It is amazing how much can be inferred about a person, even without knowing their horoscope. Any proficient sun sign astrologer knows how powerful the sun alone is in a sign, and how the sign ruler of the sun sign, in its orbit around the sun and interaction with the other planets, reliably provides background information about what is going on. In the first few months of 2012 for example, Mars was retrograde in Virgo. For Scorpios this is a solar 11th house placement, which means that constant reorganization in connection with groups has been a feature of this period, whilst for Aries, this is a solar 6th house placement, reflecting struggles in connection with the work environment and colleagues. Likewise Aquarians and Capricorns are sure to feel major changes as sign ruler Saturn moves from Libra to Scorpio on October 5th and they will find themselves profoundly affected by Saturn’s immediate trine to Neptune just 6 days later – a trine that will last well over a year. That should soften up the ambitions.

This is elementary astrology, yet it can provide extremely accurate timing for events even without the horoscope. For example, a Scorpio I was working with asked me in May 2011, when he would find a partner. Well, on 24th May 2011 Venus conjoined his sign ruler Mars in Taurus (his solar 7th house) – something which only happens every eight years – and as he was returning to his home town at this time, I predicted he would fall in love, which he duly did. Wedding this year. All that is required for this kind of prediction is to follow the movements of the planets in the ephemeris.

The Saturn Return – Age 29
Apart from using the planetary movement of sun sign rulers, it is also possible to track deep and powerful trends just knowing the age of a person. Knowing a person’s age also means you know the year they were born, and knowing the year they are born, means knowing the planetary cycles that were in force at that time. Much is made of the first Saturn return for example, which takes place at the age of 29 or 30 depending on whether it was retrograde or direct at the time of birth. This age reflects a complete cycle of time and a full set of experiences in every aspect of a person’s life. Up to the age of 30 we tend to act according to the program engineered by parents and the expectations of society. We may have found what we are uniquely good at, but many of our actions are in fact reactions either trying to live up to others, or fighting the program. For an Excel file showing a table of these age effects, click here.

What is necessary at the age of 30 is to break up the structures that have been established around us, which reflect the values of other people, and to establish new structures which reflect our own sense of destiny. If a person finds themselves through a false sense of duty to family or society persisting with structures which are not authentic, then a rude awakening will come at the next Saturn square (age 36) or opposition (age 44). As you enter your thirties you have a unique opportunity to realize your destiny and make something of your life. It is a lot harder to do this when you are 44.

Personal destiny is to a certain extent circumscribed by the sign position of Saturn at birth. This reflects an area of expertise which you will spend your whole life working on. Someone who is 29-30 years old here in 2012 will most likely have Saturn in Libra and what makes the last Saturn in Libra so interesting in 1982 was that it was in conjunction with Pluto. This was the time of the “balance of power” and the doctrine of “mutually assured destruction” when the West placed advanced nuclear rockets in Europe and the Soviet Union placed their own in East Germany. That’s an interesting kind of balance. Agree or die. And this will be the dilemma of those who are entering their thirties right now – how to perfect the art of compromise without capitulation to existential threats. An obvious prediction angle in meeting people at this age is to ask in what way they are radically restructuring their relationships. Next year however, if you meet someone who is entering their thirtieth year, the issue subtly changes, as Saturn will be in Scorpio, and power or sexual identity may be more important issues.

Almost every year of your life will trigger specific planets in your birth horoscope and reveal important information about the year’s events. Apart from the Saturn return, the second return of the moon’s nodes at 37 will indicate a reorientation of a mission exactly described by the nodal position at birth. Even more powerfully, if you are born with an aspect involving the outer planets, there will be predictable change at a specific age. For example a natal Saturn/Uranus aspect will kick in dramatically in your early forties, whilst a natal Jupiter/Neptune aspect will overwhelm your imagination every 13 years. We will take a look at these planetary cycles later on.

The Venus Cycle – Age 32
One very important cycle which is not to be missed is the eight-year cycle of Venus. Calculate a solar return for any year which has a factor of eight, and Venus will be almost exactly where it was a birth, which means that you are fully attuned to your inner values and romantic needs at these ages. Sweet sixteen often marks the first tentative outreach of the heart to another person. Anyone who is born with a Venus/Saturn aspect will also experience at Saturn opposition to this position at the age of 15, which normally brings an experience of early rejection, with profound consequences for relationships later on in life.

The greatest year for romance is in fact the age of 32. This is a time when Venus returns to its birth position on the birthday at the same time as Mars – which has a 32 year cycle of exact return.  Check out your solar return for 32, and you will see Venus and Mars at their start positions. If you are Mars-ruled or Venus-ruled, and single, then falling in love is definitely on the agenda. If you are married and unhappy, the siren song of a love affair may sound. You experience a state of complete harmony with your inner drives and values at this age.

The Progressed Moon – Age 27
A crucial year for emotional change is the age of 27, and this can also be a year when you can have an uncomfortable encounter with destiny which dissolves or transforms your life. Perhaps this is why so many famous musicians have departed from the world at this time because of destructive lifestyles – Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and most recently and lamentably – Amy Winehouse. There is in fact a statistical spike for musicians who die at this age, which has given rise to the “Forever 27 Club” (Note 1). The background tone of this age is the return of the progressed Moon to its birth position – an emotional parallel to the structural changes that take arrive two years later with the Saturn return. The progressed Moon return takes place at 27 years and 4 months and it marks the beginning of a new instinctual cycle – for women a time when the biological clock starts ringing if there have been no children up to this point. So it is an emotional year, with many swings up and down, when instinctual forces reign supreme.

