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Learning to Make Friends with Saturn

 Old Codger

Making friends with some crusty old codger who seems bent on tormenting us and making our lives more miserable seems like the last thing we’d want to do, but I’ve decided to give you a few tips based on my own life experiences and the observations of many long years working with clients in my professional practice.

First off, we all have Saturn somewhere in our natal chart, so no one is exempt on planet earth from learning something about this planet which has come to represent hard work, delays, restrictions, frustrations, and the arduous climb up the mountain of our own private ambition.  Saturn is often used as the symbol for what we lack; therefore we strive to fill that hole with substance over the course of our lives.

taurus and Gemini

For those of you, like myself, who have Saturn as ‘Ruler’  (the Ruler of a chart is the planet which rules the Ascendant) of your entire chart you know well the message of Saturn, “The tortoise will win the race in the end by never giving up, by persevering, and by taking one step at a time towards the goal.”  I’m talking about you Capricorn rising souls out there!

One of the first books I ever read on Saturn was by Liz Greene entitled ‘A New Look At An Old Devil’.  I remember I read that book from cover to cover and got quite depressed because Liz has a way of being very sardonic and Saturnine herself.  It was the same Liz who gave a lecture at a conference I attended while smoking non-stop and blowing it out into our audience as she spoke!  That woman knew a thing or two about ole Saturn, and I was both impressed and rather intimidated at the same time as a young woman just learning about my ‘ruler’.  I remember well that I put that book far away from me for a very long time until one day years later I read it again and realized the efficacy of her message.  By then I was more mature, more confident, and wiser, and Ms. Liz made a lot of sense by then.

So here we are today working with Saturn moving through Scorpio.  I refer you to an earlier article I wrote back in February 2013 (see my archives) for more insights into this 2.5+ year passage and the major themes of Scorpio emphasized.  Let’s just briefly review the time frame we are experiencing:

Saturn entered Scorpio on October 6th of 2012.
Saturn turned Retrograde February 18th, 2013 at 11 degrees of Scorpio
Saturn turned Direct on July 4th, 2013 at 4 degrees of Scorpio
Saturn leaves the 11th degree of Scorpio (the 3rd time) on October 18th, 2013
Saturn turns Retrograde at 23 degrees of Scorpio on March 2nd, 2014
Saturn turns Direct on July 20th, 2014 at 16 degrees of Scorpio
(Are you getting exhausted?  I am!  It is when Saturn reaches its final leg of a journey through one sign that it begins to feel like it is endless and is never going to end.  Just ask a Libran who went through it all not too long ago.)
Saturn enters Sagittarius on December 24th, 2014
Saturn turns Retrograde on March 14th, 2015 at 4 degrees of Sagittarius
Saturn still Retrograde re-enters Scorpio at 29 degrees on June 16th, 2015
Saturn turns Direct at 28 degrees Scorpio on August 2nd, 2015
Saturn FINALLY leaves Scorpio on September 18th, 2015

We are really talking about nearly three years this time around for Saturn in Scorpio:  October 6, 2012 to September 18, 2015 when it is finally over.  It truly behooves us to make friends, does it not?

How do we do this?  Let us learn to apply these character strengths:


Patience and Persistence
You can not push the river when under a Saturn transit so becoming patient yet persistent is the best use of your energy.  It is said that when Saturn makes a hard aspect to one of your planetary energies that the brakes are on.  If you push harder, you will only meet with resistance.  We are talking about the pace of walking here; not running faster.  So keep going but do it ever so slowly. Persist!  Learning the art of patience is something all spiritual teachings encourage us to practice.  It is a wisdom learned only through practice, practice, practice.  This is especially true when Saturn is applying to a planet like Mars or even Mercury, which also likes to move quickly along.  There is a pressure going on which can not be hurried under such transits.  So be the Mountain Goat and move carefully but surely towards your goal or ambition at this time.


This quality goes hand in hand with patience, but may be called for when attempting to learn a new skill or develop strength in achievement.  Saturn is the epitome of discipline which involves the right use of our will to become more exacting and careful.  One aspect of discipline involves doing something whether you feel like it or not.  Another aspect of discipline might be restraint where you hold yourself back rather than lashing out impulsively.  Discipline can involve action, but it can also involve the emotional body.  There can be mental discipline as applied in study or meditation.  In order to surmise where you need to apply more discipline look to where Saturn is moving and aspecting some of your own energies.  If the Moon is involved it may be emotional discipline.  If Mercury is involved, it’s mental discipline.  If the Sun is involved it is the right use of your Will.


