Astrological Landmarks: Age 38-45
The Midlife Crisis – Uranus Opposition
If you belong to the age group 38-45, the likelihood is that you are currently occupied with working your way through the midlife crisis. Maybe you are in the process of completing it. If you are one of those fortunate for whom this is the case, you might like to read on and take a moment to reflect back on how the crisis has been affecting you and your life.
The major life events, among them the Saturn Returns and the Uranus Opposition, also known as the midlife crisis, can be exceedingly trying times for anyone. Issues that have been put on the back boiler by us for some time are likely to push themselves into the foreground of our consciousness, demanding to be considered and resolved, at last. To enable us and our lives to move forward some difficult decisions may have to be made. The only way of rendering things less stressful for ourselves, as I know from first hand experience, is by regularly taking stock as we move through our lives. It is unwise to allow unresolved issues to fester away, until one of these special events is upon us and forces them to come to a head.
Uranus is one of the outer or generation planets; they carry this name because they move exceedingly slow and their energies influence whole generations in a similar manner. When Uranus in the Heavens has moved to the halfway position between the place it occupied in our birthchart and where it is now, we speak of the Uranus opposition. The completion of this transit stretches over several years, and marks an important part of every soul’s maturing process in its personal evolution for its present lifetime. Most people experience the influence of their opposition most strongly from between the ages of 38-45, but in some cases this may be extended for several years in both directions. Every soul in its late thirties and early forties eventually reaches this significant turning point. At this special time the Universe presents it with many opportunities for releasing the past and making progress with taking possession of its true and authentic spirit self.
The Uranus opposition may cause a great deal of disruption in our lives, especially for those who thus far have insufficiently attended to their inner development and the needs of their spirit. The after-effects of the Uranus opposition can in that case affect their lives profoundly for some years to come. It is not for nothing that this time of life carries the name of midlife crisis. Under its influence people may suddenly feel inclined to make some truly drastic and dramatic lifestyle changes.
I believe that the events of our lives are predestined, at least in broad outlines. If that wasn’t the case there would be utter chaos on the Earth plane. Yet, somehow it all functions. It is true that we do have some choice about what happens in our lives, but this only goes as far as being allowed the freedom to choose our reactions. For the wise ones who willingly make the necessary changes as and when they are required, all will be well. But for those who find it too hard to let go of the old, the Universe makes the decision for us and presents us with circumstances that only seemingly are beyond our control.
Uranus is considered to represent the will of God, and if we put up too much resistance and try to cling onto that which we have already tried and tested, conditions may arise that force us into making the long overdue changes, after all. If we tarry too long, the Universe can and does change our lives for us. As some other difficult planetary transits – more about them in a moment – also coincide with the Uranus opposition, it is not surprising that for most of us, it can indeed be a tough and demanding time.
The Upside Of The Uranus Opposition
The positive aspect of the Uranus opposition is that it presents us with opportunities for taking ourselves and our lives apart and, at the end when life has returned to some kind of normality again, we find to our amazement that the new state is nearer to our heart’s desire. It is a time of life when some aspects of our nature are likely to still be hidden from the view of our conscious awareness. We may have been ignoring them or pushing them away, but they are unwilling to wait forever and so they come knocking at the inner door of our consciousness to be looked at and integrated. Wise ones who willingly face the conflicts and crises that inevitably arise for everybody from time to time, increase the likelihood of a fulfilled second half of their life.
Looking within and examining ourselves and our motivations very carefully is what this transit demands from us. Avoiding this is unwise because it is an open invitation for psychic and spiritual difficulties later on. It is in the nature of problems that they do not go away on their own. No matter how hard we may try to hide from them, they are sure to resurface and demand attention during one of the other Uranus or Saturn transits. I can tell you from first hand experience that it is considerably easier to deal with the midlife crisis at forty-two than with a delayed and therefore even more powerful reaction at fifty-nine, the time of our second Saturn return. As every soul must experience both, we may as well get on with it now.
A wide range of psychological issues rear their heads at this time. The stark realisation that we are not getting any younger sets us thinking about what we have and have not achieved, so far. In our late teens and early twenties we may have had visions of what we would like to be as fully mature adults. This is our chance to compare our earlier vision with what we actually have done with our lives. Should our dreams have seen us flying too high, clearly they were in need of scaling down. If, however, we have been achievers but the inner satisfaction we hoped to find keeps on eluding us and something seems to be missing in our lives, this is a signal from the inner self that for us the time has come for reassessing our lives and making some profound changes. If we were successful, then our success frees us to take up other interests or endeavours which we have had to put aside to get to where we are now. We can throw ourselves into new projects and outlets which will fulfil parts of us that our present achievements, no matter how great, never satisfied.
