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Saturn Return: The Definitive Guide (2018 Update)

This guide has everything you need to know about the Saturn Return If you’re new to Astrology or you’re going through your Saturn Return as you read this, I’ll show you how to harness the lessons that Saturn wants to teach you. And if you’ve been doing Astrology a while, feel free to let me know what you think. Bottom line: If you want to understand Saturn Return, you’ll love this guide.
Image of Saturn Return Graphic for Astrology 42

Saturn Return Meaning and Overview

Like the Mercury Retrograde, Saturn Return is one of the astrological events that a lot of people, whether they are into astrology or not, have some awareness. You’re probably familiar with your sun sign, but the planet you should know is Saturn, the best life-coach you’ve ever met. Most people understand, in basic terms, that it’s a period of change and challenging growth that hits in your late 20s. This time is a period in all of our lives known as “growing up”. You often hear

“It’s time to grow up now, or you won’t be able to do this/that in your 30’s.”

A “return” happens when any planet completes its entire circuit through the sky and returns to the same place it was at the time of your birth. All of the planets do this. However, unlike retrogrades, which hit all of us at the same time, planetary returns, like Saturn Return are specific to YOUR birth chart. Saturn Returns wants to help you be a stronger person. Your future self is rooting for you!

Transit Saturn
Conjunct
Natal Saturn

What Is Saturn Return?

In Astrology, a Saturn return is an astrological transit that happens when the planet Saturn returns to the same place in the zodiac sky that it was at the exact moment of a person’s birth. It takes the planet Saturn between 28 and 30 years to move through all twelve signs of the zodiac. It passes through each sign for approximately three years, allowing for fractional changes, retrogrades etc. Below, the natal planets are listed on the inside of the chart. The transit charts are listed on the outside.

This planetary transit describes the influence of a person’s life development between 28 and 30 years old. This transit would be technically at its ‘peak’ or ‘most intense’ at approximately 29.5 years old when the transit reaches the exact conjunction. However, the planetary influence of this transit may be felt for a few years before and after. Some people feel these effects as early as 27 and still into 31 years of age.
Naturally, as Saturn takes 29.5 years to make a complete cycle through all of the signs, that means there is more than one during your lifetime.

1st Saturn Return

With the first Saturn return, a person leaves youth behind and enters adulthood. This period is estimated to occur between 27–31

 years of age.

2nd Saturn Return.

With the second Saturn Return, the person reflects, embraces and develops maturity. This period is estimated to occur between 57–60 years of age.

3rd Saturn Return

The third return is often final one as a person enters the wise old age. These period are estimated to occur between 84–90 years of age.

Saturn Return & The 27 Club

The 27 Club is a term, cited in music magazines, journals and the press, that refers to some famous musicians who died at age 27 as there is a statistical spike for musicians who die at age 27. They often as a result of drug and alcohol abuse, or violence (e.g. homicide or suicide)

One theory why age 27 is so sensitive is apparent. At 27, we go through a Progressed Lunar Return.  Everyone (including troubled rock stars) might get ‘cracked wide open’ during this time. People with Lunar problems in their charts are prone to addictions. That’s the first place you look to when you see a self-destructive, addictive person – what’s going on with their Moon? Addictions are about stuffing away feelings. In the progressed lunar return, those feelings can’t be hidden away anymore.

Some people say the Lunar Return prepares you for the events that will take place during your Saturn Return.

27
Club

What Does A Saturn Return Rule?

The planet Saturn is the giant planet in the sky. You can read more about Saturn here. This planet during a return will rule over:

  • Growing Up
  • Higher Self Standards
  • Accountability
  • Reality
  • Fears
  • Insecurities
  • Karma
  • Moving On
All of these things are going to be active themes for 2 – 3 years, so it’s best to hunker down and look at what lessons Saturn has for you individually.

So what happens during a Saturn Return?

The “summary” version is that it is an identity crisis that will put you face-to-face with your deepest fears. Sounds scary?  It isn’t. However, everything you wanted comes into question, as you realise you are not who, what or where you want to be. When Saturn returns precisely to the place it was the moment you were first born, you are metaphorically “reborn”. But this is a testing and challenging time for everyone. Choose your metaphor:

  • meat grinder
  • car crash
  • hurricane
  • a boxing match

They’re all applicable to this process.

