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Charting Your Course: Navigating Astrology's Most Important Individuation Initiations

While people often talk about the Saturn Return as an important astrological reality we are constantly having changes and in a discovery of self process. However, astrology offers a framework to understand them as potential turning points and initiations. Some astrological transits that push us to evolve and shed old skins while others ask us to commit and live our lives more fully to become who we're meant to be.

Ideally all of these phases move us along in our journey to wholeness or individuation--or centroversion as Erich Neumann calls it. Individuation, coined by psychologist Carl Jung, describes a lifelong quest for self-realization--though I think of it as self-intimacy.  It's about becoming who we truly are, separate from the expectations of others and the collective unconscious (shared beliefs and experiences).

In Archetypal Astrology, we tend to orient to categorizing themes with personal planets, which represent core aspects of your individual personality, psychology, and basic drives as well as the transpersonal planets representing broader themes, collective influences, and your potential for spiritual growth. For the most part the personal planet transits are short-lived, a day or a week, while the transpersonal transits may take years or even decades for the lessons to unfold.

An example would be a Mercury Return that happens once a year versus Uranus oppositions every 40ish years.

In addition, I also like the Shamanic Astrology School approach orienting to healing opportunities with different worlds or realities coming alive at different times. With an Upper, Middle and Lower World associated with different astrological transits. In this way we focus on a different journeys through transits into dimensions of our soul.

  • Celestial, Upper World (Uranus and Neptune): Lessons on freedom, spiritual guidance, mystical connections, beyond linear reality, unifying, higher self

  • This Plane, Middle World (Saturn, Jupiter, and Nodes): Practical, logical, rules, physical bodies, maturity, law of gravity, chronological time, social conventions

  • Upper World, Under/Lower World (Pluto, Chiron, and I would add Sedna and Eris): Transformation, empowerment, beyond control, no logic or reason, Shadow work, surrender, letting go, annihilation

Phew, okay that we've traveled to other worlds and connected with Jung...let's go through the psychological development stages and potential transits related to them.


Early Stages (Childhood - Midlife)

This period focuses on developing the ego, the conscious sense of self that interacts with the world. It involves separating from parental figures (a process starting in infancy), forming your identity, and building your life.


  • 1st Saturn Square (around 7): This becomes the age we start to feel separate from our families and mothers, our understanding of emotions and grief may come into our awareness.

  • Nodal reversal (around 9.5): This happens roughly halfway between nodal returns, around age 27-28. During this time, the North Node and South Node are in opposite signs compared to your birth chart. This creates a tension of opposites.

  • 1st Jupiter Return (11-12):

  • Saturn opposite Saturn (around 14): This transit often brings a time of introspection and taking stock of your life. It can be the movement into high school or loneliness of getting older, as well as perhaps having more responsibility at home or chores.

  • Nodal Return (around 18-19): Elements of soul desires may start to surface, perhaps uncovering key karmic themes. This may also tend to be related to family or traumatizing events that become an important part of one's life calling.

Young Adult:

  • Uranus square Uranus (20-22): A new phase of liberation and perhaps finding a more authentic self separate from family of origin. For some this occurs during collegiate experience.

  • 2nd Saturn square Saturn (20-22): Uranus winds us up, but Saturn roots us down. A push and pull between forces of responsibility and commitment and the future.

  • 2nd Jupiter Return (23-24): Ones morality code and personal beliefs tend to take shape, for some this may become religious exploration

  • 1st Saturn Return (29-31): Saturn, the taskmaster planet, returns to its natal position roughly every 29 years. It's a time for taking stock: what foundations have you built? Are you on the right path?

  • Nodal Return (37): Uncovering deeper karmic lessons and honing in on more of life path.

  • Saturn square Saturn (37-38): Surrendering of self to destruction or commitments from the past


Late Stages (Midlife - Onwards)


  • Pluto square Pluto (37-48): Vulnerabilty and transformation, understanding empowerment and integrating shadow

  • Uranus Opposition (around age 40-42): Uranus, the rebel planet, brings a wake-up call when it opposes your natal position. This transit can shake things up, prompting you to break free from outdated patterns and embrace change. Are you stuck in a dead-end job? Is your relationship stifling? Uranus pushes you to break free and claim your individuality.

  • Neptune square Neptune (40-42): Our connection to the whole and facing escapism and other places of visions. Perhaps depression or loss of faith. Potential for illusions to fall or dealing with anxiety.

  • Saturn opposite Saturn (44-45): Facing new realities of getting older or disillusionment from Neptune

  • 4th Jupiter Return (47-48): Honing in on personal morality and core beliefs

  • Chiron Return (around age 49-51): Chiron, the wounded healer, asks us to confront our deepest wounds during its return. This can be a time of emotional upheaval, but it's also an opportunity for profound healing. By acknowledging and integrating your wounds, you can transform them into sources of strength and compassion.

  • Saturn square Saturn (51-52): Saturn's influence can make you re-evaluate your definition of success. Are you chasing external validation or pursuing goals that are truly meaningful to you?

  • Nodal Return (55-56): Another round of karmic uncovering related to nodes, ideally integrating the polarity of our nodal axis

Elder (haven't finished these yet...still feeling into them because I haven't had many clients or myself in these phases):

  • Second Saturn return (58-60): Retirement or enjoyment of responsibilities, less life structure

  • Uranus square Uranus (61-62): Greater awakening and coming to consciousness, liberation from societal structures

  • Saturn square Saturn (73-74): Initiation into crone or elder understanding ready to share life wisdom and ego integration.

  • Nodal Return (74-75): Culmination, legacy, and revisiting past lessons brought by nodal axis

  • Neptune opposite Neptune (81-83): Spiritual illusions and seeking new visions forward perhaps an awakening

  • Uranus Return (83-84):

  • 3rd Saturn Return (88):

  • Jupiter Return (95):

  • Saturn square Saturn (96):


In addition to specific year transits, depending on your natal chart you will have varying times with Saturn squaring your Moon or Pluto opposite your Sun that may shift some of these time frames. So knowing transits to your rising, Sun, and Moon can also bring a lot of clarity.

Eclipses can also mark leaps in life changes. Solar eclipses often bring new beginnings, while lunar eclipses can lead to endings and emotional releases. By understanding the eclipse cycle and how it interacts with your natal chart, you can navigate these potent shifts with greater awareness.

Remember: These are just some of the major initiations. Every birth chart is unique, and there will be other transits specific to your journey. The key is to embrace these challenges as opportunities for growth. By understanding the archetypal energies at play, you can navigate life's big shifts with more grace and resilience and with the faith that they all move us along our individuation journey.

You can also of course sign up for a session with me if you want more help sorting through which transits to pay the most attention to.


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