The Saturn Return Principle in the Cycles of Life

The Saturn Return Principle in the Cycles of Life 

Since Saturn goes around the Sun every twenty-nine to thirty years, there is a first Saturn Return around age 30, a second Saturn Return at ages 58 to 60, and a third return at about 88 to 90. Obviously, our age when experiencing the various Saturn transits through each house tremendously affects the nature of the process itself, and that is what we can become much more conscious of during our second Saturn phase.

At each Saturn Return, we experience the maximum pressure to conquer the weakness in ourselves that is blocking growth; we have the opportunity to pierce the resistance that is keeping us from breaking through into our greatest potential evolution.

Mastering the Saturn Process

One of my favorite Saturn stories is of Helen, who drank her way all the way through two Saturn Returns. Helen became a heavy drinker in her late twenties, and she continued to struggle with alcoholism throughout her thirties. Saturn was in her 9th house, meaning that the process she needed to master was integration of spirit, but she had a severe emotional communication block, caused by profound, unexpressed grief over the death of her mother at an early age. This block intensified her separation from spirit; communication/integration of self is the subject of the house opposite the 9th--the 3rd house.

Helen managed to avoid integration of her emotional needs at her Saturn Return by drinking whenever she needed to go deeper into herself. She drank more and more to avoid facing the intense emotional pressure that was building inside, as it always does during one’s thirties. The most intense phase of her alcoholism peaked during her Uranus Opposition, in her case at age 42. When the family realized she needed to be “fixed,” she was “cured” by a hypnotist.

Helen could have progressed to a profound level of consciousness expansion had she undergone depth therapy to help her stop repressing her grief. Instead, she experimented with hypnosis, since it was prescribed by a doctor, which simply programmed her subconscious to avoid drinking.

Helen stayed on the wagon until about age 56, when Saturn was approaching its second return. The pressure again mounted to look at her severe inner pain, and she took another drink, right at a point when she was experiencing intense emotional blockage with one of her children. The disease progressed more rapidly this time, and she attempted suicide.

As soon as the uncomfortable push of Saturn lifted, she dried up and joined Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), which made it possible for her to stop drinking, just as hypnosis had done almost thirty years previously. However, her ability to communicate has remained almost totally blocked, because she missed a second chance to master the Saturn process. The block with her own child was a potential gateway to her own inner grief, just as the initial loss of her mother could have been a bridge to the spirit world had she been able to deal with it in a healthier way by getting therapy at that time.

Saturn Motivates Us To Learn Our Lessons And Evolve

Saturn motivates us to learn the lessons we need in order to evolve. Whatever the purpose of our lives, Saturn creates the process  we need to accomplish that purpose. Since Saturn is the taskmaster, the disciplinarian, for many the natural reflex is to resist growth--like Helen. But if we avoid Saturn’s push, we’ll abort growth, because the only way to avoid the push is to cop out--to drink, use drugs, be a ski addict, chase miniskirts, be a compulsive shopper, or become a New Age workshop junkie.

Ages 28 to 31 is the best time to examine all our addictive tendencies and the lazy ways we avoid hard realities, and to make choices about how many of these patterns we’d like to transform.

The old conflict over the demands of the father versus the child’s desires tempts us all to resist the lessons of Saturn. But if we consciously employ our best powers of discipline to master the part of ourselves that we have always resisted, we will have a tool for activating our real purpose in life.

Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Bear & Company, an imprint of Inner Traditions Inc.
©2013 by  Barbara Hand Clow.

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Astrology and the Rising of Kundalini: The Transformative Power of Saturn, Chiron, and Uranus
by Barbara Hand Clow.

Astrology and the Rising of Kundalini: The Transformative Power of Saturn, Chiron, and Uranus by Barbara Hand Clow.Revised and updated edition of the classic astrology text, The Liquid Light of Sex, on predicting and navigating life crises.

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About the Author

Barbara Hand Clow, author of the book: Awakening the Planetary Mind -- Beyond the Trauma of the Past to a New Era of Creativity Barbara Hand Clow is an internationally acclaimed ceremonial teacher, author, and Mayan Calendar researcher. Her numerous books include The Pleiadian Agenda, Alchemy of Nine Dimensions, Catastrophobia, Liquid Light of Sex and The Mayan Code. She has taught at sacred sites throughout the world and maintains an astrological web site,


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