Kantaka (Sanskrit कण्टक) means a thorn, the point of a pin or a needle, sting, a prickle, a sharp stinging pain. Shani is the planet Saturn, son of the Sun God, the slow-moving planet.
Kantaka Shani refers to the inauspicious effects that are attributed to Saturn’s transit through certain sensitive points in one’s horoscope. The effects are those as if the person is limping, or having a thorn in his foot, causing pain and obstacles in different areas of life.
When do we experience Kantak Shani?
Kantak Shani is formed at the time of Saturn’s transit over 1st, 4th, 8th or 10th house from (1) Ascendant, (2) Moon or (3) Arudha Lagna. Depending on the type of transit, this transit will manifest itself as:
- From Lagna: mistakes of intelligence, reasoning and poor decision making,
- From Moon: health issues including both mental and physical suffering, and
- From Arudha Lagna: professional and financial suffering as well as reputation in general.
Principles behind this teaching
Saturn is a malefic (inauspicious) planet which, from a karmic view point, represents the baggage of our previous bad karma’s (actions, doings) based on the principle “as you sow, so shall your reap”.
In all above mentioned transits, the common thread is Saturn’s aspect on the 10th house or one’s Karma house through his full aspect of 3rd, 7th and 10th house from his placement.
The destructive power of Saturn’s aspect is well demonstrated in the tale of Shani in Ramayana, but there is more to it. As a dire enemy of Jupiter, significator for intelligence and knowledge, Saturn’s transit from Lagna causes failure of intelligence, gives ignorance and it can cloud judgment due to sorrow and suffering. The same transit from Moon causes health issues. Saturn is vayu (air element) planet that is responsible for decay, aging, dryness and vayu related diseases. He is as malefic for mental health as it is for physical. Saturn as tamas planet (tamas is one of the three guna’s or qualities and means mental darkness, ignorance, sorrow, dullness, etc.) and is surely to bring his effect onto one’s mind (Moon).
Arudha Lagna is yet another vital point in one’s horoscope representing our name, image and reputation, all that is part of this life’s maya or outer world. During mentioned transits Saturn is sure to bring obstacles in our worldly activities such as profession, finances, interaction with others, etc.
For the judgment of the extent to which this transit is inauspicious, judgment of divisional charts in the same manner is to be conducted.
How to remedy effects of KaNTak Shani?
Remedy for this gloomy period is to take the name of Rudra. In our tradition it is advised to recite Rudra Chamakam, 3rd anuvaka daily, all throughout this transit of Saturn!
 Monier-Williams Sanskrit dictionary.