Have you hit your fabulous forties, only to find that life is craaaazy? That the sky is falling in, or at least part of the ceiling, and that all of a sudden your life is falling apart too?
Are you feeling confused by sudden change? Overwhelmed by the loss of a primary relationship? Job? Health? Not sure what the hell is going on?
I feel you. Oh, sistah, I got you, I know how hard it can be when your world just. goes. splat.
I got smacked hard with a serious raft of identity smashing events starting at about age 42. Divorce (SUPER traumatic), moving, loss of home, job, pets, community … god, I get a knot in my neck just thinking about it.
I had taken a hiatus from practicing and studying astrology when my Neptune square and Uranus opposition hit, but it was the first tool I returned to in an effort to make sense of what the bleep was going on, why my life was falling apart.
It helped me–didn’t take away any pain, of course—and brought me strength as my identity died and I had to start anew. Knowing my chart, what was happening, when it would end, and accepting (not very gracefully at times) elements that were leaving and others that were coming in, gave me a star to keep to, a compass bearing with which to align.
Astrology can do the same for you.
The Mid-life Initiation/Crisis/Heroic journey
I think that mid-life, from a perspective of psychology and astrology, starts around age 36, 37. We have some fruitful transits that make us reflect on where we’ve been, and look to what we want to create next. We may feel young still, a little invincible. But 40 is looming closer, and for many–women especially–unheeded biological clocks start to tick, and we begin to “put aside our childish things” and take life a little more seriously.
In our late thirties we may encounter areas of life where we are still very unfulfilled–relationships, family life, financial security, or enjoyment of career. Some generations (those born 1983-1995) have their Pluto square natal Pluto at this age, while for othersit comes later (due to Pluto’s elliptical orbit). This transit brings up deep security wounds, our most shadowy aspects, and it will show up in the houses where Pluto is placed, natally, and through which it is transiting. In a sense, the heroine is called to the journey at this time; a call she may refuse more than once. The key phrase for Pluto is “deep soul excavation and transformation.”
Age 40-41 brings the Uranus opposition to itself, natally, which is an electrifying transit. Anything can happen–this is the nature of Uranus–and though we can predict a little of its effect through the affected houses, this transit is often the gob-smacker. The heroine is compelled to start her journey now, (for staying put remains painful or impossible,) and begins to encounter fantastic experiences, help from strange quarters, and foiled attempts to right her pitch-poling vessel. if we haven’t gotten too far off the path of our soul’s true purpose, this can be an exciting rather than traumatic transit, or sometimes a mixture of both. The key phrase for Uranus is “electrifying, dramatic change.”
We barely catch our breath from Uranus, then we have the Neptune square to itself, at age 42-44. Now that we’ve been rocked out of our old, ill-fitting identities, all the debris must be washed away. Neptune continues to erode the hard coverings we’ve built over our souls, as well as much of the familiar landscape around us. We may be inspired by visions on the horizon, only to have them be obscured again. This is a time of clarity and confusion, and we find that we are unable to really act upon the changes that are happening within us. She may not yet realize it, but the heroine is returning with her grail. The key phrase for Neptune is “slow dissolving change.”
These transits all happen once in a lifetime. They are thresholds, initiations, a rite of passage that—with the exception of the Pluto square—we will all go through.
Who Does this Affect?
Everyone. No one gets a pass unless they die before they enter mid-life. Though it is hard not to feel nervous about such powerful events, if we do not resist the change that is occurring, we will eventually come out the other side, refreshed, renewed, more empowered and aligned.
How Can Astrology Help?
Astrology can assist you through these transits because it gives you information, a map to follow to your own best good.
- If you have yet to arrive at mid-life, you can examine how closely you are living now to your values, dreams, and true longings. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then mid-life will be a great eye-opener. Though you can’t fully prepare for the events of 40+, you can start making shifts now that will create an easier transition. An Akashic Record reading would be a great tool to get you on track, as an adjunct to really knowing your chart.
- If you are IN mid-life, and things are in the great process of change, then knowing the timing of cycles, where it’s happening, other support that is in your chart and occurring by transit will truly give you a handhold. And, as one client said to me, just knowing there was hope, and that the change would end, was enough for her to accept and ride it out. Understanding your birth chart, the backdrop against which all this drama is taking place, will also be of great benefit. You can re-examine your original relationship intent, identity quest, and reconnect with the energies and elements that will be important for self-care.
- If you have passed through these initiations and are confused about how to proceed, revisiting your soul’s intent through the natal chart will help you create the new, more aligned version of yourself sans the baggage of the old, and bolstered by the insights you now have. We do get a bit of a breather til 50, when Chiron returns to see how we can take our healing and gift it into the world. If there is any excavation left to be done, this transit will clear the way for the powerful eldership that awaits in the fiftieth decade and beyond.
So What Should I DO?
Where you are in this process of change will determine the type of action you will be able to take.
—If you are in the meltdown/crisis/acute stage, the best thing to do is allow times to feel, collapse, rant and wail. Let those times be well-protected, and monitored—you don’t want to be indulging in a collapse. Give yourself 15 minutes, or half an hour a couple of times a day to just let it rip. And then gather yourself and go about your life the best you can.
This is not the time to be making big plans, or deciding what will happen when the crisis has passed. You are like the butterfly goo in the chrysalis, not capable right now of taking form.
This is when you want support, energy healing, therapy, a gentle, nurturing diet and as much sleep as you can get.
—If you are in the things-feeling-a-bit-better stage, with less authentic need to melt down, you can start dreaming about what you want, and getting a sense of the new you. It’s still too early to make big decisions—you will change your mind a thousand times.
Here it’s helpful to get readings, receive bodywork, and play with creatively visioning your future. Journaling is an essential tool here, and keeping track of your dreams.
—When you get to the I’m-finally-ok stage, you will start to notice the types of people, work, activities that excite or intrigue you. Perhaps these are not things that would have interested you at all in the before times. This is when it’s appropriate to start deciding the “what’s next.” After Neptune finishes it’s square, you will feel like a fog is lifting, and the new landscape is ready to be explored.
Now is a great time to see your astrologer, hire a life coach, or get other allies behind you for your next steps forward.
Martha Beck has a fantastic book that describes the stages of transition and is filled with wisdom and insight and exercises to try. It’s called Finding Your Own North Star. Here’s a link to a short description of the stages on her website too.
Mid-life is a powerful, cathartic, transformational time. While some people do encounter a relatively mellow trip over the threshold, it’s not the norm. It’s important to not resist what is happening, and equally as important to not give up! Dance was an absolute life-saver for me during my transits, as was my spiritual practice, and listening to my body. I made a ton of mistakes, flailed and thrashed and freaked out often. But I made it, and my life is so much more on track and on purpose. You can do it too!
If you are in your mid-life transits and you need help, reach out! We can craft sessions that will support you wherever you are in the process, and help guide your ship to safe harbor.
ps: here’s a couple of fun songs for jigging round the kitchen 🙂