Learning to Read at Age 29

Learning to Read at Age 29

The Saturn return can be a time when a person soberly evaluates her life situation and decides to make it better, to finally overcome a longstanding difficulty. I came across a great example of this the other day, in this article about a woman who learned to read for the first time starting at age 29. Read the full article here.

Merlyn Denis had reached age 29 without learning how to read, despite attending school through 10th grade. She is quoted about her early difficulty with reading, saying “I became ashamed…if I was asked to read out loud, I would do anything to get out of it.” By her late twenties she had a job and two children but still couldn’t read the mail or teachers’ notes from school. Denis contacted a counselor at her children’s school and was connected with a tutor, with whom she has worked for the last two years. Now, at age 31 she can go about daily life without the obstacle of illiteracy that she had experienced for almost three decades of her life.

One’s natal Saturn placement can often be an area of life in which there are delays and difficulties, and in which achievements come later than for others. Always it is an area in which one has to deliberately work for results. This story is a great example of someone facing that difficulty at the Saturn return and putting in the work required to make that situation different.

In addition, if she is now 31 years old then that puts her natal Saturn in Virgo, which is a sign associated with things like everyday skills. Her Saturn return thus displayed the theme of learning an everyday skill with which she had difficulty, and which requires lots of repetition to learn, another Virgo theme. Virgo is also a sign that can experience more than usual levels of feeling ‘not good enough,’ but the positive side is a pragmatic humility that simply asks what needs to be done next to complete the task. Thus finally admitting to others that she couldn’t read in order to get help displayed Denis’s movement at the Saturn return from feeling ashamed to humility and working steadily to achieve literacy by the end of her Saturn return.

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Leisa Schaim is a Denver, Colorado-based astrologer with a particular interest in combining the best of both modern and traditional astrological techniques. She has a BA in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences from Antioch College and did graduate work in Religious Studies at the University of Colorado. She is the presiding officer of AFAN, is co-organizer of the Denver Astrology Group, and is a former board member of the Association for Young Astrologers. She offers astrological consultations through her website LeisaSchaim.com.


  1. I think this is very interesting and super awesome to see how much this return can affect you…for the positive.

    I definitely felt my Saturn return and was grateful that you had told me about it at the time. I was stuck and unsure about my marriage, life, children, future, etc. Knowing that this was typical helped me to view things differently and to evaluate how to move forward rather than how to escape.

    Cool article! Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. Oh and I’m happy to say that my husband and I have a “better than ever” relationship now and that I’ve finally been able to put myself out there as a jewelry metalsmith. I’m no longer afraid of doing that! Woot!