Is this the Most Challenging Saturn Return Ever? Part 3

Friday March 30th 2012

Ha – I bet you thought I had forgotten, but we are now in full retrograde season, so I am ready to pick up this Saturn Return series where I left off.

(Mercury, Mars and Saturn are all doing the backwards shuffle.)

In previous posts I gave an overview of Saturn Returns in general (Part One) and specifically of Saturn in Libra (Part Two) for those people who are experiencing it now – and the lessons and ideas we can all learn from taking a closer look at what’s happening to this cohort.

There are two major astrological factors to a Saturn Return. Obviously, there is the condition of Saturn in the natal chart. As I discussed in the previous piece, for Saturn in Libra people of the last two generations this is complicated by some interesting outer planet aspects.

The other factor is the configuration of the planets as the Return happens – and this one has been a humdinger.

As you know, the heavy planets – Pluto, Uranus, Saturn (and for a time Jupiter) have been facing off across the Zodiac in a hostile T-square (and for a time Grand Cross) formation for the past year or so – and will continue to do so for some time to come. This has all taken place in the Cardinal signs – Saturn in Libra, Uranus in Aries, Pluto in Capricorn. Last summer, this reached a peak in the so-called Cardinal Climax when the aspects were close, but it has coloured this whole Saturn in Libra transit.

Jupiter and Saturn duked it out.

Saturn has been going through Libra under an enormous amount of pressure. It’s as if the old boy were being squeezed through Libra like a shirt through a mangle. Ouch.

The most direct pressure was applied while Jupiter, expansion and largeness was opposing Saturn from Aries – most of last year. Saturn vs Jupiter across Libra/Aries was like two people standing up and yelling at each other. This would have been especially felt by those Librans born in 1981 with a Saturn-Jupiter conjunction natally, or 1951/52 with the natal opposition.

Jupiter’s move into Taurus has changed that dynamic very much for the better. It’s as if a horribly tense stalemate has been sidestepped. New solutions to old problems should now be possible if you can look at things from a different angle.

For Returners born in the 1980s, the tension has been further exacerbated by the fact that they were born with Pluto in Libra anyway. So not only have they had a Saturn Return, they have had Saturn transiting Pluto. Very heavy weather indeed. For those born in the 1950s, Saturn has conjuncted the natal Neptune in Libra: reality check.

Because Libra is the sign that rules complementarity and partnership. On a personal level, this would likely have been felt in the arena of one-to-one relationships. You may have made a positive commitment – or gotten out altogether. For many people with Saturn in Libra, loneliness is a recurring issue. You feel isolated, alone in the world. This feeling may well have been expanded during this return and you may have been forced to explore it. Being alone is often the last option you are willing to take. Saturn can show us what we fear most. Saturn Return is when it’s time to feel the fear and do it anyway.

Is your partner a ball and chain? Or is it you?

The spirit of this Return has been pretty ruthless. You have to let go of some important part of your life now, Returners. While Saturn makes it’s final journey backwards through the last decanate of Libra, you have a good opportunity to review and revise your Return. How has it gone? What have you learned? And where are you going now?

Saturn usually leaves a gift on his departure from a sign, especially if you have taken responsibility for yourself and made grown up decisions. The Return is all about making the foundations of your life stronger. Your life is like a tree. If you cut out the dead and weak branches, the rest will grow stronger and more fruitful.

This has been a tough few years, but you’re into the home stretch now, and some kind of prize awaits you. Take a good look at this painting by Gustave Klimt. On the left, the lone woman represents Expectation and on the right the couple are Fulfilment. I think, probably despite himself, Klimt is representing something essential.

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  1. Jackie T says:

    An astonishing piece, Christina. Right on the button re the question of being alone. That has been the issue I’ve had to face, for the first time, for the rest of my life, and it was incredible to find it reflected so exactly in your article. Now I have the joy of working out what I have to give up. Thanks!

  2. Fabulous article… again. And one I needed to read. I was born in 1952 with Saturn at 25 and Neptune at 23 Libra (which sadly, squares my poor little Cancer Ascendent at 27). This Saturn return hasn’t felt anything like the first one 🙂

    Thank you for presenting another perspective and giving me more to think about.

