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 Barbara Pijan Lama Jyotisha Vedic Astrology

Shri Shri Ganapati

Graha * Gochara

"Elarata Saturn"


Sade Sati

sade sati * sade sathi * sadhe-satti

Saturn's Seven-and-a Half-Year Transit across the 12th, 1st, and 2nd Rashi of Chandra


The 7-plus year transit of Saturn across three bhava =

the bhava preceding the Moon + the bhava containing the Moon + the bhava after the Moon

Sade Sati Case Studies

Sade Sati in the 12 bhava

Shani - Main Page

Sade-Sati Meanings

Social (Shani)-Emotional (Chandra) Trauma

Emotional Exhaustion, temporary absence of of Psychic Support, crisis of legitimacy

separation from parents esp mother

Removal of Outdated Emotional Attachments and Expectations

"God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage."

Aum som somaya namah

"The emotions behind your thoughts determine the speed at which you manifest."

What is Sade Sati?

  • sade sati

  • sade sathi

  • sadhe-satti

  • sadaysatti

"Sade Sati" means "Seven and a-half", which is the duration of the three-rashi complete Saturn transit to radix Moon." The anglicized version can be spelled "sade saati" or "sade sati" or "Sade-saadi" or numerous other transliterations from Sanskrit, Prakrit, and vernacularizations.

  • Sadhe Sati lasts for 7+ years. The complete transit of Shani takes 29+ years. Therefore one-quarter of each 29-year Shani cycle is spent within the Sade Sati era.

  • Sade Sati slows one's progress in worldly affairs by generating psycho-emotional resistance in the people or environments with which one is trying to connect, communicate, control, possess, change, manipulate, or impress.

  • Normally Sade Sati creates a crisis or two, along with the general personal frustration and resistance, so that the person becomes rather worn down in the Sisyphus syndrome.

  • If Chandra occupies Thula, Makara, or Kumbha, austerity is undoubtedly required, but results may be surprisingly constructive.

Seven years duration = three sections

  • The traditional Sade Sati = "seven-and-a-half" years in duration.

  • Sade Sati does run for seven years, but the acute phase is only 2.4 years.

  • Technically Sade Sati seven-year occurrence is broken into three, 2.4-year sections:

step-1 = Dwadasa

Sade Sati begins as gochara Shani enters the sign previous to your rashi Moon. "Gochara" (transiting) Shani remains in the sign previous to your Moon for +/-2.4 years.

  • Challenges to identity and nourishment, may feel increasingly threatened with lack of protection and support in the world.

step-2 = Janma

= the acute phase

Sade Sati continues in **the most intense annihilating mid-section** as Shani enters the precise sign of your rashi Moon for +/-2.4 years.

Zani_prplRoz.jpgEmotional trauma resulting from profound grief following

  • fear-ridden (Shani) separation

  • from mother (Chandra)

  • from parent-figures, protectors and feeders

  • from secure shelter and frequent nourishment

  • from safe and predictable environments

  • from the foundations of life

  • from

Mental pessimism; expecting the worst.

  • Excessive psycho-emotional sobriety

  • inordinate focus on duty, responsibility, and punishment.

step-3 = Dwithiya

Sade Sati concludes as gochara Shani exits the sign following your rashi Moon.

  • "Gochara" (transiting) Shani remains in the sign following your Moon for +/-2.4 years.

  • These years are tough and lonely, but things get easier as the native locates alternative sources of identity, nourishment, and protection.

Total transit time = 96 months

  • + 2.4 years Saturn in sign previous to rashi of Chandra

  • + 2.4 years Saturn in rashi of Chandra

  • + 2.4 years Saturn in sign following rashi of Chandra

  • = 7 years = 96 months

"Seven and a half" = generalization.

Shani retrogrades at least once and possibly several times during each Sade Sati. The length of Shani's retrograde periods is variable. However regardless of the start date and end date, the total effect of Sade Sati is spread over Approximately 96 months.

  • traditionally, Sade Sati is considered to start when gochara (transiting) Shani enters the house preceding the house of the natal Moon, staying there for approx. 2.4 years.

  • Then Shani will enter the house of the Moon for another approx. 2.4 years.

  • Then Shani will proceed through the house following the house of the Moon for a final approx. 2.4 years.

Most effects occur in the "janma" periods, the middle 28 monthsUnless there are graha in all three houses(before the Moon, containing the Moon, and after the Moon), Sade Sati effects occur *predominantly* during Shani's transit through the house of the Moon. Sade Sati therefore is more like "sade-dwati" in that the tangible effects are normally limited to a 2.4 year period (about 28 months) within the middle range of the transit.

