Note: Like all of my other Vedic writings, this article could not have been written without my having the great blessing of studying Jyotish with my Vedic guru Hart deFouw.
[This article is based upon using Whole Sign Houses and the Sidereal Zodiac with the Lahiri Ayanamsha.]
Part One: The Aspects of Saturn
It is universally understood that each planet has a profound influence upon the themes of the house it occupies. Those practicing ancient astrological methods (Hellenistic or Vedic) also know that every planet aspects the opposite house, whether that house is occupied or not, and influences it just as strongly. (These ancient approaches also apply the principle that planets which aspect a house also aspect every planet in it, regardless of orb.)
Vedic astrologers recognize that three planets, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, each have two additional "special aspects", that carry the full weight of the planet's influence.
Saturn's special aspects are on the third and tenth house from it (counting inclusively). In modern astrological terms, the forward sextile and the backwards square. In other words, Saturn's forward sextile and backwards square are as potent as Saturn occupying (or opposite to) a house, and much stronger than all of Saturn's other aspects.
[I.e. These two aspects carry so much more weight than the forward square and backwards sextile do that Vedic astrologers don't even use the latter two aspects in their work.]
The above charts depict, in Western and Vedic formats, the houses that Saturn influences.
A poignant illustration of the power of Saturn's forward sextile can be seen in the following biwheel:
The above chart (showing outer transits on the day of Paul Newman's son's death around Paul Newman's chart) reveals that there are no Ptolemaic aspects formed by Uranus, Neptune or Pluto on the day that Paul Newman's son died (within a one degree applying orb). However, natal Saturn, which aspects the 5th house of children, the 5th lord, and the significator of children (Jupiter), is receiving the forward sextile of Saturn on that day within 1 degree, and is therefore powerfully activated. To have such a major life event indicated only by the forward sextile transit of Saturn is a clear example of just how powerful the sextile can be.
One consequence of Saturn's special aspects is that Saturn has a specific set of thematic impacts upon people, depending upon which houses it occupies and influences at birth. That is the focus of this article.
Part Two: Saturn's House Placement
and the impact of it's aspects
We often look at the individual houses impacted by planets, which is a very useful endeavor. But in this article, we are focusing on the themes shared in common by two or more of the houses Saturn influences, so that we can discover confluent patterns in people's lives. For example, when Saturn occupies the First House, it influences both houses of success (1st and 10th) and therefore delays, inhibits, or may even thwart worldly success unless Saturn itself is a strong yoga-forming planet.
Note: if Saturn is strong, and it aspects or occupies one of its own houses (Capricorn or Aquarius), then while it will still powerfully challenge the other houses it aspects, it will enrich the themes of the house it both aspects and owns. Nevertheless, even a strong yoga-forming Saturn will have mixed effects upon the houses it aspects and occupies -- even if it rules one of them -- because it is such a strong natural malefic. (Learn about the AND principle at the very bottom of this web page.)
The Houses that Saturn Influences
Note: to better understand the meanings of each of the houses in Vedic astrology, read my articles on the Vedic Houses here, here, and here.
First House: Here Saturn aspects the 3rd and 10th houses, of achievement and effort, making the individual work harder for results and/or be challenged in marshaling their resources, throw roadblocks (internal and external) in the way of completing tasks, and indicating that they take their tasks very seriously. The person will often approach projects by themselves (i.e. without others' support). With the maturation of Saturn at age 36, things will proceed with fewer obstacles and delays after that age.
Because these house influences combine with Saturn's occupying the house of self, the person's energy may have ups
and downs (aka Vata imbalance), with sensitivity to cold, wind, and moving too quickly.
Since the First and Tenth Houses are the houses of success and fame, as mentioned previously, Saturn may delay recognition and rewards until later in the life.
If you are born with Saturn in the First House, it is important to keep the faith with yourself, be patient with obstacles and slowdowns on the road, and pace yourself... Slow and steady wins the race.
Second House: Aspecting the 4th and the 11th, Saturn impacts friendship and happiness. The person has to choose friends wisely, let the right ones in, and to learn to receive. Try to keep your healthy friendships alive, as social isolation is certainly not preferable.
Being in one house of money (the 2nd) and aspecting another (the 11th) can indicate issues with money including interrupted and fluctuating income streams, financial losses, and insecurities around resources. One needs to be conscious of their attitudes around money, spend wisely, and carefully create a nest egg.
The 2nd and 4th houses also have a lot to do with one's sense of well-being, and so Saturn's influence on both of these house can be unsettling and create the need to work to find inner peace. Remember to gradually build towards a life that has more fulfillment, self-worth, and centeredness.
