Saturn returns have been on my mind this year – and not just because we had such a big Capricorn ‘event’ earlier this year with the ‘Great Conjunction’. This is a Saturn return year for me and it’s my second Saturn return – they come around approx. every 29 years. I’ve been looking back (very Saturn!) at my first Saturn return and the experiences I went through at that time. A quick glance at an ephemeris and a trawl through my memories shows events of some significance – and they are the kind of events many of you would associate with your first Saturn return.
In the run up to my first Saturn return I married and, as my return hit, we started a family. I also suffered redundancy from my job so had a significant career break at the time my parental responsibilities were increasing. Second time around? Well, they say Saturn gets easier as you get older and this time around I’m getting married (again), I have a career and responsibilities to re-structure and, this time around, my Saturn return is bringing significant knee pain (Saturn rules the bones) that’s reminding me that I’m not getting any younger.
How Saturn Returns Work
So, although my experiences are my own, there are common themes that apply to everybody’s experiences when Saturn return hits. Those themes tend to be reality, responsibility, commitment, maturity, ageing and they often involve making important and life changing decisions. So, it’s not unusual to make relationship commitments, start families, make important career moves, relocate, or be faced with ‘grown up’ issues concerning health or wellbeing, or financial security. Deciding to invest in a pension would be a great example of this.
Saturn returns may present you with external events that you need to learn to handle – but the ‘events’ associated with Saturn returns may be internal too. A moment of realisation, or a gradual awareness that some things in your life need to change, is just as much a Saturn return event as any other we would experience at this time – and that’s not always negative in outcome. Of course those two things – outer events and inner ruminations about where life has taken you thus far – are often connected. One may activate the other – or be a response to what the universe is throwing at you in the here and now.
Many people tell me they are terrified of what their Saturn return will bring to the table. Saturn is associated with fear, but it’s the kind of fear we feel when we know we need to face up to the things we’ve been avoiding, and the apprehension we feel when we know we are accountable for our actions and there’s simply no-one else to blame. Saturnian fear comes from being presented with stark reality – and how we deal with that reality is a measure of how well Saturn is working in our lives.
Saturn: Things to Remember
To assuage those fears it’s important to remember a few Saturn pointers. First, Saturn returns take your life to another level. Why? Because Saturn is about process. Saturn returns mark clearly defined stages in your life and the transition between those stages can be fearful for some of us – and less so for others. In astrology it’s usually held that those of us strongly attuned to Saturn in our charts somehow find Saturn returns ‘easier’ in some way. Experience tells me that I’m not so sure about that one. Saturn rewards you for hard work – and remember Saturn’s rewards last a long time.
Regardless of your birth chart’s inclinations, Saturn returns focus on areas of your life where you need to get real, re-structure your life, make plans and re-evaluate your existing plans in the cold light of day. That is nothing to be afraid of, but as Saturn returns to its own place in your birth chart, you are reminded that that is not an easy place to be. Saturn, according to its house position in your birth chart, signifies the area in your life where you need to work hard at dealing with issues such as inhibition, restriction, responsibility, doubt and inner fear. Saturn does, however, give you the resolve to overcome any of your perceived limitations.
It’s useful to remind yourself of the importance of Saturn’s house in your natal chart as it’s often where you will feel the most pressure and vulnerability during your Saturn return. The events you experience may relate directly to Saturn’s house. That’s where the impact of those events may fall (in an emotional sense) thus sending you a clear message that you need to address your own issues as part of the process of becoming more mature. So, I’m going to look at the potential impact of your Saturn return by house position to give you a steer on the things you need to look out for.
Saturn Return: First House
When your Saturn return takes place in your first house it’s often a reminder of Saturn’s personal natal legacy. Shyness and self doubt may already be features of your personality Alternatively, you may be regarded as serious and hard working. In all honesty, you’re probably both. Regardless of the type of experiences that occur in your life during your Saturn return, you are likely to feel the impact of those experiences in a deeply personal manner – and you may become even more hard on yourself than usual.
You may feel self conscious or self critical, or be plagued by self doubt when Saturn returns, however, this is also a great opportunity to work hard at your insecurities and become more comfortable with who you are. Saturn rewards those who work hard, and, with Saturn in your first house, this can be the time you adopt a more mature attitude towards life. You may feel ‘older’, but that’s no bad thing. You have the chance to be recognised for your patient, sensible approach to life and be recognised for the good qualities you always had – but you need to develop a good relationship with yourself first.
Saturn Return: Second House
With Saturn in the second house, there are several things about you that are worth noting. You’re likely to be naturally thrifty, you may have a solid set of values and you believe in working hard for your money. You are unlikely to be extravagant or wasteful, but when Saturn returns to this house in your natal chart, you may wonder if this attitude has all been worthwhile, as you may feel you’ve achieved nothing for your efforts, and the process of change may, initially, cause you to question the value of the things you thought were secure and you once held dear.
