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By Alice Loffredo
But this is what happens when we (get older.)  Random stars
 form constellations full of personal meaning.

-Richard Russo

“Bridge of Sighs”

From the highest echelons of research and technology to the daily gaze into the mirror as we perform our morning grooming routines, there are many, many ways to measure and support the state of our physical body and our progress in the outer world of experience and accomplishment. However, there are precious few that track and guide the status and growth of the spirit, that eternal part of each one of us that knows no boundaries in space or time, that part of us whose evolution weaves the patterns of our biographical lives. But there are some, and astrology is one of them.

Using the rich, broad strokes of its objective symbolism, astrology paints the patterns of a lifetime for all of us in a framework that allows for precise customization based on the nature and potential of each unique individual. It helps us understand who we are at a deep, authentic level, allows us to anticipate opportunities for learning and growth, and can help us avoid pitfalls that might hold us back.  And astrology can help us decide how and when to allocate all our resources – personal and material – in the best possible way. Using its wise guidance, we can create new scales of meaning to measure what’s important and then, calling on what we’ve learned and experienced so far, move confidently and optimistically into the possibilities of the next phase of life, making the most of each of its moments.


© 2023 by Alice Loffredo

And the news only gets better. At every significant generational passage – adulthood (astrologically, the First Saturn Return at approximately age twenty-nine), during our early forties (the Mid-Life Passages), and the dawning, at around age sixty (the Second Saturn Return), of what astrologer Erin Sullivan calls the period of the “Meaningful Return to the Self”-– the Universe dishes up to each of us a great convergence of planetary energetic potential. Used consciously, that energy can help us write the next chapter of our life’s storyline in the best possible way. 

Welcome to Your Astrological Compass, the guide and handbook for making the most of these times. 


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As I prepared to put word to paper for this book, I knew I needed to tell a real life story, one that would put flesh and bones to the information I wanted to share. I searched diligently for that story.  I reviewed client files and celebrity biographies, and found great richness in both, but at the end of it all, the story I realized I had to tell was my own.  So here I am, introducing myself at the time of my First Saturn Return.     


Alice at 29

In the softening dark of a five o’clock morning, Alice slips out of bed and carefully moves out into the hallway that looks down over an elegant entrance foyer. She passes the closed bedroom doors that line her passage, and makes her way quietly downstairs to the kitchen. She’s mindful not to disturb her sleeping family, not only out of consideration, but because she holds precious the solitary hour that awaits her, the only one she will have before this time again tomorrow.

The coffee maker has been set up the night before, and Alice flips it on so it can brew her first cup while she fills the bowls for Rusty and Beau, the two middle-aged, mixed-breed canine treasures who are her constant companions. They grab a quick mouthful and she opens the back door to let them out to where they’ll wander the neighborhood for the next hour, thereby assuring her solitude.

She pours a mug of coffee, splashes in some milk, and settles in at the table. It’s still too dark to have any sense of what lies outside the windows that surround the breakfast nook. Soon enough the sky will lighten and she’ll be able to look out over her beloved, well-tended garden to the ancient maple that sits high on a hill in the yard, sheltering the house with its gracious canopy.

Alice has a wonderful life and she knows it. There’s Tony, her college sweetheart of a husband, a philosophy major then, now pursuing an improbably successful career in the fashion industry.  He commutes long hours and travels for weeks each year to provide this life for her and their two healthy, beautiful young daughters. Last January they moved to this too-extravagant-for-her home on an acre of land, at the exurban rim of commutable distance to the big city, purchased so the girls could have a happy, carefree, old-fashioned childhood. Two nice cars. At least two vacations a year, one as a family, the other a getaway for just the two of them. Their own families live only an hour away. It all adds up to the American Dream, just as she had been taught to define it, all hers at the bright young age of twenty-nine. 

Then why does she wake up every morning while it’s still dark, to weep in the quiet of a household not yet stirring, while the sun cuts its swath toward morning? She doesn’t know. All she knows is that in some deep, private place she feels empty and inexorably sad and, looking around at her beautiful life, she judges herself harshly for her feelings. What’s more, there’s no one to tell this to. Her mother? She’d only admonish her childishness and emotional self-indulgence. Her husband? He’d get exasperated and feel unappreciated for all his efforts. Friends and neighbors? Their afternoon child-surveillance-cum-chit-chat sessions are all about paint samples for the family room, or the baby’s latest cute trick, or whether or not to become a classroom mother for Miss Idaveo’s second grade. No, there is no one.

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And so Alice, not realizing it, experiences her First Saturn Return, hoping she can come to embrace and be thankful for what is, she wants to believe, the best time of her life.

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