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Chapter Two: The Age Factor

 

 

Portrait of Alexander Ruperti 
(click to view image source)

 

Alexander Ruperti

In the humanistic approach, events are important only in the context of the meaning given to them by an individual. This context of meaning is directly related to and dependent on the age of that individual at the time of the event - for age is the “container” in which life’s experiences are being held. The exact same event occurring at different times in a life would have a totally different meaning. Take, for example, the experience of accidentally being locked in a bathroom. Such an experience might well be deeply traumatic for a 2-year-old, while an adult would probably find it either amusing or annoying.

Although most astrologers realize, at least in theory, that progressions and transits must be considered in relation to the age of the client, in the actual interpretation of a birth-chart they often ignore age and read the chart the way they were taught i.e. by the cookbook method; they simply do not know how to employ the age factor. Most astrological texts ignore the age factor, perhaps because writers feel that it is too obvious to mention, or, more likely, because omitting it is an editorial necessity. For example, a standard text of 300 pages would run to perhaps 3000 pages or more if the “meaning” of each aspect were presented in terms of the different ages at which it might be experienced. A second and perhaps lies in the breadth of the astrologer’s experience The majority of an astrologer’s clients will usually be contemporaries. Thus, ninety percent of the clients they see will be of a single age group - their own. How can they be expected to have a knowledge of the life cycle broader than their own experience of life. If a student of astrology can look neither to books nor teachers, nor to the experience of their astrological practice to learn about the age factor, where then can they look? Modern depth psychology provides one source: the work of Carl Jung.

*Cf. Particularly Vol. 8, The Collected Works of C.J. Jung: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche, pp. 387-403, “The Stages of Life.”

The Life Cycle

A holistic view of life is fundamental to any discussion or interpretation of the age factor. One must see that life itself is a cycle, and that the different periods of life are merely phases in that cycle. Like the phases of the Moon, the life cycle has a waxing half and and waning half. Therefore is is an error to assume that the meaning of life ends with the passing of youth and expansion.

The waning half of life is as full of meaning as the waxing half, but the meaning changes. Astrologers must consider this difference between the problems of youth and those of old age and must recognize that they cannot be solved in the same way. Youth, the ascending wave of life, is basically extroverted, a time of growth and expansion on all levels of development - physical, mental, emotional and social. The problems of this time of life are extroverted problems - education, marriage (and divorce), children, money, social position, career and sex. The challenge is to clear away the barriers to expansion on all levels, and this requires extroverted solutions - i.e., action in the physical/material world.

After a symbolic full moon period the descending wave of life begins. The problems of this second half of life are introverted and necessitate a reappraisal of all those values esteemed during the first half. It becomes necessary to appreciate the importance of ideals opposite to those of youth. The challenge is to become increasingly more objective toward everything that seemed important during the first half of life. Values become less absolute. Everything human is relative because, psychologi- cally, everything rests on an inner polarity of values. This axiom is one of the foundations of astrological symbolism as well as of Jungian depth psychology, and it should be fundamental to astrological interpretation as well. Many psychological problems which arise during the second half of life derive from incompletions and omissions from the first half. The attempt to prolong youth is a result of not having actually experienced it in its proper time. While it should be clear that the waning half of the life cycle is not the time for extroverted concerns, it should be equally obvious that the waxing half is not the time for introverted concerns. “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens. . .”

The Generic Structure of Life

There are two distinct ways of approaching the age factor. The one most familiar to astrologers is to trace the planetary cycles individually, interpreting their phases in relation to the specific planetary energy. Although there is much to be gained form such a study, it must be remembered that all the planets are moving at the same time. Holistic astrology refers not only to a holistic view of the birthchart and the individual it represents, but also to a holistic view of the solar system. Concentrating on the cycle of one planet alone produces a lopsided perspective.

The second approach is to study the generic structure of human life by establishing the stages of individual development which can be normally expected on the basis of age exclusively and regardless of any astrological factors. This study should actually precede the first, as it establishes the generic foundation for the individualized interpretation of progressions and transits; without this information, such interpretations can never be really helpful or vitally significant in an individual sense. It not only places the present problems of the client into a perspective, but also gives an added dimension of meaning to past experiences or events which may have led to the present crisis.

The greatest importance of this generic structure is that it exists for the psyche as well as the body, and it operates on an unconscious level in each individual however unique they may feel themselves to be. This common structure is what Carl Jung calls the “Collective Unconscious” and what Rudhyar calls “the generic soul in all, the human-ness which is the common foundation from which surge even the most exalted flights of devotions and creative imagination, the subtlest overtones of mysticism and art.” This generic structure of human destiny can be known, and along with an understanding of the individual cycles of growth revealed by the progressions and the transits, it is possible to attain a knowledge of Self with a depth of meaning rarely encountered. The procedure is simple; yet, as with all basically simple things, the actual understanding of what is revealed by this procedure requires careful reflection and a deep sense of psychological evaluation.

Major Astrological Correspondences with the Age Factor:

Age 7          Waxing square of Saturn to its natal place.

Age 12        First return of Jupiter to its natal place.

Age 14        Saturn opposition natal Saturn

Age 19        New nodal cycle begins

Age 21        Waning Square of Saturn to its natal place

Age 24         2nd return of Jupiter to its natal place

Age 27+      Progressed Moon returns to its natal place

Age 28        Uranus trine Uranus; conversion of the position of the Moon's nodes.

Age 29 1/2     Saturn returns to its natal place

Age 30        The natal Sun-Moon aspect repeats itself in progressions. Jupiter opposes natal Jupiter.

Age 36        2nd waxing square of Saturn to its natal place. 3rd return of Jupiter to its natal place.

Age 38       New nodal cycle begins

Age 42        Uranus opposition natal Uranus; Neptune in waxing square to natal Neptune; Jupiter opposition natal Jupiter.

Age 44        2nd opposition of Saturn to its natal place

Age 47        Inversion of the position of the Moon's nodes.

Age 48        4th return of Jupiter to its natal place.

Age 51         2nd waning square of Saturn to its natal place.

Age 55         Progressed Moon returns for second time to its natal place.

Age 56         Uranus in waning trine to natal Uranus; beginning of 4th nodal cycle.

Age 59-60    2nd return Saturn to its natal place; 5th return of Jupiter to its natal place; Pluto in waxing square to its natal place; the natal Sun-Moon aspect repeats itself for the second time in the progressions.

Age 63        Waning square of Uranus to its natal aspect.

Age 65        Inversion of the position of the Moon's nodes.

Age 66        3rd waxing square of Saturn to its natal place.

Age 72        6th return of Jupiter to its natal place.

Age 75        Beginning of the 5th nodal cycle; 3rd opposition of Saturn to its natal place.

Age 80        3rd waning square of Saturn to its natal place.

Age 82-83    2nd return of progressed Moon to its natal place.

Age 84        Uranus returns to its natal place; 7th return of Jupiter to its natal place; inversion of the Moon's nodes.

