Rites of Passage

My work is about human evolution, both on micro and macro scales.
The way we all individually change, progress and evolve mirrors and
is in accord with the epic story of Homo sapiens
Evolutionary shifts are inbuilt to human beings, both collectively as a species
and individually. These potentials for shifts correlate with age,
and can best be understood by using astrological mapping.

Each and every one of us goes through the universal human rites of passage. It is only if people are relatively unconscious that they slide through almost unchanged. Although we all have some trepidation about change, transformation is vital to the adventure of our life.

To a large extent, my life—and possibly yours too—has been about life change. I have gained an insight into how each of us changes through my own direct experience and through observing, mapping and listening to how others change. This increasing awareness of how individuals change has naturally, almost seamlessly, linked into how society as a whole changes.

Life Changes and the Rites of Passage

Click on the links below for specific age-related rites of passage:

Age 28 to 31: The Rite of Personal Law

Saturn Return

The Saturn return restricts and inhibits, but also turns potential into substance and form. So how much does Saturn restrict you? It depends upon your relationship to structures and, most importantly, on your level of consciousness.

At our Saturn return, we are asked to create and own our personal rules, laws and boundaries and to accept responsibility for our life as an individual. During the Saturn return, people can often break out of restrictive relationships or, in contrast, can get married, i.e. take on a social convention (structure); or take on a responsibility towards career, or break out of work that inhibits who they are. The foundations and general form of our work is set at this time.

Age 36 to 42: The Rite of Karmic Transformation

This ‘midlife’ transition is truly an opportunity to grow on profound levels. No matter what changes we have been through before now, my belief is that it is the midlife rite of passage that truly offers a karmic soul transformation. The question of life purpose now becomes more urgent. The whole mid-life period, during which we go through about four overlapping rites, is a sustained transformation through multiple changes—it is during this period that a long-term ally can be most beneficial to you.

North Node (Second) Return

The North Node of the Moon, or the Dragon’s Head, shows the path of destiny or the life script; it can be seen as the evolutionary challenge for the individual.

The second North Node return at 37 is the subtle but nagging whisper of the soul to remember one’s life purpose or pre-life intention. At this point, synchronicities are particularly relevant, as this is the language of the North Node. The external environment, especially other people and new people who come into your life, new circumstances, new suggestions and new opportunities, can all be seen as ‘messages’ to inform the individual of their direction for the important epoch ahead.

Without a concept of purpose, a person will not be conscious of the fact that this period is imbued with deep significance. However, unconsciously they may well still be guided towards whatever is suggested by the subtle, synchronic landscape of this particular rite of passage.

Pluto Square Pluto

The key period of transformation for most people is during their Pluto square Pluto. This will be happening now if you are around 36 years of age (Pluto’s eccentric orbit means this occurs at slightly different ages with each generation). This 90-degree angle triggers the activation of the kundalini energy for the major midlife change. As with all the rites of passage, how we change and transform depends on how much we can stay open and willing.

Pluto square Pluto is not a mere change of temporary mood. The transformation goes right to the core of our beings, hence the intensity that comes with the emergence of new attendant circumstances. Where there was darkness we now find light; the Pluto square makes that which was unconscious conscious. Pluto deepens us in every aspect of our life.

The Pluto square Pluto stirs up sexuality, intensifies and sometimes reverses one’s libido, possibly dramatically as Pluto is the planet that represents the life force of the entire species, the impulse of the collective. Eros and Thanatos—both passion and the death urge—come to the conscious awareness of each individual during the Pluto square. This can lead to fundamental changes in relationship.

During the Pluto square, as well as during other Pluto transits unique to the individual’s chart (one example being Pluto in major aspect to your natal Sun), we are pushed to evolve. The Pluto effect can be likened to the Phoenix, where we rise from the ashes of our previous lifescape.

Neptune Square Neptune

Neptune square Neptune at around 40–41 years of age softens people, as the dreamy soulful oceanic bliss that dissolves differences awakens. This can lead to increases in addictive behaviour, including drugs, alcohol or profound idealism. Neptune is the nebulous and permeable feeling of the soul, where we merge with others, or simply merge with something else—however, there will be a sense of impermanence to that which we merge with, whether it be a person, a faith or a mindset.

The overall effect of Neptune square Neptune can be behavioural addiction and disillusionment, or it can be acceptance, compassion and empathy.

Uranus Opposite Uranus

Uranus opposite Uranus, at around 40–42 years, brings sudden change, new ideas that challenge the established order within us and often within society. This transit awakens the ability to detach from both emotions and morality. Uranus opposite Uranus heralds the need to fulfil individual libertarian urges that have not yet been lived out. This can result in short-lived affairs, dangerous sports, risk-taking in general and/or inspiration in the form of radical observations, big ideas and whole new concepts that can upset those around you who have rigid expectations about who you are or how you should behave.

During this transit, people can appear to behave erratically, eccentrically or even coldly and selfishly. For those going through it, though, this can be an excitingly creative and expressive transit.

Age 50 to 51: The Rite of Integration

Chiron Return

At 50–51 years of age, when Chiron returns to its position in our natal chart, we go through another rite of passage, which urges integration. Chiron is the consciousness urging us to connect our material needs with our spiritual needs, our body with our mind, our spirituality with our role in the world, whilst living with the fact that there is always a rift between these polarities. This discordant gap is ultimately dynamic and creative, leading to new emerging patterns that arise from the chaos of Life—it is the gap that allows in the mystery of Life.

