Saturn — Lord of FOCUS, is representative of that cosmic shaping power which establishes a structural foundation, or framework, for embodied things to be built around. Hence Saturn rules the skeleton of the physical body around which everything else is held together by and made to maintain solidity and form. He thereby governs our capacity for autonomy and discipline (inner learning (disciple)). He enables consistency within our being, always focusing us, binding us back to our essential structure, which is something we often resist, thereby suffering instead of reaffirming our structural integrity. Through the Moon we adapt ourselves to the demands of our environment and others based upon external stimuli, but through Saturn we maintain our form — bending, but not breaking, relative to the demands of life. Saturn is thus responsible for order, stability and consistency in life.
This is why the Sufi doctrine relates it to Intellect-Reason (al-ʿaql) which is ‘cold, distant and all embracing’ as it allows us to maintain ourselves even amidst the threat of chaos. Through Reason one constructs a framework for sense vs nonsense, thereby creating individual autonomy for themselves yet potentially inspiring additional feelings of separation, especially when someone else’s ideas or actions do not seem reasonable from our frame of reference. Saturn is the most distant, dark, cold and impersonal of the 7 planets, which is perhaps why he is the most feared and reviled, yet he is a functional character in the play of life and thereby must be accepted and understood rather than avoided and disdained. When Saturn often says no it is only because such experiences, people or things are dissonant relative to our structural core.
“Saturn, the most distant of the planets that are visible to the naked eye, corresponds to intellect-reason (al-ʿaql). Just as the heaven of Saturn includes all the other planetary heavens, intellect-reason embraces all things; moreover the “abstract”, cold, and “saturnian” character of reason is opposite to the solar and central nature of the heart, which marks intellect in its “total” and “existential” aspect . . . [this reveals that Saturn is a kind of shadow of the Sun, intellect vs INTELLECT, yet notice that by reaffirming our structural integrity Saturn leads us back to our Spiritual integrity or core essence (Sun)] . . .
Here it must be made quite plain that the term “intellect” (al- ʿaql) is in practice applied at more than one level: it may designate the universal principle of all intelligence, a principle which transcends the limiting conditions of the mind; but the direct reflection of Universal Intellect in thought may also be called “intellect” and in this case it corresponds to what the ancients called reason”.
— Introduction to Sufi Doctrine, by Titus Burckhardt