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Saturn’s Return on the Spiral Path

What is "Saturn’s Return" (SR), and how does it tie in with the Awakening event in the Indigo’s life (and all others)? I seek here to explain both these powerful life events and their influence on all lives- not just those of Indigo people.

In the art of astrology, each planet has a particular influence on the life of an individual. There are many excellent websites that go into detail about the different planets and their relationship to each other, and I encourage you to visit them and study up on them if this interests you past this essay. (Nope, I don’t spoon feed people- you are free to go off on your own and add to the knowledge I’ve presented here.)

In traditional astrological texts, Saturn sometimes gets a rather bad reputation. It has often been called a ‘negative’ or ‘malefic’ planet- one that portends disaster, harm, and even evil. That’s a pretty harsh tag to hang on an otherwise lovely planet. What Saturn does represent is shrewd judgement, sober consideration, caution, material limits, and deliberately placed obstacles. Saturnian influences will make you wait and wander, and delay things when you are in the heat of desire for something or someone. Sometimes these delays bring positive results- perhaps finding the item you desire on sale, or discovering a nasty flaw in the personality of the person you were lusting after. Every Saturnian ‘smack’ has reason and growth behind it- even if we do not see it at first.

Some ‘old-school’ astrologers may say unfortunate things if they discover that there is a lot of Saturn on your natal chart. (One did with me.) But Saturn can have its positive influences, too, and I shall get to that shortly. Saturnian personalities are sober, rather dry and cryptic, yet capable of collapsing a roomful of people into spasms of laughter with one wryly incisive remark. "Compassionate detachment" is the operating method of Saturn- teaching the seeker limits, challenging opinions and beliefs, and putting them through what may seem like a horrific crucible of change. This isn’t cruelty- this is the making of the True Adult, and the prelude to the Awakening.

Saturn’s orbital period (its year) is 29 Earth years. So, it will take Saturn 29 years to ‘return’ to the place where it was in your natal chart at your birth. But the period that I call SR in my writings is a bit longer than that- it runs from about age 28 to age 31. This is a major threshold in many respects in life- it signals the ‘end’ of youth and its impulsive trials, it puts one face to face with early ‘middle age’ (in an average lifespan), and it is a time of retrospect and summing up. Many people at this time expect to be at a certain page of their mythical-cultural Life Script: they ought to be married, perhaps with kids, have a house, a nicer car, a better job, higher pay and lots of other ‘oughtas’. If for some reason they don’t, they may feel like they’ve failed in some way- that they haven’t made the cut, and become depressed and desperate.

Others see the patterns of their lives beginning to fall into a more mature path, and resist this natural change. They do not want to "gracefully surrender the things of youth." Or they may see themselves growing away from their mates, and wonder what is happening. Many divorces and separations in relationships occur around this period in life.

So, after having a ball in your twenties, and thinking that everything is going to be great, the rug is suddenly jerked out from under your feet. Relationships go awry, jobs feel dead-ended, or dissatisfying, and the concept of ‘you’ is suddenly unclear. You are at a loss to explain your mood swings, depression, difficulty communicating, lack of interest in old pleasures, and interest in completely different ones. Guess what- Saturn has come to call.

All of that judgement, limitation, reconsideration, caution, and prudence has come to bear upon your life. You are in your Dark Night of the Soul. If you are on the path that is proper for you, and not trying to do or become something you are not suited to be, than the shakeup that Saturn’s influence brings to your life will be minimal. There will still be bumps, but they are more like course corrections and reminders.

But if you are trying to do or be something that is improper for your personality or temperament, watch out- Saturn will give you the psychic life lesson equivalent of four flat tires in a major hailstorm. It happened to me- and I lived to tell the tale. What was I doing ‘wrong’? I was living a life and trying to make a career in an organization totally unsuited for intelligent and eccentric iconoclasts. Yes, I was in the USAF. Mind you, I wouldn’t trade the training and experience there for anything in the world, but in hindsight, perhaps I should have ended my career after two hitches and one overseas tour. Instead, I chose to stay, and the collision between my individualism and iconoclasm (expressed in my interest in metaphysics and Wicca) and the military’s requirement of absolute obedience and conformity resulted in a near-fatal depression and early honorable exit from their ranks. The whole thing came to a head during my Saturn’s Return period- 1988-1991. I left the Air Force in 1992.

What happened? I had learned what I was supposed to learn, but instead of leaving when I should have, I decided to stay. I didn’t cut the military apron strings. So Saturn cut them for me. It took me seven years to regain my confidence and my feet, but today I am much more gainfully employed than I was at my peak in the military. More important, I am doing what I am called (vocation) to do- learning and being a Lightbearer, a beacon to those who come in my wake. And I am doing this in harmony with my profession- which permits me free access to the Internet and computer systems- and interaction with many interesting people when I maintain their computers.

So the theme of Saturn’s Return is "Thou Must Fulfill". You must ‘read’ the bumps and delays and detours and apparent disasters and learn what your true fulfillment is- where your true path lies. This may mean a total career change. It may mean separating from a spouse or long time relationship. It may mean losing everything that you thought was ‘you’ but was, in reality, what everyone else wanted you to be. It means permitting the fiery forces of reality to burn away the dross, revealing the core of your soul. It means living in a very vulnerable state for a while- like a crab who has molted its shell, but growing all the while as the new shell of your true being reforms around you. Things you once loved will no longer attract you, and things that you never looked twice at will beckon you. Your feet will move off the beaten path, over the rough verges, and onto the path that only you can walk, and it will be effortless, if you permit Saturn’s lessons to guide you. If you are in deep denial, this passage will be very harsh. And even if you do understand and accept the lessons that Saturn is sending you, it still may be harsh. It is the end of youth, and the beginning of the best part of your life. It is your Awakening call, the call to take up your place in the higher walks of life- no matter how humble your earthly station may be. If you are an Indigo, it signals the revealing of your inner Gifts- Gifts that have been locked away to keep the impulses of youth from harming yourself and others. It signals the opening of the decade of training and utilization of these incredible Gifts, the Awakening to Power that is the heritage of all Indigo people.

So look at Saturn’s Return as a transition of sorts- the transition from youth to true adulthood. It is an initiation, a shakeup and revaluation of all that you have learned in your youth. It is a course correction, albeit a harsh one if you are far off course, but a prudent one nonetheless. It is the period of turbulence that is equivalent to the oscillations and harsh vibrations in an air or spacecraft just before it breaks the sound barrier. When you break through this barrier, you will know it- it will light up your head and soul like no other light. Your whole body will sing with its new voice and vibration. You will feel taller, brighter- sharper. You will be an Awakened one.

Suggested reading: "Passages" and "New Passages" by Gail Sheehy. She does not mention Saturn’s Return specifically, but she does go into detail about the rough transition between the twenties and thirties.

Tarot cards: Seven of Pentacles, Eight of Cups, The Tower; Runestones: Nauthiz (constraint) and Hagalaz (disruption).

July 2001 by Sunfell

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