There are some exceptional nativities which have most of the graha concentrated in the three bhava surrounding and containing the Moon; these exceptional births will have exceptional results.

Having graha on both sides of the Moon is quite auspicious, and Shani reduces the auspicious conditions to which the native has grown accustomed. So these natives feel the impact of deprivation and loss more acutely than those who had less to lose in the first place.

Role of Vimshottari Dasha timelords

The Vimshottari bhukti in effect during the Sade Sati is a considerable determiner of the overall emotional experience.

If a bhukti period of Shani or Chandra coincides with the Sade Sati transit, results will be more dramatic.

Nishturabashi Yoga = Chandra yuti Shani

Similarly, if the nativity features a birth conjunction of Saturn + Moon = Nishturabashi Yoga, then results of the Sade Sati can be overwhelmingly burdensome to the extent that one feels entirely deprived of emotional validity. The sources of psycho-spiritual intuitive nourishment may appear to have dried up completely.

Suicide is a very rare outcome of the temporary stress of Sade Sati. However under very severe circumstances it can happen. Suffering just such a delusion "no emotional support" most likely associated with her lifetime bipolar disorder, the famed English novelist Virginia Woolf committed suicide during her Sade Sati age 59 in March, 1941. Her nativity is afflicted with Nishturabashi Yoga joined to makara L-7 Guru, a nichha- Shani, and Mangala the lord of troubled Mesha casts life-shortening drishti upon bhava-8 while Kuja = inordinately strong.

Emotional crisis = spiritual blessing

Eradicating the 'dead wood'

a clarion call to honesty in emotional relationships

Sade Sati is usually a spiritual blessing in disguise, because its harshly realistic conditions serve to expose the bald truth about exhausted, dead-wood, non-nourishing, non-supportive, non-validating relationships which are in place only because they are comfortingly habitual (Chandra) and socially (Shani) expected.

Even if Sade Sati involves the tragic death of the mother, the underlying spiritual reality is that the mother has done all she can do to support the native . It is Time (Shani) for her withdraw to the astral plane and permit the native to establish (Chandra) one's own self-protective, self-defensive, self-validating environment.

Spiritually, Shani acts with relentless pragmatism, systematically (Shani) eliminating these unsupportive placeholder conventionally programmed but unproductive attachments because they are preventing more authentically nourishing new relationships from taking root.

But socially, Sade-Sati nearly always predicts a conflict between what society wants and expects, versus what the individual needs for emotional survival.

  • Society wants loyalty and continuity based on tribal customs (ethics), group stability, and the rule of law.

  • Chandra wants loyalty and continuity also, but Chandra wants to prioritize personal and individual needs.

During Sade-Sati, Shani imposes one social regulation after the next, but the native is slow to meet institutional expectations. One feels stuck, unable to get fuel for forward movement.

It is as if the rug has been pulled out from underneath. There is a sense of deep hungry emptiness, with no help coming from outside structures. No one steps forward to push or assist.

A profound exhaustion mid-transit often paralyzes (Shani) all forward action until a deeply honest emotional decision can be taken.

  • That decision will start a slow but inexorable movement to eradicate the conditions of fulfillment.

  • That decision forms the first step toward replacing the exhausted nutrient source with a more authentic and effective emotional food.

  • That decision often results in a legal (Shani) action . The decision and its fruitful action are very slow to mature but even at what seems a glacial pace this subtle and lawful movement will progress toward a material result at the terminus of Sade Sati.


Sade Sati is superstitiously believed to trigger "seven years of bad luck"and people are told to expect the worst in every department of life.

  • Of course, real life rarely gives seven years of unbroken, monolithic experience whether positive or negative. In the modern world, many changes both internal and external can be expected in a seven-year block of time.

  • There will be emotional exhaustion and some lack of psychic nutrient during Sade Sati, but there will also beinvaluable life maturityand strength from grounded self-reliance.

  • Sade Sati experience will fluctuate under influence of the lunar tides, other transits, and the Vimshottari dasha during seven-plus years duration.

Fluctuations of mood (Moon)and key material events (Shani)may be timed according to:

  • gochara Shani's approach and retreat from the Moon

  • The strength of Shani's drishti upon any graha occupying the 3rd, 7th, and 10th bhava from natal Chandra.

