What do you want to be when you "grow up," and are you even ready to take on such a momentous role? Every 29.5 years (approximately), you’ll get the nudge you need to advance into a new stage of adulthood. In astrology, we call it the Saturn Return. There’s a very obvious reason for this name: Saturn takes approximately 29.5 years to complete one full orbit around the Sun and literally returns to the same zodiac sign it was in when you were born. The first Saturn Return, which can happen between ages 27 and 30, is a bit like a cosmic bar mitzvah, quinceanera, or communion, if you will: a rite of passage welcoming you into your more mature role here on Earth.
In astrological lore, Saturn is the great taskmaster of the skies. We prefer the term "life coach" or "personal trainer" actually, since Saturn is "cruel" to be kind. It breaks you down, makes you lift the heavy weights so you can build those rock-hard muscles and get into fighting shape! Wherever Saturn is in your chart will point to your toughest lessons, but the ones you might become obsessed with breaking through.
We often see people finding careers that match the zodiac sign their Saturn is in. It’s not surprising since Saturn can help us with excellence and mastery. Here is where we will toil away for hours, obsessively, to reach our grandest goals. It makes sense that Saturn is the ruler of ambitious Capricorn, the high-achieving, hardest working kid in the zodiac. (Cosmic fact: Saturn is cycling through its home sign of Capricorn from December 19, 2017, to March 21, 2020.)
During the Saturn return—which lasts 2.5 to 3 years—you will come face to face with your own blocks and be forced to push through them. All the "mistakes" you made in the nearly three decades leading up to this seem to crystallize. Rather than repeating them on autopilot, you have a chance to turn lemons into lemonade. And if you refuse to heed those lessons, Saturn will bring a drill-sergeant-style smackdown. Indeed, the Saturn return starts off feeling a bit like boot camp for a lot of people. But drop and give him 20 instead of rebelling against those barking orders. Three years later, you’ll be General Awesome or Captain Fantastic of your own kick-ass army—at the very least, you’ll be decorated with a star or two.
This sign-by-sign guide can help you understand all of Saturn’s karmic lessons. First, look up what sign your Saturn falls in on the table below the 12 signs. If you want to know what house your Saturn falls in (more info on those golden lessons learned the harder way), do your birth chart here.