Thursday, December 17, 2015

“The Great Clock of Worlds” Chimes Out a Joyful New Year…Happy 245th, Beethoven!

On December 16, 1770, roughly one Pluto cycle ago, Ludwig van Beethoven—the quintessential genius and giant of the classical music world, and an icon of the so-called “Romantic” era in Europe—was born in Bonn, Germany. Despite near total hearing loss as a young adult, Beethoven—living during the upheavals and chaos of the Napoleonic era—matured as a musician and composer. Dying in 1827, the artist lived through the horrors of the Napoleonic Wars and several years into the oppressive times that followed Napoleon’s 1815 defeat in Europe.  Two hundred forty-five years later, we are still moved by this giant’s passion and his music. More importantly, we might want to pay more attention to the chaotic times in which he lived as well, for they are returning to us, quickly.

But that was there, this is here, we might think. Astrologically, what happens in Europe does not necessarily stay in Europe!

In fact, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto know no bounds—their interactions and cycles forge the outlines of history as they go. As mundane astrologers like to monitor, history repeats itself along with these cycles, only with variations—like a great, symphonic piece of music than spans all time.

As we end this chaotic year of 2015, just two months shy of Beethoven’s exact Pluto Return (16°+Cap), I’d like to cast my astrological net backwards—not to post-French Revolutionary Europe in general (no protracted history lessons here)—but to one significant event that music historian Harvey Sachs points to for how it encapsulated the highest aspirations of that Romantic period. The event is the premiere on May 7, 1824 of Beethoven’s final symphony and masterwork—the “Ninth,” and its revolutionary, aspirational “Ode to Joy” choral finale. (click here to hear a recording by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Weiner Singverein Chorus – Herbert von Karajan conducting).
In the preface to his study of this glorious final Beethoven symphony and its times, Sachs says:

Thanks to its finale… the Ninth has become a paradigm for both freedom and joy, although it made its appearance in the middle of a decade in European history that was characterized by repression and ultraconservative nationalism, as Bourbons, Hapsburgs, Romanovs and other terrified dynastic rulers strove to spruce up and enforce the concept of divine right in the wake of the French Revolution and the upstart Napoleon’s imperialism. Through this single symphonic movement, Beethoven was, in effect, serving up a one-of-a-kind counterargument to the retrograde tendencies of the day… (3-4). 
Astrologically it stands to reason, therefore, that the chart for the Ninth’s debut can provide a window into those times—and as we’ll see, a window into the perils and possibilities of our present times.

After the revolution…
As Sachs notes and history shows, mass upheavals that threaten the existing power structures of a society always inspire a backlash, and a tendency for those feeling threatened to regroup and reconsolidate their power. We are seeing this dynamic in action in American politics, which underwent a revolution of sorts in 2008: However we feel about the consequences, against tremendous odds, America elected its first black president that year, and then reelected him in 2012.

In like spirit, other revolutionary movements followed abroad, including the so-called Arab Spring (beginning in 2010). Unfortunately, both amazing developments have since degenerated into turmoil in American politics (marked by a whole new level of extremism in our politics), and overseas, in downright misery.

The uproar caused by the Arab Spring (among other factors, for sure) left the door open for the accelerated rise of extremism with ISIS and other groups, and for the catastrophic civil war in Syria. 
Yet, the ideals of the Ninth and its “Ode to Joy” persist in our cultural zeitgeist—the question is, how will they manifest going forward?

Astro-historical parallels
Both Aries and Capricorn are associated with the highest aspirations of human societies, and both are represented in the Ode’s enduring call for universal brotherhood and liberation (Schiller’s original title for this poem was “Ode to Freedom”). The sobering reality is, the oppressive 1820s were marked by a new Uranus-Neptune cycle in early Capricorn (March 20, 1821, 3°+Cap – chart below) and became a prelude to a serious rise of anti-ethnic nationalism in France and in the 1848 revolutions that transformed Europe, sweeping the entrenched absolutist regimes away.

Echoing that period, we are currently experiencing the first quarter of the 1993 Uranus-Neptune cycle that began at 19°+Capricorn and became the launching pad for the sweeping globalization of commerce, industry and trade—a different, but to many, a no less significant kind of oppressive upheaval, for its economic and social consequences. Interestingly, both the U.S. and France have been experiencing the rebirth of anti-immigrant nationalism—in the U.S., with the rise of Donald Trump and his anti-ethnic agenda, and in France, with the rise of the National Front party and ultra-conservative Marine Le Pen.

To provide a bit of background before we examine the chart for Beethoven’s “Ninth,” let’s briefly consider the 1821 Ura-Nep conjunction chart (below, set for Greenwich, England) that preceded it :

Uranus-Neptune (3°+Capricorn) square Pluto-Sun (28-29°+Pisces). Even more dramatic than the ongoing Uranus-Pluto square we’ve been experiencing in the 2010s, this outer-planet tour de force in 1821 marked the onset of an aggressive, change-oriented Uranus and Neptune for years to come. Pluto remained within orb of this Uranus-Neptune square through its April 1822 Aries ingress—adding its own aggressive voice to the mix. Importantly, the 1821 square set the tone for the oppressive (in Europe) 1820s and 30s. As Sachs puts it, “The seething magma of protest in the German-speaking world would eventually erupt into the revolution of 1848, but throughout the 1820s and 30s it remained mostly subterranean” (77). In fact, anti-monarchist revolutions exploded across Europe in 1848, just as Uranus and Pluto were finishing one cycle and beginning a new one at 29°+Aries. The events of that tumultuous year certainly fit the extraordinary magnitude of this configuration.

MC -0-Jupiter-Mercury (Aries) square Uranus-Neptune. This tight configuration suggests the public was in the mood for freedom and liberation, and we can only imagine that the underground communication networks (Mercury) were humming. It takes time and networking to foment a revolution, but the growth of and impetus for those efforts were seeded here.

Saturn (Aries) opposes the Moon (Libra), conjoins Mercury and widely squares Uranus-Neptune. The Saturn-Moon opposition captured the aspirations of the masses for freedom and justice at the same time it reinforced the more immediate prospects for public discontent and frustration. Saturn disposes Uranus-Neptune in Capricorn, deepening the generalized feeling of oppression.

Node-Venus-Mars (12-13-14°+Pisces); the stellium forms quintile aspects with Uranus and Neptune and semi-sextiles Saturn. These aspects reflect how the inspiration of Uranus and Neptune manifested in idealistic action (some called it the “Cult of Liberty”, which made sense with the Pisces energy), and that this action found ample support when the moment was right. An interesting dispositorship network exists between these three areas of the chart—Uranus-Neptune are disposed by Saturn, Saturn is disposed by Mars, Mars and Venus are disposed by Neptune and so on, creating a sustainable circuit of energy and activity.

