Who is Saturn in a birth chart?



To the ancients, Saturn was the farthest planet they could see with the naked eye,it was the last frontier, the ringed giant on the threshold. Beyond Him lied the unknown and hence in astrology, Saturn is associated with all that we push out of sight, that which makes us feel guilty, ashamed, inadequate and not good enough. These unaccepted parts of ourselves become, in Jung's words, our "shadow" aspects, lurking in our subconscious and seeking recognition.


In ancient and medieval astrology, Saturn was the Greater Malefic, the horned devil, the "bad news" planet, the Lord of Karma who rewards and punishes accordingly with one's efforts and deeds. Even nowadays Saturn isn't very popular and his prominence in one's chart at certain times makes one gulp and wonder what hardships are in store for them.

We all have Saturn somewhere in our chart, influencing a particular area of life, be it career, one to one relationships, family, children or earned income, and in this specific area is where we are asked to be real, to test things again and again and to act with caution, to take responsibility and work hard.
At the same time this area is where our confidence may be low and feelings of guilt or inadequacy may make us overcompensate, as if trying to prove to someone, perhaps a stern parental figure, that we are good enough. There is often the feeling that we should do better, take more courses and collect more certificates, and then perhaps we'll feel less awkward and more confident.

Father figures and one's childhood are also described by Saturn's placement in one's chart. When Saturnian influence is strong there is often a sense of limitation and heaviness during childhood, perhaps the parents are strict and there is a set of rules to be followed and chores to be done in the household. There may be financial limitation and poverty. Therefore the child "matures" quickly, there is no time to play and have fun, he or she has to assume a serious attitude due to maybe having to look after a parent who's ill or other younger sibling. The scenarios are many, but the general feeling is that of coldness, lack and even isolation.
The individual who grows up in a Saturnian home environment learns to find refuge in rules and structure, behind a "Everything is going well!" mask and tends to feel lost if not in control of their schedule, at work and in relationships.

The area which Saturn touches is where we need to learn to act alone, perhaps even make peace with solitude, where we must define our goals to create tangible things and lay foundations which will stand the test of time.
Saturn, the Great Teacher, asks of us to put unrealistic dreams and expectations to one side, to stop trying to live by other people's standards. We are asked to find our own values and develop self-discipline. There are often delays, plenty of frustration and the feeling that the process is painfully slow, but with patience and perseverance we may see the rewards of this hard Taskmaster: gaining knowledge, self-respect, integrity and expertise. He points to an area in which we can become an authority.

Saturn takes nearly 30 years to orbit the Sun and similarly, in one's birth chart he returns to the same place where he was at birth at around the age of 30, a time when individuals often feel tested and start asking deeper questions of themselves often related to their direction and purpose in life. Similar themes, tests and lessons return later to be dealt with or reviewed at the ages of 60 and then at 90.

At a physical level Saturn, who was known to Greeks as Chronos, the God of Time, is associated with the process of ageing and old age, with longevity and the end of life. At an anatomical level, Saturn rules the parts of the body which give us structure and stability, like the bones and teeth, as well as our skin which is our protective barrier. Saturn has a weakening effect on the human body and he may indicate physical vulnerabilities and sensitivities in one's chart.

When it comes to mental health, he is associated with depression due to his cold serious nature, whereas deep buried fears may trigger phobias and anxiety.

In the landscape around us, anything of a hard and rough nature may be considered Saturnian: from rocks, metals, mountains to hardy animals like the goat.
As a symbol of time and limits, Saturn rules clocks and watches as well as walls, hedges, barriers borders, between countries.
At a social level, Saturn stands for the traditional and conservative, he represents rules, regulations and contracts which help us clarify and define situations. He oversees law, order and justice and he wants material security and control. If out of control, we see an extremist and intolerant side.

Father figures, teachers and authorities, people with status and gravitas, have also a Saturnian quality. Similarly, individuals who live a solitary life, like hermits and monks, as well as those who work in funeral services .
Because of his association with the land he also rules farmers, estate agents, land-owners as well as miners who bring metals and other resources to the surface.

Reflecting back on his childhood, Anthony Hopkins, well know British actor, he himself with a prominent Saturn in his birth chart, makes the following statement :
"My own father was a tough man. He was a pretty red hot guy but he was also cold. He was also slightly disappointed in me because I was not a good kid as a school boy, you know. But I learned from it, I liked that coldness, because it was harsh. And he taught me to be tough. So I know how to be tough. I know how to be strong...It's part of my nature."