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Chakrapani Ullal was born to a traditional Hindu family of astrologers in the South of India. He studied Jyotish from childhood, and also spent many years in the company of some of India's greatest sages. In addition to his spiritual pursuits, he held degrees in both law and business studies. He came to the United states in 1979, where his outstanding work as an astrological consultant was acknowledged in the October 24, 1994 issue of People magazine. 

Magnificent Saturn

by Chakrapani Ullal

Saturn, the planet of greatest misfortune, is seldom properly understood. Since time immemorial, he has been considered the most virulent indicator of sorrows, hindrances and obstructions. Dubbed the planet of devastation and delay, it is the common notion that Saturn simply enhances our agonies and creates bewildered darkness in our lives. This seemingly God of misery summons to mind the rigors of discipline, hard work and struggle. Saturn's placement in our charts often appears to us as a serious handicap, the potent cause of our suffering. But however we may fear Saturn's malefic effects, such experiences form only a part of the true picture of this great and mighty planet. Knowing the considerable significance of Saturn is horoscopy. A deeper study into this misunderstood planet and its relationship with the other planets will help us glean more meaningful insight into Saturn’s influence in our personal lives, as well as in global trends. 

In astrology, we make continual observations of the planets, because they are in a constant state of movement. Thus as all are continually transferring from one side to another of the zodiac, we pay particular attention to Saturn because he remains in one sign for about 30 months, the slowest of all recognized planets’ periods. Of course Saturn’s transit is experienced differently by different people, owing to its influence upon their specific planetary configurations. But, regardless of the different details of individual charts, we can know with certainty that Saturn will make his mighty presence felt.

What is the underlying purpose of Saturn’s lessons? How can a more thorough understanding of Saturn’s rule help empower us? Can such understanding help us harness the enormous forces of this powerful planet in our daily lives? How can we use the resources of Saturn’s inestimable energy to our greater benefit? It is with these questions in mind that we want to make a closer study of the powerful and dreaded Saturn.

History and Nature of Saturn

Saturn is described as the son of the Sun, the king of all planets, by his Queen Chaya, “the shadow.” The Sun is the creator of light, and Chaya is indicator of darkness. Saturn partakes in the apparent physical characteristics of his mother and remains dark. So, being so opposed in nature to his father, Saturn or Sani is said to be banished by the Sun. Practically we are well acquainted with Saturn’s dark character. Whatever is touched by his hand becomes cold and whatever is seen by him undergoes contraction.

It is said in the Puranas that the God Ganesh lost his head through the evil glance of this mighty planet, and afterwards an elephant's head was transplanted in its place. Ganesh endured Saturn’s influence patiently and allowed his head to be taken, because he knew this experience was unavoidable if he were to undergo the final purification necessary to achieve perfection. Thus Ganesh had insight and a stalwart mind in facing Saturn. As a result of his strength and resolve, he achieved the position of a divine being who is able to graciously assist the millions who turn to him for help. Many look to his example in confronting great challenges. As a deity he is revered as the “Remover of Obstacles”

We also can benefit from understanding that Saturn’s ordeals represent the last evolutionary phase through which we must pass in order to reach the final goal. This understanding will assist us in facing what appears to be his dark hand. Saturn is usually described as dark in color because his powerful luminosity remains concealed from our common sight. The darkness of Saturn is nothing but solidified light. It has the power of condensation of form, and by that power, Saturn keeps all light substances in a hard or solid state which defies our vision.


Uranium, found within the deepest regions of the earth (Saturn’s true realm) appears hard and dark, yet in actual fact contains a reservoir of tremendous energy which if properly harnessed can destroy the earth within minutes. The essence of inert substance is undetected by our eyes, and what we cannot see or understand, we call dark or dead. Likewise, Saturn’s essence contains a hidden power. This is the true secret of the fertility of the earth itself, which is composed of many such minerals made by untold centuries of destruction, turmoil, cataclysm and the resulting death of all life, animal and vegetable. Transformation of one life form into another is achieved as these substances are submerged under the earth and subjected to great pressure for an unfathomable length of time. This is the saturnine touch, the cold and seemingly cruel and heavy hand of almost unbearable duration which makes life contract and break away. That which is worn out or cold is crushed by Saturn’s iron grip, and then given a new, useful life. 

