Look, I didn’t set out to be a disciple of Saturn. And, let’s be honest, as planets go, Saturn has never been astrology’s favorite son. He is the planet of old age, maturity, limitations, restriction and other fun things like lead, bones, and dentistry. He’s both the archetype of Father Time and the Grim Reaper. Ancient astrologers went as far as to deem him the “greater malefic,” which is a fancy way of saying that he is the last guy you want to invite to a party after Eris.

So how did I of all people become his champion? In many ways my natal chart made me a convert. If you were to look at it you would see that I have three — count ’em three — crippling Saturn squares, two of which are to personal planets. When I look back on my childhood I see the scars of insecurity and a lack of faith in myself. It’s a wonder I made it out alive! But here’s the thing I’ve learned about Saturn over time and have come to respect — what at first seems like limitation is merely a life long journey of mastery. Saturn took my out of shape Mars, Mercury, and Neptune in Sagittarius and honed it through repeated setbacks and resistance. I could have given up — trust me, it was tempting — but I pushed and pushed until I got it — it being that magical moment of crystallization that comes when you suddenly realize what you were working towards all along.

I think that Saturn is probably one of the most misunderstood planets in astrology after Neptune. Reduced to his malefic parts, Saturn becomes an astrological boogeyman and we lose sight of the bigger picture. Newsflash — we need Saturn. He’s the planet that makes sure we pay our bills, show up to work on time, and stay true to our commitments. Saturn is the planet of limitations because he works on a different time scale compared other planets. Mercury takes a breezy 88 days to go around the Sun. Saturn? Try 29 years. So if you are working under Saturn’s influence, it’s going to take time. Perhaps even 29 years.

I truly believe that Saturn has a vision for your life and he’s going to tough love you all the way end. He’s like the parent who sees something in you, a kernel of potentially, and works you hard until the vision becomes reality. Saturn is often bitter medicine and sobering truths, but the moment you get a glimpse of the bigger picture, like the view from the summit, it all becomes worth it.

I love Saturn. I never thought I’d say that, especially when I was going through my Saturn Return hell at age 28–29, And even though I love Saturn I know that I can never slack off. It will always be a relentless push to achieve something greater, stone by stone, until it becomes rock solid success. I also know that lovin’ Saturn isn’t exactly a radical idea in astrology. Liz Greene literally wrote the book on this with Saturn: A New Look At An Old Devil almost forty years ago. But every time I hear someone disown the Saturn in their natal chart I want to wave a flag and say, wait . . . wait. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Pro Tip — If you want to know what big vision Saturn has for you, just look at Saturn in your natal chart by house and sign. That area is never going to be easy, but it’s not supposed to be. To get to the top of the mountain you have to climb.