Rethinking Venus/Saturn in Synastry

Old Man and Young WomanMost people approach Saturn in synastry as a necessary but bitter pill that must be swallowed in order for there to be some kind of longevity in the relationship. Even if we don’t look at him with dread, we furrow our brows when we notice where he falls. Saturn in synastry gets blamed for all kinds of things – shattered illusions, betrayals, power struggles, abandonment – that don’t belong on his square shoulders at all. His glamorous outer planet brothers seem to get away with murder, and never take on that kind of flak. It always amazes me how often students dump on Saturn placements, when most often it’s Uranus, Neptune or Pluto who deserve the blame. But honestly, given the choice of an aspect between charts, I’d take, say, Moon opposite Saturn way before I’d take Uranus, Neptune or Pluto there. Saturn can be reasoned with. Not like the killer trio. Saturn needs some new PR.

One of the reasons we abhor Saturn is that he doesn’t let us get away with anything. In this, he is definitely the strict parent who knows us inside and out, especially when we tell him we’re going to the library when we really have plans to stay out way past our bed time. Saturn is the one who pushes us to work harder when we feel like being lazy. Saturn is the one who nags us about the right things at the right times. Saturn can behave this way in relationships, too, and it takes a very mature individual to appreciate it, especially if Saturn is acting out of genuine regard and not just projecting his own issues onto us.

Saturn is diligent. If we ignore what he tells us and what he expects of us, he will wait and bring us the same lessons later, only this time it will be harder, because our behaviour has become more entrenched with time. Time. Now there is a good Saturn word. Saturn knows that we only have this one life (as far as we know for sure) and the clock is ticking. There are things we need to accomplish, things we need to learn. Tick tock. Tick tock.

When Saturn is working well, he works hand in hand with the Moon. This is the natural cardinal pairing of Cancer/Capricorn, which is as natural a partnership as Aries/Libra. Cardinal signs initiate, and one of the things they initiate is partnership. Moon/Saturn also represents the ‘other’ angle, the MC/IC, which is the spine of the chart and crucial in partnership. (See my series on the MC/IC, and Beyond Mom and Dad, Saturn as a Relationship Planet.) Moon/Saturn is how we fashion our consciousness, our raw psychic material, into concrete accomplishment. Moon/Saturn hard contacts within a natal chart are so painful because we sense that what we have, what we were born with, is not adequate enough for us to create what we want. We feel we are hobbled before we begin the race. It takes a lot of inner work, and a lot of interaction with the outside world, before the two can work together.

I consider all of the rulers of the cardinal signs relationship planets. Not that the other planets don’t affect partnerships – they do, intensely. But the ‘prime movers’ of relationship are Venus, Mars, Moon, and Saturn. (This is very clearly seen via progression.) The Sun is a relationship planet as well, particularly paired with the Moon, but the Sun operates in a dimension beyond day to day reality, and is, quite frankly, hard for us to get hold of. We feel it (if we’re lucky), we identify with it, but we can’t really manipulate its energy or work with it the way we can with the inner planets. (For more on the Sun, see my five part series, “The Mystery of Solar Fire.”) We’re infused with the Sun, but we have no power over it. It has plans for us we’re not allowed to discover until the time is right. There’s that word again. Time. That’s Saturn’s realm.

We all identify with each one of these planets, but they will also play a role in giving us an idea of the opposite sex. If we toss them around, and pair a masculine planet with a feminine one, we get some very interesting combinations. Two of the most intense are two that are rarely discussed. One is Moon/Mars, which I’ve talked about before, both on my blog and in a two part article for Sasstrology.com – steamier, more intense, more intimate and yes, a little scarier, than Venus/Mars. But the real black sheep of the bunch is Venus/Saturn. If you’re not aware of Venus/Saturn as a relationship magnet, it can hit you blindside.

In the words of Liz Greene, from her book Saturn, A New Look at an Old Devil – one of the greatest books on Saturn – when Saturn sees something it wants, it can act like “the most inflamed Mars.” No one thinks of Saturn that way. And yet, in practice, over the years, I’ve seen him do just that, over and over and over again. Why? The secret of Saturn, and the Saturn/Moon combination, is that Saturn needs. He knows what he has to do, and the clock is ticking. If you have what he needs, he will court you like a lovesick swain. His love is genuine, desperate. Tick tock.

What Saturn wants is Venus. All that grace, all that gentility, all that beauty, is a balm to his harsh existence. When Venus touches Saturn, he is no longer the builder, the taskmaster, the responsible one. In Venus’s presence he can become the master craftsman, the artist. His work has a purpose beyond the mundane. He can take the raw materials of Venus, her beauty, her desire, and use them to achieve his purpose in an elevated and more gentle manner. Venus encourages him to share his skills and experience. Venus wants to be desired, and she senses his need. Remember that Saturn is exalted in Libra.

