We've all found ourselves at a crossroad. You may even be at one now. And while it can be agonizing to decide which path to take, Sacred Astrology can help you find your way through the dark. Sacred Astrology is not focused on prediction or a cookbook of personality traits, but learning to see the stories in our lives through an archetypal lens. Sacred Astrology can connect us with the wisdom of the archetypes found in mythology and folklore, and reflects on how these stories play out in our own lives to deepen our self awareness and bring an increased sense of meaning and purpose.
Astrology teaches us that there are specific ages that we can expect to find ourselves at definitive crossroads. It can provide a map that show us what our deeper self is trying to learn or experience during these times. These are what I call the "Crossroad Transits," thresholds and rites of passage that happen to everyone at around the same age. And while we are having transits to our birthchart all the time, these times are significant gateways that can bring uncertainty, confusion, and crisis in their wake. Conversely, they can also awaken us to a new phase of individuation and becoming. Knowing the nature of the crossroads on your horizon can help you prepare for the archetypal themes that tend to arise during these junctures.
1. Determine Whether You Are at a Crossroads Transit
In my book, A Lantern in the Dark: Navigate Life's Crossroads with Story, Ritual, and Sacred Astrology, the three main timeframes we dive into are the first Saturn return, the Midlife Transits, and the second Saturn return. As with all transits, these times can be felt as a profound inner shift, often prompted by outer circumstances and events. If you are between the ages of 27 and 30, you are currently close to or already experiencing your first Saturn return. Saturn literally returns to the place it was at your birth approximately every 29.5 years. Saturn is the principle of reality, and this juncture can be a sobering time that forces us to grow up and commit to something important. People tend to feel melancholy, serious, and contemplative during this transit. It can be a time of increased responsibility and letting go of whatever does not support our continued growth so we can move into a self-actualized adulthood. The four Midlife Transits occur between the approximate ages of 37-48. If you are at this threshold, you can expect to enter a time of profound transformation as deep inner shifts and real-world changes arise to bring you to a place of new self awareness. The second Saturn return occurs around the ages of 57-60, and once again, we are brought face to face with reality. But this time we are facing elderhood rather than embarking on an adulthood of our own making as we did during the first Saturn return. This can be a time of reckoning, as we stand on the cusp of a new chapter that coincides with the end of a cycle, and we take our place as Elders in our communities.
2. Connect with Mythology, Folklore, and Story
Connecting with cross-cultural stories that come down to us through mythology and folklore can be illuminating during the Crossroad Transits. For every situation we may find ourselves in, there is at least one story that can act as an instructional tale to shed light on our path. For example, at the first Saturn return we might find guidance in one of many coming of age stories, such as the Russian folktale, Vasilisa the Wise.
If we're currently navigating our Midlife Transits, the Mesopotamian myth of the descent of the goddess Inanna can teach us about the futility of trying to hang on to what no longer serves us, so we can step into our true power. Or, perhaps our children have gone off to college during our Midlife Transits and we find ourselves facing an empty nest, and the Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone can provide us with comfort and meaning. If we are clarifying our purpose and passion, the Grail legend can teach us a thing or two about the difference between the pitfalls of blind faith and embracing a guiding vision that can lead us to meaning, fulfillment, and self-realization. And finally, during the second Saturn return, we may find deep insight in connecting with stories featuring protagonists such as the Baba Yaga.
3. Get to Know the Gods
Whether you are currently going through a Saturn, Pluto, Neptune, or Uranus time, take a moment to learn about the god associated with the planetary archetype. Reflecting on and aligning with the archetypes at play in your life will illuminate the underlying themes and developmental purpose of the crossroads you're at, and what you're being called to make space for. For example, the god Saturn is associated with structure, boundaries, the principle of reality, and reward for hard work. Knowing this, you can choose to work willingly with Saturn in your late 20s (your first Saturn return) by embracing Saturn things: making a commitment to something important, creating healthy boundaries, practicing good self care, and reassessing your core values.
With regards to the four Midlife Transits, Pluto is the god of the underworld, and as such is connected to what is subterranean or hidden, endings, transformation, and power. So, if you are in your late 30s and currently undergoing your Pluto square, engaging in shadow work can be immensely therapeutic. The oceanic god Neptune is associated with transcendence, the dissolution of the ego, and surrender. During your Neptune square in your early 40s, cultivating a spiritual practice, learning to let go, and taking time for deep reflection can be helpful. The god Uranus on the other hand, is aligned with liberation, disruption of the status quo, and change. At the Uranus opposition in the early-mid 40s, we need to make room for who we are becoming, while still being mindful about the changes we lean into.
4. Connect with Planetary Correspondences
Working with the correspondences of a given planet can be helpful during a Crossroad Transit. Connect with crystals, essential oils, herbs (and more) associated with a particular planet to align with its inherent energies and engage with its medicine on a more conscious level. You can carry a stone with you or meditate with it or drop a few corresponding essential oils into your tub. And once you know some of the pitfalls that can arise with each of these transits, you can explore herbs that can help alleviate some of the more challenging themes that can accompany them. For example, if you are feeling melancholy during your Saturn return you could make yourself a cup of lemon balm tea, or if you're feeling stressed during your Uranus opposition, you could try an adaptogen such as holy basil to soothe your frazzled nervous system. These are just two examples of the many herbal allies that can be of benefit during crossroad times, and are found readily in natural foods stores or online. Consult with your health care provider if you are unsure of whether an herb is right for you.
5. Dive Deeper with Ritual and Journaling
The best way to navigate the crossroad times of our lives is to drop down and listen to what the Universe and our deeper selves are calling us towards. Engaging in ritual can be immensely therapeutic at these times, especially if the ritual aligns with themes that characteristically arise with a given transit. For example, for your Saturn return you could create a ritual to help you cross a specific threshold. For the Pluto square you could design a ritual to help you step into your power, or integrate aspects of Self you've been avoiding so you can find what psychologist Robert Johnson called, "the gold in the shadow." Be sure to research the correspondences for each planet, and consider incorporating some of them into your ritual.
If you've never kept a journal before, a crossroads is good time to start. Journaling can help you keep track of the feelings and insights that invariably arise during these times. It can be highly therapeutic and provide you with an objective overview you might not otherwise perceive when thoughts are running in an endless loop through your mind. Journaling can be a form of meditation that helps you slip past endless mind chatter and connect with your own deeper wisdom. It can also help you see what you're experiencing through an archetypal lens, so you are more receptive to the deeper mythic layers woven into the story of your life.