Astrological Charts and The Planet Saturn

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A great deal has been written about the nature of the planet Saturn and its effect in horoscopes. Long considered a "malefic" or negative energy in the zodiac, the entry into modern astrology has altered its interpretation somewhat. It still isn't considered a pleasant energy by most, although very necessary to our maturity. The 6th planet from the Sun and frequently used as an illustration due to easy recognition, its rings are composed mainly of ice, dust and cosmic debris. It takes approximately 28 1/2 years for it to make a complete orbit around the Sun, and was considered to be the final planet in the Solar System for many years. It originally held dual rulership over both Capricorn and Aquarius until Uranus was discovered and assumed the rule of Aquarius.

Saturn is often represented as Father Time. Other legendary or mythological personas include the Devil, Pan, and the Hermit card. In the astrology chart, Saturn often represents one's father.

The energy of Saturn in the horoscope represents a kind of teacher. This is the politically correct interpretation by the way, though most people who are getting their charts read would tend to disagree once they understand its influence in their lives. This is because it also represents restriction, limitation, delays and authority figures. A typical Saturn phrase is, "I'm doing this for your own good". We all know how thrilled we are to hear that one.

Saturn's purpose is to teach us mastery. If you think about it, what does this mean? Hard, unrelenting practice and work. Lots of mistakes in the trial and error school are also a big part of it. For some, it also represents ridicule for ineptitude, feelings of inferiority and a sense of inadequacy. The sense of needing to measure up to some standard can be part of this as well.

Saturn also represents cultural achievement. People in positions of cultural authority frequently have a strong Saturn in their chart. Highly placed government officials and corporate CEOs are examples of this. Notice however, that these are positions of highly structured power. Bureaucracies are ruled by Saturn as are all forms of hierarchical systems. All of these require deeply imbedded rules and rituals in order to exist. Cultures will also have a Saturn element. You may note that the oldest cultures in the world also have the most rigid systems of behavior. Highly structured.

Structure is essential to life. Just ask your nearest DNA strand. The cycles of growth of our bodies are determined by the energy Saturn represents, and this predictability is vital to our existence. When Saturn energy is exaggerated in the chart we get too much structure, such as bone calcification. Culturally we can see the rule of tyrants and petty dictators.

Maturity is a significant element of Saturn energy. This is why there is such a marked difference between people under 30 and those over 30. This is the time it takes for Saturn to complete its orbit of the Sun and return to its birth position in the chart. At this time one has to make the choices which will determine the lifestyle and career for the next 30 years. There is another opportunity for this sort of life evaluation at the age of about 56. This is where you will see the difference between the older person who is alive and vital and the one who is embittered and disappointed. The former has chosen a lifestyle which keeps them healthy and the latter has caved in to cultural pressure to age.

A "Saturnine" disposition is typically humorless and somewhat grim. It tends to assume that the only worth in life is that which enables achievement and industry. It's not uncommon that people with a strong Saturn frequently feel overwhelmed by life and are excessively cautious in order to avoid penalties. These people often need to work hard in order to feel that they are deserving of good in their lives. They may tend to relax this attitude as they mature and find that many of their fears are groundless.

If we want to "get somewhere" in life, this is Saturn talking. Depending on the strength of our intention we are often willing to sacrifice a number of the pleasures of life temporarilly in order to scale the mountain of achievement. It can often be seen in the chart just what type of achievement is desired, and it may not always be "typical". In my own chart for example, Saturn is conjunct Neptune, squaring Uranus and trining Jupiter. This means for me that the highest level of achievement is spiritual. Another person may have Saturn conjunct Jupiter. This could mean a desire to achieve the freedom to play, to travel, and to socialize.

We can always choose how we will respond to this energy. We all encounter immovable authority figures, bureaucratic delays and cultural sacred cows. Ideally, we will learn what we can from these situations in order to better achieve our own aspirations. When we assume that we are powerless in the face of these obstacles, we begin to calcify or harden into a state of rigidity. Saturn is a big planet so it represents larger than life energies. As an evolving species it is up to us to learn that it isn't really bigger than we are, but instead is a tool for our use.

By Jeri Noble