But what does this mean?

Careers will take off – or completely flop – or completely change. We will meet the love of our life – or bolt from the partner we thought would be our happily ever after. The pressure can feel insurmountable. Although growing pains can be severe, if you navigate this fierce storm wisely, you can come out stronger, braver, and happier than you ever thought possible. Before our first Saturn return, we’re all living our young, carefree lives. We are a construct and assembly of outside influences. Maybe have been performing a certain lifestyle based on your upbringing or societal expectations or living the lives imposed on us by our teachers, parents, friends, peers, and general society. When Saturn returns for us, the “tough love” planet (like a parent – the father figure rules Saturn) reviews every aspect of our lives to ensure that we’re fulfilling our highest personal potential. Saturn wants to strip away your external support systems. This three-year period – which increases intensity (and fills your life with some intense moments) as Saturn gets closer to its precise degree in your birth chart — is defined by the growing pains of radical transformation. You’ll see that most people feel confused, lost and even despairing or hopeless at this time. But you are not on your own. We ALL go through it.

Saturn Return forces you to draw upon your internal resources and examine your true self in all areas of your life.

Looking at your life like its chaos means merely its an opportunity to look at everything and create order.

Over the course of your Saturn Return, you will be forced to confront what you’ve manifested already in your life.

Career, friendships, relationships, dreams, ambitions, everything.

If you have drifted through life, you will probably have a more difficult time finding your sense of self and establishing a more developed, responsible identity.

However, if you have spent your 20’s engaged in a self-conscious dialogue, you may experience some rewarding growth during your Saturn Return.

Once our Saturn return is complete, we are finally free to live our best lives as we define them. If you are currently in this grey period of your life, try one of these tips to help you through.

Saturn Return:

In this section, we’ll look at How a Saturn Return looks at some of the common themes and messages that people read into when going through their own Saturn Return. Maybe some of them will not be applicable, but the chances are that no stone will be left unturned when it comes to Saturn Return.

Return Of Saturn

Some common themes that come up during Saturn Returns.  I tried to list them into ‘some kind of order’, but the truth, you’re likely to be experiencing all of these things at the same time:

Doing your Saturn: If you don’t know your Saturn sign, look it up on the birth chart. Astrologers say it’s important to “Do Your Saturn”. This “doing your Saturn” would require reading/studying/learning about your Saturn sign, the house and look at how it aspects your other planets.

The Dreams of Youth: Saturn return brings with it the pressure of time, and often the first “awareness” of your mortality. You look at what would take to achieve those big dreams, and often a sense of dread at ever getting there. You’ll figure out what’s still possible, and make the changes necessary to get on track.

Go on a Future Trip: Saturn Returns is all about personal self-reflection. Turning inwards will help you ride the waves more smoothly. Let your imagination and those inner voices guide you. Always trust your inner voice.

Learn the value of hard work: Saturn is pushing you to buckle down and get to work. So you do. In some area of your life, you push yourself. And if you do the job, rest assured, it WILL pay off. Saturn rewards effort. Sometimes during the Saturn Return, it feels like you’re banging your head against the wall. But that’s a mirage. Eventually, this effort pays off.

Stripping Down To The Core: At the Saturn Return, sometimes these choices are revealed to be out of sync with our true destiny and who we are. 

These revelations are huge. There may be marriages, relationships, friendships, jobs, careers, interests and dreams all up for review.

Let Go: It is the time to release what no longer serves you. Hate your job? Now is the time to quit and take a job that brings you more joy. Are you feeling suffocated in your relationship? Perhaps it is time to say goodbye, or at least to renegotiate the terms to help you both be happy. Despite feeling like your world is turning upside down, remember, things fall apart so better things can fall into place.

Time to Grow Up: The Saturn Return is a wake-up call. If you’ve spent your 20’s, coasting along, partying, living for the moment, it becomes evident that your foundation is not sustainable. When you’re younger, there seems to be an infinite amount of time to decide what you want to be “when you grow up.” 

