I was stopped at a fork in the road looking for a sign. Should I turn left and press ahead with my trip to Sydney despite a once-in-a-century flood closing the highway? Or should I veer right to stay put on the New South Wales Mid-North Coast and reschedule my trip for another – drier – time? It seemed as though the heavens were quite literally telling me to do the latter, but that wasn’t the sign I was looking for. So, I consulted my stars for a second opinion.
“You were born, and you are still here,” read the notification on my newly downloaded Co-Star app. I took that to mean, “You only live once: take the trip, buy the shoes, eat the cake.” After six hours of driving through non-stop rain, I pulled up at my Airbnb in Sydney’s Bronte, and – as if by magic – the sun came out. Thus began my week-long attempt to embrace astrology. I threw my hands in the air and surrendered my life choices to the universe. At 28, I’d had enough of making decisions for myself. I needed a break, a guiding force, a How To: Life manual. So when the Saturn Return Survival Guide by Lisa Stardust landed on my desk promising to help navigate the cosmic rite of passage that first occurs around the age of 28 (jinx!), I took it as a sign and vowed to follow it to the letter.
According to Stardust, a New York-based astrologer, Saturn return is a phase that happens every 27 to 29 years when Saturn – you guessed it – returns to the sign it was in when you were born. It’s an opportunity to reassess our ambitions, relationships, friendships, and role on Earth. It’s also a time of deep reflection, turmoil, and self-doubt, and a moment to break down in order to rebuild. “It’s like a celestial Bootcamp,” explains Stardust. “Saturn's return forces us to make decisions that will change the course of our lives forever. It’s a karmic planet, so if you are on the right path the universe will reward you.”
Who doesn’t want to be rewarded by the universe? Luckily for us all, tapping into the cosmos has never been easier: horoscopes are everywhere right now, astrologers are the new influencers on Instagram, and getting your birth chart read is as easy as downloading an app. Every day there’s a new Buzzfeed article revealing “The Best House Plant According to Your Star Sign,” another viral meme sledging Scorpios, and a curated Spotify playlist for the current moon phase. It’s been called the new age of astrology and there’s a reason it’s happening right here, right now. A 1982 study found people turn to astrologers in times of stress – and a 2020 study found millennials are the most stressed generation on record. It doesn’t take a genius (or divine philosopher) to add two and two. Basically, we’re all lost and searching desperately for a life raft to cling to.
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