Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Astrology of Young People under Fire: Generation Sagittarius






Hiding out among the predictable long list of political reports this week is this very telling nugget. It’s a story about young people that, IMHO, should concern us all:


From the New York Times:
 
 “According to data from the National Institute of Mental Health, some 38 percent of girls ages 13 through 17, and 26 percent of boys, have an anxiety disorder. On college campuses, anxiety is running well ahead of depression as the most common mental health concern, according to a 2016 national study of more than 150,000 students by the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Pennsylvania State University. Meanwhile, the number of web searches involving the term has nearly doubled over the last five years, according to Google Trends. (The trendline for “depression” was relatively flat).”

Why, we might ask, are these teenagers so anxious? Maybe that’s another way of asking why “fidget spinners” are the number one selling item these days, but of course teenagers are always somewhat anxious, right? They’re dealing with the usual social pressures and maturing into adults, with all the emotional and biological fury of that process. A process that is undoubtedly exacerbated today by social media, but that’s not the worst of it for today’s young people. The Times article teases out yet another issue:

“…(‘Are you anxious because you feel like the world is ending?” the hosts of “Generation Anxiety,” a podcast aimed at millennials, ask in a recent episode called “So You’ve Inherited the Apocalypse?” “Well the good news is you aren’t crazy and it definitely is.’)”

Apparently, the scientific establishment is seeing “a growing body of research that shows that climate change has become a mental health issue, afflicting an increasing number of people with something that one researcher has called ‘pre-traumatic stress disorder.’” It turns out scientists have been studying this phenomenon since 2009 and in 2016, the Obama White House was actually working on helping the health care system respond to these mental health needs. 

That was then, of course, and this is now. The new plan for climate change-related stress is apparently now to simply deny that climate change exists, that it really matters, and to assert that we have much more “important” things to do than preserve the environment for our next generations.

Tell that to the Pluto in Sagittarius generation (1995-late 2008)—they know better, and they’re keenly aware that they’re going to be left to clean up the mess left by our inaction. 



The impending climate apocalypse isn’t the only stressor our kids and grandkids are suffering from these days: the National Center for Children in Poverty estimates that while the “official” number is 21%, when adjustments to official standards are made for the actual costs of living, the reality is that 43% of American children live below the poverty level, which makes these children extra vulnerable to physical and mental health challenges. My own state of Michigan features heavily here, with upwards of 500,000 children living in poverty.

All this while Senate Republicans in DC are meeting behind closed doors to jerry-rig a health care bill that could strip Medicaid coverage from millions of those poor. Closer to home, a bill is now moving through the Michigan legislature to eliminate our Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Health Care bill—even though Governor Snyder (a Republican) favors retaining the expansion for its many benefits to the state’s budget. 

Maybe I’m just getting to be crotchety, but I simply don’t understand the logic of such heartlessness. Are the powers-that-be hoping for a major “die-off” of the poor? Unless the laws of cause and effect have been suspended, there will be consequences for the GOP’s actions here.  

And then there’s this from the Washington Post:

“An analysis by The Post found that beginning with the shootings at Columbine High in Colorado 18 years ago, more than 135,000 students attending at least 164 primary or secondary schools have experienced a shooting on campus. That doesn’t include other incidents — accidents, after-school assaults, suicides — in which children have been exposed to gun violence. The damage extends to parents, grandparents and siblings forced to cope with trauma.”
Of course, my inner Sagittarius preacher wants to ask “what is wrong with us as a nation, if we let these traumatic conditions persist for our children?” As if all this isn’t enough, yesterday we watched news footage of dozens of Detroit immigrant families being torn apart by a brutal mass round-up for the purpose of deportation proceedings.  
  
Again, children and their communities are in the crosshairs. Oppressing certain targeted communities in such ways really hasn’t worked well in history—if Trump is looking to create domestic terrorism problems, he’s off to a good start. Oppressed children grow into enraged young adults who have nothing to lose.