Saturn Returns as you’re nearing 30 to say, “you’re all grown up now, choose a path.”

Get Real With Romance: When we’re younger, we sometimes make life choices before we know who we are. It’s no coincidence that is there a peak of divorces around age 30 when youthful declarations of love no longer match the core of either person as they approach this turning point. 

On the other hand, Saturn may bring a fated relationship, from a meaningful commitment to long-term potential.

Change Through Suffering and Depression:  Despite its scary reputation, Saturn is merely the instigator of change. All meant to lead you toward healing and a real foundation of self. 

If you’re struggling to cope as you’re going through your Saturn return, start letting go of what’s not working in your life. When you hold on tightly to things that Saturn is trying to break up, that’s when the suffering intensifies.

Early Self Awareness Wins: The Saturn return makes it clear what you’ve been up to for the last 29 or so years. Some “old souls” that made wise choices from the get-go may find it to be a passage where things solidify and take ground in your life. Not all marriages fall apart, and some grow stronger when they make it through this maturation phase together.

No longer caring (as much) about what others think: They say that after the age of 30, you don’t care as much what other people think. Any changes that happen during this time help you stand up a little bit straighter and feel a little more confident. Growth that occurs during this phase teaches you that your worth comes from within and it doesn’t matter what other people think. All that matters is your self-respect.

Stop comparing yourself to others: Saturn teaches us that everyone has their timeframe and their own unique goals. Events may happen at the Saturn Return that is unexpected and causes you to reassess. Things look less black and white and offer a fantastic chance to switch to a new paradigm and take yourself out of the old habit of comparing yourself to anyone else.

You start to think about time differently: You discover that there’s way more time instead of feeling like you have to have it all sorted out by age 30. Some people report feeling way younger after their Saturn Return than they did when they were 29. Saturn Return encourages you to age gracefully. Once your first Saturn Return has passed, you realise you’ve got more time than you thought to goof-off, experiment and explore.

Becoming more aware of your thought patterns, like self-limiting beliefs: A child with separated parents separated may think they caused the split, causing issues like “I’m not good/lovable enough” and can subconsciously hold onto that “false” belief for years. As adults, we know different. Saturn Return helps you become more aware of these harmful thought patterns. It’s time to begin a healthier way of thinking.

You become more aware of your coping mechanisms: Most of us have something we reach for when the going gets tough: food, alcohol, drugs, sex, work, shopping, video games, etc. Sometimes, these vices are so effective at helping us cope, that we don’t even realise we’re using them to shield us from our real emotions. When Saturn Return arrives, coping mechanisms either stop being as effective, or they become more uncomfortable. These feelings then give you a chance to ask yourself: “Am I sad? Am I lonely? Am I angry?” And begin to work out why.

It’s a cosmic rite of passage: The Saturn Return can bring in significant life events that help you grow up real fast. Some people solidify a relationship (marriage, moving in together.) Some get their first solo, grown-up apartment. Some have a kid or take a step up the ladder at work. Saturn teaches about progress, so it makes sense that you could reach or start the next logical chapter at this time.

It’s a cosmic rite of passage: The Saturn Return can bring in significant life events that help you grow up real fast. Some people solidify a relationship (marriage, moving in together.) Some get their first solo, grown-up apartment. Some have a kid or take a step up the ladder at work. Saturn teaches about progress, so it makes sense that you could reach or start the next logical chapter at this time.

You end up with more energy: All of the internal changes (reflected externally) during this transit are designed to help you declutter and clear out the parts of your life that are no longer efficient or serving you. Unnecessary behaviours, beliefs, patterns, relationships, commitments – just anything that’s taking up too much energy has to go! This liberation allows you to come out the other side with more power to live your purpose.

Goals, goals, goals: The confidence that you’re building at your Saturn Return helps you think about your path clearer than you may have before. You may become better at planning or even more directed than you were previously. These qualities are a benefit that usually rides the tail of your Saturn Return and meant to help you trust yourself, steady yourself and know yourself better. When it’s over, it’s that much easier to set workable goals for the ideal future that you desire.

