You may know your “big three” signs, but getting to know the roles of all the planets in your birth chart can grant you a much deeper understanding of astrology….and yourself! In this series, the team at VICE's Astro Guide explain each planet, and how it correlates to your natal chart.
Up until the 18th century, Saturn was recognized as the most distant planet in our solar system from the sun, and as such it has become associated with all things dark, cold, and threatening. As the natural ruler of Capricorn and Aquarius, the planet represents authority, old age, status, hierarchy, structures (like government and rules), sobriety, and mortality. Saturn is the planet of responsibility and the maturity that comes with age and experience—its energy is like that of an old man with a cane, lecturing you on how to live responsibly. Saturn says to save your money, that nothing is frivolous, and that everything adds up over time! With enough patience, the hard lessons that Saturn teaches can be cultivated in an empowering way.
Saturn is a much slower transiting planet, spending approximately two-and-a-half to three years in a sign. Astrologers have long associated Saturn’s return to the sign it was in when you were born as a coming-of-age moment, which typically occurs around the age of 29. That said, Saturn can be anywhere in relation to your sun sign, making it important that you check your chart to know where it was located when you were born.
Your natal Saturn sign will show you how you face your fears, how you set boundaries, what kinds of limits you tend to encounter, and what parts of your life demand you to be more disciplined.
To find your Saturn sign, plug in your birth date, time, and location to your preferred birth chart generator and find the symbol that looks like a cross with a crescent beneath (like an upside down Jupiter glyph) or a lower case “h” with a crossed stem. If you look closely, you’ll notice the Saturn glyph looks like a scythe, which is no coincidence as the ringed-planet also symbolizes agriculture and death.
Once you’ve figured it out, read what our team of astrologers at Astro Guide have to say about your Saturn sign!
In Mars-ruled Aries, Saturn encourages you to find your voice and build your confidence based on experience and know-how. Aries is a fire sign that takes on responsibilities impulsively and head-first, but Saturn is a planet that takes a long time to bear any fruit. Saturn in Aries teaches the importance of patience. As an Aries Saturn, you’re inclined to want instant gratification—but the ringed planet only gives rewards after you’ve passed all of the tests, making it hard to feel fulfilled until you’ve cultivated patience. Saturn in Aries is teaching you the importance of having self-restraint and not committing to low-hanging fruit.
Aries is a spirited sign and you’ll find your relationship to authority can be an intense one for much of your early adulthood, but the challenges you tend to face teach you about tenacity, perseverance, and claiming your power. Saturn is a stern old teacher that loves to test people. Having natal Saturn in Aries means you’re often tested through confrontation and stressful situations. Through trials you’re nudged to develop a sense of courage and determination to face life’s obstacles, regardless of how scary it is to confront them. Over time, you learn through crisis and stress that you are able to endure whatever challenges life throws at you.
Saturn in Taurus teaches lessons about personal values—what do you hold in higher regard while other things are ignored? As a Saturn in Taurus person, you need solid evidence before you feel comfortable enough to let your guard down. Taurus is an earth sign that finds security in the things that can be touched and witnessed in the material world. You value tangible results, and feel uneasy about the abstract—especially when it comes to your material wellbeing. Having Saturn in earthy Taurus indicates a desire to build a stable and reliable foundation that you can exist peacefully within. This is mostly achieved by accumulating resources that will help you live easier. You’re well aware that love can’t pay the bills, and you set your boundaries accordingly.
Whether you were brought up in financially stringent circumstances or have struggled to develop a positive image of yourself, Saturn in Taurus is teaching you to face fears concerning material existence and self-worth that you encountered in your earlier years in order to feel physically and emotionally secure. Saturn’s lessons take many years to sink in, but over time, you learn to appreciate yourself for who you are and build up enough of a nest egg to feel secure later on. As someone who can be very old-fashioned and committed to traditional values and views, you have high standards that others find difficult to meet—though you’re always inspiring others to do their best. Society challenges you to get with the times, but if you learn to be less stubborn, you’re already half-way there!
Articulating your complex thoughts proves to be a major feat with natal Saturn in Gemini, but it’s one that you eventually learn to master. The hurdles you face throughout life—especially early on—prepare you with skills that require refined logic, thorough research, and precision. It’s these qualities that lead you to be successful in fields like research, writing, and education. Mercury-ruled Gemini is fascinated with facts, data, and language, but with the ringed planet in this sign, you can feel intimidated about performing intellectually. Whether you’re afraid of being overlooked or teased, having natal Saturn in Gemini can point to a serious demeanor and a habit of rigid thinking and communication. Though you might value comedic performances, engaging in witty banter can feel unreasonably difficult, but the real trouble that weighs on your mind is an underlying fear that you’re not intelligent or skilled enough to succeed.
