Planetary cycles - First part

Edited by Lidia Fassio

In Astrology we have two very effective tools to manage to understand when inherent issues will be activated in our personal horoscope and to what we are called in exact moments of our existence. The most used tool is that of the transits, which indicate moments of change and opportunity through which universal symbology manages to enter into relation with personal reality: it is the infinitely big one (the cosmos) that for synchronism activates the infinitely little one (the man).
There is, however, another tool often less used than the transits, which instead is used first to scan rhythms and common evolutive phases that all humanity must face at the same age and that speeds up changes and psychic and physical evolution, making us pass from one stage to another of life: this is represented by the planetary Cycles.
We all cover the phases of life: from childhood, to becoming a boy, young man, grown-up and then old, and there is no way - at least from a physical point of view - of escaping this universal law, to stop the biological watch, it forces us to cyclically face several stages of development.
However, mankind has not always been as it is today, since conscience, rationality and thinking are comparatively recent in the history of its evolution (6-7 thousand years), while there is a longer history (5-6 million years) of unconsciousness, or of ignorance, in which the body and the instincts had an absolutely primary importance.
Therefore, this is why the physical part has an "experience" decidedly longer than the psychic intellective one.


We can compare these two human components (physical and psychic) to two trains that both share, at the same time, the same station (the birth) and that take the same route on two parallel lines, and stop at the same stations, to meet again at the same time at the final destination (the end of life).
We know, however, that that this often does not happen, since while the train of physical growth works automatically sine it has been tested so many times, the train that transports psychological processes is newer, less able, does know the way very much, goes slowly and tends to dwell for too long in some stations, not stopping at others, ending up by being late, not even arriving because it ended-up on a dead-end track. None of us would ever dream of giving instructions to our cells, to our hormones or to our skeleton when we are entering into the phase of the adolescence; this "train" travels singly and at the appropriate moment all the mechanisms are activated automatically since the on-board computer - at least in by far the majority of cases - does things properly and goes ahead with its program without obstacles.
Instead, the psychological, one sometimes does not conclude its phases properly, it missed others and runs the risk certain point of having an adult body that contains a still completely infantile psychology.


The planetary Cycles are these several phases in life and indicate in a very clear way what the needs of that moment are and what we are called to develop on a mental and emotional level each time that our body has reached a station and is ready to carry out the requested generational or social jump (son, husband, father, pensioner, and so on).
It is therefore extremely important to understand the meaning of the Planetary Cycles since the most of us has not received any instruction on how to face the processes of maturity of life and we are left like without the least support when our existence calls upon us to overcome certain limits or to enter into a phase of transition that many people see like a jump into the dark, rather than like a great opportunity that is offered to us to be successful in our evolution.
In these cases astrology can be of great help in accompanying people through these tunnels, understanding that, for the most part, it simply regards normal growth crises and not pathologies or real psychological problems.


Planetary Cycle means the time that a planet uses to complete its Solar Return around the Sun. Naturally there are extremely fast cycles like that of the Moon (28 days), of Mercury (365 days), of Venus (225 days) and of Mars (2 years and a half), which represent means of expression, of vitality and adaptation in daily life and are therefore a continuous reflection of what we are, day after day, like sensitiveness, thought, affectivity and acts; all things that, in their phases, can be subject to swift, as well as imperceptible changes.
It is, however, the planetary Cycles that more powerfully influence each individual since they have slower orbits and free energies that work for a long time inside each one of us, causing and shaping those that are the decisive phases of our existence.
It is the particular features of these Cycles that we will be interested in to better understand why some ages, more than others, have big obstacles, moments in which it is necessary to make changes, as if life was calling upon us to make a different commitment, to greater responsibility towards others. For reasons of space, we will deal with this subject in two parts; in this first article we will talk in general about the Cycles of the five biggest planets, that are Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, providing the times of their orbits and their symbology.

