Obstacle Course: Saturn In The Signs

Rare NASA photo of Saturn in which Earth can be seen as a tiny blue dot just right of center, taken July 19, 2013

Rare NASA photo of Saturn in which Earth can be seen as a tiny blue dot just right of center, taken July 19, 2013

A multi-ringed gas giant and the sixth planet from the Sun, Saturn gets its name from the ancient Roman

The Roman god Saturn

The Roman god Saturn

god of agriculture who was also considered to be the god of time, among many other things. Saturday also derives its name from this god, as does the religious celebration Saturnalia in the Roman calendar, which was a festival of light leading to the winter solstice celebrated on December 17th. It rules the sign of Capricorn and, before the planet Uranus was discovered in 1781, it also ruled the sign of Aquarius. In astrology, it is traditionally associated with obstacles, limitations, structure, and restrictions as well as fathers/father figures and/or authority figures.

Because it takes 29.5 years for Saturn to complete one orbit of our Sun, it stays in the same zodiac sign for nearly two and a half years at a time before moving on.

Saturn has somewhat of a seriousness attached to it, and it loves to place roadblocks and obstacles in our paths at every turn. It makes situations much more difficult than they really need to be. However, Saturn is also a “teaching” planet, and the trials and tribulations Saturn inflicts upon us tend to teach us important lessons, (hopefully) resulting in our gaining of wisdom. The sign in which Saturn appears in an individual’s natal chart usually indicates the area in which the most difficulties or setbacks are encountered, not only in daily life but also in health. For example, someone with Saturn in Leo, which rules the heart, might be especially inclined toward issues with any number of related ailments such as high blood pressure, heart murmurs, or arteriosclerosis. (It’s also interesting to note that frequently, a birthmark can be found on the individual’s body part which is ruled by their Saturn sign: for instance, someone with Saturn in Aries could have a birthmark somewhere on the head or face, both of which are Aries-ruled. My Saturn placement is in Gemini, which among other things, rules the lungs and ribs. I have a sprawling birthmark across that area.) And because Leo is a very sociable, spotlight-craving sign, Saturn’s influence could manifest here as problems or setbacks surrounding the ego or self-confidence.

Saturn-afflicted Jack Tripper in a typical dilemma

Saturn-afflicted Jack Tripper in a typical dilemma

Personally, I like to think of Saturn as the “Jack Tripper of planets.” Hopefully, you know who Jack Tripper is. But for those of you who are tilting your head to the side, wondering aloud “huh?” as you’re reading this, let me take a second here to fill you in. From 1977 to 1984, there was a popular sitcom called Three’s Company. The show’s premise was a man sharing an apartment with two female roommates, a living arrangement which no one would think twice about today but, in those days, was pretty risque. The male roommate, hilariously portrayed by the late great John Ritter, was an aspiring chef/ladies’ man named Jack Tripper. And let me tell you, in addition to being a perpetual klutz, forever tripping, falling, hiding out from his assorted girlfriends’ overprotective/overmuscular older brothers or some hotheaded bully down at the Regal Beagle, that poor bastard seemed to constantly be up against some ridiculous obstacle in almost every situation imaginable. I suspect, had Jack Tripper been an actual person rather than a fictional character, the guy’s natal chart would have been seriously afflicted somehow in connection with Saturn.

Let’s take a look at the areas of your life in which Saturn most likely rears its ugly head. And as always, if you don’t know where your Saturn is, you can find out here.

