In this post, I will talk about the 5 stages of the first Saturn cycle which begins at birth and ends at the 1st Saturn return between ages 28 and 30.
Saturn in the Natal Chart
Over time, Saturn seeks to cultivate sovereignty over oneself—the authority one has over one’s life. It’s authority one is born with. Yet during the first Saturn cycle, between birth and about 28 to 30 years old, we awaken to that power and wrestle with it. We tussle with external authority figures and ultimately take over where our parents and other authority figures left off. Over that time period we internalize our experience of power and authority figures who have influenced us and held responsibility for our lives.
- How did our caretakers handle their authority over us and responsibility for us?
- Were we responsible for ourselves before we were appropriately capable? Or, did we make a relatively smooth transition? Or, did we never fully take over responsibility?
- Did we have to take care of those who were supposed to take care of us?
- Was cooperation demanded? Submission coerced? Trust nurtured?
The other side of Saturn represents external markers of authority, power, and responsibility. It’s when we explore the limits of our power and influence in the world around us. This is the kind of authority that is, ideally, earned and built over time. It’s granted to the one who has shown competency. It’s recognizing the impact of our authority AND our responsibility for the world around us.
Who’s The Boss?
Saturn at Birth is 0°
Age 0 to age 7
The boss has all of the power and all of the responsibility. You are not the boss, at first. You are completely helpless and 100% reliable on others to take care of you, to make decisions for you, to provide structure and boundaries for you—even if no one is there, which is the case for some people. The boundary of where you end and others begin is molded during this phase.
The first seeds of self awareness and our innate authority sprout during this time. We flex our muscle but mostly retreat to the familiarity of the boundaries we know.
The 1st Saturn Square is 90°
Age 7 to age 14
The 90° square of any two planets’ is about awareness and emergence. There is friction between what is known and what is unknown. One is awakening to the limits around them, feeling along the walls to see where they end.
But at the 90° square between transiting Saturn and natal Saturn the boundaries of home and family are the foundation upon which the rules of the emerging world around you are built. A solid foundation makes this period a quick build; an unstable foundation often calcifies boundary issues—whether too porous/non-existent, or impenetrable. But, the rules you know and the new rules your experience rub up against each other. Authority figures and the limitations of your world now bring another set of rules, not just those unique to your home and family, but also to your community and culture.
The Saturn Opposition 180°
Age 14 to age 21
The Saturn opposition is a face-off. You want to take the reigns, and in some ways you are ready. But the authority figures in your life tell you, “Not quite”. At this point, authority figures take the form of parents, teachers, law enforcement, etc. You feel physically powerful in your body (thanks to puberty), and you feel like you have a grasp on reality—enough to “see things as they are.” Power struggles often color this time period as you push back against boundaries that you feel are being forced upon you.
The Saturn Square 270°
Age 21 to age 28
This is the time where the rubber meets the road. We finally have the authority, and the responsibility, that we’ve craved all along. How prepared are we? How prepared do we feel? Pressed by the world around us to make important decision about the trajectory of our lives; we feel pressure to think of the future and make long-term goals.
Squares bring friction, and the friction here sparks awareness of an impending end. Something in us feels what’s coming: the return of Saturn to its natal position, our first Saturn return. It’s an ending and a beginning. It’s where we come to terms with reality of our inner authority and responsibility.
Are the decisions that we’ve made a result of our own will and desire? Or are we living someone else’s dream? Will we accept it or change course?
The 1st Saturn Return 0°
Age 28 to age 30
This is an ending and a beginning. The natal house and sign placement of our Saturn gives us clues as to which area of our life and who or what is involved in this transition. This time reinforces our understanding of authority and responsibility. We may ask ourselves:
- Who or what secures the foundation of our lives?
- How can I take on the mantle of responsibility and adulthood in a way that honors my own voice, not just replicating the voices of those who have heretofore been responsible for me?
- Who am I becoming and what do I need to do in order to develop competency in this becoming?
- What am I doing to lay the groundwork to be an authority and garner respect in my community and the world around me?
Many of these answers do not come until after Saturn leaves the sign where it is in the natal chart. But the return itself is a completion and a seed planting phase. It’s dark, like a New Moon. It is very clear, for some people, what is happening and where things are headed. For others it’s a time of fear and many unknowns. Those born during the day (Sun in house 7-12) tend to have a more constructive experience, while those born at night (Sun in houses 1-6) tend to deal with more fear, resistance, and difficulty.
Think of this return as being born all over again. Yet you are already a full grown adult this time, and you have to do the work yourself to prepare for your birth. You’re emerging from a womb and coming into another world with new rules and expectations,. This time you are responsible for finding and creating those people and things that will be a foundation for you and your life as you mature into the role you’ll play in your community, career, and the world.
Got questions or comments about Saturn & The First Saturn Return? Let’s talk about it on Twitter @PeoplesOracle.