The Dysfunctional Saturn and its Impact upon Health

Dysfunctional Saturn aspects in the natal chart frequently contribute to health issues. For example, people with Fibromyalgia often have Saturn inconjunct (150) aspects in their natal chart.

These people have a difficult time assessing their accurate responsibility in most situations. With Fibromyalgia, these people are drawn to crises, care-taking and sacrificing themselves for others. Because they actually resent these crises, their bodies develop an “allergic reaction” to the adrenalin that they produce – hence, the great pain that they experience.

Because many diseases are associated with this dysfunctional pattern with Saturn, it is essential to change the psychological pattern in order to improve the health condition.

The best description of the Dysfunctional Saturn comes from my favorite book by Alan Epstein, The Psychodynamics of Inconjunctions. I love this book so much that I have two copies of it…just in case I cannot find one when I need to refer to it. Often, the psychological issues of this 150 degree aspect represent the psychological struggles about which the individual is most aware. They also represent important talents available to the individual, if they will overcome the dysfunctional side of the planet. Many of these talents are listed in Epstein’s book. This book appeared in AstroAmerica’s Top Ten List.

The Psychological Issues of a Dysfunctional Saturn are:

  1. Problems and lessons come through dealing with the reality of responsibility.
  2. Need to prove self responsible to others, limiting freedom, assuming responsibilities and burdens
  3. May have had to assume responsibilities for parents, foregoing play in order to assume the worry and burden of family survival.
  4. The parents often felt that they themselves were making great sacrifices and handling great responsibilities when they were actually dumping these on the child.
  5. They permit others to unload their burdens on the individual who is not always efficient and effective in these tasks.
  6. Find themselves surrounded with irresponsible or needy people – these inept people give a sense of purpose and connectedness.
  7. Premature, adult-like assumption of duties so that the individual never does learn how to handle responsibilities effectively. The enjoyment of life is very much limited by these chores. Saturn says: Before you can be happy, the people you love must be happy.
  8. Feelings of isolation because of these responsibilities
  9. Forced to wait and be patient; sense of timing is inappropriate
  10. As a child, the individual was either forced to wait or rushed and pressured.
  11. The individual fears a total collapse if they do not do it all.

  1. Debra Says:

    This sounds like it must be me. My BD is 6/18/1954; I was diagnosed with Fibro in 1996 along with about five other illnesses. From what I can tell it looks like I was born with saturn in scorpio in the 6th house and neptune in libra occupying the same space. I have had more than my share of health problems and have also been a victim of spousal abuse, attacked and beaten by a stranger and given a broken nose by a beloved niece.

    I have a couple of guru’s (spiritual mentors) and healers who all say I have a very bright aura (light) that scars people. I guess you could say they want to punch my lights out (wish I were joking). In any event I am really a great person; an upstanding citizen, great friends from all walks of life, etc. I just do not even come close to the stereotype one would think of when one considers a person being attacked so many times. At some point people would begin to think this just cant be, she must be asking for it. That’s the issue though no one gets why these things keep happening to me.

    In addition I have had to have four surgery’s in the pelvic area; the last one was in 2000 to remove my ovary’s . I was on the table for six hours and lost a lot of blood; they had to call in two additional surgeons due to the extent of addhesions conecting my bowel to my ovary. That was eight years ago and it looks like they are going to have to go in again as I have a stricture on my sigmoid colon. It is extremely narrow and getting at a dangerous point as adhesions are also growing around it. The decision will be made on how to procede in the next couple of weeks after some more test. But I am terrified and so tired of these cycles. They will remove about 5 inches of the colon and I have a 50/50 chance of wearing a bag for the rest of my life. I have been searching for a good medical astrologer who could advise me on any obtions I may have and if I have to have this surgery when would be the very best time for the best outcome?? If there is a specific way you do this and charge please advise as I do not see it on your site. Or perhaps there would be some one else you would like to recommend to me.

    Thank you so much.

  2. Susan Says:

    I am not sure if my Saturn is dysfunctional- but I think, after looking at my chart- that Saturn is my partner on some level. DOB- July 5, 1970- Pontiac MI 2:06 pm. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in July of 2007.

