Your Saturn Return Is Basically An Astrological Quarter-Life Crisis

Most people will experience a couple during their lifetime.

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If you've lived through your late twenties, then you can likely attest to how stressful, turbulent, and change-filled these years can be. Turns out, there's an astrological factor behind the chaos. It's called your Saturn return in astrology, and it's an important planetary occurrence that marks a period of intense change, which ushers us out of our childhood and teaches us lessons about maturity.

So, exactly what is a Saturn return? It takes Saturn approximately 29.5 years to complete its full orbit around the sun, so the phrase "Saturn return" literally refers to Saturn returning to the exact place in the zodiac that it was when you were born. Everyone experiences their first Saturn return between the ages of about 27 and 30. These years are often marked by tons of upheaval — think break-ups or marriages, switching careers, moving to a new city, or generally coming to terms with changes you need to make in your life.

If you were born from late 1990 through 1994, then your first Saturn return kicks off in December 2020. But regardless of your birth date, here's what to expect from your Saturn return, what it represents, and how to make the most of this life-changing astrological growth period.

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Let's Talk About Saturn

Saturn in astrology is all about tough love and hard work. This planet represents responsibility, discipline, boundaries, structure, patience, and maturity — during your Saturn return, all of these things will be put to the test. Saturn is known as the great teacher planet in astrology, so when it completes its first full orbit during your late twenties, expect for some harsh life lessons to be learned — and some major growth to take place.

Saturn returns shake up the foundation of our lives, exposing all our weak points and immaturities. Suddenly seeing your life in all its messiness can feel scary and unstable, but the blessing of this chaos is that you're seeing things clearly — which means you can start to patch up the holes in your life and take responsibility for yourself in a more mature and powerful way.

When Does Your Saturn Return Start?

As you approach the age of 30, you're likely experiencing the height of your first Saturn return (as it typically peaks at around 29 years). If you want to calculate the dates of your Saturn return, you can consult an astrologer, or check your birth chart online to find out what your Saturn sign is and then plug in the information to an online Saturn return calculator. Though your first Saturn return peaks at around age 29, many people feel its effects for a year or so before and after that period, too.

While the Saturn return that occurs during our late twenties is the most widely discussed, people experience multiple Saturn returns within their lifetime. That means you can expect the next one during your late fifties (aka a mid-life crisis), and yet another in your late eighties. Each of these periods induce a reckoning of our responsibilities and usher us into a new phase of our lives.

What Can You Expect From Your Saturn Return?

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With Saturn realigning itself with your natal placement, expect a full-blown reckoning and crisis point. It's normal to feel overwhelmed by personal issues and responsibilities during this period, but now's the time to learn to face these challenges head-on.

If you're living your life in a way that's inauthentic to you (such as staying in a toxic relationship or dead-end job), honor the voice inside your heart that's screaming for change. While taking a leap of faith can be scary, your Saturn return asks that you put in the hard work needed to be true to yourself.

The planet Saturn rewards hard work, diligence, and patience, and frowns upon shortcuts or temporary fixes. In other words, the more we repress the inner turmoil that bubbles up during this period, the messier it will get. It's also a time to own up the responsibilities in your life. Is it time to take out a credit card? Make that therapy appointment? Start that business? Quit that job? Say yes to the dress? Whether you're teetering on the edge of committing to something or abandoning it, your Saturn return asks you to be mature and responsible in your decision-making — and to brave the internal struggles that come along with making such pivotal life choices.

Saturn returns can be riddled with instability, second-guessing, and risk-taking, but you'll come out the other side with a new sense of responsibility, confidence, and trust in yourself.