Planet Saturn, retrograde since early March 2014 in Libra, will cease retrograde motion on 20 July, and then go direct. Planets represent concentrations of life force. Their placement in different signs represents the exertions of life-force in those areas which are signified by the planet's occupation. Retrograde means "do-good". Saturn ceases retrograde motion and resumes its slow forward motion. We look to some aspects of this Saturn direct movement as Saturn is seven times more powerful than the Sun.
In the legend of Saturn being granted planetary status, it is told that Lord Sani (Saturn) had a desire to undertake penance in order to obtain a powerful place among the planets. For this, Sani first approached his father, the Sun, and asked his advice. The Sun told his son (suryaputraya - Saturn) to go to Kashi and worship Lord Shiva there. During his long period of worship, Shani soon dispensed with food and lived on water alone. Eventually, he was to give up drinking water and continue his hard penance.
Lord Shiva was pleased and appeared before him, sprinkling holy water upon his devotee, Shani. Lord Shiva enquired as to his desire, and upon hearing this, granted him a prominent place among the planets as Saturn. Granting this planetary status, Lord Shiva told Saturn he would be the 'chief celestial judge' and purify people through experience. Because of his long and dedicated penance, Lord Shani achieved seven times the power of the Sun, his father.
Saturn takes on average, 29 years pass through the the twelve houses, and generally spends about two and a half years in a sign. Retrograde is a latin word, meaning "to do good". The goodness inherent in a retrograde period means the planet concerned reverses motion and gives the person a time to reflect on life and how we are progressing towards the goals of life. We may have personal goals such as to have a satisfying employment, a car, a home, marriage and children. There are also the four great goals of life, called purusharthas, the goals of dharma (right conduct), artha (wealth), kama (satisfying our needs) and moksha (release from the cycle of birth and death). A retrograde period - in this case in Libra - gives us the opportunity to reflect on where we have been and where we are going. This is important, for thought creates our reality.
This world is light; it is the embedded lives and karmic appurtenances we bring with us that cause us to feel heat and cold, to see dark and light, to experience hunger and deprivation, to know right from wrong. We may wander aimlessly through life with all our karma rolling out right on schedule unless we take action, set some goals, and work steadily towards achieving them. One of the functions of Saturn is to take time - as Saturn is the planet of longegivity - to reconsider, where we have been, where we are going and how we are going to get there. We will not achieve any goals if we are sleepwalking through our lives. Saturn's place in the chart reflects the utimate issues of our life and destiny, the hard facts or stern reality we must eventually face.
At present, Saturn is in Libra, where it is in exaltation, and Mars has just entered Libra. Libra is an air sign, signifies kama (desire) and is chara, of a movable nature. Libra is traditionally a sign of balance. Saturn retrograde in Libra is the opportunity for us to master the mind, recover our wits, examine our progress and set markers towards our goals. Planet Mars has just entered the sign of Libra. Many say this is planetary war, but planetary war only occurs when there is 1° of separation between the planets involved. What then is the meaning of Saturn conjunct Mars in Libra?
Saturn and Mars both signify modern technology and both have important roles in modern day technological professions. Saturn rules computers, information technology and electronics. Saturn regards Mars as enemy; Mars is sees Saturn as neutral. Saturn is vata, air principle, Mars is pitta, fire principle. Saturn and Mars are both natural malefics. Their conjunction is often overblown and said to be an ill-omened augury, harbouring destruction, conflict, loss of station in life, loss of possessions, accidents, urgent surgery, things like this.
However, both these planets have significations for modern technology and this is the area where losses in technological advance, medical cures, new technologies, new sources of energy may suffer setbacks or conflicts. The recent destruction of Malaysian Airlines MH17 is a case in point: over 100 passengers were destined for the 2014 World AIDS conference, and the loss of the lives of these scientists and researchers is indeed a deep blow toward cure and freedom from the scourge that afflicts all those with HIV/AIDS.
Saturn going direct reminds us that all is change, and in fact, change is the nature of the universe. The Sanskrit word for universe - jagat - means coming and going. All life goes through cycles of creation - maintenance and preservation - destruction and decay. When we say all is change, this means all is engaged in karman, action. Karma simply means action. Every action produces a reaction, and Saturn provides both the detachment and the opportunity to reflect on action as we traverse the days of our life towards its destiny. May we all choose to be born in order that we not be born again, and cease from sleepwalking through our live and choose what it is we are seeking as the goal of our life: moksha, freedom from rebirth.