  3. Lynn Koiner Says:

    This is a verey interesting case and I am written an answer on the Medical Forum – Auto-Immune and MS

  4. Bobbie Says:

    Hi Lynn,

    I write her birth data’s from the woman, that has Saturn in Virgo in 6th in opposition with Mercury in 12th.

    She is very healthy woman, eats well and drinks a lots of water.
    The only thing is that she coughs sometimes.

    How come she can be so healthy with Saturn and Mars in 6th and with hard aspects?

    She was born March 20th, 1950 at 6:30 am in the place: 17e51, 44n37.
    She is also some kind of fortune teller.

    Greetings to you,

  5. Lynn Koiner Says:

    The 6th Houses rules more than just health. It is our job and how we work with others. From what you say, she takes care of her health and this is your answer.

    SIXTH HOUSE: This House rules our attitude towards out job and how we do it. How do we solve problems? It rules habits and systems. It rules congenital health weaknesses. Our attitude towards our job can impact our health, as well as poor health habits. How do we work with others? Can we work with others? This House is associated with the helping professions.

    ESOTERIC: This is a Service House and it is a Healing House. For healing, it is setting up health systems, herbs, vitamins and exercise. Sixth House healers help others to change negative patterns in their lives in order to improve overall health and well-being. Spiritually, this House rules Health and Human Services, Public Service (esp. with 7th and 10th Houses), labor relations, healing services, nutrition, improving and reforming work conditions, animal rights, especially animals who serve man

  6. Amy Says:


    I was doing a general search for astrology and came across your site.

    I appreciate your perspective and value astrology, but fibromyalgia is not a psychological disease. It can cause depression in people, but it is not physical pain induced by depression.

    People with fibro often have slightly off thyroid function. In addition it is thought to be a misfiring of the CNS. There is a lot of excellent research out there about Fibro.

    Fibro is also often triggered by either a neck and head trauma or a severe viral infection. For instance, I had a high fever, pain in my bones, and continue to have fevers, pain, etc. I had a bad infection, but it seems to have never gone away.

    For more info check out:

    Here is an excerpt of one piece:
    Given that the symptoms may be similar to a viral flu, experts in the field of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome believe that these two illnesses may be one and the same.10 Gulf War syndrome also overlaps with these two conditions.11

    Anyhow, my Saturn placement doesn’t add up. Unfortunately Fibro is one of those new disorders that American style culture cannot seem to understand. I’m not a care-giver, type A or anything like that. I’m a crazy Aquarian with no kids, an active lifestyle, a vegan for over 12 years and I still got Fibro!!!


  7. Lynn Koiner Says:

    AMY – I understand what you are saying and I agree that FMS is NOT in one’s head. You are misunderstanding my research which is astrological.
    I see astrological patterns that continually appear in the horoscopes of those with FMS. These patterns have an interpretation and this becomes the psychological pattern that makes individuals more susceptible to FMS.

    And, as you indicate, there can be other factors that contribute to FMS – Epstein-Barr Virus (this is where I got CFS) and the conditions that you mentioned above.

    Yes, I agree. The depression that occurs does not cause FMS but it is the result of the painful symptoms.
    There was a period a few years ago when I had a lot of stress and every bone and muscle in my body ached. I thought to myself – This is what people with FMS experience every day 24/7. It went away with the stress (I started canceling appointments.

    So, Amy, your comments are appreciated and understood. My research is astrological.

  8. Jenn Says:

    Wow. Now I understand better when my astrologer friend looked at my chart 20 years ago and said “…you have Saturn issues.” I have a Yod with Saturn at the apex and Pluto and Neptune at the base! (9/6/1968 2:51 AM Tacoma, WA)

    What you said in the above article certainly does fit and I’ve really been working on these issues lately. While the list has an excellent description of the issues, it doesn’t give much in the way of suggestions. Much less what to do when this configuration is “karmic” (do you believe that about the Yod?)

    Glad I found your site – extremely informative. I will be returning!


