The Why and Wherefore

The Return of Saturn

Posted on: June 21, 2008

I finally understand what that No Doubt album title means!

So I was at a party with my 42-year-old boyfriend a few weeks ago, keeping my mouth shut while 30-something women complained about younger women stealing all the older men, and one of them brought up a new concept to me: the Saturn return.

Apparently this is a concept in astrology pointing out that Saturn takes about 29ish years to orbit the sun, and so every 29ish years, it returns to the place in your birth chart where it was when you were born, and causes all sorts of upheaval in your life.

Now let me state upfront that I am an equal-opportunity skeptic. As a firm agnostic, the only thing I believe in is humans’ inability to really understand the workings of the universe. This makes me non-religious, because I think organized religion is nothing more than a human, and therefore flawed, attempt to understand the universe. It also makes me non-atheist, because I would be awfully surprised if the universe were limited to what we can see, hear, feel and understand.

So, I believe in astrology about as much as I believe in the resurrection of Jesus. Which is to say, not much.

But as a linguist, I think astrology, Christianity and everything in between provide very, very useful metaphors for human thought and behavior. Just as Zeus was a human way of understanding thunderstorms, and Buddha under the tree is a human way of understanding nature, I like to treat astrology as a human way of understanding cyclical changes in our lives and our universe.

And so the evening after that party found me Googling ‘Saturn return’ breathlessly. I read repeated descriptions of my own inner state as I contemplate my job and my life while approaching the precarious Age of Adulthood (my second 29th birthday, coming up next year). I can’t say I really believe that Saturn’s place in my birth chart is making me spend a lot of time going “But what do I want to DO WITH MY LIFE? Am I doing it RIGHT? What if I’ve got it ALL WRONG?”

But I do feel there may be more to this life transition than pop culture and recent tradition telling us that adulthood begins at 30. I am feeling my biological clock ticking, and questioning my career path, and wondering if I’m really ready to think about maybe possibly considering getting engaged sometime in the foreseeable future. I’m told this is all quite typical for the Saturn return. I would add it’s probably also quite typical for anyone pushing 30.

My boyfriend, meanwhile, points out that relationships beginning during this phase (ages 27 to 30, roughly) are said to be “fated” or “karmic” relationships.

We met, of course, at the tail end of my 27th year. 🙂

3 Responses to "The Return of Saturn"

As opposed to relationships begun during your early twenties, which are said to be “fathead” or “comic” relationships.

Which explains a lot about M and me, actually.

Anyway, thanks for celebrating my own tail-end of the Saturn Return year last night – we had a great time and realized again how awesome our friends are.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Anytime someone offers to host us on a lovely balcony with metric tons of delicious gourmet food, wine, and scintillating conversation, we will gladly make the sacrifice to attend.

See you this weekend! 🙂

Believe it or not, everything gets so much better after 30–except your ability to lose weight and do a cartwheel.

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