Many people who are related to spiritual practices have come to meet astrology. And some of them have probably heard about the famous (or the infamous?) Saturn Return.
In this article we are going to discuss the basics, astrologically and humanly speaking, of what the Saturn Return is, and how can it change the direction of your life.
The article might be a little too long. However, it is necessary, so that a full understanding of the phases of human development can be understood. Let’s begin!
Life as It Is… And Reflected by Saturn’s Transits
In the diagram above, we can see the counter-clockwise journey of Saturn around Earth (In astrology we work within a geocentric framework, since it is on Earth that the “drama”of our lives happens, and around this geocentric perspective, all planets, stars and points of energy turn).
We see in the left the very first beginning of life: our birth (In our Natal Chart, we can see the exact position of Saturn in the moment we were born, by sign, house and degree). From that point, Saturn will make a journey around Earth (us) of about 28-29.5 years, until it returns to the original point it was when your birth occurred.
After Saturn returns to its original position at the 29.5 years old, Saturn will make a second return around 57-59 years old, and then a third return around 88.5 years old.
Now, let us focus on the first Saturn Return.
From the moment of birth, we can visualise the Saturn journey as a wheel, starting at 0°, and this journey can be broken down in four angles of 90°, each one representing a crucial developmental stage of life.
Take into consideration that the descriptions below are not rigid standards, but a model. Depending on each individual and on each individual circumstances and environment, some parts of their development can happen in different stages of life and through different ways.
Let us take a look.
First Square – 90° – 7 Years
This is the time of life in which the ego of the child is formed. Around this stage of life, the child begins to visualise herself/himself as a separate being (from the mother/father, or the Moon) with individual consciousness, individual ego, and power of choice.
This is the moment when children begin to challenge the parents with more trivial questions, and a lot of curiosity about the world.
From birth until the child is around 7 years old, the process of imprinting occurs. Everything that happens to the child, everything the child learns, hears and observes, becomes part of her/his foundation. That is why it is so important the impressions, teachings and the environment we build around the child during those early years of her/his life(0-7 years).
From around 2 years old, until around 7 years old, the child goes through what Jean Piaget called the learning and intelligence pre-operational stage. Before the 7 years, the child learns by imitation (for example, learning language during this stage is easier for them). Before 7 years old, the child thinking is still naive and primarily symbolic or intuitive.
During the time around the 7 years old, the First Square of Saturn occurs, and the child’s world begins to change. As their independent ego is formed, they begin to question things, challenge things, and they want to understand all the why’s of the world.
Their thinking becomes more concrete, and this is the time in which they are “ready for school”, and ready to do more concrete operations (all of this is related to Mars and Mercury).
In addition, around this time, the child is ready to start learning a creative skill. The parent should help the child to discover what they like or feel attracted to, to help the them cultivate their creativity.
It is also the time in which kids just want to play and have fun with other kids. Their ways to relate with other beings becomes sharpened. The unconscious imitation learning process of before, becomes more conscious now that their ego has formed, and that they perceive the social world more acutely.
As this time passes, the child enters in the modelling stage, and their friends begin to take a lot of importance, as well as the desire to do their own will (in rebellion to the family authority). Their brains are also in conditions to solve more difficult operations and think more logically. Their mental and emotional self is developing.
Opposition – 180° – 14.5 Years
Puberty, peer pressure, emotional distress, desire and jealousy. This is the time in which the child becomes a young teenager. It is quite a beautiful time, but can also be “chaotic”. Everything relates to the conditions of their social environment.
Hormones are at their peak, and sexual desire begins to awaken. For some young teenagers, this can be a confusing time, in which they don’t know if what they are feeling is right or wrong. Many feel ashamed with their new feelings, sensations and thoughts (all of this is related to Venus). For some young teenagers, this time can be confusing in terms of identity and sexual identity.
The pressure to conform to the group is really strong. Friendship loyalty is also crucial, and also the sense of belonging to a group and being valued or appreciated. Many go through rough teenage years, as some other teenagers want to impose their power or to position themselves “higher” within the group.