But Saturn/Venus doesn’t pounce, as Mars/Venus might and Mars/Moon often does. (Mars/Moon is a contact between two primal forces, where Saturn/Venus is much more sophisticated.) Saturn will court. Saturn will spend time. Saturn will feed your cat when you’re away and mend your loose wiring and fill your refrigerator on top of it. When you return, Saturn will hold your hand and talk to you through the night and stoically suppress sighs of longing – until one day when you trust him utterly and he’s certain he won’t be rejected, he will pounce. Saturn can wait forever where Venus is concerned. Saturn is desperate for appreciation, and appreciation is what Venus does best. This is always a very sensual tie, no matter what sign it falls in. The earthy, Taurean side of Venus is a natural match for the equally earthy Saturn. And they will want the best of everything for and from one another, and they are both very security-minded planets. With the hard aspects there will be more striving, and more tussling for rewards (internal and external), but the same underlying desire will be there.

As with all aspects, nothing can be taken out of context. Problems come when either of the planets is debilitated in the natal chart. If the person with the Saturn has a Saturn placement that causes it to be full of fear and defensiveness, if it constantly feels inadequate and suppressed, it will take it out on Venus, who will feel hurt and betrayed, and surmise that Saturn’s desire was a lie. If the Venus person’s self-confidence is on the brink, or if the person’s Venus is dominated by Uranus, Neptune or Pluto, Saturn may never obtain the security it desires, and may be shocked when the outer planet steamroller rides into town and his once accommodating partner shows herself to be elusive or manipulative. Sometimes, though rarely, the planets only want a specific thing from one another, to learn a specific lesson, and once that lesson is learned, the attraction cools. That can happen with any planetary inter-aspect, but the fallout here can be devastating, because of the trust involved, and the whispered promises of forever, which can be very loud when these two connect.

The most common thing I hear when I see a Venus/Saturn inter-aspect is, “We didn’t do anything the first night we spent together. We just held one another.” That’s what Venus/Saturn is doing. Holding on in the dark of the night, remaining in the here and now, taking joy from the warmth and the comfort.

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This blog post is republished by permission of the author and originally appeared at The Inner Wheel.

Image: Old Man and Young Woman by Lucas Cranach the Elder.

About Dawn Bodrogi

Dawn Bodrogi has studied astrology since the age of twelve, and has been a practicing astrologer for over twenty years with a special emphasis on synastry. Her studies in Jungian psychology, alchemy, and Buddhist philosophy inform her work. Her upcoming book, The Inner Wheel, takes a new look at interpreting secondary progressions. You can see more of Dawn’s work at her blog, The Inner Wheel: Living with Astrology.

Comments

  1. Such a great article! Thanks.

  2. my partner’s venus is in late scorpio, and my saturn is in early scorpio. since they don’t aspect each other, does it not count? this post described a lot of our dynamic perfectly. especially since we have sun-saturn and moon-mars contacts (and venus-pluto and moon/mars-pluto, it’s insane!)

  3. Venus-Saturn aspect = prostitution.

    I checked the chart of a person who I know goes to the red-light district on a weekly basis. And sure enough it was there.

  4. darjeelingtee says:

    Interesting topic this; a very dear friend of mine has her saturn conjunct my venus and I must say I have never felt love for anyone like a feel for her. We have never really been `friends’ (I suspect the double whammy sun trine venus, chiron trine venus, moon sextile mars, mars parallel venus, ascendant conjunct sun/moon, I could go on, account for this!) but when we met we were both in relationships. Since, I have split with my ex and a month or so ago she split with her husband.

    I have no doubt saturn venus adds longevity and perhaps a deep sense of longing (on my part at least) but I wonder whether it makes things harder to get off the ground despite other lovely aspects? Despite our feelings being very evident we find it very hard to meet up as we now live far apart- mind you that has perhaps been a good thing over the last year as transiting pluto has been squaring her natal venus (most likely the final straw in her relationship I guess).

    What I ponder is how the saturn-venus conjunction is felt by saturn? I certainly now how venus feels being in this position myself but how does she feel it? Some sort of fear perhaps it being saturn?

    I wonder but clearly hope this apparent obstacle can one day be overcome- I could be waiting a while of course!

  5. gemini_sunmoon says:

    Sounds familiar! really beautiful.

