Are you around (or approaching) the ages of 28-30 or 58-60?
Are you wondering how to make the most of this time (your Saturn return)?
Ever wondered why so many famous people pass away around the age of 27 (the “27 club”)?
Professional astrologer Jay Linden and I discuss these questions, and more, in this interview about astrology and Saturn. In the interview, I talk about some of the personal challenges I went through between the ages of 28-30 and how they related to Saturn.
Anna: Jay, thanks for doing this interview.
So, I turned 30 recently, and in the run up to this milestone, in fact, since I was 28, people would say to me when they knew how old I was: “your Saturn return will be coming up soon!!” and such comments had an energy of trepidation or something fearful about them.
Even though my Saturn return has passed, I’m still a little bit confused about what it was about, apart from that it was something vaguely bad! Can you clarify for us what the Saturn return is exactly?
Jay: Anna, delighted to do the interview and talk about all things Saturn.
This is a planet that often has a bad press, it is associated with doom and gloom, crisis and struggle. However, the qualities Saturn teaches are essential to being able to walk the spiritual path. When Saturn triggers our chart it is a call to maturity, to take responsibility for your life and be true to yourself!
But to go back a few steps and explain exactly what it means to have a Saturn return:
Everyone has a natal Saturn. Your natal astrology chart is a snapshot of where all the planets were at the moment of your birth. Saturn will fall in a particular sign and a particular house. It will also form aspects to other planets.
Now, this natal position is very important – it is the place where you are called to maturity, and it is here you will face your fears and limitations about being in the world. After you are born, Saturn, like the other planets, moves on and makes its way through the signs around the chart until, approximately 29 years later, it arrives back at the same place it was when you were born. Hence Saturn has returned.
Anna: So what do people around the age of 28-30 and 58-60 need to know about their Saturn return?
Jay: First of all, it’s much better to work with an astrological transit (like the Saturn return) than to fight it.
Avoiding or resisting it will only make the whole process more painful and prolonged, and you are less likely to make the best use of the gifts that come with the struggle.
Secondly, Saturn is about the law of choice and consequence. When you hit your return you are brought face to face with consequences of the choices you’ve made. You experience pain and suffering when you are living your life from someone else’s values rather than your own. You also experience pressure when you are living a life that is too small – when fear and self-protection create defences that restrict your growth.
To use an analogy: consider how insects and reptiles grow – they develop to a point where the inner growth is hard up against the outer defence casing. This outer skin was there to protect the creature, but now it is restricting further growth. At this point the outer casing or skin starts to die, it becomes dry and eventually splits. There is a period where the creature is very vulnerable and unprotected, soft parts are exposed. Gradually a new outer casing, bigger than the previous one, is developed and off the creature goes about its business until, once more, it grows to the limit of that casing and the process repeats.
Anna: Great metaphor for that process.
So, why do you think there is a sense of fear/dread/trepidation associated with the Saturn return?
Jay: Probably because Saturn initiates change and most of us resist change – we’d quite happily stay with the security of what we know even if it isn’t working so well.
The Saturn return forces us to face what isn’t working in our lives and actually do something about it. First, we get the crisis that helps us identify what needs attention. Then we have to let go of things that are not in alignment with our true selves – habits, beliefs, relationships, jobs, etc. We have to deal with whatever fears or strategies of self-protection are keeping us in this low vibration state and move through them.
An important part of this process is discovering where you have given your authority away. Who makes your decisions? Who acts like a parent, supporting and protecting you, so you don’t have to be responsible and look after yourself?
Saturn wants you to connect to your inner authority and take charge of directing your own life. This can mean facing up to those who are used to making your decisions for you. This can be scary stuff as sometimes people (whether parents, partners, friends or bosses) might not want to let go of that power we gave them!
Another reason why the ages 28-30 or 58-60 can be so difficult for some is because this call to “grow up” – the Saturn return – actually comes hot on the tail of your progressed lunar return – which happens around 27 years and 54 years.
This progressed lunar return often causes an emotional shake-up. It causes us to get in touch with all our emotional baggage. It also governs past memories, including past lives, so any emotional trauma is reactivated. You may have heard of the 27 club – famous people who never made it past that age!
This is because the lunar return brings up emotional stuff that needs healing – we are thrown into our most vulnerable self. Then a couple of years later we are suddenly challenged to grow up, take responsibility and do major course corrections in the outside world. There’s no doubt it is an intense time.
Anna: Yes, totally. It was an intense time for me, for sure. It’s interesting you mentioned the progressed lunar return which happens around the age of 27. Around the age of 27-28, I came to terms with the fact that my dysfunctional family of origin was not going to change, and I didn’t belong in it anymore.
I also began to get past life healing around that age. It was an extremely intense time for me emotionally speaking, and then to have the Saturn return on top of that – it was tough. Then, once I got closer to the end of the Saturn return, it got easier.
OK, so, we’ve talked about the sometimes challenging aspects of the Saturn return. What about the benefits contained in the Saturn return? The positive stuff.
Jay: The Saturn return prompts us to get on our right path.
As an example in the area of career, suppose you are following a career path because that’s what your parents expected of you, or because your friends were going down that route rather than from your own inner conviction and passion.
You might have got away with this for a while, but when Saturn return hits – you are liable to find that job feels like a trap – it’s restrictive and boring; maybe you feel depressed when you think about it and have real trouble dragging yourself to work.
