SATURN OR SANI SADE SATI EFFECTS
Nothing strikes greater fear in many hearts than the mention of an impending Sade-sati of Shani maharaj as Saturn is ‘affectionately’ known in India! Through the tireless efforts of ‘modern’ jyotishis, judging from the number of questions I receive through web-portals, kalasarpa yoga, sarpa yoga, mangal dosha are gaining a lot of ground and rapidly in the arena of fear-causing astrological indicators! I am not trying to minimize the potential negative influence of these factors when these are in full sway, but it would be equally reckless not to point out that the negativity is not unconditional and must not be applied blindly in any and all charts. While I am not in favor of sugar-coating and pussy-footing around negative indications (as is done by some modern astrologers who turn their noses at any and all forms of arcane ‘gloom and doom’ astrology), but I am even more strongly against amplifying and over-reacting to all that is potentially-negative but challenging in ones life. With this principle guiding me, I hope to focus in a balanced manner on the phenomenon of sade-sati in this article.
Saturn is the outermost of the three superior (outside the orbit of earth) planets (Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) planets that are considered in traditional jyotish. Saturn takes on an average a little over 29 months to traverse through each constellation or sign or rashi of the zodiac. This can be rounded up to 2.5 years per sign or 30 years for one revolution around the zodiac. Saturn is the outermost planet that describes more than one revolution around the zodiac during the lifetime of most human beings. Now, the sign in which the moon is placed in the birth chart of an individual is considered to be of a very significant factor in jyotish. Moon is the indicator of the mind and is considered to be especially sensitive to astrological influences. The moon-sign or janma-rashi, then, becomes the astrological i.d. of an individual, particularly to influences that are of an ongoing nature as one progresses in life. The moonsign, understandably, plays a significant role in judging the influence of transiting planets during ones lifetime and forms the basis of gochara or transit readings in jyotish.
When Saturn arrives in the sign that is in the 12th house from the natal moon (that is, just previous to the moonsign) one understandably enters into a new phase in life. This period lasts till Saturn exits from the sign that is after the moonsign. Its transit through these three signs, namely, the sign in 12th from the natal moon, the moon sign itself and the sign next to the moonsign, takes about 7.5 years and the term for 7.5 in hindi is ‘sade-saat’. Hence, the sade-sati of Saturn refers to its transit through the trio of the two signs flanking the natal moon and the moonsign itself. This phase of 7.5 years repeats again in about 30 years and so, many individuals may experience 2 to 3 such periods during their lifetime. To a somewhat smaller extent, the ‘influence’ is also believed to occur when Saturn transits the signs that is fourth and eighth from natal moon. These 2.5 year periods are known as panoti, dhayia or adhayia in folklore jyotish. As a matter of fact, none of these periods, and for that matter sade-sati itself are mentioned prominently in most of the standard classic texts in jyotish; it is remarkable that their impact in the jyotish framework is so deep-rooted and known to even beginners.
To give an example of the periods described above, if we assume that one was born in the Mesha or Aries rashi, in other words, with the natal moon in Aries rashi in the birth chart; when Saturn transits the signs of Pisces, Aries and Taurus, the individual will experience sade-sati. When Saturn transits the sign of Karka or Cancer and again when it crosses Scorpio or Vrischik, the individual will experience the panoti or adhayia of Saturn.
Nit-pickers may immediately wonder – what if the natal moon is in the last degree of a sign? Will Saturn then have a different influence than if the natal moon were in the first degree of a sign? In the former case, Saturn will have to travel almost 5 years before it meets up with the natal moon but will only spend 2.5 years of the sade-satiafter it has crossed the moon. Could the effects/influences of this be different from that experienced by an individual who has the moon in the first degree of a sign and who therefore experiences a longer proportion of the period of sade-sati after transit Saturn has contacted the natal moon? On a related but different note one also wonders with some trepidation, “Is the entire period of 7.5 years going to be an encounter with hell or only certain months during these 7.5 years?”
