A war on Saturn’s return?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

About two weeks ago, my girlfriend was playing with a Saturn return calculator and contemplating the impact of celestial bodies, specifically Saturn, on her life. A Saturnian year takes roughly 30 Earth years. In astrology, the Saturn return is an alleged phenomenon that influences a person’s life development at around 29-year intervals.

A magic realism tangent

Because of my current state of mind, the idea of Saturn’s return makes me think about the (unrelated) war on Saturn that takes places in the amazing, surreal The People of Paper by Salvador Plascencia, which I am currently reading. People hide under the lead shells of mechanical tortoises to evade Saturn’s voyeuristic gaze!

A war on Saturn's return: Borges, García Márquez, Murakami, Plascencia and Bender

For more fantastic works of magic realism, see the likes of Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel García Márquez, Haruki Murakami and Aimee Bender (specifically the books above). I had the privilege of meeting Aimee Bender on November 11 (yes, on 11/11/11) on the Oregon State University campus as part of the 2011-12 OSU Visiting Writers Series. She read a chapter from her new book The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake (which I love) and a fantastic short story about prosopagnosia (i.e., face illiteracy or face blindness) called Faces. Magic realism is currently my favorite genre of fiction. Note to self: remember to read more absurdity from Richard Brautigan.

Back to Saturn’s return

The Saturn return calculator revealed that my girlfriend’s Saturn return started on Halloween 2011 and it doesn’t end until July 2012. She deemed this a disturbingly long duration and shook her fist at Saturn for cursing her to suffer its trajectory-altering, life-changing transformations for longer than most. I’ve since learned that Saturn returns usually last about a month.

Being curious, I entered my birthday into the calculator and found that my first Saturn return was of normal length (one month), during which I bought my house and took a two-week trip to Hawai’i. Both of these events had great significance to me. Intrigued, I looked at other notable positions of Saturn throughout my life and immediately noticed a clear theme emerging: transformational travel.

Below is my Saturn return chart, which I’ve self-indulgently annotated.

Start Return Finish Return
Age 6/7 1/4 Saturn cycle, Waxing Square November 1986 November 1986
I’m not sure what important events might have happened to me as a second-grader. I do remember that I was given my first video game system, an Atari 2600, for Christmas 1986, but that is neither here nor there.
Age 13/14 1/2 Saturn cycle, Opposition May 1994 February 1995
At the beginning of June 1994, my dad and sister and I went on a 20-day cross-country trek that involved driving almost 8,000 miles through 20 states and countless national parks. The first leg of the trip was from Pennsylvania to Seattle, then we flew to Alaska for a week. Once back in Seattle, we drove down the coast to San Francisco and then back across the country to Pennsylvania. This experience is probably my favorite childhood memory. In August, I started my first year of high school (also kind of a big deal at the time). The ups and downs of 10th grade complete the remainder of this time span.
Age 20/21 3/4 Saturn cycle, Waning Square July 2001 April 2002
I graduated from college in May 2001 and made preparations for my Great Cross-Country Trip of 2001, which began on June 15. I traveled back and forth across the United States until September, occasionally doing freelance web/graphic design via dial-up in cheap motel rooms. My return travel to the East Coast was delayed by the 9/11 attacks. After visiting the East Coast again that autumn, I decided to move to Oregon in November 2001. In December and January, I spent time in California for the holidays. Then, after a few months off from traveling, I began the Great Cross-Country Trip of 2002 on March 30. This trip was focused on the southern Midwest, the South and the southern East Coast. The journey was designed to enable me to see every state in the continental U.S. that I had not previously visited. By the end, the only state missing was Hawai’i. I was back in Oregon on April 30.
Age 28/29 First Saturn Return August 2008 September 2008
During this short but highly significant time period, at 29 years of age, I bought a house in August and then vacationed in Hawai’i for two weeks (thus completing my goal of visiting every state in the union). I closed on the house after returning to Oregon at the end of September. This began the current stage of my life.
Around 35 1 1/4 Saturn cycle, Waxing Square December 2015 September 2016
I obviously cannot comment on my future experiences, but I am curious what each of the time frames below might mean for my life, should I survive to experience them.
Around 42 1 1/2 Saturn cycle, Opposition March 2024 March 2024
Around 50 1 3/4 Saturn cycle, Waning Square May 2031 May 2031
Around 59 Second Saturn Return September 2037 June 2038
Around 66 2 1/4 Saturn cycle, Waxing Square February 2045 November 2045
Around 73 2 1/2 Saturn cycle, Opposition April 2053 January 2054
Around 80 2 3/4 Saturn cycle, Waning Square June 2060 March 2061
Around 89 Third Saturn Return November 2066 August 2067

So, was the schedule of all these transformational travel experiences coincidental, or were they somehow written in the stars (or dictated by a certain ringed planet)? I have no idea. I do find it fascinating that the three most significant eras of my life (so far) were captured by a random astrological calculator on the Internet.

Stop watching me, Saturn!

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