Saturn: Retrograde and Return
Retrograde is an astronomical term that refers to a planet’s movement. All of the planets, except the sun an moon, will at some point have a retrograde orbit. When a planet is in retrograde its apparent or perceived movement is backwards to us on Earth. This is due to the varying times it takes the planets to orbit the sun. Sometimes planets pass one another, and this causes a distortion in the perception of its orbit.
For example, Saturn has been retrograde in Sagittarius since March and is just recently returning to its regular orbit. When a planet is in retrograde it causes an intensification and/or dysfunction in its particular area of life. As with any astronomical event, there is a proliferation of blogs and articles talking about what it is and what it means.
I decided to write about the Saturn Retrograde because this is also my Saturn Return. This happens every 29.5 years when Saturn completes its orbit, and returns to the position it was in when you were born. So not only is this my Saturn’s Return, but there is also the added effect of the retrograde that I was born under. This unique combination has given me many insights into my life’s path.
The Saturn Return is a celestial event that is known as a Cosmic Rite of Passage. Every one has a Saturn return at approximately 28, 56, and 84 years old. Since Saturn has a longer orbit and was the outermost of the seven ancient celestial bodies it governs larger life themes and long term lessons. Many astrologers refer to Saturn as the great task master of the zodiac, acting as a life coach, Saturn points to the areas of your life that will teach you your toughest lessons. Since Saturn is also associated with mastery, the obsessive drive in these areas of life, will often lead one to a career in the same area. Saturn’s return lasts 2.5 to 3 years, during which time one comes face-to-face with what is blocking your path, and you are forced to overcome it. Saturn returns to a different zodiac sign based on the sign it was aligned with at one’s birth.
In astrology, Saturn and Sagittarius are a unique pairing. Those of us born between November 1985 and November 1988 are particularly influenced because that is the last time Saturn occupied Sagittarius. Saturn is sometimes restrictive and harsh. showing us reality. Sagittarius is philosophical expanisve and a traveler. These seemingly opposing influences are strangely complimentary.According to some astrologers, having a Saturn Retrograde is a sign of an old soul, often one who has advanced far on the spiritual path. It often signifies that the individual is re-experiencing some aspect of their past life. As children, individuals with Saturn Retrograde often display a serious, contemplative nature, and feel overly responsible. Many of these things resonated with me in some way. Upon further investigation of my natal chart I discovered that Neptune and Uranus were also retrograde when I was born. I found this to be intriguing since the outer planets deal with fate and destiny, the occult and esoteric mysteries, our innermost dreams and passions.
I wondered if having retrogrades in the outer planets had some correlation to occultists and other magical practitioners. So I put up a post on my Tumblr @posionersapothecary asking my followers to share which planets they had in retrograde, if any. Those who have shared so far have proved my hypothesis, and I believe it is an indication of a larger recurring theme.
According to Martin Schulman, author of Karmic Astrology: Retrogrades and Reincarnation, a Retrograde Individual is someone with three or more retrogrades in their natal chart. The other two planets that are commonly retrograde among occultists, witches and other magical practitioners are Uranus and Neptune. This is only an observation that I have made, and this is my hypothesis. It is not going to be true in every case.
- difficulty being aware of and expressing one’s inner individuality
- a compelling sense of responsibility toward personal growth
- struggles between mental and emotional bodies
- tells us to rise about the mental and emotional bodies and focus on intuition
- a unique sense of self, will rebel against all attempts to change them
- desire to unveil mysteries and expose religious shams
- intuitive awareness of subconscious, but difficulty with conscious attunement
- attunes better to subconscious when focusing on a task
- view material world in terms of spiritual significance
- offers opportunity to achieve an advanced stage of spiritual growth
- lives in material world but separate from it
- knowing more than what can be expressed with words
- although very intuitive, Neptune retrograde causes one to mistrust their intuition
Schulman, Martin. Karmic Astrology: Retrogrades and Reincarnation.