The Seven-Year Cycle

Rudhyar has suggested that the complete development of a human being, as an individual personality theoretically and archetypally considered, takes 84 years - a complete Uranian cycle. There are many ways to divide this cycle. The seven 12-years periods and the twelve 7-years periods will be treated at length in Chapter 5, “The Jupiter Cycle”; and Chapter 8, “The Uranus Cycle”. Additionally, this 84-year cycle can be divided into 3 periods of 28 years each. These roughly correspond to the generic cycles of Saturn and will be dealt with at length in Chapter 6, “The Saturn Cycle”. Each 28-year period corresponds to an essential level of development of the personality - the hereditary, the individual and the spiritual. However, as most people never reach much higher than the first or hereditary level and rarely live a truly “individual” life, Rudhyar has found it best to concentrate the analysis upon the more traditional 70-year cycle, containing 10 7-year periods. The dividing point is the 35th year. Up to that age the tide of the life-force mounts, and thereafter begins to recede. This ebbing of the life-force is a well-known fact in the realm of sports and aviation; and according to esoteric doctrines, after the 36th year there is a slow, progressive repolarization of all the nerves and the vital centers in the body, and in those psychic structures that are correlated to them. At approximately this time the truly individual Self of a human being should begin to operate. It is an age which often corresponds in a person’s life with some definite step or decision - inner, outer or both - which gives an entirely new direction to the consciousness of the individual.

Prior to age 35, a human being is trying to build their life on the foundation of what their heredity, education and social environment have given them. During this period problems arise in relation to youthful illusions, the mastering of the parental images, and the overcoming of obstacles to their profession or marriage - to all those things which are a part of the expansion of life. Youth finds the solutions to such problems primarily in terms of outer activity. Often the problems arise as a result of exaggerated expectations, under-estimation of difficulties and unjustified optimism or pessimism. Such problems can be grouped as contradictions between subjective assumptions and external facts.

Another group of problems are due to inner psychic difficulties and can exist even when the social or professional activities present no problem. In many cases the disturbance of psychic equilibrium is caused by the sexual instinct, as Freud has demonstrated, while in other cases there is a feeling of inferiority due to strong sensitivity. According to Jung, young people who have had to struggle for existence are mostly spared inner problems, while those who for some reason or other have no difficulty with external adaptation, run into sexual problems or conflicts arising from a sense of inferiority. The one feature particular to the problems of the first half of life is a clinging to the childhood level of consciousness, and a resistance to the fateful forces in and around the individual which would involve him in the world. Of this feature Jung says, “Something in us wishes to remain a child, to be unconscious or, at most, conscious only of the ego; to reject everything strange, or else subject it to our will; to do nothing, or else indulge our own craving for pleasure or power..” *Jung, C.W. Vol. 8: The Stages of Life p. 393.

During each half of the 70-year cycle there are five 7-year periods. These describe the flow of the life-force and establish five levels of integration which Rudhyar has named: physiological, volitional psychological, social and spiritual-personal. These levels correspond to the several “bodies” of esoteric teaching: physical, etheric, emotional- mental, buddhic and spiritual. According to this concept, the individuals task is to work with the forces of integration as they operate successively at each level. To become a creative and complete personality, one must try to assimilate and integrate into themselves as much of the universe as they can, not only physical nourishment but also the learning and wisdom of past generations and the social substance of one’s relationships - from sex to politics. If this integration is effectively accomplished, the spirit will descend into the integrated personality around the 35th birthday. The result of such a visitation of the spirit, if it takes place at all (and at a deep unconscious level, unnoticed by the conscious awareness) will become clear during the second half of life. True personality integration shows in an increasingly creative and luminous life, radiating vision, serene power and significance, and the capacity to lead others to greater integration and nobler living.

During the second half of life one retraces their steps from level to level, as if “reaction” molded itself faithfully upon the pattern of “action” established by the youthful person during the 35 years of the waxing tide of vitality. There is a direct relationship, for instance, between the period extending from age 14 to 21 and the period extending from age 49 to 56. Both of these periods correspond to the psychological, emotional-mental level of development. This relationship could be called karmic in that the behaviour of the youth tends to condition the way in which the conscious- ness and the social and personal reactions of the adult about to enter old age will develop. The failures and successes, the fears and the noble confrontations experienced in youth will tend to bring a harvest of corresponding values in the adult who passes through the fifties. Likewise, the tragedies of the forties are, to some extent, the repercussions of the problems met in the twenties. Rudhyar concludes:

“...one constantly meets their past after the mid-point of their lives. What one does as a result of the meeting conditions in turn either their future life (if reincarnation is accepted as a fact), or their death state (if personal immortality in transcendental realms is believed in), or it simply contributes to the moulding of the culture and social behaviour of the future generations (if one accepts only racial-cultural immortality)." American Astrology, Jan. 1942)

The counselling of adults must therefore have different objectives from the counselling of young people. It will no longer be a question of clearing away the obstacles that hinder expansion, production and ascent; one must instead stress everything that will help the descent and the concomitant development of wider consciousness. The transition from life’s morning to life’s afternoon means a reassessment of one’s earlier values. One must come to appreciate the opposite of one’s former ideals, says Jung; to perceive the error in those former convictions; and to feel how much antagonism and even hatred lay in what, until then, had passed for love. Not that one must throw away everything that seemed good and true, and live in complete opposition to their former tendency, but Jung insists we must learn the lesson of relativity. One should conserve their previous values while recognizing the value of their opposites and consciously admit the relative validity of all opinions. This is what is meant by the development of consciousness - the keynote of the second half of life. Such a development is not easy, as Jung remarks:

“...nature cares nothing whatsoever about a higher level of conscious- ness and society does not value these feats of the psyche very highly either; its prizes are always given for achievement and not for person- ality...We overlook the fact the social goal is attained at the cost of diminution of personality. (The Stages of Life p. 394)

The Waxing Hemicycle

Many of the following ideas were formulated by Rudhyar in his articles in American Astrology Magazine and in his books, especially Occult Preparations for a New Age (Quest Books, 1975).

Age 0 to 7: The Organic Level - Development of the body, it’s organs and their psychic over- tones. Basic adjustment to outside pressures, especially within the family.

During this period the body and the basic psychic structures of the future personality are built. The substance which will fill these structures is furnished by heredity, both genetic and cultural, by the environmental conditions of the family, and by the general social conditions prevailing at the time and place of birth. These will produce either opportunities for harmonious growth or frustrating tensions. Everything that happens at this organic level of development will leave its mark. These conditions influence not only the biological growth of the child, but also their basic instincts and the essential psychological over- tones of these instincts. As the period of maximum growth and learning, not only will a child achieve 70-74% of their physical growth potential, but at the same time they will master all the essential skills needed to live as an independent being. One learns to feed and dress themselves, to walk, talk, read, write and do simple arithmetic. They also learn the specific dangers of their environment and the things necessary for survival, including negative and anti-social behavior such as lying and cheating and stealing. One’s basic values and beliefs are instilled in them at this time. All of these things give a child their particular characteristic attitude toward life, and many psychologists are of the opinion that the adult never really manages to overcome and transform whatever was was built into one’s body and psyche before the age of seven.

