Making Friends With Saturn Return

I’m totally into Saturn. Like, REALLY into it.  (Especially the transit known as Saturn return.)

In my opinion, it’s the most important planet in an astrology chart.  Why?

It’s the planet of lessons and restrictions.  It’s heavy duty karma stuff, baby.  Saturn is a hard taskmaster and it will make you work your ass-trology off – but it always leaves you better than where it found you – if you are willing to do the homework.  

Once you know where Saturn resides in your natal chart, you can use that as a reference point to sticky wicket areas in your life.  It’s like a light in a dark closet, pointing out the fanged gremlin hiding in the corner.  Once you see it clearly, it’s not so scary and you may just learn to love it a little.

As transiting Saturn moves forward through your chart, it will help you to clean up and fly right in the houses it touches (think of it as a loving Joan Crawford type who will make you scrub your metaphorical floors and hang your clothes up right).  Saturn is always doing magic (or wreaking a little havoc) but once you are aware of where it’s working in your natal chart and with transits, you can use it for mega self improvement.

It’s like roto rooter for your life and soul.  

Nothing gets me more gleeful than having someone sitting in my office right before they are about to start their Saturn return.  Now we can get to work on preventative care and solving the big dilemma issues before they become bigger.  Hot-cha-cha-chaaa!  (PS I was just dying to use that phrase somewhere.)

What is Saturn return?  This aspect happens when transiting Saturn lines up with your natal Saturn (conjunct).  In layman’s terms, Saturn comes home to roost in the same place it was when you were born and sits right on your natal Saturn.  Suddenly, your poor little natal Saturn gets added weight like a nasty cop breathing down your neck, sweating you for every crime it can find.  You’ll do the time too.  You don’t get away from it.  So if you try to run, it will find a way to get your attention.  Sounds appealing, eh?

It’s actually a good thing.  Bear with me.

Saturn takes about twenty seven years to move through your chart, so the first Saturn return will hit you at, yep you guessed it, age 27.  I tend to look at the first one as the most important of the Saturn returns (Yes, you get more than one!  Hooray!) because it can set the tone for how you deal with the rest of your life.

The first Saturn return represents the official end of your childhood and the transition into adulthood.  It’s about taking full on responsibility for your life – including mistakes.  For many people, the first Saturn return is when they get serious about life.  They choose a career, get married, have a child, go back to school, stop partying, etc.  In  other words, they grow up and start creating a responsible life.  They get it together.  (A world full of people who have it going on is a wonderful thought.  But FYI – not everyone deals and some bail out on their Saturn return aka they “fail the Saturn return”.  And those who do are obvious – the ones who still can’t quite manage their lives in their 30’s and 40’s – you know who I’m talking about.  Yeah, them.)

How does the first one feel?  Let me tell you about my go around with this bad boy of astrology:

It hit me like a truck, bearing down with full speed and no lights to warn me (you’d think I would have prepared since I had been studying astrology for so long).  But oh no, Saturn return isn’t going to happen to me because I’m so different than that.  Uh yeah….right, bucko.

Things became dark, intense and hard. I stopped having fun for a while and my wanderlust became nothing more than me running from my issues.  Life ceased being a party and I knew that something was changing deep within.

It’s like all the crap I had been avoiding showed up and said “hey man… it’s time to deal and you’ve got two years to get it together or shit is gonna be messy and stressful for a long, long time.”

So, like a good little astrology gal, I knuckled down.  I stopped being a flake.  I stayed put for a spell.  I created a business.  I worked hard to be a better parent.  I made peace with my ex.  I changed my mindset (this was the biggest one).  I stopped being a victim and started taking control of my life.  In short, I grew the eff up.

Because I had to work so hard through my own Saturn mess, I made it a mission to guide others so that they would have an easier time of it.  This was especially true when my children started to get ready to enter their Saturn returns (if you have a parent who does astrology, consider yourself lucky to have that edge).

My daughter is just finishing up and although she has had a few bumps, we did prep work for a few years before it started.  I am now watching her move into the next phase of her life with confidence and maturity.  (I couldn’t be prouder.)

To find out how Saturn return will effect you directly, please consult with an astrologer so you can get detailed info on what you need to know to make this a beneficial time of your life. (I do not do astrology charts but I will give you a list of my fave ones at the end of this post.)

Please note that everyone’s experience will be different due to where Saturn lands in their chart and what aspects may be involved.  Some will have an easier time of it than others.  (My own astrology chart is extremely complicated so there should have been no surprise at the level of astro-douchebaggery involved in mine. But I was naive – live and learn!)

Here’s my very best advice on how to move like a foxy ninja through your Saturn returns:

1st Saturn return – age 27 – 29: Prepping for adulthood

What it means: you are no longer a kid so now is the time to start getting all adult ‘n stuff.  This is the most important of the Saturn returns so listen up, straighten up and boss up.

How to deal:  congrats, your childhood is over.  Don’t mourn, instead celebrate.  You’re no longer a kid and people are going to start taking you serious.  So it’s time for you to get serious too.  That means: pay your bills.  Stop whining.  If you’ve messed up anything in your life, begin to take the steps to fix it.  Don’t expect mommy and daddy to bail you out.  Bail yourself out.  Get therapy if you feel it will be helpful.  Go back to school or finish that degree. Stop partying and start taking better care of your health.  This is a great time to get married, have children or buy a house – but if none of those things are right for you, don’t feel that you have to do it either.  After all, this is now the period where you get to define who you are and how you will live.  So live well and embrace the wonderful world of being a responsible adult.  Read: Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown.

