Heading into your 30s or 40s? Astrology to make the most of your midlife

Heading into your 30s or 40s? Astrology to make your midlife magical

Heading into your 30s or 40s? Discover how to make your midlife more magical with astrology.

The Saturn Return, a significant cycle in your late 20s, is a time when you’re urged to grow up and get real. The carefree attitude of your 20s is no longer, and it’s time to accept the responsibilities of adulthood. This might mean you look for a career that will help you achieve your ambitions, commit to a long-term relationship and build your own family or set longer-term goals. If you’ve previously been unwilling to own the consequences of your behaviour, the Saturn Return is a wakeup call.

As you cross into your 30s, you heed Saturn’s call and build the structures and foundations required. Over the next six or seven years, as you get on with the business of adulthood, not so healthy habits might set in. Your jeans fit a little tighter and it seems you need to work harder now to keep your waist trim. Other areas of life might feel tight, too, like the restrictions of a career you no longer love or a relationship that has gone stale.

You might feel you’re heading in a direction that no longer feels right. You might feel powerless in the face of change. At the same time, the patterns of behaviour that helped you through the first half of your 30s may prevent you from finding your true purpose, whatever that is. You may sense there’s more to life but not only can you not see what it is — you don’t know what you’re looking for.

Midlife transits

Welcome to the transits of midlife. This is a set of four major midlife transits that occur from your mid-to-late 30s through to your early 40s. These include:

  • Transiting Pluto square natal Pluto: the Pluto square
  • Transiting Neptune square natal Neptune: the Neptune square
  • Transiting Uranus opposition natal Uranus: the Uranus opposition
  • Transiting Saturn opposite natal Saturn: the second Saturn opposition

Because of the speed at which Pluto, Neptune and Uranus move, each of these transits will be exact usually three times during a one-to-two-year period, just to make sure you get the point.

The end goal of the Pluto square is to empower you to face your fears and live your truth.

Under the first contact, you might feel as though things are happening that are out of your control, or that someone else is to blame. The second time the transit occurs will be when the midlife transit planet — either Saturn, Uranus, Neptune or Pluto — is retrograde and moving backwards. By now, you may have had the chance to integrate the energy. You may have made changes and begun the process of restructuring. If there has been loss, you may have begun to accept it or have started the grieving process for whatever it is that you’ve separated from. By the time the third transit or pass of the planet occurs, life as it used to be has changed and a new path may have begun to blossom.

Midlife is not just about finding the first few grey hairs and inevitable lines of experience on your face. It’s about growth and change. It’s also about leaving behind old habits that prevent you from moving forward. It’s about reassessing your beliefs, your dreams and your individuality, and building a new set of structures to take you through the next phase of your life.

Midlife transformation: Pluto square Pluto, 37-43

The transits of midlife begin when transiting Pluto forms a square to natal Pluto. Depending on Pluto’s orbit, you’ll experience this transit sometime between the ages of 37 and 43.

Pluto represents deeply held beliefs, transformation and death or separation. Squares bring friction. It’s this pressure that pushes you to change and grow, as if the Pluto square triggers a type of tipping point. The Pluto square can bring death — symbolic or otherwise — of something that needs to change. It can bring the death of your youth, your innocence, your naivety and your fears.

If there’s something you refuse to acknowledge, like a fear or truth you don’t want to face or a career, relationship or situation that has stagnated, the Pluto square may bring a set of circumstances that force you to confront anything you have previously avoided.

Pluto also brings karmic lessons. If you’ve been misusing power, or pursuing power for the sake of manipulating others, you may face the consequences of your actions. Conflicts around power and control may arise.

During the Pluto square, it can feel like you’re experiencing loss after loss. Doors need to close in order for growth to occur and new chapters to begin. This is the cycle of death and rebirth.

The end goal of the Pluto square is to empower you to face your fears and live your truth. You may have to surrender that which has protected you so far, which can leave you feeling powerless. You might need to let go and allow the breakdown to encourage a breakthrough.

Letting go causes pain but, when this transit is in play, so does holding on. Pluto will remove everything that needs to be removed in order for your life to have meaning.

As painful as Pluto squares can be, in making you confront your deepest fears, in forcing you to deal with the loss of something (or someone) important that you’re not ready to let go of, your inner strength comes to the surface. It’s this strength that Pluto wants you to harness to support your rebirth and transformation.

