Saturn in Pisces is associated in Tarot with the Eight of Cups. The emotional, sensitive and intuitive environment of Pisces is reflected in this suit which is of the water element.. Pisces is often described as deep water, like the ocean, and is ruled by Jupiter which brings limitless expansion and horizons.
Still waters run deep
Saturn on the other hand represents qualities of restrictiveness, separation, boundary setting or limitations. So Saturn in Pisces can restrain the waters, bringing perhaps much needed boundaries or structure through it can flow.
On the other hand, too much restriction can stifle Piscean qualities. The Eight of Cups conveys this in the Rider Waite deck by depicting the water in the scene as small pools rather than open water or a river. There is no expansive deep ocean here. The waters appears still, and in the Thoth tarot deck are portrayed as stagnant muddy pools. Indeed, Saturn in Pisces brings the potential for stagnation. Being a yin sign, Pisces has a slower energy anyway, so the addition of Saturn’s slow movement can really bring thing so a crawl or even standstill.
Another Piscean potential is for going too far in, down and deep, and not coming back out, rather than expanding outward and upward. One can get lost and overwhelmed in the depths of the ocean, just as Pisces can signify getting lost in the depths of emotion or imagination. In such an emotionally sensitive sign, this can have unwanted effects such as depression, withdrawal, inability to connect with reality, or addiction. Saturn can compound that with its qualities of separation and melancholy.
In the Thoth deck this is conveyed through the imagery of water trickling down some of the cups but not filling them up, whilst others stand empty. It describes not being emotionally or spiritually filled up or satisfied, and echoes one interpretation of the Rider Waiter version as being bored or unfulfilled. Here we see a figure walking away from the cups which are arranged to look as though one is missing. In astrology the feeling of spiritual or emotional discontent is one of the possible expressions of Pisces.
Seeking fulfillment or avoidance?
So Saturn in Pisces can bring stagnation or dissatisfaction. The waters of emotion, intuition, imagination are not flowing as they should, not expanding out and being connective. This can imply a desire to look somewhere else for the fulfillment, just as the man in the Rider Waite card walks away, toward something else.
This brings us to another side of Saturn which is facing the reality of a situation so that we can rework it, or remove it if necessary, in order to create a more supportive situation or environment. If things are no longer working it’s time to move on, even if that feels like loss or disappointment. Saturn in Pisces can indicate a wake up call, bringing our awareness to that which can no longer grow or meet our needs. In the Eight of Cups the figure appears to be walking from the water to land, giving them a firmer more stable footing. In the same vein, facing reality and dealing with that, or adding the structure and boundaries of Saturn can give more stability to the Piscean waters.
This requires us being in touch with our emotions and feelings, even if that’s hard, but also being practical rather than idealistic as Pisces is inclined to be. We will need to be reflective and aware of consequences of our actions and the part we play in things. Saturn is justice where we reap the consequence of our actions, for good or bad.
This ties in to another interpretation of the Eight of Cups which is avoidance. The man in the Rider Waite deck may be running away from a situation, just as Pisces energy can be bring a desire for escapism, sometimes because it seems to hard to face the emotions or realities of a situation. Saturn’s prescence in Pisces will raise those issues.
The symbolism of ‘eight’
The numerological symbolism of the Eight of Cups reflects some of these themes. The number eight can represent new beginnings or changes, which aligns with the Pisces mutable quality. It can indicate inner challenges or conflicts if we hold on too long to what’s no longer nourishing us, or negative emotions from the past, reflecting the theme of avoidance mentioned before. It reinforces the Rider Waite imagery of the man with his back to the viewer leaving the cups behind.
The number eight also represents attaining balance and harmony, spiritually and materially, which is very Piscean. It relates to ruler Jupiter’s significations of a desire for cohesion and order, and Venus’s love of harmony and unity. I like this also as an expression of Saturn in Pisces, with Saturn’s grounding, practical and realistic qualities interacting with Piscean qualities of spirituality and connection to something greater than ourselves. Beauty and justice is another association with this number, just as we see the beauty in Pisces through the exaltation of Venus, and Saturn’s quality of justice.
For an astrological look at Saturn in Pisces see my post Saturn in Pisces – March 2023