"Luck" is not accidental; rather, "luck" is the result of expectations, attitude, energy and responsibility invested, and intelligent cooperation with the Divine. As the golfer Gary Player famously said of his championship winning strategy, "The more I practice, the luckier I get."

Parents and Care-givers

Typically, Sade Sati oppresses the ease of one's relationship to parents, care-givers, and providers of education or shelter.

  • Shani may bring extra responsibility in caring for elderly parents, extra effort required to provide shelter for one's family, or an extra sustained push to attain an educational diploma. The extra efforts involve numerous setbacks and frustrating delays.

  • The most severe impact is when sade saati indicates the actual death of a parent, most commonly the mother. In this case the native must process the grief from the loss of one parent while also trying to support and protect the surviving parent.

  • Whether sade saati involves parental (or care-giver) death or not depends on the Vimshottari Dasha period in effect simultaneous with the Sade Saati. Usually Sade Saati is simply severe emotional oppression with a tangible experience of bondage to social expectations via an exceptionally heavy workload related to caregiving - often caring for parents - for the core 2.3 years of the transit.

    Yet if conditions are properly configured, the material death of the mother is not uncommon.

    For example

    • if a bhukti maraka L-2 Shani is running in a Dhanushya lagna nativity, where Shani is an empowered natural + temporal maraka, then Shani transit to Chandra could result in the actual physical death of a parent.

    • Similar for a bhukti of Mangala for Thula lagna, or Rahu bhukti when in the nativity Rahu would give the effect of a virulent L-2 or L-7 simultaneous with the sade saati.

    I saw a case recently where the Sade Saati happened during a bhukti of the lord of the second from the 9th from the 7th, i.e., the death of the father of the spouse. In addition to many other heavy family responsibilities, the native shouldered the burden for the pre-death nursing care and funeral expenses for her husband's elderly father. As a wife and mother also tending to the husband's father, she was stretched to the breaking point both physically and emotionally. Yet as always during the sade saati, she did not break.

  • In another case, Sade Saati occurred during the bhukti of makara Mangala for Thula lagna, in a nativity where Mangala was also the lord of 2nd-from-Thula Chandra. In this case the native 's mother died.

Vimshottari dasha, Nishturabhashi Yoga, and Sade Sati

The Vimshottari dasha periodsrunning simultaneously with the Sade Sati are very powerful regulators of intensity of the Sade Sati experience .

  • he most extreme results can be expected if the Sade Sati "janma" period coincides with a Shani-Soma or Soma-Shani period of the Vimshottari dasha.

  • In this case a physical loss of primary female nurturing figure may be anticipated. It is very wise to develop a devotional relationship with a female deity, according to the Moon's Nakshatra, in order to rebalance the loss of the exterior, material female energy source.

  • For example, for Chandra in Swati, grounded devotionto the goddess Saraswati (or the image of female grace and accomplished wisdom in other religious traditions, such as Anne the mother of Mary) will be helpful.

When Nishturabhashi Yoga(natal Shani yuti Chandra) applies, the effects of Sade Sati are very powerful.

  • Check the bhava for characteristic details of the emotional crisis, but the effects will be strong in any house.

  • Example: The eminent teacher Jyotishi B.V. Raman recounts in Autobiography of a Vedic Astrologerhow his first Sade Sati, at the tender age of two, took away his mother.

    • The nativity of "300 Important Combinations" Jyotishi Shri B.V. Raman features Kumbha lagna with a prominent Nishturabhasi Yoga in Bhava-4.

    • Kuja-Shani period running while uttama-Chandra yuti Shani occupies Bhava-4 set up a very extreme first Sade Sati, impacting the center of his childhood home and killing his mother.

Sade Sati = emotionally challenging

Nevertheless, a disciplined person may retrospect on three or even four Sade Sati periods (once every 28 years approx) seeing the most grounded and realistic sections of one's life.

Sade Sati is undoubtedly a period of maturization and materialism (Shani) in the mental practice (Chandra). It involves temporary emotional deprivation and permanent loss of naivete.

The main impact is that One will not be cared for by external caretakers, but must learn to care for oneself. Because men are trained to rely on women for their emotional awareness and support, whereas women have strong cultural permission to access their own emotional resources, the Sade Sati is typically more difficult for men.

Stress Zone: Be Realistic and Have Faith

The rashi and bhava of Chandra will indicate the major stress zone, and outline the lesson intended to be learned. However the native is typically well-equipped to not only survive but profitfrom the Sade Sati.

  • It is good to be prepared emotionallyfor Sade Sati's predictable psychic stresses, but succumbing to superstition is completely unnecessary and in fact quite destructive.

