Could we, barring the unforeseen events that snipped the threads of the Fates, live as long as we wanted? It is important to realize that we not only believe in immortality, we are smitten with it. We pursue it. Human immortality, though, is not all fanciful fairy tale, legend, or myth. From the cells of our bodies, we sense an unrevealed truth about unending life, beyond the tidy concept of afterlife.
The Fourth House of a horoscope reflects conditions at the end of life. These conditions do not indicate or dictate the death moment, which falls to the rulership of Pluto and the Eighth House. This distinction is important, because the conditions at the end of life may seem contradictory to the actual death moment, such as a solitary period of existence ended through a moment of happiness in the midst of family or friends.
The idea of the end-of-life condition draws from the concept of progressed astrology, which assigns one degree of daily movement by the Sun, Moon, and planets, to equal one year of life. Expanding on this idea, astrologers discovered that the Ascendant also progressed approximately one degree forward each year. About ninety days (equal to ninety years) after birth, the Ascendant reached the Nadir or Fourth House cusp. Because this movement parallelled an "acceptable" lifetime, theorists defined the Fourth House as "conditions at the end of life."
The following descriptions of longevity, listed by sign or house, apply to the natal placements of your Moon, Sun, or Ascendant. These descriptions are not promises or predeterminations, and should be considered carefully as you make decisions in preparation for the curtain to rise on a new stage of life. Because few of us are born at the 0 degree of a sign, life progresses through the remaining degrees, before entering subsequent 30 degree periods. Consequently, a person born with an Ascendant at 20 degrees Libra will enter the fourth phase of Capricorn at about age seventy.
Aries or the First House
Under Cancer's influence, in the fourth phase, Aries becomes nostalgic for the past and the old homestead. New sensitivity brings out a surprising dependence, with Aries often seeking comfort and reassurance from a relative.
During the mounting influence of Cancer, Aries can experience health problems relating to the head and sensory organs, as well as the stomach. Imbalanced eating habits are the culprit, especially if high amounts of sugar are consumed, producing an artificial equivalent of adrenaline rush. In particular, the eyes suffer from sugar consumption.
For Aries to fare well under Cancer, focus must be honed into razor-sharp acuity. A late return to college in theoretical fields, such as mathematics or astronomy, keeps his mind sharp and immune to Cancer's mood swings. For the Aries who needs physical expression, Cancer's agrarian and husbandry pursuits provide exercise and opportunities to nurture and care for plant life and dependent, domestic animals.
Taurus or the Second House
As Leo asserts its influence, Taurus returns to a fixed perspective. Long an admirer of beauty, she is now in a position to create it. Simple pastimes of singing or playing an instrument lead to intricate musical work, such as choral or madrigal arrangements or music composition. Taurus is usually blessed with a strong body, and Leo encourages her into more demanding physical expressions, breaking up sedentary life habits.
For the Taurus who enters aged life alone, affairs of the heart will not be denied, with dating or remarriage releasing feelings of love, never before revealed. The new adventure of grandchildren gives opportunities to pass on sage advice and initiate new interests or hobbies for self-fulfillment.
During the Leo phase, Taurus may find herself having problems of the throat, usually arising from cellular toxicities. Because her tastes run to sweets and convenience foods, she must return to fundamentals. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, and berries taken from her lush garden help wash toxicities from her system, provided she uses organic gardening techniques. When her voice is lost to laryngitis or a nervous condition, Taurus needs to examine the use of her words and tendencies to be overbearing. Any negative effect of her words or willful tones indicates the physical reaction of a closed throat.
Gemini or the Third House
During the fourth life phase, Gemini is touched by his complement sign, Virgo. A return to inquisitiveness is indicated, although Gemini is more inclined to pass on his learning as a teacher. With the Virgo keynote of service, Gemini takes on volunteer programs, teaching those who cannot afford tuition or attend regular school.
Under Virgo, Gemini is prone to nervous problems, usually manifested as intestinal difficulties. Always a picky or sparse eater, he needs to incorporate essential fiber in his diet along with the B-vitamin complex so essential for stabilizing brain operations and repairing various parts of a stressed nervous system.
Virgo causes Gemini to return to writing, although his talents will be considerably more disciplined than previously known. Short articles, critiques, or trade reviews satisfy the need to communicate, as well as returning a good income. Although he never lacked energy, Gemini needs an exercise plan. Walking or biking in fresh air calms his nerves and soothes his digestive system.
