After the Triad (Sun / Moon / Ascendant), Saturn is one of my favorite places to look in a natal chart.
As Liz Greene wisely noted, if our Sun is what we want, and our Moon is what we need, and our Ascendant is the vehicle we use to get those things, then Saturn is what holds us back from getting those things. Importantly, what holds us back is internal — Saturn tells us how we tend to defeat ourselves.
Saturn is not to be feared (though it represents our fears, in the natal chart), and I disagree with anyone’s take that includes Saturn as a malevolent, ominous entity. Saturn doesn’t take shit, that’s all. It makes us bow down, relentlessly hounding us until we learn the lesson we need to learn, but that lesson is crucial for our personal growth, maturity, and self-reliance.
In a natal chart, Saturn can put into words our deepest fears — not phobias, but psychological fears that are often hardest to understand, much less voice. No matter how content or fulfilled a person is, something looms within them that makes them feel somehow limited.
What’s more, once you understand this deep fear, you can accept that it will be a running theme throughout your life — you can’t quite overcome it, but you cannot outrun it. Instead, by examining the specifics of your Saturn placement (and thus, The Fear), you can begin to:
a) accept yourself as you are, including your limitations;
b) examine what circumstances tend to trigger this fear and where it tends to pop up in your life; and
c) learn how to work with this limitation, not as an enemy, but a begrudging partner
Because astrology is value-neutral, we can look at what sign our Saturn is in to better understand the ways that fear can be expressed. Add in the way Saturn is aspected (which is to say: its angular relationship to other planets in our chart), and we start to see a clearer picture of what contributes to this fear.
Astrology therefore provides, in my opinion, an unparalleled level of nuance and understanding of oneself. We are, after all, looking at objective data — the location of planets in the sky, as they appear to us on Earth.
(Important side note — I always clarify this point with astrology skeptics: astrology is about how things appear, not how they are. There is no way to fudge data with astrology. It’s unbiased. But the art of astrology comes from interpreting this data — as Stephen Forrest noted, astronomy is like the grammar of language, and astrology is poetry.)
Astrology can’t tell you what you want to hear (if you’re doing it right — that is, with practiced objectivity). But what astrology can tell you, requires that you put in some work before you can fully understand it.
And the work is so fucking worth it. As a well-educated, logical, level-headed person, the insight and wisdom to be gained from studying astrology is too valuable to ignore. I firmly believe it can be of benefit to anyone willing to try.