Saturn invokes the image of an emaciated, irritable, cold-hearted, curmudgeonly old man with a very stern way of making his presence felt. He is unforgiving, treacherous, negative, sans emotions or flexibility and represents chronic and debilitating illness; is lame, of poor eyesight and the giver of worries placing obstacles in ones path. Imagine seven and a half years of problems, failures, frustrations, illnesses and deaths surrounding you and who would not cringe in fear as ones sade-sati approaches which ones net-jyotishi menacingly warns one about. But is the picture always so gloomy and hopeless?
Saturn’s association with Saturday, blue sapphire and mustard (oil) are exploited within the similia similibus framework employed by some jyotishis for recommending the remedial procedures associated with these and others Saturn-related factors and devices. If only life were magically simple and antidotes so effective! Give a horoscope to five different astrologers and you may walk away with more than one recommendation and different diagnoses. Interpretations can be so very different.
There is also a bigger picture view of Saturn which is a product of experience, imagination and a different way of looking at life. This provides one with a slightly different take on Saturn and what it is supposed to represent and do to us in our human experience of a lifetime. Saturn is about removal or all that is unnecessary, all that is old and in need for an overhaul. The deathly winter of Saturn can only be followed by the spring of regeneration. This kind of optimistic thinking gives one some hope, that if we can only cling to the root that is sticking out in the river, we would be able to survive the rapids, the twister that sade-sati is.
We also see Saturn as the teacher whose sole purpose in our life is to make us realize our mistakes, our moments of laziness and inaction that landed us in the deplorable state, today and which we need to address and reverse now so that we fare better during the next encounter with Saturn. The accounts of karma need to be paid now and the piper is at our door beckoning for that which is now due.
Such is the powerful imagery of that which is negative and painful in astrology that the benefic planets really do not stand a fighting chance in claiming a lion’s share in our discussion of jyotish principles. We remember the negatives more vividly as we complain about and curse our fates and God, while conveniently forgetting our escapes and all the grace that we have enjoyed in past. Saturn, mars, Rahu and Ketu, particularly the first three are generally regarded as evil planets at a basic and somewhat crude level of jyotish, with afflicted sun, waning moon and mercury with evil associations also being attributed with malefic properties. Saturn, of course, takes the cake in terms of its ability to wreak havoc upon the human soul and according to orthodox view, must be held in esteem and at a distance if possible.
Sade-sati in such a framework is believed to expose one to the distilled and fully concentrated vitriol that Saturn is capable of inflicting on someone. Hence the need for fear, prevention and remedies galore! But, does that work? Is undoing of ones karma that simple and capable of being brought about by the mere act of buying and wearing a gemstone or footing the bill for doing a pooja for appeasing Saturn, a worship to appease the gods, or for that matter even an act of self-discipline through fasting, denying oneself of some joy or luxury and volunteer service offered to the needy? The latter procedures of self-denial, self-discipline intuitively do make sense but perhaps more so when done without any ulterior motives. If the charity or sacrifice begins with the incentive and intent to seek pardon for ones undesirable actions of the past, then understandably, its efficacy is rightly of a diminutive nature when compared with the similar activities done with no ‘selfish’ intent behind such practices. But, practical and ideal are often two different sides of reality.
Twins and others with the moon in the same sign often do not experience the same degree of negative effects in life while concurrently going through a period of sade-sati. This is very commonly seen and is frequent enough to raise doubts about the uniformity of negative experiences during sade-sati in the life of a nativity, thus bringing to the fore the same thing that many jyotishis keep repeating. One swallow does not indicate the arrival of summer! As one sifts through writings, mostly in modern texts as opposed to scriptural texts which are generally silent about sade-sati (though not about Saturn and its negative impact on most humans) – one comes across references to the strength and beneficences of Saturn and of moon resulting in a mollifying effect on the sade-sati influences. In other words, if one is born with moon in strength and in benefic combinations and/or if Saturn is also likewise disposed, then the individual will not experience drastic effects during sade-sati. When moon is beneficially disposed, this is like saying that the person has a stable and well-disposed mental ability. The mind is not driven by ego and is compassionate, kind, fair and even-keeled; not given to impulse and selfish gratification. On the other hand, if Saturn is similarly disposed, the individual is aware of the need for justice and fairness, is hard-working and aware of ones duties and limits. During sade-sati, these qualities are expected to make one endure duress and to avoid taking steps that would make life more miserable than it should. The sense of fairness is the more important trait, I think and is what reduces ones entanglement in the illusions of human experience: the maya. Expectations and ambitions beyond the scope of ones efforts are what often cause problems when they encounter the Saturnine framework and frustration and anguish ensue.
