Classically, hard aspect (Conjunction, Square, Opposition) between Saturn and the inner planets (including Sun and Moon) are considered to be rather difficult. We’ll focus on Saturn-Mars combination here.
a) The Classic Problem
Mars represents the method of action: how we need to act in order to be effective in getting what we want. Since Saturn traditionally has to do with delays, blockages and frustration, the classical thought was that if the person has Mars squared (or other hard aspect) by Saturn, his action will likely end in frustration.
This led to descriptions such as frustrated action, suppressed anger, and even impotence. Some said this aspect suggested “cautious and controlled action – driving with brakes on.” Others thought that Saturn’s ambition and control would dominate Mars, and produce a ruthless character who is extremely controlling (Hitler’s chart was given as an example.)
The problem with these descriptions was that they were static and gave no room for growth: In real life, when we have problems we deal with it – you may have to lean into it for a long time, but eventually you solve them – or you quit. Since astrology is not a pronouncement of fate but a pattern of life development (which pretty much has to do with solving problems and growing all the time), there has to be a higher level alternative to this aspect.
b) Alternate Manifestation
So we use Saturn’s discipline, maturity, perseverance and wisdom and apply it (Mars) to achieve our goals. Noel Tyl called this aspect “indomitable” and “resourceful” – these describe the staying power and street smart of Saturn enhancing Mars. We could expect that with knowledge and experience, this will become more and more applicable.
c) Other Challenges
In modern astrology, we also consider the houses ruled by Mars and Saturn, and think them as being under tension: My Mars ruling the 1st house is squared by Saturn ruling the 11th – Mars stresses Saturn, Saturn stresses Mars, so both my 1st house (identity formation) and 11th house (love received from others) are challenged.
This means one of my key challenges is that I may have a hard time developing a strong sense of self, as well as I may have a fear or insecurity about not being lovable – which leads to not being able to “let love in,” so to speak.
That’s a good awareness when I’m in relationships with people – how much of their love and appreciation am I “letting in?” By patient introspective process (Mars in Scorpio is in the 8th house – psychological healing) I have worked on these issues, and feel much better about it.
That’s just one example involving two houses – when 2nd house is involved, self worth will be the key challenge. 3rd house: the mental process – perhaps depression or anxiety disorder. 4th or 10th house – parental relationship may be challenged. 5th house – self expression and giving love to others. 6th house – cooperating with others at work. 7th house – personal relationships, and so on.
The key with Saturn is that we get better as we accumulate wisdom through experience and learning. Mars’ method of action (in my case, Scorpio Mars implies research, and control through knowing) will be greatly enhanced as the years go by, so long as we keep learning how to do things better.
Some examples of Mars-Saturn hard aspect: concentration camp survivor Viktor Frankl (square), Walt Disney (conjunction), Milton Erickson (conjunction), Al Gore (conjunction), astrologer Isabel Hickey (square – she wrote “Saturn most guide Mars”), Julia Roberts (square), Bruce Willis (opposition – the “indomitable” image is there in his action movie roles), Paramahansa Yogananda (opposition).
Many of them have built enduring work through patient effort. There are many athletes with this combination, so Saturn doesn’t seem to affect the physical energy necessarily.