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.