Equally important to the child’s later development is the influence of missing factors. Just as a lack of calcium during this time will inhibit the development of strong, straight bones, the lack of loving will inhibit the development of that child’s ability to love. The adult who goes through life looking for a mother probably missed the experience of being nurtured at this phase. Thus, those aspects - especially conjunctions - which become exact by progression during these first 7 years of life will give the key to the basic conditioning of the child’s attitude toward life.

Age 7 to 14: The Power Level - Building of the conscious ego; development of the I-sense. Testing one's personal powers in active self-expression.

The first period ends during the seventh year, but before the seventh birthday. This change of level of phase often occurs at the time when the first permanent teeth emerge, which according to Rudhyar, is a significant symptom of a very basic organic and spiritual crisis. As the mature, self-grown teeth replace the milk teeth, the child must then “chew” their experiences on the basis of their own ego-characteristics rather than on his mother’s example. The waxing square of Saturn to its natal position is the astrological correspondence to this turning-point and reveals either an acceleration or a delay in the process of growth.

The psychic equivalent to the new set of teeth is the development of the ego as an autonomous psychic structure. Near age 7, Uranus reaches the second phase of its cycle* - the phase of substantiation or incarnation. The principle of individuality, the “I”, begins to operate more forcefully within the organism as the child increasingly speaks of themselves in the first person. Until the child says “I”, he or she is still an expression of the influence of the parents rather than an autonomous psychic organism. This is so regardless whether the child accepts or rebels against the image which the parents and family attempt to impress upon them. In either case, during this period their truly personal existence begins, and the child reveals an increasingly definite and individual response to life. He or she will attempt to exteriorize their inner feelings - assuming attitudes and creating situations wilfully in order to test the reactions of their body and psyche, as well as how the family and peers will react. To build this sense of “I” and their personal power, the child must make forceful gestures and take a personal stand, and then observe what happens. They must measure themselves against the limitations imposed by parents teachers, authority figures, and their peers.

*Cf. Chapter 8. The phases of the Uranus cycle referred to here change every seven years; and each phase begins as transiting Uranus makes a new aspect to natal Uranus by 30° in- crements, hence by semi-sextile, sextile, square, trine quincunx, etc.

The basic issue in this second 7-year period is creative self-assertion - the development of the will. To express themselves harmoniously, the child must be able to assimilate fully the experience which life brings to them. Whatever happens during this second period will greatly influence their capacity reveal themselves to themselves, and to express outwardly what was revealed. The will may be expressed either through activities directed against some potential or actual adversary, or it may manifest creatively through activities which mold inert materials into an image of one’s own choice. It may be seen in the competitive games of children with their opportunities for the exercise of leadership, prowess and power, the extreme example of which is gang warfare. This same force of will may, on the other hand, be expressed through the spontaneous play of the artistic faculties, especially at the age of 101/2, - the midpoint of this 7-year period. In creativity there exists no adversary, only materials to be used, fashioned and transformed into what one wills them to be. The potential difficulty here is that the child at this age finds their creative efforts stifled by the various social and cultural conventions and taboos of the adult world. Exquisitely perfected toys do not provide an opportunity for individual creativity to flourish, and the child misses the excitement of self-discovery in seeing the reults of their own efforts at shaping and transforming raw materials. He becomes a mechanic - a technician rather than a creator. Out of this womb is born a specimen of the collective mentality instead of an individual.

Age 14 to 21: The Psychological level - Emotional and mental development. Emotionally-centered self-orientation to associates, friends, comrades, as well as toward the culture, religion and institutions of one’s society.

This 7-year period begins with the crisis of puberty. According to Jung, the eruption of sexuality corresponds to the birth out of the psychic womb of the parental and family environment. A conscious differentia- tion from the parents should now take place. The father and mother should now be seen as adults (although in the strictest sense this term does not often apply), as human beings with the right to make mistakes, rather than as infallible parent- figures of one’s early childhood. At the beginning of this period Saturn opposes its birth position and the sextile of Uranus to natal Uranus begins the third phase of its cycle. The opposition aspect in astrology is always a symbol of objective awareness through the impact of experiences in human relationship. In the Saturn cycle, the object of awareness is the sense of responsibility in one’s intimate relationships, and this problem of relationship presents the central challenge of adolescence. Prior to the age of 14, the young person will express themselves creatively and assert their will without necessarily any regard for the results of their actions or their effect on other people. One’s fundamental nature is to be themselves - to discover through experimentation the possibilities latent within them. In this third phase of the life-cycle one has the chance to become more fully what they are through Saturn, while becoming different through the impact of the new type of everyday experiences they now have with Uranus.

Suddenly, at the onset of adolescence (for adolescence is something that doesn’t happen gradually), one feels a new urge growing within them - the urge to form deep and significant relationships. Under the stimulation of biological and glandular changes, adolescent love is born and becomes the prime mover of the third phase of the life-cycle. On the biological sexual level, and occasionally on other levels as well, the adolescent becomes subservient to a more-than-personal life-rhythm. In one way or another, one begins to feel the urge to participate in the rhythm of the larger whole of which they are an expression - the human race. Seemingly fateful forces, both within and without the individual, draw them into the world and involve them in it. Things previously alien to one’s experience are now of vital concern. The horizons widen, and the previously narrow frame of reference is shattered in the tension of opposites, leading ideally to a broader and higher range of consciousness. For the first time the young person must learn by contrast (the opposition aspect) who and what they are. Love becomes the great revealer. As confrontation is the nature of the opposition aspect, the beloved becomes the mirror image of the self and its needs. Initially, the loved one is an idealized figure based on the illusions of childhood and formed principally by the mass media. When the ideal image is projected onto a real human being, the experience of the difference forces one to modify those illusions. The loved one can eventually become an embodiment of the highest aspirations of the self when true conscious relationship replaces projection. Before the emerging individual can truly realize their full potential they must first envision it. Love is this vision.

The school years of this period have a purpose far greater than the simple amassing of data. This is the time one learns social responsibility. Also they are the years of higher education and more important, voluntary education. Before this age the child was legally bound to remain in school. The parents were responsible for keeping them there. However, after the age of 14 (or shortly thereafter) the student is free to leave; and if they remain, it is by choice. Thus accepting the responsibility for their own education, the young person becomes an active participant and takes the first step in the assumption of full, adult responsibility; and by the end of this period one may take their individual stand socially, politically and professionally.

Age 21 to 28: The Social-Cultural Level - Choice of associates and of one’s type of social participation. Establishment of the basic attitude towards the fruits of the personal and social- cultural past. Rebellion against family or society.

This 7-year period is linked astrologically to the first waning square of Saturn and the waxing square of Uranus, which opens the fourth phase of the Uranus cycle. The latter aspect coincides with the effort to break through (waxing square) into the professional, commercial, and cultural world; and to fit oneself as well as possible into the life of one’s community. The Saturn aspect, on the other hand, points to the need to cut oneself off from the past (waning square) and from the attitudes which were based on the carefree life typical of the school years. Many of the ideals and aims previously held must be examined in a new light and adapted to the realities of day-to-day adult existence. This may be difficult and strenuous for many people. Youth tends to cling to its adolescent, emotional attitudes, and would like to continue to act as if life were a field for the unrestricted expression of Self according to strictly personal desires. In this fourth phase of the life-cycle, the last remaining vestiges of youth are shed.

