Saturn Return. Tick tock goes the clock: ready or not here I come!

Jyotish With Paula Blog – Vedic Astrology for you…

Saturn Return

Tick tock goes the clock

Jyotish With Paula Blog July 9th, 2013 post on Vedic Astrology and Jyotish

Jyotish the Science of Light – inspires, educates, enlightens
  • What is Saturn Return and why is he creating havoc at 29, 59, and 88 years of age?
  • Can I prepare, or should I run and hide when Saturn comes knocking at my door?
  • Each planet returning to its original placement signifies an opportunity for change and progress. Saturn is the most powerful return.
  • Is Saturn Return a blessing or a curse?   Why am I feeling so upside down?
  • Jyotish With Paula Advice on Vedic Astrology and the cosmic dance of the planetsJyotish With Paula’s 10-top tips. What to favor and what to avoid to make Saturn Return smooth and easy.


Saturn Return - Jyotish with Paula Blog

Saturn Return – Jyotish with Paula Blog

Saturn Return – ready or not here I come… 


Saturn Return comes 3 times in your life  to help you get back on track and its impact is far-reaching.

It can bring pressures, contraction and a feeling of helplessness. 

  •  27 – 30: 1st Saturn Return –  feeling frantic about going back to school, getting married, settling down and having a family
  • 58 – 60: 2nd Saturn Return –  panicking about your mid-life crisis, health issues, aging parents, empty nest, and/or why nothing makes sense anymore
  • 88 – 90: 3rd Saturn Return – wondering if you’ve made enough progress in life; taking stock and letting things go

Jyotish With Paula offers a unique, uplifting perspective of how to work with these powerful transforming energies brought to your door, and 10 top tips to get you through.  

Learn to transform helplessness into purposefulness by understanding what’s happening and why. 

Read on for valuable insights on how to help yourself, a friend or beloved who may be going through a challenging Saturn Return…


What’s person to do when Saturn Return hits and changes your life? Are you prepared? Can you ready yourself?

When the long arm of Saturn Return reaches out your door knocker and begins rapping, slowly, first softly, patiently and rhythmically on your cosmic door… “tap, tap, tap” – will you  run and hide?

As you ignore his rapping,  he begins a firmer rhythm: “…thud, thud, thud”, do you lock yourself in the bathroom, hold your breath, and cover your eyes?

When you still won’t open the door, there’s a loud…”BOOM, BOOM, BOOM!”  and down comes that door, barricades, locks and all.  And Saturn is in and staring at you, eyeball to eyeball – demanding an accounting.

The ticket is to figure out if this insistent stranger is really the wolf at the door – looking to eat that scared little piglet within, or if he’s the hero who’s broken down the thick earthly walls you’ve built around yourself – looking to help you escape.

Hopefully by the end of this article you’ll know who this powerful intruder is in your life – friend or foe – and why he’s kicked your particular door down.  And, if we’re lucky you’ll know how to work with the energy he brings with him, because he has substantial arsenal and isn’t afraid to use it.

Tell me about Saturn and his effects

Saturn is a very slow-moving planet – furthest from the Sun, and takes about 2.5 years to transit a sign (astrologically speaking), and about 29.5 years to transit the entire 12 signs.  Compare this to the Moon, which travels quickly and traverses 12 signs in a month (or 27. 5 days).  Sun, Mercury and Venus, take about one year to travel round the wheel of the zodiac.  Mars takes a little longer at 22 months, and Jupiter takes a full 12 years to travel the wheel.  The slippery, smoky, cosmic snake Rahu/Ketu takes a longer, slower trip, as he meanders backwards, transiting through all the signs, in reverse gear, for about 18 years.

You get the feeling that the further you are from the center of things – center being sun – things slow down.  Time has a different meaning for the slower moving planets, and likewise they have a bigger impact on our astrological charts.   For slow-moving Saturn, furthest away from the center of things – time is almost irrelevant.  He’s like the turtle, inching ever forward towards the goal.  And if you recall the story of the hare and the tortoise – though all odds were against it – the tortoise won the race.

Tick – tock goes the clock – every 29 years he comes round

Sounds onerous doesn’t it?  Some say Saturn is time itself, ticking on inexorably,  a long-fused time-bomb waiting to deliver its effects at just the right time – patiently waiting until we least expect it, delivering his potent present to our life.  Without much warning all we thought we knew and relied on – can suddenly go up in smoke.

For this reason, Saturn has been greatly feared throughout the ages for the effects he can exact on those he’s “returning” to. He brings contraction and pressure,  acts like a taskmaster and presents a number of obstacles when he comes to deliver his returning gifts. He’s viewed by some as the karmic king,  the grim reaper, and is even pictured in  ancient drawings as Kronos – the eater of his own children.

Where is Saturn going and where does he return to?  Every 29.5 years Saturn comes round to where he was when he started – like a clock returning to high noon –  to the very place where the gun battle always begins in the movies.  Dripping brows, sweaty palms; tensions run high as the two gunmen squint and stare each other down.  Who will draw first?  Who will win?  And more importantly – who’s really the villain and who’s the hero in this story?

Each time a planet “returns” to its astrological beginnings – it signifies change and purposefulness

Ideally, each planetary return signifies our  return to a higher purpose – not just a materially obvious one.

With the moon return, our emotions wax and wane over the cycle of about 27.5 days, and with this our habits, peace and receptivity to the nourishing effects of divine mother should be refreshed as the  monthly moon phase begins anew.

With the sun returning to its cyclical beginning, we’ve seen and experienced outwardly changing seasons, and in doing so we should be celebrating our connection with the non-changing inner light within.

Mercury return each year infuses a refreshing wave of invigoration to our thought process and nervous system, and an opportunity to re-orient our intelligence to the inner truths and the unique vibration of the Creator in all.

Venus return annually should bring not only a renewed commitment to those things or people we cherish or love, it should simultaneously return us to transcendental wonder, joy, and devotion.

Mars return brings vitality to our physical body, and the energy to promote our plans for about a 2-year period.  Simultaneously, it should  provides the drive and energy to promote our  spiritual growth and effective skill in action to get there, overcoming any obstacle on the way.

Jupiter returns occur every 12 years, so our 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, and 84th year may show us grace and abundance in the sign it transits.  Simultaneously Jupiter should guide and expand our reality to the supreme oneness of life.

Rahu/Ketu returns reveals where our compulsive behaviors and obsessive longings reside.  Through his reverse gear driving in an 18 year span, presenting many eclipse patterns, he winds and twists his way to show us our flawed slippery behaviors and our inappropriate desires.  He’ll highlight the areas that need cleaning up – particularly those areas we think we’ve so carefully hidden underneath the rock of our life.  He too is sublime in nature, and his gifts, if we can accept them, can help us remain in the moment – not cloaking ourselves in disguises, dwelling in the past,  or pretending to be someone we’re really not.

Saturn Return has the most powerful influence

Saturn returns occur possibly 3 times in a life span; once at 28- 30 years of age, again at 58 – 60 years, and finally at 88 – 91 years.  During Saturn return we become aware that the clock of life is ticking, and that there is only so much time we have in this body to accomplish our goals.   It reminds us that we need to be focused, to be willing to work and follow through things to their natural conclusion.  Without Saturn, no planet can fully deliver its effects.  All planets promise potential – Saturn ensures delivery of the effect any planet promises – no matter how long it takes.

Saturn gives a form and foundation to every activity, the ability to follow-through, to be persistent, dedicated, and perform focused action.  And, if we don’t tow the line, and learn its stern lessons, it tends to be like an old grandfather of the household – scolding and forcing others  to obey his will with his cane, and whatever other disciplining weapon comes to hand.

Through Saturn Return we should also be learning to travel the path of life with serenity and acceptance of all that comes with equanimity – even through the apparent challenges and difficulties.  With Saturn’s detaching energy we can learn to accept all experiences as valuable learning tools – equally valid.  And if we are living a more natural life – perfectly poised in the balance of the moment – Saturn may reward us abundantly with all the incredible spiritual experiences we could possibly desire, while maintaining our relative comfort in the here and now.

How does Saturn Return impact us?

Perhaps the better, wiser question is: how will we view Saturn’s impact on us as it returns to its starting point in our chart? That is ultimately most important.  Do we observe him to be that wolf, panting at the door, threatening to eat our fatty selves, or is he the hero, cracking the shell of our cosmic egg, demanding that we come out and act like the spiritually mature beings we are meant to be.

It all depends on our point of view – be it materially oriented, or spiritually aware

If we are deeply immersed in gaining relative goods and have forgotten our spiritual source – Saturn Return will surely peel the fat right off us, sparing nothing in his goal of removing the unnecessary.  If we’ve been more spiritually aware, and moving in the right direction towards our higher goals, but working with the wrong people or illusions – Saturn Return can be equally taxing, but reaches in to offer a stern but kind hand to pull us out of the rubble of our previous life, and point us in the right direction for our next 30 years.

If we’ve made substantial progress towards our spiritual goals, and been vigilant in our 30 year pattern, Saturn Return can eliminate our previous life and connections to it like a sharp knife cutting through butter.   Everything and everyone may drop away like an old husk as we step forward into our new life, (either here or on the other side)  much lighter, without pretenses, and definitely more enlightened.  In this instance, Saturn may greet us an old friend and kind guide – one who pats us on the shoulder walks slowly with us awhile as we continue on in our new life – reassuring us that we are not alone.

Saturn is what we make of him when he comes knocking at our door

Whether you’re between 28 and 30, and experiencing your first Saturn Return,  or 58 -60 and experiencing your 2nd, or have lived  long enough to experience your 3rd at 88- 90 years, Saturn will come to see how you’re progressing on your spiritual path.  You may not remember it, but you did set those dates in your cosmic calendar for his visits.  You asked him to come;  you wanted him to visit; you longed for him to shake up your life, and put your life back on track.  Why?  So  you could accomplish your deepest spiritual aspirations, and not forget the most important reason you are here – to find your way back to your divine home.

Villain or hero?

Remember when he meets us at high noon,  at our Saturn Return, and points a gun in our direction – Saturn’s not taking aim at us,  but at our ignorance.  It is said that he only removes what is unnecessary or useless to us at our stage of development and frees us from the bonds that we’ve so tightly tied around ourselves.  Saturn’s not the villain in this story, though we often view him as such.

When he kicks down our door, after we’ve done all we can to ignore his persistent rapping, Saturn does so to break through the hard cement of our conscious mind, and help us access the fluidity of our cosmic selves.  He’s here to help you remember your essential nature and return you to your divinity.

And if Saturn looks like a wolf, and starts peeling off the fat, it’s only because we’ve slopped about in the mud of life, overly indulged our senses and eaten too much poisonous pride and inflated ego while at the trough.   He won’t strip you of your soul, but may humble you in the process of  kindly returning your soul to you.

What to do when Saturn comes a ‘knocking?

So, when Saturn comes “tap, tap, tapping” at your door, don’t run and hide.  When he comes a “thud, thud, thudding”, don’t lock yourself in the bathroom, cover your eyes, and plug your ears.  Don’t wait for the “boom, boom, boom” to come – cause you know it will, and there he’ll  be – staring you full in the face.

Instead, plan for his visit.  Show him the respect this great guest deserves.  Meet him at the front door with gifts, and a warm smile of appreciation and love.  He is a great Guru, after all, who with  reverence and patience, helps us at every small step forward towards the goal.  Saturn has got all the time in the world to help us, and he will teach us – come what may.  And we will learn, no matter what – no matter how long it takes.  Though he comes cloaked in the darkness of time and space, those who can see his true nature, know that he is the great son of the Sun – full of nothing but pure transcendental light.

