The Cardinal Cross Years: 2008-23

Published in The Mountain Astrologer June/July 2008 as “Astrology in Troubled Times”

Astrology as spiritual constant

Troubled times have always been astrology’s stock in trade.

From the lunar calendars of Ice Age shamans1 to the horoscopes we find in glossy magazines at the grocery store, in one form or another people have looked to the sky to explain their distresses, large and small. Astrology has always provided a spiritual constant.

But let us take a moment to qualify the term spiritual. It is a peculiarity of the times we live in that the word has taken on a controversial buzz. To mention spirituality at a dinner party these days is to risk being shown the door; and in many circles “New Age” ideas have become as déclassé as rancid patchouli oil.

Pluto’s entry into Sagittarius in the mid-1990s made the topic of spiritual belief downright explosive. The function of this transit was to turn inside-out stale, old ideological verities and the institutions that represented them. This was followed by Saturn’s opposition to Pluto in the second year of the new millennium. This was a clash between the search for higher truth (Sagittarius) and the forces of karma (Saturn), a clash so violent that something had to give.

The result was a new equation in the collective mind: religion = worldly power struggles. In 2001, a twelve-year-long catharsis period began for humanity, during which all things spiritual began to smack of chicanery, at best, and wholesale destruction, at worst. Believers and skeptics alike have been forced into new ways of thinking about the quest for universal meaning.

It is this transit that established the background of mass malaise against which the upcoming transits must be understood.

Assimilating Pluto in Sagittarius

But the high fires of Pluto in Sagittarius are beginning to burn out, at this writing (2007), and it is time for us to consider the next step.

It would be nice, for instance, to be able to reclaim the lovely innocence of the word faith. During the late ’90s, this term became tainted by cynical usages (e.g. George W. Bush’s “faith-based” funding, a reference to government-selected religious groups), rendering the word – and the concept — justifiably suspect for many thinkers.

But we have perhaps achieved enough distance, by now, to see that it was not meaning-seeking itself – a human universal if there ever was one — that was the object of Pluto’s purge, but our attitudes towards it. Pluto, the death/rebirth planet, has been killing off the inauthentic elements of Sagittarian systems all over the world, leaving us waiting for the new approaches to belief that will inevitably arise. When they do, they will have more to do with knowledge than with dogma; more to do with consciousness-raising than with specific teachings and preachings.

Astrology and faith

It is noteworthy that astrology — which, even if one doesn’t view it as a spiritual system, still qualifies as a theoretical worldview (Sagittarius) — seems to have emerged unscathed from Pluto’s eradication of philosophical nonessentials. 2 Perhaps this is because astrology is composed of essentials already. As a language of archetypes, it had no nonessentials to be eliminated.

Throughout the Plutonian rout, astrologers have continued to ply our ancient trade, decoding the firmament to make sense of turbulence in the world below. As part of the rebirth phase of the Pluto transit that has dealt faith such a blow, I propose that we astrologers not shy away from the notion that leaps of faith are still, and have always been, part of the workings of our craft.

By “faith” in this context I refer to a confidence in that which is eternal and essential: 3 for example, the cosmic principles that underlie the astrological alphabet. In order to be of significant use to the world in the critical times ahead, astrologers must recognize as axiomatic our commitment to these principles.

To confer a spiritual significance upon astrological symbols is to see in them not just a theoretical but a numinous meaning. Even a resolutely secular-minded student of astrology who picks up a book by a visionary such as Alice Bailey or Dane Rudhyar, for example, might end up learning more than just a methodology of symbolic logic.

She might find herself entering into a state of soul-mindfulness, a quality of openness that links her to a venerable tradition that was once evocatively referred to in European mystery schools as The Dark Mysteries. She might feel that what she is reading is not just informing her, but inspiring her.

To study astrology in this spirit is not merely to learn a craft. It is to unify the body-mind-soul intelligence. Cultivating this kind of intelligence does more than uplift us as individuals. Through the refinement of each person’s awareness, consciousness is brought into the world.

No Atheists in Foxholes

It is said that there are no atheists in foxholes. As the epoch upon us presents us with geopolitical and environmental issues of almost surreal urgency, we need an astrology that is infused with not only intellectual rigor but with compassion for a world in distress. It becomes clearer with each new headline in the morning newspaper that what humanity needs right now is not just knowledge, but wisdom.Wisdom demands perspective. Yet the partisanship, us-against-them factionalism, culture-war labeling and all the other small-picture models being tossed around by the media in contemporary society undermine perspective rather than promote it. What we need is a Big-Picture perspective, and not simply for the sake of being “spiritually correct.” We need it because the world moment has come to feel too overwhelming for many of us to even look at, let alone to productively address, without it.

