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Total Solar Eclipse in Leo

An Eclipse of Reason


By Glenn Perry

 

As most of us already know, there will be a total eclipse of the Sun on Monday, August 21st, directly over America. Naturally, everyone wants to know what this means, and so the media has been awash in stories featuring various astrologers offering differing opinions.i

Historically, eclipses were regarded with a mixture of awe and dread. When astrology first began some 3000 years ago, people had no understanding of the natural cycles of earth, Sun, and Moon that caused eclipses. All they knew was the lights went out, and understandably that was alarming. Eclipses were generally seen as a bad omen, from which is derived the word ominous. In fact, however, an eclipse is just a conjunction between the Moon and Sun in which the two bodies are perfectly aligned by both longitude and latitude. It has the same meaning as any other Sun-Moon conjunction: a beginning of the lunar-solar 30-day cycle, which occurs every month, the only difference being that on months with an eclipse the Sun and Moon are more perfectly aligned than normal.

Process and Content
What strikes me the most about some of the predictions I’ve been reading  is their content heavy nature. While some astrologers remain safely and appropriately abstract, talking about times of change and new beginnings, others leap to more concrete conclusions. All the usual suspects are mentioned – nuclear war, earthquakes, assassinations, racial strife, civil unrest, revolution, fires, crashes, violence, heart attacks, impeachment, and even scientific breakthroughs. The latter is especially heartening given the list of horrors that precedes it.

In AstroPsychology, we take pains to separate process interpretations from content interpretations. Process refers to the inner, psychological meaning of a configuration. Content pertains to event outcomes that constitute observable data. A cardinal rule in AstroPsychology is that content mirrors process, but whereas process is knowable with some degree of certainty, content is inherently indeterminate in its concrete form. All we can know is that whatever happens will conform (usually more perfectly than we could have imagined) to the range of possibilities inherent in the configuration.

The distinction between process and content is important because as astrologers we are constantly being asked by the media to predict something concrete about what is going to happen. But this is a trap. For unless we start with an acknowledgement that such attempts are inherently and unavoidably speculative, we run the risk of being “proven wrong” when future events do not conform to our predictions. Then we end up with egg on our face, and once again astrology becomes a subject of derision and scorn. In fact, however, a prediction can be true on a process level and wrong on a content level, but the latter is less important than the former.

Deconstructing the Current Eclipse
Let’s consider an example that pertains to the upcoming solar eclipse. On Monday, August 21st at approximately 2:30 EDT, the Sun and Moon will perfectly align at 28 degrees, 52 minutes of Leo. I will not detail here the astronomical intricacies of what constitutes an eclipse, for it’s not particularly germane to our discussion. Suffice to say that four variables combine – Sun, Moon, Conjunction and Leo – each of which has its own meaning.

On a process level, we can say that the Sun signifies the yang, masculine component of the psyche, both individually and collectively. It relates to the human capacity for creativity, ego-identity and intentionality – the capacity to bring about preferred outcomes. The Moon signifies the yin, feminine component of the psyche and pertains to our need for caring, belonging, and establishing emotional connections. The conjunction means that Sun and Moon come together at the end of their synodic cycle to begin anew. Thus, the conjunction signifies fresh starts, a kind of reset that ignites a new cycle of action and generates a vital, dynamic energy, like a shot of adrenalin.

Finally, the sign Leo suggests the conjunction of Sun and Moon will be expressed in a dramatic, playful and perhaps prideful way, for Leo is all about having fun and enjoying who one inherently is. In many ways, Leo is about the need for identity, which collectively can manifest through “identity politics” or a focus on “national identity”, the two being diametrically opposed.

Putting all this together suggests a moment in time of a particular quality that will radiate across America like a giant magnetic pulse. We might say that our national identity (Sun) is coming together in a way that promotes closeness, caring, and a sense of interdependence (Moon). Masculine and feminine can potentially meld together in a dynamic unity, like a rare metal both strong and supple. Moreover, our country is enjoying a rebirth of sorts (conjunction) that will incite a celebratory (Leo) spirit, much like we might experience on the 4th of July. Perhaps something will be created for the first time that unites the populace and becomes a source of national pride. Since this is not a typical conjunction, but one that entails perfect latitudinal alignment – that is, a total eclipse – its effect is amplified considerably.

In short, a solar eclipse in Leo is hardly a bad thing. Things fall into place for a new start, a fresh beginning, a sense of creative possibility. There’s a feeling of resolve and coherence of intention, like blasting out of the blocks in a 100-meter sprint with cannons booming and fireworks overhead.

On the other hand, it could also constitute a period of emotional reactivity (Moon) pertaining to issues of identity (Sun). Expressed in a Leo manner, this could mean rage over perceived offenses as occurs in identity politics, and/or compensatory pretensions of superiority as exemplified in individuals and groups identified by race, gender, class, or religion who claim exalted status for one reason or another. An obvious example is white supremacists, but similar pretensions of superiority can be found in the more extreme factions of the women’s movement, Islamic supremacism, and other groups who seek to elevate themselves at the expense of the whole. 

All the above could be elaborated further, and nuances of meaning teased out and discussed in greater detail. For now, however, it suffices to paint a picture of what Sun and Moon conjunct in Leo could mean at a process level. But what about content? What might this mean in terms of empirical events?

Predicting Outcomes
This is where things get speculative, for any single configuration is embedded in a matrix of other planetary cycles that pertain to the moment as a whole. For example, the conjunction of Sun and Moon forms a trine to Uranus at 28 degrees Aries, which suggests an opportunity to create radical change, advance a cause, or awaken the national psyche to a new realization. Other relevant aspects further contribute to the overall quality of the moment. A solar eclipse does not occur in a vacuum, but in relation to a complex web of interdependent influences, just like in a natal chart. Deconstructing and attributing a coherent, intelligible meaning to the entirety of the moment is a daunting task.

This is further complicated by the fact than any single variable is multidimensional in its manifestation. Sun, Moon, conjunction and Leo have a multitude of meanings individually. When combined, the number of possible outcomes potentiated by their synthesis increases exponentially. Imagine that one astrologer predicts medical science will achieve a heroic breakthrough in rejuvenating the heart through stem cell implantation that could extend the human life span. Another predicts that North Korea will agree to stop its nuclear program, swelling our sense of victory in a test of national wills. Yet another predicts that President Trump will be impeached and that he will resign from office, triggering a clash of far left and far right ideologues that plunge the United States into a period of tumult.

Any or all of these could happen, or none at all. Other, more perfect manifestations of the eclipse could occur, and these might total in the hundreds or even thousands. Most will never make it to the front page of our newspapers, magazines, and websites – or, if they do, we may never hear about them because we do not read those particular sources.

The point is that predicting the future is mostly guesswork, a combination of inference, speculation, and projection, the latter being the inevitable accompaniment of the person making the prediction. We perceive the future through the lens of our biases, hopes, and fears. That’s why different astrologers may make dissimilar predictions even though working with the same data.

There is also a natural tendency to want to predict something significant that confers an advantage to the recipient(s). Astrology is predicated on the assumption that the future can be known with at least some degree of certainty, and that knowing it enhances our ability to avoid calamity and exploit opportunity. Accordingly, there is an egoic investment in the importance of the predictions made; the more sensational the prediction, the greater the attention given to the astrologer. This can escalate toward ego-inflation and morbid exaggeration, with ever more ominous predictions competing for the limelight.

With regard to eclipses, typical of these is predicting “the King will die”. A notable example is often provided of the “sun king”, Louis XIV, the monarch of France who reigned from 1643 until his death in 1715 at age 77. It seems terribly fitting that the sun king died just following a solar eclipse. However, he was certainly not the only king to die and be replaced during such an event. Given that there are approximately four to six solar eclipses every year somewhere on earth (even if not total eclipses), and that their influence allegedly extends months beyond the actual date, we can surmise that an eclipse will knock off a few kings over the centuries, and millions of lesser personages, too.

Perhaps during eclipse periods we should be less afraid of apocalyptic scenarios than of the tendency to make lurid, dramatic predictions that place astrology itself in a bad light. While the vanishing (or vanquishing) of kings is certainly one possibility with the eclipse, recall that any conjunction is inherently a new beginning, which naturally requires that something end. Predicting only negative outcomes implies there’s nothing positive in the astrological event. Yet, having a new king is surely as meaningful as having an old one pass away.

To illustrate how this can happen in far less dramatic ways, I am currently in an ISAR board meeting in the Gulf of Mexico on a cruise ship. We just had our first session (Sunday) with new ISAR president, Alexander Imsiragic, who replaced the venerable Ray Merriman. Ray stepped down to make room for new leadership but will remain on the board – hardly an occasion for gnashing of teeth and falling on one’s sword. In fact, it’s been a fun, exciting transition, as befits a solar eclipse in Leo. 

The Trump Factor
Speaking of kings, I recently read a blog by an astrologer who proffered that since a solar eclipse entails the Moon’s shadow falling onto the surface of the earth, this must mean that eclipses require us to face our individual and collective shadow, the latter being embodied in U.S. President Donald Trump who represents all that is dark, reprehensible, and inferior in our collective nature. And so, this astrologer contends, the current eclipse is a time for facing our own darkness and eliminating atavistic tendencies.

I am not sure this is helpful. First, it posits a synchronistic association between the Moon’s shadow and our national shadow. Well, maybe. More importantly, it is an obvious projection of the author’s political sensibilities. While some degree of projection is inevitable when predicting concrete outcomes, I think we should take pains to stick as close as possible to the evidence; that is, not get too far out in front of the facts.

Donald Trump, Jun 14, 1946, 10:54 am, Jamaica, New York

Much has been made of the eclipse falling within a degree of Trump’s Ascendant and Mars in Leo. Just as with other transits, this Sun-Moon conjunction at 28° Leo will activate those parts of a birth chart that are close to the 28th degree of any sign. Trump’s Ascendant is 29° Leo and his Mars is at 27° Leo, so the eclipse will activate both. Does this mean Trump could be impeached, assassinated, have a heart attack, promote violence, or start a war with North Korea as some astrologers predict?

Note that the above scenarios are all negative. Given that the eclipse is simply a conjunction, there is nothing bad about it. Likewise, neither are the Sun, Moon or Leo inherently negative. To the contrary, the perfect alignment of male (Sun) and female (Moon) principles in celebratory, romantic Leo suggests a blossoming of positivity. This is certainly not the first time Trump has had a significant transit to his Ascendant and Mars; yet, he is still here, richer and more powerful than ever, despite his embattled presidency. We might attribute this partly to natal Mars sextiling his Sun and trining his Moon, as will the eclipse when it conjuncts his Mars.

What then can we anticipate from the eclipse sitting on his Mars Leo Ascendant? Since the eclipse itself is a Sun-Moon conjunction and it, in turn, conjuncts his Mars, which conjuncts his Ascendant, what we have is a kind of super-conjunction of four variables: Transiting Sun-Moon conjunct Ascendant-Mars. An aspect derives its meaning from the sign that corresponds to that angle in the natural zodiac. The conjunction is an Aries aspect since the angle it forms is 0°. Likewise, the Ascendant is an Aries point since it corresponds to where the horizon meets the ecliptic, or 0° of the earth’s 360° diurnal cycle. And finally, Mars rules the sign of Aries. To paraphrase Yogi Berra, “It’s Aries all over again, and again, and again…” In short, there are five ways Aries is implicit in the eclipse falling on Trump’s Mars-Ascendant.

What I would infer from this is that everything the eclipse means is hugely compounded in Trump’s chart. At the very least, this will entail a massive infusion of “fire and fury” into an already dramatic personality. So, we might expect to see the Donald behaving more like himself than usual, which is hard to imagine since he’s already extremely dynamic, bombastic, and combative. Having a solar eclipse in Leo conjunct one’s natal Mars is a bit like pouring gasoline on a fire. Perhaps events will trigger a need for him to fight even more strongly for what he sees as his mandate, to project strength, and do it with his usual bold, feisty, unapologetic style. I would also expect some sort of new beginning to the Trump presidency in keeping with the Super-Aries quality of the transit.

As an external event, this could mean pretty much what we’ve been seeing the last few days – members of both parties attacking him for his handling of the violence in Charlottesville last weekend, Trump doubling down and generating more criticism in an escalating, rapid cycling of attacks and counter-attacks, just as occurred in Charlottesville and in lesser ways throughout the country. 

Given that Trump’s eclipse on his Mars also sextiles his Sun and trines his Moon, it would not surprise me if he lands on his feet and lives to fight another day. There are some signs of a fresh start, like spring buds pushing up through the hard crust of the earth. Trump’s former chief strategist who was fired on Friday, Steven Bannon, stated he believes “a new era is beginning” that is actually at odds with his (Bannon’s) brand of nationalist-populist exceptionalism. Bannon expects that Trump’s new advisors, specifically chief of staff John Kelly, will try to moderate Trump and turn him into a more conventional president.

In the meantime, however, Trump continues to fight back against an ever-increasing tide of attackers accusing him of hateful rhetoric, bigotry, and vitriol. With violence erupting all around him, Trump is at the center of America’s cultural war. Last weekend in Charlottesville VA, there was a clash between two fascist groups, one on the left (Antifa), the other on the right (Neo-Nazi, White Supremacists).ii During the fight over the city’s removal of confederate monuments, a demonstrator drove his car into approaching counter-demonstrators, killing one and injuring many others. Trump condemned the violence “on many sides” without specifically mentioning the white supremacy group. His response was clearly inadequate and since then he’s been under constant siege. One can only imagine that the heat will increase following the eclipse.

In fact, however, the violence was between two groups, “each of which,” in the words of Melanie Phillips, “perpetuate hatred and intolerance, stand against freedom and seek to impose their view of society and human nature by force….He [Trump] should have specifically denounced white supremacism as having no place in American society. At the same time, he should have specifically condemned the hatemongering ideology of left-wing identity politics.”iii

Trump, ever the happy warrior, embodies a certain anger in the populace that fueled his run for the presidency. Against political correctness, excessive compassion, identity politics and the cult of victimology, Trump is always ready for battle. It’s no surprise he’s surrounded himself with generals – Chief of Staff John Kelly, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster. All of this is especially fitting as the eclipse bears down on his Mars-Ascendant in Leo. Again, expect to see him project strength and courage in the immediate future, even more than is his usual custom. 

 Summary and Conclusion
The total solar eclipse sweeping across America is neither good or bad, but likely to have effects both ways and everything in between. The clashing of two fascist groups in Charlottesville last weekend encapsulates a larger picture that is currently unfolding throughout the country. Like the natural opposites of Sun and Moon, both extremes are attracted to the other; an erotic, orgiastic melding of mutual antagonisms desperately seeking a middle ground. The resultant effect reminds me of cold atomic fusion. The hot Sun expresses, the cool Moon contains. Tremendous power is released, but there is also a potential for transformation if resultant forces can be controlled and directed to constructive ends.

While we can understand the processes involved, it remains to be seen how exactly the eclipse will manifest from this point forward on a content level. As always, content is a matter of context – the total surrounding chart – as well as the level of integration of the participants. This means America itself. The title of this essay is an eclipse of reason. If the extremes of both parties prevail, then by definition this is unreasonable, irrational, and unbalanced. For balance to be restored, we truly do need a new beginning, one that transforms opposites into a higher order unity.

Regarding integration, much depends on how America’s leader, Donald Trump, fares in the coming months. He has, after all, the bully pulpit, and what he says and does will set the tone for the rest of the country. The eclipse on his Mars-Ascendant in Leo could portend an escalation of attacks on his presidency and more needless counter-punching. On the other hand, it also suggests the potential for a new beginning, a fresh start after painful lessons learned.

Only time will tell.

* * * * *

Notes:

[i] Shamus, Kristen Jordan. “Eclipse could seriously impact Trump, the nation, astrologers warn,” at: http://www.freep.com/story/life/2017/08/18/solar-eclipse-trump-astrology/570025001/. Accessed 8/18/17.

[ii] Pierce, Matt. “Who was responsible for the violence in Charlottesville? Here’s what witnesses say,” at: http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-charlottesville-witnesses-20170815-story.html  (accessed 8/2/17)

[iii] Phillips, Melanie. “America’s Cultural Civil War,” at:       http://www.melaniephillips.com/americas-cultural-civil-war/ (accessed 8/2/17).

 

Saturn Square Neptune: The Danger of False Narratives, Part I

Saturn square Neptune
And the Danger of False Narratives

Part I: Hillary & Benghazi


By Glenn Perry

Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder
respectable, and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind.
~ George Orwell


I
t is generally accepted that politics is shrouded in lies. This may be a more or less permanent condition, much like cloudy weather in Seattle. Yet, it seems that when Saturn and Neptune align in hard aspect those clouds crystallize into hailstones of deceit that precipitate upon the populace with a din so deafening it can drown out the voice of reason. With Saturn square Neptune exact three times this year, a transparent film of lies has settled across the globe like a toxic pesticide.

Saturn Square Neptune

Figure 1: The Booromean Rings

Examples are legion but I will focus on three, which, because they are expressions of the same archetypal dynamic, intersect like Borromean rings: 1) the Hillary Clinton scandals involving Benghazi and her private email server; 2) the Black Lives Matter movement, and 3) ISIS propaganda that exhorts its followers to commit murder-suicide.

Given the complexity of the subject matter, I have decided to tackle these issues in four parts. Part I here explores the general meaning of Saturn square Neptune in light of Hillary Clinton’s recent travails. In our next installment, Part II, the political divide between liberal and conservative ideologies will be examined with a particular focus on Saturn-Neptune dynamics as symbolizing the birth, nature, and evolution of progressivism. Unless we understand progressivism, the remaining topics cannot be fully comprehended. Part III tackles the vexing conditions that have led to the Black Lives Matter movement, and Part IV examines the conflation of government and spirituality that is so disturbingly exemplified in radical Islam.

In what follows, I occasionally refer to the planets in terms of behavioral propensities that characterize individuals and institutions, but it should be clear that I am referring to archetypal components of the psyche, not whole people.


The Closing Square of Saturn to Neptune

The synodic cycle of Saturn-Neptune occurs over a period of approximately 36 years, starting with the conjunction, the most recent of which was in 1989, and ending with the next conjunction in 2026. As Saturn pulls away from Neptune by virtue of its faster orbital speed, it formed the first (or opening) square in 1998; the opposition occurred in 2006; and we’re currently in the closing square of 2016. In effect, it’s one long continuous 36-year cycle punctuated by four periods of acute activation that last for about one year each. And during that year, the relevant aspect will be exact three times―thus, the current square was exact on November 26, 2015; again on June 18 this year; and will once again be exact on September 10th. 

Because the Saturn-Neptune cycle is a cycle, it is important to understand the phase in progress. Not all phases are alike, first because they occupy different signs, and second because each angle has its own meaning. A closing square, which is the angle presently occurring, constitutes the start of the final 90 degree phase of the cycle. As such, it is a Capricorn angle, for an aspect derives its meaning from the nature of the sign that constitutes that angle in the zodiac.

As a Capricorn angle, the closing square implies that Saturn and Neptune must find a way to successfully combine their respective energies and build something of enduring value. Capricorn is associated with restraint, control, and the pursuit of realistic, practical ends; thus, the relationship between Saturn and Neptune will be characterized by exactly this dynamic throughout the period in question. And since Saturn is the ruler of Capricorn, this compounds and highlights the significance of Capricorn-Saturn during this particular phase of the Saturn-Neptune cycle.


Some Thoughts on Saturn
The archetype of Capricorn-Saturn is predominantly concerned with issues of success-failure. In fact, all Capricorn-Saturn behavior can be traced to a fear of failure. To compensate for this fear, there is a focused, disciplined, goal-oriented striving that endeavors to achieve the desired end―success―which is exemplified in authority figures that serve a regulatory or executive function, such as fathers, taskmasters, bosses, CEOs, and presidents. Institutionally, the Capricorn-Saturn archetype is inherent in government of all types at all levels, the proper function of which is to establish rules, enforce limits, and maintain civic order. Internally, Saturn correlates to our capacity for self-governance and self-restraint.

Implicit in Saturn is the notion of hierarchical order as reflected in nature’s tendency to organize its parts into increasingly complex wholes―atoms into molecules, molecules into cells, and cells combine to form multicellular organisms of ever increasing complexity, culminating in human beings who further self-organize into families, communities, towns, states and nations. Planets combine to make up solar systems, solar systems to make up galaxies, and galaxies are but parts of galactic clusters. “Infinity yawns at both the top and bottom of the stratified hierarchies of existence,” writes Arthur Koestler.[1]

While Saturn’s ultimate goal is success―that is, aspiring to the top of the hierarchy― success is a relative term, and when applied to collective human evolution we must assume that varying degrees of success-failure will characterize the current square. In effect, we can expect Saturn to test the viability and sustainability of any organization with a strong Neptunian component. Since our focus here is on the world of global politics, the following should be considered in that light.


