Archetypal Phases

An example of a biography chart

Rudolf Steiner gave us a picture of human development that intimately connects the macrocosmic processes of the cosmos with the microcosmic process of a person’s life. Other researchers such as George & Gisella O’Neill, Gudrun Burkhard and Bernard Lievegoed have taken these ideas further. (See

These archetypal phases of development form a backdrop to life experiences, and are outlined below:

Age 0 - 7  The development of the physical body and growing through imitation. The child learns and mirrors its environment.

7 - 14  The life body develops, the child needs rhythm, routine, as it begins to find its individuality at around 8/9 years old.

14 – 21  The soul life of the child wakes up at this time – chaotic and polarising forces are at work.

18/19  First Moon Node. A rhythmic time cycle of the position of the moon that is 18 years, 7 months and 9 days after birth. It is a call for a new independence. Sometimes a crisis provoking the questions: Who am I? What am I doing? What is my calling?

21 - 28  Stepping in to becoming an adult. Finding your life as an independent person, having wide-ranging experiences. Feeling free to explore new horizons without too many commitments. Leaving the family home. Finding yourself through relationships, meeting people, ideas and ideals that are different from your family. Key events often happen at 27/28 – maybe a new training, children, a significant relationship.

29/30  Saturn Return. The planet Saturn is in the same position as it was at birth. Saturn is the archetype for essence. Usually at this time, we step onto a path that has meaning for the rest of our life. This could be a relationship or a career.

28 – 35  Finding your future path / your future path finds you. Steps are taken towards responsibility. Wish to get organised. Putting roots down and establishing yourself in your work and relationships.

37/38  Second Moon Node. 37 years, 2 months and 20 days. An existential crisis which gives rise to questions such as, What is the purpose of life? Am I important to others? What is the point?

35 – 42 Towards the end of this phase uncomfortable questions can arise – sometimes called ‘the second puberty’ and widely seen as ‘midlife crisis’. There can be a longing for the flush of first love again, combined with the fear of losing one’s youth.

42 – 49 Deepening your aims and values with renewed strength and conviction. Discovering that you are the creator of your life – if change is wanted it will be down to you. No one is going to do it for you. With greater challenges comes the energy to deal with them. A reconnection to your spirituality, as the physically declining body may no longer be relied on.

49 – 56 Finding wisdom out of experience. Recognising the loss of the past, recognising the dangers of wanting to be back in the energy of youth. Fear of moving into the future with less energy, slowing down into acceptance of `this is my life`. The menopausal years. The challenge is not to become dogmatic but keep an open mind for the ever-changing world.

58/59 Second Saturn Return may bring new challenges, often related to health, questions of ageing. Spiritually, work with the question What is my essence? comes to the fore. 

56/57 Third Moon Node at this time can give rise to another existential crisis, deepening the question of what is my life’s task still to be done? accepting limitations and Have I really done what I came here for? Sometimes a difficult event/illness brings up spiritual questions with a new force.

56 – 63 What unfinished business is there? Physical deterioration becomes more visible, having to put your trust in others. The challenge here is to find courage and not to live in fear of the future. New understanding of your early childhood years is possible. A possibility to look again at your life-values and make new plans.

63 – 70 What new paths are opening? Can I see them and take them on? A new sense of freedom may be experienced. How can I start taking stock of my whole life, while sharing my experience with the young generation/grandchildren, in a meaningful and creative way? You might not now have the capacities to carry initiatives on your own – but you can develop collaboration.  

70 - 77 A possibility arises to share your life wisdom, now imbued with warmth of your experiences. Familial or other social/friends connections need to be cultivated. Physical frailty needs to be reckoned with, but paths leading to the future are open.

74 /75  A Fourth Moon Node brings a deepened question: What is my mark on this earth? What am I leaving behind that can help and support others?

77 - 84 and beyond. As the physical body is ‘thinning out’, inner life can become more intense. Memory produces ‘hidden gems’ and a sense of deeper connection with yourself. How to embrace the declining years  with an open heart and mind?