Higher Ground: World-Altering Transits in the Years Ahead

Published in The Mountain Astrologer Aug./Sept. 2009 as “Rupture and Renaissance”

Upon the inauguration of America’s new president, millions of people felt something extraordinary happen; something that went beyond a mere political victory party. It felt to many as if a flood of inspiration was unleashed —- not just in the USA, but, remarkably, all over the world – whose power astrologers chalk up not to a man winning an election, but to the epochal transits upon us. The fact that Americans selected their candidate on the very day of the opposition between Saturn (the past) and Uranus (the future) is only one piece of the story.Much has been written about the world-altering configurations overlapping in the sky between now and 2022. In order to tease out their meaning, this article will present the period in terms of two overriding themes: that of Neptunian meltdown and Plutonian transformation.

Meltdown

As a starting place, let us consider the Aquarius transits upon us, of which Neptune is the star of the show. The conjunction of Neptune and Chiron (Feb-Nov of 2010) is being introduced by their triple conjunction with Jupiter (May-Dec, 2009). This stunning collection of energies has a particularly poignant relevance for the USA: it is on top of the Moon in America’s (Sibly) chart.The Moon in a national chart can be read as the collective inner child: that collection of needs and vulnerabilities shared by a whole culture. As we know from studying its function in an individual chart, the Moon shows us our instinctive self, a layer of our being that reaches far deeper than theories and rationalizations. The multiple transit hitting the US Moon throughout 2009 is showing us the tender feelings of a whole populace undergoing a mass meltdown.

For ten years now, Neptune, the planet of dissolution, has been in Aquarius, the sign of humanity as an intelligent collective. Under this transit we were hit with the bombshell of global warming, a learning curve that is demanding a unique kind of flexibility from the peoples of the world. The fact that the US Moon is involved suggests that something far more primal is taking place here than merely an increase of geological-meteorological information. It is America’s emotional body that is getting hit. Our feelings about our planetary home will never be the same.

Perhaps the closest historical antecedent was the blow delivered by Galileo, whose astronomical discoveries wrenched humanity out of its Earth-centered complacency by proposing that our planet was just one many, revolving around the Sun. The news of global warming has, in a scant few years, ruptured a set of associations that had been lodged in the mass mind since the dawn of time: the perception of the physical Earth as the ultimate solid mass, the epitome of security and stability. Age-old assumptions about polar ice, permanent and immutable, are being undermined daily. Consider the quiet distress felt by American parents reading their children the Christmas stories they listened to when they themselves were young, and having it dawn on them that by the time these children read the same stories to their children, Santa’s home, the North Pole, may have become open ocean.

As the collective inner child, the USA’s Moon is undergoing what in an actual child would feel like a visceral threat to its relationship to its Mother; more than enough to justify many future hours on a psychoanalyst’s couch. Here the maternal relationship is between ourselves and Mother Earth. Neptune is unmooring our collective cradle, and we are feeling it drift out to sea.

The Great Flood

To the world at large, the central mythopoeic image behind climate change is that of a Great Flood washing clean a polluted world. Legends have been discovered all over the globe that describe some sort of deluge (Neptune) whose purpose was to destroy a corrupted, irremediably wounded (Chiron) human race, for the sake of giving it a brand new start. The 1970s version featured a retelling of the ancient tale of Atlantis, a technologically sophisticated civilization whose hubris caused it to vanish beneath the sea; with the popular codicil that many of the drowned would reincarnate, lessons learned, to usher in a New Age. Global warming is the latest reiteration of this theme, including the watery backlash. The Earth’s industrial societies have set in motion a chaos of breaking levees, rising seas and animal species seeking higher ground, ((Including the human animal. Refugees from drought-stricken and war-ravaged African states are making their way en masse to the more temperate and still-governmentally-functional northern Europe. In Equatorial South America, warming temperatures are disallowing age-old farming methods and compelling a migration to the USA and Canada.)) as they did in the story of Noah’s arc.From this perspective we see that the power of climate meltdown derives from the fact that, somewhere in our collective psyche, we’ve always known about it. It isn’t news at all: the tale has existed since the beginning of time. The role of the Neptune/Jupiter/Chiron transit is to raise this apocalyptic imagery to the surface; a necessity if humanity is to evolve beyond its current state. We are being reminded that, among the myriad potential futures we could create for ourselves, we could choose this one.