The experiences of this age period reveal very clearly the difference between a waxing square and a waning square. The crisis described by a waxing square is extroverted and exists on the level of activity. It is often accompanied by a sense of elation and adventure or excitement, as the individual rushes out to meet the difficulties which life puts in his path and to work out his own destiny in an objective and concrete manner. The waxing Uranus square affects the young person in this way and directs their attention toward the future - to the goals they will set themselves to accomplish. What lies ahead for them are new and interesting opportun- ities. Concurrently, the waning square of Saturn directs the attention inward toward assessment of the past, pointing to those things which must be left behind, or at least modified and reconsidered. It challenges one to break with established habits and ideals, often a very difficult task. The crisis described by this waning square is introverted, demanding growth in personal maturity. Such personal needs, however, can only be fulfilled by attending to the needs of society. Thus, the principal lesson of this waning Saturn square will be to realize the necessity to act in a responsible manner in all types of relationship, whether they be inter- personal or social. The success of the Uranian effort to blaze a new path as an individual will depend on one’s success in breaking away from the old attachments and attitudes under the Saturn square, and the success in interpersonal as well as social relationships will depend on the strength of an individual’s will to attain social maturity.

Astrology clarifies the point that one’s personal success in later years will depend almost entirely on the way in which an individual manages these two squares between the ages of 21 and 28. The astrologer should also look to strong progressed or transit aspects to the natal chart during this period. These will show the specific opportunities or confrontations which will enable the young adult to break out of the psychic womb constituted by parental influences of childhood as well as by the emotional and cultural attitudes built into the ego by a particular socio-cultural and economic environment. These attitudes and influences form the barriers to one’s true experience of Self, and until one can recognize them as precisely that and not to confuse them with the “I”, one will not be able to assert their true individuality.

Everything experienced in life prior to the age of 28, therefore, revolves around one’s relationship to their family - or whatever may have substituted for it. A person must grow and discover themselves - their own truth and life-purpose while living within a family environment. At the same time the individual must make an effort to grow out of the family and separate themselves psychically from its predominant influences if they are to become true individual. As one emerges from the state of dependence on parents and family patterns if not physically at least spiritually, the problem takes on a new and different form in their life.

After the age of 21, people generally seek to build their own families - they train themselves for a job, they marry, and they have their own children. The majority of people have experienced these things before reaching the age of 28, or at least they know the way in which they want to organize their lives. What happens after 28, until the next major turning-point in the life near age 56-60, will be the result of the options taken and the attitudes adopted before the age of 28. What must be clearly understood, therefore, is that whatever is done before the age of 28 will represent, psychologically, the various ways adopted in the effort to emerge from the family matrix and from the pressures of the social environment. The alternative to this is passive adjustment - quietly accepting and following the established family and social patterns.

Age 28-35: Individual or Personality Level - Release of creative endowment of the personality. Possibility of a “2nd birth”, as a creative germ of the future. Negatively, progressive crystallization of personal attitude in terms of ancestral and existing social conditions.

In the threefold division of the Uranus cycle, the 28th year marks the beginning of the second period with the trine of Uranus to its natal position. This opens the fifth phase of the cycle. The progressed Moon also returns to its birth position in that year, and the positions of the Moon’s nodes are inverted - the transiting North node being on the natal South node, and the transiting South node on the natal North node. In the progressed lunation cycle, The Sun and Moon repeat the same aspect at age 30 that they did at birth, and transiting Saturn returns to its natal position and begins a new cycle. In addition to all of this, at the age of 30 transiting Jupiter and Saturn will be in an aspect opposed, and therefore complimentary, to their natal aspect. Thus, if they were in conjunction at birth, they will be in opposition at age 30. From all this an astrologer can readily see that the period from age 27 to 30 is a most important turning-point in the lives of all people. A second such turning- point will occur during the period age 56 to 60., and will be discussed later. Rudhyar refers to these ages as the potential second and third births. In this phase, the individual is born out of the collective; while in the rebirth yet to come, the spiritual self is born out of the personality.

Each individual conceived is the sum total of the collective past and, up to the 28th year, remains primarily a result of their ancestral and cultural heritage. The purpose of these first 28 years - the first complete cycle of Saturn - is to assimilate all that one can of the past. Then, and not until then, can the true creative individual emerge. Only out of an individualized synthesis of the collective influences and fruits of the past can the fully-expressed personality flow. Prior to the 28th year one is still dominated by these collective influences, and unfortun- ately many people continue long after that time to remain passive followers of their ancestral ways - undistinguished examples of a national or local culture and a collective mentality. At 28, however, the door is opened and one is presented with the opportunity to begin asserting their own true individuality, manifesting their own unique destiny and making their own particular contribution to the world.

The Uranus trine - symbol of this opportunity for creative vision - is capable of making one realize what they are here for, however dim this sense of relation to some ideal, goal or function may be felt. Each one of us, in the humanistic view, is potentially a completely new element which can be added to the human race - a potential answer to a new human need. The realization of that need comes around age 28 - the time of a possible “second birth” at the level of psychological and mental achievement. The 28th year is the potential beginning of life as a creative individual. From age 28 to 42 the basic issue will be the definite establishment of self as an integrated personality working in a new and particular way in one’s community, and capable of producing something of value within this community. Saturn’s return to its natal place marks the opportunity to give a new meaning to one’s life, based on a truly individual attitude and also on the capacity to relate oneself responsibly to the greater whole of which can be a conscious and creative part. The reversal of the Jupiter-Saturn birth aspect reveals the possibility of a more objective outlook on the traditional social, cultural and religious ways of one’s times.

Theoretically, everything that has happened since birth has been leading, in the spiritually successful life, to the realization around age 28 of the individual contribution one can make to life. From then onwards, life can have an original and personal meaning, but only if one realizes more or less clearly the type of ideal, purpose or human need which one is capable of fulfilling and then concentrates their attention consciously on this goal. One must discover their own ways of taking an individual and independent stand in relation to the problems which they choose to meet. Whatever one succeeds in accomplishing or producing before age 28 will be the flowering of the past - their soul past or their genetic past. It will not be an expression of their individual identity. A person may be born with special gifts; however, what matters is what they will do with them as an individual. They must make them serve some new, consciously decided purpose, or else those gifts will use them. In other words, the test is always how to use one’s legacy of the past on all levels as a means to reveal the true spiritual identity. That is why it is important near age 28 to transform the relationship to one’s past in such a way that, instead of being simply an expression of it, a person may decide how they will use it as a means to contribute something new - something which did not exist before they existed.

Age 35 to 42: Individual or Personality Level - Culmination of physical and personal endowment. Further crystallization of personal attitude in terms of the activity and consciousness developed between ages 28 and 35. Need to decide clearly what one wants to do in life, perhaps leading to attempts at purifying the personality.