Challenges in the school environment, especially from an early age, are often the root of this fear. Expressing yourself and verbalizing your ideas can feel difficult to the point that communication becomes delayed or completely blocked in your earlier years. Over time, however, you learn to become thoughtful and skilled in your unique style of communication, often surpassing your peers thanks to all the effort you’ve put in!
Connecting to your emotions can feel especially difficult in your earlier years with Saturn in lunar-ruled Cancer. Cancer is emotionally inclined to hold on to experiences for better or worse, but Saturn in this sign reflects complicated feelings about the past. You might experience blocked memories or detachment from certain feelings as stunted but effective coping mechanisms. Whether you felt overlooked, unappreciated, or too insecure to voice your needs in your early life, receiving validation from kind souls is something you deeply crave. Lunar-ruled Cancer thrives in a supportive and loving family, but being born with Saturn in Cancer suggests that at least one of the most basic needs feels threatened early in life, which makes it increasingly important to surround yourself with a community that can offer whatever home and family cannot. Sometimes this placement suggests parental figures and family members were absent when you needed them, and other times it points to outside forces (like governments, economic crisis, or scarcity) blocking your most fundamental needs of food, shelter, or emotional nourishment.
That said, Saturn also tasks you with creating healthy boundaries that keep you from overcommitting to relationships that consistently take more from you than they give. That includes sacrificing your needs for conditional love. The human instinct of having a circle of support is stronger in you than it is others—not only because you love providing and nurturing others, but also because you fear the thought of not having a place to belong. If left unchecked, your fear and hypervigilance has a way of alienating you from emotional self-awareness and from the most important people in your life. Forgiveness and compassion are key in learning to embrace the scary and painful emotions that you face along your path, so it’s important that you engage in your own process of healing to mend your heart when it’s stuck in past traumas. With Saturn in Cancer, you’re encouraged to build your own home and family, but you’ll also need to be patient because it can take you longer to do so. Taking your time to form bonds that are right for you and filling your life with people that reflect the family values you need most are disciplines that your Saturn placement requires if you want to master the ringed-planet’s lessons.
As a Saturn in Leo native, you’re encouraged to embrace the limelight, even when you’re afraid of what others will see. Solar-ruled Leo is a bright and prideful sign that needs to be seen and appreciated, but Saturn creates restriction and hardship, suggesting that Leo Saturn folks have difficulty standing under the spotlight or recognizing their moment to shine. Saturn’s distance from the sun points to comfort in the shadows, but being born with the old stony planet in sunny Leo suggests an overwhelming and confusing desire to be seen and respected, especially since Saturn symbolizes feeling overshadowed or fearing that there is nothing special about you. On the other hand, being thrust onto any kind of stage where you’re the center of attention can cause you to feel defensive, shrinking away from the light. As you mature, you learn that humility and self-deprecation are not the same, but Saturn requires you to love yourself as you are so that you can stand in the light without falsehoods or shame.
Letting your hair down can feel like a forbidden practice, but over time you learn to express your true personality and give yourself permission to play and partake in artistic projects. Creativity is important to you, and even though expressing this side of yourself might feel forced, life experiences reveal the value and necessity of it. Once you understand the importance of boundaries between your more public persona and your personal life, you’ll find the experience of navigating the spotlight a little smoother, eventually mastering it through time and practice.
Saturn’s placement in Mercury-ruled Virgo points to various innate skills that call for diligence, perseverance, and close attention to detail. Virgo is an investigative sign, and having Saturn here suggests you excel in logical pursuits and matters of research. You have an eye for flaws, which makes you an ideal person to work on projects that require efficiency, but it’s also one of the qualities that causes you to stress your way to illness. Mercury-ruled Virgo is connected to the mind—but Saturn in this intellectual earth sign hints that yours is both a carefully curated chamber of knowledge and a prison that chains you to fantasies of perfection. Your devotion to ensuring everything surrounding you works optimally is inspiring, but sometimes your devotion teeters on rigidity and the price is often your mental wellbeing.