When we look at the astrological symbols involved, we can easily understand the peculiar disquiet the issue is provoking for Americans. The Moon represents our need to feel safe, and here it is being broadsided by a planet that obliterates stability (Neptune). Jupiter is supplementing these gut feelings with the requisite scientific knowledge (Aquarius) to support our understanding, while simultaneously stretching our perspective to an international scope hitherto unfamiliar to many Americans. Meanwhile, Chiron is rubbing salt into the wound. The Centaur has been linked to the universal human memory of being excluded, rendered separate — through the act of incarnation — from the All-That-Is (or, to be more precise, separated from our inner knowing that we are not separate). ((See Adam Gainsburg, Chiron: The Wisdom of a Deeply Open Heart, SoulSign, 2006.))

For all humans on Earth, Chiron’s involvement symbolizes an anguished reminder of our aboriginal untethering from Source.

Floating Free

The phrase “global warming” was quickly enlisted in the culture wars when it first came into currency, and became associated with a parsing of physical events and debates about scientific evidence. We are brought up in the West to see facts as more “real” than symbols. By contrast, for the metaphysically inclined the reverse is true: the archetypal meaning, not the statistics, is where the teaching lies. In this view, climate change is a collective psychic trauma; in the language of psychology, it is a global cry for help. But unlike in the psychotherapeutic model, in this case no external agency can come in and fix us. There are no therapists or family members to stage an intervention. The patient itself, the human race, must do its own healing.Yet the external realm does provide a kind of help, for astrologers. As a patient gets perspective from her caregiver, sky-watchers can get perspective from the planets, decoding their configurations to reveal the themes we are experiencing down here on Earth. This allows us to respond not merely with fear, natural though such a response may be, but with a curiosity about the larger meaning of the crisis. We cannot do this unless we loosen our allegiance to the literal. Indeed, many astrologers see the literal level of events as being merely the universe’s ploy of last resort: the means by which the cosmos gets its point across when the recalcitrant human mind fails to comprehend it in any other way.

For those who believe that everything in life is a symbol, even catastrophic events can be seen as invitations into an unprecedented state of possibility. To view global warming and its attendant Earth changes this way is to see that an infinite number of potential scenarios are at our disposal. The years ahead start to look not like an ending, but a beginning: a tabula rasa. If we base our observations on the premise that a benign universe is behind everything that happens, what clues might we glean from the transits about how to meet this challenge? What would it look like to use the energies of Chiron and Neptune in the highest possible way? To answer these questions we need to return to the planets’ raw meaning, and commit ourselves to absorbing, embodying, and actually working with the lessons they represent.

Those who have worked therapeutically with visualization and other meditative techniques on an individual level can attest to the fact that they can elicit results that can only be described as magical. We are suggesting that affirmation works in the same way on the collective level. Many spiritual groups will convene during the years ahead to create such visions together (Aquarius); and many single individuals around the world will explore similar imagery alone, the better to pool it psychically. We are not talking about pie-in-the-sky prayers for protection, of the type that dismiss the peril the Earth is in, trying to wish it away like a frightened child. We are talking about aligning our imagery with the forces these transits represent; accepting and honoring them from a place of spiritual maturity.

