Reflections on IT and the Saturn Return

“Here it comes….

Here comes the night”- Bert Bern, Here Comes the Night, 1964.


I finally went to see the remake of Stephen King’s IT. I enjoyed the original, until the end, insufficient considering the build up and the sense of reality accompanying the story. Years later I read the book, and then reread it after having become acquainted with Astrology.

In IT,  King created a monster interchangeable with a town, that exists on a timeline. Like Brigadoon, only Hellish, Derry, Maine is plagued by the cyclical appearance of an evil entity, resulting in destruction. This entity preys on the fears of children, yet adults seem oblivious to it. The book expands on this to suggest this rampant denial exists in the fiber of the town itself, as if to suggest adults are complicit in the evil due to their willingness to ignore the disappearance and murders of children. Such denial is further amplified in the real life horrors children face, bullying, incest, poverty, racism, and anti semitism.

Of interest from an Astrological standpoint, is King’s selection of time frame. Every 27 years the evil returns to Derry and is accepted. Perhaps a nod to Shirley Jackson’s Lottery but on a more lengthy and maniacal scale, it seems the town is willing to sacrifice its children and proceed as if nothing were too out of the ordinary. But to look deeper, we can align this cycle with the cycle of Saturn Return.

In Astrology, the timing of a planet’s return to its place when one was born is significant. A birthday is a Solar Return, or returning of the Sun to its place (sign, degree) when one is born. For an outer planet like Saturn, however, the significance is more pronounced because it happens less frequently. Saturn’s distance causes its cycle to take so long, that we experience our first Saturn Return between the ages of 28-30, depending on one’s year of birth. The second occurs 28-30 years later.

While we acknowledge “midlife crisis” as a milestone coinciding with the second Saturn Return, we often overlook the significance of the first. Ironic, in connection to the story IT and the denial theme.

Saturn rules Karma, restrictions, limitations, traditions, age, and time (the plot thickens).

He gets a bad reputation, but as the teacher of life’s toughest lessons, and disciplinarian of the Zodiac, I would like to think he would approve of this austere conceptualization of his powers.

Other significant chart features notwithstanding, the first Saturn Return brings us face to face with restrictions, disappointments, and limitations.

Our first harsh wake up call.

Whoever first started saying “Welcome to the real world” to young adults was channeling this energy.

And chances are, he or she was not dressed like a clown.

Back to IT.

King’s brilliant use of the cycle of a Saturn Return may not have been intentional. Perhaps he thought it would coincide with a generation, giving enough time for the seeds planted in the protagonists’ childhood to bear fruit. All the same, intentional or not, this still plays into the power of Karma. Not only in reaping what one sows, but also in the cultivation of empathy- in the book and original movie, the children have enough time to grow into their own denial soaked adult lives, to experience first hand the loss of childhood, and in King’s world, the open wisdom of children.

To fall into the “I’ll never end up like my parents” trap.

Because even though Tim Curry conveyed the creepiness of the killer clown like a pro, and even though the modern retelling of the story in movie form brings new technology and the capacity to scare viewers through cinematic effects not available at the time of the initial movie, we all know it isn’t really Pennywise that scares us.

What scares us all, to death, is to come face to face with the lessons of Saturn. The loss of personal control we feel the first time our will can’t overpower the institutions that dictate life’s path.

That age is inevitable, and that a power inherent in childhood is lost, sacrificed, as we enter adulthood.

What is more terrifying than a monster who thrives off of fear, is the acceptance that as we age, there are fears we learn to live with, which do not haunt us as children, even as other monsters lurk in our imaginations.

And that when these adult fears set in, as we face our Karmic lessons and are challenged by Saturn to accept limitation, many of us hold out our arms to be shackled to what we accept must be.

Losing the power of the child like self who understands what could be.

The protagonists in King’s story make a pledge that they will face IT again if IT ever returns.

What if we made a pledge to ourselves that we will face our restrictions, will face Saturn’s impact on our lives, our losses, our Karmic lessons, not by abandoning hope and succumbing to the slow IV drip of despair which accompanies our adulthood descent into complacency and denial…..

But with the willingness to awaken our wisdom that is the great gift in Saturn’s classroom?