astrological configurations happen to everyone, and a few of them
develop quite a reputation. Saturn return is one of those, although the
bad rap Saturn return gets is only partially deserved.
get an idea about Saturn return, take a quick survey amongst your
friends who are over the age of 30. (If you don't yet have any friends
over thirty, be patient--one day you will. Thirty is like death and
taxes: it happens to everybody, unless you're James Dean or Janis
Joplin.) For your survey, just ask your 30+ friends what it was like to
be 29 years old.
what you'll likely get for your results: A few (like a minority) will
shrug. No big deal. But most (a majority) will roll their eyes to the
ceiling and mutter something about it being a "difficult" year or
tersely allow they're glad they don't have to go through that again. Then they'll quickly change the subject of the conversation.
No, you don't want to know what that was, so don't ask. Just be advised: it wasn't fun. Soap operas rarely are.
let's look at what Saturn return is. Astrologers pinpoint the exact
location of the planets for an individual's time of birth. We put it in
a diagram we call the natal chart. The diagram at the left is an
example of such a chart. That's all the natal chart is, a circular
diagram of the Sun, the Moon, and the planets at the exact time a
person was born.
after a person is born, those planets continue spinning counter
clockwise around the circle. Some spin around quickly (the Moon whirls
around once a month), but others move quite a bit more slowly.
is one of the slow pokes. It takes 29 years (for a small few 28 years)
to move all the way around the natal chart once and return to the same
place it was in when the person was born. Hence the name, Saturn
return. And everyone who hits 29 gets this. (Sorry James. Sorry Janis.
You two will have to wait until your next incarnation for this
example, the sample natal chart shown here (with a December 31, 1975
birth) places Saturn at 1° Leo, and this fictitious individual has
Saturn return in July, 2005, when Saturn again moves through 1° Leo.
So what does this mean?
psychologists understand that people grow and change throughout their
entire lives regardless of their age. What Saturn return marks is a
specific period of growth and change. (It is one of several major
periods of growth and change which astrologers note through any
planets represent energies, energies which can be used for better or
worse depending on free choice. Used appropriately, Saturn represents
the energies of wisdom, patience, maturity, responsibility, and
bringing form into the material world from the metaphysical world.
Misused, Saturn can represent, delays, frustrations, and repression.
short, what happens at Saturn return is the bringing to fruition of the
lessons of wisdom and maturity. Individuals who have learned their
lessons of maturity through their 20s generally find Saturn return a
summing up of their understanding of wisdom, patience, and maturity.
They have a relatively smooth passage into the full adulthood which the
30s represent. Those people are the minority who shrugged during your
there's the rest of us who have been playing away in our 20s, running
away from growing up. North American society in general, and
gay/lesbian society in particular encourages an extended adolescence
stretching well into the 20s.
comes to a screeching halt at age 29. And often enough it's a tawdry
soap opera. Age 29, Saturn return, is a turning point, a transition
point in life. It is the point in life where lessons in maturity,
wisdom and patience which haven't been learned are learned, and the
hard way if necessary.
it seems as if the Universe is rubbing a person's nose in their
immaturity and irresponsibility, well that's exactly what's going on.
Events are thrown in an individual's face. Often the events are
difficult and/or unpleasant. But the common thread running through
these events (scandalous and difficult though they may be) is simple:
grow up or live with the consequences of not growing up.
can be emotionally painful for someone who doesn't want to let go of
juvenile patterns of behaviour. The gay male community in particular,
with its emphasis on youthful physical beauty, sadly promotes these
very patterns of juvenile behaviour which Saturn return is determined
to squeeze out of a person. Hence the majority of people in your survey
who simply muttered about not wanting to go through that again.
It's not such a bad thing growing up
up does have its merits. Individuals can reflect and review their
lives, let go old obsolete ways of doing things, start new cycles and
new projects. It's only a crises for those afraid to let go their
immaturity; it's only a crises for those afraid to grow up.
question which blasts away inside a person "Good grief, I'm almost
thirty and what I have done with my life?" is a darn good question. And
if the answer doesn't measure up, well by gosh make the changes
necessary so that your life does have some meaning and direction.
not that a person is "old", but that suddenly the person is aware of
his/her age and realizes that the time (a Saturn issue for sure) is
ripe to make something of one's self. And there are fewer things
sillier than someone 29 going on 30 behaving like a teeny-bopper
(unless it's a forty-year-old doing so).
of responsibility and accomplishment come to the fore. A surprising
number of people look to make career and/or job changes at this time.