    Sadly, I think I might be the ‘ball and chain’.


  3. Jackie T says:

    Can I add something else? I’ve been aware that, throughout this Saturn Return, Saturn has been slowing me down more and more, through injuries and physical difficulties. This week he’s taken it to the nth degree, leaving me stranded at home, unable to drive, fogged up with painkillers (that bit is quite fun!) and altogether dragged to a complete full stop. I remember Darby Costello saying that when Saturn transits a point it slows everything down, to afford one the chance to examine, reflect, work on and change that point, whatever it may be. Saturn has put out a huge magnet and just stopped me in my tracks! Has anyone else had this kind of experience with Saturn Return?

  4. Christina says:

    Hey, that’s funny and true. I haven’t had a Saturn Return in a while, but I did have Saturn through the first quite recently – and my whole pace of life slowed to a crawl. Why? Because I had a toddler and a baby who grew into a toddler and a little girl, and I just had to be completely Zen about everything.

    Which makes me wonder – is there a “be here now” aspect to Saturn?

  5. Hi Christina, like other commentators a lot of this post really spoke to me.

    I have saturn and my sun both at 25 Libra so I have really been feeling its effects over the past few years.

    The most important things it has taught me are that loneliness can be a great teacher – you just have to let it and not resist it.

    And also that life is now – not some far off place were you have a flat tummy and no overdraft! It has taken me a while but I think the penny if finally starting to drop!

    Also thanks for the reading the other week, I really got a lot from it 🙂

  6. Anonymous says:

    I’m a 1982 Returner, and my Saturn Return itself was actually extremely healing, in that it cut out a lot of hurtful, harmful relationships I had not been willing to let go of before. I really enjoyed my Saturn Return.

    Saturn conjunct my Pluto now? Not loving that at all. It is painful, difficult, and feels like I’m at the bottom of a pit. Things are starting to work out for me the way I want them to, but I have no help from anyone in those processes. This has nearly led me to failure a few times!

  7. Jackie T says:

    Christina, I think there must be a “be here now” aspect to Saturn. He’s the teacher, the lord of reality, and the only reality, if such a thing could be held to exist, is now, the present moment. Lonliness feels like a similar concept, if you are compelled to simply live with yourself without distraction from others. So that is a really good idea. Saturn on Pluto, I don’t remember, but Pluto on Saturn was without doubt the worst time in my life. I hope your contributor gets through in the end.

  8. Vanessa says:

    Lovely article and comments! Saturn has been transiting my fifth house and in these last couple of years, I have really developed my artwork and starting putting all the ducks in a row to open my own business with it. Something I never thought I’d do. I was afraid that when Saturn traveled through my fifth house, I’d be all dried up, but it hasn’t been the case. I learned a lot of lessons about love/partnership and creativity. I too had Saturn on Pluto and honestly I don’t remember it being ‘bad’. All I remember is going inwards to gestate all the creative stuff I have accomplished lately.
    Again, a wonderful blog entry.

  9. M. says:

    Funny (not really), how a certain VERY well-known astrologer was chirping all over her website, a few years ago, how lucky Librans were because Saturn feels the best in Libra, being “exalted” and all that, so it’s going to be a comparatively easy ride… Then, a year later, she was commiserating them when they complained.

    Anyway, I am not a Libra Sun, but it is my ascendant. The past five years years have been horrendous. There is no other word for it, and I am not exaggrating. A living, never-ending nightmare.
    I am not sure it has anything to do with the planets, though.

    Come to think of it, my Saturn return, many years ago now, was totally unremarkable, on the personal front. I did have a major heartbreak (more like huge ego-bruise) when I was 26, but I don’t think that was Saturn-related. The period from my 28th to my 33rd year, or thereabouts, was possibly the most exciting – and happiest – time of my life, with no unpleasant personal shocks of any sort.

  10. Christina says:

    And that M. is the kind of interesting personal insight that every astrologer should file away in their drawer marked real-life experiences. Not everyone experiences the planets in the textbook way. I know a lot of people who have had excellent Saturn Returns – got married, got on the right career path, had a first and much loved baby – but you don’t hear about those so much.