An example of such an affirmation might be to imagine a child being rocked to sleep in its mother’s arms to the strains of a lullaby about drifting off to sea in a boat. Rather than reacting against the terror of the idea of being swept away and lost, the overriding feeling might be one of being watched over by a benevolent force far greater than a mortal caregiver. The image here is one of being released by gentle waves into an infinite dream, as if being welcomed back into the amnios; not backward, into the womb, but forward, into a state of recognition that the cosmos itself is our ultimate womb. Our intellects may scoff at meditations like these, confusing them with escapism and/or denial of the literal facts. But we are not calling upon the intellect here. We are calling on the inner child (Moon) and the image-making capacity of the human mind (Neptune). Actual children are capable of terrible fears, but are also capable of seeing beyond the mundane to the numinous. When we were very young we understood the power of our imaginations. Remembering this power now is an appropriate response to the transit upon us.

A more-all-embracing willingness to believe, and to work with belief as a consciousness tool, is in the air. When we consider Jupiter’s association with philosophy and Neptune’s with mysticism (the most yin of worldviews), we see that the transit indicates a subtle but profound change in humanity’s construction of faith. In particular, the ideological climate in America (conjunction to the US Moon) is experiencing a sea change. As in my example above, where the child in the meditation moved from its human nurturer to a divine one, those seekers (Jupiter) who are alive to the transpersonal promptings of Neptune may find their yearned-for safety in the shift from mother to Mother.

And what of the father-gods humanity has worshipped for the past several millennia? It would seem that the patriarchal religions of the world have not been very helpful lately in the world-healing department. Jehovah, Allah and Yaweh spent the past thirteen years of Pluto in Sagittarius slugging it out on center stage, exhibiting their ugliest faces. The current transit gives us a hint about a different kind of religious vision.

If we are to tackle severe problems of international proportions such as global warming and a worldwide financial crisis, humanity will need an unprecedented ecumenicalism of vision: precisely the kind of vision symbolized by this Aquarius conjunction. Used optimally, Jupiter (theology) and Neptune (universality) suggest a spiritual approach that will defy religious categories already extant. Rigid ideologues will not feel comfortable under these skies. Traditional frameworks of belief are likely to leak out of their previous confines, becoming broader (Jupiter) and less-defined (Neptune).

There are those who will be inspired by the Neptune/Jupiter/Chiron transit to move beyond intolerance into tolerance. And there are those who will move even further, understanding that mere tolerance alone is not enough: that a deep mutual understanding must be cultivated between the peoples of the world.

Trans-nationalism

Such a shift will come in handy when we consider the changes afoot in Americans’ sense of their homeland (Moon). The Neptune cluster is about redefining our emotional identification with the outworn hearth-and-home imagery of a former era. Though Normal Rockwell still sells well, his Thanksgiving dinner scene looks less and less like that of a postmillennial American family. Neptune can be expected to confuse our provincial allegiances and loosen our isolationist tendencies. The global scope of climate change and the financial crisis has already forced America to drop a good deal of its notorious insularity.The limitations of old-fashioned flag-waving are already apparent by virtue of Pluto (breakdown) having moved into Capricorn (national boundaries). Though resistance is strong among those segments of the population who would build walls to keep out the diaspora, the truth is that human beings will not stop hitting the road to destinations that they believe offer them a chance at survival. Indeed, the old way of constructing “immigration” is anachronistic: these are refugees. Globalization and global warming have hit the Third World hard; and chaos, poverty and violence make for porous borders. The Neptune cluster on the US Moon is our heads-up that realities like these are forcing a reconsideration of what many Americans think of as patriotism. The world is moving in a trans-national direction. All over the globe, exclusionary chauvinisms will prove to be increasingly problematic.

