Saturn’s complete cycle around the Sun takes 29.4 years. The hard aspects of Saturn (squares and oppositions) take place every seven years, so each period of 7 years ends with a new stage of maturation and balance in our lives. We become true adults at about the age of 28 or 29, when Saturn has made a complete orbit around the Sun from where it was when we were born, a period we call the return of Saturn. At age 56-8, we experience the second Saturn Return. These Returns are considered significant milestones in the cycle of human maturation.
The seven-year phases between aspects of Saturn and natal Saturn are the normal stressful periods of life and growth, which psychologists refer to as normative crises (for example, adolescent agitation at age 14 or moving on your own to the twenty-one). We all go through these crises, but if your natal Saturn has difficult aspects (hard aspects to the Sun, Moon, Ascendant, Pluto, or Neptune, for example), these periods can be more difficult. Periods like your Saturn Return or other Saturn transits are opportunities to change from bad uses of Saturn to better uses. While 21 is popularly considered our coming of age, it’s really just an entry-level position into adulthood. The person who is between 28 and 30 years old has now faced most of the challenges of becoming a seasoned adult.
Saturn has to do with maturing and aging, and the positive Saturnian is mature. Saturn is a marker of time, but it shouldn’t be devastating unless we’re just marking time. For those who are steadily growing and developing through persistent effort, aging has little to regret because they are not aging; they are getting better. In fact, in the very areas where they seemed to be late bloomers, Saturnians often stand out a few later phases in their Saturn cycles.
Many young Saturnians are too old for their age and don’t feel comfortable with their peers. Their comfort level improves with age, especially as they approach the age when Saturn qualities such as maturity and caution due to career or family responsibilities are expected. In addition, they feel calmer once they find a sense of security and self-esteem through their achievements, so they improve more difficult expressions, such as insecurity and self-criticism.
Saturn transits force you to face reality…a jolt if you’ve been kidding yourself about the issues you face. But the upside is that once you’re done getting excited about the unfairness of it all, you can get to work establishing stronger, more substantial foundations. Building foundations may not be as much fun as drifting off and dreaming of a pink cloud, but the bank doesn’t accept pink clouds as collateral. Saturn is wisdom gained through experience… even if you’re stupid and your alma mater is the School of Hard Knocks.
Many negative situations that arise under Saturn transits are the result of not using Saturn positively in the first place. If you haven’t developed self-discipline, a Saturn transit could bring about the loss of something you haven’t been disciplined about. Discipline imposed from without is meant to foster discipline from within. If you’ve built your house on sand, figuratively speaking, a Saturn transit could level the house and cause you to rebuild a stronger foundation. Saturn is not punitive, but an impartial error rectification: the Celestial Computer returns your input to correct it because it “doesn’t calculate”.
Used constructively, a Saturn transit can help develop stability, strength of character, self-discipline, and a new ability to organize and structure life. If you have already exercised some of these traits in the traffic affected area, then it will be a period of increased growth in that area and a reaping of the reward for what you have already sown.
Note: This is an excerpt from Donna Cunningham’s classic text for beginning and intermediate students, An Astrological Guide to Self-Awareness, a revised edition in e-book form.