Posted by: Donna Cunningham | January 31, 2010

The Cosmic Piñata, #1 — Saturn Transits and Insights into the Houses

©1-30-2010 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

You know what a piñata is, right?  It’s a paper mache thingie filled with candy and other goodies, and at a party, somebody gets blindfolded and whacks away at it. The goodies fly all over and people scramble for them. Well, this is a new feature for Skywriter in which you’ll get a shower of goodies from time to time that are astrological in nature.

Skywriter cosmic pinata Donna CunninghamSometimes when the comment section of one of the articles here is really buzzing with reader’s questions or observations on the topic, it’s  a bit of a party. Like the Pluto palaver after I published How Strong is your Pluto? Here’s the Score! and it wound up with a record 98 comments.

Or the Sunday afternoon soiree after John’s Townley’s The Planet ahead of your Sun—and What It Says about You was published, where we all got to say which planet it was in our charts, and we finally entreated John to come and answer some of our questions.

 What’s fun is that I never know what’s going to show up in one of those exchanges—so it’s like the shower of goodies you get when you whack a piñata. It seems a shame to waste the good pieces, but they don’t really fit into an article.

So what you’ll get in this series of Cosmic Piñatas are wee bits from the comment section of this blog or emails or other venues—treats that I’d like to share. There does seem to be theme of sorts in this first one, in that all of them either relate to Saturn or the houses or both.

 To someone who commented that people from her past were showing up during a Saturn transitPeople from the past do typically show up under Saturn transits. Sometimes, if you look back in the ephemeris, it’s a repeat of the very same Saturn aspects that were happening when you met or when the crucial part of the interaction took place.

You know about the life review that happens when you die, right?  Well, in a way this type of Saturn transit is a  mini life review  in which you get to see the person and situation in a more mature context. You see them as the people they now are, rather than the overpowering figures they were then. It’s part of sorting out your past and bringing some closure to important events or situations that may have left some emotional residue.

What’s different about these life review periods under Saturn nowadays is that through the marvels of the internet, telecommunications, and global travel, we have almost instant access to people from any era and any location in our lives. We can see and communicate with folks who no longer live anywhere near us. So now the life review process is so much more possible and real and vivid due to our modern media.

To a woman who was considering going back to school to change careers but thought she might be too old:  You’re having a transit of Saturn to the 9th house, and that’s perfect. The ninth house of the birth chart is the major indicator of going to school for the highest education available to a person. (The third house also can indicate going to school, but for shorter periods to pick up skills.)

 When I see anything from Jupiter and Saturn on to the outer planets transiting through an adult’s ninth house, even someone your age, they are generally studying something. Then when that planet moves out of the ninth house into the tenth, the house of career, what they learned most often becomes their career and they can begin earning their living in that field.

Skywriter cosmic pinata Donna CunninghamSaturn traveling through the ninth doesn’t promise that school would be easy to get through—it can be tough sledding in part because of outdated learning skills. Grit your teeth and show them what you’re made of, because the payoff is worth it.

 The reason going to school now is important is because in about two years, Saturn will move into your 10th, the career house. Saturn represents constriction and with aging, but also with solid rewards for working hard and persevering. The additional skills that you pick up from going to school now would be the saving grace.

 Saturn transits through the houses and career opportunitiesIn following the twists and turns of an individual’s career, I often observe that transiting Saturn’s house position may give a clue as to employment possibilities and will bring work related to the areas of life it represents. For instance, I’ve seen Saturn transting the 3rd bring work in the communications field, or Saturn transiting the 5th opening up a job working with children. That has been the case even when neither Capricorn nor Saturn are involved in the natal career houses (the tenth, Midheaven, second, or sixth), and that should be no surprise, because Saturn does have a natural connection to careers and the tenth house. 

About the health-related houses of the horoscope: There are three houses of the horoscope related to health—the first, sixth, and twelfth, each with their own roles to play in our lives that would take a whole article to discuss. When Saturn or one of the outer planets (Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto) is transiting one of those houses or making aspects to a natal planet in one of those houses, life issues tend to arise that can have an impact on health.

 When I discuss  the chart with a client, it often comes to light that the body will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Quite often, it says NO for us, when we have over a period of time been unable to say no to people or situations that are no longer good for us—where, for instance, we are being taken advantage of in the work place.

 To someone who was concerned about the empty houses in his chart:    Everyone has some empty houses in their charts–Skywriter cosmic pinata Donna Cunninghamthere are twelve houses and only ten major factors, some of which tend to clump together. Where the planets are placed, we tend to focus our energy, so more of our time, energy, and experiences are focused in those areas.

An empty house doesn’t mean nothing will happen in that area–transits do pass through them–but only that they tend to be less important in the personal scheme of things. Then, too, having planets in the sign naturally connected with that house will be a balancing factor

To one of my correspondence students about planets sitting on the cusp of a houseIf a planet is within 5 degrees of the house cusp, I test it out to see which house it really seems to work with in the person’s life.  So, if for instance, a planet sits on the cusp between the fifth and the sixth, ask yourself, does stellium work in the fifth more than the  sixth, or is it a blend.

Johnny Depp has that.  If you read about him, he’s actually a very devoted father, and having children played a large part in him leaving a rather wild life style behind and settling down. It leads me to wonder why the fifth is empty. Maybe it isn’t really, since his Capricorn Moon sits on the cusp between his fifth and sixth houses and only one degree from the cusp.

