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Saturn in Sag: Nothing to Hope About, Nothing to Fear

Sagittarius, the last of the fire signs, which are all connected with will, vision, and the future, also carries the imprint of mutability, associated with wisdom and adaptability.

Saturn is thought of as the planet of incarnation. Saturn lets us know that we are in a physical body, subject to gravity, illness, and aging. Lead, the heaviest and most enduring metal, belongs to Saturn; it stores in the bones and its presence is more marked in the bones of the elderly than in the young. (1)

It is also the planet at the edge of the visible (to the naked eye) universe and doorway to higher realms, and the pathway to discipleship, freedom, and self-mastery.

The ancients thought that the soul comes in through Saturn’s sphere from the stars beyond, and when we leave this life it is also through the sphere of Saturn. In broad terms, to which Sagittarius does not object, Saturn represents both the coming into form and the departing into the great beyond.

Saturn’s very recent ingress into Sagittarius brings to mind an image I encountered very early —  the young Sagittarius archetype restlessly shooting arrows all over the place, heedless about where they land (hence, the sign’s well-known tendency toward bluntness). Then came the description of a wiser, more mature expression of the Sagittarius archetype. Now, the archer takes the time to pay attention to his stance and posture — the tilt of the chin is noted with care, the breath and shoulders are relaxed, the feet are securely connected to the earth — so that far star in the archer’s sight is secured and the arrow hastens directly and swiftly to it.

Saturn represents the limit, the terminus, and Sagittarius is ever expanding its reach. It sounds contradictory and there is surely some awkwardness in their meeting — Do I stop? Do I keep going? — but Saturn keeps us on the path to the higher ground of what is possible for each of us. Saturn, who can be relied upon as our loyal guide, sometimes says “no” when a gesture or pathway might take us too far away from our purpose. He is long known as the “Guardian of the Threshold” and the “ring-pass-not.” (2)

A Tibetan lama said in a recent teaching: “There is nothing to hope about and there is nothing to fear.” This speaks to me of the moment, reported by some mystics and poets, when awareness is simply present, without longing, without anxiety. (3)

I once saw Saturn at an outdoor stargazing party at the Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii. The site is at 14,000 feet (4,200 meters) and it was in the winter — very, very cold and clear. I was taken over, deeply moved by how beautiful Saturn is, how perfectly beautiful.

In that moment I thought that I would never be afraid again. It was like a vow, I was so certain. It was a moment of hubris and naiveté, but in genuine appreciation of Saturn’s exquisite being.

Of course, since then, I have been afraid, but the image in my mind of his stark, lonely beauty is never far away. Saturn is not really some faraway demon whose slow motion at the edge of our line of sight we carefully calculate and be on guard for, but it is a beautiful, perfect yellow-white celestial orb with magnificent rings right in front of me, always.

Saturn is tasked with making us face reality, being in the here and now and bringing us the experiences that we must meet in this life. There are many versions of what this might mean for us, and how change can arise from a deep acceptance of what is before us. There is something in the combination of Saturn in Sag suggesting that as our perspective changes, our view of what is Real changes, too.

Some of the keywords for Saturn — patience, diligence, discipline — are three of the Six Perfections taught in Mahayana Buddhism. There are countless volumes of spoken and written teachings on the meaning of each of these words. They are not mere slogans or jargon (a Sag shadow) but qualities encountered and cultivated as foundational to other teachings on the path to realizing one’s true nature.

Many wisdom traditions have practices and teachings aimed to help address the disparities between our experience of reality and the actual state of things. Saturn in Sagittarius suggests that contemplation and a sober and steady focus on our spiritual practices or religious beliefs may bear fruit in a deeper understanding of the nature of reality.

Faith and doubt accompany the Sagittarius path. Will it last? Am I going in the right direction? Paradoxically, certainty is a spoken requirement in some meditative paths; one must have certainty of the path, or of the outcome. Moving with certainty, during a time when mutable planets are offered, will be an agile path on which experience is gathered, movement in the mind and the body is required, conditions are always changing, and awareness of impermanence prevails. We can no longer be attached to being right, or clinging to self-importance or a fixed sense of ourselves.

Saturn brings purposeful delays, and the insight or inspiration we are seeking may arise when an apparent obstacle is upon us.

With Jupiter in Virgo (joined on September 24th by Mars), and Neptune in Pisces, the mutable mode is pronounced. Mutability brings changing conditions and the gathering of experiences. We seek variety and versatility, we are flexible; the arrow has flown and we may be steadily poised to release another while the first one is still in the air.  Mutable means movement — we are collecting experiences and naturally coalescing threads of meaning from a multitude of images, thoughts, conversations.

Many other people are involved, and we talk to them to find out what they are up to, then bring their input back to forge a diverse, multidimensional fabric of purpose. Traveling in all realms brings clarity to our projects; we move to take in new impressions, to see the grand sights.

The day after the ingress, I stepped into the yoga room and the teacher I expected to see was not there, but rather a teacher whose style is power yoga and strength-building. I was overcome with restlessness — enough strengthening for now; I had to be out side. (Good riddance Scorpio, hello Sagittarius.) I left and went for a ramble in the fresh air and hilly trails around the lake — a visceral response within me to the change in the air.

The Sufis speak about not looking for a fixed answer, but to stay in the question, an instruction that suits the mutable wisdom of these times.