The liberatory power of art—Beethoven’s “Ninth”
There’s no doing justice to the amazing movement-by-movement description Sachs writes about this incredible, transcendent symphony, but a short excerpt captures the spirit of his description and ushers us into the piece’s most memorable movement, the choral “Ode to Joy.” As Sachs says,

We ought to take a deep breath—symbolically—with the singer, because we have, in a sense, “made it.” We have survived the first movement’s brutality and despair, participated in the second’s harsh struggle, and been purified by the third’s glowing acceptance of life as it is. What Beethoven wants us to experience now is all-embracing joy. For this is the moment in the work in which Beethoven most unequivocally declares his aim of helping to liberate mankind through art. (154)
It is the range of emotions, soulful humanity and soaring aspiration contained in this symphony that is reflected in its debut chart. Please note that the chart has been cast for 8 p.m. because the records show it was an evening concert, but I was not able to find the exact time for that debut. With that in mind, let’s consider the highlights (chart below):

Taurus Sun trine Capricorn Uranus-Node-Neptune. Taurus Saturn widely conjoins the Sun and both trine Virgo Mars. Aries Venus disposes the Taurus points and opposes Mars. If 8 p.m. was in fact close to the time Beethoven’s “Ninth” debuted, the Sun-Uranus-Neptune trine may have been a grand earth trine, with the Moon and MC in Virgo. Even without this added earthy momentum, however, we can appreciate in this chart the gravity, humanity, sensuality and artistry of Beethoven’s message. We can only imagine how witnessing the Ninth for the first time would have been a total mind-body-soul experience.

Aries Pluto T-squares Cancer Jupiter opposite Capricorn Neptune. The aspirational nature of Jupiter opposite Neptune is at its most expansive here, but challenged by Pluto’s aggressive square from Aries, the aspect evokes an heroic, mythic tone that fits the magnitude of the Ninth. Sachs captures the spirit of this configuration perfectly when he points out that—in the wake of the staggering death toll and destruction of the Napoleonic wars—Beethoven felt that Europe had become “a vast prison for the human spirit.” As Sachs puts it,  “he wanted to help light the way for humanity; he wanted human beings to realize their high ethical potential….” (87).

The earthy dispositor network at work here (Mars in Virgo disposes Pluto; Virgo Moon disposes Jupiter; Saturn in Taurus disposes Neptune) likely accounts for how deeply and thoroughly responsive the audience was to Beethoven’s work that night in May, 1824, and for its enduring use in events that celebrate humanity’s transcendent yearnings ever since.  

What happens in Europe doesn’t stay in Europe…
Interesting parallels exist between this tumultuous period in European and American history.   The 1820s in America were occupied with territorial expansion and the consolidation of continental power, perhaps best symbolized by the December, 1823 “Monroe Doctrine.” Sachs points out that this attempt to consolidate American hemispheric sovereignty was actually supported by British King George IV because it discouraged Spain from continuing to colonize countries in the Western hemisphere. In fact, banishing Spain from South America facilitated the revolutions staged by Simon Bolivar and Antonio Jose de Sucre in 1824—the same year the Ninth debuted with its message of liberation. (78)

Obviously, American expansionism was also oppressive to many—and a prelude to the vicious turmoil of the Civil War. The northern states leaned toward industrial development of their economies; the agricultural southern states built their economies around the availability of slave labor. Clashes that cut to the heart of American identity arose as westward expansion and the addition of new states to the Union forced Congress to grapple with whether the new states would be slave states or free states.

Significantly, the so-called “Compromise of 1850”—a last-ditch attempt of that Congress to ease those North-South tensions—was hammered out with great drama during 1850, just two years after the European Revolutions of 1848 and the same year Uranus and Pluto launched their new cycle at 29°+ Aries. The first shots of the Civil War were fired less than 11 years later. In these polarized times, it seems we are heading down a similar path, updated for today’s unique challenges.

A work in progress
Seeded in the 1960s Uranus-Pluto conjunction at 17°+Virgo, the disruptive, revolutionary, transformative effects of the ongoing (2010-2017) Uranus-Pluto square from Aries to Capricorn are definitely a work-in-progress. The significant events associated with this square are too numerous to mention, but we can hardly miss the net aspirational nature of this powerful first quarter. Even though the news is fraught with torturous contradictions, divisions and chaos, if we step back a bit from the daily morass, we can see that overall, American society and humanity-at-large have struggled for two chief goals during this Uranus-Pluto period—liberation from oppression (both
perceived and real) and a socioeconomic order that is more
humane and sustainable.

Will Uranus and Pluto ever deliver us to the “promised land” of freedom and equality in perfect, sustainable societies? Clearly, this duo has its light and dark sides, and humanity fully embraces both, so the prospects for Utopia are slim. However, choosing to aspire higher despite our conflicted natures and times, has perhaps been the overarching theme of this latest Cardinal square cycle.  In pragmatic, problem-solving Cardinal cycles, issues left unresolved from prior cycles tend to resurface and create havoc, so they can be recognized and solved. We have no shortage of unresolved issues—hence, the “work in progress.”

Since 2008, we’ve seen the deepest polarization in American politics—perhaps since that disastrous 1850 “compromise!” As the aggressive energies of Uranus and Pluto have taken hold in our public discourse, politics has been marked by an almost panicky attempt by Republicans to recapture their glory days, by any means necessary. Unfortunately, if Trump’s campaign is any measure, they’ve chosen the low road to that end, tapping into people’s darkest fears and biases to gain poll numbers, instead of choosing to evoke the “high ethical principles” favored by Beethoven. Does any reasonable person think we can solve the serious problems facing our nation and the world by sinking into those fears and biases?

Joy, beautiful divine spark…thy magic reunites what habit brusquely separates…all men become brothers…
The soaring poetry of the Ninth’s final choral movement—the “Ode to Joy”—flies in the face of disaster, division and hatred (yes, deep, deep hatred is poisoning life in this country). It’s easy to forget that the poem was written by another idealist of that Romantic Era—Friedrich von Schiller, who, Sachs reminds us, “…believed that humanity needed to achieve freedom through the experience of art before it could achieve political freedom.” (154) Chances are, we won’t experience freedom at all until our politicians live to heal the nation’s inner divisions instead of exploiting them.

Do you fall down, you millions?
Do you sense the creator, world?
Seek him above the starry canopy,
Above the stars he must live…
Joy, joy drives the wheels in the great clock of worlds…

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year to all you star-watchers!

Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former university English instructor. 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. Raye can be contacted by comment here, or at:

© Raye Robertson 2015. All rights reserved. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

A Saturnalia for Our Time – Winter Solstice 2015

A few minutes shy of midnight on December 21st (Eastern Standard Time) the Sun will enter Capricorn and thus begin the final quarter of the astronomical/astrological year (which begins every March as the Sun enters Aries at the Spring Equinox). While the Capricorn ingress is given less predictive weight than the Aries one—often used to predict the general tenor of the entire new astrological year—the winter solstice still holds considerable importance as we close out the calendar year and look forward to the first quarter of the following calendar year.