Urge to Merge

For those sensitive souls who are receptive to it, the Aquarian line-up is provoking an existential sense of psychic restlessness, even claustrophobia. Among the several planets that are associated with fear (Saturn with fear of loss, Mars with fear of threat, Pluto with fear of annihilation), the fears Neptune and Chiron trigger are perhaps the hardest to conceptualize. Chiron activates our fear of being broken-off from the Whole; Neptune activates our fear of being trapped in an unreal world. Their conjunction is creating a wellspring of yearning in the human spirit, a craving to reach a realm of higher truth. When this yearning isn’t understood for what it is, it manifests as a desire to merge blindly with whatever’s handy. In Aquarius, this means whichever organization offers ready membership. From high school cliques to political parties, groups are seducing us to join them.Aquarius’ association with technology is playing a key role in this process. Neptune (interconnectedness) in Aquarius (advanced machinery) has utterly transformed what people think of as normal human interaction. Thanks to the internet we can sit on a chair in the comfort of our own home and dive headfirst into the universal waters of the group mind. Heralded by the Uranus-Neptune conjunction of 1993, the speed with which personal computers have changed humanity is so extreme, historically speaking, that we have yet to get our breath. From farmers in rural China to guerilla fighters in the Amazon, everyone has a cell phone. It will be centuries before sociologists fully grasp the immense implications to human functioning of the incessant communication that digital messaging has made possible.

When channeled creatively, this pooling (Neptune) of ideas (Aquarius) is not only healthy but revolutionary. The capacity for citizens to share opinions over the web has broken through government censorship here and abroad. Free-downloading is allowing musicians and filmmakers to get around the corporate entertainment moguls. And the role played by web networking in the Obama victory has changed the face of politics. The generation credited with putting their candidate over the top is sending its brightest nerds to Washington to wire the White House. As an apt symbol of 21st century democracy, the new president carries a Blackberry everywhere he goes.

In an immature state, Neptune’s urge to merge expresses as a desire to conform as a plan of least resistance. We identify with what we imagine “everyone” is thinking; we release our personal data into the infinite space of FaceBook; we run out and buy the same dress we saw the starlet wearing in the movie. Purveyors of fashions and cosmetics make a lot of money off of Neptune. But an even more insidious – because more subtle—form of Neptunian fantasy is the self-loss that accompanies the process of idolization. Similar to falling in love (as opposed to loving), infatuation is an expression of Neptune, whether on an individual level or on a collective level — as when we fall in love en masse with a rock star or a glamorous new president. ((See MotherSky blog, http://jessica-mothersky.blogspot.com/search?q=Ecstasy))

When the essentially spiritual impulse behind such yearnings is understood, a torrent of creativity is released. What starts out as a nagging psychological restlessness becomes the inspiration to pour ourselves into something larger than ourselves; something bigger and more meaningful than our little lives. Immense freedom comes of making contact with the timeless soul that lies behind our time-bound lifetimes. The mundane world then becomes not a prison, but a playground.

Culture Cons

As cultural observers, we can learn much from what happened during the Neptune-in-Aquarius years, the better to understand Neptune, Jupiter and Chiron’s conjunction with the US Moon.In an epochal shift that spanned several political administrations, the concept of fraudulence (Neptune) has changed meaning in the public mind. Official con games at the highest levels have been grudgingly accepted as normative. Lying has lost its ability to shock. The involvement in the lending industry meltdown of sums of money so staggering (Jupiter) as to be beyond an ordinary person’s conception, and of financial instruments so bizarrely abstract (who can wrap their mind around a credit default swap?) that even their inventors have no idea how to track them, have given the crisis an aura of surrealism (Neptune).

Neptune’s entry into Aquarius coincided with the Clinton impeachment scandal, a paltry sex fraud upon which was displaced all the other truly impactful frauds that were going on at the time. The gargantuan con games at Enron and WorldCom passed right over the heads of many news-viewers who were riveted instead on that stained blue dress. From the point of view of the economic crisis then building, the transit’s most significant expression was the dismantling under Clinton of Depression-era protections in the financial industry. It was during these years that outright fraud by big-time lending institutions was handily legalized via deftly rewritten laws. It is more than noteworthy that several of the masterminds of this chicanery (e.g. Larry Summers, Robert Rubin, Tim Geithner) have been appointed by the new administration to watch over what’s left of the federal treasury. 4

The disastrous legacy of these Wall Street shenanigans was deregulation, a product of unbalanced Neptune. This is the planet that loosens strictures, blurs definition, makes amorphous that which was once explicit. Misused Neptune undermines rules and governance, creating disorder where there was order before. With foreclosures reaching epidemic proportions, evicted families (US Moon) personify the deeply personal pain (Chiron) behind the numbers. When Jupiter (runaway growth) entered Aquarius at the beginning of 2009, Americans started to realize that the economic crisis was bigger than the partisan divides that had riveted the nation’s attention for the previous several years.

