Recently I had a client whose Saturn return in Sagittarius had occurred within the last 18 months. Predictably, this had much to do with what she was experiencing, and the specific choices she was facing.
So I brought it up, explaining the nature of the developmental tasks that her Saturn return – in the 4th house, and passing over her Mars and Uranus – was bringing into the foreground.
I saw the recognition on her face (indeed, she had heard of the dreaded “Saturn return” before). Her eyes widened: “Oh my god! I missed my Saturn return!”
I smiled, in turn.
It was a curious experience: I felt how trivial a thing like a “Saturn return” must sound to most people, while feeling the enormity and significance of the Saturn return from the perspective of my astrologer-self. Like a true Scorpio Mercury, I feel the depth of a concept…and I always, always, always feel as though something is lost in translation whenever I attempt to put it into words.
“Im-poss-i-ble!” I said. “You can’t miss your Saturn return!”
This is the thing: all astrologers live in awe of astrology. There’s just this sense that you’re dealing with this really big, awe-inspiring thing…a thing that has an explanatory power that is unparalleled. Astrologers sort of walk around with this pre-verbal sense of “how can other people not see this amazing thing, and find it as amazing and profoundly intelligent as I do?”
Anyway – the point is here that the “Saturn return” is not so much an event as it is symbolic of a process of maturation. From an astrological perspective, it is when we become adults, facing up to our responsibilities. We realistically consider what structures we have built, we do things on a physical, tangible level that crystallize our emerging sense of adulthood, demonstrating it to the world. Empirically, we see that at age 28-30, people often buy a home, get married, have a child. These are outward manifestations of an inner process.
Insofar as “missing” the Saturn return goes, it is also useful to note that at the exact degree of the return, nothing special may happen. Someone’s natal Saturn may be at 27 degrees Scorpio. Nothing noteworthy may take place during the weeks or months that transiting Saturn is at 27 degrees. What we want to watch for is the year or two after the exact return, when Saturn moves away or “separates” from its natal place.
The frustrating (and wonderful) thing about being in physical, 3D reality is that energy takes time to be translated into physical form. In other vibrational realities, there is much less of a lag between an inner energetic process or a thought, and its outward manifestation. So up to the return, and at the exact degree, it may be more likely that we are undergoing the energetic and psychological components of the return – such as, a desire to assert our adulthood, a desire to accomplish and achieve something. The inner psychological and energetic components then begin to show themselves in physical tangible ways. The tangible and physical follow the psychological and energetic.
So if you “miss” your Saturn return, don’t worry, you can be sure that it will catch up with you.
The second major thing to note is that the Saturn return asks us to consciously face up to the tasks and lessons associated with the placement of our natal Saturn (by sign and house). If our natal Saturn is in the 11th house, it may very well mean that at our Saturn return, by age 28 to 30, we need to face the fears, lessons and tasks associated with participating in wider groups of people, and associating with others. It may be time to honestly and realistically look at whether our solitary, private ways might need some adjusting; we might need to be prepared to put ourselves before a group, and offer what we have to wider collectives of people.
We’ll begin to see the themes associated with Saturn’s natal house come about. If we’re dealing with the 4th house – we might find that Saturn’s lessons play themselves out in our domestic affairs, and we experience growth and maturity by honestly confronting that dimension of our lives.
You can’t really escape Saturn’s lessons – nor should you try.
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