astrology · california · dreams · love · marriage · non-fiction · truth

29th Degree in Astrology

Any astrology buffs in here? I was experiencing a couple of emotionally frustrating days, so I decided to check out some things in The Stars. Mercury turned direct again, but it’s still in a shadow period where its energies are kind of clicking back into gear, sometimes with a few scary screeches.

An article I read about Joni Mitchell reminded me of a different article I read a few months back on discussing why Joni’s music is so game-changing for its time. Her natal Venus (music, art, partnerships) is in the 29th degree in Virgo (meticulousness, attention to detail). The 29th degree is often called an anoretic degree or critical degree. According to Astrolada, it indicates “something we have mastered really well (at least at that level) so we can be called to teach or manifest this energy now in a peak performance. You have been cultivating the skills and talents of this planet for a number of past lives and now you are culminating by giving your best in that area, delivering the fruits of your many life efforts! But also preparing for the next initiation! Almost like taking an exam in regards to that planet and once you do are ready for the higher grade of experiences.”

According to Astrolada, it indicates “something we have mastered really well (at least at that level) so we can be called to teach or manifest this energy now in a peak performance.

The 29th degree is the last degree in a cycle before a planet moves into another sign.

It can get a bad rap sometimes or is misunderstood (much like Retrogrades!). I read another article by astrologer Michele Adler yesterday that seems to expand some of Astrolada’s ideas a little further.

To summarize, she says that the 29th degree is about “Pushing Boundaries…. Futuristic Thinking…. Unusual Childhoods or Prodigy Tendencies…. Tribal Purpose (ancestral/family destiny)…. Dynasty Founding…. A Shadow Side…. A Sense of Going It Alone….Janusian Thinking.” (Read the full article here.)


To see if you have a planet stationed at 29 degrees, plug in your info into a birth chart like on If a planet is between 29:00 and 29:59 degrees, then it is a critical degree. Check the planet, the house, and the sign to see how this energy might play out.

For me, I have Saturn Retrograding at 29:06 degrees in Sagittarius, in the 7th house.

For me, I have Saturn Retrograding at 29:06 degrees in Sagittarius, in the 7th house.

This configuration seems intense. Saturn, the planet of discipline, hard work, lessons, mastery… is RETROGRADE, meaning that it was beaming directly at Earth (without the sun in between Saturn and Earth to buffer) at the time of my birth. Some people think that when a planet is retrograding, take Mercury for example, that its energy is weakened. It’s actually the opposite. It’s heightened. Without a buffer like the Sun to filter its rays, the energy from that planet is felt more deeply.

So, at the time of my birth, taskmaster Saturn’s influence was raging hard in Sagittarius. Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter, the giver of gifts and planet of expansion. Sag governs things like philosophy, spirituality, teaching, travel, space/astral travel, independence. Where Saturn sets boundaries, Sag breaks them.

The house position can show exactly how and where these energies affect you. This is happening for me in the 7th house of partnerships (associated with Libra, ruled by Venus).

I am not academically trained in astrology (and no, that’s not an oxymoron; people go to school for astrology :P), therefore this interpretation is piece-meal and based on my own observations, intuition, and self studies.

I am writing this hoping that someone out there with more knowledge might offer another take on this specific natal transit. I’m also writing this because, in my researching, I discovered something pretty amazing: my Saturn Return.

I’m also writing this because, in my researching, I discovered something pretty amazing: my Saturn Return.

Saturn returns to the exact place it was when you were born every 27-30 years. Saturn Returns can create dramatic changes. People dread it, thinking it will cause great upheaval in their lives. The truth is, it can. But that upheaval is meant to get you on track to where you are supposed to be (and where you want to be).

I had read that people born with Saturn Retrograde should wait until their first Saturn Return to get married. Otherwise, it could lead to disaster or divorce. Because I was experiencing some emotional frustrations this week, I panicked. Have I not experienced my Saturn Return yet? I’m 29. I got married a month before turning 29. Did I get married too soon? Is this whole thing a bust?! 

Have I not experienced my Saturn Return yet? I’m 29. I got married a month before turning 29. Did I get married too soon? Is this whole thing a bust?! 

