Rare is the astrology book that tackles subjects past finding a lover, a career, starting a family . . . you know, the things we usually take care of in our 20s and 30s. Midlife is Not a Crisis is such a rarity, all the moreso for being inspiring yet practical.

"...midlife isn't just an event, it's a journey; like any great voyage, it's also an inner process, certain to change us if we pay attention."

Beginning with a quick overview of astrology for those new to concepts deeper than one's sun sign, Bell moves right into describing astrological cycles starting with the Saturn Return (28-30 yrs old). You'll know you're in the middle of the Return because (almost always) you've had your life turned upside down. Divorce, pregnancy, marriage, career failures, and complete changes of direction are the stories we tell one another at this time of life.

The Midlife Cycle itself lasts from 37-45 and is characterized by another period of rebuilding after confronting our shadow. It may not be a major shift, that depends on how much work we've done in our lives to get past denial and arrogance.

Chiron Return follows (age 49-51) and brings a chance to make peace with having left youth behind and allow ourselves to be truly authentic within the world. It's a time of healing and coming to terms with a new you; a chance to bring compassion to ourselves.

The Second Saturn Return (age 59) is the next cycle  of discipline, responsibility, commitment, and new challenges. Like the first one, our world can be turned upside down. This time however it's because we have found our Great Work. This is the time we begin to create our legacy as we look for what we shall leave behind.

You don't need to be an astrologer to learn from Bell's deep well of knowledge. Midlife is very much an Elder's legacy of experience and knowledge -- a guidebook for those of us coming along in her wake!

Highly recommended.

~review by Lisa Mc Sherry

Author: Virginia Bell
Weiser Books, 2017
pp. 264, $18.95