Thinking about Saturn: the Second Saturn Return and Beyond

In keeping with the transiting retrograde Mars/Saturn midpoint squaring my natal Ascendant, I have been feeling pretty Saturnian of late. Much is written about the first Saturn Return; not so much, about the Second. So, for those of you going through this crucial rite of passage at present – and anyone else who feels like a spot of advance planning! – here are my thoughts:



By the second Saturn return, we can see what our lives have become — and we can see what it is too late to change. This is one of the most fundamental differences in perspective between the second and the first return. At age 30 we have probably still to sow the most productive seeds of our lives — what we have already sown is still only germinating. But by the approach of 60, we are reaping the harvest and are confronted with the stark Biblical words “As you sow, so shall you reap.”

Saturn is the planet of strict justice. Blind, stubborn, arrogant, or fearful refusal to face certain basic realities in life, as the second cycle unfolds, skews the life path further and further away from who we could become – were we able to acknowledge and accept who we actually are – rather than try to be who we are not. This can bring increasing pain, dissatisfaction, emptiness, and depression as the second Saturn return approaches.

Franz Hals: an image of serene later life

At one end of the spectrum are those who arrive at this stage feeling that their time on this Earth has not been wasted. They have very few regrets and are prepared to face the final thirty-year cycle of life with equanimity, perhaps rooted in great spiritual depth. These people usually retain a zest for life and its remaining possibilities.

At the other end are those who have sown meanly, poorly, or fearfully, and are reaping a harvest of regret, bitterness, loneliness, physical ill health, and fear of the waning of physical power and attractiveness in the inevitable decline toward death.

Most of us will arrive somewhere in the middle range: satisfied with some aspects of our achievement and disappointed by our areas of failure — or those things that fate appears to have denied us without our having had much option for negotiation.

I see the main challenges of this stage as follows:

* first, to value what we HAVE been able to do

*second, to come to terms with and accept those failures or disappointments that it is now too late to change

* third, to find, within the limitations and constraints imposed by our state of mind, body, spirit, and bank balance, some further goals that are realistically achievable, which bring a sense of meaning and enjoyment to whatever time we have left.

Recommended book: 

Saturn A New Look at an Old Devil

  Saturn: A New Look At An Old Devil
by Liz Greene

  Info/Order book.



The full text of this article “The cycles of Saturn: Forging the Diamond Soul” was first published in the UK’s ‘Astrological Journal’ (Nov/Dec 1996), and subsequently in ‘’ and ‘The Mountain Astrologer’ (Feb/Mar 1998)

It was  included in  The Mountain Astrologer’s “Editor’s Choice” : 43 previously out-of-print articles from TMA in the 1990s, available on CD from the autumn of 2010.“The Mountain Astrologer” is recognised as the world’s leading astrology magazine.)




550 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2016
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

17 responses to “Thinking about Saturn: the Second Saturn Return and Beyond

  1. Excellent post Anne and very insightful. I am well into my second cycle and feeling satisfied with some aspects of my accomplishments along with the pangs of regrets in other areas. Ahh, if only we could all sing “No Regrets” with the same heartfelt feeling as Edith Piaf.


    • Yes, well…One thing I will not be saying on my deathbed is ‘I wish I had spent more time at the office…’
      I think that if we manage to get to the other side of the second Saturn Return without being bitter and twisted and with our sense of humour intact, we’ve done pretty well… I’d say both of us qualify on that score! Lovely to see you visiting this site, Bev!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great article! This is a topic overdue to be addressed, especially as more and more are living to the third Saturn return / Uranus return and beyond.


    • Thanks, GT! If I live long enough, I will offer my perspective on the third Saturn Return… I trust you will still be following my blog then.
      Many thanks for all your support – it’s greatly appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Grandtrines

        Your work is excellent. As an aside, I feel that I should explicitly ask for permission to reblog. This is because the POSSIBILITY exists that I might, someday, add advertising to “monetize” my blog. Your Creative Commons license is good for what I am currently doing, but I suspect I need the explicit permission as well given the possibility of future commercial use. OK for me to reblog, given those circumstances?


      • Grandtrines

        Also, if you prefer, we could discuss that topic by email. (I want to be absolutely certain I do not run afoul of your licensure! And, I am quite fond of your most excellent work!)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hello, GT, many thanks for being so gracious and so scrupulous. It would be good if everyone operated like this…of course you can reblog my posts. No problem! And thanks again for affirming my work. That means a lot.

        Do, please, email me on…I can reply to your query re conferences then…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Grandtrines

        Do you present at conferences? I have not been to a conference in many years, but NORWAC looked interesting.


