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sole purpose of the Ask Astro-Coach column is to demonstrate how an astrological perspective supports better informed decisions by providing deeper understanding of real-life situations. It is not meant to replace your own good judgment, nor the services of licensed professionals, such as psychologists, attorneys, physicians, or financial advisors.
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is one that we all experience
at the same age, such as the Saturn return or the Uranus
opposition. We differentiate these from individual
cycles because generic cycles mark specific stages
of human development. An example of an individual cycle
would be Saturn conjunct the natal Sun, because this
can occur at any age.
Saturn cycle is approximately 29.5 years.
The three complete cycles that Saturn makes in the
90 years of a full lifetime coincide closely with one
full cycle of Uranus (84 years), three complete cycles
of the progressed Moon around the natal wheel, and
three phase returns in the progressed lunation cycle.
You can read more about developmental cycles in Cycles
of Becoming: The Planetary Pattern of Growth,
Alexander Ruperti, CRCS Publications, 1978.
I am presenting my own perspective
on when the Saturn return begins and
ends. Other astrologers will undoubtedly
have differing opinions. Other planetary
transits and progressions must be taken
into account, to more fully understand
the meaning of a Saturn return, but
that is beyond the scope of this column.
exact Saturn return conjunctions were:
9/5/02, 11/16/02, and 5/17/03 at 27°57'
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Mountain Astrologer, Oct-Nov 2003 (1)
familiar with the concept of the Saturn return.
My question is regarding exactly when it begins
and when it ends. Does it begin when Saturn
re-enters the sign it was in when you were
born (thus my Saturn Return is nearly complete)
and then end when it exits that sign? Or does
it begin when it re-crosses the exact degree
it occupied when you were born (thus mine has
barely begun), and if so, when does it end?
I'm very anxious to know whether my Saturn
return has just begun and how long it will
last (and keep kicking my butt) or if I'm on
the home stretch.
outer planets define our individual relationship
to the collective. Saturn represents the
family, society, and culture that we are
born into. As we mature, it signifies the
places within these structures that we eventually
fill. Saturn makes three returns to its natal
position in the 90 years of a full lifetime.
These generic cycles1 of Saturn
define three distinct phases of life: The
first 30-year cycle is about learning from
your family, society, and culture; the second
cycle is about actively participating in
these structures as an adult; and the final
cycle is about contributing wisdom to the
culture as an elder.
The first Saturn return, which you have recently experienced,
is the Initiation into Adulthood, born out
of 30 years of living and learning. This coincides
with the classic experience of “Eek, I’m
going to be 30! I’m getting old, I’d better
get my life together!” This often marks the point
when we first realize that we don’t have forever
to create a life of value and meaning, so we begin
to live more consciously and responsibly.2
Natal Chart - Peter Pan
Source: From the Querent
The prelude to the Saturn return begins
when Saturn re-enters its birth sign, although
the profound personal growth of a Saturn
return starts in earnest when Saturn first
enters a 2° orb to its natal position
and ends when Saturn leaves that orb for
the final time. The exact conjunctions act
as punctuation marks, defining significant
During the time leading up to the first conjunction,
a theme begins to form, generally as an event — a
theme that repeats and refocuses your learning around
the time of the retrograde conjunction. (“Hey,
remember me? I’m back!”) These lessons
should be well integrated by the completion of the
third conjunction.4 If
not, they will re-emerge later, as Saturn forms the
first-quarter square to its natal position around the
age of 36.
In your case, transiting Saturn first entered a 2° orb
to natal Saturn on August 11, 2002 and left that orb
for the final time on June 3, 2003. (Yes, your Saturn
return is history!) However, from December 13, 2002
until April 29, 2003, Saturn was beyond the 2° orb,
only to return again. During this “time-off period,” it’s
easy for you to fall back into old habits and forget
where your focus needs to be. If so, as Saturn closes
in again, it will indeed feel like a kick in the butt!
The point isn’t to get it over with but to integrate
the learning that Saturn brings. Reflect deeply upon
the critical lessons that arose at each of the three
conjunctions and how you’ve changed. Then, genuinely
consider this question: Who do I want to be when I
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