In ancient Rome, in fact, Saturn—the agricultural god and Lord of Capricorn—was a deeply-venerated god whose “festival of light” spanned several days leading up to the winter solstice.  Deeply attuned to the cycles of nature, the populace hailed the “return to light” marked by the solstice because—simply put—survival depended upon it in their agricultural society.  Reportedly, December 25 was celebrated by ancient Romans as the Dies Natalis of Sol Invictus—the “Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun.” Long before Christmas supplanted Saturnalia as the winter festival, people reveled in the longer days and shorter nights that would quickly follow each winter’s end.

People didn’t just revel politely, though—Saturnalia was reportedly a raucous affair among ancient Roman partiers, “characterized by role reversals and behavioral 
license.” Slaves and masters reversed roles symbolically for a day (with differing accounts of how far that went), class hierarchies were turned upside down, free speech reigned without recrimination, and so on. Saturn’s oversight of social structures and legal restrictions was suspended as the Romans “let it all hang loose” in the god’s honor. By some accounts, war couldn’t even be declared. 

The tradition of an end-of-year “blow-out” has morphed over the centuries, of course, but is the behavior of people during the ever-extending Christmas period really any different? Employers typically treat their employees a little more like equals during Christmas (maybe Saturnalia inspired the first worker “bonuses?”), people routinely blow-out their diets, exceed their budgets and max their credit cards, and those on a quest for hot ticket sale items feel liberated to stampede over each other and brawl like street thugs on “Black Friday.” And war, thankfully, couldn’t be declared—Congress won’t be dragged back to Washington until January.

Astrologically, the winter solstice chart gives us a “sneak preview” of conditions that will prevail during the final quarter of the natural, astrological year. Not surprisingly, in this drama-filled year, the coming winter solstice chart bears special consideration. Simply put, it’s a pretty raucous chart as befits the season. Set for Washington, D.C., the chart is shown below:

The Sun falls in the 4th house of “the homeland” and other lunar issues. At 0° Capricorn, the Sun only widely conjoins the IC, but we might still view this final quarter as a symbolic “end” of sorts—certainly, if Trump has anything to do with it, an end to “politics as usual.” A great anxiety over security—a top priority for Cancer/4th house—has overwhelmed us lately, and this anxiety is likely to persist through the quarter. How we act out in the wake of this anxiety will be a matter of American destiny and identity, with the Node falling in the 1st house of this chart and the 10th house of the USA Sibly chart (also conjunct Sibly Neptune).

The Ascendant falls in Virgo; Jupiter and Node in Virgo rise, straddling the AS (12-1); MC (Gemini) falls square Jupiter-AS-Node. As recently pointed out by astrologers Theodore White and Terry MacKinnell, mutable signs are prominent during these unstable-feeling times, and this chart certainly echoes that point. This appears to be a “restrained growth” quarter—the focus of the growth being in Virgoan pursuits such as military, healthcare and other service industries (12th house), but with Jupiter turning retrograde in early January and remaining so into May, frustration is likely to build over those potential areas of growth.

We’re already seeing the saber-rattling that precedes military buildup, so that will probably proceed as expected, with the inevitable Congressional scuffles reflecting Jupiter’s retrograde. (Obamacare) may report record enrollments for 2016 (the deadline passes before Jupiter’s retrograde). Human service organizations—especially refugee- and minority-oriented ones—should feel more empowered once Jupiter goes direct in May, however by that time the Aries ingress (equinox) chart will be the guide.

Despite the impending retrograde, the solstice chart indicates Jupiter (and thus Virgoan energy) will influence almost every facet of life during the first quarter, through its complicated network of aspects in the chart. Namely…

Jupiter sextiles Venus (Scorpio); Mars (Libra) conjoins Jupiter/Venus midpoint. Opportunities in the finance/employment sectors look positive here, but with Jupiter retrograde, they may take longer to bear fruit than anticipated, which could stir some frustration (Mars semi-sextile Jupiter).

Mars trines the MC and is disposed by Scorpio Venus, which trines Chiron. Mars opposes Uranus (Aries). This aspect supports the potential for aggressive actions and suggests that a fair amount of pain and frustration will be released (Mars trine MC; Venus trine Chiron). Uranus falls in the 7th, house of enemies, so we can’t rule out the possibility of antagonistic events.

Jupiter opposes Chiron and squares the MC; Chiron sextiles Mercury.  An article posted here, dated November 20th, discusses Jupiter opposite Chiron more thoroughly as it appeared in the November 13th Paris attack chart, but in the context of this solstice chart, these points straddle the AS-DSC horizon (Jupiter 12-Chiron 6), with Jupiter squaring the MC. This reinforces the point made in that earlier post that social/economic discontent can promote extremist ideologies and actions. The MC square suggests that discontent could happen within our national borders.

Chiron sextiles Pluto in Capricorn as Mercury conjoins the same point. Mercury and Pluto form a grand trine with the Moon (Taurus) and Jupiter. The public mindset and media output may range from outright dreary to doggedly determined and antagonistic this coming quarter. Falling as they do opposite the USA Sibly Sun (13°+Cancer), Mercury and Chiron here are likely to fan the flames of anti-government feeling. On a more positive note, the nation’s labor force (Mercury rules Virgo) may see more tangible benefits from their efforts (Mercury trines the 8th house Moon in Taurus). For instance, campaigns to raise the nation’s minimum wage may bear fruit (although again, every improvement may take more time than hoped for with Jupiter’s retrograde). The public mood should improve as these expected improvements unfold.

Venus conjoins Jupiter/Mercury midpoint. This aspect reinforces the importance of patience and pragmatism (especially in light of the Jupiter retrograde); again, this mindset (Mercury) should lead to eventual practical benefits (Venus).

Saturn (Sagittarius) continues its square to Neptune (Pisces).  For more about this ongoing aspect and its influence on recent events, please see previous posts (November 15 and December 2). In this chart the duo is placed in the 3rd and 6th houses respectively. Interestingly, Saturn and Neptune form no other major aspects here, but in mutable signs they will certainly enhance the influence those signs already wield in this chart. It seems they may form a sort of background “hum” of tension that will impact the mood of the nation via the media (Saturn in 3rd). Jupiter disposes Saturn (which lacks strength in Sagittarius), but Neptune is at its most powerful in Pisces and Jupiter co-rules Pisces with Neptune, so the public could be overwhelmed with a flood of media hype that effectively radiates the confusing influence of Saturn and Neptune throughout the entire chart.

