Farewell – the Libran Saturn Return!

The planet Saturn entered the sign of Libra on 30th October 2009, and is currently poised for entry into Scorpio on 5th October 2012.

Those of you born between Autumn 1980 and Autumn 1983 – when Saturn was last in Libra  – will then emerge blinking into the light – hopefully having made some of the changes necessary for old baggage to be shed, and with new challenges to take on, as you move into the second thirty-year cycle of Saturn, the great definer….have you done that? Let’s take stock….

Saturn - welcome to the Real World!
Saturn – welcome to the Real World!


The planets in their cyclic rhythms symbolically weave the story of our collective and personal lives through space and time. These cycles vary enormously: from the tiny 29.5 day dance of the Sun and Moon, to the vast epoch-defining cycle of Neptune and Pluto, meeting only once every five hundred years.

The planetary cycle which has most penetrated the popular imagination, however, is the 29-30 year cycle of Saturn, commonly known as the Saturn Return. Stay with this post, those of you with no astrological knowledge born between Autumn 1980 and Autumn 1983 (i). You’ll gain some useful perspectives….

How many Returns?

In a long lifetime, you may have three Saturn Returns: one at 29/30, another at 59/60, and a third at 89/90. The first one, however, is arguably the most crucial and the one upon which this article is focused. But any Saturn Returners just completing their Second and Third Returns are most welcome to read this article – and send me their feedback!

Saturn the cosmic Tester….

The Saturn Return is very much about defining yourself: separating out from what you are not, in order to get closer to the grain of who you are meant to be. We all go through it with varying degrees of success and failure in being able to clarify who we are – none of us is capable of sorting everything out, even in a whole lifetime, never mind the first 29/30 years!

Saturn Returns vary in degrees of challenge, levels of difficulty – and, let’s not forget! – of achievement as a result of honestly taking stock of what needs to change and making that change happen. This is not a time to stick your head in the sand to avoid facing painful truths about circumstances, people, or your own attitudes and beliefs which are holding back your progress as a developing and growing person.

Locating Saturn – currently leaving Libra

Let’s now move from those general principles to looking at some specifics. Plotting Saturn’s current position, observable against the 30 degrees section of the zodiac which we call Libra, is a good way to illustrate this.

In its 29/30 year cycle, Saturn moves through all twelve zodiac signs, spending 2-3 years in each. An Aries Saturn Return, for example, is very different in flavour from a Pisces Saturn Return. Thus Saturn’s underlying principles just described will be seen through the filter of the particular 2-3 year period in which you were born, irrespective of your Sun or Star sign.

The Libran Saturn Return

In astrological terms, Saturn is traditionally ‘exalted’ – ie in its most favourable placing –  in the airy, rational sign of Libra. Thus the generational group born between Autumn 1980 and Autumn 1983 (i) is by nature more inclined than the rest of us towards the well-known Libran virtues: detached reasonableness, a strong sense of fairness and justice, striving to achieve balance and harmony in all spheres of life, but especially in relationships with others.

Thus the Libran Saturn Return has been especially tuned, in essence, towards finding balance in all areas of life and sorting out what you want from what you do not want in relationships. Remembering that Saturn really turns up the heat and piles on the pressure where we are most dysfunctional and, in Libra’s case, indecisive, I thought it would be a very good idea to put flesh on the bones of the theory by asking some real live Libra Saturn Returners for their feedback!

Investigating Real Lives

I was really pleased to come across a group of four friends, living at very different locations in the UK and USA, none of whom have studied astrology but all of whom were willing to participate in a mini research study.They were all born between Autumn 1980 and Autumn 1983 (i) when Saturn was going through Libra.

I researched whether one could detect the challenges and disruptions characteristic of astrology’s description of the Saturn Return in general, and their Libran one in particular, at work as common factors in all their lives from autumn 2009 until now – and was not disappointed! This short article can only provide a flavour of their lives and the detailed, interesting feedback they sent me:

Anna’s boyfriend died in an accident, she got a new job, and emigrated to the USA. Barbara obtained a new job in a new company in a different part of the UK much nearer her partner, and bought a new house. Caroline split up with her partner of seven years, but they have recently got back together to try again. Diana faced many career challenges and disruptions, and the end of a three year relationship. (ii)

In conclusion….

These human stories allow the vividness and relevance of astrological symbolism to manifest. Even through this very brief extract, we can see the particular imperative which the Saturn Return presents, clearly at work.  We can also see how their experiences all centre on relationship, Libra’s especial focus. All four have taken on life-changing challenges, experienced significant losses as well as gains – but feel overall that they have a clearer sense both of who they are, and who they are not – their lives feel more balanced as a result.

Saturn has done his work!!


(i) this is a general article only – the particular detail is as follows: Saturn entered Libra on 21st September 1980 and finally left on 24th August 1983. However, for a period of several months from 30th November 1982 to 6th May 1983, Saturn ‘dipped into’ Scorpio which it was to enter fully on 24th August 1983 for the next two and a quarter years.

 (ii) not their real names.

