What is a Saturn Return & How to Navigate Yours

We each experience a unique mixture of planetary cycles and transits throughout a lifetime.

You can imagine these life cycles as a rite of passage involving significant revelations, change, restructuring, and independence. In addition, many life cycles connect to planetary returns—the moment a planet travels through the zodiac and returns to the exact position it was in the day a person was born.

Overall, planetary returns represent a new beginning and chapter that brings personal and spiritual themes of stability and growing up. Because they represent a new cycle, it significantly affects our lives.

Certain planetary returns stir up different issues depending on which planet, astrological house, and aspects are involved.

One of the most talked-about and even feared planetary returns is the fateful Saturn return.

Who Is Saturn?

Saturn is the karmic task masker of discipline, structure, order, and authority in astrology—the God of agriculture, harvest, and time.

You could think of Saturn as the teacher or even grandparent of the zodiac, but not the kind of parent or teacher that lets you slack off. No, Saturn is the glue that helps you piece your life back together, bigger and better than before.

Saturn is also known as a “malefic” planet because it slows things down or stalls them from entering our lives.

Since Saturn is the “Lord of Karma,” it rules the gates of initiation for those ready to embark on the journey of establishing an order of the Soul. Those Soul qualities Saturn represents are:

  • Establishing order out of chaos
  • Finding beauty from suffering
  • Peace out of discord

In short, Saturn provides us opportunities to balance past karma and reach a place where conscious choices become our reality. Once an individual steps through Saturn’s gates of initiation, Saturn provides tests of authority, duty, and order.

You can either use these Saturn challenges to rise to the occasion or keep playing it small.

Read next: How Are the Planets Connected to Our Zodiac Signs?

What is a Saturn Return?

Our lives are fixed with specific cycles and patterns of energy, timing, and movement. Saturn Returns are astrological phenomena occurring once every 29.5 years. The first Saturn Return marks the end of the 20s, beginning around age 27-30, with the second one occurring at age 58 to 61.

If you haven’t made it to your late twenties, you are gearing up for your Saturn Return; if you are between those ages, you are learning precious life lessons that usher in a profound change. Even for those who have well completed their first Saturn return, it’s still vital to review those powerful lessons from previous cycles.

Your Saturn return will also carry specific themes depending on your natal Saturn placement and other planetary aspects.

Themes to Expect During Your Saturn Return

1. Facing Obstacles & Tests of Limitation

Since Saturn revolves around authority themes, the core of challenges entails freeing yourself from self-judgment and self-censorship.

Furthermore, Saturn has the power to shake up the foundation of our lives, exposing weak spots and immaturities, so we may gain a newfound ability to step into our power.

2. Commitment & Taking Responsibility

A Saturn return will yield hard lessons about growing up and taking responsibility for the direction of our lives to keep us in order and grounded. Life is not just about fun and games. Sometimes, we have to buckle up and put in hard work.

Nothing valuable comes easy, but you can significantly benefit from this cycle through persistence, dedication, commitment, and taking responsibility.

3. Existential Crises to Reveal What Is Holding You Back

You can match the timing of most life crises to Saturn returns, which is why most see it as a source of suffering. However, this is the opportunity to wake up as your true self and stop sleepwalking through life.

Problems may come from family, financial, career, relationship, or spiritual issues.

Once Saturn’s challenges and karma are balanced, an individual can walk through the gates and into the realms of higher spiritual consciousness.

4. Growth & Development

A Saturn’s return is your cosmic initiation and rite of passage into adulthood. It provides personal growth, but it also invokes a spiritual boost to help you grow into who you are destined to be.

Growth and development come from Saturn manifesting a wake-up to re-evaluate your life and access a new level of understanding.

Read next: How to Be a Boss, Based on Your Saturn Sign

Navigating a Saturn Return Based on Its Natal Sign

Saturn in Fire Signs

Fire signs are very action-oriented and independent. A Saturn return in Aries, Leo, or Sagittarius would most likely emphasize the importance of slowing down to enjoy the beauty of life.

When in Aries (Fall), Saturn tends to lend discipline that impatient Aries needs to see projects through. A Saturn return in Leo may empathize issues with children, relationships, and self-expression.

While a Saturn return in Sagittarius may help shift life philosophies and beliefs stuck in fanaticism.

Saturn may limit other aspects, such as creativity, pleasure, and your moral compass.

Saturn in Earth Signs

Earth signs are the practical and grounded bunch of the zodiac. These signs value hard work, stability, and security in all areas of their lives. A Saturn return in Taurus, Virgo, or Capricorn emphasizes stepping out of your comfort zone and taking risks.

