How to assess the impact of your Saturn return

by | Jan 26, 2021 | Astrology | 0 comments

When I was younger, I thought of my late 20s as the time I would  be fully settled down. I’d probably have children already, as well as a  steady job and a sense of having my sh*t together. Now that I’m almost  30, I know that none of this is true. Most of us still need to figure  out our purpose in life, and I know that the soul-searching never stops.  However, I do see that the late 20s are a time when people start moving  in new directions. All around me, people are experiencing big life  changes in their career, relationships or family life. Some people start  taking responsibility for their actions. Other people are finally able  to make commitments to a partner or career. Still others feel they need  to change their jobs and end relationships. Though everyone responds  differently, the time around your late 20s generally is a significant  and sobering time. This is because Saturn, the planet of limits,  restrictions and age, returns to his natal placement around your late  20s.

What is a Saturn return?

If you know a little bit about astrology, you might have heard about  the Saturn return before. Saturn is a slow moving planet that takes  about 29 years to complete a cycle around the zodiac. This means he  spends about 2-3 years in every sign. The first time the Saturn return  happens is therefore around the ages of 27–31. There is also a second  return around the ages of 56–60, and for some people even a third  return. Although you will have other Saturn transits throughout the  first 29 years of your life, they probably won’t be as influential as  your Saturn return. In astrology, the Saturn return represents the start  of a new cycle. It’s a coming of age, if you will. Your Saturn return  symbolises the time you leave your youth behind and finally reach  adulthood. No longer able to hide, Saturn tells you it’s time to grow  up.

Your Saturn return starts at the moment Saturn enters the same sign  it was in during your birth. This period will last for about 2-3 years,  but will be most impactful when Saturn returns to the exact degree of  your natal Saturn. The sign and house placement of this planet tells you  where you need to work hard, commit, and show responsibility. ⁣⁣

When you start to learn about astrology, you will probably read  somewhere that your Saturn return is the most difficult time of your  life. The Saturn return can be a time you will experience struggle, loss  and even existential crises of sorts. The popular belief here is that  unless you work very hard on your personal development and know what you  want, you will simply have a terrible time. Similarly, the idea is that  Saturn will be kind to you and reward you if you put in the hard work  of self development.

But the truth is a bit more nuanced. Even if you work hard and show  discipline, not all Saturn returns are created equally. Some people will  have a harder Saturn return than others, simply because of how Saturn  is placed in their chart. This means that how you experience your Saturn  return is not entirely in your control.⁣ While this may sound daunting  to some, I would like to think this is actually more empowering. It is  helpful to know whether things are within your circle of influence, or  whether it would be wise to stay cool and hang loose.

Here are some ways to assess the nature of your Saturn return:⁣⁣

The importance of sect

The concept of sect is a Hellenistic technique that divides the seven  traditional planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter &  Saturn) into a “Day Team” and a “Night Team”. The Sun is the leader of  the Day Team, which also includes the planets Jupiter and Saturn. The  Moon is the leader of the Night Team, which also includes Venus and  Mars. Mercury is neutral and can play for both teams depending on its  position in relation to the Sun.

While the technique of sect has many nuances, you can easily use it  to determine which planets are “in sect” and which ones are “out of  sect”. This helps you decide which planets are going to be more  constructive and positive (Jupiter during the day, Venus at night), and  which planets might cause some trouble (Mars during the day, Saturn at  night).

If you were born during the day (when the sun was above the horizon),  Mars is your most challenging planet. If you were born at night, Saturn  is your most challenging planet. In general, Saturn returns tend to be  more difficult for people with a night chart.⁣⁣

Essential dignity to assess the quality of a planet

Another way you can assess the quality and strength of a planet is by  looking at the zodiac sign it is placed in. In some signs, planets feel  more comfortable and at home. This is because that sign reinforces the  nature of the planet. Here, a planet has dignity, which basically makes a  planet king of his castle, or treated like a guest of honour. In other  signs, the expression of a planet is challenged. This happens when a  zodiac sign is completely opposite to how the planet would like to  express itself. In these cases, the planet is debilitated, which is  similar to being in a completely foreign country, or like being an  outcast in society.

Symbolising sobriety and scarcity, Saturn rules the two signs that  correspond to the time of winter in the Northern Hemisphere: Capricorn  and Aquarius. In these signs, Saturn can be his pragmatic and calculated  self and act in a serious and reserved way. Additionally, Saturn feels  comfortable in the sign of Libra. This is because this sign marks the  start of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, when the weather gets colder  and the days get shorter.

