The Codetalkers and R.E.M., jungle music pioneer Goldie and even Gwen Stefani and her band ‘No Doubt’ have all written and/or recorded music about it. As have other musical artists down through the ages. Lior Shamriz shot a full length feature movie with the same name in 2009 and Australian playwright Tommy Murphy put on his piece with the same name alongside the Sydney Theatre Company in 2008/09. J. M. Donellan wrote about a fictional character’s experience with one in his A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO DYING IN INDIA and Drew Barrymore even referenced hers on a visit to LATE NIGHT with David Letterman. What am I talking about? I’m referencing an astrological transit commonly called ‘Saturn Return’ a super stellar experience that could also provide an explanation for what’s commonly being called ‘The 27 Club,’ a grim reaping of performers who were literally dying to join.

Known as the ‘27 Club,’ the ‘Forever 27 Club’ or ‘The Curse of the 27,’ this club consists of a group of uber influential and talented musicians who all died at the age of 27. Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Curt Cobain. Ah, but this list is not limited to pop culture musical gurus but, rather, goes back a long, long way and holds a host of artists among it’s celebrated members. And, now we add Amy Winehouse as yet another VIP who may just have succumbed to the Saturn sting as well.

Okay, so, just what is this ‘Saturn Return?’ From the strict astrological perspective it is believed that it takes this taskmaster of a planet approximately 29.4 years to orbit around and then RETURN to the exact place that it was on your astrological chart on the exact day and at the exact time that you were born. Hence, the ‘return’ part. You can leave off the ‘Many Happy’ for now though. Some say that influence of Saturn returning to your personal astrology chart can start as early as age 27 too. Starting to smell what I’m cooking here? Or we can look at it this way. According to accepted astrological theory, each of the planets in our solar system is accorded or ascribed an energy that it can influence or activate inside each one of our lives. Jupiter is giant and so it is said to expand whatever it touches. Jupiter is considered a generous planet as well, so, we love it when Jupiter is influencing money matters…expansive and generous, Jupiter’s influence almost always means more cash and coin coming to a wallet near you. And then there’s Venus! Loving, sultry, sexy and sizzling Venus. She rules love. And money. Two things I personally like to see go hand and hand too, especially of one of the is holding one of mine. If Venus is around and activating your personal astrological energies you can usually expect to get to the heart of the matter pretty quickly. She loveeeees Love. The kind with a capital L. I could go on but you get the gist.

So, then, what can we expect when Saturn’s got us in it’s sights? Saturn is the restrictive and limiting planet that aims to teach us life lessons the hard way. Like that nun you had in elementary school who used to hit your knuckles with a wooden ruler each time you failed to name the correct capital of Australia. A few whacks like that and Canberra NOT Sydney will be forever burned into memory. Do I sound bitter? Nah. Okay, anyway, moving on…. whenever I write about Saturn I usually give him the nickname ‘Stinkeye’ and I think that about says it all.

But what then does a ‘Saturn Return’ really mean to the person first starting to feel its influence? What’s it got to do with this whole ‘27 Club’ thing? Well, astrologers and philosophers have long said that lessons that Saturn teaches are ones that stick with you for life. (What is Canberra Alex?) See what I mean? And they also say that when Saturn returns that those lessons will take on a new energy and agenda. It’s a wake up call that opens your eyes to another awakening or stage of life. Saturn stops by to make sure that you completely KNOW that it’s time to get real. Everything is under scrutiny when Saturn comes calling too. No stone left unturned. Jones learned that the hard way. Careers and relationships often die. As do people. Saturn, also known as the ‘Great Malefic’ (about says it all too don’t you think?) can create a crisis that puts you squarely in the swell of your biggest fears and then leaves you there to sink or swim. Most of us swim. And then some of us drown. In drugs and alcohol. Or, in the case of the aforementioned Jones, in a pool. Saturn returns to remind that that which does not kill you does indeed make you stronger. And the Saturn Return starts shooting bullets in the 27th year of life.

With that first Saturn Return there are energies afoot that ask that the immaturity of youth be left behind as adulthood now beckons. The second return allows you to build on the opportunities that the first one left behind. A sort of cosmic social security that speaks to how you can positively maneuvering through middle age. The third (and presumably last unless you are a female member of my ex husband’s family) offers opportunities to embrace and engage all manner of wisdom while also being offered a chance to make peace with the past. See, it’s now all bad.

Unless you’re 27 and all of sudden faced with some big freakin’ fears and the fact that you aren’t immortal and that you need to start seriously thinking about what kind of legacy you want to leave in your wake. OR you can just stop at the ‘breakdown’ part without just waiting it out to the ‘breakthrough.’ Because there is ALWAYS a breakthrough. ALWAYS. ALWAYS. ALWAYS. It’s the WHOLE point.

Just too bad that Jimi and Janis, Brian and Curt and Jim, and, now Amy Winehouse didn’t stick around to find that part out.

May they rest in sweet and perfect peace. Amen.

As for the rest of us, there really is nothing to fear except fear itself. Remember that the next time Saturn is returning. Because you just might find that when you’re standing at the edge of the abyss and Saturn gives you a good nudge…well you just might find that you can spread your wings and fly!

Because that, my friends, is what it’s all about. XOE

Author's Bio: 

Ellen Whitehurst is a Lifestylist and Ultimate Health and Wellness expert as well as the author of the bestselling MAKE THIS YOUR LUCKY DAY (Random House, 2008.) Ellen is recognized as the country’s premier expert in Feng Shui and other empowering modalities. A former monthly columnist for both ‘Redbook’ and ‘Seventeen’ magazines, Ellen is also a recurrent contributor to The Huffington Post and John Edward’s among others.

Ellen is also the newest Health and Wellness expert for She has two bestsellers on the Top Ten course list at and can be found offering her own hugely popular hybrid of Feng Shui and Astrology (called ‘Shuistrology’) right here on her website.

Whitehurst is a recurrent radio and television guest and is currently working on her own reality television show called ‘Cookin’ Up The Good Life with Ellen Whitehurst.’ Join with thousands of others and check out her daily musings and easy, empowering advice on her Facebook page.