Cancer or the Fourth House
As Cancer enters the Libra phase, partnership needs will prevail. If married, she will focus on her spouse. If unmarried, business partnerships or close friendships will become more important as she seeks the close communion she has secretly yearned for all her life.
During the Libra phase, Cancer may experience stomach upsets as she stretches herself into emotional, one-on-one relationships. These upsets are often accompanied by kidney or urinary tract infections. Cancer needs to incorporate foods high in potassium to quell kidney problems. If stomach upsets begin to hamper her efforts in dealing with others, test for high or low hydrochloric acidity in the stomach. Fresh cranberry juice will aide urinary tract infections.
Because Cancer's life phases deal directly with relationships, socializing proves necessary in later years. Group activities lead her into forming close alliances, even seeking a new spouse, if remarriage is a possibility. Group activities raise concern only if Cancer is using them to avoid personal relationships. Late life activities might include certifying as a master gardener, or fund-raising for animal activism.
Leo or the Fifth House
In the fourth phase, Leo's generative powers combine with Scorpio's magnetism, and a deep spiritual communion with all life is sought. Containing himself in a faithful relationship, Leo is stunned by the sexual power of Scorpio. Where love had been expressed in words and romantic activities, he learns that true sexual union is in shared love. Leo is amazed that all ages of the opposite sex find him irresistible, Virgo’s lessons in discernment prevent him from making inappropriate overtures.
Accustomed to bestowing his power or benevolence through love, Leo is upset by the apparent aloof posture of Scorpio. He may experience heart troubles as he attempts to quell sexual yearnings. Homeopathic remedies or Ayurvedic medicinals to stabilize the heart structure, along with potassium to reduce irregularities and arrhythmias, will help. The reproductive organs benefit from supplements of zinc for both sexes, with additional supplements of selenium for men and a calcium/magnesium combination for women.
Volunteer efforts in which he can act as a director or primary contributor, observing the effects of benevolent influence, are a good outlet during this time.
Virgo or the Sixth House
During the Sagittarius phase, Virgo's health is likely to be very good. Given her normally industrious energy, she is not likely to put on weight. Instead, she feels that she has now energy reserves to pursue the demands of Sagittarius. Because indulgence is to be expected, Virgo's delicate digestive system benefits from including more fibrous foods. Virgo's approach to life becomes more relaxed, releasing much of her criticism and turning her fine acuity to the abstract and theoretical.
During this phase, Virgo is in a good position to teach. Sagittarius causes her to appreciate molding young minds, but if children are too much for her, adult students with youthful, fresh perspectives and humorous explanations will benefit from Virgo's experience. Not as strongly inclined under Sagittarius to be the homebody, Virgo needs a variety of good walking or hiking shoes to keep her feet healthy.
Libra or the Seventh House
The fourth phase of life, Capricorn, whose ruler Saturn is exalted in Libra, puts him back on the move. His excellent mind and gained honors urge Capricorn recognize his influence on community and region. Libra's end-of-life condition often finds him as the revered and appreciated elder whose experiences and wisdom are sought by many. If involved in a career or business, he continues as a mentor, adopting a calm pace. If he decides to travel, journeys are based on business or benefits to his community.
All in all, Libra's life is about give and take. In health matters, Capricorn tends to lengthen Libra's life. However, if lower back problems have developed over the years, Libra needs to incorporate stretching exercises to maintain mobility, as Capricorn stiffens unused parts. Tendencies to arthritic conditions arise from the kidneys, which may not operate sufficiently. Deposits of uric acid in flexible tissue causes dull pain and inflammations of gout. Sodium foods, primarily fresh vegetables and fruits, and fresh cranberry juice will maintain the kidney's mineral balance.
Scorpio or the Eighth House
During the fourth life phase, opinionated Scorpio encounters Aquarius where rigidity of thinking is the worst of possibilities. However, Scorpio, who has come to appreciate different approaches in life, enjoys the mental inquisitiveness of Aquarius. Through Aquarius, Scorpios take on a more humanitarian view of the world and its problems. Pondering spiritual matters, developing psychic talents, or discussing philosophy at length consume most of Scorpio's time. Turning her opinions into considered perceptions about life, Scorpio finds fulfillment in writing her memoirs or a family history. Aquarius enjoys the physical activity of constructing, which Scorpio may employ in refinishing furniture, interior decorating, or landscaping.