Neptune: The Pursuit of Oneness
As ruler of Pisces, Neptune’s prime directive is attainment of a transcendent, spiritual ideal of unitive consciousness in which all divisions are reconciled into a blissful harmony. If human experience falls short of this ideal, which it almost invariably does, it causes distress and existential guilt. Human suffering due to loss, illness, poverty, old age, or victimization evokes a Neptunian response in us all, which we experience as compassion and the wish to relieve suffering. Neptune correlates to charity, aid, volunteerism, selfless service, and other altruistic activities dedicated to the ideal of an indiscriminate, all-inclusive, universal love.

Neptune’s flip side is the actual experience of suffering, which can be a gateway to the development of compassion, humility, and dependence upon a higher power. Spiritual traditions like Buddhism honor suffering as “the mud out of which the lotus flower blooms.” Christianity employs its own metaphors―purification through trial by fire, the passion of Christ, and so on. Virtually all spiritual traditions teach the necessity of suffering and its accompanying requirement: renunciation of attachment, as implied in the aphorism “Let go and let God”.

Because the spiritual impulse underlying Neptune is inherently sacrificial and submissive, it can easily be misdirected or carried to excess if driven by excessive, irrational guilt. The result can be escapism and self-undoing. Let go and let God becomes give up and self-destruct. Renunciation of attachment becomes abdication of responsibility. Surrender to a higher power is perverted into a life of dissolution, moral degeneracy, and abject dependency, often fueled by substance addiction. Not only can individuals do this, so can entire cultures, as we shall see.

While spiritual practice and charitable service is the healthy expression of Neptune, this can be misallocated via victim-savior dynamics that entail the enabling of bad behavior. Neptunian overfunctioning, or “co-dependency”, is again fueled by excessive and irrational guilt as evidenced when “saviors” feel compelled to rescue “victims” from the natural consequences of their own self-defeating actions. In this context, a victim is someone who is victimized by their own choices―to abuse drugs and alcohol, to drop out of school, to avoid work and responsibility, to be sexually promiscuous, to lie, steal, cheat, or otherwise engage in criminal behavior.

Typically the victim will manipulate the savior with intimations of blame, as if the cause and solution to the victim’s suffering lie outside themselves. Yet, by not allowing individuals to endure legitimate suffering, the savior merely enables and often exacerbates the victim’s problems. This can lead to savior burnout, depletion of resources, resentment, and more guilt. The French call such an arrangement a folie a deux (folly of two), a kind of mental illness shared by two entities caught in a vicious cycle that escalates over time.

One additional point regarding Neptune is germane: its penchant for obfuscation and fraud. Because Neptune symbolizes our desire for a transcendent ideal of infinite love and beauty, it is disinclined to recognize anything that deviates from this ideal. And since such ideals―for oneness, unity, heaven, paradise, utopia―necessarily emerge from the imagination (they have no obvious corollary in reality), Neptune signifies our capacity for fantasy. If reality deviates too markedly from the ideal, one can simply substitute fantasy for reality by superimposing the ideal over the real. Denial and deception entail the switch of an actual reality for a preferred one; hence, the Pisces-Neptune tendency for delusion, lies, and deceit.

The flip side is the Pisces-Neptune vulnerability to deception. Pisces-Neptune is the part of us that strives to reconcile duality into a unified whole; thus, it has difficulty making rational decisions that require Virgonian discernment and discrimination. A tendency toward feel-good fuzzy thinking, vacillation and acquiescence results. People often will believe what they want to believe and thus can be easily misled. As Hitler famously said, “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.”

While the Pisces-Neptune capacity for surrender, letting go, and trust in a higher power signifies spiritual strength in its own domain, it correlates to weakness when misdirected. For it is precisely its malleability that makes Neptune so easily influenced by stronger wills that frequently are not divine in their intentions. The upshot is that Pisces-Neptune is often the dupe, especially in relation to figures that embody those archetypes with which it is entangled―like Saturnian authority.


More on the Closing Square
I have taken time to articulate the individual psychologies of Saturn and Neptune, for it is their combination that ultimately concerns us here. As the reader might surmise, government, under the sway of certain political ideologies, has progressively assumed the role of savior to an increasingly victimized society. During Saturn-Neptune squares, these role dynamics are tested and stressed to the breaking point.

A cornerstone of AstroPsychology is that planets signify fundamental human drives and capacities. Viewed individually, each planet operates as an autonomous agent pursuing fulfillment of specific needs. Saturn, for example, signifies our capacity for success, which entails the pursuit of Capricorn needs for order and control. When combined in aspect, however, any two planets comprise a multi-agent system in pursuit of a joint goal that exists at a higher order of abstraction than the individual goals of the respective planets.

Multi-agent systems propagate as ideas or “cognitive structures” that entail plans for how best to collaborate in fulfilling the respective needs the planets rule. In effect, a planetary pairing symbolizes a narrative that provides an explanation for the way things are and a strategy for how to proceed in order to achieve the joint goal. Such narratives are inherent in planetary combinations independent of the angles they form during particular phases of their synodic cycle.

Ideas that emerge from multi-agent systems not only have histories, as reflected in their synodic cycles, they also have consequences. Any number of different strategies can accompany a multi-agent system, some more functional than others. Core strategies are like entities that evolve over time and take different forms depending upon the signs they occupy and the particular phase (angle) they are currently forming.

With regard to Saturn-Neptune, the closing square signifies that Saturn and Neptune have reached a critical mass or tipping point in their mutual struggle to achieve a joint goal. Consequences of the unfolding 36-year cycle between Saturn and Neptune will manifest as certain types of phenomena, notably in government, as government is a Saturnian entity that can be observed, measured, and evaluated. Government’s entanglement with Neptunian ideals will be especially apparent. During the closing square, events will occur that explicate the degree of integration in the collective psyche that Saturn and Neptune have achieved to date. In other words, the current story that undergirds their relationship is being tested. Is it wholly true, partly true? Is it functional? Is it the best we can do?

The ultimate ideal, of course, is for maximum differentiation and coordination of Saturn-Neptune so that their respective needs and functions are cooperating in perfect equilibrium. This might be reflected, for example, in some sort of global order inspired by a grounded, spiritual sensibility, a virtual heaven on earth, however remote and improbable that goal might seem. Preferably, Neptune infuses the natural hierarchical structure of society―individual, family, town, state, federal―from the bottom up, from the grass roots, from spiritual values inculcated in strong families and expressed through local churches, fraternal orders, service clubs, and voluntary non-profit organizations. Conversely, dangers lie in government policies that weaken the body-politic with misguided attempts to impose a utopian dreamworld from the top down.  

Just as with individual human beings, the goal of a fully integrated Saturn-Neptune dynamic is a work in progress. Each planet is inseparably tied to the other as figure to ground. When Saturn is emphasized, Neptune is ground; when Neptune is emphasized, Saturn is ground. Each must perform its functions in its own realm, but always in relation to the other’s predominant values. Government has to perform its proper function of maintaining civic order, yet simultaneously accommodate the reality of human suffering brought about, for instance, by floods and other natural disasters. Neptune must pursue its spiritual ideal of transcendent unity, while recognizing that a government’s capacity to allocate time and resources to such ends is limited.

A fundamental principle of all squares is mutual influence and reciprocal resistance. While not being able to escape the others influence, each planet’s respective values are operating at cross-purposes. If optimally managed, inherent tensions can be welded into a composite that is stronger than either one separately. One example might be government regulations that mitigate against the outbreak of disease. Or a charitable organization which, by benefiting from tax-exempt status, is empowered to distribute resources to the needy.

More likely, however, one planet will defend itself by overfunctioning at the other’s expense. Again, this is due to the inherent difficulty of integrating forces that are operating at cross purposes. Dysfunctional strategies result from the overfunctioning planet consciously denigrating the values of the repudiated planet, while unconsciously and unavoidably being saturated with that planet’s values. The result is a compromise formation―an odd, uncoordinated mix of the two planets that to varying degrees impairs the functionality of both.

For example, a government might denigrate traditional religious values, undermine Christianity, and favor Darwinian evolutionary theory over Intelligent Design; while, at the same time, assuming the responsibilities of a charitable, quasi-spiritual organization dedicated to the relief of suffering on virtually every front―open borders, sanctuary cities, amnesty to illegal immigrants, universal health care, redistribution of wealth via progressive taxation, and expansion of entitlement programs such as social security, welfare, unemployment, disability, food stamps, and government guaranteed student loans―all of which saps the economy, exhausts tax revenues, drives up the national debt, and neglects the country’s infrastructure to the point of collapse. Note on the one hand that Saturn depreciates the authentic spirituality of Neptune, and on the other becomes so overextended from the misappropriation of Neptunian functions that it teeters on the brink of self-destruction.


The Hillary Clinton Scandals
Hillary and Benghazi 1It is not my intention here to make a case for the guilt or innocence of Hillary Clinton in relation to her recent troubles. Rather, I am interested in what they mean in the larger context of Saturn square Neptune. In other words, the controversies surrounding Hillary are not only an expression of her natal chart, but a symbol of an unfolding Saturn-Neptune mindset in which we all move and have our being. Let us begin with the facts about Benghazi.

On the evening of September 11, 2012, the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi Libya was decimated in a premeditated military-style attack by approximately 150 terrorists armed with automatic weapons and heavy artillery. The entire incident lasted about 13 hours in two separate attacks. Four Americans were killed, including ambassador Chris Stevens and information manager Sean Smith. CIA agents Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed in the second attack, and ten others were wounded. Surviving Special Forces members subsequently reported that they were ordered to stand down (not defend the compound) three times. They finally defied orders and went anyway.

In the aftermath, Hillary Clinton, in her role as Secretary of State, took responsibility for security lapses that left the U.S. post unprotected in the midst of Islamic terrorists that had sprouted in the blood soaked, toxic soil of former president Muammar Gaddafi’s death. The decision to deploy as few troops as possible to Libya was part of the Obama foreign doctrine of leaving a small footprint and not intimidating foreign governments with U.S. military might.[2] Rather than admit the lethal consequences of their mistake, however, for the next two weeks Hillary and Obama repeatedly suggested the attack was due to a spontaneous protest triggered by an amateurish 13 minute anti-Islamic “trailer” produced by a U.S. Muslim and uploaded on YouTube.

When this narrative was challenged by reporters, Hillary and Obama sidestepped by referring to “an ongoing investigation.” Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, repeated the official line in five sequential television appearances: Benghazi was a protest that evolved into a spontaneous, unpremeditated attack provoked by a “hateful video” satirizing the prophet Muhammad.

There was, in fact, such a video, and it had provoked demonstrations in the Muslim world. But there was never any evidence that it inspired the Benghazi attack. Republicans suspected the video was a red herring to deflect attention from the real issue. For the prior two years, the American people had been told that al-Qaeda had been defeated. “Osama bin-Laden is dead and Al Qaeda is on the run” was Obama’s stump speech for his 2012 reelection campaign. Only months from the election, the attack on Benghazi contradicted the narrative and was thus a political liability.

During the weeks following the attack it was apparent that a carefully scripted official story was being systematically fed to the American public: That hateful video killed our boys. No other possibility was mentioned despite Libya’s new president, Mohamed Yusuf al-Magariaf, publically proclaiming on September 16: “The way these perpetrators acted and moved, and their choosing the specific date for this so-called demonstration, this leaves us with no doubt that this was preplanned, predetermined.”[3]

Obama’s Rose Garden statement on September 12 did include, “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation.” However, there’s an important difference between attributing acts of terror to a spontaneous uprising and admitting that Benghazi was a premeditated, well-orchestrated attack by al-Qaeda. That admission would not come until more than two weeks later in response to incontrovertible evidence that refuted the original narrative.

Meanwhile, both Hillary and Obama kept repeating that the attacks were due to an offensive video directed at the prophet Muhammad. As late as September 25, two weeks after the attacks, Obama said on another U.S. talk show, “The View”:

That is what we saw play out in the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world. Now, I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity.[4]

Subsequent congressional investigations revealed that the CIA almost immediately received intelligence reports that there was no “protest” at Benghazi on September 11. In fact, the CIA’s initial September 12 executive update stated that “this was an intentional assault and not the escalation of a peaceful protest.”[5] This language was subsequently dropped for reasons that in retrospect are clear. An email from top Obama aide Ben Rhodes lays bare the White House strategy. “Goals: To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”[6]

That the preferred narrative was fabricated from the beginning is evident in Hillary Clinton’s initial press statement on 10:08 pm, September 11th, within an hour of the attack and while it was still ongoing.

Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation.[7]

What is extraordinary about this statement is not merely that it’s a smokescreen, but the nature of the narrative itself. It subtly intimates that the cause of extremist violence is religious intolerance, and by implication any intolerance. Whether Hillary truly believes this is open to question, but that is the narrative they chose to propagate: violence is wrong, but intolerance is more wrong because it is the reason for violence.

Server, what server?

An unexpected outcome of the congressional investigation was the discovery that Clinton was using a private server for official government correspondence. While 32,000 of her private emails were reportedly deleted after being requested, many were recovered.[8] Of special significance are two, one sent the day of the attack and the other the day after. Within the hour following her September 11 press statement, Hillary wrote her daughter, Chelsea: “Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an al Qaeda-like group….Very hard day and I fear more of the same.”[9] And in an email the following day, September 12, she recounts her conversation with the Egyptian foreign minister:

We know that the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack—not a protest. . . . Based on the information we saw today we believe the group that claimed responsibility for this was affiliated with al-Qaeda.[10]

Two days later, September 14, Hillary attended the transfer of remains ceremony with the family members of those killed at Benghazi. In her official remarks at the ceremony, she stated: “We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with.” Kate Quigley, sister of deceased Navy SEAL Glenn Doherty, said that Hillary again brought up the story about the phony Libyan protest in their private conversation. “When I think back now to that day and what she knew…it shows me a lot about her character that she would choose in that moment to basically perpetuate what she knew was untrue.”[11]

Patricia Smith, mother of slain information officer Sean Smith, had this to say in her congressional testimony at the Benghazi hearings:

Obama and Hillary and Panetta and Biden and Susan [Rice] all came up to me at the casket ceremony. Every one of them came up to me, gave me a big hug, and I asked them, ‘what happened, please tell me.’ And every one of them said it was the video. And we all know that it wasn’t the video. Even at that time, they knew it wasn’t the video. So they all lied to me.[12]

Likewise Charles Woods, father of Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods, reported that when he gave Hillary a hug and shook her hand after the ceremony, she said, “We are going to have the filmmaker arrested who was responsible for the death of your son.”[13] It doesn’t get any clearer than that. Not al-Qaeda, not Obama’s foreign policy of leading-from-behind, not Hillary’s failure to provide adequate security to the compound, but anti-Islamic sentiment killed the four Americans.

Hillary & BenghaziWhen confronted with these allegations, Clinton pushed back, saying that any contradictions in her statements about Benghazi were due to “the fog of war,” fragmentary and disjointed information that was “changing by the hour.”[14] However, given the consistency and certainty of the Obama administration’s statements about the video, and given concerns about Obama’s re-election and Hillary’s looming run for the presidency, it is difficult not to conclude that Hillary was complicit in fabricating the politically expedient but ultimately false narrative. Such is the crux of the just released report of the House Select Committee on Benghazi:

Obama Administration officials, including the Secretary of State [Hillary Clinton], learned almost in real time that the attack in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Rather than tell the American people the truth, the administration told one story privately and a different story publicly.[15]

It is also worth noting that despite eight congressional investigations costing 20 million tax payer dollars, it has never been determined who was responsible for the order that U.S. forces stand down. Upon being informed of the attack on the afternoon of September 11 by then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Obama “immediately ordered the military to deploy all available assets.”[16] Allegedly, he never modified or rescinded the order; yet, there were three stand-down orders according to CIA operatives who eventually disobeyed their superiors and rushed to rescue Ambassador Stevens in the burning compound. Moreover, no military assets were deployed to help the few men who fought 150 terrorists. The last two Americans were killed almost 8 hours after the attacks began. When Obama was solicited by the House Select Committee on Benghazi to address these unanswered questions, he refused to comply.[17]


The Astrology of Benghazi
I have taken some time to detail the events surrounding Benghazi because they illustrate in microcosm a larger narrative symbolized by Saturn square Neptune. As expected, the current phase of the Saturn-Neptune cycle is crystallizing in events that reveal the relative integration of these two archetypal forces. While the events and subsequent cover-up of Benghazi occurred in 2012, the fact that it has been headline news since the fall of 2015 illustrates how planetary dynamics “pop” into acute manifestation during angles like the closing square.

An additional factor to consider is the sign positions of the two planets―Saturn in Sagittarius, and Neptune in Pisces. Since Neptune rules Pisces, its sign position does not add any new information other than it doubles-down on the basic psychology of Neptune, making it pure and strong. Saturn in Sagittarius, however, adds something new to the mix. After a brief tenancy prior to retrograding back into Scorpio, Saturn settled into Sagittarius to stay in September of 2015, where it will remain until December 2017.

Sagittarius symbolizes the principle of expansion, as exemplified in the search for truth and meaning. It rules the domain of higher learning, justice, law, ethics, morality, religion, philosophy, ideology, travel, and foreign affairs. Saturn’s two year sojourn through Sagittarius correlates to a serious, pragmatic focus on the aforementioned fields, especially with regard to perceived shortcomings and failures.

Saturn tends to contract, restrict, and reduce for the sake of economizing, cutting away unessential elements and getting to what is solid and real. In Sagittarius, examples are legion, from halting the spread of a toxic ideology like radical Islam to restricting the flow of illegal immigration. With regard to our central topic, however, it is epitomized in the House Select Committee on Benghazi, which released its final report on July 8, 2016. A highlight of the investigation was Hillary Clinton’s testimony in October 2015, right after Saturn ingressed into Sagittarius and during which there was a serious attempt to get to the bottom of what really happened and why. Hillary’s honesty in the entire matter was the overriding, central question.

It is the square between Saturn and Neptune, however, that tells the larger story. Recall that when two planets are square, one can overcompensate as a defense against the other while simultaneously being influenced by the repressed planet at an unconscious level. For example, Saturn in Sagittarius could signify an authority figure taking the moral high ground while projecting responsibility for the tragic outcomes of her own wrongdoing onto a convenient scapegoat. At a conscious level, she (Saturn) presents herself as wise and truthful (Sagittarius); yet, unconsciously is plagued by guilt (Neptune) that must be exported into the environment.

A more integrated version would entail an honest and humble admission of mistakes with a willingness to suffer the consequences, even if it means a momentary loss of status. However, until and unless Saturn’s square to Neptune is integrated, we can expect authority figures to employ false narratives as a defense against loss, suffering, and guilt.

In the Benghazi incident, all of this is immediately evident. Saturn is represented by Hillary and the Obama administration. Their foreign policy of leading from behind―anti-imperialist ethics, minimizing America’s influence abroad, and pulling back troops―is consistent with Saturn in Sagittarius square Neptune. According to the House Select Committee on Benghazi, a major reason for the attack was Hillary’s failure to provide requested troops for fear of offending Muslims.

As a result of this lead-from-behind foreign policy…[and] although the State Department considered Libya a grave risk to American diplomats in 2011 and 2012, our people remained in a largely unprotected, unofficial facility that one diplomatic security agent the committee interviewed characterized as ‘a suicide mission.’ [18]

This is especially interesting in light of Saturn’s square to Neptune. Recall that Neptune’s prime directive is transcendence such that all divisions that separate races, religions, and cultures are reconciled into a common unity. Applied to politics, this is a formula for world peace―the ultimate Neptunian ideal. Yet, a mature spirituality recognizes that the journey to world peace necessarily and inescapably involves suffering and the gradual dissolution of attachments that maintain separateness. Realistically, such a goal may require innumerable just wars and be thousands of years in the making from where we are now.[19] Global unity is not something that can be forced; you cannot push the river and accelerate the pace of human evolution to comply with your political ambitions.

This is what I alluded to earlier when I said that planets in square operate at cross purposes. The Obama administration (Saturn) aspired to world peace (Neptune). Ending wars in the Middle East was a primary objective; yet, Obama did not want to endure the necessary suffering over the long term that such an ideal would exact. So, by forcing the issue and pulling out troops prematurely from Iraq, not holding the “red line” with Syria, and generally weakening our position in the Middle East, it created a power vacuum that al Qaeda and ISIS rushed in to fill.

The tragedy of Benghazi is symptomatic of a larger problem―a misguided attempt to force a premature unity―that has characterized the Obama administration from the beginning and, by implication, liberal foreign policy in general.[20] Peace politics and the anti-war movement has always been linked to the Democratic Party. Yet, innumerable critics and U.S. Military leaders have pointed out that Obama’s legacy will be “endless war” precisely because he was afraid to actually fight one.[21] As former Defense Secretary Robert Gates put it, “President Obama simply wanted the ‘bad’ war in Iraq to be ended.”[22]

What I wish to suggest here is how Saturn’s resistance to Neptunian hardship (unintegrated square) is what brought hardship about. I am not proposing that loss and suffering of the sort that occurred in Benghazi is inevitable and thus we should do nothing. Rather, it is the failure to allow for at least some loss and suffering―that is, to be adequately prepared for it―that renders a system more vulnerable to the thing avoided. Hillary’s failure to protect the Embassy in Benghazi by providing adequate troops made working there a virtual “suicide mission” according to one of her own agents. And this says nothing about the mysterious stand down orders and failure to deploy U.S. military assets during the 13 hour siege.

