Seven-Year Itch

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by Kelly Surtees

This article was previously published in Wellbeing Magazine in Australia.

The seven-year itch is a popular phenomenon in which you might find yourself reassessing a commitment or life choice seven years into the experience. Astrologers have long associated this ‘seven year itch’ with the quarter cycles of wise Saturn.

Saturn has an almost twenty-nine-year cycle. Divided by four this gives approximately four separate seven-year intervals. The theory is that every seven years Saturn makes a trigger aspect back to its own placement seven years beforehand. This highlights anniversaries, or ‘birthdays’, which are multiples of seven: the seventh, fourteenth, twenty-first, and twenty-eighth/twenty-ninth years, as important turning points. This anniversary may be the start of a relationship, a career, a business or living in a particular house.

For instance, if you start a new job, Saturn will be at X point in the zodiac on the day you start. Seven years later, Saturn will have moved so that it makes a quarter angle, or 90-degree square aspect, back to that Saturn placement at the start of the job, like X + 7. Seven years on again, which would be 14 years on from when you started the job (X + 14), Saturn then makes another trigger aspect, this time an opposition. The exact aspect itself is less important than the energy and themes that emerge under these Saturn quarter cycle triggers.

Timing with Saturn

Working with the seven-year itch quarter cycle of Saturn invites you into the world of predictive astrology. The timing of life events, both important beginnings and endings, can be forecast with Saturn. As you begin to follow the cycle of Saturn, you may notice a pattern emerging, where similar themes or topics recur at these seven year intervals.

These repeated themes may reveal some of your most profound life lessons, as well as show how you can create firm foundations for the future. Ideally you will use the wisdom and experience from the events or choices made seven years ago to help inform your choices in the present. In this way you learn and grow, and put your personal accumulated wisdom into action. Timing your life to a defining cycle like that of Saturn can help you better understand your personal ebbs and flows.

Meaning + Mythology

Saturn is the ancient god of time. Saturn represents that which flourishes with patient, steady effort. Saturn is also realistic, in that it asks you to focus on what’s practical, what’s possible and what’s likely. This may be where some of the worry associated with Saturn comes from – that often you get swept up in the dream of what might be that you lose touch with what is present.

During a Saturn seven-year itch, you become clearer on truth, honesty and reality. If you have been living in a bit of fantasy, this will make your experience at these seven year intervals a little more challenging. This happens because Saturn will bring you back down to earth and pop any fantasy or delusions you may have held on to. If you typically keep at least one foot on the ground, and generally balance your dreams with a dose of reality, you’ll find the seven-year intervals more manageable. In an ideal world, they may even highlight periods of success, or an increase in productivity.

During a Saturn seven-year itch period you may need to be honest with yourself and your loved ones about what is and isn’t working in your life. This is no time to fudge the truth, or try and tell yourself things are different from what they are. The key to success with Saturn lies in honouring the present. If you focus on what you can do based on where you are you can set a lasting foundation for the future. This may involve making peace with a past disappointment so that fear and worry no longer accompany you forward.

Time and Growth

The passing of time can feel acute during a Saturn period. You may feel time is slipping away, or that you haven’t yet achieved all you’d hoped. The gift of one of Saturn’s seven year itch cycles is to help you clarify your most important goals, and to restructure life so your top priorities get your best efforts and resources. In turn this may mean saying no to things that don’t directly support your priorities.

Saturn is associated with agriculture. The concept of sorting the wheat from the chaff is Saturn. During a Saturn seven-year itch quarter cycle you may need to sort out the good from the draining in your own life. This may mean an honest conversation about what – and who – is and isn’t deserving of your time, attention or care. You may ask yourself probing questions like, ‘If goal x is important, then why am I involved in projects a, b and c?’ This can lead to new honesty about priorities, roles or responsibilities you have outgrown and may need to end.

The beauty of Saturn is that it helps clarify what needs to end, but it also helps highlight where you are ready to start something new. This cycle can be a lovely time to rededicate yourself to a priority project that has been neglected.

I often describe a Saturn seven-year cycle to clients as a time in which it’s time to prune back in life, like cutting back the roses before winter. Getting rid of superfluous commitments or responsibilities actually gives you more time and energy to focus on what matters. This is much easier to do under a Saturn seven-year itch cycle.  Saturn will gift you with strength to make necessary choices, and to help you put the people and promises that matter first.