Therefore, as far as Jupiter is concerned, who compared to the other four is still a comparatively fast planet; we will only talk about the conjunction aspects, or about the meanings the passage of Jupiter on transit on natal Jupiter, an astral circumstance that happens every 12 years.
Instead, for other planets, we will explain their conjunction, squaring and opposition aspects that are those that force us more to change since they create pressure from a contrasting element compared to what they are at birth, forcing us to change our initial attitude.
For example, those born with Uranus in Cancer will receive the first square aspect from the sign of the Libra, which proposes not only different meanings and a different way of interpreting experiences, but also a contrasting energy flow: Water is in fact an element in whose Uranus it does not manage to be expressed at best, to the element Air, in which this planet moves with a lot more confidence.


The trigons and sextiles, which the planet completes with the natal position, are considered extremely positive or "easy" and are in certain ways more gratifying and easy to live with, but they tend, however, to remain unchanged, on the contrary to reinforce certain basic trends that have really taken root in the personal psyche. We would want to underline that the natal Chart indicates a series of potentials, not facts that are immutable and there will be particular Cycles and transits to create new opportunities in order for the original seeds to become luxuriant plants, but this will not be able to happen without our free will and the ability of bringing gradual, but continuous inner changes.
The trines and the sextiles make individuals static, since they do not create conflict and therefore they do not push to make further passes ahead, while the dynamic aspects propose anxieties and insecurities that tend to create unsustainable internal and external situations, shifting the energies towards change.
The ages that are considered more critical in life (adolescence, youth, maturity and old age) coincide with different associated planetary Cycles that are inserted like pieces of a puzzle. For example, the mid-life crisis, which is always foreboding, presents the second opposition of Saturn to itself, the first opposition of Uranus to Uranus, the first square aspect of Neptune to itself, and in the generations of 50 year olds, Pluto squares to itself. It would look as if the universal forces get together and they challenge us to a fight to the death for the individual: "Change,or you will have to change!" - they seem to say. In any case, something will happen, a change will happen and whether it will be through choice or coercion will depend on ourselves and on our attitude towards this phase of maturity that wants to increase.


Jupiter, the biggest planet of our solar System, takes about 12 years to complete a whole circle of Solar Return around the Sun; therefore it stands approximately one year in each zodiac sign and assists every 12 years before passing again exactly in the position that it had at your birth, giving life to a new cycle. During the current life-span (70-80 years), we can therefore experience at least six to seven cycles of Jupiter.

The latest medical research have demonstrated the importance of the pineal gland - that is tied to Jupiter - and that it would seem to be the watcher of our life, a kind of physiological compass that has the supervisory task also to make all the other glands function; it normally controls hormonal levels, presides over growth and over development during childhood to old age and does it through a substance that it secretes: melatonin. When it lowers the production of this substance it reaches the ageing and pineal gland atrophies. This planet is tied to all the assimilation processes - physical, psychic and spiritual - and it exercises different drives according to the age in which it is experience. Moreover, Jupiter represents the push towards social adaptation and determines, really on the basis of interpretation experiences, much of what is and it will be the philosophy of our life. It is the meaning and reason that we give to life and also that has the greatest responsibility for the sense of spirituality that each person possesses and that in the end is a search of perfection and improvement.


Saturn takes 29 and a half years to complete a whole cycle and stays about two years and a half in each sign. The times, with Saturn, are therefore considerably increase and this planet, so important and so little liked, manages to make two complete cycles and almost a third during a life-time. The Saturn cycles need to be understood in depth. They are not simple to approach and they always represent big structuring crises and de-structuring. Saturn is charged with the physical and psychic structure of an individual and it pushes the construction of a body and of a personality who can stand on his own two feet, relying on the processes of autonomy and independence that presuppose the renunciation of protection and detachment with all that is reduction, pleasure and personal fulfilment. Saturn induces us to take on obligations, duties and responsibility to ourselves and the world; it does so that the person " carries the weight" of his life, like our skeleton (another symbol of this planet) "carries the weight" of the whole body.
The Saturn cycles scan the times of maturity and understanding reality, reinforce and tend to give shape and structure life, and doing it however, making us face our limits.