How to support someone who is going through it:  now is not the time to say “I told you so”.  Instead, let them know that you’ve got their back.  If they are screwing up, point it out gently but firmly.  Do not let them slack off, make excuses or play victim. Remind them that they are in control of their destiny.  If you are the parent of someone going through this transit, now is the time to cut off the gravy train.  Encourage them to flee the nest.  Resist the urge to bail them out.  They have to learn to stand on their own two feet now.  Be helpful when appropriate but do not be an enabler.  You’ll be proud of the end results if you encourage independence.

2nd Saturn return – age 56 – 58: The wise elder

What it means: you are now reaching the pinnacle in your career.  This is your time when you fully know what you are doing.  You have real power now, gathered through years of experience.  OWN THAT POWER.  This is what full bloom looks like, baby.  It’s time to share the wisdom you’ve gathered and plan for the next stage of your life.  Think about how you can begin to add more meaning to your every day.  Your golden years are coming but the gold is in your hands now after years of hard work and raising your family.  One caveat: if you have failed the first Saturn return (aka not taking responsibility for your life), the second one will usually show the results of that – this can bring an epic fall from grace or health issues.  I have often seen people get fired, embroiled in a scandal or get seriously ill during this phase.

How to deal:  accept the fact that you are no longer a “spring chicken”.  Celebrate your age.  Let your gray show if it suits you – or color it if you want.  Update your look on occasion (yes, yoga pants are comfy but come on now!). Own your power and wisdom but keep learning.  Don’t assume you know everything.  If you have not begun to save for retirement, start now.  You may no longer be “cool” (my hipster daughter calls me a “crypster” – an old person who thinks they are still hip) but that’s okay because you don’t have to give a rip about any of that nonsense.  Mentor younger people.  Start working through that bucket list if you have ignored it.  Write your memoirs.  PS special memo to women who think this age means you are now “invisible”:  that’s poppycock.  Your merits and accomplishments may bring you great recognition now. Bask in that because it’s sexy as hell.

How to support someone who is going through it: treat them with respect.  If they are sensitive about aging or losing their looks, don’t make thoughtless remarks.  Use their knowledge – they make wonderful mentors.  If they are taking care of aging parents, offer support as they’ll need it now.  Don’t assume they are old farts, even if they don’t know who Jay Z is.  If they are your parents, thank them for all the sacrifices they made for you.

The 3rd – age 86 – 90: The great transition

What it means: now that we are living longer, many people will see their third Saturn return.  This is the time where we begin to prepare for the final resting place.  It’s the time to come to reflect on the journey this far and contemplate the spiritual side of life.  You’ve come a long way, baby, and you deserve to be king or queen.

How to deal:  don’t take life too seriously (ironically, the first Saturn return is about getting serious – in the last one, you have permission to be less serious).  Laugh.  Forgive the past. You may feel sad or have regrets popping up during this time – work on letting it go and focusing on the present instead.   If you always wanted to dye your hair pink, do it now. Write your stories down and share them with delight (if you have some good scandals or family secrets, this is the time to tell them with relish and abandon).  Enjoy time with younger people (they’ll keep you young at heart).  Stay busy.  Hang out with your friends and do not lose touch with your loved ones.  Avoid isolating yourself.  Keep learning.  Stay connected to the world (my 90 year old aunt is on the internet, peeps!).  Do whatever the hell you please and don’t give a rat’s butt about what anyone else thinks.

How to support someone who is going through it: cherish them.  After all, they’ve been through a lot by now and have much to share. They are a treasure and should be revered. Interview them.  Record their stories.  Get them to tell you all the juicy stories from back in the day.  Keep them up to date with the latest gossip.  Don’t assume they are doddering – many seniors are totally with it until the end. Take good care of them.  Make sure they are getting good health care and that their finances are in good shape (health and security are very important at this stage).  Don’t ignore them (yeah, I know your busy but a visit to maw maw means a lot now).  If they show signs of depression (Saturn return can bring that) or bitter regrets, support them any way you can.  If they are ill and talking about “the end”, be caring and sensitive. Encourage reflection and spirituality.

Fun stuff: digging this post about Hugh Hefner and his third Saturn return (note: he started Playboy during his first!):

Recommended astrologers:


The Midheaven

Mystic Medusa

Saturn Sisters (they wrote an epic book on this subject: Surviving Saturn’s Return: Overcoming the Most Tumultuous Time of Your Life and they have a great post on Saturn return – check it out and add that to your astro-knowledge bank!)

“I’ve always liked Saturn. But I also have some sympathy for Pluto because I heard it’s been downgraded from a planet, and I think it should remain a planet. Once you’ve given something planetary status it’s kind of mean to take it away.”~Jared Leto

Many happy Saturn Returns,


© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2013

PS I wrote this post because I get a lot of conversations flowing around this topic and wanted to share my observations from my own experiences and from the stories and experiences of the many clients I have worked with over the years.

Ready to rock your Saturn Return?  Get yourself a Saturn Returncast and pass this cosmic test with flying colors! (By special request only.)

Photo courtesy of stock photography

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