We can already anticipate this will be true as Election 2016 enters its last 12 months, but military enlistment (6th house Neptune) will also be a focus—reinforced by this Neptune’s square to Sibly Uranus (also in the 6th). Certain other 6th house occupational fields such as healthcare could also be highlighted. It could be a tough flu season, as Neptune rules epidemics. 

Of course, the public discourse regarding immigration and refugees will continue to be confused and distorted by the Saturn-Neptune square, which will make it difficult to settle upon coherent national policies. The square will be separating over the course of the upcoming quarter, but will still be within orb when the Sun enters Aries and ends this winter quarter. On the upside, the 6th house Neptune in Pisces may point to a public increase of compassion towards those struggling travelers (3rd house Saturn in Sag) seeking asylum in our midst.

Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former university English instructor. 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. Raye can be contacted by comment here, or at:

© Raye Robertson 2015. All rights reserved. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Malleable realities, Saturn-square-Neptune and the Paris COP21 Conference

The PBS Newshour featured a segment this week that explored the issue of “truth-telling” among political candidates. When the interviewer questioned why political fact-checking has become so fraught with frustration these days, one of the analysts pointed out that the public doesn’t expect politicians or the media to tell the truth, a point that inspired sighs all around. Simply put, the panel couldn’t really agree whether any of the candidates (not just Trump!) were telling the objective truth about anything—or even if truth is a meaningful concept in politics anymore!

The takeaway point seemed to be that the candidates—and their supporters, for that matter—operate in separate “silos” of their own truths, and trying to challenge their interpretations of reality is futile. This happens, it was suggested, because people seek out their “news” from sources they can count on to spin the stories with their chosen ideological slant, so they are rarely challenged to think outside of their own comfort zones. By this logic, if Donald Trump says Muslims in New Jersey celebrated when the Twin Towers fell in New York, it must have happened—in his brain at least—even though no observable evidence has been found to substantiate this celebration. “This guy told me it happened” is Trump’s signature way of blowing off questioners. Can we have an alleluia chorus of “SATURN-SQUARE-NEPTUNE,” please???!!!

Unfortunately, this malleable approach to reality—a Neptunian phenomenon if there ever was one—undermines our assurance that the world of flesh and bones, sticks and stones is filled with verifiable facts about which all rational human beings can agree and—if we’re lucky—put to good use. Is reality a matter of perception and belief (Neptune)…or a matter of tangible, proveable facts (Saturn)?  With Saturn currently transiting square Neptune, it’s time for humanity to get a grip on this fundamental clash: as the participants of the COP21, the climate change conference now underway in Paris warn, there is a lot riding on the answer. With no overstatement, French president Francois Hollande hailed the importance of the conference: “never have the stakes been so high because this is about the future of the planet, the future of life.”

Chicken Little, or "too little, too late?"
So, are the folks attending COP21 (chart below) merely playing “Chicken Little” with the rest of us? Are they simply deluded by the thousands of scientists who point to their tons of research data and say NOW’s the time to radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or else? No matter how many rooms full of evidence scientists amass, those with “eyes to see” the need for action and change will see it, and those without such vision (or with alternative, clashing visions they don’t wish to relinquish) will not. Saturn-square-Neptune has something to say about this.

Accepting responsibility (Saturn) for a collective vision (Neptune) implies an acceptance of change that severely challenges the worldviews and belief systems (Neptune) of many. Didn’t God give us the Earth and all her resources to do with what we will?  How dare Big Government tell me what gases I can spew and what I can’t? Shifting to a clean energy economy will cost jobs (in dirty energy sectors, yes); we reserve the right to cut the job rolls for other reasons.

Not with a whimper, but a bang? 
Isn’t all this chaos in the Middle East just a Sign the whole shooting match is about to end with a final, apocalyptic bang, anyway?  In fact, the most insidious threat to collective action against global warming is the mounting threat of terrorism-inspired war, apocalyptic or not. Here’s where such global catastrophe becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy (also Saturn-Neptune related): the less hospitable the environment becomes, the more refugees there will be seeking asylum elsewhere; the more refugees, the more unrest, as we’re seeing quite vividly.

There are no magic wands (Neptune) to fix the carbon-intensive economies we have created—there’s simply no substitute for the hard work (Saturn) needed to make the transition to clean energy policies and practices. Saturn and Neptune offer a positive solution going forward, suggesting we have to consciously choose the reality (Saturn) we wish to manifest (Neptune) for the future of this planet. This, in a nutshell, appears to be the agenda of COP21 (see chart discussion below). In my humble opinion, the negative Saturn-Neptune alternative is to stand by passively and be sucked into a no-exit, apocalyptic vision.
With that in mind, let’s consider some highlights from the chart for the COP21 conference (for a rundown of proceedings, one good source is the Brookings Brief analysis). 

Sun-Saturn combust (7°+Sagittarius), tightly square Neptune. Moon (Leo) trine Sun-Saturn. Not surprisingly, reports about the conference thus far have been optimistic and we can see that here. The conference leaders and negotiators (Sun-Moon) seem to be in accord (trine) about the job that needs to be done. There is also broad consensus that the wealthier countries—the biggest carbon emitters—must carry the heaviest responsibility (Sun-Saturn) for the needed changes. The Leo Moon is also disposed by the Sagittarian Sun, adding passion and determination to the proceedings, not to mention an ability to adapt (mutable Sag) that may bode well for negotiations. The fact that the agreements resulting from the conference cannot be legally binding is also reflected in Neptune’s square to Saturn—Neptune prefers vague, fluid “commitments” and avoids being pinned down at all costs.

Jupiter (Virgo) trines Pluto (Capricorn) and inconjuncts Uranus (Aries); Pluto t-squares Uranus opposite Mars-Venus midpoint (Libra). A conference featuring the leaders of 189 countries is bound to be saturated with grandiose rhetoric and a bit of megalomania—Jupiter trine Pluto accounts for that. In earth signs, however, this duo may inspire more concrete deal-making among the conference participants. Tangible outcomes are likely and a great number of financial commitments may be made; dangerous liaisons formed in over-enthusiastic moments are also a possibility (Uranus opposite Mars-Venus midpoint). Resulting positives could also be undermined by Uranus’s inconjunct with Jupiter, as both Virgo and Aries are concerned with the likely build up of military commitments against ISIS.

Even though the conference was hailed by President Obama as a repudiation of terrorism’s power in the world, these military matters undoubtedly factor into the discussions: Uranus’s ongoing square with Pluto provides the tense, “get this right or else” context enveloping the whole proceedings, and points to how the challenges of terrorism and climate change are interwoven.  Domestically, it speaks to the ongoing clash of powerful interests that stops the U.S. from being a climate change leader.