Accustomed to a sedentary lifestyle, Scorpio may encounter lung difficulties while in the Aquarian phase. Shortness of breath is alleviated by controlled breathing exercises. Scorpio's preferences for heavy foods create an acidic condition that forces the lungs to accumulate phlegm. When fluid coats the lung tubes, Scorpio falls heir to phlegmatic illnesses, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis. At the sign of any lung difficulties, Scorpio needs to take a fast from rich or heavy foods, and incorporate more salad vegetables into her diet.
Sagittarius or the Ninth House
In late life, Sagittarius can develop hip problems. When Sagittarius has failed to relax, reflect on goals, or communicate with his inner spirit, he experiences socket degeneration, arthritic conditions, or sciatica. To prevent these conditions, he needs to restrict rich or starchy foods, and add fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean meats to his diet. Sciatic difficulties are eased by gentle yoga exercises or manipulations through massage or reflexology. Without these preventions, Sagittarius will lose his most honored attribute—freedom of movement.
It is the rare Sagittarian who does not have a life story worth telling. Although he has been frequently glib about his experiences, especially those that were painful, he's in a position to share what he has learned, helping others understand their situations. The sagacious centaur finds fulfillment in volunteer work, teaching others to help themselves, writing long fiction, or setting his own memoirs into a perspective history.
Capricorn or the Tenth House
Capricorn seems to become more physically nimble with age. Few actually end up resembling the old goat, appearing more youthful in temperament and face than at any time in their lives. However, because of burdens carried in early life, Capricorn may experience troubles with her knees. The problem is usually rigidity from too high an intake of calcium, which deposits in cartilage, causing an arthritic condition. Capricorn can remedy this problem by observing a balance of magnesium with calcium. Her ruler Saturn limits her need for calcium; she is wiser to develop her muscles to support bones.
Motivated by the joy of building a lasting empire rather than by making money, Capricorn is likely to continue working late in life. Whatever her working endeavor, she will only accept a position or start a business that provides plenty of travel and introductions into interests she has never explored.
Aquarius or the Eleventh House
Throughout life, Aquarius has had problems with leg cramps, especially the lower leg. For Aquarians who prefer to stand on one foot in the laboratory or the workshop, periodic walking, ascending and descending stairs, and meditations in prone positions relieve the pull of gravity, which causes pooling of blood in the lower legs.
The great satisfaction for Aquarius in late life is developing self-perpetuating programs. Because he is comfortable yoking his energies to others', he seeks to establish foundations, organizations, or fellowships that continue the development of his finest ideas. In the event his finances are inadequate or he cannot raise funds, Aquarius tidies his research notes, possibly in published form, and endows a school or university chair, usually with the condition that eventual proceeds from his research be used to fund scholarships.
Pisces or the Twelfth House
Throughout life, Pisces has problems with her feet. With Gemini's demand for movement, she needs to outfit her feet properly for all types of activities. New shoes usually require a complete change of wardrobe. Cool foot baths, mixed with oil of wintergreen or peppermint, revitalize her tired feet. A gentle massage with a glycerine and water solution regenerates warmth.
Late life finds Pisces on the move. Travel has always brought Pisces joy, but now she ventures into foreign lands. Pisces is unlikely to work in late life. After long struggles with inner or outer adversity, she has come into her own time. Pisces is likely to relate her new experiences through conversations and verbal stories.
After the First Ninety Years
Second, moderate exercise permits strength training and toning throughout the body's muscular system, now recognized as an important support for the skeletal system. Research applauds full-body activities, particularly walking.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, those who reach ninety exhibit mental determination, balanced with a strong spiritual belief system. Long-lived individuals expect to reach old age. They don't let other ideas about lifespan subvert their thinking. These advanced seniors are assertive, sometimes described as domineering.
The importance of spiritual beliefs cannot be underestimated. Whether these beliefs are openly communicated or inwardly savored, a spiritual foundation guides judgment during the tests of daily experience and needs. For those willing to prepare for a long life of diverse experiences, cultivate now a warm heart, an open mind, and a strong body. The celebration is just beginning.
From Llewellyn's 2001 Moon Sign Book. For current-year calendars and almanacs, click here.