Posted by: Donna Cunningham | June 21, 2009

Saturn’s Delays and Why We Should Embrace Them

©2009 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

  During recent Saturn transits, I’ve been experiencing a deepened understanding and almost visceral appreciation of how wise and benign the delays we experience under Saturn transits and natal placements can be. Around me people were chafing at the downtime in manifesting their long-term goals, feeling frustrated and blocked, and wondering what’s wrong with themselves that they don’t move forward. Myself, I am gobstruck at how perfect it all is, at the timing that just now seems as brilliant and chiseled as the facets of a flawless diamond.

The instant I accept one of Saturn’s current challenges, all the support I need to take the next step toward mastering that challenge is presented—often with the very next email or phone call I receive. It feels as though I am being simultaneously challenged and held. Much-valued, quality colleagues from joint endeavors in the past suddenly show up, spurred by the whispering of instinct to reach out to me.

We may have been out of touch for years, but as we catch up on our news, it becomes clear that we have been on parallel paths all along, and that our paths are once more converging so we can co-create the next piece of the Grand Plan together. “New” people show up, too, but quickly prove to be Old Souls and old karmic ties—we immediately recognize them as part of our soul group and admit them into our lives seamlessly.

Based on the increasingly urgent needs of the collective, task forces are forming all around us. Saturn knows exactly who to tap for each one—knows the just right person for each seemingly small, yet vital job. Is Saturn calling you?  Will fathertime2-a2dyou answer?

Most likely that goal or aim we are about to manifest has existed mainly in our minds for a while, maybe even a lifetime or three. It’s that next step that we’ve known we must undertake but haven’t been quite ready to tackle. Visions like these, we have to grow into, have to endure life’s seasoning until we are spiritually and emotionally mature enough to harvest them.

 If sitting around waiting is what we’ve chided ourselves for doing, we now find that not a moment has been wasted, that there is a stunning efficiency to every step along the way. Saturn is Spartan, yet elegant.  Saturn’s stations give us time to perfect, clarify, cool down, and grow up. 

To the outside observer–especially our detractors–it might seem like we’re procrastinating.  Over a lifetime,  I’ve found that procrastination has its merits…that often it’s not laziness and avoidance that’s slowing us down; it’s Inner Wisdom, that sage instinct born of life experience. There are times when it’s a waste of time to be on top of things. Lots of things that seem urgent turn out not to be, once we take time to think through the potholes and pitfalls of that path we were determined to rush down. Sometimes when we hold off long enough on doing something we OUGHT to be doing, we find out that it wasn’t worth doing after all, once all the facts are in.  It would have been wasted time and effort, unnecessary and unproductive stress.

In other situations, intuition is whispering to put on the brakes, to hold off until the time is ripe, to let the process unfold in its own Divine Right Order. Maybe someone crucial to the effort isn’t ready, or we’re not ready, or all the duckies aren’t in a row.  When the time is right, everything will unfold properly, and then the work will flow easily and correctly. I have learned much from Saturn stations about not pushing the river but floating on it. 

Viewing life through the lens of astrology over the years and watching what happens to people under Saturn transits, I have come to feel that delay is a benign rather than a benighted expression of Saturn at work. Back in my hippie days, I read a tag on a teabag.  The tag said, “God’s delay is not his denial.”

Who’d have thought a mantra could be found in a tea bag, but I’ve contemplated those simple words over several decades and find them profound and true. Contemplation and observation have confirmed that nothing happens before its time, and everything happens in the ripeness of time. And it feels, just now, as though time is lusciously ripe for the more challenging visions many of us have been entertaining for a while. Aged like fine vintage wine, we are about to taste that ripeness. It will prove worth the wait.

 I’ve gotten some excellent comments on this post, in which readers give examples of how  the delays under Saturn transits has worked in their favor, and I’ve added more of my own insights.   If you can think of an example of how delays worked to your advantage, do add them to the comment section, as this is quite a productive exploration.

More Posts about Saturn on this Blog:

FREE EBOOKLET FOR SKYWRITER SUBSCRIBERS ONLY:  a 50-page excerpt from my out-of-print book, The Moon in your Life, also known as Being a Lunar Type in a Solar World.  Read more about it here: NEW: FREE BOOKLET FOR SKYWRITER SUBSCRIBERS!  If you’re already a subscriber and want a copy, forward your most recent email notification to me at  To sign up for a subscription, go to the top right hand corner of the blog and click on “Subscribe.”




  1. In the early seventies, a fortune cookie gave me the same advice: “God’s delay is not his denial.” I have saved and displayed that fortune to this day; with Saturn in my first house those words of wisdom got my through my first Saturn return is now helping with my second.

