Posted by: Donna Cunningham | February 22, 2010

Astrology and Conscious Parenting: Saturn in Synastry

©2009 by guest blogger, Annie Heese of

I don’t know the statistics on this, but I definitely have seen a lot of close Saturn contacts in synastry between parent and child, where the parent’s Saturn is involved. Of the hard aspects, the conjunctions seem to naturally function better than the squares and oppositions.

My middle child, a 15 year old girl, is a Pisces with Moon in Aries. Her Aries Moon is conjunct Venus (also in Aries), and both planets conjunct my Saturn. I have to be aware of my Saturnian role with her. I look at it in this manner: One of my roles in her life is to teach her, in so many ways, to temper the more difficult expressions of her Moon-Venus in Aries, but I have to be careful not to stomp upon her enthusiasm in the process.

As a baby and young child, people often commented on how easy she was, describing her as gentle, patient, feminine, and quiet. I still get that kind of feedback from teachers and parents of her friends. She is a quiet person (although she speaks rather loudly when she does speak), and she’s not aggressive at all in her interactions out and about.

At home, she is a leader in the household. While she needs her space and keeps to herself a fair amount, when she’s in the mood for fun, she is truly the “life of the party” in the family room. She’s hilarious and fun, outspoken and direct, and always taking the lead. She animates us, gets us the best seats for concerts (she’s totally on top of who’s coming when, pre-sales, and any other news), and is quick to do new things without instruction. She gets annoyed easily, but gets over it just as quickly.

In a very general sense, I can certainly say that she is a Pisces to the rest of the world, and an Aries at home. Obviously she brings both her Sun and Moon to the table wherever she is, but one dominates in different situations. And, this is not unique to her, of course. We all express our Moon signs more when we’re comfortable, with family or others very close to us.

While Saturn conjunctions in synastry are not as challenging as squares and oppositions, they’re not as easy as sextiles and trines either. With the conjunction, the Saturn person can always seem to be the “heavy”–the one who rains on the personal planet’s parade. If we as parents are always playing the heavy role, the child is likely to be frustrated, to rebel, and to not listen to our “lessons”. With the Saturn contacts, we should be especially mindful of this.

Over the years, I have come to discover that I had often responded to my daughter’s emotional emergencies with too much reasonableness or even a holier than thou attitude. I eventually realized that this only frustrated her more. An Aries Moon person does not want to listen to reason when she/he is in a tizzy!

Where Saturn is positioned in our chart–by sign, house, and aspect–often shows qualities that don’t come naturally to us. We might secretly admire these qualities but have a hard time expressing them spontaneously, and this feeling can sometimes express itself in jealousy.

As a teenager, my Scorpio mother always seemed to me to reduce any bad situation to a situation of jealousy. I thought she went overboard with these theories back then, but grew to agree with her. She basically said that any time someone treats you poorly for no particular reason, or feels the need to nitpick and criticize you often, they’re jealous of you. They’re feeling some kind of lack in themselves.

Difficult Saturn contacts in synastry very often point to jealous behaviors on the part of the Saturn person, and sometimes the not-so-difficult Saturn contacts have shades of this. The Saturn person feels a lack in him/herself, sees it expressed so easily in the personal planet person, and reactions can be critical and sometimes downright nasty.

Not many parents want to believe they can be jealous of a child’s behavior, and might instead think of their criticisms as constructive. A lot of our teachings and criticisms do stem from love, but some don’t, and that’s something to consider, especially when Saturn is strongly contacting a child’s personal planets.

When my daughter was born, I had a conversation with my sister, who has the same Moon-Venus conjunction in Aries (and they both have Leo rising). I told my sister that my daughter’s chart was in some distinct ways similar to hers. My sister is very straightforward and immediately replied with, “You’re going to drive her crazy when she’s a teenager.”  When asked a big WHY?, she laughed and told me, “You’re just too reasonable…you’re going to tell her to calm down at all the wrong moments…and your slow responses, poor kid”. 

Yep, she was right–that’s exactly what happened when my daughter hit puberty, and it took a bit of time to figure out that even though it’s my Saturn on her Moon-Venus, I’m not the only “teacher” in the equation. She has a lot to teach me about my own fears and lacks (or perceptions of lack). I have to say that it’s easier to learn from your own child than a sibling or anyone else for that matter, I guess because there is more tolerance there, and less of an inclination to compete.