  3. Thank you, Anne. I’m hearing from various people who are feeling very Saturnine in recent weeks (they use the adjectives for how they’re feeling, and they’re very Saturnine adjectives!). Interesting. I wonder if it was also due in part to the various retrogrades, including two personals (Mercury and Mars). Hmmm.

    It’s a worthy focus, the second Saturn return and beyond. This is good humor and also good wisdom: “I think that if we manage to get to the other side of the second Saturn Return without being bitter and twisted and with our sense of humour intact, we’ve done pretty well…” (from your reply to Bev’s comment). 🙂

    xo Jamie


    • Yes, Jamie, I think that you wonder correctly. Saturn is a deep, slow-working planet – and the additional retrogrades via Mars and Mercury ( the latter just turned direct now) certainly have been amplifying that slowness. Thanks for dropping by as a visitor to this site – it’s great to see you here! You might like my 12th House Facebook Page, as well, since it continues the 12th House themes….Xx Anne


  4. Reblogged this on Jude's Threshold and commented:
    my 4 natal planets in Capricorn really appreciate this article on Saturn by Anne Whitaker!


  5. Many thanks for the Reblog, Jude – and pleased to be pleasing your Capricorn planets!


  6. What wonderful words Anne and so apt at this moment for me – approaching the second return and with Saturn in my sign right now… feeling Saturnian is most definitely the words CxXx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. To read some other interesting feedback and comment, do check out my Facebook astrology page here:


  8. Hi Anne. I like that you wrote about the second Saturn Return. (I hope my reply isn’t too long.)

    As it is a new 28-30 year cycle of Saturn, the way it starts out is very much affected by how one has consciously put the positive Saturn qualities into effect during the first Saturn cycle. As you may agree, Saturn has to do with one’s self-discipline, good structures and routines, the ability to let go of stress and tensions, and the ability to be in the present moment. And, I feel, the deepest level of using Saturn well in our lives is to have a deep sense of clarity about what things are the most important to us in our lives. And this is much deeper than an intellectual or logical process. It is a gut-level, soul-searching kind of process, which we can often be compelled to get into during strong Saturn times.

    When we have gotten in touch with this deeper clarity, it can be much more profound and ‘real’ than what we may arrive at intellectually. This can be greatly facilitated by meditation and asking inside to connect with what those important things are. When we do get this clarity, it can become the inspiration and the energy to then put other positive Saturn things into action in order to nurture and develop those things that have become more clearly important. We may only have a handful of things that we really want to nurture in this way, like our peace of mind and happiness, our health, our family, our important relationships, etc. And it is still good to logically come to conclusions that lead to positive commitments and structures.

    So let’s say for our peace of mind we decide to meditate everyday at the same time, no matter what resistance (a Saturn thing) comes up, no matter how tired we are, etc. We will be sure to attract the resistance and all kinds of reasons not to do it. But, if we do stick with it and incorporate it in our lives, then we can grow tremendously on many levels, including spiritually, emotionally and mentally.

    If we have been able to have a good strong momentum of commitment to positive Saturn things in the first Saturn cycle, then the end of it can be a major completion or ending of vast amounts of issues, tensions, karmas, etc. that do not carry into the next Saturn cycle. The new Saturn cycle can manifest as a more expansive and dynamic period in one’s life. It won’t be experienced as too much of a dramatic or hard time because of the positive work leading up to it. Sure, there can be challenges to test one’s resolve as Saturn is conjunct one’s natal Saturn. But, it can truly be a time when you can feel like a lot of things have changed. It can be a rewarding time on a large scale, from your past and current effort. The conjunction of Saturn back on the natal Saturn can be a tremendous opportunity to gain and grow from. It can be a stronger challenge. And that is why having a good positive momentum of good structures and discipline (in terms of months and years) leading up to this time is important. It will facilitate a new positive and expansive level of Saturn manifesting in one’s life.

    The opposite of this is that we can become more shut down, crystallized, negative, resistant, old, tired, sick, etc. The choice is always ours, no matter whether it is the Saturn return or not. And that’s really the most important. If we have used our challenges and Saturn well on a daily basis, then we don’t have to worry about the actual Saturn Return (whichever one it is). But it’s good to know that it will be an extra good opportunity for growth.

    When one has put into effect positive commitments and structures in their life, then one gets ‘bigger’ than the challenges that come their way. One doesn’t get thrown around by their issues, tensions, etc. One has built a strong inner mechanism or capacity. It still has to be a conscious effort that is brought to one’s life. And we can all be happier and happier as life gets less and less dramatic and more rich, rewarding and full.

    Thanks, John Fontaine


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