    • Ah, you see god whispers his messages into many ears! (LOL I once got a fortune cookie that had a blank message on it. Scared me a wee bit, but then I spun it to mean that my future was my own to write.
      The second Saturn return is pretty awesome if you’ve spent your time since the first one in living out the best of Saturn. I always say, take care of Saturn and Saturn will take care of you. Happy Return! Donna

  2. Years ago, my husband and I were searching for a new place to live (Saturn was in my 3rd/rx). We would try getting a contract, again and again. We managed to get one on a wonderful house, but when the “time ran out” on the contract, they sold it to a friend in the family.
    We tried to get different contracts and each was stopped–in its own unique way.
    Finally, when Saturn went stat. direct, we found a house not too far from the one we were living (only 2 miles!) and it turned out to be the best deal/house. It was an area we had overlooked completely in our search.
    Actually, had we bought some of those other places that we were pressing to buy (prematurely), we would have gotten in way above our heads. Saturn saved our as*es actually.

    • Wonderful example, Nancee. We’re such an immediate gratification species, we tend to chafe at delays, but they are so often a blessing in disguise.

  3. Have only just discovered this site and am already feeling at home. “God’s delay is not his denial” is stuck in my head forever!

    My partner and I are also learning to work with Saturn’s delays. When Saturn was Direct in Dec, he was politely let go from a job he hated. Yippee! He had a meeting scheduled in March with a private bank in Paris he had already met with in May ’08 immediately after Saturn had turned Direct, but right after Jupiter had JUST turned Retrograde on the cusp of his 5th/6th House.

    In fact, they liked him very much and would have hired him — according to the CEO who telephoned with the news — had it not been for the financial crisis. In any case, we weren’t too worried.

    But then we get to Paris this past March and the meeting is abruptly canceled! Nothing to do with him, of course. An internal crisis had hit the department that week and there simply was no time to see him.

    Saturn approaches his Station in late-April/early-May and a different opportunity — this one in London and with a totally different company — falls in his lap. A hectic month of meetings and trips and phone calls follow and, as Saturn turns Direct, we learn there will be no offer. The job has gone to the son of a friend and is now considered a favor repaid.

    But now the Paris bank is back in play. I can’t help wonder if that situation might not move forward in mid-July after Saturn passes the 17 Virgo 36 degree he was at when the first meeting was canceled and leaves his Shadow Period in late-August.

    As Saturn would say, “Only time will tell”.

    And that’s my first Post on this site. :^)

    • Hi, Duse, Welcome to my blog. That’s a good example of the retrograde and direct cycles of Saturn. I’ve so often found that when a transit crosses over a planet in the chart the first time, a possibility arises, but then when the transiting planet retrogrades away from it, the possibility seems to fall through. I counsel patience and going back to the drawing board to refine whatever skills or abilities are being tapped, because so often when the transiting planet turns around and comes back over the same spot, either the original offer or something very similar comes up again. By using the retrograde period productively, you’re in a better position to capitalize on the opportunity. We’re just not a patient species! Donna

  4. Ah, thank you so much Donna. And I look forward to following and being a part of this blog.

    In talking about retrograde planets, it’s important not to forget Jupiter, currently doing his own retrograde thing. And especially when he’s going to station Direct on an Eclipse Degree!

    In fact, the Feb 2008 Solar Eclipse at 17 Aquarius 44 (the degree in question) is what heralded the whole Paris private bank situation. And although during Jupiter’s first direct pass the week after the non-meeting in March nothing appeared to have happened, I am optimistic — especially with Saturn now direct — that his visit via retrograde, his station and then his direct motion will bring something.

    One thing I love about astrology is there is always a question to answer, a curiosity to satisfy and something new to learn lurking around every corner. Blogs like this certainly make following the path a bit easier.

    Oh, and Happy New Moon! :^)


  5. I want to express my gratitude for this reminder when I was feeling more “stuck” than I perhaps have ever been so aware of in my life. Tearing self apart internally. I have not been following my chart especially now because of nearly all the outer planets doing a major transition/transformation of my entire being. You said somewhere in your blog that (when we can sit down, shut up and wait) the right angel with skin will come to assist. Thanks my very special FRIEND!

    • Oh, sorry things have been rugged of late. Saturn intervals are not easy, and they surely test our mettle, and alas sometimes we need a heavy mettle detector to find it! Donna

  6. God’s delay is not his denial. Today I said something along these lines to my (Mexican American, just to show a cultural side to this, lol) mother who thinks it’s terrible that I’m not married and with kids in my mid-30s!! My livelihood and career matters didn’t take root and solidify in my life until my late 20s (Saturn return? Yep.). I image marriage/children may occur in the same way. I think I’ll print this page and send it to her!! Thank you for presenting this perspective on Saturn! Good things do come to those who wait!

