Whether you've suffered your fair share of lost emails and relationship drama or celebrated stunning professional wins recently, it's safe to say that we've pretty much all been feeling this spring's dramatic astrological shifts, marked by eclipses, Mercury retrograde, and even Pluto's backward spin. And, as of June 4, Saturn — the planet of boundaries, limitations, and commitment — will join the celestial bodies that have been shaking things up, as it kicks off its annual, months-long retrograde.
In astrology, Saturn's purpose is to help you do the work that will ultimately translate to foundations in your life. Aptly referred to as the taskmaster planet, it's known to throw obstacles in your path — or in some cases, encourage you to create roadblocks of your own. You can also think of Saturn as the planetary equivalent of a stern parent, as it will often require you to set or follow rules, commit, and grow up. For instance, when Saturn's interacting with your natal Mercury (aka your Mercury sign, which colors how you communicate), it could spur serious conversations or even commitments, like defining a relationship or agreeing to a job offer.
And every year, for about four and a half months, the solar system's strictest teacher appears to move backward through our sky, in what's known in astrology as retrograde. In 2022, Saturn will retrograde in the humanitarian fixed air sign of Aquarius from Saturday, June 4, to Saturday, Oct. 22. Read on for the meaning of Saturn retrograde, as well as details on which signs will be most affected by the planet of boundaries as it moves backward in 2022.
What Do Saturn Retrogrades Mean in Astrology?
In order to understand what happens when Saturn is retrograde, it can help to consider how the planet affects us when it's moving forward. The planet of structure sheds light on the areas of your life that require putting your nose to the grindstone to achieve a particular goal. When Saturn syncs up with, squares off against, or opposes other planets in the sky or in your birth chart, it can spur a certain level of serious, industrious — and yes, even somewhat gloomy — vibes. Its purpose is to give you a reality check in an effort to promote personal growth, wisdom, and maturity. Just like any planet, Saturn's effect when it's moving forward can be most felt in an external way.
When it's moving backward, it's less concerned with affecting the things happening in your world — your work responsibilities, your love life, your living situation — and more interested in inner work. It'll push you to think about the foundations you've set and why you've set them, what you've accomplished and why, and possibly to question — and rework — it all over the next few months.
Think of Saturn retrograde as an opportunity to get real with yourself. If you've been conscious of the lesson Saturn's been teaching you for a while now (after all, it's been moving through Aquarius since Dec. 17, 2020), this period may be about acknowledging how far you've come and challenging yourself to take your emotional work and growth to the next level. But if you've been brushing off its prodding, this period could feel like a bit of a wake-up call.
It bears noting that as with any astrological event, you may not feel this Saturn retrograde as acutely as you might experience, say, a full moon or Mercury retrograde. That's because Saturn's effects tend to build over the course of its long-term transits versus knocking you off your feet over the course of one particularly dramatic weekend.
How the 2022 Saturn Retrograde Will Affect the Zodiac Signs
When it comes to Saturn's retrograde from June 4 to Oct. 22, 2022, people who have their sun or other astrological placements in the fixed signs — Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius — will feel it more than others. (Yep, the same bunch who just got hit hardest by the eclipse season!) If you want to get even more specific, see if any of your birth chart placements fall around 18 to 25 degrees of a fixed sign; if so, you'll feel this one more than most.
Taurus (April 20-May 20)
This Saturn retrograde falls in your tenth house of career, Taurus, requiring you to reflect on how you've been pursuing your long-term career goals and striving to achieve public recognition for your hard work. It's possible you've been rebelling against the status quo more than usual lately, thanks to Uranus — the planet of electrifying change — moving through your sign. There have also been some eclipses heightening your sense of self. Now, Saturn's retrograde will urge you to consider whether the structures and foundations of your life — perhaps where you live or the company you're aligned with — are truly supporting your ambitions. If not, it could be time to commit to a new game plan.
Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
Saturn's retrograde falls in your seventh house of partnership, Leo, which isn't at all a reason to fear that it'll run roughshod over your closest one-on-one relationships. Instead, it's an opportunity to get clear on the intentions you're setting for these bonds — whether romantic, platonic, or professional — and to check yourself on any promises you've made. Are you holding up your end of the bargain, and is your partner? Issues of balance and reciprocity are also bound to be on your mind.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
Saturn's retrograde falls in your fourth house of home life, which oversees your actual home, as well as your family and inner, emotional world. This transit could intensify work you've already been doing to heal old wounds and to better understand the origins of any emotional patterns. But you could also be meditating on what you want your home life to look like and the work you'll need to do to achieve that vision. It might be time to brainstorm a strategy for saving up for that downpayment or getting clear about where you want to lay down roots.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
Saturn's retrograde falls in your sign and first house of self, making this an incredibly reflective time, during which you might think about how you present yourself out in the world, and how that's serving your passion projects and long-term goals. Your assignment from the taskmaster planet is to get real with yourself about who you are and what you need to do to make your dreams a reality. Sounds daunting, sure, but know that retrogrades require revisiting territory you're already quite familiar with, so chances are you know exactly how to make the most of this moment.