Now that Saturn is in Libra, it’s time to look at the issue of fairness.
Libra is an idealistic sign, and its tenets are a point of pride for many conscientious folks. Who doesn’t like to think of themselves as fair-minded? Saturn, however, does interesting things to the sign it’s passing through. This planet does not indulge our self-imagery; it exposes our inconsistencies.
Saturn’s two-and-a-half-year tenure in Libra is a teaching about fairness in the archetypal sense. Does this definition of fairness have anything to do with its conventional meaning? That’s what we’ll find out.
U.S. Saturn Return
In the USA, whose natal chart features Saturn in Libra, fairness is a big deal. For most Americans, “fair” means “both sides must be represented.” But which two sides? This question is seldom asked, because of the reductive premise that lies behind it. In American public discourse, when people think of “both sides” they think “Democrats and Republicans.”
Saturn, however, is the enemy of shaky premises and vague assumptions. It likes things solidly defined. When in Libra it will raise questions such as: Who says there are only two political parties? (Well, we know who. That is, we know that the powers-that-be have a vested interest in maintaining the Dems-&-GOP polarity as the only game in town. And we know they’d like Ralph Nader, Ron Paul, Matt Gonzales et al to go away. But let’s leave the question rhetorical for the time being.)
This transit will force into the open a peculiarly American dilemma. The USA’s crowning Saturn (Sibley tenth house)1 makes us esteem fairness and equality as supreme virtues. We grow up feeling special that our country allows for the expression of divergent views. But the provenance and integrity of these views are seldom considered. The vast majority of the American populace doesn’t have enough information to cobble views out of. They don’t know what’s going on in the world, or how their own country works.
Are viable debates possible when the debaters lack rudimentary information? Students of American history will remember that the founding fathers’ number-one fear was exactly this. The Constitution warns, over and over again, that an ignorant populace cannot self-govern.
Informed vs. Uninformed
I have registered elsewhere my opinions about the American penchant for dividing voters down into two groups (for example, Red and Blue). Though these divisions are forever being referred to as conflicting ideologies, they aren’t really. That is, they are conflicting, but they aren’t ideologies.
We certainly have two opposing camps, with an abyss between them. Sometimes the battle is referred to as Liberals-vs.-Conservatives; sometimes it’s referred to as Elitists-vs.-Real-Americans. Whatever it’s called, the polarity here is not really about My-Ideas-vs.-Your-Ideas.
It’s about Informed vs. Uninformed.
No offense implied; I’m not calling anybody stupid. There’s nothing wrong with ignorance that can’t be corrected. I’m just saying, let’s call a spade a spade. It’s not a real debate if one side doesn’t know what they’re talking about. I’m not interested in conversations where I’m supposed to “give equal time” to somebody who thinks Obama is a muslim, or that Acorn is a threat to democracy. Better these folks should clue in to some basic facts than waste time in debates.
I don’t blame Americans for misconstruing what’s going on. As readers of my screeds know, I blame the mass media. And, like Gore Vidal, , I blame the policymakers behind the US school system, who seem to have decided some decades ago that if the USA was going to be a global empire it’d be best if the citizenry didn’t know beans about the rest of the world.
A populace that is knowledgeable about other countries is less likely to go along with the destructive geopolitical decisions of its leaders. Take the ol’ We’re-bombing-these-people-to-give-them-freedom approach to foreign policy. I propose that the odds of an American voter finding this policy sociopathic rise in proportion to the amount of accurate information that voter possesses.
For example, geographical information. It seems to have been decided at some point that the work of empire-making would be a lot simpler if Americans did not know where other countries were located, at least until after Uncle Sam had finished invading. After that, news broadcasts could show little maps to illustrate where the bombs were falling.
But if a country wanted to save a few trillion dollars in military expenses, a little education would come in handy. I‘m pretty sure that any fifth grader who looked at a map and saw Afghanistan located smack dab in between Pakistan, Iran and Russia would see immediately why a superpower would want to control it. Give an American kid a map and a history of the Silk Road and she’d understand right away why her parents’ taxes were funding this occupation.
Education is good for people. But it’s bad for the military-industrial complex.
The breakdown of America’s self-image is part of a greater process. Western culture is in the process of devolving right now, so that humanity can evolve.
It is not just astrologers who have pegged the period we are in right now as world-altering. Environmentally conscious scientists have been trying to tell us for several decades that the upcoming crisis of peak oil represents a line in the sand for the modern world.2 For an even longer time, the ancient Mayans have been posthumously warning us that ours is the era of ultimate choice. Many spiritual traditions have legends depicting this epoch as being about a long, wayward process playing itself out.
