Monday, November 22, 2021

Perspectives on December's earthy Venus-Pluto dance

Stories have been popping up here and there regarding the momentous Venusian moment we will all witness before the end of this year: mid-morning on December 10th, Venus will begin her dignified, seductively close "tango" with Pluto at their shared degree in the earthy sign of Capricorn. 

As dancers do, these two will draw progressively closer, first cohabiting the same degree on the 10th and then, approximately one full day later, the same minute of that degree. By the 14th they will take a breather, as Venus pulls away into the 26th degree and keeps going, but very gradually over the next five days (14th-19th), she slows down to a complete stop, as if remembering some treasure left behind. 

On December 19th, at the 29th minute of the 26th degree of Capricorn, she turns back to her still near-enough "partner" and begins retracing her path back to him. We might imagine that some primal instinct and memory for the "dance" of Creation has overtaken her in this earthy sign, and we might be correct. Perhaps some memory of a primal Paradise that existed before, as cultural historian Annette Kolodny puts it, the ravages of New World colonization "laid waste the fields of plenty."1 Or,  perhaps Venus is compelled to revisit and redefine relationships that implicate her in this destruction?

Between relishing the bounty of Nature and respecting the demands of a sustainable economy? Between the "blessings" of consumerism (Venus) and its often destructive use of the world's resources? Between human desires and the Faustian bargains we negotiate to satisfy them? Between life-affirming values and greedy compulsions? Between states of relative harmony and balance and the relentless "quicksand" of entropy? Despite the questions, I'm convinced that all of this and perhaps the re-awakening of Feminine power and voice is at stake in this Venus-Pluto "dance." No, we can't possibly come to grips with all this in one Venus retrograde passage, but any progress is good progress!

Artist Audrey Flack, as featured in recent documentary Queen of Hearts.
For instance, at the age of 90, artist Audrey Flack--long ignored and sidelined by the Art world patriarchy--is finally making her entrance into the "official" art history books, an entrance that will perhaps ease the way for generations of powerful women artists. More women in powerful places will hopefully have a knock-on impact on other areas of concern, and so it goes. 

If that weren't enough, perhaps this tango also needs to revisit the lowest, most-heinous expression of any Venus-Pluto relationship: the rape of Nature (and certainly of indigenous rights) that continues to this day across the globe. When the first enslaved Africans reached the shores of what is now Hampton, Virginia (USA) in 1619 (Chart 1 below), Venus conjoined Uranus in late Cancer, with both disposed by a Scorpio Moon opposed to Pluto in Taurus. For its part, Neptune set the stage for rationalizing it all as just "the way things are" with its t-square to the Capricorn-Cancer Nodal axis from early Libra. In other words, both Pluto and Neptune were disposed by that powerful Venus in Cancer, which was then sitting almost exactly opposite the degree where Venus will begin her current-day retrograde "dance" with Pluto in business-oriented Capricorn. 

Perhaps those who try to dismiss the importance of that fateful moment in 1619 for U.S. history  are missing an opportunity to help heal this "original Sin" of our nation, which has scarred us all: Nature and Peoples were both disrupted and tragically exploited by that turn of events, which helped create a western political economy and system (both in the U.S. and across Europe) that continues to build incredible wealth on the backs of non-sustainable resources and workers stuck at the bottom of an often insurmountable, race-based hierarchy.  Let's hope that Venus's station retrograde conjunct Pluto in 2021 will help us at least acknowledge, if not heal this affront to Life itself. 


Chart 1. Enslaved Africans first brought to American continent, August 15, 1619, 12:00 p.m. LMT (noon chart, no exact time known), Hampton, VA. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast on Kepler 8.0 and courtesy of Cosmic Patterns Software. 

