Dec 2011
Ring Them Bells

This Solstice season, bells are tolling for the death of the Old Paradigm. You can hear them all over the globe.

The shifts they signal are too profound to stay local, or national. The changes upon us right now are not confined to either the First World or the Third World; the Northern of the Southern hemisphere; the 99% or the 1%.

Ours is a world made up of intricately interlocking systems. Rising sea levels and other environmental degradations don’t give a pin about boundaries and borders. Non-physical changes, too, are spreading like wildfire. Not even the Great Wall of China will be able to keep out the impulse that was ignited in Yemen last year when a fruit vendor, protesting his government’s corruption, set himself aflame. An epoch is coming to an end, and its death knell is reverberating across seas and continents.

Die Hard

Unfortunately, some things die hard. There are big, dying entities that are tightening their grip on the world rather than going out gracefully. Even movements that once bristled with life and promise, like the industrial revolution, tend to turn nasty when obsolete. Forward-looking members of humanity are up against stubborn resistance from adherents of the old ways.

The industrial revolution has turned counterrevolutionary. In its current, toxic form, it brought us the Gulf disaster of April 2010, and the nuclear catastrophe in Japan one year later (when Uranus was exactly where it is right now, again, at its station December 9th) Once world-alteringly creative, the machines-over-Nature model has turned anti-life. But it is not about to quit on its own.

The industrial approach, joined at the hip with a profit-driven approach to world management, can only continue repeating its old mistakes, enabled by a governmental system that has grown too corrupt to help us out. We should not be surprised that the US Department of the Interior has recently granted BP permission to resume oil and gas exploration in the Gulf, nor that the Japanese industry is champing at the bit to get their reactors up and running again.

We will wait in vain for the powers-that-be to graciously usher themselves out. It is we who hear the bell tolling who must make the call.


As the Longest Arm of the Cross nears exactitude, we see this happening everywhere. As Neptune (oil and gas) slowed down for a station in early November, thousands of environmentalists — many of them wealthy former donors — surrounded the White House to protest Obama’s support for the disastrous Keystone XL Pipeline

The uprisings we are seeing right now, all over the world, feel fated, irresistible. Yet we know that, human nature being what it is, many people will resist to the teeth their call for change.

For better or worse — depending on your point of view — resistance will become increasingly difficult. At this point, to deny what’s going on is tantamount to plugging our ears against the sound of the Now.

Euro Peril

The bell is tolling for the economic models of the past.

As we saw at the Pluto ingress into Capricorn (monetary systems) in 2008, Wall Street, the Federal Reserve, the IMF and the World Bank left no country untouched by their accumulated corruptions. Four years later, Goldman Sachs’s advice to their top international clients is worth our attention as a bellwether for upcoming trends. Not what they tell the public, which is that everything is going to be just fine; but what they are telling the highest tier of their clientele: to bet on a huge financial collapse.

The European Union teeters on the brink of disintegration, as the still-nominally-solvent countries scramble to contain the spread of their neighbors’ bankruptcy. The Euro crisis is making it all too clear that these member states are indeed their brother’s keeper.

We hold on to our national provincialisms at our peril. Neptune (universal values) is about to re-enter Pisces (meltdown of boundaries), where Chiron (humanity’s wounds) has been waiting for it. Just before the Full Moon in November, Neptune went stationary direct and opposed Mars in the sky. The symbolism expressed precisely what Europe was struggling with that week: the reality that no one country operates in a vacuum.

Nervous market commentators are using the word “contagion” to describe the probable effect of one country’s financial crisis on the others. It’s a coinage that sums up the collective mood. The catastrophe in Greece – which may turn out to be dwarfed by that of Italy — is being compared to a microbe that multiplies and spreads like an epidemic.

The USA itself, whose debt is anywhere from fourteen trillion dollars to many times that, is believed solvent right now only by means of the wildest possible suspension of disbelief. Pluto is still opposing America’s Jupiter — a bottoming-out of credibility/credit.

Too Big to Fail

You could hear the bell tolling in New York City just before the Autumnal Equinox, with Pluto direct in the sky. Before his handlers could shut him up, Mayor Bloomberg gave voice to the worst nightmare of the rich: He said the poor might riot.

Calling unemployment and poverty in the United States a potential powder keg, Bloomberg was speaking on WOR Radio the day the OWS encampment began. This was before anybody had any idea how big it would become, nor how important.

The specter of the great unwashed hordes rising up en masse has struck fear into the hearts of the upper classes since patriarchy was born. It is now, at this crossroads in human history, closer to happening than it has ever been. All it would take is a mindset shift: the simple realization, among the denizens of the world, that 99% makes for a lot more people-power than 1%.

Everybody’s starting to realize something, all at once, something quite marvelous: that it is the 99% who are too big to fail.


The Occupy movement is a manifestation of energies that had been festering below the threshold of collective awareness, waiting to explode. They erupted into public consciousness just as the Equinox transits (discussed in my “Emperor” lecture) provided the spark of ignition.

To many astrologers it is nothing less than thrilling to see a cultural phenomenon cleave so tightly to the archetypes behind the defining transit of our time: the square between Uranus (revolution) in Aries (raw, unmediated activism) and Pluto (demolishment) in Capricorn (corporations, financial structures). We cannot doubt the authenticity of a movement that serves so precisely the purposes of these two celestial giants.

Six years ago, writing in Soul-Sick Nation about the significance of Pluto in Capricorn, then two years away, I said the transit would bring fatal challenges to hierarchical models of organization. Capricorn governs the concept of layered tiers of power: hierarchies of every stripe. Astrologers knew that when Pluto – which breaks down whatever is distorted beyond repair – went into this sign, serious threats would arise worldwide to the vertical model of authority.

It’s happening before our eyes. The deliberately leaderless Occupy movement, with its ingenious “human microphone”, its über-democratic assemblies, and its  avoidance of demagoguery through rotating authority figures constitutes a stunning rebuke to the stratified structures of the corporate-centered state.

By contrast with traditionally liberal agencies (e.g. the unions, NPR,, the Democratic Party) the Occupiers are not part of the establishment, and they don’t want to join it.  They are up in the bell tower, throwing their whole weight into pulling the ropes, making it known– to everyone who hasn’t plugged their ears — what is wrong with the Old Order.

Think Cosmically

Nothing less than a world-encompassing perspective will help us now. Never has that great aphorism of the ‘60s been truer: we must act locally and think globally. Better yet, we might update this advice to Think Cosmically.

When we watch these crises from a cosmic perspective, we remember that these death knells are also baptism bells. Brand new human systems are waiting to be created from the ashes of the old.