Understanding Saturn Return
The Cycle of Maturation
I would like to highlight a new way we can experience very important developmental cycles or stages in our spiritual evolution; the infamous Saturn return.
The Saturn Return is a cycle that we all experience around the age of 29, which lasts for around 2 years. This cycle actually happens in our lives every 29 years, as Saturn literally returns to the same position in our solar system as it was when you were born.
In my view, the Saturn Return has attracted an unfairly bad reputation, commonly labeled as a difficult and challenging time. And to be honest – this is partly true. The Saturn archetype reflects the boundary between the conscious awareness of one’s self and the unconscious, and this part of its cycle asks that we examine the self at a most personal level. For this reason, the way we approach this energetic cycle can make an enormous difference to our experience of it – it can be extremely challenging or an extremely rewarding time of self discovery.
So how do you transition through this part of your life in the best way possible? Today I would like to share my perspective on this transit, and hopefully create a better understanding of its challenges and opportunities. Find a quiet place, sit back and relax.
Cleaning the Lens
A very big part of understanding the nature of new knowledge is the allowance of the Truth. I don’t just mean accepting the information as fact but also allowing it to be a part of you. Through reflection and personal discernment, we test if knowledge has a place within the context of our life. This way the manifestation of new thought forms can emerge.
In recent times, astrology, as well as much of our approach to life, has lacked the element of spirit – a true appreciation for the non-physical. This disconnection is the bottom line reason for the misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the Saturn energy as “negative”; it leaves many unable to take full advantage of the potential that is offered. What I truly wish to instil here is the understanding that: the time we are living in – this part of our ancestral timeline – is all about reconnecting with the laws of nature on the deepest level. The natural planetary cycles are part of this process; these cycles of maturation (return) are intrinsic parts of our spiritual growth. And with an awareness of what they reflect to us in our lives, we can then align our egos with the intention of the soul and take full advantage of the energetic opportunity being offered to us.
The Capricorn / Saturn archetype
Structure, limitation and reflection.
In relation to natural law, Capricorn/Saturn symbolizes the nature of structure within nature. Structure can also be seen as protection – the structure of a house symbolizes protection for its inhabitants; the skin on our body, the bark of the tree, represents protection for the internal body.
In the human mind, structure is the framework through which we construct, organize and engineer ideas and actions. To facilitate the functioning of collective structures in our society, rules regulations and laws are created, which lead us to becoming conditioned to that framework, functioning within it largely unconsciously. The Capricorn/Saturn archetype correlates to our interaction with such structures – society, parents, and the authority of ourselves – and how we respond or react to the external “authorities” they impose.
The Capricorn/Saturn archetype also represents the process of reflection. Experienced through hindsight and introspection, reflection is natural to consciousness, and the awareness of self it provides acts as an important vehicle to set in motion true personal growth and change. When we reflect back on the past, we become aware through hindsight of possible new directions, and ways in which we can move forward without feeling blocked by circumstance. Makes sense? Our concept of time is inherent to this phenomena. Inevitably, the aging process becomes one of reflection. This is why as we age, we mature – through wisdom gained by experience and reflection.
Conversely, as we look forward to new unknown horizons and potentials, Saturn represents the concept of perceived limitation. I am sure you have at one point in your life gazed into the horizon only to become aware that you were unable to see past a certain point… as if the Earth ended. You know the Earth continues further, but you are unable to see past the world beyond the horizon. This metaphor shows our relationship we have to limitation.
So, Capricorn/Saturn vibrates in our lives as the natural way in which we form structures, both within our own individual consciousness and the external world. On a collective level, the mind-state of a society is clearly evident in the way we build and define our social structures and infrastructures, and which. The frameworks of countries, and our governmental, social and educational structures – all the systems to which we condition ourselves – all reveal a great deal about the consciousness of our societies.
As Saturn Returns…
Now that we have washed away any misconceptions about the Saturn Return transit, I would like to offer some insight into how best to go about working with this very powerful and transformative energetic cycle.
At the age of around 28 and a half, your soul´s journey has reached a point in its evolution of awareness where a process begins of taking a step back, slowing down, and then entering a stage of deep reflection on the nature of your life. Because the natural process of refection requires the need to go within, a natural process of becoming more introverted takes place. I really want to emphasize the point that this is an intrinsic part of how consciousness works in human form.
