In the previous article on this subject, I examined predictable changes that would happen for people just because of their age. Knowing a person’s age means that you know the year of birth, and – perhaps with a little help from the planetary ephemeris – you will then know the sign positions of the outer planets and nodes. When the planet aspects itself at a specific age, then changes will take place according to the sign (and house) position of this planet. For example, I have Uranus in Cancer in the 9th house, and when I was 20 – 21 and Uranus squared its birth position, I was traveling in India and my wife-to-be gave birth to our son there… the creation of a family abroad.
The Pluto square
In the last article there was a particular focus on the Saturn and Uranus cycles, as well as the Moon’s nodes. Pluto and Chiron are also important but it is difficult to say at exactly what age they will resonate, because there orbits are very eccentric. People born in the mid-forties will experience the Pluto square at about the age of 43, whilst people born in the mid-sixties will do so at about the age of 37… at the same time as their nodal return. (So you can for example expect 2002 to be a major year of change for those born in 1965). Naturally, people who have strong aspects of the personal planets to Pluto will experience an upheaval and psychological catharsis at the time of the first square.
The Chiron return
Chiron rushes through some signs and dawdles through others, but it is a sure thing that it will return to its birth position at the age of 50-51. This is the time when people are confronted with circumstances in their own lives, or in the lives of others close to them – often connected with health – which they can feel helpless about. It is a good time to actually work with health and healing, and to help people who have weaknesses. I have Chiron in Sagittarius in the third house, and when I was 50, my sister came from Spain to stay with me in London, and she had an illness which was impossible to treat. It certainly taught me a lot.
The Uranus/Neptune cycle
Interestingly the Neptune square takes place at the time of the Uranus opposition – around the age of 42 – because the orbit of Neptune around the sun (165 years) takes almost twice as long as the orbit of Uranus. The years from 41-43 are therefore extremely important for burst of creative energy, as well as disorientation in connection with the practical framework of life, which is only re-established at the Saturn opposition at the age of 44. The ages of 54-55 are likewise fantastic years for individual creative flowering as both Uranus and Neptune trine themselves at this time… but it can still be a disorienting period.
There is another method for tracking predictable change based on the age of a person, and that is in relation to the synodic periods of planetary pairs. This is a big subject, but here are some examples.
Saturn/Jupiter (20 years)
Every twenty years these two planetary timekeepers return to the same relative position in relation to each other. If you are born with the conjunction, which took place in 1940, 1960, 1980 etc., then every twentieth year will be extremely significant as regards your relationship to authorities and society, as well as in connection with expansion and consolidation. There is something fateful about the repeat; for example John Lennon (born 1940) formed the Beatles in 1960, the Beatles broke up in 1970 and he was shot in 1980. It is possible to predict structural change for anyone born on the year of the conjunction, or for that matter the opposition (1950, 1970, 1990 etc.), at intervals of ten years, and these changes can be accurately specified through the sign position at birth. Someone born in 1980 will have the conjunction in Libra, and therefore the years 2000 and 2020 will be crucial for new cycles of experience in relationships. Often people born with this aspect make a significant and lasting contribution to the society in which they live.
Saturn/Uranus (approx. 45 years)
Anyone born with an aspect between these two planets will experience the repeat of the aspect after 43-47 years, and for those born at the opposition in 1965-6, the years 2008 -9 were of utmost significance. This combination is a bridge-builder aspect, and the person born with it is destined to be caught between the old and the new. The election between McCain and Obama in November 2008 took place at the exact opposition, and they were indeed opposite poles representing the old and the new. Interestingly, the conjunction always takes place on the cusp of a sign – the last one in 1988 was on the Sagittarius/Capricorn cusp – so it is possible to predict for people in their mid-forties born during the conjunction year, that they will be striving to make revolutionary changes in the structure of their lives, fighting to cut the bonds of tradition, caught between the old and the new, in a way that will enable them to apply acquired knowledge to shake up existing institutions.
Jupiter/Pluto (approx. 13 years)
These conjunctions took place recently in 1956, 1968, 1981, 1994 and 2007, and a person born at the conjunction in these years will have struggled with strong ideologies and convictions during the course of his or her life. So for someone born in 1956, the ages of 12, 25, 38 and 51 will indicate times of intense struggle with convictions and beliefs, and perhaps the abandonment of a strong ideology that was threatening to take over. For someone reaching the age of 51 in 2007, this year will not only bring a crisis of faith and belief, but also – because of the Chiron return – a profound sense of vulnerability physically and mentally. As the 1956 conjunction took place in Leo, whilst Chiron was in Aquarius, then association with groups that have a cult-like status may have brought existential pain, through the struggle to assert one’s own identity and creativity.
