Midlife Crisis: Retrieving Your Soul

The midlife crisis is no joke, although it may look that way, to people my age who find it endearing that young people over forty are horrified when they find a gray hair. I try to remember the time when I thought forty was old, but I must’ve changed as I now consider myself to be young at sixty-nine.  And the loveliest thing about my gray hair is the ability of my beautician to make it any color I like.

I don’t mean to belittle the point here. The midlife crisis really is a once-in-a-lifetime deal and it really is serious. When I say you are on a journey to retrieve your soul, even though you didn’t know until now it had been misplaced, I’m not just speaking metaphorically. This is a crucial time in your life.

Have you been jogging along the right path lately? That’s the question that comes up when you reach your late thirties to early forties, a period of about four to six years. It’s been ten to fourteen years since you experienced your first Saturn Return and faced the first big milestone on your soul’s journey. But maturity is not an overnight process. Along with the new insights you gained back then you most likely had a job to maintain, a family to provide for, and all that goes along with being a responsible member of society.

Now transiting Saturn will enter the picture again when you’re about 42, but this time only as part of a complex series of transits that have already begun, to bring the new results to light.  By opposing its position in your chart, it’s asking “How are you doing so far on the halfway mark to your second Saturn Return?” And your cranky reply may well be “Would you quit being so serious for awhile? I’ve got all these other issues to deal with so you can just wait your turn!”

The other three transits just passing are Uranus opposing Uranus, called your “Uranus Opposition”, Neptune square Neptune, and Pluto square Pluto. All of these transits represent a complex of self-evaluations and choices you are making about your life. It is a process. Although I experienced my Uranus opposition first, many of you are experiencing your Pluto square first, as Pluto has been traveling faster recently.

Pluto is associated with psychology and some believe he even represents the soul. Since this is a one-time transit, it represents a life-changing crisis in action on a deep emotional and psychological level. It often begins with a growing awareness of our mortality. We become obsessed with the loss of youth and other signs of aging, and feel a deep sense of loss along with other intense feelings: of grief, depression, rage, jealousy, betrayal, isolation and disempowerment.

What’s really triggering these feelings is an internal process in which the unconscious is awakening, and something within us is crying out for greater depth of meaning in our lives. In Jungian terms, this phase represents the confrontation with our “shadow” and we are faced with the “demons” of the past. Through internal and external experiences we become more aware of those parts of ourselves we have repressed, buried, rejected, denied, projected and ignored.

It’s time to begin recognizing, owning and integrating these unlived parts of ourselves. In order to heal our wounded child it is also time for us to endure the pain and face the past, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. This phase is not just about death, it is about birth and renewal.

For most people, the Uranus opposition follows and occurs between the age of 40 and 42 (others nearer to 38 or 39) which is at the midpoint of its 84 year cycle, the amount of time it takes to travel around the zodiac. Since an opposition is much like a full moon this transit of Uranus reveals what we have become in the first half of our lives. As we begin to see ourselves more clearly we also begin to feel an urge to free ourselves of attachments to the past in order to build a new identity. We want to explore new possibilities, do things we’ve never done before.

We want to reconnect with the parts of ourselves we’ve repressed. According to Jung, if we successfully navigate this midlife transition “Above all we will have achieved a real independence and with it, to be sure, a certain isolation. In a sense we are alone, for our “inner freedom” means that a love relation can no longer fetter us, the other sex has lost its magic power over us, for we have come to know its essential traits in our own psyche.”

The time of the Uranus opposition is exciting because we now have the impetus to make changes necessary for our growth, and can find ourselves inspired to follow our dream. However, our dream is undergoing a revamping by our Neptune square during this midlife experience.

We are faced with a crisis of ideals. During the Neptune square we may feel terribly disillusioned and depressed as we begin to see a gulf between what we once idealized and the reality in our lives, also reflected through our interaction with society. Now is the time we  face whether what we have become matches our ideal self. And, even if it does, we need a new dream to guide us in the second half of our life. What shall it be? This is a time many of us begin to question our religion as well as our spiritual and philosophical beliefs and whether they are still valid. We may feel an absence of meaning, the lack of a sense of purpose, or find ourselves in a state of mourning for the lost dreams of youth. By studying Astrology during this time in my life I experienced an entirely new awareness of the Divine Order of the Universe, God’s creation.

The importance of this journey through uncertainty is that it gives us the ability to connect with a larger spiritual purpose. Formal religion has its place but how many of us drop our spirituality in the collection plate every Sunday and forget about it the rest of the week? Religion is no substitute for spirituality. That sounds suspiciously like something my eldest daughter says, that “school is no place for children”, which is why she home schools. But that’s a decision she made after she had two more children near the time of her midlife crisis.

At this time of our life we have the opportunity to connect with the core of our being more than ever before, to help us make decisions about what we really want to do with the rest of our lives. All these values are activated following closure of the transits, not during the transits themselves. At last we feel free to express our gifts, unhampered by the restrictions of the past. At last we can retrieve our souls from obscurity.