This 7-year period marks the beginning of the waning hemicycle of life. Prior to this time, the life-energies have been building and expanding; now they begin their descending wave. Each successive level from this point onward will be an introverted expression of its extroverted counterpart during the ascending wave, and the opposite values and ideals will come into play. The extroverted level corres ponding to age 35 to 42 is the period immediately preceding it - age 28 to 35. Together these two levels form a plateau. (See diagram: "The 70-year Life-Cycle) Both are personality levels, the earlier dealing with the external manifestations and the release of creative energies; while the age 35 to 42 period deals with the personal attitudes and beliefs from which creativity springs. The latter period makes more concrete what was initiated in the previous one.

Of this plateau period between age 28 and 42, the basic requirement of life, according to Rudhyar, is to be a self and to take one’s place in the world as a self. This means being self-determined and self-sustained, aware of one’s individual destiny. But before one can go on to meet this life-destiny, they must first free themselves from the final vestiges of external influences, and consciously choose their own basic reaction to life. The best opportunity for such an awareness of Self will come in the 35th year, which is not only the mid-point of this plateau period, but also the mid- point of the life-cycle itself. Symbolically, the 35th year is the full moon of the life-cycle - the awareness point. Here the external confronts the internal, and the realizations that can come from a synthesis of these two factors can provide the vision of a true sense of “I”. Here it becomes possible for a person to see why they do what they do, and then to choose either to do it or not do it. Choice, however, requires an acceptance of responsibility. As long as a person remains bound by the psychic apron-strings of some “mother image” - be it an individual person (such as a parent, marriage partner or spiritual mentor), a group or institution, or an ideology - they will have something outside themselves determining their actions and assuming responsibility for them.

Feelings of guilt or inferiority provide an excellent excuse for per- petuating this kind of emotional immaturity. These feelings are fed by the memory of past failures, and projection of these failures into the future. The refusal to accept responsibility for one’s failures places one in the position of permanent victim - forever at the mercy of whatever they have chosen to be the “mother image” which runs their life. If, during the age 28-35 a person has not succeeded in separating themselves from the need for a psychic scapegoat, then the vision that they see at 35 may, at least temporarily, pull the emotional rug out from under them. One may see that their life does not work and the old scapegoats no longer serve them. So, they go out to find new ones. Superficially, they may appear to be regrasping lost opportunities; however, what they are actually doing is looking for a new “mother image” to assume responsibility for their lives - a new womb to crawl into. Failing to see that it is one's beliefs which must be transformed, they will go out in search of new techniques, a new ideology, a new mentor, or a new marriage partner. Unfortunately, none of these will provide a solid ground-of-being from which one can meet the crisis of the following 7-year period (age 42 to 49) and without which the experience of menopause can be chaotic or even tragic. This period be- gins approximately at the waxing square of Saturn and ends around the time of the waxing square of Neptune.

Age 42 to 49: Social-Cultural Level - Leading a routine life and passive submission to things as they are, or the need to revise actiel one’s attitude toward intimates. Attempts at making a new start in life.

This phase of the life-cycle corresponds to the 7-year period age 21 to 28, which is also a social level. Astrologically, both periods are marked by transits of Saturn and Uranus. In the earlier period these aspects were squares, symbolizing the extroverted nature of that time. The emerging adult moved out into the world, perhaps married, established themselves socially and created their own interpersonal relationships. The aspects of Saturn and Uranus in this later period are oppositions, indicating awareness rather than action. The Uranus opposition occurs at the beginning of this 7-year period, and shortly thereafter, at approximately age 45, Saturn opposes its natal position for the second time. Thus, the primary challenge of this 7-year period is the need to find the real meaning and value in one’s interpersonal and social relationships.

Establishing a new attitude toward one’s relationships may require that certain habit patterns of may years duration be broken. The pressures of family, business and social considerations need no longer dictate the selection of one’s friends. Extroverted motivations for maintaining relationships often no longer apply; therefore a personal value for those relationships must be found. A marriage held together “for the sake of the children” will dissolve when those children grow up and leave home unless a truly personal raison d’etre is found. Likewise, relationships originally formed because they would advance one’s career or social position become meaningless with the realization that one has probably already risen as high on the social or business ladder as he will go.

The problems which arise during this seven year period are based on a sense of loneliness which becomes increasingly difficult to bear. To compensate for this feeling of isolation one may try to escape into a dream world (soap operas, romantic novels and the like), lose themselves in their work or social activities, rush off into some heroic adventure, or even run away from home to start a life anew. An undercurrent of anxiety runs through this entire period - a general feeling of “last chance”. One may find themselves grabbing at love compulsively as though it were the brass ring on a merry-go-round that will never go around again. The emotional upsets that accompany “falling in love” precipitate a new kind of adolescent crisis. While the adolescent is in love with love, people in their forties seek love to absorb or blot out a sense of failure. This rush to make a new start, to find love before it is too late can result in severe emotional turmoil and the outcome of it can be tragic.

Although the descending wave of life actually began in the previous 7-year period, it is not until age 42 to 49 that one has the conscious awareness that they are in the second half of life. As they watch their parents' generation die off and their own generation aging, suddenly one day there comes the realization that they are the older generation. Should a person forget for a moment the reality of their age, their grown children and the mass media will serve as a constant reminder. The natural, immediate reaction to this denial. Many people try to prolong youth by imitating the dress, mannerisms or speach of the young people, and some even reject association with those older than themselves as though aging were a contagious disease.

By the forties a person notices that their body is increasingly losing its energy and staying power, and that one can no longer depend on it as automatically as one did in the past. This causes a great deal of anxiety and results in a preoccupation with the body - the way it looks, feels and behaves. Because in most people’s belief patterns the body is so intrinsically tied to their ability to love and be loved, this preoccupation with the body is frequently experienced on the level of relationship. A man’s waning sexual potency may drive him to seek out the companion- ship of a younger woman as proof of his virility. The problem is entirely different for a woman. Her sex-drive may be stronger in her forties than in earlier years; however, since she has always judged her sexuality in terms of her desirability, the appearance of wrinkles sagging skin and the other external signs of age are equally traumatic. The growing awareness of physical decline points to the need for a basic change in one’s attitude toward others as well as toward oneself. Try as one might, extroverted solutions no longer apply. One must realized at some time during this period that they are not going to get stronger or richer or better - that they have climbed as high as they will climb. The exterior is starting to deteriorate, so one had better concentrate on the interior. However, this is not the affliction of aging, but it’s reward; as the physical vitality begins to ebb, there is a complimentary development of the internal powers. The body declines, as it must in all natural organisms, while the energies of the personality concentrate themselves in the mind and the individual soul. Mental capacity can remain strong as ever, and where the individual achieved psychological maturity, it will become even greater.

Only in those lives in which fear and emotional distress prevent the person from changing their attitudes and cause them to rebel senselessly against the normal aging process does the mind also tire. It is, in fact, the ego that tires rather than the mind; the ego gives up when faced by the need for a basic change of outlook or when called upon to take an unfamiliar step in a new direction. Not the body but the habitual and fixed patterns of thought hanging around one’s neck like a millstone pull them under. If, in their forties, a person has achieved a state of personality integration and freed themselves from the unconscious demands of their beliefs, then this 7-year period can signal the time of a real illumination of the spirit, or some deep change in the positive direction of one’s life.

