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Astrology with Christine Broadbent



By Christine Broadbent

Can you imagine your life as the passage of the hands on a great clock dial whose numbers are your passing years? Now imagine your individual life passage as a wheel within a larger wheel. The wheel of the solar system, planets arcing through space. Just as the twenty four hour cycle of your wristwatch is tiny compared to the cycle of a human life, so the human life span is tiny compared to the life of the planets. Even the passage of time taken by Neptune and Pluto for one single orbit of the sun, makes a human life passage seem short!

The smaller wheel of your life has a certain fixed pattern, fixed by the moment and place of your birth. This is the exact position of the planets when you were born - your natal wheel. Your birth imprint is symbolically fixed, yet the planets travel on through the years of your life, each at its own speed. That larger wheel of moving planets forms planet 'hands' to your smaller horoscope wheel, marking cycles of challenge, crisis and growth. We each experience a unique mixture of planetary transits in a lifetime. But we also experience life cycle transits which occur for all of us at approximately the same age. If we understand the nature of these cycles before they occur, we can more readily learn their lessons without blindly reacting to their challenges. Even the 'unwanted' influences of planetary cycles are part of our personal story, and the hardest lessons perhaps contain great secrets. Decide for yourself as you meet the cycles you have known and cycles you will know.

JUPITER Orbital period: 11.86 years
Transit Age: 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, 84 and so on. Approximately every 12 years we have a Jupiter Return.

The Story: Jupiter is ' Zeus' or 'Thor', a god with lots of hot air, big plans and big demands. From its first to its last Return, Jupiter expands our energy, optimism and self-importance in some sphere of life. We are offered the bounteous cup! Whether we accept it, reject it or drown in it, is the critical question.

The Lesson: Jupiter's lesson is usually an easy and pleasant one: believe in abundance, express it in your life and good fortune flows your way. It can be altogether a harder lesson if your natal pattern predisposes you to suspicion or excess. Suspicion may lead you to miss a fortunate opportunity and later regret it. Excess will have you quaffing the bounteous cup of life but getting so inflated on the contents that something or someone will surely prick your ego balloon. Learn the lesson of giving and receiving without pride or expectations, and Jupiter will treat you kindly.

SATURN Orbital Period: 29. 46 years
Transit Age: Age 29 is about the time Saturn returns to the position it was in at your birth. This is called the Saturn Return and occurs again at about age 58. Other significant Saturn cycles occur approximately every seven and a half years: Ages 14-15, 22, 36, 44, 51, 66 and so on. The second Saturn Opposition, at age 44-45 marks a profound re-structuring of your life because it comes at the end of the mid-life transits.

The Story: Saturn is cold old Father Time, 'Chronos' who wields the scythe to prune the dead wood from our life. Whether we are experiencing the 'Seven Year Itch' of the lesser transits or the greater cycle of the Saturn Return, these times prompt us to reassess what we have done and where we are going. Often we are faced with our own folly or our own fears as they materialise in our life. Separation and loneliness, rigidity and depression, are some of the feelings in Saturn's toolbox. Even the most jovial person becomes more withdrawn during Chronos time. This is necessary, for Saturn requires deep introspection in order to prune our excess and focus on practical long term goals. All Saturn cycles prompt us to be realistic and to realign where necessary. The Saturn Return is a cycle of completion and a new beginning - all false attachments, whether to a self image or an object, are cleared away. Then we confirm and work to develop the things that really matter. Work and effort during this cycle tend to bring returns for many years. Saturn's transits endow a new maturity and shift us into a more purposeful gear. The Return at age 29 is known as the time of astrological maturity.

The Lesson: As you can see, Saturn's lessons are not easy ones - suffering, working and maturing may be good for the soul, but are they fun ? Well yes...they can be 'fun', particularly for Saturnian types, who will tell you that 'desirable' is a better word. The most 'dangerous fun' during a Saturn transit is the suffering - it can become displaced, unconscious and a magnet for misfortune! Saturn teaches you that suffering and separation are one part of the human condition. While you are learning that, you might blame a scapegoat, repress rather than release your fears, or rigidify your attitude ..... If you blame another person they get 'worse' or withdraw - you create isolation. If you blame a situation, conditions get harder - you create 'bad luck'. If you push down your fears and unconsciously nurture them - you create them as reality in your life....Saturn is a creative force which needs your best efforts to work with it. Then Saturn cycles can be wonderful times to create a new reality. Learn the lessons of self reflection and focussing your energy - then you will create opportunity instead of crisis.