Assimilating Saturn Opposite Neptune

The most recent major transit to make its mark on the collective mindset was the Saturn/Neptune opposition (2004 -07), whose final exactitude was June 25, 2007. Right now humanity is in the assimilation phase of this critical teaching, both as a collective and as individuals. It was a very peculiar pairing of planets, and now that we have achieved a modicum of post-exactitude detachment from it, we are perhaps in a better position to take in its meaning. As the premier drama of the last half of this decade, the Saturn/Neptune paradox marinated the world’s consciousness –softened it up – in preparation for the great configurations of the 2010s.The opposition set up a tug-of-war between the planets of realism (Saturn) and surrealism (Neptune). For about three years, Neptune’s penchant for the non-ordinary seeped into humanity’s conception of “real life”, giving us a fools’ paradise of disillusion, meltdown and revelation. A notable example of this theme occurred at the transit’s second peak, on February 28th, 2007, when the stock market plummeted on Wall Street: here we had, in one fell swoop, a symbol of three of the themes for which the opposition is notorious: illusion (was the wealth signified by all those little stock numbers real in the first place?), deflation and anxiety. Another stunning synchronicity was the release of Michael Moore’s documentary “Sicko”, which explored the relationship between the American insurance industry (Saturn) and the ideal of universal healthcare (Neptune) four days after the transit’s final exactitude in late June 2007.

As is true of all oppositions, this one was a juncture point in a larger whole; that is, the Full Moon phase of the cycle that began when Saturn and Neptune conjoined in 1989. That was the year the Berlin wall (Saturn) melted away (Neptune), a benchmark of modern world history. These last few years have given us the cyclic aftermath of that development: we have watched geopolitical verities that were once held as gospel being exposed as illusory or downright fraudulent.4

Make-believe is governed by Neptune. It represents the image-making capacity of the mind, very strong in children (Let’s play house); and makers of video games (You are now in a mist-enshrouded castle). For the media-defined cultures of the West, this transit had a field day. From the point of view of collective psychology, there is a relationship between the wholesale resignation with which America accepted the contested elections of George W. Bush and the glazed-eyed avidity with which it gobbles up stories about Lindsay Lohan’s stints in rehab. Saturn and Neptune have been hosting a game of Let’s-pretend-this-is-reality.

During the Saturn-Neptune years we saw water disasters (Neptune) wipe out villages in Southeast Asia and inundate a great historic city in the USA as if they were sand castles leveled by the tide. We saw national boundaries (Saturn) effectively crumble (Neptune) as immigrants found their way into the First World wherever and however they could. We saw the concept of global warming transform in the public mind from a science-fiction-like notion or “hoax” (Neptune) to a consensual reality (Saturn).

The Third World has experienced a different set of teachings from the opposition of Saturn and Neptune than has the First World. The developing countries of the Earth are moving from chronic to acute material crisis. Meanwhile, the First World – with its peculiar tendency to think of itself as the only real world — remains deeply, existentially confused. But confusion is the language Neptune speaks. Confusion is porous, and opens up space for a different kind of truth to get a foothold. From the point of view of spiritual astrology, the foggy free-for-all of melted-down sureties that has characterized these years is part of a cosmic plan to confront the various forms of denial that afflict and endanger human consciousness. Many sacred cows have collapsed during these insecure times; many heretofore credulous thinkers have reconsidered the nature of deceit – including self-deceit—and the illusions that make up popular culture. The nature of reality itself has changed for millions of people. 5

This is the deeper purpose behind the Saturn-Neptune conundrum. As it ebbs during late 2007 and early 2008 its lessons are sinking in, laying the groundwork for the era-defining transits to come.

The Epochal Transits of 2009 – 2014

Much has been written about the daunting transits that signal the millennium’s entry into its second decade. As we analyze these world-altering configurations we notice the symbolism of the various planets converging into a synthesis, and the whole becoming more than the sum of its parts.It is from the vast, slow-moving outer-planet cycles (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) that we expect the most far-reaching effects; and when these make major aspects with the social planets (Jupiter and Saturn) as well as with the personal planets (such as the Moon and Mars) at the same time, the rarity of the patterns that result puts them into a category that deserves a unique degree of awe, respect and attention.

