Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sextilegenarian! Astrology and Aging

 Medicare and Other Facts of Long Life

© 2012 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

I’ve never hidden my age on The Radical Virgo, but I haven’t highlighted it, either. Time to come out of the closet and celebrate my Medicare card—and to talk a bit about the how increasing longevity affects us, astro-wise and otherwise. Since this somehow relates back to my favorite planetary archetype, Chiron, I’m celebrating not only turning 65 but also one of my favorite personal aspects, Chiron sextile Moon. I think my emotional resonance to Chiron has helped me embrace growing older. After all, mythical Chiron is at least 3,000 years old! I’m barely a glint in my father’s eye by comparison.

Lately, I do more readings for people fifty, sixty and beyond than any other age group. There’s more to it than all those baby boomers reaching Social Security age at once. There’s the gift of extra time.

One of the top concerns of these individuals, often their main question, is what to do with the rest of their lives. What’s the next leg of my journey? How do I express my passions and purpose? Most of them no longer have a “regular” job, and they now have time for other pursuits like never before. They don’t know quite what to do with themselves because we’re the first wave of pioneers with the privilege of an extended lifespan. There are few models for this exciting elongation of a single incarnation, especially if you're looking for not just anything to do but the thing you were most meant to do.

Nearly all these young-at-hearts, like me, have Pluto in Leo. The majority are baby boomers. We’re living up to our long history of personal redesign and rebirth in dramatic ways. We’re the generation whose images of family life, from children to early adults, spanned Ozzie and Harriet to Meathead and Gloria. We’re “off our rockers” and onto doing something meaningful with our golden years.

Past generations, if they were lucky, lived to retire, collect Social Security, rock a little in their chairs or hammocks, play golf or pursue a few hobbies. Then, in a few years, it was ashes to ashes. Today—not! The average life expectancy of the typical American has increased to 78.7 years [1], and that’s just the middle of the bell curve. I have relatives on both sides of my biological family who have lived well into their 80s and 90s, and one who almost made it to 100. And if you aren’t an American, you’re probably even luckier! A most interesting publication from the Central Intelligence Agency [2], of all sources, says that the US is only #50 in life expectancy. Monaco is #1 at 89.68 years. Apparently, it pays to gamble—or live in a country where it’s the primary industry. (Who knew the CIA was spying on old people? When doing surveillance in Monaco, did they take bets on when folks would finally keel over?)

When I turn 65 this month, I can say I’ve lived and dived into the banquet of life, as advocated by my heroine, Auntie Mame. I have no intention of stopping.

The Maturity Transits

Just a few generations ago, people were lucky to live a bit beyond their second Saturn Return at approximately 60. The Uranus Return at 84 was a rarity. Now, living to 100 is happening with increased regularity. It’s clear that 100 is next “normal,” if we take decent care of ourselves.

This is a reference to the obesity epidemic in America and all its costs. The first generation of children in the U.S. is growing up now that may not outlive their parents due to diabetes, heart disease and other fallout from fast food—fries and being a couch potato. What we’re reaching for, then, is for the Second Chiron Return to become commonplace, if we have the common sense to overcome food addictions, lack of exercise, and other habits that could throw a monkey wrench into this longevity evolution.

Before I go on, I thought it would be interesting to look at current and future possible “saging” transits. Could be, at some point, that the Chiron Return and the Second Saturn Return aren’t even considered marks of advanced maturity but rather the new midlife transits. [3] Clearly, if you live to 100, the first Chiron Return at 50 is literally right in the middle of your lifespan.

The Transits of Saging, Current and Evolving

50 - Chiron Return

60 – 2nd Saturn Return

84 – Uranus Return

90 – 3rd Saturn Return

100 – 2nd Chiron Return

120 – 4th Saturn Return

126 – 2nd Uranus Opposition

150 – 5th Saturn Return
          3rd Chiron Return

165 – Neptune Return (for extreme optimists)

168 - 2nd Uranus Return (wizened and wired)

248 – Pluto Return (for those with way too many fixed signs)

(Did I forget any?) Apparently, we have to repeat Saturn, Chiron and Uranus major transits a lot before we can move onto Neptune and ultimately Pluto at age 248. I certainly can state unequivocally; I’m not ready for that!

