Sunday, May 6, 2018

Dancing the Cosmic Tango: powerful times ahead with Uranus in Taurus

I used to enjoy brainstorming with my university classes around the slippery concept of “Power:” 

the results were always very revealing because that central concept manifests in both material and immaterial ways, and on multiple levels and dimensions. For starters, are we looking at power “over” or power “to?” 

Is power a more reciprocal, transactional exchange—“you scratch my back, I scratch yours?”—or a distributed force wielded by multiple players for creative purposes? Or maybe it’s the life force itself, sustaining all energy-dependent systems? Or the force that gradually erodes, corrupts and diminishes those systems, as climate change and the Trump administration are doing? 

Are we looking at power in its most raw, elemental form, as energy that we switch on and off in our homes, that we use to fuel our vehicles, and—for want of a better word—to “power” our lives? Or power as authority (legitimate or not), as the ability (or responsibility, some might add) to influence the actions of others for a specific purpose.  Or power as resistance—“power-over” cuts both ways.

Needless to say, these brainstorms always provoke considerable discussion and exploration. We know what power is in our bones, but its complexity—and the stakes involved in its wise use—easily elude us. 

The stakes are profound, indeed, and to my astrologer’s mind, they are the lens through which we need to consider Uranus moving into Taurus on May 18th.  For the coming 7+ years, we’ll have front row seats for the powerfully fruitful, electro-magnetic “dance” of manifestation—a perfect “Tango” of Energy and Matter, Uranus and Venus (ruling Taurus). The imagery is more apt than it might sound. Consider this from Wikipedia:

“Tango canyengue uses body dissociation for the leading, walking with firm ground contact, and a permanent combination of on- and off-beat rhythm. Its main characteristics are its musicality and playfulness. Its rhythm is described as ‘incisive, exciting, provocative’.”
Sounds like Uranus and Venus to me, especially in earthy Taurus!

So, what should we expect from this “dance” that will manifest on several different levels: physical, technological, societal, politically—both within and beyond our borders?  Importantly, this Venus-influenced Uranus will rule the new Jupiter-Saturn cycle that launches in December 2020 at 0°+Aquarius, a development that we’ll consider more deeply ahead. 

Before we try to envision how this earth-centered revolution launching in Aquarius (an air sign, making it a mutation conjunction[1]) is likely to play out, however, let’s briefly consider a little basic information about the astrological Uranus, and some historical context for its new passage in Taurus.

What goes around…?

Uranus is thought by medical astrologers to rule the body’s nervous systems (with co-ruler Mercury) and rhythmic processes—in fact, Jane Ridder Patrick describes how there simply is “no life without Uranus:”  From her Handbook of Medical Astrology[2]:

“Everything that is alive pulsates. The pulsation of the heart is obvious, as is the rhythmic process of breathing. What is not so obvious is that every living cell pulsates because of its membrane potential. Smooth muscle tone is maintained by rhythmic pulsation. The whole digestive tract moves in co-ordinated pulsations… Uranus rules all the rhythmic processes of the body…Uranus is concerned with the co-operation between individual units and systems, so that the whole can function in a co-ordinated fashion.”
Ridder-Patrick goes on to explain how the electrical principle of polarity applies in bodily processes—Uranus also rules electricity, as it happens, and through electrical charges and potentials, it impacts our critical electrolyte balances. Once those are disrupted, our physical systems become spasmodic (also Uranus) and dysfunctional. 

Dysfunctional, as our Body Politic is operating right now: disrupted, spasmodic and dysfunctional. As it turns out, there’s historical precedent for this state of affairs hidden in Uranus’s own rhythms.

An 84-year cycle

Uranus requires approximately 84 years to orbit the Sun. In that same period plus another 4.5 years, Saturn makes three full orbits and Jupiter makes seven complete rounds. These social planets figure heavily into how Uranian energies manifest in society and the collective, so it’s worth keeping the rhythmic dance between these three planets in mind. At times it’s a smooth-as-silk fox trot, and at other times it looks like the “dancers” are tripping over their own feet, oblivious to what the others are doing! 