There will be a series of Grand Crosses in the summer of 2010 –one of which occurs a few days after the solstice, with seven planets participating. The square between Uranus and Pluto will form the backdrop, with Jupiter coupled with Uranus in early Aries and a Moon conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn adding a late-breaking note of immediacy. Saturn in late Virgo will form the third corner, and the Sun and Mercury, in Cancer, will form the fourth. This will give the solstice period — already considered a sacred portal for many spiritual thinkers, ancient and modern — the quality of a bulls-eye. Two years later, the Grand Cross of June 2012 will feature the ongoing square between Uranus and Pluto now joined by the Quarter Moon; meanwhile Neptune will have entered Pisces, and will be forming an exact mutable T-square with Jupiter, reinforced by the lunar nodes. By 2014 the two outer-planet overlords will have made their way to the middle degrees of the cardinal signs, paralleling a square between Mars and Jupiter in Libra and Cancer respectively; with a Moon-Pluto conjunction on April 20th again providing the grace note.

Students of the Mayan calendar may recognize this timing as lining up with the dates singled out at the Harmonic Convergence in 1987 by Jose Arguelles. 6 The ancient Mezo-Americans numbered among many indigenous traditions that foresaw the period we are now in as the end of a great cycle in human evolution and the beginning of another. The visionaries of prehistoric India referred to this era as the Kali Yuga: the Dark Times.

It is not only informative but humbling to recognize that other prophetic traditions besides Western astrology have identified our epoch as a pivotal turning point. A little comparative cosmology will go a long way to universalize our understanding, which supports our goal as sky watchers: to respond –rather than react — with equanimity to the times ahead.

As Above, So Below

As the dramas in the sky are mirrored by real-time dramas down here on Earth, astrologers have stepped up to the plate. Particularly since the Saturn-Pluto opposition seven years ago, the times upon us have inspired an upsurge in astute astrological commentary, which is keeping pace every step of the way with the worldly events in the headlines. Synchronistic with the dystopian ecological and geopolitical scenarios with which these transits have been linked –among them, the scarcity of clean water, the extinction of many natural species and warfare with no end in sight — contemporary seers have been galvanized to respond with insights to match.To hold the Big Picture is to remember that perilous times augur the appearance of planetary healers, as a wound galvanizes white blood cells. A given culture will generate the very souls who are necessary to meet that culture’s demands. It should not surprise us that it happens this way in the human world, for this is obviously the way it works in the natural world: a pond will be inhabited by the very marine life exactly suited to its specific temperature, depth and degree of salinity; including just the right types of microflora and fauna to regenerate its detritus, turning dying into rebirth. Human societies follow the same laws. Right now, planet Earth sorely needs vision; and so we are getting visionaries. 7

Global warming is at the forefront of the mass mind right now, and is of course being viewed — by those who have come to take it seriously — primarily as a terrifying catastrophe. But though fear is naturally part of our human response – what we might call in this context our “secular” response – I propose that when we back up from our everyday view of the world, deliberately seeking the distance that astrology provides, it becomes possible to conceive of global warming as the Goddess’ gift to this epoch. The sheer enormity of the situation is forcing humanity, in a gun-to-the-head kind of way, to completely shift gears. The fact that the fate of the Earth is at stake makes for a compelling incentive to connect dots that were not connected before: suddenly everybody from Arnold Schwarzenegger to the automotive industry is clambering onto the bandwagon, trying to be seen as going green. The dubious sincerity of many of these gestures notwithstanding, we can be sure that when even government and industry start paying attention to issues such as these, their cultural meaning can be said to be entering a new level of mass consciousness.

