Astrology has been one of my deepest interests ever since I can remember. This means little in the grand scheme of things, other than that I’ll write about it every so often. The world will live. 😉
I’m coming down the back stretch of my 30s, about to hit the Big 4-0. This means that I’m about 10 years post-Saturn Return. And although I’m hardly Wisdom, I occasionally have a few words of it.
Let’s start at the beginning…
What exactly is a Saturn Return?
I like easy questions (grin, wink, and stuff). A Saturn Return is pretty much what it sounds like. It’s when the planet Saturn, from an ancient geocentric point of view (a perspective in which the earth–not the sun–is considered to be the center of the solar system), Saturn comes back around and lands at the same spot that it occupied at one’s birth. This usually occurs around age 29-30. Notice how, if you’re 30 years old or older, something changed around that time in your life, even if you didn’t understand it then and couldn’t quite put your finger on it. Or, if you’re not quite 30 yet, notice how your family or friends over 30 seemed to change once they reached that age.
It seems to be the beginning of true adulthood for many.
OK, so what does a Saturn Return do?
This is a mildly more challenging question, but only marginally so. I’m going to put it in my own words, based on everything I’ve read and experienced. It acts as a karmic report card of sorts. If you’ve been living a lie (to yourself or to others), or you’ve been racking up bad karma, it’s going to smack you, and hard. The same goes for if you’ve been an ass (although if you’re reading this, you probably aren’t!). You’ll otherwise feel it if you’re due for a change.
Now, here’s the thing with astrology, at least the way I see it: it’s not a fated path carved in stone. It’s more like a weather forecast; it gives indications regarding conditions. Never forget that you have free will, which means that you can take that information and decide what to do with it. You can handle the forecasted conditions however you like.
A Saturn Return is no different. It will get your attention, that much is a given. (And if it doesn’t, there’s something else going on, some other simultaneous aspect occurring that softens its effects.)
What happens during a Saturn Return?
That all depends, and it varies a lot. Everyone experiences it differently. Usually, something (or multiple somethings) come(s) to a head.
I’ll give you some examples.
My uncle, a serious alcoholic, was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver at age 27 (2-3 years before his Saturn Return), but the advice to enter treatment and get a handle on his problem didn’t really sink in until his Saturn Return hit.
I was in my first year of med school when Saturn came back around toward me, and I had several health issues emerge and surface.
It’s not always bad, though! I won’t lie; it’s usually challenging in some way, but it doesn’t have to suck. When my partner went through his, we’d been together for about two years, and since he didn’t know it was about to hit him, I gave him plenty of advance notice so that it wouldn’t catch him off guard. He knew it was coming, “braced” for it, and followed my advice, and he actually ended up enjoying his! He had fun with it.
So…how does one handle a Saturn Return?
I have a few pointers on this.
First, take care of yourself.
This means physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually, if applicable (or, if you prefer, philosophically).
If there are any wrinkles in your life, iron them out. If your diet is crap, fix it; eat well. If you’re a couch potato and you don’t have any physical reason to be, get into shape (you don’t have to start training for a Marathon or anything, but a walk around the block or through a big park is a good idea. Too hot or too cold? Take up yoga or some other indoor activity).
Are there people (like “toxic people”) in your life who weigh you down, make you feel bad about yourself, bring out the worst in you, drive you up a tree, manipulate you, use you, siphon your energy away, or something similar? Yeah–ditch them. And if you can’t quite give them the axe outright, then at least do what you can to minimize contact with them.
Second, remain flexible.
Be ready for anything, because the unexpected will happen. Adopt a “meh”, can-do, roll-with-the-punches attitude. Don’t let it get the best of you. Don’t stuff stress down and let it accumulate. Try to let it roll off. Try not to adopt a “woe is me”, “life sucks” attitude. It’s tempting, I know, because your world may be crapping all over you and changing faster than you can keep up. Don’t worry; the dust will settle.
The more flexible you can remain, the easier it will be, and you’ll come out shining on the other end.
