Relationships and the Saturn Return

Charles W. Hawthorne – ‘Young Man and Woman’ 1914 {{PD}}

I’ve had a pair of comments/ questions from the lovely Nina; I’ll put the bodies of both messages below, then my own commentary.

Hi! My first Saturn return is coming up at the end of this year. I have this feeling that someone who I had a brief, but intense karmic relationship with ten years ago will be a part of my life again during this time. Our past encounter ultimately ended badly and I don’t feel like I’ve ever really had closure, nor has my attraction to this person ceased, despite being in a six year relationship with a different person (which recently ended).

My question is not “is this person my soul mate” or “will I end up with this person?” (I read the guidelines for submitting questions!) What I’m wondering is, what is your take on this? My intuition is telling me that we will date during this time and that it would bring us each closure and immense healing. I have a bit of astrology knowledge and I think we have some aspects that support this. But, I haven’t been able to find anything online about the idea of love or relationships specifically during a Saturn return. I am so curious for the take of an objective, experienced astrologer on this!

And then this:

Hi, it’s Nina, I submitted a question a few days ago involving love/relationship during a Saturn return.

As I have been thinking my question over, wondering if you’ll find the topic interesting, wondering if I explained myself well enough, I realized that I may have glossed over a relevant piece of information in pursuit of being concise.

So, I explained how I had a tumultuous “relationship” (we were never officially dating, but fought intensely and hooked up) with person A. This took place during our freshman year of college, specifically October 2007 through April 2008. It ended when he simultaneously stopped talking to me and started dating a close friend of mine the day after we had sex for the first time.

Fast forward about four years and I start my first real relationship with person B, who had become my best friend after meeting at the same college freshman year. He is also a best friend of person A. This is the relationship I was in for nearly six years. Person B had been secretly harboring feelings for me since the first time we met. our relationship was healthy for about a year and then turned sour for the remainder. We’ve recently given ourselves space and there is a significant part of me that hopes he will be the person I end up with, once we have each had time to grow as individuals. (That is to say, I hold out hope that we may start a new relationship after our Saturn return.)

We also make music together as our profession, so we are still very much a part of each others’ life. (In fact, we still live together! But, we are going to change this this summer or fall.)

So, the question I asked you in the first place was what are your thoughts on a relationship during a Saturn return. I want to date person A during my Saturn return, and then start a new and hopefully permanent relationship with Person B. It occurred to me that this love triangle was almost certainly important context for my question.

(It maybe be relevant to mention that I have no intent to hurt Person B by dating Person A. It was a mutual decision for Person B and I to break up, but it was he who was not sure if he was attracted to/loved me anymore. I don’t know if Person B would necessarily know about my potential relationship with Person A. But, I wanted to make sure to explicitly state that this is not any sort of revenge or malicious intent. I never got over Person A and I feel overwhelming drawn to him. (And, yes–I noticed out Black Moon Lilith/Venus conjunction!))

You seem to be something of an expert in dissecting relationships via astrology. And, I think love triangles might be something of an intriguing topic to people? I do apologize for submitting my question in such a fragmented way.

Hi Nina,

Since material presented on this blog is centered in analysis that can be useful to others, I’ll be addressing your first issue concerning the implications of dating during the Saturn Return, as that’s a good subject that I’ve never seen addressed myself. Then I’ll talk briefly about the more personal issues for you.

The Saturn Return, for those who are not aware of this, occurs at roughly (dependent on the retro-direct cycle at the time of birth) 29.5 years, when the planet returns to its position at birth. Leading up to the first Return we have three bursts of major, hard contact between transiting and natal Saturn, a square at approximately 7 years old (considered ‘The Age of Reason’, when the individual first sees their responsibility for their own behavior and becomes aware of potential consequences), an opposition at 14 (another turning point, one where the first big steps away from childhood are taken), and at 21 (a complete coming-of-age that leaves the individual solely responsible for her or his own life and actions). Each of these hard contacts of transiting to natal Saturn typically brings more responsibility, and in a certain way, more freedom, as the individual is asked to take on more, to follow the rules, and thereby gain autonomy and reach a new stage of maturity.