No matter what happens, every soul has some part that up to the present has remained dissatisfied and is therefore now urgently demanding attention. There is a deep feeling of emptiness within; because of this some people hurl themselves into new love relationships, others pursue all manner of other frantic activities. In the hope of getting rid of their unpleasant feelings, they seem to be looking over their shoulders as if to say: ‘Maybe if I run fast enough and if I keep as busy as possible, I will not feel the pain and the inner emptiness will go away.’ Look around you and you will see exactly what I mean.
Time For Spiritual Discoveries
In reality, the Uranus opposition is meant to be a time of spiritual discoveries and for developing those aspects of their nature which far too many in our material age choose to ignore. Having affairs or cramming our lives full with all manner of social activities can only delay the mid-life blues. Almost certainly it will hit us even harder when it eventually does catch up with us. As is the case with any crisis, it is better and more constructive by far to use it, to embrace it, go with the flow and see where it wishes to take us. Let go of the old, face the pain and the darkness with courage and with faith. At the end of this tunnel, there is indeed light, but it can only be found by those who are willing to open their inner eyes to perceive it.
Hermann Hesse: ‘Suffering only hurts because you fear it and it does so because you complain about it. It can only pursue you when you try to flee from it. Refuse to flee, do not complain and do not fear. Love instead. You know all this yourself, you know quite well, deep within you, that there is a single magic, a single power, a single salvation and a single happiness and that is loving. Well then, love your suffering. Do not resist it, do not flee from it. Taste how sweet it is in its essence. Give yourself to it. Do not meet it with aversion, because that is the only thing that hurts, nothing else does.’
The Angel In Disguise
There is nothing I can give you that you have not,
But there is much, so very much that –
While I cannot give it – you can take.
No Heaven can come to us,
Unless our heart finds rest in today: take heaven.
No peace lies in the future
That is not hidden in this moment: take peace.
The gloom of the world is but a shadow.
Behind it – yet within everybody’s reach – there is joy.
There is a radiance and glory in the darkness,
Could we but see; and to see, we have only to look.
I beseech you to look.
Life is so generous a giver, but we –
Judging its gifts by their covering –
Too often cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard.
Remove the covering and you will find beneath it
The living splendour, woven with the love,
Wisdom and power of the Divine.
Welcome it, grasp it,
And you touch the Angel’s hand
That brings it to you.
Everything we call a toil, a sorrow or a duty,
Believe me, the Angel’s hand is there.
That gift is there and the wonder of an
That protects us, is joyous too.
Be not content with these joys,
For they conceal even greater gifts.
And so, at this time, I greet you –
Not quite as the world sends greetings,
But with profound esteem and with a prayer
That for you, now and forever,
The day may break and the shadows flee away.
Fifteenth Century Prayer
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Grieving For That Which Is Ready To Die
As with any loss, the first step is the grieving process. This is necessary for the old parts that are ready to die and go from you, for the identities and roles we have played up to now. They have to be shed, so the new self can be born. Searching for the aspects of ourselves which during our present lifetime have remained hidden from our view or we have denied the, is the next step. Emotions and qualities have to be faced which we are not over-fond of, for example jealousy, greed, envy and maybe our fearful and dependent side, or the one that is over-ambitious and competitive.
Owning up to and becoming consciously aware of these parts expands our self-definition. By facing the full version of who we really are, complete with all its good and bad parts does away with the need to believe in an edited version of ourselves that has been shaped by us to fit into conventional and acceptable norms. This has nothing to do with unleashing the darker parts of our psyche onto the world at large. The process merely reconnects us with more of what has always been inside us, and we become a more whole and integrated being.
Looking into ourselves with utter honesty helps us also to get in touch with the positive aspects of our nature that are still waiting to be developed and integrated into our conscious personality. If we previously lived in a one-sided way, the Uranus opposition gives our ignored or neglected parts a chance to be discovered and nurtured; they will then stand us in good stead for the rest of our present lifetime and all those beyond.