Less widely discussed but getting increasing media attention is the fact that the poorer countries of the world will suffer sooner and more severely from these climate changes than will the wealthier ones. What we must come to terms with here is more than an ecological issue. In the decades ahead, the societies who contributed most to the problem by burning fossil fuels too heavily will get off relatively easily compared to the millions of Earth dwellers who never saw the inside of an SUV. 8

Informing ourselves of realities like resource depletion and social injustice through geopolitical awareness is a first step. But to maintain our sanity as well as to be of some use to the world, we need to then press into service our spiritual intelligence. It is unarguable that global scenarios both real (mass suffering in impoverished parts of the world) and imagined (terrorists on every street corner) will elicit in the years ahead no lack of collective worry and fear. What I am suggesting is that we astrologers, each in our own way, have the ability to offer a kind of dispassionate observation to replace the fear we see around us, as circumstances arise. For the sake of this discussion we will define “fear” as an acute awareness of the seriousness of the situation but without the requisite understanding. Astrology, as a vocabulary not of literalisms but of meaning, has the potential to stand back and be the calm, judgment-free observation point that offers perspective amidst the chaos. As the Neptune-Saturn opposition has signified, right now there is an epidemic lack of clarity afflicting the mass mind. But astrological archetypes, at their most essential, allow us to cut through the fog. They allow us to look at mass feelings without being caught by them. They allow us to look at horrors without being horrified.

The times are ripe for a wide dissemination of the astrological viewpoint, though I am not speaking solely of foisting forecasts upon a skeptical public. Even if we astrologers do not succeed in imparting to our society the data of what we see in the years ahead, if we are able to impart the scope inherent in the astrological way of seeing — the transcendent principles that underlie our worldview – I believe we will add tremendously to the clarity that will become more and more urgently needed.

The Uranus-Pluto Square

Much has been written about the upcoming cardinal configurations, and this article will confine itself to just one piece of it: the square between Pluto and Uranus. The most enduring and most potent of the assembled forces, this aspect forms the backdrop of the planetary dramas of the first half of the decade to come. The relationship between Pluto and Uranus will function as a main plot does in a well-told story, anchoring the meaning of the subplots that surround it.Uranus represents the unstoppable force of ideas whose time has come. Pluto represents the raw power and inevitability of breakdown and renewal. Together they force consciousness changes in the collective that are – relatively speaking — explosively sudden. Already we can see the accelerated speed that will characterize this next phase of human evolution. When we consider the normal snail-like pace of changes in entrenched collective consciousness, it is nothing short of astounding that a massive shift in popular awareness about global warming has happened in no more than a couple of years’ time, thanks not just to Al Gore but to the Saturn-Neptune opposition and the square between Jupiter (social reform) and Uranus (revelation).

The Progeny of the Counter-Culture

The meaning of outer-planet aspects derives from their roles in unfolding macrocycles.9 Thus the best way to begin to understand the upcoming Pluto-Uranus square is to consider the last time these two planets conjoined, forty-odd years ago. It was then that these two were in their New Moon phase and the seeds for the current transit were planted.In the mid-1960s, Uranus and Pluto occupied the same location in the zodiac for a few mind-blowing years; a period that those who lived through them will never forget. This was the transit that made the sixties The Sixties: Uranus, governor of revolution, and Pluto, governor of social decay, conjoined in the sky while opposing Saturn: status quo thinking — and KABOOM: the counter-culture was born. Taboo-busting cultural ideas raced around the globe like an uncontained wildfire, changing the mores of the generations extant and the ones not yet born. The babies who drew their first breath under that epochal conjunction – which was in Virgo when it occurred: the sign of health, work and service – are in their prime productive years now. We have seen some of the members of this intense generation create subcultures of skateboarder punk and nihilism, and others use their Virgoan genius to remodel health movements both personal (natural nutrition, alternative medicine) and global (radical ecology, sustainable agriculture).

From 2010-2015 Uranus and Pluto will take the next big step in their relationship, analogous to the First Quarter Moon. The heady revelations of the hippies and yippies will be ready for post-millennial application. The winsome flower-child vision will have developed into a set of responses –or reactions, depending on the level of consciousness involved — to the crises the globe is facing at present. To cite the most obvious example, the precedent of the Nixon presidency, a casualty of the massive social dissent accompanying the mid-60s transit, will find its First-Quarter parallel in the elections of November of 2008.