Once the slave-base for economic relations on this continent was established, the assault on the Commons took off in earnest, making our present global climate change dilemma tragically inevitable. An amazing collection of esssays entitled The Wealth of the Commons: A World Beyond Market & State describes the dilemma we find ourselves as a consequence very well:

"The normal workings of The Economy require constant if not expanding appropriations of resources that morally or legally belong to everyone. The Economy requires that all resources be transmuted into tradeable commodities. Enclosure ["the commodification and privatization of shared resources"] is a sublimely insidious process. Somehow an act of dispossession and plunder must be reframed as a lawful, common-sense initiative to advance human progress. For example, the World Trade Organization, which purports to advance human development through free trade, is essentially a system for seizing non-market resources from communities, dispossessing people and exploiting fragile ecosystems with the full sanction of international and domestic law....This process has been critical in the drive to privatize lifeforms, supplant biodiverse lands with crop monocultures, censor and control Internet content, seize groundwater supplies to create proprietary bottled water, appropriate indigenous knowledge and culture, and convert self-reproducing agricultural crops into sterile, proprietary seeds that must be bought again and again."2

Being able to distinguish between resources and the Commons is key here, of course; thankfully, mundane astrology can lend insight. Venus is thought to rule the commodities into which natural resources are transformed, not to mention the ownership and possession of such commodities and the boon to one's wealth, value and status that results. 

As for the natural resources underlying these Venusian results, they are the raw materials derived from the chthonic realm ruled by Neptune and Pluto--water, natural gas, coal, oil, minerals and so on. -- also the resources that have traditionally been ascribed to the Commons. Not so by the corporate world, of course, which does it best to lay claim to (or to "enclose," as ecologists put it) these resources for its own use and profit. 

Interestingly, environmentalist Jacques Paysan points out the active potential of the Commons, or what he calls "commoning." To illustrate, he uses the example of rock climbing:

"There are no property rights or patents. On the contrary: The most accomplished climbers are constantly inventing new routes and inviting everybody to test their skills on them. An important rule in the process is: 'Don’t leave footsteps! Allow future climbers to discover the route in the same condition in which you  discovered it'...the commons is the social relationship: the sport of rock climbing! Not the resource itself, the rock. No climbing, no commons. There is no commons without commoning!"3

Ideally, the big meet-up looming between Venus and Pluto would also help us revisit and reimagine the Beauty and Art of the Commons, the cultural "wealth" nations hold in common in their public museums and other institutions. Perhaps then museums could rise to the challenge of returning the treasures (at times even including human remains) in their collections that were never freely given to them.  Thankfully, some museums have started this important process of repatriation, but there's still a long way to go. 

Last, but certainly not least, perhaps Venus and Pluto in earthy Capricorn can help us to finally settle upon  more sane, life-affirming VALUES in society, especially those values we hold in regards to our commonly held resources. How is it that bottled water companies can get by with paying pennies for billions of gallons of precious water so they can sell it back to us encased in toxic plastic for hundreds of times their cost?

At this point it makes sense to examine the actual chart for the momentous December Venus-Pluto event we've been discussing above, set for Washington, D.C.. See Chart 2 below.

Chart 2. Venus stations Rx, December 19, 2021, 5:35:56 a.m. ST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast on Kepler 8.0 and courtesy of Cosmic Patterns Software.

We've spoken at length already about the potential issues raised by the Venus Rx-Pluto conjunction (Capricorn) here; clearly, the 2nd house placement of these two speaks to the need for a renewed value system, although it's also true that old habits and viewpoints die hard, especially those that support entrenched wealth and power. Note, however, that Saturn (Aquarius) disposes this Capricorn conjunction from the 3rd house, square 6th house Uranus Rx (Taurus)--change is upon us, and it could be controversial. Whatever the case, it's easy to see how the current flurry of legislation, activity and change in regards to the nation's infrastructure will be reflected in all this. Change is likely to be concentrated in transportation and labor markets; I suspect our current supply chain issues (heavily dependent on 3rd and 6th house concerns) are likely to continue being difficult for awhile.

 The probability of change is also reinforced by Jupiter ruling this chart from late Aquarius, widely square Mars, the Nodal axis and the chart's early Sagittarius-Gemini horizon. Jupiter is still retracing its steps after its own retrograde turn this past June at 2+Pisces, so it's technically in a post-retrograde shadow period that guarantees growth and expansion will come at a cost - quite possibly related to the inflationary pressures we're all experiencing in the market place right now. 

If I'm correct in this (today's inflation is undoubtedly being caused by more than one thing), we might start to feel some relief in January when Jupiter reaches that 2+ Pisces point again and emerges from its shadow. I'm not overly confident that a Pisces Jupiter, especially one headed into a cycle conjunction with Neptune come April, will cure all our inflation woes, but the fixed Saturn-Uranus square (co-ruling Aquarius) does suggest that  pragmatic, systemic measures can be taken to stabilize the situation, as well. The more these measures work to "shockproof" the economy, the better. 

