Why Men Grow Up at 30 and Go Mad at 40
Why Men Grow Up at 30
Okay, so what’s the Saturn return (which hits men around age 30) all about?
To begin with, this planet, Saturn, says: ‘Grow up, get serious, get real, get a life.’ Its return can hit men hard if they are mucking around with hydroponic dope plants in the ceiling, ignoring letters from the council or still ordering pizza and leaving the boxes under the bed. It can also hit men hard if they are still reading lads’ mags and playing with Lara Croft; so, yes, there is a God after all.
To find out at exactly what age a man is going to have his first Saturn return, check with an astrologer. You will see all the signs coming though: the decision to take a mortgage, the much-debated marriage proposal, the birth of a first child, the major promotion. Saturn is about growing up. It doesn’t happen when you’re eighteen, it actually happens at twenty-eight, twenty-nine or thirty, when Saturn finally returns to its own place.
The Saturn return can be hard and mean. Relationships can break up, and redundancies can occur. The man who goes through it becomes wiser, and learns to respect himself more. If he’s been rather silly and zitty in his twenties, Saturn will sort him out, one way or another. Time is a big issue between twenty-eight and thirty. Can he commit to this woman, this job, this house, this way of life – for years to come? Alternatively, can he stand his life the way it is for another ten years? Saturn can feel very gritty and harshly realistic. It says, ‘This is the way things are. There is no alternative.’ Finally, it asks, ‘And what the hell are you going to do about it?’ Many heroin addicts detox around their thirtieth birthday, alcoholics join AA, long-term unemployed people get jobs, and corporate high-fliers can lose jobs. The Saturn return marks a big, long sea change.
The astrologer Caroline W. Casey recommends solitude as an excellent way of dealing with Saturn. Writing in her book Making the Gods Work for You, she says, ‘We can honour Saturn through introspection.’ Its shadow side, she says, is depression, inertia and fear. It is better to spend Sunday by yourself, in quiet contemplation of Saturn’s hard lessons and realities, than to run away from it and end up in a Prozac panic on Tuesday. Coping with the Saturn return is a matter of stoically accepting the responsibility of a particular decision, or role, but it is also about asking for help. It’s appropriate to say, ‘I can take this on, but I also want assistance.’
Older people can be excellent advisers and supporters now: what a grandfather, wise woman or senior manager has to say can make perfect sense. Capricorns, who have been around the block a few times, may also have words of wisdom. Above all else, Saturn returns are about the need to hear great common sense and the voice of experience.
Saturn can be sad. Tears may be shed at return time. Physical symptoms may develop; they are nearly always signs of strain or pressure. Be aware: even when a man has enormous success during his Saturn return (winning an award, achieving outstanding success) it can still overwhelm him. Fear is a common reaction to doing well and many men experience it when Saturn comes back. Michael Jackson had this cycle when he hit the big time. Clearly, success brought more terrible burdens for him than the world might have guessed. Kenneth Branagh married Emma Thompson on his Saturn return.
Writing in Planets in Transit, the American astrologer Robert Hand asks Saturn returners, ‘Have you been living as you feel you should, or as you think others want you to? If you have been doing the latter, Saturn will have a greater impact.’
Men build up their lives like Lego constructions in their twenties. Sometimes the structures (a particular kind of relationship, a certain kind of modus operandi) are far too shaky to build the rest of their life on. Between twenty-eight to thirty this basic shakiness will be revealed. If he’s lived in his home town because it’s close to his demanding parents – ignoring that still, small voice that tells him he’d really rather be in a yacht sailing around the Pacific – then his late twenties and early thirties will definitely force the issue. People do all sorts of extraordinary things at twenty-eight, twenty-nine and thirty. Some men win Oscars and find the pressure overwhelming. As you read further into Astrobloke and begin to get a feel for natal charts, you will be able to understand his Saturn return, as well as your own. If it’s behind you, think back. What enormous decisions did you make between twenty-eight and thirty? These decisions are very likely to have affected the rest of your life.
‘This is a time of endings and new beginnings,’ says Robert Hand, of the Saturn return. It’s the time when men become mature human beings. It can feel bleak, never-ending and relentless too: all the more reason to get help! Saturn’s tests are meant to be tough though; in the end, a bloke’s Saturn return will be the making of him.
When Saturn’s working for him
· He feels like a real man at last.
· He knows he’s doing the sensible thing.
· Older, experienced people approve of his decision.
· It feels hard, and even exhausting, but it feels right.