    The fact is every Saturn transit is different and this one through Libra is harder than usual. Thank God it’s nearly over.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Hello – thank you very much for this piece, it has helped make a lot more sense of what i have been through lately! I don’t know much about astrology – oddly, I only started paying attention to it AFTER my Saturn Return, when I began to look inwards and reflect and seek a deeper understanding of life.

    I was born on December 17 1980, and my Saturn Return was (is?) both brutal and essential. in the 6 months prior, I actually became really agitated about growing older and mellowing out, like the last agonised dance of an angry, dying animal. I handled challenges badly and ended up very unwell, leaving my job, moving back to my parents’ place and developing agorophobia. On the exact date of my SR, in October, I really was at a total standstill: it felt like point zero, the reset button moment.

    Progress since then has been slow (stop-start, isolating) and it feels like I am still in the process, but last weekend I had a moment of profound comparison. An almost identical set of circumstances to July 2010 (uncanny in specifics) arose, and I realised that although the situation felt like de ja vu, my responses were different – I had evolved into a more mature, grounded, reflective person. Things are still by no means easy or ‘settled’ but last week I finally got a permanent job offer, in an organisation that conducts meaningful work. I also caught myself on the verge of an old behaviour – about to launch into a gradiose future plan that would be hard to sustain – and am revising things now to bring it back to earth in a more present-day, manageable form. I thank my horrible SR because in my case I think only that scale of total life-crash could have stopped me, slowed me, and helped me change my approach to life. Without my vile SR I would possibly still be chasing dodgy musicians around Shoreditch and fretting about not looking 21. Instead, I am wondering whether to commute from a village in the Chilterns, starting a steady job for a charity, and learning to quietly DO the things I love and get proficient through experience rather than making a big noise declaring future grand amibtions via quick fixes…

    I realise this is rather a long comment – but this article really hit a key event and I hope this helps anyone experiencing the worst of an SR to know that it really is for the greater good, and brings about much greater peace than in pre-SR life…

  12. Luna Fox says:

    Christina thank you! I had been feeling very doom and gloom earlier this evening, focusing exactly on my commitment issues as well as feelings of loneliness. I had completely forgot about my SR!!! (Leo, 6th, Pluto) Was handy to recap. Argh! Mostly it’s been great, with big but positive changes (quit job, travel & move overseas, started course aligned with Self), but I do feel like I am rehashing through my past relationships and the past in general and am finding reluctance to ‘let go’ of things that my sense tells me will go nowhere. Also spot on about experiencing early lessons in partnerships, with a very painful family break up in my teens. Would very much love to be part of a transformative relationship in the future. Haven’t had the big one yet, but keeping this in mind I will cross my fingers and hold on. What’s the experience when Saturn retrogrades?I am going to experience this in late Sept, Off to sleep with some peace now. All the best to my fellow Returners! xx

  13. Sarah Mc says:

    Hi Christina, a belated comment to your excellent piece on Saturn Returns. I’m one of those 1952 returners with Venus conjunct Saturn conjunct Neptune in Libra. I have found it the cruellest, most appalling experience with the exception of my childhood – which of course it will have reflected.

    It began with loss, then progressed to betrayal, then shame. Throughout I have felt powerless, helpless and stuck. There didn’t seem to be anywhere to turn to. I just lived hour by hour.

    On the bright side (!), I have learnt skills and found out who my real friends are.

    It’s a huge comfort to read that this is the big one. I hope never to go through that again. And yes I know that Saturn is supposed to be easier if one has worked on one’s stuff. I’ve worked on my stuff most of my adult life. And interesting to observe that during the return, I couldn’t bear to be vulnerable. Finding myself in survival mode, I benumbed myself and became depressed. It’s only now that I can afford to be self examining again.

    Thanks again for an outstanding, supportive and illuminating article. I love what you write.

