The period we’ re in is so dramatic, it is downright cinematic — documented not only by astrologers and ancient seers, but by makers of Hollywood blockbusters.1 For a decade now it has been getting more and more obvious to more and more people that we are living in a very unusual period on Planet Earth. As we sweep away the confetti and champagne corks and face the dawn of 2010, let us consider what’s in front of us. We are beginning not just any old year, but the year when the Cardinal Cross peaks for the first time.
Mid-month features a surge of energy. Saturn’s station on January 13th, just hours before the Solar Eclipse, will exacerbate the tension building between Pluto and Uranus,2 whose square is the anchor of all transits between now and 2016. When Uranus moves into Aries this Spring,3 the forces of cardinality will be hugely intensified. It will be like a spark igniting dry straw.
For the next six years, 4 the conflicts indicated by these squares and oppositions will be at the forefront of human affairs. If we want to know the meaning of this era, the Cardinal Cross is our first tier of interpretation.
The second and third tiers of meaning are spelled out by the more quickly-moving planets. Their interplay provides the subplots in the world’s developing story.
Part of the show
There will be plenty of action. As January begins, Mars is flexing its muscles, fresh from its retrograde station. It will be nipping at our heels all winter. For those Baby Boomers with natal Pluto in Leo, the red planet has been inspiring obsessively productive focus (at best) and low-down, gut-deep power plays (at worst).
For all of us, of every generation, Mars is forcing a distinction: that between what we think we want vs. what our soul wants for us. When every part of us is aligned with what our soul wants, that’s when we become full participants in this extraordinary era.
This means we need to stop reacting to what isn’t there, and start responding to what is there. It’s really very simple. Then why does it feel so difficult?
Much of the problem stems from the climate of constant of distraction that keeps most modern people’s minds in addled, reactive mode. If we were able to tune out the noise, and listen to the cues with a silent mind, we’d be in much better shape to handle this month’s challenge: that of truly responding (Saturn) to the moment, and actively engaging (Mars) in what it has to offer.
For those who can manage this, there is tremendous power available this calendar year. It’s a power that explodes into being once our conscious mind gets in touch with our super-conscious mind (symbolized in this case by the Uranus-Pluto square). Our goal should be to show up for the cosmically-ordained rendezvous each of us set up, pre-incarnate, with the mysterious dimension of our selves who decided it wanted to be part of this show.
No one will be forced to do anything, of course. In high-stress times, just as in low-stress times, we have a choice. We can either allow ourselves to be taken over by the lower chakras of survival (negative Mars) and thereby waste our vital energies running scared, or we can get our more primitive drives to work with our more sophisticated drives. The latter type, associated with the upper chakras, are the ones that know how to create realities.
Transits of Mars, and of the other personal planets, can be used as a stepladder, helping us reach the full empowerment augured by the transcendental planets (the ones furthest from the Sun). This is when we start to identify with the deeper purpose of our chart. At that point it stops being a vague, wished-for concept. We start to feel it.
This is when our lives start to become fluid. Beneficial scenarios arise naturally, both in the outer world and the inner world. Organically, we feel driven to do the “right” thing. Herein lies the answer to the question so often asked by consciousness-seekers about the years ahead: But how will I know what to do?
When we’re living in the Now, we happen upon exactly those solutions that the moment requires.
The Saturn-Pluto square, which reached exactitude in mid-November, peaks again on January 31st. This will push to a new breaking point the global systems collapse that broke through the crust of mass denial two years ago when Pluto (breakdown) moved into Capricorn (social institutions). Saturn, the planetary ruler of Capricorn, is echoing Pluto’s merciless purge of governments and financial systems worldwide. Each time this square peaks, the pressure mounts.
The fractures in the old power structures are turning into gaping crevices. Like eroding ravines, the walls of corrupt governments all over the world — in Africa, Afghanistan , Italy, Eastern Europe, North and South America — are crumbling in upon themselves.