    • HI, Kristy, it IS hard to overcome those cultural beliefs and to get parents to understand our lifestyles. I know I gave my Mom a few grey hairs! If you haven’t seen my article on Venus-Saturn aspects on this blog, it sounds like it pertains to your situation and you might want to send her a copy of that too! Donna

  7. When transiting Saturn in Virgo to my Mercury, Uranus, Sun, Pluto in my MC, I’ve decided to quit my job in January 2009 (which I did not like anymore and also was tired of “rushing” all the time). I really just wanted to stay home and for the next 6 months, I tried to find a more “spiritual” way of doing things as the role I played companies (I am a adm. assistant). So I’ve decided to work as a temp (which I love!) to put into practice what seems, for now, the best way to offer my help and experience in different companies. Of course that 6 months of not working took all my savings but I wouldn’t want to be in any other places right now. I am much more relaxed and less on the “reaction” side of things. Oh yeah, and by the way, my back pain stopped (a thing I never had in my entire life and I am 46) as soon as I’ve decided to move on to something else.

    • Interesting outcome from an action many would consider rash. It sounds like you made the right choices. Sometimes we just need to take time to ourselves to ponder our direction, like a life review, and that hiatus gives us a whole new perspective. I often liken Saturn/Capricorn transits to the season of winter, when to the onlooker, it looks like the land is fallow and barren, but it is that rest that prepares the earth for spring’s blossoming and new growth. Donnas

  8. I’ve only discovered your blog today Donna although I read your book on Healing Pluto Problems a while ago and re-read parts of it recently (I have Pluto within 9 degrees of ASC natally). I have Saturn transiting my ASC, Uranus transiting my 6th house and Pluto approaching my IC/MC axis (6 degrees away). In November last year I decided to leave my old company despite being offered a better position and work on a two month project for a charity. I felt the job I was being offered was not what I wanted to do. The charity project is now coming to its end and I am feeling an increasing pressure to find another job. This and your other post about transits to vocational houses and MC I found here have come at the right time. I hope I can cope with the delays brought on by transiting Saturn and not freak out completely as I try to make the ends meet while looking for a more fulfilling job.
    I have a 12th house Saturn sq Moon natally with all the baggage that comes with that aspect. Saturn has not always been kind to me but I moved abroad, far enough from my family, under a Saturn transit to my MC. It was not easy and I almost lost hope and went back but it worked out in the end and I am still here 7 years later, really happy with the change. As the transit unfolds, I keep wondering what the Old Bugger has in store for me this time. I can only hope it will turn out well in the end once again.

  9. another lovely article.
    i was always under an impression that its only with me that first an important work or task is delayed to hell but suddenly in a blink of eye I’ll its solution and finally its done with a complete success. But after reading this article I am happy seeing m not alone and its not something strange with me. its all cause of Saturn the Lagna Lord.

    Now my examples…..there is a long list but i’ll state the most imp and recent ones here:
    Last year i had to shift from my flat and my priority was to find the flat in same society. But at first I was under impression that there are no 1BHK flats in my society. I searched all over the places for almost 2 months, i spent lots of money as well in travelling one place to other but on one lucky day I found an ad online of a Flat and u wont belive it was 1BHK in my own society. I was on cloud nine on that day. And everything was settled just within a week (reason the tenant was leaving after 2 days) and i was in my new flat after 2 weeks. And now I can say that circling around the city was just to keep up my spirit till the time the best for me was vacant.

    • Thanks, Pooja, you totally get it. I believe that one of the most important things astrology is about Divine Right Timing: that everything happens at its Divine right time, and nothing happens before it’s time. Donna

  10. hi, i had my saturn return in 2011 and it was one hell of a time. for some reason, i told myself, i should wait for whatever will come my way. i waited until last year october 2012 when for some reason my waiting came to an end. i met up with a person who i like and we hit it off. we are still together but things are so slow, a tortoise is faster in comparison. i did not know nor believe in horoscopes and what not, but i needed some answers. so i learned about saturn returns and transits and found out that saturn is transiting my 5th house.

    since i found that, it calmed me, it made me understand that this relationship is being really tested to the T. think of anything that would restrain two people in a relationship, we have it. so now i am left waiting again, will it end one day and we shall pick up pace or is this just a period of waiting until my ultimate good thing comes around? but i am really loving it. gone is the nagging woman or the person that complains for not being called or being stood up. i just never thought i had it in me. i am very stubborn and know how to throw tantrums but right now, i have really somehow accepted and taken it as nothing personal.

  11. I love this article, Donna! It seems totally on point for me though I’m actually probably going through the tunnel right now with nary a light yonder to prod me on. And yet in moments of calm usually with music, or in water, I can understand that God’s delay is not His Denial. Transiting Saturn has, I think, just touched my natal Venus in Sagittarius (3 degrees 21) and is still close. I’ve been looking for an apartment for 6 weeks in what is apparently a tenant’s market. No joy. Looking for a mate; the one chance of a dinner with a prospect faded away after months of waiting. There is a sense of being stuck in a time capsule, while the rest of the world moves on. And I guess my Moon-Pluto (1st house) and Sun-Neptune (3rd house) conjunctions don’t help! But somehow, like a secret pond in a forest that one finds and takes a dip in to quench the thirst of the soul, one finds a way for the triumph of hope over experience.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: