*Eleditor’s note: Astrology isn’t a religion. We’re not sure it’s a science, either. It’s magic, maybe. But, as with feng shui, say, things affect things. So as long as we don’t go blaming our problems on the stars, as long as we assume responsibility for our own actions…well, hell, a little auspicious coincidence and applicable wisdom can’t hurt. And so, with that grain of salt…enjoy!
People say that our best years are the 40s, that it’s the youth of our old age—the naughty 40s.
During our 40s, women are often in their full feminine power, sexually mature and more secure than in our 20s or 30s—this often goes for men too.
What no one mentions, is the initiation into this decadent and delicious decade.
The midlife crisis is a whisper behind closed doors, a raised eyebrow, a silent suffering.
It heralds imminent divorce or meeting our true soulmate, leaving our career and carving out an entirely new existence. It means moving to a new country, a spiritual pilgrimage, a mature relationship with our almost grown-up children. It’s a time of breaking, shaping, making, renewal. It’s often when we truly begin to understand and know who we are, a time when we start heading toward true self-knowledge and self-awareness.
It’s a time when we let go of our baggage, realizing it no longer serves us.
Initiations are never fun, and as always, planets have much to do with it.
Studies have attributed this time to what is called the U-Shaped Curve—a rise and fall in happiness over our adult years, and Astrology supports this fact by way of the planetary cycles that are occurring at this time.
We all remember our Saturn Return as a time of growing up and this midlife period is similar. But, because we are older, more mature and can handle increased pressure, we get hit with additional challenges. More than when we turned 30.
From age 36-41, the outer planets—that is, the planets that we cannot see with the naked eye (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto), in their movement around the zodiac, make certain triggers to their place in our birth chart.
All of us have a unique birth chart according to the time, date and place we were born, reflecting the placements of the planets by their Astrological sign and house, showing how those planets will act in our lives according to those placements. The signs, houses and aspects (mathematical calculations) those planets make all count toward how we integrate their energies into our lives.
Our birth chart is like a picture frozen in time, forever—our own unique blueprint.
These planets continue to orbit around the Sun after we are born, and around our birth chart planets like this, triggering our birth chart planets, which are frozen in time, when they come into contact with them via aspects. Think of it as a way of the transiting or traveling planets in real time communicating or triggering the static planets of our birth chart.
Sometimes those traveling planets argue, speak sweetly, demand or coerce, depending on the type of aspect they make.
This means that these traveling planets trigger certain lessons that need to be integrated into our personality in order to march ahead with the rest of our lives.
Let’s take a look at exactly when these triggers happen, and what they potentially means for each of us.
Pluto is the darkest of all the planets.
Pluto was discovered around the time of the First World War. Therefore, he’s given the characteristics of that dark period in history—death, endings, trauma, destruction, power, obsession, darkness, transformation, change, illness, control, greed.
When traveling Pluto triggers our birth Pluto, between the ages of 36 and 40, we can expect to feel disempowered somewhere in our lives. We can expect difficult endings and transitions, the need to take control, sometimes death or illness, becoming obsessed with someone or something. We often enter counseling, a positive action to take during a Pluto transit, in which we are given the tools to transform and take back our power.
We may encounter people who try to control us, hold power over us.
We can fall into a dark hole of obsession or we can choose to transform. Pluto can create the greatest positive change in our lives, if we let him. We can become vulnerable, realize our humanity, work from the heart and not attempt to control the outcome, the person or the situation.
Ultimately, Pluto gives us the ability to truly let go, in every sense of the word. We emerge, light warriors, triumphant, blazing with the purification of our trials.
Then, at around age 41, transiting Uranus makes an opposing aspect to our birth Uranus.
Uranus was discovered in the French revolution, and therefore was assigned the qualities of that time—independence, shocking uprising and rebellion, sudden change, becoming an individual, going against conformity, acting abruptly, cutting things off, extreme change, eccentricity and sometimes, the quality of sudden striking intuition.
Uranus is different, above all, he’s not like anyone else.
He triggers the part of us that screams to be different, to be independent, to march to the beat of our own drum, to not listen to any authority but our own.
Sounds romantic and wonderful at first, but Uranus can wreak havoc on our lives.
He’s the planet that makes our husband buy a motorbike, trying to break free, causes sudden divorce, affairs—all attending to escape the mold that our lives have become.
Uranus causes us to seek something that defines us, allows us to truly express our individuality.
Uranus is our savior when we are complacent, dead, apathetic.
He wakes us up with an icy splash of water, a jolt of electricity, a shock to the heart. We need Uranus in our lives, or else we would continue to sleep in a dead slumber.
Next up, at around the same age, we have transiting Neptune aspecting our birth Neptune.
Neptune was discovered around the 1850s and was assigned the characteristics of that time.
Hence, Neptune attained the qualities of glamour (film just came out, along with photography) confusion, deception (everyone was a charlatan, speaking to the dead, raising spirits, doing seances), addiction (this was the time in which deadly drugs such as opium, cocaine and heroin were popular), spiritualism (see, seances) and psychic ability.
When Neptune triggers us, we feel as if we are floating along a fog of uncertainly, nothing seems real and we have an intense need to escape the reality that is facing us. We struggle to find a handhold in anything real, and here we can lie to ourselves about our situation or have others deceive and lie to us (cue, cheating husband or wife).
Neptune challenges us to find an inner spiritual strength, to define and cut away the dross and eventually gives us the sailing skills we need to navigate our wayward ship toward a safe haven once again.
Neptune, King of the ocean, threatens to drown us in his watery depths, and we are pushed to swim, keeping our heads above water.
Lastly, Saturn comes in to round it all off, around age 44.
Saturn, our tough love teacher, the setter of boundaries, the planet signifying responsibility, pressure, insecurities, fears, brings us worldly challenges right at the end of all this change.
He comes in the form of moving to a new house, changing jobs, going to court—anything that requires responsibility about and the practical matters.
Saturn makes sure we are following through and pushes us despite our fears toward the final goal.
He aspects natal Saturn via an opposition, like a stand off, and in the beginning, we may feel as if we will crumble, that we can’t take any more. Oh, but we can. We can, and we will. And once we have, we will realize the great gifts that this teacher brings.
Once it’s all said and done, we will finally be in our skin—comfortably full and whole.
Author: Margarita Stoffberg
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock