UNDER STRICT ORDERS from our subconscious, Saturn does the dirty deed of severing us from work and relationships that, however much we may treasure them, are no longer an efficient vehicle of our karmicly ordained style of awakening. It is not enough, says Saturn, to enjoy a person, community or lifestyle because they give you security, love and a sense of belonging. These encircling life structures are on loan from Saturn for as long as we use them to become a meditative witness of our egoic habits of mind and overflow our disciplined talents to the larger family of man. During a Saturn transit — especially when combined with other outer planet transits (Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) — the status quo is no longer an option. If a work, a relationship, a community or even a world view has become narcissistically self-involved — no longer empowering us to overflow our full-hearted presence into the world — Saturn delivers his ultimatum: commit smarter or get out.
The Three Cycles of Saturn
Assuming you live to age 90, you will experience three complete 29-year cycles of Saturn or “Saturn Returns.” The first Saturn return is at age 28-29, the second at age 59-60 and the third at 89-90. Understanding the themes built into each of these 29-year Saturn cycles provides a chronological curriculum as to how we might live a purpose-driven life in tune with Father Time.
Why did you come here? To discipline your karmicly inherited talents, master your karmicly inherited wounds and, thereby, to individuate into a uniquely, inspiring emissary of the Absolute. This means evolving through the three basic senses of self: Provisional, Individual and Meditative.
1) Age 0-29: Development of Provisional sense of self.
2) Age 30-59: Development of Individual sense of self.
3) Age 60-89: Development of Meditative sense of self.
With some exceptions — depending on one’s karmicly inherited and freely developed ability to witness their ego — most people proceed from the generic, happenstance commitments of the teens and 20’s to the self-reckoned, individuated commitments of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s to the world-bridging, “mad-enough-to-be-mortal; sane-enough-to-disappear” commitments of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.
Each of these three 28 to 29-year seasons of soul individuation are subdivided into four 7-year cycles. (All ages approximate within one year). Ask yourself, “Which Saturn cycle am I in? How consciously am I embodying this season of soul-realization and how can I better prepare for the Saturn challenges awaiting me in the years to come?”
Soul Individuation Cycle #1
First Breath: (Saturn conjunct Saturn) Knot of destiny defined.
Age 7: (Saturn Square Saturn) Child learns to discern between right and wrong, fantasy and reality, and learns the basic rules and the consequences of breaking them. Development of depth perception needed to cross the road unaided. First testing of boundaries and the status quo.
Age 14: (Saturn Opposition Saturn) The dawning of a provisionally separate sense of self. First stirrings of healthy opposition to authority (puberty) and the creation of personal rules.
Age 21: (Saturn Square Saturn) Learning to deal with the world in its own terms and become accountable. Seeds of dissatisfaction birth new goals.
Age 29: First Saturn Return. This is the threshold of astrological adulthood. Every planet in your chart has now been squared, opposed and conjoined by Saturn, enabling you to become free of indiscriminate rebellion against – or robotic allegiance to – one’s social and familial conditioning. The provisional sense of self yields to a degree of sovereign direction and destiny. This culminating cycle of individuation often requires a painful severance from previously treasured work, roles and relationships that are discovered to be based on unconscious conditioning, not sovereign choice.
“Most people re-discover their connection to a higher power and to spirituality during Saturn transits because the only one we can rely on for relief and help is a power stronger than us and we feel humbled and crushed enough during Saturn’s transits to accept it!”
Soul Individuation Cycle #2
Age 35: (waxing Square) “Second Puberty:” A less reactive, more lucid version of the boundary-testing Saturn square at Age 7. Do these new goals and roles set during my Saturn Return allow me to express the full spectrum of who I am?
Age 42: (Saturn Opposition Saturn). “Midlife crisis.” Individual reacts – maturely or immaturely – against the soul-inhibiting limitations which society has imposed upon his or her ego. Is my need to belong blinding me to my true values?
Age 50: (Waning Square) Re-evaluation of individual priorities and life-directions producing further refinements to the soul’s individuation process. A period of concentrated, steady effort to serve in accordance with our ideals, or a backsliding into the collective norm (think: Baby Booomer who “sold out”).
Age 58-59: Second Saturn Return. Now-or-never actions in the real world that demonstrate the wisdom of the elder. The deepening commitment to one’s chosen life service or a pivot into an entirely new, more soulful life direction. The hallmark of the second Saturn Return is that if you deal maturely with the old pockets of unfinished business, you gain the gift that will last till the end – the gift of wisdom. You become an elder.
“It’s better to wear out than to rust out.”
“Saturn rewards those that act and depresses those who procrastinate.”
Soul Individuation Cycle #3
Age 66: (Waxing Square) The synthesizing and sharing of what aging has taught you. Confessing and breaking one’s prideful habits of consciousness while one is still relatively healthy and cognizant.
Age 73: (Opposition) “End-of-life crisis.” The humble acceptance of unrealized goals, unmastered wounds and the increasing embodiment of one’s spiritual faith. It’s never too late to leave a “legacy of presence.”
Age 80: (Waning Square) Coming to peace with God. Humble apologies and grateful goodbyes. Exuding a deep and steady presence of thanks for life’s infinite opportunities to awaken.
Age 89: Third Saturn Return The bleak gray of loneliness, loss and sorrow or the cultivated silvery repose of meditation and spiritually digested experience.
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