Those who resist Saturn (who represents discipline, justice, authority, hard work, and maturity) will feel miserable during his transits through the Moon sign. But for those who are able to handle the demands of Saturn, the sade-sati is often the crowning glory of 30 years.
The sade-sati is the 7.5 years during which Saturn transits the signs on both sides of the Moon sign, as well as the Moon sign itself. For a Scorpio Moon (Vrishchik rashi), Saturn is in the house—meaning they are now in the middle part of their sade sati. Their sade-sati started when Saturn entered Libra, which is one sign ahead of Scorpio, and will end when it exits Sagitarius, which is one sign behind Scorpio.
To make this more concrete, lets take Narendra Modi, whose Moon is in Scorpio. His sade-sati started in November 2011, when Saturn entered Libra. It stayed there for 3 years, till November 3rd, 2014, after which it shifted to Scorpio. As you can see, these years have been fruitful years for Mr. Modi—he became the Prime Minister of India after a triumphant campaign and elections, and so far he’s been able to handle the demands of a 1.3 billion strong democracy without seeming signs of stress. For a man in his sixties, Modi is showing great aplomb and strength in this daunting task. That is because Modi accepts the Saturn lessons without fighting—he’s not out there bawling because his romantic relationships never worked out in his life, and that he’s unmarried and childless. If he had gotten into this mode, surely he would now be a drug-addict or in rehab. Thankfully, Mr. Modi seems to have chosen the wiser path—making him the father of about 1.3 billion people, who he serves (Saturn also represents “servant of the people”) most faithfully.
In my seven years of learning jyotish astrology, what I have learnt (and felt myself) is that the astamshani is often the nadir of human experience. The astamashani is the moment when Saturn enters someone’s Eighth House, or house of death. This doesn’t mean literal death—but the humiliations, fears, and deeply hidden psychosis that surface can change and transform a person in a way that feels like he/she is going through a transformation which creates the person into somebody entirely new. They transform, they become “reborn”. To make this more concrete, lets take Prez Obama, who has an Aries Moon (Mesh Rashi), and who is going through his astamashani period right now. You can see the man unraveling in the photographs—the gloomy face when he visited China and sat in front of all the brightly colored yellow ceramic dinner plates, watching the rise of Chinese power, being an example. President Xi Jinping was clearly holding a bigger party than him, and the reaction on Obama’s face was plain for all to see. Then there are those photographs inserted amongst those slide shows of royals in which Obama is shown with his nose in the air, sitting next to the elderly Japanese emperor, who looks faintly amused, as if he can’t understand why Obama is putting on such airs. Clearly Obama is out of his element, and the photographer caught the moment. That’s an astamashani moment.
Lets take another example: Angelina Jolie, who has a Pisces Moon (Meen Rashi), recently went through her astamashani period, from November 2011 to November 3, 2014. Jolie provides dramatic illustration of this moment. No sooner had Saturn slid into her Eighth House then the famous slit dress event occurred, with a mischievous comedian on stage parodying her posture. Soon, thousands of Internet parodies of her with the slit dress were floating around in the ether, forever changing the image of her as the glamour empress of the world. This was followed by various other Saturn-in-Eighth-House moments: Jolie in some war-torn African country, wearing a black cloak and looking like death. She was struggling to hold on to her image as the social activist, because for the first time people were looking at her intervention with a critical eye. Then the fear of death started to bubble, leading her to remove both her breasts. For someone whose entire identity had rested on being the sexiest female in the world, this would have had to hurt. There were some Internet postings that seemed to suggest Jolie’s children were not well cared for, and this was followed up immediately by PR postings of pretty children in happy moments. Clearly she was getting hit on all sides—but mostly, for Jolie, it was the fear of time—of old age, death, and decay—that decimated her. Note all these attributes-old age, death, and decay, as well as fear—are ruled by Saturn.
It appears to me that the residual fear remains in Jolie, for she has now, despite moving past the astamashani moment, still gone on to remove her ovaries, as well. And that’s the Saturn heaviness that I think astrologers haven’t accurately quantified. In my judgment, the two houses before and after astamshani also deliver residual Saturn impacts, in much the same way as a sade-sati transit: for instance, those with Taurus Moons, whose Saturn is in Seventh House for another two years, and whose astamshani is upcoming next, are already showing fear and hidden dread on their faces, as if they can sense something dreadful is upcoming. In Nepal, ex-Prince Paras, born with Moon in Taurus, is feeling the heaviness of Saturn in his Seventh House of relationships. And in approximately two years, he will enter astamashani. I won’t say who else has a Taurus Moon, but I would suggest that someone like Vladimir Putin, for instance, should put their house in order speedily, to avoid the worst of astamashani moments. Remember the Saturn attributes—discipline, hard work, justice, law and order. If you follow those, Saturn will transform you with the same weight but with immeasurably greater justice.
A few more Saturn observations: Jyotish astrologers often think that Libra is spared by Saturn because that’s the house where he is exalted. But I find Libra Moons (Tula Rashi) who are going through the last part of their sade-sati right now, and will be in this mode for 2 more years, are just as prone to Saturn anguish as much as any other signs—in case they have flouted Saturn’s rules.
In my own case, my 7.5 years of sade-sati was the time when I went from attending a high school in Kathmandu to Brown University—it was a difficult 7.5 years, but also the best time of my life. Those 18 years of extreme hard work in academics had paid off. Astamashani, however, was not as kind—I will spare you the details but lets say all of us have to go through these intense, death-like moments. I am an Aquarius Moon, which is ruled by Saturn-despite that, I felt the astamshani as fully and as painfully as all of the other rashi. Interestingly, my astamashani period coincided with a period Nine Ki astrologers (Nine Ki is a system of divination used in Japan, and possibly China) know as the time when we return to the “House of Karma.” From what I understand, this is a moment which we enter every nine years, and in which we have to face the deepest consequences of our past actions.
On the plus side: to be “reborn” is a second chance in life. And as astrology reminds you—these moments offered by Saturn to transform are actually a gift to move on to another phase in life, one that will take us ultimately towards the spiritual journey we all came here to experience.