From where I sit, anything beyond a 4th Saturn Return (120) seems too mind-blowing to contemplate, though I can’t say how I’ll feel after my next birthday. It reminds me of the time I attended a UFO conference where I experienced so much strange, negative energy; one of my friends can’t stop laughing that I finally found something that was “even too weird for me.” Living to 165+ feels like that, an alien congress and concept I’m not yet sure is friendly.

What can we expect as the Uranus Return, 3rd Saturn Return, and Second Chiron Return ultimately define the transits that make us elders in our tribes? In her book on midlife transits, The Liquid Light of Sex, Barbara Hand Clow talks about what an ideal time 84 is to leave the body, to pass on, helped by the rising kundalini at the completion of the Uranus cycle. Reminds me of the title of the Ray Bradbury’s short story collection, I Sing the Body Electric, and the song is Om Sweet Home.

What if we don’t stop there? What if we keep on having brilliant breakthroughs, recharging our minds and bodies, and learning at new levels? This will also apply to medicine and healing, too, allowing greater longevity.

I’m sure it’s no coincidence that my first novel is about a longevity organization and people who look 20 years younger than their actual ages and easily live to 100. As a natal Sun square Uranus, I have a close resonance to changing currents.

Do You Really Want to Live to 100?

I wrote a thoughtful post on this topic on my other blog, Hot  Flashbacks/Cool Insights, a few years ago. Certain aspects of being a diehard have changed for me in their appeal over the years, but one part of it is certain. As long as I can enjoy reasonable heath and a functioning mind, I’m “in” for the long haul. As long as I can feel useful and have fun, I’ll continue to love being a Triple Earth on Earth.

Depending on the quality of your previous outerplanetary transits to themselves, you might have varying degrees of enthusiasm about reprising some of them several times each. One thing I’m sure of. As long as you keep learning, the transits get easier and more rewarding with every pass. They aren’t always fun in the process, but in retrospect, I’m thankful to each archetype for moving me along the ever-spiraling Stairway to Heaven.

I can honestly say I wouldn’t give up an iota of the wisdom I’ve gained in six decades of living for the beauty and other physical perks of youth. However, if I were redesigning how life works, I might opt for the unusual characteristic of Mearth, Mork & Mindy’s son, played by Jonathan Winters. He aged backwards—started old, and grew young.

Scratch that. I think I’d rather hotrod around in one of those motorized wheelchairs than look forward to diapers, rattles and a lot of kitchy-coo in my face. Or cheeks pinched. I hated that.

A Few Pearls from My Lunar Sage

In my Summer Cardinal Quarterly newsletter (see top of sidebar if you don’t already subscribe), I talked about navigating the sometimes choppy waters of the Uranus-Pluto square on your own S.S. Pluto-Uranus. I suggested people rename and christen their imaginary vehicle for cruising through these changing times. I decided to call mine the S.S. Lunar Sage because of the conjunction of T-Pluto to my Capricorn Moon at the apex of a transitory T-square. Pluto is helping me like never before to overcome issues with unhealthy habits, to trust my intuition, and generally speaking, to rebirth myself at a primal level.

No matter what our ages, we’re all trying to figure out the same thing: how to live so well on Earth, it feels like Heaven. Then the Ultimate Return Transit will hardly feel like a change.  I’d like to share what I’ve learned about being “senior,” so far. I’ll limit myself to seven insights, one for every decade plus one for good measure.

Seven Insights on the Cusp of 65

Joyce as  Virgo - August 2012
1. Love is still the only answer to every question. To love and be loved has always been the best thing on Earth. Expressing love beyond the personal, in creations and sharing talents, completes the circle to make us part of something bigger than ourselves. Experiencing love in all these forms is my proudest accomplishment and greatest joy.

2. No matter how feisty you are, I have to agree with Bette Davis, “Old age is no place for sissies.” There are aches and pains, sagging, wrinkling and creaking. There may be significant health challenges. These things force you to reorder your priorities, especially about being beautiful from the inside out. Inner beauty has always been the only kind that counts in the end, anyway. If that rude Arthur comes calling, as my mother used to refer to her arthritis, it’s a reminder that a bit of stiffness in the body is nothing compared to rigidity of the mind and spirit. The latter must be avoided at all costs to enjoy this trip.

