Saturn & Karmic Relationships


Although some challenges in our natal birth chart may take more inner work than others, everything can be adjusted to bring about a positive result, especially if we are open to the limitless possibilities of healing within all relationships in our life (or lives).

The network of karmic ties and obligations that pervade the family and intimate relationships we have with others, can be identified through Saturn – the Lord of Karma in synastry (the art of chart comparison between two individual’s natal birth charts).

Saturn in synastry – in the cross-aspects between 2 people’s natal charts has from mediaeval times been perceived as doom and gloom.  Its archetype has been one of separation, coldness, criticism, control, etc.  However, in modern times, Saturn in synastry has taken on a more positive overtone.  Its contacts are now seen to be found in ‘long-lasting relationships’; it seems to provide the glue where a couple stick to together through thick and thin – feeling a strong sense of loyalty and responsibility to each other.  Perhaps, in a positive way, then, we can choose to see Saturn as symbolising commitment in synastry where there is a promise to act in a responsible, honest way, no matter what tension is in the air.


Saturn is the Lord of Karma – who rules the law of cause and effect, and we all know that what we reap is what we sow, in this regard. We need to clarify what karma means here : Karma is not something we undergo as punishment in retribution for our sins!  The law of karma or cause & effect is part of our earthly existence, whereby we learn from our experiences so that we grow and evolve in consciousness.  We are all each other’s teachers – therefore, we are all the instruments of each other’s karma.

However, it seems we are slow learners and may tend to repeat the same lessons again and again – perhaps even lifetime after lifetime – forever re-enacting the same karmic scenarios with the same individuals.  A lack of awareness, insight and ignorance can render us powerless to release ourselves from these karmic patterns to which we seem to be tied.

Most of us have felt a reaction to another’s perceived mistreatment of us at some point in our life journey, and we would have to be pretty evolved not to feel the pain, disillusionment or the urge even to retaliate in some way.  However, if relationships are our avenue for transformation and a return to love (which is what our souls have come to learn on the physical plane), then with conscious awareness, we can spare ourselves from future suffering just by merely standing back objectively and taking a long hard cool look at OURSELVES.

The fact is that we are only ever confronted with and strongly affected by a negative trait in another when that very trait is powerful but unrecognised in our own psyches.

If we can perceive within ourselves that same kind of behaviour which we are condemning or projecting onto someone else, this is the 1st step towards freeing ourselves of the need to meet this behaviour at the hands of others.  In a nutshell – when we acknowledge our own shadow bits, especially those bits we project onto others, then we can change our own reactionary behaviour and break the pattern.  By transmuting the expression of our planets into a higher positive vibration, we can radiate love to others, in the form of forgiveness and letting go.  Thus, we acknowledge the process of cause and effect and can initiate our release from the cyclic wheel of karma.

When we look at the synastry or composite chart of two people, although we can gain an understanding of how a relationship will work and what its purpose is; it does not tell us whether or not the relationship will work – this truth lies in the realm of both individuals’ free wills and levels of consciousness.  How a relationship works depends on what each person brings to the relationship in awareness and how willing each person is to transform their own negative patterns of relating.


Saturn as the Outer Planet in synastry, is the ‘teacher’ – the wise one – the elder – the authority figure, and their role in a cross-aspect to another’s personal planet needs much conscious awareness to operate at its highest level.  Saturn needs to be very aware of what type of teacher they are – are they patient, supportive and encouraging or are they judgemental, critical and cold?

I am reminded, in this instance, that if we released Saturn from its orbit in our solar system, it would float in our oceans.  Floating equals lightness, and ultimately Saturn continually teaches us to lighten up, to not be so heavy!  Perhaps in our relationships, when Saturn is strongly involved in cross-aspects with another, we need to remember that fun, laughter and light-heartedness are important ingredients to a loving relationship.

FORGIVENESS is the greatest gift we can give to another and ourselves, especially in terms of karmic release.  When we forgive another, we also forgive that part of ourselves reflected back towards us through their negative behaviour.

In any Saturn cross-aspect, one or both people may feel instinctively that their relationship is a vehicle for the karmic fulfilment of responsibility to each other in some way!

We can only be as strong in relationships as we are in ourselves.  We cannot bring more to the relationship than we find in ourselves. This is why it is important to work on ourselves, as we seek to evolve with our partner or parents or children, or as we seek love we have not yet found.  If every time we feel pain, we take responsibility for it; if every time we see a problem, we look for its solution within; if every time we find that our partner or significant other is not reciprocating, if we retreat slightly, keeping our ‘heart space’ open; then we will find that our relationship has the potential to naturally return to a state of balance and harmony.

From Martin Shulman’s book : Karmic Relationships:

“A person cannot see himself in a running stream: he can only reflect clearly in calm waters.  For this reason we choose relationships so we can find a settling place in our journey through life.  Passing emotions change too quickly for us so we look for the steadiness of an enduring relationship.  From moment to moment there are changes within a realm of no change.  Slight ripples don’t disturb the smooth surface of a lasting relationship.  They provide the colour and texture through which one grows.  All that we can learn spiritually has little effect on us until we are able to apply it to daily life.  We cannot live on a mountain, isolate ourselves from the world and prove that our spiritual rules work.  It is only through our day to day efforts to understand and love another that our spirituality surfaces.

We cannot all find personal or even impersonal greatness in the world.  We can, however, find contentment with our own personal greatness in the way that we relate to another.”

On our individual soul journeys, self-mastery is indeed an admirable life goal to strive for.  However, to experience such mastery in the company of loving another is by far a greater achievement.  The essence of being in a loving relationship then becomes the proof, the validation, and the confirmation of our reality.  If learning how to unconditionally love another, (regardless of the obstacles) is the greatest lesson in this Earth School of ours, could we be ‘here’ for a greater purpose?

Imagine what awesome possibilities there are, in any relationship, when we can ‘love like we have never been hurt’ !

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