I seem to have written a lot of posts about Saturn lately – and with Saturn retrograde in Aquarius from May 23rd for the next six months, it’s time to do so again. Since 2020, I feel we’ve been having ‘Saturn overload’ of late, with ‘the Great Conjunction’ followed by Saturn’s shift to Aquarius and this year’s ‘background noise’ I wrote about not so long ago, the Saturn – Uranus square that’s having such an influence on our lives right now.
So, what can I possibly say about Saturn that I haven’t said already? Well, I have to admit that Saturn retrogrades are not uncommon – Saturn turns retrograde every year, usually from April – May through to September – October. This year is no different from that. However, Saturn retrograde in Aquarius 2021 feels as if it carries more weight – so in this post I’m going to take a closer look at this Saturn retrograde and what it may hold in store for us over the next few months.
Saturn Retrograde in Aquarius: Why it Matters
This particular Saturn retrograde is going to be more noticeable than many Saturn retrogrades (not that they’re all not noticeable in their way) because of its presence in the Saturn-Uranus square I mentioned earlier. It’s worth reminding ourselves what that square is about – not least because, in astrological terms, it’s setting the tone for this years events.
Briefly, the square between Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus is concerned with conflict – and its conflict between the past, present and the future. If there’s a simple dynamic that describes this face-off, then it may be this. The conflict is between the world as it is and competing visions of the future. Saturn is showing us society’s limitations and the need to reinvent our social structures (Aquarius) and Uranus is revolutionising our value systems (Taurus).
So, during 2021 we are becoming increasingly conscious that the dividing lines between conflicted groups of people are based on their competing value systems and their different visions of the kind of world they would like to see – and there is little (if any) room for compromise as the fixed signs of Taurus and Aquarius tell us that stubbornness and inflexibility will be the order of the day.
In real terms, we’re seeing this all around us. We have liberals vs. libertarians, big arguments concerning historical and colonial revisionism, nationalism vs. multiculturalism, lies vs. truth, crypto vs. cash, sex vs. gender – to name but a few of the major issues that are swirling around the universe right now. We have been asked to take sides – and in doing so we may become conflicted ourselves as our own values may clash with those of friends and family – particularly on a generational basis.
Saturn Retrograde in Aquarius: What it Means
So, what is the impact of Saturn turning retrograde going to be on the nature of the conflicts we see around us – and within us? Let’s not forget that this will have a personal impact too – especially on those of us with important planets and points in our natal charts that are impacted by the transiting Saturn -Uranus square. To get an idea of the impact of this retrograde we need to drill down into the basic meaning of Saturn retrograde in Aquarius.
When an inner planet turns retrograde (as Mercury will be doing soon…) one of the key takeaways is that it can signal a time of confusion. However, with Saturn retrograde, this is not necessarily so. Saturn’s retrogrades slow things down and enable us to re-consider and review our actions and ideas – particularly in those instances where we may have been rushing into things without adequate preparation or knowledge. In other words, Saturn is saying, ‘are you sure about this?’.
With Saturn retrograde in Aquarius, this process has social, societal and humanitarian overtones. There may be events that remind us, in no uncertain terms, that we need to reconsider our direction of travel. It’s a time when decisions – both in the public realm and in our personal lives – may come up for examination. The next six months may be a period when we can expect to become accountable for our mistakes and failures and learn from those mistakes by taking more responsibility for our actions.
The need for accountability is something we may also see in the public realm. Saturn is not the ‘Lord of Karma’ for nothing, and addressing the mistakes of the past – no matter how distant – may become a prominent theme during the coming months. With Saturn retrograde in Aquarius, we may need to look again at how we are using science and technology for the benefit of society (Aquarius) and how it may impact long-term on our working practices and social structures(Saturn).
So, we may need to examine how our public services and health systems can become more productive and inclusive – particularly at at a global level. We may discover, for example, that opening up society too quickly during the Covid pandemic backfires on us and we need to rethink our approach. We may be asking why the values of those in charge of our societies have led to bad decision making and failures to address the pressing issues of our time. Where you stand on that one may depend on the value driven fault lines I described earlier.
Saturn Retrograde in Aquarius: The Chart
To shed some light on the nature of Saturn retrograde in Aquarius I’m going to look at the retrograde chart – every retrograde has one and the aspects to Saturn tell us how we can approach this retrograde period – and what to look out for. For the retrograde period, Saturn retrograde in Aquarius is square Uranus in Taurus – and we’ve already identified that as the major astrological influence for 2021. However, the other aspect of note in the retrograde chart is the grand trine between Saturn in Aquarius, the Moon in Libra and Venus in Gemini.
This grand trine in Saturn’s retrograde chart is an Air grand trine. Grand trines are considered harmonious influences in any chart – however, they do come with a health warning. They are considered lucky – but they are also considered to be lazy. The issue with a grand trine is that things may appear to be effortless – but there is also no incentive to make an effort when you really should be doing so. As an air grand trine, it’s also concerned with ambitious plans, ideas, critical thinking, social engagement and intellectual curiosity.
So let’s put some of those into context in Saturn’s retrograde chart. It’s possible we will see ambitious plans announced in the coming months – and there will appear to be no lack of optimism. However, with a grand trine, the question has to be asked, how well-placed is that optimism? Is there any incentive to actualise those ideas – or are they simply pie in the sky? While that may be evident at a societal level – these are the basic questions some of us may need to ask at a personal level too.
Saturn in this context may be helpful – as Saturn is about making things real. So, if Saturn retrograde in Aquarius is going to make us ‘think again’ we need to avoid the trap of lazy thinking and ensure that our plans are workable if we’re going to get the best out of this aspect. We also need to look at the involvement of the Moon and Venus in this grand trine too.
The presence of the Moon and Venus signifies a desire to reach out and communicate (Gemini) and establish comfortable and congenial relationships (Moon in Libra). That’s one particular interpretation of those placements – but Saturn retrograde in Aquarius could present us with the opportunity to repair and rebuild (Saturn) some of the ties that have been severely ruptured of late (Saturn).
Those in charge may announce social and economic policies with the aim of righting society’s wrongs -and with that Uranus square to Saturn maybe we can expect a radical approach. At a personal level, many of us may have the opportunity to reconnect with family and loved ones. We may also be working out what is really important (Saturn) in how we structure our own family lives, living situations, finances and relationships as we move on from what has been a restrictive and testing time for most of us.
The Air grand trine reminds us that everything is connected – and maybe, over the next six months, we will be reminded that there is more that binds us together than tears us apart. However, it’s not going to be easy and it will require compromise. The question remains – how many of us will be prepared to do that? If you resist Saturn’s gift of a time to reflect and reconsider – than you can be sure that the Lord of Karma will get you in the end…
© Sara Shipman