You get to be the boss: At your Saturn Return, you begin to see yourself as more of an authority. Perhaps you become more of an expert in your field of expertise, a manager at work, or a parent at home. Even if you don’t become an authority in the most obvious sense, from within you’ll start to feel more of a sense of power.

Revise Your Expectations: Revise your expectations — both of how you thought your life should be at this point, and where you think you are going. Saturn Returns is all about exploration, learning and deep inner reflection. Be gentle with yourself during this three-year period; don’t hold on to anything too tightly and learn to embrace change.

Be Unapologetic About Your Desires: It is the time of your life to take stock. Be honest with yourself, and you will liberate yourself from all of the baggage you’re carrying around. What will be revealed is a clearer sense of purpose.

You’ll Get Another Chance: Saturn wants us to learn our lessons. If you resist these, there’s always the second go-round in your late 50’s. But that isn’t advised since it might be a farther fall to the bottom. An example could be someone staying in a job/career that makes them miserable or stuck in a relationship that’s harmful to their spirit. Listen to the pressures and doubts of your Saturn Return..

What To Do In A Saturn Return

Is Saturn getting you down? Is the astral drill sergeant kicking your butt? Rather than fighting Saturn (many do), here are a few things you can do to work WITH Saturn. Remember, he’s your friend, not your enemy.

  • Structure your time even for leisurely things if you want to see time expand
  • Get a day planner. Keep track of your responsibilities.
  • Value and honour your time. Spend it wisely and consciously.
  • Charge the appropriate amount for your work.
  • Challenge yourself with something new every day.
  • Don’t give away your authority (real authorship of your life).
  • Have a sense of humour.
  • Refuse to be ruled by fear, guilt, or shame.
  • Get regular dental check-ups.
  • Pay your bills on time.
  • Keep your earth plane issues together.
  • Have some discipline in your life.
  • Have three absolute no’s in every area of your life.
  • Don’t have too few rules or too many rules.
  • Set your limits.
  • Remember that boundaries and limits eventually create freedom.
  • Know when to say when and enough is enough.
  • Give up your grudges.
  • Stay humble and cultivate wisdom.

Are Saturn Returns The Same for Everyone?

The real answer is yes and no. Yes, we all go through this testing journey or self-examination, change and growth. It is not an easy journey,  but everyone can relate. But No because the following areas of focus can be unique and depend on many things.

  • The aspects that you have to Saturn in your chart (if any)
  • The house in which your Saturn return is taking place
  • The sign of your Saturn
  • If your Saturn Return in Aries, there would be a theme of Persona
  • Saturn Return in Taurus, there would be a theme of Attachment
  • Saturn Return in Gemini, there would be a theme of The Mind
  • Saturn Return in Cancer, there would be a theme of Home
  • Saturn Return in Leo, there would be a theme of Creativity
  • Saturn Return in Virgo, there would be a theme of Purification
  • Saturn Return in Libra, there would be a theme of The Others
  • Saturn Return in Scorpio, there would be a theme of Transformation
  • Saturn Return in Saggitarius, there would be a theme of The Higher Mind
  • Saturn Return in Capricorn, there would be a theme of The World
  • Saturn Return in Aquarius, there would be a theme of Community
  • Saturn Return in Pisces, there would be a theme of The Source

Saturn Return In The Signs And House

In this section, we’ll look at How a Saturn Return looks and manifests itself as it goes through the signs and the houses..
Let’s look down the list at Saturn Return as it goes through the signs. The houses ruled by the sign are also included.  Make sure you read your sign and your house.

Saturn Return Calculator: Where is Your Saturn?

If you are not sure where you Saturn is in your chart? Try the following:

  1. Get your free online birth chart and fill in the information.
  2. Looking for this symbol (Saturn Icon glypth from Astrology 42)  in your chart.
  3. Look at the sign that Saturn is in.
  4. Then the house that Saturn is in.
Now that you have that information, look down the list and see which sign and house yours Saturn resides in.

