Maybe it's just pandemic anxieties that won't let go, despite the very real progress we've made...
Maybe it's my own deep hopes that the coming summer could make traveling and family gatherings more doable again. Whatever the reason, I’ve
been thinking a lot about how the most all-encompassing planetary
cycles in our Solar system—namely, those involving Uranus, Neptune and
Pluto in their various pairings—have more far-reaching impact in our
daily lives than we often give them credit for. Maybe it's time to give this more thought.
These cycles provide the ideology-driven cultural contexts in which our communities develop, evolve and thrive (or don’t), and in which we grow and develop as individuals; they influence the overarching tone and focus of our societies over distinct time periods that we think back on as having definable characteristics, of having a certain “feel,” and standing for something. These outer-outer cycles work on the level of Humanity-at-large as well, at the same time they work their way into our bones and seep into our pores—I may not remember a lot of the details, but I remember what it felt like to grow up in the Uranus-Pluto ferment of 1960s America. I remember what it felt like to be caught up in a sea of people protesting the wars in the Middle East before we invaded Iraq, too; a desire for peace can be just as contagious as the virus we’re now up against.
|Queen Victoria, 1837-1901|
A more distant, but relevant historical example of the roles outer-outer cycles play in human affairs is the Victorian Era—that vibrant and consequential period associated with Queen Victoria’s 1837-1901 reign in Britain. This long tenure brought tremendous developments in urban society and in the industries, sciences and technologies of the time. Charles Darwin revolutionized our insight into the Life Sciences; Victorian artists and designers spawned a “style” that is still coveted and preserved in retro architectural circles. Transportation was never the same after that; steam and coal-powered trains replaced horse-drawn stagecoaches and early automobiles were at least envisioned; the race for fossil fuels was on.
Not surprisingly, the Victorian era was graced with several major outer-planetary cycle milestones. Queen Victoria herself was born on May 24, 1819, with Uranus applying to Neptune in late Sagittarius and both square Pisces Pluto, so three momentous 3Q milestones were ongoing or about to happen in one set of aspects: Uranus-3Q-Neptune (ongoing from 1783); Uranus-3Q-Pluto (first exact in 1820), and Neptune-3Q-Pluto (ongoing from 1816). Each of these cycles would complete and relaunch in her lifetime: Uranus-Neptune in 1821 in Capricorn; Uranus-Pluto in 1850 in Aries, and Neptune-Pluto in 1891 in Gemini, widely conjunct Victoria's natal Sun-Moon conjunction.
The important strides in the sciences, technologies and the arts during this era were undoubtedly impacted by both the waning Sagittarius Uranus-Neptune cycle and the new 1821 Capricorn cycle; the 1820 Uranus-3Q-Pluto phase (1820-50, Sagittarius-Pisces) kept things politically lively and saw the end of the legalized slave trade (Marxism and its focus on the working class has its roots here, too). Encompassing the agendas of both these cycles was the Neptune-3Q-Pluto phase (1816-1891, Sagittarius-Pisces) that was closing out the Cosmic “books” on the 19th century in preparation for the craziness to come in the 20th century.
This amazing blend of energies certainly made this era memorable, but unfortunately, eras are rarely judged by how the masses of people are treated—we only need to read some of Charles Dickens’ great novels about those times to know that if equitable, fair treatment was the bar for excellence, the Victorian era would have failed miserably. In fact, people all across Britain and Europe rose up against this miserable treatment just a few years after Victoria ascended to the throne: a wave of revolutions tore across the continent in 1848, as Uranus and Pluto closed in on their new 1850 Aries cycle. That unrest was exacerbated by the Potato Famine in Ireland, which produced an outpouring of Irish migrants to the U.S., where the South’s dependence on slave labor had become sordid and unacceptable on the world stage (Britain had ended its legalized slave trade in 1833). Needless to say, the 1850 cycle was the same Uranus-Pluto cycle that tore this nation apart over that very issue.