I did some calculating, first using a Saturn Return calculator that turned out to be completely inaccurate. Luckily I found articles that broke it down for you and showed exactly where Saturn was/will be from the early 1900s all the way until the late 2000s.

For me, Saturn returned to its spot a little sooner than some. I was born when Sag was Retrograde (meaning, it had already progressed into Capricorn, but retro-ed back into Sag for a few months, taking on those energies again). If you pay attention to astrology, you’ll know that Saturn JUST moved into Capricorn this December, meaning that the last 2.5 years it was in Sag, I was experiencing my Saturn Return.

Let’s look at all the amazing glorious things that Saturn shook up for me.

Saturn moved into Sagittarius Dec. 23rd, 2014, when I was 26 years old. I had been planning a big move — my first out-of-state move away from my parents — from Texas to California. Though I had been planning the move for 1.5 years, it didn’t happen until Jan. 25th, 2015, a month into my Saturn Return.

At this time, I was in a relationship with someone I loved and had been with for almost three years. He was from Nepal but had immigrated to Austin, where I lived. Somewhere along the 1.5 years of planning for this big move, I convinced him to come with me to California. I don’t know how much he wanted to move across the country — away from the somewhat stable life and circle of friends and family he’d created for himself — but he was preparing for it, ready to take that leap with me. I flew out to Los Angeles for a week with my mom to scout for a place to live. My best friend was moving with me, too, so I needed to find a two-bedroom apartment we could all afford. The search was futile. Everything was either over-priced, in a bad neighborhood, or didn’t allow cats (we had three!). The fourth day into this trip, with only two more days to go, I felt hopeless.

The search was futile. Everything was either over-priced, in a bad neighborhood, or didn’t allow cats (we had three!). The fourth day into this trip, with only two more days to go, I felt hopeless.

That night, I dreamt of a place that was brightly lit, open, with light wood floors and a pale yellow-ish exterior. Day five of the trip, I got a call from a woman who wanted to show me two properties. The first was a large apartment on the second floor of a building. The design was open. The floors were tiled. They allowed cats. It only had one bathroom, but it could work, I thought. Then she said, “I have one more property to show you. It isn’t listed yet. Because it’s right beside me!” She took us to her complex. We entered the first door into a small, secured concrete courtyard with brick benches and rows of gorgeous potted plants. The exterior walls were a beige/tan yellow-ish color. She said that most people stay here for years and only move out when they are ready to buy their own house. Open listings were not typical. When I stepped inside and saw the light flood from the windows and blinds into the dining area, I froze. It was the exact image I saw in my dream. I paid the renter fees, first month’s rent, and security deposit that afternoon. We were set to move in on January 25th.

When I stepped inside and saw the light flood from the windows and blinds into the dining area, I froze. It was the exact image I saw in my dream.

I went back home to Austin, excited about this victory. I felt more grateful than ever to have my best friend and my boyfriend by my side on this new, terrifying journey. When I got back home, my boyfriend said that he would have to wait a month to come out with us. He wasn’t ready yet; he had some business to take care of in Austin. I understood and didn’t mind. Perhaps it would be easier to get all settled in and have him join soon after, I thought.

I spent the drive listening to a playlist of songs that mentioned California, including Joni Mitchell’s famous “California” with my favorite lyrics, “Oh, will you take me as I am // Strung out on another man // California, I’m coming home.”

“Oh, will you take me as I am // Strung out on another man // California, I’m coming home.”

After two days of driving, we get to California on Jan. 26th. We unpack. It’s emotional. My parents are there to help us move. My best friend’s youngest sister is there to help as well. Eventually, they leave and it’s just us and our three cats. The weeks to come would be hard. I felt this yearning and aching inside that I tried to fill up with beach sunsets and margaritas at my favorite happy hour spot. I was lonely and scared. And yet, I knew it was exactly where I needed to be. I called my boyfriend every day, excited to share California with him through detailed descriptions of how we were decorating the house, things I saw at the beach, the people in the neighborhood. He said that it might be another month before he could join us. Okay, I reassured myself. That’s okay. The yearning didn’t stop. I wrote about it in my phone, sharing honestly and without self-editing what I thought I needed. It had to do with touch. It had to do with something deeper than I currently had. I couldn’t put my finger on it. It was a feeling.