Mercury (Sagittarius) t-squares Jupiter opposite Chiron (Pisces). This aspect certainly informs the high-flown rhetoric we’ve been hearing from the conference, but it also reflects one of the more serious issues the conferees are negotiating—how to help the less-developed nations make the transition to clean energy economies. Many of these nations are experiencing the severe effects of global warming already, even though they emit far less carbon into the atmosphere than developed countries do. The natural resources and environments of many of these countries have been exploited (Chiron) for the sake of globalized business, as a consequence of debts owed the IMF and World Bank, and so on (Jupiter’s broad reach).

It's not rocket science... 
Even though I think we should be taking our cues from the scientists when it comes to climate change, it doesn't take a scientist to see the human consequences of all these pressures thrust upon vulnerable populations. These pressures—along with the violent competition for resources (Uranus-Pluto) that complicate these situations—are simply fueling the massive migrations we’re seeing. Such migrations are reflected in the Sagittarius-Gemini axis of the chart’s t-square, so logically, helping these countries recover their environments could go a long way towards calming the migratory impulse.

Finally, set for noon, the chart angles for COP21 are 29°+Capricorn (AS) and 28°+Scorpio (MC), which certainly fit the grand scope of the proceeding’s economic and political agenda. In sextile aspect, these angles hold out hope that an agreement can be hammered out that is both fixed (Scorpio) and has the gravity (Capricorn) of commitment. Saturn and Neptune will continue to render any commitments more malleable than the situation warrants, but some progress is better than none. Not surprisingly, there’s a connection with the U.S. Sibly chart here—our Pluto falls at 27°+ Capricorn—suggesting that this conference will confront us with a fateful challenge. We can hope that by the time transiting Pluto returns to this point in 2022, we can get our act together.

Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former university English instructor. 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. Raye can be contacted by comment here, or at:

© Raye Robertson 2015. All rights reserved. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Jupiter-Chiron and the extremist impulse

The dramatic chart for Black Friday in Paris, discussed here over the weekend and displayed below, featured not only Saturn square Neptune, but Jupiter-Chiron t-squaring the Moon. The Saturn-Neptune square has been discussed at length (more could be said, but one thing at a time), but this post focuses on Jupiter and Chiron in collaboration—a topic I believe deserves more attention when it comes to the extremist impulse and the path to healing that impulse.

The media is buzzing, of course, with journalists and scholars picking apart every aspect of the Paris attacks. One such scholar who describes himself as a “thinktanker” is William McCants of Johns Hopkins University. McCants directs the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at the Brookings Institution, and his new, very well-timed study titled The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State had just come out online. In both the author’s interview and the introduction to the book, one question was key:

How did the Islamic State attract so many followers and conquer so much land? By being more ruthless, more apocalyptic, and more devoted to state-building than its competitors. The shrewd leaders of the Islamic State combined two of the most powerful yet contradictory ideas in Islam-the return of the Islamic Empire and the end of the world-into a mission and a message that shapes its strategy and inspires its army of zealous fighters. 

In mundane astrology, this lethal conflation of ideological extremism, empire building and apocalyptic thinking certainly implicates the outer planets—Uranus, Neptune and Pluto—but we ignore the contributions of Jupiter, Saturn and Chiron at our peril.

As the so-called “social” planets, Jupiter and Saturn channel the energies of the outer planets into our everyday lives as citizens, affecting our social/governmental structures, legal systems, higher education, business practices, relations between groups divided by class, religion and ethnicity, and so on. The enduring “security v. privacy” debate—not to mention the current xenophobia regarding immigrants—is certainly fueled by these social dynamics and, of course, personal experiences and biases. The personal planets and luminaries—Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars—impact the means by which individual/local events unfold, often implementing the priorities of other levels. On Black Friday, Mars (violent means) conjoined the North Node and opposed a belligerent Aries MC. The Mars-influenced Node sextiled the Cancer AS—together these aspects remind us that the angles of a chart create opportunities for events in time and space.

Chiron occupies a unique position in our solar system, bridging the social and collective levels as it orbits between Saturn and Uranus. Chiron expert Martin Lass describes Chiron and all that its 1977 discovery has meant for humanity as a “paradigm” that answers one fundamental question: “What if both mind and body were mirror reflections of one another and both were reflections of a consciousness that lies beyond both?” As with most Chiron scholars, he concurs that with Chiron, the path to Healing a wound (capitalization always indicates the broadest possible application) lies in returning mindfully to that wound, opening to and acting upon the solutions carried within the wound itself. There seems to be general agreement that Chiron’s paradigm thus underlies the physical, mental, spiritual and metaphysical healing disciplines, whether oriented towards individuals, families, societies or the world at large.

So, what can this tell us about the dynamics of terrorism?  One gruesome, but real consideration would be to examine why an individual would offer him/herself up as a suicide bomber. As reflections of ideological leanings and psychospiritual wounding, respectively, Jupiter and Chiron could certainly be involved in such a decision. This duo would likely be reinforced by Sun/Moon placement and perhaps by Mars, implicated in the choice of violent means. Personal planet connections to Neptune (martyrdom/victimization) may also be key. Those who make such fateful choices become tools for the ideological masterminds of the attack—strategic players who leverage the personal pathologies of their agents and embody the megalomania of toxic leadership—Jupiter-Pluto at its darkest. Jupiter and Pluto were trine on Black Friday.

Long story short, while the collusion of social and outer planets probably drives the manifestation of these horrific events, history seems to show that the desire to satisfy one perceived wound by inflicting another—the dark side of Chiron—underlies the entire terrorist enterprise. Let’s consider an historical example that’s still quite pertinent:

World Trade Center attacks on 9/11/2001

-       In December 1999, Chiron conjoined Pluto at 11°+ Sagittarius, laying the groundwork, I would argue, for the massive attacks of September 11, 2001. By the time of the event, Chiron had separated from Pluto to oppose the Gemini Moon, sextile Uranus, powerful in Aquarius, and trine Venus in Leo, denoting wounds inflicted on the finance industry that day. Chiron’s connectedness allowed the attackers a prime opportunity (Uranus sextile) for major destruction and maximum terrorizing (primal wounding) effect (Moon opposition).

-       Between December 1999 and September 11, 2001, Saturn  (10°+ Taurus) moved from its waxing inconjunct phase with Pluto to just past exact opposition (14°+ Gemini) , a culmination point for the tense agenda seeded in this duo’s 1982 conjunction in late Libra. Chiron and Jupiter were widely opposed in that 1982 chart (see below), with Chiron forming the focal point of a tense yod with Neptune and Saturn-Pluto. As we’ve seen, these are the “usual suspects” with terrorist events and a yod fits the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” dynamics we’ve seen with the terrorist threat. With the 1982 chart set for Washington, D.C., Saturn and Pluto were beginning their new cycle in the 7th house of enemies.