Saturn's cycle will clear the way for a more confident expression of your nature and the discovery of new goals. One way or another, Saturn is about building a stronger life in whatever area of your chart it falls. Thus for instance, someone with natal Saturn in the fourth house or aspecting the Moon might have a baby at the first Saturn Return. This building process sometimes means that the rug is pulled out from under you or something goes through a deconstruction in order for something else to be built. The Saturn Return can be difficult or sublime, but either way, it is a chance to claim your birthright - your wider social identity is waiting fgor you! Be patient, for Saturn's pace is slow and thorough.

CHIRON Orbital Period - 49 to 51 years.
Transit Age: Chiron's orbit is ‘eccentric’ and its speed of motion varies widely. This little known minor planet reaches out to Saturn at one end, and Uranus at the other end, of its eccentric orbit. At the moment people are having their Chiron Return at age 50 or 51. Those people having the half-way transit - the Chiron opposite Chiron cycle - are aged approximately 19 to 22.
The Story: Chiron is the centaur and great teacher of Greek mythology. Half horse and half man, he combined the instinctual intelligence of the horse with the intellect and compassion of the human. Chiron cycles remind us of our instinctual nature, usually through events like health crises, pregnancy and birth, new bonds with children, deepened sexuality or a new connection with the natural environment and our own body. These transits propel us into a quest in which we learn to be our own healer and guide. We caim our life quest.

The Lesson: Chiron's lesson is a simple enough one - Nature is the great healer and your instinctive intelligence is the great teacher! Yet simplicity can be the hardest thing to achieve in the complexities of modern life. The barrier is not just the routines and structures of your life, but also the attitudes which perpetuate your personal wound. This is the Chironic or the sacred wound,as explored in The Grail Legend - healing this wound requires a change of attitude, and often a change of lifestyle as well. Chiron's lesson can be hard or easy, depending on your birth chart aspects, yet it always brings a gift. That gift might be a richer appreciation of being in a body, it might be a deeper experience of Earth as mother, it might be exuberantly good health or it might be a healing change of attitude. These changes in your wellbeing are usually preceded by a Chiron crisis in which your wound, in its physical and mental dimensions, is clearly revealed to you. Chiron opens doors so be prepared to walk through them!

URANUS Orbital Period: 84 years
Transit Age: As we proceed now to the far outer planets, invisible to the unaided eye, the cycles lengthen. Uranus's Return, at age 84, is becoming a more frequent event, but still marks the end-cycle of an already long life. The most powerful Uranus cycle occurs at 'mid-life', somewhere between 38 and 45 years of age, when Uranus opposes its birth position. People born in the 1930s, 40s and 50s have this transit at the earlier ages of 38 to 41, those born in the 60s, 70s and 80s, experience it later. Because these mid-years are the same time that the even slower planets Neptune and Pluto critically aspect their birth position too, this is part of the Mid-life Transits. Other critical Uranus cycles occur in our early twenties and again in our early sixties. The duration of each cycle is about a year.

The Story: Uranus was the first Sky Father of Greek mythology, mate of the Earth Mother, Gaia, and ruler of the starry heavens and vast limitless space. He is associated with the realm of visions and ideals and the transits of Uranus are times when we become accountable to our past and present ideals. Frequently we choose to disassemble our lives and put the pieces together again with a new ingredient. Areas of our life that have become stale and unfulfilling must now change and make way for something new. The midlife Uranus cycle is an oportunity to compare our dreams of twenty years ago with what we have actually acheived and make the necessary changes. Some past goals are rejected but at the same time certain unrealised dreams from the past become so urgent that we shift our lives to serve them. Sometimes our earlier visions have come to pass but now we say 'So what? Something is missing'. An urgent intuitive sense of needed changes gives a quality of restlessness and recklessness to the cycles of Uranus.

The Lesson: Lessons learned during a Uranus cycle often illustrate the way in which your Saturn forces of resistance and control are hostile to your Uranian urges for action to promote change. The more rigid the restrictions in your life, self-imposed or from your environment, the more erratic, tense and even violent are the Uranian disruptions. These cycles demand that you re-invent yourself and break away from Saturn's comfort zone of old dependencies, stale habits and rigid maintenance of the status quo. Your Saturn force may be strong or weak depending on your natal pattern, yet it will attempt to block Uranian change, via fear of the unknown, inhibitions and even illness.