If the Moon aspects the outer planets, then the age of 27 is going to be a time of even stronger emotional swings. In fact both Neptune and (for younger generations) Pluto sextile their birth positions at this age, whilst Uranus is trine its birth position, so collective forces exert a dramatic pull on the soul. What can make the year fateful for great musicians (apart from the power of the Moon and Neptune – drugs and alcohol play a major role in the deaths) is the fact that the South Node of the Moon conjoins the North Node at the age of 27. There is a saying in Vedic astrology that Rahu (the North Node) is afraid of Ketu, which is not surprising, as in Vedic astrology Rahu represents uncontrolled materiality, whilst Ketu represents uncompromising spirituality.

A quick glance at Amy Winehouse’s horoscope shows just how vulnerable she is at this age:

Horoscope for Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse: 14th September 1983 22.25 Enfield, England. AS 17.46 GE

Her Capricorn moon is at birth conjoining Neptune in the 7th – she had an abusive relationship with a heroin addict who ended up in prison – and Neptune was in exact trine to her Moon when she died of alcohol poisoning. Pluto had been transiting the Moon, which might also account for her aborted concerts earlier in the year. Even more ominous, she is born with the Moon’s nodes exactly on her Ascendant/Descendant axis, their positions almost exactly reversed at the time of her death on July 23rd, 2011. A great artist.

The Nodal Return
For most of us the second return of the nodes at the age of 37 years and 3 months is a major milestone in life, easily equivalent in impact to the Saturn return. The Moon’s nodes have a symphony of meanings: the forging and breaking of bonds, immersing in new social environments, the meeting with destiny, and soul development to name but a few. At the nodal return big questions are asked about the wisdom of the direction you are going, and moves are taken to release bonds to the past. Attempts can be made to tie together two disparate realities and two different worlds. But mostly the age of 37 is a time when you take an important step towards a new destiny which will be meaningful for you, whilst releasing your hold on the past.

It is possible to be very specific about this new destiny with knowledge of the birth sign (and house) position of the nodes. Here in 2012 a 37-year old would have the north node in Sagittarius and the south node in Gemini, which might mean that the major decisions relate to releasing attachment to the local environment, and pressing ahead with an expansion of horizons on an inter-state or international level. Intellectually this would mean abandoning trivial interests and distractions, also socially, and dedicating yourself to personal growth where your own independent opinions are crucial. If you knew a person’s house position you could go into even more detail. If the north node was placed in the 12th house, for example, then the major transition at this time might be de-prioritizing trying to prove yourself at work whilst developing your inner life through study.

The Uranus Cycle
With its 84 year orbit around the sun, Uranus will make a full cycle of aspects to itself in an average lifetime. The first one we notice – and we can notice it dramatically – is the square to the birth position which is dominant around the age of 20. Ideally this is a time when the young person goes forth in the world, shaking off the childhood years of dependence and spontaneously and volubly making an impact with highly individual ideas. What often happens is that the young person enters a work or study environment entering the collective sphere and bonding with new groups.

If Uranus is strong at birth, more dramatic events can be predicted. Someone who is 20 years old today will have been born with Uranus in Capricorn and in conjunction with Neptune. 1992 was the birth of the “New World Order” coinciding with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the unification of Germany. Therefore the Uranus square for a 20 year-old today is likely to indicate a political revolutionary who feels an urge to reform the political and business environment, with which he or she is disenchanted. That is perhaps why the “Occupy Now” movement, which demonstrated so powerfully in Wall Street, is currently so active.

The Uranus opposition takes place between the ages of 40 and 42. It is around this age that a person will change direction in life, if the need or opportunity arises. This can affect relationships that have become stagnant, and indeed the whole period from 40 – 44 (when Saturn comes in opposition to itself) is a major testing time for established relationships, when adjustments must be made giving more space and freedom to the partner. A person who was 42 years old in early 2011 will have had Uranus in Libra at birth. The birth year was in fact 1969 – the year of the moon landing, when Jupiter conjoined Uranus. This is an incredibly dynamic Uranus position, showing a tendency to gravitate towards unconventional relationships, where freedom and separation are important factors. Therefore it is extremely likely that 42 year olds experienced radical changes in relationships last year. This is not necessary a negative thing, as the Jupiter/Uranus combination is very expansive and outgoing. Interestingly, as the Jupiter/Uranus cycle lasts 13-14 years, it will actually repeat around the age of 41 to 42 – in opposition to the birth position! – so it is a sure thing that those born in 1969 will experience radical change at the beginning of their forties.

Looking at the unfolding of these planetary cycles, it is easy to get a sense of an inevitable and predictable development for all individuals, which is modulated according to the generational influences at birth. In the next article in this series we will look at the other important indicator of predictable change based on age – the cycles of the outer planets.

Adrian Duncan April 20, 2012

1. See Wikipedia “27 Club”
2. Birth time apparently comes from Amy Winehouse personally. ( – AstroWiki)