This trajectory of out-of-control expansion echoes a theme that resides deep within the national psyche. The Sun is conjunct Jupiter (excess) in the Sibly chart, 5 a natal warning that the transit has brought home. The giddy exorbitance of an American Dream predicated upon the credit card is over.6 The country’s self-image (US Moon) is struggling to re-configure itself at a higher level of awareness.

Transformation

At the same time as the Aquarius cluster melts down the US Moon, Pluto and Uranus are making a T-square to the US Venus and Jupiter. The Uranus-Pluto square, which reaches exactitude seven times between 2012 and 2015, will have many subplots. At this writing, the strongest of these is Pluto’s opposition to Venus, peaking at the Pluto station in April 2009.

Pluto, Venus and the Second House

Pluto (makeovers) opposite the US Jupiter and Venus (values) is compelling a radical reexamination of America’s spending patterns. The global financial crisis has brought to the fore a host of unsavory features upon which the nation’s middle-class lifestyle has been based; including an addiction to cheap money, cheap gas and cheap Chinese imports manufactured through inhumanely cheap labor. As Americans listen to the air hissing out of the economic balloon, many astrologers are seeing this as a preview of the nation’s Pluto Return in the house of money, peaking in 2022.The second is the house of our physical attachments, usually expressed through the act of ownership. This natal signature hints that the USA is fated go through radical ruptures in the financial arena, regardless of which economic theories happen to be in fashion and regardless of what political faction happens to be in power. Pluto demands so thorough an overhaul of the arena signified by the resident house that the experience feels like a death, after which the only option is rebirth.

Houses and Cars

The consummate example of a big, expensive possession that has captured the national imagination is the house. The ownership of a physical house (2nd house), as opposed to the cultivation of emotional connectedness via family or community (4th house), has become so central to the idea of The American Dream that it has become the deal-breaker for many people’s sense of life-purpose.7 The housing bust at the beginning of 2008 took place when transiting Pluto was provoked by Mars in Cancer (home and shelter).The only other valuable (Venus) that has anywhere near this degree of symbolic freight in the American mind is the automobile; and right on schedule, this most sacrosanct of American possessions is also going through a meaning shift. Americans are waxing very ambivalent lately about big fat American cars, and the traffic and pollution that come with them. SUVs are gathering dust in car lots as Detroit designers scramble to come up with models that match the new consumer mood. 8 Amidst this sea change in American values the tide is turning towards electric cars, hybrids and high-speed trains. The preferences (Venus) of an entire country are being transformed (Pluto).

The American Dream

Pluto and Uranus are forcing Americans to give up more than just material possessions. Something less tangible but far more troubling is going on: the populace is being disabused of key operative assumptions about their financial system.While Neptune dissolves deeply held domestic aspirations (US Moon), Pluto (taboo-busting) is digging beneath the surface of commonly held beliefs about the country’s wealth: who controls it, who doesn’t, and how real it is. The transits are revealing a gaping chasm between the romantic dreams of abundance that loom so large in America’s legend, on the one hand, and the facts of people’s actual material lives, on the other. This disparity has been extant for some time, but a rupture is occurring in the mythic scaffolding that has held the disparity intact. True to Plutonian form, a truth that was hidden in plain sight before is now becoming part of the collective consciousness: that the country’s economic gains have been merely trickling to the top. As news of bail-outs, layoffs and foreclosures blare out of their TVs day in and day out, Americans are being forced to recognize the economic facts; such as that many CEOs make several million dollars a year whereas the incomes of workers adjusted for inflation are lower today than in 2000.

