Written In The Stars

So, I’m currently at “that age”. Late Twenties. The big Three-O fast approaching. And with most of my friends in the same boat, I’ve noticed something really strange occurring.

Looking around at most people my age, I can’t help but notice a universal feeling of change and flux. If you’re in the 27-30 age bracket, you may well know what I’m talking about. (If you’re not, you either might recall this feeling, or you’ll have it to look forward to…)

It’s often the Quarter Life Crisis. For many, it’s symptomatic of definitely not being a child, yet not yet feeling like a functioning adult. Most just put it down to career or relationship changes (the seemingly never-ending stream of engagement announcements would certainly explain that one…)

Or perhaps there’s something bigger going on here.

Perhaps it’s Saturn.

Now I should begin by clarifying the following: yes, I do yoga and yes, I know my star sign (Gemini, in case you’re wondering) and yes, I love the film Practical Magic. I am not, however, an avid follower of “interplanetary shifts” and was never one to believe in “the energy of the cosmos”.

I am, by my own admission, more Magic Mike than Mystic Meg.

Yet when an older and far wiser friend told me about “Saturn Return”, something which is said to bring about great emotional and practical changes every 28 years of our lives, I couldn’t help but pay attention. It all sounded oddly relatable.

Here’s how it works:

Saturn (you know the one with the rings) takes around 29 years to make one orbit around the sun. So every 29 years, the planet returns to the exact same place (or zodiac sign) it was in when you were born. So far, so good.

Now according to astrology, Saturn is one of the solar system’s “father planets”, which apparently gives it significant cosmological power and makes it “a great taskmaster of the skies”. Still with me?

Now according to the “Saturn Return” theory, the time during which the planet is returning to the zodiac sign of your birth can be transformative, challenging or, to put it bluntly, living hell. At this point, Saturn apparently encourages you to confront your past, in order to learn lessons for the future. It’s all the more testing because of Saturn’s status as a “father planet”, and therefore the planet holds no punches in teaching you these lessons.

Then as Saturn moves through that phase into it’s next orbit, we generally see a period of growth and change. If you’ve listened to the lessons that the paternal planet has to teach you, the whole thing can actually be a great experience.

Or so the theory goes…

I still wasn’t totally convinced by my friend’s suggestion. It sounded a bit like they were, well, living on another planet. And personally, I’ve always been more interested in Uranus than Saturn. (Sorry. Couldn’t resist.)

So I dismissed the theory and thought nothing of it. That was until “Saturn Return” came back into my life in two different ways, both of which demanded I pay attention.

The first was that I had a year of intense change. In the months preceding and following my 28th birthday, my whole life – career, family, health, love life, social life – transformed and ultimately looked entirely different. It was strange. And I wasn’t the only one. Many of my friends all went through similar things at the same age. Could Saturn be responsible?

But this could have been one big coincidence, of course.

And then came the second signpost. And this time, it was sickening.

One afternoon, while trawling through the latest Drag Race news online, I came across a 1995 interview between Oprah Winfrey and Ms RuPaul herself. In the interview, RuPaul attributed his successful career and inspirational life to the changes he went through at 28 years old. He recalled how, at that age, he was crashing on his sister’s sofa with no career and fewer hopes. He then, of course, went on to turn it all around.

RuPaul called this change his Saturn Return. A quick google will show that the Drag Race icon has been quite vocal on social media about his beliefs on the subject, and has even discussed the planet’s power on his podcast with Michelle Visage.

So, is “Saturn Return” a thing? Are we governed by the movements of the planets?

Many will say it’s a bit farfetched. Some will say it’s total bulls**t.

But what’s certain is that the run up to 30 can be tricky. From Britney to Taylor, you see it in the media all the time. And you know what? For anyone approaching 30 whose life seems a bit in flux, it might just help to think that it’s all because of a planet millions of miles away, and therefore beyond our immediate control.

Or it might not. And that’s OK too.

As for me? Well, if it’s good enough for an award-winning entrepreneur and self-made superstar who transformed the face of reality TV, drag culture and the gay community, then I might just give it a second thought.

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