Are you feeling it? Saturn is slowing to a rapid halt now for his retrograde station, when he will appear to start moving backward somewhere in the February 18-20 range depending on the parameters we use to establish the exact stationary movement.
The five days before the actual station can be a time of intense mood shifts, financial concerns, apprehension, unease and dramatic shifts in your plans (as well as seismic and atmospheric events). Saturn retrogrades for about four and a half months every year. He will remain retrograde until July 9 this year.
In Vedic astrology, Saturn is called Shani, which means the one who moves slowly, because Saturn takes about 30 long years to revolve around the Sun. As an actual deity, he is personification of time and moves very slowly. He tends to delay matters as a natural course, so when he is retrograde this slowing down affect can be intensified and especially maddening.
Saturn’s purpose is to teach us patience and fortitude. He represents the tests we have to undergo in the material world. He is the irritant that produces the pearl and the pressure that creates the diamond heart.
Saturn symbolizes the psychological shadow that we have to face and integrate in order to be whole and manifest our full potential. He is the representative of the material plane with all its lessons and limitations. Ultimately, Saturn is the divine servant whose hard knocks are meant to reveal the truth about the divine play of consciousness.
Unbalanced, the essence of Saturn can be contracting, fearful, anxious, depressed, or blocked. When balanced, Saturn is the epitome of reform, conservation, organization and practical achievement. He signifies the principle of reality check, limits, boundaries and consequences.
When a planet appears retrograde, its essence is strengthened but internalized, and often delayed or skewed. A retrograde planet will often point to issues from the past that we need to go back and resolve.
A retrograde planet can show us how to move forward spiritually even while it may indicate that we have to experience some delays or restrictions in worldly matters. When we are patient and aware, the Saturn retrograde cycle can be an especially productive time to establish new priorities and transform our ambitions.
Saturn is currently transiting in its exalted sign of sidereal Libra where it puts an emphasis on important relationship or business decisions. Astrologer David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri) says that Saturn is exalted in the sign of Venus Libra because “here Saturn represents the higher principles of justice, order, and detachment, which are necessary in using our heart energy in the right way, without attachment or bias.”
During the strong retrograde transit of Libra, Saturn will force certain unpleasant issues to come out into the light, and as Sat Graha, planet of Truth, Saturn reflects some potent lessons. This is even truer because Saturn is transiting with the Moon’s North Node Rahu for the next year and a half, and this may be a challenge at times because the essence of these two working together may show itself as workaholic tendencies and added stress and anxiety.
Meanwhile, on a mundane level, Saturn is the significator of the economy; laboring classes; disease; anxiety; misfortune; and sorrow, among other things. During Saturn’s retrograde period, all its significations can at times seem worse than usual. For instance, the economy may surely slow down at some point in the next four and a half months (as one economist said the stock market is very tired right about now).
Per a classical Indian astrology work called Sanketa Nidhi, when Saturn retrogrades, it mostly affects the sign ninth from it, which would be Gemini, the indicator of the stock market and business; as well as communication; transportation; travel; and respiratory or nervous illnesses.
Of course, to understand the nature of this retrograde cycle of Saturn on a really personal level, we would need to analyze it through one’s birth horoscope as well, especially noting the houses it rules natally and the houses it occupies natally and in transit, as well as aspects it makes and so forth.
I feel that during this Saturn retrograde cycle and especially within the next 10 days, we might all benefit from added mindfulness and spiritual practices for centering and grounding, including conscious breathing. As Saturn rules the Mooladhara (base) chakra, keeping one’s energy system connected to the earth can be helpful. As Saturn is exalted in the Anahata (heart) chakra’s sign of Libra, simple awareness of the breath as it moves in and out of the heart can be a priceless practice. Especially when feeling overwhelmed with negative emotions, seek refuge in the heart…
“Breathing in, I calm body and mind.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.”
(Thich Nhat Hanh, Being Peace)