Saturn Transits: Houses
Saturn Transits: Through the Houses
Saturn Transiting the Houses of the Horoscope
Techniques for Preparing for the Future and Understanding the Past
Saturn takes about 28-29 years to come full circle. We can expect Saturn to spend some time in each of our 12 houses. Unless you work with an equal house system, however, the length of Saturn’s transit through a house will depend on how big each house is. Saturn will spend approximately 2-1/2 years in an “average”-size house of 30 degrees.
Note that Saturn’s effect is to crystallize, to ground, and to solidify. Generally, the effect of Saturn transiting a house is felt in a more pronounced way in the first part of its transit through the house, as well as when it forms aspects to natal planets.
Toward the end of the house, the native tends to have gained increased understanding–experience, if you will–with the effects. Saturn’s movement by transit through the houses acts to aid us to learn to depend on ourselves in different areas of life.
At first, we generally encounter feelings of being thwarted or unsupported by the outside world in the particular areas of life that are ruled by the house. By the end of the house transit, we will have learned to look within ourselves for support.
In general, as Saturn passes through the fire houses (the first, fifth, and ninth), we deal with self-confidence issues and how these issues have affected our lives and our productivity. Through the earth houses (the second, sixth, and tenth), we confront issues of self-worth and effectiveness. Through the air houses (the third, seventh, and eleventh), we evaluate our relationships with others and how much (or how little) we can depend on these, as well as our mental outlook. Through the water houses (the fourth, eighth, and twelfth), we re-evaluate our inner stores of faith, our connection with the past, and our psychological workings.
Saturn makes us accountable for ourselves wherever it touches. Each house governs specific areas of our lives, and of our personalities, and transits of Saturn will bring these areas up for “inspection”, re-organization, and restructure.
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Saturn transiting the first house begins with a Saturn conjunction to the Ascendant, a transit of personal significance. The first house is a fire house, a house that rules our personal identity. We concern ourselves with how we come across to others on a personal level with Saturn here.
Our physical body becomes a focus as well. Depending on the age of the native, it may be a time when we feel our age, or it is a time when we see our bodies quite clearly. This is an excellent time for beginning health regimens, diets, and the like, simply because it is a time when we look in the mirror and see ourselves clearly—not what we want to see.
Our outlook on life changes to a more serious, responsible tone. In the beginning stages of the transit, you may feel frustrated with yourself, let down, and lacking in self-confidence. You might reach out to others in an attempt to validate yourself, looking for ways to boost your confidence. When these attempts fail, you may feel temporarily let down and discouraged.
Rest assured that Saturn will re-work these feelings, with your help of course, until you reach a point (as Saturn moves through the house) where you have a stronger sense of self. This transit acts to transform your self-confidence in such a way that you question the source of your confidence to date, and discover a more solid base for pulling up inner strength.
Saturn here acts to rip away the superficial. Illusions about the self, the body, and personal abilities will no longer be tolerated. The end result is a newfound identity and a realistic understanding of the self. In terms of career and projects, outward signs of progress may not be as forthcoming, yet the work that you do during this transit will lay a foundation for future success and progress! For example, some years ago, a client began a hobby/project during a Saturn transit to her first house, something that took up a lot of her time and energy and that yielded nothing in terms of immediate financial gain—until later! In fact, this “hobby” turned into her career in the years to follow.
While a certain level of introspection marked the Saturn transit of the first house, Saturn’s movement into the second house marks a new stage of taking stock of our effectiveness, self-worth, and finances. This stage of life is often marked by hard work. It is a practical time in one’s life.
Financial success may not be remarkable, yet it is generally steady, if slow to come by. This transit has traditionally been associated with financial loss, but in truth, it is more about our perceptions—we are apt to review how effective we have been on a financial level to date, and find some dissatisfaction with our progress. In fact, gains may be slow, but sudden reversals are not common with this transit.
The purpose of this transit is for you to make the connection between your own feelings of self-worth and what you produce in the real world/get back from the real world.
As with all Saturn transits, at the outset, we might reach out and look for validation from the outside world and from others, and find something lacking in so doing. The initial sense of feeling unsupported can be discouraging (many of us think on the lines of: “I work so hard, and what do I get for all this hard work?”), but as the transit moves forward, you learn to look inside of yourself with a newfound clarity and realism and ideally draw up considerable strength from within. You work on your effectiveness in the world, and see exactly what has been holding you back from achieving the results you want.
