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Many things in a person’s life are predictable without knowing anything about the person apart from the age. Certain developments are inevitable simply because of astrological, or indeed astronomical, factors that will always occur at specific ages. The age of 32 will always be a romantic and fruitful year for example – it is at this age that Mars and Venus simultaneously return to their birth positions. These natural cycles can be correlated to the birth chart too, so if Venus or Mars are strong at birth, through for example having a Libra Ascendant, then the likelihood of romance is increased. Likewise, all astrologers are aware of the Saturn cycle, which at the approximate age of 29 completes one orbit of the Sun and returns to its natal position. (Note 1) This is an extraordinarily significant coming of age, bringing profound structural adjustments, yet it seems to be completely unknown to the general public.
There are of course also predictable biological, psychological or cultural changes at certain ages, particularly when young – such as learning to speak in the second year, going to school, entering puberty etc. – just as certain decades have particular associations, limitations and opportunities. Only some things are possible as a teenager for example... it is a time for parties and dancing, but not generally for pursuing a career, having children or buying property. In the twenties, which is the subject of this article, there is the energy, naivety and blind courage of youth, yet achievement is elusive and energy often squandered. The convictions and burning idealism of the twenties often spring from unconscious reaction to the expectations of parents and society, and have yet to be tempered by the cool hand of the Saturn return. It is during the twenties that natural talents are developed, and invaluable experience in personal relationships gathered. People learn from their mistakes.
At the age of 20, there are a whole range of significant astrological factors, and one of the most interesting is the Mercury factor. Indian astrologers have long been aware of the curious relation between Mercury and the Sun, which results in Mercury returning almost exactly to its birth position at the age of 13 and the age of 20. This happens at any age that is even a combination of these numbers, such as 33 or 39. The solar return for these years will therefore strongly accentuate mental skills. It is also at the age of 19 to 20 that Uranus makes its first square to its birth position. Furthermore Saturn makes its first waning trine to its birth position, and Jupiter begins the waning square prior to the second Jupiter return at 23.
Whilst all these influences will happen to everyone, the birth position by sign and house, as well as the condition of the planet, will give a very unique character to the development. Even if we just know the year of birth, then we can be more specific, and in this article I have taken as an example someone born in 1946, like George W Bush, Al Gore or Bill Clinton, who have North Node in Gemini, Pluto in Leo, Neptune in Libra, Uranus in Gemini, Saturn in Leo, and Jupiter in Libra. Bearing these things in mind, the following can be said of the 20th year.
- As you enter your 20th year you continue the trend from the previous year in which you assert exactly what it is about you that makes you unique. The urge to differentiate yourself from the norm is strong. (Uranus) This is connected to developing radically different ideas, particularly as regards your further education. You are prepared to travel more or commute if it means you can have more freedom and excitement. You are caught up in the zeitgeist of revolutionary ideas. (Gemini). At 20, developing your skills and mental talents is paramount. (Mercury) This is a year in which you are absorbed by justice and issues of right and wrong, although there is a tendency to be subjective in your own judgment and a little bit too categorical. (Jupiter). Nevertheless you strive to be fair minded, and to familiarize yourself with the views of others, and gain insight into the subtle ways of diplomacy in the process. (Libra). Despite the early revolutionary tendencies of the year, you are fully aware of the responsibilities weighing on you as you enter adult life, and you work hard to create a framework for growth into your twenties. (Saturn).
So much for 20. The age of 21 is a rite of passage in the West... the gateway to adult life and all its travails. The individuation process marked by the nodal return at 18 and the Uranus square at 19 to 20 has taken place, and a basic individual template has been established. Astrologically, the Jupiter square continues, and the Moon’s node makes a sextile to itself. The following conclusions can be drawn for our hypothetical 1946 client...
