Pisces, of course, is associated with religion because of the two fish which suggest Christianity. In fact, the Vesica Piscis (bladder of a fish) is the shape you see in so many churches and cathedrals. The cover of the Chalice Well in Glastonbury shows it. It is the ichthys (fish) symbol for Jesus Christ.
Religion and Saturn in Pisces
Today, Pisces is about spirituality as a whole, across all faiths. Why was The Black Death a Saturn experience for religious people? History shows us how themes might repeat in 2023.
Christians and Muslims alike, gathered in large groups, to pray for help during The Black Death.
What today, even though it was about faith – we would call a super-spreader event. Processions and gatherings at churches and mosques spread infection. Pilgrims stayed in flea-ridden accommodation. The Bubonic Plague was taken back to their village. More people died. Christians questioned God – and the road to the Reformation began. Saturn in astrology shows up, clearly.
March 8th 2023 to February 14th 2026
Saturn will be in Pisces, March 8th 2023 to February 14th 2026 and again, we will see God given boundaries. We might expect limits to be placed on numbers at church gatherings (say) or barriers in place with Confession. Saturn’s curbs and thresholds may be in the cathedrals or in other ways; yet according to the rules of astrology, they return.
Dealing With Saturn
Liz Greene is generally considered to have written the best book on Saturn for astrologers. Saturn – A New Look at an Old Devil is a classic. She writes, “By sign and house position, Saturn denotes those areas of life in which the individual is likely to feel thwarted in his self-expression, where he is most likely to be frustrated or meet with difficulties.” Again, we are back to the famous rings. The barriers and obstacles we can see.
She notes, “Everyone has at some time experienced the repeated delays, disappointments and fears which usually coincide with a strong Saturnian influence.”
And yet, you have been through (very likely) all the Saturn cycles of the 12 zodiac signs as you read this, through every house of your chart. And you are still here. So what did you do? And how did you get through? Saturn in astrology is about learning.
Using the Past to Help Yourself
A really basic solution with Saturn transits is to go back and find out what happened, and what you did – right or wrong. The wonderful website Cafe Astrology has a list of Saturn tables by zodiac sign. Astrology is based on using evidence from what occurred before, to assist you in a good strategy now. That’s really all it is.
Don’t Crash the Brick Wall
The phrase ‘beating your head against a brick wall’ (or bashing it) is appropriate for Saturn. Don’t do it. When you see the usual boundaries, don’t try to climb over them or crash through them. Wait and see. Watch and learn. As Saturn moves into the final degrees of a zodiac sign (like Aquarius) and more is known, the limits, restrictions and barriers start to look negotiable. All the curbs and thresholds usually lift with education. The longer you wait, the more you find out. Saturn in astrology educates through time.
How the Nineties Tell Us About 2023-2026
I’ve been talking to you about how Saturn in Aquarius, then Pisces, coincided with The Black Death. One look at the tables and you can see that Saturn was also going from Aquarius to Pisces in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994. So – we would expect to see restrictions, thresholds, curbs, boundaries – with groups and friends (Aquarius) and then religion (Pisces).
Freddie Mercury and Magic Johnson
1991 was the year that Freddie Mercury died from AIDS and Magic Johnson tested HIV positive. A rock band and a basketball team.Queen and the Los Angeles Lakers. Miles Davis died of AIDS.
In 1992, AIDS became the leading cause of death for American men aged 25 to 44.
Also in 1992, the International Olympic Committee ruled athletes who were HIV positive could compete. It was the year that the gay community – an Aquarius group with all its diversity and equality – was hit hard by AIDS.
In 1993 Rudolf Nureyev died from AIDS as did Arthur Ashe. The Paris Opera Ballet and the Civil Rights Movement were visited by Saturn in astrology.
The sign of Aquarius has been associated with circles of people coming together for a common purpose, for centuries. In Rome it was about the Roman Baths. In the 1990s it was about gay culture, but also any collective that united a wide range of people. Saturn came into Aquarius and AIDS, in the door.
Religion and Saturn in Pisces
This crossover period of Saturn in Aquarius-Pisces has an obvious pattern. The same themes will repeat in 2023-2026, probably with Covid-19 but perhaps with other challenges for groups, clubs, bands, teams and communities. Looking back, we find New York Times headlines about Catholic hospitals, ethics and AIDS.
So, on 3rd January 1993, in the newspaper, we discover officials saying that the only morally correct way to prevent AIDS was by avoiding drugs and by practicing fidelity within marriage.
1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 all saw Saturn in Pisces. Religion and HIV/AIDS issues centred around condom use – but also the status of LGBT people.
Summing Up Saturn For You
Astrology is about your part in a larger pattern. Those general trends about AIDS and religion will come back 2023-2026, probably with Covid and religion. You can’t separate yourself from the planet, even though you may not be personally affected. Saturn in astrology works for all of us as a country/planet – but individually.
If you do have Aquarius and/or Pisces stellium (unusually high factors) in your chart, though, the departure of Saturn from Aquarius and his entry into Pisces will affect you quite strongly.
If you are a Premium Member, and you’ve not yet picked up your copy of Modern Astrology 2050, do so and take a look at the chapters on those stelliums.
You also need to look at the cycles of the North Node in Pisces and South Node in Virgo, which take place near Saturn in Pisces. In astrology, you navigate successfully with knowledge. Saturn doesn’t have to be ‘the old devil’ that Liz Green wrote about. The waiting game is unavoidable with this cycle, but while you wait, you can learn a great deal to set you free.
Main Image: Wikimedia Commons