Now, maybe you took that respectable job because everyone laughed at you when you expressed that you really wanted to be an artist, or a snowboard instructor or a healer. The Saturn return then acts as an initiation – the pain of enduring unsuitable work forces you inwards to the root of the suffering.
At this Saturn return crisis, you have the opportunity to take responsibility for creating your life. If you admit the job is stifling you and face your fears about what others will say and change your career direction, you reap the benefits.
If you ignore the call, you get to keep struggling with a job that is out of whack with who you are and endure the consequences of depression, inner stagnation and loss of purpose. If you are facing your first Saturn return just look around you at older people in jobs that don’t suit them and see what that does.
Now your Saturn return may not affect your career – where Saturn touches your chart will reveal the area most affected. If Saturn affects the relationship area of your chart it is time to focus on whether or not your relationship is based on a strong foundation and is healthy and loving, or if it’s based on image or convenience, or has outlived its time. You’ll also become painfully aware if you are giving your authority and power to your partner. If this is a true relationship, you are likely to want to take it to the next layer of commitment at this time. People are as likely to move in together or get married under Saturn as they are to break up.
So, the benefits of a successful Saturn initiation are to take your power back, to live from your own values and connect to the essential meaning of your life. It is Saturn who helps you to develop self-discipline, resilience, stamina, patience, self-determination and reliability – all qualities that help you create a good life for yourself, and be successful in the outer world.
In literature and film, both Gandalf (Lord of the Rings) and Dumbledore (Harry Potter) are excellent examples of the Saturn archetype. They are charged with saving the world from falling into darkness and cruelty. They lead others and act from unmistakable inner authority – they are beholden to no-one, except the divine mission. Yet they are also connected to their humanity and compassion. Both have a sense of humour and the humility to know their weak or vulnerable places.
If these characters are examples of mature Saturn, the younger characters, Frodo and Harry Potter, are shown undergoing a whole series of Saturn initiations – we are fascinated by their journeys because symbolically they mirror the one we are being asked to make.
Anna: So obviously, the Saturn return affects everyone differently depending on the sign and house that it falls in, but if you wanted more info on how exactly your return is going to affect you, what would you need to look at in your chart?
Jay: People who are going through their first Saturn return right now are dealing with Saturn in Scorpio issues. This is about knowing your limits, developing inner strength and handling the pressure of the outer world. It will also bring up fears around emotional intimacy and connection. Any blockages around sharing your true emotional state – being vulnerable – will really be highlighted.
In your case, Anna – your Saturn return will also be focusing on the areas of self-worth – how well you value and nurture your body – your sense of security and safety – fears around money and lack (that’s the 2nd house issues). Also – because your natal Saturn conjuncts Mars – it will bring up fears around taking risks and asserting yourself.
Anna: Yes, that’s right on for me at the moment. One of the challenges I faced during my Saturn return last year was getting repetitive strain injury (RSI) in my hands and arms, and no longer being able to type, use a mouse, lift things, clean, cook or drive.
Through this experience, I learned that the way I had treated my body in my twenties (like a workhorse) was no longer going to work for me.
Once I stopped putting that pressure on myself and learned that, the RSI went away.
Jay: I currently have Saturn square Mercury so I am being challenged in all areas of communication. Wherever Saturn touches our chart we are a little stiff and have to really work to express that quality. Saturn puts on the brakes, there is a sense of contraction, we do and then re-consider and do again. This can be felt not only at Saturn returns, but whenever Saturn touches another planet or angle in our charts.
Some of us overdo Saturn. We work too hard, take too much responsibility, take ourselves, our lives and our spiritual work too seriously. The signs of this are rigidity, isolation, difficulty in asking for help, loss of humour. We might have physical signs relating to tension, neck problems, teeth issues, or even the RSI you experienced Anna.
Anna: Yes. So, the next question on my mind is: what’s the best way to deal with the Saturn return and the other Saturn transits that occur all the time?
Jay: First identify the area of life where you are struggling. Take some alone time and go inwards. Ask yourself some key questions:
- What have I grown out of?
- What fears are controlling me?
- What challenge or responsibility am I avoiding?
- Who have I given my authority to?
- Where do I give up too easily, instead of making the effort to make something happen that I really care about?
- What do I need to let go of?
- Where am I sensitive to social approval and expectations?
When you have gained enough self-knowledge from this kind of introspection, the next thing is to make changes in the outer world so that your life aligns more to your true self. Saturn links divine intention with time and space and requires not just inner insight, but actual change in the external world.
Anna: So essentially, you’re saying that during this time, you should change whatever isn’t working – the relationship, the career, the lifestyle, etc.
Jay: Before you take that action, though, it is important to do the inner work so that whatever changes you make take you closer to your true self.
I’ve known people under a Saturn influence go through all the crisis and struggle of breaking up their relationship or changing their job or negotiating a health problem, but not doing the inner work of really understanding why this happening and how they are out of alignment. What happens then is the changes are superficial. They end up in another relationship that has the same dynamics as the one they broke up from – or a job with the same patterns of restriction – or they go back to the same habits that caused the health issue.
Action for action’s sake isn’t the answer – it has to be strategic and linked to making your life more authentic. This probably explains why Saturn slows things down and requires us to develop patience so we can take considered action based upon our inner wisdom. If you are on the right track in the area Saturn touches, you’ll be asked to take it to the next level of commitment on the journey towards mastery.
Anna: Thanks for doing this interview Jay – it’s been really interesting.
Jay: A pleasure, Anna. It’d be interesting to hear some of your readers’ Saturn stories.
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