Third, look for the lesson.
There’s a lesson in everything. That’s the twin sibling of the “everything happens for a reason” adage, which is true, period. Sometimes you have to look at something in just the right way, from just the right angle, but if you look long and hard enough, there’s a lesson in the hardship, glinting like a diamond in coal.
My uncle’s lesson was obvious.
My partner’s major Saturn Return lesson was to loosen up. He did, and he passed Saturn’s test (because that’s really what Saturn is, is a teacher).
My lesson was to learn to say “no” and stop caring so much about what other people think and start taking care of–and standing up for–myself already.
As I said, Saturn is the teacher, and we are all students.
This means that Saturn sucks sometimes. Saturn is a very effective teacher, which means that he has to be a hard-ass, especially if/when we’re being a bunch of delinquents. The further off the trail we’ve strayed, the harder he has to discipline us to keep us in line.
But Saturn does this because–please pardon me, I’m about to get really hippie here–he loves us. Think mythologically, as in the ancient god Saturn. He’s a paternally nurturing character, known by aliases like “Father Time” and whatnot.
He’s not all bad. In the grand scheme of things, we’re like kids who don’t know better. We’re growing up and becoming cognizant of the world around us, but we don’t yet know how cruel it can be. We might be getting tall enough to look outward and see greater distances. We might be growing curious, wanting to expand our horizons.
Heh. What we don’t know is that there’s a huge drop-off right in front of us, and recklessly pursuing our curiosity might lead to our demise.
Saturn is like a stern but caring parent. It’s the big, muscular arm that swings out, sometimes at the last minute, if we’ve ignored his other warnings or advice. The greater momentum with which we recklessly charged forward, the harder the “whump!” when we collide with Saturn’s outstretched arm. It smarts at the time, but it saved our asses.
That’s Saturn for ya, and that’s why one must remain flexible and look for the lesson.
Saturn has another benefit: it will reward you with what you put forward. Now, for some, that’s no benefit at all, because they’re putting crap out to the universe (sorry, getting all hippie again). But if you’re racking up good karma, doing stuff for people, paying attention to Saturn’s whispers, doing what you know you should be doing, even if you don’t want to do it, doing the right thing, even when no one’s looking, then Saturn will reward you. Saturn is the scorekeeper of karma and we all reap what we sow.
Remember when people told you not to act up because Santa was watching? Yeah, it didn’t take long for us to figure out that it was a complete ruse, in the interest of making your parents’ job easier.
But nobody escapes the ever-watchful eye of Saturn. He misses nothing. And he’s no cosmic ruse.
He’s always teaching, and there’s always a lesson to be learned. The onus is on each of us to look for ours.
My fourth thought is, embrace change.
It’s kind of a continuation or different spin on other thoughts written above, but it deserves a specific mention. After all, one of the few commonalities shared by practically every Saturn Return is that it brings change. Sometimes that change is nothing short of a cataclysmic epiphany, and other times it’s barely a whisper. But be ready for it, and roll with it when it happens, for not all change is bad! In fact, most of the change that occurs during a Saturn Return is positive, even if it’s a blessing in sometimes-heavy disguise.
My fifth recommendation is to remember the old adage, “this, too, shall pass”. Saturn Returns do not last forever. They will happen again, around age 59-60, and if your lifespan is lengthy, it’ll happen yet again around age 88 or so. Anything left unsolved or uncorrected during the previous Saturn Return will rear its ugly head the next time around. But I must repeat myself here – Saturn may be varyingly unpleasant (or not), but it’s definitely not all bad! Once people have been through their Saturn Return, most of them are more mature, more seasoned, more wise. Saturn provides just the kick in the pants that end up being exactly what many people need in order to break free of humdrum or conundrum. It keeps us from running toward dangerous edge and plunging toward the ground.
Which leads me to…
…my sixth and final recommendation, which is to stay positive. Look for the silver lining in the thunderheads. Look for that diamond in the coal. It’s there. It may be well-disguised and CIA-quality camouflaged, but it’s always there.