dear annabel

How to Tell If You're Having Your Astrological Quarter-Life Crisis

In this month's astrological advice column, we tackle the dreaded, life-upending Saturn return, as well as the two dramatic eclipses this summer.
July 12, 2017, 7:08pm

As above, so below: Shit happens in the heavens, shit happens here on earth! In this month's edition of Dear Annabel, we discuss Saturn's entry into hardworking Earth sign Capricorn and the life-changing eclipses coming this August.

Dear Annabel,
I'm a Gemini, and a mercurial one at that—previously prone to repressed feelings, unchecked grief, and self-centeredness. But the last half-year has brought an unraveling of cosmic proportions, and I feel entirely new, naked, and more purposed than ever. A wonderful, new partner gets a huge chunk of credit for encouraging me to go deeper in my learning and inspiring me to keep up with him and his own sentimental soul (Cancer).


But the saddest guilt takes over me from time to time: guilt that I haven't been this loving to previous partners, guilt that I've been emotionally checked out as I was processing (not very well) extreme grief, and of course the guilt of being so self-centered for so long in such a beautiful world. This guilt, I fear, threatens to set my progress back, and I've noticed it manifest in other behaviors like paranoia and jealously. (I fear that my partner will be taken away by some force simply because I'm undeserving.) I also heard that the solar eclipse in August will reveal all the psychic vampires, and I'm terrified that this guilt means I still have work to do on myself before that big reveal. What can I do to ritualize this, contemplate, or focus on in order to better understand these feelings and assist the process (so that it can finally pass) leading up to the solar eclipse?

A Reforming Gemini

Dear Reforming Gemini,
As is typical for the sign of the twins, you have lots of different issues here that you're swirling into one big problem. Let's break it down: You've gone through a profound change, but you're afraid you will lose your partner, and you're worried the eclipses in August will mean that you have to continue working on yourself (wait, what?). Finally, you're also hoping to find a productive way to work out all these issues.

Please take ownership of your past, and be proud of who you are today. Also, you hopefully will be working on yourself forever—self-betterment is a continuous process, not an end goal—so I'm unsure why you think you need to wrap it all up before the eclipse hits!


You talk about your guilt like it's an external force: It "takes over" you, "threatens" to set you back, and "manifests" in other bad behaviors. This is really telling! By convincing yourself that your feelings of guilt are somehow uncontrollable, and somehow separate from your new self, you're avoiding responsibility for them. You need to take responsibility for your feelings before you can let them go. You have the power to stop yourself when you realize you're engaging in negative behaviors—acting paralyzed by the past is not the answer.

My colleague Jessica Lanyadoo once said something that really resonates here: "Humility and guilt live on the same continuum, only guilt is a preoccupation with the self, while humility is responsibility without self-obsession." So where does that leave you? Well, you have to do your "time"—perhaps you're paranoid about your relationship ending badly because you think that's the punishment you deserve? Instead of a punishment, how about your prepare for this eclipse by helping other people? Being good to your partner makes you happy—now maybe it's time to spread that joy even further.

— Annabel

Dear Annabel,
Is it best to avoid family vacations around the eclipses in August? I have a beach trip scheduled with various adult siblings and their spawn, including one sister who is sarcastic and mean. (And yes, she is that least popular zodiac sign.) The trip is scheduled just before the partial lunar eclipse. Should I abandon this plan and stay home with a good book? I would like to see the rest of the family.

Peace-Loving Taurus


Dear Peace-Loving Taurus,
I feel so sorry for everyone traveling with family during these eclipses! (They fall on August 7 and 21.) Eclipses bring things to light, but the light at a tourist bar with a drunken family member spilling the beans about some shitty thing you did years ago is especially bad. How about traveling without family if you're really worried? During times of astrological upheaval, I, personally, prefer to be at home, but others might prefer to be at the beach.

As wild as eclipses can be, I want everyone to remember that they happen four times a year, every six months—you've likely traveled before during an eclipse and were fine, so don't psych yourself out too much.

As for your sarcastic and mean sister, who I'm going to assume is a Gemini, I would like to challenge you to see her in a new light. After all, that's what an eclipse is for: new perspective! Every sign has its bad qualities and stereotypes. Realize that she might see you, Taurus, as stubborn, uptight, or even lazy. She could be telling her friends right now, Ugh, I have to go on vacation with my Taurus sister! She's not going to want to do anything except eat snacks on a lounge chair and complain about being tired when we want to sightsee. Most Geminis just can't understand a Taurus's need to soak in the sun quietly and peacefully, just like you may not understand her sense of humor and her inability to keep her thoughts to herself. Try to see her in a light, and, instead of resenting her, remember that she's just doing her best in a hard world, during hard times—and be sure to set good boundaries.


— Annabel

Dear Annabel,
Do some folks experience their Saturn returns late? I was born on December 5, 1983, and feel like the years from 29 on have brought total upheaval. I closed a business and dropped a long-term lover who I deemed psychologically abusive, picked up and dropped a sweet-but-too-routine lover, and found and lost a relationship with a guy with whom I thought I felt a true and intense connection; communication was a huge issue for me for the first time in my life. What the heck is going on for Sagittarius right now?

— Frustrated and Lovesick Archer

Dear Frustrated and Lovesick Archer,
In astrology, one's Saturn return refers to the time at which Saturn comes back to the same position it was at birth. Saturn is the planet of rules and boundaries, and Saturn return is thought of as a moment of reckoning and coming to terms with your path in life. Everyone's Saturn return occurs at the same time: during your 29th year. There's no late or early. You'll feel the buildup to your Saturn return for about a year before, and you'll feel the come down for about a year after.

All that being said, yes, it makes sense that you still feel like Saturn is shitting on your parade. Saturn is currently in your sign, Sagittarius, and while that's not as brutal as a Saturn return, it's still a downer! Your light can't shine so bright when Saturn's gloom is around.

From your birth chart, I see you were born with Saturn in Scorpio, which means that hammering out issues around intimacy was a major theme of your return, as well as healing old pain and grief and coming to terms with death and endings.


Saturn's been making its way through your sign since December 23, 2014; during this period, you've been pushed to deal with more "adult" problems and challenged to be the most mature, responsible version of yourself, all while contemplating the existential quandaries and the sadness Saturn drops on our plate.

Saturn enters Capricorn on December 19, so don't worry—you're in the clear soon! It's said that once Saturn stops fucking with us, we're given a gift, or some new freedoms or recognition. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you that the post-Saturn payoff comes soon!

For everyone, Saturn in Capricorn will show who has truly earned the right to be in charge. Anyone who can't live up to the expectations of the positions they've taken will be challenged greatly. Saturn loves to be in Capricorn, so some productive times are ahead! Good luck to you, Sagittarius—you have a knack for being at the right place at the right time, so I have high hopes for you!

— Annabel

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