WHEELS WITHIN WHEELS : YOU AND YOUR LIFE CYCLES
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
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
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.
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!
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
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.
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
Special Ages on the Wheel of Life
Ages 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, 84, 96 Jupiter Return
Key for Aspects
Return = Complete 360 degree cycle
Planet Sign(s) ruled
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
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@astrologyspot.com.au 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.