The challenge here is to capture the newly found and defined self-confidence you gained from the first house transit, and now apply it in the real world.
The transit of Saturn to the third house marks a time when how you have networked with people around you, and how you gain and disseminate information, come up for inspection by Saturn.
A new kind of pressure is produced–it’s not about your personality or your resources like it was in the first and second houses. Rather, the pressure centers more around mental output. You may feel pressure to produce ideas, and to make them work.
A certain somberness in your outlook may be characteristic of this phase, as it may be a time of worry. It may seem like acquaintances and sometimes siblings are blocking your growth in some manner, and these relationships may be strained as a result. Although you have a desire to make contacts, you are now rather preoccupied with learning, and you may view idle chit-chat as a waste of time.
You may feel an unusual pressure to structure your time and effort, and to cut out communication that seems unnecessary. You may at times feel rather overwhelmed by such things as errands, red tape, and other such day-to-day “disruptions”.
As Saturn moves closer to your IC (the fourth house cusp), there may be some vague feeling of urgency and worry, as if you sense some things in your life are closing. By the end of the transit, however, you will have ideally gained a greater depth of understanding, having focused on information and communication that you really can use to feel more effective in the world.
The transit of Saturn to the fourth house marks a time of considerable inner “re-working”. In terms of outward signs of achievement, this transit may be the most unremarkable of all the Saturn transits.
However, near the end of the transit, and certainly later than that, you will recognize this stage as a critical one in which you made some life-changing personal and psychological advances and developments. During this stage, you are working on solidifying your identity, exploring your roots (where you came from), so that when Saturn begins its transit through the fifth house, you will be ready to differentiate yourself from others and embark on some important work on your ego.
For now, however, you will face issues surrounding your attachments to the past. Sometimes this manifests as literal re-organization of your home. Moving house is not associated with this transit as it would if, for example, Uranus was the transiting planet. If moves are made, you might encounter some resistance in yourself. This is not a time when you feel particularly brave in the outer world. However, reorganization in your home, and more importantly, in your soul, embodies the true nature of this transit.
Many will go through a major “spring cleaning” inside. Limitations that came from early family conditioning will be brought to the fore. At first, there may be some frustration with your life to date, and how you have limited your opportunities because of early conditioning. A feeling of being alone and unsupported in life may dominate the early stages of this transit. Sometimes, delays and slowdowns are experienced in the areas of health, mobility, and career. As Saturn moves closer to the fifth house, a feeling of some kind of mastery will empower you.
With Saturn moving through the house of creative power, you may feel limited initially by a lack of internal “spark” or “spunk”. How you entertain yourself, how you have fun, and issues surrounding how you manage your ego are now coming up for “inspection”.
By the end of the transit of Saturn to the fifth house, ideally, you will have a stronger sense of purpose, and a re-worked ego. What makes you unique? How do you handle pride? What are your creative talents? Have you worked hard enough to feel good about “playing hard”? These are issues you will face during the course of this transit. By the time Saturn enters the sixth house, you should have a solid sense of what makes you different than others, and a rather concrete belief in your own creative talents.
Many people go through a period of re-evaluation of their talents—how they have perhaps wasted them to date, and how they can express themselves in a more practical, useful manner.
The fifth house is also associated with love and attention received from others. Issues you will face during this time include how “deserving” you are of special attention from others.
Initially, you may feel unloved, and perhaps somewhat neglected or ignored. As you learn the lessons of this transit, you should learn to love yourself and take pride in yourself. Looking outside of yourself for “ego strokes” (whether through romance or other such “applause”) may prove to be fruitless. You will learn through the course of this transit to depend on yourself and to take pride in yourself for what you really are, not only how others see you.
Saturn turns his critical eye on matters of the sixth house, and you are likely to feel a certain level of pressure in the areas of work, daily functions, habits, and health. At the beginning of the transit of Saturn to the sixth house, you might find yourself more accountable than ever when it comes to your work. You may initially feel bogged down by what seems like undue pressure in your routines. The key word here is “seems”, simply because the nature of Saturn is such that the pressure it brings is never truly undue.
