Prophet of the day (according to Ibn 'Arabi): Jesus
The Sun is still in 5 Cancer (in my 10th house): Game birds feathering their nests. (Symbol for 6 Cancer from Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala)
The Moon is at 00Cap26 (in my 4th house). Lunar mansion (according to Ibn 'Arabi): 22, The Minerals, letter Ẓā, The Precious (Ash-Sharīr)
Lunar phase: Gibbous - Overcoming (phase names and keywords from Dane Rudhyar, The Lunation Cycle)
A few minutes ago, the Moon entered Capricorn (in my 4th house). About an hour after midnight, the Moon will enter its Full Moon phase, whose keyword is Fulfillment.
Since I posted yesterday, an odd thing happened. In my review of my handwritten journal yesterday I found mention of a graduate student with whom I worked closely at that time and with whom I had a personal rapport. He subsequently went on to accept an academic position while still ABD and did not complete his degree. This morning I received a two-line text from him, after not having heard from him for several years: "I'm" was the first line, and "sorry" was the second line. I was hoping that this wasn't a cryptic suicide note. I wrote back, asking if everything was OK, but I have not yet received a response.
Yesterday evening I compiled more astrological data in preparation for continuing to read Chapter 9 of Sullivan's book. Among the things that she mentions on the topic of turning fifty is: "Divorce is an option that has been increasingly abused with the Pluto in Leo/Neptune in Libra generation; it is not a prime choice for the Pluto in Virgo generation, and is likely to become less so as we move on." (p. 143) I chuckled when I read this because my husband and I are of the Pluto in Virgo generation, and we feel rather conservative in our determination to stay together. Further, Sullivan writes: "Once the shock and excitement of turning fifty has come and gone, a sense of settling in will occur, and by the time one reaches the mid-fifties, there is a marked shift in psychological perspective." (p. 143) This is where I find myself now.
The next astrological topic that is mentioned in her chapter is the Chiron return. This happened for me three times--D on Mar 12, 2012; Rx on Sep 21, 2012; and D on Jan 5, 2013--at the age of 49-50. I don't have a strong sense of recall of what went on at that time, although I have marked Jan 2013 in memory as the time at which I resumed salat as a daily spiritual practice. "Here one realizes one's relationship to one's own tribal unit, whether that be aboriginal or secular or religious." (p. 144) "Recapitulation of one's life seems to come at this stage whether or not it is desired." (p. 144) "There is a point when your mother/father/sister/teachers are no longer culpable in your own discomfort or pain." (p. 145) "Whatever it was you did before your Chiron return, and, more significantly, why you did it, will alter radically, and your deepest, interior motives for life and action will change." (p. 145)
Age Fifty-Two: Saturn Square Saturn--Liminality/Consolidation
This aspect occurred three times--D Nov 18, 2012; Rx Jun 16, 2013; D Jul 29, 2013--at the age of 50 (slightly ahead of the schedule stated by Sullivan). As I mentioned in my previous post, I associate this period with the celebration of my 50th birthday (with my father present), my visit to Newfoundland with my father and brother (and my first absence from the Amma summer programs since I started attending in 2003), and the release of my Rudhyar CD. This was also a time in which Bosnian Islam and the Bosnian language became important components in my spiritual/cutural explorations. There are a couple of points that Sullivan raises that may be relevant here (although they pertain to the fifties in general and not specifically to this aspect). On p. 142, specifically with reference to the Pluto in Leo (Baby Boomer) generation, she mentions living spiritual teachers who may be lost (presumably through death, but possibly also through scandal or disaffection with the guru's organization) in or around one's fifties. She also mentions issues of family heritage: "The numbers of people who reconnect with cousins, elders, or family who may still be in 'the old country' is amazing." (p. 142)
Sullivan indicates that it is normal for there to be a feeling of latency to this period: "It can be an introduction to the wasteland, insofar as there is a two-year period after the initial aspect in which there is no other cyclic activity. It is oddly consistent with liminality that one of the biggest questions that arises for an individual at the age of fifty-two is 'Now what? I am supposed to be all grown up, but I don't feel it.' From the ages of fifty-two through almost fifty-five, the lack of other major cycles ocontributes to the experience of thresholding, drifting, seeking and questioning authority and one's own authenticity." (p. 146) "If one's life has been governed by the status quo and one has subordinated one's individuality to externally imposed values, this stage of development can result in revolution or depression or a bit of both--and both are healthy stimuli for change." (p. 147)
"Between the ages of fifty-two and fifty-seven come a flurry of developmental generic aspects, and with that a sense of urgency to 'get it together.' One feels an imperative toward self-fulfillment and self-honesty that must come to pass by the second Saturn return." (p. 149)
Fifty-Four--Lunar No More
"The second Lunar return by secondary progression recapitulates the first one at age twenty-seven and a half." (p. 149) At the time of the first Lunar return I was in my first year of graduate school. At the time of the second Lunar return (May 2017) I had been a tenured associate professor for 10 years and had begun to think about my exit from the profession. During 2017 I was dealing with a health issue--stress fractures in my right foot--that came on in January of that year. I am currently working with a personal trainer as part of a strategy for healing from that injury and trying to prevent further such injuries in the future. "With this second Lunar return, the mandate from the psyche is to move on from being in relationship to others based on dependency, old patterns, and family dynamics. This is not as easily done as it is said. To really mature with emotional grace, it means letting go of one's children as dependents, letting go of one's spouse or partner as a habitual necessity, and renegotiating these relationships so that they are based on choice, not need." (p. 151) Hormonal changes are typical of this time of life and it may be that my issues with bone density and spontaneous fractures may be related to that. This is a time to think about healthy versus unhealthy habits. For example, I committed to pursuing personal training at the gym in August 2017 and I have been more consciously using the daily cycle of prayer times as a guide as to how to organize my daily schedule of activity and rest.