Meanwhile…the children

Astrology provides some insight into all this, including the issue of heartless politicians, but for now let’s focus on our children, as a collective—their needs, their strengths and vulnerabilities. We can do this by exploring the most recent generational charts, namely Pluto’s ingress charts into Sagittarius and Capricorn.  As we’ll see, these generational charts lend insight into the high levels of anxiety and trauma our young people are experiencing en masse

I have grandchildren from both these cohorts and yes, I’m concerned for the disaster-prone, violent, heartless world we’re leaving behind for them, as I’m sure most grandparents would be. I’m concerned about the unjust, immoral burdens we’re heaping on them. 

Whatever the motivations are for doing the wrong things for future generations, these young people deserve better.

Today I’d like to focus on Pluto’s ingress into Sagittarius in 1995—we’ll do the same for the Capricorn generation in a future post. 

Because the focus here is on American youth (the chart is set for Washington, D.C.), we’ll consider pertinent connections to the U.S. Sibly chart as they arise. For those who want a different account of this generation, focused on the prominent role it has played in autism spectrum disorders and related research, please see “Holding a Lighted Candle: Generation Sagittarius Makes its Mark on Autism Research,” reproduced (in modified form) in an April 26, 2016 posting here, or as originally published by The Mountain Astrologer in August/September, 2015. 

Here we are simply looking for insight into why this young, Sag generation feels so anxious and stressed out. 


Chart 1. Pluto ingress-Sagittarius, January 17, 1995, 1:28 a.m. ST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Please note that for the purposes of this type of reading, we’ll focus on the luminaries (Sun, Moon) and the eight planets (Mercury through Pluto). Chiron is also a consideration, and as we’ll see, it plays an important role in this chart. 

A good place to start with a chart like this is to assess the visual distribution of planetary points around the chart wheel, looking specifically for how the points are arrayed in the upper and lower hemispheres and then, more finely, in the four quadrants of the chart. We also need to assess the elemental balance (between fire, air, earth and water) and the modal balance (cardinal, fixed, mutable). Here’s the run down:

Table 1. Chart distributions by Hemisphere, Quadrant, Triplicity and Mode.
Planet
Lower Hem
Upper Hem
Quadrant
Fire
Earth
Air
Water
Card
Fixed
Mut
Sun
·

1

·


·


Moon

·
3
·




·

Mercury
·

2


·


·

Venus
·

1
·





·
Mars

·
4

·




·
Jupiter
·

1
·





·
Saturn
·

2



·


·
Uranus
·

1

·


·


Neptune
·

1

·


·


Pluto
·

1
·





·
Chiron

·
4

·




·

We can extract several take-aways from this Table that help to answer our central question about this generation’s anxiety level and mental health. Bear in mind that the age range of this Pluto cohort at this time is 8-21, so individual experiences are far from identical. Here, we’re addressing the generation as a whole, as it will unfold over time. 

First – that the majority (8 out of 11) of Gen Sag’s planets are placed in the self-protective and inward-focused lower hemisphere, specifically in the first quadrant (6 of 11). This perfectly suits the generational Scorpio ASC-Node Node conjunction, not to mention heavy-hitter chart ruler Pluto placed in their 1st house of identity. Such a personally-focused Pluto inspires a “survival of the fittest” mentality, which may explain why their generation seems to value working out and pushing themselves to their physical limits so highly. 

Second – that not only are all these planetary placements occupying the more personal/social lower hemisphere, but the collective-oriented collective planets are all arrayed in that arena. What happens in the world “out there” matters greatly to them, on a generational basis, if not individually. 

The news often features some amazing young person taking socially- and environmentally-conscious actions in school and even outside of school: with their generational Sun exactly conjunct Uranus and 3 degrees from Neptune in responsible Capricorn, Gen Sag kids are keenly conscious of what’s happening on the collective level. With their generational Chiron trine this powerful Capricorn gathering from the 11th house, in earth-conscious Virgo (one of three major placements above the horizon), they know that the stakes of being good stewards of the planet are high for them, personally. 

We can also see a resonance between Mercury’s rulership of that Virgo 11th house and its placement in the Aquarius 4th house: these kids will champion radical changes in the way people live for the sake of environmental stewardship. Aquarius Mercury is disposed by Uranus and Saturn, linking the 3rd and 5th houses: this suggests that—as a generation—their concern for the environment will feel revolutionary and it will be expressed in creative local choices (home styles, transportation choices, etc.). 