We seem to be experiencing something like the latter right now in our politics and public life, but things may stabilize a bit when Uranus moves into fixed sign, Taurus. At least dispositor Venus knows her right “foot” from her left, and she might be able to get them to move together!

The coordinating force we need to mobilize our societal “right” and “left” for the sake of progress and functionality may come at a price, however. The historical precedents for this Uranus transit are sobering: June 6, 1934 and July 8, 1850. Let’s consider a few quick highlights about each 7-year Uranus in Taurus period we’ve experienced as the American nation. Starting with the most recent first:

-          June, 1934-August, 1941. After a retrograde passage back into Taurus for several months, Uranus turned direct again in May, 1942— and continued in Gemini for the duration. Highlights of this period include the rise of Fascism in Spain, Italy and Germany, of imperialism in Japan, and (on the other side of the Pond), the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, which ended up supporting the fight against those fascist regimes in the Spanish Civil War and WWII.

It’s instructive to note that the powerful final third of Uranus’s time in Taurus here was dedicated by the U.S. and the Soviet Union to consolidating (Taurus) their coming super-power status and spheres of influence. One side needed to play off the other in the course of the so-called Cold War that followed, of course—that polarizing energy was facilitated by Uranus’s subsequent passage in 2-sided Gemini (beginning in August, 1941).

Relatively whole entities were split in two during Uranus’s Taurus and Gemini years: Spain fought a heinous civil war; Korea became North and South Korea; Vietnam became North and South Vietnam; Germany became East and West Germany, and Europe itself was fractured into East and West.  As if an egg had been cracked open and the contents were hastily glopped into two bowls, the global order was effectively divvied up by these super-powers into East and West ideological camps, as well. East = Communist; West = Democratic.

There were exceptions in the Balkans, where Hitler and the Axis powers consolidated support in Bulgaria, Hungary, Croatia and elsewhere—countries which experienced ideological whiplash after the war, from supporting fascism to being placed in the U.S.S.R.’s communist sphere of influence.

Everyone thought Fascism had been defeated by the end of WWII—but as we’ve recently discovered, a post-globalism variety of the toxic old nationalist extremism has surfaced with a vengeance—in some of the typically vulnerable European places, but in some unusual ones, as well, like the United States. 

Of course, these three “isms,” or forms of government are basically Aquarian systems (in so far as Uranus and Saturn rule systems in general) for distributing, coordinating and exercising power in pursuit of national needs, and as we know, there is a lot at stake in which system prevails.

Chart #1:  Uranus in Taurus-1930s, June 6, 1934, 10:35:19 a.m. ST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Neptune’s more subtle, but nonetheless powerful influence is never far away in matters involving political systems, either. However, while mundane astrology has traditionally taught that left-leaning ideologies are ruled by Neptune and right-leaning ideologies are ruled by Uranus, I would respectfully suggest that we revisit this broad-brushed division. In fact, since it entered Pisces in 2011, Neptune has helped promote the radical right-wing/nationalist turn in American and European politics we’ve been seeing. 

It’s clear astrologically that this extremist impulse harks back to the 1930s Uranus passage in Taurus (see Chart #1 above). Neptune was a critical player in that historical period, trining Uranus from Virgo, square our Sibly Uranus (Gemini).

Neptune had also “returned” to its Sibly position at 22°+Virgo in the months before our entrance into WWII: our Greatest Generation was energized and renewed in its dedication to democratic ideals (Mom, apple pie and all). For their troubles and sacrifice, they inspired the post-War GI Bill—this generation widely enjoyed the American ideal of middle class living (that proverbial “chicken in every pot”) and suburban home ownership!

This is not to minimize Uranus’s role in the 1930s or in today’s politics and society.  Uranus has influenced the upheavals we’ve seen lately during its long square with Capricorn Pluto and conjunction with Eris. These passages shook the secure foundations of the global economic order, and the American economy was caught in the crosshairs. This spawned an “Us v. Them” mentality that American society is paying dearly for today. Unfortunately, the jury is still out on where this hard-edged, rightward drift is taking us.

Bottom line, there’s just no easy ideological division of labor between Uranus and Neptune. In fact, the U.S. entered WWII (12/8/1941, the day after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor) with Saturn conjunct Uranus (both in Taurus), trine Neptune in Virgo. Anti-Nazi idealism (Neptune) played an important role in the collective war effort and in our eventual victory.

-         July 8, 1850-June, 1858. This period constituted the prelude to the U.S. Civil War, so here we see Uranus’s fingerprints on the run-up to that conflict, especially in the way our extreme pro-slavery/anti-slavery polarities exploded, defying peaceful resolution. If peace was the imperative, it didn’t help that Uranus conjoined Pluto at the fiery point of 29°+Aries, for the start of their new cycle (see inner wheel, Triwheel #1 below). 

      Then, on August 7th of that tinder-dry summer, a total solar eclipse occurred at 14°+Leo, a “dragon’s head” eclipse, conjunct within minutes of the North Node, fanning the fiery sentiments tearing the country apart.

Ironically, the so-called “Compromise of 1850” was being debated that summer, as well: it was an ambitious attempt at a legislative solution in Congress to the many hot issues of the time, but it ultimately fell apart as financial interests clashed over whether new western states and territories (Taurus) being annexed to the Union would be slave states or free states.

We probably can’t exaggerate how volatile those times were—the passages we see here (see Triwheel #1 below) were clearly setting the nation up for tragedy.

Triwheel #1:  (inner wheel) Uranus-Pluto conjunction, June 25, 1850, 9:46 p.m. LMT, Washington, D.C.; (middle wheel) Ura in Taurus-pre-Civil War, July 8, 1850, 10:21:34 a.m. LMT, Washington, D.C.; (outer wheel) Solar Eclipse, August 7, 1850, 4:24:44 p.m. LMT, Washington, D.C.. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Feverish gold-seekers were still mining California rivers and mountains during this period: the so-called Gold Rush lasted until 1855 and stimulated considerable westward expansion, which then grew even more dramatically under the 1862 Homestead Act (Uranus in Gemini). Significant Indian territories were confiscated by white settlers during the Taurus period, although the American Indian Wars lit up even more severely during and after the Civil War, with Uranus in Gemini. In late 1861, Saturn and Jupiter launched a new 20-year cycle in earthy Virgo, t-squared this air-bound Uranus: homestead-driven settlement (a lot of it aimed at establishing farms and ranches) spread like the wind.

The ideological divide driving the fragile young nation into civil war was equally widespread, of course, and fueled by a familiar blend of mob mentality and distortion (at least they didn’t have to contend with Facebook). Not incidentally, Neptune was transiting its home sign Pisces then, as it is now, which manifested in the early zeal both sides had for the fight, and the disenchantment that set in very quickly.

In 1850, slavery had been abolished in most of Europe, Britain and Canada nearly two decades earlier, and there were both compassionate humanitarian (Neptune’s lighter side) and “industrial progress” arguments (Uranus in Taurus) for abolishing it here, as well.

Incompatible North and South mind-sets, cultures, economic interests and visions of the future finally reached a point of no return, and the Civil War exploded in April 1861, as southern states seceded from the Union, triggering a blood-bath from which we still haven’t fully recovered. It happened once; could a similar ideologically polarized “mob spirit” sever the nation in two again?

Fast-forward to 2018

So Uranus plays a key role in American history, and its Taurus transits have always been instrumental in consolidating power around material priorities. This happens, of course, after the upsets Uranus promotes during its preceding Aries transits.  I would argue that, in the end, America’s internal divisions can be reliably summed up as a tug-of-war over the freedom (Uranus disposes our national Sibly Moon in Aquarius) to pursue regional economic goals—rural vs. urban, extractive vs. sustainable (environmental policies) and the freedom to pursue hot button trade and technology issues. 

The rest of our ever-present issues (civil rights, labor and immigration policies, gun rights/regulations, infrastructure, security and foreign policy, etc.) are then hammered out by the current “powers-that-be” (usually corporate/legislative alliances), around their economic priorities. This is no revelation, of course: follow the money seems to be our national mantra these days! 

So, we’re fast-forwarding to the 2018 ingress of Uranus in Taurus, on May 15th – a matter of days, now. Let’s consider the chart for that first step onto the dance floor for this duo’s earthy “tango.” 

We’ll consider some inter-chart connections with the Sibly[3] and Trump[4] charts along the way.

Chart #2: Uranus enters Taurus, May 15, 2018, 11:13 a.m. DST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

Sun-Moon in New Moon phase (Taurus), trine Pluto-Mars (widely conjunct in Capricorn) and semi-sextile Venus-Pallas (Gemini). A fresh new Uranus ingress launching in New Moon phase suggests great potential, standing in the wings, awaiting the chance to express. Between the gathering in Taurus and Mars-Pluto in Capricorn (along with  Saturn and Vesta…more on them below), ambitious Earth energy dominates this chart; the quest to consolidate resources for some material priorities is gaining strength, beginning to control the narrative (Mercury) and biding its time. 

Will we see a new focus on infrastructure building? The building of that famous border Wall that obsesses Trump? This New Moon conjoins his Taurus MC (24°+), suggesting that his material goals may be supported by this ingress, at least in the short-term. 

Uranus conjoins Mercury (Taurus) and T-squares Nodal Axis and ASC-DSC (Leo-Aquarius). It’s significant here that this nodal axis overlays the Sibly nodal axis (6°+Leo-Aq), not to mention Trump’s Leo Pluto position (10°+) as well, making this ingress (and his administration) an important inflection point in our history and evolution. The transiting nodes say something about how societies around the world are developing, and the visible trend is towards more authoritarian (Leo) forms of government at this time. 

The narrative (Mercury) supporting this drift these days seems to be that “strong man” governments are more accommodating for corporations to deal with—implying, of course, that the companies or CEOs/oligarchs see their place as currying favor with the “Big Guy” at the top. There’s a reason Trump values loyalty above all: it’s keeping him and his vision for a corporate-style government in power.

This idea that governments should be run like corporations has been catching more wind in its sails for decades: we see the results today in how Trump has been allowed to cross all kinds of ethical lines by conflating his personal business and government interests. Unfortunately, fascism is, fundamentally, merely an extreme version of the style of government Trump is already practicing: a toxic “strong-man” blend of extreme nationalism, with an uninhibited flow of resources between government and corporate hands. 

Why shouldn’t EPA head Scott Pruitt be able to accept low-cost lodgings from a corporate lobbyist?  Why shouldn’t Cabinet members accept appointments with lobbyists according to the amount of money they’ve donated? In the corporate world, these activities would barely raise an eyebrow. Once the ethical lines we’ve traditionally enjoyed between government and corporate practices are eroded (as they have been), anything goes, and democracy dies in the process.

Unfortunately, under this Taurus passage, material priorities are likely to dominate, which could concentrate more and more wealth in fewer hands (already a serious issue), and do nothing to strengthen those ethical lines between government and corporations.  An airy Gemini Venus disposes Uranus-Mercury and the Sun-Moon here: will she have the backbone to resist a corrupt trend? Falling conjunct Trump’s natal Sun-Node-Uranus (Gemini), I would hope so, but that’s being optimistic. 

It may help that Saturn will remain in Capricorn for the first couple years of this new Uranus passage, however—more on that ahead. 

Uranus-Mercury also falls sextile Sibly Venus and Jupiter (Cancer). It will be very interesting to see what the trade agreements that Trump has been negotiating (with our NAFTA partners, China, So. Korea, etc.) will look like in the end. There could actually be a viable peace agreement in the works with North Korea (something more concrete than a few hopeful photo ops at the DMZ), but that is probably a development “whose time has come” in the end. Kim seems to be signaling that he knows it’s time to build his country’s economy, which would be supported with the dominant earth energy ahead. 

For more on the astrology of this Korean situation, click here. If Kim is truly prepared to denuclearize in order to build a better future for his people, good for him. Unfortunately, that’s a big “if,” and IMHO, things have proceeded a little too smoothly with Trump’s big meeting there to be credible. The administration seems to be in a big rush to get the Korean issue out of the way. 

We’ve heard Trump take credit for achieving a coup in Korea already: this is considered by many to be seriously premature and based on flawed assumptions about how weak or strong Kim’s bargaining position is. Trump is also eager, it seems, to pull U.S. troops out of South Korea: his new national security adviser John Bolton begs to differ. Clearly, we’ll be hearing much more about this. 

So, should Trump be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for calling Kim Jong-Un “little Rocket Man” and threatening “fire and fury?” I’d love to be in the room when that’s discussed at the Foundation!

Next up, the Iran deal

Meanwhile, Trump’s rattling his sabers in regards to the Iran nuclear deal, and we can probably expect that he will support Israel’s opinion on the matter in the end, despite entreaties from all our European allies to renew the deal. Israel is a Taurus Sun nation (its Sun conjoins Trump’s MC, with four strong Leo points (Moon, Pluto, Saturn, Mars) that tie into Trump’s natal Mars and Pluto, so the resonance is real. 

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s natal Mars[5] also conjoins Trump’s Mars, and his natal Jupiter (Capricorn) opposes Trump’s Venus-Saturn conjunction (Cancer) at the same time it conjoins our Sibly Pluto (Capricorn), so their worldviews on security issues and our corporate sector’s ambitions are likely to be closely aligned. 

Politico is reporting today that Iran is warning that the U.S. will regret ditching the nuclear agreement; with Pluto also transiting into its return to Sibly Pluto (Capricorn) these days, we should probably take such warnings seriously.  

Uranus-Mercury fall in 9th house, trine Vesta-Saturn (Capricorn). This suggests an outward focus (i.e., relations abroad) that is directed at material acquisition and at building something constructive in the process. The trine suggests that American households (Vesta) will gain from satisfying obligations. Unfortunately, Trump’s reluctance to honor obligations (or to extend any kind of compassionate refuge) is reflected in his natal Mercury being opposed by this transiting Saturn-Vesta. As I write this, CNN is reporting that Trump is “floating the idea of closing down the country.” 

This apparently transpired while he was criticizing Dems for holding out on money for his border wall and blasting them for wanting “open borders,” like welcoming those who need refuge is a dirty word. Maybe Trump is taking his "germophobia" just a bit too far?

In fact, his administration has just ended another temporary protection order for immigrant populations from specific nations: this time, for thousands of Hondurans who have been here since crisis wracked their country 20+ years ago. This action will fracture more and more families (Vesta), as U.S. citizen children are left here and immigrant parents are forced to leave. His desire to demonize both legal and illegal immigration—and the whole long tradition of nations giving refuge to those fleeing oppression—seems to have no bounds. 

“The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s widely anticipated decision not to renew temporary protected status for Hondurans means an estimated 428,000 people from several countries face rolling deadlines beginning late this year to leave or obtain legal residency in other ways.”
Not surprisingly, this is all happening with Neptune transiting Pisces, a sign that, ironically, is deeply compassionate and caring when expressed well. In truth, these “better angels” are hard at work—they just don’t make as many headlines as those caught up in the more troubling tendencies of Pisces: fear- and conspiracy-mongering, distortion and lies, a victimization mindset, and a panic-driven mob mentality. We’ll have to see if a pragmatic, earthy Uranus will be able to talk some sense into our body politic over this issue. 

It’s worth pointing out that Uranus’s transit through Taurus begins in (and the Uranus-Mercury falls in) the Sibly 5th house: this may point to disruption in the nation’s schools and to our young people (the Parkland teens will keep demonstrating for sane gun regulations), some wild swings in the birth rate, etc., and it may also indicate turbulent times in Congress (11th house). 

Other branches of government, including the military, may be impacted by this as well: Mercury rules the Gemini 11th and squares Mars (out of mode in late Capricorn), so we can expect something newsworthy from there. If the saber-rattling and bellicose pretext-building going on about Iran these days persists, it could be the next military “hot-spot.”  The latest national budget includes a big boost to defense spending: it’s an election year with corporate monies flowing into campaign funds, so it’s not hard to connect the dots here.

A few ideas to consider...
Thankfully, there are other, less cynical developments to look forward to under Uranus in Taurus. The “lightning” of inspiration is “grounded” in Taurus (there’s that “tango” again!), and manifests in a myriad of material ways. This will be particularly fruitful once Jupiter and Saturn begin their new cycle in Aquarius in December, 2020.

Here are some possible avenues for expressing Taurus energy in these Aquarian/Uranian times:

-         Rebuilding our crumbling or out-dated infrastructures (roads, bridges, etc.) with sustainable materials that can withstand earthquakes, prevent sinkholes, etc. We know that we’re faced with more intense storms every year—witness the mess Puerto Rico is still in from last year’s Hurricane Maria, with the next hurricane season already on the horizon! Where’s the new generation of products that can help us deal with these challenges?

-        Producing new technologies that improve resource stocks (energy, land/soil, drinking water, clean air, bandwidth) and their efficient use. (Our electric grid—Aquarius—is in dire need of updating. China is slated to have 20 million electric cars on the road by 2020—what are we waiting for?).

-         Producing technologies and infrastructures that help prevent and predict, rather than cause environmental disasters, epidemics, and cyber-terrorism, and that help us respond more effectively when such things happen.  When earth energies are dominant, we need to work with the earth, not against it, so technologies related to earth sciences take center stage. For example, scientists have found that rocks from Oman absorb an enormous load of carbon emissions from the atmosphere, producing stone from them in the process.

Could this knowledge be turned into technologies that will help extract such emissions and put them to productive use somehow? Carbon “sinks” capable of capturing emissions for recycling or storage are sorely needed: Nature provides solutions when we liberate scientists to find them!

-        Educating the next generation of Americans (we have an Aquarius Sibly Moon) to be “makers, not takers,”[6] creating the jobs they need to thrive and the support systems they need to have a voice (a new re-imagined era of labor unions?).

-         Redefining our GDP to promote this list of priorities over technologies that simply overwhelm our landfills and churn “free market” dollars. Easy choice, right?

Social engineering  

If we needed reminding that power relations are the “wool” out of which societies are spun, not to mention  the energy that fuels societies, we’re about to be schooled by Uranus to that effect. Needless to say, “We the People” need to pay attention when Uranus enters Taurus later this month and the opening bars of this Uranus-Venus “tango” begin to play. 

Many of our democratic institutions are under fire these days: will those who want to consolidate power at the top win out and succeed at re-engineering our system into a corporate plutocracy of sorts? Will we even recognize this nation after Uranus’s 7+ years in Taurus this time around? I’m sure that sincere Americans debating the “Compromise of 1850” wondered the same during those pre-Civil War days, as did those watching all of Europe shudder under the threat of Fascism in the 1930s. The answers aren’t already “written,” however: we need to create them!

IMHO, there are better uses for this Taurus “tango,” and they are within our reach if we tune-in to the real issues, instead of allowing ourselves to be played like a piano with scandals and fear-mongering Twitter feeds.  We'll have plenty more to consider about the upcoming November election (Uranus will be in Taurus) in future posts. Neptune being what it is in Pisces, focus will be a challenge going forward, but constructive possibilities await: let the music begin!

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

She is also available to read individual charts—contact her at:

© Raye Robertson 2018. All rights reserved. 

[1] A “mutation conjunction” is defined on p. 185 of Mundane Astrology (1st ed.) by authors Baigent, Campion and Harvey as being the “transition of the [Jupiter-Saturn] conjunction from one element to another.” The Aquarius conjunction of December, 2020 will be the first such cycle in air since the Libra conjunction of 1981, an anomalous break from a long series of cycles in earth signs. Mundane Astrology called this anomaly a “maverick cycle.”
[2] Jane Ridder-Patrick, A Handbook of Medical Astrology, 1st ed., Arkana, London, pp. 41-42.
[3] U.S. Sibly chart data: July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA. Nicholas Campion, Book of World Horoscopes, Chart #370, pp. 363-66.
[4][4] Born June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m. DST, Jamaica, NY. Rodden rated AA: BC.
[5] Born October, 21, 1949, 10:15 a.m. DST, Tel Aviv, Israel. Source: Astrodatabank, Rated C: rectified from approx. time.
[6] Rana Faroohar, Maker and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business, Crown Business, 2016. 9/19/2016.