Lessons from Saturn

Both Indian and Western Astrologers often emphasize the special importance of Saturn. Our Saturn Return, our Saturn period (Daśa in Sanskrit), and the period when Saturn passes over the sign of our moon and its surrounding signs (called Sade Sati) are seen as significant times in our life. The influence of Saturn in our life is often accompanied by hardship and so these periods are usually seen as bitter medicine and even sometimes feared.

One of the names for Saturn in Sanskrit is “Śanaiścara,” which means he is slow moving. The word Śanaiḥ means “with slowness” or “slowly.” There is a curious crossover where the word “Śanaiḥ” is also used quite often in Yoga texts to refer to the method of practice. We are told to practice “Śanaiḥ Śanaiḥ.” The word is repeated not just to emphasize “slowly, slowly,” but also to mean both “gently” (in an individual practice session) and “persistently” (over time).

Anyone who is even a little familiar with Saturn or his influence might think “gentle” sounds like the last word they’d use, but hardship can be seen as a reminder for us to continue to practice diligently, but to have a bit more practice and care as well. We have to be patient and persistent with set-backs and sometimes resistances are signs that we have been trying to bulldoze our way through something that requires more finesse.

So Saturn reminds us to practice slowly, gently, and persistently. As Charles Baudelaire says, “Nothing can be done except little by little.”

Oṃ Śaṃ Śrī Śanaiścarāya Namaḥ!