Last year a couple weeks before I turned twenty-nine I found myself in a frantic search on Google trying to make sense of my astrological chart. Here I was about to enter the last year of my twenties and I couldn't make sense of the little symbols on my chart or how I thought it was supposed to magically glide me into my thirties. Little did I know though, that the planets had already been aligning for me and the transformation was nearly over.

After researching, I came across an article that mentioned an astrological event called the Saturn return. 

What is a Saturn return? In short, it’s credited to be one of the most popular planetary events outside of the Mercury retrograde. It’s when the planet Saturn, "ruler of responsibility, growth and challenges" returns to the point in the sky of where it was the exact time a person was born. Saturn’s orbit takes around 29.5 years to complete, meaning that in our lifetime we can see up to three of these events. The basis of a Saturn return is that it typically takes people a while to figure out how to be an adult, and due to the first Saturn orbit striking in our late twenties it can provide a harsh reality check. The Saturn return is when most people will discover what’s working for them and what’s not. During this time, one must shed those decisions and habits that were formed in pre-adult life in order to truly master this next phase of self-discovery.

PHOTO: Graham Hunt

It’s helpful to know what zodiac sign Saturn was in at the time of your birth. I used the one from Cafe Astrology and discovered that my Saturn was in Sagittarius and my return period was from December 2014 to December 2017. This is helpful to know because the Saturn return energy is usually felt the strongest during the time Saturn sits in the same sign as it was when you were born. I had an "Aha!" moment and realized that my Saturn really snatched me into alignment with what I needed to become to get to all the things I said I wanted in life.

My Saturn return was straight-up boot camp and was ugly, jarring but just the kick in the butt I needed to grow up. Scientifically, when planets return to an original point in the sky it marks the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. So, the Saturn return marks the end of relying on your charming good looks and ability to bounce back strong on Monday after day drinking the weekend away. But not just affecting my physical, it affected my emotional and spiritual journey too. During my Saturn return, I was met with situations that I never imagined I would face. A mirror of questions was put before me asking is this the life you want? Or the life that your are just mindlessly living, and I was forced to answer every single one. 

PHOTO: Miguel Bruna

So no, it’s not a quarter-life crisis, it’s your Saturn return and listen to it!

Here’s what I learned from mine:


My Saturn return forced me to take a backseat to my attitude of me, myself and I. Tumbling through my early twenties I was nothing more than a self-absorbed, egotistical snob who thought the world revolved around me. I wanted things to happen on my terms only and when they didn’t, I’d pout and throw a pity-party and list why I deserved it. This attitude will not sustain me in my thirties. I cannot go through friendships and relationships with people expecting them to pour into me only, I needed to give that back! I wasn’t setting myself up to be compassionate and active in-love. Saturn ushered in a new theme of reciprocation, thoughtfulness and showing up for others as I show up for myself.

Power of intention 

Life was happening to me and I wasn’t taking any control. One example is my career after college, I was chasing security and not really operating from a place of passion. I had no aim, no plan but just plain shooting in the dark and landing anywhere I thought could get me that 401k and “good benefits” as my grandmother would say. I didn’t want just a good job though, I wanted what I did to be impactful and on my own terms. I didn’t even explore the thought of being a writer or small business owner in my early twenties. I treated life as if it were a straight path, and I was given the instruction manual from those who said: “here don’t deviate from this or think too much for yourself.” But life is not a straight path, and I had to learn that for myself.


My Saturn return shed light on the fact that I needed to take responsibility for where my life was going. I needed to have more belief in myself that I have the power to create the life I want and to not be stuck in a box of what I was conditioned to believe was my life. This was going to take self-confidence, of course! The events that unfolded during my Saturn return left me asking: “who are you?” Even before I knew what a Saturn return was, I knew that my life took a turn to teach me that I should be responsible, confident and smart enough to know how to pick it back up and spin it into what I really desire this time. Pre-Saturn return Courtney was a girl who relied heavily on external sources to get her from point A to point B. I depended on others to usher me into adulthood and teach me things that only I could teach myself, my way. 

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