Exactly What to Expect When Saturn Goes Retrograde *During* Your Saturn Return

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In case you didn't have No Doubt's Return of Saturn in heavy rotation as a youth, it's like, the ultimate expression of catharsis when it comes to combatting the effects of that astrological event, largely because it was created during Gwen Stefani's own first Saturn return. And for the uninitiated, that planetary event happens when Saturn returns to the exact location it was when you were born, says astrologer Stefanie Iris Weiss. “It tends to coincide with the turning-30 transition, which is already such a loaded moment, where you’re supposed to have your ‘adult’ stuff in order.” Basically, get ready for the stress and identity crisis that makes you sit up straight when someone tells you to "act your age."

Furthermore, it all this tracks for the Stefani example: The music video for "Simple Kind of Life" depicts some real existential troubles, including the timeless conflict of, "Do I want to settle down, have babies, and get married? Or do I want to have pink hair and be a rock star? Or do I not have to choose?"I felt those things at 9, I'm living it 'em 28—smack-dab in the midst of my window for experiencing my first Saturn return.

Sorry—am I bumming you out? Well, there's good news: Though Saturn return can bring about some tough love for certain folks, it's also known for happy adulthood milestones, like moving in together, having babies, buying homes, and more. You know, good stuff that still certainly allows for growing pains. “Saturn is considered the planet of lessons, challenges, and wisdom—eventually," Weiss says. "It tends to bridge us across challenges—difficult moments that teach us how to be better human beings and teach us to follow our own destiny the way we’re meant to."

“If you’re generally approaching your Saturn return and Saturn is in retrograde, it’s actually a nice time to slow down and integrate some of the lessons you’ve been learning." —Stefanie Iris Weiss, astrologer

Furthermore, Saturn being in retrograde (which is the case through September) during your Saturn return can be a great thing—a blessing, even for those of us mid-journey. (While Saturn is in your natal position for about 10 months, the whole Saturn return cycle is about a two-and-a-half-year journey, and you can still feel effects of it during those "shadow" periods.) “When Saturn goes retrograde, it’s actually a healthy time to integrate some of the harsher lessons," Weiss says. But there's a caveat: “If you’re in your Saturn return right now, and Saturn retrograde is on the degree of your natal Saturn, that can hurt," Weiss says. "But if you’re generally approaching your Saturn return and Saturn is in retrograde, it’s actually a nice time to slow down and integrate some of the lessons you’ve been learning." *Frantically consults a Saturn return calculator to track when that sitch is coming #amirite?*

Let's say a specific Big Adult Lesson you're navigating is, for example, getting out credit card debt, being direct in your Saturn return during Saturn retrograde may well suck. Imagine simultaneously fielding calls from your student loan officer, getting the same dental bill four times in one week, and wondering why you had to do three happy hours in one week. But if you're in your shadow period of your Saturn return, you'll be able to more calmly and slowly attack your issues, curb your margarita intake and pay off your priority bills like a pro. Essentially, “you can take a breath and tackle the problem, and integrate some of that wisdom,” Weiss explains.

So sure, the planet may have a rough rep since no one really loves being told (by the universe itself, no less) to grow the eff up, especially by means of surmounting enormous challenges. Yet these challenges are supposed to help us grow into whom we're destined to be. “It can become something really beautiful and one of the best times of your life if you do it right," Weiss says.

I mentioned that Return of Saturn is a banger album, right?

Roommate troubles? The stars are telling us how to get along with every astrology sign (even Gemini). And finally, cosmic experts weigh in if you should read your horoscope at morning or at night. 

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