4 Major Astrological Events You Need to Know About If You're in Your 30s And 40s
Every month, new and full moons present us with beginnings and endings, and three to four times a year, Mercury retrograde requires that we all go back to the drawing board to reflect, revise, and reimagine a particular area of life. These are examples of transits that we all feel collectively at the same time. But while all of that astrological drama is afoot, so too are personal transits — moments in which the current placement of a planet interacts directly with a planet in your birth chart.
Frequently, you'll experience the effects of personal planets — the sun, the moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars — moving over and interacting with key spots of your chart. But because the outer, "transpersonal" planets — Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto — move so slowly, generally taking more than a decade to hit significant spots, they set off personal transits tied to a particular age.
One of the most oft-discussed personal transits like this is the Saturn return, which happens when Saturn comes back to the exact sign and degrees it was at when you were born. Because Saturn takes roughly 30 years to move around your whole natal chart, you'll experience Saturn returns around 29, 58, and 89 years old. This transit is known for turning up the volume on that feeling that you need to accomplish certain society-prescribed goals of adulthood (a career path, marriage or a long-term relationship, having kids, buying a house). It's also an opportunity to lay practical groundwork that'll serve you through the rest of your life.
But it's far from the only major transit that shakes up your perspective. In your late 30s and early 40s, a series of four astrological events — the midlife transits — hit, potentially turning your world upside down in an effort to promote growth and change. Here's what you need to know about each.
Your Pluto Square
Pluto, the planet of rebirth, regeneration, power, death, and transformation, takes 248 years to complete one full cycle around the sun. So while countries experience a Pluto return (like the U.S., which is currently in the midst of one), people do not. We do, however, experience a midlife transit stemming from transiting Pluto — aka Pluto where it currently is astrologically — squaring, or forming a 90-degree angle to — Pluto in your natal chart. This generally happens around the ages of 37-43.
A square is the tensest, albeit activating, angle in astrology, and Pluto is all about the dark underbelly of life, the skeletons in our closet, as well as how we give away and reclaim our power. During the Pluto square, you'll be nudged to reflect on issues of control and reexamine fears and narratives that are holding you back. It's a moment in which you might have to let go of (in other words, experience the figurative "death" of) psychological crutches that have been preventing you from moving forward.
And as with any transit, you'll want to look at the houses that transiting Pluto and natal Pluto occupy in your chart as well as the signs. For instance, say Pluto is in Libra in your second house of income while transiting Pluto is in Capricorn is in your eighth house of joint resources. You might be confronting issues of power, control, and structures related to bringing in and sharing money with others — especially because Libra is ruled by Venus, the planet of relationships, while Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, which oversees foundations.
It bears noting that while Pluto's themes might be dark and intimidating, this transit is usually psychological in nature, according to my mentor, April Elliott Kent of Big Sky Astrology, and about the demise of belief systems more than something in life that's physical. It's about truly taking a microscope to negative patterns and ways of thinking that are holding you back and need to fall away in order for you to realize your full potential.
Your Neptune Square
Like Pluto, Neptune moves super-slowly, taking 164 years to travel through all 12 signs, so you won't ever experience a Neptune return. However, between ages 40-43, Neptune, the planet of spirituality and dreams, forms a square to your natal Neptune. The mystical planet tends to promote delusion and cloud rational thought, so this transit can spur confusion and make it tough for you to separate fact from fiction, what's imagined from what's true and real.
But all this haze has a greater purpose, which is to help you get clear on the dreams that are truly worth investing in as you move into the next chapter of life. For example, maybe as a kid you said you were going to run for office by the time you turned 40, and now you're realizing that you don't want such a public life.
At the same time, disillusionment can be pretty prevalent. As you navigate toward understanding what you really want — the dream that's worth preserving — you might be feeling less attached to previous accomplishments tied to aspirations that no longer resonate. The Neptune square could also cause you to question your self-worth and make it tougher to hold boundaries because again, life can just feel so damn blurry at this point. The whole point, though, is to tap into — and strengthen — your intuition and spirituality to find the light at the end of the tunnel.
Your Uranus Opposition
Uranus, the planet of change, rebellion, the future, and breakthroughs, takes about 84 years to move around your natal chart, and at the halfway point — around ages 40-42 — transiting Uranus opposes your natal Uranus. The vibe of this transit is often what we tend to associate with a midlife crisis — the desire to ditch the status quo and overhaul huge aspects of your life out of the blue and on a whim. It's marked by a feeling of restlessness that could inspire you to completely change career paths, end a marriage, move across the country, or throw your credit card down on that splurgy purchase because YOLO.
This transit's all about exploring your need for more authenticity, freedom, individuality, your voice — all in an effort, again, to get clear on your path, your purpose, and spur positive growth.
And regardless of the signs and the houses your natal and transiting Uranus occupy during the opposition, oppositions always highlight relationships — albeit not only of the romantic, interpersonal kind. If your natal Uranus is in your fourth house of home life and transiting Uranus is in your tenth house of career, the opposition could involve how you're balancing your private life and professional aims and big shifts that need to occur in both.
Your Saturn Opposition
You already know Saturn, the planet of restrictions, boundaries, limitations, and commitment, takes roughly 30 years to move around your chart, and around 43-44, it opposes your natal Saturn. Think of this as your midlife wake-up call or reality check, in which you'll see life as it truly is versus how you once imagined it would be.
While that might sound kind of bleak, Saturn rewards a concerted effort, so if you've been doing the work required of you by the previous midlife transits, this one could feel like you're finally getting the recognition you deserve for accepting change and putting your nose to the grindstone.
Saturn's also all about foundations, so this can be a moment in which you're really laying the groundwork for the coming decades, perhaps by buying a house, finding that you're in a flow with a healthier lifestyle, or tying the knot (maybe for the second time, if perhaps you felt pressured to say "I do" to the wrong partner around your Saturn return).
How to Make the Most of Your Midlife Transits
We're all terrified of change, but you need to look no further than the early days of the pandemic — and the monotony of having no choice but to stick to the same old routine — to see just how lackluster the alternative is. The midlife transits serve to pull you off of any hamster wheel you've gotten yourself on unwittingly and reflect on your fears, your dreams, your vision, and your foundation. As challenging as they may be at times, they're astrological checkpoints you can feel lucky to experience, as they can serve as a passport to your next, even more fulfilling chapter.