Saturn Return in Capricorn
“Freedom is the recognition that no single person, no single authority or government has a monopoly on the truth, but that every individual life is infinitely precious, that every one of us put in this world has been put there for a reason and has something to offer.”
Ronald Reagan’s Address to the students of Moscow State University, May 1988
A paradigm began shifting in the late 1980’s. Ideologies changed dramatically, reflected in political leadership, social upheaval, and technological innovation. By the end of the decade, the Berlin Wall came down and the World Wide Web was born—one destroying boundaries between capitalism in the west and communism in the east, and the other creating an entirely new (and unregulated) digital community.
The era was flavored by invention and possibility, insubordination and extreme overreach. Children born then were imprinted by this energy, like a seed planted in their consciousness. The clash of new and old, so prevalent during these years in history, has been carried into the present in the souls of those born then, a group of people who are going through their first Saturn return now.
There was a historic conjunction of planets in Capricorn during the late 1980’s—a pileup of Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Saturn is the mythological god of time, the ruler of cause and effect. Saturn rules earth sign Capricorn, so it has a particularly powerful presence in its home turf. Saturn’s transit through Capricorn, at its highest expression, symbolizes a time of concentrated effort, where the reality of our institutions— like financial, religious, and governing systems—are tested for their validity and integrity. Or, at its lowest expression, this represents a stoic and callous resignation to capitalism and greed, a sort of “profit at any cost” mentality. In a natal chart, Saturn in Capricorn represents a deep conviction (and sense of responsibility) about doing work that matters, regardless of how difficult; but it also points to a blockage or sense of futility here that must be overcome.
Uranus is the Great Awakener of the zodiac. It represents resistance to the status quo, ushering in change and modernization. New technology challenges the way people operate, manufacture, and consume; and innovation meets judgment from power structures already in place. Revolutionary ideas always come with the risk of persecution because what is radical and new clashes with what is conservative and “normal.”
This era saw the influx of the internet, and with it, the brand new world of ‘social media’—literally, an alternative universe. In Capricorn, Uranus stirs up the hierarchy of those institutions that govern reality—which means that in a natal chart, this combination infuses the personality with a natural tendency to question and reject imposed authority.
And Neptune, the god of the sea, is a symbol of transcendence. It correlates with an idealistic merging of the spiritual and the material realms—a wise and sincere longing for a better way to live in this cold, cruel world. Neptune gets the joke that our ego doesn’t like to hear—that all the money, all the attachment, and all the pride is fundamentally meaningless. Neptune is the part of us that feels elevated by art and beauty; that feels touched by acts of kindness and inspired by selfless heroics.
But there’s a glamour and confusion associated with Neptune, too, because the same part of us that feels empathy and connection also tends to block itself from suffering too deeply. These years were notoriously colored by greed and material excess, leaving a mark on the children who grew up within a society of extremes. It was the age of yuppies, free enterprise, and the deregulation of Wall Street, as Americans tried to fill a spiritual void with material wealth. And the generation who came into the world felt that lack, that confusion about what is missing in this corporate system that has become “too big to fail.”
Saturn takes about 29-30 years to complete its orbit around the zodiac. It has returned to Capricorn once again in the sky, meaning that Saturn is transiting over the natal Saturn/Uranus/Neptune conjunction of those born during the late 1980’s. It’s their Saturn Return, the astrological event when Saturn returns to its original place in the birth chart, and the 2nd Saturn Return for those born around 1960. It brings a time of reckoning as we move from one level of maturity to another… or not.
Astrology reflects that these cycles happen to us at the ages of about 29 and 60, but astrology does not determine our actions. We are fully entitled to refuse the lessons Saturn teaches us, of course—because astrology honors free will. At the Saturn Return, we can take responsibility for the direction of our lives and begin to aim ourselves toward our next developmental goals, or we can resist those choices and maintain our old form. The price of the easy road is that we become bitter and defensive about our ‘stuck’ situation, closing down in the shadow expression of Saturn—crystallization.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), born October 13, 1989, has taken the political world by storm. She defeated the ten-term incumbent Congressman in New York in June 2018, causing the biggest upset in the Democratic primary election. Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) won again in the November 2018 midterm general election, becoming the youngest woman ever to serve in the United States Congress. Her progressive views are drawing attention (and controversy) within the establishment as she strives to make income equality and renewable energy the center of the national conversation. On February 15th, AOC tweeted, “Come for me all you want, but my job is to make sure that people are protected in society. Someone’s got to look out for the people our system is leaving behind—esp now, when most of the wealth created is going to fewer people, those left behind are the majority of Americans.”
Actress Ellen Page, born February 21, 1987, has funneled her passion for environmental protection and LGBTQ rights into activism. Page appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on January 31st, using her platform to bring awareness to homophobic violence. She speaks of Vice President Mike Pence’s anti-gay agenda with simple, brutal realism, challenging the assumed morality of the religious right: “If you are in a position of power and you hate people and you want to cause suffering to them, you go through the trouble, you spend your career trying to cause suffering, what do you think is gonna happen? Kids are gonna be abused and they’re gonna kill themselves. And people are gonna be beaten on the street. I have traveled the world and I have met the most marginalized people you could meet. I am lucky to have the time and the privilege to say this. This needs to fuckin’ stop.”
As Saturn moves toward another historic conjunction—this time with Pluto and Jupiter in Capricorn in January 2020—the world is ready for this generation to innovate and empower. They are adults now, and they can help us collectively shift the paradigm once again, bringing what was distorted by corruption, competition, and personal profit into the light of day. There are leaders among them: people who know intuitively that out of necessity, the future has to be cooperative and sustainable, and they have ideas that can help build the bridge to get us there.
“Now and again, when we have served others— we actually discover a deep contentment, you can even say almost an ecstasy—that is absent from the opposite.”
Desmond Tutu, from Tom Shadyac’s documentary, I Am