Even if you decide that some necessary movement is blocked and proceed to make the necessary changes, you may still meet Saturn's retribution in the wider society. Be prepared for some backlash when you challenge the established order and take 'the path less trod' ! Remember the Uranus principle that there is no greater loss than life not lived, proceed as sensitively as possible to adapt to the obstacles and grow around them. Ironically, because Uranus evokes change, Uranian individuals who by nature prefer 'the path less trod', often find that their shift of heart during a Uranus cycle creates a hunger for Saturnian things like stability, commitment, security and status. This is particularly true of the midlife cycle.

The influence of Uranus is usually about a year in duration with two or three periods of greatest intensity which trigger crises of consciousness.

NEPTUNE Orbital Period: 164.79 years
Transit Age: Neptune too makes its most potent transit during the midlfe period, somewhere around age 42-44. Being a very slow moving planet, Neptune does not make a full Return in a human lifetime. Its period of influence is effective for about two years. Other Neptune transits occur in the late 20's and mid 50's and the Neptune Opposition at age 82.

Story: Neptune or Poseiden was ruler of the watery depths, god of the ocean and master of all in it. We live in those depths - they are our collective world of images and archetypes, and we all 'stream at night into the loving nowhere', dreaming our life dreams. So Neptune's world is a mysterious yet familiar realm. In many ways we 'drown' during a Neptune transit - drown in a visionary romantic haze or a sea of self-pity, or in the perception of a higher truth. We may also 'dissolve' - past images of ourselves just vanish when we discover confusing, sometimes helpless, sides to our nature. We may experience the boundaries between ourselves and others dissolving, we can 'lose' ourselves in another person or in the oneness and beauty of life. Neptune's transits are islands in time where we can recharge our visions and reweave our dreams, but this island also has quicksand! Practical details of daily life can become painfully muddled. We can chase that 'perfect' someone or something, sacrifice all for it, then find it was an illusion - an empty dream. We can become a willing 'patsy', asking to be deceived or used. We must walk carefully in Neptune time, particularly at the midlife transit which has subtle traps - and the highest potential.

The Lesson: Neptune's lessons seem to reach inside your usual defences, melt your resistances and reshape your dreams. Unlike the extroverted action Uranus promotes, Neptune cycles expand your private and personal life, things don't necessarily change in obvious ways. Yet the sense of becoming a different person is probably more profound than any other transit. On the surface, you may merely be more forgetful or prone to daydreaming, but the real story might read like a soapie - the angst, the love, the devotion to a cause, the helplessness, the victim/saviour relationships, the reaching your hard-won goal and finding it's not what you really wanted, and even the blissful realisation that you are living and loving your dream....Best to keep an open mind during a Neptune cycle and let the real dreams sift out from the many false illusions that your ego creates. You can easily convince yourself to lean the ladder against the wrong wall and still climb it. Confusion is common, yet after 2 years of Neptune's 'wide lens' approach you find that you have redefined words like 'real' and 'false' and that you can turn for guidance to something much wider than your conditioned social self. Cooperate with this transit, swim willingly in its depths, allow your worldview to expand and your Neptune cycle will reveal its greatest secret: There is real magic everywhere...Typically Neptune requires a sacrifice of something personal and rewards you when you willingly surrender to a deeper truth.

Note: In the midlife cycle it is necessary to sacrifice some of the images of youth, but in the process you often uncover a kind of peaceful joy which the restlessness of youth concealed.
PLUTO Orbital Period: 247.69 years
Transit Age: Pluto makes its most critical cycle - the 90 degree 'square' - during the midlife period, most commonly between age 36 and the mid 40's. At the moment this transit is occurring at the earlier end of the scale. Pluto, like Chiron has a widely variable speed, depending on where it is. ( Therefore many people born during the 1990's will have this cycle during their 50's, as did those born before 1930.) The easier Pluto cycles are currently occurring for two age groups - those in their early 20's and those in their late 50's. Its period of influence is about one to two years, with three lengthy phases during which breakdowns and breakthroughs occur.