The wise use of Saturn is applied responsibility.  This gets better with age if one is willing to learn and become wiser.  Of course young children with strong Saturn in their charts are often responsible far beyond their years.  Under a Saturn transit it is important to see what house requires greater responsibility on your part or someone else in your life.  If Saturn is moving through your first house, it is obviously you who must become more responsible first of all to yourself, and then to others.  If Saturn is moving through your 7th or 8th houses, perhaps you are looking to others who are responsible and needing them in your life.  If they are not, perhaps you need to end those relationships are begin to require that they respond with greater strength of character towards you and others.

Respect Inner Authority

Respect for ‘Real’ Authority
This can be tricky.  Saturn does represent authority, but what kind of authority?  Real authority is responsible, disciplined, and respectful of others.  False authority doesn’t give a dam.  Sorry to be so blunt, but we do have a lot of false authority out there compelling us to decide whether to obey or not their injunctions.  A young child experiencing a Saturn transit may not yet have the power of that choice, or may not yet be ready to discern who is wise in their authority and who is not.  It is not until the first Saturn Return that we are truly ready to have enough experience under our belt to determine our own course in life and become our own inner authority probably.  The first Saturn Return occurs around the age of 28 years.  It is a time, often, of great struggle for the young adult who must leave behind anything which doesn’t ring true as he/she determines their path in life towards their own ambition.

For those of us older, and hopefully wiser, a Saturn transit is a good time to look to our own ‘inner authority’ based upon our solid experience and tested philosophy of life.  There are solid and good natural laws that are worth having respect for such as ‘respect for all life’, ‘respect for individual rights’, and even ‘respect for higher wisdom’.

Even so, under a Saturn transit it is prudent to respect society’s authority figures or pay the consequences!  Restraint is usually called for at these times.  Sometimes it is better to be silent than to mouth off, for example.  Sometimes it is better to just pay the traffic fine rather than protest if Saturn is bearing down on you heavily.


‘Reality Checks’
It is said that Saturn ‘tests for reality’.  Again, this is dependent on one’s philosophy of life and mind-set probably, yet I would say in general that Saturn does present the mirror of what is factual and real more than say Neptune as a transit.  Saturn often represents cause and effect and under its auspices something put in motion in the past may finally catch up with us to be reckoned with.  That’s the reality of life on a planet where the accepted paradigm still is a three-dimensional reality.  Of course some of us know other-wise and love to journey into those other realms, but let’s say the foundation of your house has serious cracks in it.  It’s time to use that Saturn transit to get some contractors over and fix the problem.  Or if your teeth have cracks in them, why not go to the dentist and have him take care of them?  That’s what I’m talking about here.

Money matters, health matters, real life issues are often improved under Saturn because we pay attention and get real with fixing whatever it is that needs improvement.  If Saturn is present during an illness you are probably going to get some facts about what the problem is and how to solve it.

Self Mastery

There are other planets which also represent aspects of Self-Mastery, especially the outer more transpersonal planets, but Saturn is the best friend you’ve got for climbing that mountain you have designated to be your ambition.  Along the way you are sure to meet obstacles and challenges.  Saturn will be your friend if you are willing to be patient, discipline yourself, take responsibility, and persist in your efforts to achieve that high goal.  This is what self-mastery is all about.  It doesn’t come in a jar that you can apply.  It isn’t some quick fix.  It is all about the journey, often taken alone; that only you can do that brings you finally to an inner place of knowing you have mastered something.  Perhaps you are trying to master an emotion that always seems to trip you up and sabotage you.  Perhaps it is a skill that you have worked long and hard to perfect.  Perhaps it is a spiritual path that has required your devotion and life-long persistence to achieve.  Whatever it is, Saturn is the surest guide and—yes—FRIEND you’ve got towards becoming a true master.


August 14, 2013  20 Comments
Categories: Astrology, Saturn, Scorpio | Tags: , ,


1 Vanessa { 08.14.13 at 2:49 pm }

Hi Genevieve,

Excellent post! I say yes to all those lessons you mentioned. Saturn isn’t my chart ruler, but it’s in my first house and I feel that! To be honest, I’ll take a Saturn Transit any time. My difficulty is with Neptune!
But your lessons are spot on. When Saturn was about to enter Scorpio, I kept saying that I needed focus and discipline and this is still my inner mantra these days, as Saturn transits my 6th house. I feel that being present, having focus and discipline are real lessons to be learned.
As for ‘real’ authority and self-mastery, that makes me think of the Emperor and the Hermit cards in the tarot. My tarot card for this year is the Hermit, and I’m feeling a real kinship with Saturn ‘strolling’ through my 6th house.
And yes, I totally agree with you on Liz Greene’s book. It sure made me depressed. Perhaps it’s time I reread it now.
Again thanks for the thought provoking post…

2 Genevieve { 08.14.13 at 3:13 pm }

Oh Vanessa! You always make such a genuine added contribution, and I so appreciate your insights. I know you’ve written some excellent articles of your own on Neptune.