Pluto does not reveal anything new; it just unmasks what has been masked before. In this case the economic disparity between America’s captains of industry and its rank-and-file has been masked because ordinary consumers were living beyond their means (more working mothers, more workaholism, and over-mortgaging the house.) As the transits remove the mask, the financial crisis is making these uncomfortable realities common knowledge.

Uranus (sudden awakening) and Pluto (cover-ups) on the US Venus/Jupiter are using the economic crisis as a purgative. Pluto’s regurgitant function is perhaps the most unpleasant of all the planetary healing techniques; but an appreciation of the whole transit sequence allows us to see its rigors as just another step in the process of transformation. As distressing as the financial facts are, the deeper issue is that of collective psycho-spiritual health. The cosmos is using the recession (the act of receding or withdrawing) to force us to reassess the role of physical resources in our lives. As we wend our way towards the Pluto Return of 2022, we can see that profound change to the American system is inevitable. If the republic is to survive as an integral entity, a whole new economy will have to be created.

The question that arises at this point is “What would this new economy look like?” and, as astrologers are forever telling their clients, this we cannot know. A certain surrender is required with outer-planets transits, for countries as well as for individuals. All we know for sure is that there can be no renaissance without rupture: the new economic model will rise out of the ashes of the old. When one acknowledges the organic logic of this idea, one does start to get a sense of some of the qualities the new approach would necessarily possess. We can infer already that if the USA survives its Pluto Return intact, its new financial philosophy would need to be based not simply upon maximizing shareholder profits for a relatively small number of wealthy Americans, but upon prioritizing the health of an Earth now in geological as well as financial peril.

The Uranus-Saturn Opposition

The Uranus-Saturn opposition has already begun this process by ushering in a veritable storm of innovative technology. Ingenious scientific and visionary thinkers (Uranus) are coming out of the woodwork, offering up new technologies to replace our old environmentally damaging infrastructure (Saturn). Consider the $18 billion in venture capital money that flowed into California in 2008 alone, some of it funding such efforts as turning algae into jet fuel and developing carbon-negative cement. Big money could be made on these sane, planet-healing ventures. If there is sufficient consciousness in the collective, the forces of invention and implementation will feed each other rather than polarize against each other. Allowing these two planets to work together would mean that wild-and-crazy ideas (Uranus) such as these would turn out to be actually good for business (Saturn).

A Good President

As Pluto moving into Capricorn would suggest, a popular attention bordering on the obsessive has been focused in recent months upon the changes in our political power structure. But the transits overhead signify mass awareness shifts; their demands will not be quieted with election results. The planets do not care who wins these contests, no matter how high the office, how capable the winner or how superior he is to his predecessor. As conscious citizens in a new era, our work is cut out for us: we are to hold our leaders accountable (Saturn) for the change (Uranus) we have been inspired to envision. We, not Mr Obama, are responsible for what he does next.It is not that there was no cosmic meaning in the thunderous political excitement accompanying America’s recent regime change. It’s just that the real news was the astounding influx and degree of engagement of those millions of voters who had been disengaged before. The new president, with his exquisite intellect and character, is clearly the man of the hour; but after all is said and done he is just a man. It will become increasingly clear to even his most adoring fans that The People must embody the change he personified. The People (Uranus) must inspire the government (Saturn) and not the other way around. As Tim Redmund has said, “Electing a good president is necessary but not sufficient.” 9

Death and Taxes

Two venerable old taboos are making a showing under Pluto’s opposition to America’s Venus and Jupiter. One of them is taxes, a hot button in our national discourse before the country was even born.It is not for nothing that the rallying cry “No taxation without representation,” reiterated in every schoolchild’s American history book, strikes a deep chord of moral outrage (Jupiter) in the country’s sense of itself. The house associated by astrologers with taxes is the 8th, where America’s Mercury resides, and it is opposed to natal Pluto. Here is a case where the pairing up in the vernacular of “death” and “taxes” makes perfect sense: and predictably, both send frissons down America’s collective spine. (So taboo has the idea of taxes become that a euphemism had to be devised: revenue enhancement.) During the Vice Presidential debate, Joe Biden was said to have shot himself in the foot by suggesting that paying taxes was patriotic. Surely this must be so, given that it’s illegal not to pay them.10 But politicians risk campaign death by pointing it out.