We can compare Uranus to the true barometer of human life, with its 84 years of orbit around the Sun and its standing for 7 years in each sign. Dealing with this planet we will not be able to talk any more about cycles, but about aspects that will handle itself during its life cycle. Uranus scans therefore, during its two squares and an opposition, three fundamental phases of existence: 21 years of age: the entry into youth; 42 years old: the crisis of middle age and 63 years of age: the conclusion of the productive cycle and becoming old. The Uranus symbol is often a little distorted since it tends to be considered the planet of the practical actions and decisions. In fact, at an evolutive level, Uranus pushes from the adolescence towards the attainment of freedom and independence that is based on personal values, taking us away from collective ways of thinking , with all that society calls the " mass". It tries to lead to us becoming free, also in drastic way, from all that tends to chain us, to make us attached to situations that do not let our true individuality to be expressed, takes us from the external and internal ties leading us to change. Its energy is not very disruptive, it has the effect of an electric shock of the highest voltage and causes truths and difficulties in all defence mechanisms, dismantling those alibis that we invent to remain firm in our opinions. Its effect will be even more powerful the more resistance we make.
Uranus is the great Gentleman of what Jung calls the "process of individualization", which must lead us to being true individuals, able to make real decisions and to assert them with courage rather than to live a quiet and reassuring life, like sheep.


Neptune takes about 165 years to complete a circle around our Sun and stays about 14 years in each sign. With Neptune and Pluto, therefore, we cannot see it in our entire in our entire life cycle any more, therefore we will deal at most with two aspects, the square and the opposition to itself. The slowness of these planets tells us about the most important energies and about the power of transformation especially in relation to the signs through which they pass. As well as having an impact on the individual, both will therefore be responsible for the great movements of thought and generational and collective values. Neptune is square to itself around 40 years of age and is in opposition towards 80 years of age, when the life-cycle is almost finished. Neptune symbology is very subtle and it usually aims to work through empathy and sensitiveness, making us understand that we are not separate individuals and that nothing makes sense if we do not pursue an ideal union with the rest of the world. It is the most spiritual and elevated symbol that our conscience can provide us with: it is tied to states of ecstasy, to art, to mysticism, to values of solidarity and redemption. It tends to let us have a glimpse that something exists that is more elevated than our material needs and our egoism, and through a lowering of energy, to a kind of mental cancellation that leads to introspection and removal from the small and worldly reality. It emphasises the dynamics of the imagination and day- dreams for us to get a glimpse of different dimensions of being and existing.
On a collective level it scans the ideals and the dreams that push a whole generation. It is a planet that has a subtle energy that we do not all perceive individually, therefore many of us experience it only at the level of collective unconscious, or everything that passes at a subliminal level.


Pluto has a cycle of 248 years and has times that diverge according to the part of Zodiac that it covers because of an orbit that is extremely elliptic: this is the reason therefore it does not remain the same number of years in the signs: (it passes from a permanence of about 32 years in the sign of Gemini - its longest stay - to one of about 12 years in Sagittarius). Some generations therefore have Pluto squaring at around 33/38 years of age, with the possibility of the opposition also being experienced around 80 years of age, while others are able to live only the square around 60 years of age and they will never have an opposition. Pluto favours those that are creative and the destructive drives of a generation and it scans the great transformations of societies in terms of needs: it tells us about resources and about energies and about new potential (this discovery has put us in contact with the unconscious and with the atom, two invisible things, but that are extremely powerful).
On a personal level Pluto can often appear as the hand of destiny since there is a slight relation with the great inferior drive that orientates us, that leads us to take decisions more often unconsciously, often without understanding, but that certainly effect our growth. Pluto works through the degeneration and the annihilation of those parts of us and of our personality that are no longer in line with all that we have in mind. It is however, very difficult to perceive that we will have to let go and leave, so it is difficult to live its passages without anguish, since they give the inevitable sensation of desolation and inner death to new possibilities follow.
Pluto always fertilises - but often long period of time passes between the first phase of his passage which is always destructive and degenerative - and the second one - of rebirth - and in this long torment a person can get the impression of following a funeral in which inexorably one is torn from.
We must not forget that Pluto is the slowest planet and therefore it is the most powerful transformation tool and only if we accept the way it acts will we be able to realise that it is the planet that also gives us our most precious presents. It looks to the interior and the tunnel is painful because something uncomfortable is always buried there, if not something absolutely ignoble; if, however, we manage to scrape the bottom of the barrel we will see the sprouting seeds that would have remained buried if we had not undertaken this journey.

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