Saturn is critical and when it comes to learning and making things happen; you approach your tasks with precision. Your tendency to seek perfection—a concept that exists in a vacuum—shows that you’re learning to accept and embrace the things that can’t (and don’t need to be) fixed. There is such a thing as “good enough,” and you may need to learn how to take pride and find contentment in the things you have already accomplished. In this sign, Saturn demonstrates an underlying fear of anything you can’t predict or control. You thrive on routine, and discipline means creating and sticking to a set of daily rituals that offers a sense of balance in your day-to-day life. Setting boundaries for you means focusing on the aspects of your own life that you have the ability to manage and improve, while allowing others to make decisions for themselves—regardless of whether you approve.
Having Saturn in Libra describes your inclination to make very calculated decisions, weighing out pros and cons of any situation and considering an outcome from every perspective. Saturn’s placement in Venus-ruled Libra suggests you take commitment seriously and follow through with your word. Saturn symbolizes binding, and in Libra, you often find yourself contemplating very intently about what choices, contracts, and people you should bind yourself to. As someone who is sincerely dedicated to being reliable and fair, you spend a lot of energy thinking about your options before ever making a decision. You detest cruelty, discrimination, and dishonesty, which makes you a great person to give objective advice, but it also means you have a tendency to get stuck on moral or philosophical questions of what’s right and wrong—even in the small stuff that you deal with everyday.
You’re not indecisive, but you can take forever to make a decision that you feel confident about. Your natal Saturn encourages you to face your fear of decision-making and trust yourself more. It’s hard to do when you want to make the most ethical decision but you’re aware that someone will always feel like they’ve received the short end of the stick. It’s easy for you to empathize with what other people are thinking and feeling, but it’s important that you consistently practice setting appropriate boundaries so you’re not trying to take on responsibilities that are not yours (or at least not solely yours) to carry. One of your honorable traits is that you use your discernment to help people find a balance in their lives. Keep in mind that Saturn is the planet of limitations. You’re a genuine helper, but you can’t help everyone all the time. When you try, you tend to deny and deplete yourself from the support that you need to function. Sometimes you need to remember to check in with yourself and ask if things are fair for you, too.
Navigating life from the natal placement of Saturn in Scorpio is intense to say the least. Having Saturn in Mars-ruled Scorpio reflects an emotional resilience that comes from shouldering and surviving immense life challenges. You discover a lot about yourself through some of the darkest and most instinctual feelings of anger, fear, and sexual arousal. It’s within these experiences that you come to understand your fascination with power and strong drive for security. Scorpio is a fixed sign, which means you possess stamina and the will to persevere, but there is also potential for getting stuck in deep emotional ruts. Forgiveness can be one of the hardest things you learn to give, but if you find your list of enemies long and still growing, it’s a reminder of how crucial it is for you to set boundaries. Watery Scorpio symbolizes the strong desire to merge with another, leaving nothing a mystery. To know a person’s body, mind, and soul—and all of their secrets—can become a fixation for the archetype of Scorpio, but with Saturn here, you’re more likely to feel hypervigilant about letting others have this privilege with you.
Holding onto painful memories and situations tends to be an unhelpful habit of yours, but over time you learn to let go as you learn from firsthand experience that certain feelings become toxic if not released. Although maturity bestows you with a frighteningly perceptive mind, your earlier years can be fraught with excessive fear about misjudging someone you let close to you and trusting the wrong person with your heart, secrets, or valuable treasures. Giving yourself permission to be vulnerable with someone can be hard, but when you learn to establish firm and reasonable boundaries, you manage to set yourself up for more fitting partnerships (and business dealings).
Saturn in the sign of the centaur reflects your innate desire to move through the world without limits. Saturn, however, is the planet that loves to say “no” and you’ll find that no matter how much you try to defy your limitations, you’ll be brought back down to earth through life’s character-building circumstances. Jupiter-ruled Sagittarius is inclined to philosophical explorations and generally operates in a carefree, expansive way, but having natal Saturn in Sagittarius suggests that life presents its fair share of faith-shaking moments and periods of spiritual weightlifting. Growing into your Saturn sign means getting grounded without letting failed expectations color your entire experience of life. Both Saturn and Jupiter symbolize wisdom and knowledge in their own respect, but Jupiter represents uplifting experiences while Saturn stands for humbling teachable moments that ask us to root down. Learning how to feel confident in your own research and views is part of your coming-of-age story, and becoming wise means setting boundaries and giving yourself permission to adapt your views as you learn more about the world.
