It is now winding to a close: that annus mirabilis, 2012. It has rocked the calendar with a chorus of spectacular transits one after another. We’ve had a full-throated Mars retrograde, an ingress of Neptune into the sign of its rulership, a high-pitched Venus occultation, and the Uranus-Pluto square1 whose first two exactitudes serenaded us in June and September. And in the near distance, you can practically hear the fabled winter solstice transits, like the roar of an approaching crowd.
That is, the animal part of us can hear it.
The mental parts of our psyche, however, are at a disadvantage during this time on Earth. In the face of these daunting energies, our marvelous brain, that jewel in the crown of humanness, is not in its element. This has left a lot of intelligent people feeling like deer in the headlights, buffeted by the emotional storms from our personal lives and by the craziness going on in the world at large. We’re aware of the intensity but we don’t understand it, much less what to do about it.
But here’s the thing: on an animal level, we do know. As somatic beings, we’re picking up the clarion call of this era the way dogs pick up a dog whistle. Our instincts are as tuned into what’s going on as a fox is to a forest fire.
Diving into the Chart
And on a soul level, we’re ready. We are not just participants in this cosmic theater piece; we co-wrote the script. Once we remember this, we can move into it and hit the ground running. It’s about bringing ourselves back, again and again, to this key realization: that the play we’re performing here is tailored by our soul-selves, and utterly appropriate to our own particular karma.
Once we ground ourselves in this understanding, we dive into our chart and live through the center of it, flowing with the challenges of these times with maximal self-expression and authenticity.
The level most of us are most focused on, most of the time, is the individual level. Natal astrology is tremendously helpful at this level, pinpointing the lessons we attract to ourselves, and identifying the “stories” we project onto other people. But in times of crisis, like these, we can also use astrology to make sense of the collective level.
Transits can help us understand the collective learning curve, and follow along as it unfolds in the headlines. Here at the tail end of 2012, our nations, tribes and families, each with its own juicy stories, tragedies, exaltations and absurdities, have been cranking out dramas nonstop.
Mercury Square Neptune
For Americans the presidential campaigns have overshadowed every other drama. Skywatchers have had their eye on the Mercury station that happens on the very day they cast their votes: Nov 6.th 2 Mercury stations are notorious for confusion and technical errors; but considering that the only time it has ever happened before on an election day was in 2000 — when G. W. Bush won, even though he lost (the popular vote) – we may be in for far more serious manipulations of the system than mere delays.
Moreover, Mercury is square Neptune when it stations; the aspect peaks 11/13-14. This puts the thinking process at even more of a disadvantage — if we define “thinking” as merely cognition. When presented with facts-and-figures problems this month, many people will be swayed by energies that have nothing to do with empirical data. They’ll be picking up information dog-whistle style. Confusing, perhaps, but not a problem; not if we allow for it. We just need to understand that unconscious contents will be pouring from the right hemisphere of the brain into the left. Opinions are being influenced by our feelings, inspirations and fears — and vice versa.
As for the more literal kinds of flooding, Neptune in Pisces is the signature of storms like those that deluged the East Coast on the Full Moon. Ever since Neptune started to conjoin Chiron, all of these epic water events can be understood as a cosmic message about wounded waters. Saturn, now trining the conjunction, is making the status of our atmosphere and waterways more and more real to people. The Earth is speaking to us, in meteorological language.
This year American voters can count on a series of “November surprises” continuing the twists and reversals of October, as the US Uranus (shocks, upsets) gets put through the ringer by Pluto and Saturn (quincunx [150 from] Uranus) and Jupiter (conjunct Uranus). Between November 19 and the Solstice, these transits will be peaking.
Until Nov 16th, Mars is in Sagittarius, the sign of religion. We can expect it to inflame the kind of righteous partisanship that have held civility and reason hostage for the past decade or so of American discourse. Low-level Sagittarius claims to come from “faith” but in truth derives from its opposite: our fear of being wrong about things that feel terribly important.
The harm wreaked by ego-fueled religious passion is at its most obvious on the international stage. In the first half of November, much depends on whether the vision of higher Sagittarius prevails, or its capacity to render believers intolerant and judgmental. Because once Mars lays the groundwork in Sagittarius, he heads into Capricorn, where he will meet up with Pluto.
This is one of the most dramatic transits all year. The Mars-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn (11/26-28) peaks during Eclipse week at the end of the month (the 11/28 lunar Eclipse is in early Sadge-Gemini). Of all the quickly-moving trigger transits, Mars (violence, aggression, activism) is the most likely to ignite mass events when it catches up to the long, slow Uranus-Pluto square.
The last time the square was provoked this significantly was at its exactitude at the Autumnal Equinox – remember that intense couple of weeks in September? 3 This period saw a burst of anti-American rioting which, over a few days’ time, spread like wildfire over the Muslim world. The uproar was in reaction to an anti-Mohammed YouTube video that would have been merely ridiculous had it not been so inflammatory (Uranus) and destructive (Pluto). And the young Islamicists weren’t the only militants involved in this bizarre episode. It seems to have been made, produced and promoted by Western forces, with the express intention of inciting anti-Western forces.4
The Islam-vs.-the-West theme is the primary flash point in the global story right now. When we throw into the mix the charts of Iran, Israel and the USA (details in my latest lecture, the Devil in the Mirror), we can see that this is the issue to keep our eye on, as Uranus and Pluto continue their square into the 13th and 14th Cardinal degrees over the months to come.
Open and Quiet
The times are demanding nothing less than that we each respond from the center of our charts, which is to say, from our highest selves. How do we go about shifting into that higher gear?
Not by struggling to self-protect. Not by trying to control our reality by defending ourselves, safeguarding our personal status quo, or anxiously making plans. Not by thinking we have all the answers. Our best bet is to free ourselves up to respond to whatever presents itself, and to use our intellects as only one part of the decision-making process. This is one way we get closer to bridging the body-mind-spirit divide.
In this state, despite all the crashing and banging in the outside world, we meet the moment with openness and calm. Instead of adding to the noise, we’re hearing the call.
1 For details on this fifteen-year riff of transits, whose peak years are 2012-2015, see my new book, At the Crossroads.
3 Among the transits stacked up that week: Saturn’s last exact square this cycle to the US Pluto on September 14th. This was while Pluto was at maximum strength, on the brink of its direct station on the 17th.
4 The contradictory, secretive genesis story of the infamous video was part and parcel of its Plutonian nature. Among the rumors: that it was made by an Israeli American, and/or a group of Christian fundamentalists training for religious war. As for its quality, the journalist Steven Call proclaimed it offensive both to followers of Islam and to cinephiles, with a low-budget aesthetic recalling “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.”