It takes 29 years for Saturn to orbit the Sun.1 So for 29 years, it moves through the sky and the zodiac until it returns to the exact spot it hung on the day you were born.
In the pre-industrial world, without artificial light blazing through the night, the evening sky was, well, vibrant. The stars filled the dark blue expanse. The luminous moon and its phases determined how easily you could venture outdoors. The Milky Way was a billowing, ethereal rupture across the sky. And there were five planets: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.
The messenger, sprinting quickly through the night’s sky.
The beauty, brighter than even the brightest star.
The warrior, red with both.
The king, largest of all the planets.
And then there was Saturn.
Saturn is an old god, older even than Rome. He was worshiped by the tribes of Latium. He and his counterparts—Attis, Ba’al, Kronos, Tammuz, Xipe Totec—are relics of sorts. They are the gods of those first settling people, the first agrarians. These gods were the cultivators, sowers, and harvesters.
So, slowly crossing the sky is the old god, the farmer. And with wheat in one hand and his scythe in the other, he is also the god of generation and dissolution: beginnings and endings.
Astrologers say that Saturn’s return ushers in thresholds to be crossed, from adolescence to adulthood, adulthood to old age, and old age to death. They say the returns can be brutal, like Saturn himself. And while later incarnations of Saturn are brutal, violent gods, I think that these sensationalist astrologers are wrong, about Saturn and his return. You should Google it, though. All of the top results say that it’s an emotional, psychological, and physical endurance trial that you just have to survive. Just have to survive. That’s so apocalyptic. Beginnings and endings are brutal, but so is life. Change is scary. That doesn’t mean we have to survive it. Life isn’t some passive thing done to you. You can be afraid, but don’t just wait for it. Run at it.
Today is my 28th birthday.
On the day I was born, Saturn was in Sagittarius. He left the archer on my first birthday, but Sagittarius remained. My sister is an archer, Bear is an archer, I love the show Archer. Sagittarius is part of me it would seem. And now Saturn is back in Sagittarius. He got there two days before Christmas, and he’ll stay for a couple of years.
I don’t know how much a giant ball of hydrogen and helium can affect your life, but change is coming. I can feel it. It’s in the air. And I’m not just going to let it happen. I’m not just going to survive. Because Saturn isn’t the harbinger of death. He’s not as violent as we make him seem to be. Saturn’s a farmer. He’s is the bringer of life. So I’m not going to shrink away. I’m going to celebrate.
1. 29.4 to be exact.