Age 49 to 56: Psychological Level - Education of others. Assuming greater social responsibility. Negatively, mental rigidity due to incapacity to change adopted life-attitude and behavior.

This 7-year period corresponds to the extroverted Psychological Level from age 14 to 21. Just as the growing youth who tries to carry over their childish egoism into adult life must pay for their self-centeredness with social failure, so whoever carries over into the afternoon of life the aim of money-making, social achievement, or dynastic ambition must pay for it with damage to their soul. As Jung says,

...aging people should know that their lives are no longer mounting and expanding, but that an inexorable inner process enforces the contrac- tion of life. If it is dangerous for a young person to be too preoccupied with himself, for the aging person it is a duty and a necessity to devote serious attention to themselves… A human being would certainly not grow to be seventy or eighty years old if this longevity had no meaning for the species. (“The Stages of Life,” p.399)

The lesson to be learned from this phase of the life-cycle is the meaning which can and must be gathered in from the life that has been lived thus far. This is described astrologically by the second waning square of Saturn occurring at about 52. Once again the person will pass through a process of severance from ancient images and ingrained habit- patterns and attitudes. While on the extroverted psychological level the individual was asked to break with familial patterns and to free themselves from the traditional concepts generally imposed on them at school, at age 52 they are asked to dismiss the memories of past failures - the psychic or organic difficulties which the crisis of the forties may have brought about. He must clean the psychological slate in preparation for the time when the third Saturn cycle begins around age 59.

Here again the attachment to or identification with the parents or familial attitudes become prominent - however this time in an introverted way, and on a psychic rather than physical level. During the extroverted psychological period age 14 to 21, many young people attempt to break the bonds of psychic dependance on the parents by leaving home. But rebellion does not signify freedom. The extroverted solution did not answer a problem which is basically subjective; thus, at the corresponding introverted psychological level, the problem reappears. This time one is no longer financially dependent on their parents - on the contrary, they may be financially dependent on them; and if they are living together, it is their home rather than the parents. Again one is confronted by all those attitudes and values which they may have thrown away in their youth simply because they came from their parents. Now one has the opportunity to consciously choose those hereditary values - to see the parents objectively, in a new perspective, and to establish an individual relationship with them. If the parents die or must be institutionalized before one can experience a truly personal relationship with them, then one may be left for the remainder of their lives with a sense of incompletion. The ensuant guilt can raise a formidable barrier to the true experience of self, and one then moves on to the third stage of life and the potential rebirth at age 60 with a permanently smudged slate.

In the 50th year Uranus enters the 8th phase of its cycle - the regenerative phase. This may bring deep occult experiences. The mental- psychological crisis of the forties now becomes a biological crisis. During this period one will see the concrete results of whatever took place in the middle forties. If the person does not succeed in constructively facing the impeding physical obstacles or the psychological obstructions arising from their failure to become an integrated personality, then they will now see a gradual crystallization of the established psychological and social attitudes and beliefs which they had not the inner will to modify. They will become “to old to change.”

The person who manages to live through this 7-year period in a positive manner - because they have the spiritual courage and a strong enough sense of destiny to go through whatever crisis or tragedies life has brought them - should now try to bring the harvest of their experiences to a seed-condition. In other words, they will be ready to assume greater social responsibility and to teach others on the basis of what they have learned and experienced. One should be ready, because in the previous 7-year period they undertook consciously and deliberately to change their relationship to society. After about thirty years of productivity, during which the tendency is usually to judge everything and everyone in terms of this productivity and its fruits, one is now ready to introduce a new quality into their relationships - the quality of wisdom. In their younger days they received from the past a vast legacy of knowledge, skills and com- forts. Realizing this, he or she is now ready, at the end of his or her life, to give back to society and especially to its youth the fruits of long exper- ience in handling and using the legacy he or she has received.

Age 56 to 63: Power Level - Possibility of a “3rd birth” in the Uranian Cycle. Demonstration of the capacity to focus the spiritual quality of being inherent at birth "through" the personality. New spiritual activities or, negatively, further crystallization of mind and feeling responses.

The period from age 56 to 60 is as important as that from age 27 to 30. The 56th year coincides with the third birth in the Uranus cycle - the 9th phase. This is the second chance in every life to reorient and transform the character, as well as the nature of one’s human relationships. Being able to see oneself in a new way, it becomes possible to meet others in a new way, and so to embark upon a new kind of social participation. What can happen at this time, positively speaking, is the conscious or unconscious decision to devote the evening of one’s life to some form of creative fulfillment and harvest. Negatively it means letting oneself go and settling down to a crystallized and limited form of physical and mental existence - retirement. Besides the third birth in the Uranus cycle, this period sees the return of both Jupiter and Saturn to their natal placements. A fourth nodal cycle begins, which indicates the potential renewal of the pattern of destiny and personality integration. Lastly, the natal Sun-Moon aspect repeats itself in the progressions around age 59, and Saturn begins its third cycle in the life.

From all these astrological indications one sees a new trend beginning to unfold at age 56 - a trend which will reach a climax at age 59-60 with the beginning of the new Saturn cycle and which will become more clearly defined as the sixties begin. A keynote will be set here for the remaining years of the life, or at least until age 70-72, after which old age, as it is considered today begins. “Old age” may of course actually begin at 60 if the person does not take the positive attitude toward the change of life-direction initiated in the forties. In any case, the more the person has lived a sort of life different from the average, routine existence imposed by modern society, the more likely will the period age 56 to 70 be positive. Since the time of ancient Greece, age 60 has been considered the age of philosophy in the sense of a search for essential meaning and fundamental values. This should be the main interest during the afternoon and evening of life. Moreover, in the life of the creative individual, there should be an effort made to harmonize one’s individual outlook with the real needs of the collective. It will then become possible to act more wisely, more serenely and efficiently in all relationships. The creative individual will use these latter years to bring the spiritual or socio-cultural fruits of their experience and reflection to their community. For this they may receive honor and relative fame, and perhaps a relative degree of social security. If, however, the community does not appreciate the value of this harvest, then these later years can be lonely ones.

Dane Rudhyar once observed that a creative person usually does not manage to make their mark upon their time before they are 60. The works performed by the creative person after age 28 (the time of the beginning of true individual creativity) become impressed on the consciousness (and even the unconscious) of the generation born at the time these works were performed or produced. This impress is the foundation of the social and cultural immortality of the truly creative mind. When the generation born at the time of such a mind’s creations reaches maturity - age 28 - then it will be in a position to understand and appreciate their value. The creator will then be about sixty years of age. Thus, it should be during this period of life that one should realize the importance of trying to make something permanent, and in some cases immortal, contribution to the life of their community, great or small. One must concentrate on the spiri- tual future, both of themselves and of humanity.

