As Saturn returns to Pluto in Capricorn: some notes on Saturn Returns…

I’ve had quite a few messages of late, asking me why I haven’t posted here for a few weeks. Well, like almost everyone else to whom I speak, I’ve been feeling the pressure and heaviness of a very challenging year since Saturn began to catch up with Pluto in Capricorn last Spring 2019, coming within three degrees of exact conjunction in April as they met the South Node in Capricorn. Recent weeks have thus been a time for some rest and reflection. 


As I wrote in one of my recent articles exploring various dimensions of this fearsome conjunction:

‘… In essence, Saturn/Pluto lets us off with nothing, either personally or collectively. We are forced into increasingly tight corners, whilst the pressure is ramped up on us to face and deal with the present consequences of past decisions, some of which might not be of our direct making. The environmental crisis which has become so vivid this year with the Nodal Axis joining the dance of Saturn/Pluto throughout 2019, is a case in point…’(i)

I am currently writing a reflective piece on what we should try to learn from a not very much discussed topic, ie the end or balsamic phase of planetary cycles, which I hope to post here soon. So – watch this space!

Prompting me to write today have been several conversations I’ve had, not all of them directly in person, with people coming up to experiencing their Saturn Returns at this time: both the first at age 29/30,  and the 59/60 second Saturn Return.

Since the 1981/2 Saturn/Pluto conjunction cycle ends, with the new one beginning, on 12 January 2020 with the two meeting at 23 degrees of Capricorn along with the Sun, Mercury – and Jupiter not far behind – those folks at the end of their twenties and fifties are facing a profoundly defining transition during their Saturn Returns since theirs involve Saturn/Pluto as well as the other planets.

Every completing of a Saturn 29/30 year cycle is  a time of being invited, in essence, to separate out as best we can from who we are not, in order to become more fully who it is we actually are meant to be.

The Second Saturn Return carries additional gravitas, because it represents a challenge to sum up what the whole Saturn cycle since age 29/30 has been about. From the Third Return on, if we live that long, coming to terms with life’s approaching ending is the biggest challenge any of us will face.

So – I decided I’d share the reflective work I have done on the Saturn Returns, to give those of my readers, younger and older, some food for thought and hopefully support in facing a challenging life stage coming up as this year ends and 2020 begins. The most recent version, published in The Mountain Astrologer magazine, is at the end of this post.

For the record, and to cheer up anyone who is feeling dismal about all this Saturn/Pluto stuff and impending Saturn Returns, I was born with several personal planets conjunct an exact Saturn/Pluto conjunction, and have been through two Saturn Returns which triggered my natal Saturn/Pluto combination.

I’m still here, still standing, still productive, not too displeased with how my life has turned out. So my writing is born not out of theory but out of surviving some very tough challenges – both of my own making and through things over which the only control I had was over the attitudes I decided to adopt…

Buddhist wisdom considers dealing with adversity as the process of “Forging the Diamond Soul”. I found meditating on this a great support in some very hard times, both past and recently.

I do hope you enjoy this article and find it helpful in getting the best out of your upcoming Saturn Returns:

The Saturn Cycles by Anne Whitaker


(i) Posted on Astrodienst 17.9.19… Some Notes on Cycles in a Time of Crisis


650 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2019

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see About Page 



19 thoughts on “As Saturn returns to Pluto in Capricorn: some notes on Saturn Returns…

  1. Via Facebook:
    Jeanette Henderson Han:
    Love this article, especially the postscript! At 64, even though Saturn’s ‘limitations’ have affected my physical life, I have honestly never felt more free 🦉👏💜

  2. Via Facebook:
    Kelly Knox:
    Thank you. My Saturn return was at 3 Cap so I was right in the heat of the Rx dance and took 3 direct “hits”. Honestly, I don’t even remember what was going on and I do remember it really wasn’t all that bad. I have had much worse… It fell smack in my 3rd but no conj or opp. However it did square my NNode at 3 Lib and Venus at 1 Lib in the 12th and also my 3 Aries moon in the 6th. However, my IC is 23″ 54′. Sweating 1/12/20 out. I love where I live (just got here away from a nightmare roommate in Feb!) and I love my job….best I’ve ever had! Keeping my fingers crossed!

  3. Kelly, thanks so much for this interesting and constructive feedback. Yes, it’s usually a mixed bag – often with opportunities wrapped up in at first unpromising-looking wrapping…

  4. Via Facebook:
    Doreen Muir :
    Thanks for info as always. My Saturn’s return is Aries but l have a 12th house Capricorn so am at 82 looking at life with continuing interest. Jupiter and moon sat in my 12th trined. Pressure in my chest where fluid had collected caused anguish but our nhs sorted me out. Lucky me, eh? Thanks again Anne

  5. Via Facebook:
    Sheridan Freemantle:
    In my second Saturn return, 14 degrees Capricorn. It return turned my life upside down and it’s pretty much been a struggle since, especially the last 16 years. My future, as things stand, looks pretty bleak, especially financially, so maybe change will be good.

  6. Well, Liz, I’ve found it’s often been the things I didn’t worry about that caught me out…do the best you can with who/what you are, and take it day by day…not very original advice, but usually the most constructive for when times are challenging…

  7. Anne, I wish I could view the article at The Mountain Astrologer. 😕 A great post. Challenging times…and January may bring more. Keeping my center is even challenging. Thank you for this post. I know I’m not alone.

    1. Hi Carrie I’ve just emailed you a copy of the Saturn Cycles article, and corrected the way I’ve indicated where it is. Thanks for alerting me to that bit of confusion on my part! All best Anne

  8. Your description of the first Saturn return definitely resonates with me. The period of 27-29 was indeed rough. But as I approached my 30th birthday, I realized I had a lot of old expectations about who I would be and what my life would be like when I was 30, and none of them had come to pass. So I set about mental housecleaning, let go of a lot of expectations, and did not really find it to be very disappointing or discouraging. Got through 2nd return ok. Saturn crosses my ascendant the year before a Saturn return, so It’s a lot of Saturn for a while.

    Thanks for the link to the Notes on Cycles article. Interesting times ahead to be sure.

  9. Many thanks for this illustrative feedback, Denise. ‘…I set about mental housecleaning, let go of a lot of expectations…’ yes, this is just the kind of work with which Saturn challenges us. I’ve certainly found that the more one honours what Saturn is asking, the more satisfying life gradually becomes. But all that takes Time…not something we are encouraged to take, in this particular phase of our culture!

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