Something interesting starts happening at the age of 28, when we have our Progressed Lunar Returns. There can begin, though it doesn’t always happen, a strange split in the psyche, where, in a man, the feeling side of his life, the anima, will be more difficult to own and will therefore be lived out through girlfriends and wives. A woman may find herself denying the animus and allow her connection to a man to represent her in the world. To what extent this happens has something to do with our roles in the tribe and whether or not we accept them. The more conscious we are of the psychic sexual split within, the less sway it has over us. In addition to teaching us to integrate our inner world with our outer reality, the dance between the progressed Moon and Saturn has a great deal to do with whether or not the male and female within will integrate successfully.
What we may do is search for a unique and personal definition of “other” according to the relationship signatures in our natal chart. (We have rehearsals for this earlier on, particularly at the first Saturn opposition and the seven years that follow, but this is when it matters.) If this unique and personal definition isn’t found (if we search for what we’re told we want rather than what we really need), and if we don’t own our projections (it’s not me, it’s them), there may be a lack of sexual integration that creates an inner emptiness. A man may throw himself into the MC area of the chart as compensation and focus solely on status, ambition, and other external measures of acceptable achievement. At the same time, women may naturally be inclined to throw themselves into the IC of the chart, focusing on home, family, intimate connections, and ignore her deeper urgings to fulfill her spiritual purpose as an agent in the outside world.
One of the reasons things get messy is that in our need to integrate our other half, we may not have a clue what’s wrong. If a man pays lip service to spending time with the children, and is on his Blackberry the whole time he’s taking care of them, or thinking of problems at work instead of engaging in building a home life, he is not fulfilling his mandate of understanding the power of his attachments and emotions in a meaningful way. A woman who is working for work’s sake, who is not following a path where she feels connected to her work, where her unique self-expression is at the core of her interactions, is not following the path, either. The man in this case is still connected to his MC and the woman still to her IC, because she is working in standby mode rather than express what she really is capable of contributing to the outside world. (Scratch the surface, and many still have the belief that it’s okay for a woman to just take a job rather than have a career, the same way it’s culturally acceptable for men to maintain detachment in relationships.) Fortunately, sometimes, with luck, it all works. If what is inside us is expressed outside us, if our external reality feeds our interior needs, we are blessed.
(I have, occasionally, seen women who are immersed in achievement and men who are exploring their inner beings at this time, but only when one end of the angle is highly activated and other progressions and transits have been powerful. )
If the halves of the psyche don’t begin to integrate in a real way now, you will feel the pull. You will feel that there is something wrong, and may not know what it is. You will feel an itch that you cannot scratch, and you may search for the answers in relationships of all kinds, and you will end up trying to figure out just what it is that you are doing wrong. The answer is, “Nothing.”
It is perfectly natural to experience uncertainty at this time, and in fact, all through the time of the return through the time of the first squares of progressed Moon to itself and transiting Saturn to itself. It’s a testing time. It’s a time when the universe throws stuff at us, just for fun, to see if we can walk our talk. The ages of 28 to 35 or 36, when we experience not only Saturn squaring itself after the return (if you think the return was bad, wait for that first square, it’s a doozy) and the progressed Moon waxing square, but also Jupiter’s third return. During these years, we may feel that time is running out on us. Our original career or job choices may be unsatisfying, our biological clocks are ticking, we still believe that someone else will come along and make it all go away (at least, sometimes). It’s no wonder. We’re beginning all over again. And whatever we allow ourselves to live out through the opposite sex, rather than own our shadow side and confront our projections, will come back to bite us you-know-where during the infamous Uranus opposition to itself a few years down the road. There’s no escape. Fortunately, life offers us a number of opportunities to turn ourselves around.
An interesting thing happens at Jupiter’s third return. Things start to consolidate. Things start to make sense–a bit of sense, anyway. Jupiter’s third return marks the beginning of spiritual adulthood, and is one big step forward from the Lunar and Saturn returns. We take responsibility for our spiritual selves now. We know that we are responsible for the choices we make and the consequences we suffer. Jupiter will enter what can be called a ‘twelfth house’ phase before the return, at age 35. It will clear out karma surrounding all things Jupiter and will set the stage for yet another new beginning. In essence, it’s making room for more, wiser Jupiter experiences to be retained, and if you’re someone who is prone to the ‘fun’ side of Jupiter, this 12th house phase of his can end up as a nasty shock. This is Jupiter in his Piscean guise. He’s clearing space for the new, and will coerce you at every opportunity. If you have a hard aspect to Jupiter in your natal chart, you may be very inclined to throw away more than is necessary, and regret it later. Be careful. One of the hardest lessons of maturity is that we can’t always get back or replace what we have lost, voluntarily or otherwise. Sometimes, feeling the pull of potential eroding the ground beneath our feet, we panic and try to cling again. Don’t do that, either.
During the third Jupiter return it becomes possible for us to see a new path for ourselves. If we have done the work of the past seven years, we have jettisoned much that was in the way of our growth. We have an opportunity, now, to fulfill our real potential. We sense it during the Jupiter return and strive for it during Saturn’s second waxing square, becoming more comfortable with our newly maturing selves. After the threshold of age 36, it is easier for all of us to tap into the great instinctive, creative wisdom of the Sun. The time of Saturn’s second opposition to itself can be one of real achievement. Newly integrated, we can do what we are here to do. We can become self-actualized.
However, before we get there, the astrology gods throw us a great cosmic joke. We must get through the transit of all transits, the whammy of all whammies, the second Nodal return, at age 37 and a bit. But that’s a tale for another day.
This article is excerpted from the upcoming book, “The Inner Wheel: A New Look at Secondary Progressions” which will be available in the winter of 2012.