Pursuing higher education might be one of the most fulfilling things you do in life, but the structure that matriculation requires also makes you feel just as constricted. Sagittarius is also a mutable sign—inclined to divide its focus among many interests—and Saturn placed here points to your matriculation of more than one topic with certificates and diplomas of various disciplines. Considering that Sagittarius is also known to be optimistic, you’re likely to jump ship on some of your educational goals after realizing that you overcommitted to a task you were never really up for. Pacing yourself and learning to approach your aspirations with a touch of practicality is important to your growth in the long run. Nonetheless, committing to the discipline of an education (whether academic or spiritual), is an avenue of self-mastery for you.
You were born with Saturn in its home sign of Capricorn, which means at your best you’re self-disciplined, hard-working, practical, mature, and likely an authority figure. Having Saturn in Capricorn suggests you take duties seriously, but sometimes you take certain tasks too seriously. It makes you a dependable person, and you often see potential opportunities or flaws in whatever you undertake. But this same quality can lead you to be too rigid about work projects and ambitious goals. Saturn symbolizes fear, and your greatest fear is failure. Although your tenacity will take you far in life, you’re all too aware that the higher you climb, the further you can fall.
While you possess great potential to be an authority figure, part of your task in life is to learn to navigate your relationship with people in charge. Following in others’ footsteps and upholding tradition is something you do well, but it is important that you don’t allow opportunities (or people you look up to) to intimidate you to the point that you would sacrifice your ultimate ambitions. Impressing your elders means a lot to you, but Saturn in Capricorn suggests that you’ll need to recognize that boundaries are what will keep you from confusing someone else’s goals from your own.
Saturn is at home in Aquarius. While Saturn in Capricorn—its other home sign—builds using structures form the past, Aquarius builds with a vision for the future. Social structures, communities, and how people organize themselves are more interesting to you than building a grandiose professional reputation. Having natal Saturn in Aquarius allows you to see the ways everyone is unified through the passing of time, mortality, or the structures that hold society together. With the ringed-planet in airy Aquarius, you’re highly inclined to favor intellectual reasoning over sentimental traditions leading you to be as objective as you can be. Although you’re not exactly a people person—many have called Saturn-ruled Aquarius cold, detached, and void of personal or egotistical interests—you’re very concerned with the betterment of mankind. You’re critically analytical and excel in fields such as social sciences and politics, but you’re not without pride or biases.
Saturn in Aquarius people are often seriously devoted to the rigors of science and academics, or allegiance to a religion. Though each is aimed at reaching the truth, they have very different approaches, and because Saturn in Aquarius thrives on systems and rules, this placement reflects certain fixed tendencies and biases. People often mistake you for someone who is much older than you really are, and it’s because 1) Your personality is sober and calculating and 2) You have such a vision for the way things should be. You’re not afraid to question the powers that be, and you put the future of humanity at the center of most of your grand ideals, making you a leader who puts the collective’s interests first.
Being born with the ringed-planet in the sign of Pisces suggests you’re learning to navigate limitations posed to (or from) your relationship to spirituality. Defining your spiritual beliefs can be hard when you’re younger, and there are many times when you feel like you can’t freely or openly express your non-secular beliefs. Circumstances in your early life push you to ponder deep questions about the universe, but culturally speaking, you don’t feel supported to explore what the answers could be if they contradict the paradigm you’ve been raised in. Family, teachers, and political institutions have a way of imposing their beliefs onto you that can feel suffocating when you want to drink from the fountain of knowledge—it’s this same limitation that inspires you to dig for your own truth and find answers within. Saturn is a planet heavily concerned with boundaries, but it also represents shame and suffering. Having boundaries means maintaining integrity when it comes to your own beliefs as well as honoring the law of impermanence. Saturn teaches people to work through limitations, adversity, and obligation. This can feel harder to embrace in the sign of Pisces, but if you don’t honor firm boundaries and step up to Saturn’s tasks in your personal life, you’ll find yourself feeling increasingly responsible for others who are managing hardship.
Whether you’re an atheist, spiritual devotee, or a vagabond whose concept of spiritual practice is always changing, you’ll need to be mindful not to be judgemental or prejudiced of people whose beliefs don’t align with your own. While you can be admirably disciplined in adhering to a lineage and spiritual practice, you’ll need to check in with yourself frequently to make sure the choices you make are based on what is true for you. Fear and shame can lead you to form unhelpful dependencies on relationships, rituals, or lifestyles that don’t support you to grow and if you’re not maintaining healthy boundaries you’ll notice patterns of victimization playing out in your life. Despite these challenges, there is much to learn with this placement and it offers many opportunities to grow. As a Pisces Saturn native, you’re a beacon of light in the darkness of the world, and your faith and compassion are a source of levity to those suffering from loss.
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