Understanding Saturn

In Vedic Astrology, planets are classified as benefic or malefic. In simpler terms, good or bad. However, when simplifying planets into ‘good’ planets or ‘bad’ planets our understanding becomes black and white leaving no room for gray areas… and life is full of gray areas. Putting aside benefics for now, let’s consider one of the ‘bad’ planets, Saturn.

Whatever system of astrology you practice or read about, you’ve probably heard how Saturn is about difficulties, delays, obstacles, limitations, crookedness, decay, and old-age. Those are some keywords that give Saturn its bad reputation, understandably.

But there are “two sides to every coin”. Difficult experiences have silver linings from lessons learned. Committed aspirations and goals that require some sacrifice -like too much time away from family- end up paying off in the long run. You’ve been able to go the distance with hard work and compromise to build the marriage and family you want… Without Saturn’s ability to endure, function under pressure, push us to take responsibility, none of these things (and much more) would happen.

We need to think of Saturn and learn to live with its limiting, structuring effect in a more positive light. Take silence and music, for example. For musicians to produce a melody, there must exist between the diversity of sounds a certain amount and varying lengths of silence. Together with the sound of the instruments and/or voice, the emptiness of sound (Saturn’s delays) creates the overall pattern and harmony that we call ‘song’. Even we need those ‘in between’ spaces and moments of rest. We require interludes of personal stillness for recouping our energy, recovering after stressful events or trauma, or relaxing after sports or other leisurely exertion. We need to participate in quiet contemplation and solitude to still confusion, fear, indecisiveness, or other emotional states that leave us drained or wreak havoc on our lives if left unattended.

Saturn is the planet of structure and patience, the force within us that disciplines us to create these moments, the consequences in life that demand us to stop and smell the roses, to realize what we have before it’s too late, to slow down and think before saying or doing something we’ll regret, to take things one step and a time and arrive at our destination.

Next time you look at your birth chart, the charts of friends and loved ones, or charts of clients, notice which house and sign Saturn occupies. How will the placement make Saturn’s tendencies easier to live with? How will it make Saturn more challenging? Is Saturn aspected by any other planets? If so, are they natural benefics who may ease the Saturnian burden or another natural malefic adding its own agenda to the struggle? Which areas of life does Saturn influence–which houses does Saturn aspect, which houses does it rule? What is Saturn’s condition—is it exalted, debilitated, strong in its own sign, combust, or neutral? Is Saturn involved in any planetary yogas and if so, which ones? Are the yogas uplifting or ‘aristha’ (of suffering)? Is the current transit of Saturn supportive, neutral, or challenging? Is the main planetary period or mahadasha that you, your family member, friend, or client are currently running supportive, neutral, or challenging to natal Saturn?

Remember there are two sides to Saturn, to each planet. Nothing is just good or just bad. The aim with Saturn is for universal truth, to solidify experiences that ultimately encourage growth leading to wisdom. Saturn is the metronome and experienced conductor at once whose strength in repetition and familiarity shapes the journey of our egos and guides the gradual unfurling of our Selves towards the celestial music of our Souls.

Renate Maria Bell is a certified Vedic Astrologer, Jyotish Visharada, and approved teacher with the Council of Vedic Astrology. She can be reached at renatembell@aol.com

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