Home / Feature Articles / SATURN RETROGRADE – Apr 17-Sep 06


[pic: peter lindbergh]
Saturn, the limiting, restrictive ruler of this dense, physically-defined earthly experience will occasionally slow down, come to complete standstill, then begin to slowly retrace his heavy footsteps. Dipping his snarky measuring stick into the karmic pit he is creating down here in 3D-land, his intent during retrograde is to test how well things have learned our lessons over these past few months. We will do well to revise those things that mattered most during this time.

Once this is done, he will once again proceed to press forward, in a methodical triple-check, examining that everything in our new reality is operating with maximum efficiency, economy of thought, motion and matter. Saturn’s job is to pass down exacting ‘terms & conditions’ of success. He does this with uncompromising firmness. In doing so, there is a merciless separation from any unproductive, redundant or superfluous junk. Any unrealistic elements in our lives must go, or be gone before we can successfully move on to new ground. Naturally, if we refuse to let go of the dross, the burden of grief, frustration, depression, loss, ill-health, aging, even death may catch up with us.

This three-pronged reality-check is the standard operating procedure with Saturn. Saturn’s 29.5-year orbit is such that from earth’s perspective he appears to cover the same stretch of space 3 times – usually over an 11 month period, just so we get the learn our lesson, and the reality of our situation sinks in.

Whilst seldom fun at the time,in retrospect Saturn’s retrograde period serves to define our karmic path on this terrestrial, 3-dimensional plane we call ‘life’. In short, it is what many would describe as ‘character’ building, simply because it acquaints us to our mortal limitations and boundaries.


Many of us require a reality check now and then. Very few of us on this planet are immune to the strict laws of gravity and the harsh limitations that apply should we fail to show respect and comply with these.

Accepting our limitations is an important part of the human experience and vital to understanding the context of our sanity. In the Saturnian sense, reality is defined by our own experience with the exterior world. Our acceptance of what is is fostered and encouraged by most sane people in our world. It is the ‘goal’ of most relationships, businesses, institutions and therapies. Whilst accepting what is presented to us as ‘the absolute reality’ is not necessarily always easy at the time, it is this acceptance which steads to bring us the most peace with our times. For instance, if our own clock is in sync with everyone else’s, then we feel we are running on time.

Hence, ‘reality’ is usually defined as the state of things as they actually exist, not some idealised or romanticised notion. It is usually the tangible, graspable properties, the physical constraints, defined through rigorous measurement that allows us to yield a determined consensus about what is real.

The most discernible reality is that which provides the most stable set of conditions to which the majority of us can agree. Consensus creates a density. This means that the particles of any matter become so condensed that even light cannot pass through them. This ‘density’ either limits, diffracts or denies resistance. One cannot argue with solid matter. It just is. Therefore it is irrefutably real. Saturn’s crystallising effect on matters in our lives therefore determines their existence as real.

Similarly, linear time appears to have irreversible properties. The reality is that something can exist in form in a particular moment in time. Once absent from these constraints, Saturn has trouble with verifying it as real.

This is Saturn’s non-negotiable application.

When we play into the linear time/space continuum, we must also pay respect to the laws of limitation. Everything is conditional, and we must ‘pay our dues to the consensus’ about those things we collectively feel worthy to partake in.

Similarly, if things are deemed not real we need to learn to forego, miss out, feel a sense of denial, suffer delays & frustrations, or endure the humiliating ‘coming down to earth’ effect of anything that serves as a rude reminder of our physical limitations.

Time, money, status, power, youth, brains, sex-appeal, gender, culture, nationality, connections, degrees, etc. are all qualifiers in Saturn’s world, and they will be used against you in his terrestrial court of law.

This is the serious, sombre, inflexible nature of Saturn – ruler of 3D limited reality and the linear dimensions of time. We call this Karma, since what will be, will be. The old devil will continue to play hardball with us, pressuring you to fit in. Either you play a prescribed role, according to how and where you were born/bred, or you miss out. When Saturn comes along in a transit he is keen to apply all the severity that he can muster to help you realise what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’ about you and the world you’re in.

Of course, you don’t want to mess with that, do you? And the consensus is, that playing along in Saturn’s reality game is ultimately…. well…. character defining.

Let’s face it. Unless you are a sadist or masochist, then the harder (squares/oppositions) Saturn transits aren’t much fun, especially by today’s standards where many of us are hypersensitive and ready to receive experiences of reality from higher dimensional fields.’

[pic: peter lindbergh]


PHASE 1: RETROGRADE SHADOW – Jan 10, 2017 – April 17, 2018

Direct Saturn enters the shadow zone at 02°♑33′

In this phase, Saturn begins to lay down the premises of what will become our reality for the next few months. Brick by brick, he’s throwing it down, paving the path that will become defined as what “the matter”. Scrap by scrap he’s removing that which can no longer stand.

“So… What have you been doing during this time?
Anything good? Something constructive? Or have you just been wasting valuable time/resources?
Yes, talking to you… what have you got to show for the last few months?”

It’s likely that somebody may play this role for you, judge you, scrutinise your purpose here in ways to which you may be pressed to provide an answer.

You may play this role for others – testing and questioning their validity both in your life and the world in general..
Or maybe you are giving yourself the ‘business’ internally. That stern, parental voice of judgement has a way of creeping into our head somehow, whether through our waking consciousness or via our dreams and unconscious fears and worries. It is the judging of our efforts to keep it real, stay responsible, be useful, dependable, reliable, successful, economically viable etc. This is constantly measured against the current backdrop of ‘society’s’ consensus.

