Astrological mid-life crisis, age 37-42


The astrological mid-life crisis (crisis = danger + opportunity, according to the Chinese) occurs for everyone at around age 37-42. It would be more accurate to describe the process as a series of crises. The exact timing varies and depends on the individual birth chart, but this is one of those astrological cycles that everyone experiences at roughly the same age. The peak of it usually lasts two to three years. Important long-term changes (some astrologers now consider an astrological mid-life up to age 50) are common as a result of how the person deals with the challenges that come up. As always, and at the risk of stating the obvious, you have a choice as to how you deal with it all.

At around age 37 or so (for the current generation), Pluto squares natal Pluto – difficult but potentially deep evolutionary change that confronts some of us with internal and external power struggles and buried resentments. A profound “letting go” is common. We may even feel we are dealing with forces beyond our control, as Pluto takes us on a difficult healing journey, particularly if Pluto or Scorpio are strong in the birth chart.

NeptuneGlyph1Neptune squares its natal position in the chart at around age 41 and this can be very confusing and disorientating. Deeply held dreams and ideals can suddenly seem empty or no longer relevant. As old attachments dissolve, disappointment and disillusionment is common. Afterwards, the individual can begin to develop a restored sense of faith and philosophy of life.

Uranusglyph1The Uranus opposition Uranus transit at around age 40-42 is often even more disrupting and in a different way. It has often been described as one of the most important astrological phases of one’s life. Uranus is the great awakener, that stirs up our reality so that we are never the same again afterwards. Sudden shocks, realizations, and complete changes of life direction are common at this time. Re-discovering one’s freedom and unique sense of individuality is important. Some people leave a marriage, relationship, or job. Others may go through a crisis in these areas that eventually strengthens their original commitment. The challenge is to be able to make the necessary changes without “throwing the baby out with the bath water”.

Finally, there is the Saturn opposition Saturn transit at around age 43-44, a time of re-structuring responsibilities and commitments, related to life decisions made 15 years earlier. This can also be experienced as a difficult phase but perhaps not as disorientating as Pluto, Uranus and Neptune described above.


If we manage to cope with these potential crises during our late thirties and early forties, a significant amount of unnecessary baggage can be left behind. The individual birth chart will give other indicators as to how easy or difficult this process is likely to be.

Please note, this is a deliberately brief and general summary. Good luck to all!

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Looking backwards

At its best, a balanced interpretation of the astrological birth chart can give one a sense of belonging to life, a sense that it is actually okay to be who one is – a sense that however often it may appear otherwise, life is unfolding exactly as it is supposed to.

Contrary to many people’s idea of astrology (often based on Sun signs and horoscopes in the media), it can actually be most useful as a tool for self-awareness when looking backwards at the past. Although astrologers “predict” the meaning of planetary cycles and patterns for the future, much of this is inevitably unknown and open to change. The events of a person’s past on the other hand, can be clearly interpreted using astrological correspondences, often with startling accuracy. Serious astrology can offer a greater understanding of the meaning of previous life experiences.

The Saturn return at around age 29 is a good example of this. Anyone over 30 can look back at that time (the exact period depends on the individual birth chart) as a major turning point of some kind. Issues of commitment, responsibility and “growing up” are themes at this time. People get married, get divorced, change career, start a family… the individual chart reveals more specific information, the changes may be relatively smooth or difficult. Or we can look back at where Jupiter was 12 years ago, the last time round, giving us an idea of where we might be ready to expand and grow in our lives now. And so on.

In fact astrology can help us see how the past, the present and the future are all connected. By understanding our past better, we can hopefully use this self-knowledge to consciously create a better future.

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