This can also be a time for the young teenager to get new skills or to find new interests, either artistic or intellectual.
But as this initial struggle passes, the social stage begins to unfold, and the young teenager becomes a teenager, and develops more confidence through their own experiences. As this time passes, they start to build their sense of identity.
Last Square – 270° -21 Years
The teenager becomes a young adult. She/he is ready to work. During this time, many are finishing their college/university courses, or having their first experiences in the work arena.
Some others engage into literal explorations, travelling and developing a strong desire to learn from other cultures.
As Saturn races towards its return, the young adult races too. The mental and social processes are somewhat higher than before, now that the young adult is performing operations at work, solving problems and getting experience.
In addition, their social lives have also taken another step. This is a stage when many young adults engage into parties, social evenings, meeting people, high sexual activity, going out (trying to find a potential life mate?).
During this last quarter, the young adult begins to experience life, know life, know different cultures, different traditions, different ways of thinking, different perspectives and their whole individual wisdom starts to get its shape. It is a time of dissemination of ideas, and a time of destroying old ideas and crystallised pre-conceived concepts.
Nevertheless, as Saturn enters in the “dark time” (or the “penumbra” as I personally like to call it) before its return, (around 25-26 years old, or 315°), the individual has the first real crash against herself/himself.
At first, it is just the young adult realising that soon he or she will become thirty! All sort of pressures from society and the external authority (Saturn himself!): marriage, work, status, financial stability, future family, savings, mortgage, investments, work, work stability, ranking at work, (side projects?).
However, that is not just so. The young adult begins to question what has she/he been doing for the last seven years. She/he begins to question the real motives behind the decisions she/he has made, mostly decisions regarding to their profession, their work and their true calling.
The Saturn Return – 360° – 28-29.5 Years
We’ve made it. Well, Saturn has made it. This is the crucial point in our lives when the young adult becomes an adult: full and sovereign of her/his independence, free, aware of her/his reality, mentally developed, and prepared to continue life on her/his own and with responsibility.
Well, at least that is how it should be (again: Saturnine pre-conceptions!).
In any case, this is the time of life in which we become independent adults, and we are ready to start fully a new cycle, a Second Saturn Cycle, from zero.
It is like the baby coming out of the mother’s womb. The baby has stayed nine months inside the womb developing, growing, and becoming “ready” to come out to the world.
In that very same way, we reach this point in our lives in which we are ready to embrace the (new) life that coming in front of our eyes. We are ready for the next (Saturn) cycle.
For some people who have always been clear and aligned with their true calling from the very first beginning, the Saturn Return is just a superior moment in which they just feel bliss and fruition. They feel satisfied with their achievements, and just set new higher goals for themselves for the next cycle (unaware of the Saturn Cycle). It is a time of full maturation for them, joy from their personal achievements and a mature positive attitude towards their responsibilities.
However, the Saturn Return time doesn’t come so easy for everybody, and mostly, it can put us in front of difficulties.
As the individual battles between the dictates of the external authority and the dictates of her/his soul, chaotic confusion and anxiety can take place. As this state of chaos takes over the mental and emotional body of the individual, the external environment will reflect exactly the same conditions of how the individual feels and perceives within.
During this time, the individual will question the decisions taken before, and an existential crisis can take place, where the individual feels she/he has been engaged in a wrong path of life, and feels drawn to re-discover herself/himself in new ways, aligned with their true calling.
In astrology, Saturn rules all external authority: starting with the family (“the father”, “the mother”), religion, social circle, work (“the boss”, “the colleagues”), laws and regulations, the government, economy, cultural customs and traditions, society views in general, and everything that has to do with responsibility.
And as Saturn approaches its original position, for completion of the Saturn First Cycle, the individual will “battle” between their real personal goals, which are aligned with their unique potential (their Sun), and the goals or dictates coming from the external authority. It is the feeling that “time is taking me over and I have not achieved anything I truly wanted so far”. Saturn is also “The Lord of Time”!