You may find you have issues with your self esteem – dealing with major life changes and serious issues can sap your self confidence – and you may, initially, feel that the ground has been taken from beneath your feet. What Saturn is doing is designed to make you stop, look more closely at your own talents, skills and resources, and to deploy them in a more effective manner. Financial issues are not uncommon when Saturn returns here. The object is to make you more responsible and stable and learn to live according to your values – and your means. And be kind to yourself – value yourself more than you do.
Saturn Return: Third House
Saturn in the third house can indicate a serious mind, a plain speaker, deliberate thought processes and a mentality that is structured and usually well ordered. That sounds good but the downsides are that you may be inclined to think that you’re intellectually limited – even if that’s not true. You may find it difficult to communicate with confidence, thinking ‘outside the box’ may mean nothing to you and, at its worst, Saturn in this house may indicate mental issues like depression. You are ever the pessimist.
When your Saturn return events occur, it’s the negative side of this house placement that is often triggered first. Communications breakdowns, frustrations while travelling, issues in your neighbourhood, or with your neighbours, may occur. However, Saturn’s message is not confined to complaints and negativity. You’re being challenged to think more constructively and develop a more resilient mindset to enable you to prioritise more effectively and become better at engaging with the world. From a closed mind to a controlled mind is the message here.
Saturn Return: Fourth House
With Saturn here, you may feel your life to date has been limited by your family circumstances. In truth, any feelings you may have of being ‘held back’ simply show how vulnerable you are when you encounter issues that seem so far out of your comfort zone. Well, we all have to do that sometime, but around the time of your Saturn return you may feel that more acutely than most. You may experience challenges in the home, relocation issues or issues with your parents or children.
Your Saturn return events – whatever form they take – may make you feel insecure because you may have to let go of a habitual way of life you’ve become used over the years. Saturn is reminding you that things change. Your home and family life is not cast in stone – even if you would prefer it that way. Now is the time to deal with your inner insecurities and realise that you can build a firm foundation on which you can have a stable life in the years to come. It begins with taking care of yourself and your needs – and maybe that’s the real change for you.
Saturn Return: Fifth House
We tend to think of a fifth house Saturn as limiting creative expression. Alternatively, with this placement, that could be something you take very seriously indeed. It’s generally true to say that if you have a fifth house Saturn, you may have issues when it comes to developing your innate skills and talents because you tend to think that everyone is better at things than you. It’s an attitude that can make you give up before you start. If you work hard at self development – and many of you will – you may need constant re-assurance that you’re doing the right thing.
So, when Saturn returns, you have a great opportunity to work on those issues. The issue of personal creativity and self confidence is likely to impact on you when you’re dealing with Saturn return events – you may have issues with children (your ultimate creation) or you may question your ability to deal with life as a mature and responsible adult. Restricting yourself to eternal childhood is not a solution to the life’s issues and Saturn here really does want you to grow up – but it’s nothing you can’t handle as you have the means to do so deep within.
Saturn Return: Sixth House
There’s a tradition in astrology that associates Saturn in this house with ill health. The good news is that you’re probably more cautious than most when it comes to taking care of your physical (and mental) needs. The bad news is that you can tend towards hypochondria if you’re not careful. Apart from that , the issues you may have spent a lifetime dealing with usually stem from the fact that you can be hard on yourself. You may even push yourself beyond acceptable limits, as you are naturally inclined towards hard work. You may be highly critical – both of yourself and others – as a result.
When your Saturn return hits, it may hit you hard because you may feel that you’re unable to comply with your usual punishing regime. You may have to deal with health issues (not necessarily your own) or maybe a reorganisation at work. You may feel you’re being punished – but not so. Saturn wants you to look at your work life balance – and the key word is balance. Focus your energies and don’t feel guilty about the things you can no longer do. Get better at the things you can do. This is one of the Saturn placements where you need to learn to be kind to yourself – so do it.
Saturn Return: Seventh House
With Saturn in the seventh house, life would be great if it wasn’t for other people. Saturn here may have given many of you a challenge when it comes to relating effectively, as you may shy of commitment. No-one seems good enough. Your standards may be excessively high (there is such a thing) and you may be guilty of projecting your own deficiencies onto others – without a hint of irony. Alternatively, you may be excessively loyal and committed – to the extent that you become wholly dependent on your other half – and lose yourself in the process.
So, when Saturn rolls around, you may face two distinct (but not unrelated) issues. First, big relationship events may occur. It’s not uncommon to face commitment issues at this time. You may feel under pressure to conform or act in a certain manner. Second, those of you already committed may need to address some of the behaviours within your relationship – regardless of the type of relationship you have. Taking professional advice or putting a relationship on a new or more sound footing is not uncommon. The object is to work out what you want from relationships – and learn more about yourself in the process.