The Story: Pluto or Hades, God of the Underworld and Lord of the Dead, represents the natural law of life, death and rebirth - not just the final release but the many little deaths of life when some part of us must die in order for something else to be born. All the outer planets bring challenge and change; Pluto brings extremes of emotional challenge and profound changes in our desires and the way we express them. We often face ultimate concerns and feel that many things are pushing against us or we long for something seemingly out of reach during Pluto's cycle. Yet this is a story of empowerment, so an experience of feeling powerless is just one possible part of the build up of emotional energy, like lava inside a volcano, moving slowly to a powerful eruption. Other feelings we might meet in Pluto's 'not nice but necessary' basket are jealousy, lust, envy, greed, fear, suspicion and a compulsive desire to manipulate and control people and events. If we meet these in ourself or even someone else, they could be 'shadowy', disowned parts of ourself which can be made conscious, released, and allowed to metamorphose into something new and empowering.

The Lesson: Pluto teaches you to acknowledge your dark side, to accept its reality and to let go. Pluto's cycle will show you how your caterpillars can transform into butterflies and your demons into angels. This may entail a loss of innocence or naivety, which is painful but necessary for the changes to come. Sometimes other things are lost, like a relationship or a job or an attitude towards yourself. There is one simple rule - if so, let go! This is a time of shedding, so release anything that wants to leave your life and don't waste your energy in futile resistance. People or things that really belong with you will return at the end of the cycle. If they do, be sure to make a fresh start, without the old habitual behaviour patterns. Pluto unearths your deepest nature, providing you with fertile ground to foster new growth. Many new resources can surface once your shedding is done - like a renewed integrity, the power for good of your emotional projections, and a stonger willpower. The midlife transit brings more of a 'dark night of the soul' effect than the easier cycles. In these other transits you tend to be willing to make adjustments and embrace change, whereas your midlife cycle is more likely to stir up what is most raw, vulnerable and therefore defensive in you - and more resistance...more pain. Fortunately it can also be more pain...more gain. Like labour pains, the pain of cracking your old shell of habits, taboos, fears or compulsions, is part of birthing new life. The climax of Pluto's cycle is usually a new sense of empowerment and renewed energy for life, love and success.

How to Make the Most of the Planets' Cycles

1. Be prepared for a challenging time but with many opportunities.
2. Concentrate on learning from adversity. Discover the ways in which this builds strength.
3. Realise that your attitude is the difference between a successful cycle and a mess.
Stay composed when things get tough and know the change is coming. Set to work and take full advantage of the opportunities when they arise. Action in line with the transit influences brings you good fort

Special Ages on the Wheel of Life

Ages 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, 84, 96 Jupiter Return
Ages 14, 44, 74 Saturn Opposition
Ages 21-24 Pluto Sextile
Ages 27, 54-55 Progressed Moon Return
Ages 29, 58-59 Saturn Return
Ages 28-30 Neptune Sextile
Ages 36-43 Pluto Square (Midlife)
Ages 38-41 Uranus Opposition (Midlife)
Ages 40-43 Neptune Square (Midlife)
Age 50 Chiron Return
Ages 55-57 Neptune Trine
Ages 56-60 Pluto Trine
Age 84 Uranus Return

Key for Aspects

Return = Complete 360 degree cycle
Opposition = 180 degrees
Square = 90 degrees
Trine = 120 degrees
Sextile = 60 degrees

Planet Sign(s) ruled

Sun Leo
Moon Cancer
Mercury Gemini and Virgo
Venus Taurus and Libra
Mars Aries and Scorpio
Jupiter Sagittarius and Pisces
Saturn Capricorn and Aquarius
Uranus Aquarius – modern ruler
Neptune Pisces – modern ruler
Pluto Scorpio – modern ruler

Note that if a planet ruling your Sun, Moon or Ascendant sign is making a transit to your chart, you will be more susceptible to its influence.
Copyright Christine Broadbent 2006


Christine Broadbent is a full-time astrologer who loves her work. Christine is currently in Auckland and will be available for personal consultations in Sydney from mid April to early June. She will also offer consultations in Melbourne in late June. Please phone +61 402 664 101 to make a booking.
Christine also offers telephone consultations, which are taped. Or you can order printed astrological profiles or transit reports as an unusual gift. You can also leave a message on 0402 664101. Printed or email reports detailing your personality patterns or the influences of the coming year, are also available.