A chart with such a situation where the two primary astro-indicators, namely, moon and Saturn are well-fortified indicates one who has been working at what gives power to sade-sati and has the karmic balance which is more ‘black’ than “red” as ledgers go. Yet, no one is perfect and sade-sati will bring such situations and opportunities when negative influences can operate and surface in ones life and one can experience defeat and distress or experience a degree of helplessness that is associated with negative destiny. Mahatma Gandhi was born in Tula lagna (Libra ascendant) and was assassinated when transit Saturn was very close to natal moon and transit moon was close to the ascendant. Saturn is considered a benefic and yogakarak for Libra ascendants. In other charts, people have experienced rise and gains during sade-sati, though often with some degree of mental turmoil or uncertainties that plagued ones mind and disturbed if not destroyed mental peace. Ifsade-sati is beginning to sound like a factor to be taken into account but not expected to override everything else at a given moment, then that is indeed what is observed. With approaching sade-sati, if one can adopt a certain degree of mental detachment towards the outcome and goals and can take the opportunity to exercise some self-discipline and a sense of fairness, the better one will be prepared to withstand what the period has to offer. On the one hand, this smacks of astrological opportunism, but on the other hand, this can be taken as an opportunity for one to practice certain ways of living and reacting to life, ways that are in tune with and harmonious with what the astrological rhythms and signatures signify.
A karmayogi, one who carries out ones duties without excessive attachment to the goals and fruits of such actions will be less affected during sade-sati than another who continues to cling to a goal-oriented life and has difficulty in letting go of control. While such a perspective of living throughout life is very welcome, we are all creatures of desires and passions and cannot be ‘good’ all the time. But, if we can live as we should and as we are supposed to in order to attain spiritual growth, even for short periods of time, then we do come out that much better in life.
As they say, there is a time to sow, a time to care for the crop and a time for harvesting – then this is exactly what the astrological periods and rhythms of life are indicating to us. When we do manage to work with astrological cycles, life seems to be smoother and more wholesome than otherwise. The emphasis is obviously on right action (and right speech and thought as well) at the proper time. Approached thus, sade-sati takes on a different form and Saturn can almost become an ally, a teacher and not the menacing destroyer that it is often made out to be. However, the best time to act is ‘now’ and not necessarily when the piper begins knocking on the door. Even so, I hasten to add, that proper action never goes to waste in the long run, so those who awaken late may not reap immediate benefits, but eventually will, if they go through their tests with a certain degree of detachment. This, though difficult to do, is basically what a devotee does. The surest form of detachment is through spiritual surrender. Surrender is what Bhakti or devotion is all about. Surrender is not the same as shirking ones responsibilities or assumption of passivity. One never surrenders actions, one surrenders the goals, or more specifically the desire and expectation of the fruits, the outcome of proper action. This is the primary lesson that Saturn in our charts is supposed to provide us to the degree that we require, in the manner that is necessary to get our attention.