The truth is that the Saturn Return is a time in which we can re-discover ourselves in new authentic ways, resonating with our genuine potential.
The Saturn Return is a gateway in which we can open the doors of our unique creative potential (our Sun).
The Saturn Return is a strong opportunity to find our calling and WORK for it, if necessary through the hard way (Saturn rules “work” and “achievements”).
And the Saturn Return is a time to face ourselves, to face our own self-imposed limitations (normally adopted from the mainstream), to face our fears (normally the fear to fail, the fear to disappoint other people and the fear of being criticised).
At this point, we can decide to willingly and totally face reality, face our own self-imposed limitations, face our fears, face the decisions we have made, the mistakes we have done, face our reality circumstances, but then, face the future: the opportunity to redeem to our own selves and make any changes that might be needed in order to unlock our true potential.
On the opposite, we can decide to not do this, and stick to what we have been doing so far. We may want to believe that this is how it should be and that it will be okay. Some people will be able to manage this (with a slight feeling of unease, a slight feeling that something is missing, and a slight feeling of regret). Some people will not be able to manage this, and they are likely to live the rest of their days in disappointment with life. And as these people grow older, they can transmit these dark feelings and lost dreams to their own children.
Using the Transformative Power of This Time
If you are between 26 and 28 years old, you have already started to feel the vibration of this time.
If you are between 28 and 29.5 years old, you are in the climax of the Saturn Return.
If you are between 29.5 and 31 years old, you have passed the Saturn Return, and now you are in a time of assimilation.
In order for us to get practical with the Saturn Return, some questions that can facilitate our own understanding during this time are:
- What do I want to do with my life, for the rest of it?
- What do I want to achieve, from the bottom of my souls?
- Why do I want to achieve that? In which ways that goal will fulfil myself? In which ways that goal can help the community?
- Where do I want to be?
- What lessons have I learned on the way?
- What mistakes have I made? What did I learn from those mistakes?
- Do I regret something? What is it? Why do I regret it? Meditate on that “why”
- What is stopping me from achieving what I really want to do? Why is that stopping me? Meditate on that “why”
- Do I consider that these “blockages” on my flow or on my way can be removed or re-adjusted? If not, why? Meditate on that “why”
- How can I remove or adjust a situation that is blocking my flow? Think of all the possibilities. Don’t leave this answer in “it is not possible”.
Take the time to write down your findings. Read them, and re-read them again, and pay attention to your emotions and your thoughts. What are you feeling?
If the answer to the first of these questions is “I don’t know”, you will need to do some extra personal work to discover yourself. Start engaging into different activities, learning new skills, engaging in new disciplines and hobbies, meeting new people, reading a lot and if possible travel or do small trips.
If you desire deeper guidance, you can always book an astrology reading with me to help you understand your own potential, and unlock it.
And one last thing. Remember that working towards something different, something new, something unique, and going against the status quo or against the pre-conceived ideas of the external authorities, so that we can stand by our OWN SELVES, and defend what we truly want (an Aquarian quality, ruled by Saturn and Uranus), it all requires work, time, effort and a lot of determination and perseverance. Nobody said it was going to be easy, but it is definitely not impossible!
Scofield, Bruce (2001). The Circuitry of the Self: Astrology and the Developmental Model. Amherst: One Reed Publications. (Buy it here)
 The birth time MUST be exact and verified. If your birth time is not exact, or if you’re working with the birth time remembered by your family, it can make a big difference in the degrees, positions, signs and houses. If this happens, the astrologer and you might be working within a completely wrong framework of symbolism. If you’re really interested in astrology, or in getting a professional astrology reading done, please be serious with your time and money investment, and get your exact birth time from the pertaining authorities in your country.
 The Second Saturn Cycle, with a Second Saturn Return (around 57-58 years old). A proper topic for a future article! Wait for it!
* The images used in this article have been made by my own self. They are not the best quality (I am not an artist nor a designer, I am an astrologer), but they make it easier for you to understand the concept of the “return”.