Riding Your Planetary Cycles through MenoPassage
– an astrological guide to emotional turbulence, growth, and renewal in midlife and onward.
MenoPassage: a holistic journey through Menopause
As we have discussed in part 1 of this article, our lives and all the challenges and treasures they hold for us may well be influenced by planetary cycles, and these become particularly interesting in midlife, when the MenoPassage Journey is in full swing. Understanding these cycles can bring greater understanding, acceptance and depth to one’s experience, so we will continue to explore these in greater detail.
Riding our planetary cycles through midlife and beyond
William Sebrans, evolutionary astrologer and coach
We had seen that for the midlife / Menopassage Journey, the following planetary shifts may be of particular significance:
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. A liberation and entering into the MenoPassage Journey, setting up the process of becoming remolded.
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.
Second Saturn return — the year around age 58, a life accounting of sorts — either a harvest and/or a sober recognition of what has passed and what is possible. A Third Act beginning. This coincides with a certain kind of graduation from the MenoPassage Journey, and reflects to some extent on how deep the Journey has been.
Now we will explore more closely how to Employ These Astrological Descriptors and Revelations
“Astrology is not so much concretely predictive as archetypically predictive.”
While there are methods to divine amazing things with astrology, including finding lost keys (really!) precise astrological predictions are notoriously unreliable to the detail. That said, — they are often in the ballpark.
Archetypes are ranges of potentials, not exact characterizations. There are , for example, different kinds of kings and different kinds of servants, but the roles are distinct.
A Saturn to Moon transit, for example, will likely not be festive and will almost always accompany some contraction, or limits, or commitment, or responsibilities, or loss …but mapping out how it will unfold can be a crapshoot.
A Jupiter-to Moon conjunction for a month or a season will, for better or worse, be expansive… as in someone gets a new opportunity for meaningful work, yet she may actually gain a lot of weight! That’s expansive, right?
The point being — the archetypal unfolding of life will tend to follow certain patterns we can align with and even plan around, but there is enormous wiggle room around the details of unfolding.
If you are 40-43…a good astrologer will look at all the transits, but will be examining how a Uranus opposition may be unfolding in your life.
A Uranus opposition is when the planet Uranus in its 84 yr cycle (an average human life) has moved to the point opposite it where it was in the natal chart. The corresponding effect of that is contingent on how Uranus in your natal birth chart relates to the other planets in the chart.
These planets are like forces, or people, or like gods on Olympus who are in relationship to each other in ways that range from exalting and facilitating to challenging and disruptive or denying.
Uranus, as a rule, represents breaks from established patterns, imposed from the outside or as arising from within. Phrases like – I‘m done. I’m outta here. Gotta do something new –start welling up on the inside. On the outside – WTF just happened? Or I can’t believe he, she, they did that! Wow – what a ride this year has been!
Sometimes, it is not so extreme but still notable. And sometimes, it is extreme – like lightning and thunder has struck.
“Now that barn has burned to the ground, I have a much clearer view of the Moon.”
– Zen proverb
It can be like that. Uranus wants to free up your vision and can nuke things and relationships that stand in the way of your liberation. It’s a cycle…and the Cosmos is not picking on you.
Chiron is an asteroid/planetoid discovered in 1977 and lies between Saturn and Uranus.
There is an entire mythology around Chiron from the Greeks – the Centaur and wounder healer – which applies to its significance in current astrological charts.
People did great astrology before Chiron’s discovery, but his presence on the scene lends reliable nuance to understanding ourselves, and Chiron’s effect is now commonly accounted for in most astrological circles in the West.
Chiron represents our sacred “wound” – and also, where we subvert the ordinary way of doing things. In mythology, he was the first recorded “alternative healer”. It sheds light not only on the wound but about the resurrection and transformation of it by significant pattern shifts.
The Chiron return around age 50 is often timed right around the time of menopause, and for many a very intense time of their MenoPassage Journey. It marks not only biological and psychological changes but often a call to deep soul-work.
If someone has a Chiron placement in the 6th House of work and service, their life may be set up to experience wounding in that area… for example,– they may have had challenge finding their place in the world of work…or, if in the 3rd house of communication , – maybe a feeling of unworthiness in expressing themselves or feel rebellion against speaking in traditionally predictable ways in conventional language.