A full month later, I organized an event with the five people I knew in Los Angeles. They were all people I’d met from various times in my life: a classmate from middle school in Germany, two theater major acquaintances from college in Texas, a beloved pen pal from Texas who had moved to LA ten years earlier whom I wrote to almost daily on Facebook for three to four years. And my best friend. That night, everyone except my best friend canceled.

That night, everyone except my best friend canceled. 

Earlier in the day, we had hung out in Pasadena with the friend from middle school, who was now a rapper and was working hard on writing and recording his next album. His high-school friends from Fayetteville, North Carolina (another place I had lived, prior to Germany) were sharing an apartment with him, trying on life in California. My best friend and I actually bonded with my middle school friend’s best friend. He ended up coming out to the dance party with us!

We showed up to the venue a little early. People weren’t dancing yet. I sipped on a beer next to my new friend, while my best friend ordered another drink at the bar.

I told my new friend, “Everyone here is way cooler than we are.” It was a popular, historically “hipster” venue in Silverlake. I pointed to a guy bobbing along with the music and drinking a tall can of beer. “Just look at this guy’s hair.”

My best friend returned from the bar. “Ooh, who we talking about?” she said.

I pointed. The guy with the hair was looking at us as I did, so I whipped around and whisper-shouted, “OH MY GOD HE IS STARING AT US. HE KNOWS WE ARE TALKING ABOUT HIM.” I thought that having my back turned to him would resolve that situation. But my best friend was on her second drink.

“Oh him?” she said, making it even more obvious and waving her hands for him to come over.

Up close, it was confirmed: he was way cooler than us. My body inched closer to him by default. I didn’t mean to. It just happened. I was talking closely with him before I realized, Oh shit, what if my best friend likes this guy? What if he likes her? I am getting in the way! I moved back at least an arm’s distance. Maybe a whole torso.

I guess it was too late. I had already been throwing out signals with my body language. The venue was filling up. We stepped out to the dance floor, and Cool Hair Guy was dancing close to me. Shit. I need a drink. 

Shit. I need a drink. 

Cool Hair Guy needed one too, apparently. We got up to the bar. “Hey, want to buy me a drink?” I said, smiling extra hard, proud of my boldness.

“Uh, I don’t do that,” Cool Hair Guy said.

My smile distorted into a what-the-fuck. “Dude, I’m from Texas; that’s how this works. You buy a girl a drink.”

But he didn’t. He said it was a trick; what if I was just using him for a free drink? Besides, he didn’t even know me. I laughed and bought my own beer, then disappeared into the crowd. He found me. He kissed me. Finally, I said, “I have a boyfriend.”

When we were gearing to leave, Cool Hair Guy said he wanted to take me out that Monday. I said something to the extent of, “Yeah, right.” We exchanged numbers. I expected not to hear from him and to let that night be one I happily forgot.

I was wrong. He texted. We texted all day. Shit. I thought, What am I doing? He still wanted to take me out that Monday. I think I played along with it, but was going to cancel. Monday comes, and I break the news: “Sorry, I can’t meet you tonight.” He doesn’t text back. He calls.

“Are you a flake? I don’t mess around with flakes.”

That word punched me in the face. OF COURSE I was a flake. But I wasn’t going to let him in on that secret knowledge. Not now!

“No, I’m not a fucking flake. Fine, I’ll go.”

I went.

Two days later, his friend scored an extra ticket to a concert. Cool Hair Guy invited me. I had thirty minutes to make a decision and drive to Hollywood to meet up with them. Shit. Shit. Shit. FUCK. Okay. I’ll go. 

I went.

That was three times in one week I had hung out with this guy. While I still had a boyfriend. Who was planning on moving to California soon-ish. Shit.

It tortured me. The timing of it. The complexity. Did I want to throw everything away for someone I had just met? Someone from Los Angeles, a petri dish of a dating scene swarming with disease and non-committal famously attractive man-boys (so I had read about in Facebook posts by a fellow Austinite who had recently moved to LA and was single).