Neptune’s signature strategy of denial and avoidance was further evident in the cover-up that followed. Rather than admit that the Benghazi tragedy was due to “a broader failure of policy,” as Ben Rhodes put it, Hillary and Obama doubled down and scapegoated the filmmaker who uploaded the anti-Islamist video. In so doing, they constructed an illusion (Neptune) that their authority (Saturn) was unimpeachable and their ideology (Sagittarius) unassailable, while projecting moral failure onto the makers of “a crude and disgusting video”. Their attempt to avoid a humiliating loss of political power echoed their larger strategy of wanting to achieve a premature global unity while avoiding the risks and hardships of war.

Jung’s dictum that “neurosis is born from a failure to endure legitimate suffering” applies equally well to the political arena. In Part II, we will examine the Saturn-Neptune origins of what may well be a political neurosis that has afflicted western culture for more than a century.

To be continued…


References

[1] Koestler, A. (1978).  Janus: A summing up.  New York: Vintage Books, p. 67

[2] “Select Committee on Benghazi Releases Proposed Report,” from The Select Committee on Benghazi, U.S. House of Representatives, July 8, 2016. http://benghazi.house.gov/NewInfo

[3] Kessler, Glenn. “From video to terrorist attack: a definitive timeline of administration statements on the Libya attack,” in The Washington Post, September 27, 2012. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/from-video-to-terrorist-attack-a-definitive-timeline-of-administration-statements-on-the-libya-attack/2012/09/26/86105782-0826-11e2-afff-d6c7f20a83bf_blog.html?tid=a_inl

[4] Ibid.

[5] Kessler, Glenn. “Is Hillary Clinton a ‘liar’ on Benghazi?” in The Washington Post, October 30, 2015. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/10/30/is-hillary-clinton-a-liar-on-benghazi/

[6] Hemingway, Mollie. “5 Big Takeaways From The House Benghazi Report,” in the Federalist, June 28, 2016. http://thefederalist.com/2016/06/28/5-big-takeaways-from-the-house-benghazi-report/

[7] Kessler, Glenn. “From video to terrorist attack: a definitive timeline of administration statements on the Libya attack,” in The Washington Post, September 27, 2012. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/from-video-to-terrorist-attack-a-definitive-timeline-of-administration-statements-on-the-libya-attack/2012/09/26/86105782-0826-11e2-afff-d6c7f20a83bf_blog.html?tid=a_inl

[8] Halper, Daniel. “FBI: Clinton was ‘extremely careless’ with email, but no charges,” New York Post, July 5, 2016. http://nypost.com/2016/07/05/fbi-wont-recommend-charges-in-clinton-email-probe/

 [9] Kessler, Glenn. “Is Hillary Clinton a ‘liar’ on Benghazi?” in The Washington Post, October 30, 2015. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/10/30/is-hillary-clinton-a-liar-on-benghazi/

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] “Reviews of the Benghazi Attacks and Unanswered Questions,” First Session, September 19, 2013. http://www.gop.gov/resources/library/documents/benghazi/ogr-reviews-of-the-benghazi-attacks-and-unanswered-questions.pdf

[13] Kessler, Glenn. “Is Hillary Clinton a ‘liar’ on Benghazi?” in The Washington Post, October 30, 2015. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/10/30/is-hillary-clinton-a-liar-on-benghazi/

[14] Kamisar, Ben. “Clinton denies lying to Benghazi victim’s families,” in The Hill, March 09, 2016 at: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/272483-clinton-denies-lying-to-benghazi-victims-families

[15] “Select Committee on Benghazi Releases Proposed Report,” from The Select Committee on Benghazi, U.S. House of Representatives, July 8, 2016. http://benghazi.house.gov/NewInfo

[16] Bade, Rachel. “White House refuses Benghazi questions for Obama,” in Politico, 06/26/16, at: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/06/white-house-benghazi-obama-224813

[17] Bade, Rachel. Ibid

[18] Select Committee on Benghazi Releases Proposed Report,” from The Select Committee on Benghazi, U.S. House of Representatives, July 8, 2016. http://benghazi.house.gov/NewInfo

[19] Walzer, Michael. (2015). Just and unjust wars: A moral argument with historical illustrations. New York: Basic Books

[20] Obama, Barack, “Breaking the War Mentality,” Sundial, March 10, 1983, http://www.columbia.edu/cu/computinghistory/obama-sundial.pdf

[21] Woodward, Bob. 2010. Obama’s Wars. New York: Simon and Schuster

[22] Gates, Robert. (2015). Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War. New York: Vintage Books

Deconstructing the Grand Cross: A Present-Centered View

Deconstructing the Grand Cross
A Present-Centered view


By Glenn Perry


the grand crossF
or months the astrological community has been ablaze with commentary on the grand cross in cardinal signs, exact this very day, April 23, 2014. A grand cross entails four planets occupying approximately the same degree in four different signs, all of which either square or oppose one another. Pluto in Capricorn, Uranus in Aries, Mars in Libra, and Jupiter in Cancer currently occupy the 13th degree of their respective signs, adding an even more ominous note to the proceedings. 

At the time of this writing a cursory review reveals that most astrologers focused on prediction of likely events. The usual suspects are included: wars and revolts, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, monetary crises, the end of the world and general mayhem. 

Astrologer Zell Bodine writes on Facebook: “Will the Cardinal Grand Square Explode This Week?” She continues: “It’s like three warehouses full of fireworks, TNT, and nuclear fission materials with three fuses, one each, leading straight to them. And Mars holds the other end of all three fuses, ready to light three matches on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.” Zell goes on to list other, more positive possibilities, but it is a compelling metaphor that illustrates how easy it is to be alarmed by the aspect in question. 

Grand Cross 4-23-14, 1115am

Rather than attempt to predict events that, in fact, are already occurring, I would like to deconstruct the configuration into its respective parts and interpret it at a process level. Astrological configurations admit of two levels of interpretation: process and content. Process is the underlying, archetypal dynamics that operate at a more abstract level, whereas content pertains to observable behavior and events. The general rule is that content mirrors process. Tangible outcomes provide a vehicle and catalyst for an evolutionary process that is endlessly unfolding. In this article, we will take a look at some of the more dramatic expressions of the grand cross, while keeping in mind that such events exemplify a deeper, archetypal reality. 

The Grand Cross: Some Preliminary Remarks

World transits can be distinguished from personal transits. The latter pertains to planetary movements in relation to natal charts. Unlike personal transits, world transits are pervasive and affect everyone generically. They apply more to the collective psyche.

There is a tendency to think that dramatic configurations like a grand cross can be isolated in time as if they are singular events, like a wayward comet smashing into the earth’s crust. In actuality, every planet is continuously engaged in a synodic cycle with every other planet. Synodic cycles mark the period of time it takes for any two planets to move from their conjunction to the opposition and back again, thus completing a full circle. Synodic cycles are punctuated by the same 30-degree angles that comprise the tropical zodiac. Aspects, in effect, derive their meaning from the signs that correspond to those angles. An opposition, for example, has a Libra quality since Libra is the sign that marks the 180 degree angle from the vernal equinox (0 degrees Aries).

Each pairing relates to broad themes that crystallize into focus whenever there is an aspect between the relevant planets. And as the planets move out of aspect, these same thematic elements recede into the background. This rhythmic unfolding and enfolding serves to remind us that any current transit is but the latest chapter in a never-ending story co-authored and continuously updated by the respective planets. A world transit is a phase of development in an evolutionary process that has no beginning or discernable end. Every planetary aspect, therefore, has an ancestral line, earlier incarnations in which those two planets made the same aspect in different signs. And while there will be similarities between the respective incarnations, there are differences, too. Just as the adult form of an organism is different from its juvenile phase, so later forms of a transit will tend to manifest in more mature ways.

Significantly at the present time, several dyadic pairings are coalescing into a more complex story—a grand cross—comprised of not two planets making a single aspect but four planets making six interdependent aspects:

  1. Pluto square Uranus
  2. Pluto opposed Jupiter
  3. Pluto square Mars
  4. Uranus square Jupiter
  5. Uranus opposed Mars
  6. Jupiter square Mars

Each of the above aspects is considered ‘hard’, meaning they denote stress and conflict between competing aims. Squares correspond to the signs Cancer and Capricorn, and as such are aspects of containment and control. They signify that the respective planets have to exercise restraint in relation to one another in order to prevent unwanted outcomes. If properly integrated, squares can be utilized in caring ways and harnessed for significant accomplishment. Similarly, oppositions are comprised of complimentary opposites engaged in open conflict, which can only be resolved by compromise. As Libra angles, oppositions afford opportunities for true partnership in which each planet balances and enriches the functioning of the other. Given that the grand cross is comprised of four squares and two oppositions, representative events will be characterized more by the square than the opposition. Squares are like hammer and anvil; irresistible force meets immovable object. Two or more powers locked in dynamic tension struggle to maintain control. In the end, some sort of compromise (opposition) must be affected. Stripped to its bare bones, this is the grand cross.

Also significant is the fact that each planet of the grand cross is in a particular sign, which adds four additional variables to the mix. In total, we have four planets in four signs making six aspects—thus, 20 variables—all working together as dynamic parts of a complex whole system. As with any complex system, the interaction of component parts will produce emergent properties that do not exist at the level of the parts that comprise it; in effect, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Given that any single variable has a multiplicity of meanings that when combined with other variables can produce an exponentially greater number of outcomes, it is a stupendous task indeed to predict exactly how these 20 odd variables will manifest. Since the human mind is only capable of dealing with a limited number of variables at once, interpretation of a complex scenario like the grand cross is akin to putting together the pieces of a puzzle. Eventually, the whole comes into view.

It is fascinating to observe how events invariably reflect the meaning of world transits. In general, however, we are much better at seeing these connections in retrospect than via prognostication. Astrologers are enamored with their ability to predict the future (however poorly), and the general populace seems to assume that this is our proper role. Personally, I believe there is greater value in using astrology to understand the archetypal meaning and purpose of events that are currently unfolding; that is, to use astrology to more fully and consciously live in the present rather than worry anxiously and helplessly about an uncertain future.

Study of archetypal dynamics helps us recognize the significance of events—not just events on the global stage, but also those within our businesses, communities, and families. Focus on prediction of world-shaking events like wars and earthquakes can be misleading in that it suggests only those events are likely to occur. Yet, the same configuration that is reflected in global events also manifests through the myriad happenings of our individual daily lives, albeit in a more subtle manner. World transits are equal opportunity employers: they affect everyone, everything, everywhere. This point was driven home recently when a client was discussing her exasperation with a dysfunctional university where she was employed. The problems of the university could have been lifted from the daily headlines pertaining to our dysfunctional federal government, for they were identical in microcosm. 

Uranus square Pluto

When interpreting an aspect, it is advisable to start with the slower moving planet, for a planet’s influence is inversely proportional to its speed: the slower the planet, the more powerful. It follows that Pluto is the dominant player and proper place to start in our analysis of the current grand cross. Since it is forming aspects to Uranus (opening square), Jupiter (opposition), and Mars (closing square), we can expect that Pluto’s presence will be particularly salient in the world at this time. The dark lord is spreading its influence into the domains ruled by each of the planets it aspects. Each will be deepened, intensified, and rendered more passionate; each will be imbued with a transformational imperative.

The opening square to Uranus has been felt for several years now, as Pluto first squared Uranus in June 2012. Due to retrograde motion it will have been exact seven times by the last square on March 16, 2015. Squares between these two planets rarely occur more than once a century. Accordingly, this aspect is more of a backdrop to the current grand cross, though its effects will be expanded by Jupiter and inflamed by Mars for the remainder of the current month. Pluto has intensified the Uranian impulse for collective evolution and cultural revolution, infusing Uranus with a do-or-die mentality. This has taken different forms in different countries since 2012, being most pronounced in nations that are already unstable, as exists in much of the Middle East; and less so in countries that are more stable, such as the United States and China.

The signature event of Uranus square Pluto is the Arab spring that has morphed into a seemingly endless winter threatening Egypt, Libya, Syria, and their neighbors. Dysfunctional dictatorships are being threatened by radical uprisings demanding greater freedom and economic opportunity. In the United States, this same pressure for change is embodied in conservative (Tea Party) and liberal (Occupy) movements locked in an intense ideological battle for the future of the country. Conservatives, favoring Pluto in Capricorn, advocate for elimination of administrative waste and inefficiency, opting for smaller government, lower taxes, and fewer regulations as the surest route to deficit reduction and economic prosperity. Too much change and social engineering (Uranus) is seen as a threat to fiscally responsible policies that would otherwise be employed to achieve a balanced budget and solid, measured growth. Liberals, on the other hand, favor Uranian solutions for social justice and the reduction of income disparity between rich and poor via higher taxes, more deficit spending, and expansive government programs that redistribute wealth.

It is noteworthy with the opening square that the relationship between Pluto and Uranus is in a Cancerian phase, for that is the sign that corresponds to the opening square. As with Cancer, opening squares have an inhibiting, restraining effect. Just as the Sun at the summer solstice appears to slow, come to a stop, and then reverse its course by moving progressively lower in the sky over the next six months, so the opening square signifies a slowing and potential reversal of course in the relationship between the respective planets. The current synodic cycle of Uranus and Pluto began in 1964-1967 when the two planets were conjunct. In the United States, this period corresponded to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s ‘great society’ and ‘war on poverty’ that entailed the inception of government entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid and welfare. Designed to eliminate poverty and care for its citizenry ‘from cradle to grave’, entitlement programs are the heart of the welfare state. Likewise in China, the 1964-1967 Uranus-Pluto conjunction triggered the launch of Mao Zedong’s ‘Cultural Revolution’ that sought to implement socialist policies that would assure a more equitable (re)-distribution of wealth.

With the opening square, it is precisely what began during the conjunction that has to be reappraised and, if necessary, reversed in order to assure sustainable progress. Johnson’s entitlement programs that began with the conjunction are now thought to be unsustainable and if continued in their current form will bankrupt the country.

As with any aspect, the relationship between Uranus and Pluto goes both ways. Not only does Pluto intensify and deepen the Uranian impulse for progress, but Uranus radicalizes and objectifies the Plutonic impulse for transformation. While this can have myriad effects in Plutonic realms of medicine/healing, human sexuality, and all things associated with depth and death, it is apt to be especially noticeable in economics. Pluto rules the financial realm. In accord with the square from Uranus over the last few years, there has been increasing evidence that the global monetary system is outdated and dangerously unstable. This is most obvious in the out-of-control deficit spending of western hemisphere nations, including and especially the United States. Some kind of substantive reform in monetary policy seems inevitable and likely to occur before the last Uranus-Pluto square of 2015. It is against this backdrop that Mars and Jupiter’s contribution to the grand cross must be considered. 

Jupiter opposed Pluto

Jupiter is associated with justice, laws, ideologies, religions, doctrines, and belief systems in general. When opposed to Pluto, this dimension of life is deepened, intensified, and rendered more extreme at least partly in response to Pluto’s transformational imperative. Unintegrated oppositions have a pulling-apart quality characterized by reciprocal influence and mutual resistance. The result is a see-saw effect with first one planet then the other vying for dominance. We can expect intense ideological battles involving various factions attempting to convert the other to their own (opposing) point-of-view. This is palpable, for example, between religions like Islam and Christianity, racial divisions like blacks and whites, competing parties such as Democrats and Republicans, and rival economic policies such as Keynesianism and monetarism.

While the religious extremism of groups like al Qaeda has been conspicuous for decades, there’s been a spike in reports of religious extremism during this current Jupiter-Pluto period. Only last week there was a flagrant al-Qaeda meeting in Yemen that included over 100 members openly planning to launch attacks against foreign interests. Within days, U.S. drone strikes killed 55 al-Qaeda militants, the most recent strike being only yesterday. Of course, this event is best understood in the context of the entire grand cross. Mars square Pluto can correlate to terrorism,while Uranus in Aries opposed Mars is an apt signature for radical militants whose violent intentions triggered a high-tech, immunizing response from the skies—a lethal drone strike, perhaps the ultimate example of blowback.

On a related note, the traditional Christian story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ—itself a Jupiter-Pluto event—was celebrated this Easter weekend accompanied by numerous stories of the persecution of Christians at home and abroad. The synchronicity of the grand cross with Easter is interesting in light of the fact that crucifixion of Christ on the cross is an apt metaphor of the grand cross configuration: the shocking death (Uranus-Pluto) of a religious figure (Jupiter) by violent means (Mars). Other Jupiter-Pluto reports this weekend featured the upcoming release of the religious film, Son of God, the final scene of which is the crucifixion. Producer Mark Burnett admits the film is unabashedly evangelical with the goal not merely to entertain but convert—a Plutonic intention that will surely divide the true believers from their secularist/atheist counterparts.

Another dramatic example of Jupiter opposed Pluto has been unfolding this week at the Nevada cattle ranch of Cliven Bundy. A long simmering feud between Bundy and the federal Bureau Of Land Management (BLM) boiled over in charges that Bundy owes back fees for his cattle grazing on federal lands. Jupiter-Pluto dynamics are perfectly encapsulated in legal judgments (Jupiter) against Bundy’s family and home (Cancer) with regard to his alleged indebtedness (Pluto) to the federal government (Capricorn). The footprint of this opposition is also plainly evident in the legal dispute over whether states or the federal government should control public range lands. Bundy’s revolt would not have made news except for the fact that armed federal agents replete with attack dogs and snipers surrounded his property. This, in turn, triggered a response by local militia groups coming to Bundy’s aid armed to the teeth in defiance of federal agents. Critics charge that the Bundy standoff has brought into sharp focus the overreaching (Jupiter) of the federal government in violation (Pluto) of state’s rights, a point we will return to shortly. 

Bundy subsequently made racially insensitive remarks about African Americans having a better life under conditions of slavery than they do on welfare, which ostensibly was Bundy’s attempt to castigate the federal government for enslaving people by keeping them dependent. Only a few days later, the issue of race again exploded in the national news when the owner of Los Angeles Clippers professional basketball franchise, Donald Sterling, was banned from the NBA for life and fined $2.5 million after recordings of him making racist comments were made public. This sparked a national debate on race and the extent to which the United States has become increasingly intolerant of racism, whether of whites against blacks or blacks against whites. All of this is consistent with a wound (Pluto) surfacing in relation to issues of justice (Jupiter), as one might expect when Jupiter and Pluto engage in open dialogue via the opposition. As always with Pluto transits, an opportunity presents itself for a deeper level of integration—in this case, literally the deeper integration of a minority (blacks) within the majority (whites). 

Uranus square Jupiter and opposed Mars

When Uranus and Jupiter square off we can expect changes in conventional morality, established laws, and religious tenets, to name a few. When forming a hard aspect to Jupiter, Uranus tends to objectify and challenge standard interpretations of any belief system. Judicial activism is a good example. It occurs when judges decline to apply in a neutral and unbiased fashion constitutional law (Jupiter) according to its original public meaning; instead, they decide cases based on subjective policy preferences in an apparent attempt to bring about social change (Uranus).

Something similar occurred a few days ago when U.S. president Barack Obama signed a law enacted by Congress to deny entry to the U.S. of an Iranian ambassador, Hamid Aboutalebi, who was involved in the 1979 hostage crisis during which fifty-two Americans were held for over a year. In signing the law approved by Congress, Obama stated he would consider it “advisory” and not binding. Critics charge that like his predecessor, George Bush, Obama is reinterpreting laws at his discretion and doing an end run around Congress in the process. On Monday, April 21, he rewrote federal law again by extending his power of ‘pardon’ to allow the early release of drug felons—heroin and crack cocaine dealers—incarcerated under draconian sentencing regimes that by today’s standards would seem excessive. Advocates are seizing the opportunity to file thousands of new clemency petitions.

These examples serve to illustrate the general trend when Uranus and Jupiter are square. Certainly there are innumerable other challenges and rebellions against conventional law/morality occurring at the present time, most of which we will never know because they do not rise to the level of national news. Accordingly, we must content ourselves with a few examples that serve to illustrate the larger principle.

