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Saturn Retrograde 2019: Clearing the Past

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On Monday, April 29th, Saturn the planet of karma, responsibility and life lessons begins its four-month backward stint in our sky. Not to worry, Saturn Retrograde is nothing to panic over. It is not nearly as intense as Mercury Retrograde and won’t send our e-mail servers crashing down. Saturn Retrograde is actually a good thing. It slows down the pace of our lives just enough so we can reorganize and reassess our commitments.

Let's start by first understanding what actually happens when a planet is retrograde. Saturn takes about 29 years to orbit the Sun, that’s a lot longer than Earth, which means we pass it every year. When we are “catching up” to Saturn, it appears to be moving backward. Much like when a train passes a slower train. It’s not actually moving backward, it just appears that way. Saturn is retrograde for 4.5 months every year. This year it stations direct September 18th.

Saturn creates and governs the rules and regulations we live by as a society. It reminds us of our responsibilities to ourselves, our life, and to others. It also teaches us our hard life lessons and helps us work out our karma in various ways. Karma is energetic attachment, it’s neither positive or negative- it’s just energy we are “stuck” with until we work it out. For example, if we were not so kind to someone in a past relationship, our energy stays attached to that situation until we can detach it by making amends to the person or by learning how to resolve the issue through another relationship. Karma does not necessarily need to be worked out with the person involved in the initial attachment, but with the resulting energy left within us. Once we work out our karmic attachments, we are free to evolve energetically. This, of course, can take lifetimes and is the reasoning behind reincarnations. We reincarnate into a particular form because of our karmic attachments. Essentially this life is all about detaching and clearing our karmic past as much as possible.


Saturn Retrograde slows things down a bit so we can reevaluate our life, including our karma. It gives us time to understand the deeper meaning of why we might attract the same circumstance over and over again. It also brings our karma to the surface. We may find during Saturn Retrograde our past karma comes back so we may understand it in efforts to clear it from our energy. It’s all positive though! We want to work out as much karma as we can in this lifetime, so we are free to evolve. According to Hindu philosophy, the goal of each lifetime is to get a little closer to reaching enlightenment. The only way to do this is by clearing our karma.

Whether you believe in past lives or karma, over the next four months, pay attention to situations that feel familiar. They may be the same type of guy appearing in several “different” boyfriends, or you may find yourself in a similar situation again and again with different people. You’ll know karma when you see it. When you do recognize it, slow down and look for the place where healing is needed. Give space and attention to the part of you that needs healing, and do what is necessary to detach from the energy. Work with release exercises through journalling and cleansing rituals. Awareness is key here. Once you become aware, you are on the road to detachment.

On a more Earthly level, Saturn Retrograde gives us the time to re-evaluate our commitments. Saturn is now stationed in Capricorn. Both are hardworking, diligent energies, ready to motivate us to new heights. Saturn drives us to do our best work and work hard. It reminds us that no mountain is too high with the right effort and determination. Saturn is always driving us forward to reach new levels in our career, motivating us past our mental roadblocks, and strengthening our ability to discipline ourselves. Remember, Saturn Retrograde gives us a time to pause and re-evaluate our long term commitments. Are your resounding yeses still resounding? Saturn Retrograde is a great time to change directions or get out of situations in which we feel trapped. Charging ahead is wonderful, but we want to reaffirm we are on the right path for us.With this energy of reassessment, Saturn Retrograde is a great time to define our boundaries. Learn to say No to what is not meant for your energy. If something is not helping evolve our energy, we must learn to walk away and detach, so we are free to evolve in a different direction. Often we say yes because we are afraid of saying No. Saturn Retrograde teaches us to clearly define what is acceptable and what is not in our life, so we can spend our energy on what really matters to our soul. Use this period to become clear about what you are allowing into your life and energetic field. If you don’t want something, or someone, figure out the karma that brought it to you. Learn the lesson of why you called it in the first place, then let it go.

Here’s a little checklist of things to think about over the next four months while Saturn retrogrades:

  • Define your boundaries
  • Re-evaluate your commitments, especially time commitments (Saturn rules time)
  • Re-organize your systems (including routines/disciplines- is that yoga schedule really working for you?)
  • Keep yourself motivated- Retrograde can make us feel tired, inspire yourself with new activities.
  • Get to the root of your karmic attachments- This will probably take more than one cycle of retrograde, but you need to start somewhere.


Finally, don’t fear this retrograde. These are all good things! Slow down a bit and use the time to assure yourself that you are on the right track. Adjust where you need to, and continue with what you want. Your energy will appreciate the confirmation, and you will be able to attract more of what you want after you give it the Saturn stamp of approval.

Learn how Saturn, Pluto and Jupiter Retrograde will affect our next New Moon in the Taurus Workbook. 

Art via Rebecca Reitz