  14. Anonymous says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Thirty years ago when I was eighteen saturn of course went through libra. It really began when I was seventeen when I was asked to leave the childrens home I was in – despite being on a care order until I was eighteen I should add. Saturn was around 16 degrees. What must also bee bourne in mind is that I have a jupiter/venus conjuntion in 19/20 degree of Aries – so saturn was getting ready to oppose. I moved into a squallid shared house and was not there for long as the landlord made the excuse that there was rebuilding to be done in the house – so everyone was out. I moved across the way into a former b&b. I was a stroppy mouthy sub-working-class teenager and my mouth got me into trouble but not as you would expect. I carried-on a kind of disagreement I had with one of the other residents but to the landlady. She threw me out two days before christmas. I have no family there was no one to turn to apart from the social services. I was allowd to stay for one night in the childrens home – despite as I have already mentioned being on a care order. The next day my social worker got me a place in a night-shelter in chester for two weeks over the xmas/new-year period. to cut along story short I was homeless pretty much for the whole of the following year. I was lucky over the summer as I stayed with the family of a friend I had made and moved in autumn into a council flat. These were bad times and good times – but not the best and worst of times.

    Now saturn has gone through libra again – as we know. The most dodgy time was last year when I had an importent interview that was initially made by the people concerned for myself when saturn was very near the exact oppostion of the aformentioned jup/ven conjunction. Strange time for the interview to be made. This time knowing what I know about astrology I delayed the interview until saturn had passed. And guess who passed the interview as well stronger than ever with more money in the pocket.

    Saturn needent be bad if one knows how to avoid its badness/madness. Thirty years ago I was illprepared and ignorant. Not now.

  16. Christina says:

    That is truly an instructive tale dear Anon. Sorry it took me a while to put it up – I’ve been away.

    So true about using the astrology. You just made tiny adjustment to timing and bingo.

    That’s actually one of the reasons I have this blog. What’s the point of knowing this stuff if you don’t use it and share it.

  17. Anonymous says:

    i am glad to reach the very end of my SR in libra – saturn passed the exact degree 3 times due to a retrograde. it was textbook 4th house – my family of origin and the family i will create. after having to deal with gnarly family of origin stuff the first two times i deliberately arranged to be far away from them for the 3rd pass of saturn over that degree. but then due to a funeral of a distant relative i was summoned back and still had to deal with them! sigh. but it’s all character building i suppose!

    i am now trying to advise a friend whose natal saturn is precisely on the cusp of libra/scorpio – 29.5 libra to be precise. saturn is in her 5th house, which spans all the way from late virgo to halfway through scorpio. when does her SR begin and end?

  18. Christina says:

    Now that is a good question. Even though it’s at the end of Libra, it’s still in Libra. So I think your friend should have been feeling the Saturn all along. She’s also one of those lucky souls who’s going to get just one pass of Saturn over her natal Saturn (sigh).

    However, 29 degrees of any sign is really intense. It can be like a distillation of everything in the sign. So her actual Return may be short and sharp. This week and next may prove pivotal for her. Are there any other outer planets involved in the natal chart?

    Some astrologer (I cannot remember who) called it the degree of expiation, that means atonement. Get this – the Jewish Day of Atonement is tomorrow. I would suggest she mark this week with some kind of totting up of her life so far, a balance sheet if you will, and if there’s anything she feels she needs to say sorry for or fix, now’s the time (even if she’s apologising to herself). Also, she really should mark this moment as the end of the first part of her adult life. Because of the position of Saturn, she may feel like a door slams shut behind her rather violently.

    I would love to hear what happens.

  19. Anonymous says:

    ‘short and sharp’? ouch! it frightens me to think of all the painful lessons of a SR being distilled into a couple of weeks! i will pass on your advice and ask my friend’s permission to summarise for you what happens.

    outer planets? why yes, her natal Saturn was conjunct Pluto! big stuff, then…?

  20. Anonymous says:

    I’m really excited about my 1st SR finishing. It’s like being in an exam and you’re right at the end, clockwatching. During this time, I’ve had an affair, lived like a nun, then had a decent loving relationship which although it’s over (he’s about to go in to his SR- good luck!), has left me really aware of what I want. I feel much healthier and ready for a new relationship. I really didn’t know what I wanted before, now I do.
    I did grow up in this time, passed my driving test, sorted out wisdom teeth, moved to a city that I’ve always wanted to live in. But I am looking forward to no longer having that feeling of being pulled up by my bootstraps or beaten up by the Universe. Buh-bye Saturn! Thanks for the lessons!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Hi, I have just turned 28 and I have been questioning my life lots this year more than any other time, my colleague told me I am going through a Saturn return and also a Saturn return in Pluto. Will things get easier? I’m a Libra.