The Neptune-3Q-Pluto cycle (the most Humanity-wide of all outer-outer cycles) was quietly working in the background of all this to close out not just the 19th century, but Britain’s industrial world dominance and super-power status up to that point—two 20th century world wars later, that title and the world order had basically shifted to the Cold War dominance of the U.S. and U.S.S.R.
|Magicians enjoyed a Golden Age in Victorian England.|
So, bottom line, the outer-outer planetary cycles are definitely felt by ordinary people in their everyday lives; we don’t live in isolation from these grand cycles and the sooner we learn to see their potential impact in everyday life, the better.
|Surreal times, huh?|
Similar to Britain, the U.S. built tremendous strength and influence during the 1821 Capricorn Uranus-Neptune cycle, but by the time that cycle went into 3Q mode in mid-1954, what followed was one fruitless overseas conflict in search of regional dominance after another. Fresh out of WWII we embarked on an illusory “Red Scare” and Cold War that did little but feed the military industrial complex and entangle us in one regional conflict after another. Make no mistake—there were positive developments woven into this mix, but many of them, particularly in the arts, grew up around the impulse to protest against the so-called “Establishment” that had badly hardened by this time. The parallel streams of anti-war protest and civil rights protests were no accident—all the outer-outer cycles played a role in that synchronicity.
It’s no wonder economic down times followed in the 70s and early 80s: that rigid Establishment proved incapable of responding to the Middle East oil crisis very constructively, which triggered recession and economic stagnation (not unusual for 3Q phases). On top of this, the Cold War was fast losing its usefulness to corporations—the trend was more towards containing and destroying nuclear arsenals than on adding to them, and there were signs that the Berlin Wall was going to come down, one way or another. All of this stagnant energy and simmering turmoil became, in turn, a major pretext and opportunity for those who wanted to overturn the prevailing social “contract” between Capital and Labor.
By the time the new Uranus-Neptune cycle launched in 1993, the Cold War (and the Soviet Union) had disappeared along with the Berlin Wall, and the world had been convinced that flattening borders for the sake of economic globalization was “inevitable” and would somehow magically “lift all boats.” As happens so often with these cycles, we were sold an illusion—one with dire consequences.
In Cosmo & Psyche, culture historian Richard Tarnas attributes a long list of sweeping developments to the Uranus-Neptune cycle: “epochal shifts of cultural vision,” "spiritual epiphanies and the emergence of new religions,” “revelations of the numinous,” not to mention artistic and cultural movements such as the European Renaissance, the Reformation and the Great Awakenings in Protestant America, the Enlightenment and Romanticism. Less attention was paid to the potential for Neptunian disasters like pandemics—the world has now suffered one in each of these Capricorn Uranus-Neptune cycles, and that should tell us something.
Another area that could use more attention involves the periods during which Uranus and Neptune were in mutual reception; this happened during both Capricorn cycles: from 4/1835 to 4/1843 in the 1821 cycle, and from 3/2003 to 5/2010 in the 1993 cycle. Starting in Capricorn and given the speed at which these two planets move relative to each other, Uranus was bound to transit Pisces for its customary seven years, at the same time Neptune transited Aquarius. Clearly, both these mutual reception (MR) periods were deeply consequential and are worth a closer examination in another post. I suspect that the net impact of the 2003-2010 period was to “prime the pump” for the extreme developments we’ve seen in both our politics and in public health in the past few years, but again, how that worked is a story for another day.
For now, however, let’s focus on where we are at this moment with the outer-outer cycles, Uranus-Neptune, Uranus-Pluto and Neptune-Pluto. Biden has repeatedly framed the American Rescue Plan he just signed into law on March 11th as necessarily big and bold, designed to take on sweeping collective needs and issues in one fell swoop. The danger, he would often say, would be in not going “big enough.”
So, let’s look at a noon chart for his March 11 signing of the bill. As we know, getting to that point took weeks and weeks of rancorous debate, and in the end, not one Republican agreed to vote for it. After we consider this chart on its own merits, we’ll place it into context, next to the Sibly radix chart and the Sibly, progressed to March 11, 2021 (Triwheel #1 below).
Chart #1. American Rescue Plan, March 11, 2021, 12 p.m. ST (noon, no exact time known), Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts courtesy of Kepler 8.0 and Cosmic Patterns Software.
Uranus (Taurus) semi-squares Neptune (Pisces), squares Jupiter and Saturn (both Aquarius). When a sports trading card sold for $1.3 million in the past week and a digital artwork by Beeple sold for an outrageous $69 million+, some commentators opined that there’s just too much pent-up capital out there looking for a place to land. The Bitcoin phenomenon is likely also a product of these outer-outer planetary relationships, and it’s been in the news lately as well.
I’d say that the aspects noted here have something to do with that and that the stimulus package is taking advantage of these same energies—only the variables are flipped. The stimulus is responding to an enormous pent-up demand for assistance; its purpose is to address the basic human needs for food, shelter, healthcare and child care. As such it represents an investment in American families and in the likely prospect that their spending of this largesse will benefit the economy at large.