In the past four months (Jan-Apr 2018) our ‘reality’ becomes redefined, and as Saturn reaches the end of his shadow period he begins to slow down to station. Here, the pressure of our responsibilities becomes insurmountable and increasingly heavy. We may feel that we are running out of time to deal with the inevitable duties of life, whilst also dreading to have to deal with these. We can’t see the point of having to drudge through such dreary tasks and our momentum slows, energy drops.

Life seems to slow down to a grinding halt as we prepare for the next phase.


PHASE 2: SATURN RETROGRADE – April 17 – September 06, 2018

Saturn stations at 09°♑09′ and turns Retrograde

During this period, we are pressed to retrace our steps, review how well we have adhered to the structures and duties lain down during Saturn’s shadow phase. We are tested to see how seriously we have taken our grasp on physical reality, as if it is a projection of how faithfully we have managed to exteriorise our authentic inner self.

[pic: peter lindbergh]
Have you been living up to expectations of what is realistically required of you? have you been accountable to your set of responsibilities?
Have you been dishing these out to others, trying to hold them accountable?
Has there some slacking, avoidance, stretching of facts, overspending of resources; procrastination; double standards in your relationships; some good, ol’-fashioned moral hypocrisy’ going down?

Time to look back at the most challenging events during the Phase 1 (Rx shadow) period of this retrograde, assess whether stuff is making any real, concrete sense.

We start to get an internal reading on who and what seems honourable and respectful to us, and begin to sense a shift: As much as we may come to honour and respect the laws and moral guidelines of others, this may be a time when we find it difficult to live by the advice of anyone but our own, internal conscience.

[pic: peter lindbergh]
Those who are grounded enough to be acutely attuned to their ‘inner reality vector’ will see this period present a unique set of opportunities to access this firm and direct ‘line of instruction’ from within. Listen to your social conscience.

This is the alignment of instruction between the perfected, ‘higher self’ and that of the ‘lower (ego-attached) self’ – the one who still has much to learn in their journey here on earth. Rather than fear, it feels like an affirmation that you are on the right path, managing the universal laws successfully enough to make a proper difference in your life and the lives of others.

This may come in spite of all the turmoil and anguish that appears to be going on around. In fact, even this appears as an opportunity to learn something about our authentic selves.

For many, this Rx period, and the ensuing direct shadow-phase (Sep 6, 2017 – Dec 12) will be a time of considerable frustration and delay.

There are those who will continue to succumb to the 3D system of duality and separation. For these, Saturn will roll out whatever means it sees necessary to teach some lessons which are not necessarily experienced as “opportunities” to grow. Those holding on to lower, fear-based judgements about what’s right/wrong, good/evil, using rigid socio-political, class-based, race/culture-based, gender/sexual-based, religious or moral principles that make little sense other than to incite fear and division, will experience considerable drama, both internally and in their external affairs. The inner voice starts to plague them with guilt and shame and in their ignorance may begin to project this out, with unfortunate consequences.

And woe to those who have nothing going in inside at all – those who are still completely unaware that they are unaware. For those who are wholly dependent upon the direction or guidance from their parents, priests and prefects of the exterior order; those who are merely going through the mechanical motions of life; who practice along preset patterns of conduct; who never question – only wait for changes or stimuli in their environment to react, and then, only in the safety of numbers, this may be a challenging time as they start to suspect that they have somehow been played, like society’s pawns.

[pic: peter lindbergh]
Of course, I don’t want to scare anyone with these reports. We just want to differentiate between the (three) different levels of awareness of Saturn:

  1. aware that you are aware (conscious, responsive)
  2. aware that you are unaware (suspicious, cynical or skeptical)
  3. unaware that you are unaware (unconscious, ignorant, narrow, reactive to fear, shame, guilt)

As Saturn now retrogrades in Capricorn, society is asked to assess and review the gaps in its socio-economic framework. There are those who will become more aware, understanding how the adulting world of parenting, business, government, economic trade is limited, conditioned and contrived to exclude more than it is inclusive and fair. They must learn how best to play into the rigid structures and moral codes that govern over what is right/wrong, true/fake, good/bad. They may keep a reserved and mature approach instead of entering into premature judgements and expectations. 

Can you see where you tend to get stuck in expectations and ‘norms’ that are no longer valid or expired? Can you see where it is simply unsustainable to continue to playing along into these patterns?

PHASE 3: September 06 – December 12, 2018

Retrograde Saturn stations at 02°♑33′, turning direct, finally leaving  the retrograde zone

Saturn in Capricorn ultimately represents man’s need to withdraw from whatever institutions, governments, corporate or corporeal bodies appear to have outlived their usefulness. It may take an earnest, steady approach to take enough personal responsibility to be able to accomplish this successfully. A more conservative, cautious, frugal approach may be necessary to make things work, particularly after the retrograde period is over.

[pic: peter lindbergh]
In a way, Saturn does retrogrades better than all the other planets. Why?  It’s like he gives us a second, chance to improve on the ever-evolving relationship formed between our ego (exterior-defined self) and the soul (internal self).

© All rights reserved, Ang Stoic 2018

… intensive horoscope readings on how to best understand, and make the most of this period, by Sun/Rising Sign:

Aries/Aries Rising
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Cancer/Cancer Rising
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Capricorn/Capricorn Rising
Aquarius/Aquarius Rising
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 Ang Stoic is a professional astrologer and cosmobiologist with over 20 years experience. His unique research, delineation and practice with the stars brings a fresh understanding to the humanistic aspects of astrology.  As our current reality changes, shifts in consciousness awaken us to new levels of understanding. And incorporates these changes into a broader, more evolved understanding of our purpose here, both as individuals and in relationships.
Making confident decisions about the road ahead rests only on being able to see the multitude of choices available to us. Working with your horoscope, Ang puts clear light on all the options available to you now, and in future trends, providing simple tools on how to get the best outcomes. To book a session with Ang, simply complete this application [click here].
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