  • External resources -- from society and from one's closest emotional supports -- are restricted during Sade Sati. Therefore self-relianceand faith in one's own resourcesare the keys to survival (and even prosperity) during this tiring seven-year-plus period.

For most nativities, it's only the middle slice Of each 7-year period, of 2.4 years or so, when Shani transits the sign of the Moon itself, that has the most dramatic effect.

  • First Sade-Sati (before age 28) is typically difficult emotionally;

  • Second Sade-Sati (before age 46) is typically difficult socially;

  • Third Sade-Sati (before age 82) is typically difficult physically.

(I know of no description of the 4th Sade Sati in scripture.)

  • If you live for 29 years, you will experience one occurrence of Sade Sati.

  • If you live for 58 years, you will experience two occurrences of Sade Sati

  • If you live for 97 years, you will experience three occurrences of Sade Sati.

  • If you live for 116 years, you will experience four occurrences of Sade Sati.

When Sadhe Sati is especially difficult:

If graha occupy the bhava preceding Chandra

AND graha occupy the bhava immediately subsequent to Chandra,

then the full seven-year Sade Satimight feel like a continuous seven-year emotional battering.

  • If there are no graha occupying either the house before the Moon or the house after the Moon, the outcome of Sade Sati is usually an acute feeling of being unsupported and unprotected with emotional exhaustion. Psychically, the mother-force is gone.

  • Failed expectations re: caregivers, protectors, shelters and nests.

  • Collapse of support from parents and parent-figures (including withdrawal of support by agencies of government).

  • Broken rhythms, unsettled lifestyle, forced pulling up of roots.

  • Discomfort, prevention of habitual comforting behaviors.

  • Harsh treatment from nurturers, emotional coldness, isolation.

  • No help from those who should be helping. However do not lose faith: Sade Sati often brings surprise help from emotionally unexpected sources.

If the Sade Sati occurs during the Shani Mahadasha,

then the intensity of experience of "lack of support" may become greatly amplified.

For most people, the combination of Shani Mahadasha with Sade Sati is quite exhausting,

Exceptions and successful strategies:

  • the native has prepared oneself emotionally for a sustained onslaught of emotional deprivation and accepts the austerity as a designated spiritual practice (excellent results)

  • astrologically the placement of Shani has rare auspicious qualities e.g. uttama-Shani-10 which could produce leadership duties that bring social dignity even during a long period of insufficient personal affection.

If the 2.4 year white-hot-core of Sade Sati coincides with a Shani bhukti, and Shani occupies an inauspicious angle from the mahadasha pati,

  • massive pressure of separation and change such as death in the family, severe illness, bankruptcy, feeling social ostracized, false accusations, psycho-emotional collapse, etc., can be expected.

Remedial attitude:

Be prepared to meet significant material and emotional obstacles during these heavily karmic periods of lack of support, frustration, resistance, separation, and delay.

  • Slow Scarce Shani freezes movement.

In partnership with the divine, in a neutral mentality and with full karmic responsibility, it is quite sensible to prepare for a period of sorrow, discomfort, and grief.

  • Just when one feels completely exhausted, there will be a new more daunting task, and even fewer resources than before.

  • One may be deeply impressed with the true depth of one's own physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual stamina, under this intensity of pressure.

Most humans are endowed with a powerful will to survive. Chances are excellent that you, too, will survive the Sade Sati.

Compose your physical, emotional, mental, and social survival kit. Keep your papers in order and advise your family of emergency plans.

If unknown factors should emerge to lighten your burden, so much the better. But usually the prognosis for this brief-but-intense coinciding period is stormy weather indeed.

If Sadhe Sati in the nativity does NOT coincide with the Shani Mahadasha or an unfavorable Shani bhukti, it is likely that one will escape the most brutal effects of Shani in this life.

Rudraksha Seeds

Traditional Remedy and Protective Talisman for Sade-Sati Stress

Planetary gemologist Richard Shaw-Brown has written several lovely web pages about the traditional properties of Rudraksha Seeds. (An ancient deity, Rudra the Lord of Dangerous Storms has morphed into an expression of Lord Shiva.) See:

Mental Health for Sade Sati

Traditional-culture folks in India are often terrified of Sade Satifears resemble old European superstitiously fears saying seven years of bad luck will follow breaking a mirror.

Superstitious folk often do intensive puja to appease the imaginary "power outside oneself" so that they, the little people, can escape some uncontrollable unspeakable abuse by higher forces.

