Tuesday, November 8, 2016
THE SECOND COMING Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity. Surely some revelation is at hand; Surely the Second Coming is at hand. The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert A shape with lion body and the head of a man, A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun, Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds. The darkness drops again; but now I know That twenty centuries of stony sleep Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? --William Butler Yeats (1919) Dear readers, I plead guilty to the sin of procrastination. Yes, I have been run down, burned-out, too engaged in my paying work and with my drama-filled life, but I still feel obligated to try to make some sense of this crazy-ass election cycle...not so much to predict who will win the U.S. presidency today, or to reiterate what many of you might have already read about Mars being in the last degree of Capricorn on Election Day, and how the Moon will change signs from Aquarius to Pisces. Instead, I want to explore the U.S. natal chart and its progressions, transits, and its next Lunar Return (which happens today, 12:44 p.m. EST). When I gaze a little ways down the cosmic road, I do not like much of what I see for America. Over and over again on this site, I discussed the Uranus-Pluto square of 2012-15 and the more recent Saturn-Neptune square of 2015-16. I still believe these ridiculously horrendous aspects, operating on a mass level because they involved the outer planets, were what made this ridiculously horrendous election cycle possible. What I somehow missed was that transiting Pluto opposed U.S. Sun throughout 2015 (a classic power-tripping aspect that also points to nefarious underground, illicit activity). This opposition was heightened by the fact that U.S. 1st and 7th Houses were involved, lending a highly polarized "you vs. me" flavor. Pluto has been transiting U.S. 1st House since December 2000; it was conjunct U.S. Ascendant on the heels of 9/11, with transiting Saturn opposing it in Gemini, the sign of the twins (or twin towers). It is safe to say that for the past decade and a half, America has been going through a classic Pluto-transiting-1st-House identity crisis. Pluto does transform -- but not always for the better. Pluto first entered U.S. 2nd House in March of this year and will go back into the 2nd House for good in the first week of January 2017. So right now, we are at the tail end of this particular chapter of U.S. history, of Pluto transiting the 1st House. And in so many ways, America has become unrecognizable...not just in its appearance (downside: obese; upside: increased acceptance of transgendered individuals; downside: crumbling infrastructure and chain-store-ification; upside: more underground/alternative scenes) but in a deep-rooted sense that is not at all visible yet still palpable on a psychic level. Aside from blossoming shamanistic healers, the vibe has been dark, menacing, hostile, morbid, nihilistic. In other words, Plutonian. Transiting Uranus has also been making plenty of noise in the U.S. chart. As Pluto slips into the U.S. 2nd House, Uranus remains in the angular 4th House and will continue to square U.S. Mercury, as it did in the summer of 2016, till April 2017. Interestingly, Uranus comes within a hair's breadth of squaring U.S. Mercury again at the very beginning of 2018, but turns direct just before the exact aspect. Given the signs and Houses involved (Aries/Cancer, 4th House to 8th), I suspect that we will narrowly avert a disaster of potentially apocalyptic proportions right around New Year's Day 2018. However, we may not be so lucky on that front this coming April. That does not mean I am predicting THE apocalypse when spring comes, but it suggests homegrown terrorism and/or Civil War II. The climate is very ripe for such brutal, intransigent tragedy, the likes of which we have not experienced in America since the 1860s. Even if we all breathe a collective sigh of relief in January 2018, transiting Uranus will have been squaring U.S. Pluto (June and September 2017) and will not finish doing so till April 2018. So basically, Uranus has been, and will continue, triggering America's natal Mercury-Pluto opposition: one of America's worst aspects. (The other one is the Mars-Neptune square, which will soon be triggered by transiting Saturn in Sagittarius.) Uranus is genius but also insanity; Uranus is a rebel with a cause; Uranus is a lightning bolt that could zap America's collective brain, forcing some of us to wake up while encouraging others of us to succumb to violent paranoia and scratch an itchy trigger finger. No matter who wins the U.S. election, I see the potential for mass deception, depression, and imprisonment, as transiting Neptune continues to conjunct U.S. progressed Sun in Pisces until spring 2018. (The conjunction began this past spring.) On the upside, I also see some wonderful movies, literature, dance, and other art forms being created and released -- though some of the art could well be banned or suppressed if it lacks the necessary propaganda and "spin." Another positive manifestation of this very strong Pisces conjunction could be increased medical or recreational legalization of marijuana in America. As you are probably aware, the issue of marijuana reform is on the ballot today for nine states. If all the measures pass, that would make almost a quarter of the U.S. population (not a quarter of the actual states) eligible to indulge in recreational pot use. I see an influx of immigrants with U.S. progressed Moon in Sagittarius entering U.S. 1st House at the dawn of spring 2017, but also a wave of people emigrating due to religious or philosophical differences. More worrisome is the fact that U.S. progressed Moon exactly opposes U.S. Uranus