A spiritual repolarization can occur at this time of life. Essentially, this necessitates a review of everything one has assimilated during their life - deciding what to keep and eventually to pass on to future generations, and what to discard. The individual must discover the best way in which what they become can fulfill some basic collective need of the times. It is never too early to begin the task of discarding what is non- essential, and then to go about strengthening, clarifying and, if need be, recording for the coming generations the harvest of one’s experience. One should do this during this 9th phase of life, because at age 60 one will be best fitted to do the job. What should count is not so much the time spent on the task, but the quality of the achievement.

Age 63 to 70: Body or Organic Level - Conscious preparation for the “after-life,” or senility. Radiating wisdom or, negatively, sense of boredom, emptiness, futility. Bringing the life to some sort of seed-consummation.

Sixty-three is a particularly crucial age. At this time Uranus comes to the waning square to its natal position, and Saturn is then nearing the waxing square in its third cycle.* The waxing square of Saturn around age 66-67 can mean a new, great adventure into spiritual realms. If, on the other hand, the person has nothing positive to offer society or they are not open to new realms of consciousness, then the process of body crystallization and lowering of vitality takes on added power. The latter alternative will occur particularly if the waning Uranus square at 63 meant the gradual severance of the creative self from the body and established routine existence. This severance may be due to a feeling of hopelessness at the way in which society and the power of tradition keep frustrating any creative effort of the Self. It may also be the end re- sult of the outer personality’s failure to meet the crisis of the forties and to deal with its results during the fifties in a constructive way.

*The 63rd year is also the age of consummation of the important 7-year and 9-year rhythms of the life-cycle: 7x9=63. The spiritual-individual rhythm (7) and the physical-collective rhythm (9) can be fully harmonized in the individual at this time; thereafter the life will be stirred to its depth by a new impulse. The number 9 - and therefore all 9-year periods - refers in humanistic astrology to the gradual working out of the spiritual and ancestral karma. Therefore, at age 63, the way in which the individual destiny and the collective destiny meet is a determining factor.

As ever, the positive role is played by the spirit within. When the everyday personal life can no longer contribute anything of value to the spirit, then the spirit gradually or suddenly withdraws. The body and the mind are then left to disintegrate, or, for awhile, to crystallize. One grows old out of a lack of interest in life - out of a sense of failure to gather any harvest of value from personal experience. This is a Uranian death: a letting go of some unbearable situation largely under a Neptunian sense of defeat. Saturnian death, on the other hand, is the slow result of a progressive crystallization of the bodily and the psychic structures which have become increasingly rigid and contain ever less spiritual content. This means death in automatism, meaninglessness or senility. The reason the time of death so often does not seem to register clearly in the birth-chart is that the actual time of disintegration of the body is not spiritually the most significant moment. Many people are inwardly “dead” whose bodies are still organically alive, and some are indeed “live” whose bodies no longer function. Here, says Rudhyar, we touch the mystery of what really constitutes a person’s true identity.

Beyond the Seventy-year Life-Cycle

The sense of responsibility towards one’s own and humanity’s spiritual future which may have redirected the life from age 60 onwards, can lead to a “third puberty” near the age 73-74 when Saturn comes to its third opposition to its natal place. If the end of life is being dedicated to the attempt at becoming a seed for the future in terms of what the individual has accomplished during their life, then a new rhythm of life-contacts can now be established (73-74) between the individual and society, and between the conscious ego and the spirit within, depending on where the attention is concentrated. If the body has stood the strain of this new type of relationship from age 70 onwards, then the fruits of this new relationship will lead to further change of magnetism at age 77. This age corresponds to 7x11 - 11 being the number of the Sun and of the circulation of solar energy throughout the solar system. Then, at 84, a “fourth birth” occurs. This according to Rudhyar, takes the individual altogether into a new realm of destiny - to a disintegration of the personality or (relative) immortality.

The Seven Year Cycle

The 1st year begins at birth, then age 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42,49, 56, 63, 70, 77, 84. The 2nd year begins at age...1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 36, 43, 50, 57, 64, 71, 78, 85. The 3rd year begins at age...2, 9, 16, 23, 30, 37, 44, 51, 58, 65, 72, 79, 86. The 4th year begins at age...3, 10, 17, 24, 31, 38, 45, 52, 59, 66, 73, 80, 87. The 5th year begins at age...4, 11, 18, 25, 32, 39, 46, 53, 60, 67, 74, 81, 88. The 6th year begins at age...5, 12, 19, 26, 33, 40, 47, 54, 61, 68, 75, 82, 89. The 7th year begins at age...6, 13, 20, 27, 34, 41, 48, 55, 62, 69, 76, 83, 90.

The first half of the cycle (3½ years) manifests as an involutionary trend with an accent on ACTIVITY and the effort to INCORPORATE the new impulse born in the 1st year, to find adequate means to ACTUALIZE it. The second half of the cycle (3½ to 7 years) marks an evolutionary trend with an accent on growth of CONSCIOUSNESS. There should be an attempt to express individual VALUES and MEANINGS through ideas or through group activity.

The Individual Years

Each year within any seven year period* has its individual meaning and is an expression of the period within which it falls. The starting point for a given year is the birthday of the person considered, and it extends to the next birthday. The occurrence of a major transit or progression must be considered not only in the context of the overall period within which it occurs, but also in terms of the specific year. *Cf. American Astrology, Rudhyar’s article on “The Seven Year Cycle,” April 1942. Also Rudhyar’s book Occult Preparations for a New Age C.6, p. 86 ff.

The First Year

The type of development which will characterize any 7-year period begins as a new impulse which is based on what has happened in the last year of the proceeding 7-year period. This impulse is usually not immediately clear, even though some definite occurrence may set the stage for it. Very often, this year is peculiarly elusive and uncertain in character, or filled with emotional confusion. The primary development is internal and below the level of personal consciousness. Life seems neither one thing nor another. Yet, in some cases, there is great impulsiveness, experimentation and emotional intensity which may include a sense of freedom and of new beginnings.

The Second Year

In this year the new impulse and the new destiny may give a new direction to the life and change the foundation of the person’s feelings. On the other hand, what happens may reveal a great deal of resistance to the new trend in the form of fears, memories, and social inertia. What was developed in the preceding 7-year period may oppose the new direction one wants to follow, or else the new trend has to push through the old ideas step by step. Psychological conflicts and financial or social problems may arise at this time. Important decisions may have to be made.

The Third Year

The new trend takes on a more definite form. One usually has some idea of what life now offers. This should be a year of definite exteriorization and action, even though one may feel very lonely; the new ideals appear unrealizable, and one’s abilities seem most inadequate. This lack of technique and of adequate means is often acute, yet there is a deep sense that one has to go on, even if motivated only by emotion or irrational enthusiasm or devotion.

The Fourth Year

The new trend should now be incorporated into new activities. New possibilities are revealed, and new issues are met - both social and personal. This must be a year of struggle, of conflict, and often of hard work, yet also of spiritual fecundation - otherwise it will be a fruitless resignation to old patterns. A choice either conscious or unconscious, personal or social, is usually made, or seemingly forced upon the person by circumstances. It may come at the exact midpoint of the 7-year period (three and one half years, which is the cyclic turning point), but more generally it occurs throughout the fourth year.