Image shot during tragic Waukesha Xmas parade on 11/21.
Mars' aspects and position in all this suggests a "full steam ahead" energy at work that will try to forge through any obstacles, even if the action seems reckless or ill-advised. Horrendously, we've been reminded of similar energy by this past Sunday's news: a driver in a red SUV plowed through a crowd of people celebrating their community Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, killing at least 5 and injuring scores of people, including at least 15 children.

The news reported the first person being hit at 4:39 p.m., and as Chart 2 below shows, Mars (Scorpio) opposed Uranus (Taurus). This axis fell widely t-square Jupiter (Scorpio-Aquarius) and more tightly square the Saturn/Jupiter (midpoint, Aquarius). The SUV driver reportedly crashed through barricades to get where the he wanted to go, which was apparently straight through the crowd. I suspect this killer's motives will be difficult to pin down (Mars trines Neptune in Pisces), although there's some talk about another crime in that local area may have been part of the story. Thankfully, authorities do not, at this writing, suspect a connection with terrorism (foreign or domestic) or the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict.

Even so, as much as I would like to say otherwise, it's difficult to imagine this Mars (likely to be even more reckless once it gets to Sagittarius) serving the higher possibilities of a Venus-Pluto convergence; more likely, it will influence the tone and conditions on the ground within which those two play out their dance. We saw how this works earlier this week, with Mars at approximately 13 Scorpio square Uranus Rx at 12+ Taurus on November 19, the day on which the Scorpio lunar eclipse (discussed towards the end of this November 11th post)  delivered the "not guilty" verdict freeing Kyle Rittenhouse from all charges against him. This was (IMHO) a reckless, potentially provocative moment, for a variety of reasons: when Venus and Pluto converge in December, the square to and disposing of Mars by Jupiter in Chart 2--not to mention Mars's snug relationship with the ASC and So. Node--could prolong and create a 'trend" out of what now feels to many like a threat. 

Unfortunately, the tactics (brandish weapon of choice in a crowded place; provoke an incident; kill and claim to be the victim) and cause of current U.S. right-wing domestic terrorism (toxic, misguided macho "patriotism?") may have received a real boost in that Wisconsin court room, and it's easy to imagine that the Venus-Pluto dance at stake come December can also be exploited to magnetize more resources to that dark project. 

The use and abuse of "dark money" to undermine justice in America is nothing new, but clearly, this problem has been manifesting in more shocking ways lately: which deep pockets, for instance, funded Tucker Carlson's latest provocative attempt to rewrite the facts of the January 6th insurrection and make martyrs out of the insurrectionists? 

And who keeps funding Steve Bannon's campaign to defy and destroy the American election system and rule of law? Time will tell, but we can be assured that the gun industry, as always, will profit mightily from the fear- and panic-mongering. 


In the midst of it all...Pluto returns to Sibly Pluto

I've written at length elsewhere about the OTHER imminent Pluto passage that will make the coming months (and hence this upcoming Venus-Pluto convergence) all the more significant, but it bears repeating here that on February 20, 2022, transiting Pluto will complete its return to U.S. Sibly (radix) Pluto (Capricorn). Issues of national sovereignty, the big "E" Economy (in so far as the FED and Treasury dept. have a say in it) and Wall Street are likely to be prominent during this time, as are the nation's deeply karmic wounds as a slave state, discussed earlier. 

In fact, in the chart for that return, Venus conjoins Mars at 19+Capricorn (Biwheel 1 below) and both widely conjoin Pluto & Sibly Pluto. This will happen during Venus's post-retrograde shadow period, suggesting that there will be renewed interest in our national values by that time, but we've seen how even the key principle of "freedom" can be twisted and manipulated to whatever the goals of power players are. Hopefully this transit can inspire a more sincere period of national Soul searching.

To say this combination of transits is about restoring the Soul of our nation is NOT, I believe, an overstatement. The political divide in this nation has always been about conflicting views of the role of Government, and those views have always heavily concerned the roles of mundane Venus and Pluto: should they be limited to supporting/empowering the corporate sector above all, staying out of its way and providing for the common Defense on one side, or should they help assure that the blessings of our so-called capitalist democracy are realized more equally by all?  It's beyond the scope of this article to get into this any deeper for now, but we will revisit this passage in the near future. 


