At the 2009 at the ISAR Astrology Conference in Chicago, the hot topic was predictions about the years 2009-2015. At the conference, and for the months to follow, the astrological community was buzzing about the looming 2010 Saturn-Uranus-Pluto T-Square, and the coming years of the Uranus square Pluto transit. There were predictions of financial collapse, civil war, unrest, assassination and revolution. And the fear expressed in the astrological community was mirrored with identical projections all throughout our culture. It seemed that wherever I looked, people were saying that the apocalypse was at hand, the sky was about to fall and that it was time to head for the hills.
As I started to do my own analysis of the potentials of the coming transits, I zeroed in on the potential for revolution. With Uranus in Aries squaring Pluto in Capricorn, I imagined challenges to the status quo, who could in turn respond with even more harsh measures of control. I imagined the possibility of fascism in response to revolution. History has no shortage of grave human errors. And I wondered if we might be at the threshold of another such time.
Another line of thought had me worried about physical changes in the earth, and catastrophes that we wouldn’t be able to stop. I began to get pretty worked up about all of these fearful projections, and everywhere I turned it seemed that other people were doing the same thing. Because of the daily stress I started to feel, I made a deliberate effort to stop this line of thinking, which was both unproductive and disturbing. I decided to leave fearful speculation to the masters – the newscasters. I turned off the news, and decided I’d just take it day-by-day and respond to whatever life delivered as best I could in the moment.
And then bang – just as the square between Uranus and Pluto heated up, revolution was on everyone’s lips. From the Arab Spring, to the Occupy movement, challenges to the status quo were in full force. Dramatically, the day Uranus moved into Aries, we experienced the colossal earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Japan. It seemed that all of my worst fears about the potentials of the transits were coming true. I had a feeling there would be more to come. And because one of the potentials of Uranus is that events colored by its transits can be quick and shocking, I knew it would be hard to pin down exactly when or where such events would take place. All of this was a recipe for my fearful projections to start up again. So I really had to make a daily effort to avoid that and do my best to stay present.
Then the shootings started. And right on time, I was shocked and surprised like the rest of you. I’m not sure why I hadn’t considered the lone-shooter scenario as part of the potential of Uranus’ transit through the sign of Aries, because in hindsight, it makes so much sense. But astrology is often like that: easy to explain after the fact, but more difficult to predict with certainty. I’m sure someone out there did accurately predict the increase in lone shooters. But I was so focused on Uranus’ interaction with Pluto spelling r-e-v-o-l-u-t-i-o-n, that I overlooked some of the most basic meanings of both the planets and the signs. So let’s look at them.
Spock Enters the Volcano
Analyzing astrological archetypes can get so complex that it’s always fun to see them expressed literally. In Star Trek Into Darkness, the newest installment of the sci-fi franchise, we get hit over the head with the Uranus-Pluto square symbolism in the first few scenes. In astro-speak, right now we're in the middle of a long cycle in which Uranus is in the sign of Aries, and Pluto is in Capricorn, and they are in a tense relationship with each other called a square. At the opening of the film, we get to see Spock standing in the middle of a sea of red, in the heart of an active volcano that’s minutes away from erupting. His task is to plunge some technological wizardry into the core of the volcano that will turn the lava solid thus preventing its eruption. His goal is to protect a race of indigenous people who are at a fragile beginning stage of their evolution.
With his sharply angular haircut and high-tech finery, Spock is one of our classic Uranian cultural icons – the genius outsider, whose ability to detach from his emotions is his most prominent asset. The image of him standing in the middle of the volcano vividly embodies the archetypal field of Uranus in Aries – with Spock evoking Uranus and the hot lava and danger of the situation evoking Aries. In its high expression, the Aries endgame is to develop courage. So we can find strong Aries signatures in the presence of heroic deeds.
