Interpretation Methods, Natal Charts

Steve Talks About Saturn Returns

Getting to Grips with the Saturn Return in the Chart

Saturn Return

In Western Astrology, a Saturn return is when the planet Saturn returns to the same place in the sky that it was when the person whose chart it is was born.


We have to realize that when measuring astrological movements of Saturn through signs and houses in the person’s horoscope chart (just like all the other planets, luminaries and other objects), the years mentioned here are not necessarily going to be exactly 7 years, or exactly 28 years. It is an organic process that takes its own sweet time. However, we can approximate and will generally find that the Saturn Return will occur from between 27 and 29.5 years of age. All the other intermediate points (Saturn square natal Saturn, the opposition to the natal Saturn etc..) will be approximate too. E.g.: the square may occur as early as 6 and as late as 8 and a half; in the same way, the opposition may occur at 13 or even 15 and a half.

Starting at birth, a person experiences regular “check-ups” with Saturn that occur every seven or so years. At age 7 Saturn is square to itself. (Early childhood and how it is all working out in the family. Learning what discipline entails and understanding the authority of parents.) At age 14 Saturn is in opposition to itself. (This is the entrance to middle school/high school. The Saturn return is when the planet has traveled 360° and returned to where it was when the person was born. Each aspect is a time when we actually take a deep hard look at ourself!



What Exactly is the Saturn Return?

In this evolved world, we are now seeing a far more eloquent group of people with regard to astrological knowledge. So, this article is being written to address exactly these people. Because I feel that now more and more people understand that astrology is way more than just knowing your “sign” and who you’re supposed to be compatible with. So, with this in mind, we can now dive in and see how the Saturn Return is supposed to affect you.

The exact orbit of Saturn is 29 years. However, this is not exact. As I mentioned a few paragraphs above, it could be literally between 27 1/2 and 30 years for it to return to its place where it was when the person whose chart we are looking at was born. So, you will see that, considering this cycle, in this day and age, most people will live to see three Saturn Returns, one around the age of 30, the second around the age of 60 and the third at the ripe old age of 90!


The First Saturn Return Happens At Age 30 or Thereabouts…

Let’s now look at the first Saturn return and what it means to you.

This is going to start coming on around your mid-20s, but of course, if you are a “late bloomer”, you will probably feel this nearer to your early 30s. Either way any good astrologer(including me!) would be able to tell you when you are going to have your Saturn Return or when it happened to you, along with future Returns and any that have already passed.

I have so many comments from people who tell me: “My whole world is breaking down! What on earth can I do?” Others say, “I have tried for so long to do XXX, and it just isn’t working! What can I possibly be doing wrong?” Yet others tell me that their relationships are breaking up, their marriages ending, they’re losing their jobs, or even that they’ve lost their innocence! Now, I like that last one. It’s really because it’s the closest it comes to describing what’s actually happening.


We have to remember certain things about Saturn: Saturn is depicted as the disciplinarian, the ruler of time, the thing that holds you back from falling off a steep cliff down to your death! It also rules old age! Whereas Jupiter indicates the areas in your life where you may be a little outspoken or perhaps confident, bumptious, perhaps even too confident to the point where you overextend yourself, Saturn is the area of your chart where you have your deepest fears and where you fear failure more than anywhere else! So, where the Saturn Return will appear is closely linked to all the things that you fear the most.

In childhood, perhaps you fear the father or authority figures the most. Perhaps you do not have a father or your father is not living with you. Maybe he died or your parents got divorced? Don’t worry, what you are looking for here is the person who had the most authority and sent you down that long road of deciding for yourself what was right or wrong, whether he is/was your biological father or not.

Father figure 001

Socio-paths, you can stop reading here, because I know full well that you do not like the whole concept of right and wrong, because you just disregard it!

Never mind; I think the point has been made and that Saturn symbolizes your father (either in a personal way or in a universal way) and your early responses to him will shape the way you react to male figures or the way you have been conditioned because of whatever was broken or damaged because of the relationship you had either with your own father or with so-called father figures in your lives.

Okay, so I hear you asking: “Fine, but how does this even relate to what I’m going through at the age of 30?”


Here’s the answer: at this time you have had four angular aspects to our natal Saturn: two squares, one opposition, and the conjunction, which is the return. At the return all the things that you did leading up to that point either created or destroyed what you do for stability in life. Ironically somehow, the first Saturn Return is about the time when you feel that if you haven’t gotten married, you should, or when you dive right into a career after spending time for many months or years of school. This is the true age of what is called maturity, the time when you feel that this milestone in your life is about to pass.

I have to say that it’s not only people who are at the point of the Saturn Return. Also, people who have reached the square just before the Saturn return, in fact seven years before. So these people would be 20, 21 or 22 years of age, thereabouts. In real terms, these people present a bewilderment, not uncommon in college age people. At this age, many people decide the college is not for them and then drop classes after just having spent a few weeks even.

What is really about is that the bewilderment that they find themselves in is Saturn, pushing them to examine themselves. And also, it may well feel to them that Saturn has found them wanting. Well, they may be wanting, but it’s really an illusion! They feel that they are down the wrong path. So this then means that they need to find the right path. And this might take them a long time. They can try using courage and soul to get where they need, or they think they need, to get. But it’s real experiences and relationships with other people that will probably teach them what they need to know.


Much of the despair, loneliness and just plain unhappiness these people suffer is probably due to the cultural mythos of religion and the status quo that suggests that at age 30 we should be married or in a career that will last us for the rest of our lives. Life just isn’t like that! What’s more, is that this kind of cultural thinking can only get us into trouble! We need also to realize that the 20s is probably the hardest path to be on in our lives. Not only do we need to find real solutions to real problems, but also we need to be totally in focus on our own capabilities: our limits, our restrictions, what we can and cannot do. This is the stuff of which Saturn is made to a “T”!

And also, while we are doing this, we will be getting together a formula for life which provides for our future and also the where with all to pay for it. So while we are contemplating what we want to do with our lives, we are also working in a burger restaurant, or anywhere who will take us on for a pittance to help us get through college while we find something that will make use of our college talents and ultimate degree. (Never mind our Student Loans: that’s just another thing that adds to the problems…)

Don’t get me wrong! I actually enjoyed college, not just the frat house parties and all the other exciting things that are supposed to happen, but what I was learning was really interesting and that is what I loved.

So, What Is The Secret To Surviving A Saturn Return?


Well, the answer to this is like everything else that I promote on this website and everything else I’m involved in, like the two Facebook groups that I own, one that is a discussion site, and the other which is dedicated to promoting declinations and a study of “out of bounds” objects in astrology, I maintain that the more that you know about yourself, the better you are empowered to look after things like a Saturn Return, because it can be compared to the knowledge you gain when you learn to drive a car, ride a bicycle or even do death-defying tricks on a skateboard!

Yes, that is exactly it. You learn what your deepest fears are (Saturn) and you confront them and you basically ask yourself what did you want to do with your life, in the full knowledge that you are totally aware of your limitations (Saturn), you are also aware of everything that happened to you with your father (biological or not), any father figures that you encountered, particularly during childhood. Now let’s say that something happened that was less than savory to you during that time? You treat this exactly the same way as everything else. You try to avoid hiding your self from it. You become as familiar with it as you possibly can, and you realize that you will deal with the memory of it in the way that is the most positive for you to move forward at this time.

Let Saturn guide you through your Saturn Return and then the next stage of life will be much smoother and easily managed.

© Steve Tuffill 2015

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