Saturday, July 2, 2016

Neptune, Pluto & the Alien Invasion…Revisiting Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds

Does the Cosmos have a twisted sense of humor, or is this just absurd synchronicity? 

If nothing else, it should tell us that some very significant is on the horizon...

Truthfully, we’ve been seeing a preview of the Pluto-Neptune “Follies” of 2022 throughout this election season. 

On February 20, 2022, transiting Pluto will return to its radix (natal) position in the US Sibly chart, and a lot of forward-minded astrologers are following the story closely. With good reason—this unprecedented event (it happens once every 240 years) is likely to mark a dramatic turning point for this nation.
Pluto’s return won’t happen in a vacuum, however—it will happen within the loaded historical relationship this small but mighty cosmic player has to American affairs. It will also be happening in concert with the entire complex of outer planetary energies that play out within its 240-year orbit’s embrace. All of this will be focused with Pluto’s signature intensity on reinventing America’s core values and worldview (zeitgeist, if you will).

As if that isn’t enough to ponder, Pluto’s return will be accompanied by yet another powerful cyclical marker for U.S. history: at 22°+Pisces, Neptune will be exactly opposite its Sibly position. Bottom line, Pluto will be making its full return at the same time Neptune is hitting the half-way mark in its return.
Does the Cosmos have a twisted sense of humor, or is this just absurd synchronicity? If nothing else, it should tell us that some very significant is on the horizon—but truthfully, we’ve been seeing a preview of the Pluto-Neptune “Follies” of 2022 throughout this election season. Together, this duo and its cosmic minions have flipped our usual political expectations 180 degrees and dropped us through the rabbit hole of Trumpian politics—a sort of “Brexit” vote on this side of the Pond, signaling we are now taking leave of our political common sense.

It’s not for nothing, however; that’s the thing about Pluto-Neptune absurdities—there’s an underlying core of wisdom in them. We see that with the Trump phenomenon, when we’re willing to consider it deeply. All but the most fringe Trump supporters are motivated by legitimate systemic concerns about an economy that’s rigged to work for some, but not for most Americans.
Trump supporters are looking for answers and for someone who’s willing to make tough decisions in their favor. They don’t care what’s happening with global capital flows and abstract, liberalized trade—they want to know why the good-paying jobs they had 10 years ago were replaced with 2 to 3 part time jobs that pay no benefits. They want to know why hard work and long, long hours no longer lead to security or success; they want to know why life looks even more bleak for their children. Why do wages rarely budge, but companies are free to raise their prices at will?
Unfortunately, the solutions Trump offers involve race-baiting, scapegoating and ideas that would put the country on a collision course with its own Constitution—not to mention its democratic ideals. What he is offering is a version of the “alien invasion” message so prominent in current films and other media, and it’s the same message that has dominated the politics of other tumultuous times. As far as Pluto and Neptune are concerned, he’s right on cue, and he’s serving their purposes very well.

Their purposes can be summed up quite simply: Chaos engenders Creation; from Death comes Life. Pluto and Neptune are partners in this evolutionary process and their “breakdown-death-transformation-rebirth” routine performs a necessary service to our Species, writ large, but they do not deal kindly with individual needs and desires because that’s not their job.
It’s up to us humans to respond to the pressures of Neptune and Pluto through the institutions and societies we create (the domains of Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus). It’s up to humans to deal kindly (or not) with each other, and our socio-economic institutions always reflect which choices we’ve made.

An evening in Grover's Mill...a Martian invasion that resonates
So in the grand scheme of things, what purpose does the “alien invasion” narrative serve?
 To explore this question, let’s look back at another key moment in America’s Neptune-Pluto story, when the “alien invasion” narrative was perhaps more warranted than now. We’ve been through this before and it wasn’t pretty, but maybe it will tell us something about our choices come 2022.
We’re in fictitious “Grover’s Mill,” at 8 p.m. on a Sunday night, October 30, 1938, as Orson Welles takes the microphone of the Mercury Theatre on the Air. In the real world earlier that year, Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussollini had taken sole control of their respective German and Italian militaries; Hitler was already making moves toward invading Czechoslovakia and Austria; the U.S. was watching from afar, but talks of forming an alliance with Britain and France were in the works.
With that growing concern as a backdrop, what starts out as a masterful radio play adapted from H.G. Wells’ 1898 sci-fi classic War of the Worlds—about a Martian invasion of Earth—registers with many listeners as an actual news bulletin, the result being mass panic in some areas of the country. Not surprisingly, the chart for this 1938 event vividly reflects the growing tension in the world. It also echoes strongly with the chart for Pluto’s return to Sibly in 2022.
Funny thing is, the aspects Pluto and Neptune made to their Sibly counterparts in 1938 were exactly flipped from what we’ll see in 2022: at 1°+Leo, Pluto was still within opposition orb to Sibly Pluto, and at 22°+ Virgo, Neptune was exactly conjunct Sibly Neptune!
Is it any surprise we’re dealing with a resurgent “alien invasion” theme in our politics? Even the forgettable 2005 film remake of this story starring Tom Cruise ties into the Sibly chart’s Neptune-Pluto dynamics, with transiting Pluto square Sibly Neptune from Sagittarius. 

