Ahh, your Saturn Return. It’s so astrologically major, it deserves its own post.
Whether you’ve never heard of one before, yours has just begun, or you have some curiosity about what this upcoming cycle might look like for you, you’ve come to the right place.
What is a Saturn Return?
All planets follow their own unique path of orbit—some slower, and some longer. For example, the Sun takes 365 days to return to the same position it was in when you were born. We call this your Solar Return, which is the marker we use to celebrate your birthday. But good ol’ Saturn is a muuuuch slower planet, taking roughly 27-30 years to return to that same natal position, heralding your Saturn Return.
While you may have only heard about Saturn Returns in the context of your late 20s, a time when you’re forced to enter and contend with real adulthood, you actually experience a few Saturn Returns throughout your lifetime: your late 20s, late 50s, and late 80s. (All monumental life phases, tbh.)
Now — While there is no need for fearmongering when it comes to dear Saturn, it’s not exactly a planet that’s keen to let you keep chilling out. Like a tough-but-loving Life Coach, Saturn is prepared to check in on (and critique) your plans. If you’re living your life by anyone else’s standards right now rather than following what your heart and soul really desire, expect huge, life-altering shifts—in your romantic life, living situation, career path, and so forth. If there’s an issue you’ve avoided or haven’t worked through (like poor financial hygiene, let’s say) expect that issue to bubble up in a big way to force you to finally address it.
Your Saturn Return is a time to re-evaluate your life and take responsibility for your participation in its outcome. Check in on your behavior. Your daily thoughts. Your routines and patterns. Take a long, hard look at your job. Relationships. Friendships. Review things deeply. Are you really happy with the direction you’re headed, or have you been on autopilot? What in your life is a distraction, and what are you actually supposed to be doing? Are you really in alignment, or are you living by [society’s/your father’s/fear-based] standards?
The most important advice I can share is this: You must be an active participant in your Saturn Return. Just because Saturn is helping to highlight what in your life needs change, doesn’t mean that a magical moonbeam will come down and change it for you. It’s time to step up and realize only you are responsible for the outcome of your existence.
Sorry to be the one to break this news, but there’s no more time for lazing around and avoiding. No more pretending to be something or someone that you’re not. The harder you fight these changes, the more you will struggle. The harder you listen—to what Saturn is trying to spotlight and teach you—the more you will succeed and go with ease.
Don’t freak out. You’re entering the next stage of your life.
What does Saturn represent?
Discipline. Strictness. Regimen. These structured qualities are important to the planet of Saturn, because they are what’s proven to lead to growth. Just like building a habit requites dedication, so Saturn tells us that discipline creates the future we want. During your Saturn Return, expect to be tested — but don’t think of this as a punishment. Trust and believe that Saturn is actually here to prepare you for a better, brighter, and more beautiful future (with a healthy dose of tough love in the interim).
Think of it this way: I imagine none of us loved sitting around in school for 8+ hours as kids, every Monday-Friday, week after week. We didn’t love the exams, and the never-ending homework, and the long essays. But guess what? Discipline in school prepared you to enter the world as a functioning young adult. It might’ve felt like a drag to learn about the former Presidents or practice Spanish language conjugations, but dare I say you’re grateful for it now? Saturn’s message is that discipline pays off tenfold later. How else do you think Olympians become as strong as they are? Famous musicians become so talented at piano or guitar? Celebrated authors create canonical works? Discipline, baby. Saturn wants you to take responsibility for your life choices and to recognize that getting to the place you want to be in, becoming the person you want to be, requires personal discipline. Let that message be a guiding light.
Saturn also rules the spine, so it is a planet that’s quite literally focused on alignment. If we think about our life choices as the structure or foundation of our existence, then Saturn wants to ensure that our ‘spines’ are healthy, straight, and in-tact. If you’re trying to bend your spine to meet the expectations or desires of others, well… we all know a broken spine spells absolute ruin for your health. If you’re working a job that doesn’t align with your true passions, Saturn will make sure you know it. If you’ve hesitated to make that scary move to a city you’ve been fantasizing about, Saturn will help push you onto that plane. If you’ve been in a relationship that’s ‘fine,’ or even bad, because you’d rather be partnered than alone, Saturn will cosmically smack some sense into you to dump that dead weight.
Your Saturn Return is here to blow the door wide open on why you’re really in your current job field (…or relationship, or town, or friendship). Then, you get to decide if that’s the path you want to continue forward on, or if it’s time to course-correct. Remember: Saturn won’t let you play the victim. Only you are responsible for the outcome of your life, and you’re being offered an incredible opportunity to take a long, hard look at things and edit where necessary.
This really is a period of breakthrough. Trust that you are now in the process of becoming who you truly and uniquely are, and not the person you were taught you were supposed to be.
Practical question: How do I find out when my Saturn Return is starting?
The lovely Astro Twins developed a handy Saturn Return calculator to let you know when yours starts and what sign your Saturn is in. Saturn Returns as a whole require some pretty standard advice, but they are also uniquely influenced by the sign they inhabit.
In fact, if you born between February 6th, 1991 - May 21st, 1993, or June 30th, 1993 - January 28th, 1994 — congrats! Your Saturn Return has just arrived, and it’s in Aquarius. For the sake of brevity, if you fall into those date ranges, check out this video from Madi Murphy (of The Cosmic Rx) for specific advice for those currently wading through their Saturn Returns in Aquarius.
Saturn Return Self-Inquiry Prompts:
You can use the following prompts as guidance for your own journaling practice, you can answer them with your best friend over wine, or you can bring them to your therapy sessions to walk through with a professional. Just make sure you’re doing some sort of self-inquiry during this monumental life shift:
- Are you seeking the approval of a parental figure, mentor, or peers through your life choices? If their approval didn’t matter, what in your life would you change? Be specific.
- Is there a tiny (or big) voice that’s always wanted something different from your career? Relationship? Friendships? Lifestyle? What is that voice saying, and can you actually listen to and answer it?
- Where in your life do you currently feel emotional fulfillment? Where are you lacking that fulfillment? And what do those findings inspire you to change about your life?
- Who do you want to be by the time your Saturn Return ends? What steps can you take to becoming that person?
- What needs to be addressed with your parents or parental figures, especially your father? (Saturn is often associated with father figures.)
- If you had to write a list of guiding principles to give to a younger person so they could live the happiest life imaginable, what would that list say? Are there any ways you’re still not living according to your own list?
- What are you lying to yourself about?
- What do you need to hear from yourself, that’s honest, blunt, and true?
- How did your parents or guardians influence your set of beliefs, either consciously or subconsciously? Which of those beliefs don’t feel like they are ‘yours’? Which are you ready to let go of?
- How do you actually want to feel about your life waking up each day? What would need to change in your life (internally or externally) to give you that feeling?
Remember, there may be bumpy patches and low moments during your Saturn Return, but it’s all for the greater good! Saturn is ultimately benevolent and you will come out even better on the other side of this. Pinky promise.
– Lauren Rubin
Cover Image: Ultraviolet image of Saturn – NASA