Saturn Return: A Total Makeover
Writer T.S. Eliot immortalized an obvious truth about living on Earth when he said that “humankind cannot bear very much reality”. That’s why we have dreamers and artists of all kinds: moony poets, mercurial novelists, and craftspeople, venusian painters, practitioners of martial arts or jupiterian idealists. For many of us, it would be amazing to live in a constant state of fantasy, but the truth is that bread isn’t winning itself, our bodies aren’t self-sustaining and our clashes with reality need more than daydreaming for us to emerge victoriously on the other side.
Standing between the personal and the transpersonal planets, Saturn is a threshold shielding the energies that make us unique, separate individuals (the ego, the personal subconscious, our relationships and so on) from the subtle, collective planes of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Between the artistic and the spiritual dimensions, being human is about living in our bodies and our minds, essentially separate from other people. It’s about navigating 3D reality in a practical, realistic way to make the most out of our lives, and this isn’t always an easy job.
Saturn brings us face to face with our limitations. We have a dream, but we have to work hard to make it come true. We might want to live the moment indefinitely, but we have to fulfill social responsibility, a role through which we give back to the world. We have to follow our mission and do things right, respecting both external and inner authority, both human and cosmic laws.
At no other time are these “musts” (one of Saturn’s favorite words) more obvious than at a Saturn Return. The elder of the Solar System takes about 29.5 years to complete a full orbit around the Sun, returning to the same place in the zodiac where it was at the time of your birth. Imagine him as a stern grandfather with an hourglass coming by at your door, asking one key question: “Your time is limited. How well have you been using it?”
Your Saturn return might be anytime between 27 and 30 years. By this age, maybe you’ve chosen a career or a life path already made a few (or more) efforts toward it, started seeing some results. On the contrary, maybe you have no idea what you’re doing yet.
Since Saturn’s role is to structure and to mature, in both cases you might see what you took for granted up to now in a completely different light. Apparent order and meaning, if not profound enough, might get shaken and rebuilt on a new, solid foundation. A job you thought you loved, a relationship you were invested in out of inertia: now is the time when everything superficial and not aligned to your inner self gets stripped away so you can become an improved, more mature you. And if you’ve been wandering through the world with no apparent aim, this is the time when Saturn urges you to settle down, to find purpose and the inner determination to fulfill it.
My teachers told me that Saturn is like an ultra-serious cleaning lady that comes to your room. If it’s a mess, she’ll put it all right, but not before shaking things up uncomfortably. Even if the room seems tidy, she’ll find those hidden piles of dirty clothes and she’ll hold you accountable for them. On the contrary, if you took good care of your room, she’ll make it even easier for you to have an orderly home in the future.
In short- whatever is redundant and flimsy gets kicked out and “cleaned” out of your life. Whatever is solid and meaningful stays and becomes even stronger, be it a job, a career, an approach to life, a relationship or a plan for the future. With the first Saturn return, you’re being prepared to fully inhabit the space of your life, now entirely mature and accountable for your actions.
So what’s the best approach for these bumpy times?
Look back at your life story and analyze your decisions. Why did you choose this job, this relationship, this place to live in, this lifestyle? Was it because society or other people told you that you should, or did you truly listen to yourself when making these choices?
Hold your current life to standards of meaningfulness, essence, and practicality. Is the work that you do meaningful for you? Is it in harmony with your traits, talents, and desires? Is it still helping you grow, or has it outgrown its potential? Are your current relationships beneficial for you? Do they help you on your life path, are they in accord with your values? What about your lifestyle? Does it reflect the best choices for your health and your well-being?
Don’t rush. These are all heavy questions to ask and might often lead you to conflicting answers. Instead of trying to solve all your life problems at once, take your time to reflect on your life, start a journal, go to some counseling or life coaching sessions, make a vision board, do whatever works to bring you more self-knowledge as a basis for improved life decisions. Find out what you really want for yourself and, if it’s a whole different world from what you have now, start taking small, well-thought steps to realize it. Often this is a time of solitude when we have to make friends with ourselves before venturing out in the world and reshaping our life.
Don’t despair. Life circumstances might not be all milk and honey in this period. You can bump into delays, conflicts, obstacles of all kinds. Your safe spaces might fall apart, leaving you facing life from a position that seems lonely, insecure and confusing. Saturn isn’t a lenient teacher, but it’s best if you remember that he is, in fact, a teacher and not a symbol of hardship and defeat. At the other side of your difficulties, there’s you with better self-knowledge, more patience, strength, and understanding.
You might feel the influence of your Saturn return for about 2-3 years. The details of it depend on many things: your Saturn sign, your Saturn house, whether he’s retrograde or not, how heavily it figures in your natal chart and last but not least, how you’ve managed to embody responsibility, structure, and commitment to a cause in your personality up to now. Remember that Saturn only wants what’s best for you, even if his lessons might seem heavy sometimes. If you’re next for a Saturn Return, arm yourself with patience and faith that things will work out in the end. After all, you’re leveling up in life!