Skip to content

Jordan Peterson and the Saturn-South Node Conjunction: A Vedic Perspective

“Why do dragons hoard gold? Because the things you most need are always to be found where you least want to look.”

— from Jordan Peterson’s podcast “Slaying the Dragon Within Us”

Jordan Peterson is a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. (1) His book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, has become a bestseller and his speaking tours and YouTube channel have made him a celebrity psychologist.  He has a Saturn–South Node (Ketu) conjunction in his birth chart, placed in sidereal Capricorn when he was born in 1962. (2) This conjunction occurs again in 2019 — this time, in sidereal Sagittarius.

The Saturn–Ketu conjunction was almost exact at the time of his birth on June 12, 1962. In 2019, Saturn and Ketu are conjunct for much of the period between May and October — just as they were between May and October 1962.

Saturn is particularly strong in Capricorn in Jordan Peterson’s chart, but Saturn in Sagittarius is less sure of itself. Saturn represents reality and truth. The strength of Saturn in Capricorn is shown in Peterson’s conviction, his discussions about living a responsible life, and what seems to be his relentless search for truth. In Sagittarius, truth is more subjective, while the combination of Saturn and Ketu challenges us not to get caught up in dogma and radical ideologies.

Ketu is seen by many Vedic astrologers to be exalted in Sagittarius. Although Ketu’s conjunction with Saturn in Sagittarius shows other complex dynamics, it is generally tipped in favour of wild abandon and ideological fervour. Not a particularly responsible indication!

But this does not mean that truth cannot be discerned within Sagittarius. In some sense, truth can only be discovered within each of us, as a subjective truth, at least initially. But we must eventually move beyond our points of view to a more objective appraisal, just as Capricorn follows Sagittarius in zodiacal order.

Jordan Peterson’s Saturn Cycle

Peterson’s work output — lecturing, writing books, and touring constantly in recent years — seems to have increased since he commenced a Saturn planetary cycle, or dasa, in 2005. (3) Saturn is a hard taskmaster, and Capricorn is the most ambitious of signs. Although the task for Capricorn is to reach a summit (Capricorn is symbolized by a mountain goat), the moment-to-moment, lived experience should be the focus, especially when Ketu is involved. Otherwise, we may struggle with achieving a goal which seems to be at odds with where we find ourselves. Even if we achieve our goals, Ketu points to something beyond any worldly experience, and its influence can feel disappointing, as nothing in a worldly sense can satisfy our spiritual longings. If we are not rooted in something beyond this life, we are at a loss no matter how much we achieve.

Saturn enters sidereal Capricorn again in 2020, so Jordan Peterson is leading the way regarding the themes involved. (4)

Saturn in Capricorn in his natal chart reflects his need to do and say the responsible thing, but with Ketu close by, the opposite may also be true. Along these lines, Peterson has referred to his wild youth in interviews. Saturn’s responsible approach must be negotiated alongside Ketu’s unruly side during their conjunction, which may mean that someone with this combination has experienced so much wild abandon that it sends them in the opposite direction at some point, e.g., they become even more responsible. Saturn is quite demanding,  however, and doesn’t make this easy. Saturn cycles frequently require some sweat and toil.

The 1962 Conjunction

Ketu adds an element of secrecy alongside Saturn, whether one is working in secret or toiling over a problem in private. In 1962, there was the Cuban missile crisis during the period between April and October, when Cuban and Soviet governments secretly began to build missile bases, bringing the world to the brink of war.

Marilyn Monroe is a good example of an individual struggling with this configuration. She was found dead during Saturn and Ketu’s conjunction in 1962, while it strongly impacted her Moon in Capricorn. The conjunction began in exact opposition to her Ascendant degree (20° Cancer) compounding issues during a particularly challenging dasa in her life. Not everyone experiences this conjunction as a crisis, of course, but if your Ascendant or planets are between 19° and 26° of sidereal Gemini or Sagittarius, and you also experience a challenging dasa between April and October 2019, then this needs your careful attention.

A previous client with this conjunction in her birth chart was quite the wild child in her youth and very happy to remain so — that is, until she became the mother of an autistic child who required a lot of care and attention. This sent her life in a different direction than she had initially wanted, but because this conjunction was, just like Jordan Peterson’s, placed in Capricorn, she fulfilled her responsibilities. Although her yearning to be wild has not disappeared, she has now found a way to express this in a more focused and responsible way, to help release her from the pressures she feels.

Without discipline, the conjunction of Saturn and Ketu can challenge us in what can otherwise be a productive outlet. On the one hand, Saturn represents form, structure, and limitation: Limitations are necessary when we face reality. On the other hand, Ketu represents formlessness: who we really are at our core from a spiritual perspective, the part of us that is beyond definition. Together, Saturn and Ketu can be used to focus on what is truly important, but they could just as easily create confusion as to where our attention should lie.