Amazingly, the tense configurations of that pre-9/11 period set the stage for the ensuing years of war, in which the “enemy” has continued to be global terrorism, more than the specific nations of Iraq and Afghanistan. This stubborn challenge was reinforced by the 2009 Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune conjunction in late Aquarius (chart below), a seminal astrological moment coinciding with the shift of control from the Bush to the Obama administration, and the disappointing “end games” that followed for both the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. 

In Aquarius, the stunning Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune gathering was disposed by Uranus in Pisces, which—in mutual reception with Neptune—explains why our involvement in the Middle East is incoherent and scattered, often playing both sides against the middle. The horns of this dilemma are identified nicely in today’s New York Times Op-ed article, entitled “Saudi Arabia, an ISIS that has made it.” Author Kamel Daoud writes:

“Black Daesh, white Daesh. The former slits throats, kills, stones, cuts off hands, destroys humanity’s common heritage and despises archaeology, women and non-Muslims. The latter is better dressed and neater but does the same things. The Islamic State; Saudi Arabia. In its struggle against terrorism, the West wages war on one, but shakes hands with the other. This is a mechanism of denial, and denial has a price: preserving the famous strategic alliance with Saudi Arabia at the risk of forgetting that the kingdom also relies on an alliance with a religious clergy that produces, legitimizes, spreads, preaches and defends Wahhabism, the ultra-puritanical form of Islam that Daesh feeds on.”

Of Chiron conjunct Jupiter, Lass says, “Sensing the underlying plan and feeling innately that we are all destined to be free to shine, this aspect can confer a call to champion the cause of freedom in the world…on the other side, this aspect can confer issues and Wounds around justice, fairness, equality, morals and ethics.” Clearly, justice, fairness, morals and ethics are seen through the lens of cultural perspective and historical experience, but everyone responds on some level to these dynamics: the idealism that motivates U.S. soldiers to fight these wars also motivates those who consider themselves oppressed by Western ideals and practices.  

Even though nearly a millennium has past since those dark days, the Crusades waged by Christianity against Islam in the "Holy Land" is a deep cultural memory in the Middle East, a Wound that has been ripped open time and again, with no healing in sight.  It’s worth noting that just after Easter, 1096 A.D., when the first Crusaders left Europe for the Holy Land, Uranus and Neptune were tightly square (Aries-Cancer), with Chiron sandwiched in between Uranus and Pluto (both in Aries) and Jupiter sextile Uranus (and possibly Chiron) from Aquarius.  Perhaps today’s heavy focus on cardinal signs is a red flag that it’s time to resolve this “Us v. Them” Wound once and for all.

Chiron conjunct Neptune elevates this gnawing spiritual Wound, which fuels terrorism, to the level of a “Holy Grail”-type quest. According to Lass, “Depending on our level of Healing and evolution of consciousness, this can…disassociate us from reality and make it virtually impossible for us to touch the ground, so to speak…we would expect to see all manner of escapist behavior, from drugs to organized religion.” The “quest” of extremism is to recast reality in its own apocalyptic image, the most lethal form of escapism.

Taken together, the ideologically-charged Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune stellium, super-charged by Uranus, speaks to the chaos extremism is capable of producing in the name of God. But in Aquarius, it also speaks to the possibilities for a lighter, less fear-driven vision. It says we can do this, if our “better angels” prevail.

© Raye Robertson 2015. All rights reserved. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Astrology for Film Buffs: the Birth Chart

I began looking at Astrology and Film together because they both use a symbolic language: Astrology uses the language of nature and the cosmos to make sense of life on this planet; Film uses an equally symbolic language of images and information that helps us make sense of life through the vehicle of stories.

The Lumiere Brothers' invention, the Cinematographe

On March 19, 1895, at approximately 11:00 a.m. in Lyons, France, the art form known as Film was born, when two brothers—Auguste and Louis Lumiere—shot the first moving picture. It was a 50-second film of workers leaving the Lumiere family factory.

The brothers shot it with their invention—the Cinematographe—a combination moving picture camera and projector that took Thomas Edison’s Kinetoscope and brought the image “out of the box.”

Before shooting this first moving picture, Louis Lumiere was a talented still photographer, skilled in working with light and image composition. Together the brothers raised photography to a new level that’s reflected well in Film’s “birth” chart.

Photography = “Writing in Light”

Cinematography =“Writing the Motion

To put the birth chart of Film (below) into context, you might want to have a look at the Lumieres' first film at this link:

Film’s use of symbolic language is clearly indicated in its birth chart (below): there’s Mercury in Pisces, in mutual reception with Neptune in Gemini! The keyword phrases tell the story: Information through Illusion, Imaginative Communication, Communication Medium, Informative Art.

What we have here is a marriage of the Air and Water elements--Technology and Art. A Cancer Ascendant and Uranus (technology) exalted in Scorpio elicit emotion, inspire empathy and sensuality, and encourage a receptive mental state for Film’s “message.” Film “speaks” in symbols, as dreams do, and through means such as a darkened theater, hushed silence, all eyes forward, our minds are drawn into a light hypnotic, quasi-dream state.

We’ve all had the experience of “losing ourselves” in a film-watching experience. Astrologer Liz Greene calls this immersion experience the “participation mystique” of Neptune--certainly evident in this chart (more on Neptune to come).

Through means such as frame and shot composition, choice of lenses, camera level and angles, and camera movement, cinematography records, transmits (Mercury) and reveals (Moon) a rich array of information that we viewers absorb almost unconsciously.

Recording/Transmitting = Mercury
- Slices of life (documentary)
- Movement
- Sound
- Acted scenes
- Physical setting 

Revealing = Moon
- The unseen detail (alluded to or offscreen)
- “Privileged,” voyeuristic information
- Emotional/mental states
- Significant connections/relationships

In fact, reading a film is a process of deciphering many types of informational cues or data (Mercury) appearing on the screen (and post-1929, in the audio), and from those cues, mentally piecing together or synthesizing a whole that is greater than the proverbial sum of its parts—the story (Uranus-Neptune). The astrological pantheon in charge of storytelling is as complex as storytelling itself:

Storytelling = various
-Story structure/coherence - Saturn
- The creation of story meaning – Jupiter-Uranus-Neptune
- Cultural archetypes – Saturn-Jupiter-Neptune-Pluto
- The metaphorical impulse – Jupiter-Neptune

Let’s look at more details in Film’s “birth” chart (repeated below): 

From its inception, Film has been a synthesis of Technology and Art—broadly speaking, the province of Uranus and Neptune.