Returning to the Bundy ranch, the Nevada cattleman made it clear that he does not recognize the federal government as having jurisdiction over his cattle—or anything else, for that matter. Instead, he regards himself solely as a citizen of Nevada and subject to its laws alone. Bundy is the tip of the spear in a general populist revolt against federal laws that confiscated over 80% of Nevada land for pet projects like protecting the desert tortoise, leaving ranchers with scant range for their cattle. On Saturday morning April 12 in a perfect display of Uranus square Jupiter, a crowd of protestors rallied under a banner that read “Liberty Freedom for God We Stand.” Armed BLM rangers were poised to commence a round-up of Bundy’s cattle for trespassing on—what else, federal land. The agents were heckled and chided as Bundy addressed a crowd comprised not only of neighbors but White Mountain Militia and the Praetorian Guard (local militia groups rallying to his defense). “We definitely don’t recognize the BLM director’s jurisdiction or authority, his arresting power or policing power in any way,” shouted Bundy. “And we’re about ready to take the country over with force!”2 According to The Guardian,

A tense, hour-long standoff then ensued at the mouth of Gold Butte, the preserve where the cattle were corralled. Militiamen took position on a highway overpass, offering cover as horse-mounted wranglers led protesters to face off against heavily equipped BLM rangers and snipers.3

Jupiter square Uranus was not the only aspect in play during Bundy’s revolt. Mars is also a key component since it opposes Uranus and squares both Pluto and Jupiter. As the fastest moving of the four planets in the grand cross, Mars operates like a trigger that inflames and escalates tensions contained in the more enduring T-Square of Pluto, Uranus, and Jupiter. Like Bundy himself, Uranus-Mars is the incendiary, rabble rouser, and firebrand that incites action in the service of Uranian change, which often takes the form of breakups, rebellions and liberations. Mars, of course, is the impulse to do battle, whereas Uranus rules progress. When these two planets interact by opposition there can be fiery confrontations between pro-change forces and forces pitted against them. Note that Uranus in Aries is opposed to its own dispositor—Mars. This correlates not only to angry exchanges  between rival factions but also blowback as occurred when armed federal agents surrounding Bundy’s ranch incited protestors to arm themselves in response. Throw Pluto into the mix and the situation has devolved into an ugly power struggle with no-holds-barred, clenched-fist intensity. Jupiter’s contribution has been to expand the issue into a vociferous debate on federal overreach versus states rights. 

Again, the Bundy crisis is notable not so much for its own sake. People can legitimately disagree over who is right or wrong. What makes the standoff so remarkable is the extent to which it encapsulates all the elements of the grand cross. Recall that four squares signify an emphasis on containment and restraint in order to prevent unwanted outcomes—in this case, a deadly civil war. The BLM is the hammer, Bundy the anvil. Irresistible force meets immovable object; two powers locked in a struggle for control over land. While the four squares reflect the nearly unbearable tensions involved, the two oppositions hint at the possibility of compromise. In the midst of the crisis the BLM was ordered to suspend their round-up and return Bundy’s confiscated cows, though some had already been killed and buried in shallow graves. At present the situation is far from resolved. 

The Ukraine

The real poster child for the grand cross is the political crisis in Ukraine that has captured world attention. Although occurring on a grander scale, in almost every respect it exactly parallels the Bundy crisis in the United States. Last November the Ukrainian government decided to abandon a trade agreement with the European Union and seek closer ties with Moscow. This sparked a revolution that by March 2014 resulted in a new interim government that sought to restore and strengthen ties to the west. Meanwhile, pro-Russian factions seized government buildings in Crimea, a semi-autonomous republic on Ukraine’s southern border populated by an ethnic Russian majority. On March 16th Crimea’s parliament issued a referendum with official results stating that 95% of voters supported union with Russia. Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, immediately signed the treaty absorbing Crimea into Russia, the first time the Kremlin expanded its borders since World War II.

The Crimean referendum entailed a change in law by virtue of a special ballot put forth to the electorate. As such, it exemplifies Uranus in Aries square Jupiter in Cancer—an immediate and revolutionary change (Uranus Aries) in the legal status of a country (Jupiter Cancer) via a managed process that contained and reflected the feelings of the populace (opening square).

Following Putin’s orders, 40,000 Russian troops quickly massed on the Ukrainian border to assure that the transition went smoothly. This, however, emboldened Russian-speaking Ukrainians in eastern swathes of the country who likewise want greater autonomy from the new government. Over the past week—April 14-22—tensions escalated as Mars moved into position to oppose Uranus and square both Pluto and Jupiter. Roving bands of local militia seized control of government buildings and shot at Ukrainian soldiers who sought unsuccessfully to disperse them. Dozens of fighters were killed or wounded on both sides. By April 15th Putin declared that Ukraine is on the brink of civil war.

On April 17 more fighting broke out in the eastern regions as 200 pro-Russian Ukrainians demonstrated on the streets against the government in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital. Fearing for the safety of ethnic Russians, Putin said he hoped not to have to use his “right” to send Russian troops into Ukraine. On April 18, pro-Russian separatists declared they will not be moved from occupied buildings until the ‘illegitimate’ government in Kiev is also removed. Moreover, they demand a referendum granting the region broad independent governance and the Russian language “special status”. While the Kiev government says it is willing to decentralize some of its power to Ukraine’s eastern regions, they will not allow a referendum until the militants disperse and disarm. Once again, as in Nevada, it is a hammer and anvil situation. Irresistible force meets immovable object; a deadly standoff reflecting the grand cross.

Summary and Conclusion

Understanding the astrology of the time enables us to see the connection between events like Bundy’s revolt in Nevada and the pro-Russian revolt in Ukraine. In both instances, armed separatist forces are threatening a civil war against a central government they believe is encroaching upon their freedom. Bundy argues that the BLM has no jurisdiction over his land. Likewise, pro-Russian separatists argue that Ukraine’s central government has no jurisdiction over their region. Armed militia in both instances has spontaneously taken up arms against a superior power. Legal debates rage over unjust laws that need to be overturned. Separatist sentiments abound. In Nevada as in eastern Ukraine, strenuous efforts are being expended to contain the conflict and de-escalate hostilities on both sides. Compromise seems possible, but has yet to be implemented.

These events are sensational expressions of the grand cross wherein its primary elements are overtly and dramatically displayed: Plutonic violation, Martial forces, Uranian rebellion, and Jupiterian disputes all locked together in a pressure cooker threatening to explode. And yet, it has not. Thus far the period has not been one of unbridled violence and bloody revolution. Rather, it has been characterized by control and containment of threats. Standoffs, deadlocks, and negotiated truces have been the order of the day. Given the extreme tensions of the grand square—like a molten river of lava rising to the tip of its banks—it is noteworthy that the potential for destruction has been restrained to the extent that it has. Of course, the period is not over; we can only pray the levees hold. 

Meanwhile, enormous efforts are being extended to find solutions to conflicts that have exposed fault lines in the structures and foundations of society. All of this makes sense when we consider the nature of the grand cross, which is more like a strait jacket than a frontal assault. The person within the strait jacket may be quite powerful and experiencing tremendous frustration; he is, after all, involuntarily restrained. Yet, it is precisely the function of the strait jacket to protect the person from harming himself or others. This is an apt description both of the grand cross and the world events in question. 

If I might, allow me to extend this metaphor further. Our man in the strait jacket is ultimately forced to turn inwards to reflect upon his predicament, for until he can find a more constructive expression of his feelings and impulses, he cannot be released. This may lead him to remember and resolve old wounds, experience new insights, and knit together competing aims in ways that once applied allow for substantive achievement. Given the nature of the news media (they have to sell advertising) the viewing public will only see him struggling in his straight jacket howling in protest. When he is at last released to achieve the dream he envisioned during his time of struggle, the media will have moved on to the next crisis—perhaps a desert tortoise trampled by mad cows.

No doubt there are innumerable positive instances that encapsulate the full array of variables involved in the grand cross. Integrated versions are surely occurring in fields that fly below the radar of national headlines: medical breakthroughs combating deadly diseases, advancements in predicting tornadoes, technological innovations in robotics, significant research discoveries in archaeology, peacetime applications for drones, progress in harnessing nuclear fusion, revelations exposing the power of faith, new legislation to reduce the national debt, and on and on. Everyday people simply marching to the beat of the grand cross, admirably and nobly. 

* * * * *
 
Notes:

The Guardian, “Federal rangers face off against armed protesters in Nevada ‘range war’. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/13/nevada-bundy-cattle-ranch-armed-protesters

2 Ibid

3 Perry, Glenn. “Mars square Pluto: Death in a Pressure Cooker,” at: http://www.aaperry.com/index.asp?pgid=113

The Uranus square Pluto World Economy

Uranus square Pluto and
The Astrology of the Times

By Glenn Perry

 

The origins of the statement, “May you live in interesting times,” is reputed to be an ancient Chinese curse, though the English translation does not convey that sentiment. Whatever its origins and intended meaning, it certainly seems to apply to our current age. As of the time of this writing (Spring, 2013), Uranus square Pluto is reflecting a global economic situation that is dangerously unstable, but definitely interesting.

Uranus, of course, rules change, whereas economics falls within Pluto’s domain. When these two planets are at cross purposes, there is tension between conventional fiscal policy and changing times. All the fingers in all the dikes cannot long contain a reservoir of debt that inevitably will burst through the denials and machinations of the world banking system. At the risk of mixing metaphors, we are teetering on the edge of a fiscal cliff—everyone, that is, but China. I refer again to the Chinese curse, for at present their economy seems to be the most likely beneficiary of a western collapse.

Uranus square PlutoAll signs seem to be pointing that the U.S. is going the way of Greece and Europe. Our enabling government with its vast and ever increasing array of entitlements—Medicaid, Medicare, Welfare, and now Obamacare—has more than 50% of the population addicted to wanting more, more, more. And as long as we keep rolling up our sleeves to mainline those promised ‘free’ services, we will keep rolling up the debt until finally we roll right over that cliff into Greeceland. Picture excruciatingly painful withdrawal symptoms (economic austerity on steroids) as we’re coming off a 50-year heroin high that began with LBJ’s ‘great society’ and ‘war on poverty’. Johnson’s programs corresponded with—you guessed it—the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of 1964-1967 that made a loud clang in the middle of his administration, the reverberations from which we are still feeling—or, reeling, depending on your point of view.

Johnson’s attempt to social engineer America into a welfare state was born from the best intentions, a golden road to hell to be sure. When asked by a reporter if it was fiscally prudent to fund the Vietnam War effort and his social welfare programs at the same time he replied, “Heck yeah man, we’re rich!” Various domestic initiatives including Medicare/Medicaid were undertaken to eliminate poverty and racial injustice. Now, with Uranus forming its first square to Pluto since the conjunction, our country is virtually bankrupt from entitlement programs that Johnson either initiated or expanded. No reasonable person is suggesting they be disbanded, but virtually everyone agrees that they are not sustainable in their current form.

An opening square is a Cancer angle and, like the sign, connotes a process of reflection and restraint. Where have we come from? How are we feeling? An opening square entails putting on the brakes, turning inwards, and reversing course if necessary, just as occurs at the summer solstice. This is apt to mean initiating changes (Uranus in Aries) in the way we fund government programs (Pluto in Capricorn). As Pluto symbolizes a process of elimination (cutting, purging, purifying), and Capricorn is inherently a frugal sign, it would seem that times are ripe for cutting wasteful government spending. But this is easier said than done, especially with an incumbent Democratic administration that regards Johnson as one of their patron saints.

Since the Uranus-Pluto square will repeat itself seven times between June 2012 and March 2015, this ‘fight of the century’ is just into its first rounds. As Bette Davis famously warned, “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.” By the end of the evening we may be witnessing a passing of the torch, a shifting of the world’s reserve currency from the dollar to the Yuan, a complete remaking of the global banking system, and an expiration of American economic dominance.

In the meantime, there are interesting developments on the home front, the latest of which is the so called ‘sequester’ that went into effect this past Friday, March 8th, when Saturn and Pluto were in mutual reception and forming an exact sextile. Clearly, this Saturn-Pluto super configuration has its imprimatur upon sequestration. As an idea, sequestration was part of the Budget Control Act of 2011. Across the board, automatic cuts totaling $1.2 trillion were scheduled to begin March 8th, 2013 unless a joint committee made up Republicans and Democrats could agree on better, smarter, more targeted cuts before that date. Regrettably, they could not, and so the sequester went into effect.

It is significant that despite infighting between the two parties, Congress actually made genuine, substantive spending reductions rather than more accounting gimmicks and empty promises of future cuts. This in itself is a victory, which seems to reflect the sextile between Pluto in Capricorn and Saturn in Scorpio (mutual reception). As stated, Pluto in Capricorn is consistent with cutting spending and eliminating waste within government. Saturn in Scorpio entails the same archetypal blend, but from a slightly different perspective. It signifies the proper management of fiscal matters, as in a balanced budget plan that promises to eliminate federal debt over an extended period of time.

At the time of this writing, the House has resurrected the Paul Ryan plan that is geared toward entitlement reform and a balanced budget within ten years. Again, ‘reform’ is a Uranian process, whereas budgetary cuts are consistent with Pluto in Capricorn. Meanwhile, Democrats in the Senate are proposing their own plan, which is likely to have fewer reforms and cuts, but a call for increased tax revenues—that being the difference between the two parties. And so another chapter in the ongoing budget wars of Uranus-Pluto is set to unfold.

* * * * *

 

Outer Planet Sign Positions and Archetypal Politics

Archetypal Politics
And Outer Planet Sign Positions


By Glenn Perry

 

Abstract: Archetypal politics enables us to view differences between political parties as expressions of fundamental ordering principles in the Universe. Republican/conservative policies emphasize two primary values—self-reliance and personal responsibility, which can be grouped under the archetypes of Aries and Capricorn. Democrat/liberal policies are inspired by values of compassion and fairness, which are ruled by Pisces and Libra. Other signs have political relevance, too, but are less dominant in determining public policy. Liberal and conservative values have equal merit and are not mutually exclusive. Outer planet sign positions reflect prevalent values during specific historical periods and the type of collective behavior that results. If the party in power is out-of-synch with values that characterize the spirit of the times, their policies are apt to be counterproductive and cause tension and turmoil in the populace.

Outer Planet Sign Positions
We are now in, as the saying goes, “the silly season”. The airways are flooded with political advertisements as each party fervently promotes their candidate for the national election on November 6th, 2012. Talking heads in the media are entangled in debate with a zeal that transcends the usual conversation. This year as a nation (so we’re told), we face a clear and urgent choice: one party’s good policies or the other’s bad. The other party, of course, is whichever one the speaker happens to disfavor, the policies of which are typically demonized in straw-man terms as extreme, borderline evil, and destructive to the well-being of the economy.

In quieter moments, most of us recognize that reality is not so simple. Archetypal astrology can be helpful in this regard, for it affords an objectivity that enables us to appreciate that each political party embodies certain core values that are linked to fundamental ordering principles in the Universe. These values are not mutually exclusive, but complementary; each has merit when expressed in proper proportion to the others. Conversely, any value can be toxic if expressed in an extreme manner.

General Principles
In the most general sense, Democratic and Republican values are the yin and yang of political discourse. Borrowing from Taoist philosophy, yin refers to the receptive, feminine, unifying principle of the Universe, whereas yang is active, masculine, and differentiating. Yin and yang are complementary, interdependent halves of a whole system—the Tao itself. Likewise, democratic and republican principles are interdependent, complementary halves of a whole system—the body politic. Democratic policies are yin-like in that emphasis is on the collective rather than the individual. “We’re all in this together” is their mantra. Liberal values are akin to spiritual practices: compassion toward all sentient beings, sacrifice for the common good, and the pursuit of a utopian ideal of boundless love in which individual differences are resolved into a common unity.

Conversely, Republican/conservative politics are yang-like in that they place emphasis on rugged individualism, fierce self-reliance, and freedom from restrictions imposed by a monolithic, nanny-like government that overprotects and overregulates. Success is a preeminent value, which is thought to be a product of personal responsibility and hard work (as opposed to government hand-outs, welfare, and the like). Not surprisingly, studies indicate that women tend to gravitate toward liberal, democratic positions, whereas men more readily identify with conservative, republican standards.1

Every sign of the zodiac can be analyzed in terms of its function within the political spectrum. In fact, an argument could be made that each zodiacal sign has a penchant for either conservative/republican values or liberal/democratic ones. Certain signs, however, stand out as exemplary of a party’s platform. For Republicans, Aries and Capricorn fly their banner. Conservatives favor a strong military, individual initiative, competition and free enterprise—all obvious Aries traits—whereas emphasis on responsibility, fiscal restraint, limited government, and climbing the ladder of success reflect Capricorn virtues.

Democratic ideals, on the other hand, are most readily reflected in Libra and Pisces. Democrats reach out to those on the bottom half of the ladder, the little guy who struggles to attain middle class status. Liberal actions are fueled by compassion and concern for the disadvantaged, the poor, and the elderly—all clearly Pisces traits. Also, Democrats are generally anti-war (pro-Libra/anti-Aries), preferring peace through diplomacy to the peace-through-strength policy of conservatives. Finally, Democrats are community and relationship-oriented with an emphasis on Libran principles of equality and fairness. Advantages conferred by class or ethnicity are charged as discriminatory, the rich are exhorted to pay ‘their fair share’ of taxes, and the rights of the oppressed are defended to assure equal opportunity for all.2

By now, the reader may recognize his or her identification with one set of values over another. Note, however, that the zodiac itself has no such bias. Every sign has its part to play in the whole. Likewise, a holistic and balanced political perspective recognizes that neither Republican/conservative nor Democrat/liberal positions should prevail at the expense of the other. When the political organism as a collective is thrown out of balance, it produces symptoms that reflect the nature of its distress—unemployment, depression, inflation, instability, corruption, and the like. Conversely, a more balanced view enables one to ‘reach across the aisle’ and see the merit of the other’s position. The goal then becomes not dominance of one party over another, but a dynamic balance that requires ongoing collaboration and flexibility.

The situation is not unlike what occurs within individual human beings. Political preferences are invariably an expression of one’s psychological makeup. It follows that more impassioned, extreme, and biased political sentiments reflect a psychological imbalance or conflict within the individual. As Jung put it, extremism is shouted down doubt; it’s compensatory to an unconscious counter-attitude that threatens to upset the one-sided, conscious view. Unbalanced attitudes manifest in signs and symptoms of psychopathology—anxiety, reactivity, rigidity, polarized relationships, intense animosity, and an end-justifies-the-means mentality.

Polls consistently show that most people want politicians to work in a bi-partisan manner, which is testament to a universal tendency toward wholeness. Not only is this evident in the macrocosm of nature wherein the rule of evolution is integration of parts into more complex wholes, it is also embodied in the microcosm of human beings who yearn for a political system in which their elected representatives work together to produce balanced legislation that serves the greater good. The opposite, of course, leads to gridlock, polarization, and an inability to get anything done—in short, our current state of affairs.

Expansion and Contraction
In the remainder of this article, we will examine the socio-economic consequences of extreme bias, using astrology to examine the underlying, archetypal causes of the polarized atmosphere that presently prevails in political discourse. In particular, we will focus on correlations of outer planet sign positions to socio-economic trends and ideological eruptions in the body politic. Before doing so, however, it will be helpful to take a brief detour into the realm of Austrian and Keynesian economic theory—the two dominant economic theories in free enterprise systems of government. The reason for this detour will be clear shortly.

According to the Austrian model, economies are living organisms subject to a rhythmic breathing out and breathing in, expansion and contraction in regular, predictable cycles.3 This may have intuitive appeal to astrologers who likewise recognize that the cycle of the zodiac unfolds in a rhythmic alteration of yang and yin signs. In 1974 the Austrian economist, F.A. Hayek, won the Nobel Prize in economics for his theory of the business cycle. Hayek observed there are expansionary periods when demand for products and services are high, in which case people are saving less and spending more. Eventually, however, people have consumed enough and their savings are relatively depleted, at which point they wish to save more. The economy begins to contract. Money pours into the banks, which lower the interest rates they provide to savers in response to the bank’s increase in cash reserves. Businesses benefit from the lower interest rates, for now it makes sense to take out loans and invest in expanding their productive capacities for the next cycle of demand.

During expansionary times when everyone is making and spending money, tax revenues increase. The more people are working, the more taxes they pay. Conversely, during periods of economic contraction, taxable income is lower; thus, federal revenues tend to diminish during the contraction period of the cycle. One can readily see that a natural consequence of the business cycle is the raising and lowering of federal reserves. Austrian economic theory holds that rhythmic deceleration and acceleration of the economy is akin to the breathing in and breathing out of a living organism. If not interfered with, each phase of the cycle is optimally brief and fluid, like an accordion that expands and contracts in the process of producing beautiful music. If federal spending keeps pace with available tax revenues, then we have a balanced budget. Conversely, deficit spending occurs when the federal government spends more money than it takes in.

In an ideal world, governments are flexible, accommodating entities that enact policies that are in accord with the economic tenor of the times. During expansionary periods when they run a surplus, democrat/liberal values necessarily prevail. Expansion of services to the poor and underprivileged are undertaken. New investments can be made in renewing the country’s infrastructure; roads are built, electrical grids updated, and school buildings renovated. More public sector employees can be hired—bureaucrats, teachers, police and firemen—and given generous benefits and pensions. Entitlement programs are initiated or expanded, such as welfare and Medicaid. However, during periods when tax revenues are contracting, Republican policies should carry the day. Budgets are tightened, government is downsized, and fiscal restraint is required.

In the real world, however, governments are reticent to cut back on spending even when circumstances dictate they should. Keynesian economic theory, which is the alternative to the Austrian model, has dominated American and European politics since the 1930’s.4 Keynesian economics is based on an ideal of permanent expansion—a perpetual quasi-boom. To the extent this is possible, it not only assures that businesses keep reaping profits and expanding indefinitely, but government tax revenues likewise increase without end, thus permitting more and more spending on projects designed to build a utopian dream society. In this rosy scenario, the popularity of the current administration never wanes and politicians in power are always re-elected.