Traditionally, the inspirational model of choice in the USA has been that of singular self-advancement — not through public service, but through private business; an ideal which, unchecked and unbalanced, has led to the current era of massive privatization. Now, as everything from hospitals to the military is taken over by for-profit corporations, many Americans are remembering what taxes are supposed to be for.11 Neptune’s transit over the US Moon is also challenging America’s entrenched anti-tax bias. One of the key visions of Neptune in Aquarius is that of individuals pooling their resources so that the common weal may thrive.12

The other taboo deriving from the natal 8th house- 2nd house opposition represents Pluto at its most Plutonian, and as such it is almost never mentioned in public discourse: the money the country spends on war. Something very deep in the American mind keeps politicians and pundits from questioning the percentage of federal budget priorities that goes to the military, a tax dollar-swallowing death pit with a lobby in Washington so powerful (Pluto) that it occupies a category unto itself. What is especially remarkable is that this immunity to challenge exists even now, when all sorts of heretofore unheard-of cost-cutting ideas are on the table. Financial emergency notwithstanding, policymakers would rather gut school funding, close libraries and defund health care than propose withholding a penny from the Pentagon and the CIA.

This gentlemen’s agreement to keep mum about the military budget seems to extend to the mainstream media, from whom one hears fulsome rants about pork barrel spending (e.g. re-sodding the National Mall) in reference to every other issue but this one. Meanwhile the Pentagon continues to outspend the next fifteen largest militaries in the world. Its every pet project is green lighted by a small clique of defense contractors who design state-of-the-art munitions whose use-value is either hypothetical (nuclear weapons that are, thank Goddess, never deployed) or ludicrously cost-inefficient (manufactured without oversight and rendered obsolete every few years). For a debt-crippled nation with a tanking GDP to allow these expenditures makes so little sense that we must look for its rationale somewhere other than common sense or reason. The fact that the subject provokes so little curiosity or outrage among the citizenry calls to mind Pluto’s association with the experience of horror: certain things are just too gut-wrenching to look at.

A related subject similarly absent from the economic debate is the USA’s recession-proof arms-brokering industry, equally unperturbed by the vicissitudes of party politics. By far the biggest munitions maker in the world, America manufactures, trades and sells state-of-the-art weaponry to other countries; $15 billion annually goes to Israel alone. Morality aside (made-in-the-USA munitions are in frequent contravention of UN mandates), this immense chunk of the economy might as well be black-market — as some of it literally is: Iran-Contra, for example — for all the consideration it gets in discussions of financial reform. Pluto’s overhaul of the American economy cannot be counted on to honor these traditions or the codes of silence around them. This is the planet that drives corruption out of hiding.

As psychologists know, the energy it takes to keep taboo material under wraps builds dangerously until there is either a breakdown or a breakthrough. The current opposition to US Venus and Jupiter and the financial ruptures associated with them are offering the USA the chance to purge flaws at a deep-structure level, and to come up with radically new economic principles. But it is an opportunity, not a guarantee. Which course will the USA take? What will we do with our first-ever Pluto Return?

When interpreted wisely, planetary configurations give us the right questions. But answers are determined only by level of awareness. As with Neptunian meltdown, with Plutonian transformation we have at our disposal the image-making capacity of the mind to nudge us towards awareness. We can, if we engage it, use this power to align ourselves with the transits upon us rather than buying into the illusion that we are the cosmos’ helpless pawns. The extraordinary era into which we have incarnated is offering just the right energies for both self-destruction and complete renaissance.

