Everybody’s heard of the dreaded “midlife crisis,” which occurs in your early 40’s – but did you know that it’s triggered by astrological influences? Not only that, but there are important transitions also scheduled for you (and for everyone else!) at approximately age 29, age 50-51, and age 58-60, which are also set off by the transit of planets over your personal birth chart.
With the help of astrology, you can turn those predictable feelings of urgency, dissatisfaction and frustration into positive change. What’s most important to successfully navigating these experiences, though, is your own sense of what’s out of sync, what feels like a trap or what’s missing from your life. Then you can look at your willingness to let go of the things that don’t work any more. Astrology can only tell you where to look.
Age 29 (and again at 58-60)
Since the other transitions build on what you learn at 29, let’s start here. Sometime between 28 and 30 you experience what astrologers call your first “Saturn return,” and its aftermath. Saturn rules the structures in your life, and the way you affect your experience of the universe through the structures of belief and activity you have put into place.
Unless you’ve followed your dreams and your own individual values from the beginning, your Saturn return often feels like you’re experiencing tremendous (and usually unpleasant) pressure from other people and circumstances beyond your control. But what’s really happening is that you’re coming face to face with what you really want, and Saturn is helping you get it – whether you’re ready or not!
For example, if you’re pursuing a career in medicine instead of art because your family expected it, your first opportunity to change direction and follow the path of your dreams – and to do it relatively painlessly – occurs now. The things you lose: job, relationships, things you saw as security – were obstacles. Saturn is here to help you trim from your life everything that doesn’t fit in with who you truly are. And remember that endings always clear the way for new beginnings.
A word to the wise: be diligent with this task the first time, because letting go of whatever you’re still clinging to that’s detrimental when you reach 58 to 60 can create some pretty major drama!
The midlife transition can be even more dramatic than the Saturn return, because it’s triggered by two slow-moving or transpersonal planets this time: Uranus and Neptune. It’s ushered in by Uranus, king of the shocking and unexpected, and intensified by Neptune, ruler of dreams and deceptions, and the combination is challenging!
It’s not unusual for people to suddenly walk out at the peak of their professional lives to sail around the world for a year alone – or to dump their spouse and jump into a freewheeling lifestyle, complete with arm candy. However, this only happens to people who have put a great deal of effort into ignoring their true desires in favor of doing the expected.
Underneath the sudden bid for freedom, however, is the drive for meaning. Suddenly, it’s no longer enough to live for external purposes. Your purpose must now come from within. Many of the dreams and drives that surface during this period are true reflections of your inner being – but many are not, and only time will let you sort the wheat from the chaff. The more you can acknowledge and come to understand your impulses – even if you delay acting on them for a while – the more successfully you will navigate this transition.
Chiron, known as the wounded healer, returns to its place in your birth chart at age 50-51, revisiting and intensifying the crisis of meaning that marked your early 40s. Chiron marks the most vulnerable spot in your chart, the place where you feel “less than” – but it is also the place that contains your power to heal… and to transcend.
While the Saturn return is about physical or “real world” changes, and the midlife Uranus-Neptune challenge focuses on emotional growth, the Chiron return is about transcending ego attachments and putting your rational and linear mentality in its proper place, as a servant to the soul force. While the spark that begins this transition occurs around age 50, completing this task can easily occupy the rest of this lifetime – and beyond.
Each of these transition points is an opportunity to become better acquainted with your innermost being, and to build on that knowledge to create a life that is truly an expression of your deepest values and most precious dreams.
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