Introduction to Planetary Influence 8:
Saturn in Astrology

– written by Philip Graves – 9 Jan 2004
– reprocessed for WordPress, 8th June 2016


Saturn in Astrology

Saturn’s glyph consists of a vertical crescent of the Moon (or Matter) connected at its top end to the bottom of a cross of the Soul. The crescent hanging heavily from the cross of the soul represents being burdened or crucified by the weight of material responsibilities.

Schulman sees Saturn’s glyph as a crescent of Soul connected at its top end to the southern point of a cross of Matter, symbolising the requirement of the Soul’s desire for self-expression to be united with Matter; the consideration of how much of one’s Soul can be manifest as Matter; the desire for one’s actions to reflect one’s inner self, and thus the feeding of one’s actions back into the nature of one’s Soul; and the Soul’s discriminating evaluation of Matter with a view to selecting what to integrate into itself and what to leave out.

Saturn’s glyph also resembles a sickle: the instrument of death through time, which closely corresponds to the functions of Saturn. An ancient mythological analogue of Saturn is Chronos, the father of the Horae (hours). Time bounds human corporeal existence; and in the ancient understanding of space no slower-orbiting planet was known than Saturn, so it was the greatest marker of time.

Through its restrictive, dampening and sometimes lethal influence, Saturn has conventionally been regarded as a very negative conditioner of any point it contacts in a figure; and therefore it has been known as the greater malefic. It curbs Jupiterian optimism and bars Martian drive. It evokes limitation and restraint, which when positively expressed manifest as discipline; when negatively, as repression.

Saturn governs the ability to express thought in material form; achievement through disciplined, dutiful adherence to rules; aging; awareness of the separateness of the individual ego; the concrete creative faculties and mental awareness; the desire for self-preservation; emotional inhibition; hard times; the imposition of restrictions to ensure personal survival and growth; learning through hard experience; mathematics; scientific research; senility; seniority; strenuous self-exertion; and termination. It is ascetic; binding; cautious; cold; compressive; conscious of justice and injustice; constant; conservative; contracting; conventional; customary; death-dealing; defensive; deliberate; demanding of hard labour and self-control; desirous of authority; detailed; disciplinary; exacting; experience-valuing; faithful; fearful; firm; hard; inhibited; isolating; jealous; karma-dealing; laconic; law-setting; moralistic; non-committal; non-communicative; obedient to rules and higher authorities; oppressive; orderly; persevering; protective; prudent; reactionary; realistic; reserved; rigid; secretive; separative; serious; slow to arouse; solidifying; steadfast; tough; unaffectionate; and wilful; yet potentially also avaricious; enslaved by tradition; fatalistic; inexorable; materialistic; narrow-minded; pessimistic; tyrannical; and ultra-conservative.

Saturn governs sound advice, ascetism, bruises, cemeteries, chronic ailments, churchyards, corpses, countryside, darkness, debts and their payment, decay, disease, earth, physical falls, fasting, the father, friendships, habits, hermits, hindrances, karma, longstanding ties, misers, mountainous and hilly places, old plans and people, poverty, practicality, restrictions, and widowhood. It also signifies defects, delays, falls from position, fatalities, hurts to women and children, impediments, melancholy moods, misfortunes, secrets, and sorrows. It confers a cautious, habit-governed, independent, jealous, miserly, secretive and unhappy nature.

People signified by Saturn include animal farmers, such as herdsmen and shepherds; beggars; bricklayers; brick-makers; bridge-makers; builders; candle-makers; carters; clowns; colliers; corpse-bearers; day-labourers; dealers in land, property or earth-produced commodities; ditchers; dyers of black cloth; fathers; gardeners; grandfathers; gravediggers; jailors; Jesuits; labourers; lead-dealers; leather-finishers; malsters; miners; monks; old men; plumbers; police; potters; scavengers; adherents to sects; security guards; sextons; stablemen; sweeps; tinners; underground workers; undertakers; and night-time workers.

Places described include ruinous buildings, burial places, caves, church-yards, coal-mines, dens, deserts, dirty places, holes, mountains, obscure valleys, office buildings, sinks, stinking muddy places, wells, and woods. Minerals include ugly, unpolishable stones, and those of a sad ashy or black colour; dust and rubbish; lapis lazuli; lead; and sapphire. Colours signified are black, dark brown, indigo. Flavours are sour, bitter and sharp.