Sade-sati is about ones duties and proper discharge of those and it is about ones dharma. It often makes its influence known through its impact on our ‘luck’ or our escape buffer. This is the benefic reserve that we enjoy through our past good actions. The navamsha chart which provides an important background of our destiny (9th house) has rightfully been recommended as the secondary chart by many jyotishis, ancient and subsequent. It holds an important role in the determination of the influences during the sade-sati of Saturn. In fact it defines the bounds of sade-sati. Though it is nominally considered to stretch over 7.5 years while Saturn transits the three houses around ones natal moon (12th, 1st and 2nd from natal moon), the critical focus is when it makes two cycles around the navamsha chart, and contacts the natal moon in navamsha, thrice. Sade-sati, in this scheme begins when Saturn enters the navamsha occupied by the natal moon while it is behind the moon (generally about 40-43 degrees behind the natal moon in rashi). Over the next several years, it goes around the 12 signs in navamsha and contacts the moon again, and then another cycle and it leaves the moon-navamsha. Saturn’s influence begins with the first contact and ends with the third contact with natal moon in navamsha. Saturn stays in one navamsha sign for approximately 3.3 months. During the two cycles, it travels through 24 navamshas in approximately 6.5 years. This is the core duration of the period during which the ‘sade-sati’ influence is experienced. During its transit through the navamshas, it contacts other planets and influences the areas and attributes represented by those. These must be considered when determining the course of sade-sati in a horoscope and during a reading. During this period, if transit Saturn makes contact with natal Saturn, natal mars or natal rahu, the negative influences if unchecked can be experienced and these are also the periods when ones clarity of vision and thinking may be compromised. Conversely, when transit Saturn comes across natal benefics, a certain degree of relief may be experienced with a change in perception and insight. These are times for initiating spiritual activities with an aim for improved spiritual understanding and not merely for escaping from pain and troubles. As always, it is necessary to gauge the benefic state of those planet in individual charts and one must not go with a look-up table like approach. One must not blindly associate readings with a given combination as unfortunately is also done in otherwise revered and valuable ancient texts in jyotish. Without keeping into context the rest of the specific horoscope, advice rendered based on nascent interpretation of combinations (yogas and arishtas) can be less than useful and even misleading.
As an Astrologer, I always try to take an objective and non-scary way of interpretations. So, before delving into the hardships which sadesati brings, I would like to mention as to what exactly leads to this general PHOBIA of sadesati and five topmost reasons that sadesati can even be extraordinarily beneficial.
People are scared of the planet Saturn because it is a hard taskmaster. It makes them work hard and bring discipline in their lives which means the person under its influence has to now grow up and stop being a playful kid. However, once the person is already mature enough or attains maturity, the benefits of this planet can be reaped of and enjoyed which are very permanent and stable. Following are the topmost five reasons how and why this phase may be enjoyed rather than be scared of :
FOR THOSE WHO HAVE SATURN AS A BENEFIC PLANET
Although Saturn has been designated as a natural malefic, for a few ascendants or lagnas, it becomes benefic and even a raj-yog-karaka. These are those who have Taurus, Gemini, Virgo, Libra, Capricorn and Aquarius as their ascendants. For these people, Saturn brings good results in some phase of sade-sati and thus the entire seven and a half year period is not bad for them and in fact, as I said, a part of it can be even beneficial. It could be the first dhaiyya (the first two and a half years), the second dhaiyya and/or the third dhaiyya.
EFFECTS OF SADESATI ALSO DEPEND ON THE SIGN THROUGH WHICH SATURN IS TRANSITING
Mercury and Venus are permanent friends of Saturn’s. If it is passing through signs owned be these planets, then the chances are high that the results shall be very beneficial for the native. Thus, if Saturn is transiting through Virgo, Gemini, Taurus, and Libra signs, then it will give very beneficial results. In fact, Saturn at the present time, that is in February/March 2010 is in Virgo which is generally good for all people as it is in its friendly sign. Also, if any hardships are to be brought for those under sadesati influence during these days, they shall be mitigated to a large extent. Also if Saturn is transiting through its own signs, that is, Capricorn and Aquarius, the benefits shall be more positive than negative.
PLACEMENT OF SATURN IN THE LAGNA CHART AND NAVAMSA
If Saturn is beneficially disposed in the birth chart or the D-9 chart, that is, if it is placed in the third, sixth, eighth, tenth, eleventh or twelfth house, then it will lead to overall good influences in the native’s life, although some exceptions may come under this category, depending upon all the combinations.
IF SATURN IS VARGOTTAM
Saturn also becomes a beneficial influence if it occupies the same sign in the birth chart and in navamansh.
TIME TO LEARN
Despite all the adversities that are brought forward with sadesati, it is a phase which leads to permanent changes in the person’s personality as the tribulations and the rewards it brings are of a permanent nature. The gains and losses in the native’s life lead to a permanent impact on the psyche of the person. The period of sadesati takes away the natural support system of the person, leaving him on his own and thus leads to the maturity of the person as he learns to survive in the world.
