The Saturn return occurs when at about 28 years old, Saturn returns to its natal position.
Saturn is described as the lord of Karma, but perhaps we should get clear first about what we mean by Karma.
Saturn represents the logical consequences of past actions. Saturn represents the past, the heaviness of the past which cannot be changed, the heaviness of past actions that cannot be taken back. It represents responsibilities, commitments, and duties; overall, things that are absolutely part of life but not the pleasant and joyful things which we would find in Venusian activities for example.
Saturnian activities are an essential part of life. We cannot build anything without committing, committing to a career, a person, a goal, necessarily involves giving up on plenty other paths and options. By essence, Saturn represents restriction and limitation, but restriction and limitation are essential ingredients to anything giving us lasting stability and happiness.
With Saturn, there is no surprise. If you provided the work and commitment, you will obtain the rewards you seek. Perhaps, not as fast as you'd want like with a Jupiter transit, but by pure logic, the actions you took one after another will lead you on the path of success. Saturn says, you provided small but consistent effort, over an extended period of time, and it's only a matter of time before what you seek will materialize.
In that sense, Saturn is karma. Those who have not worked consistently for what they desire, those who have not committed to a path, those who have privileged instant gratification over delayed gratification will feel the brunt of their past actions. Not in a punishing kind of way, simply because it is a logical consequence of past choices.
When Saturn returns to its natal position, it is a time of taking stocks. What has been done up until now? It's a time of resetting priorities, resetting commitments, resetting where we want to invest, work hard, and experience restrictions and limitations - which again, are not necessarily something to consider as negative. Many get married during their Saturn return - what is marriage if not choosing to restrict and limit yourself to one person only?
So will you suffer during your Saturn return?
Not necessarily. First off, it's important to look at the natal chart and see the nature of your personality. If you are someone with a lot of Capricorn energy, or someone with a strong Saturn signature, chances are you already ace Saturn energy all year round. Your Saturn return will be a simple checkpoint, something that flows rather naturally and quite simply an opportunity to assess if you've been committed to the right things and if more commitment or responsibilities are to be taken.
On the other hand, if you're someone with strong mutable energy for example (Pisces, Gemini, Sagittarius, Virgo), or if you're someone who has a signature that is more so Uranian or Neptunian, then the Saturn return CAN come as a shock. Those are just typically the types of energy that shy away from commitment and discipline, but the key indicator of whether or not your Saturn return will be difficult is this one: What is your relationship to responsibilities and commitment? Have you been living carefree and without particular goals or discipline? If so, this will be right about to change when your Saturn will be officially returned to its natal position.
But I wouldn't fear the Saturn return in this case either. The philosophy of Saturn is that restrictions, limitations and delayed gratification are an essential part of building a stable and fulfilling. life. Surely, in the moment, it is not pleasant, but the rewards are usually considered worth it. Think of someone saving for a down payment on a house, someone committing to university to pursue their dream job, someone committing to their chosen partner - those are goals that are generally cherished and desired, but are you willing to do what it takes to get there?
If you are, your Saturn return will be a great opportunity to get serious about it and be pushed on the right path. If you're not, you will find your Saturn return difficult. But whether you consider it hard or easy is not so much about Saturn then it is about your willingness to commit to the hard path.
There are two different schools when it comes to the Saturn return - one says it begins when Saturn enters the sign it is located in in the birth chart, others, like me, consider it to be "returned" when it approaches a conjunction of its natal position (within a few degrees of where it is located in your birth chart). Regardless of your own personal perspective on it, Saturn is not going to bring havoc in your life, it will simply invite you to review your past actions, your future goals, and your willingness to do what it takes to get there.
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