You may have heard about the dreaded Saturn Return – Gwen Stefani famously recorded 'Return of Saturn' when she was nearing thirty. The infamous '27 Club' refers to all the musicians who have died on the cusp of their Saturn Return. Maybe you just got wind of it from a friend at a party, who, when you told her about your latest crisis, whisper-confided: 'It must be your SATURN RETURN!'
But any dark, frightening tales you may have heard are merely exaggerated rumors – don't buy into them, because this might just be the best time of your life.
The Saturn Return is your astrological quarter-life crisis, but more importantly, it's your real-deal seminar in becoming a grownup. Graduation, your first job, moving in with your significant other in your early twenties – those are minor steps compared to the intense gravity you'll experience during your Saturn Return. It is, in a word – EPIC.
Saturn is the planet in charge of challenges and hard lessons, and when it comes back to the sign it was in at the moment of your birth, your Saturn Return officially begins. If you were born from late 1985 to early 1988, your SR is on RIGHT NOW. (Specifically between November 18th 1985 to February 13, 1988 or June 11, 1988 to November 12th 1988.) If your birthday falls in this range, your Saturn is in Sagittarius, the sign of philosophy, freedom, truth, ideology, travel, and wisdom (in other words, you were born to teach, and sometimes preach.) But everyone's Saturn Return is quite unique, because depending on the time of your birth, Saturn occupies a particular house of your natal chart – that means a certain part of your life is hardest hit by Saturn's laws.
Saturn works in cycles of 7 years. We feel his intense power at approximately ages 7, 14, 21 and then most profoundly at the age of 28 – as Saturn prepares to return to where he was at the moment we were born – thus, the 'Saturn Return.' Your Saturn Return takes 2.5 years to finish, and peaks when you're 29.5 years old. Then, thankfully, it fades after you hit 30. Then the cycle begins all over again, taking us up to our second Saturn Return, as we approach 60. If you don't heed the lessons of the first one, the second one can be harder.
If you're creeping up to your 30th birthday – even if you're several years away, you're in Saturn's crucial territory. It might feel like your life is falling apart but if you can trust the universe, and heed Saturn's instructions, you'll ace this. Whatever falls away now is meant to fall away, so you can build something much more stable, exciting, and authentic.
Picture by Michael Benson
The 7 rules to live by before you start your Saturn Return
1 - Remember that this might actually be the most empowering phase of your life so far.
Even if you're breaking up, breaking down, moving out, changing jobs, and nothing makes sense anymore, Saturn will surely set you on the right path going forward. You've got to listen to your heart and trust your intuition, but remember to stay somewhat practical, because the Cosmic Taskmaster doesn't want you to throw caution entirely to the wind.
2 - Your self-esteem might take a beating, but it's just a test.
Remember this mantra: The harder the challenge, the richer the rewards. The months and years leading up to your Saturn Return usually force you to face your psychological demons: the unhealthy patterns you've ignored most of your life. You'll finally finish it all out, and you'll be far stronger in the long run. Being in therapy during your SR is one of the best possible things you can do for yourself. Dig deep and practice self-care.
3 - Turn force into fortitude.
Saturn can feel like a heavy black boot on your back (probably a Doc Marten). When you ignore or repress Saturn's admonitions, he presses you harder – it can feel like someone or something is forcing you to do something you don't want to do. The SR is the ultimate 'whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger' phase, and will make you FIERCE.
4 - Revaluate your relationships with men.
Saturn, in mythological terms, is the King archetype – he represents male authority, and more specifically father energy. For straight women, the Saturn Return can be the first time one grapples with what being a feminist means, specifically within relationship to boyfriends or husbands. Instead of projecting your own strength and wisdom onto your male partner, you finally learn how to merge with your inner father – and start making your own decisions. Many women grapple with lifelong patterns they've had with their actual fathers or male guardians, and begin to forgive, rebuild, or otherwise heal those relationships.
5 - You're the boss – stop measuring your life by other people's standards.
It's time throw off the shackles of external authority – your parents' values, your boyfriend's worldview, or a career you chose because it was supposed to 'safe.' It's NOT about what safe now – it's about what is authentically you. If the job you've worked in for most of your twenties offers you no creative juju, and you can afford to move on – look at other options. If you listen to the stirring of your soul, you'll avoid getting fired – you'll walk away at the right time. Remember, Saturn is the planet of convention, but during your SR, your purpose is to flout convention, hard. Be you, at all costs, or you'll end up in a crisis of confidence.
6 - Master the art of perfect timing.
Saturn rules time – he's the planet in charge of its passage. When we turn 30, we begin to feel our age for the first time (even though we're far from old). But this isn't about starting a preventative Botox regimen; it's about mastering your own inner clock. If you tend to be late all the time, double-book appointments, or feel like you never have enough time, change your ways during your SR, and it'll change the rest of your life. The great lesson is that scheduling everything into your calendar seems to expand the amount of time you have at your disposal. Also: mono-tasking is the new multi-tasking, and that's exactly what Saturn would prefer that you do.
7 - At the end of the 2.5-year process, throw yourself a fantastic, no-holds-barred 30th birthday bash (no guilt).
You've survived your Saturn Return – you TOTALLY deserve the party to end all parties. Whether that's a raucous, dance-until-dawn blast that spawns a thousand drunk Instagrams, or a quiet, secluded beach/spa trek with a few trusted besties doesn't matter. Do mark your passage somehow – this is a ritual you shouldn't skip.
If you want to know exactly when your own specific Saturn Return will start and end, and exactly how it will impact you according to your natal chart, visit the Saturn Sisters to set up a consultation – we've got your back.
Words: The Saturn Sisters
Read about one writer's life-changing Saturn Return in the June issue of ELLE, on sale now