Needless to say, this scenario is not particularly realistic; yet, for obvious reasons politicians strive to attain it none-the-less. Their favored means toward this end is having the ultimate bank, the Federal Reserve, artificially lower interest rates in an attempt to stimulate investment, expand production, and increase hiring. Interest rates manipulated by the Federal Reserve no longer move up and down freely in response to market changes; instead, they are adjusted by central planners—the Federal Reserve—in an attempt to perpetuate the expansionary phase. Rates are adjusted not in response to actual economic conditions, but to counter and change conditions that impede a permanent high rate of growth. These manipulations impact the entire banking industry.

One consequence of artificially low interest rates is that businesses take out loans that are not warranted by actual market conditions. Buoyed by the lure of artificially low lending rates, businesses make long term investments toward increasing their rate of production; yet, since consumers are never encouraged to save, their purchasing power to demand those goods is not likely to be there when businesses hope to cash in on their investments. This leads to a discoordination in supply and demand and a misallocation of resources on a massive scale, as when construction companies build more houses than people have the means to purchase.

Further assuring a bad outcome, legislation was passed under Democrats Jimmy Carter (1977) and Bill Clinton (1995) called the Community Reinvestment Act, which mandated banks weaken their lending laws so that low-income earners could obtain mortgage loans, thus priming the real estate bubble that exploded in 2008 when people defaulted in record numbers. Just as the Feds artificially lower interest rates to stimulate business investment, so they have manipulated lending policies (through legislation) to enable borrowers to obtain loans for which they would otherwise not qualify.

Economic instability and malinvestment is further compounded by the Federal Reserve’s expansion of the money supply—again, by artificial means. In order to stave off the contraction half of the business cycle, the feds borrow and/or print dollars out of thin air and inject them into the economy (think amphetamine) to stimulate demand for more goods and services, whether people need them or not. This is colloquially referred to as ‘stimulus packages’ and ‘quantitative easing’ (QA). While such fixes temporarily excite the economy and drive up stock values, they eventually erode the value of the dollar and bring about inflation. Like a drug addict who has to keep upping his dose to get high, people end up spending more and more for less and less. Keynesian economic policies were first instituted by F.D.R. during the depression of the 1930’s. Since then, and as a direct result of Keynesian policies, the dollar has lost 92% of its purchasing power. Inflation in oil/gas prices and commodities is the ever accelerating train that can never be caught.5

The ultimate result of the Feds meddling in the economy for political ends is the boom and bust cycle that has repeatedly afflicted our financial system over the past century. When the bubble economy bursts, as it did in 2008, then banks collapse, businesses fail, and consumers tighten their grip on money that increasingly loses its value as the Fed pumps yet new money into the system to reinflate the bubble. Borrowing and printing dollars to re-stimulate the economy, however, has only one guaranteed effect: it raises the federal debt at an exponential rate. During the current administration (2009-2012), federal debt has climbed from 10 trillion to over 16 trillion dollars, increasing more in three years under Obama than in eight years under Bush.6 Even more ominously, it constitutes a full third of the debt that the United States has accrued over its entire 236 year history.

Many experts believe that Keynesian economic policies have reached the limit of their effectiveness. In effect, the jig is up. Rather than re-inflating the economy, the result has been massive economic uncertainty, unemployment stuck at over 8%, anemic consumer spending, and a freeze on investment that refuses to budge despite the Fed’s near-zero percent interest rate.

Outer Planet Sign Positions
One might wonder at this point, what does this have to with astrology? Recall that in an ideal world governed by Austrian economic theory, both democratic and republican policies have a role to play in the balanced workings of government. During expansionary times when there is a budget surplus, democratic (Pisces and Libra) values come to the fore; conversely, when the economy contracts and there’s a budget deficit, republican (Aries and Capricorn) values predominate—or, at least they should, as common sense would dictate. In fact, however, this is seldom the case.

Even when Republican presidents are in office, they generally have to contend with a Democratic controlled House and/or Senate; thus, their policies are compromised or prevented outright. And while Republicans favor fiscal discipline, the seductive sway of Keynesian economic thought afflicts the entire political spectrum, perpetrating the illusion amongst members of both parties that a quick fix to an economic downturn is always at hand: slash interest rates and flood the system with fiat money. Although fewer Republicans think this way than Democrats, the problem is systemic, resulting in an economy that has the stability of a 100 year-old roller coaster careening about on rickety, rotting timbers.

Difficulty with fiscal restraint is exacerbated when the outer planets are in signs that favor democratic/liberal policies. In other words, government decision-making is influenced in an expansionary direction whenever there is an intensification of democratic values within the collective as a consequence of outer planets occupying liberal signs. And this will occur even when a reduction in spending is required. Before examining this further, let us briefly review the meaning of the outer (or transpersonal) planets—Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto—and their relationship to mass consciousness.

Together, these slow moving ‘heavies’ have a tremendous impact on cultural trends and social values. The German term zeitgeist is useful here, for it means ‘the spirit of the times’ and refers to the intellectual, spiritual, artistic, and political climate within a nation, along with the general mood and morals associated with the era. Each planet makes its own contribution to the mix. Since transpersonal planets occupy signs for relatively long periods—7 years for Uranus, 13 for Neptune, and 12 to 32 for Pluto—their sign positions interact, dissolve, and reform into ever changing symmetrical patterns, a slow motion kaleidoscope that reflects a barely discernible yet inexorable evolutionary march. In effect, the outer boundary of the solar system, marked by the orbits of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, serves as a kind of living, nourishing placenta within which the collective psyche evolves. Each planet-sign combination provides a specific type of archetypal nutrient for a given duration, catalyzing the development and maturation of various human capacities.

Uranus’s sign position signifies a movement to awaken the masses to a more enlightened perspective of that sign. It can also bring about shock and rebellion in a way and in a context symbolized by its sign position. When Uranus was in Pisces from 2003 to 2010 it awakened compassion for marginalized out-groups and oppressed minorities. Homosexual activists, for example, were emboldened and launched a movement that influenced the culture to legally recognize their right to marry. This, in turn, impacted public policy, and a number of states passed legislation recognizing gay marriage. In addition, new programs were instituted in public schools that mainstreamed and redefined homosexuality as merely an alternative sexual orientation, no less normal or healthy than heterosexuality. There were other outcomes of Uranus in Pisces, too, but the gay marriage movement serves to illustrate the general trend.

Neptune stimulates the public’s imagination and sense of idealism with regard to the affairs of its sign position. From 1998-2011, Neptune was in Aquarius, which correlated to an idealization of tolerance and inclusivity as manifest in the new emphasis on multiculturalism, pluralism, and egalitarianism during this period. While Aquarius is not exclusively a liberal sign, it has strong liberal leanings in that it’s associated with change, progress, reform, tolerance, and a kind of post-moral, non-judgmental lenience—virtues solidly in the liberal camp. Neptune in Aquarius culminated in the election of the first U.S. black president, Barak Obama, whose signature accomplishment was ‘ObamaCare’ – health care reform that assured medical coverage for the poor and underprivileged. Similarly, Bill Clinton doubled down on the Community Reinvestment Act started under Jimmy Carter that mandated banks (under threat of fines) to lower lending standards for the sake of racial equality, thus assuring that previously unqualified borrowers could obtain housing loans.7

And finally, Pluto’s sign exposes a particular dimension of our collective shadow. The dark lord signifies an impulse to transform and regenerate the affairs of the sign it occupies. Pluto’s transit through Sagittarius from 1995-2008 had a number of interesting manifestations, not the least of which was the boiling up of an inherent religious extremism within Islam, which tends to pervert religion in the service of bigotry and hatred. Another perversion of religion was also exposed: the systemic pedophilia within the Catholic Church, which some argued was symptomatic of Catholicism’s celibacy requirement for an exclusively male priesthood.8

With regard to economics, Pluto is particularly important, for it rules the financial system in general. When Pluto went into Sagittarius in 1995, we entered a period of unprecedented economic expansion that encompassed two different presidencies—Bill Clinton and George W. Bush—and two distinct booms, one in the tech sector and the other in real estate. Characterized by boundless faith and an elevated sense of possibility, Sagittarius is hopeful and expansive. Consistent with liberal values, it’s associated with growth—as in the growth of government, increased spending, and the impulse to extend oneself for the greater good (philanthropy). Not surprisingly, Pluto in Sagittarius was an era of expanded credit, reckless (subprime) lending policies, excessive market speculation, and mounting debt across the board. In the famous words of then Federal Reserve chairman, Allan Greenspan, the stock market was in the grip of an “irrational exuberance.”

By the time Pluto’s sojourn in Sagittarius ended in 2008, the average U.S. family was $10,000 in debt, an unprecedented figure. Banks were out-on-the-limb with billions in toxic assets from bad mortgages they would never recover. Moreover, federal debt had ballooned to 10 trillion dollars, partly because of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also due to George W. Bush’s ‘compassionate conservatism’ that led to significant spending increases in social programs. Anti-poverty spending increased 39%, housing programs went up 26%, food assistance expanded by 49%, and SSI expenditures designed to help the disabled shot up 36%.9

Of course, spending increases in social programs reflected not only the irrational exuberance of Pluto in Sagittarius, but also the inspired egalitarianism and social justice policies of Uranus in Pisces and Neptune in Aquarius. Piscean values were especially highlighted not merely by virtue of Uranus’ tenancy of that sign, but also because Uranus was in a mutual reception with Neptune in Aquarius, the result being a self-escalating feedback loop that generated a national mood of hyper-liberalism—radical compassion for victims, political correctness run amuck, misguided attempts to eliminate all suffering, value subjectivism leading to moral decline, and social justice policies that advocated not merely equal opportunity but equal outcome for all.

The point is that between 1995 and 2008 the sign positions of the outer planets combined in such a way to create a ‘perfect storm’ that burst upon the public in a torrent of liberal policies that accomplished much good, but also had unintended consequences.10 If the mutual reception of Uranus and Neptune created a volatile gas of radical compassion, Pluto in Sagittarius was the torch that ignited it. Fueled by good intentions and inflamed by a sense of limitless possibility, a firestorm of debt swept across the economic landscape from 1995-2008 that threatened to consume the fortunes of an entire nation.11

Enter Obama
It was against this backdrop that Obama took office on January 21, 2009. Prior to his inauguration, however, and throughout most of 2008, the presidential campaign unfolded in a climate of unabashed liberal-Democrat sentiment. Bush’s ‘compassionate conservatism’ was certainly in synch with the tenor of the times, but his leadership in the war on terror and his decision to invade Iraq eclipsed whatever popularity he might otherwise have achieved (remember, liberals are instinctively anti-war/anti-Aries). So great was the animosity toward the Bush presidency that it undermined the candidacies of Republicans everywhere, paving the way for a complete sweep by Democrats of the House, the Senate, and the Presidency.

In November 2008, the very month Obama was elected, Pluto ingressed into Capricorn where it would remain for the next 14 years. A new economic era had begun. But it may turn out to be an era for which the Obama administration is ill-suited. Over the course of 2008, the firestorm of Pluto in Sagittarius slowly morphed into the ice storm of Pluto in Capricorn. When the dark Lord finally settled into Capricorn for good, the economic climate chilled like a nuclear winter. Wall Street shuddered, and then froze. Lehman brothers went bankrupt. Merrill Lynch and AIG were on life support. And the Federal Reserve was scurrying about in damage control resorting to their usual tricks to stem a tsunami of debt that threatened to capsize the ship of state: more regulation, more intervention, more spending, more money creation, and (you guessed it) more debt. The 700 billion dollar Fed bailout of Wall Street spawned a trillion dollar sequel under Obama—the stimulus package—that was force fed to a comatose economy that swallowed the medicine, burped, and promptly went nowhere.

The great credit freeze was underway. Banks stopped lending. Businesses downsized. Workers were laid off. And everyone started cutting the fat wherever they could. Pluto in Capricorn had tested the soundness of our economy and revealed it for what it was: a bloated, profligate mess. For the first time in more than a decade, people actually began saving. Everyone except the federal government, that is. Driven to ‘stimulate’ the economy while at the same time attempting to regulate away problems it had created with its own Keynesian monetary policy, the government went on a spending spree like Paris Hilton on steroids. From 2009-2012 the Obama administration spent more money per/year than any government in the history of the world—six trillion more than it took in—blowing the national debt up to 16 trillion dollars in less than one term.

To understand the government’s predicament, we have to appreciate the radical change in outer planet sign positions following Obama’s election in November 2008. It wasn’t merely the oceans that parted, it was the heavens. First, Pluto transited out of Sagittarius and into Capricorn. This is like winning a vacation in Vegas and upon arrival being clubbed, mugged, and waking up two months later on a cold day in Washington with a troubling 700 billion debit on your Visa card and a thank you note from the Bush administration stapled to your forehead.

Next, Uranus left Pisces in June of 2010 and at long last broke an incestuous affair with Neptune in Aquarius that had been going on for nearly two decades.12 This transition was epitomized in the 2010 award winning film Blind Side in which a passive, homeless, traumatized youth of a drug addicted single (welfare) mother unexpectedly finds himself in a new family that values self-reliance, courage, and take-no-prisoners competitive zeal. The result: a resuscitated life on the fast track to all American status and first round NFL draft pick. We’re talking Aries here.13 Blind Side is the perfect metaphor for the change in national mood that occurred when Uranus transited into Aries. There was a new toughness in the air, a celebration of initiative and entrepreneurship, and a readiness to fight for the personal and economic freedoms that have been America’s signature strength.

While it’s certainly true that Obama faced a drastic and unexpected change in the archetypal weather following his election, one hoped that he was up to the challenge and could steer the ship of state into safe harbor. But given the values and sentiments that inform his politics, was it realistic to expect that he could? Again, Obama was elected during the perfect storm of Pluto in Sagittarius with Uranus and Neptune in mutual reception. He dreamily embodied the sentiment of that time—the radical compassion of Uranus in Pisces; the idealization of change (toward a more inclusive, humane world) of Neptune in Aquarius; and the hope of limitless prosperity symbolized by Pluto in Sagittarius. His inflated oratory and soaring promise of a new ‘united’ America struck just the right note. Hope and change won the day.

But the only thing that changed was the national tenor, and not in a hopeful direction. Legislative goals that seemed right in 2008 fell flat in 2009-2012—most notably, national health care reform that provides coverage for the previously uninsured but drove up costs and created massive uncertainty for businesses. Obama’s attempts to combat the recession seemed to make things worse—or, at least slow down the recovery. The 2009 stimulus funded a slew of liberal projects, but produced few real jobs. Unemployment figures have remained stubbornly above 8% for 46 consecutive months. Efforts to protect citizens from unscrupulous banking and business practices—that is, to prevent future victimization and suffering (the liberal raison d’etre)—put a stranglehold on economic growth, contributing to the slowest recovery from a recession in our nation’s history.14

Moreover, Medicare is near bankrupt with no realistic plan to fix it. Due to unprecedented and accelerating national debt, America’s credit rating has been downgraded by Standard and Poor’s for the first time ever. Distribution of food stamps has doubled under the Obama administration, encouraged by government ads exhorting the needy to join an ever growing list of recipients. Unemployment benefits that were once merely a temporary aid have been transformed—due to endless extensions—into a way of life for millions of Americans, making them dependents on government welfare.And the Obama foreign policy of appeasement and ‘leading from behind’, which he promised would win over the Muslim world, seems grossly out of synch with the Arab Spring born from Uranus’ ingress into war-like Aries. The militant Muslim Brotherhood has taken over Egypt (at the very least), a resurgent Al Qaeda has murdered our foreign ambassador in Libya, frenzied Islamists have attacked our embassies in twenty countries, Afghan recruits are killing their American trainers, and an increasingly belligerent Iran is on the brink of having a nuclear bomb (with the avowed intention to annihilate Israel). To all this, Obama’s response has been some version of “Let’s not say mean things about our Muslim brothers…and, can’t we all just get along?” Again, a Democrat’s instinctive response to an Aries situation is either Libran appeasement or Piscean denial.

Frankly, hope and change should have been put on hold, but it wasn’t. Rather than tack right after losing the House in the mid-term elections of 2010, Obama doubled down in his attempt to push liberal programs and policies.15 But his efforts have stalled precisely because he is sailing against the tide of Uranus/Aries and Pluto/Capricorn. When he put forth his March 2012 budget to the House, it was defeated 414-0. When it went to the Senate in May, it was unanimously rejected 99-0, and for the same reason: it did nothing to reign in out-of-control federal spending.

While the rest of the country is downsizing, streamlining, and putting the brakes on unnecessary spending, Obama has pressed the accelerator to the floor in an attempt to expand the size of government. If one could convert the rate of deficit spending into MPH (taking inflation into consideration), G.W. Bush was driving at 64 mph, faster than any president before him. However, Obama is driving at 174 mph, nearly three times as fast as Bush.16 Experts warn that unless we slow down, within twenty years mandatory spending (primarily Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest on the national debt) will exceed tax revenues. All discretionary spending (e.g., defense, homeland security, law enforcement, education, etc.) will require borrowing and related deficit spending. Oversight agencies have used such language as “unsustainable” and “trainwreck” to describe such a future.

Making the Tough Decisions
If one accepts that the cosmos is intelligently ordered and unfolds in a purposive manner, then new directives are implicit in the changing of planetary sign positions. We know that adjacent signs are compensatory to one another, with the succeeding sign serving as a corrective to the excesses and deficiencies of its predecessor. Just as economies expand and contract in accord with a natural business cycle, so planets expand and contract as they transition from yang to yin signs. In this way, the zodiac symbolizes a process of perpetual rebalancing. It follows, therefore, that human actions are best ordered when they likewise conform to the natural and orderly rhythms of the heavens. An obvious example occurred in 2008 when Pluto moved from yang, fiery, and expansive Sagittarius to yin, earthy, and conservative Capricorn. Since Pluto rules the financial realm, the entire global economy contracted in perfect synchrony with the change of planetary position. In effect, Pluto in Capricorn served as an injunction, a command to the human world:

This is a time for fiscal discipline and austere economic measures. Run a tight ship. Be frugal, downsize if necessary. Clear the decks and eliminate fluff. This is a shakedown. Organize your finances in a maximally efficient manner and be prepared for lean times ahead.

Capricorn, of course, is associated with hierarchical structures, which is why it is the sign of government. And because Pluto symbolizes a transformational, regenerative process, its occupation of Capricorn suggests a period during which governments are apt to be transformed, especially in a financial sense. Inefficiencies, ethical failures, and flawed policies that compromise the integrity of governance must be rooted out, exposed, and eliminated. This was exemplified in the mid-term elections of 2010 when the populace focused on the economic policies of Congressional Democrats—record deficits, 9% unemployment, and sweeping reforms in the health care system—with the result that Democrats suffered massive defeats and lost control of the House in the largest seat change (63) in any mid-term election since 1938. In addition, Republicans gained a record 680 seats in state legislative races and took control of 29 of the 50 State Governorships.17

During this same period, Uranus transited out of Pisces and into Aries, which was the second sea change that occurred during the Obama presidency. Whereas Uranus in dreamy, idealistic Pisces (2003-2010) awakened compassion for marginalized out-groups and victims of every persuasion, its tenancy of Aries shifted the focus to personal survival, which is the primary need of that sign. Predictably, gun sales skyrocketed in anticipation of a possible breakdown in civil order, such as might occur following a terrorist attack, blackout, natural disaster, or pandemic virus outbreak. Sales nationwide were up 50% to achieve a record high of 992,975 firearms sold in fiscal year 2011.

Uranus in Aries has awakened our collective need to be free, autonomous, and self-reliant individuals. In the Middle East, this has spawned revolts against local tyrants (the Arab Spring) in which young Muslims demanded freedom from their oppressors. Similarly, but less noticeably in the U.S., there has been an explosion of growth in separatist groups and local militias who see the federal government as untrustworthy. The Southern Poverty Law Center released a report stating there were 149 such groups active in the United States in 2009 (before Uranus ingressed into Aries). Today, the number has ballooned to 1,274—an increase of more than 755% in just a few short years.18

There has also been a tremendous increase in survivalism—individuals and groups actively preparing for possible disruptions in the socio-political order. As a movement, survivalism has been fueled by worldwide economic uncertainty (Pluto in Capricorn) as well as doomsday fears associated with December 21st, 2012 (end of the Mayan Calendar). Preparations include building shelters, self-defense training, stockpiling food and medical supplies, and growing one’s own food. Increasing numbers of people are attracted to the idea of living off-the-grid, which means generating your own electrical power and being entirely self-sufficient without need for public utilities.19 All of this is symptomatic of Uranus in Aries.

Whereas individuals and communities are clearly shifting in a conservative (Aries/Capricorn) direction in synchrony with changes in outer planet sign positions, our federal government is not. If anything, Obama has doubled down in his conformity with outer planet sign positions that prevailed when he was campaigning—that is, Pluto in Sagittarius and the mutual reception of Uranus and Neptune. He entered office in early 2009 knowing that federal debt was exploding; yet, instead of promoting policies that supported economic growth and addressed our fiscal entitlement crisis, Obama went in exactly the opposite direction. He passed a massive new entitlement program (ObamaCare) rather than trimming existing ones; he increased annual welfare spending by one third (the largest increase in U.S. history); he weakened Clinton’s 1996 Welfare Reform Act by ending work requirements to receive welfare; and he’s stubbornly sought to raise taxes on top income earners—small business owners that drive economic growth—despite overwhelming evidence that raising taxes during a recession is counter-productive.