Sufi Wisdom tells us: ‘When the heart weeps for what it has lost,
the spirit laughs for what it has found.’ So it needs to be with us as the pace of the process of expanding our personalities and becoming more whole through nurturing previously undeveloped talents and qualities accelerates. For those who during the first part of their lives conducted it in a down to Earth and materialistic manner, the midlife crisis may open the inner doors to a more spiritually and fulfilled life. And for those who spent their life thus far in search of Nirvana or spiritual enlightenment may find that they become interesting in earning money and making something of themselves in the material world.
The aspects of our nature that thus far remained unfavoured or undiscovered, are now pushing ever more into the foreground of our consciousness. The issues involved are likely to become the focus of our new hopes and aspirations. As slow as the Uranus opposition is, eventually it will be complete. However, the task of becoming more whole will always continue. Learning to be true to our Highest Self and the potential it is trying to help us fulfil is the work ahead for the entire duration of the second half of this lifetime.
Personality changes take place in middle age for both genders. This development generally involves what is known in psychology as cross-sex issues. Many men start exploring qualities within themselves that are traditionally associated with the feminine, while women may turn to issues that are conventionally classed as masculine. Those among us, women and men alike, who had much success early on may wish to focus their attention away from career and achievement, to make more time in their lives available for their relationships, and – above all – their spiritual development. Focusing on external deeds and worldly accomplishments usually means that the inner world of feelings and the very normal human need for real intimacy, closeness and fulfilment in relationships have to be neglected.
Those who have devoted the first half of their lives to achieving in the outer world may begin to question the amount of time and energy they want to invest there in future. Taking a greater interest in his marriage and spending more time with his children, is one way a man can develop his capacity for relationships and intimacy. However, the obvious way of turning towards his wife and his family is not always his first choice when it comes to developing his feeling side. Through their endeavours to run a home and rear children, the romantic aspect of their marriage could have did a long time ago. Unless they can rekindle the flame that once kept their inner fires burning for each other, he may need a mistress to help him rediscover and develop his feeling side. His wife too may run off and have an affair and so, both of them would be forced into re-examining and questioning their ability to form and maintain relationships.
A man’s attention may also turn to the creative and imaginative part of his psyche. With ever increasing clarity he may realise that his daily work takes up too much of his precious time, and that none of it fully satisfies his need for creativity and self-expression. He might like to look for a different type of work altogether, but if in our present working environment this proves impossible, how about adjusting his schedule to allow for more creative activities?
A woman may experience her midlife crisis in a diametrically opposed way. Should her attention so far have been primarily focused on her relationships and the needs and wishes of her partner and children, urges of a very different kind are likely to stir within. She may wish to fulfil herself and express her creativity in her own right, in a way that is not related merely to the well-being of those close to her. Her child bearing days are drawing to a close. Her children are growing older and will not need her so much any more. The day will come when they will have flown the coop. Maybe the time has come for asserting her power in the world and achieving recognition in some concrete way. She has helped her children to grow, but what about her, her own development and growth?
This becomes the motivation for her search for something that will help her to spend the rest of this lifetime in more fulfilling ways. She reflects: ‘What about going to college and developing my mind? What about entering the job market and seeing if there’s anything for me?’ None of the steps that have to be undertaken to bring about the necessary changes are likely to be easy and done without strain. Instead of running away from ourselves, if we courageously face ourselves and our lives, we have a much greater chance of finding happiness and fulfilment in later life.
Acting As Pathfinders For Others
Besides, there is every likelihood that we shall later be able to act as a pathfinder for others. Once the midlife crisis is over, we shall be able to help them steer their way through what could otherwise turn into a somewhat harrowing time for them. This is especially true for those who lack the awareness of what is operating in their lives and therefore have no idea of how to work their way through it in a constructive manner.
No matter how all this may influence you and your life, for every human soul the Uranus opposition signals the need to pause and consider how we have organised our lives, up to that point. If we have veered too much in one direction at the expense of other avenues of expression, the Universe now offers opportunities for making the changes that help to restore the balance of our lives. As established, the major life events like the Saturn Returns or the Uranus Opposition can be very tough and trying times for anyone. The only way of rendering them less stressful is by regularly taking stock earlier in life and not allowing things to fester away until one of the above mentioned events is upon us and then forces all our unresolved issues out into the open.
To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Equipped with a measure of understanding of these events and their special requirements one copes much better with the onslaught of the messages that are likely to rise from the world of our feelings. But most helpful of all is making a conscious effort to constantly remain in touch with, listen to and follow our inner guidance, our Highest Self, as It communicates with us through the world of our feelings. It knows the way of all things; it has the answers to all our questions and it is the only authority in the whole of Creation that is utterly trustworthy and truly knows what is right or wrong for us, at any moment.
