If you’re around 29 years old and your life feels like it’s going up in smoke, it’s probably not your fault. It’s… Saturn’s. As in: the planet. He’s responsible for adulthood’s trial-by-fire, and here to teach work ethic, boundaries, discipline and self-control. Anywhere between 28 and 31 (you can work it out exactly here) Saturn puts us face-to-face with our deepest fears so that we experience a sort of emotional re-birth. Basically, that “turning 30 coming-of-age-crisis”? It’s science.
Thrice in our lifetime, Saturn, a difficult taskmaster of a planet that demands you rise to his occasion, returns to the same point in our chart as it was the day we were born, after orbiting the sun once – and most people report feeling like their world has turned upside down because of it.
At about 29-and-a-half years old this happens for the first time, and is usually the beginning of some major internal upheaval. Think of Saturn as your lunch money bully – he lifts you up by the armpits, spinning you around to shake everything out of your pockets… and anything that stays behind you get to hold on to. But you might not keep what you first thought was important to you.
Saturn’s Return can be experienced as deeply negative, or wildly positive – some of it depends on your preparation, and some of it is unavoidable. Day babies tend to find the period (that can last anywhere from a few weeks to a series of months, depending on your birthday) as being more constructive than people born at night, who generally get a more tempestuous time of it.
Saturn is cruel to be kind. By breaking you down he can reveal the most necessary tools you have in order to build yourself back up, stronger and more able. Saturn is the ruler of Capricorn, the high achieving, hardest working sign in the zodiac, so that means often Saturn’s return will affect our careers, and this is the age that we often work our hardest, obsessively almost, to become who we want to be. But no aspect of your being will be left unexplored. Saturn’s Return is a warts-and-all astrological experience that there’s no escaping from.
Saturn’s Return is the time in our lives to expect all of our “mistakes” to finally crystallize – this is a golden opportunity to learn from the punishing “growing up” years, and because Saturn is uncompromising know that if you don’t learn from your lessons, he’ll throw the same issue up again and again and again, smack-down style, until you get the picture.
Think of this bittersweet, challenging time as Life Boot camp. You’ll come out the other side stronger… but might have to cry a lot before you get there.
Here are some tips for surviving your first Saturn’s Return:
1. Move On
Our twenties are about experimenting, of doing so very much because we don’t know, yet, who we want to be. Our twenties are full schedules, saying yes, juggling eleventy million different projects and ideas and thoughts and friendship circles… and now, at 29, is the time to focus. To cull the clutter. To move on from the stuff not truly serving our goals. Let it go. Priority is designed as a singular word, after all.
To get the most out of Saturn’s Return (or the least amount of upset), start reflecting honestly on your life now. You might not “be” where you hoped you might, or don’t yet have the things you still desire. Saturn’s Return will force you to reassess your goals, your ambitions, and your dreams, so that they more accurately represent who you are supposed to be – not who you thought you should become. That can be hella scary. There could be a huge change coming your way when you realise you’ve been on the wrong track…
3. Be honest
Be honest – most of all, with yourself. Assess your career, your relationship, your friendships: leave no stone unturned. Ask yourself: do I have what I deserve? This is the time heavy baggage will naturally fall away from your life (sometimes causing some drama along the way, but all in service of something better) and you need to understand your own core values to appreciate what could set you free.
4. Don’t resist
This is a time of immense growth, but with it comes the inevitable growing pains. That is normal, and expected, and all part of Saturn’s grand master plan to catapult you to the stars. Embrace it! And don’t drink too much.
(Also, FYI: you can look forward to a second and third saturn’s return, too: one at about 56, which can signal maturity, and another at almost 90, wherein wise old age sets in. So… best master how to navigate the occasion now. It’s coming for you again. And again.)