Between the ages of 28-30, the planet Saturn returns to the place it was in the exact moment of your birth. The effect is a life-changing initiation into adulthood.
Talk to anyone who has passed that monumental threshold into their 30s and they will tell you: something happens around the age of 28. Shit just gets real.
Slowly and surely, your days as a careless twentysomething are behind you, and you’re facing the real, unescapable trials and tribulations of adulthood.
Maybe your career is finally taking off, challenging you in ways you weren’t quite prepared for. Or it could be your relationships that are shifting, as you struggle to balance the demands of your work and personal life. Or maybe you’re reassessing your values, uncovering what’s truly right and meaningful for you.
Whatever the circumstance, one thing about this time is undoubtedly true: you’re no longer a kid anymore. And life is serving you up with a pretty sobering initiation into adulthood.
In astrology, we have a term for that life-changing experience: it’s called your Saturn Return.
You can think of it kind of like your cosmic rite of passage, and it happens right around the ages of 28-30, when juggernaut planet Saturn concludes its three-decade long orbit and returns to the place it was the exact moment of your birth.
And when Saturn comes knocking, there’s really no hiding. It’s time to face the things you’ve been avoiding.
Your First Saturn Return
Your Saturn Return lasts about two years, and is likely to bring some major changes to your life on both a structural and psychological level. (And if you’ve never pulled your birth chart before, you can input your birth data here to find out where Saturn falls in your chart.)
If you were born between the years of 1991-early 1994, you’re probably undergoing your Saturn Return now, as Saturn traverses through the sign of Aquarius. It typically takes just over 2 years for Saturn to transit through a sign, so you’ll be feeling the effects of Saturn until it moves into Pisces on March 7, 2023.
Your Saturn Return is as much about braving real responsibility as it is about choices, because during this time, you’re planting the seeds for a new 30 year cycle.
Because Saturn is such a slow-moving planet, its full cycle throughout your entire birth chart symbolizes major life chapters.
Though you’ll experience several Saturn Returns throughout your life (approximately at the ages of 29, 58 and 87), your first Saturn Return is considered the most important because it marks the move from youth to adulthood.
As you start to face the very real responsibilities that come with being a full-fledged adult, you’re faced with a lot of decisions: What kind of life do you want to live? Who are the people you want to surround yourself with? How do you want to contribute to the world?
The things you choose to commit yourself to—and the baggage you leave behind in the process—become the foundation for the next phase of your life.
Not to sound too dramatic or anything.
Saturn: The Planet of Karma & Life Lessons
Traditionally, Saturn is known as the planet of responsibility, structure and discipline.
It’s the furthest visible planet you can see with the naked eye, and to the Ancients, who didn’t have modern technology like telescopes, it represented the very limits of the human experience.
Even the physicality of Saturn mirrors its constricting nature.
Although it’s not the only planet in our Solar System with rings (all the gas giants have them), Saturn’s icy, rocky rings are much brighter and more visible than those of Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune.
And just like the rings of Saturn, there are inevitably things in life that restrict and inhibit us: cold, hard realities that sometimes we just have to face.
Life can’t always be a party (that’s Jupiter’s domain, anyways). And during your Saturn Return, certain limits and responsibilities in your life become impossible to ignore.
Here are some themes to expect from your Saturn Return:
- An appreciation for the passing of time. You know when you’re young, and you feel like you have forever to do the things you want to do? Saturn will remind you that time is finite, so you better make it count, baby.
- A new awareness of duties and responsibilities. This will look a little different for everyone, but one thing is certain: it’s time to shape up and show up, in ways you probably never have before.
- The inevitable experience of aging. Noticed a few grey hairs, some fine lines in your skin, or a sore neck when you wake up? Yeah, you can thank Saturn for that.
- Deeper self knowledge. As you step up to the challenge of new demands, you gain new insight into your own motivations and limitations.
- Karma comes knockin’. What kind of life have you been leading the last few years? If you’ve been navigating your 20s with a level of consciousness and awareness, your Saturn Return might not feel so bumpy. But if you’ve thrown caution to the wind, carelessly living your life, Saturn’s lessons will probably feel a bit harsher.
It’s not light stuff, right? But that’s Saturn. It’s heavy and demands a lot of hard work. It’s an initiation into adulthood, a time to “face the music” of our own lives. It can feel melancholic and restrictive.
It can pose a lot of new challenges that feel like serious mountains to climb. You might wake up some mornings and feel like you just can’t face it.
But it’s worth it.
With all the hard work, you create a life that you’re proud of.
As you navigate the trials and tribulations of adulthood, you gain insight through experience.
As you reevaluate your own values and leave behind what no longer serves you, you get closer to living your own truth–not the one your parents or teachers taught you.
As you make sacrifices, you realize what really matters to you.
And the best part about Saturn? The wisdom it instills in you. Wisdom is Saturn’s currency.
And that’s just something that no one can ever take away from you.