Herbs under its dominion include aconite (monkshood), amaranth, angelica, baneberry, barley, beet (red), belladonna (deadly nightshade), birdsfoot trefoil, bistort, burdock, cabbage, candytuft, castor oil plant, lesser celandine (pilewort), cleavers (goosegrass), comfrey, cornflower, crosswort, cudweed, cumin, bearded darnel, dodder, ground elder (bishop’s weed / goutweed), endive, ferns (Asplenium), Royal fern, fireweed, flax, fleawort, fumitory, stinking gladwin, hare’s ear, hawkweed, heartsease, hellebore, false hellebore, hemlock, hemp (cannabis), henbane, horsetail, houseleek, knapweed (greater), lentil, mallow, mandrake, marrow, mullein, nightshade (common), parsnip, pepper, buck’s horn plantain, polypody, poppy (inc. corn / field), rue, rupturewort, meadow saffron, saffron, sage, shepherd’s purse, Solomon’s seal, starflower, melancholy thistle, toadflax (flaxweed), tutsan, valerian, vervain, water-parsnip, water-violet, willowherb, and dyer’s woad. Trees include acacia, blackberry, blackthorn, box, buckthorn, caper, elm, holly, ivy, myrtle, olive, pine, poplar, quince, savine (dwarf Juniper), sloe, tamarisk, turpentine tree, willow, yew.

Animals include adders, bats, bears, beetles blackbirds, cats, cranes, crocodiles, crows, cuckoos, dogs, donkeys, eels, elephants, gnats, grasshoppers, hares, hogs, lapwings, mice, moles, ostriches, owls, peacocks, scorpions, serpents, shellfish, swallows, thrushes, toads, tortoises, weasels, wolves, and all kinds of creeping creatures that breed in putrid conditions.

Physically Saturn rules the left auricle; blood composition, circulation and coagulation; bones, joints; calves; cartilaginous tissue building; contractions; right ear; gall, gall bladder; hair; knees; leukocytes; liver; constrictor, peripheral and sympathetic nerves; ribs; skin; spleen; teeth; tendons; and urinary organs.

Illnesses of Saturn include agues with recurrent fevers; apoplexies; atrophy; circulatory impairment; consumption; debility caused by falls; dropsy; impediments in the right ear; gout; hazardously fluctuating haemorrhoids; black jaundice; leprosy; malnutrition; melancholia; palsies; rheumatism; skin disease; streaming from the nose or eyes; spinal ailments; subnormal temperature; tooth decay; tremblings; and vain fears and fantasies.

When prominent, it describes a medium stature; a cold, dry body; a short, lank belly; a pale, swarthy or muddy complexion; an unpleasant, lumpy countenance; large ears; small, dark, downturned eyes, with lowered, hanging eyebrows; a broad forehead; black or sad-looking, hard or rugged hair, but a sparse beard; an inclination to hold the head forward or stoop; thick lips and nose; large, broad, often crooked shoulders; and lean, spare, short thighs, with ungainly knees and feet. If Saturn rises before the Sun, the stature is shorter but the body is well-composed. If after the Sun, the body is leaner, the complexion is darker, and the hair is sparser. If Saturn is of little declination, the body is leaner; if of great declination, fleshier or fatter, especially if northern, when it is also hairier; if southern, smoother. If Saturn is stationing retrograde, the body is a little fatter; if stationing direct, much fatter, weak, and ill-favoured.

Unto character, when well placed, Saturn confers austerity; a profound imagination; patience in work; reserve in speech and giving; seriousness and gravity in disputation and argumentation; a severe manner of acting; and a studious and solicitous approach to acquiring wealth.

When poorly placed, it produces outward concealment of feelings; condemnation of women; covetousness, envy and jealousy; ill-content; secret lying; malice; mistrust of others; murmuring; a repining nature; sluggishness; sordidity; stubbornness; suspicion; and timorousness..

In ancient astrology, Saturn signifies constraint and restriction; degradation; disappointment; ignorance; and necessity; when well-placed, austerity, depth of thought, frugality, hard work, quietness, righteousness, seriousness, and solitariness. As a vocational significator, it produces customs officers; dock and harbour workers; farmers; labourers; tax-collectors; and all working of necessity in areas of little interest to them. In a lost-item horary chart, it indicates a dirty, incomplete or old quality to the item.


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