What Does Saturn Retrograde Mean? Here's What To Expect

by Kaitlyn Wylde
NASA/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Once a year, for around 140 days, the solar system's sassiest planet Saturn, goes into retrograde and makes all of us down here on Earth nervous about the effects. So you probably want to know what we can expect when Saturn goes into retrograde and what it even means. Because not only is the phrase not intuitive, it's not even entirely accurate.

You see, each planet has a different sized orbit around the sun, due to their distance from it. So each planet takes a different amount of time to make their way around the sun. For us on Earth, it's a year. But for Saturn, it's 29.5 years. Because of that, there are certain points when from our perspective on Earth, it appears as though Saturn is moving away from us — though it's simply because we're on different routes around the sun. Essentially, it's an optical illusion for us. So we call it retrograde, because that's how it appears to us, even though in actuality, the planet is not moving backwards.

Nonetheless, our perception of the planet's motion has larger than life effects here on Earth — at least in an astrological sense. According to astrologists, the planet Saturn is the "karma planet." It's large mass has a huge influence over the other planets in the solar system, so it's thought that its motions have an effect on the zodiac signs as well.

Astrologists say that while Saturn is in retrograde, spiritually, it's a good time for us to think about the things in our lives that have lead us to where we are in our relationships and our jobs. During the 140 days (Apr. 6 - Aug. 25), we're encouraged to think about our karma, and we're encouraged to set strong goals for the future, based on that newfound understanding of the past. Because karma is associated with the unearthing of truth, Saturn going into retrograde might mean that justices will emerge. Perhaps if you did something dishonest and thought you got away with it, the truth will unfold. On the flip side, if someone wronged you, it's possible that during this retrograde, karma might come through to mend it.

Part of experiencing retrograde is also taking the time to look into your past and make sure that you're committed to your commitments. Are there things that you promised yourself or others that you'd complete? Retrograde is the time to complete them. If you're having trouble moving forward in your life, it could be the karma of unfinished business holding you back. Do a thorough evaluation of your past and make sure all of your promises are accounted for. It's better to address them now then never.

Whether you believe in the effects of the other planets on Earth or not, it's never a bad time to take a step back and ensure your own good karma. Self reflection and improvement is never a waste of time.