The number seven has great significance in spiritual numerology (seven planets, seven chakras, seven days of the week, seven heavens in Islam and ancient Judaism, seven deadly sins and seven virtues, etc.) but it also has meaning in human evolution. Astrologers and astrology enthusiasts will recognize a seven year cycle as being part of the Saturn cycle. Saturn takes 28 years to circle the Sun, and the synodic cycle of Saturn (relative to its placement in the birthchart) brings about a peak event every seven years. At age seven we have the opening square of Saturn in the sky to Saturn in the birthchart, at age 14 we have the opposition (180 degree point), at age 21 the closing square, and at age 28-29 we have the Saturn Return.
Philosopher Rudolf Steiner had his own idea about planetary correspondences in these seven year cycles:
The first seven years of life (0-7 years old) were associated with the Moon. During this time, the psychic forces are working to transform the body of the child from one that was inherited from the parents, to one that represents the full personality of the child.
The second seven years (7-14 years old) is associated with Mercury. At this time, the child’s imagination and feeling life takes center stage.
The third seven years (14-21 years old) is associated with Venus, during which time the higher mind of the adolescent takes root, and the psychic development can be disturbed by the strong impulses of puberty.
The next three seven-year segments are associated with the Sun (21-42 years old), and the elements of sentient soul, intellectual soul, and consciousness soul.
The next seven-year segment is associated with Mars (42-49 years old), when the soul works hard to impress the full forces of its personality upon the world. At this time, the soul has the opportunity to a higher state of consciousness called Spirit Self.
The following seven-year segment is associated with Jupiter (49-56 years old), when wisdom is dawning and the ego needs to unfold the Life Spirit.
The final seven-year period is associated with Saturn (56-63 years old) when Saturn completes its second “return” (e.g. comes back to its position it had at one’s birth), and the soul can manifest an event higher element of Self called Spirit Man.
Unlike the traditional models of planetary correspondence, which place the luminaries in the (northern hemisphere) summer at Cancer (Moon) and Leo (Sun) and then proceed to the farthest planets in winter with Sagittarius (Jupiter) and Capricorn (Saturn), Steiner’s assignment of the planets to the seven year cycles isn’t quite as neat, with the triple Sun cycle at 21-42 years between Venus and Mars. I do find it interesting that Steiner’s solar cycle corresponds to the period between the opening Uranus square at age 21 and the Uranus opposition at age 42 since Uranus presides over shocking and surprising events which inspire us to live a life that more authentically fits the Self (Sun). The first Saturn return sits right between the two Uranus cycles, enforcing a structure into our lives which will help us to more successfully navigate through the material aspects of our lives.
Steiner lived in the late 19th century, and his model goes only to age 63. I wonder if we can apply the outer planets to subsequent cycles? Perhaps the cycle from age 63-70 might correspond to Uranus, breaking down the barriers that keep us from living an authentic life. The next two cycles, age 70-84, we could assign to Neptune and the dissolving of our attachments to the material world and the moving into a more spiritual plane of existence. And everything past 84, which also coincides with the Uranus return, let’s give to the great god of destruction and regeneration, Pluto the transformer, who takes us to the real, of death and teaches us what it means to be alive.
The number seven has long been a sacred number. There are seven planets, seven chakras. The western Bible is full of the number seven: seven heavens, seven days of creation, seven deadly sins, seven pillars of wisdom. My spiritual therapist tells me that there are seven layers of consciousness and seven sublayers. From the sublime to the ridiculous, online marketers swear that including a number seven in their pricing strategy increases sales.
In any event, it’s smart to pay attention to these seven year cycles in your own life. You will find that they mark important turning points may have something important to teach.