Friday, January 22, 2016

Saturn, Uranus & Neptune in 2016 …the Wild West revisited?

At this writing, Saturn (in Sagittarius) is applying to a waning trine aspect with Uranus (in Aries)—in other words, these planets are within the final 120 degrees of their current cycle. The trine will persist through November 2018 (with only brief periods out of orb, allowing the traditional 8 degree orb). Both are outer planets that impact social and political dynamics, so they are bound to play a key role in the unfolding 2016 election. An interesting echo, Saturn and Uranus are also within orb of a trine (waxing) in the USA Sibly chart (Saturn at 14+Lib; Uranus at 8+Gem). More about interesting historical parallels ahead.

Trine aspects can be notoriously fickle, however—not quite as “easy” or “soft” as their billing suggests. Saturn and Uranus are not “soft” energies in any case, especially in their current fiery signs. Not surprisingly, the only thing today’s political analysts seem to agree on is that these are tough times for “establishment” candidates, on either side; “outsider” candidates, by and large, are having an easier time of it. What constitutes an “outsider” is another story.

Uranus certainly cultivates renegades and revolutionaries, but Saturn’s involvement in the trine confirms that beneath the unconventional surface, politicians are politicians and at least some of the rules might still apply, despite attempts to appear otherwise. Uranus blasts through structures, limits, and (as we’ve seen), civility and respect: opposite Sibly Saturn, transiting Uranus has shredded the usual rules of debate and public discourse. Hateful speech flies freely, egged on by media coverage—the more untruthful and incendiary, the better. Whether this explains Ted Cruz’s “camouflage” video is another story!    

Saturn-Uranus on the move
The wild media buzz about the upcoming Iowa Caucuses on February 1 certainly captures our polarized politics at this time, so I’ve used a noon chart for the Caucuses to illustrate the current Saturn-Uranus dynamics, setting that chart against the Sibly chart (biwheel below). The polarization story is pretty well told in these charts:

 At 14°11’Sagittarius, Saturn is now transiting the first house of our national identity and is widely trine Sibly Chiron, opposite Sibly Uranus (Gemini) and sextile Sibly Saturn (Congress). At 17°09’Aries, transiting Uranus is now inhabiting the Sibly 5th house (occupying the 5th-11th house axis of national power dynamics), opposing Sibly Saturn, squaring Sibly Sun and within 3 degrees of conjoining Sibly Chiron. This transiting duo has stirred up a lot of fear and insecurity about the future (shorthand, “let’s make America great again!”), the role of the Federal government (Sibly Sun-Saturn) and—importantly—the system of checks and balances between our three branches of government.

As transiting Uranus explodes our sense of national self and confidence in the American system of government, it also joins Saturn to inflict a great deal of pain (Chiron) around very fundamental questions of identity: What does it mean to be an “American?” Who is the “rugged individual” (Aries) at the heart of our cultural mythology these days, and how is that working out for us? Have we returned to the “Wild West,” as in, the biggest gun (or loudest, crudest mouth) wins the biggest prize?

Saturn’s involvement always raises the issues of structures and regulations; the trine with Uranus is providing a context for change, but the direction of the change is up for grabs. We know it’s a good year for extremist voices across the partisan divide, but is the country ripe for an extremist right- or left-wing coup?  Will we be stumping with Trump or “feeling the Bern” with Sanders?  Do the other candidates out there fit Saturn-Uranus’s cosmic agenda? Maybe Saturn and Uranus aren’t calling the shots entirely?

Neptune stirs things up
Saturn and Uranus are certainly key to the political turmoil we’re seeing, but we can’t ignore Saturn simultaneously transiting square to Neptune (Pisces). Like the Republican and Democratic parties, Uranus and Neptune are at loggerheads ideologically —Uranus leaning towards the individualistic (less power to the public sector and more to the private sector), and Neptune leaning more towards the collectivist (a greater role for the public sector; more restraints upon the private sector).  So, Saturn interacting with both Uranus and Neptune these days has stirred up an ideological tornado, tossing our political house in the air—the question remains whether it will be shredded to bits or set back down intact for another day.

It’s not that the sides want drastically different things out of our democracy—it seems that most  simply disagree about the role of government (Saturn) in our economic and social goals. Unfortunately, innocent people (like the lead-poisoned people of Flint, Michigan—see my post from 1/20) get caught in the crossfire, as gridlock over which side is being more “political” rules the day.

Although this conundrum has been with the U.S. from day one, today’s billionaire-fueled manipulation of our political process is a departure that seriously distorts and exaggerates our innate tension. Clearly, the current overlap of Saturn-Uranus/Saturn-Neptune cycles is trying to tell us something.

“We the People…in order to form a more perfect union…”
Not surprisingly, our imperfect union has always benefitted when the sides have faced a common enemy. These days, even serious enemies like ISIS don’t have the same galvanizing effect they used to—right and left, we’re still gnawing on each others’ legs, as if that will solve our differences.

Quite timely, this week’s NPR interviews included a rather anguished one with former Senate leaders, Trent Lott (Rep.) and Tom Daschle (Dem.), who have released a new book (together, significantly). Entitled Crisis Point-Why We Must, and How we Can-Overcome Our Broken Politics in Washington and Across America, the title says it all. Amazingly, the efforts of two Senators to bridge a stubborn, deepening divide is nothing new, astrologically—we’ve been here before, in the pre-Civil War era.