This brief article was first published in a slightly different edition on the blog Love Your Saturn Return , and is part of my much longer recent exploration of the meaning of Saturn Returns incorporating a mini-research study of the experiences of four researchees experiencing the Saturn Return in Libra. It is currently being considered for publication, but will appear here in due course if it is not accepted! 


1000 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2012
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page


12 thoughts on “Farewell – the Libran Saturn Return!

    1. Thanks Kris and good to hear from you. Hope all is well and will drop by soon to see what you’re up to. Yes, I am very interested in observing how astrological symbolism plays out in people’s lives, both individually and collectively. The day Saturn went into Pisces a number of years ago, there was a striking photograph of a stranded ship beached off the UK coast. And the day that Saturn went into Aries a few years later, the front page featured fiery rage in Northern Ireland, UK, in the form of masked men hurling petrol bombs. As Saturn prepares to move to Scorpio tomorrow, we have a frantic search on in Wales,UK, for an abducted child, and a local man in custody. And a famous, now dead, UK celebrity is being accused by a number of women of sexual abuse by him when they were under the age of consent.The symbolism can be so literal……

      1. so much understanding is brought into meaning, with such knowledge – i have experienced so much affirmation of who i am with some of the understanding of the planetary positions and times…thanks so much for sharing…

      2. Thanks again, Kris. I am finding knowing planetary symbolism a particular help in negotiating the current energy field of turmoil, disruption and unpredictability – with a lot of good stuff stirred in too!!!

  1. OK, Anne.That’s fascinating. Especially that last part where the change to Scorpio is symbolized in the headlines so very well.
    For those of us Not born within that cycle, does it still have those effects? Is there any Good news associated with Scorpios’ prominence? For instance, does it bode well for business? Or a Job market?
    What are the likely effects of the perversity of Scorpio on the political scene? What happened last time? Oh, I guess I can look that up. Just thought I’d ask.
    How are you doing in this area? Are you looking forward to this cycle? or hedging your bets?

    1. Hi Emaria (I know it’s not your real name, but I like it!)
      it would take too long to answer all your questions and as you say you just have to google ‘saturn in scorpio’ and you’ll get loads of material. Regarding your questions about me – well, the last time Saturn went through Scorpio ie end of 1982-85 ( traversing part of 2nd, all of 3rd and crossing my IC) the following key things happened: I got serious about astrology, obtained my first qualification and began to do readings and teach my first class (to three ballerinas and a flower remedy specialist, I seem to remember!).I went part-time in my existing career and set up in private practice as an astrologer, astrology teacher,counsellor and assertiveness trainer – and was pretty broke for the first two years until the practice took off. My sister’s marriage broke up and her ex husband set up home with my husband’s ex-wife ( you couldn’t make it up!) and my father died very suddenly. And we moved house to where we still live. Pretty uneventful really….

      So, I look forward to this new Saturn in Scorpio period in a Buddhist spirit……ie live in the moment, and ‘lean into the sharp points!’

  2. So interesting. I just heard about the search for the child yesterday. There’s a website devoted to world-wide searches for the disappeared and abducted. I was surprised to see the little girl’s home town isn’t far from my friend in Twywn.

    I am curious about something which isn’t directly related to your point here, but which the Libra/Scorpio discussion reminded me of. For one born “on the cusp” between the two, as I was, how would you determine which qualities predominate? Or do they simply meld?

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Linda.

      “on the cusp” is a term which belongs to popular Sun Sign astrology and is rather misleading. First of all, it applies to the position of the Sun only, and takes no account of where the other planets are located. Secondly, there is really no such thing, since accurate calculation of your horoscope using date, place and TIME will reveal whether the Sun on your day of birth occupies the last degree of Libra or the first degree of Scorpio. If the Sun is at even 29 degrees and 59 minutes of Libra, then you are a Libra in Sun Sign terms. If your Sun is anything from 0 degrees Scorpio, you are a Scorpio, in Sun Sign terminology. Imagine yourself standing in a room with the door to the next room wide open. You are entirely familiar with the room you are in, and your interest has already moved on to that most compelling looking room next door. Being born with the Sun at the very end of one sign is rather like that. There is already a flavour in its energy of what comes next. But if you are born at the very beginning of eg Scorpio, your energy is very strongly of that sign – new, dynamic and potent.

      The situation of course is more complex than that! You could have the Sun very definitely in Scorpio, but eg Mercury and Venus which lie closest to the Sun’s orbit astronomically, both in the sign of Libra. Or Mercury in Scorpio with the Sun, and only Venus in Libra. Or vice versa. And if you were born in the 1940s and 50s, you would have the slow-moving outer planet Neptune in Libra, perhaps linking with the personal planets ie Sun, Mercury and Venus as per the example I have given. And the poor hapless astrologer has to assess out of all this what your particular blend of Libra/Scorpio energies is likely to be…..

      Maybe I shall now go away and take up stamp collecting!

  3. Very informative and interesting article, Anne. I can totally relate to the part about becoming more aligned with who we are meant to be and not putting our heads in the sand. I can feel that happening to me – circumstances are forcing me to stand up and do all the things I’ve always said I would do. No more excuses. It is a little scary, but I feel up to the challenge. Thanks for all the info!

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