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What is a Saturn Return? How to Survive Your Saturn Return

Were you born between February 13, 1988 and February 6, 1991? If so, we’ve got news for you: You’re smack in the middle of your Saturn Return. This three-year astrological rite of passage is here to make you stronger, wiser, and ready to take on the world. But this is no cakewalk; in fact, it might be one of the most challenging periods you’ve had…as in, ever.

Even if your birthday doesn’t fall between these dates, you should still read on. This guide can help you prepare for this turbulent, but ultimately groundbreaking, chapter of your life, or to make peace with it if it’s already passed. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

So, What Exactly Is a Saturn Return?

Saturn, the planet that rules time-tested wisdom, mastery and maturity, takes 29.5 years to do one full orbit around the Sun and “return” to the position in the sky where it was at your time of birth. For three years, Saturn will orbit through the same zodiac sign it was in when you born, putting you through some serious tests of will. Farewell, youthful innocence; hello, astrological adulting. The ringed taskmaster is here to help you grow up, take responsibility for your choices, and find your path in life.

Since mastery is a key theme of the Saturn Return, you’re going to have to pay some dues if you want to reach the holy grail of expertise this cycle promises. If you’ve been coasting through bullshit jobs or pseudo-relationships, that could all change fast. It’s time to get invested, which might mean eating humble pie for breakfast, lunch and dinner as you learn the ropes. Keep your eye on your goal and don’t lose your determination! Saturn rewards discipline, and if you’re willing to put in that boots-on-the-ground gruntwork, you could find yourself vaulted into an esteemed position by the time the return is through

Heads up: Relationships that are built on false premises can crumble during the Saturn Return. Even the happiest couples are bound to hit a rough patch as Saturn forces you to confront deeply engrained childhood patterns. Since Saturn is associated with the father, some “daddy lessons” could be served. Whether your pop was “Father of the Year” or totally absent, he set a template for relationships. During the Saturn Return, you can liberate yourself from that paradigm, and choose a partner who is right for you. (No matter what your family has to say about it.) Breakups aren’t essential; it’s just that Saturn prefers clear boundaries. Pull back from bae and remind yourself that autonomy is an aphrodisiac. Self-authorization over self-sacrifice, please!

After the Saturn Return, you enter a new stage of life, one that is more structured and settled.

We realize this all sounds rather heavy. Certainly, there will be some “dark nights of the soul” during this three-year phase. The Saturn Return is basically boot camp. As the planetary personal trainer, Saturn breaks you down, blows the whistles on your bad habits and makes you do another set of reps until you’re fatigued. The goal is not to torture you. The ringed taskmaster wants to help you get in fighting shape, so you can go kick ass in the wild world of grown-ups.

If you play your cards right, you could emerge from your Saturn Return with serious bragging rights. We’ve seen many people land their dream jobs, meet their life partners, or get recognized for their first important work during the Saturn Return. But they all put in some elbow grease, signed up for workshops, read all the books, burned that midnight oil.

After the Saturn Return, you enter a new stage of life, one that is more structured and settled. While this probably sounded dreadfully dull while you were in your early to mid 20s, post Saturn Return, it’s actually kind of blissful.

Whether you’re in your Saturn Return cycle or not, the zodiac sign Saturn was in at your time of birth can help to direct your career path. Here is where you will toil away for hours, obsessively, to reach your grandest goals. Below, is a guide to working with your Saturn sign—especially during your Saturn Return.


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Saturn in Capricorn

Goals, goals, goals! Success is your obsession but having restrictive Saturn in high-achieving Capricorn can stall your ambition and make you prone to self-doubt. During your Saturn Return, you may finally uncover the right blueprint for your career. Both Saturn andthe sign of Capricorn are associated with men and the father. If you have a strained or distant relationship with your dad, you could do some deep healing work during your Saturn Return. Any issues you have with authority and power will also rear up to be dealt with. No more railing against “the man”…or trying to become him! Your Saturn Return will guide you to people who model “responsible leadership.” Your inner CEO could take the wheel during your Saturn Return, which might involve returning to school for a business degree, apprenticing alongside an executive or registering your own LLC. Since Capricorn is an earth sign, environmentally responsible business practices are a must for you!


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Saturn in Aquarius

You’re a born activist on a mission to make the world a better, more just place for all. While you may struggle to feel like you belong, you are equally committed to finding your tribe and building community. And this is not going to be a cookie-cutter crew! Friends who celebrate your individuality are the ones you’ll stick by. Your humanitarian nature could come to life during your Saturn Return, leading you to work within (or start!) a non-profit or get involved in social justice work. You have a passion for helping the underdog. With Saturn in this future-forward sign, you may be drawn to the tech industry. Virtual and augmented reality may be your tools for change; or you could start a game-changing YouTube channel, website or Instagram feed. (Just be careful not to check out of this world by getting addicted to video games or social media.) Whatever field you find yourself in, the Saturn Return makes it clear that you need to surround yourself with inspiring innovators and progressive thought leaders.


