Saturn Retrograde: Mythos, Meaning, and Natal Chart Qualities
Saturn can be a scary planet to embrace if all your information comes from TikTok on the reality check of Saturn Returns. Saturn is a big social planet that affects groups of people born within the span of 2-3 years at a time as this is how long it take Saturn to change signs. Because it’s so large, it also meanders through the sky at a leisurely pace taking 28-30 years to make a full trip around the zodiac. These stretches of time are excellent markers to acknowledge our journey of growth from birth to cronehood.
In my previous article What do the Planets Mean in Astrology Today I discussed briefly the themes of each planet in modern western astrology. To refresh, I have pasted the below excerpt about Saturn from the article:
This is another planet that, unless you’ve learned how to embrace its gifts, is a less-than-welcome sight. Most people in the metaphysical world have likely heard of Saturn return (which is a whole other topic all by itself) and fear the planet because of it. Saturn isn’t all that terrible, but it does require authenticity and vulnerability to navigate – two things that scare a lot of people. In the Roman pantheon, Saturn was the original King of the Gods until Jupiter overthrew him. Symbolically, Saturn in the natal chart represents our father, or our main father figure, and how we relate to him in our lives.
This masculine earth planet is the bringer of karma and demands order, discipline and structure. If Jupiter is the planet that zooms out to see the bigger picture, Saturn is the microscope that magnifies every talent, imperfection and obstacle. It reminds us of our obligations and responsibilities, shows us our limitations and restrictions, and feeds our ambition.
In this article we will deep dive into the mythology of Saturn, it’s astrological timing and movement, as well as what it means for those who are born during Saturn retrograde.
The Mythology of Saturn
Saturn’s (aka Kronos) Greek mythos is important in understanding Saturn in forward and retrograde motion. Though I touched on it a bit in my previous article, I want to dive deeper here before exploring its retrograde motion effects.
Saturn is a Titan and the son of the primordial God Uranus (sky father) and Gaia (earth mother) in Greek mythology. Uranus and Gaia had many children and with each birth Uranus was disappointed in his creations. He found them disgusting and unworthy. He cares nothing for them, doesn’t try to nurture them, and leaves everything after conception to Gaia. Eventually, Gaia has enough of Uranus’ toxic masculinity and together, with Saturn, uses a sickle to castrate Uranus in his sleep. Yup, she pulled a Lorena Bobbit (if you know that story, you’re as old as I am). Once Uranus has been castrated, Saturn takes his place.
Because of what Saturn has done to his father, he fears the same fate will befall himself. In some versions of the myth an oracle warns Saturn that this will be his fate. So naturally to avoid this Saturn decides that to be in control of the situation he will begin eating his own offspring – gross! Uranus sent them to the underworld, Saturn swallowed them. And just like Saturn’s mother, his wife Rhea finally has enough of Saturn’s destruction. Instead of castration, Rhea hides Zeus away when he is born and hands Saturn a stone wrapped in cloth to swallow. Zeus is taken care of by nymphs and particularly a she-goat named Amalfia. In fact, it is here that we get the association of the goat with Capricorn which is also the sign associated with Saturn the planet.
Zeus eventually grows up and overthrows Saturn banishing him to Tartarus never to be mentioned again.
Saturn’s mythos as it applies to astrology
There are several themes from the myth of Saturn that apply to the meaning of the planet in astrology.
Creation, manifestation, and limitations/Boundaries, discipline, and duality
While Saturn represents the act of bringing form to thoughts and ideas (manifesting), it can also just easily prevent, hinder, or cut off (castrate) the ability to create. He also shows the setting of boundaries and discipline when working to attain a goal. We see this with the castration of Uranus. Once he decides to help Gaia castrate Uranus, his sense of discipline allowed him to shape a plan to conduct the act without collateral damage. After the castration takes place, Saturn becomes paranoid and hollow, terrified to follow in his father’s footsteps. So, his answer is to eat his children instead of banishing them so there is no one to be able to castrate/hinder his ability to create, except for himself. These themes show the duality of Saturn. While he can be a Lord of manifestation, he can also be a limiting force. He is immersion and separation.