- The age of 21 sees you poised on the threshold of adult life after a radical process of change during which you have asserted your unique individual qualities and to a certain extent tuned in to the essential aspect of your fate that gives your life purpose. Now is the time to consider how you can use your natural resources and childhood inheritance to define the direction you want your life to take so that it will have meaning for you. You will meet people and get involved with groups who guide you on this path. (Node) You have a natural philosophical view and are good at seeing the bigger picture, and you need wide horizons and plenty of freedom. Nevertheless the secret to happiness and success also lies in networking with others and acquiring educational skills. (Gemini) This is a year when you tend to assert your opinions strongly, sometimes for no other purpose than airing your views. You exercise your intellectual muscle, but you are not always right. (Jupiter)
At 22 the main astrological factor is the waning square of Saturn to its birth position...
- During your 22nd year you experience the first major challenges and at times setbacks in establishing your professional credentials. How you tackle obstacles now will determine future success. When the going gets tough, the tough get going, and this year is all about perseverance and self-discipline. Your attitude to authorities at this time is crucial... very much depends on how you experienced parental discipline as a child. By making an effort now and over the next two years, you build the framework for your future career. (Saturn) It is at this time that you successfully work on the insecurity you have about asserting your own leadership – and you are willing to take your share of the limelight, albeit reluctantly. (Leo).
At 23 there are two very important influences: Jupiter returns to its birth position, and the nodes make a square to the birth position...
- After the struggles and challenges of the previous year, your 23rd year brings welcome expansion and renewed optimism. Everyone needs the dream of a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow to inspire them, and it is now that you begin to harvest some of the rewards for all the hard work you have done. (Jupiter) Benefits come now particularly because of your people skills. You gain allies and friends because they appreciate your innate fairness, and it is at this time that you realize how much more can be achieved when people work together rather than alone. You can meet a true partner this year. (Libra) In addition, this is a year when you may want to make adjustments in your purpose or inner life mission. Some of the social groups you are involved with may have values that run at counter purpose to your own, yet you can gain valuable experience from relating to people with different values. (Node)
Every 8 years Venus returns almost exactly to the same position as it was at birth, so the solar return for the year strongly activates the qualities of Venus in the birth horoscope. Therefore 24 is a Venus year. This is also the year when Saturn makes the closing sextile to its birth position prior to the Saturn return. And finally the nodes trine their birth position.
- The age of 24 is a time when matters of the heart become very important for you, and the desire to define and express your aesthetics and personal taste is strong. The focus is on how you relate and express your love, and on how your values harmonize with those close to you. Furthermore you wish to acquire material objects now that reflect your values, so efforts are centered on earning money and living a more comfortable life. (Venus) You can generally expect smooth progress during the course of the year, as the plans you have set into motion for your career create firm economic and social foundations on which you can build. It is now that you can earn yourself respect. (Saturn) At the same time you associate yourself with people who share some of your goals, and who can help you reach them. It is not so much a question of what you know as who you know. (Node)
At the age of 25, Uranus makes its first trine to itself, and this also stretches into the following year...
- During the course of your 25th year there are a number of developments that take you by surprise, and you learn that you can take nothing for granted. Life is an unpredictable affair. When change comes out of the blue, it also brings opportunity, so now is the time to find out just how prepared you are to take a few risks. If you are in a rut, you make a move to get out of it. Long-distance travel is favored, as well as meetings with exotic cultures, untraditional people and unconventional subjects. Make a move to distinguish yourself from the crowd. This is an excellent year to familiarize yourself with new technology and network with exciting groups.
The age of 26 is a Mercury year – this planet returns to its birth position in the solar return – and it is also a year when Neptune makes its first major aspect to its birth position. (Sextile). Furthermore the Uranus trine is still continuing and Jupiter makes a waxing square after the 2nd Jupiter return...
- At the age of 26 you become aware of the need to improve your communication or education skills to facilitate professional progress and smooth the course of your relationships. You are full of ideas and you want to spread them. (Mercury) You learn that life is not just about material gain and security, it also has to be meaningful, if you want to wake up every day with a smile on your face. Inspiration needs to come from somewhere, whether it is from spiritual beliefs, creative expression or through some kind of sacrifice for the greater good. Without inspiration, dissatisfaction spreads its foggy cloak, so nurture your dreams and ideals. ( Neptune ) It is in your personal relationships that you feel the strongest need for meaning and satisfaction, but they are strangely elusive. Only when you have a shared vision that transcends everyday relationship needs can you feel true contentment. (Libra) Still, you are open to change and ready to be guided by your ideals, so you can expect a strong expansion during the course of the year, and you will become more influential. You are guided by powerful personal convictions, and gain perspective over your future. (Jupiter)
The most significant astrological factor at the age of 27 is the return of the progressed Moon to its birth position at 27 years and four months. The Moon’s nodes also reverse position at this time, the Neptune sextile is still in operation, and Jupiter makes the outgoing trine to itself.