When Johnny comes marching home again…
It might sound politically apocalyptic, but any mundane astrologer studying American history is bound to notice compelling astrological parallels between today and the 1850s-60s Civil War period. Not that we need astrology to tell us there’s a problem. For whatever reason, Barack Obama’s presidency has provided a pretext for all kinds of radical right, anti-government developments, up to and including secession movements (sound familiar?) among the most disaffected. Granted, people have had a lot to be angry about in these past 8 years, with the housing crisis, the recession and its so-called “jobless recovery,” skyrocketing income inequality, and so on.

Deflecting that anger onto Obama, however—onto every decision he’s made and every cause he’s promoted—has been a carefully manipulated strategy, one that will undoubtedly carry over into the election. That’s unless the anger on the left out-shrieks the anger on the right—only time and dollars spent will tell.

Will we reach a breaking point in which the Federal government simply disintegrates and a new civil war erupts? Let’s look at the parallels mentioned above: they begin with the Compromise of 1850 and the valiant efforts of two senators “across the aisle”—a key moment in the descent into chaos that preceded the Civil War. The Compromise was an incredibly complicated, delicately balanced agreement, spearheaded by Kentucky’s Whig Party Senator, Henry Clay, and Illinois’ Democratic Senator, Stephen Douglas—both famous orators of that period. The agreement contained several moving parts and multiple stages of implementation—a real marvel of statesmanship that would be hard to imagine today. For more on the details, please see the link provided. What follows is the biwheel between the US Sibly chart and the Compromise:

Compromise Uranus begins its new cycle with Pluto at 29°+Aries. Uranus and Pluto provided the broad, social change-oriented astrological backdrop for the Civil War, just as they continue to do for the current crisis in government. The present Uranus-Pluto cycle kicked off in 1965 at 17°+Virgo, a point that has been recently re-energized by Jupiter’s Virgo transit (was exact and direct in November, 2015; will be exact and retrograde in March 2016). Uranus’ current placement in Aries and extended, stressful square aspect to Pluto (in Capricorn) suggests that lessons not quite learned during the Civil War years are still with us, demanding attention. Where do we start?

Compromise Uranus-0-Pluto t-squares Sibly Mercury-180-Pluto (Cancer-Capricorn). This configuration cuts to the heart of the Compromise. This complicated agreement was pursued because—as western states like California were added to the Union—legislation was proposing to prevent the spread of slavery beyond the southern states. This met with staunch resistance from powerful economic interests (Sibly Pluto, 2-8 house axis) in the south, where slaves were viewed as a legitimate commodity, an economic necessity and a “lifestyle choice.” Controlling or containing slave ownership was viewed first, as government intervention into private business and second, an unjust power grab by northern states (Uranus transiting Sibly 5th). The first view certainly parallels the right-wing agenda today; the second view mirrors the “us versus them” power struggle mentality that we still can’t seem to overcome in our national politics. The “Mason-Dixon Line” may now be more ideology-based than geographic, but the divisions are no less real.

Compromise Sun conjoins Compromise Jupiter and Sibly Neptune-MC (both pairs in Virgo-Libra); Compromise Jupiter squares Sibly Venus-Jupiter (Cancer).  Legendary egos both, Henry Clay and Stephen Douglas (Sun-Jupiter) were instrumental in crafting the Compromise, which never satisfied either side completely, but did slow down the disintegration of the Union for some years. Both men were esteemed Senators and orators, so without doubt, the nation’s founding ideals and goals/destiny (Neptune-MC) were evoked as the deal was hammered out. The interchart Jupiter-Jupiter square certainly reflected the conflict between egos, growth agendas and viewpoints: the more industrialized North viewed the end to slavery as an integral part of future economic development (European nations had mostly abolished slavery already); the South preferred the status quo, seeing the abolition movement as an existential threat.

Compromise Saturn opposes Compromise Mars, conjoins Sibly Chiron, opposes Sibly Saturn and t-squares Sibly Sun. The dynamics here perfectly represent the painful bipartisan legislative drama underlying the Compromise. Aside from the rhetorical fireworks between parties, it’s been said the Compromise wouldn’t have even been possible without President Zachary Taylor’s untimely death in July, 1850—interestingly, the Compromise reflects a doubling down of Saturn-square-Sibly Sun (Executive branch) energies between the two charts. Never proven assassination (by poison) theories abounded after Taylor’s death—he was leaning towards being against allowing slavery in the new states, even though he was the last U.S. president to own slaves while in office.

At Taylor’s death on July 9, Saturn was widely conjunct Pluto in Aries (20°-29°+), which would have been a sneak preview of the same Saturn dynamics between the Compromise and Sibly charts. On July 9, Mars (2°+Virgo) was transiting opposite Neptune (6°+Pisces) and trine Uranus (0°+Taurus). The economic and “practical” considerations (Taurus-Virgo) at stake for southerners in the Compromise were supported (with explosive speed) at the expense of transparency. The very un-transparent Mars-Neptune opposition could explain the “severe gastroenteritis” diagnosis, but it could also support the theories that Taylor was poisoned.  

Compromise Neptune (Pisces) trines Sibly Venus, Jupiter and Sun (Cancer). Even though the Compromise didn’t prevent the south’s secession and the coming war, it was seen as a victory for the ideals (Neptune) it represented. Neptune was also unleashing waves of migration westward at that time, in search of “gold in them thar hills,” (a migration triggered by the 1849 Gold Rush) and powerful economic interests (Sibly Venus-Jupiter) wanted to take advantage of the free-for-all with no holds barred. The slavery issue dominated eastern seaboard politics, but was not really the main concern of those heading west.

And back to Saturn-Uranus -Neptune
Which brings me back to the original focus of this exploration—Saturn’s cycles with ideological powerhouses Uranus and Neptune—and what they promise for Election 2016. More to come on this!

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.