Saturn Return In Aries

or Saturn Return in the 1st house Impulsive much? Saturn in me-first Aries can make you slightly impetuous. You may be the first one to dive in, kickstart a project, or start a new trend. The trouble is your staying power is not quite as strong. Conversely, Saturn in Aries or the first house can make you hesitate, so that you wind up with a zillion genius ideas that never get off the ground. The lessons of your return are to become a leader without doing everything yourself—or becoming wholly bossy and domineering. There can be an “my way or the highway” pitfall for you. Stamp your name on your innovations and get them out to the world, but remember that many hands make light work. You could be a stellar athlete and a daredevil. A career as a motivational speaker, CEO, military leader or athlete could be in the cards as well.

Saturn Return In Taurus

or Saturn Return in the 2nd house Practical luxury and comfort is paramount to harnessing the stabilising energy of Taurus here—but do you have the funds to pull off those champagne wishes and caviar dreams? You may struggle in the money department, living in a fantasy world and learning harsh lessons about budgeting and delayed gratification. Beware laziness, too. Learn to be the charging Bull instead of the sleeping one or opportunity could pass you by. With a little elbow grease, you could become an incredible money manager and might have a bright career in finance. Hospitality and the fine goods markets could also be your path. You have a keen eye for beauty and might even own a brick and mortar store one day.

Saturn Return In Gemini

or Saturn Return in the 3rd house Hello communicator! The gift of gab or the power of the pen—you are meant to use your words. But Saturn’s suppressive forces can make you shy about expressing yourself, and it could take a while before you have the guts to voice your opinion or shop around your memoirs to publishing houses. Though you thrive in a partnership (chatty Gemini is the sign of the Twins), you could be a little too quick to compromise, losing your autonomy in the process. Working as a dynamic duo could bring you great success. You could have a career in writing or teaching. You may excel in more sartorial or technical pursuits (especially coding or software development), or harness your people skills to make a mint in sales.

Saturn Return In Cancer

or Saturn Return in the 4th house Home and family can be a source of comfort and angst in equal measure. Some people with Saturn in this position may struggle to leave the nest, or become overly attached and responsible for their relatives. Shyness can plague you, making it difficult to come out of the proverbial Crab shell. Some people born with Saturn in heartfelt Cancer or the fourth house have difficult childhoods, with an absent or challenging mother. Although you may resist becoming a parent, it could be your greatest joy, whether you have children or pets. Your care-taking instincts could lead you to a career in the culinary world, hospitality or nursing. Working from home or owning a small business will be fulfilling too. You love being hands-on!

Saturn Return In Leo

or Saturn Return in the 5th house Glamour, passion and fairy-tale romance: you want them all, but may take the long road to achieving them. Although you have talents as a performer or presenter, Saturn’s influence in dramatic Leo can make you slow to find the stage—or hard on yourself once you do. Finding your voice, self-expression and confidence will be a riveting journey. You may struggle with excess—and learn some harsh lessons about overindulging. A tendency to romanticise and idealise people can bring struggles in relationships. Although it may take you a while to figure out who is right for you, you could enjoy a rich and rewarding love life. Creativity is your calling card, and you could find a career in the arts or theatre, or by making beautiful objects by hand. Leo and the fifth house have a regal vibe, so being the boss of the proud Lion is in your blood.

Saturn Return In Virgo

or Saturn Return in the 6th house Order in the court! You love systems and know how to make life run like a well-oiled machine. Chaos, which is a naturally occurring phenomenon, could confound you—and you could struggle when things don’t fit into neatly categorised boxes. Learning how to stay on top of the details while also going with the flow will be one of your biggest lessons. Perfectionism could plague you too, and even lead to struggles with food since purifying Virgo and the sixth house govern the digestive system. Your Saturn falls in the sign of service also, and you could excel in non-profit work or as an agent who helps others accomplish their dreams (with a percentage of your time, of course). All things natural appeal to you: organic foods, cruelty-free and sustainable products, holistic healing. You could open up a business based on any of those above, or even train as a therapist, masseur, acupuncturist or herbalist.