The USA, as the world’s hyper-power, plays a key role in this unprecedented drama. This struggling empire is undergoing a crisis of maturity (Saturn) , and of essential values (Pluto in the second house) at the same time.3
Americans who are up to it will want to get on the bus. This means embracing the immense collective changes afoot – not just as a political slogan, but as part of our soul path. It means conceding that if we are American, we are American for a reason. We each have a role in this critical re-framing of national identity; and if we want to live up to our charts’ fullest potential, we may have some self-deprogramming to do. Certain ideas we were brought up with will have to be closely reexamined. Some will have to be discarded as false.
Where in your chart is Saturn in Libra passing right now? This is where you are witnessing the deconstruction of the grand ideals of fairness, justice and balance.
How might we approach this deconstruction on an individual level?
To get off on the right foot with Saturn in Libra, we might press into service some old-fashioned rules (Saturn) of engagement (Libra). Though out of vogue for several decades, politeness and graciousness in personal encounters will be increasingly appropriate. It is time to develop a post-millennial etiquette. The pithy pronouncements of social guides like Miss Manners a.k.a. Judith Martin, the wonderful newspaper columnist, will become more and more relevant.
In intellectual discussions, the ability to reason will be tested. Saturn in Libra is about having grown-up conversations again. We can honor the transit by refusing to engage in disrespectful arguments. Remember Roberts’ Rules of Order? In grade school we learned to structure group discussions, and found that by cleaving to such boundaries as setting an agenda, raising our hands and awaiting our turn to speak, the proceedings were not only more civil, but they allowed us to decide things (Libra) and work towards a goal (Saturn). The trouble is, the state of American public discourse has become so chaotic and debased that a remedial step needs to happen first.
We will have to call out “debates” based on false premises.
A couple of years ago the brilliant political analyst Brian Becker was invited to appear on CNN. It was one of those shows that profess to give everybody their four minutes to speak, and he was to be their token anti-war voice. But Becker’s lucid, complex answers to sound-bite questions came off as out-of-synch. His intelligence didn’t fit the format. When he tried to explain an interesting idea, he was interrupted; when he resisted having his points simplistically rephrased, he was scorned. When he requested to be allowed to finish his sentence, he was shouted down.
We need to understand that this kind of format is a con. The word “debates” suggests meritocratic matches; but these exhibitions are about something else entirely. The networks’ true intention is to provide a gladiatorial blood sport. I am not so much condemning the bear-baiting aspect of these affairs – let people choose their entertainments where they will – as proposing that we understand the misrepresentation involved.
Fairness and balance is not possible when your opponent has rigged the game.
Terms of Debate
This transit is giving us an opportunity to clarify the collective conversation, and its first teaching concerns what happens even before the words and ideas start flowing. Before we do anything else, we need to identify the hidden infrastructure (Saturn) of the exchange (Libra).
We need to know who’s dictating the terms of debate.
As an astrologer, I am sometimes asked to debate scientists. It is thought that a feisty dust-up between a special-guest-science-teacher and a professional mystic will prove entertaining to an audience. Early in my career I earnestly took up the challenge. Doing my best to explain the Dark Mysteries to left-brain thinkers, I climbed up on the soapbox and tried to be persuasive, in an effort to out-authority the authority.
It was years before I realized that it was a trap, posing as a level playing field. The set up was that the scientist, as an exponent of the linear viewpoint we are all taught in schools, would sit in judgment of the circular viewpoint of the Divine Feminine. But this was apples and oranges: one cannot judge one paradigm using the vocabulary of another. In the context of this “debate,” not only was the paradigm-of-choice already established (it was of course the culturally normative one), but it was presumed to be the only one in existence. I was expected to use the criteria of that paradigm (empirical evidence, statistics, cause-and-effect) to explain realities that transcend such criteria.The windowless room of the radio studio, with its blinking machines and aura of technological mastery, itself bore witness to the unquestioned superiority of modern mechanistic materialism over ancient spiritual principles.
I resolved to respond henceforth to all such invitations with a statement of my own conditions. To wit: I would enter into such debates only if they were held on the beach under a Full Moon.
See my book, Soul-Sick Nation, , Chapter Six.
There is reason to be skeptical of the information being disseminated by the official agencies tracking oil and gas supplies. A whistleblower with the International Energy Agency has said that the organization’s claims that fuel production will not peak before 2030 have been deliberately underplayed for fear of triggering panic buying . An Oct 09 report by the UK Energy Research Centre moves the forecast closer to the range of Cardinal Cross and the US Pluto Return, predicting that worldwide production of conventionally extracted oil could “peak and go into terminal decline before 2020.”
In addition to its Saturn Return, its upcoming Pluto Return and its skewering by the Grand Cross , the USA chart is experiencing a conjunction of Neptune and Chiron to its Moon (self-image). With Jupiter involved for the last time, this grouping will peak again this month at the solstice.