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Don’t Fear Your Saturn Return

Photo-Illustration: by Preeti Kinha; Photos: Getty Images

It’s common knowledge that the end of your 20s is a time for celebration an existential crisis or two. It’s not the whole growing older, burning out, realizing you didn’t make any “30 Under 30” lists thing — it’s Saturn. More specifically, its return.

Basically, every single celestial body tracked in astrology has its own orbit that crosses through all 12 zodiac signs in the map of the sky. For instance, it takes the moon approximately 28 days to move through its orbit around Earth and across the zodiac, whereas it takes Venus 225 days, Mars almost two years, and outer planets (those on the far side of the asteroid belt like Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus) even longer. The amount of time it takes a planet to orbit and return to the place it occupied in your birth chart — a.k.a. an exact snapshot of the sky on the date, place, and time you were born — is referred to as a return. A Saturn Return happens approximately every 29.5 years (i.e., the duration of Saturn’s orbit around the sun), which means it lands in the same place in the sky it did when you were born roughly around the time you turn 29. Generally, it “returns” for approximately 2.5 to 3 years.

Panicking? Have no idea what to make of this? It’s fine, really. Keep reading for a not-scary, totally-makes-sense breakdown of what it all means.

First, what’s the deal with Saturn?

Nothing about Saturn is casual. The proverbial zaddy of the zodiac and sixth planet from the sun is astrologically associated with time, regulations, and boundaries. On a good day, this ringed gas giant symbolizes hard work, long-term accolades, and incomparable resolve. On the other hand, Saturn’s bad days are harsh, critical, and unforgiving. The planet abides by a tough-love approach, demanding we learn lessons the “hard way.”

That said, Saturn teaches us that, when the going gets tough, we can actually keep going. And that perseverance, that tenacity, is actually incredibly empowering. It is!

And what exactly happens during a Saturn Return?

Because Saturn is the planet of responsibilities, time, and wisdom, a Saturn Return is, basically, your astrological coming of age. It’s the push you need to enter true adulthood. Saturn demands that you take full and complete accountability for your choices, propelling major — albeit challenging — transformation.

Prior to Saturn Return, we are a construction of external influences: We are living the lives imposed on us by our parents, teachers, colleagues, bosses, and society at large. When Saturn returns to its home base in our birth charts, however, the ringed gas giant inspires us to reevaluate every aspect of life to ensure that we’re fulfilling our greatest potential. Generally speaking, this powerful time is defined by profound growing pains that catalyze radical metamorphosis. Once our Saturn return is complete, we are totally and completely prepared to live our best life — however we uniquely define it.

Who’s going through their Saturn Return right now?

Saturn entered Aquarius (the air sign associated with innovation, technology, and progress) way back in 2020 — that fateful year that brought us … well, you know. Anyone who has Saturn in Aquarius in their birth chart is currently experiencing their Saturn Return: Those born between February 6, 1991 and May 20, 1993, along with June 29, 1993 and January 28, 1994, are going through their first Saturn Return, while those born in the early 1960s (specifically between January 3, 1962 and March 23, 1964, as well as September 16, 1964 and December 15, 1964) are experiencing their second Saturn Return, and elders born in the early 1930s are going through their third.

Am I going to be okay?

There’s no denying that Saturn Return is a big deal. When you’re going through it, Saturn Return can often manifest as breaking up with your long-term partner or quitting what was once your “dream job,” relocating to a city where you’re starting over from scratch — you get the idea. It’s pretty serious shit. But trust that it’s not all doom and gloom. Saturn Return is actually an extremely prosperous time where your hard work and resilience is rewarded fully and completely. On the other side of all those stressors and obstacles, you’ll finally experience a return on your investment — and that is always a worthwhile deal!

The most important piece of advice for navigating your Saturn Return: Embrace it. Trust the process. Do the scary thing and be brave about it. Any attempts to ignore Saturn’s powerful nudges toward personal growth will be futile. On the other side of your Saturn Return, virtually everything in your life will be different, so why not enjoy the ride? Saturn reminds us that through real effort, patience, and practice, we can reap the most extraordinarily gratifying rewards.

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Don’t Fear Your Saturn Return