When this period starts to take place, we can naturally start to feel very heavy within ourselves, and an overwhelming sense of melancholy can take hold. We enter a phase of diving deep into the nature of our psychology. Everything during this period of time can become very taxing, and we are often faced with a huge sense of responsibility. Or at least it feels like it.
What also begins to happen is that we may feel like we are being blocked in all directions – that we can’t make anything happen. In fact, a big part of your Saturn Return cycle is about being blocked. One of the main reasons again, is that this period signifies slowing down, taking a time-out and becoming more aware of the deeper self, while these blockages create the need for self-awareness, self-determination and self-sustained effort to move forward.
Have you ever noticed how people take time to be with their families during the Capricorn (December-January) month? Entire work forces take time off and enjoy a period of rest. We look back and reflect on the year that has just passed. We set goals for how we would like the year ahead to be, and we make new year’s resolutions. You might even say the words I am determined to do this. All of these are manifestations of the Capricorn/Saturn vibration. (The cycle of Capricorn is from December 22nd to January 19th.) Can you see the correlation?
What is happening in a broad sense is this… Before we reach our 28th year, we spend our lives experiencing and developing our ideas about life; our identity. We can call this the ego. When the Saturn Return comes along, we slow down and reflect. Upon reflection, the ego that we had before then starts to break down and we often change our perspective on, and approach to, life. We go through a period of ego transformation and conscious reality shift. We see ourselves in a renewed context. What results sometimes entails a change in direction, and sometimes a conscious solidifying of the direction we are already on.
Saturn and Depression
Depression has a direct association with the Saturn/Capricorn vibration. I really want to add this element into the article as I feel that it can offer a perspective on this experience.
Firstly, I want to clarify my position. The fabric of reality, in of itself, contains the human being and all its experiences on Earth. This means that the experience of soul-level depression itself is a part of the totality of creation. It is set in motion by Source itself.
Where everything gets murky and blurry is that we have external factors in our human experience which have caused this natural experience to be regarded as something far more unnatural and negative than it actually is. As a society, we therefore regard experiencing that inner darkness as something to resist, or worse, medicate. But this kind of social conditioning does not actually include any spiritual awareness on the subject, no awareness of light and dark, which leads us to experience confusion and total misalignment with the natural laws that exists for us.
With that said, there are no doubt those who genuinely suffer depression as a chemical imbalance in the brain, but both logic and science suggest they are a minority among the masses of people currently diagnosed and medicated for “depression” by our conventional medical establishments.
So then, what exactly is the association with Saturn and depression?
In the natural zodiac (not pop culture astrology terminology but the natural laws that correlate to the 12 sign archetypes) Capricorn reflects gravity and time. This is the vibration of slowing down (gravity), experiencing blocks and having a limited view on things. Gravity does what? It causes the experience of being bound to something. A natural limitation. Spiritually speaking, what is actually taking place through your Saturn Return cycle is that the soul is naturally experiencing limitation relative to its own awareness.
A simple way to see this is that you are a trying to figure out a level 5 math equation but you only hold the awareness on level 2. This limitation will naturally create a sense of futility, and feelings of being stuck. Because Capricorn makes a natural connection to Pisces, there can be a natural tendency to space out and feeling lost in the process. This is then reinforced by the social programming that teaches us that we should only seek answers outside of ourselves. Feelings of being overwhelmed are also part of the Pisces archetype, which can add to the feeling of being helpless, like there is no way out. Do these aspects sound familiar?
So here is what the natural state of Saturn induces. The process of Saturn reflects a total metamorphosis of the self-image. Through deep internal reflection, induced by limitations, we begin the process of looking deeply at the nature of our lives, then we begin to remove the limitations and blockages by seeing things in a new way or changing the approach to how we perceive things. The constant shifting in perception eventually leads to liberation and changes in direction. Naturally, our new directions are often quite different to the old directions that we feel we are being blocked from. Make sense?
The path to change includes a new set of values (Taurus) which is linked with a goal (Capricorn) that is built through a step by step process (Virgo) – the Earth Trine. This process, over a period of time, dissolves old ideals (Pisces) and leads to a metamorphosis (Scorpio) of the self-image (Cancer) – the Water Trine. Together, the combination of the Water Trine and the Earth Trine creates the Star of David: a symbol of balance and harmony.
Spiritual Maturation and the Seasonal Harvest
Spiritual maturation and the symbolic link to the seasonal harvest.
