When a planet goes retrograde, the astrological event encourages you to slow down and turn inward to explore its themes, and Saturn retrograde is no different. Every year, the solar system’s strictest teacher, Saturn, the planet of boundaries, limitations, and commitment, appears to move backward through our sky in what’s known in astrology as a retrograde. During Saturn retrograde, which lasts about four and a half months, the taskmaster planet appears to move backward from our vantage point on Earth.
In astrology, Saturn’s purpose is to help you do the work that will ultimately translate to foundations in your life. It’s known to throw obstacles in your path — or, in some cases, encourage you to create boundaries of your own. Saturn retrograde, specifically, is a time to explore those obstacles in a self-reflective, meditative way.
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 sun (aka your sun sign, or what is generally the answer to “What’s your sign?”), it could spur a desire to step up and take on more responsibility.
When Saturn retrograde is happening, we all have an opportunity to do meaningful, serious inner work that could ultimately lead to personal growth. Read on for the meaning of Saturn retrograde as well as details of what each sign can expect as the planet of boundaries moves backward in 2024.
When Is Saturn Retrograde in 2024?
In 2024, Saturn retrograde takes place from June 29 to Nov. 15 in the mutable water sign Pisces.
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 other planet, Saturn’s effect when it’s moving forward can be most felt in an external way.
When it’s moving backward, however, 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.
What Does Saturn Retrograde Mean in Astrology?
Think of Saturn retrograde as an opportunity to get real with yourself. Depending on how Saturn has been hitting your birth chart, 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 a faster moving transit. 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.
In 2024, Saturn’s retrograde will take place in Pisces, the empathic, sensitive, psychic mutable water sign, requiring us to do meditative, self-reflective work around healing old emotional wounds as well as our experience of empathy and spirituality — all in order to better understand ourselves and level up our personal growth.
Around Aug. 19, when expansive Jupiter in Gemini squares off against Saturn, the magnifying effect of the biggest planet in the zodiac could put your Saturn retrograde lesson in sharp focus. And on Sept. 30, Mars in Cancer forms a harmonious trine to Saturn, highlighting and amplifying your desire to take action on whatever you’ve been meditating on over the course of the retrograde. Nov. 4 marks a sweet sync-up between the sun in Scorpio and Saturn, as well, setting the stage for moving even closer toward your goals.
How the 2024 Saturn Retrograde Will Affect the Zodiac Signs
When it comes to Saturn retrograde 2024, people who have their sun or other astrological placements in the mutable signs — Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces — will feel it more than others. If you want to get even more specific, see if any of your “big six” (sun, moon, rising, Mercury, Venus, and Mars) birth chart placements fall around 12 to 19 degrees of a mutable sign; if so, you’ll feel this one more than most. But here’s what every sign can expect. (Be sure to read your rising sign as well as your sun sign.)
Aries (March 21-April 19)
Saturn’s retrograde falls in your twelfth house of spirituality, which is a sleepy, nebulous zone that feels quite counter to the terrain you’d generally prefer to explore. But setting aside more time for self-work and self-reflection — particularly around the patterns, behaviors, relationships, and wounds that are best left in the past — can lay the groundwork for you to move even more confidently into your future.
Taurus (April 20 to May 20)
With Saturn moving back through your eleventh house of networking and long-term wishes, you’re encouraged to turn inward to assess whether the foundations of platonic bonds are as rock solid as they need to be last. If you’ve been associating with groups or teams that simply aren’t a fit anymore, now’s your chance to get clear on why that is and what changes you might do well to make to find your people and nurture even more meaningful, healthy, fulfilling platonic bonds.
Gemini (May 21 to June 20)
With Saturn retrograde falling in your tenth house of career, Gemini, you’ll be meditating on how best to pursue your long-term career goals and push to achieve public recognition for your hard work. 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.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
As Saturn moves backward, it’ll activate your ninth house of adventure and higher learning, encouraging self-reflection around your belief system and personal philosophies. It may be possible that you’re having an eye-opening realization that whatever you used to go to bat for so fervently simply isn’t resonating with you the way it used to, and that’s completely OK. Now’s your chance to check in with your heart to consider new opportunities to learn and grow — which could inevitably lead to new passions.
Leo (July 23 to Aug. 22)
Saturn moves backward through your eighth house of emotional bonds and joint resources, shedding light on issues of power, control, and intimacy. You’re called now to consider what brings you comfort and security in your closest relationships and what obsessions, infatuations, or knee-jerk behaviors may need to be addressed in order for you to feel more centered. You could also be gaining clarity around what you need sexually and how to speak up for and set the stage for greater fulfillment in that area of your life.
Virgo (Aug. 23 to Sept. 22)
Saturn’s retrograde falls in your seventh house of partnership, Virgo, which isn’t at all a reason to fear that it’ll throw a wrench in your dearest 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 commitments 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.
Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Saturn’s retrograde occurs in your sixth house of wellness and daily routine, spurring reflection around the foundations of your everyday hustle. It’s possible that it’s time to think about how you can work smarter versus harder to achieve your goals in this sector of your life. Meditating, journaling, or having heart-to-hearts with the people who know you best and see you on a regular basis could help you get to the bottom of what you need to do to amplify balance and efficiency.
Scorpio (Oct. 23 to Nov. 21)
Saturn moves backward through your fifth house of romance and self-expression this year, Scorpio, which spotlights the business of bringing joy and creative fulfillment into your life. How do you prioritize fun, playfulness, artistic expression, downtime, spontaneity? How can you better own your voice and embrace and celebrate what makes you unique? Considering these questions will offer you valuable, empowering insights by the time Saturn moves forward toward the end of your season this fall.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22 to Dec. 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 any 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 that down payment or getting clear about where you want to lay down roots.
Capricorn (Dec. 22 to Jan. 19)
Saturn’s retrograde takes place in your third house of communication, encouraging you to think about how you’re interacting with others, perhaps using social media, making plans with friends and siblings, and enjoying short-distance travel. While certain routines might require reining in, you could realize you’ve been a bit too strict about limiting your bandwidth for others. Basically, this retrograde gives you the chance to reassess and rework the boundaries you’ve set around exerting your mental energy.
Aquarius (Jan. 20 to Feb. 18)
Saturn’s backspin occurs in your second house of income, so money matters, values, and self-worth are front and center now. It’s time to grapple with the foundations you’ve set related to these aspects of your life. If the way in which you’re bringing in cash isn’t in line with your heart or you could stand to work on recognizing your value and standing up for what you’re worth, you might contemplate what led up to this moment in time — and what changing course might look like.
Pisces (Feb. 19 to March 20)
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.
Image Source: Getty / Nerthuz Temujin Nana