Transiting Saturn opposing natal Saturn (the Saturn opposition) is considered to be a midlife crises transit (although it occurs three times in most people’s lives, around the ages of 14-15, 43-44, and 72-73). It represents a culmination and manifestation of your authority and limits; your rules/fears are projected “out there.” When it impacts your love life, it can show up as key moments of rejection or commitment.
You’re most likely to experience the Saturn opposition through your relationships if you have one of the following in your natal chart:
- Transiting or natal Saturn in your 1st, 7th, or 5th house
- Natal Saturn conjunct, opposed or square your natal Sun, Moon, Venus or Mars
Note the difference between a Saturn opposition, and a Saturn Return. Saturn Returns are transitions to the next level of maturity (if handled properly). Saturn oppositions are the results of your decisions. An opposition follows the Saturn Return that occurs in your early thirties and your early sixties.
The First Saturn Opposition
This is a defining influence that will set the pattern of your adult relationships. You may have experienced your first love (at 14 or 15), but because Saturn is about limits, you probably had to deal with some external manifestation of your relationship fears. In his book, Astrology: Transformation and Empowerment, Adrian Ross Duncan cites an example of an aspect between natal Venus (love and self-esteem) and Saturn, and how the first romantic rejection may be experienced when transiting Saturn opposes natal Saturn. The natal potential of associating limits with love (and the resulting anxiety about not being loved) is triggered. The sneaking suspicion that you are somehow not worthy, and that love equals denial, is confirmed via an external source. This conviction is then carried forward into adulthood, and all future relationships are approached with an attitude that ranges from caution to outright denial (it’s safer to stay single than to risk being hurt ). Saturn crystallizes things, for better or worse.
If you have a square between your natal Moon (needs) and natal Saturn, you may have experienced the Saturn opposition (which would square your Moon) as a key moment in your relationship with your mother. Natal Moon square Saturn is the signature of emotional armor. It’s possible that she left, or there was a situation that prevented her from giving you the nurturing that mothers are supposed to provide. Up went the protective barriers, because feeling the lack of nurturing hurt too much. There may have been other incidents before and after, but this would have been the defining moment when you decided that showing emotional vulnerability in any relationship was a sign of weakness.
It’s tremendously difficult for a young teen to step back and say, “I have a choice about how I’m going to handle this moment. I choose to allow it to make me stronger, rather than more fearful.” Fortunately, transits from the planet of maturity can become easier to handle with experience.
The Second Saturn Opposition
The second opposition (age 43-44) is a culmination of relationship decisions you have made. All oppositions represent a culmination of some kind. To put that in perspective, think of the Full Moon (an opposition between the Sun and Moon). This is also a time to evaluate your love life. Depending on how you’ve handled your relationships up to this point, it can be a time of fulfillment, when you reap rewards in the form of a stable, committed partnership that stands the test of time. Or, it might become clear that something needs to change.
For example, if you have natal Saturn in the 7th House of relationships, the Saturn opposition would consist of transiting Saturn moving through your 1st House of identity. Increased responsibilities/limits (such as a new career) may strain your existing relationship, pushing you to confront the Saturn issues (balance of authority, sacrifices you make for your partner) within it. If you’ve made choices that support your autonomy (and your partner’s autonomy) without letting your fears overwhelm you, this could be a time when the two of you grow together to meet the challenges of these new responsibilities. But if your past decisions have led to a situation where there is an imbalance in authority, or you only relate to your partner from a place of fear, the cracks in the relationship will be emphasized.
Whatever happens will not materialize out of thin air. It will be the result of a slow build that started during your first Saturn opposition. Each contact from transiting Saturn to its natal position is a chance to make a course correction in your love life. If you pay attention to what you’ve learned, you can make smart relationship choices. You can also choose to ignore what’s happening, and simply endure the frustrations. However, know that the difficulties won’t go away. They’ll just reappear during the next Saturn opposition (or your next Saturn return).
The Third Saturn Opposition
How your final Saturn opposition (age 72-73) culminates depends entirely on your past relationship choices. Continuing with 7th House natal Saturn as an example, let’s say that during your second Saturn opposition, it became crystal clear that there were problems in your relationship. But you focused on your new career, and did not address the issues. The relationship continued, the tensions peaked during your second Saturn
Return (in your sixties) but you still ignored the difficulties. Now in your seventies, the same issues are emerging. Once again, transiting Saturn is moving through your 1st House. Perhaps this time the external responsibilities involve taking care of your partner (due to illness). The increased weight that you have to carry will emphasize any problems that were not dealt with over the years. If your partner is controlling (they are your Saturn authority, projected) they may fight you when you try to look after them. If you’ve stayed with them out of duty rather than love, looking after them may feel like an unbearable burden.
However, let’s say you and your partner split up during your second Saturn opposition. You opted to be alone, rather than settling for a union with someone you didn’t love. During your third opposition, you may meet someone new (with whom you can form a loving, stable partnership) when you take on the additional responsibility of volunteering. Or maybe you and your partner established a healthier use of authority during your second Saturn opposition, and looking after them now becomes a natural manifestation of your commitment (rather than a fight for dominance). Saturn oppositions can bring satisfying results from the relationship work (Saturn) you’ve completed over the years.
Saturn oppositions are times where you can see your relationship choices, fears and authority issues manifest into reality. These transits represent direct payback from your past choices. While they can be frustrating, they can also be times of great fulfillment. And here’s the bonus: if you let an opportunity to address your relationship difficulties slide by, it will come around again. Saturn always gives you more than one chance to deal with your problems.