What is a Saturn return and why is it such a hot topic? The internet is abuzz in regard to this celestial cycle, and rightfully so, as Saturn return cycles mark critical cosmic rites of passage within our lives. Saturn, as well as every single planet within our solar system have “returns” within our personal birth chart. What this means is that the planet physically returns to the same point in the sky that it was in at the moment you were born. Cool right?
Since Saturn is a bit slower moving, his return is more monumental than say a Mercury, Venus, or Mars return. Saturn stays in one sign for two and a half to three years at a time. If you multiply that by the twelve signs of the zodiac you find it takes Saturn approximately 30 years to go all the way around the Sun. This makes our Saturn return a pivotal life cycle transit that we all experience approximately every 30 years, so most of us will potentially experience this cycle three times within our lifetime. That’s a big deal! Let’s dig into what this all means a bit further.
Saturn governs themes of authority, mastery, and time—he is the taskmaster of the planets, you can think of him as a kind of planetary professor. As Saturn moves through your chart he’ll assign homework that requires effort over time on your part. Saturn gets kind of a bad rap because to be honest, he’s not as much fun as some of the other planets, but without Saturn nothing would get accomplished. Saturn represents the framework, the container, his lessons for us are essential. To give you an idea, in our body Saturn governs our skeleton, our bones, and teeth—the literal framework of our bodies. We need Saturn!
Saturn also teaches us that effort applied over time reaps rich rewards such as establishing our sense of personal authority or mastering a skill that once intimidated us. Lessons only time and experience can reveal come to us through Saturn.
Since Saturn will return at 30-year intervals, you can expect profound life lessons to arrive in meaningful ways in your late 20s, 50s, and 80s.
It’s important to note that your Saturn Return lasts for the entire two and a half to three year period that Saturn is in the same sign as your natal Saturn placement. In this way, it’s sort of like you’ve been accepted into an Earth School master’s program, buckle in and get ready to level up!
Many astrologers consider your first Saturn return to be your initiation into adulthood. As Saturn returns in your late twenties, he adds a serious tone and urges you to take a deeper look at yourself and begin firming up the larger foundational aspects of your life. Many people make significant and long-lasting life decisions under their first Saturn return, such as: starting a business, buying their first home, accepting a new job that sets the trajectory of their career, getting married, or having their first child.
Saturn makes his second return in your late fifties. By then you’re no stranger to Saturn’s lessons and so this second checkpoint is more about pivoting to better accommodate the next phase of your life. It’s not about building from the ground up as with your first Saturn return, but rather a chance to fine-tune the structures of your life you’ve so diligently built over the last 30 years. What do you enjoy—what would you like to have more time to do? How and where can you restructure in order to accommodate more of that as you enter the next 30-year chapter of your life?
Saturn’s third return in your late eighties marks a time of reflection on the legacy you’ve built throughout your lifetime. It’s a time for appreciation, admiration, and deep acknowledgment in regard to the mark you’ve left on the world.
While Saturn Return cycles are certainly not without their challenges, you’ll notice they are markers in time that prove to be some of the biggest game-changing, strengthening, and fortifying periods of your life, and thus well worth the effort Saturn requires of you. Thanks, Saturn!
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