Have you got the time and strength to work with Saturn and help yourself to the great gifts he patiently brings you?   They may look different from their intended result. It may be better to prepare now for his 29 year review – coming in the near future or right now at your door.  Saturn Return is on its way to you and he must be acknowledged.  Get your life in order, straighten up and fly right.  Prepare the gifts he adores most:   patience, endurance, devotion, kindness, forgiveness, discipline, orderliness, equanimity, spirituality, detachment…. you get the idea. 

Start living the life you always hoped for yourself, and make no more excuses.

You see, you can get ready for his knock at your door: you can prepare for Saturn Return. Jyotish With Paula Advice on Vedic Astrology and the cosmic dance of the planetsAs with all the planetary drama in this cosmic play – it’s really all up to you. Jyotish With Paula Advice on Vedic Astrology and the cosmic dance of the planetsJyotish With Paula Advice 

 10 top tips

What to avoid at Saturn Return

  • ego – don’t expect big accomplishments or appreciation from others at this time
  • pride – others may not appreciate our efforts or challenges
  • stealing or non-return of items thinking “no one will mind”
  • preventing those committed to a more spiritual life –  a fair means of support
  • resistance to change and progress – the old has to dissolve for the new to come in
  • lying to cover up your pain and frustrations
  • cheating to make up for what you feel has been taken from you
  • over-indulgence in sensory pleasures – thinking “I deserve this”
  • trying to go back to the way things were and laziness in the here and now 
  • non-acceptance of the current stream of life feeling this is not nearly enough

What to favor at Saturn Return

  • simplicity – stream-line your life and get rid of some of the dead weight
  • honesty – with yourself and others as to where you are right now
  • acceptance of the present knowing that with baby steps you’ll create a new future
  • flexibility – do stretching exercises or yoga to increase fluidity in mind and body
  • looking forward to a new phase in life – knowing that this too shall pass
  • detachment from expectations of results – be in the 24 hours – don’t look too far ahead
  • random acts of kindness and compassion – especially to the spiritually minded folk 
  • gentle treatment of the elderly or disabled – Saturn loves respect for those that need help
  • meditation – to align ourselves to our divine nature
  • spirituality moving towards divine oneness with all
Written by Paula Johnsen, M.A. copyright 2013: Jyotish With Paula Blog All Rights Reserved

Written by Paula Johnsen, M.A. Copyright 2013: Jyotish With Paula Blog – All Rights Reserved

Copyright: 2013 Jyotish With Paula Blog – All Rights Reserved


By three methods we may learn wisdom:  First by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”

 saturn rings

NASA Astronaut Umberto Guidoni

I was, I remember, I still remember when the first time I pointed the telescope at the sky and I saw Saturn with the rings.  It was a beautiful image.”

Mark Russell

“The scientific theory I like best is that the rings of Saturn are composed entirely of lost airline luggage.”

Copyright: 2013 – Jyotish With Paula Blog – All Rights reserved

Comments and feedback are greatly appreciated by author, designer, and Jyotish Specialist, Paula.

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  40. Paula says:

    Thanks, Warren for your kind compliments and for confirming your experience with Saturn Return! I’ve found that if we’re able to work with the energy, instead of against it – everything goes much more smoothly. Nice to know there’s an explanation as to what’s happening and why and that we’re not just being picked on at random! Happy renovating….Paula

  41. Warren West says:

    Most excellent post Paula! You seemed to hit the nail on the head with respect to Saturn’s influence in our lives. Age 29 and 59 were definitely turning points in my life — physically, mentally, spiritually and materially. It’s as though Saturn were a stern and compassionate parent, or Guru. If indeed it is true that God only gives us what he feels we can handle, then it’s obvious to me that Saturn is his messenger!
    P.S. It’s a good thing that I recently had some renovations done and new doors installed on my place. Little did I know that it was all to welcome Saturn-ji!

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