Part I of this post is here.
The Saturn return happens when Saturn comes full circle around the zodiac to reach the place it occupied at your birth. It occurs for everyone at approximately ages 29.5, 59, and 88.5. (There is some variation in the exact timing because of retrogrades.)
The return is the ending of one complete cycle and the beginning of a new one, but there are points within the cycle that also generally show up in our lives as important events or internal shifts. Those points occur at 7-year intervals — the opening square, opposition, and closing square aspects.
Keep in mind that the Saturn cycle can apply to any aspect of Saturn — not only to itself, but to other planets and points in the chart. When you see events happening at 7-year intervals, be alert for Saturn’s involvement.
A Saturn return will bring most or all the examples of adulting I detailed in Part One into play. A Saturn return is always an initiation into maturity, into your next stage of growth. Exactly how that plays out for an individual depends on a number of variables, not the least of which are the choices we make.
The choices that are likely to be available to us can be determined from these planetary patterns:
1) The condition of Saturn in your natal chart by sign, house, aspect, dignity/debility, rulership networks, receptions, and sect (day or night chart).
2) Other current transits, solar arcs, progressions, etc. to the natal chart, and Saturn in particular. Outer planet contacts give the bigger picture, the faster-moving inner planets tend to be trigger indicators for events.
Now let’s look at how that worked out for real people in real life.
The first chart we’ll look at belongs to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — October 13, 1989, 11:50 a.m. EDT, Queens, NY. Ascendant is 15° 56’ Sagittarius (Thanks to the persistence of a couple of astrologers and Ocasio-Cortez’s helpful staff, we now have her birth time.) I’m using equal houses. (Click on the chart to see it full-size)
Ocasio-Cortez was elected to Congress in the middle of her Saturn return, which began in early 2018. She surprised even herself when she won the Democratic primary, running on a far-left platform against a 10-term incumbent.
We see that her natal Saturn in Capricorn is bracketed by Uranus and Neptune in the first house — the house of self, and how we present ourselves to the world. Saturn is powerful in an exceptionally powerful chart — in its own sign, in a day chart, and strongly aspected, including a tight opposition to Jupiter, exalted in Cancer.
She is idealistic, and a visionary. She sees what could be, and then works to make it happen.That Aries Moon is unstoppable, and its opposition to Mercury ensures she’ll always speak up for the underdog.
The presence of Uranus in the Capricorn cluster suggests the surprising and sudden nature of her victory and her fairly radical opinions, with Neptune and Jupiter emphasizing the social justice aspects of her platform.
Her Saturn return activated all these natal placements, including her Libra midheaven and Mercury-Moon opposition. But there were other planetary influences happening at the same time. Saturn returns never happen in a vacuum.
Solar arc Mars conjuncted her Pluto in May of 2018. This indicates going all-in to make things happen in the world, to claim power. Transiting Jupiter conjuncted Pluto during the same period, magnifying this effort and suggesting it would succeed. Transiting Pluto squared her Sun, another signature of power and self-assertion.
Her campaign was praised for its disciplined and savvy approach. It was said that she herself worked remarkably hard on the campaign. I have no doubt that she did a great deal of inner work as she took on responsibilities for her community’s welfare and stepped into her personal authority.
There’s a lot more to this chart, and I have great hopes for her as someone who can help rebuild our weakened political system. I recommend it to astrologers for study, but let’s move on to another Saturn return — that of Tiger Woods.
Tiger Woods was born December 30, 1975, 10:50 p.m. PST, in Long Beach, CA. Ascendant is 24° 25’ Virgo. His Saturn return — only one pass, though there were two stations within 3 degrees — occurred on 7/24/2005.(Click on the chart to see it full-size)
His natal chart has Saturn in opposition to his Sun and dispositing both his Sun and ascendant ruler Mercury. It is trine Venus, semi-square Mars, and square Uranus. It’s a night chart, pointing to Saturn as the most difficult planet in the chart, and it is also in detriment in Leo. It rules the 5th house of the athlete and performer, and the 6th house of health.