Biwheel 1. (Inner wheel) U.S. (Sibly) chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (Outer wheel) Sibly Pluto return, February 20, 2022, 5:25 a.m. ST, Washington, DC. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast on Kepler 8.0 and courtesy of Cosmic Patterns Software. 


Dates to remember and final thoughts

November 17, 2021 (already passed). Venus enters its pre-retrograde shadow at 11 deg. 05' Capricorn (the earliest degree it will traverse going retrograde come December 19th).

December 19, 2021. Venus stations retrograde at 26 deg. 29' Capricorn.

January 29, 2022. Venus stations direct at 11 deg. 05' Capricorn and enters post-retrograde shadow period. 

February 20, 2022. Transiting Pluto returns to Sibly Pluto position at 27 deg. 33' Capricorn. 

March 6, 2022. Venus leaves Capricorn and ingresses Aquarius.

This timeline maps out a critical period of time during which the issues discussed above are likely to play out--perhaps with a bit more drama and intensity than usual. We can already guess that the power struggle surrounding the January 6 House Committee's investigation will peak in some way; indeed, there could be revelations about who actually financed the insurrection. There's a critical deadline associated with that committee's work in January, so Bannon's efforts to drag things out will probably also become an issue.  

Aside from that, any bill in Congress that even breathes the words "tax the rich" will probably receive the same treatment--they merited an 8.5 hour rant on the part of Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy already; we can expect more of that sort of grandstanding. Taxing the rich  equates with the bugaboo of socialism for the GOP (really?!), but Venus and Pluto may just surprise us by supporting long-term investments in child care and education that would add greater value to the Economy over time. How can we compete in tomorrow's geopolitical climate if our education system is widely deficient and higher education is turned into an expensive luxury for the few? It's all woven neatly into this Venus-Pluto tango that will demand our attention over the coming months, so it'll be worth staying tuned in!
Meanwhile I will leave you with the exquisite words of naturalist Andreas Weber, from his so-very timely study, Enlivenment:

"The forms and beings of nature amount to ingenious improvisations for maintaining delicate balances in a complex system. The beauty of living things stems from the fact that they are embodied solutions of individual-existence-in-connection. They are gradients expressive of the perennial paradox between total autonomy and complete fusion that needs to be held in suspense by every living being...As such, the experience of beauty is a necessary ingredient of a commoning process. It explains why most humans experience feelings of belonging and connection with other living beings."4

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, U.S. history, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. She’s published articles on these topics in several key astrology journals over the years, including most recently, the TMA blog. For information about individual chart readings, contact:

© Raye Robertson 2021. All rights reserved.

1 Annette Kolodny, The Lay of the Land: Metaphor as Experience and History in American Life and Letters, University of No. Carolina Press. Kindle Edition, p. 26.
2David Bollier and Silke Helfrich, eds. The Wealth of the Commons: A World Beyond Market and State. Levellers Press. Kindle Edition. Location 361/11127.
3 Bollier and Helfrich, Ibid, chapter by Jacques Paysan, entitled "My Rocky Road to the Commons."
4  Weber, Andreas. Enlivenment (Untimely Meditations) (pp. 77-78). MIT Press. Kindle Edition.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Climate passivity & the astrology of deep imperial tendencies


Historians would mostly concur that the archetypes of power, prosperity and empire-building that have driven Western civilization this many centuries have been largely rooted in the imperial Roman tradition, 

and as a mundane astrologer, I find it hard to argue with this perspective. Themselves derived from the Hellenic tradition, Roman mythologies inform our Western collective consciousness to this day, their "gods" and "goddesses" still regarded as ideals and archetypal models for "how the world works." 

But there's the inevitable dark side of that worldview to acknowledge as well: Rome celebrated the "gods" and their cohorts and minions, and then there were the faceless, expendable masses who were thought to exist merely to keep that upper crust well-fed and pampered. To peel the Emperor's grapes and ingest any poisons before he could suffer them, if you will. 

In the end, for all its splendor, Rome handed down the ultimate archetypal model for a radically unequal, exploitative, slave-based economy, run by a "strong-man" dictator/emperor. Interestingly, there are serious astrological dynamics that link that archetype to other empires that followed; we'll consider a couple key charts here that illustrate this point. 