In the chart, Neptune co-rules (with Jupiter, rising in this chart) the Sun, Node, MC and Mercury. Neptune is also the exalted ruler of the Cancer ASC (Moon co-rules, quite appropriate for the emotional resonance of Film). Comfortable in its 12th house home, Neptune conjoins Gemini Mars and Pluto, so there’s considerable power wielded behind the scenes (even subliminally) through film communication. Neptune and Pluto are still within orb of their new cycle (once in 492 years!) here, reflecting Film's status as the ultimate Modern Age art form. 

Uranus is very creative in the 5th house, and exalted in Scorpio, it rules the 8th house of finances. It also trines the Node and the MC, adding technical brilliance to Neptune’s artistic output.

Technology = Uranus
-The camera and lenses
-Other photographic equipment
-Lighting, electricity
-Computer-generated effects and contents-Other digital processes, such as editing (video and audio)
-Sound and recording technology
-Technical experts in all areas
-Creative/pioneering uses of technology

Art = Neptune 
-Theatrical illusion and “EFX”
-Sets/staging for “story world”
-The visual art dimension and the artists involved (cinematographers, editors, art directors, scene designers, etc.)
-Musical scores and musicians
-Sound artists and character “voices” (with Venus)
-Costumes and make up; associated artists (with Venus)
-Audience immersion in the illusion of 3D action on a flat 2D screen

Even though Uranus and Neptune work together so seamlessly in film making, a closer look at Neptune’s role is warranted. Revisiting the chart, we see that Neptune co-rules the Pisces MC—Film’s “work in the world.” From its favored 12th house, Neptune tightly squares that MC, suggesting that the Hollywood Dream Factory can take its toll on the players involved...the "Star System" demands that celebs keep up the “illusion” or else!

All the Pisces energy in the chart makes perfect sense: Film is all about Vision and Perception and the illusion (produced mechanically by projecting film reels at 24 frames/second) of 3D action on a flat 2D screen. 

Saturn and Jupiter in this chart remind us that Film is not only an art form, but an industry and a social undertaking, with its own internal dynamics and powerful international networks. 12th house Jupiter rises, ruling the 6th and tightly squaring (and co-ruling) 9th house Pisces Sun. This reflects the “larger-than-life” image of the industry, and its immense potential influence (conscious and subliminal) on the hearts and minds of audiences. Like Neptune, Jupiter is in mutual reception with Mercury in Pisces, spinning imagery and words in powerful ways.

Disposed by Scorpio Saturn, the chart's ambitious Capricorn Moon rules the Cancer ASC. Placed in the 7th house, conjunct the DSC, this Moon suggests that the security and success of the industry relies upon powerful partnerships.

These partners demand their due, and with Saturn inconjunct the 12th house Mars-Pluto conjunction from the 4th house, it’s likely that internal frustrations and power plays drive much of the action behind the scenes. Director Robert Altman’s outstanding portrait of Hollywood’s cut-throat wheeling and dealing, The Player, certainly concurs.

Pisces Mercury, the “P.R.” man for the Dream Factory, is trine both Saturn and Jupiter, but Jupiter’s trine is dissociate (out-of-sign), and its biquintile aspect with Uranus reinforces its “maverick” role here, allowing more independent, thought-provoking themes. This is not the default mode for the industry, but a welcome creative boon when it happens.

Disposed by Pluto, Scorpio Uranus inhabits the 5th and rules the 8th (Pluto’s natural domain). Technology, big money and creative expression merge fluidly, tapping into and circulating (Gemini) the contents of the Collective Unconscious.

To be continued...with examples from great films you may remember!

© Raye Robertson 2015. All rights reserved. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

More on Pluto's Return & Other Cycles to Watch

Pluto’s transiting return to its 27°+Capricorn Sibly position, first exact on February 20, 2022 (outer wheel, biwheel below) is not happening in an astrological vacuum, but within the context of interacting outer-planetary cycles that together produce the collective reality we will experience . It’s as though the “picture” capturing that return is slowly developing in a soup of outer-planetary “chemicals” and is materializing as we approach that timeframe.

I’ve offered some thoughts on the significance of this event in the two prior posts (“Pluto Returns to Roost” and “The Big Bad Wolf Comes A-Knockin’”); here, I’m hoping to fill in some blanks about the planetary cycles we will want to be aware of between now and that return point in 2022. 

Some of these cycles (detailed in Table 1 below) have already begun and are still in progress (as noted by an * after the “1st exact” date). Any new cycles beginning before Pluto returns in 2022 are listed below those still completing. Also noted with each cycle are the major aspects the cycles formed at their inception to the Sibly chart (thus pointing to important possibilities). Following the table below, I’ve offered some preliminary thoughts on these cycles—your input is welcome!

Outer Planetary Cycles completing and beginning before 2022

1st exact -0-
Major aspects to Sibly
Jupiter-Saturn         (20-year cycle)
0-Plu; 120-MC, Ura; 150-Ven

Jupiter-Uranus        (14-year cycle)
60-Plu; 90-Ven, Jup; 180-MC

Jupiter-Neptune      (12-year cycle)
0-Moon; 30-Plu; 120-Mars

60-Plu; 90-Mars; 120-Merc; 180-Nep

Jupiter-Pluto           (12-year cycle)
28°+ Sag
30-Plu; 60-Moon; 90-Nep; 180-Mars

0-Plu; 30-Moon; 90-Chi; 120-Nep; 180-Merc

(45-year cycle)
30-Plu; 60-Moon; 90-Nep; 180-Mars

(36-year cycle)
150-Ura; 180-Ven, Jup, Sun

Saturn-Pluto           (33-year cycle)
0-Plu; 90-Chi; 120-Nep; 180-Merc

Thoughts on these cycles

Associated with overblown power ambitions, the present Jupiter-Pluto cycle began at the highly sensitive Galactic Center (GC), in Jupiter’s home sign: megalomania (a pitfall of this duo) dies hard, but it is likely to hit a high point before the new cycle starts in April, 2020 that says “enough is enough.”

The current “income inequality” debate raging (a national and global issue, with the top 1% globally said to own 50% of the world’s wealth) may, indeed, be the hot topic of this cycle because it speaks to the excesses of this cycle. Though the cycle began at a point sextile to the Sibly Moon (ordinary citizens and their concerns), the cycle hasn’t offered the broad “golden opportunity” we might have liked—a return to better employment figures, yes; real prosperity, not so much. Chances are the sextile has been outweighed by heavier aspects we’ll discuss ahead.

In any case, the tone of the income inequality debate has taken a serious turn since early 2011 at the square phase (during our “jobless recovery”), and has escalated through its trine (Taurus Jupiter-Capricorn Pluto) and inconjunct phases (Leo Jupiter-Capricorn Pluto). The issue now promises to be a key issue in Election 2016. By nature, Jupiter and Pluto are more concerned with the growth and control of wealth than they are with equitable economics—i.e., spreading the wealth through decent wages and benefits—which perhaps explains why the economy’s robust growth since the “great recession” has primarily benefited the “1%.”

