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The Astrology of Aging; thriving in the Third Act of Life

The Second Saturn Return; Age 59

The Second Quest at the Second Saturn Return


Excerpt from book: Astrology for the Third Act of Life:

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” ~Anatole France

The Second Saturn Return is an important turning point in our lives, yet it doesn't always feel as obvious, radical or difficult as the first Saturn Return at age 29. The book: "Astrology for the Third Act of Life" explores this transit in a chapter beginning with the phrase; "It's never too late to fall in Love." Saturn is a changer.

For one, it lowers the threshold between our conscious "hold" over our life situation and unconscious material that wants to surface. So, one of the ways it can mani- fest first is with unusual actions, or even a depression, out of which comes a creative impetus for a better alignment between our inner hopes and dreams and the outer world reality.

In this Saturnian climate we are asked first to complete any unfinished business. Sometimes we don’t even know what business this is until this transit arrives: it could be a health issue that needs tending to, or an aging parent that needs care, or a persistent inner voice now demanding that you make deeper changes in life direction that aligns with your Soul purpose. If you don’t know what the needed changes are, don’t worry, the events of this transit will show you what that is and make it possible for you to work to achieve new goals.

For example, you could feel your current job threatened by younger people. Your ego may complain loudly

that it’s ageism and there’s nothing you can do about it. But is this true? It may be, but it may also be as mundane an issue as your lack of willingness to learn new computer skills. And you may unconsciously fear not being able to learn these skills because you were bad at math or typing in school--yet that’s been repressed.

Consider what you may be in denial about at these major transits because you want the truth, and the choices they entail. The late psychiatrist R.D. Laing poetically describes here the mind’s denial reflex:

“The range of what we think and do Is limited by what we fail to notice And because we fail to notice That we fail to notice

There is little we can do To change Until we notice

How failing to notice

shapes our thought and deeds.”

The mind is as clever as the poem. So, what is in denial at this time? Often, it’s about caring for our bodies. If we put off that yearly doctor’s visit or call to the dentist, it may not be long before we’re calling the oral surgeon. If we don’t listen to our body’s messages now we may have some tough lessons with “reality” --that’s Saturn’s job.

However, aside from these admonitions, there is a beautiful inwardness in Saturnian times where we can feel our connection to the whole of humanity.

Contemplation is a Saturnian activity which can be really sweet at this transition. I often counsel my clients to consider writing a memoir now—even if only a dozen pages—to remember and contemplate the story of their lives. It can be a rich experience of reviewing your life from a surprising new perspective. You may find yourself bringing new insight into some of the same old stories...

Saturn is the contemplative melancholy from which creativity flows. It is a gift we seldom want; yet we feel its richness when it permeates us. Like the Sun pushing its way through a dark moody sky at dawn, we can only stand in awe at the power and beauty we see. And at the end of the day, it is this luminous moment that we remember. It came unbidden and unwanted like a cold winter’s morning, but the moment changed our life. Out of it came the poem, the memory, the insight... such is the gift of Saturn.

I love the paradox of how we can feel the aloneness now as well as the sense that we are all together in the al-one-ness. This is when we can relate to the words of Ram Dass: “We’re all just walking each other home.”

Many people experience a rush of inspiration in their later years: Picasso, Salvador Dali, Carl Jung, Mahatma Gandhi, Marie Louise von Franz—all did some of their best work after their second Saturn Return and were creative and inventive well into their later years and right through the Uranus return at age 84.

These are also the years when we need to look at re- discovering our life direction and soul purpose. There are many ways to do that, but astro- logically we benefit from looking at the signs and houses position of our North and South Nodes. (Excerpt for Book)