Louis XIV, the "Sun King"
For instance, even though they had the good sense to reject the Roman-approved "divine right of kings" in the 13th century, the British empire, having been occupied and heavily influenced by Rome in very early days grew out of the Roman model; France certainly put the Roman model to work in its "Sun King" and Napoleonic periods, and Nazi Germany relished and employed Roman iconography in its propaganda, national imagery, strong-man paternalism and love of spectacle. 

Then there's the U.S., of course, founded on a tortured blend of Enlightenment (small "d") democratic and Roman (small "r") republican ideals, a system that has worked well in the best of times, but is now coming back to haunt us big time, with our national chart's Pluto return. 

Rome knew that to sustain an empire, the exploitation and control of resources (Pluto) and the ability to spin a good story and maintain an awe-inspiring "godly" image (Neptune) were key. In fact, that empire's ups and downs were clearly associated with the nearly 500-year Neptune-Pluto cycle--the empire was "born" under a nice Neptune-Pluto sextile in 27 BC, but by the time of the next June, 411 AD conjunction at 23+ Taurus, the empire was on the decline, with Rome having been "sacked" by the invading forces of Alaric and the Visigoths on August 24th the year before. 

Visigoths under Alaric's lead sacked Rome in August, 410 AD.
In fact, on the day Rome was sacked, Saturn was ALSO within orb of Neptune and Pluto in Taurus, while Uranus fell square all three from Aquarius. Jupiter in late Aries trined the Sagittarius No. Node, enabling the military might of the invaders. It was a hard fall for the Roman empire and its "divine" center of power, but the ideology of expansion and conquest were more celebrated than repudiated. By the time the new 411 AD cycle launched, Jupiter had moved into Taurus and fell conjunct the larger Neptune-Pluto stellium. All systems were go for a shift of civilizations. IMHO, we ignore at our peril that such dramatic shifts are possible with significant Neptune-Pluto times. 

To briefly explore the archetype of power that was imprinted on Western consciousness so very long ago and has been echoed in a number of forms ever since, let's consider the empire's "birth" (which began with the reign of Augustus Caesar) alone, and then to see how that influence carried forward, we'll set Chart 1 against the U.S. Sibly chart in Biwheel #1 below.


Julius Caesar (100-44 BC) was not an emperor, but paved the way for the Empire.

When in Rome...

The Roman Empire gave the Western world not just the ultimate model for a slave economy, but also of a "strong-man" autocracy; as noted, it was founded after the reign of Julius Caesar, with the reign of Augustus Caesar , which began on January 16, 27 BC (amazingly, these exact records exist). Of particular note in the chart for this beginning (Chart 1 below) are:  the exact Sun-Pluto opposition, stretched across 26+Capricorn-Cancer and t-square the Libra MC (chart set for approximate dawn); Saturn's wide conjunction to Cancer Pluto and quincunx with Sagittarius Uranus; the t-square to Virgo Neptune Rx formed by the Uranus-So. Node conjunction opposite the No. Node Rx/Jupiter Rx midpoint (Gemini). 

This volatile mutable t-square in combination with the Saturn-Uranus quincunx perhaps portended the conflicts and invasions that gradually overtook and fatally undermined the empire. The t-square may also reflect the relative weakness of Rome's naval power, as compared to its legendary land-based legions, that is. Many of the so-called "barbarian" invasions that weakened the empire over time arrived by sea. Could it be that the Western world's deeply-rooted dread of immigration, which tends to spike during hard times, harks back to this time as well? 

Despite naval weaknesses, however, Mars (Capricorn) trined Neptune (Virgo) and opposed Saturn (Cancer), reflecting the key role the Roman military played in Rome's empire-building. 


Chart 1. Roman Empire (Augustus Caesar named emperor), January 16, 27 BC, 7:00 a.m. (approx. dawn) LMT, Rome, Italy. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast on Kepler 8.0, courtesy of Cosmic Patterns Software.  

As for the "model" Rome provided for future Western empires, consider Biwheel 1 below, between Chart 1 (Roman Empire) and the U.S. Sibly chart.


Biwheel #1. (inner wheel) Roman Empire (Augustus Caesar reign), January 16, 27 BC, 7:00 a.m. (approx. dawn) LMT, Rome, Italy; (outer wheel) U.S. (Sibly) chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast on Kepler 8.0, courtesy of Cosmic Patterns Software. 

