33: Becoming Magnificent

Originally written in June 2017.

By now, the Saturn Return is quite infamous in astrological conversations. This is a transit, a rite of passage, that everyone goes through around age 28-29. It is an ushering into adulthood. An evolvement of our maturity. During this time we are challenged to take and own more responsibility for who we are. We look toward the long-haul, and make some important choices about what we want the rest of our life to look like.

Something in our spirit knows that the immediate steps we take during our Saturn Return lays the foundation for our long-term life path, so we better choose wisely.

I often say, our Saturn Return is when we decide to either break-up or get married. In other words, we commit to what is really working, and we put everything else in the compost bin.

Around age 35, we go through what we call the Saturn square Saturn transit. You can think of this particular visit from Saturn like a tune-up from your mechanic. A check-in with your therapist. A courtesy notice from your dentist about your next cleaning.

In other words, it’s a reminder not to squander away the commitments you made during your Saturn Return. But also an opportunity to refine, re-tune, and re-direct those commitments given everything you’ve learned and experienced over the last 5 years.

Squares from Saturn can be annoying and frustrating. They slow things down when you’d rather be speeding down the highway.

I remember almost a decade ago, when Saturn was squaring my Moon. (That particular transit is a big deal, watch out for it in your own personal transits.) I was walking across campus at York University, where I was a student at the time, with my backpack on my shoulders.

The most peculiar feeling came over me. It was as if I were in a film, and the video editor just put me in slow-motion. My backpack became as heavy as a lead weight, and my trek across campus suddenly was going to take an eternity. In a moment of time standing still I thought to myself, I can’t do this by myself anymore.

It was at that moment I decided for the first time that I would find a therapist. And I can look back to that moment as the beginning of a beautiful and powerful emotional and spiritual healing journey that I continue to this day.  

It’s only for so long that we can allow our emotional and spiritual sludge to build-up before Saturn’s stern yet loving voice swoops in and tells us to do something about it. 

But in between age 29’s Saturn Return (laying the foundation of our adulthood), and age 35’s Saturn square Saturn (observing and refining the details and shape of that path), we have smack dab in the middle: Age 33. The Jesus Year. 

Having just completed my 33rd year, I find the concept of the Jesus Year fascinating.

(For the record, I’m not a Christian, but I do love the way different religious and mythological stories can help us understand who we are today.)

From far away 33 seems like it should be smooth sailing. Life should be in place by now and running like a well-oiled machine. Right?

When in actuality, for me at least, it was much moreso a crisis of faith. 

A year of death and resurrection. Feeling like the Universe was testing me, and kept testing me, even as I screamed to the sky, “I’ve learned my lesson, damn you!!” It was like getting poked again and again in my most vulnerable spot.

Like, kinda rude.

But at the end of 33, I, like, kinda get it.

After making the commitment at age 29, and doing the tune-up at age 35, in the middle we have to do something important.

We have to believe. 

Maybe 33 and its crisis of faith is a time to reckon with the stories that whisper false truths and false prophecies in our ears relentlessly – that the most vulnerable part of ourself still believes, even though this holds us back from a life and direction we’ve already chosen to pursue.

Maybe 33 is a reminder, that no matter how much we commit to something, we cannot follow through if we don’t have faith in it.

Maybe 33 is a time to believe in the choices you make with integrity. Believe in the life and world you dream of. Believe you are worthy to live it. Believe you are worthy to choose it, today.

Maybe if 29 is the year you enter into adulthood, and if 35 is the year you double-down on those commitments, 33 is the year you become magnificent. 

The last thing I’ll say, is that for those of you in the midst or past your 33rd year – I believe in your magnificence, even if you don’t feel it, even if what you think you accomplished that year was too small a feat to note. I guarantee you, it’s not. 

For those of you who haven’t yet reached that age – have fun when you do! 😉

Everything else I have to say about 33 can be summed up in an email sent to me on my 33rd birthday by my brilliant and hilarious friend Laura.

Enjoy this wonderful dedication from Laura to all of us traversing through these weird and wonderful realms of life, death and rebirth.

Hi Shaunga,

Since our dinner, I’ve been thinking about how 33 is the Jesus year and how we are smack in the middle of it.

He had so much weight to carry. Some people followed him and liked his stories – they even wrote his stories from memory years after he died. And people still read those stories and often interpret them and wield them for evil…. but not everyone?

I guess he, like us, was in the business of spreading a message – sharing with the world some of his ideas and strongly-held beliefs. And so many people were out to get him for it.

To make matters worse, he was fucking arrested and made to carry a big ass cross. From my hazy memory of catholic school and class plays reenacting the trials and tribulations of Jesus, I remember a bunch of people stuck by him. They wiped his face, they cried with him, and for him.

I hope the Jesus year also means we get to see the people who will continue to wipe our sweaty faces and cry with us when shit gets raw. And know that they are there even when we’re busy carrying that cross.

I remember Jesus screaming out, “Why have you forsaken me, father!!!“.

I guess that means even people who believe so much in something, at times, will question what the fuck it’s all been for. Like did I just waste my life? Am I wasting my life? 

As I eat dill pickle pringles in bed and worry about everything.

Then they killed him.

And he fucking rose again. (Like Neo in The Matrix – when he started melting bullets with his brain.)

Three days later, the big rock was rolled away and he was gone. But he wasn’t gone. Cuz he flipping rose again. And shocked all his believers and non-believers. Haters will hate but we will rise again??? I hope so.

Maybe 33 is about busting out of our own graves like a ninja jedi who died but rOsE aGaIn?? Like Buffy sort of ???? “I was dead for like a second”.

I should probably teach sunday school.

In sum, maybe the Jesus year is about becoming magnificent. Like transforming into a formidable entity. Take your seat next to g.o.d. and the holy ghost and do enjoy the people who walked with you as they continue to share your words with the world. Wouldn’t that be swell??

I hope you have a great trip to New York and enjoy Wicked! Let’s get together for lunch and or a movie in July? We’ll catch up about NYC and astrology. I’ll find out soon if my Pluto has been sexting again.


Laura is a student of comedy and writing. She likes being around creative people that can tell stories. She sometimes also professes at a local university.

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