In September 2004, as Saturn was approaching a station within 3 degrees of his natal Saturn, he lost his position as top-ranked golfer, which he had held since 1999, and then married in October — as transiting Saturn trined his Venus. (So we see both loss and commitment to a relationship).
In 2005, he rebounded mightily, winning 6 PGA tour events. In July, as his Saturn return was exact, he regained the top spot. He also released an award-winning professional golf watch in collaboration with a Swiss luxury watch company. (Recall Saturn’s natal and transiting trine to Venus, which rules his 2nd)
It is also noteworthy that there were powerful solar arcs and transits that year. Transiting Pluto conjuncted his Moon, opposed his MC, then turned stationary Rx squaring his Ascendant. What a power play! Transiting Jupiter also squared his Sun most of the year. For solar arcs, SA Sun = MC, partile June 6, and SA Mercury = Pluto, all this indicating lots of public visibility. He may well have had difficulties of some kind handling all the fame and attention.
Here’s an interesting, short video of Woods’ 2005, calling it “the year it all came together”. Also of interest is how he’s noted for “working harder than anyone else”. It could hardly be otherwise with that Capricorn Sun and Mercury. That’s Saturn for you. Astrologers will also want to check out what happened to him when the Saturn-Uranus opposition of 2009 fell right on his ascendant/descendant axis.
For our final example, we’ll look at Michael J. Fox, born June 9, 1961, at 12:15 a.m., MST, in Edmonton, Canada, AS 18° 37’ Aquarius. (Click on the chart to see it full-size)
Fox’s Saturn return was marked by a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, which he did not disclose to the public for another seven years (a quarter Saturn cycle). I usually stick to public events when writing about the charts of living people, because their inner processes are none of our business unless they are willing to share. Michael Fox was willing to share in this March, 2019 interview in the N.Y. Times, so we can look at how his chart reflects what he spoke of.
The article begins:
“It’s perhaps a strange thing to suggest, but ever since Michael J. Fox went public with his diagnosis in 1998, his life has looked, from afar anyway, almost charmed. The foundation he started has raised a staggering $800 million to combat Parkinson’s disease. He’s written three best-selling memoirs and even continued to act, in substantive roles, on shows like “The Good Wife” and “Rescue Me.” His family life, with his wife of three decades, Tracy Pollan, is by all accounts a dream. And he’s still known to be an unusually nice guy, even by high Canadian nice-guy standards. His was a remarkably positive second act.”
Or, I suppose, as positive as it can be when you’re told you have Parkinson’s at the age of twenty nine.
You can’t tell if someone will be famous just by looking at their birth chart. People have to accept and live up to the promise within the chart, and there are certain times during the life when the chart is triggered. If you miss opportunities, or don’t avoid some pitfalls, life can take a very different turn.
But Fox’s chart is alight with talent and its rewards, and he coasted into his Saturn return riding on a wave of fame and fortune.
The humor of his Gemini Sun is infused with the down-to-earth compassion clearly communicated by the Sun’s ruler, Mercury, in Cancer, in a tight trine with glamorous and empathetic Neptune.
His Taurus Moon, tightly conjunct Venus, exudes emotional reliability and a deep appreciation of beauty and life’s pleasures. Venus, strong in its own sign and in a night chart, leads a charm assault that few people could resist, emphasized by his fun-loving Sagittarian midheaven.
Pluto, often an indicator of fame, is tightly trine that Moon-Venus conjunction, and placed in the 7th house, which rules one-on-one relationships, but also the public. And with Sun-ruled Leo on the descendant, and Mars and Uranus conjunct it, the public will be very important to him.
The Mars-Uranus conjunction in Leo gives his fun-loving, nice-guy persona an edge. It’s an electric combination that suggests unusual achievements and powerful self-expression, all in the public eye.