  9. Lynn Koiner Says:

    Authority and respect are major issues. Responsibility may have been placed upon individual too early – may have been forced to be responsible for a parent. May attract people who do not handle responsibilities well so they limit their own freedom by assuming the responsibilities of others. Astro-sized fears. Trouble integrating with others. Feel like a wall flower who cannot lighten up and dance. With any Saturn inconjunct, there is a need to allow others to make their own mistakes. In assuming too many responsibilities for others, these responsibilities cannot be executed effectively. During the childhood, having fun and being spontaneous may have been foregone in order to perform chores and to worry about the family situation. “If I am not responsible, everything will fall apart.” So, people who are not really responsible are often attracted to these people. There is a need to lighten up and take a joke. There can be feelings of loneliness resulting from living with lonely or isolated parents.


    SATURN: Problems and lessons come through dealing with the reality of responsibility. There seems to be a need to prove one’s responsibility and, therefore, freedom is limited by assuming responsibilities and burdens which are handled effectively. As a child, the individual may have had to assume responsibilities for parents (parents who felt that they were making great sacrifices and handling great responsibilities when they were actually dumping this on the child), foregoing play in order to assume the worry and burden of family survival.
    There is a pressure to assume responsibility for others when they fail and permit others to unload their burdens on the individual who is not always efficient and effective with these tasks. The individual is usually surrounded with irresponsible or needy people -children, marriage partner and other immature dependents. Inept people give a sense of purpose and connectedness. Premature, adult-like assumption of duties so that the individual never does learn how to handle responsibilities effectively. The enjoyment of life is very much limited by these chores.
    Feelings of isolation occur when surrounded with the burdens of others. There is an awkwardness in groups or with new people. Extreme anxiety can make the individual very cautious and circumspect, sticking to the traditional ways of doing things, not taking risks, not enjoying life. The individual often feels forced to wait and be patient. Caution translates into hesitancy and inaction. Sense of timing is inappropriate. As a child, the individual was either forced to wait or rushed and pressured.
    Respect from authority is a strong objective but this is only disappointed when unappreciated. The individual is unable to set accurate limits. There was no family structure or behavior guidance so it is easier to settle into rigid, safe routines than effective responsibility. The individual fears a total collapse if they do not do it all. When triggered, they learn how to handle responsibilities, get the proper training and become effective Saturnian types. Business managers, hospital administrators and engineers. Playing a musical instrument can be helpful.

  10. Wendy Says:

    Interesting…just as I start this reply, the corner of my home sinks a bit and there is a loud cracking noise…foundation problems(that’s another topic for another time)…anyway, thank you for the very fascinating information. I am wondering if you could answer a few questions or point me in the right direction? I have had little experience with strange happenings until 2003, but when I looked on my “research” calendar of daily energies regarding the 2010 septile dates you mentioned, I was in complete shock. On the two January dates, I had the most bizzare, unsettling preminitions of my up coming death. I think my father sent me a message as well, trying to explain the divineness of it all and that I was not to be afraid. I also am experiencing a health crisis that is a more serious repeat of my last Jupiter conjunct Sun return(sun in 3rd house and Jupiter in the 6th) of a chronic liver ailment. (I swear, I am not an angry person!) The question I wish to ask is, do these premonitions mean what they mean…or can I just not be used to interpreting these energies correctly? I apparently have 2 grand crosses in my natal chart and the 3 astrologers I have contacted would not do my chart…another insight I suppose to a not-so-good outcome?(I will be only 44 this March, and although I am exhausted by an erratic life, there is still so much I wish to experience.) Should one interfere with “fate”? I also would be happy to be apart of any research projects that you could direct me to, and again, thank you for your intriguing site.


  11. Karlin Says:

    There are allways exceptions, I suppose that is why this doesn’t jive with my life.

    It sort of seems like this article assumes Fibromyalgia is a woman’s disease? I am a male, 55 yr. old, with Fibro. I am not a caregiver, never asked to take care of anyone.

    point #10 > I was neither rushed nor forced to wait… more like “just totally ignored, didn’t matter”.

    On the other hand, due to excessive Fibro symptoms today, I am just so utterly negative today that my cynical self is out and about.

  12. Lynn Koiner Says:

    KARLIN (10-2011): It is OK to periodically be in a negative mood. We have Solar Flares shaking the earth’s EMF which agitates most people on good days and Urnaus-Pluto afflictions hitting the natal charts of many of us.