Aries is the first sign of the zodiac; the sign of self. Therefore, Saturn’s influence in Aries is to cause a struggle with self-confidence. Many times, the Saturn-Arien will have a nagging, negative inner voice trying to convince the person they’re unworthy in some way. The lesson here is to learn to silence that inner saboteur and stand tall, proud and confident of the person you are (I know, I’m sorry; I really wish I had something more profound for you but really…that’s pretty much the lesson with this one.) This Saturn placement can influence the natural leadership tendency of Aries to run amok, turning the native into either a power-hungry tyrant or to the other extreme, it can blunt that quality entirely, resulting in a native who is a silent follower.  It also encourages a Saturn-Ram to challenge authority, which can really cause you some headaches if you go about it the wrong way (meaning, in typical Aries fashion — impulsively running off at the mouth without thinking) and/or with the wrong people (your boss, the cops, etc.) And speaking of headaches, as a Saturn-Ram, you probably have lots of those, as the sign of Aries rules the head. It also rules the teeth (although some astrologers believe that Capricorn rules the teeth), so toothaches and other dental ailments are commonplace among these Saturn folks. Additionally, the likelihood of injuries to the head and face are increased, such as being prone to bumping one’s noggin a lot or even severe acne or rosacea on the face. My Cancer-cusp man has this placement and he has had significant dental problems and often struggled with feeling undeserving or worthy, although I’m happy to report that with age (he’s now 45), he has been able to achieve a higher level of self-acceptance and confidence, learning that it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of him, as long as he likes himself. And he does.

The sign of the Bull is extremely materialistic; therefore, Saturn’s influence here is to take an already-strong need for financial security and add some fairly frequent obstacles to obtaining it. The Saturn-Taurus will likely experience more ebbs and flows in their bank accounts than a steady bottom line. It can take many years for them to accumulate both the cash they want as well as the objects they desire. Money doesn’t fall into this one’s lap; instead, they’ll find they must work harder and longer than others to see monetary gain. Fortunately, the Saturn-Bull has the patience of a saint and is willing to do what’s needed to see their goals to fruition. The sign of Taurus rules the neck and throat, which can translate into problems with the thyroid, recurring issues with tonsillitis or strep throat, or perhaps more frequent bouts with laryngitis than the average person.

In the airy, communicative sign of the Twins, Saturn likes to manifest itself in the form of difficulties or obstacles in traveling, particularly on short trips (in astrology, a short trip is defined as one not requiring an overnight stay.) A Saturn-Gemini might experience more than the usual share of flat tires, check engine lights, dead batteries, or any number of other annoying delays. Gemini is the sign of communication, and Saturn is good at throwing up roadblocks in this area as well, from the of fear of expressing oneself all the way to having speech problems, such as a stutter. I have this Saturn placement and it’s only on a rare occasion when I manage to make it through a trip without a setback of one degree or another cropping up. I’m well-known for running out of gas (though this could be due to my Aries Sun, in its textbook impatience to reach a destination, causing me to ignore the low fuel indicator because “I’m sure I have enough gas to make it there before I run out”), getting lost in unfamiliar cities (I once drove nearly 50 miles in the wrong direction before subsequently realizing it and turning around), locking my keys in the car, and getting pulled over by the cops for various infractions, usually speeding (a hat-tip to my aforementioned impatient Aries Sun for that one as well.) As far as communication is concerned, I’ve been a wannabe freelance writer since the first day I grasped a crayon in my fat little two year-old fist…and here I sit, circa 40 years later, with my only published work being some articles in my sophomore and junior high school yearbooks on which I was a staff member, plus a letter-to-the-editor of a popular women’s magazine back in the spring of 2000…if those things even count. Gemini rules several upper body parts, including the arms (including hands and fingers), shoulders, ribs, lungs, and nerves which could show up in the individual as arthritis or a propensity to injuries in these areas, breathing issues, and a host of other possible conditions. As a native, I have chronic nerve pain (due to thoracic disk issues) as well as chronic bronchitis (and, in case it needs to be said, I blame the latter on my 27-year smoking habit, not Saturn’s placement in my chart.)

Saturn has a profound effect on the sensitive, wistful sign of Cancer. The Crab desperately needs to feel secure in their relationships but ironically, Saturn’s influence — which imparts a clingy hypersensitivity to the personality — can cause those very relationships to dissolve. Saturn-Crabs have a particularly difficult time expressing their feelings to those they love because of a deep fear of rejection. Depression is common in individuals with this placement, and they find themselves needing frequent reassurance that they are cared for and simultaneously questioning the sincerity of that reassurance. The lesson here is, unless there is evidence to the contrary, to stop second-guessing possible underlying motives of others and simply accept this reassurance at face value, which will make life much more pleasant for not only the Saturn-Crab but also their partner. Saturn-Cancerians have a marked tendency to overeat in response to their emotions and are particularly prone to becoming not only overweight, but obese. The sign of Cancer rules the breasts, chest, and stomach and natives often experience digestive problems ranging from heartburn and nausea all the way to ulcers, gallbladder issues, or even pancreatitis.