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Saturn in Pisces

A dreamer, creative and healer, your compassionate nature can feel like a blessing and a curse. While you naturally intuit unspoken energy and “vibes,” you can also be a psychic sponge, carrying the weight of the world (and everyone’s woes) on your shoulder. During your Saturn Return, you could discover your healing gifts, which you may express through anything from medicine to music. You may also have a talent for working with numbers and codes or doing holistic healing. Spiritual and esoteric pursuits may call you from a young age, and you may have a strong interest in human psychology. Where you struggle, however, is with setting boundaries. Because you are so accepting, you don’t always realize when people are taking advantage of your kindness—or leading you down a troubled track. During your Saturn Return, you can learn how to give without making so many sacrifices. Self-protection is also a skill that you need to hone.


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Saturn in Aries

Hello, trailblazer. With Saturn in dashing Aries, you may be the first one to kickstart a mission, dive in to an adventure or break a news story. The trouble is, you may lose interest in your latest obsession just as quickly as you discover it. If you don’t hone some self-discipline, you may change course so frequently that you wind up feeling like a jack of all trades, master of none. Alternatively, Saturn in Aries can suppress your daring impulse, causing you to hesitate or second-guess yourself every time you’re about to leap. During your Saturn Return, you can learn to connect with your self-confidence while also tempering your rash impulsivity. This is your time to step forth as a leader, but also remember that being in charge doesn’t mean doing everything yourself—or barking orders at the troops like an entitled dictator! A career as an athlete, motivational speaker, entrepreneur or performer may in the stars for you!


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Saturn in Taurus

This luxuriating Saturn placement helps you to appreciate the finer things in life. You were born with excellent taste. Without even checking the price tags, you’re probably drawn to the most expensive and sought-after items on the shelf. Your appreciation of fine food and wine, and basically anything “haute” makes you an amazing critic, curator or designer. This fiscally savvy Saturn placement might also direct you to a career in banking or financial planning. Saturn here can also make you a little slow-moving. Some people born with this placement can be overly fixated on the bottom line, or so hung up on “process” that you wind up stuck in a groove. Until you connect with the “charging Bull” inside, you could deliberate so long that you miss out on crucial opportunities. During your Saturn Return, you can find the perfect pace, learning to be sensible and sensual. Lessons around money management could also crop up during Saturn’s return. You’re no stranger to retail therapy, but mastering the art of delayed gratification can keep your bank account in the black!


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Saturn in Gemini

Hey there, media maven! With Saturn in communicative Gemini, your words carry weight. Whether you’re writing, podcasting, or shouting into the bullhorn at a protest, you have the gift of gab. The trouble is, Saturn’s suppressive influence may give you a complex, putting a gag order on your natural expression. The core struggle of your Saturn Return may involve freeing yourself from self-judgment and self-censorship—and finding your natural voice! Once you stop doubting yourself, you may find the courage to shop a novel or become the spokesperson for an important cause. Saturn in Gemini makes it difficult for you to “sell” yourself, so you would benefit from working with some sort of representative, like an agent. Gemini is the sign of the Twins, and thanks to Saturn’s gravitas your relationships tend to be as “serious as a heart attack.” The trouble is, you can get pulled into commitments and contracts before people have actually proven their worth. Learn to be more discerning—and to test the waters with a trial run—before you make dynamic duos official. The courtship phase was invented for a reason! That said, you may find your fortune as half of a tag team, or develop a career in writing, teaching or as a skilled sartorialist who creates stunning handmade goods.


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Saturn in Cancer

Hello, domestic diva! You’re a creature of comfort who knows how to build a beautiful home and gather the family around. But with restrictive Saturn here, you may suffer through some turbulence in your home life, especially as a child. Your relationship with your mother could be fraught with conflict (you may feel like your “mother’s mother,” in fact)—or your mom will be your lifelong BFF. Either way, your Saturn Return will be an essential time for putting down roots and learning how to nurture yourself. You may gravitate to the role of the caretaker for the people in your life. If so, your Saturn Return will be an essential time for learning to set boundaries, prioritize self-care and ask for support! Although you may resist becoming a parent, it could be your greatest joy, whether you have children or pets. Your nesting instincts could guide you towards a career in the culinary arts, hospitality or interior design. Early childhood education, even “Mommy blogging” could become an unexpected path during your Saturn Return. Working from home or owning a small business will be fulfilling too, especially if you can cultivate a family of close-knit, returning customers.


