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Men and women in their twenties or thirties do not really think they are going to die. They are aware that there are old people, and that at some point they disappear. Maybe they have even attended a funeral. But actually, this fate is not going to happen to them. There is so much to do, so much to achieve… death is a distant and vague prospect. Time stretches out into infinity, everything can still be achieved.
This luxury is not available to those entering their forties. Time is finite. If there is a feeling that major goals have not been achieved, then time is becoming short. The doors are rapidly closing on women who have not yet had children. Bachelors are beginning to feel the emptiness of the bachelor life and wondering just how alone they might be as they get older. Those who have not found their mission in life feel mortality breathing down their neck. Blessed are they who made the necessary adjustments turning thirty at the Saturn Return, because for them entering the forties seems like rounding a corner at speed, whilst for those who did not the forties present daunting realities.
Normally the second return of the Moon’s Nodes at the age of 37 has paved the way for soul-searching and a readjustment of life more in harmony with personal destiny. For most people, there has been professional success, and the establishment of a secure home and family. People’s minds turn to how they can enjoy the fruits, after they have sown all the seeds, and nurtured their growth. Nevertheless, for a large number of people, the early forties are a rude awakening, as the stressful aspects of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto kick in, culminating in the Saturn opposition. For those who have stressful aspects to the outer planets at birth, this is a time of radical change and transformation, which often brings stress and an urge to combat stress through medication, or through psychological and meditative techniques.
Most people in their early forties today have the rare and extreme Pluto/Uranus conjunction in their birth charts, and for them entering the forties is often characterized by a feeling of insecurity, especially concerned with their work, which may need restructuring. Many from this generation are obsessed with job security and constantly retraining and gaining new skills. They are acutely aware of how new technology or outsourcing to developing countries can suddenly rip away what they have worked so hard to build up. In the following section, I will use births in 1967 as a basis for analysis. Those born in 1967 would also have had Saturn in Pisces, the node in Taurus, Jupiter in Cancer and Neptune in Scorpio, a grand trine which might explain the musical and spiritual revolution that took place at that time. Kurt Cobain (Feb 20th 1967) who formed the appropriately named music group “Nirvana” was one of these – and unfortunately he did not make it into his forties. (He committed suicide at the age of thirty).
The birth positions of the outer planets have a strong influence on a person’s life as they complete the different stages of their cycles. During the 40th year, there are a whole series of predictable planetary influences. As Mercury returns to its exact birth position on the birthday every 20 years, 40 is a year when there is a considerable mental boost. Venus too returns to its birth position in its eight year cycle. For most people this is also a time when the Uranus opposition is starting, as is the Neptune square. And for people born in the last half of the 20th century, Pluto also makes a square at this time. A lot is going on, and the following could be said to a person turning 40:
- As you enter your forties and commence a new decade, you feel a sense of urgency about the future, and realize that a number of readjustments will be inevitable. This is a time when you review your mental skills – your education and communication – and take steps to optimize your intellectual capacity. (Mercury) There is extra focus on your comfort level – both economically and in relationships – and you will need to work harder on your weaknesses and capitalize on your strengths in these areas. (Venus) More importantly, there are a number of factors that seem beyond your control, that threaten to derail the train. This is why this is a good time to step back from more concrete goals and consider your overall mission in the second half of your life. How can you get out of the rut at work and innovate and change? (Pluto/Uranus in Virgo). How can you get more emotional depth and meaning into your intimate relationships? (Neptune in Scorpio). Opportunities for change and transformation should be welcomed rather than resisted.
For most people, the age of 41 is when the Uranus opposition is at its peak, and Pluto and Neptune are still powerful in the first square aspect to the birth position. Furthermore, with Jupiter now opposing itself and the node also squaring its natal position, the changes that commenced at 40 are still in full swing:
- During your 41st year you are still in the middle of a number of unfinished processes that require a review of the direction of your life. On the one hand powerful material forces give the opportunity for growth and expansion, whilst on the other you are required to expand your spiritual life. (Jupiter) Crucial experiences with people and groups that you have been involved with force you to revalue who you want to be with in the next phase of your life. (Node) An expansion of your horizons now can bring long journeys of exploration, and they can bring separation from people and circumstances that you feel have been restricting you. These changes can be accompanied by a spiritual and psychological crisis, that despite upheaval bring catharsis and renewal. If you have anything unique you feel you can offer the world, this is the time to go for it.
By the time we reach 42, the Uranus opposition and Neptune and Pluto squares are finally wearing off, but now Saturn is moving up to make its second opposition, which will grown stronger during the following year:
- As you enter your 42nd year, things are beginning to fall into place after a fairly radical transformation, which has seen you take risks and make what is for you some revolutionary changes. You have confronted many inner demons in this process, and gained psychological insight. (Pluto) You have weighed up the pros and cons of freedom versus commitment. (Uranus). Much has changed in your working environment. (Virgo) There have been times of confusion and helplessness, but somehow life is richer and has more meaningful, and intimacy is more rewarding. (Neptune in Scorpio). You have gained a higher degree of independence, and as you have done so, the focus now moves onto the important relationships in your life. This is the time to set limits, and to maintain your individuality, whilst considering just how much responsibility you are ready to take on.