6 Responses

  1. I am going through my Neptune square Neptune right now, already went through the Pluto transit. My Uranus aspect is soon to hit in April, I too, am finding the study of astrology to be more important and comforting during this time. The Neptune aspect has just kicked in, so I am not sure how it may affect me, but I will say that I have the desire to live a more authentic life on my own terms and in my own way, an aspect of myself that I have shut away to some degree. I also do feel the desire to leave certain aspects of my life and go away and start anew, yet I haven’t figured out how to do this. That is not to say I want a much younger man, or want to do something crazy to express myself. I am usually a fairly thoughtful cautious individual. I enjoyed reading this blog, it does give solace to those like myself, who are experiencing this “opportunity” I am welcoming 40, though I do not feel any older in my spirt. Thanks for the insight and information.

  2. Thanks so much for writing. I love to get feedback, and it helps so much to get a positive reaction to what I have to say. These years can be the best of your life because you are on the road to becoming more of what you are. Living authentically isn’t easy because we have to unlearn some of what we learned in the past, and this is where much of the pain comes from. If at times you feel restless for change, remember also that the change is coming from within, and is only reflected in the outer world. As for the Neptune square, you could end up re-awakening a dream you once had that you can recapture, which could kick in through your Uranus opposition when we begin to reclaim the unlived parts of ourselves. Keep up with the Astrology as it is a great guide to helping you on your way. Good luck and please write again.

  3. It’s funny because I am tryiing to revision my dream of working in the music industry; something I’ve always wanted to do, as a singer and songwriter at this age, I know I have to continue to listen to my dreams and my inner spirit to move me. I was born with Neptune in my first house, and so far I don’t feel too different since this started, my dreams are always vivid and my gift of prophesy feels as though it’s gotten stronger. I am also to the point of where I don’t care what any one thinks of me. I desire to work for myself, so the need for change exists, lately I have been taking the advice of some of the writers I read that talk about how to manage the so called”crisis”. I try to engage in activities that I enjoy on a daily basis, I engage in a lot more creative visualization and prayer, and I make time to spend with my closest friends, who are older than me, and are still going through mid-life. What I learn from them is that having faith throughout the process in paramount because in the end it will still be okay. I appreciate your insight and will continue to write. Blessings to you and your family.

  4. And Blessings to you and yours. My Neptune is in the 12th house but went over my Ascendant when I was a child and was in my first until after I married and had my children, whose natal Neptune conjuncts my North node on my second cusp, and my children have been my greatest Blessing from the Universe. But not in any self-sacrificing way as the shadow side of Neptune would suggest, but lifting me to a higher level of spirituality through the experience of being a mother. When I experienced my Neptune square my children were nearly grown and other past dreams were being re-awakened. I believe you and I are fortunate to have the Neptune in the first house experience, since it takes 164 years to go around the zodiac. Neptune rules music as you know and music comes from the celestial sphere; your soul is singing to you. Having others to share this with is another Blessing the Universe is bestowing on you, which will help you through the changes you will have to go through in order to retrieve your dreams.

  5. Dear Amanda,
    Thank you for your message, it has helped me so much! I am nearly 37 and going through a soul retrival or mid life crisis!?To be honest I did not really know what was happening for me until I read your post! right now everything seems to be in turmoil my marriage is struggling as I am really not getting anything from my relationship it has become cold and loveless and so too have I. My husband does not want to split up we have 3 amazing children, but i am struggling with how to explain to him where I am at and that I am craving a more authentic way of life.. I am praying and meditating for clarity.. can you offer any advice??? I have just been to see an astrologer and I must admit I had very little knowledge of astrology before then… I literally cried my way through the session as she pin pointed how my soul was lost in this life time and it was time to retrieve it.. Just feeling a little lost and would love some guidance I am a fledgling on this path… God bless you.. Dee.

  6. I’m so glad you wrote to me. I was about your age when I began my journey of self-discovery. This may sound like a cliche but I truly believe love will provide the answer. You may feel cold and loveless right now but this feeling is not permanent. Your emotions have become temporarily overwhelmed by the need to re-evaluate, to re-prioritize, and you will come out of it with a more spiritual love. First, ask yourself that all-important question: “Do I want what I have?” to narrow it down to what’s really important to you.

    There are many self-help books out there but the one that helped me at that time of my life was called “Shifting Gears” (I can’t remember the author’s name at the moment and don’t know if it’s still in print).

    What I got from it was that – like a train that must come to a stop before it can back up, i.e. “shift gears”, life brings us to a time when we are “stopped” and can’t seem to go forward. We need to shift gears. I read this book before I ever began studying astrology, which helped me to find my own answers. It’s a lonely journey (through this time) but so rewarding when you come out the other end. You must be patient as this is a long-term combination of transits but will help you understand not only yourself but the larger world around you and the people in your life.

    Someday you will look back, as I do, and feel blessed with the experience. There were hurdles to overcome but I truly feel that during that time I retrieved my soul and today my love of life, and my relationships with the people in my life give me great joy.

    Don’t hesitate to write to me at anytime if you feel I can be of help.
    God Bless You on your journey.


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