But there is also a serious side to this chart, reflecting a strong push to fulfill those hard-to-avoid reincarnational goals I mentioned at the beginning of Part 1. Let’s take a close look at the 12th house, where Saturn and Jupiter are conjunct.
This is a powerful combination. Saturn is in the sign it rules, at the 29th degree of Capricorn, which alone suggests a need for completion of certain Saturnian lessons in this lifetime. Saturn’s tendency to manifest in difficult or destructive ways is emphasized by the fact that this is a night chart and by its position in the 12th, a house that needs self-awareness and careful handling to avoid self-sabotage.
Because Saturn co-rules Aquarius, it also rules Jupiter and the ascendant in this chart. The 6th/12th house axis is the axis of health. The ascendant is another indicator of physical health. Note that Moon rules the 6th, and squares Saturn and Jupiter.
So with that Saturn-loaded natal chart, we can expect some major events at the Saturn return, probably health-related. But there will be psychological and spiritual issues as well.
The chart suggests a karmic struggle with fear and faith that requires deeply experiencing the limitations of physical reality, the unlimited reality of the Universe, and the ways in which he can create within them, using limits to open up new realms of awareness and creativity.
From the interview:
“I’d developed a relationship with Parkinson’s,” said Fox, 57, ‘where I gave the disease its room to do what it needed to do and it left me areas I could still flourish in.’
“And so, in a way, Parkinson’s got my head in the game. I realized there are bigger things than being a rock star.”
Of course, there were other aspects going on at the time of his Saturn return that indicated major changes in his life as well. Progressed Mercury (which you will recall rules his Sun) had just turned direct, and a progressed planet stationing is a powerful indicator of change.
Additionally, transiting Uranus was opposing his Mercury (the mind), and transiting Pluto was square his ascendant and Mars (ruling his third house of mindset). Put all this together, and you have a two-by-four, a cattle prod, and maybe a taser for good measure. The need for change will not escape his attention.
Understandably, and oh-so-common with Saturn returns, his first reaction was fear and panic.
“I was so scared. I was so unfamiliar with Parkinson’s. Someone is saying your life is going to be completely changed. Yeah? When? I’m fine now but back then I wasn’t in the “I’m fine now.” I was in the “I’m going to be bad.” That thinking didn’t allow me to trust that I could make a decision without worrying about time restrictions or financial pressures — which were inflated in my head. If I’d had any imperative to accomplish anything with movies, it shouldn’t have been to do as many quick successful ones as I could. It should’ve been to do as many good ones as I could. To do one good one. To find something that meant something to me. And it wasn’t until ’94 that I started getting it. That’s when I started to accept the disease — and acceptance doesn’t mean resignation.”
This is pure Saturn. And he did start “getting it”. He did the work of changing himself, of changing his reactions, of building a life within the restrictions Saturn had presented. He kept working, kept changing, and built a pretty good life for himself over the past almost 29.5 years.
Yes, he’s coming up on another Saturn return. But he’s not riding a wave of fame and fortune coming into this one. His health problems have been increasing, as he discusses in the interview. Currently, Uranus is traveling over his Moon-Venus conjunction, But this time, his Saturn return coincides with a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction and a Jupiter return. It will be interesting to see how this second return plays out for him.
Whatever happens, I expect he’ll make the best of it. Not only because of the astrology, but because of his own mindset, reflected in this quote:
“It makes me think, Can I just keep going in this adventure? Because if the worst I’ve had is as bad as it gets, it’s been amazing.”
Are you expecting Saturn? If so, please don’t panic. Think about what’s going on in your life in a strategic way. Assess your responsibilities, your boundaries, and your fears.
Saturn is a nexus of strength in the chart, and you can use its travels through your chart to strengthen the foundations of your life, and to grow as a person.
If you’re not sure what to expect, drop me an email. We’ll set up a consultation, and I’ll help you figure out the issues in your life that are being highlighted, the choices that are available to you, and your best path forward.