“Consider those who point out your faults your most benevolent Teachers.”
-Lao Tzu, The Dao de Jing
In last month’s column, I discussed the astrological event called Saturn Return, which affects most people right around their late 20s to early 30s.
This time coincides with a threshold that most adults cross at this point in their lives , one when our ideas of who we are begin to take hold and life’s responsibilities and our needs for self-discipline become more pronounced. It’s no coincidence that this is also the time in our lives when both relationships and our careers become more prominent.
All the planets play a role in creating the places in life where we arrive. These places come in the form of a decision, crossroads that we must come to again and again.
The planet Mars is about your motivation, initiative, aggression, your confidence, physical strength and stamina. Mars controls what you want to achieve, where you put your energy and how much of a risk-taker you are. The more carnal or physical aspects of the planet controls how you express your anger. It’s also your sex drive, and what you desire and give in a sexual relationship.
Jupiter governs your ethics and philosophy about life. It’s your source of luck and abundance, where you’re cautious, and where you want to learn and how you can benefit from that knowledge. Jupiter is a lucky charm that expands whatever it touches, thus showing what it is that you do on a large scale. It shows where you receive financial benefits and how generous you are with others.
Uranus is where you seek freedom. It’s your source of unconventionality, what makes you rebel, where you do the unexpected, and where you’ll find change.
Neptune is all about what inspires you and where you’re easily deceived. It’s about illusion, confusion, imagination, and creativity. This planet creates emotional projections that are illusive and hard to tie down. It’s where what you thought was real isn’t, and what you thought wasn’t real is. It’s like a blind spot where you don’t see something until it’s too late. But you probably needed to see it from the very beginning.
Pluto represents where you feel powerless, where you want to take charge and feel more powerful, and where you experience great change. It’s about the big events in your life and getting rid of the old to make way for the new.
Saturn’s realm is responsibility and will show you how to grow through relationships, raising children, pursuing a challenging career, finding discipline for an art, etc. If you’ve indulged in wishful thinking, Saturn finds a way to make this painfully obvious. It’s not just designed to humiliate you, but to inspire you to stand on solid ground.
How to Understand, Survive and Thrive
By our late 20s, we have probably had a couple of serious relationships, and with each one comes a revelation or a better understanding of what we truly want. With this deeper understanding of our “self,” the process of discerning or the gathering of preference, we then have the knowledge to color our canvas of life. This process allows us to innately know what we do not want. This is where our return Saturn shapes us as romantic partners.
In regard to our professional lives, our careers take on more importance during our 30s because we are entering a new phase of our emotional maturity. This new phase has very little tolerance for dissatisfaction or feeling unfulfilled or uninspired by our work. It is also a time when we begin to start “adulting,” a modern colloquialism for doing prudent things that we might have found silly in our carefree youth.
A perfect example, being more mindful about our budgets in order to save up to buy a house and securing financial stability and growth as we enter middle age. If our careers are not on track by this point in our lives, there is a great possibility that we will find ourselves doing something to self-sabotage our job—maybe we start to lose passion or we eventually burn out.
At this point, we must remember that we are humans, not robots, and we are not meant to toil at a job without it having some profound effect on our quality of life. We will probably act out our unspoken desires or conflicts, whether we know we are doing it or not.
If you are going through this now, but are not in late 20s or early 30s then I have some good news and bad news. Our Saturn Returns, while the most difficult part of our challenging life transit, also periodically shows up in retrogrades—chaos, confusion and upheaval—meaning it can make an appearance a few times a year.
What’s the good news? What exactly is the point of this confusion? Clarity. Authenticity. Self-Acceptance. Joy.
Saturn’s True Quest: Finding You!
Yes, our Saturn, the Great Punisher, is meant to be our teacher. Where we arrive in our lives has something to do with fate but more precisely to do with our free will to decide. To make the choices in our lives that are right for us. Sometimes we make life choices before we really know who we are. At the Saturn Return, some of these choices are revealed to be out of sync with our true destiny. And it’s a big deal, since there may be marriages and whole careers up for review. The U.S. Census reports a peak of divorces around age 30 when promises made in the blush of youth do not match the core of either person as they approach this turning point. On the other hand, Saturn may bring a fated relationship, that leads to a serious commitment with long-term potential.
As Lord of Karma, Saturn brings you what you have earned through your disciplined pursuit of goals and experience. You will find out during the Saturn Return what you have manifested up to that point and how well you have used your talents. No wonder it’s a feared transition, it is like the mid-semester exam!
In myth, Saturn is also the God of the Harvest, and it is harvest time during your Saturn Return. If nothing’s been sown, and therefore, very little reaped, you will realize it’s time to get busy. The scythe of Saturn prunes away the useless bits, and that can feel like a death of the self. Saturn often brings a death to the old ways of doing things, but later on, you are likely to say, “Good riddance!” The death phase is never easy, but keep in mind that rebirth will come.
When serious Saturn overtakes your life during this hugely important initiation into adulthood, it is important to remember that, “This, too, shall pass.” The harshness of this period can make you feel washed up, parched, disillusioned. But it can also be a time of taking stock, liberating yourself from all kinds of baggage and starting anew with a clearer sense of purpose. It’s never too late to be who you were meant to be.
The Saturn Return reminds you of what is truly important and makes sure you are on the path to claim your highest potential.