Saturn Return: Eighth House
Those of you born with Saturn in the eighth house may have an issue with sharing. Yourself, your assets, your body – there is something that makes you uncomfortable about connecting at a deep level and that’s often because you have trust issues somewhere along the line. You can feel vulnerable and this can make you subject to regular disappointment in relationships – especially sexual relationships. It’s not just about sex, of course. It’s about any situation where you have to reveal yourself more than you’re comfortable with.
When Saturn returns you may find yourself needing to reveal yourself to a lover, the bank, the tax authorities or the mortgage company. You may even feel violated as a victim of crime. It may feel as if you have no-where to hide – and you may feel as if you’re on the wrong side of power too. The point is that you are not powerless at all. You can’t get what you want unless you’re prepared to give a little – even a lot. If your Saturn return is tough, it’s a message that you need to realise the world is not out to get you – and you need to realise this to obtain the deep satisfaction you crave.
Saturn Return: Ninth House
In this house, there is the danger your world view is rather limited. Getting a sense of perspective on life may seem like a tall order for you, or you may fail to capitalise on life’s opportunities because of your own self-limiting belief system. You may have a narrow view of the world, yet, paradoxically, you may also have worked hard at becoming an authority in a limited – but specific – area. You know what you know – but when your Saturn return comes around, your understanding may be challenged in several ways.
You’re likely to be challenged on a number of fronts – some of them profound and some less so. You always go on holiday to the same place every year? Perhaps you decide to make a change. Or maybe someone else challenges your outlook. What Saturn is doing is making you look again at why you fear things that seem so different to you. Whether it’s cultural difference, ideological difference, religious difference or simply stuff you deem to be ‘foreign’ in some way, you’ll encounter such things in your Saturn return year and be required to re-assess your views. And a change of scene will be for the better.
Saturn Return: Tenth House
Saturn is strong in the tenth house, but sometimes strength can be a weakness. You may be used to being in a position of authority, but there is also a flip side, as taking responsibility may be something you find difficult to do. That seems ironic with this Saturn placement, but Saturn can be avoidant, and when your Saturn return comes around you can be sure that Saturn is going to demand you step up to the plate. This can involve your career and sense of personal responsibility – particularly when it comes to steering your life in the right direction.
The place you’re in now? That’s your responsibility and you can’t blame anyone else. Sound harsh? Actually it isn’t, and during this time you may discover that the biggest lesson of all is that you are in control of your own destiny. So, taking charge may become a theme this year – and that may occur outwardly – as you learn what leadership and responsibility mean, or it may occur on the inside as you make decisions you would normally be reluctant to take. We all need a role model and sometimes one will appear. However, your best role model? That’s you, and that’s what Saturn wants you to become.
Saturn Return: Eleventh House
Saturn in the eleventh house can be the sign of the loner. Sometimes you will have difficulties connecting with others at a social level. Sometimes you are socially successful – but feel that you’re somehow different or set apart in some way. There always seems to be a disconnect between you and the world in which you live – and sometimes this externalises as a desire to change the outer world so that it accords more to the idealistic vision you have of your own place in society. Sometimes you may simply want your own space.
When Saturn returns, it’s your idealism and ideals that may be in the firing line. For someone who wants change at an external level, you’re often extremely reluctant to change anything about yourself. You crave a sense of belonging, yet your own prejudices can make it so hard for you to integrate with others. You do best when fighting for a cause – and Saturn’s return may bring you the opportunity to do that. But, to succeed, you’re doing to be asked to put your ego aside and contribute to something that is bigger than you. Allow yourself this change – it’s bigger and better than you could imagine.
Saturn Return: Twelfth House
Saturn in the twelfth house may struggle in the realm of spirituality. Alternatively, the more nebulous, spiritual and mystical side of life may seem all too real. The twelfth house is the realm of the subconscious and those with Saturn here may feel blessed that the gateway to their personal underworld seems safely barred. Fear of the unknown, of our deep psychological workings and our intuitive processes is not uncommon, but with Saturn here the door may be locked. The question is, where does that fear originate?
When Saturn returns that question may come to the fore. The twelfth house contains all of the mental and emotional junk we’ve failed to clear out from this life – and beyond. Disturbing dreams, unexplained worries, and concerns and feelings you can’t explain, may accompany the Saturn return events coming your way. They may be the Saturn return ‘events’ – so what do they mean? Well, it’s time to listen to what the universe is telling you. This may be an exhausting and draining time, but it’s about opening yourself up to healing the past rather than locking it away. It’s tough – but so much better afterwards.
© Sara Shipman