 It’s my observation that planets that sit on the cusp like that actually seem to operate for both houses and even blend the two together. Many of his films are rather fantasy like and appeal to either children or adults, like his Willy Wonka, and the one where he played Barrie, who wrote Peter Pan, and the upcoming one where he plays the Mad Hatter in Alice and Wonderland.

The goodies from the pinata are all scattered now, and I hope you found some tasty ones to chew on.  We’ll do this from time to time, but in the interval, you might like to read some of Skywriter’s previous posts about the houses at the links below.  Hasta luego, amigos!    

More Editions of the Cosmic Piñata Column:

Posts about the 12 houses:

free astrology booklet by Donna CunninghamIf this post was helpful, DON’T MISS THE NEXT INSTALLMENT IN THIS SERIES.  Sign up for a subscription, and get a FREE EBOOKLET for Skywriter Subscribers Only: Mothers, Daughters, and the Moon, a 50-page excerpt from The Moon in your Life. Read more about it here: New: Free Booklet For Skywriter Subscribers! 

If you’re already a subscriber and want a copy, forward the most recent email post to me at To sign up for a subscription, go to the top right hand corner of the blog and click on “Subscribe.”  Then send me an email with your subscription confirmation or an email post with a request for the booklet in the subject line.


  1. Thank You Donna, In my case just now the transit of Saturn by VIII house oposited to my moon is manifesting with a cold loneliness and a scary dentist too, pluto has something of meaning what we’re burying in the past??? the past always comes back or some chapters are closed forever??? do not know. but I think some people never go back…thanks

    • No, you’re right–with Pluto, they don’t come back…except on dia de los muertes perhaps! Donna

  2. Thats is true ,I miss someone and I think it is not good idea to dig up the past, thanks Donna, of course talking about today I was digging in Calahorra looking for Abraham Ben Ezra the master medieval astrologer who died in the old Jewish Quarter in 1167 …… Jewish Quarter as always but never regained his time splendor……

  3. hehehe I like how you sneak in a discussion of Saturn with a pinata.

    I am a cat lady with Saturn in Libra in the 6th house. when i was born my mother had to get rid of her cat. “it will steal the baby’s breath” by the time I was 3 or 4 we had another cat and i had my pets until I was 14 and my father took custody of me and wouldn’t let me keep my cat. Uranus and Pluto were both Rx in my 6th house in virgo. Mars was Rx in the 6th house too.
    by the time Uranus changed sign and conjuncted my Mars in Libra (in the 6th house) I had another cat.
    fast forward to Saturn return. One cat died of disease and the other one was killed by dogs along with all of my chickens. I was left with one lonely cat.

    I am facing my second saturn return and am having all the typical health issues of a 6th house saturn, but i am worried about my cats. I don’t have them running loose on a farm any more; but we are still vulnerable to the fates.
    Thought this little story would help color in the pictures a little.

  4. Hello Mimi, I also have Saturn in Cancer in VI. I will not have more cats’ because I’ve suffered with whom I had…..

  5. ah, Eduardo, I’m sorry you gave up on your cats. they are wonderful friends and companions.

    • Oh yes , I Know, I believe there is pain added with saturn on VI , so has been. I love cats…but actualy have a hamster ….. his name is Tobias….also gives me troubles …..always escaping…when he leaves ….I´ll feel too….have no more hamsters…

  6. Fantastic insights, as ever. You’re right, there’s nowhere to hide from those old flames any more, as I’m finding out! Mandi 😀

  7. Loved this. And is that a picture of the earth wearing a hat?

    • No, it’s a pinata in the shape of Saturn. Are you familiar with pinatas? They’re from Mexico, but often used at birthday parties in the US where Latinos are part of the group. They are paper mache and filled with candies, and someone (the birthday child usually) is blindfolded and strikes at it until it bursts and every one rushes to pick them up.

      Which reminds me that I want to go look for more pinata art. I have already almost enough little bits and pieces for another such article. Donna

  8. Saturn transit 5 degrees past my ascendant putting the ascendant midpoint between transit Saturn and natal Neptune in the 12th by 4 degrees from the ascendant…losing weight gradually but progressed Jupiter is also near Saturn. Soon Saturn will square itself….
    Getting alternative herbal medicines for symptoms like cold/flu conventional medicine did not work. However I feel fine now. Had my solar return birthday yesterday so Saturn will be in this position all year! So far its been OK.

    I have Saturn conjunct Venus in Cancer in the 10th quintile, Neptune ruler of the 6th house of pets and I have always had cats as well. Had one that was a Super cat. We read his tarot one time and it said he would reach the maximum evolution for a cat . And what a mighty hunter he was and smart! He hunted BIG..his size or bigger and he ate everything , not one drop of blood wasted. He ate the bones and fur and meat. Rabbits , a coyote puppy . He loved dog meats . He never bothered birds and tried talking to them .When ever I went camping to the Sun dance or where ever he would disappear into the environment and come in at midnight to let me know he was ok. On the day I broke camp and threw the last pack into the truck he would be there ready to go. He was a great companion.he was the 3rd in a litter of 4 and when he was born I knew HE WAS THE ONE.

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