On another note, it’s been easy to overlook the fairly tense semisquare between Uranus and Neptune we see here. In fact, we’ve been experiencing this aspect for several years now—allowing for a 2°-3° orb, throughout the Trump presidency, with the planets first achieving a 43° angle in July, 2016. Barbault associates this point in the cycle with “complex developments,” as indeed there were. The aspect moved in and out of orb at a couple points when retrogrades intervened, but it remained pretty steady within orb through May 2020 when it started to exceed 47° pretty regularly. To my mind, it’s less potent, but still being felt through 48°. This is a very slow-moving cycle, obviously, so every minute of longitudinal difference can matter.
|Over 200 laws aimed at suppressing voters are waiting for passage.|
So, all during Trump’s assault on the legitimacy of the 2020 election (which continues in GOP attempts to pass voter suppression laws in the states), Uranus and Neptune have been basically semisquare, creating more and more “complex developments” for the Biden administration to deal with. At the heart of Trump’s efforts to overturn the election was the toxically twisted idea that “if I don’t win, the election must be a fraud.” There was no logic or basis in reality for that claim, yet after hearing it repeated over and over and associating it with the culture wars that he found so convenient, those who wanted to believe the election was stolen from him latched onto it, with disastrous consequences on January 6th.
The social planets have an important say in this chart as well, especially in their connections with Uranus and Neptune. In Aquarius, there’s a certain “sympathy” between the ambitious new Jupiter-Saturn cycle and Uranus, even if the aspects are 3Q squares, so it’s not surprising that these aspects pushed for the Rescue Plan’s passage. Perhaps if the Jupiter-Saturn cycle was in a less “rarin’ to get up and go” state itself, things would have been different. Their interest here seems to be with supercharging the economy—both planets are still in the new phase of their respective cycles with Pluto (Capricorn), so the Economy is a major focus.
As we touched upon in the last post here, the Sibly Pluto return looms less than a year ahead at this point (exact in February, 2022), and its intent is not only a reboot of the economy, but the resolving of long-term karmic issues such as slavery and racism. So, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing a drive to forcibly return the country to Jim Crow days by passing literally hundreds of voter suppression laws in Republican-dominated states. What better move to draw out the toxins so they can be healed?
Tarnas points out in Cosmos and Psyche that there are often times when the two major Uranus cycles, between Neptune and Pluto respectively, jointly contribute to some civilization-shaking development, but in today’s case we see the ways in which these cycles have also helped shape our nation-rattling Pluto return. The emergence of Trumpism as a homegrown white nationalist movement (there’s no other way to describe it) was certainly one such development, but these same cycles can also help to heal the wounds that underlie such troubling developments.
Venus conjoins Neptune and Sun (all Pisces) and all semi-sextile Jupiter (Aquarius). This is a 3Q waning semi-sextile between Jupiter and Neptune—more about this important cycle in the last post here. This cycle is probably also implicated in the crazy amount of pent-up cash (billionaires have made out like bandits during this pandemic) looking for a place to “express” itself these days, but the waning status of the cycle probably also reflects the deep disagreements about how that should be done. Doing whatever it takes to tackle the pandemic seems like a compassionate starting point—Neptune rules both the disease and the vaccines, so the Sun-Venus-Neptune conjunction here suggests that this priority will be supported. Not without tension or tremendous effort (these Pisces points are also t-square the Nodal axis from Gemini to Sagittarius). Even so, things are moving in the right direction.
At this point it makes sense to place this chart in the larger Sibly context. See Triwheel #1 below.
Triwheel #1. (inner wheel) USA (Sibly) chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (middle wheel) USA Sibly chart,, secondary progressions for March 11, 2021, 12:00 p.m. GMT, Washington, D.C.; (outer wheel) American Rescue Plan signed, March 11, 2021, 12:00 p.m. ST (noon, no time known), Washington, D.C.. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts courtesy of Kepler 8.0 and Cosmic Patterns Software.
American Rescue Plan (ARP) Uranus, Neptune and Pluto all fall over the Sibly lower hemisphere. These heavies occupy the Sibly 5th, 4th and 2nd respectively, which makes sense during times when the People’s health and welfare are the most pressing issue being addressed. Other political and even international matters can wait, and the Biden administration seems to be keenly in tune with that cosmic focus. We must gaze inward for now—not because we want to build walls against the outside world as Trump tried to do, but because responsibility begins at home for now and that deserves our total commitment.
