So they did it. They shut down the federal government.
I admit to being a bit of an anarchist. I sometimes fantasize about a world in which people could live without laws, guided by a sense of justice, tempered by kindness. However, I don’t think this is the way to get to that place. Having a fully functional government on Friday and shutting it down on Tuesday – well, that’s a bit abrupt. I don’t think we’re quite ready to do completely without it, guys.
But tell that to those Republicans.
It’s funny how this party that was once so cautious, so straight-laced, so resistant to any kind of change, has become a bunch of flaming anarchists. They’re definitely a different animal, and I don’t think anyone could call them conservative any more. They’re the red flags, the wild-eyed ones, the revolutionaries. But wait, don’t revolutionaries have to have some kind of unifying principle? What is it, for them, exactly?
It’s pretty unclear. Are all these contortions just their resistance to the first African-American president? Pathetic but possible. Is it all part of a well-funded master plan to eliminate the inconveniences of democracy entirely - by weakening government and strengthening the power of corporations? Lots of evidence pointing that way.
Astrologically, this is all about the Uranus/Pluto square, the revolutionary aspect I’ve been writing about since it first went into orb with Occupy Wall Street in 2011. The Tea Party is the flip side of Occupy in some ways, perhaps a reaction to it. But it succeeds, not just because it’s got some deep pockets to draw from, but also because it speaks to a collective sense that something is intrinsically wrong. A lot of people, struggling to make their budgets, need a villain of some kind.
Gay people had that spot for quite a while, but now we’ve been revealed to be fairly harmless. Nobody could see that many people squealing with happiness because they’re getting married, and still think of us as a threat to the fabric of society.
So it’s the government, like a bad parent, that gets the blame. And this fits perfectly with the symbolism of the Uranus/Pluto square. Pluto is in the parental sign Capricorn, while Uranus is in the sign of young blood, Aries. It indicates an epic battle: fathers against sons, Zeus vs. Cronus, established structures against sudden new impulses.
And right now this ongoing aspect is being triggered by the sun in Libra, turning the square into a T-square, opposing Uranus and squaring Pluto. Libra is the sign of law, and in the sharp angles of this figure, law is threatened. The main law that’s under attack right now, of course, is the Affordable Care Act. But we can see from this configuration that this is only one prong in an assault on our current approach to law-making, with its emphasis on compromise.
Most laws are hammered out over time, by people with fundamentally different belief systems, and the effect is to bring change along slowly. Too slowly, often, and sometimes people die because of that. They die because there’s not enough justice in the world, or because there are insufficient social safety nets, or because a useless war generates its own momentum. But when enough people care enough about the problem, change happens.
And it’s codified in law. Of course, not every law is good, and I could point to hundreds of U.S. laws that have been purely awful, through the centuries. But given the flawed democracy that we have, there is still some accountability, and living by law is still better than the alternative.
So how long will this shut-down last? The sun/Pluto square is exact on October 1, while the sun/Uranus opposition is exact on October 3. So there will probably be a lot of fussing, fuming and general unrest until the end of the week. On Friday night, there’s a new moon in Libra, and I think that will move Congress towards facing its problem – mainly that it’s made itself redundant. I can see a scurrying in the corridors, and people asking each other whether this has gone on long enough. Then the Tea Party will decide that it’s made its point, whatever the heck it was, and Ted Cruz will figure he’s famous enough, at least for the duration.
In the early part of next week, Mercury conjuncts Saturn, and this could be called the “sadder but wiser” aspect. Everybody has to work extra hard to get it all put back together. If by some chance the new moon doesn’t bring a compromise, then this could be called the “major depression” aspect. It is always possible, because the Uranus/Pluto square is getting stronger all the time, and won’t be exact until November 1.
So we are going to see a lot of agitation, and yes, raising the debt ceiling could be another knock-down drag-out fight. There’s some creeping uncertainty associated with that, since there’s a Mars/Neptune opposition going into orb right around the October 17 deadline. This is a Halloween aspect, the kind in which you feel someone breathing down the back of your neck, but you’re not sure if anyone is really there. I assume this will be the general state of mind at that time, an ongoing anxiety.
But just when everybody is getting accustomed to living on stress medication, Mercury goes retrograde on October 21. And it actually does this in a pretty benign spot, close to the trine of Jupiter. So at that point, I think the feeling will be that we dodged a bullet, and hey, c’mon, let’s celebrate. It will be short-lived, but it will help people relax and take Mercury retrograde in stride. So you miss an appointment or two? You’ve still got your health!
Mercury will be retrograde for three weeks, giving everybody time to clean up from the messes we’ve made. Government workers will put their equally stressed-out philodendrons back on their desks, and try to catch up on overdue work. Sex scandals will be back in the news. Obamacare will chug along, with a few glitches which will make the House hyperventilate. And Republicans, who will still feel the urge for blood, will have to make do with ripping apart their weakest members.
On Halloween, the moon will be in Libra, faintly echoing the current T-square, and so people will think about what law and government mean to them. At root, government is agreement. And yes, at root, we need it because we can’t always trust ourselves to do the right thing. Will we ever be able to live without laws? Even the birds have their ways of agreeing on territory.
I think the only way to eliminate laws and government is to completely eliminate scarcity. Maybe that would do it. And until then, I’m happy with any laws that take us – however slowly - in that direction.