Remember when we were young, and some mean kid would come up behind us and twist our arm, demanding that we “cry Uncle?” That’s sort of what the planets are doing to us now. But they’re not doing it to be mean.
Up in the sky are a series of transits that are designed to humble us; to squeeze the arrogance out of us. I realize most of us don’t like being humbled. But as you’ve probably heard me say before, liking has nothing to do with anything except Venus. Whether we like or dislike a transit is neither here nor there. The only question is: Are we going to learn what it’s trying to teach? The Cardinal Cross and the Aquarius transits are major humblings. Their motive is to curb our excesses, clarify our blind spots, and make us more human.
To astrologers who track the US Sibly chart, it’s no surprise why the American populace is feeling so anguished right now. Our collective self-image is being stripped bare by the Pluto-Saturn-Uranus T-square. Ouch. Like a giant band-aid being ripped off raw skin, the mask is being stripped off the reality.
As the transits zero in on the national Midheaven (public face), one of the facades that’s being stripped away is that of the Good Cop (Saturn). As a kid, I learned that the reason the USA was top dog in the world was — though it was never spelled out explicitly — our moral superiority. This is what schoolchildren in Victorian England were taught, too, about their country’s God-given right to govern one-quarter of the world. Past empires were quite unapologetic about their belief that a higher power compelled them. Thus inspired, they galloped into undefended parts of the globe, appropriated the resources, and took up “the white man’s burden.”
How appalling this sounds to the post-millennial mind! But it is the attitude still being proclaimed by the self-professed patriots here and now who speak of “good guys” and “bad”.
My schoolbooks told me that part of our entitlement had to do with our being a champion of peace between nations (the US chart features Midheaven in Libra). In the mid-sixties — which was the last time we saw transits similar to what we are seeing now — Watergate and Viet Nam disabused large numbers of Americans of such delusions. Now, with the transits stripping off the country’s blinders more mercilessly than ever before, there is disillusion on an even larger scale.
Pluto was opposing the US Jupiter cluster (moral high ground) and Saturn was almost on top of the US Midheaven when it was announced that Obama would be awarded the Nobel Prize. What is so intriguing about the timing here is that the announcement actually exacerbated, rather than dispelled, the discontinuity between America’s peace-cop self-image, on the one hand, and the truth of its incessant militarism, on the other.
It wasn’t just a smattering of snide critics who pointed out the irony here. The first thing on observers’ minds worldwide was the fact that the peace prize was being handed to a man who was just about to green light more bloodshed in Afghanistan. The transits — sneaky buggers that they are — were exposing, in a backhanded way, the gaping contrast between the country Americans think they live in and the country the rest of the world sees.
Saturn has been crisscrossing the US Neptune (mass illusions) and Midheaven (standing in the world) for several years now. At the same time, Uranus (jolts and shattering) has been opposing Saturn since late 2008; and Pluto (exposure of decay) has been opposing the country’s natal planets in Cancer. The economic meltdown was the signal manifestation of all this; and it is not over, any more than this transit system is over. It is segueing into the 2012 years.
It does not take an astrologer to see that the world will probably experience a financial crash of even greater intensity than the one in late 2008. But it takes mental discipline to forestall the fear associated with this idea; and it takes spiritual commitment to focus instead on the ultimate meaning of what’s happening.
On the level of cultural observation, it takes independent thinking to ask some very simple questions; questions we would surely ask if we were more closely in touch with our common sense than we are with what the media says.
With Saturn (status quo) being blasted by Uranus (revolution), there is intense discontent on Main Street — the kinds of rumblings that historically have led to popular revolt (the real thing; not just the tea-bag kind). In the USA and elsewhere, millions of people will continue to lose their jobs while their social safety nets disappear, while at the same time, more and more power will become concentrated in the hands of the exclusive club of multinational forces that oversee the world’s governments. It seems to me that the question we should be asking is not “Will there be a mass uprising?” but rather, “Why are we not seeing a mass uprising?”
The answer to this lies in the manufactured deceptions that keep us moderns estranged from ourselves and each other. American pop culture is the engine for this malady of the soul. As the premier exporter of fads and commodities as thin and empty of nourishment as potato chips, the USA is the world leader in products whose purpose is to help us avoid self-confrontation.
The Chiron-Neptune conjunction, whose job is to point out our delusions, will be right on top of the US Moon when it reaches exactitude next month (February 16-17th, 2010). These are extreme transits, and as such they are showing up in extremely different ways for different people. Over the last several years, many consciousness-seekers have been inspired to more clarity and purpose than they have ever known. But others have given in to an orgy of escapism, made easy by a cultural environment awash in ways to medicate ourselves (Neptune) and cover up our pain (Chiron).
Since the conjunction came into orb, we have seen an explosion of gadgets and trends aimed at keeping us from the truth of ourselves; from social networking — the conceit of “friending” electronically, rather than being a friend — — to the democratization of cosmetic surgery – an effort to win love and approval through plasticizing the body. In the ten years since Neptune went into Aquarius, compulsive consumer entertainments have proliferated– from video games to Indian reservation casinos (a stunning phenomenon, the tragedy of which runs many layers deep). These amusements render self-reflection all but impossible. Designed to distract, they keep our minds off our isolation and loneliness.
At this moment in history the human psyche is at a crossroads. Those who take up the challenge of transformation are breaking through lifetimes’-worth of old pain. Others are running around like chickens with their heads cut off, unable to concentrate. For the latter group, despite all the pseudo-communicating being done on little hand-held doodads, the failure to deeply connect has never been more evident.
The conjunction of Neptune and Chiron, which extends through 2011, is trying to teach us where our malaise originates. It is in essence a spiritual transit, intended to show us the paucity of genuine interconnection (Aquarius) in our lives, so that we may realize how profoundly we yearn (Neptune) for it. This is the humbling that is called for: that of admitting our pain, self-forgivingly, and crying Uncle — after which we can be released to heal (Chiron).