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
Ardent Aries starts life with passion and curiosity. Self-involved, he rushes headlong into the Taurus phase where his energy is harnessed into useful, productive ventures. Aries' passion becomes tempered with diplomacy. The Gemini period brings movement and restlessness, causing Aries to relocate to another part of the country, or gravitate to younger people, who are perplexed that aging Aries possesses surprisingly youthful insights.
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
Taurus begins life at a slow, quiet pace. Personal style and insight are cultivated. Frequently, she begins work or a career early, gaining prowess over personal earnings and developing life-long resources. Just as life seems to be going smoothly, Gemini scatters settled Taurus on the four
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
Vigor and exploration suit the Gemini child. Without demands of commitment, Gemini discovers life's many avenues, delaying decisions on which will command persistent energy. The Cancer phase brings Gemini in touch with unresolved emotional issues that were unimportant during his initial pursuit of variety. He looks for a permanent home, although this may run no deeper than a long-term rental. With the advent of Leo, Gemini shares his domicile with another. Stabilized emotionally and emboldened to venture into love's domain, he seeks strength in an existing marriage or creates a permanent one if divorce is in his past. A youthful ardor attends his endeavors.
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
Cancer begins life sheltered within the bosom of home and family. Her preferences for weathered and trusted possessions develop during this time. As the Leo phase begins, Cancer seeks fulfillment of her own place as the nurturer, marrying quickly and starting a family. Love is bestowed primarily on the children, who are doted on and well protected from life's onslaughts. Through Virgo, Cancer gains discipline, often turning to business, career, or education, to fulfill inner talents.
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
The deep radiant being of Leo nurtures each interest with loving attention. During the Virgo phase, Leo feels a restriction on his normally overflowing heart. He learns to discipline and discriminate the placement of his energies for a more lasting effect. Leo often finds that family duties force him to put aside his own desires. In the Libra phase, he learns to keep love alive, never letting love’s embers lose their glow.
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
Virgo begins life noticing patterns, rules, and requirements; and learns to operate within many restrictions and personal discipline. In the second phase, Libra introduces the wild-card element of relationship. Here Virgo learns to make accommodations to others by either relaxing their own rules, or understanding that each individual operates with a separate set of personal regulations. Under Scorpio's influence, Virgo runs headlong into the experimental. However, a repressive Virgo is more likely to encounter a compulsion toward demanding perfection. After fixed Scorpio, Virgo is ready for expanding possibilities under Sagittarius. Some Virgos find release in overseas travel, especially lengthy excursions. Others prefer inner pursuits and are inclined to teach spiritual concepts to others.
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
Libra starts life as the sweet, pretty child with a smile reminiscent of Mona Lisa. Ever conscious of others' feelings, Libra is never smirky, upsetting, or critical. Balanced temperament characterize his approach to life's events, keeping him out of trouble and with time for abstract thinking. Through Scorpio, Libra's balance is assaulted by an intensity that appears in relationships, career, and hobbies and often causes them to turn to psychological studies to understand the basis of intensity. With Sagittarius, Libra again enjoys a relaxed pace and puts his considerable mental talents to work. His observations through the Scorpio period are put in writing, or taught to others. Naturally compassionate, he is neither critical nor imperious in his presentations. Sagittarius bestows high rewards of recognition by others, honors from vocational peers, and general appreciation from his family.
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
Scorpio is the quiet, intense child, who is more comfortable discovering and exploring the environment and making every moment count. During the Sagittarius phase, Scorpio is released from Pluto's intensity, and while there may be a lack of self-confidence in her abilities to pursue goals, opportunities abound. Sagittarius' demand for travel teaches her to compare her opinions about life with those she confronts in other regions and lands. Fixed Scorpio learns that life changes, and no one opinion lasts throughout all conditions. Capricorn brings Scorpio into power over others, but if she has learned to relax under Sagittarius, he is not inclined to be authoritarian or tyrannical.
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
As a child, Sagittarius displays a fine mental acuity and innate understanding of the meaning behind events. The sharp mind of youth is equally matched with a capable body. As Sagittarius enters the Capricorn phase, his mind becomes focused and he is aware of how planning, as well as careful use of his energies and talents, can help him reach his goals. In the Aquarius phase, Sagittarius seeks an equal partnership with others. Pre-existing relationships are either modified or ended. From Pisces, Sagittarius experiences a new found compassion that helps him expand his goals to include a benefit for others. Social-mindedness attends his actions, writings, or efforts.
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 is the only sign which starts life old, accepting cares, responsibilities, and burdens the way the rest of us accept candy, play, and naps. Born with a sense of long life, she recognizes time as her ally and willingly receives duties thrust on her in early life. In the Aquarian phase, Capricorn feels uplifted from her previous restrictions. Ever the climber, she builds on her past glories and credentials, finding new avenues and expressions. During the Pisces phase, she relinquishes the boundaries of logic and linear thinking and experiments with her intuition. Her former thoughts about the march of time dissolve as she loses herself in creative pursuits. During the Aries phase, Capricorn is well prepared to venture into a new world of interests and movement.
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
In early life, humane Aquarius is the inventor, whether his inventions are intricate fantasies based on scientific curiosity or amazingly overlooked, but helpful, contraptions that let grandma bake more cookies. Able to see between the lines of life, he perceives more about the world than he ever relates. Within Pisces' influence, Aquarius flounders in emotional depths, usually finding the true love of his life and intensified psychic abilities. In the Aries phase, Aquarius has renewed physical energy. Under the influence of Taurus, Aquarius returns to focus and gains purpose that he applies toward creating lasting foundations for his many ideas and creations. His sense of conviction returns, allowing him to tackle projects that would perplex less experienced people.
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
Pisces begins life either in a needy condition or feeling unappreciated which usually forces her into an inner life of hopes and dreams. During the Aries phase, Pisces experiences a rush of physical energy and often indulges in athletic pursuits previously considered risky to undertake. Growing self-confidence marks this period. With the influence of Taurus, Pisces secures her material paradise. Whether the dream has been a lavish estate, a plentiful farm, or a palatial residence, she finds an environment that fulfills the needs of her youth. Armed with material success, she is in a position to help family and children. In the Gemini phase, Pisces feels confident to tackle the challenges of variety, feeling safe to expose herself to diversity, without feeling threatened.
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
As explained, longevity is a matter of conditioned perspective. Recent studies into the stage of centenarian living yield remarkable, but consistent, qualities among the aged. First, the age of ninety is an important threshold. Most who reach this age experience a resurgence of vitality, restored through reduced food intake, permitting less burden on the body's organs and digestive system.
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.