The Universal Life Cycle

Raise your hands, who remembers Gail Sheehy’s book Passages. Ok, now that you’ve just dated yourself, do you remember what the book was about? In Ms. Sheehy’s bestseller, which was all the rage when I was in college, she talked about the developmental stages of adults, which was broken up roughly into the decades of our lives, the twenties, the thirties, the forties, etc. This was ground breaking stuff, since up until then the cultural thinking was that was when you became an adult, you were pretty well done developmentally, or as Judge Judy would say “cooked.” And in seeing that the people around me were hitting these developmental milestones, what she was talking about seemed to make sense.

Then a decade later, I started a serious study of astrology and learned, ta da, that astrologers knew all about these milestones and have been talking about them for quite some time. In fact, there is a timetable of events that is more predictable than Jay Leno’s jokes, that defines significant developmental markers, a universal life cycle that applies to all human beings.

At age seven , our progressed moons make a square with our natal moons. Here is the first separation from the parent, the first inkling of independence. In the Catholic Church, age seven is when you can make your First Communion, since at that age, you can distinguish between right and wrong and can confess your little seven year old heart’s sins.

At age fourteen, the first major energetic connection is the waxing Uranian sextile. When Uranus in motion in the heavens is 60 degrees away from the position of Uranus at the time of birth, Uranian electricity surges through the newly forged energetic connection and activates the drive to act as an individual. Uranus demands separation from the parent.

Age twenty one, the traditional legal age of adulthood, is the Uranian square. Just try to stop these folks from going out on their own! Their sense of adulthood and adult entitlement blossoms. In individuals who have matured properly, there is a readiness to leave childhood behind, to take on the challenges of adulthood. The individual has the first run at establishing a career and social identity, though without the life and death seriousness of later years. Sometimes, during this time, the nascent adult retreats back to the comfort of the home to regroup, only to go back out in the world with better defined goals.

At age twenty nine, Saturn comes back to its original position in the natal chart. Known as the Saturn Return, it is a significant passage to serious adulthood. As a gateway to the thirties, where we traditionally establish our permanent homes and our own families, it is often fraught with fears and worries. An emotionally trying time, the individual struggles to clarify his or her adult identity. There is a real sense that it is time to grow up for real, and the need to establish his or her own family becomes a real priority. The purchase of first homes or the birth of a child often accompanies the first Saturn Return. This is the start of definition of ourselves in what we do for other people and society.

Most women dread turning forty, because for us in this culture, it marks the beginning of the end of the childbearing cycle. Sand has started to shift, as they say, and our lives during the thirties had taken a serious turn which is continued in the forties. However, in the forties, there is a series of major transits that has come to be known as the mid-life crisis. Here the progressed moon opposes the natal position, taking the opposite viewpoint of your emotional center. You feel at odds with yourself as you realize that your youth is slipping away and your role in society is shifting. On top of that, Uranus opposes its natal position, and for many of us, we feel that everything we have done is little appreciated. Neptune squares its own natal position, making it difficult to see issues clearly. Feeling constrained with the roles we’ve carved out of society, we want to kick up our heels and do what feels good for us. This is OK if you’ve decided to take up fitness dancing, but it doesn’t work if you decide to have an affair. Marriages can break up during this difficult series of transits, especially if both partners are about the same age. The goal for this set of transits is to define yourself not in terms of what you do for other people, but in how you contribute to society with the gifts you offer society as an individual.

The next set of transits hit around age fifty five and fifty eight or nine. Uranus and Neptune trine their natal positions, opening us up to a new spiritual connection. Having explored our inner truth, we want to reconnect to more Universal truths. Many times, an interest in established religion is reinvigorated, or there is an interest in reignited in education. These transits dovetail into the Second Saturn return, where we process what we’ve accomplished in the preceding adult years, and assess how well we have attained our goals.

[tags] astrology, horoscopes, zodiac, transits, Saturn, Pluto, Neptune, Uranus [/tags]

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