Saturn’s effect when in the showy sign of Leo is to curb a lot of the usual traits we would normally expect of a Lion. A Saturn-Leo is much more subdued when it comes to self-expression, struggling with a lack of self-confidence in what they do. They require loads of extra accolades and reassurance, not unlike our Saturn-Cancerian friend, yet not quite to that degree. When — and only when — a Saturn-Lion feels safe to do so, they will open up and shine. These folks are forever young, having a youthful attitude well into their later years, which is an awesome thing but at the same time, it can restrict their career opportunities if they come across as too playful. In matters of the heart however, it’s serious business for Saturn-Leo, who needs to learn to loosen up a bit. My late Cancer ex-husband had this Saturn placement and with that influence in combination with his Cancer Sun, he was always seeking reassurance that he was loved and approved of, as if that reassurance was as vital to his well-being as breathing. Additionally, even by his own admission, he was a kid in a grown man’s body; during our marriage, I would often refer to him as my fourth child. The sign of Leo governs the heart and spine and Saturn’s influence here can predispose the native to cardiac-related conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, or murmurs and back problems ranging from frequent run-of-the-mill muscle aches to painful disk conditions.

The sign of Virgo is the epitome of OCD and Saturn’s placement here doesn’t do the native any favors. A Saturn-Virgo will often come across as an overly critical, bossy, obsessive workaholic which can create an array of problems, especially on the job. One of the lessons for a Saturn-Virgin is tolerance and relaxation: take a deep breath, let it out…and know that it’s really okay to not nitpick every excruciating detail of every single thing they do. A particular point of interest here is that oftentimes with a Saturn-Virgo, there will be some mental or physical limitation that pushes the native to work even harder. This could be anything from being mildly dyslexic to having 14 fingers to being a full-blown quadriplegic. Whatever it is, in Saturn-Virgo’s mind, it raises the bar and they will push above and beyond their limits to compensate for it, if for no other reason than to prove to themselves that they can. This placement of Saturn often involves a person who feels like they are taken advantage of. Saturn-Virgins are frequently hypochondriacs and this doesn’t do anything to help their already-nervous temperament. Speaking of which, because the sign of Virgo rules the intestines, that nervous temperament can do quite a number on a Saturn-Virgo’s stomach; when they are worried about something, they’ll be repeatedly dashing to the nearest bathroom, if you catch my drift. One of my closest friends has Saturn in Virgo and one thing he will do is pace the floor for an hour with a furrowed brow, very obviously stressing on something while declaring, “I ain’t stressin’ on it.” Yeah, okay. Who are you trying to convince; yourself or me?

Libra is the sign of partnerships, equality, justice, relationships, and marriage. When Saturn is in Libra, it throws up obstacles for all those things. Have you been dating a Saturn-Libra for while now and you’re thinking about taking your relationship to the next level? Good luck and Godspeed, for Saturn’s influence on the object of your affection indicates that if you do indeed succeed at this, it’s gonna take a while. And for the love of all things sacred, don’t put any kind of pressure on them to make a decision quickly. It’s not because they don’t want to be with you; in fact, they really do! It’s just that the sign of Libra is already the most indecisive one in the zodiac and when you compound that mess with Saturn’s influence — which adds obstacles and limitations — you’ve got one helluva wishy-washy partner on your hands. Frankly, it’s exhausting to me just thinking about it. It’s insanely difficult for Saturn-Libra to commit, although deep down they honestly do want a solid, long-term commitment. I know, I know; it makes no sense…not even to the Saturn-Libran. The only thing I can think of that would be worse than being a Saturn-Libran would be being in a relationship with a Saturn-Libran. Physiologically, the sign of Libra rules the kidneys and lower back, so the native will be more prone to ailments involving both, such as urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and problems in the lumbar spine.

