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Every thirty years, Saturn returns to its place in the birthchart and that is no less true for national charts than it is for the charts of individuals. The “Saturn Return” is a time that requires the celebration of Saturnian characteristics: solitude, hard work, facing up to the hard cold realities of life.
Saturn in the US chart is at 14 degrees Libra (see this earlier article for more details about the US chart and why I use the Sibley chart with Sagittarius rising), so the Saturn return cycle will begin in late November/December of 2010. The second phase will occur in March and April 2011, with the conclusion in August.
Saturn falls in the 10th house of the Sibley chart – the house that in a mundane chart represents the government and the standing of the nation in the world. The standing of the US has already been beaten up over the past few years, first by a transit of Pluto (death and transformation) squaring the Midheaven of the US chart, and then by Saturn transiting that same point.
The last US Saturn Return occurred in 1981-1982. Ronald Reagan was president, and his hardline posturing (Saturn) in the world (tenth house) created new alliances (Libra) with the new Russian leader Gorbachev. Although he had signed the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, reality (Saturn) set in under the US Saturn return in 1982 and he was forced to admit that the nation was in a recession, and that balancing the budget was “not possible.” As transiting Saturn made an exactly conjunction to the US Saturn, unemployment reached a six-year high and Reagan’s promises of a balanced budget were deemed by his own Budget Director to be a “rosy scenario.”
The current Saturn Return cycle occurs at a time when Americans are already looking at their economic situation with a great deal of negativity. A Saturn Return cycle is not always difficult: sometimes our best work can come during Saturn cycles. Unfortunately, it is human nature to resist knuckling down to the kind of reality-testing that Saturn enjoys, and that’s when our butt gets kicked.
The release by Wikileaks of hundreds of thousands of documents that are extremely damaging to the US image in the world (also represented by the Tenth House) caused me to start thinking about the US Saturn Return. As of this writing Saturn is about four degrees away from the official return – well within the range of influence.
If we look at Saturn as the teacher, then our job during the return is to learn the lesson. Let’s see whether that will actually happen this year.
This Saturn Return cycle begins just after Election Day and takes us through next summer.