    My comment about Fibromyaglia is just a brief comment. It really is a Disease of the Cardinal signs and this people develop an allergic reaction to the adrenalin that is produced from crises.
    True, it is not a women-only disease but it affects women primarily.
    This article is on a Dysfunctional Saturn, not Fibromyalgia.
    I have noticed recently that this “dysfunctional Saturn” is prominent with ADD — diminished activity in the PreFrontal Cortex, ruled by Saturn and the Frontal Lobe is ruled by Fire.
    Saturn repressed Fire.

    Glad you posted Karlin. ~ Lynn Koiner

  13. kate Says:

    I just came upon your website and find it fascinating. I have saturn retrograde in sag in the 2nd house inconjunct venus in the 9th in cancer and opposite mercury in the 8th (which happens to be the engine in my locomotive chart). The saturn aspect to venus is the only aspect i have to venus. i have had 2 failed marriages and i go through long periods without a partner. I also say the wrong things at the wrong time a lot and have had money problems most of my life (i left my last marriage $35,000 in debt and everything i’d built to that point in my life gone). It was very helpful for me to hear you talk about responsibility for people who are irresponsible, because thats what i took on in my marriage. I am a care taker and want everyone to be happy. I take on everyone elses problems and people come to me because they know i’ll help them, but when my resources are gone so are they. I’m learning to say no and put myself first (north node in scorpio in the first house) and it’s amazing how much better i feel. I also have neptune in the 12th retrograde and right on the ascendant in scorpio, ugh! that’s another story. If you have any more insight on how to bring workability into my life with the saturn inconjunct venus aspect it would be greatly appreciated. Also, I have been through a lot in my life but i’m not sick at all, but there is sickness all around me.

  14. Lynn Koiner Says:

    KATE (8-2012): First, I allow very wide orbs for aspects between the planets. A great book on aspects is by Betty Lunsted – ASTROLOGICAL INSIGHTS INTO THE PERSONALITY.
    So, the inconjunct may not be the only aspect. I do use tight orbs for the minor aspects…but the 150 degree aspect never feels like a minor aspect.

    This is an interpretation of the Venus-Saturn aspect:

    Sense of unworthiness causes the individual to take on responsibilities, placing the material needs of others before self. Compensates for low self-esteem by appearing responsible. Because of past childhood experiences, the individual can feel isolated. Learn to receive and to help others with similar experiences.
    TALENT: Health field

    NOTE: A good book, cheap on Amazon, is THE POWER OF RECEIVING. The theme is that, when you do not allow yourself to receive, then the only people who will be in your life are TAKERS!

    VENUS: When Venus is so aspected, the individual never felt unconditionally loved and, therefore, not intrinsically loveable. This does NOT mean that the individual was not truly loved by the parents but there were stresses in the early environment (such as parents who were 180 ̊ apart in temperament) and reincarnational factors. The need is to earn love, to be loved but not always believing of complements.
    The life will be transformed when the individual learns just to let it go, do what feels good, create a new imagine and live a new life.

    Read the articles on this website on the Empath -- this applies to you as well.
  15. Erica Says:

    What are some of the strengths/gifts/talents of an inconjunct Saturn?

    My Mars, Ascendant and Chiron (all conjunct each other) are all inconjunct to Saturn (Saturn is conjunct Pluto) in the 6th house. Over the last few years (Saturn Return), I’ve been discovering these very traits in myself that you list in this article! Over the last few weeks, I finally have come to realize that the solution is to “let it go” and find another way entirely. Is that the gift/talent? Being able to see other ways to do things?

  16. Lynn Koiner Says:

    ERICA (5-2013): This information comes from PSYCHODYNAMICS OF INCONJUNCTIONS by Alan Epstein.

    Saturn needs to cultivate business or management skills. One individual whose husband did everything for her realized that she needed to develop her own Saturn. She went to school and became a nurse, specifically a managing or head nurse.
    Developing discipline through studying music dancing or body work is helpful. Learning to plan and develop efficient enterprises may be indicated – and working with the hands. All of these develop a constructive use of Saturn.