In this manner, many who are young and energetic in spirit are tempered by Saturn’s physical and mental ordeals. Through this rude treatment they develop power and understanding. Their accumulated miseries reveal a luminous path to a deeper sense of humanity. Saturn shows them the new light of a secret world, and by dint of that light they make discoveries of many kinds for the benefit of the earth and its beings. All scientists, inventors, discoverers, explorers, martyrs, philosophers, religious leaders and social reformers, achieve their goals by the grace of this planet. Without the help of Saturn, one cannot become a thinker of a high order.

Saturn is frequently called the “Planet of Destiny.”  No other planet is so deeply associated with prarabdha karma (the operative part of pre-destiny). He is thought to be the most judicious, unrelenting and impartial dispenser of the consequences of our past actions. He looks at us from the furthest point in the zodiac and pronounces his judgment. Thus, he acts with the attitude of unbiased neutrality, so terrifying to those of us who cling to our passions and attachments.


Saturn is also called the “Planet of Truth”. He is concerned with fairness, justice, righteousness, right attitude and right conduct. He creates sorrow, suffering, deep discontentment and enmity with a view to teach a person the real truth of life. To some extent, the more a person suffers, the more he learns. This is the special blessing of Saturn’s influence. As a result, we find in the life history of great persons in the spiritual, material and political fields, Saturn plays a more dominant role than any other planet. For them, failure becomes a pillar of their strength.


Saturn is a slow-moving planet and promotes stability. Although he will initiate things, he brings results very slowly. He gives gradual progress and equally gradual degeneration, and when he makes people suffer, he makes them suffer slowly. Saturn is not a killer. He does not bring death; he only brings suffering. Saturn is also a planet of modesty and service. He is loyal and dutiful. He is not egotistical and does not seek visibility. Instead, he makes one seek privacy and work in seclusion, performing one's work in life calmly and in one's own way. Saturn gives tenacity, perseverance and hard work.

Because Saturn is concerned with duty and responsibility, he brings the profession to the forefront. Saturn wants a person to respect his duty and obligations in whatever field of activity that person is engaged. Saturn's transits reveal the timing of career changes and when recognition for a person's achievements will come.

General Characteristics and Aspects

How did the ancients describe the characteristics of awesome Saturn?  It is said that his physical frame is lean, tall and hairy with long nails and sharp eyes. He is a eunuch. His element is the wind (vayu). He is lord of the 36th year in horoscopy, though in hoary astrology his effect is perceived after one year. He rules over the 10th and 11th signs of the zodiac, known as Makara (Capricorn) and Kumbha (Aquarius). His mulatrikona (his best position in his own signs) is Aquarius up to 20°. He is exalted in Libra and at 20° there becomes highly exalted. Saturn is debilitated in Aries and at 20° there he is extremely weak. In any horoscope, Saturn in Capricorn, Aquarius or Libra in the 1st house gives good characteristics, health, wealth and leadership. Venus is the bosom friend of Saturn and hence he becomes very powerful in Venusian horoscopes, i.e., any horoscope of Libra and Taurus lagnas (rising signs).


Just as Jupiter is famous for excellence, fame, honor and good effects, so is Saturn a planet of terror, notorious for all evil effects, defamation and scandal. Likewise, with respect to Saturn and the Sun, man's death, insult, poverty and chronic diseases are calculated from Saturn, while man's prosperity, fame and healing are calculated from the Sun. Just as Saturn and the Sun are diametrically opposed to each other, Saturn also does not agree with the Moon. That is why Saturn is allotted Capricorn and Aquarius, the signs just opposite those of the two luminaries. Capricorn and Aquarius have different traits. When the ascendant lord, Mercury (ruling discrimination) and the Moon (governing reactions) are placed in these signs, they take on their traits.


Briefly, Capricorn has perhaps the most potential for self-absorption. It makes the native practical, self-willed, industrious, vindictive. It is stoic to the miseries of life. Being an earthy sign, its main concern is success. Aquarius is perhaps the most philosophical sign. It makes the native a deep thinker, reserved, sympathetic and also generous. Being an airy sign, its main interest is the upliftment of mankind. The native is prepared to make the most of any kind of sacrifice. But benefic or adverse influences falling on these signs heighten or suppress their traits; consequently each chart must be considered individually.