With regard to Uranus in Aries, the situation is the same: Obama’s policies have consistently gone against Aries values. Rather than encouraging independence and free enterprise, his policies stifle entrepreneurship and foster dependency on government. Moreover, he favors new gun-control legislation, military downsizing, and a weakening of the U.S. Border Control. When Arizona drew a line in the sand in an attempt to stem the tide of illegal immigration—in other words, took a hardline (Aries) position against the 5000 illegals that stream across our borders every day—the Obama administration sued the state and accused them of racial discrimination. Far from being tough, strong, and decisive in dealing with America’s enemies, critics charge that Obama’s foreign policy is one of comparative weakness, conciliation and apology, as evidenced by his recent refusal to back Israel in drawing a red line to combat Iran’s nuclear threat.

Hand-outs, giveaways, and rescue operations (think Solyndra) have been the hallmark of the Obama administration. At best, such policies might be suitable during an economic boom. In the present era, they seem tone deaf. Headlong pursuit of green energy, clean air, and the welfare state may be defensible during good times, but in bad times it’s like sending your child to an elite private college for $40,000 per/year despite your wife’s need for expensive medical treatments to survive breast cancer. “Sorry honey. I would love to help you out, but Weston just got accepted to Columbia!”

If this sounds like Neptunian denial, maybe it’s because it is. Neptune’s ingress into Pisces—its own sign—in April 2011 harkens back to the halcyon days of the mutual reception when wishful thinking blissfully substituted for reality. No administration in recent memory has been more pilloried for corruption, distortions, cover-ups, deceptions, and outright lying—all bearing Neptune’s signature—than the Obama administration.20 Clearly, the goal is to get our beleaguered president over the finish line for a second term. Political pundits on the right marvel at Obama’s staying power. Given his low approval rating (under 50%), divisive politics (class warfare), anemic foreign policy, soaring deficits, lost jobs, and sputtering economy, Obama is defying gravity. No president since F.D.R. has been re-elected with unemployment over 8%; yet, at the time of this writing, he is still ahead of Romney in the polls. Again, one suspects Neptune is a factor here, not only in Obama’s campaign strategy (deceitful), but in the nation’s willingness to enable his incompetency.

With Neptune in its own sign we should expect an intensification of Piscean sentiments within the culture. As the final sign of the zodiac, Piscean values trump all, and Piscean values reside at the heart of Democrat/liberal politics. This is why Democrats so often presume a contemptuous, moral superiority in their attitude toward Republicans. Who can argue against the spiritual ideal of sacrifice for one’s fellow man and compassion for all sentient beings? Yet, innumerable studies show that too much of a good thing can actually be bad. The psychological term for this is enabling, which means to protect people from the consequences of their own choices. This prevents them from learning and is the equivalent of stealing their karma. Enabling is usually done out of genuine compassion, but with consequences that are unintended. The proverbial road to hell is paved with good intentions, as exemplified in the Community Reinvestment Act that was a prime trigger for the real estate crash of 2008.

Other Neptunian pursuits include meddling and helping too much, which again leads to unintended consequences (usually some version of fostering dependency). Journalist John Stossel has made a career out of exposing the government’s disastrous attempts to help the poor, defeat racism, and eliminate suffering.21 A classic example goes back to the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of the 60’s when Democratic President Lyndon Johnson initiated welfare programs to help inner city black families—his so called ‘war on poverty’. Recognizing that their families would get more money from the government if mothers were single and pregnant (the more children the bigger the check), fathers moved out or never claimed paternity, and black families gradually disintegrated. The result: unemployment among young black males has more than doubled since the 1950’s; imprisonment rates have dramatically increased; and inner city poverty is essentially the same as it was in 1964.

Ironically, poverty in black families had nearly been cut in half in the 20 years prior to the 1960s when government assistance was minimal and most black children were raised in two-parent families. “None of these facts fit liberal social dogmas,” writes black economist Thomas Sowell, with a hint of sadness.22 Likewise, Charles Murray writes in his book Losing Ground: “The first effect [of social-welfare policy] . . . was to make it profitable for the poor to behave in the short term in ways that were destructive in the long term. Their second effect was to mask these long-term losses—to subsidize irretrievable mistakes. We tried to remove the barriers to escape poverty, and inadvertently built a trap.”23

This should not imply that extending a helping hand is always bad; only, that it’s not always good, especially when what’s needed is simply to get out of the way—or, perhaps on some occasions, give a good kick in the pants. When government provides food, shelter, and healthcare to welfare recipients, they lose the incentive to provide for themselves; moreover, they are insulated from having to face the consequences of unfavorable choices. To reevaluate government welfare may seem radical, but perhaps that is precisely what the cosmos is saying with Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn. The global message to humanity seems to be:

Toughen up and get real. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps and stay the course. There’s no free lunch. Life is what you make it, so be accountable for the consequences of your own choices.

If this is one variant of the Prime Directive of the cosmos (for the present), then it’s also what we need to be telling one another; yet, such an attitude flies in the face of liberal-Democrat values. No doubt this is why the Obama administration is struggling to align itself with the tenor of the times. Republican values were certainly not what Obama had in mind by his campaign slogan of ‘hope and change’. It is ironic that by stubbornly adhering to ideals that enjoyed heightened popularity during the last decade—Pluto in Sagittarius, Uranus in Pisces, and Neptune in Aquarius—but that are dangerously out-of-place now, Obama is actually sailing against the archetypal winds of change. Republican vice presidential hopeful, Paul Ryan, describes an Obama presidency desperately clinging to power as it heads into the next election:

It all started off with stirring speeches, Greek columns, the thrill of something new. Now all that’s left is a presidency adrift, surviving on slogans that already seem tired, grasping at the moment that has already passed, like a ship trying to sail on yesterday’s wind.24

Rebalancing the Equation
Even though Neptune is strong in its own sign, Uranus and Pluto give strength to Aries and Capricorn; thus, it would appear that conservative values have a slight edge within the collective psyche for the current decade. The Uranus-Pluto square from 2012-2015 (exact 7 times) will further draw out the respective powers of these two signs, if only by virtue of their struggle with one another. As always, the work at hand is to weave the archetypal strands of fate into a socio-cultural tapestry that is both functional and harmonious. The question arises, how can the body politic best accomplish this?

From the perspective of Austrian economic theory, we are clearly in a contraction phase of the business cycle, which favors Republican/conservative policies of reduced spending, lower taxes, and smaller government. Since the current administration has been unwilling to do this—and, in fact, has moved in precisely the opposite direction—it is possible that this has exacerbated the contraction and prolonged the recession. John B. Taylor, Senior Fellow in Economics at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, writes that excessive government regulations, the stimulus package, quantitative easing (QE), ObamaCare, and a general failure to rein in government spending has caused massive uncertainty within the economy and made business owners reluctant to hire new workers or expand production (thus keeping unemployment high and economic growth low).25

The antidote, of course, would be to move in the direction of policies that are more in accord with Aries and Capricorn values—in other words, Republican policies. Unleash private enterprise by streamlining regulation, and restore business confidence by reducing the deficit and balancing the budget. As every astrologer knows, government is an inherently Capricornian institution. Capricorn favors maximum efficiency, reduction of waste, and a lean and mean style of operation. The principle of contraction manifests as limits, frugality, caution in taking on new projects, and, above all, following tradition—established policies and fixed rules—that have been proven to work and which provide the necessary certainty to plan one’s individual affairs confident in the assurance that no one is going to move the goal posts. Too much ‘hope and change’ plays havoc with the simple, predictable rules that are necessary for an economy to grow.

That Republicans favor lower taxes, smaller government, and less regulation is often shrilly attacked by Democrats as evidence of avarice, uncaring, and selfishness, for it would appear to be at the expense of the needy. The usual charge is that Republicans want to reduce services to the needy and give tax breaks to the rich solely to become more rich (as if greed is their only conceivable motive). Yet, studies consistently show that when taxes are levied at an optimally low rate it increases business investment, raises GDP, and leads to greater tax revenue. The resulting surplus enables government to pay for social programs without having to resort to deficit spending; thus, it’s a win-win situation all around.26

Tax reductions by Harding and Coolidge in the 20’s, Kennedy in the 60’s, Reagan in the 80’s, and Bush in 2003 all immediately stimulated the economy and resulted in tax dollar increases to the federal treasury.27 More money in tax revenues means more people have jobs, since they are the ones paying the taxes. In states with current Republican governors, the average unemployment rate is a full point lower than in states with Democratic governors. Moreover, says Governor Bob McDonnell of VA with obvious pride, “Republican governors lead seven of the ten states with the lowest unemployment rates, and 12 of the 15 states ranked best for business. While the Obama administration borrows over $3 billion a day just to keep the lights on, Republican governors have closed $65 billion in budget shortfalls, without raising taxes.”28

With Neptune in Pisces through 2025, there’s no question that Democrat/liberal values will remain strong in the body politic. What we should be shouting from the rafters, however, is that government is not the only, and certainly not the best, vehicle for dispensing charity and expressing compassion. In fact, government was never designed to be a Piscean charity dedicated to rescuing the poor, sick, or elderly. Prior to the inception of the modern welfare state under F.D.R. in the ‘30’s (Uranus closing square to Pluto), and expanded by L.B.J. in the ‘60’s (Uranus conjunct Pluto), charity had always been the province of individuals and communities, usually headed by local churches and fraternal societies who purportedly did a better job than the welfare state.29 Now, with Uranus again aligning with Pluto (opening square), there is an urgent need to put the brakes on and reassess the wisdom of federal programs that are linked to this planetary pairing.

An abundance of evidence suggests we need to reverse course, as is common with the square. The reason is simple. By siphoning funds away from the private sector and funneling them into failed government projects to help the disadvantaged (examples are endless), government actually diminishes the ability of civil society to deal with the problems of living. For example, Charles Murray writes in his classic text Losing Ground that poverty was steadily declining through the ‘50’s and ‘60’s until L.B.J’s ‘Great Society’ programs kicked in at the start of the ‘70’s.30 Echoing Thomas Sowell, Murray argues that Johnson’s ‘War on Poverty’ actually made things worse for its intended beneficiaries. By eroding self-reliance, destroying families, and making more and more people dependent on government, welfare has been a disaster and quite possibly one of the worst ideas in the history of the planet.

This led to welfare reform under the Newt Gingrich led Republican Congress during Clinton’s tenure. Responding positively to pressure from Gingrich, Clinton famously trumpeted his intention “to end welfare as we know it,” and later stated that the 1996 legislation they mutually enacted allows us “to break the cycle of dependency that has existed for millions and millions of our fellow citizens, exiling them from the world of work.”31 Gingrich went on to find more effective ways to increase employment opportunities for the poor—encouraging volunteerism and spiritual renewal, creating tax incentives, and reducing regulations for businesses in poor neighborhoods. In his volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity, Gingrich observed it was more rewarding for people to be actively involved in improving their lives—building their own homes—than to simply receive a welfare check.32

The point is that Neptune in Pisces can be utilized for the greater good by taking the initiative (Aries) and assuming personal responsibility (Capricorn) for acts of charity and compassion (Pisces). This can take the form of volunteerism, being a good neighbor, or joining any of innumerable organizations dedicated to good works, all of which are time honored traditions of particular relevance today. Again, this had been the norm for the greater part of human history up to the 20th century when the force that leveled it was indeed powerful—the modern welfare state. It’s easy to feign being an altruistic person while projecting responsibility for charity onto the nanny-state, but to walk the walk one needs to take responsibility for being charitable within one’s means. The great tragedy of the welfare state is that it not only undermines self-respect and turns people into semi-permanent victims, it also diminishes any sense of responsibility the average citizen feels for helping his fellow humans. Increasingly relieved of both duty and financial means for voluntary acts of compassion—since government usurps the role—our capacity for altruism atrophies over time.

One of the more intriguing aspects of astrology is how planetary configurations can be integrated into more functional wholes. Uranus in Aries, Neptune in Pisces, and Pluto in Capricorn all have a part to play in the cultural zeitgeist; yet, all are interdependent, too, especially with Uranus and Pluto in square. While Uranus is awakening the collective to the importance of personal freedom, individual initiative and self-reliance, Pluto is transforming government into a more financially responsible, fiscally disciplined entity. In combination, this suggests a cultural movement to aggressively demand an administration that is sufficiently self-restrained and non-interfering that it supports free enterprise to the maximum extent possible. For this to occur, government has to rein in spending, eliminate excessive regulatory burdens, and once again allow individuals to assume responsibility for their own welfare.

At the same time, Neptune in Pisces highlights a collective concern for the disadvantaged. This concern, however, does not occur in a cultural vacuum; it must find a way to combine with the implicit injunctions of Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn. If these latter injunctions are obeyed, it suggests a restoration of personal responsibility for individual acts of charity. With less money being drained by inept government programs that actually encourage dependence, more is available to the private citizen that can be funneled into reputable charities that empower recipients to truly change their lives.

We have all heard the saying, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.” In keeping with Aries and Capricorn values, attempts to help the needy should stress the importance of self-help, good character, and living a prudent lifestyle if the individual expects to regain self-reliance. Charitable organizations in the past believed that aid given without nourishment of a man’s character would accomplish little except to demean him. Obviously, there are those who due to chronic illness, disability, or old age will never be entirely self-reliant; yet, others are gaming the system out of an inflated sense of entitlement, encouraged and abetted by policies that are excessively lenient.33

Beyond doing everything that can be done to help those who cannot help themselves, a strenuous effort should be made to help those who can help themselves do just that: help themselves. This means championing policies that encourage self-improvement, personal initiative, entrepreneurship, and participation within a competition-driven free market economy, for it is only through wealth creation that poverty is reduced and human progress assured. In a recent campaign speech, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney contrasted enabling with empowering by stating a simple but obvious truth: “Compassion should not be measured by how many people are on welfare, but by how many people you have helped find jobs.”

As a Mormon, Romney was brought up in a tradition that stressed personal responsibility, spiritual faith, and good character as the most effective combatants of indigence. In its 1936 “Church Welfare Plan,” the Mormon Church formulated the guidelines that underpinned their policy on charity. Not only was it framed during the last square of Pluto and Uranus, but it seems exceptionally appropriate now in providing a model that integrates Pluto in Capricorn, Uranus in Aries, and Neptune in Pisces under one inclusive policy. The plan was simply: “A system under which the curse of idleness would be done away with, the evils of a dole abolished, and that independence, industry, thrift and self-respect be once more established amongst our people. The aim of the Church is to help the people to help themselves.”

Summary and Conclusion
Growth of government and deficit spending is exacerbated when the cultural zeitgeist favors liberal values, as occurs when the outer planets occupy liberal signs. This was the situation that prevailed during the ‘perfect storm’ of Pluto in Sagittarius and Uranus and Neptune in Aquarius or mutual reception, which traversed the period from 1995-2008 and culminated in the election of Barack Obama. Following Obama’s election and with Democrats in control of the House, the Senate and the Presidency, the national debt exploded. At the current rate of deficit spending, the Obama administration will have increased the national debt by more in a single presidency than all previous presidents combined: 12 trillion dollars in 8 years.

During Obama’s first term, all of the outer planets changed signs, which is highly unusual and underscores that we are living in a time of tremendous transition. With Uranus and Pluto moving into Aries and Capricorn, the cultural zeitgeist shifted rather suddenly from hyper-liberalism to strong conservatism. While the country as a whole lurched strongly to the right as evidenced by the emergence of the Tea Party and the rout of Democrats in the mid-term elections, Obama and the Democrat-controlled Senate doubled down, dug in their heels. and clung tenaciously to their leftist agenda. The resulting stalemate set the stage for a referendum in the presidential election of November 6.

In effect, the Obama presidency is sailing against the archetypal winds, but not entirely. Neptune has ingressed into its own sign, Pisces, which heightens liberal values of charity and compassion. As every outer planet-sign combination constitutes a cosmic injunction, Neptune in Pisces has to accommodate itself to the radically different agendas of Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries. If all three can function together in an integrated way, we could have a fiscally disciplined administration that liberates entrepreneurship and free enterprise which, in turn, promotes charity from the bottom up rather than the top down. In other words, by reining in spending, government would empower individuals and communities to take responsibility for helping the least among us become strong, self-reliant, productive citizens.

The great irony of our times is that by acting more Republican we better achieve Democratic ideals. Each side is enriched by its counterpart; thus, through fiscal discipline and smaller government, charities at state and local levels are reinvigorated. One thing is certain: if we continue to export responsibility for charitable giving onto the federal government we will soon be in need of it ourselves, for there will be no more government to depend on; it will be bankrupt, and so will we. For a preview, one merely has to look at Europe. America is approaching a tipping point where fewer and fewer people are working for more and more dependents. This is like bailing out a sinking ship during a heavy storm by taking water from the bow and pouring it into the stern. Such a ship cannot long stay afloat, much less arrive at its destination.

In the final analysis, the issue is not which party is right, but which party is right for the times. If we identify too rigidly with either side of the political equation, we become cardboard stereotypes of the worst of each tradition: the cold, heartless, greedy Republican or the morally smug, bleeding heart, airhead Democrat. In truth, real people embody both sensibilities to varying degrees, and neither side has a monopoly on goodness. The goal is to recognize and integrate complementary opposites, adjusting one’s sails to the archetypal winds so that a dynamic equilibrium is maintained over time.

Archetypal astrology postulates that the real spiritual ideal is differentiation and coordination of all modes of being into a balanced whole. From a Gods-eye view, Aries and Capricorn are no less valued for their toughness and hardness than Pisces for its softness. In the current archetypal zeitgeist, all three have to be woven into a functional composite that complies with the Prime Directive of the cosmos:

Transform organizations at every level and make them fiscally responsible. Respect limits, but do not fail to act in your own self-interest, for if you cannot help yourself you cannot help another. Encourage the weak, do not enable them. While compassion has no limits, the gift of charity is best given with conditions that foster self-reliance.

* * * * *

Notes

1 The so called ‘gender-gap’ underscores the archetypal nature of politics. For decades women have been more closely aligned with the Democratic Party and men more likely to identify as Republicans. The gender gap—the difference between how men and women vote—represents on average a seven point gulf between the sexes during presidential elections.

2 Excessive focus on leveling the playing field sometimes devolves into attempts to level the natural social and economic hierarchy, i.e., extreme liberalism aspires to assure equal outcomes with regard to success, happiness, and prosperity. Conservatives argue, however, that people differ in their motivation and capacity for success. Different views on this point reflect the tension of the square between Libra/liberals and Capricorn/conservatives.

3 Hayek, F.A. (2007). The road to serfdom: The definitive edition. Chicago: U. Of Chicago Press

4 John Maynard Keynes was a 20th centry British economist whose ideas profoundly affected the theory of modern macroeconomics and informed the monetary policies of governments. For more, go to: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/k/keynesianeconomics.asp#ixzz27FuazDM0

5 For example, since Obama took office the price of gas has doubled. While not the only cause, devaluation of the dollar through expansion of the money supply is thought to be a major cause.

6 Bush increased the debt from 5 trillion to 10 trillion in eight years.

7 Again, this was one of the prime causes of the economic meltdown that occurred in 2008 when borrowers massively defaulted on mortgage payments they could not afford.

8 By definition, to be a priest in the Catholic Church means you are sexually repressed, or need to repress your sexuality, or have no particular interest in woman to start with. Whatever the case, it does not bode well for normal expression of sexual feeling.

9 Biggs, Andrew G., “Claims and Facts: Common Arguments against SS Reform Featuring Voluntary Personal Retirement Accounts,” Cato Institute, 9 July 2002, http://socialsecurity.org/pubs/articles/art-biggs020709.pdf.

10 So total was the liberal hegemony of the period that by 2008 it spawned a host of conservative books as a kind of counter-insurgency. The titles speak volumes: Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg (2008); The Tyranny of Liberalism by James Kalb (2008); The Tyranny of Nice by Kathy Shaidle (2008).

11 In Europe, these same policies ultimately bankrupted Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Ireland, who survive now largely by virtue of Germany’s largesse.

12 Neptune and Uranus were conjunct in Capricorn from ’92-95; were in the same sign (Aquarius) from ’98-2003; and were in mutual reception from 2003-2011.

13 As so often happens with memorable films, they metaphorically encapsulate emergent ideas, values, and evolutionary trends circulating within the objective psyche at the time of their release. In this regard, they are like collective dreams.

14 The Dodd-Frank act of 2010 produced 8,840 pages of new restrictions and made starting a new business exceedingly difficult. Over the past three years, economic growth has been creeping along at an average of 1.7% (as compared to 2.7% during the Bush presidency). For more comparisons, see peter Wehner’s article: “In Bush v. Obama, Bush Wins in a Rout,” at: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/article/in-bush-v-obama-bush-wins-in-a-rout/

15 Faced with an identical situation in 1994, Bill Clinton famously declared, “The era of big government is over,” rolled up his sleeves, and began working with a Republican controlled Congress headed by Newt Gingrich. The result: a balanced budget, tax revenue surplus, and booming economy.