For now, however, let’s check out the biwheel between the 1938 radio broadcast and the Sibly chart:

Biwheel: (inner wheel) Radix, U.S. (Sibly), July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer wheel) Radix, War of the Worlds Radio Broadcast, October 30, 1938, 8:00 p.m., ST, New York, NY.

1938 Neptune exactly conjoins Sibly Neptune (both Virgo); 1938 Pluto (Cancer) opposes Sibly Pluto (Capricorn); 1938 Jupiter (Aquarius) conjoins Sibly Moon (Aquarius) and inconjoins 1938-Sibly Neptunes and Sibly Mercury (Cancer). Human societies “download” the energies of Neptune and Pluto into their lives via the social planets, Jupiter and Saturn, and that’s clearly represented here. In the “sci-fi” sign of Aquarius, Jupiter assured a mass audience (Sibly Moon) for that night’s national broadcast (Sibly Mercury), and the resulting yod formation inspired fear and dread (Sibly Mercury opposes Sibly Pluto). Orson Welles’ script played on people’s familiarity with news bulletins—a media format that was becoming very common during the run-up to WWII—and he knew the media’s potential for inspiring fear. It was a Halloween broadcast, after all.

Welles undoubtedly also realized how deeply the alien invasion theme would resonate with the American people that Halloween. Many Americans were still trying to recover from the Great Depression; in fact, the economy had just sunk back into a new recession in 1937-38, despite continued efforts on FDR’s part to pass pro-worker legislation, the Social Security Act, and so on. The Democrats were suffering big losses at the polls that year as a result, and as always happens, people were feeling more protective about available jobs and less secure in general.
So, all the conditions needed to stoke hatred and fear of “aliens”—from anywhere—were in play. It wasn’t until after World War II that American’s attitudes towards refugees and immigrants softened a bit. By then, there was economic prosperity, which always seems to free up the higher, compassionate impulses of Neptune.
As for Pluto, the U.S. economy experienced a remarkable turning point as the Sibly Pluto cycle reached its half-way point in the 1930s—those who grew up during the Depression could only marvel at how World War II improved their prospects. Unfortunately, the powers-that-be (Pluto) have been equating prosperity with war ever since.

1938 Mercury-Node (Scorpio) inconjoins Sibly Mars (Gemini) and Sibly Chiron (Aries); 1938 Uranus (Taurus) opposes 1938 Mercury-Node. Here we see an extra volatile yod formation: Mercury rules the Sibly 7th house of enemies, so the yod formed by the two inconjuncts and the Aries-Gemini sextile again applies what feels like threatening pressure to the collective through the media (Mercury). As the focal planet at the far midpoint, Uranus is tasked with expressing the impulses of Mars and Chiron stimulated by this Scorpio Mercury, so besides the initial panicked gut reaction (Uranus), this broadcast also foreshadowed how the people would respond to the wounding “day of infamy” at Pearl Harbor. It’s a sad truth, but historically, the years leading into war are often characterized by stories and films that sow seeds of fear and an acceptance of war in people—the list of examples is long and a story for another day.

1938 Saturn (Aries) opposes Sibly Saturn (Libra) and squares Sibly Sun (Cancer). Welles and his broadcast captured the attention of the U.S. government and local police forces (Saturn) across the country. Even though announcements were made to remind listeners that the radio play was a fictional drama, calls came flooding in about the so-called Martian threat. Reports of deaths by stampeding, suicides and other tragedies surfaced and the Mercury Theatre cast had to be rushed out the back door of the radio station.

 Looking ahead: Neptune & Pluto regroup in 2022

Let’s briefly consider the biwheel for Pluto’s return to radix Sibly:

Biwheel: (inner wheel) Radix, U.S. (Sibly), July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer wheel) U.S. Sibly Pluto Return, February 20, 2022, 11:49:46 a.m. ST, Washington, D.C.