3. Maintenance of a senior body takes a lot of time—but it’s worth it. Accept it, decide to make the commitment, or suffer the consequences. I’d say I spend at least 40% of a typical week on exercise classes, cooking whole foods, yoga, qigong, meditation and visits to the chiropractor, doctors and acupuncturist, as needed. I try not to whine, considering the fact that I used to spend much more than that at a “regular job.” Not only that, but the 60% I have left is high quality because I’m willing to put self-care first.

4. Fight for what you believe in, right injustices, but the longer I live, the fewer things I feel are worthy of getting my knickers in a knot. Someone sent me an email recently that catalogs all the changes that have taken place in a typical baby boomer’s lifetime. It almost blew my circuits to contemplate. If I haven’t seen it all, damn near! I’ve seen that the more the world changes, the more people are the same at heart. We might email instead of writing letters, life may be a lot faster on its way to transpiring at light speed. We grow and adjust and those who care just keep getting better. We find new ways to cope with old problems, and karma keeps taking care of those who have the misguidance to harm others. When I was in my twenties, a man I knew used to refer my current state of mind as “mellowing,” almost as if it were a bad thing or a weakness. I actually think it’s one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

5. A bad day or two—or even a bad year or two—doesn’t constitute a bad lifetime or any reason to give up. If astrology teaches us anything, it’s that things are constantly shifting. We live on a moving planet.

6. Given the powerful nature of the transits of Saturn through Pluto to themselves and how they keep honing us to be better versions of ourselves, I actually welcome more of them. With the 1st Chiron Return as the new midlife point, we can get a glimmer of what wholeness is, what our holes are that need filling, what blocks and parts of ourselves we’ve denied that we still need to integrate. We get to move onto do just that with half of our life left to live. It’s like a mid-term report card and review on what subjects we need to better apply ourselves, as well as which one’s we’re acing.

7. Laughter is still the best medicine. We’ve heard it, we know it—but how many times have you laughed today? Probably too few. I’ve always loved the metaphysical double entendre, Lighten Up.

Something I learned writing my novel. The longer we live, the more we become our own future generation. When we play Earth for keeps, as long as a century, we’ll treat it and ourselves differently. What we do matters more, because we’ll reap the consequences of our own deeds, often for decades to come.

So I don’t sound too pie in the sky and Jupiterian to a fault, I will say that if it’s in the cards that I live the average lifespan or less, I will be pissed—at least temporarily. I have too much left to do. Fortunately, my Vedic astrologer told me I’m good for at least a couple more decades. I hope he’s right.

Whatever day my number’s up, I hope it will be one of a long line of days of laughing, loving and learning. I hope my memorial is a big party where people remember me with delight—what we learned together, how we supported each other, and how we laughed. I will die, if there’s not laughter at my funeral!

But I’m also OK with tears. As my wise husband Tim often says (we’re the same age), we’re lucky when we’ve loved someone so much, we miss them when they’re gone.

I’d write more, but I’m on the way to the chiropractor—or the Pop Doc, as one of Tim’s 57 first cousins is known, who happens to be a member of that profession. I’m glad I’m going. It gives me an opportunity for one last metaphor.

The transits of aging (I prefer to say saging) are simply Great Chiropractors, realigning us until the day we no longer need bodies or the spine it takes to live on Earth. My first teacher used to say that no matter how hard it can be sometimes Down Here, souls learn so much on Earth, they’re lined up to get a crack at another lifetime with all its rich learning opportunities.

That’s one crack I’m grateful for—to the Big Pop Doc in the Sky.


Photo Credits:

65 - © |;

With Age Comes Wisdom © Rinderart |

Owl Moon - © matamu |

Joyce as Virgo - © Barbara Hadley-Crow. Taken at NCGR-Sacramento Area open house in August 2012. Not as young as she looked (age 22) dressed up as a Virgo on the left side of the Radical Virgo logo, but not bad for a sextilegenarian.


1. Health Beat: Average American Life Expectancy Has Increased

2. CIA: The World Factbook, Country Comparisons on Life Expectancy

3. Currently, the midlife transits, which occur from approximately 37-47 are considered to be transiting Pluto square natal Pluto, transiting Neptune square natal Neptune, and transiting Uranus opposite natal Uranus. Some astrologers also include transiting Saturn opposite natal Saturn—the halfway mark between the First and Second Saturn Returns.

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