· He’s thinking about his future.
· He’s thinking about other people’s future.
· He’s looking forward to his thirties, even if it means no more Nintendo.
When he’s ignoring Saturn
· He has Fear of Mortgage syndrome and then misses the real-estate bargain of the decade.
· He doesn’t get marital counselling and loses the love of his life.
· He hits the bottle.
· He smokes dope at breakfast.
· He starts watching an awful lot of TV.
· He feels paralysed.
· He feels like Prozac.
Thanks, I’m feeling so much karma now!
Saturn is known as the Crispy King of Karma to many astrologers. They believe that a man’s natal chart (you can find it here) can reveal the area of life where the big learning must go on, as the House where Saturn was at the moment of his birth shows the department of life where the big challenges will hit. These challenges, say the astrologers, are karmic. They are debts and credits from other lives. Fascinatingly, they also say that a Saturn return has been pre-agreed. Before a man incarnated, his soul consented to the experience to come!
Go to Your Natal Chart Interpretation. Look at your man’s chart to find the house Saturn is in and you’ll find where the karma works. The First House is at the 9.00 p.m. clock position. Count anti-clockwise. The Second House is at 8.00 p.m. and so on, around the circle. Saturn will be listed by sign, so you can see which house it naturally falls in – or just look for the symbol which looks like the lower-case letter h.
So, what does it all mean?
First House Saturn – lessons about his image and reputation.
Second House Saturn – a crash course in financial responsibility.
Third House Saturn – karma with siblings, or issues around communication.
Fourth House Saturn – flatmate or family learning experiences, and home burdens.
Fifth House Saturn – babies and children will teach him about responsibility.
Sixth House Saturn – health lessons are all bound up with work.
Seventh House Saturn – his lover is a past-life link and spiritual debts must be resolved.
Eighth House Saturn – sex, death or money have big lessons to teach now.
Ninth House Saturn – foreigners, university lecturers and trips of all kinds teach lessons.
Tenth House Saturn – his big career moment has arrived, so get the Rescue Remedy.
Eleventh House Saturn – friends and groups are past-life ties and will haunt him now.
Twelfth House Saturn – navel-gazing will help him get through life but it’s time to fly solo.
Don’t go it alone!
If a bloke’s Saturn return coincides with a protracted period of depression, then it is essential to take it seriously, as Saturn’s deep freeze can be very real and very powerful. Looking at the natal chart and the date on which Saturn enters and then exits a House can reveal when the issues are going to begin, and when they are going to end. Knowing there is an end point to the hard work can really help.
If he is in a stargazing mood, then consider buying him Making the Gods Work for You by Caroline W. Casey and leaving it on the kitchen table. It contains one of the most useful chapters on Saturn in any modern astrology book. The Changing Sky by Steven Forrest is also brilliant on the subject of Saturn returns – both in the late twenties and approaching sixties.
A series of consultations with a professional astrologer can be a fantastic source of support during a man’s Saturn return. Armed with his natal chart, an astrologer can discuss Saturn’s influence on his life in some depth and suggest constructive ways to handle the cycle.
Why men go mad at 40
Uranus turns up in opposition to its original position in a man’s natal chart anytime between his thirty-eighth and forty-fifth birthday. This is why so many men quit their jobs, have affairs with bisexual builder’s labourers or start wearing ridiculous shoes at this age. It’s known as the midlife crisis but, to astrologers, it’s Uranus opposite Uranus.
Uranus likes to unexpectedly disrupt anything that is structured, sensible, solid, a bit boring, a bit stifling, but nevertheless ‘part of life’. This planet acts suddenly, like a lightning bolt in the middle of a freak electrical storm. The emphasis is on the word ‘freak’ too – men can do some extremely whacko things during their Uranus-Uranus opposition. They either break away from all the structures they have built up in their lives – the family, the job, the dependence on alcohol or golf – or, to their total shock, the universe suddenly takes things away without warning.
The Queen song ‘I Want To Break Free’ could end up being his anthem in his forty-something years. He may seem more unusual, even more eccentric, to the people in his circle of friends now. Some fairly freaky things may also happen to him at this time: revolutions, earthquakes, flash floods…anything is possible.
To make absolutely sure of the age his Uranus-Uranus opposition is set to occur, ask an astrologer. Then you’ll get specific months, and even days, when Uranus is at its most extreme. Overall, though, all you need to know is that the late thirties to mid forties are a wild time. This is what you have to look forward to (or what you have to look back to, with a deep sigh of relief that it’s all over).
Ballad Of Lucy Jordan’ syndrome
Yes, I know that Marianne Faithfull wrote this song about a woman, and she was thirty-seven not heading for forty, who knew she’d never drive through Paris in a sports car with the warm wind in her hair…but anyway, you get the picture. During the Uranus-Uranus opposition, Mr Forty-something can feel a tremendous amount of regret for all the things he hasn’t done yet.
Typical forty-something questions at this time include:
1. Do I really like being bald and overweight and dressing like a Dad?
2. Why haven’t I paid off my mortgage yet?
3. I always thought I’d change the world, so why haven’t I?
4. Is this rented brick-veneer flat with bad plumbing really my dream home?
5. I’ve never had a child. Why not?
6. Why am I still trapped by my $%^£&^$ health?
7. Why am I married to this awful woman?
8. Why is everyone else a multi-millionaire and not me?
9. How come I’ve never actually done the big world trip yet?
10. How did I end up in this blood-sucking corporation?
11. Where did all my cool friends from my twenties disappear to?
12. Why don’t I have peace of mind yet?
Uranus can act like an electric cattle prod. Expect wired, weird and erratic behaviour as a result of all these unanswered questions; almost as if a man believes there is no time to waste before he can finally get his act together…before it’s too late.
Shockwaves tend to reverberate through the pub when Mr Forty-something makes his move. It’s extremely common for blokes at this age to also seek out younger people to hang around with, or much younger women to have sex with. More raised eyebrows!
People come along who embody the spirit of Uranus at this time. Men may find themselves heavily involved with gay people, rebellious teenagers, astrologers, mad professors, neo-hippies, radical activists, post-punks, and all kinds of life experimenters. So what if his only friends to date were called Rodney and played for the local cricket team? He’s ready for a change at this time in his life.
If a man has the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus and/or Mars in Aquarius then his Uranus-Uranus opposition will put a rocket up him in a major way. Uranus rules Aquarius. When it opposes its original position in his natal chart, it starts clanging loud bells in the Aquarian type’s head.
Free spirits and alternative lifestylers are affected less by Uranus-Uranus oppositions because they are already radical change artists anyway. The less rigid, predictable or dull a man’s life is at forty-something, the less disruptive and shocking the life changes are likely to be. However, if all he has done for the last ten years is compromise, compromise, compromise, then the Uranus-Uranus opposition effects could be dramatic.
The late, great astrologer Howard Sasportas wrote a book called The Gods of Change which should be mandatory reading for any bloke doing the forty-something freak-out. ‘It’s a time for disassembling ourselves and then putting the pieces back together again, but in a different way,’ Sasportas reveals. ‘If you have lived the first half of your life in a very down-to-earth manner, concerned primarily with practical issues of earning a living or establishing yourself in the world, the mid-life crisis could open you to values of a more spiritual or esoteric nature.’ He recommends facing the feelings, rather than running away from them. And if a man thinks that distracting himself by chasing a twenty-something woman or doing loads of drugs or alcohol, or eating himself into oblivion, or becoming a workaholic will solve the problem, he should think again – it’s likely to make him feel even more uncomfortable.
Apart from strange personal development courses, though (and I do include astrology in that) Uranus also rules the shock of the new. Men going through ‘middlescence’, as opposed to adolescence, can go through a three-to-six month pursuit of everything from the latest hi-tech sports car to a mad new fashion from John Galliano. Closeted gay men in particular seem to be strongly affected by Uranus-Uranus! And no bad puns, I beg of you.
If a man is feeling unconsciously trapped by his career or his family life, but his conscious mind won’t let him complain (he may look like Mr Lucky to the outside world), then freak events or even freakier behaviour (shoplifting sprees, for example) can shake up the snowdome of his life. He will be forced to open his eyes and look at what is actually the problem. Even a broken leg can do it – or a bushfire. During middlescence, it’s the mad, unpredictable, sudden events that are the real life-changers. And even with the best astrologer in the world, he may never see them coming!
It’s important to remember, however, that Uranus is not the enemy, but a half-lived life certainly is. That’s why even the craziest behaviour and the most disruptive life events can be ultimately beneficial. Uranus demands that a man is living an honest and authentic life. Above all else, it demands a sense of aliveness. To see the Uranus-Uranus opposition in action, all you need to do is pick up a copy of People, Heat or any other celebrity magazine. Any man having a cow in public this week is probably having his astrological middlescence. Was he born in the 1960s? It’s a sure thing.