Saturn is the planet most likely to be retrograde in a chart. Approx 26% of the charts you get will have Saturn in his apparent backward motion.
Retrograde planets are teachers with a different agenda. They teach you by rewinding events in your conscious life. You review and re-analyse, again and yet again. The conscious event is never directly in sharp focus, your feelings, instincts and indirect impressions add more dimensions to the experience. You may not be able to clearly express yourself in the matters ruled by the retrograde planets. A jumble of feelings, you may not be sure about what you ‘feel’ and what you should be ‘doing’. On these matters your conscious and sub-conscious are in conflict.
If you have more than one planet retrograde in your chart you will need to find out the relative strengths of each to know their relative influence on you. As a starting point you can consider the planet which has advanced most into its sign, i.e. with the highest degrees, to give more results.
Saturn teaches you to maintain the society and helps you maintain your public/visible role in it. Saturn is the owner of the 10th and 11th house of the natural zodiac. Thus he is the natural agent of your work, profession, your birth father, your luck, gains from every aspect of your life, like-minded groups etc. (The father in the spiritual sense, the Guru, is the 9th house). Most importantly on the spiritual context, Saturn gives you the work-plan which helps rebalance your karma systematically. He keeps a tally of how much work has been done and how much more is required to balance your this life’s karma target. The strength to persevere. All of us hope and are optimistic, but the next step towards success is to work steadily without faltering, this is Saturn. On the emotional front, Saturn is often dour, forbidding, causing restrictions, constrictions and not-happiness.
On the inner levels, Saturn’s job is to reduce ‘self-ego’, the inflated sense of personal self.
A retrograde Saturn will often start with a complicated relationship with the father or people in authority who discipline you. This begins in the childhood itself so has implications throughout life. We are required to live our life with self-discipline and responsibility. Often it is the father who teaches the child the value of discipline and corrects his behaviour if required. But a child with retrograde Saturn may subconsciously resent his father and all that he teaches. He might perceive his father to be distant, not-loving, emotionally unavailable or absent.
In life, resources are limited and you need to plan and be systematic about using them. As you grow, the ability to organise life and its resources becomes even more vital. You live in a society and its norms and legal/social behaviour is important. A retrograde Saturn is sometimes a balancing act. You have to think of positive goals which support Saturn’s natural role and also his role in your personal chart. Saturn signifies society in all ways, so retrograde or not, he will find ways to make you work for the society. So over time, especially after Saturn matures at the age of 36yrs, you might find your own ways of contributing. You tend to choose an external apparent freedom which is strictly regulated by your internal self-discipline. A retrograde Saturn allows you to use your talents differently, you may work in a profession considered ‘odd’ by the society. If the chart supports, you may be an eccentric professor who thinks differently, a brilliant artist who creates unusual works, or even an astrologer! All forms of jobs and professions are Saturn.
Saturn’s energies are turned inwards, so the conscience is always hyper-alert. This internal voice reviews every step you take and every word you speak, always, non-stop, to an extent that you might feel an underlying fear of everything you do. ‘Are you doing things the way you are you are supposed to do?’, The internal self is hyper-strict, always finding faults. This over time can lead to low self-esteem, lack of self-confidence and an inability for self-love. The solution here is to direct the energies. Try to develop your own frame of reference, Saturn will allow this. You can develop your own internal sense of self-discipline so that you are more comfortable with what you do. Try to intuitively feel what is really important to you than what you were taught is important in life. You are required to be more subjective than objective. Look for patterns not separate events.
Retrograde Saturn will work with and through the planets he is associated /conjunct /aspected by /aspecting /house owner etc with. So e.g. if he is with a direct Mercury, try to find Saturn’s subjective influence on the Mercury-linked actions you do. You might think on what society needs, a thought, an intellectual reform, you might initiate a ‘process’ for the welfare of the society, speaking out, communicating, writing! Several social reformers had a retrograde Saturn who powered their thoughts and actions. These individuals were highly convinced of the correctness of their thoughts and were considered radical by the society of that time. Retrograde Saturn does provide the internal energy to work hard, the person knows he is right and unaware of the odds, perseveres and brings about fundamental changes.
If you want to come to terms with the power of retrograde planets, you have to go through a highly introspective process. Self-reflection is key. This however happens over a life-time. As you contemplate, your powers of intuition also increase, this will lead to increased trust in your own feelings. You will be able you love yourself, ‘self-love’. Only then will the subjective, seemingly irrational influences on your psyche be gradually accepted and integrated. However odd these subconscious feelings may seem, they are a pattern which will gradually synthesise and make sense. Retrograde Saturn is a great power-house, if you can use it in the sub-conscious levels, it will manifest in your physical reality too. Try to be comfortable with these inner dialogues and self-doubts, as they will make sense eventually.