Saturn Return: A Cosmic Bitch Slap (Kinda)


I spent most of my life blissfully unaware of the concept of Saturn Return and all of the term’s implications until a few years ago.

After an unexpectedly rocky year at 25, an older and wiser friend tried to comfort me by saying something along the lines of: “Oh, just wait till your Saturn Return. Then you’re really fucked.”

Not comforting.

The frantic Google search that followed this statement revealed that, yes, I had a lot to worry about when I got to age 28. But at that point, my Saturn Return seemed so far away. For a few years I put the idea out of my mind, basically in denial that I’d ever need to face good ol’ Saturn again.

For the uninitiated, Saturn Return is the time around age 27-30 when Saturn rolls back into the position it was in when you were born. According to astrology, this time period is clutch. It lasts a long time, and it’s notoriously tricky. Saturn loves to send tests and obstacles your way … and it’s your job to maneuver around and learn from these lessons. If you do, you can emerge on the other side of your Saturn Return relatively unscathed. If not … welp, you’re screwed.

You can calculate this cosmic right of passage here, or get your natal chart read for greater accuracy. My SR loops around in January 2019, and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me nervous. Honestly, still a little confused as to what I’m supposed to do to survive Saturn Return.

Astrologer and oh holisticism dream girl Ambi Kavanagh dropped some serious knowledge about this inevitable transit. Here’s what you need to know.

Astrologically, what's happening in the stars when we reference Saturn Return?

Saturn return is when the planet Saturn returns to the position it was in at the time of your birth. This happens approximately every 28 years or so, so first at 28, then at around 56, then 84. Although the exact moment of Saturn's return may only be for one month in terms of transiting Saturn being at the exact degree of your natal transit the actual transit usually impacts you for around two years so the first Saturn return is between 27 and 29 and is very much a rite of passage into adulthood.

This transit is notoriously challenging—it's become as buzzy as Mercury Retrograde! Why does Saturn Return have such a bad reputation?

Saturn is the lord of time and karma and very much about us reaping what we sow. Often in our twenties we think of ourselves as grown up, may have many responsibilities and even experienced great success, however stern Saturn (who is all about true maturity and responsibility) comes along to show us where we may not have been as responsible and mature as we ought to have been and where we have sown a bad crop, that is what we will be reaping!

People often have what I like to call a cosmic crisis during this time and can feel as though they are being cosmically bitch slapped when actually what they are experiencing is simply the result over time of their own actions. We really do reap what we sow! However this transit is not all bad and is often associated with success (Saturn governs success and status too) so we often see people really mature during this transit and manifest great success or a change in status (getting a big promotion, starting their own business, getting married/becoming a parent, etc).

Also, I ought to point out that Saturn transiting your sun sign or rising sign is almost as full on as your Saturn return so people should probably be aware of that too. Saturn strikes more regularly than we may think!  

How do you survive—and thrive—during your Saturn Return?

Take responsibility for your life and whatever you are experiencing. Don't be a victim or have victim consciousness, be the victor instead. As Nora Ephron said, Be the heroine of your life' Saturn wants you to step up and say ok, this may suck, this X. Y or Z may be falling apart, this keeps happening, I am struggling with X, Y and Z but I am going to dig deep and look at the foundations of this situation and see what part I played in creating it and I am going to rebuild this starting with my consciousness. I am going to then take practical steps to make the changes I desire.

If you had to give one piece of advice to anyone going through a challenging Saturn return, what would you say?

Similar to above but also, rise to the challenge, take ownership of your life and your shit! Turn it around. You are co-creating with the universe so get creating what you want!

What do you say to people who are skeptical of how 'real' Saturn Return is?

I think if you are skeptical about Saturn Returns you are skeptical about astrology full stop and the influence of the planets on us humans. That's totally fine, each to their own and all that but it's funny how when you look at a non-believer's life and journey vis a vis the unique transits in their chart you can quite clearly see how and when they experienced certain life-changing transits, including Saturn returns and more. I don't try and persuade people to believe something that they inherently can't understand/simply doesn't resonate with their psyche as I respect their right to their opinions and am not here to persuade non-believers but rather to help believers navigate the cosmos!

How can you calculate when your Saturn Return hits?

You simply need to look at your natal chart and see what degree and sign Saturn is in your chart and then see when Saturn will be at that degree and sign (you can look this up online through an ephemeris or there are some Saturn return calculator charts available) be warned though that it may show your return as only affecting you for a month whereas in reality the transit affects you for at least a year often two.

What was your Saturn Return like? What do you wish you knew then that you know now?

I experienced my Saturn return over a decade ago and it was a time of enormous change. I left a very prestigious and well paid job to start my own legal consultancy and have been self employed ever since. It was a time of autonomy and maturity in my professional life and was scary but also led to great success quite quickly. In my personal life I got into a very serious relationship which almost ended up being ever after but was an unhealthy relationship and I knew would never have been the all important HAPPY ever after.

I would say it was in my personal life that I learned the most Saturn lessons of reaping what you sow and taking responsibility for the relationship that you experience without pointing the finger at the other person as the cause of your woes. It takes two to tango and it takes two healthy, complete people to have one beautiful relationship! I don't have any regrets to be honest as I am not one for regrets and I believe everything (including our own mistakes, happens for a reason) I laugh, cringe and wince at some of my behavior from that time and where I was at emotionally and spiritually.

I thought I knew it all and I clearly didn't! Over a decade later, still happily self-employed (albeit it in another industry) and now happily married I am glad that I experienced the lessons and tests that I did and would definitely say to all ladies, that like fine wines and good cheeses, life and women do get better in all senses with age. Promise! So no matter what Saturn may put you through, happiness is the ultimate destiny and gift.

Work 1:1 with Ambi (she’s AH-MAZING), sign up for her bi-monthly astro updates, and follow her on Instagram!

Michelle Pellizzon