I find that with our modern advantages of education, self-reliance, and access to information, that we can intelligently solve Sade Satiproblems withvarious forms of healing knowledge.

It is possible to experience Sade Satiwith both eyes open, free of anxiety and superstitious fears.

After all, Sade Sati consumes seven years out of every 28-29 year Saturn cycle. The average person is likely to have three or four Sade Sati periods lasting 96 months each, within in each lifetime.

Approximately one-quarter of the average life span is spent in the karmic-payback Sade Sati environment.

It helps tremendously to be emotionally prepared for a period of feeling unsupported, and to work consciously with ourselves to develop a reliable internal source of self-validation and self-support.

  • Devotional religious practice or steady commitment to meditation are exceptionally beneficial practices during the Sade Sati. As Gautama Buddha taught, sickness, death, and old age are intrinsic componentsin the structure of human experience. It is possible to enjoy profound peace of mind by adopting an attitude of appreciation and acceptance toward the natural cycles of action and reaction which structure each incarnation.

  • If a source of love and nurturing appears to have abandoned us, one can adjust the sights upward to find a more lasting and reliable, unconditional and eternal, love from higher powers.

Hidden benefits of Sade Saati

As the Chinese saying goes, "Crisis is Opportunity".

  • The end result of Sade Sati -- for a spiritually conscious person-- is the usual benefit of Tapasya: One accepts the resistance and stops pushing from the ego. A string of losses, failures or disappointments is oftenthe perfect wake-up call.

  • Sade Sati will rarely permit one to "drop out" no matter how intense the struggle. Shani's job is keep us in the world, driven by our programming to work to survive.

  • As Shani bears down on the Moon, the survival instinct intensifies, and the workload increases.

  • Conscious survival requires that one work in partnership with the divine. The harder the work, the greater urge to survival -- the deeper the need for divine partnership.

  • During Sade Sati, the spirits demand one's conscious partnerships as they call one's attention to finer levels of detail. Shani's purification process allows one to replace the ineffective decision-making style of crude ego (i.e., insisting things go your way) with the much more accurate directives of the spirits (i.e., the way life really is).

  • Of course, it's not natural for the ego to give up petty control - even when its primitive "toddler-style-I-want" demands are obviously dysfunctional. It usually takes a big blast to the ego in the guise of massive emotional exhaustion or disappointments during Sade Sati, to force the survival issue enough to make the person consider another way of life.

For those lucky few who are psychically sophisticated enough to appreciate that our lives are controlled by forces much greater than we normally acknowledge, it is fairly easy to make the transition to maturity demanded by Sade Sati. The problem is overextended ego and you know it.

The solution is partnership with the divine and you know it. It's really just a question of admitting the ego's obvious limitations and going to a higher power for help. If one is prepared to accept a new decision-management style that incorporates both appropriate ego and divine will, one may experience -- As the direct benefit of sade sati -- an enormous boost in intelligence, intuition, and success.

However, for the psychically unsophisticated, the realization that one is actually creating the resistance through one's own unexamined ego-attachments, usually occurs only at the end of the 2.4 year intense section, if at all. If the person is enslaved to victim-mentality, he may waste the entire incarnation blaming others for his ego-created troubles, and living in dread of loss of external support during the next Sade Sati.

For another balanced, humanistic Jyotisha viewpoint on Sade-Sati, read Rohini Ranjan's opinion.

From a reader:

Dear Barbara Pijan, I am very impressed by your description of "Shani" during Sade-sati. This period very much changed me and i find myself a new person. As you mentioned correctly Shani never let a person quit. During my PhD with so many obstacles of health, bad divorce, financial problems, finally i looks forward to get my PhD in 3-4 weeks.

H.H. Dalai Lama. (2003).

  • Stages of Meditation. Ven. Geshe Lobsang Jordhen, Losang Choephel Ganchenpa, and Jeremy Russell (Trans.).

"What do we mean when we speak of a truly compassionate kindness?

  • Compassion is essentially concern for others' welfare -- their happiness and their suffering.

Others wish to avoid misery as much as we do.

So a compassionate person feels concerned when others are miserable

and develops a positive intention to free them from it.

As ordinary beings,

  • our feeling of closeness to our friends and relatives is little more than an expression of clinging desire.

  • It needs to be tempered, not enhanced.

It is important not to confuse attachment and compassion ....

A compassionate thought is motivated by a wish to help release beings from their misery."


file update: 13-Jan-2014

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