Scorpio is one of the most, if not the most intense sign in the zodiac. The Scorpion is secretive, cunning, jealous, impatient, very demanding, and when crossed, can be extremely vindictive and unforgiving. And even if they do forgive, they never forget. A Saturn-Scorpion can hold a grudge for literally years, and Saturn’s lesson here is to teach the native that holding onto grudges and anger toward someone who has wronged them makes about as much sense as drinking poison and expecting the object of their hostility to die; their negative feelings have no effect whatsoever on the offending party — the Saturn-Scorpion is the one who suffers from it by their conscious refusal to just let it go. Another way Saturn influences the passionate Scorpion is to needlessly complicate things by instilling self-doubt and fears of inadequacy, which can result in the Saturn-Scorpion acting out in one or more of the aforementioned ways; by doing this, they don’t have to reveal their inner struggles which, to them, would cause them to appear vulnerable. Saturn’s lesson here is for the native to come to understand that they can effectively work through highly emotional issues privately without resorting to such extremes to keep things private. Additionally, they need to realize that not everyone is their archnemesis, just waiting for Saturn-Scorpio to let their guard down so they can attack. The sign of Scorpio governs the reproductive organs, the bladder, and the bowels. Because of this, Saturn-Scorpions are more prone to STDs, along with reproductive issues that might or might not affect fertility, prostate trouble (males), uterine fibroids or other problems with menstruation (females), colon polyps, and constipation.

This placement of Saturn is one of the few that, rather than solely placing obstacles or limitations on the native, favors more positive circumstances as well. A Saturn-Sadge is the quintessential knowledge-seeker of the zodiac. They have an unquenchable thirst for learning, and they want to know everything they can about everything they can. Saturn-Archers enjoy traveling and they especially love to incorporate learning experiences or education of some kind into their journeys. Additionally, they aren’t stingy with their knowledge and wisdom; they are more than happy to share what they’ve learned with others in hopes that they too will come to know the same enlightenment. Saturn-Sagittarians have an uncanny drive and motivation that is unparalleled by any other Saturn placement. However, one obstacle that Saturn tends to create here is a propensity toward cynicism and being too cerebral, which can result in somewhat of a closed mind. The sign of Sagittarius rules the hips, thighs, sciatic nerve, and the liver, predisposing the Saturn-Archer to muscle strains and sprains in these areas, painful sciatica, and a liver that is prone to hepatitis as well as being particularly sensitive to the effects of alcohol and drugs. My late Cancer ex-hubby’s mother, who is also now deceased, had this Saturn placement. She would drop everything at a moment’s notice if she was struck by a sudden urge to take a road trip (which happened frequently.) And although she wasn’t my favorite person in all the land (in fact, she was undoubtedly one of my least favorite), I can’t deny the fact that the cantankerous old lush had a determination and drive the likes of which I’ve never before — or since — seen; when she found herself at rock bottom — even homeless, living under a bridge at one point — she would stop at nothing in her quest to scratch, claw, and fight her way out of it. I have to admit, as much as I detest the thought of giving her kudos of any kind, it was a pretty impressive feat.

