The critical part of the Renaissance Decade comes between the ages of 54 and 56 (and a bit). This time of life can feel a bit ‘last chance-y,’ a time when we are desperate to turn things around but still may be clueless as to how. Right in the middle of the decade we are given two trials, and two chances to ‘get it right.’ One is another Progressed Lunar Return, following on the one we last experienced at the age of around 28 (or 27 and a bit). The other is–take a deep breath–another Nodal return.
I have already written some on this second progressed lunar event, an article titled “Spiral Up or Down”, and you can find it here. There isn’t a lot written about this return, indeed, about any astrological events that happen past the age of 50, and I find that very strange. As if we are suddenly expected to know what to do or, more likely, as if we’re expected to disappear because past 50 our lives don’t matter anymore. Well, those of us who are there know it isn’t true, and those of us who are approaching will soon find out it isn’t, and those of us for whom it seems so far away will learn that it isn’t far away at all. It’s right around the corner, ready to take you by surprise. The more conscious we become (and I’m sure that most of us here are on the path of awakening consciousness) the more time flies.
The Progressed Lunar Return that happens at this time is about finally becoming true to ourselves, about ending the influence of tribe and custom and moving into a world where our own authenticity dominates and influences the choices we make. Because the Progressed Moon is always in cahoots with Saturn, this authenticity is not about jettisoning duty and responsibility, but embracing it. We must ask ourselves the question, “What do I know in my heart that I am here to do?”
If we are in any question about this, the next big ‘event,’ the third Nodal Return, will help us out. Fortunately, most likely we will not experience the great sturm und drang of our second Nodal Return at age 37. The second Nodal return is a great tsunami of pain and confusion and blindess, the scream of the future as it is being ripped from the present. (Well, not all of us will experience it with this intensity, but many do.) If we are at all inclined to depression, schizophrenia, paranoia, any mental imbalance, it will come through at the second return. At best (and those of you who have ever done theatre will identify with this), it’s like that dream of being thrust on stage without knowing what the play is, never mind the lines. By the time we reach our third return, we are in our mid-fifties and most likely we have sorted out some, if not all, the of the missions that must be accomplished in this lifetime. People often notice a great change between the years of the second and third returns–this isn’t just the result of the passage of years and time. At this time of life we are compelled to reach out to what is missing in ourselves, to adventure into the realm of expanding consciousness and come out the other end a changed–and hopefully more balanced–individual. We are not what we were, and that’s a good thing. If we haven’t changed, if we haven’t expanded our awareness and incorporated new ways of negotiating the world, we have failed.
The Nodal Returns shift in their emphasis. From birth to age 19 or so, when we have our first return, the emphasis is on the North Node–we naturally want to reach out, to experience new things, to grow literally and metaphorically. Though we have an emphasis on the Moon as children, we are trying out our Suns and our North Nodes from time to time, testing ourselves, expanding our horizons. Much has to do with the condition of the Moon at birth. If the Moon is in a difficult position, or for some reason it is difficult for us to reach our North Nodes (for example, we may be born with the Sun on the South Node, which will cause us to relive and work through our South Node before we reach out to the North) we may spend time dealing with the South Node and its ruler as well as the North.
By the time we get to age 19 for our return, we are usually steeped in our South Node behaviour. This first Nodal return is usually about consolidating the South Node. We have had brief encounters with our North Node and its mission in our early years, and these will echo within us for the time to come, but the first return swings us back to what we came in with. Think about what you were doing at age 19 or 20, and then think about your South Node. Unless we are very lucky and there is a huge planetary influence carrying us to the North Node (a prominent North Node ruler, for example, enhanced by a long transit), the South Node is where its at for us. We’re here to exploit all of the inherent talents and abilities of the South Node. We may have natural talents that come to the fore at this period. We may also have deeply entrenched flaws that have to be faced. Perhaps Pluto is conjunct the South Node in the 4th house, and our struggles to free ourselves from familial power struggles may come to a head. Perhaps the South Node ruler is conjunct transiting Neptune, and we’re in for a long period of confusion about our inner being and the way we must meet experience. If the South Node ruler is well placed, and well aspected, it could be a time when we flourish. If not, we are vulnerable to all the trouble and strife and South Node can bring, and will be left longing for something different, some deep change in our being. This will leave us primed for our second return and the emphasis on the North Node at 37.
I will leave discussion for the second nodal return another day, because it deserves an article of its own. Let’s just say that the great crisis of becoming that is the focus of the second return shifts gears for the third return. We are compelled to go back to the South Node again, but through the hard-earned perspective of our newly awakened North Node. We go back to the South Node with the awareness that stems from change and growth, and not through entrenched habit. If we’re lucky, and we’ve done our work, for the first time in our lives we may be lucky enough to really balance our Nodes–to use our South Node talents and abilities to further enhance our current mission, described by the North Node.
In fact, we may find it difficult or uncomfortable to emphasize the South Node at this point; turning our backs on our hard earned North Node may seem like a sacrilege. If we have spent years trying to live and communicate our own personal truth with our North Node in Sag in the third, it may be impossible to go back to the shallow, superficial concepts of our Gemini South Node in the 9th. The trick is to work both ends of the Nodes at this point–the gift of intellect and a wide perspective that is Gemini in the 9th may bring a personal wisdom that is developed and communicated in the Sag third. If I have spent my life struggling with the restricting South Node in Cap in my fifth house, I may finally get to bring my emotionally developed work in front of an audience with my North Node conjunct Saturn in the 11th. There is a very strong impetus to take what I know and push it even further, breaking through the fears, barriers and habits that have held me back in the past.
Which brings us to the next big step of the Renaissance Decade–the second Saturn return. More about that next time.