Repression, expression, and birthing
The act of eating his children brings up some interesting concepts for Saturn. Eating his children whole connects to the repression of ideas, feelings, time, and ego. Ever heard the phrase choking on your feelings? It is also symbolic of taking in a concept and ruminating on it without sharing it with others until a solid plan forms and a sturdy foundation exists.
This also links back to the concept in the witch’s pyramid about ‘To Be Silent.’ The more you talk about something, the more steam you lose in wanting to manifest it into reality. There is magic in the gestational period of birthing something whether physical, mental, or spiritual.
When we talk too much about something and receive input from outside sources, we may decide what we thought was brilliant is just mediocre when, in reality, that’s simply not true. When we do this, we experience the polarity of Saturn because we have hindered, or castrated, our potential to create something new and unique – an opportunity to express ourselves through our actions.
It is important that we take these concepts from Saturn’s mythos because every great idea, system, structure, project, etc. needs to be nurtured, chewed over, and thought about in great depth before revealing it to external sources to keep us from losing steam in the manifestation process.
Time and Control
By eating his children Saturn literally stops their mortal clock and controls their fate. They never mature or grow past when he decides to swallow them. There is a profound sense of nostalgia and complete control we can link back to the stoppage of time and the anti-aging of Saturn’s children before they are old and grey.
In Roman mythology, Saturn is also referred to as the God of the Golden Age. Some astrologers speculate that we can take this further and associate the phrase ‘Once Upon a Time’ to Saturn. This actually makes a lot of sense considering the nostalgia and idealisation of memory Saturn can bring into the natal chart.
Wherever Saturn shows up in the natal chart, time seems to stand still in that area of life. For example, I have Saturn in my fourth house. The fourth house is the house of roots and family and where we create our foundations. For me this means I would literally stop time for my family despite the hustle and bustle of the world around me. For anyone that knows me, knows that this is true of me.
Masculine father figure/Pregnant man
Sometimes Saturn is depicted as a pregnant man as a result of eating his children. If we expand upon this further, we can say that this is symbolic of the masculine being impregnable with ideas and creativity. Though we associate Saturn with the biological father or masculine father figure we grew up with, he is actually a symbolic combination of father, mother, and child. Depending on where Saturn appears in our natal chart can show us how we view our father figure, our relationship with our father figure, and what type of father figure we might be.
Literalism, inevitability, structure
Wherever Saturn is located in the natal chart can bring a sense of literality. This is where our personal stories or folklore that seem unbelievable to others are actually quite literal. I’ll give you an example. I have my Saturn in my fourth house. I was born with a broken heart. Some people would look at that sentence and apply a metaphorical meaning to it but in reality, I was born with a congenital heart defect which literally equates to being born with a broken heart.
Continuing with our example, the inevitability of Saturn in the fourth is that someday I may need a heart transplant. I say may because I prefer to live my life in denial, but doctors believe this to be an inevitability linked to being born with a broken heart. The external structure and bureaucracy of hospital systems worldwide that I have to go through is al Saturnian. Though the ideas for them don’t belong to Saturn, Saturn is responsible for their manifestation into the world we live in.
Status Retrograde: Saturn Retrograde in the Natal Chart
Born during Saturn Retrograde?
Saturn is a large planet that moves painfully slow. Each year Saturn retrogrades for roughly 4.5 months. This means that around 35 to 38 percent of the population is born during Saturn retrograde. Not surprising when you realise that its retrograde takes up one-third of the year. To find out if you have Saturn in retrograde, look for the Rx symbol aligned with the Saturn glyph in your natal chart. And if you don’t have your natal chart you can pop over to Astro.com to grab your FREE natal chart.
What does it mean to be born during Saturn retrograde?
Being born during any retrograde, no matter the planet, makes you view the world a little differently. How that affects your perspective depends on the planet(s) in retrograde at the time of your birth. The houses and zodiac signs which these planets fall under also influence the areas of life and the specific expression of a planets retrograde.