In fact, Saturn knows better than us, and it is in reality very much “due”. Why? Because things we may have previously neglected or disregarded now come up for inspection. How can we make best use of our time? How can we manage our day-to-day lives, and our bodies, better? Saturn pressures here make us aware of all of the “fluff” we have surrounding our daily routines and our work, and spring cleaning is now in order. This is an excellent time for starting new regimens to better our health and well-being, such as regular exercise, more structured and productive use of our time, and so forth. In fact, we might be faced with life events that force us to do so, or at least provide us with the motivation to get our acts together. Traditionally, this transit was associated with health problems.
Generally, though, if health concerns manifest, they are ones that are manageable. They signal the need for change in diet, routines, and habits. By the end of the transit, you will likely have learned to be more productive, healthier, and considerably more focused.
Significant relationships with others are the focus when Saturn transits the seventh house. Saturn motivates us to do “spring cleaning” in the areas of life he touches, and one-to-one relationships will need to be considered and understood during this transit. Initially, as is usually the case with Saturn transits, we might feel frustrated and we might seem withdrawn. This is a time when we need to define, understand, and crystallize our significant relationships with others. If you already have a partner, this is a time when any issues surrounding compromise, flexibility, and the ability to give your heart to your partner will surface. Initial frustration can take the form of feeling criticized and “examined” in this area of life. By the end of the transit, however, you will have learned much about commitment and compromise. Single natives will feel the initial pressures of Saturn transiting the seventh house as well.
A feeling of loneliness is possible in either situation (whether you have a significant partnership or not), but instead of an issue of re-committing, the single native will think about commitment in general. If involved in a casual love relationship, when Saturn transits the seventh, a pressure emerges concerning the need for evaluating one’s commitments.
Often this transit corresponds with an urge (or pressure) to make a commitment or a re-commitment. Healthy partnerships can be the outcome of this partnership, whether they are new ones or strengthened existing partnerships. Saturn always brings with him a fair measure of reality and objectivity, so that whatever relationships the native has or wants will be defined and re-defined. Relationships are seen now as serious.
Partners are no longer simply fun or mirrors of our ego. Responsibilities to partners, the need to compromise, and the realities of the needs of others, become clear. We are forced to begin seeing others as individuals, and to improve the manner in which we relate to and with others. Depending on the person’s age and life circumstances, “significant partnerships” can mean partnerships with loved ones, business partnerships, and even deep friendships.
For example, when Saturn transited my seventh house when I was a young teenager, I began to view my casual friendships as superficial and unsatisfying and eventually developed a deep friendship with a girl that was to last some time. Essentially, quantity (in the relationship department) was replaced with quality, and this process involved time, soul-searching, frustration, and eventual fulfillment.
How do you handle power? Your desire nature? Intimate relationships? What kind of obsessions and addictions do you have? What are your deep-rooted compulsions? What are your unhealthy attachments? When Saturn transits our eighth house, we feel pressure to answer these questions. Often, at the beginning of the transit, we are very sensitive to what seems like outer world pressures that force us to examine some of our deepest desires and attachments. These include our sexual relationships, our finances (especially with regards to debts and shared finances), and our need for control.
Sometimes, Saturn transiting the eighth brings about sexual dysfunctions, whether we encounter these in ourselves or in our partners. We may face difficulties satisfying our libido and/or encounter problems with intimacy. These pressures are “designed” to make us more aware of our desire nature, and what exactly it is we want.
Dissatisfaction and frustrations getting what we want, especially with reference to relationships with others and with our resources, often characterize the first part of the transit. How have we been using power? During this transit, we may find that previous methods of controlling our environment and the people in our lives simply are not effective anymore. We may not even be aware just how we have been employing power and control to date. Another realm over which the eighth house reigns is our mortality. With Saturn here, we become much more aware of our mortality.
Just as Saturn transits to our Sun or Ascendant make us more conscious of our age, Saturn transiting the eighth house often brings with it a realization that we do not live forever. Of course, we know this as a fact at the back of our minds, but Saturn reminds us. Before this transit, it is generally wise to begin organizing one’s finances. If we don’t, Saturn will most likely find ways to force us to do just that. On a psychological level, we face some of our fears that are of a compulsive nature—those fears that lead us to believe we need certain things in order to survive.
Take a small example of a superstition. Perhaps we perform some kind of small ritual that we feel will help protect us or give us good luck. If we do it often enough, it becomes an addiction. We are afraid that if we don’t do this little ritual, we will set ourselves up for bad luck. If we get rid of this superstition, we feel strong. Something as simple as a superstition or ritual for good luck can undermine us. Why? Because we are giving away our power over ourselves to this compulsive behavior! We are denying that we have power over our own lives. The same is true of any form of compulsive behavior and addiction. We attempt to control our lives through these behaviors, but what we are really doing is letting the addictions control us.