Often relationships are revamped to encompass a new sense of maturity.
In some cases, immature relationships are dumped rather summarily. The
notorious romantic flings which sometimes occur at Saturn return always
involve the lesson of maturity and growing up, however tawdry the
script might have been.
rules structures, and people at age 29 take a long hard look at the
structures in their life: job, career, relationships, education, home
life. These are structures in the material world which have defined
them and told them who they are. Those structures are up for review and
change. The old which is obsolete ends, but only so the new can begin.
It is at Saturn return that individuals get the practical experience
which enables them to understand the truth in an old saying: "Endings
a wonderful webpage which disappeared from the internet a few years
ago, astrological writer Martha Pottenger described four options for an
individual to handle Saturn return constructively:
Individuals who have chosen in their twenties a life structure which is
really very suited to their character, may simply solidify their gains.
They may receive an important promotion, take on additional
responsibilities, gain increased power, but generally are just
expanding on the path already selected. (This is a relatively small
group among the total.)
Individuals who have not really settled into a life structure, who have
been experimenting, or wandering, seeking and searching in their
twenties, will feel the pressure of time. A group of them will make
their first real commitment at this point. They will settle into a
career (as opposed to "just a job"). They will get [a committed
"They will select a
life structure which gives them a sense of stability, but fits what
they've learned about themselves through the years of 'trying on'
different things in their twenties. They will set their sights on
accomplishments, and be ready to really dig in, building a foundation
for the future.
who have also searched in their twenties, but not developed skills,
self-confidence, or necessary expertise, may continue to flounder. They
will also feel a sense of pressure, of time passing them by, of wanting
to do something that will last--that will make a 'real' difference.
adequate preparation or commitment, however, they tend to end up
feeling blocked and frustrated. Nothing really works for them. Nothing
comes together. Their efforts seem futile. To escape this trap, they
must go back, build up their skills, competence and willingness to be
practical about responsibilities. They have to take more time to catch
up with their peers.
Individuals who have chosen in their twenties a life structure which is
not very suited to their character, or who have simply changed a great
deal, will make breaks. The old ways will feel confining, limiting,
restrictive. Old patterns of behaviour seem formalized and lifeless. In
such cases, the people involved may end relationships, quit or be fired
from jobs, move, or otherwise alter the basic structure of their lives.
"Sometimes they break out before
they know what they are going toward. They simply know that they cannot
continue to work with the current design. After (or while) making their
breaks, these people will actively seek a firm commitment. They will
look for a life tasks which will provide them with a sense of
achievement, mastery and competence. They will seek out
responsibilities that will help them to feel they are making a real
contribution and gaining expertise."
is Saturn return a bad time? Absolutely not. The good news is that
Saturn rules the things you already know about in concrete terms.
Saturn rules the things you know about and structures you can change
with will and purpose, it is actually a simple matter to change the
things which aren't working in your life and replace them with things
which do work. It doesn't require a four-star soap opera (unless you
are seriously inclined in that direction--Leos take note), but simply a
sensitivity for your own maturing process.
of the joys I have as an astrologer is meeting people six months after
Saturn return is complete. Wow! What a treat! Here are individuals
who have a sense of purpose and direction in their life, and the
willingness to do the one-step-at-a-time work to get there. There is a
level of determination and maturity which is a delight to watch.
some this marks the beginning of a period of mature personal growth
quite unlike previous life experience, and for others it can mark the
first conscious awakenings of a larger and more profound spiritual
journey in life. While other astrological indicators in the natal chart
point clearly to the direction of the spiritual journey, Saturn return
itself brings to an individual the wisdom and capacity to follow such
an independent spiritual path in life.
more good news: there's usually a period of relative stability during
the early 30s where an individual can consolidate the changes and gains
made during Saturn return, although for a small number of people the
change process continues. While relative stability may not seem
possible during the upheaval of age 29, trust me, everybody over 30
survived 29. And we are all quite content we will never see it again
(at least in this life).
just don't ask us what happened at age 29.
the Saturn return approaches, often our lives seem to speed up, as if
hurrying to clear out old baggage from the past, to lighten the load
for the next stage. Important things that either finalize old issues,
or prepare the ground for new developments tend to occur with
increasing frequency. Relationships and major life-decisions are often
the focal points for this clearing out of karmic baggage.