We can’t overlook the mental health dimension of Gen Sag’s collective Mercury, however: while Mercury is perfectly comfortable in airy Aquarius, its connections with Pisces Saturn here (by disposition) and Saturn’s mutable opposition to Mars (Virgo) and its T-square to Jupiter-Venus (Sagittarius) speak to a generation that’s very “hard on itself” in the midst of insecure times in the world.



It’s possible that this attitude has helped prepare them for some difficult passages on the horizon. Note that their Capricorn stellium here is also conjunct the U.S. Sibly Pluto, and both are being gradually approached by transiting Pluto (first exact in February 2022). In other words, this generation is going to experience a major Pluto transit in the next few years, and with Chiron trine these generational points, they will have opportunities to prove what they’re made of. Among other feats, they will probably collectively redesign and retool American business for a “clean energy” economy.  

Bottom line, they are carrying a heavy personal burden for the future, so why shouldn’t they be anxious? Once they take over the reins of power, however, they should be up to the challenge, if their parents and grandparents don’t continue undermining their futures in the meantime. With their generational Mars opposition to Saturn square to Venus-Jupiter in mutable Virgo-Pisces and Sagittarius, they are collectively equipped to adapt to circumstances on the world stage (10th house Mars) with vigor, creativity and determination. 

Mastering their mutable energies so they can have this positive impact takes time and maturity, however, so these skills are a work in progress.  As we'll discuss ahead, there are serious pitfalls along the way.



Third – that Gen Sag has a notable predominance of fire and earth signs in its generational chart, with only one point each in air and water. Interestingly, this distribution will probably bode well for their ability to wield power, when the time comes: their Jupiter is dignified in fiery Sagittarius; their Venus is beautifully-placed, conjunct that Jupiter in the 2nd house of values and finances. Their generational Moon presides like a fiery Leo Queen Mother in the 9th, opposite their Capricorn Sun-Uranus-Neptune and exactly trine their equally fiery 1st house Pluto. They are a passionate generation, and they are already finding ways to express that zeal. 

As we’ve seen, Gen Sag’s expectations for itself are also very high, and although this is a very good thing in some ways, being so hard on themselves can be a potential vulnerability with several planets in fire signs. 

Burn out—“frying” their synapses, so to speak—is a real pitfall that may be triggering elevated drug use these days. They have a generational need for water (with only Saturn in a water sign) and Pisces Neptune has been happy to oblige. It’s been transiting opposite their collective Mars, conjoining their Saturn and squaring their Jupiter-Venus from its ingress into Pisces in 2011 (it moved beyond the Mars opposition in 2015). 

This major transit has perhaps inspired not only the elevated bipolar disorder statistics among their age group (a lot more research needs to be done on this), but also a need for escapism as a remedy for frustrated expectations. Then there’s the so-called “Opioid epidemic.” 



This gradually unfolding crisis has probably been driven by mostly older Americans, yet adults caught up in it (willfully or not) haven’t been doing their children and teenagers a service, either. The New York Times reports that 2.5 million children are now in foster care as a result of this horrendous assault on families. Hundreds of thousands of people have died from overdoses during this crisis, which has been literally destroying American families by undermining the parents’ ability to care for their children. We’ve all seen the tragic pictures in the media. Foster care is often the only choice:

“After declining for several years, the number of children in foster care jumped 8 percent nationally, to 428,000, between fiscal years 2012 and 2015, the most recent data available. Experts say opioid abuse accounts for a lot of that increase.”
The need to remove children from their family homes is often driven by medical dangers, as well. CNBC.com reports that:

“A new study finds that poison control centers across the country field 32 calls a day from families with a child who has been exposed to opioids — that is about one call every 45 minutes.
The study was published online Monday by the journal Pediatrics and conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy and the Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children's Hospital.
The researchers found more than nearly 190,000 calls to U.S. Poison Control Centers for pediatric exposure to opioids from January 2000 through December 2015.”

While many of these affected children are younger than Gen Sag, their older brothers and sisters are equally stressed by this trauma. Skyrocketing rates of children and teens ingesting drugs that just “happen” to be in the house, teens who find they have to take over the care of their younger siblings, and alarming teen suicide attempt statistics are all manifestations of  Neptune’s negative potential in its home sign Pisces. 

