Saturn and “the 27 Club”

There’s quite a list of musicians who, sadly, have died at or around age 27, the most famous being Joplin, Morrison, Hendrix, Cobain, and Winehouse. Blogs, Facebook posts, and television reports started calling this the ’27 Club’. Here’s one of the Whys from an astrological perspective:

In our late twenties, everyone experiences what’s referred to as the “Saturn Return”. Basically, this is a period of time when transiting Saturn (meaning, where Saturn is currently located in the sky above) re-joins the position Saturn occupied at the time you were born. For example, if you were born with Saturn in Capricorn, it will take approximately 29 years for this slow-moving planet to return to Capricorn overhead in its current transit, therefore triggering its inherent qualities that manifest through our personalities and individual lives. This is why there are ‘heavy hits’ in our late twenties, with the effects often lingering well into our early thirties.

In astrology, the Saturn return is an alleged phenomenon which is described as influencing a person’s life development at 27 to 29 or 30-year intervals. These intervals or “returns” coincide with the approximate time it takes the planet Saturn to make one orbit around the sun, i.e. 29.4 years. It is believed by astrologers that, as Saturn “returns” to the degree in its orbit occupied at the time of birth, a person crosses over a major threshold and enters the next stage of life. With the first Saturn return, a person leaves youth behind and enters adulthood. With the second return, maturity. And with the third and usually final return, a person enters wise old age. These periods are estimated to occur at roughly the ages of 28-30, 56-60 and 84-90. A fourth return occurs for only a few people, at age 114-118.” -from Wikipedia

While I can’t say I know much about any of the musicians noted above, they had two things in common- music and addiction. Respectfully, each was more than their addiction and music. I suspect that when their Saturn Returns came around, the often crushing feeling and pressure Saturn can put on someone was too much to deal with for individuals who were not living life from a healthy place (psychologically and physically) and were already very vulnerable and compromised. If there are unresolved psychological issues and deep wounds, further buried under addiction, and the cyclical, natural sweep of Saturn’s hand comes into the foreground, a reckless, out of control life will likely experience more chaos and pain simply because the person has compromised their ability to move through the hurt and confusion with clarity and strength.

The Saturn Return is only one of the Whys. There are so many factors for each individual. It is incorrect to think that Saturn Return means certain death. Surely that is not the case. Saturn Returns usually bring a period of growth, albeit a transition often accompanied by some form of suffering or discomfort- which is usually the case because most of us are forced out of some self-created ‘comfort zone’. If you’re reading this and you’re over 31 years old, you’ve already graduated beyond your first Saturn Return. Congratulations! Now keep up the good work.

In addition to the Saturn Return, there are other numerous factors which create completely different experiences for each and every one of us. These include, but are not limited to: the house Saturn occupies in our birth charts; the sign Saturn occupies in our birth charts and which houses are ruled by the planet who rules that sign; the condition of our natal Saturn (is it retrograde, combust, debilitated, exalted, neutral?); the aspects from our natal Saturn on to other houses and planets; the current transit of Saturn (what sign is it currently in) and how is it affecting our individual chart; what major and minor planetary periods are we currently running; where is Saturn located, and what is its condition in our divisional charts; what is the strength or weakness of our Rising Sign or Ascendant (the planet which rules this sign, as well as the 1st house itself; is it afflicted by difficult planets?); what is the condition and placement of the Sun (overall physical vitality/Life) and Moon (our receptivity to life and love, how we process our feelings/thoughts). Is Saturn afflicting these luminaries?

Many factors must be analyzed—with accurate birth data (day/month/year, time, and place) to assess what made each individual tick and what, in their seemingly untimely passing, caused their unraveling.

One thing is for sure. We all have Saturn in our charts somewhere, and if you were born on this planet, you have “things” to deal with. Each of us has a ‘plateful’. When we peek into the astrology chart, a vista of compassion and understanding expands before us. We see what individuals are dealing with. And for sure, some of us are served a larger plateful than others! Though we might not come to know with absolute certainty the underlying reason(s) why certain people make the choices they make, we can surely see which planets supported their choices, for good or ill. Remember, the planets of themselves neither give “good” or “bad”. Like the power of electricity- we can light our office and turn on our computers to get positive, productive work done or we can cause injury to our self or someone else with its powerful current. It’s what WE do with it. So it’s not about “how is Saturn causing me harm”. It’s about “how well am I taking responsibility for my life, how serious am I about moving in a healthy direction, how committed am I in searching for the truth behind my condition, my hurt, my desire for something else, how am I planning and working towards a future of stability, progress, and longevity”. These are all qualities which the light of Saturn sheds. But it’s up to each of us to cultivate them properly, as best we can.


By Renate Maria Bell – certified Vedic Astrologer, Jyotish Visharada, and approved teacher with the Council of Vedic Astrology. She can be reached at 2022© Do not use, post, repost, or reprint in part or whole without the expressed written consent of the author.