Towards the end of the transit, we will have eliminated some deep-seated habits and attachments that have been keeping us back from feeling emotionally free. We emerge healthier and stronger. When we give in to compulsive behaviors, we give up self-control, and guilt undermines our lives. We are not ourselves. By attempting to control others, we give away our own power over ourselves. By the end of this transit, we will feel more emotionally healthy. We will have nixed some of our addictions, and mastered our superstitions. We will feel more powerful because we have given up attempting to control things we cannot or should not control, and we will have gained a feeling of self-mastery instead.
This period in our lives is generally dedicated to self-improvement. We are developing our ideals and our commitments as transiting Saturn makes its way through our ninth house. Ideals and spiritual goals that we may have taken for granted or worked with for many years suddenly seem superficial or not particularly useful to us.
If we have been studying, we must watch for a period of questioning exactly what we are working towards. Does this line of study match our true selves? Some of us begin new studies as we unconsciously prepare ourselves for Saturn’s next house transit. But most of us come face to face with our self-defeating attitudes during this period of time.
The ninth house is a fire house, and it has much to do with our outlook, our sense of adventure, and our confidence. It also is associated with our faith, hope, and vision. Although its attachment to such things as higher learning and travel might mean that a Saturn transit to this house will affect these things, for most of us, it is more about taking a closer look at, and re-assessing, our attitude and confidence. At the beginning of the transit, we may feel a little somber. The blind faith or optimism that may have carried us to date comes up for inspection. Are our belief systems sound? What do we stand for? What kind of future are we working towards, and why? The spirit that drives us and motivates us to move out and beyond the everyday grind comes up for inspection.
By the end of the transit, we will have re-worked our spirit, and come face to face with what it is that offers us hope and optimism as well as that which fuels our drive. The initial entrance of Saturn into our ninth house may cause us to question ourselves, but by the end of the transit, if we work hard at self-improvement, we will have replaced our old spirit with a regenerated one. We will be one step closer to knowing where we are headed, and we will have re-built faith in ourselves. A shaky feeling that causes us to sputter and avoid risks will be replaced with a more mature attitude towards adventure and facing the unknown. We let go of self-defeating attitudes that have been holding us back, we recognize exactly where we have been overdoing our expectations, and we find new ways to nurture faith, hope, and vision.
Saturn reaches the top of our chart when it begins its transit through the tenth house. Ironically enough, there is freedom in knowing some of our limitations, and Saturn’s transit through the tenth house teaches us exactly what this means.
By the time Saturn leaves the house, we will have learned where we stand in the world, and how we have limited our achievements. This self-evaluation then offers us the freedom to appraise where we want to go. Approximately 14 years before this transit, we learned Saturnine lessons of the fourth house—we built a secure foundation within ourselves. Now it is time we build a secure foundation in our professional and/or most public lives. Our standing in society now comes under Saturn’s scrutiny.
We are in the spotlight, and what it is exactly that we have been building now comes up for inspection. Any projects begun 12-14 years before this transit are now scrutinized. Some of us find ourselves getting recognition and career “rewards” at this time. If this transit occurs in early adulthood, it is a time when we face our duties as a career person. Although the tenth house is a house of ambition, we do not focus on where we are going as much as we focus on where we stand.
The question, “Where are we going?”, is reserved for the next house, the eleventh, although on some level we are preparing for that stage as well. Before we know where exactly we are headed, we must know where we stand. Saturn’s transit of the tenth house is an eye-opening one–a time when we are working hard, taking on our fair share of duties and responsibilities, and either reaping some of the rewards of our hard work or facing the consequences of poor choices.
We become aware of what we have and haven’t accomplished to date, and we unconsciously prepare to re-evaluate our lives in terms of our personal goals during the next house transit. What have we achieved to date? We now are treated to a realistic look at what we have built and what we have achieved. We no longer view our place in the world, our careers, our reputations, and our standing in society with rose-colored glasses. We face the facts–and only the facts.
At the beginning of the transit, our increased sensitivity to where we stand and to our reputations may feel uncomfortable for some. We may feel exposed, publicly scrutinized, or under fire in our careers. We may also feel burdened by our responsibilities. This discomfort comes only as a result of a rush of reality into the matters of the tenth house, and if the discomfort is great, it is only due to the fact that we may have been holding onto false images of ourselves. Just as a mid-life crisis is experienced differently by different people, Saturn’s transit of the tenth house holds different meaning for different people, depending very much on how true we have been to ourselves.