Return Sun (Pisces) conjoins Sibly Moon (Aquarius), trines Sibly Venus-Jupiter (Cancer), and inconjoins Sibly MC (Libra) and Sibly Node (Leo). The Return Sun and Sibly Moon form an out-of-sign conjunction here, so the People will have an uneasy, but mostly accepting attitude towards the agenda unfolding from this Return.
The segment of the economy (Sibly Venus-Jupiter) that depends upon our national relationships (as in exports/imports) should benefit from Pluto’s return (at least in the short-term), but an expert financial astrologer may have more to say about this in terms of currency valuation, etc. Return Jupiter (Pisces) is also trine Sibly Sun (Cancer), so inflation could be an issue.
The two inconjunct aspects linking the Sibly MC and Node to the Return Sun—a yod configuration—are more concerning, suggesting that Pluto’s return will mark a discordant time for American affairs in the world (MC) and for the country’s psychological, if not economic wellbeing (8th house Node). Yods often reflect difficulty in “getting our act together”—this one suggests that our reputation on the world stage will be murky, lacking definition. As we’ll see, Return Neptune will also contribute to what could be called a crisis of confidence.   
Interchart T-Square: Return Neptune (Pisces) exactly opposes Sibly Neptune (Virgo) and squares Sibly Mars (Gemini); Return Moon (Libra) trines Sibly Mars. This dramatic mutable configuration cuts across the Sibly chart’s angular houses (4-10-7), and since the resolution point of a t-square is the point opposite the focal planet (here, 7th house Sibly Mars), all four angular houses come into play, suggesting a potentially chaotic (mutable signs) dilemma. If we accept that 10th house Sibly Neptune has always represented the “American Dream” (a nebulous sounding concept, but we all know what it means), this Neptune-Neptune opposition suggests that the “dream” may be widely exposed as a shaky illusion—or, that the powers-that-be will be forced to make serious changes that revitalize that dream.
Unfortunately, since this disillusionment implies problems with the economic wellbeing of the grass roots (4th house), there’s the danger of the American people being sold (perhaps via Neptunian deception) on protectionist nationalism, manipulative politics and a move towards war (square to Mars). We’re already experiencing many of these dynamics with today’s politics, and it is probable with Return Neptune transiting the Sibly 4th, that there could be mounting pressure to take more immigrants into the country. Anyone watching the lack of progress we’re making towards climate change reversal may see this point as an important threshold, for better or worse.
This situation could be left over from today’s migrant crisis (it’s going to take many years to find new homes for over 65 million refugees worldwide), or from crises to come around 2022, but whatever the case is at the time, unless effective new economic policies that promote widely shared prosperity fall into place between now and 2022, American voters will be vulnerable to the nationalistic narrative (Return Moon trines Sibly Mars).
Bottom line, can we build that perfect (Virgo Neptune) vibrant economy without going to war?
Return and Sibly Pluto (Capricorn) oppose Sibly Mercury (Cancer); Sibly Mercury sextiles Sibly Neptune and inconjoins Sibly Moon (Aquarius). So how does Pluto fit into the challenge of this Neptunian t-square? There’s always been a close connection between media messages (Mercury) that play on people’s fears (Cancer) that they will be shut out of the “Dream” (Neptune) and the political direction of the country (Sibly Moon). Those who stand to profit from war and fearmongering (Pluto) have never hesitated to tap into (via the opposition) these security-focused dynamics. Could there be an actual outside threat that drives us into defensive mode around this time?  It’s not out of the question, but manufactured and illusionary threats work equally well—let’s consider how Saturn and Uranus work in this biwheel.
Return Saturn (Aquarius) trines Sibly Uranus/Mars (midpoint, Gemini); Return MC (Aquarius) conjoins Sibly Moon and trines Sibly Mars; Return Uranus (Taurus) sextiles Sibly Sun (Cancer) from 6th house cusp. This complex of aspects points to dangerous internal divisions that could ignite within our borders (3rd through 7th house focus). The Saturn-to-Sibly Uranus/Mars is a sobering reminder that outrage and potential violence lives among us—Return Saturn is disposed by Uranus in Taurus—a fixed sign determined to achieve material benefit through any means necessary. Return MC at the Sibly Moon reinforces the sense of economic and social injustice (Saturn in Aquarius widely squares Uranus in Taurus) fueling this type of unrest; needless to say, the midterm elections held in 2022 are likely to be very volatile. The secessionist movement seen in some areas of the country could pick up steam, and many could be asking whether we are really capable of functioning as one country instead of two (or more).
In fact, the cosmic drama is building even now towards this passage and a lot appears to be at stake in the politics, economy and general wellbeing of the country between now and then. Will we be committing needed resources towards mitigating climate change, making the transition to clean energy sources? Will we be rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure and education systems? Or will we be waging an all-out war with ISIS or ISIS “proxies”—perhaps even on our own soil—at the cost of civil liberties and our children’s futures?

A better way?
Finally, I hope that we will find ways to express these volatile aspects more constructively—better options absolutely do exist. We have a planet to preserve for future generations and a new generation of technologies to discover and deploy; we have a “Dream” to put back within reach of the average citizen. The more progress we make towards this goal between now and 2022, the smoother the 2022 cosmic turning point will be.  

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 2016. All rights reserved. 

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