Since no planet works in isolation, it is essential to examine both natural and temporal types of relationships which our planet, Saturn, is likely to form through his natural friends, Venus and Mercury, his natural enemies, the Sun, Moon and Mars, and his natural neutral Jupiter. (Natural relationships are due to the planet's essential nature in general; temporal relationships are due to their current position to each other in a specific chart.) This is perhaps the most important factor in determining Saturn’s attitude towards other planets and theirs towards him. The position, ownership and aspect he receives from other planets must be studied very carefully. Saturn aspects the 7th house from itself like other planets, but has a special aspect on the 3rd and 10th houses from itself too. To be strong, Saturn should occupy a kendra or trikona (an angle or trine house), his own sign, or Libra (his sign of exhalation). He should not be combust (in close proximity to the Sun). Natural benefics (positive associations) should aspect him (have a relationship to him) or be in conjunction with him (together in the same sign), and he should be in the middle part of the sign he occupies.

Benefic Saturn

Saturn, when favorable functionally, is karaka (indicator) for longevity, justice, democratic ideals, humanitarianism, sympathy, the philosophical truths, all-around prosperity, position, careful speech, sense of duty towards man and God, discipline, meditation, prudence, asceticism, patience, self-control, economy, industry, diplomacy, truth, concentration and health. A powerful Saturn in any horoscope stands for wealth, fame, longevity and leadership qualities. Powerful Saturn in his period gives the native great courage to do hard and difficult jobs and gives him energy and fortitude to meet the arduous struggles of life. He is well known among donors as a man of principle, a labor leader who may earn much in business. His business commodities are those of interest to the general masses or labor class.

If he receives any benefic aspect, especially of strong Jupiter, Saturn will act on the positive side. For example, if he is positioned in a sign of Jupiter (Sagittarius or Pisces) and is well aspected by Jupiter, the native becomes a ruler or will hold some important office. He may become a significant political leader or achieve wealth or status in some form.


Saturn is privileged to be a yoga karaka (a planet having special power to raise one in life) for Libra and Taurus ascendants by owning a kendra and a trikona. This honor is denied even to Jupiter, the preceptor of the gods. Strong and unafflicted Saturn in such a capacity is expected to confer financial prosperity, fame, political success, honor, and joys in a greater measure. The only problem is that when a yoga karaka is weak or afflicted, the native suffers an equally great measure in respect to the bhavas (house positions) concerned.


If Saturn and other malefices are located in the 3rd, 6th, 10th and the 11th houses in a horoscope, he occasions a Raja Yoga (a planetary combination which brings power, position and authority), and brings royal honors and power to the person. In the case of ordinary individuals, a positive Saturn will cause him to command some kind of influence and respect in society. Frequently the person will work in departments which deal closely with the public. While discussing the matter of Saturn's influence and aspects we are reminded that there are two kinds of results, positive and negative. In some horoscopes it is seen that the native experiences both kinds of results. For instance, Saturn in the 2nd or 7th house is good for popularity and fame, but at the same time may cause a lack of family comfort, domestic disharmony and financial strain. Generally Saturn, when active as a benefic, promotes a purposeful life.

Malefic Saturn

Weak and badly placed Saturn gives fear of imprisonment, lack of courage, lethargy, heavy losses in business, missed opportunities by lack of vigilance, scandal, notoriety, and debauchery resulting in a bad name. The transit of Saturn over natural planets, particularly the planets whose cycles are presently running, delays the results likely to be exhibited by them, sometimes nearly beyond toleration. The transit of malefics (the Sun, Mars, Rahu and Ketu) over Natal Saturn is decidedly a time of great suffering if it is his sub cycle. It would be erroneous to judge transits without reference to the dasa (planetary cycle) and bhukti (subcycle) in operation. Generally malefic Saturn creates tensions, suffering, losses and delays.

Saturn and Health

Saturn is the chief planet in producing diseases, being cold and contracting. He is also the karaka of the 6th, 8th and 12th houses, which are connected with short or long ailments and hospitalization. He's opposed to the Sun, the planet of vitality and the heart. He is also not friendly to the Moon, without whose blessings it is difficult to have a sound mind and body. To locate the nature and seat of diseases in the human body, we need to study Saturn’s role vis-a-vis the bhava (house) and the planets. But one thing is certain, that when the native suffers physically or mentally, Saturn’s hand is always there in the planetary configuration. We can’t ignore its influence in a serious or lingering disease.