Personality and ego
Those with Saturn in retrograde tend to be more sensitive to their external world and have insecurity about whether they are truly accepted for who they are. When Saturn is in forward motion, it allows restraint and containment for the maturation of the ego. When retrograde the containment shell has peepholes or cracks that allow external sources to affect the ego more readily and more easily than when in forward motion. These individuals can appear externally stoic but be freaking out internally on a regular basis.
They are often micromanagers who link being in control with the concept of safety. As children, they are often quiet and observant taking in the world around them. This is so they can organize it and create their own sense of right and wrong/dogma about the world. Sometimes this aligns with what exists in the world but often times is unique to each Saturn retrograde individual. Those who identify as male and have Saturn in retrograde are often very in touch with their feminine energy and do well in the helping professions due to their ability to nurture.
Creativity, gestation, and birthing
If you have Saturn in retrograde you probably struggle with the entire concept of birth and prefer to stay in the gestational stage. This comes from a place of seeking acceptance within society for whatever it is you are trying to birth into the world. This could be anything from academic work to a painting to a fictional story to a new romantic relationship or a workout program. Where Saturn retrograde falls in your natal chart will govern the area of life in which you may feel this way.
Loose boundaries and daddy issues
The interactions between the Saturn retrograde child and their father figure determine how boundaries, their own and others, are approached. If those with Saturn in retrograde suffer from an absentee father figure (whether emotionally absent or literally absent) it may take them longer to discover what their personal boundaries are and what other’s boundaries mean to them.
They may not be good at respecting boundaries but can mature and grow past this hurdle if they are willing to address their issues with their father figure whether that means healing the relationship or cutting their losses. This is especially important for those who identify as women with Saturn in retrograde to take note of. They are often hit extremely hard by the absence of their father figure whether early in life or through their adulthood and should be aware of their subconscious desire to compensate for their sensitivity to criticism.
If raised in extremes (too strict or no rules at all) by their parents, particularly their father figure, they may struggle to motivate themselves to be ambitious and will care little about personal discipline.
Rules and authority
Those with Saturn in retrograde don’t vibe with those in authority. Whether it’s individuals or institutions, these natives don’t just blindly follow because a degree or proclamation of importance has been waived in front of them. The only time Saturn in retrograde likes authority is if they are the ones making the rules. Rules are extremely important to those with Saturn in retrograde, but they must make sense in order to willingly follow their decree. In fact, these individuals will only commit to societal structures that align with their personal values.
Bouncing between polarities
Saturn retrograde individuals often struggle with feeling extremes. One day they may feel centered and established and equipped with the skills necessary to take on any obstacle that may come their way. The next day they may feel completely invalid and impotent incapable of completing the most basic tasks. This is because with Saturn in retrograde unconscious defense mechanisms are used to ensure that their ego does not undergo undue stress or attack.
The only issue with this is that usually the individual is unaware they are employing these mechanisms which may isolate them from others. Because of this unique trick of the ego, these people can retain an undeveloped ego into adulthood which can provide them with a vulnerability and strength not seen in other individuals.
Retrograde Planets: Traversing the Inner Landscape by Erin Sullivan
Saturn: Time, Heritage, and Substance by Melanie Reinhart
Astrology for Real Life by Theresa Reed
Meet Resident Writer: Allorah Rayne
Allorah Rayne is a practitioner of witchcraft and has been part of the online spiritual community since 2012. She is a Virgo sun, Pisces moon, and Leo rising. Her introduction to tarot was at the age of nine and she pursued more intensive learning at fifteen. Allorah is the founder of The Wayfaring Witch © where she offers soul origin profiles, tarot and oracle card readings, and individualized mentorships in the ways of the witch. She is also the co-founder alongside Kitty of Burning Hallows Productions which produces The Otherworldly Oracle Official Podcast and Mimir’s Well podcast. You can contact Allorah at the following social media sites Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, on The Wayfaring Witch © website via live chat, or by e-mail at email@example.com