MenoPassage: a holistic journey through Menopause
In the MenoPassage years, most women undergo profound psychological shifts, often causing some instability and possibly leading to quite a new sense of identity. We are going to explore whether these shifts, challenges and transformations may actually coincide with the influence of the planets upon our lives, in the framework of the well charted system of astrology.
Indeed, for some, the MenoPassage years may be accompanied by significant emotional turmoil, anxiety, depression, and sometimes, the fear of aging and the unknown. For others, it is simply a time to shed one skin, perhaps a part of them very oriented to caring and nurturing, and move into another part of their lives, – often a creative, more focused and determined part.
Regardless of the shape it takes, what is clear is that a new chapter is opening. And we tend to attribute so much of these shifts to the level of our hormones and, perhaps, make attempts to keep things in their status quo by taking on hormone replacement,- yet women seem to undergo these shifts, regardless of this physiological aspect. The following article will shed light on this issue.
Riding our planetary cycles through midlife and beyond
We live our lives in cycles; no-one knows this better than every woman that endures the energetic ebb and flow of the menstrual cycle. And so our lives also encompass much larger cycles and recurrences, and through them, we have a chance to change, grow, mature, expand… and if one takes a very large step back, one starts seeing very specific patterns, and these patterns in turn do in fact reflect astrological patterns, as we shall explore.
Throughout history, many have referred to these larger cycles… Shakespeare referred to it as the seven ages of man,; psychologist Eric Erickson speaks of five stages; the ancient Chinese speak of 7 stages. By understanding these greater laws, we have a chance to embrace our changes and even move deeply into and through them to come out stronger on the other side.
According to astrology , these cycles are guided and influenced by the planets, as we will examine more closely. It paints a very detailed map of how our psychology gradually unfolds and what opportunities and challenges arise at various points of our lives.
Some of these planetary influences, of course, are highly individual, but there are also broader patterns and cycles that can be delineated and help us understand our road map regardless of our personal chart. This does not require for you to take on the whole ideology of astrology; simply may shed some light on patterns that unfold.
Understanding these cycles may well reassure one that, despite the legion messages that spill out from the glossy lifestyle magazine covers, that ambush us with an overwhelming menu of options for living the good life – in fact, all the great lessons that often happen in midlife, when one’s whole being seems to be thrown into greater flux, deeper experiences such as loss, shock, disorientation, regret, and other tart experiences are all quite normal and built in to the greater scheme of things.
And it is reassuring to understand that these enormous challenges guided by the planets may lead to a renewal of ourselves, and may even be our sacred invitation.
So What Do Planets Have to Do With It?
In every culture on the planet and from every epoch, there have been astrological traditions that have observed the relationship between planetary movements and the lives of people, nations, and even the Earth itself.
Without claiming it as a belief system that some planet –say, -Mars made me throw the dishes at the wall… or that Venus made me fall for a jerk…it has been verified repeatedly through the millennia that when the planets (and distant stars) are in certain positions in the sky and in relationship to each other, certain lines of character develop in a newborn child and certain predictable ranges of events unfold throughout the life. So, while we might not proclaim the planets and stars are the CAUSES of our lives, we can confidently assert there are compelling and useful CORRELATIONS to them, validating the ancient maxim from Trismegitus – As above, so below. As without, so within.
As a person progresses through the “ages of man” (see– Shakespeare’s As You Like It) — there are fairly predictable seasons of expansion and contraction (Jupiter vs. Saturn), abundance and loss, love and loneliness, growth and decay.
By the time we are in mid-40s, we should be getting the impression that we are not entirely in charge of this play in which we play a part. Change happens. Falls follow rises, and rises follow falls. We are in favor, then not, – in a flow, then not.
“Fate leads she who follows and drags she who resists.” — Plutarch
Fate is tricky, though. I am biased to think that Fate is not digital terrain of either-or... but rather an analog field of maybe, but also. Fate has a range of potentials, as does its more upbeat sibling — Destiny. That said, there are times, when something’s gotta give, and that’s what we will explore in this piece.
Everyone has a unique trajectory in life…even twins. That trajectory is based on what planetary influences were present at birth, the planetary movements (transits) that follow over the years, family and societal conditioning, karma perhaps, soul age and soul perception, and even Grace.
The diverse elements in that stew of influences suggests that planetary movements affect people quite differently, despite what the astrology tabloids might influence the gullible to believe.
There is no fixed recipe for how people will experience outer and inner change.
But there are parameters.
Speaking quite broadly, here are some classic times of shift, change, growth, and/or loss.
Saturn Return: Saturn works in a cycle of 29 years, and within one cycle it leads us through all one’s “astrological houses”, i.e. all the different aspects of one’s relationship to oneself and intimate sphere as well as the greater world one interacts with. Thus at the end of the first Return, age 29, one has had a good taste of all that is within one, one’s challenges, and potential. It is a certain coming of age, often challenging with more responsibility. One may well have achieved a basic level of maturity and stability. The next Saturn cycle, ending around age 58, will bring potential deepening and refinement. Most of the MenoPassage years land up within the second cycle of Saturn and are reflecting the challenges of this maturation process. The wine of one’s being acquires depth and character.
At the Second Saturn return — the year around age 58, we have a life accounting of sorts — a harvest and/or a sober recognition of what has passed and what is possible. Third Act begins. This coincides with a certain kind of graduation from the MenoPassage Journey, and reflects to some extent how deep the Journey has been.
Jupiter return – every 12 years. New cycles of growth. A Jupiter’s return adds a hue of meaning and being supported by the universe in a mysterious way. When you align with what you’re meant to be doing, magic happens. This may well recur several times in the course of MenoPassage.
Uranus opposition — somewhere between the ages 40-44, often over the course of a year or more — involving radical breaks from the past, liberation, sudden loss. For many, this marks the time of entering the MenoPassage Journey, setting up the process of becoming remolded. For some, the sense of liberation is a gradual unfolding, for some it comes quite abruptly.
Chiron return, around age 50. — involving an activation of a sacred wound, up for healing, and also a break from the bonds that have held us back. THIS may very well be the greatest contributor and challenge to the MenoPassage Journey.
These are very broad strokes…In reality, it can be more complex and confounding with multiple significant transits occurring at once that either accentuate or attenuate the themes at play, or both, — for better or for worse.
Understanding these cycles can help one to take on all the challenges of MenoPassage with courage and an open heart, knowing that it represents a great calling upon one to emerge stronger and freer, more deeply connected to who one truly is. We will explore this in greater detail in section 2 of this article, please stay posted.
by Angela Ingendaay, MD