Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Furies are upon us: a week of trial by Cosmic fire

“This is not who we want to be as Americans...” 

(President Obama, speaking at NATO Conference, 7/9/2016)

The week started innocently enough, looking forward to America’s birthday celebrations over the long Independence Day weekend. Little did we know, the “fire” in the nation’s celebratory fireworks would be the week’s deadly theme as events unfolded.  The fire of hateful violence, that is—the explosive force that continues to shred the modest hope that many felt in 2008.
Electing a black president—finally—meant we were entering a “post-racial” era, right? Wrong, deadly wrong. These past 8 years have, if anything, reinvented American racial divisions for a new, globalized era in which gross economic inequality—and a host of related, brutal injustices—have decidedly race-related consequences. The haves and have-nots are more than ever divided largely along racial lines. Or, as Donald Trump likes to put it, there are “winners” and “losers.” Enough said.

What happened
Just to have the now well-known facts at hand, here is this week’s catalog of deadly events in the news:
Alton B. Sterling—a 37-year old black father of five in Baton Rouge, LA was killed by two white police officers on Tuesday morning, July 5, 2016.
Philando Castile—a 32-year old black food service manager, was shot during a routine traffic stop by a police officer named Jeronimo Yanez (no details available).
As if these horrors weren’t bad enough, on Thursday night, July 7, around 9 p.m., a 25-year old Army vet named Micah Johnson (no details available) opened fire on Dallas police officers protecting a protest march underway in the streets. With sniper-style precision, he killed five officers and wounded several others. A stand-off ensued in which the shooter claimed he wanted to “kill white people…especially white police.”  Johnson also claimed to be working alone, but other suspects are being held. Johnson was eventually killed by the police, who deployed a bomb-laden robot into the parking garage where Johnson was located.

Rage, despair and confusion
An incredible outpouring of rage, despair and confusion has followed these events—all expressions of the same fiery energy that blew out our emotional circuits this week. Astrologically, there are no surprises here: fire aptly expresses the major transits of our time. Uranus continues to create havoc in Mars-ruled Aries, and Saturn continues playing out its “trial by fire” agenda in Jupiter-ruled Sagittarius. The passion needed for effective response gets somehow doused by the waters of Neptune, obscuring and complicating what should be so clear and straightforward.
Is violence somehow inevitable in these astrological times? No, I would disagree strongly with that idea: violence is always a choice, no matter who perpetrates it and how deep the pain and/or insecurity is that inspires it—violence is not a cosmic certainty. Can violence be a rational choice, given the right volatile mix of circumstances? Quite another story.
Surely our social and political policies operate on the assumption that yes, violence can be rational. Ever-escalating gun sales depend upon that assumption; defense budgets depend upon it; police systems certainly depend upon it. To a great extent, even entertainment industries depend upon the fictional world of violence and retribution that simulate—and perhaps normalize—violent choices in reality. And yes, keeping a well-ordered labor force available for profitable use requires a hidden, violent rationale.

Astrology and racism
This week we have to wonder how the divisive issue of race informed the violent choices that were made. There is no natal astrological point that denotes a person’s race: our charts feature all the same points; how those points are expressed in a person’s life will be unique to his/her environment, cultural background and so on. Such are the miraculous diverse expressions of our species.
Racism—especially the extreme fringe hatred found in white supremacists and similar xenophobes, but even subterranean, mostly unconscious racism—is not an astrological bias—it’s a learned outlook on the Others in one’s life. Those with deeper innate fears and insecurities—traits that can be seen in a natal chart—tend to be more receptive to racist/xenophobic ideas. Unfortunately, these traits often coexist with deeper needs for power over others (also evident in a chart), which is where those attracted to police work come in.
A healthy ability to project power and authority over others for the sake of the common good is valuable to society—this is the energy that informs 99% of the police force who are doing the job with commitment and dedication. The toxic expression of power over others to satisfy personal needs is quite another story, and it never bodes well.
Perhaps we can see the potentials for the toxic expression of power in the chart for the Dallas shootings. Please note that as an event chart, there is no “person” represented here—if anything, the chart represents the condition of the American psyche writ-large, as expressed in that sad moment in time in a city that is almost stereotypically “American”—Cowboys and all. The chart below features the time cited on Wikipedia for the event.

T-Square: Moon/Jupiter (midpoint Virgo) opposes Neptune (Pisces); this axis squares Saturn (Sagittarius). Reinhold Ebertin ties the Saturn-Moon/Jupiter aspect to indifference, inner conflicts, injustice, social disadvantages or injuries—likely all factors in this event. Adding Neptune into the configuration speaks to the outpouring of idealistic sentiment and protest expressed that evening (opposite Jupiter), and to the creation of victims in Saturn’s Sagittarian “trial by fire.” Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter, making the t-square even more intense. Neptune is at home in Pisces, yet it supports toxic illusions at times, as well—we can only imagine how the shooter—an Army veteran who served a tour in Afghanistan—mentally justified his actions.