The parts of the human body governed by Saturn are the left ear, joints, spleen, spinal column, teeth, knees, the lower portion of the legs, ribs, bones, hair, nails and pneuma, and the gastric nerve. He also rules the waste materials, urine, stool and phlegm. When Saturn is weak and afflicted by the Sun, Mars, Rahu or Ketu, the native is likely to suffer through some of these parts. Likely illnesses include rheumatism, nervous disorders, epilepsy, tumor, cancer, paralysis, accidents, ear trouble and constipation. People under the influence of malefic Saturn frequently have bad teeth and may lose them early. Generally, Saturn rules ailments that take a long time to heal, as Saturn always delays results.

Saturn and Politics

Because Saturn is the planet of democracy, closely connected with the masses, the common man and the democratic process, all elected leaders draw strength from the position of Saturn in their chart. Democracy is a fundamental attitude, a scale of values, a definite conception of man and his place in society. Though the institutions and forms of democracy differ wildly, there are certain pivotal values which determine the democratic way of life. The method of democracy is one of discussion, of open-minded critical inquiry, and finally and frequently of compromise. It is by and large the most humane form of government devised by civilization. Since it basically implies that government is a moral trust dependent upon the free consent of the governed, the liberty, dignity and happiness of the individual form its cornerstone. All these broadly come under Saturn who denotes the masses, liberty, fair play and humaneness.


Saturn ruling the populace assumes importance in the charts of democracies and their leaders. At one time when power passed on from father to son as in monarchies, Jupiter, the pure karaka (indicator for children), featured significantly in the charts of kings and princes. Jupiter was intimately linked to the 10th house. As we moved on in time, kings have gradually been replaced by elected or self-styled leaders riding to power on the waves of popularity. Thus we find Jupiter, even if reluctantly, making way for Saturn.


Just as Jupiter supports traditional values of monarchy, the Sun itself represents the king. In today's democratic governments, the Sun may manifest his leadership tendencies as a diplomat or a politician. It may help one stand out in the political field. But to shine as a leader or politician, the Sun's positive effect alone is insufficient. Saturn should be given due attention in judging the range of political influences, as he plays a greater role than the Sun in the field. So we see at this moment in world history, the role of Saturn is enhanced owing to the nature and issue presented to man at this stage of the evolutionary process.


If we examine the chart of any elected leader, we will find Saturn occupying a prominent position. For example, a diplomat with Saturn in the 7th will have a good political career. Saturn in the 2nd, 4th or 10th houses will also grant the native influence over the public. In these areas Saturn is said to give power and position to an extent which no other planet can. Alan Leo writes that Napoleon Bonaparte rose to heights only on account of his 10th house Saturn. By the highly beneficial influence of Saturn, a pauper can become a president. And a president can turn into a pauper due to the evil effects of Saturn. It was the influence of Saturn which ultimately brought down Napoleon as well. Just as Saturn empowers, he also has the power to disrupt the mightiest just when the going is good. We can study Saturn’s influence in any of the great world leaders to gain insight as to why the native was a beloved leader of the people, a dictator, a tyrant or a saint. Regardless of whether they become a Hitler, Churchill, Gandhi or Lincoln, Saturn-gifted people usually have adventures in their lives. They face sudden changes, good and bad, and they will have to face obstacles and danger, and deal with disappointment through false friends. Such is the influence of Saturn upon the people who become leaders.

Saturn's Mission

Since it is Saturn’s essential purpose to temper the soul, he attacks our weak points to broaden and define the scope of our character, driving us to maturity. He seeks to further our development in those areas where we have not gathered any real experience in the past. It is best for all of us to handle the affairs of the houses in our chart that are either occupied or aspected by Saturn with great caution and thoughtful action. It is a serious mistake on our part to expect anything for which we have never toiled or are not prepared to labor.  Saturn goes out of his way to correct this type of misperception.

So Saturn offers mental power, discipline and endurance to undergo all sorts of privation, and a third-eye-sight to make the voyage through the mysterious and dark sea. He teaches humanity the art of sacrifice by which one is able to reach the higher stages of evolution. For generous and pious souls, Saturn creates a golden bridge between the mundane and ethereal worlds. One could say the remedies to the unyielding force of Saturn include labor, patience, perseverance, honesty, foresight, and humanitarian outlook. And the unfolding of these qualities is Saturn’s mission.

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