If you’ve hung out in astrology-obsessed corners of the internet for any amount of time, there’s a good chance you’ll have heard people talk about going through their Saturn Return. Some refer to it as a right of passage, some as an uncomfortable phase, and some as a flat-out traumatic experience.
But much like Mercury Retrograde, I believe this astrological transit has been made into a boogeyman of sorts. And armed with the proper knowledge, it can be far more empowering than terrifying. So let’s set the record straight.
What Is Your Saturn Return?
Your Saturn Return occurs when Saturn returns to the point it occupied in your birth chart when you took your first breath. The phenomenon occurs up to three times in a person’s lifetime.
The first — by far the most intense and discussed — happens between the ages of 28-30, typically reaching its peak at 29. The second is experienced between the ages of 58-59 (mid-life crisis, anyone?). And the third, if you’re lucky, occurs around 89-90.
If you’re curious when your exact Saturn Returns will occur, you can use this online calculator to find out.
Saturn is the planet of boundaries, rules, regulations, structure, maturity, responsibility, and discipline. And when it comes back around to where it first appeared in our birth chart, those areas of our lives will be tested.
Think of going through your first Saturn Return as being ushered into your astrological adulthood. So naturally, themes of adulting are bound to surface. But so will some existential angst. Expect some intense “What does it all mean?” moments.
This could look like second-guessing our current education or profession, outgrowing relationships we thought would be forever, or suddenly realizing long-held beliefs aren’t truly ours but simply what we were raised to believe as truth.
What Can You Expect?
Your Saturn Return is not a hopeless case. Yes, there will be struggles, but they’re being offered as an opportunity to grow and gain the wisdom you’ll need throughout the rest of your life. And like all major and minor astrological events, to know what to expect from your Saturn Return, you’ll need to look at where Saturn falls in your birth chart.
For example, Saturn falls in my 2nd House, the House of value. And between the ages of 28 and 30, I was in a very toxic work environment where I was undervalued and regularly taken advantage of. I was actually so burnt out that I couldn’t even dream about what a better career path might be, so I felt trapped. These circumstances forced me to develop firm boundaries around how I would allow employers to treat me, and though it was an incredibly stressful time, I can say I’m a better person on the other side of it.
Finding Saturn in your birth chart is easy enough to do if you have your birth time, but if you don’t, look to the natural ruler of Saturn, which is the 10th House.
1st House: Working through self-doubt and fear that hold you back from your truest potential.
2nd House: Overcoming a lack of confidence in your professional skills and seeing your own worth.
3rd House: Learning to communicate and manage your time and energy wisely and effectively.
4th House: Redefining what a healthy and stable home life looks like for you. (Hint: it won’t look like your childhood.)
5th House: Breaking through creative blocks to develop your confidence and self-expression.
6th House: Determining — and sticking to — a healthy work-life balance that safeguards your wellbeing.
7th House: Breaking toxic relationship habits and taking responsibility for finding healthy partnerships.
8th House: Facing your fear of change and the unknown and softening to the flow of the universe.
9th House: Coming to terms with old beliefs that no longer feel in alignment, despite what others around you say.
10th House: Learning to pursue what you truly want out of your personal and professional life, even if that means derailing previous plans.
11th House: Redefining what you want out of your community, who you want in your circle, and what your place is within it.
12th House: Digging into the deepest parts of your psyche to do some much-needed emotional healing.
It’s Something to Grow Through
Your Saturn Return is uncomfortable, I’m not gonna lie. But like all growing pains, it serves a purpose that we can’t see at the moment.
So if this is something you’re experiencing right now, know that you’re not alone and that the whole thing is temporary. If you’ve yet to reach your Saturn Return, arm yourself with knowledge of what to look for and when.
And for those learning about this season after the fact, let it shed some light on old wounds. Sometimes we can only let go of past traumas and slights by seeing the big picture. And who knows, maybe that knowledge will allow you to help someone else through their dark night of the soul.