The Saturn Return: Ages 28 to 31


A 28 year old client of mine came in yesterday feeling absolutely overwhelmed. He’s at a moment in his life when he feels the pressure of time. He was saying things like, “There’s not enough time in this life to accomplish what I want.” “I know I am meant to be doing much more meaningful work, but I am seriously scared that I won’t make it up the mountain or that I will fail.” This sounds a lot like The Saturn Return.

The Saturn Return is an astrological phenomena when the planet Saturn returns to where it was when you were born. For most people, the Saturn Return happens sometime around 28 to 30. The deal is that Saturn doesn’t just land and then leave. It lands on the spot, goes retrograde, lands again, leaves, etc. So when we go through the Saturn return, it happens over an extended period of time. It kind of is like having a mood over a period of time.The mood is often pretty serious.

I, personally, think it’s really good news. It doesn’t always feel like it, but it’s an amazingly transformative period of life. If you think about it, most of our 20’s are spent trying on varieties of masks. We pick up ‘the partier mask’ and then put it down. Then we try on ‘the professional mask’ and then put that one down, or we try the ‘philosopher mask,’ ‘the adventurer mask,’ ‘the lost person mask,’ etc. Throughout our 20’s we’re trying out lots and lots of stuff. Well, the Saturn Return is all about taking a few masks that do work and fit and refining them into a persona that works for what the soul needs to learn in the 30’s. The whole point of this refining process is to have a useful set of masks that can be worn throughout the 30’s. They create a sort of solidity or foundation.

One thing I think is interesting is that this period of time is when the frontal cortex of the brain completes its development. I have a hunch that this is why a lot of people in their early twenties are not particularly adept at seeing the long-term consequences of their decisions. Choice in our early 20’s is primarily about what’s going to make us happy, now. When we get into our Saturn Return, we start to see that the choices we make have the possibility of creating long-term ramifications. This is probably what that final development of the brain creates, foresight.

Most Saturn Returnees feel a ton of pressure to BE something. Often this this the time when they go back to school and get a degree, when they get married and have a kid, or they just feel paralyzed with fear. This is when Saturn can feel like a malefic force and when a good coach--or if there is severe depression, a psychotherapist--can be really useful especially if you’re not particularly skilled in the arena of decisions.

Coaching during this period is the perfect time to get connected to a sense of who you authentically are. Now that you’ve tried on all those masks in your 20’s, which ones fit, which ones speak to who you really are and what’s important to you? Which ones are going to serve your long-term goals and purpose? These are the sort of questions you’d explore in coaching. When you have a coach, you have an ally to support and encourage you to take action from this authentic place.