Nope, I'm not moving. I'm moving my monthly column to my website, and you'll now find it at:
If you have any comments, remarks or questions about this change, please let me know. You can always write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nope, I'm not moving. I'm moving my monthly column to my website, and you'll now find it at:
If you have any comments, remarks or questions about this change, please let me know. You can always write me at email@example.com.
So here it is the last month of 2022. Now that the trees have shed almost all their leaves, my wife and I can look down on the Christmas tree and skating rink in the town square. It takes me back to the images in Christmas storybooks from my childhood. I’m not actually a Christian, and I grew up in a country without snow, or even winter, so it all feels a little make-believe to me, but I’m willing to go along with it.
I’m not seeing much forward progress in December, since Mars is still retrograde this month, and Mercury slows down mid-month. I’m okay with a more stately pace, although I would prefer that I retain my current pace while the rest of the world slows down, rather than the reverse happening.
The fiercest thing happening in December is the full moon on December 7, which has Mars exactly in the middle of the action, opposing the sun and conjuncting the moon. It’s dynamic, exciting, but volatile, so be careful around that time, especially when driving or walking. Mars and the moon will be in Gemini, the sign that rules short trips of all kinds. Gemini also has to do with communication, so there could be quite a few sharp, divisive words spoken then. Mars rules weapons, sharp objects, and fire, so try to avoid brandishing those things about.
The next major celestial event will be the new moon on December 23, and that’s quieter. It’s quite festive, though, since the sun and moon will square Jupiter, newly in Aries. It could manifest in some large-scale financial problems, and we’ve already seen one form of currency crash in November. But for the folks on the street, it’s could just mean an added enthusiasm for spending money and throwing lavish parties.
After this, Mercury goes retrograde on December 29, just in time to tangle up any last-minute holiday plans. This is a good time to get all nostalgic, haul Dickens out of the bookcase, and gather your young ones on your knee. Whatever traditions you’ve got going, they’ll work just fine. With Venus, Mercury, and Pluto all together in Capricorn, we’ll all contemplate the passage of time, its gifts and its robberies, as we get ready for the new year.
And this is a year I’ve been looking forward to for a while, because Pluto is going into Aquarius! All the outer planets hover around the edges of a sign before making a final commitment and going in, so Pluto will be back in Capricorn for a few months in the fall. But most of the year – and then the twenty years after that - the planet of transformation will be in a new sign.
And what a sign! How many signs have had songs written about them? Are there others? (I am really wondering that, but I’m not going to go look it up now.) Anyway, Aquarius is the most famous, for sure. Harmony and understanding! Peace will guide the planets! Love will steer the stars! The mind’s true liberation! Hot shit!
Of course, it may not be all that. Pluto going into Aquarius is not the same as the Age of Aquarius, whose entrance date is steeped in astrological controversy, with some folks saying it’s already happened and others saying it will be another few hundred years. But Pluto doesn’t go into a new sign every day, and in fact, it’s been some 250 years since it was last in Aquarius. The last time it went through this sign, the Bastille was stormed, the Constitution written, and Simón Bolívar was born. The time before that, Henry VIII was violently splitting from the Catholic Church, and Queen Elizabeth I was born.
So this could be a revolutionary time, and this doesn’t sound like peace guiding the planets. But generally when there’s a revolution, it’s because things are not working that well for some large group of people. They want liberty. They want to get out from under the oppressor’s thumb. And how many people in the world right now are dealing with some form of oppression? How many would benefit from generous helpings of freedom, truth, justice, and hope?
The first people that come to my mind are the climate refugees, and there will be more and more of them. Aquarius is an idealistic sign, so will we become more and more aware of our catastrophic effect on our own habitat? It’s already happening, but is it happening fast enough? Aquarius is also a sign of technological advances, so I’m hoping we will combine new technologies with fairer social structures, and stave off collapse.
The main thing I’ve been hoping for, with Pluto in Aquarius, is a diminution of all the conspiracy theories, personality cults and true believers. It looks to be a more scientific age. Of course, it could go too far in that direction, and we could all be replaced by robots in the next twenty years. (I believe Elon Musk is already working on that, implanting chips in people.)
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how brave this new world is. But it won’t be long now! Happy holidays!