3 Marianne Aaronsouth { 08.15.13 at 7:39 am }

Love this post Genevieve. Saturn is in my 4th house and yes it’s time to get the contractors in to do some work on our home. Also a transformation in “roots” issues is underway. Thanks!

4 Genevieve { 08.15.13 at 9:20 am }

Thanks Marianne! I get happy when readers share, so we all learn from each other.

5 Brya { 11.30.13 at 12:41 am }

I noticed that Saturn Retros at 11 Scorpio and that is the same degree as the new moon solar eclipse this year. Can you say any significance to this?

6 Genevieve Vierling { 11.30.13 at 1:19 pm }

Saturn is now at 17-18 degrees of Scorpio. My ephemeris shows that it will SR (Stationary Retrograde) not until March 3, 2014 at 23Scorpio19. It will go back to the 16th degree only in July of 2014 before turning SD (Stationary Direct) at 16 Scorpio39. So not sure what you are referring to here. Certainly that 11th degree of Scorpio in the Eclipse chart is highly significant. (Or are you referring to your own natal chart Saturn here?)

The ‘Sabian Symbol’ is “An official embassy ball”. Dane Rudhyar states that it symbolizes a ritualized DISPLAY of power, prestige, and wealth. He elaborates on the ruling class of national wholes ‘displaying at least the superficial forms of a concern for establishing permanent relationships in peaceful cooperation.

We would hope that 2014 continues debates between nations such as the United States and Israel with Iran along diplomatic channels rather than the push towards war. Saturn in Scorpio certainly continues the theme of power and the correct use of power where global issues are concerned as well, including nuclear power.

7 Paul { 03.04.14 at 5:31 am }

In addition to having Saturn in Leo, what if one was to have most of his personal planets are in detriment or in fall: e.g .Jup in Gemini, Merc in Pisces, mars in cancer… Would that necessarily make for tougher obstacles and an overall rougher life experience? I have read that having personal planets in all exaltations makes for complacency. I like to think it is a catalyst to self mastery as experience will meet you with obstacles to be triumphed over.

Though I am new to this discipline, I know there is more to this concept and it is not as cut and dry as it looks 😉

Thank You.

8 Genevieve { 03.04.14 at 4:25 pm }

You are so right Paul. The art of synthesis has to be applied when navigating through the complexities and paradoxes of a birth map. It also depends on the consciousness of the native which no pattern is going to tell you abstractly. Look at Gandhi as an example of that!

So these old rules of detriment and fall can be looked at several ways depending on the bias of the astrologer interpreting them. I’ve seen amazing minds with Mercury in Pisces. My mother was one of them. She taught statistics in college and was a trained psychometrist. By the end of her life she had taught every single grade from kindergarten to graduate school to med-school post graduates in psychiatry. Mercury in Pisces—–Universal? Certainly can be!

I have a daughter with Jupiter in Gemini and she practically ‘does it all’. She has a Masters in International Relations from American University, but now living in Dublin she teaches Synergy Dance, Yoga, Meditation, Tarot, and even Astrology. So great. Jupiter in Gemini is VERSATILE.

Mars in Cancer can be so very caring and giving; think nurturing. Mars is motivation and action, so in a man it can move towards helping others par excellence as the caring parental figure rather than staying the child.

I like your attitude that these qualities become ‘catalysts to self mastery.’ Each planet in a sign is potentially exactly where it needs to be for each unique soul incarnating with that signature.

9 Lindsay { 09.17.14 at 4:15 pm }

Hey, thanks for this post. I’m wondering if you know much about Saturn return if Saturn is in Scorpio in the 5th house and Saturn in Sagittarius in the 6th house.

10 Genevieve Vierling { 09.19.14 at 12:49 pm }

Dear Linsay,
In very simplistic terms, Saturn in Scorpio returns can be highly intense struggles involving power/authenticity issues in relationships, or in relationship with one’s own self. In the 5th house it may be all about expressing one’s depth, power, and intensity with self-confidence. Ego issues are sure to arise during this time. Is the ego balanced or out of control? Is the inner child undeveloped and in arrested development somewhere?

Saturn in Sagittarius in the 6th might mean a coming to grips with right working conditions that give more freedom of movement or expression. It might relate to how one maintains that sense of freedom in one’s daily life and habit patterns.

A lot depends on whether this is a FIRST Saturn Return, or a SECOND turn of the wheel. First time is always about maturation and coming of age into true adulthood. Second time around takes one into new territory at 58-59 years involving an expression of maturity and and entrance into one’s ‘wise years’ hopefully.