Saturn is in its dominion in Capricorn, meaning it is the Goat’s natural ruler. Therefore, when Saturn’s (or for that matter, any other planet’s) placement in the natal chart is in the sign it naturally governs, its influence on the individual is compounded. Saturn in Capricorn lends a certain amount of seriousness to the personality as well as a dry sense of humor, and someone with this placement probably frequently finds that they are easily overwhelmed by responsibilities or situations that wouldn’t faze a non-Saturn-Goat in the least. The native often has a strong sense of life being unfair, almost as if life were a schoolyard bully, singling the Saturn-Cappy out personally to make their days as difficult as possible. (Yes, I realize that is a rather vague generalization that could apply to most people, but a Saturn-Cappy feels this particularly deeply.) Saturn’s influence in the money-oriented sign of Capricorn also creates a need to keep up with the Joneses, as status and wealth are extremely important to them. Saturn-Goats are quite disciplined, hard workers who will patiently plod their way to the top. Saturn’s lesson to the native here is to remember to stop and smell the roses now and then. The sign of Capricorn rules the bones and skin (and some astrologers say the teeth, though I am one of the ones who feel differently.) Fractures, as well as all kinds of skin conditions including but not limited to acne, psoriasis, ringworm, and skin cancer are especially common and tend to be worse in folks with this Saturn placement. My oldest son is a Saturn-Cappy. In addition to a raging case of adolescent acne, he broke his first bone at barely four years of age in an unfortunate bunk bed incident with an unwieldy younger cousin, and he has had two more fractures since then, thanks to bike-riding stunts and skateboarding. Additionally, he is a worry wart who is so easily stressed out by relatively minor things that I actually feel sorry for the boy sometimes because he can’t seem to wrap his mind around the idea that it’s really okay to take a deep breath and relax, realize that not everything is as urgent as he perceives it to be, and trust that things will work out in the end.

Saturn has a curious effect when its placement is in forward-thinking Aquarius. Saturn’s restrictive nature turns the usually-very-open-minded Water Bearer into more of a closed-minded cynic who is fixated on their own unconventional ideas and uninterested in considering other points of view. Aquarius is traditionally known for being people-oriented, surrounding itself with many friends from all walks of life, and being one of the most adaptable signs in the zodiac, but Saturn’s limiting influence on the native creates difficulty in cultivating or maintaining friendships. This is usually caused by the previously-mentioned tendency toward closed-mindedness which Saturn’s influence inflicts. The lesson here is for the Saturn-Water Bearer to learn to concede, when appropriate, that their way is not always the best way, or even the only way. Aquarius is also a freedom-loving sign which some astrologers say is the least likely sign in the zodiac to marry and this Saturn placement can amplify that tendency, causing the native to be even more emotionally detached. The sign of Aquarius rules the lower legs, ankles, and — similarly to its polarity sign of Leo, which rules the cardiovascular system — the circulatory system, predisposing the native to fractures, cuts, or bruises on the calves and shins and ankle breaks or sprains, as well as deep vein thromboses (a.k.a. DVTs or blood clots).

One of the three water signs in astrology, Pisces is highly intuitive and extremely sentimental. If you have followed my blog, you might recall that my Ascendant is in Pisces and oh lord, it’s caused me a lot of grief. Remember how as a child, when you wanted to make it clear you were ignoring someone, you would cup your hands over your ears and chant loudly, “Lalalala, I can’t hear you, lalalala…”? That sums up and illustrates the Pisces motto quite nicely. I often refer to the rose-colored glasses which are a staple in the Piscean wardrobe, as they prefer to see only what they want to see and hear only what they want to hear. Saturn’s effect when in Pisces is to increase this selective seeing/hearing, resulting in the native living in perpetual denial. Pisces is strongly drawn to the past, often finding themselves dreamily longing for people they’ve loved and lost, places they’ve visited, and experiences they’ve enjoyed. Once again, yes, I am aware that this is a broad statement that certainly isn’t exclusive to Saturn-Pisceans, for most people at one time or another wistfully reminisce about these same things. But the difference between most people and a Saturn-Pisces is that folks with this Saturn placement do this to the extreme, seemingly stuck in the past, which creates an inability to fully live in the present and appreciate today which, over time, can be quite emotionally unhealthy. There is a saying that goes, “If you keep looking back at your past, you’re going to trip over your future,” and I firmly believe every Saturn-Piscean should jot that down on sticky notes and plaster them all over the house in conspicuous places as constant reminders. The sign of Pisces rules the feet, and many natives love to go barefoot, which gives a tendency toward injuries of the feet as well as predisposes them to conditions running the gamut from corns to bunions to calluses to ingrown toenails to gout to fractures. They also experience more than their fair share of stubbed toes.


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