In November’s Skywatch we discussed the death of the age of empire, a hot topic since Pluto entered Capricorn two years ago. Obama’s decision in early December to amp up the occupation in Afghanistan (to call it a “war” is misleading) was announced when Saturn and Pluto were exact to the degree, and surprised no one except those voters whose relief at seeing the end of George W. Bush still has them blinded.
Another layer of Pluto in Capriorn‘s meaning is the death of financial structures, which we can also infer from Obama’s decision. As Congress niggles and frets over the cost of health care for the poor, hundreds more billions of dollars have just been green lighted for robot planes to kill civilians in the mountains and plains of Central Asia.
This decision was not just a mistake; it was an epochal mistake – one that matches the epochal transits above. Hearing Obama’s speech made one want to send him a copy of Heaven’s Command, in which James Morris describes the massacre of British occupiers at Kabal in 1838 5. This tale of revenge is only one of a long series in the collective memory of the Afghan people. A century and a half after the English were driven to their deaths in those unforgiving ravines, Morris went back to Afghanistan and asked a toothless old villager what would happen if his country were occupied again. “The same!” he hissed.
By caving in to his generals and their war-contractor buddies in this decision, Obama has demonstrated that he has not only failed to learn from the fates of the Mongols, the British and the Russians; he has not even learned from his own government’s eight-year history in Afghanistan. Since Uncle Sam’s bombs started falling on them, the Muslim world in general and Afghans in particular now have far more reason to agitate against the West than they ever had before. It is overwhelmingly the dirt-poor civilian population who, after being brutalized by forty years of war, are being martyred by the Pentagon’s killer drones. As for Al Qaeda — they’ve moved to Pakistan.
The stupidity of these politicians and warmongering pundits is morphing into insanity as they try to use the old imperial tricks to maintain power. But these tricks cannot work in our postmillennial world. They can only backfire.
As global infrastructures — meteorological, political and financial — further collapse over the course of this calendar year, it will become monumentally evident that humanity’s various status quos (Capricorn) are dying of old age (Pluto).
It really is quite a show.
As individuals, our experience of it will hinge upon our willingness to participate. Some of us will play our parts in a more overt way than others; everyone has a different modus operandi. Whether we respond to the Cardinal Cross by moving deeper inside ourselves in spiritual practice, or by exploding outwards in political activism; whether we convene meetings in an auditorium or hold hands in a hospice — what matters is that we act through our charts. That is, authentically.
In the years upcoming, many people will not respond at all; instead they will react to the energies around them. They will suck up the fear being pumped into the collective mind by unscrupulous voices in positions of authority, and they will frame their lives in terms of the faux-realities fashioned by the mass media. These folks will probably have a dreadful time.
Others will spend these years expressing who they are to the fullest. They will grow into the purpose revealed by their unique natal chart. They will attract into their lives people, ideas and activities that resonate to that purpose. Whether public or private, their energies will raise the vibration of the planet.
These are the people who will help the world transform.
1 The apocalyptic action film 2012 was an example of Hollywood exploiting the public’s anxiety, in this case cannily bestowing an archaeoastronomical gravitas to a standard-issue action flick. But the timing of the movie’s release reveals its other layers of meaning. 2012 hit the theatres two days before Saturn and Pluto squared for the first time (11/13/09).
2 So will the Mercury station on the fifteenth: two days after Saturn’s, with the Eclipse in between.
3 Against the backdrop of the Pluto-Uranus-Saturn T-square, in mid-May Jupiter will join the grouping; and, a few days later, so will the Moon — at the most storied degree of the zodiac: zero Aries. These will be followed by an extraordinary lunar eclipse in June.
4 There is no absolute boundary for the Cardinal Cross Years; Nature operates in gradualisms and transits bleed one into the other. But many astrologers mark its tenure by timing the square between Uranus and Pluto. This is the longest-running piece of the Cross, involving the most powerful and slowest-moving planets. It is exact seven times between 2012 and 2016.
5 Heaven’s Command: An Imperial Progress, Harcourt Brace,1973.