I find it stunning (although not quite SURPRISING) that the Sibly Pluto-to-Part-of-Fortune-Mercury opposition ties in so tightly with the Roman Sun-Pluto opposition, all between Capricorn and Cancer. Mid-to-late cardinal axes have been regarded as prime geopolitical power centers in national charts by generations of mundane astrologers, and having Pluto along one of these axes adds a sense of deep pockets and considerable "clout." Notice that both Roman and U.S. Plutos share this axis (on opposite ends); clearly, both were built around complementary views about wielding power. Develop systems and infrastructures to amass and control the resources (Capricorn) and the People (Moon-disposed Cancer) and the world is your oyster. 

Notice also that the Virgo Neptunes in these foundational charts are closely conjunct; both also form soft aspects with their respective Plutos--Rome, the sextile; U.S., the trine. In both cases, Neptune supported and enabled a mythos of power, glory and importance; for the would-be autocrats dotting both histories, it's enabled delusions of grandeur, heroism and larger-than-life celebrity. After a 2018 state visit to France, Trump was adamant that he had to have a military parade like the one he witnessed there on Bastille Day. 

Sport and spectacle kept Romans in thrall to their emperors.
Such grandiose, Neptunian trappings of power have helped unite people behind their leaders forever; the Egyptians and Babylonians cultivated the "divine" image of leadership well before the Romans, who perhaps took the idea to new levels. The collective tools of elaborate, often gold-encrusted rituals and powerful military  and sporting spectacles have always captivated the public and rendered very HUMAN leaders almost "god"-like in their eyes; unfortunately, many megalomaniacs in history have actually believed their "press."  

I think it's interesting that both charts here feature a balanced distribution of points in cardinal, fixed and mutable signs. Key power/governing energies Pluto and Saturn fall in cardinal signs in both: Rome's Mars in Capricorn exactly opposes Rome Saturn and Sibly Sun in Cancer; this axis squares Sibly Saturn opposite Sibly Chiron (Libra-Aries). Where democratic principles failed to fulfill early U.S. ambitions, military force was often the wounding default (Chiron is disposed by Sibly Mars in Gemini, conjunct Rome's Jupiter). My guess is, the imperial Romans would agree that a nation's desire for expansion and conquest is its own logical justification. 

Indeed, Roman emperors likened themselves to gods on a quest to fulfill their dynastic destinies, the U.S. has certainly had its dynastic families as well (outside of politics, the Caesar archetype is still alive and well and living in Las Vegas). The inevitable brutality of such power "quests" has been mirrored here too, not only abroad, but with our 19th century westward expansion campaigns, fueled by "manifest destiny." Pluto would have been transiting over U.S. Chiron during the 1840s height of those campaigns, in fact, and Neptune was transiting over the Aquarius Sibly Moon; the P.R. promoting those campaigns framed them in almost religious terms.  

The image used to promote "manifest destiny" as wagons rolled westward.

The truth is, the Roman model of power, governance and society has never quite disappeared, despite the imperial "ideal" falling into disrepute; like a buried remnant of an ancient shipwreck, the Roman model keeps washing up on shore at certain high tides (and yes, Neptune's fingerprints are all over this). Strong-man dictatorships are gaining ground in several nations as we speak, even in former Soviet republics like Poland and Hungary that fought so hard for their democracies and independence in the 1989-90 rebellions. 

Turns out, strong-man rule is a convenient fall-back when the work of democracy falls short, especially in response to protracted economic stress and rising corruption: "law-and-order" is far easier than tackling the complex work of equal justice and opportunity for all. Not surprisingly, many of those former Soviet nations have been experiencing their first Saturn returns as democracies. 

Nationalism and autocracy seem to be especially appealing when people in stressed nations fall prey to Neptunian fear, misinformation and the pressures of demographic change. Unfortunately, such fears and misinformation are usually promoted by the would-be autocrats, looking for a foot in the door. Often to their ultimate regret, people in these situations give away their power in exchange for the delusion that a law-and-order "savior" is going to put their interests first. 

