Embracing Saturn

In my practice the vast majority of my new clients are dealing with a difficult Saturn Dasha or transit. In fact, I can follow Saturn’s movement around the zodiac in my client’s chart– for example since the fall of 2009 when Saturn entered Virgo, most of my new clients are either in the Saturn Dasha or have their moon or rising sign in Virgo or Libra, as Saturn is putting stress on those two signs right now.

So how do we embrace a planet who has the reputation of a “task-master” and is so stern and forbidding?

Let us first get to know him.

In the myths of Vedic Astrology, Saturn, Saturn, is cold, earthy, masculine and dry. He is the son of the fiery, hot, energetic Sun. His mother is Chaya, (shade/shadow), who sneaked in to unite with the Sun, much to his subsequent dismay. The illuminated Sun, therefore, is not at all fond of his son from this strange union. However, a planet that is the product of both light and dark is perhaps the most important planet we have to master as spiritual beings, weighed down by the pressures of our material existence.

Saturn’s symbol as the crescent of the personality subjugated to and held down by the cross of matter is the first clue to a Saturn remedy. As such, Saturn is the unwelcome energy in our chart that is teaching us to bow down to the law of the way things are and pass the test of material existence, so we can truly be free to enter the realm of the spirit.

Saturn is responsible for aging, delays, decay, restriction, discipline, old age and asceticism. He has no problem saying “no” to our whims and desires. Like a stern parent, even his virtues are rather dreary – self-control, tact, thrift, caution, hard work, moderation, humility and the willingness to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders with temperance and humility. While these are all the virtues of a quintessential Yogi, ironically they are not part of the vernacular of the “new age” Yoga “spirituality” culture. The more we feel entitled to having our desires fulfilled, the more Saturn periods comes as a huge shock. This austere and somber planet is the antithesis of a lifestyle filled with glitz and excitement, which dominates the culture we live in the modern world.

If you are reading this because Saturn has come to slow your life down, you are probably saying but that’s NOT FAIR, look at everyone else they are getting what they want and I am not.

There is no horoscope without Saturn. Saturn’s slow transit through a sign (two and a half years) plus his nineteen year long dasha means that everyone, at some point in their life, comes face to face with his influence.

In Vedic Astrology, Saturn also has a special significance in one particular lengthy and difficult transit called “Sade Sati” or seven and a half years of Saturn. This is when Saturn transits the 12th, 1st, and 2nd houses from the house in which your Moon is placed. This transit occurs once every thirty years and no more than 2 or 3 times in a lifetime.

The only difference is that those with a well placed Saturn have a natural affinity to steadfastness and detachment. As such, they have the drive to put forth effort towards their goals and willingness to work hard to attain them without attachment to the outcome. If you have not figured it out yet — Saturn is the true Karma Yogi (Yoga of Action).

If you are in a Saturn Dasha or under the stern eye of Saturn in your Sade Sati. The Seers and Sages of India give much advice on how you can deal with it.

Everyone’s first impulse is to run, to hide and to escape, or throw a temper tantrum, as Saturn’s periods force us to face up to the reality of our situation, especially aspects of life we have neglected or denied.

With Saturn there is no running or hiding, as he is slow and methodical, he is not in a hurry and he is going to stick around a while. First and most important bit of advice is to let go of any ideas you have of wanting things to be a certain way. Accept that for now you must put forth the necessary effort but may only see the rewards of your effort much further down the road. Saturn always requires payment way up front! He likes solitude and promotes a quiet and detached Saturnian life – if you have never tried that you might be surprised to find out that it can be deeply rewarding!

Vedic Astrology offers many remedies such as Mantras, Yantras, gems, puja’s, fasting as a way to overcome Saturn’s limitations. While, I definitely recommend the remedies to my clients I remind them that the best way to overcome Saturn challenges is to enter a relationship with him. Get to know him and you will realize that he is one of the best teachers you will ever encounter because once you master Saturn you have mastered the limitations of earthly life, which brings the cessation of all suffering.

Of course, you can only enter Saturn’s circle of friends, if you check the ego by the front door and keep humble. Saturn is a magnificent teacher! He is grave but wise, he does not dissipate his energy like other planets by indulging the demands of the senses. He may not give you all that you want but he can teach you to learn to live a life full of simple goodness and restrain, as well as grow in compassionate wisdom. Saturn’s role is to give us a servile attitude towards our tasks and like a good servant he wants us to work hard, put our energies into practical, useful, and meaningful projects, and let go of the need for control.

Sure we can learn a lot from other planets but real maturity only comes once you have had Saturn as your teacher. Like the one strict teacher most of us had at school who never smiled or made the class fun but taught us what we needed to learn to pass the tests, embracing Saturn’s teachings are critical to pass the test of life.