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Saturn retrograde: the art of pruning

Saturn retrograde Image author unknown

Saturn retrograde? Oh no! Due to lack of understanding and negative hype, the word ‘retrograde’ has a tendency to freak people out. In reality retrograde periods are second chances, opportunities to go back over old ground and complete missions we may not have got right the first time.

Saturn has a similarly bad reputation. In traditional astrology Saturn is considered to be malefic, bringing struggle and hardship. The term ‘Saturn retrograde’ is therefore loaded with connotations of difficulty, heaviness and loss. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

This period of Saturn retrograde begins on 11 May and will last for 4 1/2 months before it turns direct again on 29 September. Moving back through Capricorn from 2 July it will reenter Aquarius on 18 December.

What’s Saturn retrograde good for?

During this Saturn retrograde period we get to review our responses to Saturn’s passage through Capricorn, especially the important Saturn Pluto conjunction.

Saturn retrograde is a time for pruning away anything that no longer serves you. The art of pruning is very Saturnian, exemplified in Japanese bonsai and more naturally in the rugged beauty of wind tossed trees exposed to the ravages of extreme conditions such as mountainous cliffs or coastal environments.

When I was younger the strong Jupiter in me found bonsai difficult to understand or accept. I wanted nature, and myself by implication, to be completely free. But as the years passed I began to see the strength and beauty that comes from enduring challenging times, and the value of pruning away excess.

Lisa Byrne of the Art of Simple sums this up beautifully, writing: “When we can become skilled at selectively knowing what to prune out of our lives, what remains becomes stronger, brighter, clearer. Our time and attention can be focused to produce beautiful, rich fruits.”

If you don’t have one yet, you can get a free birth chart at To understand how to read your birth chart, and follow the transits in your own life, download my free ebook The Language of Astrology.

4 Comments on Saturn retrograde: the art of pruning

  1. Thanks for making things so easy to understand, all the astro jargon is slowly starting to sink in :)

  2. Thank you for this perspective. :) I am finally learning to view Saturn as a helpful (if not always nice) influence.

  3. I have Saturn on my Ascendant, I would not be the strong person that I am without it!

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