Structure of Consciousness: Saturn in the Birth Chart

Natal Saturn in Psychological and Evolutionary Astrology
“La Fanciulla Sulla Roccia a Sorrento” [“The Girl on the Rock in Sorrento”] by Filippo Palizzi (1871)
Saturn has received quite a number of negative reviews in traditional astrology: above all, it is associated with “karma” (of the “burdensome” type), past life “sins” one has to duly pay for, physical deformities, moral incongruence, and basically all that is associated with “pain” and “grief”. Let’s look at Natal Saturn from a different angle:


As some branches of Vedic astrology would declare, Saturn is to be feared and respected as the “Lord of Karma” which would “deny” or “delay” certain pleasures of life. However, most Vedic texts do include certain “remedies” (mantras or charitable actions) that can appease Saturn’s wrath and harshness, especially as it transits sensitive points of the birth chart.

In psychological astrology, however, Natal Saturn is usually associated with familial, social and behavioral “conditioning” formed in the psyche of the individual during the early phase of life (specifically, before the first “Saturn Return” at around the age 29). The individual is then encouraged to gain awareness of the existence of such “default” psychological patterns in order to be able to modify or disregard them before embarking on the path of “individuation”.

Additionally, some schools of psychological astrology would consider Natal Saturn as an “impetus” for “growth”, i.e. as a slow and steady dosage of healthy “distress” which would eventually “push” the individual to go beyond a certain “obstacle” in a particular area of the psyche in hopes of achieving a level of “mastery” in that area. In this sense, one’s initial “weakness” as symbolized by the condition of Saturn in the natal chart, can very well lead to “excellence” and even “recognition” over time.

Yet, a third approach is also possible: in evolutionary astrology, Natal Saturn mostly denotes the “method” through which one constructs one’s “conscious” experience, as well as one’s probable “quality” and “form” of “consciousness”. It is important to recall that in evolutionary astrology, Uranus denotes the individual “unconscious” mind. Chiron is probably a tentative “bridge” between the “unconscious” and “conscious” areas of the psyche. Saturn, however, stands for whatever that enters the full grasp of “consciousness” after being filtered through (or “leaking from”) the “unconscious” sphere. In this sense, Saturn is a symbol of all we “construct” and “maintain” consciously, be it habits, conditioning, or just the “way” we “build” our world or “defend” our perception of it in general.

Additionally, because of the fact that Saturn rules Capricorn which stands in opposition to Cancer, the sign associated with “mother”, Saturn can also stand for the disciplining and conditioning aspect of “father”, which is different from the creative and encouraging aspect of “father” symbolized by the Sun.

It is also important to understand that “father” does not necessarily refer to the male parent, as it is a word used in evolutionary astrology to refer to the parent or parental figure who is primarily associated with educating the child with regards to the notions of “right” and “wrong”, conditioning the child to behave in socially acceptable ways, and preparing the child for encountering the outside world. In contrast, “mother” is the parent or parental figure, male or female, who primarily has the role of “nurturing” the child and offering “emotional” protection to him or her in a rather unconditional manner. Ideally speaking, through a healthy interaction of Cancer and Capricorn archetypes (Moon and Saturn), the individual will feel loved at home, and also will be able to respect the Law and function within a moral framework in society.

What do I think about Natal Saturn?

Personally, I understand this planetary energy as that which gives finitude to the infinite (Neptune). As human consciousness relative to Earthly experience can only happen within certain boundaries in order to have an individual significance, Saturn makes us live only one life out of many possible lives.* This is precisely for us to make that one life as personal as possible, and to “see” only one world out of many possible worlds, in order for us to make that world a familiar place we can safely operate within (Polarity point of Cancer, relative to Capricorn which is the sign ruled by Saturn). In other words, Saturn is that line which is masterfully drawn in the sand of infinity in order to create a unique shape which only resembles us and nobody else.

In this sense, Natal Saturn is as vital in our individuation process as the Natal Sun: it shows how far the light of our Sun can travel before leaving the visible horizon, and thus how far we can reach out to create (Sun) anything which is tangible enough to be seen, recognized, and rewarded. As the Sun inspires and Saturn defines, the individual will have two wings to fly to the zenith of Human actualization of his or her God-given potential.

As a general rule, the area of the chart dominated by Saturn usually points to an initial inhibition, and yet a life-long potential for achieving excellence will exist in precisely the same area. Furthermore, the condition of Saturn in the birth chart would indicate how one’s “consciousness” forms and functions, as well as how the disciplining aspect of the “father” figure was perceived. In reading the following posts, it is vital to keep in mind that what will be presented will be a very general outline of the possible implications of certain Saturn placements and configurations, as Saturn has very specific implications in each natal chart (specially in tandem with the Sun), and one rule cannot possibly apply to all.

What will come next?

In the next post, I will address Saturn in the First House, in Aries, or in association with planet Mars, as well as the opposite polarity of Saturn in the Seventh House, in Libra, or in association with planet Venus. That post will be followed by more posts, covering Saturn in all the Signs and Houses of the birth chart, as well Saturn in aspect to other planets.


* “An unlimited life does not make you exist, but a limited one makes a big presence.” I Ching, Hexagram 54

If you are interested in understanding your own birth chart or if you have specific questions, you can book a consultation or take a class.

12 Replies to “Structure of Consciousness: Saturn in the Birth Chart”

  1. These days, I like to add to the psychological perspective on astrology by remembering the beliefs of Medieval and Renaissance astrologers, who focused on materialist outcomes; external signs or evidence based on events, instead of the internal world we’ve more recently inherited from post-Alan Leo ‘sun signs’ astrologers. I say this because, with Saturn in Capricorn conjunct a 29˚ Sagittarius Ascendent, I was born with inherited musculoskeletal deformities, and while I mostly believe in karma, I also believe in DNA. Also, my first Saturn return was brutal. I’ve spoken with many people whose first Saturn return went well, or, if they weren’t being entirely honest, they do not have war stories they want to share. I personally think there is a lot to deal with, with Saturn on the Ascendent, and even if we don’t like to hear what society now perceives as ‘negative,’ (what I would call realistic) earlier astrologers understood that life could be very hard and there was nothing wrong with that. As my forebears would say, work won’t kill you. 😉

    1. Thank you for your insightful feedback, Alison! Yes, having Saturn on the Ascendant is hard. I am sorry for your physical condition. As you mentioned, it is important to pay attention to external/physical manifestations as well as internal aspects symbolized by our astrology. Having Saturn on my Libra Ascendant, I perfectly remember how paralyzingly shy and self-conscious I was as a teenager when I had to interact with others, but well, this was also exactly the reason I started self-analyzing and learning about psychology early on. It has proved to be a blessing in the long run, but yes, has also meant lots of hard work 😉

    1. I Am a Huber astrologer. Bruno Huber believed that since Saturn is relegated to conditioning and daily habits that she is associated with the mother. Since Saturn has feminine,defensive and protective traits, that is what mother figures do: provide safety and security for the daily life of the individual. Saturn is also the good and bad mother of antiquity and the “dweller of the threshold” between our present lives and our karmic past lives. I am not contradicting your piece because it is wee thought out. Astrological Psychology of the Huber’s present a different view.

      1. Wow, how interesting! Thank you so much for sharing this different point of view 🙂 I should research about this outlook on Saturn… it makes a lot of sense.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.