However, as Saturn moves through the house, we begin to feel more secure. We recognize what it is exactly that we have accomplished.
We’ve spent at least a couple of years focusing much of our energy on our place in society, our responsibilities, and our standing while Saturn transited the tenth house. We should be at a point where we know, realistically, what we are doing.
When Saturn transits the eleventh house, events or realizations cause us to ask ourselves where it is that we are going. Our personal goals come under Saturn’s scrutiny as he makes his way through our eleventh house. How we fit in with others, our affiliations with people and groups, and our peers all become serious matters in our eyes. We might feel that our personal “circle” or our networks are superficial or unsatisfying at the beginning of the transit. We might feel alienated as we begin to see them for what they are worth, or what they aren’t worth. We might feel some disdain for the superficial workings of casual friendships, begin to feel uncomfortable and self-conscious about “going through the motions”, doing and saying the right things, and so forth.
Alternatively, we might meet someone with whom we establish a serious friendship at this time, or we might become a member of a group or affiliation that we devote much of our time to. Weeding out what seems now to be superfluous social associations from our lives is very likely at this time as we become more serious about what we want, on a personal level, from our lives. We take a hard look at the role we play in others’ lives, and consider exactly what it is that satisfies us and contributes to our happiness, beyond marriage, romance, career, religion, and so forth.
As Saturn moves further through the house, and by the time the transit is over, we should have found ways to bring definition and articulation to our innermost wishes and hopes for our personal path.
Contemplation of the meaning of our existence, our accomplishments, and our “failures” is the main focus when Saturn transits our twelfth house. This transit marks the end of a cycle, which can most certainly bring with it a fair measure of confusion and discontent, especially at the beginning of the period. Saturn turns a critical eye to all that lies beneath the surface, and we are forced to do some serious “spring cleaning” of our psyches. During this transit, we face our own demons—the vague yet haunting fears that undermine us. We all have skeletons in our closet. What we don’t always realize is that they can seriously undermine our happiness and well-being.
Saturn sweeps through our “closet” (the twelfth house) and demands that we take a hard look at what’s been hiding in there. Is this process uncomfortable? For most of us, it can be. But getting rid of outdated attachments, and examining and discarding irrational fears, is not only necessary for further growth and development—it’s ultimately a huge relief. The twelfth house in some ways is a dumping ground for things we have left “undone”.
Saturn here wants us to sort through the junk and keep only those things that we truly need for future development. This process can be rather lengthy and it can feel very slow, but if done properly, it can be most rewarding. We deal with endings rather than new beginnings during this transit, as we shed outdated attachments and unconsciously prepare ourselves for Saturn’s transit of the first house, when we will work diligently on our individuality and personal identity. We are markedly introspective at this time in our lives. We may isolate ourselves from others in some manner–a process that tends to come naturally. Health issues, generally of a psychosomatic nature, may come to the fore. We may be attracted to alternate ways of living, and to self-study fields, such as psychoanalysis.
Keys to Handling Saturn Transits:
Saturn teaches us about the value of moderation and caution. Perhaps the best way to “handle” hard Saturn transits to the houses of your chart is to avoid fighting these lessons. Accept that, at this time in your life, things may move at a slower speed (even a snail’s pace). Saturn wants us to work hard, put our energies into practical, useful, and meaningful projects, and to live in the “here and now”. This period in your life is a time for building a solid foundation.
Understand that moderation at this point in your life is necessary for your spiritual growth and your physical body as well. Avoid blaming others for where you are at now for extended periods of time (some self-pity, however, may be necessary in order to gather strength and the ability to depend on yourself, however)–doing this will only lead to feelings of melancholy and anger.
Know that this period in your life, while temporary, is a time for learning about your personal limits as well as your inner strength. Carry these lessons as you move beyond this phase, because how you handle your life now will make all the difference as Saturn moves into the successive house in your chart.
References & suggested further reading:**
Saturn in Transit: Boundaries of Mind,… by Erin Sullivan. This book is heavy reading, but powerful and insightful.
Astrology, Karma & Transformation: The… by Stephen Arroyo. Excellent work. Deals with natal positions, synastry, and transits in relation to karma and spiritual growth.
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