|Front line veterans of the 2nd World War had the conviction in the first month or two of fighting, that it was possible that other soldiers in their division might get killed, but they would not. After two months at the front, when they had seen their units get decimated, they realized that there was a reasonable chance that they might die. After four months at the front, they knew they would die… it was just a matter of time. This is a speeded up version of how we all feel. In the twenties and thirties we are convinced of our immortality, but not so in the forties. When we reach the fifties, we have no illusions. We will die, sooner or later. This realization affects different people in different ways, but we have to come to terms with our mortality.
In the fifties, women may enjoy the arrival of their children’s children, but they will not have children themselves. Men in their fifties would have to be very naïve to think that their chances of scoring beautiful women were very high. It’s not a pretty sight seeing a 50 year old chatting up girls at a disco. Both men and women who have worked their way up the professional ladder live in nervous anticipation of being unceremoniously ejected by the younger upwardly mobile. Those who lose their jobs in the mid-fifties can find great difficulty getting employed again. Those who lose their spouses feel as if they have landed on the scrap heap far too early.
Yet there are those for whom the fifties are their best years. Their professional credentials fully established, they gain highly paid positions and full respect. Relationships find new life as children fly the nest, and there is the economic freedom to indulge those things sacrificed for the family cause. Symptoms of male and female menopause wane, and new erotic pleasures can be found in non-performance related sex. There is the time to develop spiritual interests alongside professional concerns. Providing there is material security and good health, the fifties are fine.
The early postwar generation of children are in their fifties today. This was a period with Pluto in Leo and Neptune in Libra… the generation that refuses to grow up. This was the first generation to be shaped by television, and they grew up in a world shaped by dreams and ideals of perfection. They are still searching for immortality and the perfect love. Tony Blair was born in 1953 with Saturn conjoining Neptune in Libra, Uranus in Cancer, Jupiter in Taurus, Chiron in Capricorn and the North Node in Aquarius – he turned 50 on May 6th 2003 just 2 months after the invasion of Iraq. In the following analysis of the fifties, these planetary positions will be used to gain detail on the significance of each year.
The age of 50 is crucial because it is in this year that most of us experience the Chiron return. As this minor planet is related strongly to teaching and healing, and is often an indicator of where there is a lifelong wound, the age of 50 will always be a time when issues connected with these things inevitably surface. This is also a year when Jupiter makes the waxing square to itself after the 4th return age 47. So:
– As you enter your fifties and commence a new decade, there is the realization that your character is now fully developed – you are who you are – it is now more a question of building on your talents, resources and achievements rather than proving yourself anew. You can be assessed by what you have achieved so far in life, and what there is to come is very much a bonus defined by your attitude and will. The challenge at this time is to find renewed hope and vision, yet it is a time when misjudgments tend to take place, either through lack of confidence or through being overly hopeful about the future. You tend to insist on following your own convictions without being sensitive to the opinions of others. (Jupiter) This is very much related to material values and beliefs which you have consolidated through the years, and which now have become guiding pillars of conviction. (Jupiter in Taurus in Blair’s horoscope). At the same time, there are deeper issues connected with your mortality, and your ability to pass on the body of wisdom you have acquired to those who follow after you. You are poignantly aware of areas in your inner life that need healing, or where there are flaws and weaknesses, for they will surely surface in your 50th year. (Chiron) For you this is profoundly connected with your professional position and ambition, and it is important for you to investigate just what you hope to achieve, and how these ambitions serve to allay inner pain. (Capricorn)
At the age of 51 the final square of Saturn takes place before the Saturn return age 59, and this is sure to be related to serious career restructuring. Fortunately Jupiter now moves to make the waxing trine to its birth position, providing every chance of growth:
– During your 51st year there are pressing professional issues that have to be addressed. This is a time when challenges pile up, both in connection with your relationship to authorities, and in terms of your goals and ambitions. You need to define exactly where you wish to apply yourself, and exactly what you want to achieve. As you are under pressure now, this is not easy, but with extra effort and determination you can carve out a position for yourself that can stand you in good stead for the next five years at least. (Saturn) This is very much connected with how you handle interpersonal relationships, for it is at this time that structural changes take place as far as alliances are concerned. (Libra) Fortunately, this is also a time when a further expansion of your influence is possible, if you adopt a positive and visionary attitude. Bearing in mind your achievements so far, you are justified in pursuing a confident and self-assured path. (Jupiter)
At Mercury returns to its birth position around the birthday both every 10th and every 13th year, the age of 52 is a Mercury year. For many people it will also be the year when Pluto trines its birth position, and as Pluto’s aspects to itself are so rare, then its effects are proportionately significant:
– Your 52nd year is a time when you breathe new life into communication and educational influences and are very active in networking with others. (Mercury) It is also a period of personal transformation that can see you both go into the depths and re-emerge newborn. It is at this time that buried emotional drives surface, and you can be quite unable to bury them again. These feelings fuel a deep-seated change that can lead you to rediscover sexual drives and psychological power. A new authenticity can come into your life based on releasing repressions and living life to the full. If there are features of your life you are tired of, now is the time to get rid of them. If there are bonds that drain you, then they need to change or go. There may be a power battle now, but it serves the useful purpose of evoking your survival instincts and bringing empowerment. (Pluto) This is connected with a deep unconscious drive to assert your ego, even if it means flirting with self-destructive impulses. (Leo)
The age of 53 is a year when many influences peak. Quite apart from the continued Pluto trine, both Neptune and Uranus trine themselves, whilst Saturn sextiles its natal position, and Jupiter opposes. But it is the outer planets that have the most profound effect:
– During your 53rd year you are very sensitive to the generational factors of your birth period, and there can be far-reaching changes that bring many opportunities if you are willing to embrace the future and let go of the past. You are still very much in a transformation period which has brought new life and empowerment. (Pluto) At the same time your visionary capacities now peak, and you are able to transcend your normal life structure and enter new realms of the imagination. There is a kind of global consciousness that pervades your being, and you are extremely sensitive to, and motivated by, the needs and sufferings of others. (Neptune) For you this is very much connected with a tendency to idealize the ability of mankind to relate in a positive way, and in your personal relationships to dream of an unreachable ideal. (Libra) This is also a period that can bring travel to exotic lands or contact with exotic people. You are willing to take a risk to experience something new, and you want to be involved with people who get together with a shared vision. This is a wonderful time to experiment and innovate. (Uranus) This has a lot to do with an alternative vision that you have for the human family. (Cancer)
At the age of 54, the Neptune and Uranus trines will still be operative, and – equally significant – the progressed Moon returns to its birth position for the second time (the last time being age 27 and 4 months):
– During the course of your 54th year, you are still in a period of dynamic consciousness growth that sees you experimenting with your life on several fronts. You are open to any changes that bring renewal and excitement, and this can bring international travel and input from cultures very different from your own. This is the time to embrace new technology and surf the wave of change in society, rather than holding on to established tradition. At the same time there is a dawning spiritual sensitivity, and activities connected with nature, music or religion can bring inner enrichment. Furthermore this year is a time of emotional rebirth, and your feelings connected with home and family come strongly to the fore. Now is the time to confront latent emotional issues connected with bonding that can relate back to your childhood, so don’t be surprised if this a bit of an emotional roller-coaster year when you are concerned about creating security and a safe base.
Whilst the influence of Uranus and Neptune begin to fade as the age of 55 dawns, Jupiter will now make the incoming trine to its natal position, prior to the 5th Jupiter return at age 59. And during the course of this year, the Moon’s nodes return to their birth position for the 3rd time:
– Many things come together during the course of your 55th year, and if you have prepared the ground well, this can be a time of rapid growth and expansion. If you have listened to your visions and dreams over the last two years, and allowed yourself to be guided by your imagination and creativity, then you will now feel that the years ahead will be fulfilling and full of promise. Likewise, if you have been willing to move with the times and take a risk or two, then the future will hold no terrors for you. You can enjoy the fruits of increased awareness, and may feel a strong bond with humanity, ecology and nature itself. Now is the time to slip into overdrive whilst enjoying the fruits of past efforts. As the year draws to a close you have also to consider the general direction of your life. Are you associating with people who give a meaningful contribution to your life? Are you doing work which corresponds to your mission? (Node) For you this has a lot to do with finding the right balance between asserting your ego, and being receptive to the voice of the community… the latter being the most crucial in your case. (North Node in Aquarius)
At the age of 56, Venus returns to its birth position around the birthday, awakening themes of relationship and economy. The nodal return is still very relevant, and at the same time Jupiter will make a closing square putting the focus on expansion and issues of judgment:
– During your 56th year self-worth issues come to a head in relation to your love life and economy. If you are lucky in love, then more luck is due now. If you are looking for a relationship, then there is likely to be one, and if you are currently in a relationship, then this is a time to consolidate and cherish it, not least by cultivating the art of romance. As your aesthetic values become more important to you now, you may want to spend more money on life’s pleasures, and this brings your whole economic situation into focus. With your senses and desires so stimulated at this time, good judgment is required in the management of your economy. However you tend to be unresponsive to the advice of others, or too inclined to be guided by your personal convictions. Take care not to overreach yourself; seek the advice of experts. You need to be especially careful in matters connected with justice and the law. It is crucial at this time that you take stock of your life situation and make the adjustments necessary to work and relationships, so that they accord with your inner convictions of what your life is about.
