Tales From the Uranus Cycle


At 21, when I was going through my Uranus square (a life-cycle transit we all experience in our early 20s), I graduated from college, moved back across the country into an apartment in San Francisco all by myself, and started my first full-time office job.

Though I'd grown up just an hour away, I didn't know many people in SF. I'd only come out as queer a couple years earlier, and had been dating my first boyfriend ever since—until, that is, he broke up with me right amidst my trying to begin to settle into this new life. (I deserved it.)

So there I was, alone in a big scary exciting city, with few friends, little dating confidence, a nearly empty apartment, a job I was unfamiliar with, and a wide open road ahead of me. I had a powerful but shapeless sense I was meant to be a writer, bubbling over with stories and perspectives to share as a young fresh voice yet uncertain how to turn that into a full-fledged career… especially while working a day gig that often sickened my spirit (even as I proudly collected a decent paycheck), leaving me to wonder what would happen next, presuming there would be a 'something next'.

My overall experience isn't particularly unique for someone in their early 20s, for this is a time in life when most of us aren't sure who we'll become in the years ahead. In the absence of much directional clarity, we must take some sort of leap into the unknown… hopefully one inspired by a spark of individuating interest, a distinct passion or pull that differentiates us from everyone else, which, if followed, promises to lead us somewhere authentically self-actualizing. All I knew at the time was that I wanted to move to San Francisco to be free to pursue life as a writer and openly gay man. Anything else was merely a detail I'd figure out once confronted with it.

If transiting Uranus's square to its natal position is the 'first-quarter' mark of an 84-year cycle, its next major life-cycle pressure arrives at the Uranus opposition (its 'full-moon' moment), a mid-life crisis transit we all face in our early 40s. If you haven't followed what's been going on with me, I am presently going through my Uranus opposition—and, in a poignant parallel, I'm preparing to move to a new city (Portland, Oregon) in pursuit of a new adventure, in flight from a life that's been wonderful but has grown stale enough that overstaying my welcome will draw increasingly dissatisfying results. I still want to pursue the writerly life I haven't yet totally attained, and I realize the clock is now ticking ever louder in my ear. 'Life's too short to wait any longer' is a quintessential Uranus-opposition awareness.

But facing Uranus head-on is a much different proposition in our 40s than in our 20s. At the earlier square, we are essentially unformed, wide-eyed, restless and eager, a clean slate upon which the ups and downs of adulthood have yet to inscribe their badges-of-courage. Risks can be easier to take because we often have less to leave behind. Once the opposition rolls around, however, we've had many years of building a life for ourselves. We are both anchored and potentially boxed-in by what we've built: a home, a family, a career, meaningful relationships, components of a 'success' which may or may not feel so rewarding after all. To truly follow an authentic Uranian impulse toward greater self-liberation at this point in life, we usually must let go of certain self-stabilizing elements of our day-to-day lives we worked hard to secure: We break up, close shop, jump off, fly away, see where it takes us, hopefully resist falling back on nostalgia.

As I've told you, I feel like I'm falling apart. I wish I were exaggerating my emotional state, but I can't come up with a more understated description I believe does it justice. I worry about the fracturing of this professional niche I've created right here, stone by stone, as I struggle to find both physical and emotional space to write to you, dear reader, amid this existential rubble. And what do I write to you about? As my career evolves and the astrological content available online proliferates, I don't find myself moved to summarize every last astrological happening of arguable note—plenty of folks offer quality interpretations on a blow-by-blow basis—but instead wish to reserve my expressive energy for observations and reflections which truly move me, those which only I can articulate in my own special (albeit verbose) way.

I want to connect with you person-to-person, not just as esteemed chronicler-of-the-planets but also as a fallible, panicky mess of a soul, fearful about how my personal evolution will impact what I can offer you… whether I'm letting you down if I don't mention Venus is moving into Taurus on Tuesday (it really is) or pause to interpret the astrology of our latest political nightmare, whether you'll still like me if I veer off our mutually-agreed-upon script or take a short sabbatical from consulting with clients. (Your weekly horoscopes are safe, at least for now. They are a fulfilling exercise, a spiritual practice that conveys my gratitude for all the blessings I continue to enjoy.) Am I driving my career off a cliff, as the younger and more media-savvy aspirants show me up, elbow me out, go farther than I ever attempted? If I wish to be truly happy, this may be my only choice. I don't think I could hold it together even if I tried.

Uranus oppositions spawn this sense of not being able to hold it together. It's those who desperately clutch at what's been, refusing to release the past no matter how cherished, who suffer the most at this life-marker. The need to let go is foisted upon them, rather than courageously approached by their own free will. The shit hits the fan. Life cracks open, catches fire, crumbles. That's why it's futile to resist: This falling-apart feeling will arrive at its appointed time, like it or not. It's what we do—or don't do—to forge a thorny peace with this inevitability of change that distinguishes creative chaos from demoralizing devastation.

Based on features in our birthcharts, we will each experience Uranus's life-cycle transits to a more or less dramatic extent. My chart features a tight square to my Moon from Uranus, along with other Uranus squares to my Sun and Venus. Whenever transiting Uranus aspects its natal position in my chart, then, it simultaneously starts to form a series of aspects to my whole line-up of personal planets (first Moon, then Sun, Venus, Mercury, and Mars), one right after another. That's why I took umbrage with my husband Ricky's assertion, during one of my many recent freak-outs, that I'm 'just not very good with change'. Between the ages of 20 and 25, I endured relentless Uranus-transit change—until I finally emerged on the other side, once Uranus backed off me a bit, and settled into the life I've lived pretty steadily ever since. Ricky didn't know me back then. He only knows the me who's basically lived in the same home in the same city, done the same professional work, had the same friends, and been partnered with the same man (that is, him) for over a decade now.

As Uranus now squares my Moon concurrent with my Uranus opposition, I'm at the beginning of another 5-year phase of near-constant Uranus transits. Thanks to the insight which astrology offers me, I know not to expect a smooth-sailing settling-in any time soon. Instead, I'm presently focused on uprooting myself from the attachments of this familiar life… one which was, after all, born directly from the inspiring free-spiritedness of my early 20s. Then, I'll just do the next thing, and see what develops from there.

Reassuringly, I'm motivated by that same driving vision of myself as a writer—only with many years of a self-disciplined practice and a professional's confidence under my belt—and intend to court a reiteration of the creativity-fostering lifestyle I enjoyed in that earlier time, after I quit that painful first job and spent my days wandering around my new city, spiral notebook in my backpack, heart open to every artful encounter that crossed my path. Can I pull this off as a 43-year-old? We'll see, I guess.