Another astrologer once told me, when speaking of a Saturn transit, that it’s like ‘old news’. Under the seven-year itch it’s less likely that something new develops but rather you realise the time is right to make a choice about a situation or partnership that has been limping along, or has been on your mind for a while. Under Saturn you crave clarity and will search for facts or examples to help you understand a specific situation in black and white. This is not the time for shades of grey, rather you seek truth and firmness to help you re-set your direction and focus.

Determining When Saturn Will Influence You

Saturn’s cycle, like that of all the planets, is constant and ongoing. But you are not always affected by each planet. You will only be affected by Saturn at specific ages or stages of life.

The simple process described above, where you just add seven, fourteen, twenty-one or twenty-eight – twenty-nine years to the start date of a major event, will determine when you are experiencing a Saturn seven-year itch. It is the fastest way to work out when you are in a Saturn cycle.

For instance, if you are married, your wedding date would be a starting point. At the seven, fourteen, twenty-one, and twenty-eight/twenty-nine-year anniversaries, Saturn in the sky will make one of these critical trigger aspects to Saturn in your wedding chart. Just based on these years, you now know that within the context of your marriage (or any significant partnership, either in your personal or professional life), those years will bring both tests and transformation.

In the context of a relationship, the Saturn years (the anniversaries mentioned above) are years when you may feel restless or unsettled. This is a call from your unconscious, or your higher self, that you have outgrown the current structure, form or rituals within this partnership. To honour Saturn, it’s time to reassess who does what, and for what reward, and to make changes that better reflect current rather than past circumstances. It’s easy to get settled in a specific relationship role, but you may forget to adapt as circumstances change. The Saturn seven-year itch is a time when you get to play catch up with life, and update your responsibilities and schedule so that it honours the present, rather than remains stuck in the past.

Think back to some of your more memorable commitments, or beginnings. Perhaps you run your own business, or are in a long-term career. If so, think back to when that business started or you first took that job. Maybe you have moved countries.  In that case, think back to when that happened. Perhaps you’ve bought a house, moved out or started a family. The beginning point of each of those formative events is the start date to use when calculating the years in which Saturn’s seven-year itch cycle will show up.

If you add seven, fourteen, twenty-one or twenty-eight – twenty-nine years to those start dates, that will tell you when you are likely to experience a Saturn quarter cycle, and the energy of the seven-year itch.

Your Seven-Year Itch by Sign

In addition to the simple seven-year quarter cycle of Saturn, you may also like to track the influence of Saturn according to your Sun or Moon sign.

Based on your Sun or Moon sign, you can construct a personal Saturn seven-year itch cycle by tracking forward seven years, or even by going back to seven years prior to that period.

If you have the Sun or Moon in a mutable sign – Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces – Saturn will influence you from January 2015 – December 2017. If your birth date falls after the twenty-third of the month you will be touched by Saturn during the first year of this period (calendar year 2015). If you are born in the first ten days of the month you are more likely to be touched by Saturn in 2016. If you are born between the tenth – twenty-third of the month you will most likely feel Saturn in 2017.

If you have the Sun or Moon in a cardinal sign – Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn – Saturn will touch your life from January 2018 – December 2020. If your birth date falls after the twenty-third of the month you will be triggered by Saturn in 2018. If you are born in the first ten days of the month you are more likely to be touched by Saturn in 2019. If you are born between the tenth – twenty-third of the month you will most likely feel Saturn in 2020.

If you have the Sun or Moon in a fixed sign – Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius – Saturn will touch your life from January 2021 – March 2023. If your birth date falls after the twenty-third of the month or before the fourth you will be touched by Saturn during 2021. If you are born between the fourth – eighteenth of the month you will be triggered by Saturn in 2022. If you are born between the nineteenth and twenty-third of the month you will feel Saturn in early 2023.

Surviving + Thriving with Saturn

Saturn holds a special place in the cosmos. It represents the boundary between the known and the unknown. With the naked eye you can see as far out in the solar system as Saturn, but not beyond. Thus, Saturn can help you clarify what’s possible, and within your power to change or create.

When the energy of Saturn shows up via one of his important quarter cycles, it’s a sign you are ready for adjustment and new focus. Tuning into the call of Saturn can help you stay focused on your goals, and create lasting stability. When Saturn comes knocking don’t be shy about showing an old dream, goal or situation the door. Doing so will give you back energy and drive to devote time to what really counts, whether that’s a forgotten project or a new endeavour. In this way, the turning points of Saturn can become the transformations around which you build happiness. Embrace Saturn and you embrace the call of your future.

Check out some related talks with Kelly on Saturn and aspects:
2020 The Year Ahead
From Bad to Good: Moving Beyond the Limitations of Your Aspects
Panel Discussion – Saturn in Capricorn

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