Updated: Jul 22, 2019
I just turned 50!
Wow. One thing I can tell you is that it is surreal to be here. Just like your elders always told you (and if I’m your elder, now I’m telling you): Time does seem to go faster as you get older.
Usually around midlife, this quickening of the passage of time presses us to confront our mortality. At fifty, I've crossed over from midlife into early elder-hood, or, more generously, late midlife.
Yes, that's right. Many people think of "middle aged" as being in the fifties and sixties. But the midlife transition starts much earlier. If we assume the average human life-span to be about 80 years, then that puts 40 at the center. Forty is also at the very middle of the midlife transits, which happen roughly between ages 36-44 .
So, at 50, I'm more than halfway done with this life thing, most likely.
I’m not trying to be a downer here. The awareness of limited time is an ally. If we thought we had all the time in the world, what reason would there be to do anything?
Life is meaningful because of of its finite nature.
And when we are attuned to the cyclical nature of life--of all things--we can make the most of the time we have.
Astrology, and the awareness of Life Cycle Transits, can help us to better make use of our precious time. When we are aware of the themes and lessons on our plate, we can work with them proactively, rather than just letting things happen to us. During challenging times, an awareness of these cyclical transits can help us to see ourselves as co-creators with our lives rather than as victims of random circumstances.
Midlife is often one of those challenging times. And it is certainly reflected in astrology. There are four major astrological transits which happen for everyone between the mid-thirties to mid-forties. These transits overlap each other, and run one to the next, ensuring roughly a decade of transformative energies moving through one's life.
I am on the other side of these transits by a few years. I could share at length about my experience of them--and I have done so in other venues. (If you’re interested in further reading/listening, please see the bottom of this post in the resources section). For our purposes here, I’ll offer an overview of the main lessons, challenges, and opportunities of each of the Midlife Transits. This is based upon what I’ve learned from my own life, in addition to my experience with hundreds of clients and several friends.
Here are the major midlife transits in overview, with the ages and approximate time-frames listed for the current generation:
Pluto Square - 36-39, start date and duration can vary by generation (about 3 years)
Neptune Square - 40-42 (about 2 years)
Uranus Opposition - 42-44 (1.5-2 years)
Saturn Opposition - 43-44 (between a few months to 1 year)
And here are the meanings of each transit:
Themes: Transformation, endings, deaths. Ego death. Making room for the next phase of life.
Opportunity: It’s time to shed, release, and let go of something you thought you couldn’t live without. In facing your greatest fears, you are empowered.
Challenge: It is hard to let go. It is hard to lose people, relationships, aspects of yourself. But the more you try to prevent inevitable endings, the harder this time will be.
Advice: Allow yourself time to grieve what is leaving. Humbly submit to the lessons at hand. Accept the inevitability of endings. They open the way for the new.
Themes: Spiritual questioning. The search for meaning. Reviewing and revising beliefs. Realizing how much you don’t know.
Opportunity: It’s time to question the beliefs that have framed your life thus far. This can be freeing. Go with the flow, and allow the time and space for magic, synchronicity, and otherworldly experiences.
Challenge: Everything is up for review, and this can be confusing. Admitting that we don’t know everything is hard. Admitting that we may have been wrong about our beliefs is hard. But the more you strive for rightness and certainty, the harder this time will be.
Advice: Question everything you believe. Be willing to have been wrong. Let go of those beliefs that are no longer true to your experience. Seek a renewed connection to something higher than yourself, whatever that may be.
Themes: Breakthroughs. Surprising events. Restlessness. Need for change. Time to separate yourself from the herd.
Opportunity: It’s time to embrace what makes you unique. You can make choices to align with your true self, rather than the self you have constructed to gain outside approval.
Challenge: Being different is hard. Rebelling against the structures of your life is scary. But if you continue to compromise your true self to appease anyone/everyone, the harder this time will be.
Advice: Allow yourself the space to make decisions carefully. This is a 1.5 year period--no need to rush. You are indeed at a crossroads, so take the time to consider your priorities and choose wisely.
Themes: Crossroads in career and social status. Questioning one’s role in the community and society. Time to assess your worldly work and progress since Saturn Return (age 29).
Opportunity: It’s time to decide what is and is not working for you in the structure of your life. Which commitments are serving you? Which are not? Then, you must take action upon your answers to these questions.
Challenge: Making decisions is hard. The realization that time is limited can be depressing. You feel anxious about making the “wrong” choice. But the more you sit on the fence and play with “what ifs,” the harder this time will be.
Advice: Commit to a plan of action. Take responsibility for how you got yourself here, for worse and for better. Devote yourself to creating a structure of life that is in integrity with who you have become.
In all of these transits, you will notice that I acknowledge their inherent challenges. And yet, at midlife, we also have the potential to decide the course of the second half of our lives from a place of consciousness and wisdom.
On the other side of this midlife initiation, I can tell you that knowing the astrology of it at the time I was going through it was immensely helpful. It gave me the ability to have perspective, to know what I ought to be focusing on, and to have a light at the end of the tunnel when things got rough.
If you’re in midlife, and you’d like to know how these transits are affecting your personal chart, you can contact me here to schedule a special “Midlife Focus” reading: firstname.lastname@example.org.
My article in the current issue of The Mountain Astrologer on Pluto Square, “Pluto Transits: Alchemy and Initiation.” (June/July 2019 issue).
-My series of podcast episodes on the Midlife Transits: