by Robert Wilkinson
The Saturn return always occurs between the age of 27 and 29, seemingly lasts a lot longer, and is one of the most feared and misunderstood points in personal evolution. It is usually a difficult time with a lot of stress and pressure, where things come to an end, hard realizations are faced, and the weight of the world is felt, very acutely. However, it is also a time of many opportunities to make important choices and decisions, moving out of unconscious patterns and obsolete conceptions of our purpose into more deliberate and thoughtful expressions of our unfulfilled self.
It represents a time of completing a major life cycle, and because it is Saturn, it shows that we now have completed some lessons about what we can do and cannot do, what we can live with and what we cannot. It is a time where we examine our chains, and lift off the ones we no longer need to wear. It is where we choose behaviors that will lead us to forms of dominion and slavery in our life. Before now, these were chosen for us by our elders and our unconscious patterns. But no longer. This is the moment where free will works most powerfully to make our lives a grand adventure in becoming our true authorship in the world, stepping into our chosen authority, or where we perpetuate life habits that enslave us to obsolete authoritarian patterns.
It is a time of important endings, but also major new beginnings that will affect our lives for many years to come. It is a time where our free will shows us more of our life purpose freed from old patterns we once needed, but do not need to live with any longer. It is often associated with a time of hardship, difficulties, and major challenges, but these occur because we are resisting our own tide of personal evolution, or because we need the skills to deal with these things that will help us reveal our higher purpose in the years to come. During this time of clearing our old psychological refuse, whatever must change WILL change, whether we want it to or not, and whether we like it or not.
It is important to note here that Saturn is not "causing" these things to occur. We are the engineers of our own lives, the determiners of our fate through our free will. As it was said, we are the dispensers of "glory or gloom" to ourselves, and no others. Nothing external compels our destiny. Since character is destiny, as we make our character we make our destiny. Saturn and its cycles merely indicate the part of our inner nature which must learn certain lessons as a direct result of our own maturation process, and show us clearly the cause-and-effect cycles we have set into motion before this time of radical choices and changes.
The Saturn return is a time when the "chickens come home to roost," for good or ill. Again, this is a time of evaluating what we can live with and what we cannot. It is the most important time for examining what our priorities are and what must be dropped from our lives to allow us a more mature expression of our "dharma," a Sanskrit term approximately meaning "true function" in the higher sense of the term. This is when we learn to make time and experience our ally, and come out of immature ways and lesser ways of being into our greater response-ability.
Saturn again returns to its birth place again between 57 and 59, where we choose once more how we want to live, this time for what most of us believe will be the rest of our lives. Again we make choices. This time, though, we are challenged to turn away from old limitations, rules, responsibilities, fears, and unfulfilling behaviors. This is the time to distill wisdom from the realizations we’ve had so far, reflected through the filter of over 30 years of adult experience. It’s usually hardest on those who still operate out of immaturity, irresponsibility, or fear. To the extent that we have not learned how to fulfill our higher purpose, or ignored the physical or emotional lessons of the various crisis points between 29 and 58, this is a very difficult time. Of course, it may also show us that we have done exactly what we were supposed to do, and marks the point of embracing a new adventure, having fulfilled the old purpose.
Any time Saturn touches any planet in our charts, it indicates a time when all of the above factors are brought to bear on the psychological function of the planet visited by Saturn. For example, when Saturn conjuncts our Sun, it is a time of receiving the rewards of "living our light," or feeling oppressed as a result of past self-betrayals. It may be a time of recognition for what we have accomplished, and where we restructure how we view illumination, and how we live your heart's higher purpose. Things end, but only those things which our light no longer needs.
When Saturn touches our Moon, it is a time of seeing what habits and feelings we can live with, and which ones have become too calcified to endure any longer. It is a time of restructuring our emotional experience. Though it may be experienced as limiting and restrictive, it also brings emotional and experiential rewards as well as a deepening of our inner connectedness with our true nature if we show the virtues of patience, responsibility, maturity, perseverence, self-discipline, and organization.
Saturn shows us the lessons we must learn to grow in our "authorship" in life, regardless of what personal, interpersonal, or transpersonal sphere we move through. The Saturn return shows us how we are or are not exercising "free will," rather than fear. Saturn is the part of us that has learned to be rigid and authoritarian, but also where we take responsibility for our lives and choices, and come to a genuine life renewal by ending whatever has oppressed us while embracing a more mature sense of self. Saturn may symbolize our limitations, but also shows us the way to the perfection of our personalities so we can live our Dharma, which is our Highest Self.
Though it is not usually a "joyous" time, it can be if we find the right point of view. Though it is not usually an "easy" time, it can be if you are living your higher purpose and don't resist the process of becoming more than we were. We simply must learn what people and circumstances and fears we no longer want nor need, and let go of lesser things. Then we can find a greater maturity, effectiveness, and purpose that enables us to enjoy our future as a grand adventure rather than be frustrated at not being able to stay in childish or unfulfilling patterns of acting, feeling, or thinking.
Ultimately Saturn can lead us to our primal innocence, where we do what’s right for the greatest good for all, without ulterior motives and controlling behaviors. We just have to learn to be mature, without being old. With the perfection of our Saturn function, we become part of the wisdom of our ancestry, our era, and the holographic patterns of all who share our life lessons. Our Saturn lessons help us learn and teach the greater way for those who follow us in the portion of the wisdom we are here to learn. The trick to it all is to embrace Saturn and its lessons and not fear that which makes us greater than we could have imagined.
(Originally posted May 11, 2004)