ARP Uranus (Taurus) semi-sextiles Sibly Uranus (Gemini), sextiles Sibly Jupiter (Cancer), squares Sibly Nodal axis (Leo-Aquarius) and ARP Saturn (Aquarius) and trines Sibly Eris (Capricorn). The Rescue Plan can’t help but impact the U.S. economy—it’s expected, appropriately for Uranus, to liberate people from the economic pain of the pandemic and lay the groundwork for a strong comeback in the nation’s labor forces. The question is, what will the knock-on effects in the economy be? Will it cause dangerous levels of inflation? Venus disposes this Taurus Uranus from Pisces, conjoins ARP Neptune (Pisces), Sibly Progressed Sun and opposes Sibly Neptune. I’m not a finance expert, but Venus’s presence over the Sibly 4th conjunct our Progressed Sun sounds like it should benefit the grass-roots, and inflation would definitely not do that. I also wouldn’t expect inflation to become a problem during the Jupiter-3Q-Neptune, although the 1970s featured a mutable Jupiter-Neptune cycle (1971, 2°+Sag) that facilitated stagflation, so this is something to watch. High inflation with few benefits in the labor markets is conceivable coming out of a pandemic that has taught industries how to make do with fewer workers.
|Infrastructure projects will be key to hardening systems for climate change.|
The gathering of nice Pisces energies opposed to Sibly Neptune (Virgo) suggests that the pandemic is finally meeting up with, not just a financial commitment to beating it (Venus), but the full, diligent, committed force of the health care system (Virgo), in concert with the military (this opposition t-squares Sibly Mars in Gemini). It also widely squares ARP Nodal axis (Gemini-Sagittarius), which probably reflects a resistant impulse for change (mutable nodes) and the unpredictable nature of so much that’s going on right now. Getting back to some kind of normality depends upon getting our response to the pandemic right, yet there’s a troubling segment of the population that harbors a toxic view of freedom (Sagittarius So. Node) that threatens to deep-six everyone else’s efforts.
In fact, the ARP No. Node cuts across the Sibly Mars/Uranus (midpoint, Gemini) and Sibly DSC (Gemini), which could well point to former military, now-right-wing-extremist groups like the Oath Keepers. They seem to be carrying a lot of the nation’s pent-up rage these days, more intent on fomenting a new civil war than they are on solving the pandemic. It will be interesting to see how the court cases against them from January 6th will proceed.
Finally, we can't miss in this chart how close ARP Pluto (Capricorn) is to perfectly conjoining Sibly Pluto, not to mention how the Sibly Progressed Nodal axis (Cancer-Capricorn) cuts across the Sibly chart's Pluto-Mercury opposition. Along with other trends, like the one towards voter suppression, these oppositions seem to reflect the rise of right-wing extremist groups like the onees that had their coming out party on January 6th in the Capitol and have basically said out loud that they aim to promote "a new Civil War." The FBI has been warning us about this threat for years already and now they're investigating actual cases that illustrate the threat. It may seem like this Pluto return is a bit of a "side-show" at this point, considering the pandemic and other serious priorities, like handling the rush of unaccompanied minors at our southern border. Yet, these situations are all related in one tortured way or another because they speak to our survival as an intact sovereign nation. As Biden likes to remind us, we're in a contest for "the Soul of the nation." It's not about party politics anymore; it's about our Humanity.
Clearly, none of these cycles we’ve touched upon operates in a vacuum—they're all contributing to the complicated stew we call American life (and life everywhere, for that matter) at the moment, and they’re all having an impact on us personally, in one way or another. It’s fruitless these days to pretend that we can be outside observers of the collectives to which we belong—there is no outside. The pandemic is certainly teaching us that—the failure of one nation’s response to it will be to all our detriment because of the amazing fluidity of contagion these days. There’s no “China virus” or “American virus:” there’s only one slick, adaptable virus threatening every HUMAN BEING on this planet right now, period, and who cares where it came from? It just is and it’s ours to deal with. The case numbers may seem to level off and give us a false sense of security, but safety protocols and vaccinations are the only remedy we possess and thank Heavens we have those—now what can we do to help get those vaccines where they need to go?
What can we do to help families get through this safely and securely? It’s not just a matter of passing concern—it’s an all-encompassing concern—the Neptune-Pluto level of our global species and its survival is literally “calling the shots” right now.
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; see the Publications tab on the home page for her two most recent publications, A Silver Lining in Aquarius: Engineering the Future with the 2020 Jupiter-Saturn cycle, and Pluto’s Sibly Return: Revisiting Paine’s Common Sense for Transformational Times..
For information about individual chart readings, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Raye Robertson 2021. All rights reserved.