Breakdowns, turmoil, insurmountable obstacles, quarter-life crises: Saturn Returns get a bad rap.
During Saturn Return periods we typically see the fruits of our efforts — or lack thereof — manifesting in our lives with all the subtlety and grace of a steam engine. We're held accountable for past actions, and given an opportunity to grow through challenges and lessons we missed.
But what if we anticipated what our Saturn Returns were trying to tell us? What if we looked to our charts for messages from the future-possible, and prepared ourselves accordingly?
There's so much power in engaging with cosmic signposts and signals instead of trying desperately to make them go away. In taking radical responsibility for the themes being activated by a transit and doing the work to reap the rewards. I created this step-by-step guide to show you the important info you'll need to meet your Saturn Return head-on — or better understand it in context, even after it's passed you by.
But first, let's dig into the basics.
WHY DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MY SATURN RETURN?
Because, simply put, your Saturn Return will test you — and whether you stumble and fall or succeed and ascend will depend on how consciously you prepare. When all that you've learned and put into practice comes crashing into all that you haven't yet learned or have failed to implement, it's easy to sink under the weight.
SO WHAT IS A SATURN RETURN?
It's simpler than it seems at first glance. Every 29.5 years, Saturn's orbit of the sun Returns it to the exact location the planet inhabited at the time of your birth. Saturn is a planet that represents authority and materiality; structures and rules; order and hard work. Its return to the spot it occupied at your birth signifies a kind of performance review with the cosmic taskmaster / boss archetype: how well have you met the challenges that Saturn is presenting to you to battle and learn from? Have you done the work of becoming an authority in the sign and house Saturn is transiting?
HOW LONG WILL MY SATURN RETURN LAST?
Saturn is at its most powerful when its within one or two orb degrees of your natal Saturn, which translates to roughly 9-10 months of peak intensity. Some astrologers, however, consider a Saturn Return active during the full 2.5 years Saturn spends transiting the sign it occupied at your birth. Ultimately, your experience will be the deciding factor here.
You can use this calculator can show you when your Return will be at its most active.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR SATURN RETURN
LOCATE SATURN IN SAGITTARIUS IN YOUR BIRTH CHART
Saturn will spend the next two years in Sagittarius, which means that wherever Sagittarius sits in your natal chart is being lit up by Saturn's influence.
Here's a quick tip: if you were born between 1985-1988 there's a good chance that Saturn was in Sagittarius — which, as luck would have it, is exactly where it's hanging out now. Happy Saturn Return!
To help you find where Sagittarius lives in your chart, I created the below downloadable cheat-sheet to show you what house Saturn will occupy in your chart for the next two years. If you know your rising sign, that's important here too: your Saturn Return will blend the energies of the two houses.
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LEARN ABOUT THE HOUSE SATURN IS TRANSITING IN YOUR CHART
The house Saturn in Sagittarius is transiting colors how your Saturn Return manifests in your life — and shows you which arena will benefit the most from focused preparation.
For example, if your Saturn Return takes place in the fourth house, your home, family and foundations are up for review. In the year leading up to your Saturn Return, this is the zone to focus on. This will look like different things to different people based on individual circumstances, but generally what's required will be a literal and figurative cleaning house. Are you clinging to living arrangements that no longer serve? Where have you denied your heritage?
Here are a few keywords for each of the houses below to get you started — this list is by no means comprehensive, but should give you a quick idea of the arena your Saturn Return will activate:
SATURN TRANSITING THE FIRST HOUSE - realm of the self; first impressions; body, style and personal appearance
SATURN TRANSITING THE SECOND HOUSE - values and possessions; security; ownership; earned income
SATURN TRANSITING THE THIRD HOUSE - communication and writing; siblings and neighbors; the mental realm of ideas and facts
SATURN TRANSITING THE FOURTH HOUSE - home and family; roots and lineage; inherited beliefs and identities
SATURN TRANSITING THE FIFTH HOUSE - romance and love affairs; children and play; creativity
SATURN TRANSITING THE SIXTH HOUSE - health; routine and organization; service and work
SATURN TRANSITING THE SEVENTH HOUSE - partnership and one-on-one relationships; cooperation; contracts and negotiations
SATURN TRANSITING THE EIGHTH HOUSE - sex, death, debts and taxes; transformation and re-birth
SATURN TRANSITING THE NINTH HOUSE - philosophy and purpose; deeper meaning; higher education and search for wisdom; long-distance travel
SATURN TRANSITING THE TENTH HOUSE - career and reputation; social status; achievement and ambition
SATURN TRANSITING THE ELEVENTH HOUSE - hopes, dreams and wishes; groups and associations that share a common goal or interest; friendships
SATURN TRANSITING THE TWELFTH HOUSE - subconscious patterns; self-undoing; collective unconscious; the unseen
BRAINSTORM WAYS THE THEMES MIGHT SHOW UP IN YOUR LIFE
When you read the themes for the sector of your chart Saturn's transiting, pay attention to what resonates. What comes up for you? Have you dropped the ball in this zone in the past? If it's the sixth house, perhaps you've failed to keep up with check-ups and dentist's appointments — maybe your work/life balance gone completely off-keel, or you've been subsisting on for the last year on iced coffee and gourmet doughnuts (hey, it happens to the best of us!) If it's the third house, your personal habits of thought and communication are at issue. The fifth? Your ability to set boundaries in love, relationships, and creative endeavors that serve you rather than harm you.
Where do you need greater structure and boundaries to ultimately enable more flow in your life? This is the most important part of the process, so don't take this work lightly. Try keeping a running list for a month and reviewing at month's end for a few of the biggest areas that deserve attention.
Once you've settled on a few key issues to work on, begin to actively explore ways in which you might improve on them. Saturn loves research and activities that build structure and direct results, so this is the time to put everything you learn into action as soon as you can.
WHAT ASPECTS IS SATURN MAKING TO YOUR CHART?
Here we enter into some more advanced astrology — and it's likely a practiced astrologer will need to help you nail down these details. It's important (the aspects that Saturn is making to other planets in your natal chart will help you streamline your Saturn Return strategy and give a sense of timing to your efforts, for instance) but knowing what house Saturn is transiting in your chart, what that means, and what to do about it will get you leagues ahead during one of the most challenging periods astrological periods you'll ever confront.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU'RE ALREADY IN THE MIDDLE OF YOUR SATURN RETURN
First, please know that every Saturn Return has an end date: you can use this calculator to discern exactly when the pressure you're experiencing may start to ease up. Second, if Saturn's crushing you under 10,000 leaden weights, that's a sign that you may be missing out on or avoiding the lessons Saturn is attempting to instill, and failing to receive some of the gifts promised by your Saturn Return. The practices outlined above should help you get yourself back on the right track.
The bottom line here is that Saturn doesn't have to be your enemy. Not now. Not mid-Saturn Return. Not ever. In fact, if you let it, doing Saturn well can transform your entire life — but only once you slow down, listen deeply, and really pick up what the cosmic taskmaster is putting down.
What do you have to look forward to? Brilliant self-sufficiency. Mutually nourishing relationships. A pithy and resolute sense of self. And the proper establishment of grown-ass woman boundaries.
Saturn is here to put a stop to the ways in which you fail to live out your gifts. Keep the faith — and do the the work.