The Mid-Life "Shift" Into Reverse

by Carole Devine

Socrates said, the unexamined life is not worth living. But what is an examined life? Most of us probably feel it is one in which the individual independently reflects upon his or her past behavior against the implacable mirror of some philosophical ideal. The majority of us also probably think this is a free will choice we have. After all, the only time one hears of an imposed retrospection is from someone who has seen the grim jaws of death and has lived to tell about it. Many who survived such an out-of-body experience reported that during the perceived final moments, they saw their lives flash before them—but in reverse order!

The Rosicrucians teach that for three and a half days after death, before the "silver cord" is severed, one reviews his or her life as if it were a movie being rewound—hence, the reverse order. Then, they tell us, we again view this retrospective (still in reverse) in one-third the time it took us to actually live it. Because the progression (regression?!) of events is in reverse order, we become aware of "cause and effect" factors at work. We are able to see how we were instrumental in causing the events that affected our history. Also, we feel intensely all the joy and pain we caused others—three times more intensely than they did—to teach us empathy.

It would seem that we begin to learn from our life only after death—or is that necessarily so? Oh, how we might benefit ourselves and others if we could derive some of this "reverse order" information before death! Well, listen up. I think we can.

Many years ago, while working with Cosmobiology and the 90-degree dial, I noticed that after an increment of 45 degrees solar-arc motion, which equals about 45 years of life, the planetary contacts reversed themselves and made the same contacts that were present in the first 45 years, but in reverse order! In other words, if Venus by solar arc direction came to a conjunction with Saturn one year before the 45th degree of solar-arc motion, then one year after that point, Saturn would square Venus.

The mathematics of this hypothesis is straightforward. Since all aspects of the fourth harmonic are divisible by 45 degrees, the sequence of planetary aspects by solar arc—as well as midpoint structures affected by them—will march away from 45 degrees with the same precision as that with which they approached it. Those aspects activating the chart at 40 degrees will do so again at 50 degrees, and those at 36 degrees will do so again at 54 degrees, and so on. The second contact would probably elicit or evoke the same kind of response in an individual that it did the first time around and activate the same component of the chart, triggering the chance to re-live . . . to bring into a person's consciousness . . . the same kind of experiences as the first and activate the same parts of the chart, thereby giving one a chance to re-live past experiences under different circumstances and another opportunity to learn from them. Because it is in reverse order, the cause and effect process is clearer. Thus, a whole life plan emerges, giving us greater insight into the events we experience—especially after age 45. Naturally, because of changed life circumstances, one would not expect to see identical events, but surely the essence of the event's purposes would be there.

It is hard to relate to anything without having experienced it. At the time I noticed this phenomenon, I was not yet 45, and didn't feel confident enough to mention it to anyone. Now, at age 56, after observing it in others and in myself for over a decade, I can see its effects quite clearly.

Events are a result of choices we make—choices colored by internal pressures for satisfaction of various desires. The natal chart displays the desire nature, and shows us what the primary motivation for choices will be in differing circumstances. Since these are many and sometimes contradictory, solar arc neatly reveals them in sequence so that we may grow one step at a time. It brings to the surface a pressure to fulfill these needs and urges us to make choices.

These mathematical directions seem to apply consistently to the houses ruled by those planets making solar-arc connections and, secondarily, to the houses they occupy natally. Each choice we make sets into motion natural consequences, and often we don't consider that some recent event was actually the result of a choice we made perhaps years earlier. It may take one an entire lifetime to perceive connections.

A lady, let's call her "Natalie," is now 73 years old. Since she is a Sun in Cancer person, her solar-arc increments have gradually slipped behind her actual age due to the Sun's slower motion in the summer. To avoid confusion, we will refer to Natalie's solar-arc increment rather than her age. When Natalie's solar-arc direction reached the 21st degree, it activated Jupiter square the Sun. At that time, her husband found a good job in another city, they moved and invested in a new home, which she describes as "a good deal." Her natal Sun is in the 8th house (investments), Jupiter co-rules the fourth, which has Pisces on the cusp, and Jupiter is conjunct the Medium Coeli (MC) in the natal chart. Definitely a move up in the world! At the 21st degree, this took place 24 degrees from our turning point of 45 degrees.

When her solar-arc directions had traveled 69 degrees, they were at a point 24 degrees after the 45-degree mark, and at that time, the Sun moved to conjunct Jupiter. What happened? She found another "good deal," of course. She bought a time-share condominium, which was too attractive to pass up, and it was another step up in self-esteem. The life lesson in this is something Natalie will have to examine, but they are similar events.

Natalie has a real issue with emotional security, which she easily equates with circumstances surrounding partnerships and basic necessities. At the point of 25 degrees solar-arc, which is 20 degrees before the magical 45th degree, Uranus squared the Sun. During this time, Natalie had her one and only experience with fear of hunger, which to her is a form of emotional insecurity. Her husband was out of work, a child was seriously ill, and neighbors gave them food. Natalie felt isolated and very insecure. It is the basic reason she is so active in distributing food to the needy now. Later, after being widowed, she remarried. When the Sun opposed Uranus, it was at the 65th degree of solar-arc, which is, of course, 20 degrees after the 45th marker. Natalie realized that this marriage was not in any way going to provide emotional security, and that same feeling of being isolated returned.

At the 34th degree (11 degrees before 45), the Moon squared Pluto, and Natalie's father-in-law died. This was important to her, and took a heavy toll. At the 56th degree (11 degrees after 45), Pluto opposed the Moon, and her first husband died - another devastation. At the 37 degree mark (8 degrees before 45), Natalie and her first husband bought a farm. Mars was conjunct Neptune, and remember, Neptune rules the fourth. It was hard work and confusing since they knew nothing about farming. When the Neptune squared Mars, at 53 degrees of solar-arc (8 degrees after 45), they sold the farm but were unsure if that was the best thing to do.