 What Goes Around …

If there’s one thing that Saturn and Ketu have in common, it’s the lesson that we all get back what we put in. This is not to suggest that “we get what we deserve,” as this is a childish reaction to an inevitable result of past actions.

Ketu is seen as the headless part of the serpent in Vedic myth, i.e., the tail end of the mythological serpent, representing our past (even past lives), including all our mistakes. The poisons we dish out must eventually be reabsorbed. Ketu’s conjunction with Saturn solidifies the results of these past mistakes now. But it also brings back the efforts of our hard work. Whatever we have set in motion comes around again. So, it really depends on what you put out.

We may try to bury our heads in the sand if we feel unable to deal with the reality of what is happening, and wish to run and hide from our responsibilities, especially because of Ketu’s strength in sidereal Sagittarius. Ketu’s impulse to avoid things is one of the big themes of 2019, and is in stark contrast to Saturn, which shows a need to face the music.

This will likely be expressed in political, social, economic, and environmental tensions throughout the year — a tug of war between what we need to do and our reluctance to do it. We each go through this struggle in our own way, and more often in private. It challenges us to change now before it is too late, although it is unlikely that any real steps will be taken until Saturn moves into sidereal Capricorn in January 2020. One example of this call to change are the more and more extreme weather events forcing the environmental issue to be addressed. In 2019, this conjunction at least helps us to get where we need to be, even if we are dragged there kicking and screaming!

The Saturn–Ketu conjunction could be summed up in two words: do and be. Whatever you do, make sure to give yourself time to simply be — to tap into your spiritual essence, beyond all doing as a human being.


(1) Wikipedia: Jordan Peterson

(2) Jordan Peterson, June 12, 1962; 2:49 a.m.; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (53°N33’, 113°W28’); AA: Data collector Steven Stuckey obtained a copy of his birth announcement directly from Jordan Peterson.

(3) A dasa or “planetary cycle” is a predictive technique used in Vedic astrology. The most popular is called vimsottari (literally, “120”) and is calculated from the natal Moon. An ideal life span of 120 years is divided up between the Sun (6 years) and Moon (10 years), the North Node (18 years) and the South Node (7 years), and the five visible planets: Mercury (17 years), Venus (20 years), Mars (7 years), Jupiter (16 years), and Saturn (19 years).

(4) As an example of Jordan Peterson’s natal Saturn placement — his 1999 book (which he wrote over 13 years) Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief  — offered “a comprehensive theory for how people construct meaning.”
Wikipedia: Maps of Meaning

© 2019 Gary O’Toole – all rights reserved

Bio: Gary O’Toole has studied astrology since 1996. He is the author of Cosmic Bodies: The Ayurvedic Astrology Guide to Health & Well-Being, and lectures at the British Association of Vedic Astrology. His readings impart an empowered view of life’s cycles, patterns, and trends, offered online and in Galway, Ireland. To learn more and to order your personal reading, visit




  1. Interesting post on Mr. Peterson, Gary, thank you. I especially like the way you concluded “do and be”. This is a brilliant synopsis.

    I have a limited but profound experience with this man’s style of communication based on watching his embattled, defensive position around the issue of free speech.

    I understand he is best know for the book you mentioned that has helped many people simplify their life and add meaning to their experience.

    The free speech part, which I think you were wise to omit, is where I was given insight.

    I see his words immersed in a shrill emotional carrier wave straining to express a deep wound from a previous lifetime, probably received as a societal group turned against him. When his past wounding meets, reflects back and conflicts with the present day wounding experienced by the students protesting him, particularly those who identify as LGBTQ the feed back loop is an utterly destructive emotional Laser.

    A dissonance triggered by the crushed rubble of Saturn’s conforming side in discord with the Aquarian impulse to stand as an individual. An impulse frequently met with trauma.

    Interesting how both sidereal and tropical support this.

    After reading your article I was immediately drawn to the unspoken Rehu (North node) position in Cancer and the need to express, rebirth and heal the deep emotional wound of abandonment. Thank you.

    Besides the success of this book his plight opposing the evolution of speech, so called politically correct, seems to have struck a note of massive support on Patreon.

    Nice work Gary, do and be, I will.

    • Hi Noah,
      Thank you for your feedback and comments.
      You are right that I stayed clear of his controversies on purpose.
      I actually stayed clear of reading his chart and simply pointed out his close Saturn – south node conjunction as an example of the struggle he has faced – one we are facing collectively this year.
      It always amazes me how both Western and Vedic can support each other. Your comments on the Saturn – south node conjunction in relation to the Aquarian impulse are on point, as are your comments on Rahu in Cancer.
      Thank you!
      Warm wishes

Comments are closed for this article!