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Book Review- Midlife Is Not a Crisis: Using Astrology to Thrive in the Second Half of Life by Virginia Bell

April, 2019

Book Review
Midlife Is Not a Crisis
Using Astrology to Thrive in the Second Half of Life
by Virginia Bell
Published by Weiser
Pages: 242

What others call a midlife crisis, Virginia Bell calls a Mid-course correction, saying, “Whatever we’ve left out of the equation, whatever we’ve ignored, begins to rise up and can no longer be disregarded. This cycle involves four planets and is spread over a decade.”

With that, she welcomes readers to understand life’s most important cycle.

As she began to study astrology in her early-50s, Bell came to realize it wasn’t about something happening in the sky, but something happening within each of us, “and could be a valuable tool for self-discovery.”

In the introduction, she explains the Chiron Return takes place between 49-51, when the comet returns to its place in the birth chart.

“In mythology, Chiron was a great healer and teacher, and this passage is one of the best times to become fully conscious of whatever has not been healed. For many of us, our lives take off in a different direction from what we had anticipated, and often there is failure or loss that serves as a catalyst for this,” she wrote.

She had had my full attention. That’s when I got divorced, moved and changed jobs.

On the next page she notes that Uranus takes 84 years to come back to its place in the natal chart, and that in our early 60s, it makes the last aspect, giving us a second wind.

“There’s a sense of freedom that comes from this edgy aspect, provided we are willing to take some risks and extend ourselves beyond our comfort zone. It’s worth doing, because the actions we take now will impact who we become at eighty-four when Uranus comes full circle,” Bell wrote.

That aspect happened as I made a commitment to find a school bus, renovate it to be an RV and make my future a life on the road, a witch on wheels. That will finally come to fruition this year.

Now I was hooked. I wished I’d had this book starting with my Saturn Rerun around age 29, because “Midlife Is Not a Crisis” serves as a guidebook to the landscape on the second half of our journey. She explained, “[I]t helps to have some knowledge of the terrain, so you can prepare and pack accordingly.”

At the beginning of the book is a concise overview of astrology that introduces beginners to astrological terms, and the concepts of planets, signs and houses.

Bell paraphrases Carl Jung, writing, “Anything born a moment in time has the characteristics of that moment. The birth chart is a picture of the sky at the moment of birth. It is a snapshot of the heavens and all the planets. It is frozen in time. In the next moment, everything moves, but that picture is yours forever; it is eternal, a piece of cosmic DNA.”

Equating power places on the planet to power years in our lives, Bell lays out the lifecycle we all share at the same age.

29 First Saturn Return (Growing up and getting real.)
37-45 Midlife Journey (Breakdowns and breakthroughs.)
49-51 Chiron Return (The youth of old age.)
58 Second Saturn Return (The new elder.)
62-63 Closing Uranus Square (A second wind.)
70s The Seventies (Real problems, real possibilities.)
84 Uranus Return (The homecoming,)

She presents information in a gentle and encouraging manner, always pointing to the gifts, strengths, lessons, vulnerabilities and tools. She’s like a tour guide, helping you navigate the map of your life.

“These cycles or power years are the great turning points in life; at every juncture there will be challenges, lessons, and losses – in this we have no choice. Our freedom lies in how we respond: consciously or unconsciously, awake or asleep, with fear or with love,” Bell wrote.

She sums up the astrology chapter by saying, “It’s all good. There is no such thing as a bad chart or a bad aspect. Hopefully, we all have some great aspects in our birth chart, as well as some challenging ones. Why challenging ones? We’re here to learn. The hard aspects are the ones that push us to grow, change, and achieve. Too many ‘easy’ aspects can make us lazy. Nothing is written in stone. We all have free will. The chart represents potential. Ultimately, it is up to us what we do with it.”

I intend to keep this book until I’m 84.

Midlife Is Not a Crisis: Using Astrology to Thrive in the Second Half of Life on Amazon

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About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.