Saturn pokes its toe into Libra in October 2009; Uranus ingresses into Aries in 2010. The most significant wing of the Cardinal Climax period will then be fully fledged. The next major subplot will be the US Saturn Return in 2011. Then comes the mythic year 2012, the endpoint of the Mayan calendar. Transiting Pluto will reach the degree of the US Sun by 2015 and its own natal placement seven years later.

It would be foolish to expect stability from the years between now and 2022; that would be barking up the wrong tree. But it is clear that what these transits disallow in terms of stability they more than compensate for in terms of enhanced collective wisdom. All things considered, it could be argued that stability is overrated. This idea may make us recoil, but to at least consider it as a hypothesis could come in handy right now; because the transits afoot are about something other than security as we usually think of it. They are about rupturing the bonds that have held us back from cultivating our deeper humanity. Consciousness seekers will have a lot of material to work with during the years ahead. Healers of every stripe will be busy. Lightworkers will come into their glory.

Notes:

1. Including the human animal. Refugees from drought-stricken and war-ravaged African states are making their way en masse to the more temperate and still-governmentally-functional northern Europe. In Equatorial South America, warming temperatures are disallowing age-old farming methods and compelling a migration to the USA and Canada. 2.See Adam Gainsburg, Chiron: The Wisdom of a Deeply Open Heart, SoulSign, 2006.

3. See MotherSky blog, http://jessica-mothersky.blogspot.com/search?q=Ecstasy

4. See Robert Scheer, Wall Street Robber Barons Ride Again: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20090113_wall_street_robber_barons_ride_again/

5. For a discussion of this and other aspects of the country’s karma, see Soul-Sick Nation: An Astrologer’s View of America, Jessica Murray MotherSkyPress, 2008.

6. How telling it is that the word “credit” derives from the Latin for “believe.” The forces that propelled the housing and dot-com booms in the USA included a distortion of faith (Neptune) that Americans, with natal Neptune in the 9th house, are peculiarly privy to. It is a suspension of disbelief by which we imagine that what goes up need never go down.

7. The literal meaning of mortgage dying day, or as an invitation to transform one’s life from scratch. is “a pledge unto death” (Pluto). Astrologically we can infer that one might use this obligation either as a chain around the neck to one’s Consider the evicted homeowner who finds herself in a whole new lifestyle — perhaps a multigenerational living situation – after the death of her old assumptions about the normal way to live.

8. And taxpayers are taking umbrage at the idea of bailing out the industry that created these clunkers. Thus were the titans of Big Auto recently raked over the coals by indignant congressmen who, a couple of months earlier, had simply sat there in mute acquiescence as far more outrageous sums were being authoritatively demanded by the moguls of Wall Street.

9. The San Francisco Bay Guardian, 11/19/08

10. That is, it is illegal in theory. Hardly a secret, though rarely expressed in public debate (unless the opposition party wants to block a presidential appointment), is the fact that those who could most easily fill the nation’s coffers do not pay taxes. They pay instead for the politicians who allow them to keep their money. America’s mega-companies have vast legal teams and lobbyists in Washington; its wealthy private citizens have Cayman Islands bank accounts.

11. Most historians and economists agree that what ended The Great Depression was massive public spending: huge investments in infrastructure and jobs for the working class. Tax cuts — upon which, at this writing, the government’s plan is to devote forty percent of the stimulus package — played no part in The New Deal; nor did government layoffs. FDR did the opposite: he taxed and he spent, big-time. And all that tax money was scrupulously channeled into huge public programs, not showered upon incompetent, felonious business titans via the bailouts that America’s previous president proposed and the current one supports.

12. Astrology gives Neptune governance over socialism, along with other economic models that seek to vest in the community as a whole both the control and the benefit of a group’s resources.

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