Yesterday a friend asked, “have you ever felt that you have lived longer than you should have and that the day to day that you live just feels like a dream that you shouldn’t be in?” They were wondering if it was the Uranus opposition at work in their psyche. This transit happens for everybody around age forty-two and lasts two years. As another friend put it, this transit is a metaphor for having to build a new house. The psyche goes through a complete restructuring on a deep unconscious level, innovating your sense of self and life in the external world. Uranus initiates this transit by bringing crisis that can only be solved through evolving who you are.
I don’t want this blog to be about astrology. Jung called this transit, the mid-life crisis, as it is a developmental rite of passage whether you look through an astrological lens or not.
A sudden evolution of the psyche or soul may happen at any time in one’s life and usually crisis brings it on in varying forms…such as the sudden death of a loved one, an accident, divorce or separation, sudden loss of a career, an illness, war, cataclysm, or any life event personal or collective, where something valuable to the self destabilizes. This may also come in the form of a seemingly positive event, such as the birth of a baby, marriage, or relocation to a new home. Self evolution may also be initiated by internal turmoil that destabilizes the self, such as a long and stagnant ennui, depression, or sudden onset of mental illness.
Self evolution is a universal human experience, whether family and culture values and recognizes it or not…and often not, which often leads the psyche unconsciously into addictions, to cover feelings of of wrongness, being unfulfilled, not knowing who you are, depression, stagnation, and insecurity. Addiction does not always take the form of alcohol and drugs. You can be addicted to shopping, looking good, working, relationships, sex, and just about any thing or behavior used to push feelings into the shadow in order to survive, be valued and accepted by family and culture, which often gets blurred with how you feel about who you are.
Evolution of the self is a universal rite of passage that nourishes the true self and roots in the very nature of being human. Crisis is usually the initiator of soul evolution. Crisis, although appearing malevolent, is for our benefit so that we may grow and evolve. The Tower archetype in tarot speaks of this and so does Uranus in astrology. Whether on an individual or a collective level, it usually takes crisis to make us change, for human nature tends to lazily bask in ease and pleasure if given the opportunity.
The last time I felt I was living in an outdated dream happened to be during my Uranus opposition…
My outdated dream looked like stagnation and depression. The crisis appeared as a dark night of the soul happening internally. My mind-body connection was pretty solid at the time, due to practicing yoga and having a chanting practice daily. Self discipline nourished the depression. Although I felt off, disconnected, impoverished, and lacked motivation to change, I wasn’t being self-destructive and I knew I needed to build a new house.
Awareness and self care buoyed me tremendously and a little truly goes a long way…
In order to build a new house, I knew I would need to make choices based upon my astrological chart and not my instinct. My instinct was to keep being a gypsy bohemian soul living to become recognized and successful as an artist. I was also very attached to the underworld and the wounds that I carried, as a familiar comfort zone where Uranus calls home in my chart. Where Uranus was opposing revealed where I needed to make choices based upon what I had been avoiding in my self and keeping shadowed. Namely, the material world and my physical values.
I already had a head start on coming into my body through my yoga practice and this helped. The equanimity gained through yoga and chanting allowed me to not identify with my comfort zone and old self. I could pull away and enter the discomfort of all that was being shadowed; the pragmatic, money-making, material world and my identity within this world. It was time to become the earthly woman who focuses on worldly matters and practical reality. I needed to engage logic, reason, and my masculine energy, all shadowed elements asking to be brought to the light.
Nothing in me wanted to do this work but I did it anyway. Like the salmon, I swam upstream. Or like George Constanza in that one episode of Seinfeld, I said yes when my instincts told me to say no. I walked out of my comfort zone and entered grad school to become a therapist.
In doing this, I faced the aspects of myself in the shadows. My healing process switched focus onto family of origin wounds and ego development and less on past lives, soul wounds, and integrating the multi-dimensional self. I faced all of the worldly rules, regulations, techniques, ideologies, and language concerning becoming an effective healer. I sat the tarot reading indigo priestess in the back seat and began to develop the psychotherapist woman, giving her the wheel.
Initially, I made the choice so that I could make a living in this world. It was a very pragmatic decision. The bohemian dream had genuinely died and I was already living too long inside of it. I did not become a recognized artist and I felt burned out on my ego trying to become one. I also felt burned out on being a tarot reading indigo priestess. I suffered both artist and healer fatigue. I was burned out on my identity and my lifestyle. That’s when you know it is time to evolve and build a new house.
Either you feel burned out or external crisis forces you to build a new dream. It will be one or the other.
Grad school was the hardest two years of my life because my ego was knocked off her comfortable priestess underworld throne. I faced issues never faced from deep ancient ancestral wounds to facing the world’s demands and red tape when becoming a professional in the field I am in. I faced every resistance you can name. I felt off my game in every way, humbled in every way, insecure, fragmented, and confused. But I knew this was the process. I needed to come undone. My sense of self needed to be dismantled so that the new identity could be born.
We all have a version of facing the self we have shadowed, in order to evolve. It is a messy and vulnerable process. I share my version, as an example.
I kept up with the messy process and by no means could I have done it alone. I met dear friends in grad school and my partner in crime was a soul friend I had already known for over fifteen years. During that time my mother was diagnosed with cancer. I also came together and broke up with a soul mate I did not want to let go of. There was great heart break during those two years….and there was so much love.
I had to take a trust walk into the unknown and walk on a tight rope blindfolded. I had to see myself through facing all of the aspects of myself I had rejected and projected into others and the world. I had to take out enormous loans. But I kept up with the process because I knew if I did, I would rebirth into a new dream with a new sense of self. I wanted to evolve more than anything. And I did. The new dream’s foundation has already been built.
What is the new dream and how do you know it’s the right dream?
Let’s get fantasy out of the way, right off the bat. My mom has died, I still long for the ex, I still struggle to make ends meet, I am healing from an autoimmune disease that’s thrown my lifestyle into chaos, and I am happy about a third of the time. But it’s the right dream and it’s the bright dream.
I know it is the right dream because I am no longer doing this work to “make a living”. I love being with clients as a therapist, much more than I did as a reader. I have no more burn out as a healer, artist, or human being. I am no longer fearful or resistant to the rules and regulations of the material world. I feel competent to run my own business (again, with the help of others). I feel inspired constantly. I feel more grounded, well-rounded, whole, loving, and capable. I no longer feel off or in an ennui or depression. I am at peace with who I have become and with my lifestyle.
The new dream is filled with longings, issues and hardships just like the old dream but what is different is me and my lifestyle. I no longer rely on addictive behaviors to cover up shadowed self aspects. I don’t seek romantic love to fill a sense of unhappiness. I no longer feel helpless or that the Universe is working against me. I may not get to be the free spirited bohemian anymore but I do get to have romantic bohemian Saturday afternoons. I may no longer be the indigo priestess in the curtained back room of the underworld but I have a lovely shared therapy office in a bright sunny room in Maple Leaf. The rich parts of old me and old lifestyle integrate with new me and my new lifestyle.
I share my personal experience to inspire your rite of passage of self evolution. You don’t need tarot or astrology to be your maps but I do recommend having some form of a map, any form that works for you, any books, therapy, allies, healers, nature, whatever works best for your being.
My other advise is that when it’s time to build a new dream, go against your instincts and default way of thinking. If normally you would do A, do B. If normally you are one way, be the other way. Learn from the salmon and from George Constanza. Sometimes we need to go against our nature to create a new neural pathway in the brain and a new feeling in the heart. I promise, once the new path is formed, you will find your way again. You will feel you are in the right new dream with a renewed sense of self that looks back and knows that crisis was there to help you grow.