 My other daughter, like me, has Saturn in Aries conjunct her sister’s Moon-Venus, and the interplays between the two girls are not quite as polished! My Aries Moon daughter often tells my Aries Saturn daughter things like, “Get over yourself!”, “just do it”, and “what’s the big deal”, while my Aries Saturn daughter asks her sister why she has to be “so rude” and “so insensitive”.

I chose the title “conscious parenting” because that’s what relationship astrology can help us with–we are more conscious of why we’re reacting a certain way to a person when it’s clear they’re triggering certain hotspots in our own chart.

Still, I don’t think it’s possible, or even healthy, to practice conscious parenting, or conscious relating in general, all the time. Some of the most revealing lessons in life come from messy periods of trial and error. And, in fact, this is one of the lessons of Aries.

 Sometimes it’s better to jump in and experience things, fully confident that if we do make mistakes, we’ll be able to handle the consequences and even turn them into an advantage.

Annie’s previous articles on Skywriter:

About the Author: Annie Heese of has been a student of Astrology since the age of twelve. Twenty-five years later, she is still actively researching, studying, and using Astrology. She is frequently found with her nose buried in Astrology books, her faithful ephemeris by her side, scribbling in her notebook and on her printouts. Annie has long abandoned her career in Accounting, and has since worked as a freelance writer for various online and print publications, as well as a reviewer of educational products. She is also a jewelry designer, incorporating handmade beads and gemstones into her handcrafted pieces.


  1. This is so interesting! I don’t have any kids but my dad’s Saturn opposes my Mars and squares my Pluto, while my Mom’s Saturn is conjunct my Asc and falls into the empty leg of mt t-square with Mercury, Saturn and Neptune. With those inter-aspects it’s no surprise we have our challenges!

    I also thought it was very interesting how you mentioned jealousy and the Saturn person. I have often noticed my mother being jealous of me and I attributed that to her Scorpio sun/Mercury and never her Saturn on my Asc but I can see how that might be involved here, too. Thanks!

  2. My daughter (12 Nov 84 4:35PM San Diego) has all her planets bunched up in Scorpio/Sag/Cap, except for moon in Cancer and True Node in Taurus (dad’s sun) and Chiron in Gem (mom’s sun). Even well into her 20s she continues to be a challenge to us. Her Saturn is in Scorpio, my Saturn is in Aquarius. How can I best help her overcome challenges she is faces? Thanks for your insight and informative blog.

    • Hi, Sharon, I’ve often felt that the square between Scorpio and Aquarius is the square-est of all because their natures are so very much at odds. Here, given that Saturn has to do with parenting and security issues, I would wonder whether her Saturn in Scorpio–not to mention her Cancer Moon–may feel the need for a tighter bond in order to feel secure. She may experience your Saturn in Aquarius parenting style as too distant and unreachable.

      I don’t do chart consultations any more, but a session that goes into all the contcts between you would give you many more guidelines. Annie Heese, the author of this piece, would have a great deal of insight for you. Donna

  3. My mom’s Uranus is conjunct my natal Saturn. I feel that, at the time of my birth, she felt her freedom (uranus) was being restritect (saturn).

    • Well, yeah, Dunya, in that she was being asked to grow up and accept responsibility! It’s just harder for Uranian types than for, say, lunar types. Donna

  4. ah Saturn, such a fun topic these days.
    my sons; older son; my saturn is in his 6th house conjunct his pluto. not sure what this means.
    YOunger son, my saturn return child! I feel akin to this young man, he seems to be the responsible person in his marriage, bearing the weight of the marriage, just as I did.
    then onto my parents; my saturn is square my mother’s and hers sits right on the top of my chart at the MH. Our relationship has been most difficult and has its ups and downs.
    I wish I had something more profound to say; except it’s kind of odd, I was reading about saturn returns today.

  5. Hi, ladies. Thought-provoking post, Annie.

    My son has a Sun/Uranus opposition and my Saturn sits right on his Uranus. And his Saturn sits on my Uranus. We really get along well, truly, and always have. Many other chart points are compatible too.

    My Saturn opposes my mother’s Mars, and my Mars conjoins her Saturn. Actually she and I got along well too, although she did a bad job teaching me to be assertive. I had to definitely learn that on my own. But I guess I didn’t help her in that way either.

    Anyway, family chart comparisons are so interesting, aren’t they?

  6. OMG. I almost fell off my computer chair when I read about Saturn jealously!! So true. And, quite insightful that Saturn position reveals what doesn’t come naturally to us. Loving your stuff Annie.