To remove the fear of sadesati, was the main object of my write-up and I hope I have been able to do that for all of my readers. To add to these, I would now mention certain results which occur during this phase so that the person can prepare himself to face these.
POSITIVE RESULTS may include rewards paid for hard-work, wider social acceptance and help, good family life, career advancement, overcoming obstacles and sound health.
NEGATIVE RESULTS may include public humiliation, result of hard-work delayed or compromised, failures in enterprises and efforts, disturbed family life, greater challenges and health problems.
To simplify the concept if Moon is in Leo sign in a horoscope, when Saturn transits through Cancer, Leo and Virgo, the person is Said to be under the effect of Sade Sati of Saturn and all kinds of tragic evenets may happen to him according to some propagated beliefs. And if Saturn is placed in Cancer, Leo or Virgo in someone’s natal chart or birth chart when Moon is placed in Leo, the person is said to be born under the effect of Sade Sati.
However it is important to note that not everybody Suffers from the bad effects of such transit of Saturn. Some people on the contrary may get Very good results and prosper during the Sade Sati while others may experience Big difficulties during Sade Sati. Therefore it is important to note that Sade Sati is not Always bad for everyone and it may on the contrary bless some people with very good Things. So it is again a matter of great importance whether Sade Sati is Bad or Good In your case. Do not be afraid and have the opinion of an expert astrologer who can properly analyze your Horoscope and tell you if it is actually bad or good in your Horoscope. And even if you are actually suffering from the bad effects of Sade Sati of Saturn, the bad effects of Sade Sati can be reduced by special Astrological Remedies.
There is one more concept related to Saturn which is called Dhaiya of Saturn or Shani which means a transit of Saturn in a particular sign in a Horoscope for a period of 2 and a 1/2 years. In a Horoscope when Saturn visits the 4th or 8th Sign counting from the sign where Moon is placed in natal Horoscope or birth chart, then Dhaiya of Saturn is said to be in effect for that Horoscope. For example, if Moon is in Leo sign in a natal Horoscope, when Saturn transits through Scorpio and Pisces, the Dhahiya of Shani or Saturn is said to be in effect. But as in case of Sade Sati of Shani, the Dhahiya of Shani also gives bad effects only to some people while it gives beneficial results to other people depending upon their horoscope. The bad effects of Dhaiya of Saturn can be reduced with the help of Pooja, Mantras, Gemstones and Charities.
Apart from this, it may be noted that the first dhaiyaa is beneficial for the following moonsigns-Gemini, Cancer, Libra, Scorpio, Aquarius and Pisces and it is bad for the following moonsigns- Taurus, Leo, Virgo, Sagittarius and give neutral or mixed results for Aries and Capricorn moons. The second dhaiyya is good for following moonsigns-Taurus, Gemini, Virgo, Libra Capricorn and Aquarius, and is bad for Aries, Cancer, Leo and Scorpio moons. It gives neutral or mixed results for Sagittarius and Pisces moons. The third dhaiyya is good for Aries, Taurus, Leo, Virgo, Sagittarius and Capricorn moons, bad for Gemini, Cancer, Libra and Pisces moons, and mixed and neutral for Scorpio and Aquarius moons.
In conclusion, I would like to say that although sadesati is infamous for being a difficult time in a person’s life, if the person keeps in mind certain truths like above about this time, it can bring a lot of mental and practical ease in his life. The adverse results can be mitigated with the right attitude and positive results can be accrued gracefully and with humility—and that is what exactly, Saturn is there for – TO TEACH US HUMILITY IN LIFE.
Shani Sade Sati for Aries | Shani Sade Sati for Taurus | Shani Sade Sati for Gemini | Shani Sade Sati for Cancer | Shani Sade Sati for Leo | Shani Sade Sati for Virgo |Shani Sade Sati for Libra ,Shani Sade Sati for Scorpio | Shani Sade Sati for Sagittarius | Shani Sade Sati for Capricorn | Shani Sade Sati for Aquarius | Shani Sade Sati for Pisces