Forget Mercury Retrograde: when's your Saturn Return?

Some planets take far longer to orbit the sun than Earth does - like 29 1/2 years longer. Saturn is the second largest planet and has the lovely gift of deeply affecting us. Yet despite being a giant mother who takes forever to move around the sun, her day only takes a little over 10 hours to complete, compared to our 24. Saturn plays a huge role in our Natal Charts, and every three decades Saturn makes a full rotation to the exact degree on the day you were born. You will feel this huge energy around the ages 27 to 31-ish, and then again in your late fifties and early sixties, though the first Saturn Return is more impactful on your daily life as it is the first major transition you experience in your current life. It'll hit you again later in life, but as they say, "the first cut is the deepest." This Saturn Return affects us immensely, so much so that we enter an entirely new phase of our lives for the following 29 years. So let's carve into what your Saturn Return is really all about:

Saturn takes about two to three years to move through a sign, having you feeling your biggest changes over this period, but each person's return is a different length. Some of us experience our "return" over a year - and others are just one intense month.

Saturn was in Sagittarius for awhile, so if you're in your late twenties to early thirties, (or born in 1985 to 1988) you may have just felt your very first Saturn Return. What's been going on for you over the past few years? 

Let's back up: From November 16, 1985, to February 12, 1988, Saturn was in Sagittarius. It flipped into Capricorn from February 13 to June 9, 1988, and then went back into Sagittarius from June 10 to November 11, 1988 -- and then fully moved into Capricorn again on November 12, 1988, until 1991. Saturn backs up like this through signs. So some of you may have had a Capricorn return in these years, but a large portion will have felt this Sagittarius movement. 

If you're in your return right now (born between November 12, 1988, and 1991), it's in Capricorn.


Saturn is the planet of hard work. When Saturn influences your chart, your character is going to be strengthened but it is usually through difficult measures. By no means is Saturn an easy process to move through. Saturn is going to discipline you until it feels you have understood its lessons. Saturn is the planet of limitations, maturity, and self-control. It governs patience, realism and severity. Saturn presents us with obstacles we are meant to overcome, and learn a great deal from. These challenges are what shape us into the being who we are meant to be for the next Saturn rotation, and ultimately for the rest of our lives.

They say your patterns are developed until you turn 30, and after that - that's who you are. It takes a mammoth amount of strength to transform after this age, because your Saturn return has already happened and it dictates part of your greatest change and shift into maturity. Saturn teaches us the lessons we are meant to learn in this life, and some of those aren't easy, but they are often those with the greatest reward. Governed by maturity, you may find you go through intense events/learning/growth in your Saturn return; things that force you to "mature" or look at your situation from a mature perspective. Saturn rules our destiny. It represents the experiences we can not run from, perfecting our human nature.


Saturn actually retrogrades three times during its transit, sending it back into its previous sign (this is that Sagittarius/Capricorn tango I shared above). So while Saturn dipped into Sagittarius in December 2014 until June 2015, and then back into Scorpio for a few months, it officially began its transit in September of 2015 and stayed that way until December 2017. If your return was then, you'll have felt something big - something trying - until 2017.

From then and up until now, we've been in Capricorn, where it will stay until December 2020. If your return happens during Saturn Retrograde, it'll have you reassessing your relationships and trying to figure out if they're actually worth it for you. Longtime relationships could even dissolve. But don't panic; they can stay too! But something within the relationship will have to transform.

It will depend on your sign, and where Saturn falls in your chart. Check yours out for more insight.


Depending on what sign Saturn falls in in your chart, it shows your relationship with responsibility, endurance and perseverance. A strong influence of Saturn in your chart would make these qualities in you rather redeeming, while a lack of Saturn can make you unreliable and impatient. Unfortunately, if it's influence is negative and imbalanced, it can make you overly ambitious, domineering and selfish. But Saturn is only a fraction of your entire chart, and its influence is not as strong as your sun or moon sign - though it does depict an aspect of your personality and what you can expect to come up against in your quarter-life crisis.

Since most Saturns for this return have been in either Sagittarius or Capricorn, I wanted to share what traits you can expect for those signs. If your birthday falls in 1985 to 1988, please check the dates listed above to see if you're a Sagittarius or Capricorn Saturn.


Saturn is strong in Capricorn since Capricorn is rules by Saturn, so the positive and negative influences will be felt in this sign depending on your personality and traits. An overactive and negative Saturn will show itself in you with impatience, being self-involved and indulgent, but under a positive and healthy influence it will make you steadfast, reliable and hardworking. In Capricorn, Saturn exemplifies ambition and independence although sometimes this behaviour may be mistaken as oppressive and domineering in the opinions of others. This influence will teach to you to be self-sufficient very early in life, perhaps giving you hard obstacles at a young age. What happened in your home life when you were small? These lessons taught you inner strength, and shaped you into the self-sufficient being you are, proving Saturn's hard lessons resulting in good. Are you acting in a self-sufficient way? Because you definitely have that ability. You prefer to do things yourself - that way you know they're done correctly - and you actually learn best from doing things yourself. So get out there! Don't let someone else learn YOUR lesson! Your personality can sometimes be morose or dwelling - you may be prone to feeling down sometimes or isolate yourself to process things, but you have faithful friends, and a good sense of humour, albeit witty. You may feel lonely throughout your life due to past experiences and this feeling may follow you through your life's many stages.


Unfortunately, when Saturn hits Sagittarius, it tends to delay life's successes, and may make your younger experiences rather challenging. If there was a "big thing" to happen when you were young, this experience may give you clues about your Saturn. Until you learn patience, you may not reap what you sew. Oof! Tough lesson! You will work hard, harder than most actually, but it will be a long journey until you see the fruits of your labour. But you will! And it will be worth it. As you age you become deeply wise and visionary, and you have the potential to be a great leader. You truly get better with age. More refined. You may feel an inner conflict between your desire to venture out and experience all that life has to offer with the underlying need for stability and security. This is usually due to a childhood experience, as Saturn Sagittarians tend to have experienced tragedy in their younger years. You are a philosophical thinker, though this can be watered down based on the other signs in your chart - though you would still have the potential to be a pensive and introspective thinker. You may be rather cynical or pessimistic under this influence, and you may really have "to try" to be optimistic naturally. Other parts of your chart will influence this aspect.

Curious about your birth chart? Let's find out all your signs!

It's important to have your exact birth time in order to effectively calculate your birth chart.

If you don't know your birth time, some aspects of your chart may be missing or even incorrect! Do your best to find your exact birth time - and don't round up or down! You want to enter a number like, 8:41AM - really specific.

After calculating, you'll find what sign your Saturn is in, and what HOUSE it's in; the House can tell you even more about what area in your life you may struggle and grow through during your return.

Here is a Saturn Return Calculator to help you know how long your return is.

This post has been updated since its original post date. It is accurate until December 2020.