Dealing with the Pluto square

Change at this level can be hard, but the best ways to deal with the Pluto square are to:

  • Intentionally, honestly and deeply explore the issues of the part of life that Pluto is transiting for you. Ask yourself what unhealthy patterns need to be let go of — what needs to “die” — and ensure that the answers you give come from your soul.
  • Resist the urge to blame someone or something else for what is happening right now. Own it, and fix it.
  • Remember that, in order for something to be born or grow, space needs to be created, which means something else needs to go. If you’ve lost something (or someone) during this transit, mourn — and then let it go.
  • Consider where you may have given away your power, or misused it, in the past. Decide where you really need to maintain control and where can you release it.
  • When setting goals for the next phase of your life, ensure they align with your core beliefs.

Letting go: Neptune square Neptune, 40-43

Neptune square Neptune can challenge or make you question your dreams and spirituality. Neptune’s aim is for you to become the highest version of yourself. As with the Pluto cycle, something must die or be lost. In the case of Neptune, what must go is an old dream so that something new and more attuned to your life’s purpose can take its place.

The Neptune square transit occurs between the ages of 40 and 43. It can bring with the dissolution of ego, in order for you to move towards a higher spiritual plane.

Neptune brings confusion and an altered sense (or obscuring) of reality. Concepts of worth and worthlessness can become important. You’re no longer quite so sure about things you thought you knew for certain. Achievements that had previously brought you pride might now feel meaningless.

Boundaries blur and your sense of self, what you control and why you exist could also be lost. Indeed, you could “lose” yourself in another. Material or physical possessions that had once seemed so valuable could be shown to have no value, or disappear.

The Uranus opposition can make you feel more alive, awake and impulsive than you have in years.

During the Neptune square you face choices with reduced clarity. Not only is your vision impaired, you may also find it hard to see your options, or the consequences associated with each option, clearly.

Just when you think you have an idea about what is going on and what you need to do, it slips through your fingers. People may become unreliable. Someone at work or in your personal life, who had previously assisted you, might become dysfunctional or dishonest. It might seem as though lies are everywhere, and it’s under these influences that you might make decisions you later regret.

Another characteristic of the Neptune square is a propensity to indulge in escapist behaviour, to avoid or alter your view of reality through indulgence in substances, destructive relationships or manipulation of the truth (ie lying), without consideration or acceptance of the long-term consequences of that behaviour.

Navigating the Neptune square

How do you navigate your Neptune square? Try adopting these pointers:

  • This is not the best time to make life-changing decisions. Just because one path comes into view when the rest of your options are partially or wholly obscured, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it’s the road you should be choosing.
  • Understand that it might be difficult to concentrate or keep your mind from wandering. Frustration and anger as you attempt to retain (or regain) control will only exacerbate the situation and could potentially force you into a course of action you’ll later regret.
  • Avoid temporary fixes that may later be responsible for addictions or unhealthy habits.
  • Avoid any substance that dulls or numbs your feelings.
  • Don’t try to force your new dreams to become clear; instead, keep an open mind and allow them to drift into view when they’re ready. Your sensitivity is heightened during this period and inspiration can drift into view only when you pause and allow it to do so. Meditation will help create the pause, while journaling assists with capturing the results.
  • Don’t attempt to swim against the tide. Instead, trust that the current will help you navigate your way to where your spirit needs to be.

Expect the unexpected: Uranus opposition, early 40s

The Uranus opposition is the quintessential midlife transit. Occurring in your early 40s, it can help you awaken from a deep sleep. You might feel as though a fire has been lit inside you.

The Uranus opposition can make you feel more alive, awake and impulsive than you have in years. Questions such as, “Is this all there is?” are common.

Uranus represents individuation; the quest to be more authentically you, to follow a path or a career that is yours and to relate in a way that preserves your personal freedom. It can be about leaving behind those things and (sometimes) people or relationships that are no longer working for you.

Sudden and unexpected change — the sort of change that jolts you from your existing routine into something new — is common with the Uranus opposition. Whether you react to the stirrings of restlessness within, or to external events, decisions can be made that seem out of character but totally authentic. This can lead to a fresh start and the beginning of a more meaningful career, relationship or way of life. While this sounds exciting, new beginnings usually require an ending or a crisis in order to instigate the change. You might discover the lucky break you’ve been waiting for or deal with the sort of opportunity that draws you down a path that makes those around you uncomfortable.

A marriage may end or a promising career might crumble. After years spent building success in a field that doesn’t make your heart sing, you might decide to go back to school and study that subject you’ve always been called to. You might splurge on that sports car you’ve always seen yourself driving — the one that has no room for children in the back seat and reminds you of the youth you feel you’ve lost.

Events and the outcomes differ from person to person, but the underlying message is the same: something needs to change in order for you to live life more fully. The more resistant you are to change, or the more entrenched you are with living someone else’s idea of your life, the more challenging you could find this transit.

