Living in the countryside in Scotland, Diana Garland doesn’t spend much time keeping up with the stars — or, at least not the ones outside of the cosmos. The astrologer has spent five decades studying the movement of the planets and the effects of their various rotations and repositionings. She was once a recurring figure in the online astrology community, growing a following of more than 27,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel and offering personal readings through her website. Garland’s online presence has remained dormant for around three years now; but recently, she resurfaced on one of pop music’s most anticipated releases of the year.

Four songs into Ariana Grande‘s seventh studio album, Eternal Sunshine, a sample of Garland’s Saturn Return — Why 29 Years Old Is an Important Age Youtube video offers up words of cosmic wisdom. “When we’re all born, Saturn is somewhere — and the Saturn cycle takes around about 29 years. That’s when we’re going to wake up and smell the coffee,” Garland explains on “Saturn Returns Interlude,” her voice filtered through ethereal, distorted production. “If we’ve just been sort of relying on our cleverness or relying — you know, just kind of floating along, Saturn comes along and hits you over the head and says, ‘Wake up! It’s time for you to get real about life and sort out who you really are.’” 

The video was originally uploaded to in November 2013, when a viewer asked Garland for an explanation of the particularly transformative astrological phenomenon of a Saturn return. “That was the end of that. I didn’t think about it in any depth at all,” Garland tells Rolling Stone in a rare interview. “So you could have knocked me down with a feather when I was contacted [by Grande’s team] and asked, ‘Can we use this please?’” It’s the eve of Eternal Sunshine’s arrival when we speak, and the astrologer is entirely oblivious to the record’s pending arrival. 

“I didn’t know the album was coming out,” she admits, no more tuned into the cycle of the pop machine than she was before she was unexpectedly pulled into it. “They contacted my son. I didn’t know anything about it because he was on the admin. We haven’t been doing it for a few years, and he just saw it as some kind of scam. He didn’t even answer them,” Garland explains. “But they persisted, and they were simply saying, ‘Could we negotiate a buyout of this particular clip in this particular video?’” She says she had no context around why that moment was of such great interest or how they had come across it in the first place. 

But the positioning of “Saturn Returns Interlude,” as an interruption embedded not even halfway through Eternal Sunshine, is fitting in and of itself. The planetary occurrence is as much of a disruption as it is a return to form. From 886 million miles away, Saturn orbits the sun. Its transit is much slower than that of the Earth, which returns closely to its initial position at the time of our birth, relative to the sun, each year — or Jupiter, which comes back around every 12 years. But Saturn’s orbit is also faster than that of Neptune or Uranus, which both take more than 80 years to return to their starting position. Its rotation isn’t a sprint or a crawl but a deliberate and patient stride. Twenty-nine years is just enough time for you to believe you’ve finally started to figure yourself out, only to be stunned back into reality by way of your Saturn return. 

“The planets all sit in a certain position and are sitting in a certain position the second we come out and take our first breath. It’s like a kind of cosmic snapshot of the heavens. We carry that particular pattern with us all through our lives. It’s like a cosmic fingerprint, and it is totally unique,” Garland explains, adding: “Jupiter tends to be about opportunities, things landing seemingly out of the sky on your lap, or luck — something opening up into a new horizon, which would broaden your life in some way. But Saturn always comes along, a bit strict, and says, ‘No, we’ve got to get busy with work. We’ve got to take our responsibilities more seriously.’” 

The ringing that signals Saturn’s wake-up call can be metamorphic. After Adele experienced her Saturn return — a period marked for her by divorce and internal chaos — she tattooed the planet on her arm. Kacey Musgraves reflected on her own on the recent single “Deeper Well,” singing: “My Saturn has returned/When I turned 27/Everything started to change.” Even SZA’s latest release, aptly titled “Saturn,” yearns for transformative change. Saturn returns typically last for around two and a half years, meaning these women have all made it out on the other side as they move through their early 30s. Arriving as she approaches 31, Eternal Sunshine is similarly a capsule of Grande’s own revelations from the experience. 

“In all seriousness, I think I learned that I wasn’t really listening to myself in a lot of areas where I could have been,” the singer recently told Apple Music’s Zane Lowe. “It’s like my nervous system was screaming at me to make certain changes for a long time. But I think I was the kind of person who wasn’t listening. I tried to listen to it more.”

Grande went through a relationship reset during this period, officially filing for divorce from ex-husband Dalton Gomez in September 2023. However, the impact Saturn has on interpersonal bonds is a byproduct of its impact on the self. “It’s so much about your relationship to yourself,” Grande added. “I need to start listening to — why am I doing this? It’s not protective to ignore these feelings, it’s actually counterproductive. It’s actually more harmful to not.”  

As Garland explains, Saturn is the planet of protection. It governs not only elements of the physical being — like skin, hair, and nails — but also nature’s impenetrable forces, like mountains and rocks. “If you look down a list of keywords for Saturn, limitation is one of the big words. Another word is responsibility. Another word is burden. Taking on more. Pressure,” she says. “But at the same time, within the parameters of that burden, those responsibilities, that pressure, you feel as though your life is opening up into something that more expresses who you are fundamentally. You are at last able to get more access to yourself. Maybe in those years before you’re 28 — because it comes around about 28 and a half — you’ve kind of been dancing to other people’s tunes or the society you live in.” 

Grande has spent the last few years stepping into the Land of Oz as Galinda in the film adaptation of Wicked, a role she’s been gunning for since she was a teenager. The theater kid beneath her pop star persona had taken center stage. Reflecting on the experience last year, the singer shared a lengthy Instagram post about her time on set “feeling, learning and growing so much at such a disarming speed,” adding that the film played an integral role in “transforming and healing parts of me that I never knew needed it.” Grande added an aside to the post, writing: “Forgive me for this most Cancerian, rambly post.” 

Grande’s birthday also falls just five days into Cancer season, which runs from June 21 through July 22. A cardinal water sign, cancers are known for their sensitivity and heightened emotional investment. They’re also astrologically bound to their opposite sign, Capricorn, which is also believed to be Grande’s rising sign. “There’s been very intense, dramatic events going on in the lives of Cancers and Capricorns over the last 15 years,” Garland explains. “And that is because Pluto has been making its way slowly, slowly, slowly through Capricorn. Hitting across its opposite sign, Cancer. So the Cancer-Capricorn axis will really have been rocked sometimes on a deep emotional level because Pluto rules deep emotions.”

Over the last seven years, the story of Grande’s public life has included footnotes of tragedy and loss, which found its way into her music with the arrival of Sweetener in 2018. Moments on the album reflected the anguish brought about the prior year, when 22 people were killed and roughly 500 were wounded in a bombing outside of Grande’s concert at the Manchester Arena in May 2017. Sweetener also celebrated love and light, but the dissolution of her relationship with ex-fiancé Pete Davidson and the death of ex-boyfriend Mac Miller in the months that followed its arrival informed a different lens of self-reflection on 2019’s Thank U, Next. And yet both periods provided her with mountainous success. 


“I had a very interesting relationship to music before I left for Wicked. I think that the time away was really healing,” Grande told Zane Lowe, explaining: “For so long, I think I was hiding from my success or what comes with it. It was really impacting my ability to love what I do for a long time. I don’t want to get choked up, but it was really making me resentful for a little bit of time. And I don’t feel that way anymore. I feel like I’m able to let go of that and enjoy it. I feel really proud and grateful for that. It feels very different.” 

Grande’s Saturn has returned, and so has she. “I don’t know anything about the young lady,” Garland clarifies, but adds: “She’s got a great ability to spring back to great resilience.”

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