16 Using this same conversion rate, Reagan was at 50 mph under a Democratic Congress. Under a Republican Congress, Clinton was at 18 mph (thank you, Newt). Under Obama and a Democratic Congress, the debt has exploded from 10 trillion to 16 trillion in three years, or 2 trillion per/year (Bush was only 500 billion per/year). See “The National Debt Road Trip” at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=P5yxFtTwDcc

17 See ‘United States Elections, 2010’, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_elections,_2010

18 “Obama’s election sparked dramatic rise in militia groups in US, report finds”. http://thegrio.com/2012/03/08/officials-see-rise-in-militia-groups-across-us/

19 “The Business of Survival: A Look at Growing Trends and 2012,” by Scott D. http://survivalblog.com/2012/03/the-business-of-survival-a-look-at-growing-trends-and-2012-by-scott-d.html

20 See, for example, Promoting Decline: Obama vs. America by Scott Wheeler. Obama’s America: Unmaking the American Dream by Dinesh D’Souza. The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House by Edward Klein. Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies by Michelle Malkin. Any one of these books is alarming but collectively they paint a picture of a president who is astonishingly arrogant, callow, incompetent, deceitful, treacherous, and destructive.

21 See Stossel’s books. Give Me a Break (2005) documents his opposition to government regulation and his rationale for shifting social services from government to private charities. His second book, Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity (2007) exposes the ineffectiveness of government programs that purport to help victims. His latest book, No, They Can’t: Why Government Fails – But Individuals Succeed (2012) extends the argument for individual initiative over government dependency.

22 “The Welfare State: Rhetoric vs. Reality,” by Thomas Sowell, WND Commentary, 03/19/12, http://www.wnd.com/2012/03/the-welfare-state-rhetoric-vs-reality/

23 Murray, Charles (1994). Losing ground: American social policy, 1950-1980). New York: Basic Books

24 From his address at the RNC Convention, September 9, 2012

25 Taylor, John B. First principles: Five keys to restoring America’s prosperity. New York: W.W. Norton

26 Hubbard, Glenn R., “Tax Cuts Won’t Hurt the Surplus,” Wall Street Journal, 22 August 2001, p. A16

27 Jackson, G. Conservative comebacks to liberal lies. Ramsey, NJ: JAJ Publishing, p. 291-293

28 From Governor McDonnell’s speech at the RNC in September, 2012

29 Blanchette, Jude. “The Shortcomings of Government Charity: Private Charities Offer the Best Cure for Chronic Poverty,” in Freeman, May 2007, Volume 57, Issue 4.

30 Murray, Ibid

31 Skorneck, Carolyn (July 31, 1996). “Clinton Says He Will Sign Welfare Overhaul; House Passes It.”. Associated Press

32 Gingrich, N. (1998). Lessons learned the hard way. New York: HarperCollins Publishers

33 After their unemployment finally runs out, an increasing number of people now apply for disability—generally for some form of alleged “mental illness” such as depression—which applicants claim prevents them from working. See: “As unemployment benefits claims decline, disability claims rise,” at: http://www.pri.org/stories/politics-society/government/as-unemployment-benefits-claims-decline-disability-claims-rise-7705.html

Saturn & Pluto in Mutual Reception

Move Over Darth Vader
Saturn & Pluto in Mutual Reception

 

by Glenn Perry

 

mutual receptionOn October 6th, 2012 Saturn ingressed into Scorpio where it will remain for the next two years. In the meantime, Pluto is in Capricorn until 2023. Since Pluto rules Scorpio and Saturn rules Capricorn, these two planets are occupying one another’s sign. In astrology, this is called a ‘mutual reception’ as each planet is the dispositor of the other. A dispositor is a planet that rules the sign that another planet occupies. Accordingly, when Saturn in Scorpio is stimulated, it activates Pluto in Capricorn, which, in turn, reactivates Saturn in a circular feedback loop, intensifying and escalating the exchange of energies over time.

To give you a picture of what this could look like in real life, imagine a market analyst studying the global financial system. As a consequence of his hard work and perseverance, he makes a startling discovery that changes his entire way of thinking about monetary fluctuations. This new knowledge leads to successful investments that net him substantial profits, which he funnels back into his company by hiring the best market analysts he can afford. Since their combined expertise is greater than his alone, this leads to yet new insights into the global financial system and even greater profits, which he again reinvests into his company. This cycle continues for two years, at the end of which he has grown a company that not only is exceedingly successful, but is a virtual powerhouse of cutting edge information on the current state of the economy.

In the above scenario, the relevant variables are combined in a working metaphorical model that captures the essence of the configuration. Saturn symbolizes a process of striving, improving, and mastering something over time. And since Scorpio rules the financial world (banking, the stock market, investments, and the like), Saturn in Scorpio suggests the gradual mastery of economic complexities. Although Scorpio has other connotations, too, including sex, death, and healing, I will limit myself to its financial associations for the sake of keeping things simple.

Pluto in Capricorn operates in a similar way. As the ruler of Scorpio, Pluto is concerned with economics and the world of finance. On a more abstract level, it symbolizes processes of transformation, renewal, and empowerment. Capricorn corresponds to the principle of contraction, hard work and perseverance, as well as large, hierarchical structures like governments. Since Capricorn both qualifies and receives the energy of Pluto, this suggests a period during which organizations are likely to be restructured and transformed into leaner, more efficient enterprises. Pluto, in effect, will work hard and persevere in its attempt to cleanse organizations—especially governments—of waste, corruption, and mismanagement.

Again, a dispositor rules the sign that another planet is in. Dispositorships show linkages between planets as well as the direction and sequence of their unfoldment. The disposed planet relies upon its dispositor to realize goals set in motion by its own actions. It follows that the dispositor acts in the service of the planet it disposes. When two planets are in mutual reception, their actions are interdependent, with each planet being both the reason for and the consequence of the actions of the other planet. The process is one of circular causality. In effect, they are locked in a continuous embrace that intensifies and deepens over time.

As to whether the relationship will be mutually fruitful, one must consider the nature of the angle between the respective signs. In this case, Scorpio and Capricorn are sextile (60 degrees) which suggests a relatively harmonious exchange of energies. Transiting the sign of Scorpio and being the faster of the two planets, Saturn is forming a closing sextile to Pluto in Capricorn. Aquarius is the sign that marks the last sixty degrees of the zodiacal cycle; thus, any closing sextile is an Aquarian angle since it marks the last sixty degrees in the synodic cycle of the two planets. This means that Saturn and Pluto’s relationship must be consecrated in the service of change, awakening, and liberation—core themes of Aquarius.1

To return to our earlier metaphor of the market analyst, recall that “he makes a startling discovery that changes his entire way of thinking about monetary fluctuations.” In this simple metaphor, we can glimpse how Saturn and Pluto might combine for the sake of Aquarian discovery and progress. Even while the focus of Saturn and Pluto is decidedly practical, having much to do with money and power, they are relating in a manner that can potentially lead to substantive reforms in an area of mutual interest. This can be for good or ill. The closing sextile merely says there is the potential for change and progress in domains ruled by the planets and signs involved. That it’s a mutual reception underscores that the outcome will be either very good, or very bad, for the behavior of the two planets is mutually reinforcing over time.

Pluto in CapricornTo illustrate this, consider (as another metaphor) the relationship of Darth Sidious and Darth Vader in Star Wars. Darth Sidious is the evil Sith Lord and the true, yet hidden, identity of Senator Palpatine, the seemingly benevolent father figure to young Anakin Skywalker. Ultimately, of course, Anakin is seduced by Palpatine into becoming his henchman, Darth Vader (Dark Father), whose awesome powers are perverted in the service of Palpatine’s final goal—transformation of the galaxy into a unified state under his absolute control. In other words, two Sith Lords—Darth Sidious and Darth Vader—team up to foment a dark revolution, Aquarian change for the sake of tyranny.

Saturn in ScorpioIn this metaphor, Palpatine/Darth Sidious is Saturn in Scorpio, politician and Supreme Leader (Emperor) with decidedly scorpionic traits. Manipulative, cunning, and sinister, his intent is to use Vader to advance his evil ends. Darth Vader, of course, is Pluto in Capricorn, who employs his ruthless power to force the masses into submission to the Emperor. With Vader’s every success, Palpatine grows stronger and rewards his young protégé with new lessons in the art of evil, promising Vader that he will ultimately learn to control (Saturn) even death itself (Scorpio). Note how their relationship revolves around Saturn/Capricorn themes of fathers and governmental authority and Pluto/Scorpio themes of transformation, occult power, and death. Yet, their relationship is consecrated to an Aquarian (closing sextile) goal of fomenting change and revolution, albeit for a malevolent purpose.2

Ali KhameneiReturning to the real world, one can’t help but be reminded of the relationship between Ayotollah Ali Khamenei of Iran and his henchman, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The cleric Khamenei is Supreme Leader and holds absolute power, whereas Ahmadinejad is president and political leader loyal to Khamenei. In this case, Khamenei is the dark, shadowy figure in the background, the plutonian puppet master who pulls the strings of government (Pluto in Capricorn), whereas Ahmadinejad is the political ‘face’ of Iran (Saturn in Scorpio) whose actions are faithful to Khamenei’s machinations.

Mahmoud AhmadinejadIn the service of advancing Iran’s Islamic Revolution, both have oppressed, tortured, and murdered Iranian citizens—dissidents and rebels—and have been roundly condemned by the international community. Perhaps more ominously, Iran’s persistent efforts to develop a nuclear arsenal may be in the service of their ultimate goal of global Islamic revolution toward a Universal Caliphate (world domination under Islam and Sharia Law). That the world appears to be headed for a showdown over Iran’s nuclear ambitions—a “red line” in the words of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu—adds further weight to the idea that Saturn and Pluto’s mutual reception is negatively embodied in the partnership of Khamenei and Ahmadinejad.

There will doubtless be thousands of different expressions of Saturn/Pluto throughout the world, from the heights of global politics to the trenches of everyday business. Yet, all will be equally representative of the meaning symbolized by Saturn and Pluto in mutual reception. The advantage of speculating on outcomes is that each manifestation makes concrete the more abstract meaning of the configuration.

Since the sextile tends to be a harmonious aspect, I would be remiss if I did not speculate on positive manifestations as well. Again, these will most likely be evident within the political and economic spheres. We might anticipate, for instance, that if the Romney-Ryan ticket wins the upcoming U.S. presidential election there will be substantive reforms in government and finance that Republicans hope will jump-start the economy and increase jobs. If Obama wins the election, it is more difficult to see how things will change for the better, as it’s likely he will implement the same policies and strategies that were in place during his first term (see accompanying article on Archetypal Politics).

In fact, the mutual reception of Saturn and Pluto is a conservative’s dream, for the heavy Saturn/Capricorn emphasis suggests that financial decisions under governmental control will trend toward smaller and more limited government, fiscal discipline, tax cuts to stimulate business, a streamlining of business regulations, debt reduction, and a balanced budget. Note how the operative words smaller, limited, discipline, cuts, streamlining, and reduction are all Capricorn/Saturn terms applied to the Scorpio/Pluto world of finance. Equally, the heavy Scorpio/Pluto emphasis suggests that hierarchical organizations will be subject to a process of cleansing and renewal. Waste will be eliminated, corruption exposed, and organizations transformed in a manner conducive of greater integrity. In this case, the terms cleansing, renewal, elimination, exposure, transformation, and integrity all reflect Scorpio/Pluto processes as applied to the Capricorn/Saturn sphere of government. In effect, it’s quite possible that Saturn and Pluto will be working hand in hand to the mutual benefit of both the economy and government itself.

Par7253835Not surprisingly, the above analysis of Saturn and Pluto in mutual reception is entirely consistent with the Romney-Ryan plan for reforming government. Romney is the virtual embodiment of Saturn in Scorpio—a genuine tycoon, former governor, and CEO with a reputation for restoring the financial health (Scorpio) of failed enterprises, from businesses on the brink to an Olympics rife with corruption and incompetence. In this regard, he appears to be uniquely qualified for tackling our current problems in government and the economy—high unemployment, low growth, a stubborn recession, deficit spending, ballooning national debt, and the general incompetence of the Obama administration. Ryan, on the other hand, is Pluto in Capricorn, an economics major in college that specialized in Austrian macroeconomic theory—free enterprise capitalism that stresses the importance of non-interference from government, lower taxes, and fiscal restraint—all bearing Capricorn’s signature. The closing (Aquarian) sextile is implicit in their joint efforts to change the direction of the country.

Paul RyanIn picking Ryan as his running mate, Romney is implicitly backing Ryan’s budget proposals and ideas for reforming entitlements. Likewise, in accepting Romney’s invitation to be his vice-president, Ryan is implicitly backing Romney’s proposals for a leaner, less wasteful, and tighter organizational structure to government. Considered by many to have a brilliant mind and unique grasp of the financial system as a whole (he’s a Sun sign Aquarius), Ryan has been hailed as the Republican leader in efforts to transform government into a more fiscally responsible entity. As chairperson of the House Budget Committee, he has advanced one of the boldest and most detailed plans of any incumbent politician on either side of the aisle.

In his role as Saturn-in-Scorpio chief executive, Romney’s plan is to streamline government by cutting unnecessary programs that are not worth having to borrow money from China to maintain. He is also in favor of pruning burdensome and excessive federal regulations that discourage start-up companies. Further, he wants to lower taxes across the board to stimulate business expansion, as well as eliminate tax loopholes for the rich, both of which will increase tax revenues. Responsible drilling, mining, and extracting available energy resources (Scorpio penetration and assimilation) is yet another Romney/Saturn-in-Scorpio strategy for making the United States more economically secure. Finally, his promise to repeal Obamacare assures that entitlement expenditures will not further increase the national debt, while also assuring businesses they can move forward secure in the knowledge that federally mandated expansion of their company health plans will not drain resources that otherwise could be channeled into growth.

Again, Paul Ryan is the perfect complement to Romney. As Pluto-in-Capricorn financial wizard for the conservative cause, Ryan’s economic acumen empowers Romney’s pro-business version of smaller government. Likewise, Romney’s executive expertise supports Ryan’s plan to save Social Security, reform Medicare, and pre-empt a Greece-like debt crisis by balancing the budget now before it’s too late. Ryan compares deficit spending to a kind of cancer that is slowly destroying the body politic, and which only surgical cuts to out-of-control spending can heal. Note the obvious Scorpionic/Plutonian imagery—cancer, destroying, surgical cuts, heal.

It is perhaps prescient that Ryan warns the nation has approximately a two-year window to act, after which a debt crisis of the sort that crippled Greece is all but inevitable. Whether one believes their plan will work, there is no question it perfectly reflects the nature of the mutual reception that will unfold over the next two years.

* * * * *

Notes:

[1] This gets into aspect theory, the general rule of which is that an aspect derives its meaning from the nature of the sign that constitutes that angle in the natural zodiac. In turn, every zodiacal sign derives its meaning from the angle it forms to the vernal equinox. All meanings in astrology are essentially derived from angles that constitute phases of a whole (360 degree) cycle.  

 

[2] There are many ways in astrology of saying the same thing—or, at least something similar. In George Lucas’ chart, he has Pluto forming an opposition to Moon in Aquarius in the 10th house. Thus, we have the Moon in the sign of Aquarius (the closing sextile) and in the house of Capricorn/Saturn (the 10th) with Pluto, ruler of Scorpio, opposing it. Accordingly, all the elements of the mutual reception we’ve been discussing are present, with the addition of the Moon.

Saturn Opposed Uranus 2008-2010

Saturn Opposed Uranus 2008-2010
Reflections on the State of the Union

By Glenn Perry

 

Saturn opposed UranusOur field is obsessed with predictions, as if that is the primary value of astrology. I take the opposite view: reflecting on events that are currently unfolding has the greater educative value. Prediction of events correlating to world transits like Saturn opposed Pluto seems to be predicated on the assumption that foreknowledge will somehow insulate us from what is to be—or, even more ambitious, enable us to prevent calamities slated to occur. Even assuming our predictions are correct (they are on occasion), I seriously doubt they accomplish these objectives, which are of questionable value in any case.

Real empowerment comes from embracing our fate rather than trying to second guess the cosmos in the hope of averting dreaded outcomes. I’m not advocating passive acquiescence, but active engagement with archetypal forces fortified by an intention to learn and grow through our experiences. Reflecting on current events helps to consolidate lessons learned and facilitates a process of evolution that may be the ultimate purpose of any planetary movement.

With this in mind, let’s reflect on a primary aspect that unfolded in the sky over the past few years. On November 4th, 2008, Saturn and Uranus opposed one another for the first time since 1967. Over the next two years, they opposed four more times—02/05/09, 09/15/09, 04/26/10, and 07/26/10. While other notable astrological events occurred during this period, not the least of which was Pluto’s ingress into Capricorn in 2008, the Saturn-Uranus opposition seemed to pound its stamp upon the period with a loud thud and unmistakable clarity. Daily we read in the headlines that the earth was wracked with convulsions; devastating earthquakes in Haiti and Chile; global warming and rising sea levels; volcanic explosions in Iceland; and the never ending Gulf oil spill disaster. Similar upheavals afflicted the political sphere—record deficit spending; tea party revolts; Islamic extremists within the U.S.; the immigration crisis in Arizona; health care reform and the increasing polarization of American political life.

Connecting the Dots

As significant as these events were individually—both ecologically and culturally—it is not immediately clear how they might be connected unless one understands the meaning of Saturn opposed Uranus. From the time Obama was elected in November of 2008 and through the summer of 2010, this astrological aspect wreaked havoc within our cultural, political, and economic landscape—not to mention our atmosphere and oceans. Seen from the retrospective of archetypal astrology, however, these events can be understood as necessary precursors and catalysts to a new order that emerged most decisively in the autumn of 2010.

Because astrology is an archetypal (metaphorical) language, it enables us to track meaningful correspondences between human experiences and planetary alignments. Terrestrial events occurring within the same time frame may be substantively different. For example, a volcanic eruption is different than a tax revolt. Yet, their qualitative similarity (both are uprisings) suggests they may be archetypally connected. Not only can these events be qualitatively similar at different dimensional levels—cultural and ecological—but more importantly each event is consistent in meaning with a single astronomical corollary. Just so with all the other events listed above; each can be understood in the context of Saturn opposed Uranus. Astrology, in short, reveals qualities of durations of time. In so doing, it enables us to see connections between events that are substantively different but meaningfully consistent at an archetypal level.

Configurational Meaning

When viewed in the context of recent events, the Saturn-Uranus opposition is quite telling. Uranus signifies change, revolution, and liberation (or liberalism). When occupying the sign of Pisces (2003-2011), the Uranian impulse for progressive, humanitarian action operates from the perspective of compassion for human suffering and a transcendent vision for a more ideal world. Saturn, on the other hand, is the antithesis of Uranus in that it represents structure, limits, and control. When occupying Virgo (2007-2010), the Saturnian impulse to regulate operated in a context of pragmatic concern for efficient problem solving. Saturn, signifying the principle of contraction, tried to slow or reduce the changes that progressive Uranus was hell bent to achieve. It also assumed the burden of cleaning up problems that resulted from Piscean excesses and inefficiencies.

With Uranus and Saturn opposed in Pisces and Virgo, it was no surprise that a socio-political conflict erupted between two dominant ideas—visionary change in the service of a utopian ideal and reactionary resistance for the sake of traditional values. In short, political partisanship intensified during the period that these two planets were polarized in the heavens. On November 4th, 2008, the very day Barack Obama was elected president, Saturn in Virgo formed its first exact opposition to Uranus in Pisces. Throughout the 2008 presidential campaign, it was clear that Obama and the Democrats carried the Uranian banner for progress and change, whereas the old war horse, Senator John McCain, embodied the Saturnian principle of experience, caution, and restraint. The Saturn-Uranus polarity of the old and the new, tradition and change, was never more apparent than in the choice Americans faced between the aged, weathered John McCain1 and the young, exciting Barack Obama who promised to change Washington and bridge the partisan divide.

It is perhaps ironic that Obama’s idealistic agenda for creating a better world—rescue of failed businesses and banks, universal health care, amnesty for illegal aliens, and climate legislation—has merely exacerbated divisions between the two parties. As the last sign of the zodiac, Pisces symbolizes our wish to experience unity on multiple levels—spiritual, social, and economic. It is associated with charity, the impulse to rescue, and a willingness to sacrifice for the greater good. During the 2009 debate over the stimulus package and deficit spending, the imprint of Uranus in Pisces was evident amongst liberal Democrats who were willing to spend nearly a trillion dollars in hopes of saving jobs and rescuing failing businesses. Conversely, conservative Republicans (Saturn/Virgo) opposed their efforts and argued for fiscal restraint in light of our ever expanding federal debt.