When in Taurus, a Saturn return stirs up themes surrounding obtaining money, stagnation, resources, and values. While in Virgo, a Saturn return may bring up issues surrounding health, career, and daily lifestyle. Saturn is the planetary ruler of Capricorn; it is exceptionally comfortable here.

But that is not to say Saturn won’t bring up themes surrounding career, long-term goals, family, order, duty, stability, and responsibilities.

Saturn in the Air Signs

Air signs are the analyzers, communicators, and thinkers of the zodiac. They are the intellectuals and experts of information. A Saturn return in Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius may manifest in communication issues, scatteredness, and the mind.

Saturn’s return in Gemini may push you toward finding a path of emotional and mental balance by mastering the connection to your truth. Since Saturn is exalted in Libra, there is an amicable quality between the temperament of Saturn and Libra. Yet, Saturn still stirs up obstacles in partnership, finances, cooperation, and independence.

Lastly, of the Air signs is Aquarius. Saturn is essentially the traditional ruler of Aquarius, and this tends to be a fun and exciting placement that brings issues of freedom and conventional vs. traditional.

Saturn in the Water Signs

The Water signs are known as the emotional, intuitive, and psychically sensitive ones. A Saturn return in Cancer, Scorpio, or Pisces triggers themes of emotional maturity and not getting stuck in fear.

Since Saturn is considered in its detriment in Cancer, it may manifest through emotional heaviness and learning how to build better boundaries.

A Saturn return in Scorpio marks a dynamic psychological and spiritual rebirth through transforming your lifestyle and facing your shadows. Lastly, a Saturn return in Pisces could have you questioning your path, philosophies, and beliefs and how you can live out your dreams.

How to Plan For & Survive Your Saturn Return

Letting go of bitterness and positive thinking is the first step to planning and surviving your Saturn return. You can also start by getting on top of things and reorganizing your life. The path becomes smoother when you cultivate responsibility, pay attention, and establish better habits to process your environment.

If there are outdated areas of your life that need to go, you can expect Saturn to make that happen. Change is inevitable, and trusting the process will yield a more peaceful outcome.


  • Celebrate, honor, and take stock of all the positive elements in your life- it’s time to have a positive approach to how you face reality.
  • Be gentle with yourself and let go of blame, judgment, or self-criticism. Instead, use this time as a catalyst for divine change.
  • Be open to unpredictable events that shape your future.
  • Take accountability for your actions and be more conscious of what needs to change.
  • Accept that the old way of doing things will no longer apply and trust that you can manifest the reality of your dreams, but it will require hard work and effort on your end.
  • Take risks and manifest your goals. Be patient and learn to trust the timing of the Universe.
  • Journal, meditate, or start another new habit that will promote a healthy lifestyle.


  • Don’t feel guilty for wanting to change your life. Instead, find the power of freedom and let go of emotional toxicity.
  • Don’t make excuses or play it small because this isn’t the time to give in to limitations. Instead, trust that the cosmos have your back.
  • Don’t force or try to control things. A part of growing up means accepting that you sometimes have to move on.

Time for a “Universal Glow-Up” with Your Saturn Return

As you can see, there is nothing to fear about a Saturn return and everything to embrace. Although Saturn exposes the truth, this is an evolution of your reality and a Universal glow-up. Sure, there are hardships throughout a Saturn return, but within every difficulty is an opportunity to live the life of your dreams.

Saturn forces you to get real, and if you are patient and faithful to the process, life will change for the better.

Through Saturn’s obstacles, hardships, and tests, you will:

  • Find your purpose
  • Learn to better care for your needs and trust your gut
  • Take responsibility for the direction of your life
  • Become comfortable with the uncomfortable
  • And emerge stronger than ever

Related article: Earn Your Good Karma with These Crystals for Saturn Direct

About The Author

Tracie Ann

Tracie is a charming Scorpio Sun, with an outgoing Sagittarius moon, and nurturing Virgo rising. She has a passion for writing and has studied metaphysics since 2011, finishing her masters in psychology. She is a certified Holy Fire Reiki Master and Soul Astrologer, working as a healer and clairvoyant to help others reach their full potential and unite with their soul’s purpose in this lifetime.She enjoys talking on her podcast called “The Cosmic Source”, along with her blog called “Daily Gems.”Tracie’s key phrase is “Restoring Sacred Heart Vibrations”, as she believe it is important to restore your Universal connection to source. She also enjoys esoteric studies and taking care of her energetic Aries daughter and adventurous Sagittarius son. Her goal is to help uplift consciousness so the realization of self may set in, allowing for the authentic self to shine through.You can also find Tracie Ann on her Instagram: @goddessinfusions
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