This year I have Saturn in the solar return third house – and boy, do I know it! An X-ray taken at my local hospital confirmed my suspicions; yes, I have arthritis developing in my knees. Young subscribers may wonder what the fuss is about – older subscribers may get the physical reality and inevitability (Saturn) that comes with the passing years. The point is that this is classic Saturn in the solar return third house. Saturn forces us to face reality wherever he is found. It happens in the ‘style’ of your Saturn sign – and that’s as true in a solar return chart as it is in a natal chart.
Saturn rules old age – though I hope that I’m a long way off from having to use a walking stick – and it’s in Aquarius during this solar return year (where we find X-rays…) and it’s in the solar return third house, where we find mobility. The reality (Saturn) that I’ve had to face up to this solar return year is that my mobility has been impacted – and that’s something that will affect my life moving forward. Saturn – even in a predictive chart of this nature – does ‘long term’.
So, to mark the moment of my new-found arthritic knee pain, I thought I would explore the range of meanings we associate with Saturn in the solar return third house. I’m currently working on the ‘sequel’ to Solar Returns: An Introduction – it’s a long term project and the publishing date is some time away – but the book will be, I hope, an invaluable reference work for readers to use every year. The third house rules books, so it’s appropriate that Saturn here also takes the long-term view.
Extract | Solar Returns: The Planets in Houses
This extract is currently in draft form, but I hope that it covers all of the major points that I feel need to be made regarding Saturn in the solar return third house. If you would like to be updated regarding the book release date, please subscribe to this website (it’s free!) using the form at the foot of this page or on the dedicated book page.
Saturn in the Solar Return Third House
Saturn is the ‘Lord of Time’, so Saturn in the solar return third house brings to mind all of those issues that have to do with timing, ageing and delays. Things slow down under Saturn’s influence – and while Saturn can’t stop time itself, it may impact on the things we use to tell the time. If you own a wristwatch, you may find the battery runs out or it needs repair during the year. Incidentally, I can vouch for this one personally; at the time of writing this section (2023) I have this placement.
I’m the owner of three wristwatches – all of them old – and right now, none of them work, making it hard to ‘tell the time’ – a concept associated with Saturn in the solar return third house. One is in the jewellers for repair – and the repairs have also been subject to delay. Solar return placements can be that literal – especially with Saturn. You too may experience issues with watches or clocks. For example, old or antique time pieces may feature in your life this year – you may purchase one – and if you do, take care not to lose or damage it on your way home. That would also be typical of this placement.
That caveat also applies, incidentally, to your mobile phone. When Saturn is in the solar return house, you may experience restrictions to your phone usage, and this may be caused by loss or damage to the device, or issues with your network provider. If you’ve been suffering with an unreliable phone signal, you may decide that you need to join a network that gives you better coverage. It’s possible that you’ve been enduring a less than perfect service for some time – Saturn often indicates long-standing issues – and this year those issues may become intolerable.
It may be time (Saturn) for you to do something about it – though Saturn in the solar return third house also indicates complaint and procrastination; if you delay dealing with the issue, then you may only have yourself to blame for any slow communications or feelings of frustration that you experience. Incidentally, if you engage with any official complaints procedures during the year – and Saturn here suggests that is a possibility – don’t expect the issue to be resolved in good time.
Timing itself may become an issue during the year. Even for the most punctual of people, you may have occasions when you miss appointments or are late for them – and that may be for reasons beyond your control. The third house is where we become mobile – and that includes methods of transportation. If you rely on public transport to get you from one place to another, Saturn in the solar return third house means that you may experience delays or cuts in your transportation service.
New timetables may be less efficient than the old one that you had become used to; reduced transport services may present you with timing issues – particularly on your journey to work (Saturn) or there may be delays for other reasons, such as roadworks or other infrastructure projects, as Saturn signifies construction. So, if you travel by car, don’t think you’re going to be exempt from the effects of Saturn in the solar return third house. Long tailbacks may afflict you more than usual this year.
Motor travel can be affected in other ways too. You may have issues with the timing of your car engine; it may need recalibrating and this will affect your ability to travel. If you own an old car, you may be reminded of its age, as breakdowns and expensive repairs may become necessary during the year. When Saturn in the solar return third house comes calling, you may even decide you can live your life without a car.
It may be the cheap and environmentally friendly option, but even short journeys will take longer and you’ll have to look at alternative methods and routes to get where you need to be. Unfortunately, that may also occur if you have an encounter with the law, as Saturn rules the authorities in a legal sense. Having your driving licence suspended may mean you’re not allowed to drive while you have Saturn in the solar return third house. Walking – the oldest form of mobility known to humankind – may be your best option.
Personal mobility in all its forms may be affected by Saturn in the solar return third house, so the good old-fashioned walking option may not be as easy as you would like it to be. Depending on other factors in your solar return chart, your physical mobility may be more limited or difficult during the year. If you have had an accident or illness that currently limits your movements, this Saturn placement could be descriptive of the consequences of that.
Saturn in the solar return house also represents the aging process and our bones in the context of mobility; those reading this who are ‘a certain age’ may not need and reminder, as the their creaking joints will be telling them all they need to know. Joint issues, like arthritis, may become more of an issue during the year – and all of the issues I have already mentioned affect more than your legs. Your hands – related to Mercury and the third house – may be affected too.
The third house, ruled by Mercury, is associated with dexterity; difficulties with using your hands affects your ability to communicate (try using your mobile phone with broken or arthritic fingers) as well as your ability to perform simple things like writing notes or carrying groceries home from the store. It’s at times like this you may need your neighbours, but with Saturn in the solar return third house, you may not be on the best of terms. Communications between you may be limited. There can be a host of reasons for this, but you may have to make an extra effort (Saturn) to maintain contact.
However, there is another side to this; it may be that your neighbours are the ones who require assistance. They may be immobilised (albeit temporarily) or they may be elderly, so you offer to help them in some way. Saturn is practical, sensible and organised. If there’s a way of working out a better way to do things, you may be the person best placed to work out how. Even if your neighbours are fit and healthy, you may be asked to assist them in some way – perhaps taking mail deliveries while they are absent from home. Saturn in the solar return house can show obligation and duty too.
The third house is the house of the mind, and although Saturn in the solar return third house is often taken to be a sign of mental limitation or depression, those outcomes are not an inevitability. Saturn often focuses the mind, so you may be able to concentrate on any major project that requires you to write or communicate information that’s either serious or important – like an academic thesis, business proposal or major report. If that’s where you are in your life, Saturn here represents a positive use of your time – and it’s one that has the potential to affect the course of your life beyond the lifetime of this solar return year.
This is not unusual with Saturn in the solar return third house. In whatever way this Saturn placement manifests, it will have the potential for longer term ramifications – because that’s how Saturn works. Saturn in the solar return third house teaches us a lesson – the more difficult Saturn experiences will be had by those who are unwilling to learn. Perhaps I need to buy a new wristwatch…
© Sara Shipman 2023