This same archetypal dynamic was highlighted in the 2010 fight over health care reform. Democrats produced a comprehensive bill designed to protect all uninsured Americans—an extra 40 million to attain unity—at the cost of an additional trillion dollars to the ballooning federal deficit. From a Uranus in Pisces perspective, financial sacrifice in the service of social justice was not only compassionate but imperative. Once again, recalcitrant Republicans took the Saturn in Virgo side by analyzing, critiquing, and downsizing the bill in hopes of achieving an outcome that was maximally efficient and affordable.

The Uranian impulse for revolution was not limited to the liberal side of the isle. Concerns over out-of-control government spending, fears of inflation, and higher taxes triggered the conservative tea party movement (Uranus rules movements and causes). Tea party protests erupted all over the land and foreshadowed a conservative revolution against “big government”. With the pork laden stimulus package, rescue of the car industry, and the mandating of universal healthcare, the Obama administration was widely perceived as having over-reached its powers. This activated a reactionary pushback as evidenced by the decidedly conservative trend of state elections in 2009. Examples include Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts filling the senate seat vacated by the death of liberal lion Ted Kennedy, and populist Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey who spearheaded austerity measures in New Jersey. Polls throughout 2010 predicted a conservative backlash in the upcoming mid-term elections slated for November. Long standing Democratic incumbents were on the chopping block and feared a virtual bloodbath for their party.

These two antithetical principles—Saturn and Uranus—were equally at play in virtually every movement, cause, or socio-cultural trend of 2009-2010, whether within government or without. In an opposition, neither side of a phenomenon is wholly defined by one planet; rather, each side evidences both planetary principles even as the struggle appears to pit one planet against the other. The goal, as always with an opposition, is to arrive at a point of compromise and balance. Prior to Saturn’s ingress into Virgo and its first opposition to Uranus in 2008, it could be argued that things were archetypally out-of-balance.

A main reason was that from 2003-2010 Uranus occupied the sign ruled by Neptune (Pisces) and Neptune occupied the sign ruled by Uranus (Aquarius), a situation called mutual reception in which each planet activates the other in a closed, self-stimulating feedback cycle of reciprocal influence. This is like putting Uranus in Pisces on steroids. Given that both planetary positions are oriented toward altruistic values of tolerance, compassion, and inclusivity, it was inevitable that the American cultural ethos would trend toward an escalating cycle of progressive political and economic ideologies, inspired egalitarianism, idealization of tolerance and inclusivity, compassion for minority movements, multiculturalism, pluralism, moral relativism, the nanny state, and political correctness run amok—in short, a virtual triumph of liberalism that culminated in the ascendancy of Barak Obama and control of both houses of Congress in the election of 2008.

When Saturn opposed Uranus for the first time later that fall (and Pluto entered Capricorn), critics began to point out that society had literally gone soft, from widespread childhood obesity to a prescription drug epidemic. Saturn’s opposition to Uranus was like a check on a runaway system, a corrective to expose excesses and slow unbridled progressive policies that, for all their good intentions, had massive unintended consequences—spiraling debt, moral decline, reverse discrimination, compulsory speech codes, a cult of victimology, an entitlement society, a tyranny of nice.

It was not merely public policy that was driving this trend, but the private sector as well. Western culture was in the grip of an archetypal imperative that pushed it relentlessly in the direction of a halcyonic ideal. Cultural aversion to legitimate suffering was so pervasive there was an 80% increase in prescription drug use between 2003 and 2008. Some of this was due to the normalization of psychoactive medication via a relentless marketing campaign by the pharmaceutical industry. We’ve all seen the commercials: Anxious? Sad? Tired? Take a pill. It reached a point that it was unusual for someone not to be medicated. Medication, of course, is a Piscean phenomenon. In America’s classrooms, increasing numbers of children were on prescribed mood-altering medication to treat conditions like ADHD, while teens were stealing prescription drugs like Vicodin and OxyContin from their parents to take or sell. According to National Institute on Drug Abuse, illicit drug use in 2009 rose to its highest level in 8 years.2

The cultural edict that it was now immoral for anyone to feel bad for any reason was evidenced by runaway litigation over minor mishaps (suing McDonalds over spilt coffee), enabling social policies that reinforce dependency on government handouts, no-touch rules in elementary schools to safeguard children from being bullied, the sissification of boys via the banning of competitive games like tag and dodge ball (because the losers might feel bad), the mainstreaming of homosexuality in sex education programs to assure that gay kids are accepted, helicopter parenting leading to narcissistically entitled children, blasphemy laws to shield religious groups (Islam in particular) from being criticized, grade inflation to protect children’s self-esteem, the rewarding of trophies merely for participating (rather than winning), and on and on.

While Saturn could never completely stifle the Uranus-Pisces revolution toward a softer, kinder, gentler world, it could balance it with complementary, alternative values such as pragmatism, self-reliance, personal responsibility, frugality, and respect for tradition. True Uranus-Saturn collaboration might manifest as ordered change that produces a more flexible, unified, and humane government; yet, one that recognizes limits and is able to cap spending when necessary.

That is a fairly good description of what happened following the mid-term elections in November 2010 when Republican’s gained control of the House of Representatives while Democrats retained control of the Senate. The new balance in Congress seemed to reflect the achievement of a greater collective balance between Uranian and Saturnian sensibilities. Representative of this trend was a legislative compromise in December that involved Democrats keeping the Bush tax cuts—a cap on taxes for all income levels—in exchange for Republican agreement to extend unemployment benefits. Both parties had to give and take.

Environmental and Other Disasters

Cap is a distinctly Saturnian word that was much in the news during 2009-2010. A cap is a cover or top that defines the upper limit of something. As a verb, it means to limit or restrict. Placing a cap on taxes and federal spending are but two examples. Here are a few more:

  1. A volcano in Iceland (Eyjafjallajökull) blew its cap in April 2010 when Saturn was exactly opposed Uranus. Spewing an ash plume thirty thousand feet into the sky, it shut down air traffic over parts of Europe for several weeks. Cause: Volcanoes occur when molten rock under enormous pressure inside the earth finds a funnel and erupts upwards through a hole in the earth’s crust.
  2. Also occurring in April of 2010 was the BP oil spill followed by innumerable attempts to cap the damaged well that was spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico at the rate of 2 million gallons per/day. Cause: Oil under pressure deep inside the earth will erupt into a gusher when a sufficient funnel is provided.

  3. We are reminded also of legislative efforts to pass cap and trade, which is designed to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions in a cost-effective manner. Cause: Carbon dioxide emissions occur from burning fossil fuels in enclosed spaces under pressure. The waste product—CO2—is then ejected (liberated) into the atmosphere through a pipe.

In each of these instances, we see the Uranian impulse for liberation clashing with Saturn’s function to control, limit, or suppress. The scientific definition of liberate means quite literally “to release a gas or liquid during a chemical reaction.” Something similar happens during earthquakes when stresses induced by molten rock between two continental plates cause the plates to suddenly shift, fracturing Earth’s brittle outer crust and releasing the stored elastic energy that has accumulated over many years. Recall that two massive earthquakes occurred during the Saturn-Uranus opposition. In January 2010 there was the catastrophic magnitude 7.0 Haiti earthquake that killed more than 230,000 people. One month later in Chile there was an earthquake so powerful it caused standing waves in lakes along the U.S. southern border and shortened the length of the day by 1.26 microseconds.

Independent of the signs involved, these events were consistent with Saturn opposed Uranus. Saturn signifies an inhibitory, controlling power, whereas Uranus represents an impulse for emancipation and release. Stresses induced from an irresistible force (Uranus) pressing against an immovable object (Saturn) are bound to erupt in explosive change, whether this occurs on a social, political, or ecological level. Uranus, in effect, signifies a breakthrough, although it can also signify a breakdown in Saturnian structure. This is effectively what happened when the BP oil rig exploded in the Gulf. A wellhead blowout is the uncontrolled release of gas or oil after pressure control systems have failed. An analogous failure was the inability of the Republican minority in congress to stop skyrocketing deficit spending by the Democratic majority. Throughout 2009-2010 we were reminded daily by the media that the national debt had “exploded” to over 13 trillion dollars.3

The archetypal situation comes into even sharper focus when we consider the signs that these two planets occupied—Pisces and Virgo. As a signifier of the spiritual realm, Pisces is associated with no boundary; that is, the infinite and eternal wherein all is one; everything and everyone is enveloped in an all-pervasive, non-discriminating love. Again, Uranus in Pisces signifies an awakening of compassion for marginalized groups. When this archetypal dynamic seeps into government, there is a trend toward progressive ideologies that favor reforms in an egalitarian direction in which all members of society enjoy equal standing and equal access to economic resources. ‘Social justice’ is code for redistribution of income based on progressive taxation and the welfare state in which the top 50% of wage earners pay all of the taxes and the bottom 50% — the poor, disabled, and elderly —pay no taxes and receive money from the tax system via tax credits, food stamps, welfare payments, Medicaid, unemployment compensation, and various other entitlements.4

As an antidote to discrimination, Uranus in Pisces is synonymous with Utopian social engineering and the promotion of political correctness to assure that no group is offended or subject to any form of exclusion or rejection. Affirmative action, racial quotas, multiculturalism, and gay marriage all increased dramatically during the seven years that Uranus has been in Pisces. Similarly, the Community Reinvestment Act that mandated banks to expand mortgage loans to low-income minority groups intensified over this period. It was this practice—the lowering of mortgage standards so that previously unqualified borrowers could get a loan—that led directly to the mortgage blowout of 2008.

Welfare spending and other egalitarian programs accelerated during the first two years of Obama’s presidency even as Saturn in Virgo sought to oppose them on the basis of taxpayer cost. Prior to Saturn’s entry into Virgo in late 2007, the Uranus/Pisces utopian dream proceeded unchallenged. Saturn’s subsequent opposition to Uranus from late 2008 through the summer of 2010 operated like a giant break on the system, a wake-up call, a reality check. Yet, attempting to change direction after five untrammeled years of Uranus/Pisces momentum was like trying to turn around an air craft carrier barreling across the seas at full throttle. Despite resistance from fiscal conservatives, the Obama administration expanded its efforts to provide aid to the poor. According to a special report by the Heritage Foundation,

In his first two years in office, President Barack Obama will have increased annual federal welfare spending by one-third from $522 billion to $697 billion….After adjusting for inflation, this increase is two and a half times greater than any previous increase in federal welfare spending in U.S. history. Under President Obama, government will spend more on welfare in a single year than President George W. Bush spent on the war in Iraq during his entire presidency. According to the Congressional Research Service, the cost of the Iraq war through the end of the Bush Administration was around $622 billion. By contrast, annual federal and state means-tested welfare spending will reach $888 billion in FY 2010. Federal welfare spending alone will equal $697 billion [this] year.5

Needless to say, such policies encountered increasingly stiff resistance as Saturn opposed Uranus throughout 2009-2010. In an article entitled “A Government without Bounds,” Ramesh Ponnur reviewed William Voegeli’s recent (2010) book, Never Enough: America’s Limitless Welfare State.6 The title of both Ponnur’s article and Voegeli’s book aptly summarize Saturn/Virgo’s perspective on Uranus/Pisces’ idealism. The main thrust of Never Enough is that liberalism has no “limiting principle,” meaning that it constantly finds new needs for government to meet—universal health care, welfare, racial quotas—and can find no reason not to meet them. Pisces symbolizes an all-inclusive unity, and this by definition leaves nothing out. Saturn/Virgo, which is a limiting principle, has a problem with that.

At a mundane level, the Piscean unifying principle is associated with substances that transcend or permeate boundaries, such as gases and liquids, most notably the atmosphere and oceans. As a process, Pisces symbolizes the dissolving of solids into liquids and gases, as when ice melts and further heated turns to steam. With Uranus in Pisces for the past seven years, there has been one revelation after another with regards to global warming—the melting of the polar ice cap, rising oceans, and so on.7 If Uranus is change and Pisces is atmosphere, the very pairing of the two words “climate change” expresses Uranus/Pisces.

However, when Saturn in Virgo opposed Uranus in Pisces, the situation turned critical. Saturn represents a counterforce to challenge and potentially ground (halt, slow, check) the Uranus in Pisces thrust. The consequences of an unrestrained, unregulated Uranus/Pisces dynamic (such as excessive greenhouse gas emissions) crystallized in public awareness and produced efforts to halt global warming through the green movement and climate change legislation (carbon cap and trade); yet, Saturn in Virgo also cast doubt on climate alarmism—inflated, inaccurate claims combined with federal financial backing of questionable research (more deficit spending). Saturn in Virgo is a decidedly skeptical, critical position; thus, in November 2009, Climategate exploded with the internet leak of documents that appeared to show evidence that climate scientists manipulated data and suppressed the publication of dissenting scientific papers for reasons of political and financial gain.8

Another example of the Pisces-Virgo dynamic was efforts to fix the BP oil leak, clean up the effects of the spill, and improve drilling technology. Oil and water is Pisces’ realm, whereas to fix problems, clean up messes, and improve overall functionality is Virgonian. Saturn in Virgo was especially evident in calls to break our addiction to oil, especially foreign oil, which has been targeted as the ultimate problem. With regard to gases, recall how the Icelandic volcano produced an atmospheric problem due to the explosive release of gas and magma under pressure. This event caused innumerable delays and scheduling problems (Saturn/Virgo) for the airlines industry (Uranus).

As mentioned, Pisces symbolizes dissolution and disintegration, which are closely related to tragedy—a disastrous event that produces ruin, downfall, and often fatality. Consider the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake wherein an entire city—Port-au-Prince—was reduced to rubble. The international, humanitarian effort that followed again exemplified Uranus/Pisces (altruistic aid to relieve suffering) in concert with Saturn/Virgo (solving problems related to Haiti’s feeble architecture and dysfunctional government).

Especially representative of Uranus in Pisces is the problem of illegal immigration, which is essentially a Uranian movement characterized by collapsed boundaries and unenforced limits. Again, Pisces is associated with permeability; hence, during Uranus’ 2003-2011 sojourn through Pisces, the No Border Network sprung up throughout Europe and the United States. A loose association of radical groups, it supports the elimination of boundaries that impede unrestricted migration across national borders. As a movement for no boundaries, the No Border Network is a prototypical manifestation of Uranus in Pisces. When Saturn opposed Uranus in 2008, however, conservative forces began to push back against lax immigration enforcement. Daily the media sounded the alarm about the porous U.S. border with Mexico and the flood of illegal aliens streaming into our country. Arizona officials beseeched the federal government to stop the flow of illegal immigrants.

Note the use of water metaphors to depict the Piscean nature of the problem—porous, flood, streaming, and flow—which is analogous to the uncontrolled flow of oil into the Gulf. Saturn in Virgo, on the other hand, was evident in renewed government efforts to prevent problems caused by weak border control: drug smuggling, human trafficking, overcrowded prisons, overtaxed schools, and an overrun healthcare system, not to mention the taking of at least some jobs that might otherwise go to U.S. citizens. Ultimately Arizona took matters into its own hands by implementing a tougher intrastate, anti-illegal immigration policy. Recognizing the need for a long overdue corrective, a clear majority of U.S. citizens supported Arizona’s hardline stand. Illegal immigration was a defining issue of 2009-2010 and yet another example of a radical, border-shattering force clashing with an inhibitory, controlling power.

A final and perhaps even more telling example is the problem of Islamic extremism. Uranus is about tolerance and egalitarianism, and Pisces signifies compassion. Together, they symbolize the awakening of compassion for the plight of disadvantaged minority groups, like Muslims as potential victims of hate crimes. In the grip of this cultural imperative, it became difficult to identify and apprehend potential Islamic terrorists within our own borders, as in the case of Major Nidal Hassan who murdered 13 servicemen at Fort Hood. Political correctness prevented Hassan’s superiors from having him discharged despite the fact that he openly expressed extremist Islamic views, was being monitored by the FBI for his contact with renowned Al Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki, and was widely characterized as a “ticking time bomb”.9

After 13 murders and 32 wounded service men and women, George Casey, the Army Chief of Staff, uttered a typical Uranus in Pisces sentiment: “As horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.” Conservative pundits charged that the Obama administration was so fearful of offending Muslims that they could not even admit that there is a war on terror.

A similar case involved Umar Abdul Mutallab, an Al Qaeda operative who attempted to detonate plastic explosives hidden in his underwear while on board a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day 2009. U.S. intelligence officials had foreknowledge of Mutallab’s extremism but due to lax procedures failed to apprehend him before his attempted murder of 289 people.

Swirling around such examples was the larger controversy of how terrorists should be treated—as enemy combatants confined indefinitely to military prisons like Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, or as garden variety criminals given full legal rights, tried in U.S. cities, and potentially released. Saturn in Virgo would opt for maximum control, which is the conservative/Republican position, whereas Uranus in Pisces signifies the liberal/Democratic penchant for granting rights and expressing compassion. Once again we see the challenge of bringing Saturnian control into proper balance with the Uranian impulse for tolerance and emancipation.

A more lasting antidote to political correctness than Saturn could provide may be fast approaching. Uranus moves into Aries on March 12th, 2011 where it will remain for the next seven years. With Uranus in Aries, the cultural ethos will take a radically different turn: personal freedom, self-reliance, individual initiative, and a tough-as-nails, take-no-prisoners survivalist mentality will become dominant social values, either by choice or necessity. We are likely to see an awakening of directness, a tell-it-like-it-is frankness and do-whatever-it takes attitude that is compensatory to all that previously typified Uranus in Pisces.

A harbinger of Uranus in Aries may be the recent upheavals in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Jordan, and other Arab countries—the so called “Arab Spring”—the spark for which was ignited by a single individual who self-immolated on December 18th as a protest against Tunisia’s corrupt and incompetent regime. World attention then focused on Egypt, where massive protests began on January 25th just as Jupiter ingressed into Aries. The climatic events were aptly termed “day of rage”, a somewhat alarming tribute to Aries and perhaps a preview of what’s to come when Uranus joins Jupiter in Aries in March.

Uranus in Aries might best be summarized as a demand for change now. Separatist movements, the rise of militia groups, acts of civil disobedience, social unrest, and clashes with government forces may become increasingly prevalent during the next seven years.

Summary and Conclusion

A planetary archetype by definition is a general category of meaning that can manifest in a variety of ways. Saturn opposed Uranus can take different forms on social, political, economic, and ecological levels, and no doubt will manifest differently in different cultures; yet, there is an archetypal singularity amongst all this phenomenological diversity. Each event on its own terms is a metaphor of every other event that carries a similar meaning. The overarching planetary processes are so pervasive that they constitute the very air we breathe, the thoughts we think, the problems we confront, and the goals we seek to achieve.10

The startling fact that planetary alignments correspond so exactly to human experiences gives us pause to reflect. If such events are orchestrated by a divine intelligence that exceeds us in every way imaginable, what might be their purpose? How can we express and coordinate these archetypal polarities in our own lives? The value of archetypal astrology is that it enables us to see our individual experiences through the lens of a purposive, intelligent Universe that speaks to us through the symbolic movements of the heavens.

The objectivity such a perspective affords empowers us to collaborate and participate in the unfolding of a co-creative evolutionary process. Rather than become polarized—either too far right (Saturn/Virgo) or too far left (Uranus/Pisces)—the opportunity at hand is to arrive at a more just and balanced view that aligns itself with the harmony of the cosmos. Certainly, if nothing else, astrology invites us to trust the Universe, which is forever conspiring to foment our personal and collective evolution.

* * * * *

Notes:

1 Even McCain, however, had a Uranian streak, being renowned for his maverick, independent spirit. In comparison to the visionary Obama, however, his conservatism forced him into a Saturnian role.

2 “Drug Abuse at Highest Level in Nearly a Decade,” Vol. 23, 2010, NIDA, http://www.drugabuse.gov/NIDA_notes/NNvol23N3/tearoff.html

3 During the Obama administration, the federal debt has gone from 10 trillion to 14 trillion in less than two years. In comparison, the previous record spending by the Bush administration was 500 billion per/year. Obama’s rate of spending is more than three times greater than any prior administration.

4 Morris, D, and McGann, E. (2009). Catastrophe. New York, NY: Harper Collins, p. 46-47.

5 Rector, R., Bradley, K., and Sheffield, R in “Obama to Spend 10.3 Trillion on Welfare: Uncovering the Full Cost of Means-Tested Welfare or Aid to the Poor,” Heritage Special Report, SR-67, September 16, 2009. This article can be read in its entirely at: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports

6 Ponnur, R. “A Government Without Bounds,” in National Review, Vol. LXII, No. 9, May 17, 2010, p. 48-49.

7 Multiple books have been published on global warming during Uranus’ sojourn through Pisces (2003-2010), including three by Al Gore plus a movie, An Inconvenient Truth, in 2006. 

8 Dissenting scientists have argued in numerous books and articles that the earth has been warming and cooling since the beginning of recorded time. Some research suggests that cycles are mostly caused by Sun spot activity rather than man-made carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.

9 Serrano, R., “Report: Lots of missed clues before Fort Hood,” in the Hartford Courant, Feb. 4, 2011, p. A5.

10 This is even more apparent when these two behemoths activate sensitive points in our natural chart. For what is happening on a collective level then has personal significance. Collective events serve as metaphors for what we must strive to achieve in our individual lives, albeit in accordance with the nature of the natal planet(s) being transited.

 

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