Astrologers have been talking about the Uranus-Pluto square for so long that we risk forgetting to be amazed when its energies play out the way they have. The momentous uprisings and financial turbulence with which the transit expressed itself in 2011 were such exact illustrations of the planetary energies as to match our wildest predictive metaphors. The epochal clash between the corrupt old (Pluto) and the revolutionary new (Uranus) is acting itself out in front of our eyes.
We are living in a thrilling moment in history. As 2012 hits the ground running, deep-structure change is in the air.
Pluto, the planet that shows us the mortality of all things, is strengthened during the month of January by the Sun’s passage through Capricorn, the sign of economic theories and political structures. There are reminders everywhere that even those institutions we tend to see as eternal are merely temporary constructs. Pluto asks one question of the systems governed by its resident sign: Are they promoting the healthy functioning of human beings and other living things? If not, they must go the way of everything else in decay. If a social institution has started to turn against the people it was set up to serve, it’s dustbin-of-history time.
Capitalism is one of these systems. In its current state it is rotting from within. Despite the fact that most of us are conditioned to equate capitalism with modernity — indeed, with civilization itself — this economic model is no more immortal than anything else under the Sun. Under skies galvanized by the Longest Arm of the Cross, everywhere we look we see “free market” capitalism in its death throes.
Neoconservatives don’t talk much about the dubious effects of the capitalist flood that swept over Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall, nor about the environmental and cultural desecration wrought by China’s voracious entry into the GDP sweepstakes. As for Uncle Sam, king of capitalism for the last two centuries, he is finding himself smack dab in the middle of the Uranus-Pluto square (America’s natal aspects become a full-on Grand Cross when the transit is factored in).
With a self-image that revolves around material wealth, America is now going through not just a financial trauma but a breakdown of its core identity (Pluto opposite US Sun). The notion of being the richest country in the world is so central to the nation’s view of itself that many Americans have failed to grasp the fact that right now, in 2012, the only thing the US economy leads in is military might and people in prison.
In many ways, of course, robber-baron-style capitalism has been wildly successful. It has generated untold amounts of wealth for a tiny sector of humanity, and has established networks of profit that have undermined whole governments – as, for example, the donor-lobbyist-representative axis in Washington that has undermined U.S. democracy. Follow the logic of capitalism along its natural trajectory and you get the immensely profitable business of trafficking and selling illegal drugs, which constitutes what is perhaps the most stunning financial success story of our era (worldwide, it is thought to be a four-hundred-billion-dollar-a-year industry), ranking it right up there with the oil companies and the arms trade.
But under skies like these, visionaries are challenging even the most entrenched and the least questioned of Capricorn operations. Uranus, the planet of people power, is capable of transforming the plutocratic state (Pluto) of modern capitalism. An example of this is the entry into the public discussion of indie capitalism, a radical challenge to business as usual, in every sense of the phrase.
Indie capitalism is based not on trading old value, but on creating new value. It is not globally but locally oriented. It is concerned not with quantity but quality; and its modus operandi is sharing rather than exploiting.
Consider Kickstarter, the internet creative funding phenomenon whereby people invest and observe the growth of products that mean something to them personally. In this model, says proponent Bruce Nussbaum, consumer, investor, audience, fan, helper, and producer conflate. People find and prepare their food the same way they find and prepare their music. And then they share it all.
The courage to challenge (Uranus) and reformulate (Pluto) even such a powerful phenomenon as big global capitalism may seem like a David and Goliath battle. But tackling huge power differentials like these is exactly what this transit is about. Giants are big, but they are mortal, and not exempt from Plutonian law. The symbolism in the skies suggests that when entities such as these start to putrefy, we should collectively grab our shovels and bury them.