  17. BlackMoon Says:

    Thank you for this article Lynn.
    The psychological effects that you listed here very accurately describe what I have experienced … yes I have FMS.
    Doing deep work on myself to transform the dysfuntional effects of natal Saturn Rx 9th house Pisces into stengths. :)
    Brightest blessings.

  18. Eve Says:

    Wow, Thank you for this very interesting article.
    We really do not have such interesting/deep analysis on our French astro sites
    I have Saturn as the Lord of natal 9 th house, in Capri. In my theme Saturn conjuncts Moon , both in my 12 house.
    Saturn is also the apex of a yod (sextile Uranus/Neptune).
    for the other aspects, Saturn 12 trines Sun 4 in leo, and trines Mercury 4 (ruler of Asc) conjuncts Sun
    Yes as a child I had too many responsabilities, living alone with my mother who was mentally frail and always sick. My father had left home when I was 2, leaving me alone with a sick mother. At this past time (40 years ago), nobody cared about this kind of situation, social help for the child = zero. I think today it would be different and the child would be helped.
    I made long serious studies because it was a means to survive and emancipate, in which I succeed in spite of extreme child/family financial poverty . Now even if I had my own family and beautiful children, I often still feel like I am obliged to hold everything on my shoulders, this is true. I love my family, but they really can do nothing without me, and call me for help for the slightest things, it is heavy. Sometimes I feel like I still was with my mother, as if the same situation had never stopped, in fact. Its always me who have to look after everybody and rule everything. Each time I take a moment for myself, I have to pay a price or to feel guilty , for instance nobody eats if I m not here to cook ! they prefer not to eat than cooking something themselves, husband included in “they”
    I’m very interested in religion and all spiritual subjetcs, philosophie, etc , and even esoterism and occultism. In fact this is the only thing that really passionates me in life, much more than my real job ( literature teacher) My second interest in life is David Bowie lol , I am a huge fan , and listening to his highly spiritual music and texts is like finding a kind of authentic friendhip of soul I don’t find in my real reality , I suppose !

    Thank you very much for the article, best thoughts from France !

  19. Michael Says:

    WOW….This is starting to make me question my Saturn, as what you describe is similar to my story. I will paraphrase, Lynn

    1. Middle child. Older and younger sibling had health issues. I came out ok.
    2. I became the “family gopher.” Fetching things, doing things, saying “yes” to most everything. Even staying up in the night with sister or brother caring to their needs.
    3. Parents divorced at the age of 12. Financial difficulties all about. Including temporary displacement that lasted several years.
    4. Has been working virtually nonstop since the age of 18 (I will be 28 this yr.)
    5. I work in health, and counsel people on how to avoid risks, such as STDS.
    6. Family never recovered from the divorce. I am leaned on a lot, for money, a place to live, many many things. I give so much in fact, that I neglect myself a lot due to exasperation in caring for others.

    I never had a carefree “teenage life.” Childhood was amazing, despite it all..but I grew up fast. The ages of 12 to 18 was spent, literally, in various stages of poverty and “without“ness.

    Natal aspects:

    Saturn in the 7th house in Sagittarius, conjunct natal sun.

    Asc in Gemini, Saturn opposes it.

    Ruler of Asc, Mercury, in Scorpio in house 6.

    Moon in Libra square Neptune, and sextile Sun also, Inconjunct Mars which sits at 0 Pisces. Also Squares Uranus in Sagittarius.

    Saturn and Jupiter square each other. Jupiter sits at 13 Pisces.

    Chiron Rx in Gemini, first house.

    Ruler of my asc is conjunct Pluto in Scorpio.

    The irony is my 6 planets in water (Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Mercury, Pluto) all trine each other, and the Scorpio planets are conjunct. I seem WELL EQUIPPED to handle the load…but I wish for balance in this.

    It seems STRESS rides me near daily. I am a very spiritual person…I know what I have to do. BUT doing it is so hard!

  20. Lynn Koiner Says:

    Thank you so much for sharing, Michael. Saturn can eventually make you ill if your life becomes dedicated to shouldering the responsibilities of others. Learn to define boundaries and say NO, especially if this makes you feel guilty.

    Learn to RECEIVE and ask for what you want.

    In conjuncts are difficult but they ALWAYS bestow a talent. I would recommend Alan Epstein’s book on this subject. He does list the talents.

