Saturn spends roughly about 2.5 years in each zodiac sign.  When Saturn transits your sun or rising sign (also known as ascendant – find your ascendant here), you will feel its impact.  After all, Saturn is known as the Great Teacher.  And after its transit, you will be left with valuable lessons.

If you’re an astrology enthusiast, you’re likely to have come across the following adjectives associated with Saturn: limitation; restriction; fear; struggle; hardship; reality.

These descriptions are enough to make anyone want to run for the hills and hide from the looming doom and gloom.

I can’t say I was an exception.  I was fearful.  And to be brutally honest, I struggled during the difficult aspects of Saturn’s transit in my natal sun (difficult aspects don’t necessarily last the entire time Saturn is in your sign).

It wasn’t always doom and gloom.  If anything, I have epic and happy memories from that phase as well.  However, I did encounter episodes of unprecedented challenges and setbacks that I’ll never forget.

As much as I was aware of Saturn transits and its effects, my mind was not able to imagine that it was even possible for certain problems to arise.  Hence, I had no reference point to know how to cope with them.

I must say though, that oddly enough, when I honestly reflect on that phase of my life, I wouldn’t have it any other way than the way it was.  I certainly didn’t enjoy the struggles and setbacks.

But as clichéd as it may sound, I realize that without those hardships, I wouldn’t have the confidence and stamina to keep going and take on challenges that life inevitably brings us, reminding us of our true value.

What I mean by our true value is our sense of worth that falls outside the sphere of validation from external sources.

The type of worthiness that doesn’t depend on what others think or feel about us.  This liberates us to fearlessly pursue what we always truly desire and what nourishes our soul.  Even if that previously seemed intangible and impossible.

I wanted to share some key lessons learnt from this transit, along with tips to help you cope and even thrive.  This is not meant to ignite fear.  But, rather to empower you by demystifying what to expect during Saturn transits and help you prepare for the lessons.

The following are Cliffs Notes of the lessons learnt (those who don’t know what Cliffs Notes are – they summarize texts or bodies of work to help quickly grasp the key points):

Lesson #1: No short-cuts

During Saturn transits, you cannot just wing it, no matter how clever and intelligent you are, even if spontaneity and improvisation worked for you in the past.

If anything, you need to over-prepare.  And even over preparation doesn’t guarantee that things will work out in your favor.

Life will seem unfair, and at times, it will be unfair.

On the plus side, “unfair” outcomes will help you truly see the motivation of others.  And you’ll assess your own motivation in the process.

For instance, whatever it is that didn’t materialize (even if you wanted it and worked hard for it), you’ll know when you take an honest look at the situation if it’s coming from a place of ego gratification or if it’s your soul’s true desire.

Your ego will be kept in check during this time, especially in areas where it gets its sense of significance from outside sources.

Tip: If ego is involved (yours or others), you can bet that your efforts will not lead you anywhere.

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Lesson #2: If it’s true good to be true, it is

This is a good time to remember the proverb that “if anything seems too good to be true, it is.”

For instance, if you’re hiring a contractor to carry out renovations in your home who offered you a “discount”, do your homework diligently beforehand.

Avoid the temptation of going with someone who is less expensive or because you know them, until and unless you are absolutely confident that they are up to the job.  It may end up costing you more in the long run if you take short-cuts (see lesson #1).

Tip: Research, research and research.  For the example above, interview multiple contractors, carry out thorough reference checks, and get a solid idea of what the renovations will actually cost you.

Lesson #3: Simple things can be difficult

Things that may appear simple will be anything but.  You’ll find some things that previously may have been effortless for you are now much harder at times.

This could even be administrative tasks, which may seem easy at first, but can end up being time-consuming and overwhelming.  This can range from filing for your tax returns to getting a visa when visiting a foreign country.

The mundane things that you dread doing are what will require your attention the most.  So, might as well accept that these things will need to be addressed by YOU.  And if you want to enjoy this transit, then embrace what you need to do!

