Saturn Return & the Rollercoaster 20s

I myself am well into my 20s, as are most of my close friends and confidantes. Like any time in ones life, the present, naturally, seems to assume the utmost importance. And just like when we were in our teens, and thought nobody could possibly understand us (and likely they didn’t), the 20s come with their own set of emotional trials and tribulations. These come in three distinct waves, astrologically speaking.

The Saturn return that takes place around ages 28/29 has garnered the most recognition in the collective consciousness. Like Mercury retrograde it seems to have the highest number of non-astrological pros murmuring about it’s significance. This would of course be characteristic of it’s namesake planet, Saturn, who garners, indeed demands, a great deal of serious consideration and respect. However, the earlier two astrologically significant events one encounters in their 20s are equally interesting and significant.

Around age 24, adults enjoy their second Jupiter return. The planet Jupiter takes roughly 12 years to make a full circle of the zodiac. This means that for every person, when they are about 12 years old, and then again at 24 (yet again at 36, 48, etc), transiting Jupiter returns to the same degree in the sky that it was at when you were born.

Jupiter is the planet of luck, abundance, extravagance, faith, optimism, education, journeys, teaching, publishing, broadcasting, gambling and speculation. This is interesting because at this juncture in many a young persons life they are taking, in many ways, the biggest gamble of their lives- deciding which career path they want to follow.This is a tidy follow up to ones first Jupiter return at age 12, when we are well enough along in our development to have established certain academic, as well as social, preferences. Like happy-go-lucky Jupiter, adults at age 24 set off with the highest of hopes, an innate faith and optimism about their chosen field and the future abundance of their life. Jupiter also represents opportunities and now is the time when we feel like the world is an open and exciting place for us. And much to the amusement of everybody else, the extravagance of those in their early 20s is often well broadcast for all to see! This is understandably a high point in many peoples life.

At age 27/28 we encounter the next interesting astrological event. The progressed moon returns to the sign and degree it was at the time our birth. Progressions are different from transits. The transit moon, with it’s rapid 28 day orbit of the zodiac, passes over our natal moon once each month. This is called the lunar return and many astrologers looks at it for information about the coming months emotional character. It takes at least 27 years, however, for the moon to make one full rotation in the progressed chart which shows the internal progress and changes we are experiencing in our lives. So while both the Jupiter and Saturn returns are transits, which affect us in a more public, exterior way, through circumstances and situations which reinforce its themes, the progressed lunar return is a much more subtle, private time of reassessment and reflection.

Again this suits the nature of the mysterious, private, nurturing, loving, giving, tender, moody moon quite well. During our progressed lunar return we really get in touch with our emotional nature. With the progressed moon in our natal moon sign for a little over 2 years, all of the emotional baggage and patterns that we have been carrying around with us seem to be put under the spotlight. For many this is a time when we are getting more serious about our relationships, even considering marriage. For those who have already married, it is a time when their own notions of love, caring and support are tested. We start to understand what we really need and want from a parter and how we tend to nurture other people, as well as ourselves.

These realizations, often discovered at a difficult price, will prove invaluable as we tread through the next astrological era at age 28/29, the Saturn return. Saturn takes roughly 29 years to make one full circles of the zodiac and it’s return to our place of birth at this time in our lives in crucial. We have had some opportunities (Jupiter) and have worked through some emotional baggage (moon) up to this point and it is now our task to turn a practical, disciplined eye to the issues of responsibility, reputation and commitment in our lives.

Saturn urges caution, realism and hard work. If one has been living in tune with these values, honing their craft with effort and integrity, Saturn can be a most generous and rewarding master, having the sole ability of the planets to manifest in material ways, all of our hopes and dreams. If ones path has been more meandering and less conscientious, Saturn provides a firm, but fair, reminder that there are rules in the game and they must be followed in order to achieve success. Saturn does not care, per se, what game you are playing, but rather that you are playing it with honor, integrity, and even love. While love is not a word much associated with Saturn, it should be! Saturn does not want you to be doing some ‘practical’ job that you hate. There is nothing practical, really, about that. Saturn wants you to do what you love, in a practical, responsible way. In fact, when you love what you do, Saturn only strengthens and reinforces your ability to do it well. And any good astrologer will tell you how vitally important Saturn is to a love relationship. It adds responsibility, durability, commitment and strength. Marriage, after all, is more than candles and bubble baths!

For those who have married or are firmly embedded in their career of choice, the Saturn return is a time when we discover the practical work and effort that will need to go into making these endeavors fruitful and successful. And as we move forward with faith and commitment, Saturn is there to guide and reward us. So while many find their patience, and their bank accounts, to be at a frustrating low during their Saturn returns, others find large bonuses and wedding rings in this melee. And even if your Saturn return is difficult (and parts of it are for almost everyone), that does not mean that you did something ‘wrong’ up to this point and don’t deserve to be rewarded, but rather that there may be something even better out there for you… something that will get you even closer to the material manifestation of your goals. So while it is important to be sensible during the Saturn return, it is also essential to remain flexible and open-minded; solutions will present themselves.

Each of these returns represents the tying up of loose ends as well as the beginning of a new era. For this reason they are high energy periods than can be experienced as both trying and cathartic. With the Jupiter return (24), we are celebrating the completion (for most people) of formal education and fostering optimism about the future. With the progressed lunar return (27), we are processing the conscious and subconscious emotional patterns we have been enacting in our lives, and making necessary adjustments. This is just in time for our new, hopefully more mature, emotional nature to guide us through our Saturn return (29); the time of assessing our progress and our short-comings, reaping our material rewards, and getting practical about our future.

But the good news is, that once all of this hard work is out of the way, we can really boogie down and enjoy our 30s! With no seriously daunting transits or progressions coming through.. this is the real time to enjoy the life we have chosen, climaxing in the 3rd Jupiter return at age 36. So while the 20s might not be the breeze that every angsty teenager imagines them to be, they hold the keys to a lot of important self- healing that can ensure that the rest of your early adult life is as satisfying as possible!