THE SATURN CYCLE
In Lesson Two I discussed how the planet Jupiter teaches you about expansion, enabling you to move outside your self-described boundaries and reach for more of whatever you deem worthy of having, doing or being. Saturn's job, on the other hand, astrologically speaking, is to teach you how to set limits that allow you to actualize your potential--your Jupiterian vision.
My belief is that Saturn's position in your birthchart shows the promise you made to Spirit before coming into this incarnation about what you intended to create with your life that would leave the world a better place for your having been here. Imagine Saturn as a block of marble out of which you are to carve a masterpiece. Granted, creating a masterpiece is hard work; it takes time, effort and dedication. But when you think about it, what else are you here for?
Nonetheless, ancient astrologers took an entirely different stance regarding Saturn's influence. They thought it was "malefic", depicting Saturn as a negative energy, and difficult to deal with. They also thought of the planet Jupiter as "benefic", bestowing only blessings. Well, in the lesson on Jupiter, I trust I dispelled that myth, by demonstrating that Jupiter is not always so benefic.
Similarly, I intend to demonstrate that Saturn is not always so malefic. I tend to think of Saturn as the walls that define a room. Without walls, you wouldn't have a room; you'd have open space. By teaching you to define your boundaries, Saturn helps you create reality and actualize your potential.
Saturn has a 28-year Cycle. It takes Saturn approximately 28 years to return to its place in your birthchart. I say approximately because due to Saturn's retrograde periods, it can take a little longer for you to have your Saturn Return so that you don't experience it until the age of about twenty-nine. At any rate, Saturn's first return to its place in your birthchart is what makes you a different person after the age of thirty. You may have thought of yourself as all grown up at age twenty-one, certainly by age twenty-five, but you're not really grown up until your first Saturn Return. The reason for this is that as Saturn, the "Schoolmaster of the Zodiac", transits your birthchart, he gives you pop quizzes along the way, and these determine your level of maturity.
The Cycle of Saturn creates the Seven-Year Cycles (which are segments of its 28-year Cycle) that are instrumental in moving you along your path in life. To begin with, at approximately age seven Saturn comes to a square (a 90-degree angle) to Saturn in your birthchart, giving you your first big test. Consequently, often something significant occurs in your life at the age of seven that feels rather turbulent. Perhaps you move to a new town with your parents, a younger sibling may be born, or you suffer the loss of one of your parents, or they divorce. Something memorable often occurs at that time.
Then, at about the age of fourteen, Saturn opposes your Natal Saturn. You may have felt that you were suddenly being "opposed" at that time; certainly most of us felt opposed by our parents at that age. They suddenly appeared arbitrarily "restrictive", insisting on setting limits, which we definitely did not want! What's actually happening at that age is Saturn pointing out that it's time for you to begin to set limits for yourself... another valuable lesson along life's path.
At twenty-one, as Saturn again squares itself in your birthchart, it begins testing you with regard to what you want to do with your life. Are you on the right track? See how Saturn gives you reality checks all along the way? These are some of the pop quizzes he gives at around the age of twenty-one: Do you want to change course in your education? Are you prepared to launch your career? Are you planning to marry? Are you ready to start a family?
When you reach the age of twenty-eight or twenty-nine, it's final exam time. Everything that you've been doing up until that time is up for review. Are you in the right relationship; the right job? How do you wish to be seen in the public eye? Are you in the right part of the world? If the answer to all of these questions is "yes", you pass Saturn's exam with flying colors. You might find a publisher for the book you've been working on, marry your soul mate, have that long-awaited baby, or be promoted in your job. On the other hand, if you're not on the right path or have been content to just drift, you're in for some pretty discouraging setbacks at your first Saturn Return. These can take the form of broken relationships, a divorce, lost jobs, a serious illness, even death.
Saturn continues its journey, triggering responses from you in seven-year increments, until you experience your second Saturn Return when you're about fifty-eight or-nine. If you've been keeping your agreement with Spirit to help make the world a better place, you can expect to be handsomely rewarded at your second Saturn Return. I think of the writer John Updike, who on his first Saturn Return published his very successful book "Rabbit, Run" and later followed it with others in a series. On his second Saturn Return Updike received the Pulitzer Prize for Literature for his "Rabbit" series.
Alternatively, if you've been abusing power, you'll no doubt suffer the consequences at this time. Richard Nixon's second Saturn Return occurred at the time of the Watergate break-in, which subsequently led to his downfall. Interestingly, Nixon had Saturn in the 10th house of his birthchart, which often depicts a slow, steady climb to the top of one's profession, followed by a precipitous fall from power if one has taken shortcuts along the way, which unfortunately, Nixon had done.
Saturn Returns, moreover, are also related to an event that occurred about thirty years prior to them. For example, thirty years after the death of President John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis contracted cancer and died within the year. On the Saturn Return of the tragic event of President Kennedy's untimely death we were bombarded with its memories on television. I sincerely believe that the memories of that atrocious event proved toxic to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.