  22. Christina says:

    Well, you’ve just had Saturn through your Sun sign. So if you’ve just turned 28, you were born in 1984. That gives you Saturn in Scorpio. You’re coming up to your Saturn Return now. But hey you have Saturn on your natal Pluto today! Mazel tov

  23. Anonymous says:

    Hi Christina! I want to thank you for these insightful articles about the SR. Even if Saturn has moved on to Scorpio, the articles (and the comments!) have helped me understand what´s going on with my husband and in our relationship. He has his second SR, and it is not fun! Doesn´t help that the Saturn transit (and his natal Saturn) conjunct my natal Venus/Neptune. I should add that his Sun is in a stellium with five other planets, and that the transiting Saturn has affected all these with either a trine or a square.
    We live in Greece, and due to the national (Saturn) crisis in the country he has had a huge cut in his income, which really has made him depressed and feeling like “nothing”. I am sick and tired of beeing the cheerful Venus-person and would have left him, but because of a business we have together, I am forced to “be here now” for at least another six-seven months. By then, the transit will hopefully have lost its effect.
    We have now known each other for a full Saturn cyclus, as we first met and spent a few months together before I left, in 1984. Seven years later, as I had my first SR return, we met again and have been together ever since.
    I believe that if we survive this Saturn transit, we´ll make it for another 29 years!

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi all,

      Here is my story

      I am 30, not sure when my Saturn return started (according to one website Oct – Nov 2013, which probably makes sense: I was married to a guy until 2011 (I was 27), then we separated, because I (thought I) had fallen in love with a Spanish senor. I did a teaching qualification (although when I was at uni, I hated teaching!) I left marital home to go to live in Spain and enjoy sun, sea and sangria 🙂 I did feel bad about leaving my husband, and I was thinking of getting back together (can’t help thinking how things would be different now if I had done it), but didn’t. As soon as I arrived in Spain I didn’t feel well and didn’t want too see the guy. IT was pretty much the same all the time. I did enjoy it though – I was in Spain till summer 2013, coming back to England to teach English in the summer, seeing friends, going to visit family in my home country. Had a stable job in spain too. At the beginning of 2013, the Spanish guy and I stopped trying to have a relationship as it didn’t seem to be working out. Husband filed for divorce earlier this year, the documents came through…I decided to go back to the UK for good, packed up bags, got a summer job at my usual school and after that went on to do another teaching qualification. Here is when it all hit me…. Although I have no results yet, the course didn’t go well, and I blew 5000 on it. I was doing it in another city, the people on the course were nice, but I felt extremely lonely and isolated, kept ccalling my ex-hubby and friends…. When I was doing the final module I started reconsidering going back to Spain – at least life was good and cheap there, and I sort of had support from the Spaniard. I also did not have accommodation in either country to go back to. So in the end after the course I went back to where I had lived when I was married, stayed with a friend… then booked a ticket to spain, arranged job interviews, cancelled them, rearranged again, cancelled….at the moment I am virtually homeless, looking for a room, a job, the savings I had are dwindling (England is bloody expensive!). Besides I;ve realised I messed up my taxes in both countries and to rectify it I need an advisor and I wont have money to do it. My sister is getting married this year and I don’t even know if I’ll be able to go to the wedding because of my financial situation. This week I am going back to spain for 3 days to try and figure out what to do. I’ve realised I am on my own, even though people support me…. It had never been this tough. I want to cry but I can’t cos I have no energy left…. I am trying to be positive, but in this situation it is reall difficult. I’ve been talking to people in order to see if they can help me to make the right decision or reassure me but I should be in charge. I feel that I am paying the consequences. I feel ill and depressed and don’t know when it will be over…. Sorry to write out so much, but it just hurts, I don’t want to tell my parents because it will just upset them.. Thanks, Roxy