Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Satun Return

I cannot think of a worse year than my 29th. 14 was ugly, but 29 seemed all the more cruel because I did not have adolescence and hormones to blame. Today I learned, without having ever heard of the astrological phenomenon of "Saturn Return," that I experienced it, by the book.

According to astrology.about.com, "this is when the planet Saturn comes back to meet your natal Saturn. It takes about 29.5 years for this slow-mover to return to where it was when you were born. The Saturn return hits in the late twenties, and its impact is felt into the early thirties. There's a second (and possibly a third for the long-lived among us) Saturn return that hits between age 57-60."

What are the coming of age films for 29 year olds? It's not only teen angst that defines one's life (though I highly recommend you see both films "An Education" and "Fish Tank").

"The first Saturn Return marks the end of youth and the beginning of the productive adult years. It is now that you truly become an adult—not at eighteen or twenty-one. You realize your need to define yourself as an individual within society and to demonstrate what you've learned.

..."This transition into adulthood is often accompanied by a sense of urgency, a feeling that you must try to accomplish everything you've ever wanted or planned to do now. Goals start to come sharply into focus. If you have not settled into a definite career, or have been pursuing one that is inappropriate for you, you'll experience a strong push to establish yourself in a more fulfilling occupation. Sometimes this means a complete change. During his first Saturn Return Vincent Van Gogh decided to be a painter rather than a minister. More frequently it means a new direction or specialization within your chosen field.

"If you have been building steadily toward a goal that's right for you, Saturn Return can be a time of achievement and rewards. Your labors bear fruit. Runner Bill Rodgers' Saturn Return marked the first of three consecutive Boston Marathon wins. William Faulkner published his first novel at age twenty-nine.

"According to California astrologer Stephen Arroyo, author of Astrology, Karma and Transformation, 'The quality of the entire experience and the extent to which it is felt to be a 'difficult' time depends entirely on how one has lived during the previous twenty-nine years.' If you have been pursuing an unsuitable vocation or merely fulfilling someone else's expectations, Saturn can be relentless in prodding you to make adjustments." (Skye Alexander, "Saturn Return: The 29th Year")

I experienced this so fully and yet had no idea there was an explanation in the stars/planets. Two statements from Skye Alxander's description ring especially true for me:

"Sometimes this means a complete change."
At age 29, I was angry, frustrated and depressed. I can't remember now how it happened (and I can't find my journals from that year) but I was between apartments, housesitting and working temp jobs. Shortly before my 30th birthday, I sold my my car and booked a ticket to move to Kosovo for three months, to collect more stories to add to my first trip there, to pursue what I wanted to do and to be, a writer who gives voice to the voiceless.

I stepped onto the plane the morning of December 8, my 30th birthday, and have never felt such a change in who I was, the direction I was heading.

"If you have been pursuing an unsuitable vocation or merely fulfilling someone else's expectations, Saturn can be relentless in prodding you to make adjustments."

I don't advise people pleasing as a life path, but that was the one I was on, basically since birth. As I've told others approaching their 30th birthday, so far, this has been my favorite decade. I've learned, as Anne Lamott writes, that "No" is a complete sentence. Every year I feel I know myself better, who I want to be, accepting and sometimes making small changes in the path I am on.

Some other interesting notes about Saturn return.

"Saturn Return almost always requires some major adjustments in lifestyle, attitudes, and relationships. Anything you have outgrown, or have tolerated but not found satisfying, must end now or be altered to meet your emerging needs. According to Hand, "Consciously or unconsciously, you are pruning your life of everything that is not relevant to what you really are as a human being."

"Often interpersonal relationships are deeply affected by Saturn Return. Gail Sheehy writes in Passages: Predictable Crises in Adult Life that during this period "Almost everyone who is married will question that commitment." The U.S. Census Bureau lists the peak divorce years as ages twenty-eight to thirty. Some people experience more subtle or private adjustments in their patterns of relating, such as shifts in responsibilities. Many couples decide to become parents, not only altering their relationships but their financial obligations and perhaps their vocations as well.

"If a relationship is sound, based on mutual respect, honesty, and sharing, it will probably survive the test of Saturn Return and become even stronger. But a relationship begun before the partners knew what they really wanted is likely to fall apart. Relationships that start during this period may have a "fated" or "karmic" quality about them."

(Apparently I'm in for another Saturn return or two, it comes again between ages 57 and 60 and 86 - 88.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I find this so interesting because I never was into astrology at all. My sister would discuss this and I would always dismiss it. That is, until my sister started reading things about me that were so accurate it left me scratching my head. So there really is something so fascintating and interesting about astrology.

And I think "Before Sunset" is a great coming of age film. It shows the maturity and growth of the two characters from their twenties and into their thirties.