Tip: Don’t overlook details.

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Lesson #4: Your well-being will be your priority

Saturnian energy can be heavy.  You may frequently feel the heavy energy in your body in the form of tiredness or lack of energy.

Your body may even feel “old”.  But, remember that this is just energy, which is fleeting and changeable.  And you won’t always feel this way.

If anything, you should take measures to ensure your well-being, first and foremost.  If you don’t, circumstances (whether it’s in the form of a lingering health problem or extreme fatigue) will make sure that you do.

You’ll feel the effects of over-eating, binging and/or an inactive lifestyle the most during this time. It’ll be difficult for you to perform optimally in your profession if you stay up late or party the night before.

This is the time to get lots of rest, eat balanced and healthy meals, and set aside time to exercise.  This is also an excellent time to consistently practice meditation or mindfulness.

On the plus side, if you want to lose weight, you’ll be able to successfully shed those pounds off.  Saturn can shrink our bodies.  This is especially the case when it transits our ascendant.

Tip:  Pay attention to your body and respect its needs.

Lesson #5: Draw boundaries

Saturn is about boundaries.

During this phase, it’s not uncommon to find yourself in situations with people who push your boundaries.  They could be bullies or energy vampires that drain you of your vital energy.  They may even take pleasure in wearing you down.

For your mental well-being and sanity, you’ll be forced to eliminate such people from your life.

This could require making difficult decisions, such as quitting your job or cutting ties with a childhood friend who clearly doesn’t have your best interest at heart.

Remember that bullies and energy vampires will never be pleased no matter what you do or how much you do for them.

Tip: Learn how to defend yourself and fight for yourself.  And remind yourself of the lesson “Karma is alive and well” that I write about in Part B of this post.

Lesson #6: Humility

At one point or another of this transit (depending on how transiting Saturn aspects other planets), you’ll learn that just because you did well one time or received a lot of praise and recognition for your hard work and contributions, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll continue to be in this trajectory.

If anything, you’ll find that you’ll have to prove yourself again and again, and may even have to start from scratch.

You’ll learn that growth and accomplishments aren’t necessarily linear, even if you consistently worked hard and gave it your best.

On the other hand, it could very well be that after you’ve accomplished what you wanted, the reality of it is not as grand as you imagined.  Your “success” could feel empty and unfulfilling.

The universe has not turned against you, even if it feels this way.  You are certainly not singled out to face hardships, even if you feel isolated and alone in your struggles.

Feeling isolated, alone and fearful are common phenomenon during this transit.  It is important to remember that Saturn is not your enemy!

Everyone faces their share of struggles and setbacks at one point or another during the course of their lives.  This is your turn, and a heavy dose of humility will do you good.

Your humanness will be apparent to you now more than ever.

The good news is (even if it doesn’t feel like good news when you’re going through it) – this process will eventually lead you to discover what’s truly important to you along with your true self-worth (the kind that is not dependent on external measures of success).

By stripping away external factors that previously gave you your sense of worth and value, the universe is enabling your true self to shine through.  This will ultimately make you more fearless and ready to tackle everything on your way.

Tip: Stay humble, especially when you experience success.

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Lesson #7: Empathy

The struggles and hardships that you’ll encounter will make you empathetic to others’ challenges.

You’ll think twice before you say “why didn’t you try this or that” to others when they express their disappointment or frustration over something that didn’t work out for them.  This is especially when you know that they have worked hard for it…unless you have a concrete solution of course.

You’ll know that sometimes even with one’s best efforts, things don’t turn out in ways that have been anticipated.  It certainly doesn’t mean that it’ll never work out.  But, there are phases in our lives when our desired outcomes just don’t materialize the way we expect.

Tip:   Empathize with yourself.  Sometimes things don’t work out as planned because of external factors, which may have nothing to do with your efforts.

For more lessons and tips, see Part B: 7 more lessons from a Saturn transit in your sign with tips to help you thrive.

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