in Gemini just two weeks after Election Day. Emotions will be running high and not at all rationally; at the risk of repeating myself, another read of this opposition is Civil War II. At the very least, some quarters will be experiencing a meltdown or nervous breakdown of epic proportions. I implore those of you who can vote in the U.S. election to do so. Yes, the upcoming aspects are deeply troubling and downright alarming, no matter which candidate wins; but I am not saying that it does not make a difference who wins...far from it. It is also crucial that the Democratic Party regain the Senate. One cause I have for optimism is that the U.S. Lunar Return features the Sun and Mercury at the Midheaven in Scorpio, and Hillary Clinton is a Scorpio. Capricorn is Rising in the Lunar Return, with Mars close to the Ascendant and U.S. Mercury exactly conjunct the 7th House Cusp. This suggests that women voters will be particularly important, but that some poll centers will be a very unpleasant experience, with or without police presence. What my study of transiting aspects indicates is that no matter which candidate wins, the hatred, extremism, racism, sexism, greed, and xenophobia that have moved from the lunatic fringe to the alt-right (which I refer to as alt-control-delete, since that better describes their agenda) will not magically vanish in a puff of acrid smoke if Hillary Clinton wins America's next presidency. There are simply too many of them to discount, and not all of them are uneducated and poor, either. It is conceivable that the inconceivable could happen; consider how British voters did not come to their senses earlier this year, resulting in "Brexit." According to Bill Maher, this election is a referendum on decency. I would go even further and say it is a referendum on evil. Unfortunately, as Yeats put it so well nearly 100 years ago, "The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity." It would be pretty swell if those of us who aspire to be our best selves (human beings who, for example, do not grab the best piece of cake and put barbed-wire fence around the rest) dare to be passionately intense, intensely passionate. Now is the time for those of us who are compassionate and curious to stop numbing ourselves out with various panaceas, pharmaceuticals, and passivity. It will hurt, because Uranus and Pluto squares and oppositions don't tickle. Nor would another Civil War tickle. But the alternative is allow ourselves to believe that the rise of the alt-control-delete movement in America is the new normal, to sleepwalk into the 21st-century version of the Third Reich.
Friday, October 7, 2016
Fallout from the Uranus-Pluto Square and Saturn-Neptune Square: I Am Ready to Blow a Gasket over the Damn Election
I'm back after a three-month hiatus...has anyone missed my misanthropic, profane astrobabble? It's just been too damned depressing to post lately. Everything out of everyone's mouths has been about the US election. I know how crucial it is, believe me. I am just sick of it, all of it. The Saturn-Neptune square may finally be over, but this aspect of collective mental illness (specifically, insanity) continues to reverberate, especially when planets in mutable signs (i.e., Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces) trigger Saturn and Neptune. But on a Sun-Pluto square, a stressful power-tripper of an aspect, the pain has gotten so intense that I have got to get on my virtual soapbox. You've been warned. If you want to read your Sun Sign horoscope or learn what color lipstick you should wear according to your Venus sign, please go to another astrology site -- at least for today. (Deep breath, long exhale.) I figured that the greatest danger of a dictator/demagogue's being elected US president was four years ago, at the dawn of the Uranus-Pluto square (2012-15). After all, look at what happened in Germany during the last Uranus-Pluto square (1931-35). However, although Mitt Romney is many mean, nasty, horrible things, he's not quite a Hitler type. And Obama held on to the presidency, the economy officially took a turn for the better, the Affordable Health Care Act took hold (at least in most states), and the world did not come to an end, as the doomsday crowd fond of taking the Mayan calendar out of context kept predicting. Not that everything was roses and sunshine. Examples of the cruelty, brutality, fanaticism, and poor impulse control that define a Uranus-Pluto square included Syria, the Ukraine, the rise of ISIS, and Edward Snowden (who might have been a real hero had he only exposed the US government's Big Brother surveillance on its citizens instead of also revealing the secret-sauce technology that kept tabs on terrorist activity). Still, it came as a surprise to me that it was not until this election cycle got under way, with the Uranus-Pluto square finally in our rear-view window, that the next Hitler emerged from the shadows, on our very shores. Think I'm exaggerating? Here is a quote from a new book by Volker Ullrick, Hitler: Ascent 1889-1939: "Hitler adapted the content of his speeches to suit the tastes of his lower-middle-class, nationalist-conservative, ethnic-chauvinist and anti-Semitic listeners ... He peppered his speeches with coarse phrases and put-downs of hecklers. Even as he fomented chaos by playing to crowds' fears and resentments, he offered himself as the visionary leader who could restore law and order." High-ranking officials around the world refused to take Hitler seriously, calling him a "clown." Remind you of anyone? The Uranus-Pluto square of 2012-15 was what made possible the extreme disenchantment, and extremism in general, that defines a sizeable and still-growing percentage of voting-age Americans. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, and some of the concerns and criticisms of even the most bigoted, hateful members of our citizenry are valid. For example, with all the employment numbers pointing up, how many unemployed, working-age people are no longer even counted because they no longer receive unemployment benefits? What kinds of jobs are being created? Why is the term "working poor" part of the "new normal"? How does minuscule gains in income truly help a person get a leg over the runaway cost of living? And what good is "Obamacare" if you can't really use it, due to a ridiculously narrow provider network and sky-high deductible? Under the Uranus-Pluto square, growing numbers of fed-up people became less interested in trying to fix The System, The Powers That Be, Politics, etc. and more enthusiastic about the prospect of just blowing the whole thing up, even if they did not survive the fallout from the explosion. Not surprisingly, another signature of the Uranus-Pluto square is nihilism. Throw in the delusional, downright idiotic nature of the Saturn-Neptune square, which began on Thanksgiving 2015 and lasted till September 10 of this year, and it is frighteningly obvious that the collective has reached a new low. And the US media cannot wash its grimy hands of the phenomenon of DT (short for "distemper" or "delirium tremors"), for the media gladly gave him tons of free publicity while pointedly marginalizing Bernie Sanders, a true public servant, as a cranky, eccentric grampa -- and a horse-race election always brings in more subscribers and money than a shutout. I was plenty nervous about the election of 2000, with Mercury stationing retrograde on that Election Day. I am plenty nervous about this one, as well -- not only will the Moon be changing signs, so early returns may not reflect the ultimate reality, but the Moon itself will end up in Pisces, a sign that calls reality itself into question. Mars will be in the last degree of Capricorn, just past US Pluto; in the days leading up to the election, this may not manifest in literal assassination, but character assassination. Authority in general, and government in particular, is ruled by the sign Capricorn. As a cardinal earth sign, Capricorn will fight to hold its ground so it can ascend, but Mars is not known to be gentle and reasonable. I hope I will be proved wrong in my fear that even if the much, much, much lesser of two evils wins, and even if it is by a landslide (a possible read of Mars on the cusp of Aquarius), and the US Supreme Court is saved from turning into the next Third Reich, this will not be a sweet victory by any means -- just a four-year breather until a smarter, saner demagogue appears on the political scene.
Monday, July 18, 2016
I was out of town, with my sweetie, at an arts and music festival in Maryland over the long Fourth of July weekend. After a bumpy start, it turned out to be a great time. There was plenty of reconnecting as well as some interesting new connections. Then we came home. It was America's 240th birthday, with my own birthday just 9 days away. And it seemed the news for the following week, and then the week after that, was all bad -- not just for the U.S., but all over the world. It felt overwhelming. I wished I were back at the festival and felt sad that I hadn't heard about another regional "burn," which happened this past weekend, until it was too late to plan on going. For an introvert and semi-misanthropist like me, wishing I were back surrounded by people who look like characters in a Fellini film -- plus nonstop techno music, light shows, and other festival refinements -- says quite a bit about the validity of progressed astrology. Last month my progressed Moon entered my 11th House and conjuncted my natal Mercury, the ruler of my chart. Now with Moon progressed in the final degree of Cancer, I feel at the end of a 2.5-year winding underwater road, needing to come up for air and breathe in the fiery warmth of Leo. Needing change for the better. After about three years of being emotionally wrapped up in Making It (a 10th-House specialty), I am beginning to focus on other people and group activities. It's in my natal chart to be sure (a heavily aspected Mars-Mercury conjunction in late Cancer across the 11th-House cusp) but with a 12th-House Venus in Virgo, as well as Pluto exactly conjunct the Ascendant in Virgo, I need a lot more downtime than the average 11th-House / Aquarius / Uranian type. My Solar Return and the U.S. Solar Return both contain rising planets, but to much different effect: I have the Moon Rising at 28 degrees of Libra, with 29 degrees of Libra Rising, which I read as domestic and relationship friction involving my current progressed Moon, since it forms a square to it. I also see more surface vanity, which in my case may actually be a good thing, since it may finally motivate me to lose weight and do something about my rapidly graying hair other than a quick fix of fuschia highlights that washed out after barely a week. The U.S. has Saturn Retrograde Rising in Sagittarius, with the Sun, Moon, and Venus in the 8th-House of death, transformation, taxes, and other people's resources. I refuse to predict at this juncture who will win the presidential election, but especially with the Sun closely opposing Pluto, there will be much school for scandal. Saturn Rising in a Retrograde position suggests that several harsh lessons will need to learned involving the law and religion. The self-identity of the US is definitely under strain and will need to be stripped away to its essence -- no mere face-lift will do the job. Remember, we are still in the Saturn-Neptune square, and with Neptune in the 3rd House of U.S. Solar Return, there will be a challenge to think and communicate creatively, not just rationalize, deny, and lie. Stay tuned, I will try to be better about updating even if the news does not improve.