Saturn Sextile Saturn: Graceful Boundaries
This aspect seems also to have occurred a little ahead of schedule. I experienced it in Nov 2015, just after my 53rd birthday. At the time of my birthday I was in St. Louis at a music theory conference (the first national conference I had attended in several years). Since St. Louis has a high concentration of Bosnian immigrants, I made it a point to rent a car (at my own expense) on that trip so that I would be able to sample some of the Bosnian restaurants in the area and to attend džuma. I also brought a copy of The Mountain Astrologer with me and read an article by Jason Holley about Saturn and Neptune. Soon after that I had an astrological consultation with him. These would all be indications that I was, on the one hand, fulfilling the expected professional obligation of attending the music theory conference, while at the same time carving out time and space for my own interests, trying to get the investment of time, energy, and financial resources to work for me. "If at all possible, begin to line up alternatives and things to do that will give you encouragement and excitement about retiring." Haha! That's what I've been doing recently.
Sullivan does not include a section on the Pluto trine, since only people with Pluto in certain signs will experience this in midlife. Virgo is one of those signs, and I experienced this trine three times in 2014--Jan 12 (D), Jul 30 (Rx), and Nov 13 (D)--at age 51-2. 2014 was perhaps the most remarkable year in recent memory. In that year I received two significant professional invitations: a guest lecture at a local university and a brief residency (including a musical performance) at a university in Utah. Although I feel I generally remain obscure within my field, I appreciated these invitations as tokens of recognition for my (albeit limited) professional accomplishments. In August 2014, shortly after the Rx Pluto trine, one of our (at that time) two cats met her demise. This was a very difficult loss for me. I felt myself tighten up physically, as if I were having trouble containing my grief, and I reached out to the Rosen worker I had worked with previously. I also reached out to a therapist I hadn't work with before. In addition, I looked for Sufi groups online and contacted the people in the next state over, with whom I am still friends. Before moving on, I think it is significant to recognize that I had not only professional accomplishments that year, but I also invested in therapy, Rosen, and Sufism for my personal enrichment.
Uranus Trine to Uranus and Neptune Trine to Neptune: If at First You Don't Succeed, Trine and Trine Again!
Once again, the generic aspects come in a different order from those listed in Sullivan. The Neptune trine occurred three times--Apr 7, 2017 (D); Aug 29, 2017 (Rx); Feb 8, 2018 (D)--at ages 54-5. Of these aspects, the Rx one is most firmly engraved in my memory, as that came at the start of the academic year, when I was tasked with being the Director of Graduate Studies, and when the second of (formerly) two cats had a stroke (on Aug 26). This was a difficult time, as I devoted myself wholeheartedly to my cat's care while taking on my new work responsibilities, keeping up with appointments at the gym and with the Rosen worker, etc. Eventually I missed a Rosen appointment and decided to let that go temporarily. My cat passed on Oct 8. That was a difficult loss, which signalled the end of an era that began in 1997 when my husband I adopted the two cats as kittens and prepared to purchase our first home. Clearly, ties to our former life in our previous location were loosening, even more fully than they had done previously. A couple of weeks following our cat's death, we adopted an adult cat from a shelter. I think that the sense of devotion that I feel toward her is colored in part by the still-fresh memories of the loss of the previous cats that we had had for 17 and 20 years, respectively. Regarding the Netpune trine: "I believe this is the aspect that begins the softening phase in the turning-point from maturing to aging--wherein acceptance is a grace and not a failing. ... Breaking out of the mold, thinking differently, taking risks with ideas, projects, and work brings a burst of life-force to the late fifties. This natural, generic 'boost' is the very energy needed to cross the threshold to the genuine elder years, where vitality is still high but the level of ambition and aggression has softened." (p. 155)
Finally, the Uranus trine is in the future and predates the second Saturn return by a good year or so. I will experience the Uranus trine three times--May 30, 2019 (D); Oct 28, 2019 (Rx); Mar 20, 2020 (D)--at age 56-7. Sullivan points to this as a time of mental stimulation and of "renewed desires for the future" following a shift away from the "angst of middelescence." (p. 153) There may be a desire for travel and new cultures (whether or not one's means seem to support this). "By this age one has well-formed philosophies and worldviews that have a lot of history and experience underlying them. ... A new surge of mental youth arrives, and through the next few years may even mean studying and learning new subjects, or devoting oneself to an interest or passion on a greater or even full-time basis." (p. 154)