This is an entire story in itself, because as we’re seeing, this most nebulous, seductive collective energy, Neptune, can be very difficult to integrate into a person’s character in a healthy, balanced way. With Neptune conjunct their generational Sun, Gen Sag has been living with this serious challenge since day one. And, if that’s not enough, these same points are also conjunct disruptive Uranus! 



So, frustration, anxiety and other mental health issues seem to go hand in hand with Gen Sag—especially in those individuals whose nativities are most personally tied into some of these dynamics. The other side of the expectations coin is, of course, that this generation expects a lot of the world.
 
These expectations are showing up in all kinds of social and political ways, especially with the oldest among them: they’re the first “all digital” generation, they’re often worldly-wise travelers, not to mention extreme adventure seekers. Politically, they may even be interested in a “revolution:” Bernie Sanders certainly inspired some zeal in these young people in his 2016 run against Hillary Clinton. 

In terms of sheer numbers, Millennials are the largest generational cohort since the Baby Boom (Pluto in Leo), and they seem to be aware of how powerful their numbers can be. 

It’s interesting for the sake of this Gen Sag chart that Saturn falls in mutual reception with Neptune (they occupy each others’ ruling signs); this certainly resonates with the long Saturn-Neptune square these kids experienced along with the rest of us in the past couple years. Even so, perhaps the fact that Saturn disposes their generational Sun-Uranus-Neptune in Capricorn will arm these young people with a “higher purpose” for Saturn in combination with Neptune—reining in the mutable excesses we’ve been experiencing. 

It’s likely, for instance, that with the nice earth-water connection at the heart of the Saturn-Neptune mutual reception, that reinstating regulations on the social and economic excesses that promote environmental destruction (there’s a nice earth-water connection here) will be of serious interest to them in the future. 

Those in Gen Sag would know something about those mutable excesses, actually, with 6 of their 11 planets in mutable signs, including their generational Pluto and its dispositor, Jupiter (also in Sagittarius). This certainly speaks to those who have been dragged into the opioid epidemic, but it also relates to the 2007-9 recession that was so toxic for a great number of American families. 

This transpired with Jupiter and Pluto conjunct over the Sagittarius Galactic Center, preparing for their respective entries into corporate finance-related Capricorn.  Gen Sag felt those unstable times as a deeply cutting wound: their generational Chiron (Virgo) falls exactly square that GC
So, what’s all the anxiety about, in the end?

One overall impression I’ve had of these young people over the years, both one-on-one in my teaching career, with my grandkids, and in my research, is that they’re in a hurry to get going on the important business of life, and their reasons for the rush are sound, based on their life experiences and awareness. As we’ve seen with so many of their collective planets placed in the very personal-focused areas of their chart, that they have (as a generation) a sharply focused collective perspective

We saw earlier that their generational chart features a dynamic mutable t-square between Mars-opposite-Saturn in Virgo-Pisces, square Jupiter-Venus in Sagittarius. Mutable energies can sometimes get scattered to the wind when times are unstable, or they can be twisted to quite negative uses, so it’s possible that all the talk about “fake news” and the difficulty many find in trusting the media is greatly undermining this young generation’s confidence, just when they need to be building upon it. 

The troubling rise of conspiracy theory-inundated social media is another serious concern that isn’t helping them develop the trust they will need to lead this country eventually. For that matter, hate crimes and even terrorism are mutable phenomena because they trade on “shifting sands:” tapping into fears created via economic hard times, instabilities and mistrust. The media—ruled by Gemini, the 4th leg of this mutable t-square—can either be the agent for greater transparency and trust, or it can simply exacerbate the instability. 

Of course, Gen Sag is going to be sensitive—even “hyper-sensitive”—to these dynamics and these pitfalls. They’re more than entitled to their anxieties, in fact. IMHO, what they need from us “old folks” right now is to ease the burdens we’re heaping on them. 

What happens to them happens to the nation and the world, pure and simple.







Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former educator. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. Several of her articles on these topics have been featured in The Mountain Astrologer and other publications over the years.

She is also available to read individual charts—contact her at: robertsonraye@gmail.com.

© Raye Robertson 2017. All rights reserved. 
















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