Grand Water Trine: Mars (Scorpio) trines Venus (Cancer) and Chiron (Pisces); Mars inconjoins Uranus (Aries); Venus squares Uranus. The water signs are all sensitive to security issues and—when expressed negatively—prone to fear. In this grand trine spanning the 3rd-7th-11th houses, we’re looking at the undercurrents of fear and insecurity prevailing in today’s wounded (Chiron) American society. Each of these houses pertains to associations of some kind—local/familial, partners/“open enemies,” and public associations, and our national ability to relate to each other as Americans felt mortally wounded in this event.
Those among us who have been conditioned to lash out in response to fear—especially those who need Others to be contained and kept separate from us in order to feel secure—cannot handle the open, fluid (i.e., vulnerable) feeling of a grand water trine. 
Because Mars is a key member of that insecure feeling grand trine, the Mars-Uranus aspect here is rendered exceptionally volatile: it offers a path of response to that fear, and with this duo, the response can quickly turn violent. As if the frustrating inconjunct weren’t enough, Uranus is disposed by Mars (ruling Aries) and Mars is strong in Scorpio, co-ruled by an equally hard-nosed Pluto in Capricorn. This certainly reflects the brutal energy unleashed upon us with this event.

This inconjunct has been in force for about a month if we allow a 4 degree orb, so it has had time to build tension; as a nation we seem to be at the point of desperate frustration with our internal divisions; in the nature of inconjuncts, however, releasing the frustration doesn’t heal the source of the frustration.

T-Square: Pluto conjoins ASC (Capricorn) and opposes Sun-Mercury-Venus (Cancer) at DSC; this axis squares 4th house Uranus-Eris (Aries). The volatile Uranus-Pluto cycle is gradually separating (the orb is maxed out here), but this tense configuration reads like a last ditch effort to shock us with the toxic nature of our internal divisions. Cutting across the chart horizon (ASC-DSC), Pluto’s opposition to the Cancer points (importantly including the Sun) hangs our national “dirty laundry” so to speak out for the world to see.
Since the resolution of a T-square is found at the point opposite the focal planet (here, Uranus-Eris), public action (10th house) on the part of our legal and justice system (Libra) to calm the tension and desire for vengeance (Eris) is called for. Finding a just equilibrium point is key.
It’s important to note that the opposition here cuts across the mid-Cancer-Capricorn “power sector” that has been so significant in American affairs. For one thing, it ties into the nation’s Sibly Sun (at 13°+ Cancer, not shown), so we can appreciate that coming to grips with our legacy (Pluto) of racial division—the vestiges of an incomplete repudiation and healing of our slave-holding past—is  a matter of existential importance. Our karmic baggage is feeling pretty heavy at the moment.

Grand Earth Trine: IC (Taurus) trines Node-Jupiter (Virgo) trines Pluto-ASC (Capricorn). This might, in a different context, be seen as a pleasantly stable, but potent ability to make things happen in the world, but in the context of this horrific event, it reflects a powerful material/economic system or “establishment” that effectively deflects any efforts at substantial change. Such a system distributes the wealth and influence in an economy (8th house Jupiter) according to its founding values (4th house Taurus), which are infused here with Pluto’s powerful entanglements, discussed above.
The rulership/dispositorship network in play here attempts to break through and destabilize the system, creating change (Saturn disposes Pluto and squares the Node and Neptune; Neptune sextiles the IC and opposes Jupiter, etc.), but the power of a closed earth circuit like this one is difficult to overcome. When threatened with change, a closed earth system merely “circles the wagons,” absorbs its temporary losses, but ultimately wards off the intruders.
Closed earth systems also tend to build tension, however, as efforts to change are frustrated time and again, and that’s where “rogue” energies like Uranus—reflecting the shooter, in this instance—come into play. The question raised here going forward is, can needed change happen within such an entrenched system, or does the system itself have to be replaced with something that works better? A good part of this past year’s political debate has centered on this question.

Grand Water Trine: Sun (Cancer) trines MC (Scorpio), trines Neptune (Pisces). This watery circuit overlaps with the earlier grand water trine discussed above, as though one circuit of fear and insecurity weren’t enough to exhaust everyone’s patience and fortitude. As anyone who has lived with a phobia or addiction knows (systemic racial division qualifies as one), however, the only way to heal such entrenched insecurities and toxic attachments is to face them squarely and slowly change the collective “brain” circuits involved. Neptune here reflects many entrenched and constantly reinforced toxic dynamics in our society, but in Pisces, Neptune presses us hard: heal now or be engulfed in our toxins of choice.   

Wrapping it up
Fear and insecurity certainly run deep in this difficult event chart. Do we have reason to fear? Unfortunately, yes—the “Furies” (Scorpio MC) seem to be upon us these days. Unfortunately, as a society there may be no true security or comfort to be had until we “go mythological” and sacrifice our unfortunate “first born child,” racism, to these vengeful mythological goddesses.
This is, of course, easier said than done. Systemic racism has served a widely practiced, but unspoken purpose in American society—simply put, it’s been a toxic tool for controlling the distribution of power and material influence in this nation. It is, unfortunately, a means of maintaining some vestige of the control slaveholders held over their slaves, because at the end of the day, slavery was essentially a cheap labor management system.
Today’s working class existence in America barely rises above this level—how to break out of the vicious economic cycle of working class existence is a challenge that the Emancipation Proclamation never addressed and still doesn’t. Importantly, powerful social systems are in place to make sure it doesn’t.
Dehumanization, the withholding of education and resources, forced subsistence living coupled with the pervasive fear of random violence, were the tools of control wielded by slaveholders. Perhaps this long year of random police violence towards black men and now, a tragic attempt at vengeance, should tell us something: What needs to change?  

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.