Initiation Cycles

Sometimes,we know intuitively that we must find insight at any cost; that our well being depends on it. There are certain transits that are universally experienced by everyone at around the same ages, and it is wise to know something about the psycho-spiritual purposes of these rites of passage, so that we can we find our personal meanings in their lessons. These are times when counselling and the wisdom of Archetypal Astrology can provide valuable guidance and insight on how to proceed.

The Saturn Return: Age 29

The Saturn Return occurs at approximately 29 years of age, although we could already start to feel it in our mid-twenties, and the effects can last well into our early thirties, as we integrate the personalized karmic messages that Saturn has for us.  Essentially, the Saturn Return means that approximately every twenty-nine years the planet Saturn “returns” to the exact same position in the heavens as when we were born, and this time is often associated with chaos, break ups, and breakdowns.  We can feel confused, isolated, and like we are coming apart at the proverbial seams as we undergo this first major life transition. it is both a crossroads and a wake up call.  Conversely, it is also a time when we finally make the decision to commit to our creativity, start a business that changes the world, or climb a ladder of our own design.

The Saturn Return serves to bring us to a more authentic sense of self, to “grow us up”, as we make the transition from our impetuous 20’s into a meaningful adulthood of our own creation.  It is an unprecedented time of individuation and transformation as we prepare for the next chapter in the story of our lives.  And, though this time can bring an end to some relationships, early career ambitions, and self-images, it also helps us embrace real foundations that can be built upon, and shows us that with determination and focus, we have the inner strength and resources to tackle whatever we set out to accomplish.

 The Mid-Life Transits Age: 38 - 45

These are psychological turning points in the life cycle that are often accompanied with career change, marital dissatisfaction, and sudden realizations that rock the very foundations of our world. We are called upon to re-evaluate who we really are, and to uncover greater meaning in our lives.  During these transits, our psyche is often shaken, and we might suddenly veer off course in a completely new direction, surprising not only others, but ourselves. 

We agonize over whether we have achieved the goals we have set for ourselves, and question if those goals still matter to us at all. These archetypal thresholds serve to bring us to a more authentic sense of self.  They are periods of intense individuation and transformation as we approach the gateway to the second half of our lives, and times when we will benefit from insight and reflection.  The following are the Midlife transits:

 Pluto Square ( Age 38-40)

Try as we might to suppress them, fears, desires, and compulsions begin to surface from our depths. Wounds that we have thought long buried erupt and demand to be addressed. This is an emotionally intense time when power issues arise, and we are forced to confront manipulation, jealousy and our own self-esteem, in both our relationships and our career. It can be a time of deep healing and rebuilding our selves at a core level. 

Uranus Opposition ( Age 41-42)

In astrology, Uranus is called “The Great Awakener”.  Its job is to shock us out of complacency. This transit is characterized by sudden events, shocking “out of the blue” choices, and intense restlessness.  It can often be associated with the classic nervous breakdown, and the sudden onset of panic attacks.  This transit is most difficult for individuals who are used to feeling “in control”.  Ultimately, these explosive events serve as a catalyst to move us forward, and get us on our rightful path.

 Neptune Square (Age 40-43)

This midlife transit brings feelings of confusion and uncertainty.  Even if we have been on a steady track for years, we suddenly feel as if we don’t know where we are going.  We begin to hesitate, no longer trusting ourselves.  If unsuccessfully navigated, depression, escape, and addiction can figure prominently, whether it is through shopping, drugs, alcohol or sex.  If not in ourselves, we might experience a loved one going through these pitfalls. Conversely, this transit brings us to a sense of our own experience of personal spirituality and meaning in the second half of our lives.

Saturn Opposition (Age 44-45)

In astrology, Saturn is the Teacher. We are called to re-evaluate what we have accomplished since our Saturn Return, about 14 years ago.  What structures have we built in our lives that have strong foundations? What are we clinging to which no longer serves us, and is perhaps creating obstacles to us moving forward? During this transit we are called upon to look long and hard at our choices, and sometimes to be ruthless in pruning away that which is outworn.  However, it is also a time of harvest as we reap the rewards of our hard work.

Chiron Return (Age 50-51)

In astrology, Chiron is “The Wounded Healer”, and wherever it is placed in the birth chart, is where we have healing work to do.  Chiron takes about 50 years to orbit the Sun, and at about age 50, issues will come up that we might have ignored, that now demand our attention in order to make ourselves whole.  Sometimes the Chiron Return manifests as a “healing crisis”, where we are forced to look at the wounded part of ourselves and come to terms with it.  It can manifest as emotional, spiritual or even physical, because holistically they are interconnected on an energetic level.  The more conscious we become about our wounding, the easier it will be to shed light on that area, and heal from the inside out.

Second Saturn Return (58-60)

Saturn once again makes a full circle of the heavens and the birth chart, but this time instead of committing to beginning our adulthood; if we have done our work, our next task is to become the wisdom-keepers in our communities.  We are entering our third Saturn cycle, and at around age 58-60, embark on the journey of becoming an Elder.  Sometimes, instead of feeling excited about this next phase of our lives, fear and feelings of self-imposed isolation can rear their heads.  This is the stereotypical scrambling to hold on to a phase that we are no longer living, and is the foundation of countless jokes involving the ubiquitous red sports car, or visits to the plastic surgeon. If we want to avoid this unhappy and ultimately fruitless clash with Taskmaster Saturn, the trick is to embrace reality, and reflect on what we have accomplished, ready to take our place in our community as keepers of wisdom.