The age of 43 is the year when the Saturn opposition is just beginning to kick in, whilst both Jupiter and the Node trine their natal position, and these influences tend to be stabilizing factors after an unsettled few years, so:
- Your 43rd year is a time when you are aware that major challenges are looming in the future, particularly in relation to authorities and partnership. Whilst this is a time when you feel that relationships bring limitations, this is also a time when you are willing to rise to the challenge and accept more responsibility. This is a year when you learn to create order out of chaos by making sure that all the details in your life function efficiently. (Saturn/Pisces) With confidence rising as the year progresses, you have a vision about how you would like the year ahead to develop, and you can achieve the goals you set yourself through hard work, good luck, and through help from people who support you on your path. (Saturn/Jupiter/Node)
By the age of 44, the Saturn opposition is all-dominant, whilst Jupiter, making the closing square to its natal position, increases tensions connected with growth and consolidation…
- Your 44th year is characterized by a strong awareness of the limitations imposed by both your personal and professional relationships. You meet resistance to your plans, and this leads you to consider making structural adjustments in your goals. There can be changes in your career, and serious re-evaluations of your emotional commitments. Setbacks are liable to occur, and a patient attitude is essential to overcome the challenges that arise. You need in particular to work on a fatalistic tendency to give up and allow things to dissolve – a kind of existential lethargy. (Saturn/Pisces). This is a year when you gain considerable insight, but can make hasty judgments. This can affect decisions connected with home and family. (Jupiter in Cancer).
The age of 45 is a something of a hiatus in the mid-forties, reflecting as it does the period of consolidation after the hectic years of the early forties and the final Saturn opposition to itself. However, once every 15 years, Mars comes very close to its birth position on the birthday, so it is an industrious time…
- After the many changes in the early forties, and the successful resolution of challenges in professional and personal partnerships last year, you are now in a position to consolidate the structures that have been established, and build upon them. There is a realization that you have a duty to give back to society as well as receive, and you may feel you have the surplus energy to do something for the community. This is a year when your energy peaks, and – as you now have a clear idea what goals you want to achieve – there can be considerable achievement. With this new forcefulness and maturity the way is paved for promotion and success.
At the age of 46 the Moons Nodes exchange positions, just as they did at the age of 27. According to Indian tradition the nodes are rather nervous about each other’s presence, so it is not a comfortable time, existentially speaking. The age of 46 is not the early forties anymore, but the approaching fifties…
- During your 46th year there is a growing sense that professional ambition and family security is not necessarily the answer to all your needs. There is also the matter of your personal destiny, and questions arise now as to whether the path you are treading conforms to your inner evolutionary needs. The time has long gone when you could afford to chop and change as regards work and partnership, you need to focus on what has meaning for you as an evolving soul. Generally speaking, this mean being honest about who you want to spend time with and be influenced by, and this year you may wish to move away from some people, and towards others who are more in tune with your spiritual needs. (Nodes) Specifically for you this is connected with establishing stability where there has been chaos, and finding inner peace where there has been soul-searching and confusion. (Node in Taurus)
The age of 47 tends to be a year of growth and confidence because Jupiter returns for the fourth time to its birth position…
- During your 47th year you experience a surge of personal confidence and a renewed vision of just what you are aiming for in life. Insight and understanding come easily to you, and you are drawn to deeper study and an urge to widen your horizons through travel. Your opinions and convictions become more pronounced, and you are not prepare to allow intellectual and spiritual authorities to browbeat you. Whilst you are willing to receive instruction from the truly wise, you have no time for self-appointed gurus. Enjoying life is a question of attitude, and this year your natural optimism ensures that you attract good fortune and success. (Jupiter) You receive a particular boost in your family life, and you can expect happy family events and perhaps a move or enlargement of your living space. (Cancer)
At the age of 48, with the fifties rapidly approaching the major planetary influence is the return of Venus to its original position on the birthday…
- The age of 48 is a key year for your relationships and economic security. This is a time when your love life is a key issue, and your basic needs and tastes come strongly to the fore. There are increasing demands on existing relationships that they be meaningful and authentic, rather than a soft cushion to sleep on. There is a need for more intimacy, and a re-examination of the role of sexuality in the relationship. New relationships can be formed that are based on higher values than the material. On the economic front new sources of income can be found, and new investments made.
The age of 49 gently rounds off the roller coaster forties, with a supportive Saturn moving in to trine its natal position, whilst Jupiter makes its first sextile after the 4th return…
- Your 49th year is a year of achievement, growth and consolidation during which you build on established foundations and generally feel comfortable with the path you have carved out for yourself. There is a sense that you have been accepted by society and have an important role to play, and the need to prove yourself makes way for a sense of satisfaction as regards your achievements during the forties. (Saturn) You have a profound understanding of the trials and tribulations that people go through during their lives, and you have learned to see your own struggles in this universal light. (Pisces) With a strong personal foundation, you are able to start a new phase of personal expansion and already this year you will reap the economical and social benefits of the efforts you have put in.
There are those who say that life begins at forty – but they may just be trying to cheer us up. Yet the forties are probably the very best years for success in all areas of life. For most people there is an assured income, a loving partner, children who are beginning to get independent… all the ingredients for happiness. But rounding fifty is another matter altogether. Women have reached menopause, and men have their own struggles with potency. For all women and most men there will be no new children. It’s getting too late for gaining new qualifications. Youth has certainly gone. Nevertheless, some of the greatest successes have been made after the age of fifty. This is the age of most presidents and prime ministers, and huge economic empires are created by older men and women. Most people in the west have both the freedom and the finances to pursue their dreams, and with the increased life span in the 21st century it some people are starting to get away with saying: Life begins at fifty.
Adrian Ross Duncan 20.10.2005
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