    • That point about the mother’s jealousy of the child gave me plenty to think about. My mother could never acknowledge any of my achievements unless she was able to take credit for them. She was into astrology for many years before I was, and when I started to get articles published, I used to send her a copy of every astrology magazine I published an article in. She never would even say if she read them.

      I always attributed that to her Leo Sun being on my Mars. However, if Saturn is involved as well, then perhaps her Saturn/Ascendant conjunction in Virgo being on my Neptune played a part. Her only response to my creativity was to shrug and shake her head.

      Fortunately, even as a child, I always had teachers who thought the world of me and encouraged me. I had an early mentor in astrology named Rod Chase who cheered me on every step of the way in my writing and reccommended me to the editors of the many astrology magazines that existed back then. And I’ve had enough recognition over the years to make me feel good about my writing and my contributions. Donna

      • Donna, maybe her Virgo Saturn/ascendant made her too reticent to accomplish what you did, even if she was fully qualified. Don’t forget, her Leo sun really needed to shine on its own. In the end, it lit up your energy/Mars.

      • ooooooooooh yes. Now I get it. Mother jealous of me. Yes.

  7. By the way Ellen L., I was reading synastry for Prince Charles and Princess Diana on His saturn in virgo and her mars in virgo were conjunct. Indicates “..a destructive, violent energy ..oppose each other just to oppose every point…severe arguments, bitterness and hardness toward each other… Does that describe that marriage or what. I’m surprised their charts weren’t vetted better. Anyway, back to you, I gotta believe your mom tried to rain on your parade at least a little.

    • Well, my Mars is on my husband’s Saturn in Leo, which sits right on his ascendant. He has a stellium in Cancer, and used to be too passive before we met! Somehow, this combination has worked. And my Mars being on his ascendant means he presents (1st house) exactly as I think a man (Mars) should be!

  8. Annie-this is so right on and so timely-Just had a recent and somewhat challenging visit with my mother who has Saturn in Virgo conjunct my Sun.
    It had never occurred to me before that her constant nitpicking and criticism of me could be jealousy until my partner (who was there witnessing our interactions), named it.
    So to read your own analysis and experience of this was very affirming. I’d love to have my mom read it, but I think she is so in denial that she could be jealous of the daughter she says she “adores”, that she wouldn’t be able to see it.
    But for me to understand this makes it easier to protect myself and work with it.
    thanks for bring your own aware consciousness and willingness to look at yourself and write about it!

  9. What if it’s the child’s Saturn on the parent’s planet? I have a natal Saturn square Venus — no fun! My son’s Saturn sits right on my Venus. So when he was about 11, I met the man who would eventually become my husband, and began to date for the first time since my divorce 8 years before. My son’s comment was, “Don’t come running to me when he dumps you!” Now, many years later, although we have a deep bond, my son still seems cool when he interacts with me. (He doesn’t even interact with the husband!) Any advice?

    • Lee, because you said, “Any advice?” here’s my perspective. Your Venus-Saturn square is probably difficult enough because for whatever reason you may feel sort of inhibited in relationships. With your son’s Saturn on your Venus, there might be an additional sense of him inhibiting you as well- albeit not on purpose or consciously. From what I understand, it’s tough to date when you’re a single parent, and sometimes people end up seeing their kids as a liability in that situation. (Not saying that you did, just that some people do, or sometimes kids perceive that to be the case.) Although I do think it’s kind of funny that with Saturn basically on his Descendant, even at 11 years old your son had a typical jaded-old-man response to your wanting to date and meeting your eventual husband- more like what a parent might say to an adult child in the same situation.

      Without seeing the rest of your charts, and without knowing all your back-story (including your son’s understanding of the situation before you met your current husband and it was just you and your son), it’s hard to say for sure- but maybe as an adult, your son’s Saturn connections with you have turned into a kind of “waiting for the other shoe to drop.” Perhaps he does feel really protective of you or sort of responsible for you, but doesn’t want to seem like he doesn’t want you to be happy- so his defense mechanism is to back off. Do you know what he’s like in his romantic relationships, if he has them? It wouldn’t surprise me if he’s also somewhat cool or more of a realist and less of a romantic.

      • Lucy. Thank you for your thoughtful response. My son has Venus in Aquarius, square his Mars in Taurus. His Sun conjoins Jupiter in Aries. He has Saturn and Pluto in the 7th house (saturn really in the 6th near his descendant.) He is in his early 20s and thinks it’s foolish to marry young! I’m a Scorpio, and we both have Capricorn moons. He is cool and a little gruff with me, but loyal.

