Astrological Influence During Mid-Life
What is Mid-Life, Astrologically
Astrologically, Mid-life begins sometime during the late thirties and ends towards the mid to late forties. Mid-life itself usually involves a considerable revaluation of your life: it can be a trying time with changes both acute and profound. This can be a time of tremendous pressure, but also a time of great promise and creative change. Mid-life comes to everybody who reaches a certain age and it can be extremely liberating, particularly for those who are ready to understand something of life’s deeper mystery.
Saturn will open the process of Mid-life at approximately thirty-six to thirty-seven years of age. During this time there may be periods of crisis and doubt and elements of a restrictive nature will often make themselves felt. All that you have created in your consciousness as well as all you have built materially will be tested now. Those who are beginning to know themselves are in a good position to get the best from this time; all those things that are honest and valuable will still continue to flourish. However, because of the nature of this transit certain elements of your life may be put to the test, especially those that were initiated approximately seven years before at the time of the Saturn return when you were approximately twenty-nine years old. If you feel you have made wrong choices, try to rectify them. If, on the other hand your plans have been based on worthwhile objectives and intentions you will find the strength to press on. Understanding what Saturn’s structure and discipline mean in your life is essential now, if you are to make the best of the next few years. Also, if you can only grasp the fact that everything evolves – including physical and spiritual life – you may begin to view any aggravation felt, from a slightly higher perspective.
Often the Saturn square will immediately precede or conjoin Pluto’s first square to its own natal position. This first Pluto square can sometimes cause you to have strange fixations or compulsions and, in some instances power struggles can also ensue. The most important thing to do now is to look at yourself honestly; for if you dismiss or deny any important aspect of yourself, you may experience quite a few upsets; try to face all those things that are now almost forcing you to adjust some of your old attitudes and opinions. Look at yourself in all honesty if you want real regeneration, is the most positive outcome of this time.
The next important phase of Mid-Life comes about between the ages of thirty-nine and forty two, when Uranus and Neptune make challenging aspects to their own natal positions. Uranus starts the process and brings in a major influence for regeneration which often initiates shifts and fluctuation on both an inner and outer level before the final target is realised. Uranus’s real purpose here is to break down any rigid structure or element of your life that is blocking the expression of a more universal nature. On an inner level you are being asked to make a transfer in consciousness. On a more material level you should guard against rash or hasty actions, for you can be severely tempted now to make changes in your life whether they are justified or not. Try always to deal with this transit as calmly and cautiously as you possibly can if you want to get the very best from it (some may find that The Saturn (Wise Man) meditation can help here). The above advice is doubly important when the Uranus opposition also operates at the same time as the Neptune square.
Neptune’s first square to its own natal position may cause various problems to manifest. At this time you may be tempted to run off after some distant dream or fantasy (relationship, career, domestic situation and so on). The difficulty here is that you are often totally unrealistic in both your understanding and expectation of the situation, so when this transit coincides with the Uranus opposition the danger of throwing all caution to the wind is greatly intensified. Another problem this transit brings is a feeling that life is passing you by, you may even feel quite depressed about it. Due to the illusory nature of this transits you should whenever possible try to separate what is real from that which is only fancy, in order to begin to see more clearly the truth of the situation.
How we react to all of these challenging transits will depend entirely upon ourselves as individuals and different generations will have different experiences. The generation now approaching the late thirties is different from the one before, and will in turn be different from the one following, but, whatever the generation, the same fundamental changes will begin to occur in each and every one of us when the Mid-life years begin.
It is estimated that about 80% of both men and women in the western world will suffer some type of predicament or emergency during these years. Some will have a harder time than others, depending on what preconditioning they have carried with them from childhood. It may also depend on other considerations, such as how they have used their opportunities and potential up to now and whether their relationships have been worthwhile. For those who have already worked on their shadow side (It is recognised in Jungian psychology that the psyche contains a shadow – that part of ourselves both positive and negative which we have decided is not us; it is that we generally project onto a partner) it will be much easier, although new elements within the psyche may still need to be explored.
These can be the most constructive – or destructive – years of your life, although in viewing all this, we perhaps also need to take into account the fact that we are living in a rather insecure age where the ground is shifting constantly and many of our old foundations have already been disturbed or even totally demolished. And of course, if our partner is near our own age, he or she too will experience similar problems around the same time.
To put it simply, during Mid-life everyone experiences a change in the direction of their energies, particularly those of the psyche. We should see Mid-Life as a time of growth: the challenge is to that which tries to stop our own essential Self from emerging. So why can this process not take place smoothly and naturally? And why does it appear to be so fraught with difficulties? The main reason is the existence of unresolved problems in the human psyche: jealousy, resentment, excessive pride or possessiveness, lack of self-control, dogmatism, rigidity, insecurity, the need to control and so on. During Mid-Life any blocks and unresolved problems will be contested as each transpersonal planet challenges by aspect its own natal position.
An important concept always to bear in mind, is that many of the problems now encountered can point – sometimes for the first time – in the direction of confronting limitations and blocks that need facing. Not all crisis is bad, for it can often lead to a creative and productive outcome for all concerned. The process of Mid-Life is predestined and inevitable, and only becomes painful and upsetting if we attempt to back off or disregard it. If, instead, we recognise and accept what is really happening, we see it as an excellent opportunity to develop both our individuality and personality and to achieve liberation from some of our more painful emotions.
Men and women today are still young at forty and will continue to have a useful life for a long time after the Mid-life years have been faced, experienced and completed. Women are now equal to men in the western world, and both can learn to take their lives – and their physical and emotional health – into their own hands. It matters not how you have lived up to this moment – everyone has the same opportunities for change; there are no real failures here, for all past experiences should be seen as character-building; we should try to learn and learn to let go of unnecessary guilt, worry, regret or unfulfilled hopes, for all these things will keep us in the past and stop us from stepping into a new and better life. A mature search for self-perfection is not an escape into fantasy: instead, maturity can show just how much control we have over our body and mind and how we can avoid most illnesses and debility, now and in later years. A real knowledge of these facts can bring many other revelations and benefits as well; each individual has a collection of mental and physical qualities that are quite unique to them alone and, if these are developed, they will help to bring balance, happiness and contentment, as well as attracting others who are like-minded.
It has been suggested that during Mid-life men should seek to integrate their anima (in Jungian terms, the man’s inner female self, his soul or psyche), so perhaps women should begin to integrate their animus (the inner male counterpart, power and will), but even more important is that we should learn to ground and centre ourselves (through union with a Higher Self) in order for this process to proceed in a positive and healthy way.
By Joy Michaud
Art by Helena Nelson Reed
See also: The Astrology of Mid-Life Crisis