    I have found my Saturn to be fearful, and the following is something i have experienced… Probably just because I had some fear and structure troubles of my own.
    Might have been triggered by the transiting saturn square sun/moon ? But my natal Saturn is opposite MC and North Node (on south node)

    “…Sometimes, though rarely, the planets only want a specific thing from one another, to learn a specific lesson, and once that lesson is learned, the attraction cools. That can happen with any planetary inter-aspect, but the fallout here can be devastating, because of the trust involved, and the whispered promises of forever, which can be very loud when these two connect…”

    And i also experienced this:
    “…has a Saturn placement that causes it to be full of fear and defensiveness, if it constantly feels inadequate and suppressed, it will take it out on Venus, who will feel hurt and betrayed, and surmise that Saturn’s desire was a lie. If the Venus person’s self-confidence is on the brink, or if the person’s Venus is dominated by Uranus, Neptune or Pluto, Saturn may never obtain the security it desires, and may be shocked when the outer planet steamroller rides into town and his once accommodating partner shows herself to be elusive or manipulative…”

    I think when you meet someone with whom you connect in those ways, it triggers your own chart. It shows you your own flaws… Can be pretty harsh/annoying/frustrating…etc., right? I felt like i wanted to have something but i just missed something to accomplish it and this sounds just like the moon/saturn description you gave in a natal chart.

    “…Moon/Saturn hard contacts within a natal chart are so painful because we sense that what we have, what we were born with, is not adequate enough for us to create what we want. We feel we are hobbled before we begin the race. It takes a lot of inner work, and a lot of interaction with the outside world, before the two can work together…”

    Say, 6 months ago I was reading about the outer planets and transits and thought… well saturn isn’t that bad, he is reliable, and sure you have to do what you have to, but i think i am getting the hang of it how to handle it.
    My first struggle with saturn (i think i was saturn) was saturn conjunct natal sun. When Saturn started to square my sun, i could remember how it had felt earlier.
    I once read about saturn as the universal surgeon, it cuts stuff out.
    Makes everything clean and makes place for new things. (is that right?)
    It reminds me of how a tree would feel when they remove the big wooden sticks on the sides, or a plant that had not much room to grow and all of a sudden it has room. It removes the eyepad things horeses have, you know?
    Anyway, experiencing something like that with someone else (just being a part of the energy) is difficult i think. especially if you have never experienced that energy or are not comfortable with the energy yourself.

    So just before the transiting saturn squaring my sun and moon: I started to feel the transiting pluto opposite moon, sun and later mercury and mars.. conjunct natal neptune
    helloo underworld… pfff tiring!!!
    And the high voltage uranus square sun (And moon) (it was almost too much for me)

    Well I then thought, saturn isn’t that bad. Ok it asks you to do your work, progresses going slowly, but he is reliable.

    Again, great article!

    I’d also love to read about Saturn-Mars and Saturn-Sun. Those are masculine-masculin combinations right?
    what happens with people then, friendship (also man/woman), romantic relationships..

    Does it feel weird (to social acceptable norms) when a woman is the saturn and a man the venus?

  6. gemini_sunmoon says:

    @ gemster:
    =? prostitution?
    Do you base that on just one chart ;)
    isn’t the motivation why (anything) very important?

  7. #gemster ,
    it’s not just saturn-venus aspects that may point to prostitution ,pluto plays an even bigger part ,and sometimes neptune-mars-venus-pluto aspects .
    if your speaking of recent famous men outed as punters (they all have venus in aries libra or capricorn currently pluto squaring or cunjunct those signs ) i think saturns transits into libra may have actually forced them to face up to cheating on there wives with hookers – saturn will bring these men to heel .

  8. Venus Saturn in hard aspect in synastry are just plain trouble! I’ve had Venus conjunct Saturn in synastry too, and it was the Venus person, him, who felt the pressure and the expectations from me, and so he left. Other people’s Saturn squaring my Venus has been a nigthmare as well… making me feel insecure or not good enough in some way, or not appreciated etc…..also stingy with money and gifts. Now, I have Venus square Saturn natally in my chart….its my closest aspect. So, i know it well! I’ve had to learn the lessons the hard way and through these other Saturn contacts from other people….and I’ve realized now not to go there when someone contacts me in that way. We all have wounds…its all about making better choices about who to let into our lives. Saturn in good aspect in synastry to my planets has been very good indeed !

  9. darjeelingtee says:

    With reference to your comment barb I think it is sensible to take into account the natal charts of the involved in the synastry. Venus square saturn as your closet aspect is clearly a very important component of your natal chart. Any venus conjunct your saturn will immediately square your saturn and similarly any saturn conjunct your venus. Someone with venus trine saturn in their natal will likely have a very different experience when somebodies venus conjuncts their saturn through the resulting venus trine venus in synastry. Such issues highlight the importance of considering the natal charts when interpreting synastry. Darjeelingtee :o)

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