Pluto in Capricorn

By this time, Pluto will have entered Capricorn, an ingress about which so much has been written that I will only summarize some of the main points here. Pluto’s job will be to cull the dead wood from any and all institutions governed by Capricorn. As was the case with religion when Pluto was in Sagittarius, the ultimate point of this transit will be to revive an aspect of human experience that has developed pockets of unsustainable decay. Governments, corporations and all other patriarchal hierarchies will be assiduously screened by Pluto to ascertain their viability. Capricorn’s governance of governance suggests the exposure of corruption in persons and agencies that play the role of the authority figure, whether expressed on the family level (fathers), the village level (mayors, tribal elders), the company level (CEOs), the national level (presidents) or the deific level (patriarchal gods such as Allah, Yahweh and Jehovah). There may be a sea change in the global acceptance of women in positions of leadership as the paternal archetype is purged. The whole notion of federalism may be shaken to its very core, while regionalism and local authority begin a new ascendancy (clues of this trend are already in the air: consider the flurry of state challenges to Washington’s environmental policies, and the slow food movement’s emphasis on edibles being locally-grown).To understand this sixteen-year transit in Big-Picture terms is to see that Plutonian change is neither about punishment nor about demonstrating right-and-wrong thinking. All Pluto wants is to rid the global organism of toxins in a certain arena so that the world body as a whole can survive.

The Dark Mysteries Revolutionized

If we agree that Uranus’ job is to revolutionize whatever it touches, then its function here must be to drastically change the meaning of everything under Plutonian governance. In this confrontation between the planet of science and the planet of secrets, even death will face the Uranian challenge.We can expect the notion of physical death to shift dramatically when the Uranus square yanks Pluto into the 21st Century. Experimental life-extension technologies will very probably push and pull at mass assumptions about this most dreaded of human experiences, with existential quandaries and ethical questions coming along for the ride. The square will certainly jack up the tension that already exists in the human mind between the role of human intelligence (Uranus) and those Dark Mysteries which ordinary intelligence alone cannot fathom (Pluto). The secular societies of the West are not known for their acceptance of the role of mortality in the human condition; on the contrary, a fear-driven stagnation in the collective unconscious has stymied our understanding of death and shrouded the subject in denial. 10 There is reason to hope that the blaring klieg light of Uranus will stimulate a new curiosity in the mass mind about this and other cultural taboos. Through the elegant balance of a perfect ninety-degree angle, Pluto — which represents scenarios that are often so viscerally disturbing that they are difficult to even think about clearly, let alone act upon — is going to be confronted by a planet that is, especially in warrior-like Aries, fearless in the face of taboo.

Another opportunity for breakthrough that the transit will bring not a moment too soon is a revolution (Uranus) in the world’s approach to recycling detritus and waste (Pluto), now being generated at breakneck speed by the consumer cultures of the world — China being the latest contender for this sorry award. Radioactive waste in particular (Pluto) is one of those issues that is so troubling that most of us try to avoid thinking about it, unless, that is, a toxic dump were being proposed for our own neighborhood. 11 Uranus, associated with ingenuity and pristine clarity of mind, is the antidote to mass unconsciousness around this Plutonian subject matter. Again, in Aries, the Great Awakener is likely to express itself through actions, not merely words and ideas.

Oil: More Pluto than Neptune

The operative principle that we must envision here is that of Uranus waking Pluto up to its regenerative power, shocking it into dropping its lethal, outmoded manifestations. To have faith in the ultimate benefit of this shake-up is to remember that, by Natural Law, it will not destroy anything except that which has grown toxic.Another Plutonian arena that has become fatally distorted is the world’s relationship with oil. Tem Tarriktar’s prescient articles in this magazine12 linking the peak oil years and 2010-12 anticipated what now seems to be a general consensus in the industrialized West: that our dependence upon fossil fuels is untenable. The pairing of the words “addiction” (Pluto) and “oil” has become a commonplace in American parlance. More and more of us have come to understand that the USA has ignored its manufacturing base –as well as any serious search for clean energy solutions — like a drunk who has forgotten to eat. The oil-drunk First World has been in the driver’s seat of the globe for some time now. Uranus is coming along to slap that drunk sober before he drives us all over the cliff.

With every passing month, the meaning of oil in the collective consciousness – due to the geo-military patterns that have grown up around it and the ecological side effects of its use — segues into a new and complex transitional meaning, encompassing the hybrid symbolism of wealth and war, power and destruction. Now less Neptunian than Plutonian13, oil is undergoing an iconic status change.

Uranus’ job is to jolt humanity into alertness, jettisoning stale material like a wet dog shaking its fur. The petro-politics of foreign policy, the grotesque profit disparities that accrue to the fossil fuel business, and all the other aspects of what oil represents will no longer remain the privileged information of political observers but will be pushed into the domain of received wisdom among the populace. The squaring-off between common knowledge, i.e. that of The People (Uranus) and the clandestine knowledge held by elite power groups (Pluto) will be a running theme during the peak oil period.

