Transiting Saturn on the Ascendant

Hold on — it’s going to be a bumpy ride…

I know a few people who are going through this right now, so I thought I would share some comfort with those of you out there who have gone or are going through this rather difficult and depressing transit. As of this writing, Saturn is 16° Capricorn.

First, let’s look at the planet itself. Saturn has a rather bad rap in astrology. Traditionally known as a malefic (planets that bode ill), through modern astrology Saturn’s reputation has experienced something of an upgrade or makeover if you will. Saturn is the Universe’s disciplinarian. It teaches and tempers us in the areas in our charts (lives) it touches. Wherever Saturn shows up in our charts, it shows us the area in life where we tend to get stuck. Things don’t come as readily as we may perhaps like and it’s the area(s) where we often feel our hang-ups most acutely.

For example: Saturn in the second house traditionally foretells of dire fortunes and an inability to make or keep money. For that to be accurate, you’d have to have some really unfortunate aspects like Saturn conjunct or square Uranus. Then I could see where a money flow problem could definitely be a problem. But what if you have Saturn trine Venus or the Moon? I would go so far to say that those aspects would denote the ability to hold on to money. Saturn conjunct Mars or Pluto in the second? Unless there were some positive aspects to counteract these, the person is going to be driven to make money – ruthless even. And to put this old chestnut to rest with a stake properly through its heart, two of the most successful and iconic pop stars ever had Saturn in the second house: Michael Jackson and Prince. They weren’t exactly paupers.

Next, let’s look at the meaning of the Ascendant and first house. This is the house of Aries and Mars, and it’s a fire house. It’s all about me when it comes to the first house. Planets posited here are going to take on an Arien or martial feel and a lot of time will be taken up with self. The Ascendant represents our outer – or social – mask. It is what people encounter when they first meet us but it’s not our essence or true personality (that is represented by the Sun). And this is also true to a large extent with the person who has either their natal Saturn conjunct the ASC or in the first house. They can have an extroverted Sun or ASC (like Leo or Libra), but that personality will only come out to play when they are in a comfortable and familiar environment.

So, when that old wet blanket Saturn comes calling on our first house cusp, what can we expect? First, realize that this is going to a lengthy period as Saturn remains in a sign for 2½ years (this time will vary according to the size of one’s first house). There is a sense of the personality being dampened. You probably won’t feel very attractive or desirable, and there will likely be a feeling of heaviness about you. I’ve seen people go through this transit that took refuge wearing hats, growing facial hair, and/or hiding behind glasses! It’s as if they feel the need to hide during this transit because they just don’t feel like themselves.

This is a time of tempering or maturing. You will not be the same person you were before this transit began. What Saturn is doing is getting rid of the dross – the superficial elements of your personality that you have outgrown and no longer serve you. You are being forced into some serious introspection and are required to dig deep. Saturn transits tend to be a bit scary because change is happening and that very change is antithetical to Saturn who does not like change but conversely, the feel of this change is stagnant. This is why when Saturn crosses your ASC and takes residence in your first house, it will take some time to acclimate because you’re feeling depressed without knowing why. Of course, oftentimes, outer events will “coincide” with this transit that seemingly conspire to bring us down.

As mentioned before, this transit also affects one’s appearance – this is the ASC we are talking about here! People tend to look more “mature” and dour during this time and may not give much attention to their appearance because, what’s the point? The only advice and comfort I can give during this transitional period is to open up to yourself and see what is working and what is not. This is a period of self-reflection and self-discovery and, though initially painful, it can open up a world of future possibilities if you’re willing to discard what is no longer working for you. In many ways, Saturn conjuncting the ASC is much like a Saturn return: whatever is no longer serving you will fall by the wayside. And the harder you try to hold on to that something, the harder this transit will be on you.


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