Which brings us to one more reason why taking a firm hand with climate change mitigation is so urgent right now: the dysfunction and distress produced in largely agricultural nations or vulnerable island nations by climate warming is causing massive migrations (Neptune) that many fragile democracies on the receiving end simply cannot absorb without producing chaos. This is one of the most difficult dilemmas of our times, in fact, a dilemma the world's wealthier, less climate-challenged nations are constantly pressed to take on by the COP conferences. 

Bangladesh is already being devastated by climate change.
Why is it that wealthier nations have been producing the lion's share of heavy CO2 emissions, but it's the vulnerable, poorer nations like Bangladesh (they emit one-half of one percent of the world's emissions) where people are already paying the price, living in a state of constant flooding and crisis? There's something seriously wrong with this picture, and the only solution is for the wealthier nations to step up and take more responsibility and initiative. 

This seemingly logical demand, however, is receiving a far more tepid response than it deserves. Way back at the UN Climate conference in Copenhagen in 2009, wealthier countries pledged to collectively contribute $100 billion per year  to help less-wealthy nations adapt to climate change realities within their borders, yet those contributions have been very slow in coming. Some of the recent sluggishness may be due to the pandemic; however, climate change also exacerbates and enables pandemics, so that justification seems very hollow and short-sighted. 

Indigenous nations protesting for climate justice.
In light of our discussion here today, I wonder, in fact, if perhaps the wealthier nations are simply falling back into that archetypal imperial view that the masses of people around the world exist for their convenience and exploitation, and have no real value in themselves. No one will say this out loud, of course, but could this imperial mindset be the real anchor that's dragging down the world's climate change progress today? The arrogance of Power-writ-large is often wielded passively, as in "let Nature take its course...what can we do?" History attests that the world has stood by watching many times in the course of human atrocities; will this time be the same, or can it finally be different? 

The fact is, if more action doesn't ensue quickly, the passivity we're witnessing today will likely kill and displace millions of people, yet bystanders will feel justified in clucking their tongues and saying "what could we do?" In truth, where there's a will, there's a way, and scores of brilliant scientists, engineers, technology experts and activists are just waiting for the funding and cooperation they need to find that way. In Christ's parable of the good Samaritan, how many people (some quite religious) passed by and ignored the fallen traveler before the compassionate Samaritan came along and cared actively for him, even leaving money with the inn-keeper to meet the traveler's future needs? Perhaps those self-righteous but inert passers-by were also thinking "let Nature take its course?" Nature's not the culprit here, I fear.


And Nature does take its course

Speaking of natural processes, the Sun and Moon formed a lunar eclipse (full moon) on June 4, 410 AD that could have portended Rome's fall to Alaric that same August. The eclipse chart cast for Rome (not shown) placed the Sun-Moon stretched across the 1-7 axis of Self-Enemy, and a Neptune-Pluto-Ceres-Saturn conjunction in Taurus in the 12th of self-undoing and hidden enemies, with Uranus (Aquarius) squaring it all from the 9th of foreign travelers. Jupiter fell sextile that Uranus Rx and square Cancer Venus from 21+ Aries; opportunities for outside forces to pounce were certainly there. 

The presence of Ceres in the beleaguered Taurus stellium perhaps signals one of the least-studied aspects of Rome's fall--the relentless Nature-based issues (including climate extremes and pandemics) that drove desperate waves of migration from the East going westward towards Rome. The New Statesman documents a lot of this in a 2020 article entitled "How pandemics extinguished the Roman Empire: What the fall of Rome teaches us about the twin threats of lethal disease and ecological disaster." . It's a matter of record that between the 2nd and 4th centuries, Rome's empire suffered a mixture of climate shifts (including disastrous cold spells and droughts), pandemic and plague-type disease ; as in today's "globalized" world, rapid contagion was one of the least positive attributes of their expansive domain. Little was known about containing public health crises at that time, contrary to our times. 

In fact, history shows that the balsamic periods (i.e., the last 45 degrees) of Neptune-Pluto cycles can be quite perilous, tumultuous and chaotic--a story we'll explore more deeply another day because mass death and destruction tend to follow these two around. The Huns apparently suffered a major drought at some time before Rome fell in 410; many migrated desperately in the direction of Rome, putting pressure on the Goths as they did. One thing led to another and Rome itself collapsed at the hands of the Visigoths. The empire's unifying center was simply washed away by the relentless debilitating pressures. 