An aspect I really want to integrate into the understanding of the Saturn Return is the link between the natural cycle of our seasons and the spiritual maturation of the human soul. As I mentioned above the cycle of Saturn in our lives reflects maturation. What happens is that we “trade” beauty and youth for wisdom and maturity. This trade is this the essentially deal with Saturn.
The old saying of you reap what you sow is such a beautiful description of what Saturn shows us. When we are integrating the Saturn energy into your life, we are looking at investing time, applying dedication and committing ourselves to that task. The reward that follows the work of Saturn is extremely beneficial.
The key to this transit is consistency. In the zodiac, Capricorn is part of the natural Earth Trine: Capricorn, Virgo and Taurus. This trine, without going into much detail, manifests the process of materializing through the process of routinely (Virgo) adding value (Taurus) towards the end goal (Capricorn). Like building a house, there is a processes of investing in a goal every day, through hard work, constancy and self-sustained determination, and the end result will finally and methodically (structure) be reached. The farmer plants his seeds in one season (time frame), then waits and then harvests his crops in the next season.
The same thing happens with Saturn: We put in the hard work, wait for maturation and the experience the result. But if we don’t put in the hard work, we experience limitation and futility.
The 7 Year Cycles of Saturn
The cyclic nature of the zodiac, our universe, and even our consciousness, works in 360 degrees. The zodiac then is naturally divided into four sections of 90 degree (right) angles. This means that as Saturn travels around the solar system, and the zodiac, it will make 4 stressful aspects to its natural position in your birth chart. Think of the positions of 3, 6, 9, and 12 on a round clock face. I don’t want to over-complicate this but placements of Saturn at these four aspects in our chart have significant effects on our personal evolution and the natural cycle of maturation that we go through in our human experience. This is how it is broken down:
At the age of 7 we experience our first Saturn cycle point, or aspect. We become awake to our own mortality and our physical limitations. This is our first maturing step.
Around the age of 14 we have the beginning of our need for independent social interaction. We leave behind the dolls and little kid’s games and we start the business of becoming little adults, and also exploring our bodies. This is an important aspect of our development.
At around 21, our Saturn cycle is about throwing off the last 21 years of household parental rules. We move from home and we begin our journey towards independence.
With a 29 year orbit, the planet Saturn returns to its original sign in our birth chart between the age of 28 to 30 years, taking over 2 years to move completely through each sign. This period of time, as Saturn transits its natural sign, is the “Saturn Return”.
At Saturn returns to its natural point in your birth chart, all the karmic lessons you went through during the ages of 7, 14, and 21 now get stacked on top of each other and you are asked to grow and mature. You become aware of your age, and that you are now getting older. So it’s time to act. Dramatic change is often the result.
And these cycles continue to happen to us. The next key cycle points will be around the ages of 36, 44, and 51, and then at 58 you we have a second Saturn Return as Saturn returns once again to its original position in your chart. The second Saturn Return is a key part of our evolutionary journey. By this time we have typically reached full maturity. Typically, our children have left home and we find ourselves in a culminating phase which, again, leads to deep reflection. We have journeyed though our youth, been met with the first Saturn Return, then spent the next 29 years experiencing our adult life and integrating our essence into the world. We have done the learning phase and the doing phase, and it is now time for the third life cycle — that of being and teaching.
By the second Saturn Return, at 58, one has graduated and seen much of oneself and the world. We become aligned with a sense of I know who I am. Youth has grown into wisdom, and with it comes a deep layer of self-awakening. The reward is to become an elder who guides the youth, and observes and interacts with life in a new way.
Integrating Your Karmic Story
As we learn to walk this earth incarnation we are given specific tools at key points in our evolutionary journey that help us find the remembrance we came to discover. When we are faced with our Saturn cycle, the task might appear daunting and will require self-determination but what comes from this is great reward. The foundation that is built during the Saturn Return cycle supports us to start living our new evolutionary purpose. Old forms are removed and we find new ways of being. We take charge of our lives and begin to make conscious decisions for our future.
Hopefully this knowledge will encourage you to reflect back on and look forward to those points in your life with new hope and understanding; to see that the restriction and feelings of melancholy are a natural part of the process. Remember that these are intrinsic aspects in our consciousness and are necessary to our human spiritual. We have a fundamental need to integrate into our daily living those natural laws, reflected in nature, and to build social structures that reflect and uphold that renewed way of being. Let this article inspire you to begin your spiritual mission, to integrate your karmic story, and help bring humanity back to its natural state of balance.