  21. Kay Says:

    Hi, Lynn:

    I am so glad I stumbled upon this particular page as I was searching for this aspect, one which I have overlooked in my chart. I have Sagittarius Saturn H1 inconjunct Scorpio Pluto H12. What you have described about dysfunctional Saturn rings true for me. Now, I do not know if it is related my childhood fatherly (emotional, verbal, physical) abuse or not. Regardless, my childhood was full of self-pity, growing up too quickly, full of very adult responsibilities. My mother bestowed on me a lot of responsibilities over me, and she was VERY responsible herself (I have Virgo moon, and Mom is actually a super Virgo [6 planets!]).

    You wrote of other irresponsible people in the lives of those with this Saturn inconjunct. I have loads of them, and my fiance happens to be quite the dependent and irresponsible one. I view him as not a hard worker, tends towards laziness. Funnily, my father was the same way. Repeat patterns in his family and mine where there are hard workers and the partners are lazy and dependent. Yikes.

    And finally, would you please do me the honor of explaining to me what my Sag Saturn H1 inconjunct Scorpio Pluto H12 means?

    I thank you kindly and love your site.

    What does my aspect is medically telling of?

  22. Lynn Koiner Says:

    KAY (8-2015): I hate to disappoint you, Kay, but I never use a 30 degree aspect as an inconjunct, only the 150. So I do not know how to interpret this aspect in your chart.

    Saturn in the 1st or Capricorn Rising is often a signature that the child was not wanted or some apprehension during the gestation period. But, you may have other aspects that are similar to the 150 inconjunct that produce difficult effects.
    The interpretation is used for other difficult aspects from Saturn as well.

  23. ramesh Says:

    sir, pl inform if any GOOD effects of following:

    (1)jupiter in aquarius inconjunct to moon(which s conjunct south node,so health/mental probs possbl)in virgo;for scorpio ascendant.
    (2)moon in virgo inconjunct to mars(which s conjnct north node,so health probs possbl)in aries;for gemini ascendant.

    in general,pl inform effects inconjuct by benefics. regards.

  24. Heather Says:

    Hi Lynn,

    I’m a very big fan of your work, and I’m grateful to have stumbled upon this article of your about the Saturn inconjunct.
    I have Saturn conjunct Uranus in Sagittarius in my 2nd house in a tight inconjunct with my moon and a wider inconjunct (4 degrees) to my Venus in Cancer. Right now I’ve been going through my Saturn return and really trying to figure out this inconjunct and how to work through it.

    I’ve spent many years being much sicker than anyone my age should be. I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety in my earlier years, now what I’ve been dealing with is more along the lines of epstein-barr, CFS, adrenal issues and an incredibly weak immune system. When I was younger, I had chronic strep infections that returned with a vengeance these past few years. It’s to the point right now where I am sick more often than I am well. I have an incredibly gifted naturopath who is always very helpful in diagnosing my issues and giving effective remedies, but the illnesses are non-stop, one after another, and after working with him for 3 years it seems that we haven’t gotten to the core of the issue.

    Another major problem for me has always been money (2nd house Saturn) and right now with my Saturn return I’m dealing with the repercussions of excessive student loan debt. My health problems have made it very difficult to work and earn money, and truly all I want right now is to start my own business and to feel confident and free to do the work I came here to do.

    The psychological profile fits me very accurately, only now I’m married to a wonderful man who is incredibly responsible, supportive, successful, loving and kind. He’s the only reason I’ve been able to deal with all of this and, although I am incredibly blessed and feel very grateful to him, I can’t help feeling like a failure for needing his financial support. This leads me to overcompensate by doing everything and anything for him (cooking, grocery shopping, pet care, bill paying, etc… domestic stuff) to make his life easier… some boundary issues that I’ve been working on more recently. My friends tend to be lean on me for support quite a bit, and I do like to be able to be there for them when they need someone… even when I know deep down it’s to my own detriment.

    I know that you’re very busy, but your post has me feeling very hopeful that there is a way to effectively overcome my health issues as well as the financial burden. Any insight at all that you’d be willing to offer me, beyond the wealth of information you’ve already provided, would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you so much for the work that you do.


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