My friend Gary shared this article by Michael Meade and it’s so applicable to the current passage of Pluto through Capricorn. Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, also known as the Greek Kronos, also known as “Father Time.” Saturn and Capricorn remind us that our life is short and that we must be smart about how we spend the time that is allotted to us.
In traditional cultures, the elders are expected to remember the essential things that everyone else keeps forgetting. After “growing up,” a person is supposed to grow down and become rooted deeper in the ground of being, like an old tree that draws from ever deeper resources. In traditional cultures, the elders were considered to be a valuable resource without whose guidance the whole society could lose its way.
Yet in modern life, instead of people growing “older and wiser,” people can simply grow older and older. People can live longer and longer without becoming any wiser for it. When there is no genuine growth in growing older, aging can become all about loss. The longer people live the more of life they seem to lose. Instead of developing wise and seasoned “elders” who can help others find meaningful ways to live, modern societies are in danger of producing “olders” who blindly seek ways to hold onto life at any cost.
This can be seen as the problem of the olders vs. the elders. Traditionally, elders carry a greater vision of life because they develop insight into their own lives. The elders are those who found threads of purpose and meaning amidst the illusions and delusions of life. Amidst the inevitable troubles of life, the bubble of the “closed ego” bursts and a deeper, wiser self is born. Such psychological maturity involves a shift from a self-centered life to one of genuine meaning and of greater service to others.
Yet, in a culture where older folks are in the majority and people tend to live longer and longer, there seems to be an increase of fear as well as a loss of wisdom about life and about death. There seems to be a lack of knowing elders who can recall essential things in midst of the great crises troubling both nature and culture. What is the point of living longer if it doesn’t mean becoming wiser and being more able to serve something beyond one’s little-self?
This is what Pluto in Capricorn is teaching us, and since it follows the passage of Pluto through Sagittarius, in which entertainment and “bigger is better” ruled the days, there is a fair amount of contraction that needs to be done now in order to make that passage between “little-self” and the deeper wisdom of the elder.
This process is probably particularly difficult for the Pluto in Leo generation, my own generation (1939-1958) for whom developing the ego and the little-self has become an art form. But we are the generation that is looking now towards the abyss of old age and wondering how we will be able to find our way. Meade says:
An old idea suggests that the only ones more idealistic than young people are the elders. It’s not that the elders naively believe that the great ideals of humanity, peace and justice, healing and compassion, are simply attainable. Rather, the idea is that without a commitment to such ideals a culture simply collapses into political infighting and economic warfare. The gridlock in the nation’s capitol may be an increasing national shame, but the grid lock on American imagination may be a greater tragedy in the making.
While the political parties fight over who might be the “adult in the room,” there is a desperate need for elders in communities throughout the country. Whereas the ’60s were characterized by change brought on by a youth revolution, the current morass may only be changed by an elder awakening. The revolution waiting to happen in this country may involve an awakening to the necessity of the role that elders can play in the great crises facing both culture and nature.
We are these elders we’ve been waiting for. It’s time to step up.
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Loved this post! How true it is! So, for most of us who are now dealing with elderly parents and so, this is also part of a leeson to be learned…
Each generation faces unique circumstances. The generation that lived through the 30’s and are completing their elder years were working with creating security. Fear rather than wisdom was their particular axis mundi. But what they had difficulty working through their children, seeing the effects, are able to move through with less difficulty.
Culture and situation governs and molds individuals. Those people who have been allowed to live their life out in a country without constant war, with access to an education that demands that we reflect and ask deep and difficult questions and with increased time to inner reflect, MAY become individuals that are interested into self-actualized actions.
I think there is this myth of hopefulness that we create, that someone or something will come along and pull us from the lip of the abyss. Elder wisdom is perhaps one of those beliefs. Within a few years I will enter into my senior years. I wonder, as an individual who actually does step up, who is really ready to listen, who really values what could be offered? I don’t see the generation that is riding the wave of the super-sized ego and power and the elders that still holding tight to their ego willfulness open to anything but the sounds of their small voices. The elders are there
I find this all quite funny. In the 60’s when the pluto in leo generation were young it was all about the youth and now when this generation are becoming old, it’s now all about the ‘elders’. So for pluto in leos it’s still all about “me me me…” Plus ca change…
Thanks all for your comments – to my guest who says that for the Pluto in Leo generation it’s “all about the elders,” I think that you may have missed the point which is that the Pluto in Leo generation does not seem willing to take on that role of the elder and still wants to be young and hip. The article that I cited was titled “Where are the wise men,” and my point was that WE (the Pluto/Leo generation) are those people, and we need to step up to these responsibilities.
For what it’s worth, I’ve noticed those in the Pluto in Leo group who have Saturn aspecting Pluto (especially if there are personal planets involved) are often the ones showing some indications of becoming elders. Many others? Not so much.
Good post, Lynn!
Wow how true! I wish everyone from my generation (’63) could see this and work towards being the “elders” we need to become. Thank you so much for this post.
Thanks for the great insights! Maybe what we are meant to learn from Pluto passages (through leo to capricorn and beyond to the more esoteric signs) is that age is really a state-of-mind and spiritually the concept of age disolves? Just a thought from a double-capricorn experiencing Pluto’s transit to both sun and ascendant in a profound way i.e letting go of things that have been hard to give up previously – hope I make it to the transit to my Aquarian moon!
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