WTF is a Jupiter Return?!

On Saturday, Dec. 19th, planet-of-luck Jupiter enters inventive Aquarius, where it will stay until May 13, 2021. While this transit will have a beneficial effect on the collective (last time Jupiter was in Aquarius we had a tech-surge), it will be especially promising for those born with their natal Jupiter in Aquarius, as it begins a year-long revolutionary transit known as a Jupiter Return. 

Simply put, planetary returns occur when a transiting planet travels back to the sign it was in at the time of a person’s birth. When planets return to the sign/House placement in your natal chart, they make an aspect called a conjunction, which blends, unites, and ultimately strengthens the planet’s energetic expression. Planetary returns are like cosmic homecomings in that they initiate a new cycle of growth. 

Jupiter, however, takes 11 years to return to a sign, and that is a major astrological cycle.

Astrological Jupiter is the luminary of expansion, abundance, and unearned opportunities. He rules over religion, philosophy, travel, spirituality, higher education, wisdom, and risk. He rules over the 9th House of Wanderlust and the mutable fire sign Sagittarius.

In a lot of ways, a Jupiter Return is a constructive and beneficial rite of passage. When he makes his way back to his sign/House position in your chart, it marks an exciting and new cycle in your life wherein we seek to grow out of comfort zone, take new risks, and learn a new philosophy.

Everyone’s first Jupiter Return happens around the age of 12, coinciding with the onset of puberty. And, given Jupiter’s themes of expansion and abundance, this makes sense. 

Puberty is the period when an adolescent reaches sexual maturity. It is a time when we see abundant changes in our physical bodies: breast development, face and body hair, height, weight, and libido increases, hormonal surges, etc. During Jupiter-ruled puberty, your body grows and expands at an alarming rate, and you also start to extend your awareness outside of yourself. That is, your raging hormones have you getting the hots for every peer in your class. 

Again, it takes Jupiter 11 years to complete his cycles. So, the puberty growth cycle that is initiated at age 12 during your first Jupiter Return culminates around age 23. This is yet another rite-of-passage age, as it usually marks our entrance into adulthood. 

Since we’ve already gone through our growth spurts and (hopefully) accumulated a satisfactory amount of teenage experience– graduated from high school and more than likely earned a higher education degree (another thing that falls under Jupiter’s rulership), dated, fallen in love, had our hearts broken, maybe had a job or two –Jupiter now urges us to expand our horizons even further by entering into the workforce and adult world. 

From 23 onward, we aspire towards more lucrative careers, or want to travel or get our Masters degree, or maybe we want to get married and start a family, maybe we want to start a business. These aspirations are characteristic of our second Jupiter Return, as the planet continues his habit of expanding our lives, pholosophies, goals, and horizons via outward pursuits.

In his book Planets in Transit: Life Cycles for Living, Robert Hand gives a more general description of what to expect during the Jupiter-Conjunct-Jupiter transit:

“Events now, such as meetings with persons or even changes in your psyche, open the way for you to become wiser and more mature and to have a broader understanding of the world… Expect people who are good for you to come into your life. Or circumstances will arise that give you increased freedom or an opportunity to do something that you have never done before,” (291). 

Meeting new people, travelling to new places, doing the things you’ve never done before– these are the opportunities Jupiter attracts to you to help grow your Higher mind– or, the part of yourself that is more intuitive and insightful. 

Still, delusion and disappointments are also common during Jupiter Returns, as we are mistakenly led to believe that opportunities will topple from the sky.   

High expectations for the transit can set us up for major disappointments. While we do attract opportunities, they aren’t always the type of opportunities that we expect or hopes for. This is the danger of Jupiter, who can cause us to be overly optimistic and exceedingly expectant to the point of inertia. 

If we fail to scratch the itch instigated by Jupiter during this Return phase cycle, we will feel that we’ve missed out on activities necessary to our growth as individuals. It is when we experience our third Jupiter Return, around the ages of 34-35, that Jupiter gives us another nudge to get that degree, get married, travel abroad, join an ashram, start that business, etc. 

However, keep in mind that a Jupiter Return (or any Jupiter transit that aspects your chart in a positive way) does not signify a period where you exert little effort and receive bounteous blessings. 

As Hand says, “The law of conservation of energy in the universe says that you can transform the energies in your life from one form to another, but you cannot create them out of nothing… you must put as much into the world as you expect to get from it,” (291). 

Jupiter Returns can guide you, they can influence you; but it is ultimately up to you and the strength of your will to make the most out of this or any planetary transit. 


For more astrological enlightment, follow me on IG. And to read more about Jupiter, Sagittarius, Aquarius, or the 9th House, check out my astrology book, The Zodiac Abstract