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The Astrologer's Newsletter - Jan/Feb 2008

Death To Old Age?

by Chris Ogilvie

‘How long do you intend to live?‘ was a somewhat challenging question posed to me by a financial advisor over 20 years ago. Pension planning would be easy if we knew. Thankfully the actual date of our demise remains a mystery. However, what we do know is that we are likely to live longer than our grandparents. Average life expectancy has been creeping up for decades and is now accelerating. One pension forecaster has suggested that half of today’s 30 year olds may live to be 100.

One reason is advances in medicine. Many old people die not of natural causes but of degenerative diseases. Stem cell research promises a super "repair kit" for the body. Among the conditions which scientists believe may eventually be treated by stem cell therapy are Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, diabetes, burns and spinal cord damage.

Current retirement ages were set when we lived as pensioners for a much shorter time. Now we have a growing, wealthy leisured class of SKIs (Spending the Kids Inheritance) cruising the world. 80% of the nation’s wealth in now in the hands of the over 50s. That’s a lot of resource power as well as the political power of ever increasing numbers of voters. There are also greys who found an unexpected ‘pension gap’ and are now working in supermarkets or gardening to make ends meet.

Old age is changing. Three score years and ten is giving way to 3 Saturn cycles. Do we hear the near rumble of Pluto’s entry into Capricorn? The planet of regeneration is about to journey through Saturn’s sign. Does that mean death to old age? Will the age of retirement rise to 75? How will the young, working population, struggling with heavy mortgages, paying off student loans and raising children view this generation? Will there be power struggles? How will we manage the costs of pensions and health care? Is the free bus pass at 60 still affordable or even justifiable? What are we going to do with our long lives? When does middle age start if you are going to live to 100? What roles will the elderly play in our society? Will we have birthday cards for great-great grandparents? Will the old end up raising the children of those obese, alcoholic or drug addicted parents who died young?

While Pluto is purging Capricorn (2008-2024) Saturn travels through half the zodiac from Virgo to Pisces. From late 2012-14 Pluto and Saturn will be in mutual reception. The crescendo for this duo’s ‘pincer movement’ will be 2018-2023 when Saturn is powerful in rulership and then exaltation. The societal impact of an aging population will have to be confronted.

I expect to live to see it. My mother is hale and hearty at 88. At her 3rd Saturn return she has just embarked on her first computer course. In answer to that original question I’d say about 105. It might give me enough time to read all those astrology books I keep meaning to get around to. I also anticipate getting my money’s worth out of my pension.