By age 50 we have arrived at an important threshold in our life-long journey of becoming and maturing. Like the cycles of the Moon, we completed the uprising and expansive years of the waxing Crescent, which symbolically refers to the phase from youth until young adulthood. At midlife, we reached the culmination of the Full Moon, the realization of our authentic self. We felt the drive and force within us to make the necessary changes in order to feel more fulfilled. Turning age 50 is not only the beginning of a new decade but it is a rite of passage into the waning years, bringing into our consciousness the reality of a new type of being in the world.
Indeed, a new mode of energy flow is setting in. However, there are a few steps that we need to become aware of in order to adjust to this new phase in our lives. Physically, the fifties is the time of bodily, hormonal changes and the aging process cannot be denied anymore. Emotionally, we might go through all sorts of mood swings and we could more than ever feel confronted with unfulfilled dreams, hopes, and wishes. Spiritually, we are entering a space that requires mourning for the spirit of youth and grieving for unlived potential. The question arises: where do I go from here?
The magic behind turning 50 derives from a deep inborn need to become whole. It requires standing still for a moment and embracing that inner child which has been waiting patiently in the corner for all these years. Our rational and intellectual understanding, which is driven by the motivation to physically master the outer world, does not suffice any more. As we are living through a time where the wild and sacred places on earth are destroyed at an alarming rate, we are asked to find the wilderness in our own hearts again. We instinctively know, if nature disappears, we lose our connection to soul.
In astrology we perceive the cyclic movement of Moon, Sun and the planets as a symbolic expression of our destiny’s unfolding in relation to time and space. We regard the solar system as an intricate web of planetary fields and resonances. Human life is just part of it and is woven into the fabric of this divine cosmic play. Soul-centered astrology employs archetypal imagery which resonates with the deeper levels of our psyche and which speaks the language of our core essence. It is based on the assumption that body and soul instinctively are reverberating with planetary cycles and rhythmic expressions. However, our rational mind may or may not pick up on these subtle inner growth processes. Most of the time we are too busy running our lives and might even suppress these inner stirrings.
In astrological understanding the years between ages 49-51 are very significant because we are experiencing our ‘Chiron Return’. Chiron, a planetoid that was first discovered in 1977, has ever since been associated with the vast expansion in alternative healing therapies and the ever-increasing interest in consciousness work. In mythic lore, Chiron was a centaur, a hybrid mix half human and half animal. He was known for his healing abilities and wisdom; he also worked as a mentor and teacher. Chiron symbolizes the fundamental conflict or split between mind and body, intellect and instinct, or soul-body and rationality as just described above. Symbolically, Chiron stands for a consciousness where mind and body are brought into a higher-order integration. When we reach Chiron’s return we have matured and ‘aged’ to the point where integration between soul- body and mind, or between all our disconnected parts becomes a primary concern. We have entered the path of the ‘wounded healer’, having naturally grown more receptive towards that deeper, psychic dimension which composes our soul-field.
On a more practical level, deep-seated feelings, which we have divorced from our conscious reality since our earliest days, need to be recovered and gently brought back into our awareness. What does this mean for people who are turning 50 right now? For those who are born before and between the 1/1/1960 – 27/3/1960 and 24/8/19 60 – 21/1/1961 it could mean the following: early on in their lives they experienced a crisis of alienation, a sense of feeling detached from their families and/or surroundings. For this group, it has not been easy to establish a sense of belonging because they were born at a time when the nuclear family with the dream of a suburban home had become mainstream. Fathers were working long hours in order to achieve the cultural and social expectations, while mothers were spending most of their time at home caring for the offspring and keeping the house in order. Their role was reduced to being the ‘good housewife’ whose most ecstatic experience was the automation of the kitchen. Socially they often were cut off from their families of origin and former friends. This sense of estrangement was transmitted to their children, who did grow up without much input of their dads. In this rather cool climate, children developed their rational mind really well, while less emphasis was put on creative-emotional expression. In many ways parents were even discouraged by educational authorities of the time to show too much affection to their children. With 50, this group has reached the time in their lives where they have to take full responsibility for any past neglect. The task is to develop ways how to nurture themselves, giving love to those areas which did never get any and releasing the wounded child which had to be clever and rational much too early in order to survive.
For those who are born between 27/3/1960 – 24/8/1960, and then again after 21/1/1961 until early 1968 the story seems to be a bit different. From their early days onwards they were tuned in another way to their environment than this just mentioned group. They were sensitized towards the ways in which their family was glued together. Which drugs were they taking? How much alcohol was consumed? They also had the experience of the absent dad, but different to the group before, they felt the mother’s pain and unconsciously perceived the cultural victimization of her role. Even though she was doing nearly all the parenting and work in the home, she was less valued than her husband and emotionally deprived of any encouragement to develop her own potential. This polarized situation between the parents left their children in an emotional confusion and caused a hurt sense of identity. They often identified with the suffering of their mother, and over the years developed a pattern of helping and feeling for those who are suffering unjustified and innocently. Also possible, they might felt victimized themselves. On the other hand, many of them have developed their healing powers and are now helping others professionally. For them now, with their entry into the 5th decade, it will be vital to apply practicality with some self-interest, based on a healthy need for self-preservation. It is important for them to honour their sensitivity and retreat whenever they feel drained. It is equally important to honestly reflect upon any investment they still might have in holding onto a victim consciousness.
It has to be pointed out that this process, the journey of the ‘wounded healer’, is very subtle and it may take at least two years before any inner changes are realized. Nevertheless, we are able to actively strengthen this magical transformation and support the seeding of a more unified consciousness: we could visualize that a 50-year cosmic cycle has ended and a new, more complete one is about to begin!