Onward and upward! (Quoted in The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis: “Onward and Upward! To Narnia and the North!” Lewis, born November 29, 1898, has Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Sun, and Uranus in Sag.)


(1) Saturn and Lead, by Nick Kollerstrom

(2) Guardian of the Thresehold

“Ring-pass-not: The limit in spiritual, intellectual, or psychological power or consciousness, beyond which an individual is unable to pass until he evokes from within the strength and the vision to carry him forwards and over the circumscribing limits set by that individual’s own karma.”

(3) Thanks to Melanie Reinhart for her inclusion of T.S. Eliot’s words from “Four Quartets” in her recent (wonderful) talk on Saturn in Sagittarius:

“And I said to my soul ‘Be still…
and wait without hope,
for hope would be hope of the wrong thing….”

Nick Kollerstrom opens his article (mentioned above) Saturn and Lead with another quote from T.S. Eliot (in The Waste Land): “I will show you fear in a handful of dust.”

Bio: Mary Plumb is TMA’s Book and Web Editor. She offers private sessions and tutoring and can be reached at


  1. hi, i am a type 9 the peacemaker/healer
    also sagitarius , i have chiron in my chart
    known as the wounded healer
    also am a firehorse born’66
    all these types seem very connected
    i had read negative stuff before about saturn and cynical attitudes but your version it seems more about
    being grounded , which is good for type 9

    • Hi Anne,

      Yes, sounds like you’ve got a good picture emerging..

      Be well

    • Everybody has Chiron in their chart…

  2. Thanks
    Very Helpful…

  3. Thank you so much for this article. I finally understand my first house Saturn son and how to deal with my present confusion. I am studying social work at master-level and I am over 50. I wasn’t sure whether or not to continue, but now I am. I am a Virgo, feeling Jupiters pull to be out in the field, but my Ascendent is Sag, so I will finish up properly, with “patience, diligence, discipline” and then be on my way. 🙂

    • Hi Leila,

      Thank you for commenting..good luck in your studies..and congratulations for moving ahead with your work!


  4. Lovely thoughts on Saturn, Mary, in its more flexible mode!One is tempted to say, “everything will be all right!…”Fondly, Judie Harte

    • Hi Judie,

      Hello down south (from here),

      All best, thanks for commenting..


  5. Thank you, Mary, so well and inspirationally said!!!!

    • Hello Shunita,

      I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      Thank you for taking the time to write..

      All best,


  6. Dear Mary

    I really appreciated this wise, calm, beautiful post which is also personally helpful as I prepare to work with the forming Jupiter/Saturn/Neptune energy by re-entering Buddhist meditation practice again after a gap of some years.

    And I loved this line: “…Saturn represents both the coming into form and the departing into the great beyond…” which reminded me of a memorable experience I had in January 1986, when Saturn was last in Sagittarius, applying trine to my Mercury. My brother and I had been at a funeral service for an elderly uncle, who was about to be buried the next day, as is the custom in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland where we grew up. On the way back home on a brilliantly clear, frosty winter’s night he – being a sea captain and knowing the night sky better than his astrologer sister! – showed me Saturn, a brilliant point of beautiful light just visible on the horizon. I was then just taking form and shape as an astrologer, and our beloved uncle was “…departing into the great beyond…”

    Thank you. I will share the link on my Astrology: Questions and Answers blog.

    • Dear Anne,

      Thank you, that is a beautiful Saturn story.

      And, thank you for sharing with your students…

      All best,


  7. As an Aries with too many Fire planets, I have made decisions because something looked like it might be fun,
    but with Natal 5th House Saturn in Sag, I have never been motivated by someone else saying, “aw, c’mon . . . it’ll be fun.”

    • Hi Sam,

      That is a classic report about Saturn in the 5th…thank you for letting us know what Saturn in the 5th might be like from the inside out..


      Be well, and “c’mon…it’ll be fun.”

  8. Mary, thank you for opening the door a little wider for Saturn’s visit in Sag. I have a 12th house Sag. with Jupiter on the Ascendant. There are many changes in the air (!) but a couple of the most interesting are the ramping up of requests for the ‘long distance’ healing work I have been doing, and the very recent shift of working with children on the autistic spectrum using craniosacral therapy as the modality. This requires an even more focused but diffuse way of listening into the child’s system and following where their Inner Healer is taking us. The other aspect is that the local clinic closed and now these children and families are coming to my home based treatment room….This deep listening and translating is also being ‘kicked up a notch’ within a dream group I facilitate (for 5 years now). I love it. It is ‘work’ and it is fun.

  9. Am aflat aceasta pagina, dupa ce am cautat despre Mountain Astrologer magazine – Learn astrology, read forecasts pe Google.
    Se pare ca informatia dvs e foarte valoroasa, mai
    ales ca am mai gasit aici si despre ora, ora exacta, lucruri
    interesante si folositoare. Mult succes in continuare!

  10. I’ve lived through some big changes lately–my mother and my husband passed away in the last 14 months–and yet my biggest problem has been a feeling not just of loss, but total confusion. Now Saturn is conjunct my Venus, and the confusion is about friends. This article helps me understand this concept of “staying with the question.” Hopefully I can do that, and not act precipitously on a perceived rift.
    Thanks for an eye-opening article.

    • Dear Catherine,

      I just found your comment…thank you for writing and all best to you in such a time of change..



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