Pluto also stands out in this image, as the elemental power of the volcano. And the entire situation evokes the transit of Uranus square Pluto, with the vulnerable life forms threatened by environmental chaos, and the struggle to save them.
Tracking the Pisces Stellium
From the end of February through most of March, we're graced by a ton of planets in Pisces. This is a relatively rare occurence, and some folks born during this time will have what we call a Pisces stellium. Not everyone agrees on the definition of a stellium, but the most liberal definition is having 3 or more planets close to each other in the same sign.
I've been noticing several signs of the deluge of Piscean influence, which is especially heightened now while the Sun is conjunct Neptune in Pisces. Neptune in Pisces with the sun just magnifies the Pisces field immensely. What does that mean? Here is a mini sample of things I just noticed this morning that will help shed some light on what Pisces is all about.
As if to taunt Jupiter’s freshly enthusiastic direct motion at the end of January 2013, shortly thereafter Saturn began its retrograde cycle on February 18th in the sign of Scorpio, where it stationed retrograde at 11°. Note that degree, because if you have any planets in 11° or within a degree or two on either side, this will be an important Saturn retrograde cycle for you. Saturn, the planet that signifies the structures and persistence we need in order to bring any endeavor solidly into fruition, is asking us to slow down, maybe change direction, and even to consider revising our plan. This Saturn retrograde cycle lasts until July 7, 2013 when it goes direct again. But many astrologers agree that the cycle isn’t really complete until Saturn finally clears the 11° point at which it stationed retrograde, which isn’t until October. So settle in for a cycle that will require some patience.
When Saturn stations retrograde on a sensitive point in our chart, we’re being asked to review our past plans in search of improvements that will help shore up our foundation. The topic at hand depends on the house Saturn is transiting in your chart, which planets it’s making contact with, and what your natal Saturn’s long-term goals and intentions are. In some cases, the Saturn retrograde process of evaluation makes us aware that our plan (or our job, our home, our relationship) doesn’t have the strength to weather the storm, and that it’s now time to let it come to an end. But we may not figure that out right away. That’s what the cycle is for – to help us get clarity about what’s causing this newly uncomfortable feeling of stuckness that will ultimately edge us into the process.
At the beginning of the cycle, since we may not be aware yet just exactly what is going to end (or begin) or when, we may find that we reach an impass of sorts, a blockage, an obstacle, or a take on a new responsibility. This experience will eventually provide the impetus for change and forward movement once the cycle is complete. In order to get the most out of the cycle, we need to get in sync with the process, which will require Saturnian patience and endurance.
Full Moon in Cancer 12/28/12 at 2:21 AM PST at 7º Cancer
On Friday December 28th, the full moon, at home in Cancer, the sign of the Great Mother, is matched in expression by its opposition from the Sun in Capricorn conjunct Pluto. Here we have the archetypal mother-nurturer, opposite the solar-expressive father. On this day, our need to find sustenance, warmth, and emotional comfort stands in sharp contrast to our solar principle – the ego’s desire to express, to do, and to accomplish; the powerful drive to be, to exist; the capital-letter expression of I AM. In Cancer the moon wants to support, to heal, to nurture. In Capricorn, the Sun wants to build something concrete, and importantly, to leave behind a legacy. The opposition suggests some tension between these forces. Maybe this nurturing element comes at an unwanted time. Or our drive to accomplish perhaps steamrolls our need for rest, comfort and support.
While browsing the web for some Great Mother imagery, I was reminded of this painting of mother and child set in the Great Depression. This imagery sheds light on another angle of the archetypal polarity between Cancer and Capricorn - here, the nurturing mother seen in her stark strength and vulnerability, at odds with the unrelenting demands of culture, of ego. The mother here is seen struggling to nurture in the absence of adequate resources, thwarted at every turn, by society, and the world of "men." In this month's full moon, the conjunction from Pluto to the Sun adds to our picture that perhaps the Great Mother is facing an adversary who is too strong to "kill with kindness."