This Cancer season has got me all nostalgic and thinking about the past. I’ve been writing these horoscopes for almost 2 years… and I’ve been thinking about what got me started on this path and it was most definitely spurred by my “quarter-life crisis.”
Aka Saturn Return.
Aka Cosmic Rite of Passage.
Have you heard of it?
Have you been through it?
Are you going through it?
I’d love to hear more about your experience with it, because every time I mention Saturn Return to someone in-the-know, I get a BIG reaction.
Sometimes it’s fearful (especially if the person I’m talking to hasn’t been through it yet).
Sometimes it’s contemplative. If the person I’m talking to has already been through the SR, they often get a far-away look in their eyes.
I was talking about it with a new friend earlier today and she got so psyched to discuss. She said— you know, now that I’m older, the advice I always give to someone who is going through a challenging time is “Don’t fight it!”
I love that. So apropos for the Saturn Return.
It’s all about allowing. Dropping resistance. Letting go. Surrender.
But there’s more to the Saturn Cycle than just your Return. This sh*t is life long.
““From Saturn’s perspective, each of us is a long-term work in progress.”
— -Tom Jacobs “Saturn Returns”
Let’s look at a couple of highlights along the journey of the Saturn Cycle.
Awe-inspiring, calculated, matter-of-fact, cautious, scrupulous and earthySaturn is all-at-once the Top Executive, CEO, Girlboss, Chief, Captain and Father Time of the zodiac.
But above all else, Saturn is your Teacher. Saturn wants you to learn your lessons in grounded, no-nonsense real time.
Get it right or do it over.
Saturn sticks with you throughout your whole-life, not just your Saturn Return. The ringed-planet’s orbit is about 29 years. Taking into account time for those pesky retrogrades, Saturn-in-the-sky gives side-eye to Saturn-in-your-birth-chart about once every 7 or 8 years.
Breaking down what it looks like:
- Age 7: The age of reason. Saturn is all about reason. And being reasonable. And practical. And down to earth. I remember thinking when I turned 7 that I was SOOOO much older than I was when I was 6. It seemed so different than the transition from 5 to 6. Turning 7 meant that I could take on some responsibility. At age 7, kids start to know the difference between right and wrong. They start to see their parents more as potentially fallible people and less as “Gods.” They start to realize that they are mortal. This is all the mark of Saturn.
- Age 14-15: Oh the early teen years, you're taking on more responsibility— getting a first job, realizing that the end of school is in sight and that there will be practical responsibilities in the future. Or if you are being irresponsible, it will show up in criticism from “authoritative Saturn-types” who are quick to show their disappointment. Basically, it’s time to get serious and begin to take on the "yoke" of adulthood. For the carefree teenager who is not getting serious, limitations or restrictions will show up somewhere. Either from parents, teachers, or elsewhere in the environment.
- Age 22: This age is complicated by a square in the Uranus cycle that calls out for freedom. So Saturn at this age is asking you to steady and settle down, while Uranus is begging you to break out. It’s confusing. Not to mention that it’s juuuuuust beginning to become apparent that some of those old child-hood patterns are no longer working. But it’s not yet time to drop them completely.
- Age 29: Aha! The big check-in. The 1st Saturn Return.
Saturn in the sky returns to where it was when you where born.
And it’s like, what have you been up to?
Saturn is checking-in.
Saturn’s big ole goal is to make sure you build a strong house.
So at age 29, Saturn goes poking around to see if you’ve been setting yourself up with a sturdy foundation that you can put lots of fun additions on, add more floors and etc..
So if you have— that’s awesome! Maybe Saturn will help you start putting on those additions! Okay, maybe the metaphor is getting stretched thin here, but basically I mean that— maybe you get a great job you love, or you get married to that amazing partner you’ve been dating.
And if the proverbial foundation is flimsy, you might find that Saturn comes in like a wrecking ball and KNOCKS IT DOWN.
But that’s a good thing, right? RIGHT? Did you want to stick with the crummy foundation?
Maybe you did, cause the wrecking ball is the part of SR that can feel kinda terrible. I know mine was!
However, like I started saying at the beginning of this post, that very same Saturn Return is what put me on the path that I’m on now. And I LOVE the path that I’m on now. I kinda needed that wrecking ball…
It’s an important time.
(Oh, btw, what the heck is a foundation anyway? What do I mean when I say that? Any guesses?)
It’s all about mindset. What you believe. How you think. Your mental conditioning.
Yup. So, Saturn Return is basically asking you to change your very beliefs. DAMNNNNN.
Okay back to the Saturn Cycle, cause the fun keeps on coming!
- Age 37: A challenge to create new structure and discipline in your life! Get to work!
- Age 43-44: Lots of information comes in about Saturn themes— your relationship with time, your relationship with discipline, your sense of personal authority. Your view of authority in general. What you think about your mortality. Your willingness to take the long view of things. Sometimes this information comes in through “external limitation.” (BTW, if you like thinking about Saturn, get real comfy cozy with this idea of external limitation. Basically it means crap happening that you can’t control, i.e. stuff that doesn’t seem like it has anything to do with you, but it actually has EVERYTHING to do with you because your reaction to it shows you what you believe and who you are.)
- Age 51: Lessons in letting go. Releasing what you think you know about space and time. Letting go of what you think your reward should be or what you think your effort should bring you.
- Age 58-59: The 2nd Saturn Return.You’re at such different place now. Hopefully you’ve been developing Saturn themes of earning respect and building something solid in the world. This can be a time to celebrate those things. Evolutionary astrologer Steven Forrest says that this phase becomes a choice between becoming an elder or becoming old. An elder gives wisdom back to community. Experience is a resource.
If you have been ignoring your own inner authority or your own inner wisdom over the years, this second Saturn Return can be a challenging time when it’s hard for you to recognize your value. Physical strength may be waning and if you don’t feel your strength coming from within, you may start to feel “old.” Without the benefit of the resources of wisdom and experience. The lesson of the challenge of the First Return is to choose yourself. If you don’t do that lesson, it comes back around at the Second Return and becomes even more critical. But the good news is that you get another chance! The offer comes up on the table again and the Universe pushes it toward you.
And the Saturn Cycle continues on, hitting the mark every 7 or 8 years.
- Age 65-66: You pick up the torch of discipline again, maybe by choosing a new point of focus for your golden years, or digging in deeper with what you’ve already been developing.
- Age 73-74: A face-off with mortality. The finite nature of life on Earth becomes tangible.
- Age 81-82: Letting go of the last vestiges of caring about what other people think. Transcending some of the limits of Saturn— really changing how you view recognition, work, discipline, authority and time.
- Age 88-89: The third Saturn Return. By this time, most have done Saturn’s work. The last Return reminds that you become the crone and share wisdom. The theme of releasing a grip on the Earth plane and fully allow for the fleeting nature of life becomes deeply relevant.
Whew… we just went through almost the whole Saturn cycle! (shout out to the 96 year olds out there!) We don’t do that too often.
What do you think about these phases? Did any of them seem familiar?
I’d love to hear your memories / reflections / questions.
Leave a note to let me know.