There are no major planetary cycles at the age of 57, unless Jupiter’s final sextile before the conjunction is taken into consideration. However, the 3rd Saturn return is already looming on the horizon, and along with that the whole question of future life structure:
– General trends during your 57th year bring some consolidation and calm, and a time when you can enjoy the fruits of your labors, especially in terms of your social life and friendships. However there is a growing awareness that the solutions which have served you so well during the course of the fifties will not last forever, and thoughts of how you would like the future to take shape begin to arise. As yet your main concerns are of how you maintain the professional momentum that you have achieved over the last few years, and there is the sense that hard-won achievements are getting washed away by the sands of time. Under these circumstances it is wise to develop your inner life and your creative or spiritual interests, for these will always be with you whether you have professional success or not.
At the age of 58 Saturn will return to its birth position for the second, and perhaps the last time. This is a major milestone at the age of 29 to 30, and it is no less of a milestone as the fifties draw to a close. This has traditionally been the time of retirement plans and preparations for old age:
– During the course of your 58th year there is the sense that life has come full circle. Ambition has served its purpose, and you can look back on a series of achievements that have crowned your professional life. Now, with the wisdom of years, you realize that there is little sense in driving upwards and onwards to satisfy ambitions… what would be the point? The question is: what can you take from your current professional status to work on and continue to develop? Or has the time come to bow out from the rat race, wind down, and maximize your life quality in the last phase of your life? You cannot build your future on the framework of the past… you can either build a new framework, if you have the willpower and energy, or allow the old one to dissolve. You still have the chance to define what is uniquely you. There is nothing to prove, but if you allow yourself to be guided by your ultimate life purpose, there can still be mountains to conquer in the years ahead.
Jupiter and Saturn have a planetary cycle that repeats every 20 years, so that as the fifties draw to a close they both simultaneous return to their birth positions, marking a definitive watershed in life:
– As you enter your 59th year you appreciate the significance of your age… on the threshold to the sixties, with the realization that your greatest achievements may well lie behind you, whilst the future both professionally, economically and in terms of relationships is dependant on the structures you have already created. Yet this very realization has a settling affect; you are too wise to struggle against the inevitable, and fully aware that any decisions you make now will have effects that can last the rest of your life. It is at this age that you really can plan how you would like your future to be, using your knowledge and experience of the society of which you are a part, to maximize the benefits that the future can bring, and minimize the limitations. Radical experimentation can be left to those who follow in your footsteps, but if your economy is strong, and your professional foundations firm, you can easily build further on what you have achieved.
If childhood is like the water that springs out from the mountainside, surging in rivulets to join the larger stream, and middle age the powerful flow of the river through the plains, then the sixties and beyond show the river estuary as it flows into the sea and merges with the ocean. The strong tones of individuality that characterize the early stages of the flow finally make way for a merging into the collective. Outwardly the individual during the later stage of life steps back and sees himself as part of something greater. Inwardly he or she may smile at earlier self-importance and ambition, knowing it is all over far too soon. The time comes to embrace universal values that are not dissolved by the passage of time. In modern times many will live to experience yet another Saturn round, with perhaps thirty full years to consolidate and digest their existence and this is a great opportunity to prepare for the most exciting transition of all – death and the after-death state.
Adrian Ross Duncan 20.11.2005