But, by the time the Return arrives, we’ve been out in the world for awhile. We feel we’ve got something of a handle on things, that we understand how the world works, and that we’ve found at least some avenues of expression and ways of creating security. As Saturn nears its natal position, though, we begin to Self-assess, to consider what it is that we’ve actually built. This period of consideration occurs even in those who have non-material goals, or an outlook that isn’t trained on establishing authority, joining an established hierarchy, or meeting professional benchmarks. It’s about seeing how far you’ve come, and judging that progress by your own particular standards–and for some, especially those who see themselves as rootless, as craving the unconventional experience, it may be the revelation that they have goals at all, ones they’ve never admitted even to themselves.

If you’ve been telling yourself you want one thing out of life, but actually want another, you’ll realize it now. Stability may become more important to you, as may a sense of ‘moving up’ or ‘moving on’, especially if there are personal milestones you’ve always assumed you’d meet, such as getting married, having children, or attaining a particular professional status. We judge our own life accomplishments at the Return for what they may mean in a larger sense; what have we contributed to society, and what do we want to contribute in the future? What do we want our roles to be? How do we want to make our mark, be remembered, have an impact?

So, we can see that this is an appropriately Self-focused period, one where we are taking our own measure, assessing just how, where, and how well we fit into the social order–and that means that dating at this time won’t really be about the other person, but about fulfilling our own needs. That sounds harsh, and it’s not like we can’t fall in love at this time; it’s just that we are much more likely to spend our time seeking partners or others who will help us fulfill our own aims. The more conscious we are of those aims, of course, the more deliberate our decisions, and the more likely we are to fulfill our Saturnian needs for status, security, and order (and we all have these, know it or not).

Dating during this period can take on a certain quality of mission, of seriousness of purpose–and that almost always translates into establishing a more permanent situation either professionally or personally, through marriage or partnership of some kind, even if that commitment is to oneself, initiating a kind of marriage to an achievement or goal. Now, be aware, all this usually happens without excessive conscious intent; we don’t realize, necessarily, that we’re assessing our lives, judging our choices up to now (though we may become overwhelmingly aware of our own discontent), but we are, and that means that dating takes on an almost predatory tone: we are looking for a mate, or we are looking to meet certain life goals such as those involving reproduction and the parental experience–and if we’re not, we’re usually bent on throwing our energy into some other area of accomplishment–and so not dating at all.

I hope that sets the Saturn Return stage for dating–it’s not to be taken lightly, in fact, you can’t take it lightly, even when you believe you can, as there’s a part of you that will persistently wonder where it’s all leading. So now, Nina, you must be wondering what I’ll say about your situation?

Dear Nina, You may be very disappointed with what I have to say here, and I apologize for that. I want to offer you the same feedback I would offer any client who provided me with the details you’ve supplied–and please forgive me if I’ve misunderstood what you’ve conveyed, but you are speaking as if you have the ultimate say in having a relationship with either of these men–but you yourself say that each has broken things off, implying the break wasn’t in your hands.

I also want to ask you this: if you were Person B, how would you feel if your prospective partner wanted to date someone else (your best friend!) but then had plans to ‘settle down’ with you after? I know you have no intention of hurting either man–that’s absolutely not in question–but I do think you’re feeling a kind of Saturn pressure, and that it may be overpowering your respect for the feelings of these men, both of whom have created distance that they may or may not want to continue.

So I would counsel that you get clear both on what you actually want, and how much of creating that is actually within your power (sometimes, all you can do is know what you want, and offer yourself). As I’m sure you’re aware, your Saturn Return hasn’t actually kicked in yet–doesn’t even begin to enter orb until this November–so you may be anticipating something before you really know how it feels or will manifest. Your current focus on Saturn, though, may be a manifestation of your Solar Arc Sun within orb of conjoining your natal Saturn–in essence creating all the same considerations that the Saturn Return brings. Add to that the SA Sun is also conjoined natal Uranus, ruler of the Whole Sign 12th, and you may find the unconscious is at the steering wheel, no matter how much you try to be conscious of your choices. The effect may be you are driven, in any number of ways (some of which you will feel are Karmic or fated–such is the influence of the 12th), with the actual results only visible roughly two years down the road. With so much on your own plate, the astrology of interaction with either of these men is a moot point, at least until you sort out your own wants and intentions definitively, and taking into account the wants and wishes of these men, as well. And though you didn’t ask, with transiting Saturn in your 10th, it’s no wonder you’re focused on your status–but rather than in relationship, the place to put your effort might be the career, as this could be a high point period, if approached with maximum dedication.