  10. Hi Donna (and Annie) – It was interesting going back and comparing my chart to the chart of each of my parents, especially since my natal Saturn is placed in my 4th house – I did consider my parents to be “cold” towards me for the most part, at least during childhood and adolescence. I was surprised at how many Saturn contacts there were, especially between my mom and me – too many to mention.

    No big surprise, my mother’s Saturn was conjunct my Sun/Venus/North Node conjunction in the 2nd – like you Donna, I never felt my talents and accomplishments were truly appreciated (or encouraged) by my mother — although her Saturn also trined my Chiron and sextiled both my Uranus and Saturn. She did teach me, by example, to be an independent thinker with a strong sense of responsibility and work ethic; she also instilled in me a faith in a loving God. My Saturn conjoined my mother’s Jupiter, opposed her Venus, trined her Chiron, North Node and Neptune, squared her Uranus (this was a BIG one), and loosely Sextiled her Saturn. We did get along much better at the end of her life, with a great deal of healing taking place when I managed her care.

    With regard to my dad – my Saturn trined his Chiron and Neptune, squared his Uranus, and sextiled his Jupiter. Again, we had a better relationship later in life, with me being one of the few people he could rely on. The one and only aspect my dad’s Saturn makes to my chart is that it tightly bi-quintiles my 8th house South Node (which opposes my 2nd house Sun/Venus/North Node). I don’t know quite what to make of this aspect – he did save my life once, and he was always there in an emergency. When I did a progressed chart for him based on my birth date, his progressed Saturn was exactly opposed to my natal Mars – that made sense.

  11. I forgot to add, my son has his natal Saturn on his descendant, from the 6th house.

  12. My Dad’s Saturn/Pluto/Sun conjunction sits on top of my Moon/Uranus conjunction and my Saturn conjuncts his Ascendant.
    My Saturn conjuncts my Mother’s Sun/Mars in Virgo but her Saturn in Taurus in my eighth makes no major aspects to anything in my chart except a Trine to my Mercury in Virgo in 12.
    In an interesting note: Her Saturn is in 8th. She not only left me no money, I am still paying off a debt I incurred because I had a joint account with her so I could help her pay her bills when she was older !
    Saturn’s restrictive nature shows there loud and clear.

  13. This is one of my favorite Annie articles. I am always so glad that I know astrology whenever I read anything family-systems-related.

  14. Hi everyone! I am also happy to be able to make more sense of my interactions with my parents and kids just by analyzing the astrology of these relationships.

    As with all interactions in synastry, how everything plays out will very much depend on the person behind the Saturn–how well they’re handling their own Saturn “issues”. There’s admiration and respect there, but if the Saturn person is struggling with his/her feelings of inadequacy, then this can express itself as jealousy, or probably more accurately, disapproval/criticism or the complete inability to express praise (which may as well be unspoken criticism!).

    Very early on in my (informal) studies of astrology, I picked up Liz Greene’s classic book on Saturn, and from then on I carried the idea that Saturn’s placement can reveal where we feel lacking, or inadequate, which has helped me tremendously. I have Saturn rising opposing Mercury and even though I was a very strong student, I felt inadequate about all things Mercury, particularly verbal expression.

    I have to say, this perspective helped me a lot, not only when it came to handling other people’s Saturns clamping down on my planets, but also when the reverse was/is true, and I am feeling frozen, unable to give praise, or feeling threatened by someone’s behavior and don’t at first know why they’re rubbing me the wrong way!

    Both of my parents’ Saturns make hard aspects to my personal planets–my Mom’s to my Sun and Moon, my father’s to my Mars. I wondered why my mother, who was so open and more than willing to praise, acknowledge, and discuss emotions with my siblings, seemed to back off emotionally with me. She gave me clues to this over the years, probably because she is quite open and aware in general. Basically, she felt that I didn’t need the attention.

    I think it’s really helpful to realize that there is admiration behind the Saturn, and quite a bit of it. Eventually, I think if you look close enough you’ll see it, even if the Saturn person doesn’t express it explicitly. And, as LB mentioned, often it does get better over time, or there is some point when you can come to terms with the problems and do some healing work.