Uranus Plutonized

Uranus in Aries (2010-17) augurs a new phase in technology that will be fast and furious. While the Pluto square is active, science (Uranus) will be forced to confront Nature and its laws (Pluto); among them, decay and renewal. This suggests that the tech industry will have to come to grips with the pattern of planned obsolescence for which it is notorious.14 Pluto eliminates excess, and has no patience for flash and superfluity; qualities which typify the current tech-gadgetry boom.Uranian genius will be forced to apply itself to pursuits that match the needs of the times; e.g. the new engineering techniques that will become increasingly necessary to deal with the results of climate change. The way the world uses its technology and medicine (Uranus) will be rapidly updated as civilization turns to science to save itself.

Popular Dissent

Uranus in Aries is going to give the world a seven-year lesson in new ways to challenge authority, and its square with Pluto can be expected to raise this defiance to a fever pitch. Pluto pushes whatever planet it touches to extremes, and pumps it full of power. This presents a disturbing picture of social unrest unless we consider the powerful creative change that comes of spiritually informed dissent. Our work as conscious creators of the world we want must involve visualizing a fiery Uranus worth empowering.When we imagine the sign Aries at its highest — not the ego-driven warmonger but the fearless pioneer — we have an appropriate archetype with which to characterize Uranus’ new model of leadership. This kind of leadership is not just irascible, but mindfully iconoclastic: Uranus has been linked with the myth of Prometheus, the divine outlaw who broke rank in order to bring fire to humanity. Optimally used, Uranus in Aries will provide the people of the world with the courage to shake off whatever political, economic and social circumstances that have grown oppressive. Many will feel the impulse to assert (Aries) their vision of democracy (Uranus) rather than just talk and argue about it. Pluto will provide the life-or-death circumstances that make this a requirement.

Pluto’s pressure upon Uranus suggests the will of the citizenry to throw off its passivity and to become boldly pro-active. Forward-looking Uranian individuals will be prompted to perform from the core of their beings. The adolescent infighting that afflicts so many progressive movements has the chance, now, to change relatively suddenly, and be replaced by coalitions of mature and responsible social reformers.

Ultimately, the puerile arrogance of contemporary humanity itself – that aspect of the modern personality that imagines it shoulddominate Nature simply because it can – will be given a dose of Pluto’s cold, dark comeuppance when the square becomes activated.

Our Mission if We Choose to Accept it

When using astrology to look at the future, it must be remembered that we are accessing a mystical language that works not with specifics but with symbols –which must be decoded, like a dream. This astrologer’s view is that events are not immutably “written in the stars” or fated to happen in a precise form. Though the great themes of a given epoch are laid out in the sky, the particulars of the future are written with every moment. This is what makes our attitudes towards the upcoming transits so important.I have suggested that the spiritually oriented approach to the Cardinal Climax years is one that deliberately cultivates a viewpoint that goes beyond fear. Neither is passive incredulity an appropriate response at this point: none of the global challenges being heatedly discussed right now — by the U.N., by the media, by concerned citizens amongst themselves — is new or surprising to anyone who has been paying attention. We are seeing conditions long in the making rendered obvious for the sake of wrenching the collective into a new consciousness. Our goal must be to get in touch, on a gut level, with the fact that the breakdowns we see around us are signals of incipient breakthrough.

As Rick Tarnas and others eloquently remind us, the modern Western mind itself, with its machines and weapons and power games, has grown so out-of-whack as to be needful of tough-love intervention, like a self-harming child.15 The transits up ahead are no more or less dramatic than they have to be, in order to apply the appropriate restorative treatment. And when our hearts are open to the task, we may find ourselves not only able but eager to engage in the healing, as if a part of our being knew all along that we were born to the task.

As astrologers regarding these intimidating transits we walk a fine line. We must neither lapse into unrealism about their severity, nor forget that though the trends they suggest are immutable their specific manifestations are not. The spiritually informed response to the upcoming Grand Crosses will be to name, confront and transform – as a collective, and as individuals each blessed with different gifts and proclivities – the transits’ potentials at as high a level of expression as possible. This is fundamentally what is meant by the much-touted truism We create our own reality; whose corollary is that we each decided, on a soul level, to incarnate into this particular place at this particular time.