Opposite to Capricorn, Aquarius, and Libra, are the signs of Cancer,  Leo and Aries. Cancer and Leo mark the height of summer, and here the  natural expression of Saturn is more weakened. Instead of focusing on  structure and strategy, Saturn has to deal with the cold and moist  emotional waters of Cancer and the hot and dry exuberance of Leo. In  Aries too, Saturn feels foreign and clumsy, as the hot, dry and quick  reactions of Aries are so opposite to the cool and calculated nature of  Saturn.

In Cancer, Leo, and Aries, Saturn may therefore experience more  challenges than in the other signs. This does not mean that you are  doomed if you happen to be born with Saturn in one of these signs! It  simply means that you may struggle a bit more than someone with Saturn  in Aquarius, and that these issues can be beyond your own control.

Other important factors that determine the impact of your Saturn return

Beside sect and essential dignity, there are a few other factors that determine how your Saturn return will be:

  • Aspects: Look at the configurations that Saturn makes with  other planets in your chart. If there are squares, oppositions, or  conjunctions to other planets, you might have a more difficult Saturn  return. When Saturn returns to his natal placement, these aspects will  be activated. When Saturn is making a sextiles or trines to other  planets, there might be more positive manifestations.⁣⁣
  • House placement: Generally speaking, planets in the angular  houses (1, 4, 7 and 10) tend to have a more visible and distinguished  expression in your life. This is because these houses represent the most  important and obvious parts of our lives: our personality and health,  our family and roots, our significant relationships with others, and our  career or public life. If you have Saturn in one these houses he will  certainly make himself known! On the other hand, the sixth, eighth and  twelfth house represent our blind spots and the more challenging aspects  of life. Here, Saturn can possibly cause more trouble.
  • Chart ruler: Your chart ruler is the planet that rules over  the sign on the ascendant. In traditional astrology, Saturn is the  ruling planet for people with Capricorn and Aquarius rising. If Saturn  is your ruling planet, your Satun return will be significant for your  personal life. This is because the first house represents your  personality, physical appearance and health.
  • Time Lords: The notion behind the concept of “Time Lords”  comes from a Hellenistic technique many astrologers use to predict  future events. One important Time Lord technique is Annual Profections.  The basic idea of this technique is that each year of your life (from  one birthday to the next) corresponds to a house in your chart. Starting  from the ascendant as year 0, you go counter-clockwise to the next  house for every year of your life: the second house corresponds to the  age of 1, third house to 2, fourth to 3, fifth to 4, and so on and so  forth. The planet that rules the whole sign house of a specific year is  activated as the Time Lord of that year. If Saturn is your annual Time  Lord during your Saturn return, your Saturn return may be more relevant  and significant for you.

The benefits of getting to know your own birth chart

For me, learning more about Saturn was a great help. Before I studied  traditional astrology, I thought I had to be afraid of my Saturn  return. I worried that it was going to be a very negative and difficult  time in my life. But now that I’m more familiar with my chart, I know  that it will probably be fine. Since my chart ruler and most challenging  planet is Mars, I know that Saturn will never be able to do me dirty in  the same way that Mars does. Additionally, in my chart Saturn is in the  sign of its joy and he makes beautiful sextile to my natal Moon. Due to  these mitigating factors, my Saturn return will probably more about  emotional maturity.

My partner has just finished his Saturn return in Capricorn and he  has had a very different experience. He was born at night and has many  other placements in Capricorn, which were also activated by the transits  of Jupiter and Pluto in 2020. As a result he had a quite challenging  time over the past three years. This knowledge helped him in accepting  that he was going to struggle a bit more during the years that Saturn  was in Capricorn.

Aside from the things I mention here, of course your Saturn return is  also affected by other transits and timing techniques. The people born  between February 1988 and February 1991 have just finished their Saturn  return and may have had a hard time due to the stack-up of planets in  Capricorn throughout 2020.

To my Saturn in Aquarius gang: I’m wishing you a lot of wisdom and  discipline during the next three years! And if you want to prepare for  your Saturn return or reflect on your experience as you move through it,  you can always book a consultation with me!

You may Also Like..

4 things I’ve learned in 2023

‘Tis the season of looking back and reflecting on the year we’re leaving behind. We’ve probably all seen many end-of-year lists popping up on social media, and in the same spirit of retrospection I wanted to share my biggest takeaways from the past year. And I...


Submit a Comment

Hi, I´m Britt!

I am a down-to-earth astrologer and embodiment coach, here to offer you guidance on your path of self discovery and healing. My work blends traditional astrology  techniques with insights from modern psychology, mindfulness, and parts work to help you cultivate grounding, self-compassion, and a sense of belonging to this earth.



Alert me We will inform you when the product arrives in stock. Please leave your email address below.