    • Folks, That’s Annie Heese, the author of this post that is bringing so many new insights to all of us. Annie, what you’ve added here gives me even more clarity about my relationship with my difficult mother. Thanks so much for dropping in! Donna

      • Hi Donna – I agree with you, even these last comments by Annie ring true and lend additional perspective. My mother (whose Saturn conjoined my Sun/Venus/North Node) also shared with me (many years later) that she’d always felt I didn’t need her as much as my brother did – this was the explanation she offered as to why she never seemed to show me the same level of affection and support she showed him. She clearly preferred his company over mine, and now I begin to see why. Thanks Annie for these added insights – hopefully this article will help to make people more aware of these connections, and less likely to act out the more negative manifestations.

  15. Interesting article. My daughter’s Saturn sits right on my Moon, while our Saturn’s square each other. All I have to say is, for as close as we are, there is definitely less tension in the house when she’s not living there!

  16. Excellent walk through on Saturn in synastry, Annie! I happen to attribute Liz Greene’s book on Saturn as an eye opener for me too. Go back to it frequently.

    Saturn plays out very similarly in synastry between adults too. My Aries husband’s Saturn conjoins my Libra Moon and my Saturn in Leo is trine his Aries Moon. I do feel like all my little foibles and insecurities are brought to the surface. It is only years and years and years of learning to THINK before speaking that enables me to keep my mouth shut before stirring the pot.

    Thing is Saturn handled with a modicum of maturity is often responsible (good Saturn word) for creating lasting relationships. You know, the kind where we are forced to come to terms with ourselves?! 🙂


  17. I’m glad to see some more complicated synastries described because when I initially read this post, I thought – “Good Lord- this doesn’t even come close to my experience.”

    Literally, it wasn’t until I turned 40 last year that I started to get that all this time I’ve been wrestling with their issues. I actually think the world is a pretty good place, with pretty decent people, overall, and possibilities. But then, I don’t have Pluto or Uranus in conflict with my Sun or Moon.

    If I knew nothing about astrology, I’d never get any kind of handle on it. I love my parents very much, and it’s always been a real effort to become independent, which I guess makes sense with so many Saturn/Pluto connections, not to mention my Mum’s Saturn on top of my Aries NN!

    My Aries Saturn weighs heavily on my Venus/Sun/Mars in Cancer and forms the point of a yod with Uranus & Neptune, too.

    It also plugs in to the existential angst of my mother’s T-square of Cap Sun, Libra Moon & Pluto at 0 Leo. Her Cap sun squares Saturn in Aries, too, but Saturn doesn’t seem to be close enough to make an actual cross. (She has us for that!) She has raised worrying to a high art.

    In my dad’s case, he has a wide T-square with a Libra Sun, Pluto in Cancer, and Uranus in very early Taurus that plugs clean into this cross. Both Plutos conjoin my Venus/Sun conjunction. It’s much easier for me, though, because his Saturn is opposite my Jupiter and comes close to conjoining my moon, but not enough, I think. It’s a much freer exchange in mutable signs. Thank goodness!

    I finally looked at the chart of the guy my sister married a couple of years ago and, lo and behold, his planets land squarely within that cardinal cross, too. (Hers do not, nor my brother. lucky.)

    At this point, I chalk it up to karma. We really must have botched up something in a past life to be stuck together like this! 🙂


  18. This is such an interesting topic. As others have commented, I too have found the examination of Saturn in my own chart and relatives/partners’ Saturn aspects to my personal planets, very insightful and something to keep coming back to. My studies in astrology have shown that Saturn plays a very important role in long term relationships, however uncomfortable that may be!

    I would like to mention though that I have found it helpful to distinguish the difference between ENVY and jealousy – because the feelings that are being described here mainly are about envy. Liz Greene made this point in a seminar on the subject – that our use of language now tends to use the word jealousy when we really mean envy. Envy is when we have negative feelings brought on by observing attributes in others that we would like to have ourselves – be they attractive personality traits or material possessions etc. Strictly speaking, jealousy involves 3 people – we are jealous when we experience negative feelings brought on by sensing that something may be taken away from us by another – as when a partner flirts with someone else for eg. Appreciating this then opens the door to understanding how pervasive envy is throughout our daily life – and especially involving public figures I find.

    Thanks for a great website – I love reading about astrology!

    • Welcome to the group, Snook. The point you’re making about jealousy vs. envy is an important one. We tend to be sloppy linguisitically. I was an avid student of a variety of languages prior to settling on social work, and for instance in Spanish there are two distinctly different words for the two and Latinos do NOT confuse them! Invidiosa means envious, and jasalosa means possively jealousy. Donna

  19. My mother’s Moon /Saturn conjunction sat exactly on my Sun/Saturn /Mid heaven conjunction. A more repressive, emotionally, and physically abusive relationship I can’t imagine

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