Yesterday I had the privilege of doing a reading for a woman who recently turned 80 and was going through the closing square of her third Saturn cycle. I began doing readings shortly after my first Saturn return at around age 32, and it took me a long time to realize that as we grow older we often learn to manage the issues in our chart so that they are no longer as difficult. In fact, the challenges that formerly caused us pain and suffering often become our greatest teachers.

The beauty of reading for older clients is that they often have experienced this evolution to a degree the rest of us can only dream about. If they haven’t become stuck in a cycle of dysfunction, they have learned to move through all kinds of cycles and find their center. I spoke with the client yesterday about the Saturn Return cycles, and we talked about her upcoming third Saturn Return which will arrive around age 87.

The first Saturn Return at age 28-30, as we know, deals with experiences where we leave our youth behind and enter adulthood, either willingly or kicking and screaming. The second Saturn Return is more difficult to predict since the result depends quite a bit on how well we have learned Saturn’s lessons since the first one. Regardless, during the second Saturn Return at age 56-58 we must leave our ripeness behind; we often discover that we are being replaced by the younger generation. We have lost our youth and are entering the third stage of life. We are middle-aged.

To answer my client’s question: “What can I expect at the third Saturn Return?” I pondered the meaning of Saturn at the age of 87, and it seems that one of the major experiences of life at that age is the gradual detaching from the physical world and turning to face the abyss. Saturn is, after all, the god of Time (especially in its role as Kronos) and its lesson is that time is short and life is fleeting. Saturn has been called the Lord of Karma, and by the age of 87 we have been through quite a bit.

The possibility of a third Saturn Return is a rather new phenomenon, since until the last century the second Saturn Return would have come close to the end of one’s life. It’s probably just the fact that Saturn sits right on my Sun, I have grown to see him as a friend rather than a foe, and also as life’s greatest teacher. I am grateful to this client for giving me a beautiful picture of what life can be like as we enter that fourth cycle!!

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