Have you ever wondered why so many of us get the distinct pull toward settling down in our late 20s? Or why the average age of divorce in the United States is 30? Have you started to question a career change as you inch toward your 30s? Maybe you’ve lived in the same place most of your adult life and suddenly you’re wondering what it might be like to move someplace completely new. Take a look at your friend group. Are a lot of them getting engaged? Breaking up? Having babies? Starting new careers? Moving to new cities? If you’re an early ‘90s baby, I’m going to guess this is really starting to hit home for you—and you may have your Saturn Return to thank for it. Those of you who were born between 1990 and 1996 are either approaching your Saturn Return, wrapping it up, or right in the thick of it.
Wait, what’s a Saturn Return?
If you know a little about astrology, you know it would take hours (if not days or years) to begin to understand all the different aspects of your natal chart. But one thing that we all have in common is the inevitable return of Saturn. According to astrologist, author, and tarot expert Stefanie Caponi, Saturn is the “most serious” planet in astrology. It controls time and represents change, work, boundaries, structure, and commitments. It is ruled by Capricorn, which means it comes with the same determined, bossy edge as all the other Capricorns in your life.
When does your Saturn Return happen?
Every planet in your natal chart moves at a different speed, but it takes Saturn approximately 29 years to return to the place it was when you were born, i.e. your Saturn Return. The precise timing will depend on your individual natal chart, and working with an astrologist can help you determine exactly when yours will occur.
Because Saturn is a slow-moving planet, you will start to feel the effects of it in the year leading up to the return, likely around the age of 27 or 28. The most pivotal timeframe will be between 29 and 30, and you may still feel the dust settling for another year or so after.
What happens when Saturn returns?
Well, for one thing, you’ll start to actually feel like an adult—and not in an “I’m 18 and I can finally buy a lotto ticket” sort of way. “During Saturn’s Return, people are asked to grow leaps and bounds in maturity,” Caponi explained. In other words, it’s time to get your life together, and Saturn is here to make sure you do it.
The great thing about this time is that while you’ll be asked to make big decisions and to rethink those that you have already made, Saturn is there to support you. It might (OK, will) shake things up a bit, but if you choose to embrace it, you will see that things have a way of working themselves out. “It is a time to make big decisions but from a place of power, not fear,” Caponi said.
In my own Saturn Return, I ended an on-and-off three-year relationship, moved to a new city, and started a new job. Oh, and we entered a pandemic. My mom had me during her first Saturn Return, which meant (surprise!) she went through her second while I was in my first. So if you’ve already passed the first return, don’t worry, you’ll be ready for the next one.
I’m in a relationship. How will this impact it?
How your Saturn Return will affect your relationship really depends on the strength of your relationship and how well you know each other and, more importantly, how well you each know yourself. During your Saturn Return, you discover who you truly are. For some, who you are is pretty close to who you have been. But for others, as Caponi explained, you may start to feel like you are “being pulled in a direction” that does not align with who you were in the past or who your partner may still be.
Not even celebrities are immune to the turbulence that comes with a Saturn Return. Adele recently attributed her divorce to the huge overhaul that her own Saturn Return took on many aspects of her life. She even got a tattoo to commemorate it.
If your Saturn Return brings a season of broken hearts, know that it is for the best. Caponi reminded us that while breakups hurt both parties, “it is a gift for both of you, even if you don’t see it.” If you choose to end a relationship because of the shifts you feel during your Saturn Return, know that “you are setting that person free” and “you are going to help them see in their own way, and at their own pace, what is really meant for them.”
What if I’m single? How will this change my dating life?
That’s up to you. Caponi’s advice is to take a look at your life, find the area that you’re feeling a lack of control over, and “open yourself up to it.” If you’re single, she recommended “taking a plunge, saying yes to new things, and stepping out of your comfort zone.”
If you’re single during your Saturn Return, “you’re preparing in an energetic way for your partner, they’re preparing for you, and you’ll meet each other at the perfect time”—after you’ve both done the work. So lean into self-discovery, and “if you choose to jump into the void, Saturn will help you,” Caponi explained.
Maybe you’ve always had an image of what your perfect partner will look like or act like. You might have a literal list of traits that you want them to have. If someone walks into your life who doesn’t match what you thought you were looking for, take a chance. Saturn has a funny way of giving you exactly what you need.
How can I prepare so I’m ready for my own Saturn Return?
First of all, relax. Saturn is not about blowing up your life but more about revamping it and pushing you in new, aligned directions. Ask yourself if there is anything you are holding back from. “Saturn wants you to commit to something, level up, and take on more responsibility than you’ve ever taken on before,” Caponi said.
“You spend most of your 20s thinking this is what everything has to look like,” she explained. But then you’re given a chance to meet your authentic self, and you realize there are other possibilities for you. When this happens, you have the opportunity to step into your true self and to no longer live by the guidelines of what your parents did or what your friends are doing. And this can really shake things up.
Remember, you do not have to have it all figured out. “Half of life is about putting in effort toward your goals, but a lot of it is having trust and faith that you’re being taken where you need to go,” Caponi said. “Saturn can humble you,” but she fully believes that when you “give yourself permission to fail forward … you truly blossom.”
So as you approach, wrap up, or reflect on your Saturn Return, trust that Saturn has your back and embrace its return for the glow-up it can be.