Wishing you all the best,


See more on personal dedication of energy, and relationships, here–

And more on relationship interaction is available here–

You might like this ebook on Saturn, too–(not by me, but by the lovely Wisestars)





Hekate in the Natal Chart: A Little Background + An Example

This is Rossetti’s depiction of Astarte (akin to a comibnation of Venus and Pallas), though the 3 faces and torches suggest Hekate

A long-term client and subscriber, after reading a recent ECLIPSE which touched on the role of Hecate/ Hekate as an indicator of connection to the darkness and ‘thinning of the Veil’ this time of year, wrote to ask what her prominent (conjunct the Ascendant) Hekate may suggest; she has graciously allowed me to do the analysis publicly. We’ll cover a little more about the history and evolution of this Dark Goddess figure, and we’ll look at the picture Hekate paints in my client’s natal chart. (Spelling with either a ‘c’ or a ‘k’ is acceptable, and I tend to go back and forth).

Originating in Asia Minor, Hekate began as a powerful ‘Mother Goddess,’ but she steadily gained a narrower field of responsibility with each culture she entered. In many instances, figures such as Hathor and Demeter/ Ceres took on many of Hekate’s early characteristics (and of course, she was known by other names before the Greeks bestowed the one we call her by today), with Hekate carrying fewer and fewer of the ‘mother and nurture’ traits; if we combine this narrowing of responsibilities with the later influence of Christian elements on the scenarios of the gods and goddesses, we see that Hekate became a figure who carried unflattering and unwanted projections about the dark and ‘dangerous’ qualities of women. In Greek and Roman myth Hekate was demoted to be under Ceres’/ Demeter’s command, and was sent to accompany Persephone/ Proserpina on her journeys back and forth to the Underworld. Eventually Hekate was deemed ruler of witchcraft (in its most negative definitions), sorcery, demonic activity, and the darkness. This was a simple response of the patriarchy to the female connection to life-giving energy and the female alignment with the rhythms and cycles of the Universe: gestation and childbirth, a woman’s receptive sexual energy (which through the years has been portrayed as evil by its ‘seductive’–another word for receptive–nature) and a determination to keep women as powerless within the social set-up as possible, all contributing to the negative ‘stash’ Hekate has been assigned to carry.

Hekate’s true nature is as a way-shower, in all the many guises this can take. She stands at crossroads both literal and figurative, straddles the border between conscious and unconscious, light and dark, life and death, and translates energy between the two. She is said to be present at crime scenes, to guide travelers on their way, and to be present during the Dark of the Moon, with the Dark period association a good example of the narrowing that has occurred over time–originally Hekate was a Moon goddess, not confined to the Dark phase. It also makes sense that her connection to all forms of darkness would make her a conduit for the unconscious, and so her prominence in the chart or in relation to a particular energy or life area can alert us to the presence of unconscious material in that particular expression or venue. She echoes Pallas as well, as both a wise guide and a guardian–specifically of gateways and other points of ingress or egress (and both goddesses share similarity to Moon goddess Artemis/ Diana, the Huntress, in terms of all three having a martial/ guardian quality). And her characterization as a Crone makes sense when we consider that, ideally, with age comes wisdom–and that should tell us that we can learn from Hekate as well as be guided by or protected by her.

Hekate’s wisdom has unfortunately been trivialized, quite literally; she is the goddess of trivia! This comes from the retired Roman soldiers who were stationed about the city and at crossroads, available to answer questions concerning the area and what lay down each road. Hekate as a way-shower naturally came to be seen as the goddess of these question-answerers, and due to the spoke-like pattern of many Roman via connections there were often at least three roads leading from one point, thus tri three, via road or way, came to be associated with being able to answer any question presented. It’s important to see this as simply reminiscent of Hekate’s store of knowledge having a great span, a span that covers light and dark, and that reaches not just the into the profound life and death arenas but that also includes the minutiae of culture, tradition, and occurrences and changes of the past and present.

