The Cycle of Saturn

1f82a1a4a9939a5d8d23fe5e75393230The seven-year cycles of the Saturn Return, predict those times we feel pressured to become self-reliant, essentially growing up and learning to be self-sufficient in preparation for adult life. The nature of any transition is to acclimate to something new. With regards to Saturn in the natal chart, it is like changing lead to gold in the alchemical sense. Saturn as an indicator of time is about making the right conscious choices in life and it often marks those points in life when we buy a house, settle down and start a family. The planet also gives us an urgent sense of the time we have left to achieve our ambitions.

Wherever Saturn is placed natally represents those things that matter deeply. The Saturnian symbol in astrology describes those things that make us feel secure in the world. Saturn is the basis of our physical form embodied into flesh. Saturn experiences can never be fulfilled by other people, and it is about showing up, owning it, taking responsibility of one’s own life and learning to be self-sufficient.

The First Saturn Square to Natal Saturn (Aged 7)

Increased separation from parents

The first Saturn square occurs at about 7 years old and represents a time of separation and awareness of the independent self. Around this time, a child may be filled with anxiety, fear and longing for a sense of security. The build up to this period is usually between 5 and 7 years. At age 5 the child enters full-time education and is separated from his parents for a much longer period.

The child interacts more with his teachers, classmates, and wears a school uniform (Saturn). The pupil is now in the system and is expected to conform to school rules and follow a strict timetable. Children who are not coping well in this phase will show high anxiety levels and cling heavily to a parent for a sense security and familiarity. This is natural and the child might be finding it extremely difficult to let go of the baby stages of childhood and often needs the protection of his parents.

The First Saturn opposition to Natal Saturn (Aged 14)

Learning to comfortable in one’s own skin

The first Saturn opposition to natal Saturn at birth occurs at around 14 years old. It represents a time of physical changes. The physical body begins its maturation with the onset of puberty, aged 11-12 years. This is the time when teens feel very awkward in their skin. Our biological bodies develop and we can now physically make babies ourselves.

Saturn’s boundaries are tested at this stage, and it can create an “oppositional” stance towards authority. We learn hard lessons about limitations and accepting rules, curfews, restrictions and boundaries. We also begin to look more adult and try to act grown-up. Emotionally we still have more time to develop and this coincides with the return of the progressed Moon at age 28.

During the first Saturn opposition to natal Saturn, we are stuck in the “middle” of the opposition and it can have a see-saw effect. We are not a child anymore, but we are not an adult either. We are told one minute to act as an adult and then treated as a child. It can be difficult getting the balance just right. Teachers and parents can be hard on us, final exams are coming up, we are constantly tested, re-tested, and talking through career options.

The Second Saturn Square to Natal Saturn (Aged 21)

Define a Career

The second Saturn square to natal Saturn now asks us to define our career and even leave the family home. We begin to explore our role in society and are challenged to learn self-reliance. We leave childhood behind, find a job, attend college, or form a permanent relationship. Parental expectation falls hard on our shoulders.

If we have chosen a career that we dislike and have been scared to confront our parents, we could find that at the first Saturn Return we regret that we have wasted our time following a career that makes us feel trapped, unhappy, and depressed. We may not want to disappoint our parents and let them down. Sometimes our parents limit financial support now and expect us to pay towards rent and food.

Saturn Return (Aged 28)

Legally binding time or make a big commitment

Saturn has a rotational cycle of 29.458 years; it spends about two and a half years in each sign of the zodiac. The late 20’s is when it returns to its own position at birth. Saturn is connected with the structure of life, worldly success and the crystallisation of the individual. The Saturn return coincides with the return of the progressed Moon and often marks the individual’s transition into maturity.

The Saturn return also marks a time when we face painful feelings of inadequacy, expectations, and blind conformity. The new cycle of Saturn has begun and it frees us from the past and we can now develop alone without the burden of our family background. We also recognise where we over-compensate for our weaknesses, failures, and where we feel restricted. Often a new career begins or legally binding contracts signed, we may set up a business venture or buy property, our first purchased home.

We may also blame others for our lack of success and so it can mark a time of separation, and when relationships break up. The Saturn Return year can be a painful time of self-reflection and we sometimes sink into depression. It can equally be a time of feeling more secure and stable in life where the focus is firmly on establishing the self in the world.

While the progressed lunar cycle deals with the autonomous internal unfoldement of the birth potential of the human being, the Saturn cycle refers primarily to the development of his or her sense of security and ego. During the first 30 years of life, a person largely depends upon his or her physical-emotional vitality – and in many cases also upon parental support – to give him or her a sense of security. During the second 30 years cycle, the Saturnian sense of security takes at least theoretically, an individualized character which was actually lacking before the first “Saturn Return”. The youth in his or twenties, however, often pretends, he or she is already truly an “individual” completely self-motivated and secure in his identity. By Dane Rudyhar – Astrology of Transformation: A Multi-Level Approach (Quest Books)

The focus is on accomplishment, but as a form of over-compensation and the fear of a “lack of success,” we look for security in marriage, a new baby, or buying a home. Each society has its own definition for success and we try to define ourselves based on societal expectations. The Saturn cycle involves consolidating, evaluating and forming a separate identity.