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Saturn in Leo

Passion, glamor and a Cinderella-story romance—you’re here for it all, but your fairy tale may play out like an epic trilogy instead of a streaming short. With slowpoke Saturn in Leo, you feel the call to true love…and the stage. But you may also suffer from anxiety and a paralyzing fear of judgment that causes you to retreat when it’s time to advance. It might take until your Saturn Return before you step into the limelight, or finally work through the discomfort of being vulnerable with a lover. With discerning Saturn in Leo, you may be so picky that no one can live up to your regal standards. Yes, you are a queen, but during your Saturn Return, you may grow into a more noble, generous form of leader. Life doesn’t have to be a power struggle, after all! Saturn here can make you a natural creative, and you may find a career in the arts or nurturing the talents of children. Since Leo rules fertility, pregnancy may be a mixed bag. You may have to try harder than most in order to have babies—or become a parent at an earlier age than anticipated. Luxury is your birthright, but during your Saturn Return, you’ll have to learn where indulgence can become excess—or, conversely, where denying it leaves you feeling deprived.


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Saturn in Virgo

Move over, Marie Kondo. You’re a natural systematizer who lives to group and categorize everything. Chaos makes you break out in hives, but it’s also a naturally occurring phenomenon. Learning that life doesn’t always fit in neatly organized boxes will be a challenge. During your Saturn Return, circumstances could arise that force you to practice the art of surrender. Think of it this way: Sweating the small stuff can distract you from big opportunities. To avert the anxiety and neuroses that Saturn in Virgo can elicit, develop serenity practices, like daily meditation, breathing exercises and yoga. During your Saturn Return, you might even become certified as a yogi or wellness practitioner. Natural healing, nutrition and medicine may be paths that call you. With your detail-driven incisiveness, you could excel as an accountant, psychologist or master craftsperson. Since Virgo is the sign of service, helping others will naturally be part of your career, perhaps as an agent or social justice worker. All things natural appeal to you: organic foods, cruelty free and sustainable products, ethical fashion. You may open shop on a business with an eco-friendly mission.


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Saturn in Libra

Relationships are your raison d’etre, but with weighty Saturn in this Libra, they can also be a thorn in your side. Finding the proper balance of give and take can be one of your major struggles in life. Since you are naturally partnership-oriented, you may marry early in life. You may also commit to a childhood sweetheart simply because you don’t want to face the pain of breaking up. At work, you could be tracked into a support role, helping someone else achieve their dreams while yours languish on the backburner. During your Saturn Return, you will be pushed to develop a stronger sense of self and go after your dreams. Ironically, once you face down the fear of standing in the limelight alone, you could find success as half of a dynamic duo. Your mission in this lifetime is to cultivate both an individual and a shared identity. No portmanteaus, please: You don’t have to lose your identity to be part of a couple! Your Saturn Return could also herald a marriage proposal or the dissolution of a relationship that was built on shaky ground. As a natural harmonizer, a career in sales, hospitality, music or family counseling may call your name. With your discerning eye for beauty and your keen sense of justice, you may be drawn to the work in fashion, the arts or the law.


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Saturn in Scorpio

More intensity, please! With karmic Saturn in psychic Scorpio, you’re not afraid to plumb the depths and dig around in the shadows. But power broker Saturn in this position can make you obsessed with the Scorpio trinity of money, power, and sex! You may feel like you’re blocked in these areas, going through extended periods of poverty, chastity and misery that are largely self-imposed. During your Saturn Return, you will learn to get a handle on your stormy emotions, sexuality hang-ups and your scarcity-related fears. As you parse through those shadows, you’ll emerge, like a Phoenix from the ashes, with game-changing wisdom. Who knows? You could find your calling as a sex therapist, motivational speaker or investment banker by the time your Saturn Return is through. Since Scorpio is the sign of transformation, shared resources and reproduction, your career could involve coaching, talent representation or women’s healing. You aren’t afraid of blood or helping people through times of crisis. No matter your chosen path, you’re an alchemist who can turn basic lead into gold.


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Saturn in Sagittarius

No more teachers, no more books? With Saturn in Sagittarius, the sign that rules both liberation and education, you may have a complex relationship with school. Some of you may feel right at home in the ivory tower, so much so, that you flow from grad school to professorship or the head of a university lab. Others with Saturn in Sagittarius may struggle with traditional education, finding your success as a street-smart, self-taught entrepreneur. Traveling can be game-changing for you, and during your Saturn Return, you may connect to your nomadic nature. But every journey must have a purpose for you, whether you’re in spiritual seeker mode or helping to open up the London office for the company you work for. Living independently is good for your soul, although you may have an innate fear that you can’t make it on your own. Challenge that phobia regularly and you’ll soon become the world citizen you were born to be! Your career could involve teaching or publishing, perhaps on the subject of intersectionality or global policy.

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