Natalie could probably gain a lot of insight and have an incredible tool for examining her life, by delving into the feelings and reactions she had to these pairs of events. Then, perhaps she can determine what the lessons were.

Another lady, let's call her "Hope," has examined this theory and is able to extract quite a bit of comfort from it. She has a propensity to attract people who are quite deceptive. The Moon in Pisces in the eighth, ruled by Pisces, is opposite Neptune in the second house. She has experienced sudden unexpected changes in her status in life. Her MC, ruled by Mars, is in a grand square with Uranus, Pluto and Jupiter. One of her most difficult times with this was when the opposition began to effect the Grand Square. As the solar-arc increment came to 43 degrees, Neptune squared Mars. She was a popular and successful newspaper reporter but much resented by a superior who began to accuse her of deceptive practices. The theme of reputation (MC) against a backdrop of career, also MC, in the context of another's power over her (Neptune rules the eighth and we must remember that Mars is opposition Pluto in the natal chart) was being brought into focus.

Four years later, when the solar-arc increment was at 47 degrees, a point as equidistant from 45 degrees as the above example, she discovered that the gentleman she had recently married had been married three times before and not two as he claimed. Also, they bought a house on the basis of a trust fund which, after a court battle, went to his ex-wife. Mars was opposite Neptune, and Pisces also rules the ninth house in the natal chart. With the first aspect, a newspaper career and her reputation were in question and another person's evaluation of her was bewildering (8th house). This time a trust fund (8th house) and court battle (9th) were the focus. In both cases there is a theme of misplaced trust, which is beautifully illustrated by a Mars/Neptune contact.

When a chart shows this theme of attracting such sad circumstances, it is imperative to examine childhood experiences to determine why a person would do so. In this case, Hope clearly has developed a perception of herself as being a "sacrificial lamb" (Moon in Pisces opposite Neptune, which is positioned in the house of "self-worth") and has somehow been conditioned to feel she must give a tremendous amount to be considered worthy of love. It is easy to see that with the rulers of the fourth and tenth involved in a tension-ridden Grand Square which includes the MC and Imun Coeli (IC), the beginning stages of her life were not the most ideal for fostering self-confidence. She was born into a family were alcoholism was prevalent, was essentially abandoned by her mother and raised by grandparents. Then later she lived with her father, to whom she played a "mother" role rather than that of a daughter. With the ruler of the fourth, Venus, conjunct Saturn in the seventh, expectations are not high in regard to marriage. This thumbnail sketch is just scratching the surface!

The most spectacular llustration of the 45 degree "shift into reverse" in Hope's life was the drama surrounding the dissolution of her two marriages. Thirteen years before 45 degrees solar-arc movement, one marriage broke up. Thirteen years after the 45 degree point, the other marriage dissolved. I had interviewed her without trying to fit events neatly into a time frame - just asked for a list of major turning points. I fully expected to see a neat arrangement for the 13-year before-and-after degrees. There was nothing.

However . . . I have been working more with Asteroids lately, and when I put those in the 90-degree dial and did the midpoint structures, voila! There it was. At the 32-degree point on the dial—the time of the first marital break-up—the Moon was conjunct Ceres, and the MC was conjunct Chiron. The midpoint structures for these four are shown in the illustration below.

Midpoint Trees Diagram

Pallas in her natal seventh house, is part of the Chiron structure and would be part of this drama. Both aspect the Sun/MC, certainly important in a status change. The direct MC/Mercury/Neptune midpoint picture helps to describe the deception that surrounded the event. The husband went on a trip leaving her at home unaware that he had gone. When he returned, he only stayed long enough to pack. He deserted her without explanation. The most devastating detail of this abandonment was that Hope was pregnant at the time, and months later, had to go through childbirth without the emotional support of her former spouse—typical Ceres/Moon drama, especially considering the attendant midpoint structures. Under the Lunar midpoint structure, there is a Uranus/Pluto contact. That, coupled with the domestic nature of both Ceres and the Moon, certainly describes a sudden, forced upheaval in the home or, more importantly, one's emotional security base.

At the 58-degree mark by solar-arc direction, the patterns were reversed, and this time Ceres squared the Moon and Chiron squared the Midheaven. It happened all over again. The deception was different, but the basic scenario was the same. A husband left abruptly.

This phenomenon appears to be effective with other harmonics. The eighth harmonic is valid, as one would expect, since it is based on 45 degrees, but curiously, at equidistant positions from 45 degrees, a quincunx between any two pairs of planets becomes a sextile and vice-versa. Finishing a motion from quincunx to opposition will equal 30 degrees, and the addition of 60 degrees for the sextile will add up to the 90 degrees we need to fit the fourth harmonic. This just isn't visible on a 90-degree dial.

It is, I believe, impossible to determine what the "lesson" is for each person's life script in these instances. Indeed, these lessons may be multi-layered and integrated with others in a magnificent pattern of midpoint structures. We can suggest the direction a client might look (i.e., house rulerships and positions involved—both directed and natal) in order to discover similarities and determine the feelings and attitudes that were prevalent and possibly altered. Being objective brings clarity to the fore, enabling us to make sense of these patterns hitherto thought of as just random repetitions. There is really nothing random about them.

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Copyright © 1996 Carole DevineOracle International. This article appeared in the November 1994 issue of The Mountain Astrologer.