Bottom line, natural causes can overwhelm even the best human intentions and take down even the mightiest of empires--another part of the Roman "model" we might want to pay attention to in today's climate change-challenged world. So what is our human role in all this? Maybe one more look back at the Roman empire is in order: if humans could have intervened to minimize the death and destruction that plagued the world and helped to bring Rome down in 410 AD, shouldn't they have done so? Thankfully, today there are things we and our governments can do to secure the future of humans on this planet; shame on all of us if we don't finally get moving.

Practical needs in focus.
Final thoughts

On this note, let's rack our focus back into the 21st century and consider one last chart--the November 19th lunar eclipse, cast for Washington, D.C.  I suspect this eclipse will help stabilize our public discourse in the coming several months and will focus it around addressing the nation's basic needs. Time will tell, of course, but let's briefly consider Chart 2 below. 

Chart 2. Lunar Eclipse, November 19, 2021, 3:57:18 a.m., Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast on Kepler 8.0, courtesy of Cosmic Patterns Software. 

Eclipse Sun and Moon stretch across the 2nd-8th houses and fall between 27+Scorpio and Taurus, t-square Aquarius Jupiter. It appears that there's a serious need for an expansive technological approach to concrete, pragmatic problems; perhaps the Biden infrastructure plan which just passed on the strength of a bipartisan vote in Congress will help, but the threats posed by Mars (Scorpio) opposite Uranus Rx (Taurus) require a strong restraining hand (the opposition t-squares Saturn in Aquarius). Rage and vengefulness could threaten to stymie tangible progress, but perhaps the nice Saturn-Ceres trine (Aquarius-Gemini) will help re-focus attention on family and everyday priorities. 

It's possible that this fixed t-square also has something to do with our current supply chain bottleneck; Mercury's Scorpio square to Aquarius Jupiter could be contributing to that as well, but perhaps its trine to Pisces Neptune will loosen things up a bit, especially in regards to sea traffic.  

The Eclipse axis is conjoined by Ceres opposite Vesta (Sagittarius), suggesting that the trend will be for families to slowly re-emerge into community life, especially now that the COVID vaccine has been approved for younger children. With Jupiter squaring these axes, the mood should be mostly positive and optimistic, although with Mercury trine Neptune (Scorpio-Pisces), the potential for harmful or confusing misinformation is still real. 

Venus rules this eclipse from the 3rd house of education, transportation and everday life; she falls sextile Pallas (Pisces), square Chiron Rx (Aries) and trine Uranus Rx (Taurus). Again, the challenges of moving goods right now seem to be paramount, but these aspects suggest that there are deeper dimensions to this bottleneck that elude our attention. Are some of the tie-ups being deliberately created? (Mars sextiles Venus; Venus trines Uranus). We know there are labor shortages involved; are there also geopolitical and/or environmental issues behind some of it?  

Finally, Pluto (Capricorn) sits at the bottom of the chart, conjunct the IC (opposite MC); it trines the Moon (Taurus) and sextiles the Sun (Scorpio), so there's no denying that the grass-roots power brokers will be working overtime during the active life of this eclipse. Will this bode well for Biden's larger "human infrastructure" bill's passage? The Moon-Pluto trine is promising; interestingly, Pluto sextiles and disposes Mercury (Scorpio) as well, and with Pluto ruling Mercury's 2nd house position, the money should be forthcoming. Time will tell, of course, but the heavy lower hemisphere focus of this chart says that the People's needs should be primary. We may not be able to agree on a lot of things, but making progress in basic areas like job education, child care and climate change mitigation might just have a unifying impact. 

We can dream! According to NASA (as cited), this upcoming eclipse is fairly special:

"The partial lunar eclipse, when Earth’s shadow covers 97% of the full moon, will be the longest of the century by far, dwarfing the duration of the longest total lunar eclipse this century, which took place in 2018 and stretched to 1 hour and 43 minutes. The forthcoming eclipse will also be the longest partial lunar eclipse in 580 years, according to the Holcomb Observatory at Butler University, Indiana."



The Nov. 19th eclipse will be gorgeous and visible in all 50 U.S. states.

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, U.S. history, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. She’s published articles on these topics in several key astrology journals over the years, including most recently, the TMA blog. For information about individual chart readings, contact:
© Raye Robertson 2021. All rights reserved.