The Chiron return can invite in therapies and processes to transform that wound. Burnt-out she-warriors in the corporate marketplace lose their jobs, get therapy to find what has been driving them, and train in therapy themselves for a second career. Men who have been too timid to show up fully in relationships find themselves testing the metal in empowering Men’s Work circles.
Second Saturn Return (age 58)
The Second Saturn Return at age 58 is the pivot point. For many, it may crown the end of the MenoPassage Journey, and they may reap great benefits or have to face hard realities and go through yet another crowning transformation.
Before exploring this fertile and oftentimes challenging year, it demands mention that Saturn – the influence of contraction, limits, lessons, discipline and the Lord of Time – is ALWAYS operating in our lives, bringing his removing/separating influences… or his mastering, solidifying impact.
Every 2.5 years approximately, on average, Saturn changes zodiac signs and moves through one of the 12 houses in our charts — bringing his reign to those distinct areas such as finances/resources, communications/siblings, home, work, relationships and so on.
In addition, he is often “aspecting” other planetary forces – that is making an astrological contact , either enabling, challenging, or restricting them, so that the entire astrological and personal picture resists facile sound-bite descriptors.
That said, there are major arcs of observable major shift, like the 2nd Saturn return.
By age 58, for most people, the children, if they have had them, are grown and moved out. If they haven’t moved on – that represents right there Saturn’s call to extra responsibility.
Around this time, — the drive to climb the ladder in a prior field of endeavor starts to dissipates.
We lose employment, or get ill from insufficient body-care, or from the “thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.” (Shakespeare)
We may finally finish the ever-demanding- never-ending dissertation begun in the Chiron return, 8 years before. We harvest a few decades of gainful employment … or the harsh rewards of not applying ourselves over the years and the regrets that surface in regard to that.
Saturn is not for sissies.
That said, a right relationship to Saturn invites authentic accounting of our strengths, our foibles, and our remaining possibilities. Here, we are not rewarded for displays of either blustering bravado or for self-pity, hoping to chalk up karmic points by being in self-denial.
Saturn wants our true sovereignty.
His sometimes stern teaching aims to end our individual stories of separation and lack, and he does that by challenging us with the events and feelings that counterpoint that sovereignty – feeling dis-empowered, dependent, or coming up short… Until we get it right, understanding, at last, that we are generally the cause of our own tribulations.
A Saturn return will have us count our losses or regrets … but, rightly used, we dwell on our present gifts and future gains – a mature Saturnine perspective.
“I dwell in possibility,” – said Emily Dickinson.
It is where we arrive when we have integrated Saturn’s teaching, shedding one skin and growing another.
But let’s say by 58, we feel have won a lottery ticket in life with solid life-work, great children, good health, and meaningful relationships. Then we are invited to be humbly grateful for whatever abundance has come our way through pluck, luck, and discipline, but pride does not go down well in Saturn’s domain. He can remove anything at anytime, as an operative principle.
Good astrologers, coaches, guides, or creativity circles among friends with shared purposes, can bridge the gap between the what was, what is, and what can be during and following such a transit. Many of my clients reach out during this period without knowing what led them to make the call.
Contemplation and meditation vs. obsessive ruminating is one of the right practices during a Saturn return, and ultimately can lead to the harvest of our hard-won wisdom. Gracefully letting go of what has past and embracing what can be – can make this 3rd Act of life joyous, fruitful, and liberating.
There is no real conclusion to all of this. We are in an ever-spiraling and deepening inquiry.
Each one of these life passages marked by the planetary cycles can represent challenges, even crises to health, identity, purpose, and belonging.
There are golden opportunities in each of them when they are embraced for their demanding, liberating, mischievous, and sometimes stern teaching.
We are not being punished but rather groomed, not unlike the beloved story of the chickpea from Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks who brings us to a ripe pause in this exploration.
A chickpea leaps almost over the rim of the pot
where it’s being boiled.
‘Why are you doing this to me?’
The cook knocks him down with the ladle.
‘Don’t you try to jump out.
You think I’m torturing you.
I’m giving you flavor,
so you can mix with spices and rice
and be the lovely vitality of a human being.
Remember when you drank rain in the garden.
That was for this.’
Grace first. Sexual pleasure,
then a boiling new life begins,
and the Friend has something good to eat!
We hope that this has shed some light on your Journey and will help you face the challenges and step into the great opportunities in the Journey through MenoPassage. Please contact me for any questions you may have. Sign Up to get updates.
by Angela Ingendaay, MD