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Astrological Influences During The Midlife Crisis
The earthly self’s entrance into adulthood around age thirty is marked by the first Saturn Return and now it is mature enough and ready to work its way through its midlife transition. It consists of four phases that take it through from approx. age thirty-six to forty-five: the Uranus Opposition, the Neptune square Neptune, the Pluto square and the Saturn Opposition; each phase affects our lives in a different manner. The Uranus Opposition is marked by surprise, sudden shocks, changes, upsetting issues situations, eccentricity and the unusual. In the areas of our life where the planets by sign and house position are placed in our birthchart undergo pronounced changes and reveal to us where we need to express more of our individuality and spiritual independence.
The Neptune square Neptune transit heralds a time of confusion and the obscuring of reality. We may end up feeling as though our existence and accomplishments up to now are worth nothing. We are faced with questioning ourselves about the purpose and meaning of our lives. Those who willingly work through the issues that arise have an excellent change of emerging from their midlife crisis with a renewed spiritual understanding of life, their own and in general. Alas, not all are wise enough to do so. Many choose the escape route of indulging themselves in obsessions and addictions, for example sex, drugs, alcohol or lying to themselves and pretending that everything is okay with them and their lives when that is very far from the truth.
The Pluto Square Pluto transit heralds a time of transformations. There needs to be destruction of the old that has outlived its usefulness in our lives. This needs to be followed up by taking charge of the situation to create something new and authentic from the debris. Should we have previously just been playing around in some part of our lives without making a serious effort of achieving something, the whole situation may fall to pieces before our eyes and the need for rebuilding is likely to arise.
When these three phases finally lie behind us, the Saturn Opposition has to be tackled around age forty-four to forty-five. In all encounters with Saturn frustrations, limitations, restrictions, hold-ups and constant feelings of not getting anywhere fast have to be reckoned with. Saturn requires from us that we set up structures and discipline our earthly self by facing up to our everyday realities and dealing with any resistance we encounter in an appropriate manner. Challenging, difficult and painful situations may have to be faced. We may also suffer from depression, repressed anger, physical illnesses, especially of the bones and teeth, due to the heavy responsibilities we are likely to carry at this time in our lives, in the shape of family relationships, work situations or attempts at pursuing an authentic life style. Mental illness is possible if a stable base cannot be formed in life. All these things, however, can be beneficially influenced by becoming aware of what is at stake and working conscientiously on whatever changes become necessary.
It needs bearing in mind that traditionally, all contacts with Saturn have had a poor reputation, but living in enlightened times, as indeed we are, it has gradually emerged that this is undeserved. In truth they are aimed to help us bring forth the best from within. And the gifts and qualities that are meant to be developed under its influence can be considerable for anyone who is willing to pay attention to what the Universe demands from each one of us with regard to our personal evolution. For example, during the times when we are more strongly under the influence of Saturn’s energies than usual we may feel the need to take on more responsibilities.
This includes taking charge of our inner and outer being, our character as well as our physical body, and becoming altogether more self-disciplined and focused in the achievement of our goals and targets in life. At these special times we can develop the ability to envisage them and slowly work our way towards them with great determination and stamina. As Saturn is highly critical and things have to be just right, an inner urge may overcome us to assess ourselves and our lives so far, and there is a danger of sometimes doing so excessively. As ever, a golden middle way needs to be striven for by not leaving love out of the equation, for ourselves and also for others.
No matter how all this may affect us and our life, the midlife crisis demands a major re-evaluation of its value and meaningfulness. Have we achieved our goals and dreams of the past? Are they still relevant? Are our current circumstances serving us well? The whole process is one of rebirthing that is meant to transform our lives; the way we deal with it decides how we are going to spend the rest of our present lifetime. Many people make such profound changes at this time that, when the dust has settled again, they hardly recognise the person they once were.
This part of our lives can at times be excruciating but also exhilarating, as the redefining of who we truly are can and is meant to bring us into a profound communion with our Highest Self. Just like any birth, this phase can be marked by periods of tremendous pressure, turmoil, and intensity that are interspersed with calm and relaxed moments. These are the labour pains and the contractions that are necessary to reach the excitement of something new and promising being born, our true self.
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Author Notes: All my writings are of an intuitive spiritual non-religious nature.