Third House: With Saturn's aspect on houses 5 and 12 ,and 9 by opposition, it influences faith, trust, spirituality, travel, and spontaneity. The lessons of developing faith and trust, letting go, and learning when to move forward are present. Be careful of cultivating too much doubt and scepticism; try to keep your mind both grounded and open.
Journeys should be planned with some extra care, i.e. to compensate for possible delays or other unforeseen obstacles, and rushing should be avoided.
This placement may indicate having periods of creative blocks, that can be dissolved by loosening one's controlling patterns, releasing fears and self-judgments, and learning how to get "into the flow".
Fourth House: When the 6th, 1st, and 10th houses are impacted by Saturn, one may find it hard to take action; and work, and work relationships are the testing grounds. Cultivating good work practices, steady routines, and a supportive work environment can help.
One's success and popularity may be delayed, and so it is important to cultivate trust in life.
Self-judgment is common in this position, as are feelings of isolation, anxiety, and the inability to count on others. To overcome these patterns, one must be ones own best ally, cheering themselves on, and spending time with people who are supportive.
Fifth House: In aspect to houses 7, 11, and 2, money, pleasure, and one's social life are affected by Saturn. One needs to learn to enjoy life, and to receive support from others.
Saturn here can indicate a variety of types of relationship issues: delays or obstructions to forming relationships, being distant in partnership or having distant partners, commitment issues, and fears and doubts about ones social connections. Get help by participating in socializing workshops or groups if you feel too inhibited, and carefully choose a partner who is both trustworthy and spacious.
It is also important not to make life all about work. If you have difficulty letting go and having fun, explore additional recreational possibilities and find activities that engage you that are not just productive.
Sixth House: Here Saturn aspects all of the dusthanas: 3, 6, 8, & 12, and indicates a life where learning to navigate the obstacles and trials becomes very important. Because this position presents life challenges, whether it be in health, losses, financial issues, fears, etc., one needs to cultivate courage and faith. This can be a journey of developing endurance and spiritual detachment and attaining wisdom in the process.
Don't be self-martyring or too self-sacrificing, but at the same time donating your time and efforts to serving others part time can be very rewarding.
It is important here to maintain good health and work habits, even if they are hard to come by. Remember the importance of right attitude, and direct your mind away from a "problem-mentality" and preoccupations with illness, worries, and negative anticipations (and towards things that make you laugh, align, and ground).
Seventh House: Saturn aspects both of the parent houses (4 & 9) with directional strength, leading to the likelihood of challenges with one's parents. Manifestations of this position include parents that are distant and unavailable, controlling and judging, anxious and depressed, irresponsible and/or repressive.
The impact of ones upbringing upon ones sense of self and well-being (Saturn aspecting the 1st and 4th houses) is significant, and one needs to work on recovering from early life issues and experiences. Healing self-esteem and abandonment issues are paramount. The issue of intimacy vs. space arises here, so one needs a relationship that offers a balance of closeness and personal freedom, while owning ones responsibility for healing their issues with emotional openness.
All three houses of passion (1st, 4th, and 7th) are influenced by Saturn, and therefore libido is likely to be significantly affected. It might be inhibited, inflamed, or run in unconventional channels, depending upon what other planets are involved with Saturn. Find peace with your sexuality, and ways to express it harmlessly.
Eighth House: When Saturn aspects the 2nd and 5th and 10th houses from the 8th house, it can create insecurities about expressing oneself (e.g. stage fright), and so developing confidence in the value of your words and deeds and creations is important.
You are likely to have plenty of time to grow into your fullness, so don't worry if you're a late bloomer and don't compare yourself to others.
The combined 8th and 10th influences can also indicate a lack of clarity about one's career or life path. Again, be patient and things will become clear.
Ninth House: Saturn in the 9th house aspects the 11th, 6th, and 3rd houses. The influence of Saturn on the 9th and 11th may manifest as obstructions to an easy "parting of the waves". In other words, one might have to exert a lot of effort to succeed, and feel that support from others and from life is a long time coming. Keeping the faith with oneself becomes crucial with this placement, but perseverance furthers.
Both houses of siblings (3rd and 11th) are impacted by Saturn here, meaning that Saturnian themes run through ones relationship with brothers and sisters, including the possibility of a limited number of sibs, siblings with serious problems, adopted siblings, and siblings that are problematic. The teaching here is to have good boundaries with ones brothers and sisters (not over accommodating, nor over-rigid), and to have a life of ones own independent of them.