Saturn Return In Libra

or Saturn Return in the 7th house Relationships are both a blessing and a thorn in your side in this lifetime as your Saturn theme is all about partnership. You may struggle to find the proper equilibrium of giving and take. Your Saturn Return brings the hard truths about what it takes to co-exist harmoniously with another. Your Saturn Return could also herald a marriage proposal or the dissolution of a relationship based on shaky ground. Harmonious Libra and the seventh house bring a people-loving vibe, but you may struggle with boundaries and lose a few friends before learning to set limits. You could be drawn to the law, fashion or sales as a career since you’re equally concerned with justice and beauty.

Saturn Return In Scorpio

or Saturn Return in the 8th house Money, power, sex! Having Saturn in sultry Scorpio or the eighth house is no light and fluffy thing. You could deal with blocks to abundance, fear of success or body hang-ups—but your Saturn Return brings an incredible opportunity to work through them. Who knows? You could emerge a yogi or powerbroker by the end of this phase. Like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, something must die for a transformation and rebirth to take place. You may deal with a powerful loss that shapes your life path or discovers your psychic powers during your Saturn Return. Your career may involve medicine (you aren’t afraid of blood) or helping people through personal crises and transformations. Resourceful, you are an alchemist who can turn the mundane into gold.

Saturn Return In Sagittarius

or Saturn Return in the 9th house You’re a worldly one with your Saturn in global Sagittarius or the ninth house. Cross-cultural relationships will be your learning grounds, and you may become “adopted” by a culture different than your own at some point in your life. If you haven’t travelled extensively, your Saturn Return would be an ideal time to live abroad. Or, if your nomadic nature has given you a tumbleweed complex, you could pause and put down roots for a few years during the Saturn Return. Higher education is governed by this sign and house: you’re an eternal student of life. Your Saturn Return could be a great time to go back to school for that graduate degree or specialized certification. Your career could involve travelling, teaching or publishing.

Saturn Return In Capricorn

or Saturn Return in the 10th house Goals, goals, goals! You may be obsessed with success to a detriment, and your Saturn Return will remind you that the end does not always justify the means. If Saturn has stalled your ambition, you could finally find your career calling now. Ambitious Capricorn and the tenth house are associated with men and the father. Daddy issues could plague you, or you may have a strained or distant relationship with your father. Or, your dad could have been very stern and authoritative, making it difficult for you to express yourself in his company. These will need to be dealt with during the Saturn Return, but powerful men will also help you manifest your dreams. Big business could call your name. You may return to school for an MBA, be promoted to a director’s position, or open up shop on your venture. Hello, CEO.

Saturn Return In Aquarius

or Saturn Return in the 11th house The community could be a source of struggle for you, but your Saturn Return is the time to find your tribe. Humanitarian issues may rouse you, like a calling, and you might start a non-profit, get involved in social justice work or find ways to make your everyday environment a place where people from all walks of life are welcome. Since future-forward Aquarius and the eleventh house govern technology and innovation, you could invent something life-changing, like an app or gadget. Though you could do many kinds of work, you’ll want to surround yourself with progressive thinkers and inspiring innovators as colleagues.

Saturn Return In Pisces

or Saturn in the 12th house You are a born healer, and your compassionate nature will be awakened during your Saturn Return. You may be drawn to the hidden side of life, such as spirituality or esoteric pursuits. An interest in human psychology or alternative medicine could emerge since ethereal Pisces, and the twelfth house rules the subconscious mind. Learning boundaries will be a huge lesson now, mainly since you may be prone to making too many sacrifices. The arts—especially music and poetry—will call your name. You may also discover a gift for working with numbers and codes or doing the holistic healing.

Saturn Return Summary

The pain, depression and turbulence in our lives often come when we hold on to patterns, beliefs, jobs, relationships lifestyle choice, and environments that no longer serve us. Letting go and releasing your resistance to the unknown will help you glide into the next phase of your life. Remember that Saturn Returns reminds us of what is truly important, and makes sure we are on the path to claim our highest potential. Saturn has a bad rep, and if you choose not to appease him, there can be consequences. But in myth and life, and in the archetypal meeting place where both of these realms converge, we can learn to use Saturn as a friend rather than a foe.

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