I didn’t want to break up with my boyfriend. I just wanted things to go back to normal and pretend the whole hiccup of a week didn’t exist. Sorry, I would tell Cool Hair Guy. I know I’m a disappointment. But, what do you expect me to do?

“Break up with your boyfriend,” he said.

We were sitting at his roommate’s kitchen table. It hurt to hear the words, but at the same time, I was stunned. Did that mean he wanted to be with me?

I went silent and asked myself why this was so hard. The answer came, blanketed by tears.

“I don’t want him to stop loving me.”

It was hard to say, but it was the truth. I didn’t want to tell my boyfriend because I didn’t want him to stop loving me. That would be worse than anything.

I sat at the table, crying. Cool Hair Guy held my hand.

Once I said it out loud, I knew what I had to do. Regardless of what was going to happen with Cool Hair Guy, I couldn’t pretend like he didn’t exist, nor could I go back to how things were before I had met him. I had let myself taper off down a path that didn’t circle back to the main road where my life and plans previously existed.

Hello, Saturn — I should have realized. But, I was blind.

I told my boyfriend that I didn’t think we could be together. Things were changing. I was changing, and with that, so were my needs. He didn’t fight it. It was almost as if he expected it. At least, that’s how he handled it on the phone. He told me that I needed to fly free. This devastated me. He was right, but I didn’t want to lose him. It was the kindest break-up I’d ever had. I cried for a whole week.

I kept dating Cool Hair Guy. I married him. Also during my Saturn Return, May 27th, 2017, a month before I turned 29.

To recap, during my Saturn Return, I made a cross-country move. I broke up with my long-term boyfriend. I met my husband.

These are big, dramatic things — but not things to be feared. That’s what Saturn does: it gives you a nudge (sometimes hard) in the direction you need to go, a direction that benefits everyone. I have no doubt that my former boyfriend will find the love of his life and marry her, and they will be a more compatible match than he and I ever could be. His Saturn Return is happening now… in Capricorn. I hope it brings as many wonderful and unexpected surprises to him as it did to me.

Getting back to this 29th degree: how does it affect my relationships? How did it affect this scenario?

I have likely been working on these issues for many lifetimes: issues of emotional honesty within relationships (7th house!), breaking boundaries in the realm of my spiritual understanding (which I didn’t really touch on in this post, but is Sag energies), taking big trips and risks for love…(also Sag/7th House), learning boundaries (Saturn!) and what I actually need…

I do take relationships very seriously, which is evident of Saturnian people… relationships are always a learning experience for me. Every single one of them brings knowledge that I might have already known or am just discovering for the first time. Even in just seven months (to the date!) of being married, I know that marriages are work… they take time, investment, growth, and understanding… you will not be the same person all the time in your marriage. You will change. Your needs will change. And so will your partner’s. For me, it’s been about communicating and staying connected… talking through the times of chaos and frustration, opening instead of closing, forgiving. It’s so hard. But, this is your life partner. This is who you chose and who chose you. You don’t get to be a flake! You get to trust that this person will fulfill your needs, and that they will show you things you didn’t even know you needed.

I knew he was what I needed the first day I met him. Did I want to admit it? Not really. But did I? Yes. He was everything that I wrote down in my Notes a month before I met him, when I was being honest with myself about what I needed. I knew he was what I needed the day he sat with me at the table and encouraged me to confront what was happening. It was hard. But it was right.

In many ways, I feel like the Saturn aspect has made it so that I do not rush into big decisions, like marriage. I spent 27-28 years going through many relationships, preparing myself, learning myself, in order to confidently say, “Yes.” And even then, the confidence is not solely in us as people or as a couple; it’s in the forces that bring you together. It’s in the Source you are connected to that guides you in all things. Learning (just yesterday) that ALL of this happened at the very onset and during my Saturn Return was another WHOA moment… and confirmation that this is very much destiny.

We are all blessed by the trials and aspects we’re born into. I think the 29th degree is bringing to a head all that I’ve learned in these realms. Perhaps even taking me deeper to a new one. Pushing boundaries. Setting boundaries. Letting the current of truth exist while washing the rest of experience in its honesty.

I imagine that this aspect will unveil more and more opportunities to learn and grow. Peel back the onion to show its naked green bulb.

Love and blessings.





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