The Cardinal Climax is giving us a breather as we move into October, offering us a chance to stand back and take stock.
Uranus and Jupiter have retrograded into Pisces, easing off the fiery intensity of the Aries Point. Saturn is moving forward in Libra, past the relentless exactitudes of its square to Pluto and opposition to Uranus. Pluto is still (again) hanging out at the first couple degrees of Capricorn, biding its time.
The transit that defines our era – the long, slow square between Uranus (revolution) and Pluto (renewal) — is getting ready for its next chapter. The geometrical friction between them will characterize the next six years of life on Earth.
Skewered by the Cross
As they make their way towards that historic 90 degree angle, Uranus and Pluto are putting more and more pressure on the chart of the USA , whose Cancer-Libra square completes the pattern to make a Grand Cross.
Like Quarter Moons, waxing squares between any two planets get their meaning from the conjunction that preceded them; in this case the paradigm was struck in the mid-1960s.1 By astrological law, the themes laid down in 1965-66 are being played out again in a cosmic echo. Among the explosive themes being reprised here is that of the Viet Nam war, which notoriously polarized the USA and raised geopolitical consciousness all over the world.
Though the American government would just as soon forget it, Uncle Sam’s attenuated botch-job in Southeast Asia is on plenty of minds right now as the morass in Afghanistan parallels it on several fronts.
American taxpayers are in a mood of reassessment about the occupation of Afghanistan — which is now bleeding into Pakistan, not only militarily but also in terms of a vague understanding in the public mind. This reassessment is being played out against the backdrop of out-of-control factionalism between various subcultures within American society: a civil war of ideas being waged even less civilly than that of the mid-60s.
Then and Now
US forces are losing ground month after month in Central Asia, while Washington pumps out encouraging press releases to the public to avoid the perception of defeat. But at the topmost levels the powers-that-be are split about what to do. The WikiLeaks files released at the Full Moon in July corroborated the suspicions of observers everywhere, by laying out the damning facts and figures beneath Pentagon spin. Their publication marked another parallel with Viet Nam: When Daniel Ellsburg leaked the Pentagon Papers, that war was at about the same phase in its downward spiral as this war is now. Among the occupying powers, a discussion is opening up about the military feasibility and the financial capability2 of continuing the indefinite occupation of another Third World country with a fierce native resistance.
The situation calls to mind a dark joke that was making the rounds in the late 60s: “Let’s just arbitrarily declare victory and withdraw.” It is a testament to how jaded – or pragmatic – Americans have become that, in 2010, this proposal seems less like an ironic joke than simply a good idea. The only thing that might need tweaking is the “we won” part, since observers on every side of the issue know full well that the USA is losing.
The American populace is less naïve than it was. Though mass denial is still rampant, it is much harder for the pro-war crowd to justify their saber rattling than it was in the 1960s, and it is getting harder by the month.
In order to condone the mass murder (including that of civilians, a fact of which Americans can no longer pretend ignorance) and the targeted assassination of “insurgents” and “suspected terrorists” — a vague, all-encompassing class of enemy that is stateless, geographically mutable and geopolitically amorphous – those Americans who buy into their government’s propaganda need a different armory of self-deceptions than the ones that sufficed back when the Uranus-Pluto cycle began.
When Uranus and Pluto conjoined in the mid-60s, Americans were in the thrall of a primitive anti-Communist fear campaign; one that persuaded all but the most independent-spirited citizens to accept the now-discredited Domino Theory.3 Now, with Uranus and Pluto again in aspect but this time in a waxing square, the enemy is imagined to be nothing less than an entire world religion, Islam.
Reigniting archaic enmities that have lain dormant for centuries, Washington is pitching itself against the same Islamic bogeyman that gave Europeans nightmares 500 ago. Then as now, endless wars against The Turk drained Christendom’s national military coffers and bankrupted its states.
The West’s current anti-Islam campaign, however, is driven by motives that have little to do with ideology. As imperial misadventures usually are,Washington’s suicidal tenacity in Afghanistan is – no less than that of every other colonial power that’s tried (and failed) throughout the ages to control Afghanistan – driven by the bottom line. Originally motivated by the lure of strategic transit rights (see Soul-Sick Nation, chapter 11), the US government is now believed to be primarily motivated by the vast mineral deposits that lie beneath that unforgiving terrain.
If we did not already know this from reading between the lines of the news stories, we’d be able to guess it from the astrological evidence. Pluto, the god of subterranean wealth, was moving into position when the news of these discoveries broke. For the ancients, the god Hades/ Pluto presided over those ores, minerals and jewels hidden beneath the Earth.4
The third covert rationale for this war is equally Plutonian (that is, not exactly classified information, but so distressing to think about that it is seldom discussed): to provide the US arms industry with continuous support. Non-stop fighting, non-stop funding. Keeping the country in a state of endless war insures Congressional appropriations of astronomical amounts of taxpayer money
Sheep from Goats
As the transits that define our era approach exactitude, the chaos in Central Asia will acquire the symbolism of a great cultural dividing line, as did Viet Nam. Afghanistan will require the citizens of the occupying powers to think about where they stand. The war will render increasingly obvious the difference between the interests of the militarists (Pluto) and the interests of ordinary people (Uranus). As we witness ever more torturous justifications from the war’s apologists, we may see a corresponding resurgence of the peace movement that ignited consciousnesses in the 1960s.
In the meantime, the fact that the USA is losing this fight is a goddess-send for the cosmic learning curve that it represents. To be disabused of great destructive lies is a wholesale gain.
1 The two were opposed to Saturn at the time. Now they are in a T-square with Saturn. The key astrological ingredients are the same, just rearranged.
2 As for the moral feasibility, one doesn’t expect to hear that discussion from the leadership of the countries occupying Afghanistan. But citizen peace groups are stirring anew. Among the issues they are trying to bring to the attention of the wider public: the May 21st 2010 decision by a federal appeals court in Washington that detainees held by the U.S. in Afghanistan are not entitled to the hard-won right earned by prisoners at Guantanamo, to challenge their indefinite detention. Prisoners at Bagram Air Base were declared to exist in a “theater of war” and therefore not under the jurisdiction of the U.S. civilian courts.
3 What a difference a quarter-cycle makes. Consider the hearty welcome Viet Nam now gets as a lucrative trading partner from Uncle Sam, its former mortal enemy. So much for the Domino Theory, that dread scenario that struck such fear in the hearts of true-blue Americans during the 50s and 60s. All-but-unquestioned at the time and the premier justification for the slaughter of three million Viet Namese, the Domino Theory proposed that all of Southeast Asia and beyond would “go red” if the USA lost the war.