Saturn/Neptune (approx. 36 years)
This fascinating planetary cycle reflects the urge to make ideals concrete, and historically the conjunction has been correlated with socialism, from the first draft of the Communist Manifesto in 1848 to the elimination of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Recent conjunctions took place in 1952-3 in Libra and 1989 in Capricorn, whilst oppositions took place in 1971-2 and 2006-7. On a personal level it often reflects helplessness and depression because of an inability to find meaning in practical achievements. No amount of fame or status can convince Neptune that life is meaningful. For someone born in late 1971, when the opposition took place from Gemini to Sagittarius, the age of 36 (2007) would have been a time of a search for meaning when the rational mind would fail to deliver an explanation of life’s purpose, and when a dissolution of important relationships would lead to a new vision of the future, perhaps achieved through a life-changing journey abroad or foreign connection.
Uranus/Neptune (approx. 171 years)
This rare conjunction took place in 1992 in Capricorn with the birth of the so-called New World Order and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The last conjunction in 1821 saw the birth of many South American countries through revolution. The generation born in 1992, who are 20 years old at the time of writing, will be political pioneers in a new high-tech and low energy, connected society. Significant birth years for people today are 1955-6, when the last quarter square of the 1821 cycle took place. This last square was connected with the revolutionary power of the media, branding and advertising, and the warping of perspective through technology – like the television for example. For people born at this time, the age of 37 (the 1992 conjunction) would have been a year of amazing significance, when they will have been seized by a revolutionary dream and changed their life accordingly.
Uranus/Pluto (from 110 – 130 years)
No treatment of this subject would be complete without an examination of this synodic cycle, which tends to correspond with pretty grim periods of history. The outgoing square of the conjunction cycle that commenced in 1966-7 takes place from 2012-16 and obviously corresponds with the disruption of government worldwide through economic crisis. Significant dates for hard aspects in this cycle are 1901-02, 1932-4, 1965-6 and 2012-15. The three outer planets are connected with collective developments in history, and people tend to be simply caught up in forces that are far bigger than themselves. The idea behind Uranus/Pluto is that transformative revolution is essential. Often ideologies which take no consideration for human sensitivities are hijacked by forces which create considerable devastation. The end justifies the means. Hitler wanted a racially pure Germany in the 1930’s. Communist China wanted to level society and make everybody equal in 1965-6.
Clearly, those born in 1965-6 are going to have a major role to play in 2012-15, and these will be transformative years for them. As the conjunction took place in Virgo, in opposition to Saturn, then employment and automation are the areas where crisis plays out, and the gulf between the old and the young will be a factor. Perhaps that is why unemployment amongst young people is so enormous during the current period. Anyone who is in their late forties now will be entering a crisis period, especially if they had personal planets aspecting the Uranus/Pluto conjunction at birth. But at the same time they may be just the people who can understand this crisis period and make the necessary – and probably uncompromising – decisions. What confronts people in their late forties now is a power battle that evokes existential questions, and requires digging deep to mobilize psychological resources.
Understanding the meaning of planetary synods is a crucial clue to the meaning and mission of the lives of clients. People born in a year when an outer planet combination was in play will find meaning in their lives in actualizing the energy of the planetary pair. For people with Jupiter aspects to Uranus, Neptune and Pluto the chance to realize their mission will arise at intervals of 13-14 years. For Saturn/Uranus that is at the age of approx. 45 (2008-10), for Saturn to Neptune or Pluto that is around the age of 36 (e.g. 1989 or 1982-3), for Uranus/Pluto around 47-49 (2012-15), for Uranus/Neptune around 37 (1992-3). And there will be sub-periods of these cycles, which are also significant.
I have only covered some of the important planetary cycles in this article. The Moon’s node is also significant and makes crucial conjunctions with the outer planets, whose meanings I have yet to explore. Knowing these cycles is not only extremely helpful for tracing political and social developments, it can also be helpful with clients as an indication of their mission in life. With this knowledge, you will be able – from the birthday and age of a person – to communicate valuable information about changes and possibilities in a person’s life without even looking at the birth chart.
Adrian Ross Duncan May 10th, 2012