The Ultimate Guide To Surviving Your Saturn Return
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The Ultimate Guide To Surviving Your Saturn Return

Everything you need to know about astrology’s 20-something crisis.

Originally Published: 

The end of your 20s looms large, and with it, the specter of a Saturn return, a vague cosmic threat to life as you know it. But what exactly is a Saturn return, and what does it mean for you? Is this your downfall or your second coming, and either way, how should you schedule it in your calendar?

The god of time, the grandmaster, the devouring father: Saturn represents the hard limits of mortality, scarcity, and restriction, meant to check us from reckless ego-domination or self-erasure. Wherever it goes in your chart, Saturn commands an objective, nonmoralistic test of efficiency. Is this part of your life working? If not, what is holding you back? Like Pai Mei, Yoda, or Miranda Priestley, Saturn attacks every artificial monolith of identity so that only the essential you remains: the lived experiences and core beliefs that are built to last. Sometimes Saturn yields hard lessons about growing up and taking responsibility, but just as often, it can represent a parent, authority figure, or capitalist ethos you need to liberate yourself from.

What is a Saturn Return, and will it ruin my life?

Saturn moves through every sign at a clip of about three-ish years, so it takes a full 28 to 30 years to return to its original place from when you were born. Consider this a cosmic check-in — going down in your late 20s, 50s, and 80s — that tears down the illusory conditions of your life.

At this point, an unstoppable force may be exactly what’s necessary to shake you out of the social, familial, and societal obligations which keep you in a perpetual child-state: Are you really going to spend the rest of your life with this person? Do you want to be in medical school, or do you just want your father to like you? Saturn will come to smash the juvenile attachments you cling to, for the sake of awakening you to your own authority, agency, and power.

The tighter you cling to your old life — relationships, career fantasies, delusions of the broken American Dream making an exception for you — the more ammunition you give to Saturn. This may be your downfall or, whether you want to admit it or not, the best thing that’s ever happened to you; a grand celestial makeover. We hope you survive the experience!

When is my Saturn Return?

Your exact Saturn return will last a day or two — when the planet returns to its original spot on the day you were born. You can calculate the exact date here. However, for as long as Saturn is in that sign — three-ish years, usually — it’s on. Consider the years preceding to be the escalation of war, the big days to be the bomb going off, and the years following to be the nuclear fallout. That’s why ages 27 to 31 are open season. Like a Terminator, Father Time doesn’t relent.

Is is possible to have two, or three, Saturn Returns in a row?

Buckle up. Saturn, like Mercury, often goes retrograde, which means that it reverses course and backtracks through your chart. It’s possible that in the same year, Saturn could cross its natal position from when you were born, stop, hit it in reverse, and make one final passage going direct. This doesn’t have to be a sequel to your horror movie but a chance to synthesize everything you’ve learned since the first round. Of course, if you’ve been ignoring the call from up above, Saturn will take this opportunity to hit you over the head even harder.

When, and what, is my second Saturn Return later in life?

Your first Saturn return marks you as an adult, and sets you on your individual purpose. For Round 2, at the latter half of your 50s, you begin to look beyond your accomplishments and think on a quantum level. The kids are out of the house, you’ve attained some career success, and now you can transition to a new role — mentor, leader, behind-the-scenes producer. Will you share the knowledge you’ve gained and empower a new generation, or double down on your precarious position of power? Currently in their second Saturn returns, Michelle Obama spreads her message on new media, Jeff Bezos raises the stakes to save his lost virility, and Johnny Depp fails to take responsibility for his excesses. You can calculate the dates of your second Saturn return here.

How do I survive my Saturn Return?

Meet it head-on. Cultivate accountability in your life, so that you have a strong network of friends (and ideally therapists!) who can give you objective, nonmoralistic feedback about how you’re changing. Pay attention to the relationships that feel outdated: Are you going to your college roommate’s wedding out of genuine desire or just guilt? Establish boundaries, and habits for processing everything that’s happening around you. And, most critically, learn to accept change as inevitable. Otherwise, you’re really asking for it.

Saturn Return in Capricorn:

Dates born: February 13, 1988–June 9, 1988; November 11, 1988–February 6, 1991

Went down: December 19, 2017–March 21, 2020; July 1, 2020–December 16, 2020

As of December 2020, your Saturn return is officially complete. Congratulations! You’ve learned, through harsh exposure therapy, that the Disney ending late capitalism has promised you can never be. Dismantling the apparatuses of authority — parents, cops, bosses, studio executives, presidents — Saturn ripped you out of fantasies, and the dependencies, on dying power systems. You’re free...yay?

Saturn Return In Aquarius:

Dates born: Feb. 6, 1991–May 20, 1993; June 29, 1993–Jan. 28, 1994

Went down: March 21, 2020–July 1, 2020; Dec. 16, 2020–March 7, 2023

Has your time for cancellation finally arrived? Aquarius is the sign of the collective, the communal, and the futuristic, making Saturn’s transits here especially exciting for youth movements — think the fall of the Iron Curtain and the resurgence of Black Lives Matter. Of course, if you’re clinging to the significance of your personal brand in the wake of all this change, you’re in for a ride. Surrender your ambitions of personal glory to a bigger mosaic, otherwise you’ll watch your ego identity go the way of MySpace.

Saturn Return In Pisces:

Dates born: May 20, 1993–June 29, 1993; Jan. 28, 1994–April 6, 1996

Going down: March 7, 2023–May 24, 2025; Aug. 31, 2025–Feb. 13, 2026

You’ve grown up in a deluge of noise — digital, political, religious, environmental — and now you’ll have to set some boundaries, lest you never find your own voice. Kurt Cobain, Frida Kahlo, Sinead O’Connor, and Jane Fonda — all Saturns in Pisces — had to make difficult choices about what kind of artists and citizens they wanted to be, even if it meant turning off the fame machine. You’ll have to discern your own path, and likely kill some darlings in the process.

Saturn Return In Aries:

Dates born: April 6, 1996–June 8, 1998; Oct. 25, 1998–Feb. 28, 1999

Going down: May 24, 2025–Aug. 31, 2025; Feb. 13, 2026–April 12, 2028

Current trends of toxic individualism will come to a breaking point, and your so-called freedom (read: entitlement) will be curtailed. Whether you’re a gun-hoarding libertarian or a self-appointed Twitter activist, you’ll be forced to rescind any artificial authority and learn to fight for a cause outside of yourself.

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