References and Notes:

1 Archeologists have found bones from the Pleistocene period marked with what appear to be phases of the Moon.2 And yet we did suffer a purge of a kind, when the astronomers demoted Pluto itself, in August of 2006, to “dwarf planet”.

3 To have faith is not the same thing as being optimistic. To lack faith is not the same thing as pessimism. The terms optimismand pessimism refer to character traits, not to the presence or absence of that transpersonal Neptunian phenomenon we are calling faith. This distinction becomes important when the words are used to shift and trivialize the terms of public debate. It is a misapplication of the term pessimistic to use it to refer, for example, to the observation that the world is running out of oil; or that fish populations are dying off. To characterize such discussions as “pessimistic” is to confuse the facts themselves with one’s emotional responses to the facts.

4 The last time these two planets had opposed each other was in 1971, when America was going through a similar mass disillusion (Neptune) with its official stories (Saturn). Consider Viet Nam, currently an enthusiastic trading partner with Uncle Sam, its former mortal enemy. Contrast this extraordinary development with the scenario being spun by Washington during the sixties, about what was sure to happen in Southeast Asia if the USA lost the Viet Nam War. Virtually unquestioned at the time, the domino theory of communism turned out to be a Neptunian chimera.

5 For a Jungian analysis of this transit, see Bill Streett ’s superb discussion at

6 See, for example,

7 The work of Paul Hawken wonderfully illustrates how this Natural Law expresses itself in human society. Hawken has set up sort of a Wikipedia for Lightworkers:, which lists and interconnects thousands of environmental and social justice movements and puts them into historical context. The project gives the lie to the illusion that consciousness workers so often labor under: that they are lone voices in the wilderness.

8 Early in 2007 the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel addressed the fact that despite a new plethora of recommendations about how to accommodate upcoming climate changes (diversifying crops, shoring up levees, etc.), poor countries – impoverished even further in recent years by globalization — simply do not possess the resources to take remedial action. The fact that several African states are expected to face starvation from the lack of freshwater supplies by 2020; and that the economies of Latin America are expected to suffer disproportionately when decreases in moisture trigger a shift from their tropical forests, are but two examples of a myriad potential humanitarian catastrophes scientists are beginning to catalog.

9 Bill Herbst’s article, “Empire of Community”, in The Mountain Astrologer of June/July 2007 provides a thorough documentation of this and other far-reaching outer-planet cycles.

10 For a historical overview on how the phenomenon of death changed in meaning over the millennia in the Western world, see my essay at

11 It is in the Third World that tens of millions of toxic consumer items have been piling up in dumps, where they are picked apart for reusable parts by, in many cases, the tiny fingers of children (see Giles Slade, Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America, Harvard University Press, 2006).

12 Among them, the editorial “Saturn-Pluto and Peace” in the April/May 2003 issue and “The Neptune-Pluto Cycle and the Next Seven Year” from the June/July 2004 issue. Tarriktar has linked the recategorization of the physical planet Pluto with the global changes of the underground treasure which it symbolizes: oil (“The Years Ahead and the Oil Crisis”, op cit).

13 Neptune, governor of lubricants, is the traditional ruler of oil. But a joint rulership with Pluto is gaining in astrological logic. Because the stuff originates underground it has always borne the mark of Pluto; and its having become in recent centuries a coveted treasure (Pluto governs hidden wealth) argues further for the linkage. But there is a further consideration that argues for Plutonian rulership: the kind of wealth oil creates is peculiarly plutocratic. A miniscule proportion of the world’s population is awash in oil’s staggering profits. By contrast, most Americans, for example –ordinary gas and oil consumers — are seeing nothing but higher costs; and the denizens of those Third World countries where the oil companies have set up shop, such as Nigeria, are seeing destruction of their environments on a massive scale. Finally, the epitomical expression of the Pluto-oil linkage is the war in Iraq, which is believed – fairly universally among international observers and by an increasing number of Americans– to have originated from a plan to control (Pluto) the Middle Eastern oil fields. The fact that this war has lined the pockets of a very few military contractors to the tune of 27 billion dollars, all paid for with the tax money of millions of Americans, illustrates a baldly plutocratic state of affairs.

14 It is estimated that at least 90 per cent of the 315 million still-functional personal computers discarded in North America in 2004 were trashed; along with, the following year, 200,000 tons of cell phones (see Slade, op cit).

15 See Rick Tarnas’ The Passion of the Western Mind, Harmony Books, 1991; and Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World, Viking Press, 2006.