Adding the 9th house of ones father to the above pair of sibling houses can indicate unfortunate dynamics around the father's relationship with all of the children. Step aside from manipulations within the family, and don't let your behavior be dictated by the actions or relationships of others.
Tenth House: Here the 7th, 12th, and 4th houses are aspected by Saturn.
Like Saturn in the 7th house (which you should read), Saturn in the 10th house influences three sexual houses (the 7th and 4th of sexual passion, and the 12th of orgasm). As a result, the libido and ability to flow with ones sexuality can be impacted by this placement. One should choose ones bed-mates carefully with this placement, not treat sex casually (as it won't be casual), and learn how to surrender to passion with a tender partner.
The influence on the 4th and 12th houses shows a hidden vulnerability to judgement, rejection, and control, so be careful to associate with people who are both kind and sensitive, and generally positive. These houses also indicate the ability to enjoy life and to let go into sleep, and therefore one needs a safe haven in ones life and an unstressful lifestyle. One must find one's own way to embrace life, and to let go enough to enjoy it.
The 10th house placement also makes career endeavors checkered with ups and downs. If you're going to start your own business, form a business partnership, or work for others, make sure that you are properly treated and have enough influence upon others.
Eleventh House: Here the 1st, 5th, and 8th houses are seen by Shani (the Vedic name of Saturn).
Given that the 1st and 5th are dharma houses, a person with this placement of Saturn may experience issues with self-expresssion (blockages, fears, doubts) and life direction (struggling to find ones life path and/or encountering obstacles and dead ends along the journey). The task is to accept oneself throughout, whether ones efforts pan out or not. Develop the trust that Saturn delays but does not deny, and keep on believing that you will arrive at greater clarity and purpose.
Life will improve over time (since the 11th is an Upachaya or improving house) as you let yourself express and receive what you need to. Allow.
The combined influence on the 1st and 8th suggests that one should be careful to maintain their health through good diet and exercise, to avoid developing chronic ailments.
Twelfth House: In the 12th, Saturn aspects the 9th, 2nd, and 6th houses.
Since the 9th and 12th houses represent long-distance travel and foreign residence respectively, Saturn can indicate difficulties during travel, and while visiting or living in other countries. One must allow enough time for journeys, be careful with foreign transactions, and watch ones health, diet, etc. when on the road.
Both houses also represent spirituality (the 9th house themes include gurus, grace, Divine intervention, and pilgrimages, and the 12th house themes include ashrams, meditation, inner journeys, and enlightenment experiences), and therefore the pursuit of higher endeavors must be done in a grounded fashion, with teachers chosen consciously, while at the same time not falling prey to disbelief and closing off to Spirit (especially if some life experiences with teachers and religion are negative).
The 6th and 12th houses can indicate patterns like addiction, health issues, deep fears, debts, and losses. It is very important to have healthy life routines, to avoid ingesting inebriants, and to live a financially-balanced life style. The aspect to the 2nd house in addition to the 6th and 12th makes it particularly important to have savings, and to avoid risky financial behaviors (like gambling and get-rich-quick schemes).
A Note on Saturn in the Signs: While many factors besides Saturn by sign should be taken into account, including each chart's Rising Sign, as mentioned above, there are some interesting quirks due to Saturn's special aspects on specific signs. E.g. When Saturn is in Cancer, an enemy's sign, it aspects Aries, its weakest sign, and is likely to greatly destabilize the themes of the Aries house. When, on the other hand, Saturn is in Taurus, the sign of a friend, it aspects its own sign of Aquarius and significantly augments the themes of its house.
Other Factors to Consider
It is impossible within the scope of this short article to cover all of the relevant qualities of Saturn's placement that will influence the nature of its impact, but one must of course include in one's assessment:
1. The effects of the houses Saturn rules. (I strongly recommend using Whole Sign Houses and the Lahiri Sidereal Zodiac for evaluating this).
2. Saturn's strengths and weaknesses (dignity, directional strength, retrogradation, vargottama, combustion, planetary war, etc. Again, I highly recommend evaluating strength or weakness by sign using the Sidereal Zodiac.)
3. The planets aspecting and with Saturn. (Including, of course, yogas.)
4. The transits, dasas, progressions, directions, etc. involving Saturn.
Saturn is a very powerful and significant influence in each person's chart. It teaches us to accept our limitations, conquer our fears and doubts, develop patience and right pacing, respect human and universal laws, cultivate spiritual detachment, and realize right attitude.
As such, it is our greatest teacher, and once we align with its principles, it blesses us incredibly.