Aspects to Saturn are all important and beyond the scope of a public forum. I’ve seen people in their late ’50s going through horrendous Saturn Returns where nearly every aspect of their life must be stripped ‘down to the bone’ and rebuilt, especially those born with Saturn in square to Pluto in Leo. It all depends on the generation and the individual chart to accurately describe the process of endings and new beginnings that all Saturn Returns move us through.

11 Natalia Corona { 05.27.15 at 12:03 pm }

What if it’s your first Saturn return with Scorpio in 8th house? I know my chart is highly unusual as well because of my ascendant & all of my cusps are @ 0 degrees of all solstices & equinoxes. I jus don’t know what that means. I have a stellum of planets in 12th house in pisces. My dob is 3-7-84 6:49am in Chicago Illinois if u wanna check it out to answer my question better… thanks in advance if u do take some time to check it out.

12 Genevieve Vierling { 06.02.15 at 2:16 pm }

Dear Natalia,

I’d love to include you in my discussion for my next Saturn article as it Retrogrades back into Scorpio again for the final time. Of course your chart will not be shown. You do have a most unusual framework of Cardinal signs all at the degrees of initiation. Very powerful, especially since you are a 0 Degree Aries Rising soul. How will you serve others by initiating deep changes? Meditate upon that please. You have many gifts to offer with your Moon in Taurus in the 2nd, and you are here to work with the biggies: sexuality, power issues, handling money. That said, you can do this following the high road of right relationships with others, or the low road of “I want this all for myself”. You have a marked ability to work ‘for the highest good of all’ however, and with your Saturn Return now complete and ruling your 10th house, as well as in trine to your Mercury/Sun in the 12th, it seems to me that your chosen path of public service needs to be involved with organizations that are conscious and concerned with the welfare of others. Group participation is important as well with Saturn also ‘ruling’ your 11th house. Finally, you need simpatico report with others to feel both safe and good in melding your energies with theirs, whether in an intimate relationship or a business one. My best to you on your path! There’s more that I’m not addressing like your Fixed T-square with Venus in Aquarius at the apex in square to that Saturn/Mars. Choose your friends/lovers carefully and wisely!

13 spiorin { 06.07.15 at 7:11 am }

Hello! 🙂 very interesting article
I am also one of those capricorn rising souls, but my saturn is so upset…:) if we take out the 3 semi-sextiles he makes in my chart (minor)
he’s square mercury (exact) ,venus, pluto(tight) and mc.
Raises hand for being under 100 tones of pressure from transiting saturn to scorpio, and pluto to capricorn.

He doesn;t really have ANY relief, so how can one cope with this?

Thank you!

14 Genevieve Vierling { 06.10.15 at 1:53 pm }

Dear Spiorin,
So, you are decidedly ‘Saturn ruled’ it would seem with the Capricorn Rising. I’m trying to make a stab/guess at signs your Mercury/Venus/Pluto are in. Perhaps you can enlighten me. 🙂 Just knowing all those squares is pressure—yes—but also powerful strength!!! You must have signed up for this. Are you a natural researcher who digs deeply into the mysteries? I would think so. Pressure creates diamonds. Remember that. It’s best to work with alchemy on this level and see your spiritual work as of vital importance in this life. Challenges get greater as we progress along the path; that is, if we are willing to honor such a path. I wish you stamina, persistence, perseverance, and ultimate triumph.

15 spiorin { 06.07.15 at 9:40 am }

That moment when even on saturn-boards one is excluded.
Sorry if my comment was inappropriate.

16 Genevieve Vierling { 06.10.15 at 1:54 pm }

Spiorin—-Of course not! Your comments were entirely welcome and will help others as well I’m sure. We all learn from each other.

17 Spiorin { 06.11.15 at 9:37 pm }

Thank you! so sorry, it looked like my comment was removed ( mercury retrograde- gem sun..and I got a bit sad, so silly of me)
You are right, it seems that we choose what we want to sign up in this life 🙂 I have a venus+mercury in taurus, ( gemini sun), in 4th, opposed by pluto scorpio in 10th.
Saturn is the apex of my 2 fixed t-squares involving exactly the planets you asked me about.
Thank you for the kind words! I wish strenght to everybody ( and got to feel a profound admiration for people born with a saturn in scorpio! sharp edges in deed).

18 Genevieve Vierling { 06.12.15 at 12:21 pm }

Spiorin—-You have a strong purpose to fulfill I dare say. Gemini’s don’t have to be superficial,and you are not one of those types! I wish you the best in your transformative work in the world.

19 spiorin { 06.12.15 at 9:16 pm }

Thank you very much, Genevieve!
Hope to become my best version (in this life- if possible). 🙂

20 Sagittarius { 06.28.16 at 8:06 am }

Very helpful
Thank you!

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