Working through the Uranus opposition

The crises that accompany the Uranus opposition can be upsetting, and the impulse to rebel and throw it all away can be overwhelming. Before you make any irreversible life change, consider the following:

  • Your restlessness could indicate that you need to vary your routine. Try a new hobby, accept invitations you might normally reject or study something you’re deeply interested in. If you’ve been working too hard and have forgotten to play, some variety might be enough to provide the change you crave.
  • Consider the nature of the disruptive events and where your anxiety lies. Has it all been in relation to your work, your relationship — or some other part of life? This will be your clue as to where real change needs to happen.
  • Is there something or someone holding you back? Do you feel trapped by a particular situation? Before you act, ensure you’re not blaming someone else when the root cause of the confinement is your own perceptions or fears.
  • Think about what would make you happy. Write it down. Can you identify small changes that you can make now that will make a difference?
  • Are you expressing yourself fully or have you made compromises that you’re no longer comfortable with? Perhaps you’ve shelved your creative side or have given away too much of yourself in order to keep someone else happy. Can you make the adjustments required within your existing structures?
  • Think back to the dreams you had when you were younger. Are they still what you yearn for — or are you disrupting your life and relationships for a set of goals that are no longer relevant?
  • Are you holding on to the conditioning of the past? This may hinder you moving into your future.
  • Understand that, as you make changes to your life or your path, it’s inevitable that others will feel uncomfortable with this.

Midlife transitions & manifestation: the second Saturn opposition, early 40s

The second Saturn opposition occurs in the early 40s, and is active at a similar time (or soon after) to the Uranus opposition. While Uranus is about looking towards the future and exploring what is possible, Saturn represents reality and limitations.

Chaos created during the earlier midlife transits is crystallised during the Saturn opposition. If you’ve made changes, learned your lessons and cleared the clutter that was holding you back from your true purpose, it’s during this period that you begin to build new structures to replace those that have been lost or destroyed. On the other hand, if you’ve acted recklessly or made inappropriate decisions in the past, you may now deal with the consequences.

Oppositions also represent culmination so, if a job, a relationship or some other unsatisfactory situation has been limping along, it’s during this transit that you could bring an end to it. If, however, you’ve navigated your way through the challenges presented to you, this period could bring fulfilment and recommitment, especially in relationships.

Building through the Saturn opposition

Saturn’s aim is to build strong and resilient structures. To assist this process:

  • Resist the urge to blame others for your situation. Whatever is happening now is a result of past choices and actions, or inaction.
  • Rather than pushing aside or burying your fears, work with them and through them.
  • Focus your energy on the part of life that Saturn is transiting and be prepared for the sustained effort that will be required.
  • Ensure the goals you set now are practical, realistic and aligned to the lessons you’ve learnt over the past six (or so) years.

Making the most of midlife

There’s no denying that this can be a difficult time. Any period of sustained change is. The transits of midlife will change you in ways you might not have imagined or thought possible. To make the most of these transits:

  • Accept that there will be challenges during this period, but that with these challenges come opportunities for personal growth.
  • Approach the transits with an intention to learn from them.
  • Understand that each of these transits will bring with them a cycle of blame, restructuring and consolidation.
  • Learn the nature of the planets involved and the part of life being impacted in your chart so you can take action accordingly.

Midlife triggers in 2018


In 2018, Pluto travels between 18 and 21 Capricorn. This means that anyone with Pluto falling at 18-21 Libra will experience Pluto square Pluto in 2018. This includes anyone born in (or around) the following periods:

  • November 1978 to April 1979
  • September 1979 to October 1980
  • May 1981 to August 1981


In 2018, Neptune travels between 11 and 16 Pisces. This means that anyone with Neptune falling at 11-16 Sagittarius will experience Neptune square Neptune in 2018. This includes anyone born in (or around) the following periods:

  • January 1975 to May 1975
  • November 1975 to January 1978
  • June 1978 to November 1978


In 2018, Uranus travels between 24 Aries and 2 Taurus. This means that anyone with Uranus falling between 24-29 Libra and 0-2 Scorpio will experience Uranus opposite Uranus in 2018. This includes anyone born in (or around) the following periods:

  • October 1973 to May 1974
  • August 1974 to October 1975


In 2018, Saturn travels between 1 and 11 Capricorn. This means that anyone with Saturn at 1-11 Cancer will experience Saturn opposite Saturn in 2018. This includes anyone born in (or around) the following periods:

  • August 1973 to December 1973
  • May 1974 to July 1974

Jo Tracey

Jo Tracey

Jo Tracey is a Sydney-based astrologer, change manager and author of contemporary women’s fiction — in no particular order. You can follow her do-it-yourself style of astrology at jotracey.com.au, and keep up with her travels over at her blog The Rambles of a Hungry Writer.

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