The Fifth Year

This is often the year of greatest self-expression when the keynote of the entire 7-year period may reveal itself with the greatest personal intensity - a year of flowering and of conscious development within the limits of what has been realized or visualized during the third year. A contact with the highest reaches of one’s nature attainable in that 7-year period is usually made now. One may find a “teacher” guide or helper - or one may function as a leader themselves. Negatively, destruction of hopes, “matter” or “human nature” wins over spirit.

The Sixth Year

This may be a year of fruition and culmination, yet with the need for some kind of sacrifice, perhaps the giving up of some cherished ideals and personal contacts. One must cultivate compassion and understanding to encounter the deep and often tragic experiences, the dissatisfactions, and the restless sense of frustration which may arise - even in the midst of apparent success and happiness. One should try to evaluate one’s degree of success or failure and be ready, ideally, to dedicate one’s efforts to the attainment of some future new state.

The Seventh Year

The seed year. The entire period is being concluded, and the need for some new life-values and a new phase of destiny or character development is felt - sometimes with poignant intensity. This should be a period of consummation and illumination, a high point in consciousness. In many cases, however, the negative factors predominate; the need and hope for a new phase of life is stronger than the joyous fulfillment of the old phase. And yet, the fulfillment of the old will actually create the new. Where there has been frustration instead of fulfillment, or a sense of inadequacy in the face of family or social pressures, the need and hope for the new “cries out to heaven” for another opportunity to start afresh. In either case, this seventh year contains in seed form the substance of the subsequent 7-year cycle, the promise of a new beginning, and one should prepare confidently for it.

Applying the Age Factor

This is a very general pattern which the astrologer must apply according to the age, life-conditions and social or personal problems of the individual. When the astrologer takes these generic cyclic patterns as a background for their interpretation of the individual progressions and transits, their interpretation will have a deeper and more intimate meaning. The age factor will not reveal the success or failure (both of which are value-judgements) of a venture, or whether an event will end happily or unfortunately; rather, it will indicate the part the event will play in the total life-development of a person. The astrological configurations - natal, progressed and transiting - at the time will help to determine whether the positive or negative meaning of the year and the 7-year period will enter most into consideration.

We may take marriage as an example. Rudhyar stresses that in attempting to discover the meaning of a marriage, or of any strong partnership psychologically similar to marriage, one must not think only of outer happiness or apparent success in the eyes of society. Many an outwardly successful marriage has meant spiritual death to at least one of the partners. What counts here is the purpose which that marriage will play in the life-destiny of that individual. In this, the age factor can reveal as much as any other astrological factor as to the deeper significance of the union. The 7-year period between age 21 to 28 is the time during which everyone normally develops the social phase of their character and destiny. Since marriage is basically a social impulse, most people who marry do so generally between the ages of 21 to 28, or make some decision then which will lead to marriage later. Next, the astrologer should note which year of this 7-year period the marriage, or the decision to marry took place. If it occurred during the second year, one might presume that the partnership is likely to be somewhat confused, and the social issues at stake may bring conflict of some sort. The partnership will help greatly to make concrete the keynote of the 7-year period, yet resistance and psychological confusion can be expected.

If marriage, or any union to be considered the psychological equivalent of marriage, takes place either before or after the “social level” - age 21 to 28 - this fact in itself will give a particular meaning to the union. A marriage taking place before the age of 21 would stress the “psychological factors” rather than the “social” and may be based on a purely emotional or instinctual-sexual impulse which may or may not last. At that age a person is looking for emotional security and a parent figure rather than a partner. The same may be true of a marriage which takes place during the introverted psychological level - age 49 to 56. At the same time, however, the person may be looking either for a parent figure, or for someone to whom they can be a parent-figure. In both cases, however, the primary motivation is emotional security.

Marriage after the age of 28 is likely to have a very “personal” meaning. A more mature personality unites with another to satisfy mutually personal, spiritual needs - needs which are individuallyformed, rather than the results of collective agreement. From age 35 - 42, which is the introverted personality level, there will also be an expansion of consciousness through human relationship as a motivating force in the union. A marriage taking place during the introverted social period - age 42 to 49 - may be based on the need to ensure social security; the person may be looking for an escort or a hostess rather than a soul-mate. It may also be a psychological reaction to the frustrations of work, or to personal losses experienced during the first half of life (the basic keynote of the period 42 to 49).

What is suggested here in relation to marriage or other close pair-bonded relationships also applies to the choice of one’s life work. The usual time such a decision is made is during the age 14 to 21 period - the extroverted psychological level. At this time of life, a person is most influenced by peer-group pressure so that a choice of career at this time is likely to be based on the emotional security of peer approval - i.e., that it will provide them with a good income and thereby social standing in their community rather than being the expression of their personal creativity.

The selection of a career made at another time in the life would have a very different meaning. Take for example, four individuals all of whom chose to be doctors. None of them made that decision at the usual time (age 14 to 21).The first decided to become a doctor when he was five years old. In this case he was merely exteriorizing the values of his family - his father and grandfather were also doctors. Thus, for him, medicine was an expression of family tradition, and his life-work was decided by the pressures of that tradition rather than by a consciously made choice. The second person did not decide to enter medicine until their 22nd year. At the same time they were a psychologist working with schizophrenic children, and they realized that they could do more for those children if they had a medical degree. Their decision to enter medicine, therefore, was made on the basis of the contribution they could make to society. Scorning the more lucrative and glamorous branches of medicine which appeal to one seeking approval of their peers, they entered a field of genetic research - a specialization which reflects the social level.

In the third example, the individual did not decide to become a doctor until she was twenty-eight years old. Earlier she abandoned a career in mathematics in order to marry, and although she was devoted to her family, felt the role of wife-mother was personally stifling. Her choice of a medical career was an expression of her individual creativity. The fourth example did not choose to become a doctor until he was thirty-nine. He felt that this was the last chance to fulfill the dream of a lifetime. More than a change of career was involved here; there was also a change in personal attitude and life-style. By the time his children were approaching college age and he was well-established in another career. Entering medical school necessitated the liquidation of all his worldly goods and uprooting his family; however, since the decision was made with their approval and support, when he finally received his degree, the wife and children shared in his sense of personal accomplishment.

In this same way, all important decisions or turning points in the life can be measured in terms of the age factor, thereby providing an additional dimension and a more persona meaning above and beyond the event itself. In addition to marriage and career, all major illnesses, changes of residence, divorce, loss of a parent, creative or social achievements, birth of children and religious conversions may be examined in terms of the age at which the individual experienced them. This generis cycle gives a framework which will be universally valid even though each individual introduces particular modifications of the pattern it establishes. At the same time, the more significant the individual destiny in a spiritual sense, the closer the individual cycles will follow the generic pattern. This according to Rudhyar is the great paradox. As he said in The Astrology of Personality,

"The supremely individuated personality reveals the most perfectly in its outline of character, consciousness and destiny the form of generic Man. The most individual becomes the most universal, just because of being the most individual. He becomes a “solar Hero” - an Exemplar or Avatar, whose deeds and whose personality are universally significant." (1st edition, 1936, p.239)

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