One Example

We’ll call my client ‘Miss K’–she has a 21 Virgo Ascendant with Hekate just inside the 1st at 23 Virgo. Right away we realize that Hekate may be a big part of the persona, even an Archetypal mask that K dons at will–or, if Hekate’s unconscious connection in this chart is strong, this may be something others see upon meeting K, and K may not be aware of this. So, we should look at what might be held in the repository of the unconscious–and for that we go to the 12th. Here we find a Leo cusp, linking unconscious content strongly to identity and purpose (the Sun), and we see Earth in Leo, and Zeus and Pluto in Virgo, and all three conjunct. This suggests that Hekate may project for K an earthy, purposeful, intense, ambitious, and powerful image, a much larger and more dynamic image than K might realize–it could be something quite formidable, which might scare lesser beings away! And it’s true that Miss K has been looking for love; this might say that it could be difficult for her to find someone who can handle, and appreciate, her natural intensity. I know Miss K through our work together as a lovely, gracious, and sensitive woman, so her strong Hekate could be held largely unconsciously–or more likely, Miss K could recognize the strength of her own character, but not know the extent to which she gives a Hekate-sized impression to others!

Ruler of Hekate, Mercury, sits in Pisces in the 6th, and rules 1st and 10th, meaning Hekate is an everyday available energy that touches the Collective (most likely by being sensitive to it) and is very visible in K to those who see her in person. In this regard we might add that, with Juno, indicator of her own empowerment and her willingness to partner and what she might seek within a relationship in Libra in the 2nd, Miss K undoubtedly seeks a co-operative partnership in life–it is part of her Self-image fulfillment–but, with Juno conjunct Pallas, and these opposed by Sedna in Aries, the message might be that, even if Miss K finds the appropriate man (who would exhibit Aries traits, since the sign opposing a woman’s Juno describes what kind of man she is likely to want to partner with) she will be unable to recognize him (the obscuring quality of Sedna)–a tough situation indeed.

Miss K’s Hekate also enjoys a sextile to Ceres, only reinforcing the strength of the placement and adding a natural authority, and a possibly intimidating ‘command’ of nature, as part of the package; a semi-square to Neptune, ruler of the 7th, suggesting another facet to that obscuring effect in recognizing a partner–and also suggesting that the Hekate qualities, with some difficulty, can be hidden or cloaked in other personality garb–which is good for attracting that partner who might be overwhelmed, but then, indications are ‘good’ ones might not be recognized anyway! So when to apply that Neptunian obscuring? There’s a puzzle.

Hekate is also opposed Venus in Pisces in the 7th, perhaps implying a sense within Miss K that there is some conflict between acting as her ideal Self as a woman and acting as a powerful goddess in her own right–and this internal conflict could be acted out, maybe even with Miss K feeling that she can’t be womanly and still be powerful in a relationship, with her perhaps assigning that attitude toward the partner–this would allow her to somewhat reconcile the two urges, if she could say, ‘He finds my strength manly (or unwomanly)!’ and of course, in the modern age, that’s an unacceptable attitude in a man. There could be a strong belief, perhaps a cultural one, that to be a real woman one must be in relationship–and as we know, being your ideal Self as a woman in reality can be done in or out of a relationship, that having a mate does not put the final stamp on being a woman–but it’s not uncommon to harbor any number of beliefs about life that can hang us up on one idea or another. And that brings us to Hekate’s square to Miss K’s Gemini Moon in the 10th, just inside the Midheaven. The Moon rules the 11th of what Miss K possesses that she will give to the world–and fittingly, what she has learned emotionally, as well as development of her intuitive abilities, all slated to be communicated (Gemini) via a public role (10th House placement), could be a big part of Miss K’s Hekate ‘package’ (and all this could easily hark back to the Venus/ Hekate quandary, and all that may be learned through that experience)

There are two quincunxes of Hekate, one to Sedna and one to Chiron. With Hekate as the apex of the Finger of God, Miss K may find a true role of way-shower and powerful goddess manifesting with healing of the Chirotic wound and discovery and use of the Chirotic skill, and yet these must happen without any guiding feedback or conscious application! This may be a recipe where a kind of faith, a determination to accept the wound as healed no matter what you may think of its state and to employ the Chirotic gift whether you are sure of what it is, or whether it’s adequately developed or not, could be the key to a substantial and impressive role as Hekate in some form. This could be a big goal in life development for Miss K; as a woman who has already shown herself to be informed, warm, and wise, I would not be surprised if she carries Hekate as an Archetype in later life, becoming a guide and adviser to others.

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to check out Julie Demboski’s Astrology