- At the age of 27 you feel a deep connection to your soul, and – perhaps for the first time – there is a sense of emotional maturity, a circle completed. With emotional currents running so deep, you are naturally confronted with the ghosts of the past... your emotional inheritance. This awakens your own paternal/maternal drives as the urge to care for a family in your own unique way makes itself felt. You do what you can this year to create a secure environment, a cozy home, and a contented family. (Moon) It is during the course of this year that you get a sense of your destiny, and to a certain extent you are torn between the pull of the past and your family inheritance, and the pull of the future. (Node) Nevertheless, a buoyant optimism gives you the belief that the future will be good for you, and you are ready to broadcast your convictions to the world and widen your horizons. (Jupiter)
At 28 Pluto, which takes 246 years to orbit the Sun, makes its first sextile to itself. (Note 3), and this will continue into the next year and the Saturn return...
- During the course of your 28th year, there is the sense that you have achieved a lot, been through a lot, yet the answers are not to be found in these achievements and experiences. It is difficult to hold on to the structures you have created, and you are not even sure you want to. You may ask yourself just how much you have been conditioned to go along the path you have taken, and you may feel that some of the steam has gone out of the machine. A positive transformation is called for at this time, and it is wise to take a hard look at what it is in your life you are tired of, and eliminate it. This can be quite an exhausting psychological process, and there is a tendency to go to emotional extremes. (Pluto) You are confronted with your deepest insecurities about yourself as an individual, and discover just how much you mask these insecurities by being overly powerful, or overly charming. The more psychological insight you gain now, the more effectively you can harness your power to create positive change. (Leo)
The Saturn return at 29 is a memorable event for everyone. As Jupiter and Saturn have a 20 year cycle, where they repeat their birth positions, at 30 Jupiter is also in opposition to itself...
- The age of 29 is a time when much of what you have achieved comes up for revision. Life has come full circle, lessons have been learned, experiences harvested. The big question now is – how much of your achievement was geared to satisfying the demands of parents and society, however unconsciously, and how much is an expression of who you are as a unique individual? You have a unique perspective on your life now, and you can gain an insight and understanding that will enable you stake out a future for yourself. The fulfillment that you have worked so hard for in your twenties may still be eluding you, and if this is the case, now is the time to define what you want to achieve in your life, and not what other people want you to achieve. What you decide now is crucial, and will form the framework for your thirties. Life is too short to spend even one more year going on a path that does not satisfy you. (Saturn) You need to overcome insecurity about leadership and creativity, and take on the mantle of a role model. Choices based on lack of self-confidence lead to a dead end, so take your position center stage and let the light shine on you. (Leo)
Don’t be afraid to radical transform your life, whatever changes now realigns you with your fate, and brings the best conditions for future growth. (Pluto)
Every year in a person’s life will be thus characterized by predictable planetary configurations. The birth horoscope will personalize these influences and make them unique for the individual, but the basic template for human development is there and shared by everyone alive. A little knowledge about the position of the outer planets during the birth year enables the astrologer to be more detailed. Obviously transits and progressions in the personal horoscope are going to be far more personal and specific, but still it is curious just how much human development can be predicted with very little information.
Adrian Ross Duncan. 12th August 2005
Note 1. There can be slight variations depending on where a planet is in its direct and retrograde cycle.
Note 2. Thanks to Vedic astrologer Finn Wandhal for drawing this to my attention
Note 3. Pluto has an irregular orbit. Whilst these years work of the most of the 20th century, Pluto will take longer to make its aspects later on in the 21st century.
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