Just after we are challenged to sort out our internal direction once and for all (and to understand what we are here to learn in our lives, what we need to grow into), life throws another hurdle in our path. Hooray, another Saturn Return. Yippee.
Fortunately, most of us have made friends with Saturn by now. Or at least, friendly acquaintances. Saturn is no longer the oppressor or authority figure. He is no longer the daddy who takes care of us or the responsibilities that we dread to shoulder. If all goes well, Saturn represents the duties that we perform willingly, the care we wish to give, the guidance that forms not only our own lives but the lives of others. Saturn represents what we have learned to do, and struggled to do, very well.
At this point, Saturn can reward us. This transit can bring accolades, gifts and rewards for work well done. Work that we have honed over time. No one ever thinks of Saturn as a gift-giver, but I have seen more awards passed out during Saturn-dominant times than Jupiter phases. Saturn has been watching us over long years, and when he nods his approval it is often accompanied by something good for us in material terms.
As always with Saturn, we are haunted by the tallying up of what we have achieved and what we have not. One of the big issues around this Saturn return, and one no one likes to talk about, is the notion of being resolved to the fate of where we are now. At this age we will most likely not become the DJ we wanted to be so much in our youth. We may never be an Olympic athlete or the CEO of a major corporation. We are unlikely to become a television celebrity or a rap artist. We need to breathe out now and say, “OK, let it go.” Part of the maturity of Saturn is knowing our limits, and no longer pushing ourselves to achieve what is unlikely. No one likes to admit it, especially in this culture and especially in America, but sometimes we have to let certain dreams go. We have to learn that it’s okay to say, “All right, a certain part of my life is completed. Maybe next time.” A better question is “What did this mean to me and why?” And that can be the beginning of peeling off some very dead notions that allow the soul to breathe again.
Now, after real examination, if we are still haunted, if there are notions and dreams we cannot give up, try as we might, then they need to be embraced, and that takes a lot more courage and gumption than letting go.
The second Saturn return can be a shot in the arm for determination. We feel time pressing down on us and the clock is ticking. We may have a reawakening of ambition at this time, and become much more clear about what we can, can’t, or needn’t accomplish. Although the general thrust of this period (including the other major aspects that occur in our 50’s, which I have written about previously in this series) is about giving back and service, the second Saturn return is rather personal. What do I want to do, what do I need to do? Saturn is always about the real human being and the real lives we lead. If we have needs unmet, or personal goals unaccomplished (whether or not they serve humanity in general) Saturn will tell us about them. Many planets and configurations are about getting beyond the “I.” Saturn is not one of them.
On the whole, Saturn is about mastery. He wants us to be accomplished, he wants us to be wise, he wants us to be an authority on something. By the time of our second Saturn return, we should be experts on the sign and house Saturn is in, and the aspects to Saturn that give us the details of the story. We can never spend too much time on Saturn in this lifetime–the more we know about the way Saturn works in our charts, the more liberated we become. If we have Saturn in the third, for example, our early life would not have been easy, we may have been repressed in our ability to communicate, yet as we mature we understand the importance of communicating what we know to be true. If Saturn has a square to Pluto from the 12th, part of that Saturn journey would be learning and communicating the fact that our ordinary lives are divine and that there is a divine, manifesting energy behind our thoughts. We would learn that we have much more influence over our environment than we initially thought. Pluto square Saturn would have insured that our lives and thought patterns would be periodically broken down and rebuilt in order to align the soul’s needs (Pluto) with the ego needs (Saturn). Not an easy task, but by the time of our Saturn return we should be effective in all these areas. We should have enough experience and wisdom to make it of value to others.
The good news about this Saturn return is that it is not, on the whole, the dreaded experience of the first return. Our first Saturn return bumps and bruises us because we are unexperienced in the world. The bumps and bruises of the second return come when we are too entrenched in it. If the day to day workings of our world swallow us up, and we cling to the past as if it were a life raft, then we are doomed to dwindle to nothingness in our later years. The key phrase for the second Saturn return is, “Use it!” Work with what you know, pass it on, take your old knowledge and go down a new road with it, open up new vistas to master. If you need to, cut it down and cut it out. Saturn rewards the brave, the wise and the ambitious. The purest expression of Saturn combines all three.
If we take this new beginning, if we refresh our souls by starting over in some way, we can reap great rewards during the next and last major aspect of the Renaissance decade–the progressed Sun in sextile to natal Sun. More on that next time.