Sunday, April 07, 2019

The Second Half of Life

Jung: “I have treated many hundreds of patients. Among those in the second half of life - that is to say, over 35 - there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life. It is safe to say that every one of them fell ill because he had lost that which the living religions of every age have given their followers, and none of them has really been healed who did not regain his religious outlook.”

This process of finding a 'religious' outlook in the second half of life is described by the series of outer planet transits that everyone has in their forties. It is a time when - archetypally - we move from the received and extraverted values of society to listening to the voice within. Of course, some of us may have done that from a much younger age, but there is usually still a struggle between who we feel we are expected to be, and the direction in which that mysterious voice within is taking us.

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This period begins with Uranus opposition Uranus, which has the function of breaking up the landscape of the received values that have given us our sense of acceptance and identity, and opening up fissures, abysses that may be terrifying to peer into, but which reveal the voice of our deeper self that has always been there.
Now the picture gets confusing as to what happens when. But it is often a long, confusing period anyway, because the paradigm shift, the re-orientation is so radical. For many of us, the period will have begun with Pluto square Pluto rather than the Uranus Opposition, because of Pluto's elliptical orbit; for anyone born now, the Pluto square will occur after all the other outer planet transits.

So it is best to see this period as a bunch of influences, and create a story dependent on the order in which they occurred for you. And put it all together as a Creation Myth, much as we can see the Big Bang as a creation myth described by the outer planets: Uranus lit the touch paper for this utterly unpredictable event, of everything suddenly coming out of nothing; Pluto was the enormous creative power in that tiny singularity; Neptune was the Primordial Imagination that contained the vision of a Universe; and Saturn put all the pieces together.

So we can see all these influences running alongside each other as we are born into the second half of life. Pluto square Pluto will be the time when we are made an offer we cannot refuse, of that seed of new and more authentic life that is trying to push through, and which can make us ill if we deny it; Neptune square Neptune is the whisper, the longing for the life we have always secretly wanted to lead, the magical thread of Self that has followed us since childhood; and Saturn opposite Saturn is a re-assessment in this reality of what has value for us, the perhaps painful realisation that what we had strived for over a long period now means little to us.

As we approach 50, the Chiron Return presents itself. Chiron, as the bridge to the outer planets, is telling us to listen to their drumbeat from now on, or our life will not work, it will be 'wounded'. Chiron is also a teacher, and having been through this long initiation, we will have learnt something important that we can impart.

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