The Chiron return comes with a pain of disconnection that urges us to integrate all that we are. This includes bringing back into our life qualities from the past and finding a way to fit them into our life as it is now.

If someone has no connection to their inner world of feelings, this will be by necessity a painful awakening. For everyone, however, Chiron return brings some kind of awakening to an unconscious area for the sake of connection and integration, rather than for ‘punishment’ or to find a rational explanation.

The Chiron return offers a real liberation from the compulsions of our younger days and the opportunity to be a mentor—not a coach or teacher in a specific area, but a mentor who connects Life’s diversity of mind, body and spirit.

Chiron return allows one to be both part of society, yet to have expression that is beyond it. You might act in a way that is somewhat maverick—having a tattoo; taking up falconry; undertaking a round-the-world sailing trip; some unusual hobby, project or interest that has a touch of the bizarre to it. If we are open and willing during our Chiron return, we can now appreciate, revere and express our idiosyncrasies, our physical and personality imperfections and our ‘weird ways’ that have given us pain in the past.

Age 58 to 63: The Rite of Eldership, Longevity and Rejuvenation

At 58–60, reverence for all life, not just humanity, awakens on a transcendental level, and at around 62, the opportunity for refreshing one’s perception is available to those still open to life’s adventure.

Saturn Second Return

Saturn second return at 59–60 presents us with the opportunity for peace of mind that comes with some genuine humility and respect for limitations; some discipline or positive habitual lifestyle moderations in food and daily exercise; and some kind of nonstressful service that gives purpose. This transit induces reverence for God, Life, Spirit, Nature and the Mystery—and with this reverence there can be a stillness, gratitude and peace. The highest qualities that can emerge now include equanimity and a transcendental consciousness.

Alternatively, the feeling can be that one is gradually fading away. There can be no peace of mind if moderation, service, transcendental mystery, reverence and humility are not embodied. The challenge is to not crystallize or rigidify, in neither mind nor body.

Chariklo Return

In mythology Chariklo, who is a water nymph, is married to Chiron. This relationship between Chariklo and Chiron links the rite of passage at 50–51 (Chiron return) directly to this transition at 62–63.

Chariklo return presents a very different context from the Saturn second return. The Chariklo return is an engagement with the future; the Saturn second return is more about the past and preservation. The futurism of the Chariklo return can be something that is beyond a mere concern with oneself.

The Chariklo transit is visionary and orientated towards evolution on Earth, as well as being attuned to progressive relationship dynamics. It affords us the opportunity to call upon the power of perception and our ability to play any role we choose. This rite of passage can bring a visceral awareness that Life is a theatre and how relationship between ourselves and other people—in fact our relationship with all beings, things, mindsets or social groupings—is entwined with perception. The consciousness of perception at this level allows us to reinterpret and re-envisage who we are. The person who is open and conscious at their Chariklo return is a senior citizen who can enjoy anything that the young kids might enjoy—such as computer games and the latest technological gadgets, anything sci-fi, or even surfing and snowboarding—as well as adventure travelling, genetic upgrades, robot pets and relationships with people of very different ages and backgrounds.

The Chariklo effect is one of grace, lightness of presence, the ability to change roles and relate without condescension to those who are different or younger. Chariklo consciousness allows one to see through the great edifices, the lead boxes and walled cities of history, the social roles and authority and all that is rigidly Saturnine. This awareness brings rejuvenation and longevity, as life begins again for the individual.

Life’s Rich Tapestry

As in all rites of passage, the key to understanding the opportunities for regeneration and revitalization depend upon the level of reality—the Enchantment—you are operating from (see our Enchantments of Life website for more information). Each succeeding generation has the opportunity to go beyond where no one has gone before; to live longer, more vital and more regenerative lives, thanks to the evolution of the species that has been gifted by the efforts and struggles of previous generations.

When looking at your own life, you might not be able to define chapters and themes easily if you are viewing it as a flat continuum. Astrology enables you to start seeing the components of your kaleidoscopic experience. The swirling chaos of Life is made up of threads and themes that are evolving archetypes with multitiered expressions. Each planet is an archetype, an expression of Life that appears differently on each level of reality.

To understand what each rite of passage means for you in particular, we have to consider the planetary placements in your individual astrology chart by House, Zodiac sign and aspect, as well as, most importantly, your Enchantment level, which is your own emotional centre of gravity (see the Big Q, our self-assessment questionnaire, here as a PDF, to understand how this is made up for you).

Want to Know More?

Text for this Rites of Passage introductory page has been extracted from our 42-page Astrology and Consciousness: Universal Rites of Passage handbook that is part of our two-day intensive Rites of Passage workshop. To arrange a workshop for your group (usually 8 to 12 participants) for this highly acclaimed course, please contact Laurence on ljl.lifechanges@yahoo.com

I am available most of the year in Hong Kong and from my roof terrace on Lamma Island; I am also in London twice a year. International clients work with me on Skype and email.

© Change Your Life website, copyright Laurence James Lucas; August 2009; updated March 2016.  

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