The 2009 Jupiter-Neptune cycle began conjunct the Sibly Moon, which probably undermined some of the opportunity promised to the Sibly Moon (people) by the Jupiter-Pluto cycle: our national ideological assumptions have certainly been changing, and while this duo has its light moments, it hasn’t all been for the better. One retired senator recently noted there’s been a real “sea change in Washington”—apt symbolism for this cycle. Jupiter unleashes and amplifies whatever forces it allies itself to, including environmental crises (several, with increasing frequency) and mass migrations—both in Neptune’s wheelhouse. The latter issue hit home with a steady stream of Central American child migrants seeking refuge in the U.S. in 2014, during this cycle’s trine (Cancer Jupiter-Pisces Neptune) and inconjunct phases (Leo Jupiter-Pisces Neptune). 

Economic and territorial insecurities (a pitfall in any Neptune cycle) raised the debate over immigration to a shrill pitch during that 2014 period, with no real resolution today. Jupiter may have helped exaggerate such insecurities to the point of paralyzing rational action. “Build a wall” has been an appealing mantra in these times because—whether perceived or actual—the Neptunian erosion of boundaries has stimulated fear and in some cases, a troubling return to xenophobia (both here and abroad). The challenge of human migration continues worldwide (a story for another day) and will hopefully force sane immigration policy reforms before this cycle closes out. Unfortunately, the insecurities raised by this cycle have amplified the keen disillusionment so many feel with Washington D.C. today, making the business of government all the more difficult.

Though not a conventional outer-planet cycle, it’s worth noting that Chiron and Neptune joined forces within 4 degrees orb of the Sibly Moon through much of 2009-11. This mirrored the period between 4/1762-1/1765, when Chiron transited the same point, opposite Neptune in Leo. In that cycle, the vision of liberty (Aquarius) transcended the vision of monarchy (Leo) and caught on—to repeat John Adams’s words, “in the minds and hearts of the people.” The 2009-11 return to this point by both bodies perhaps inspired the passage of the Affordable Care Act (a more compassionate, if not perfect approach to health care) and the outpouring of support for both the Tea Party (2009 inception) and the Occupy Wall Street (2011 inception) movements. The clash of these movements’ opposing ideologies—at the heart of our national gridlock and sure to be a focus of Election 2016—ripped open an old wound (Chiron) inherent in American consciousness and politics. Do liberty and equality work hand-in-hand in American democracy or don’t they?

The Jupiter-Uranus cycle initiated in 2010 at 0° Aries may explain the overwhelming shift to Republican control of the House in the midterm elections, and some of the early enthusiasm for rebellious candidates like Ron Paul. Uranus is thought to lean to the right politically, and this cycle has allowed newly elected super-conservatives (now known as the “Freedom Caucus”) to gain a foothold in Congress. Both the Tea Party in Congress and those idealists on the left (Occupy Wall Street’s territory) want a new social contract—they just don’t agree on what the contract should say.

The lines of battle were certainly drawn during the controversial passage of the Affordable Care Act, which could be considered a social contract revision, if not “rewrite.” It affirms that healthcare will (with some unfortunate exceptions) no longer be treated as a privilege, but as a consequence of citizenship. The magnitude of this change is starting to find its way into national health statistics at this writing. The Act was argued and debated through 2009 and signed into law on March 23, 2010, as Jupiter was closing in quickly on Uranus to begin the new cycle. Not surprisingly, it was immediately challenged in the courts (social contracts don’t get rewritten that easily), but it was upheld by the Supreme Court in a highly controversial decision on June 28, 2012. Saturn and the Moon were conjunct in late Libra, trine the Sibly Moon the day it was upheld.

This cycle could well be seen as the "quagmire" cycle: earth (Saturn) + water (Neptune) = mud! This "mud" can be considered literally (witness the treacherous mud slides in California in today's news), or figuratively, as in "clear as mud"--an apt description for the opaque, irrational nature of so many policy quandaries the nation faces today. Beginning opposite our Sibly Cancer positions (Venus, Jupiter, Sun), this cycle relates to the many passive aggressive ploys used to produce gridlock in Congress (i.e., attaching impossible conditions to bills so they will be dead in the water). As the current final square (Sagittarius-Pisces) is getting underway, with Saturn inching towards the Sibly ASC and Neptune holding court in the 4th, more attention from both parties is being directed to the dangers of such obstructionist tactics. 

Saturn and Neptune clearly evoke fear and insecurity about the erosion of boundaries, and with these emotions comes power to those who know how to use it. In this way, this cycle--which will find both Saturn and Neptune in Pisces for a stretch--will continue to figure into our public affairs and policies, especially about immigration (crossing borders) and the environment. Water, oil and natural gas issues, especially as regards regulations and territorial concerns, will likely surface. 

Incredibly, a new Saturn-Pluto cycle begins within 8° of Sibly Pluto, just 2 years before Pluto’s return. Out with the old—the old social order begun at the Libra Saturn-Pluto conjunction in 1982—in with the new Capricorn reality, that is. This cycle should act upon (cardinal inception) whatever the other cycles have wrought from 2007 to 2020. With the cycle beginning at a point roughly square to the 1982 cycle’s late Libra conjunction, renewed power structures and a new social order that challenges the social agenda of the 1980s will be on the agenda. Policies impacting natural resource conservation and management will be highlighted.

Launching in the Sibly 2nd house of big finance and national values, this cycle could see pressure to dismantle the Federal Reserve and seriously reform our current election system. It’s also possible our financial system will be seriously re-regulated by that time, to prevent meltdowns such as we saw in 2008 and to “unstack the deck” disadvantaging the middle class. The environment and stressed natural resource reserves could weigh heavily on public policies affecting immigration, and on the nation’s willingness to wage and support foreign wars. This cycle may help restore public confidence in the “American Dream” (trine to Sibly Neptune), but the usual media “spin” (opposition to Sibly Mercury) will also be a continuing factor, so the reality may fall short of the illusions.

The 2020 Jupiter-Saturn conjunction at 0°+Aquarius should be a blast of fresh air. As a “Mutation Conjunction,” (the first of a long series of Jupiter-Saturn cycles in a new element), this cycle will serve to fundamentally reorient society and implement Saturn-Pluto’s “new order.” The so-called Aquarian Age should start to feel like it’s arrived at this point, although it may not resemble the original vision. New ideas and possibilities will manifest in technology, space travel, the sciences, communications and social relations. Also launching in the Sibly 2nd house, these technical and social developments will work to regenerate the nation’s economy for the new Pluto in Aquarius generation to come, beginning in March, 2023.   

Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former university English instructor. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, the astrology of generations, and in issues of public importance 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. Raye can be contacted by comment here, or at:

© Raye Robertson 2015. All rights reserved.