I’m really feeling the change of season these days. Suddenly all the trees are gold. And down in the Town Square, I saw more kids in costumes than I’ve seen for years. There was a big Halloween event there, with music, face-painting and balloon animals, and the kids were out in droves. I saw baby race car drivers, haughty Cleopatras, amorphous inflatable creatures, and dozens of young wizards in school uniforms. My favorite costume was a little girl who dressed as a monarch butterfly.
Tomorrow is All Soul’s Day, and my wife and I will light candles, make hot chocolate, and watch the movie Coco, which always makes us cry. This is our tradition. The first time we watched that movie, we had her grandmother with us, and now we don’t. This is the time when the veil between the worlds is thin. At my age, I have more family members in the other world than in this one, and the faces of vanished loved ones are always with me.
At this time of year, we’re especially aware of change. There are big dramatic changes, and there are small, incremental changes from day to day, but we can never sidestep this inexorable motion. We are all moving swiftly from sunrise to sunset. We astrologers are particularly aware of this constant flow, since we track the planets in both their long slow cycles and their short choppy ones.
The sun, Mercury, Venus, and the south lunar node are all in Scorpio, the sign that has to do with deep emotion. Like all the fixed signs, Scorpio resists change, and this makes it even more cataclysmic when it happens – and it always does. Scorpio is especially connected to the shift from life to death, and so the holidays at this time of year – Scorpio season - are all about that ultimate surrender to the inevitable.
There are astrological events that have a stronger charge than others, that signal deeper and more dramatic changes. Eclipses are among these, and these point to shifts that resonate on the karmic level, that reference our purpose here in this life. With the north lunar node in Taurus, our purpose at this juncture in history is to connect to the earth, to become more solid and concrete, to build strong foundations. The eclipse makes it clear how far we need to go, in order to do this.
The chart for this next eclipse is a particularly powerful one. Here in Washington DC, the eclipse is visible across the east-west horizon, with the sun rising and the full moon setting. And guess what? It’s happens on Election Day.
We all know that this is an especially meaningful election, and that control of Congress is at stake. On the Republican side, there are efforts to break down democracy itself, following the lead of the party’s delusional and autocratic leader. If Republicans take Congress, that will be an end to any accountability for the attempted coup of January 7, 2020. And without accountability, there’s no deterrent to a better-organized second attempt.
I’m heartened because a record number of absentee ballots have been returned in several states. But I’m also worried, because the aspects signal change, but I don’t know in what direction that change will go. At this full moon on Election Day, it’s not just the Eclipse that shakes things up. The sun and Mercury are also closely opposing Uranus, planet of sudden shifts, rebellions, and accidents. This could mean some sort of mechanical problem, perhaps because of officials allowing conspiracy theorists access to voting machines. It could also mean social unrest, perhaps violence. Oppositions on the Taurus/Scorpio axis show fixed battles over power and control.
One reason that I’m nervous about this configuration is that I see the Democrats as the conservative party these days, while the Republicans are trying to rip down the whole system. It isn’t that I don’t see the need for change, but I would like to see it happen peacefully and organically. The right wing is in favor of violent change these days - tearing up the earth, eliminating reproductive rights, co-opting private choices, ignoring inequities that every generation has worked to redress. I recently listened to Rachel Maddow put this election in stark terms, saying that it’s a choice between a democratic system, or one of force and violence. Autocratic governments can be voted in, as in Hitler’s dictatorship of Germany and Trump’s unsuccessful coup in the US. But to be maintained, force is generally needed.
At the same time, there’s one other figure in this configuration, and it’s not one that usually gives me hope. Saturn in Aquarius is in a conflictive position, squaring all the Taurus and Scorpio planets, turning the opposition into a T-square. In a T-square, the planet that forms right angles to the others is the catalyst, and Saturn is the planet of duty, responsibility and limitation. This could be good in a volatile situation like this Election Day. Usually I don’t feel all that positive about Saturn squares, which tend to be dour and depressing, but in this case, I’m supporting anything that slows down the pace. Of course, Saturn could also mean frustrating delays and glitches. There could be long waits in line and a shortage of helpers. Still, that’s better than Uranian events like explosions and angry mobs.
One thing we can expect is a delay in counting the results and coming up with a conclusion. Considering how many election officials and county clerks have been threatened by right-wing thugs, this work will require a lot of courage. From November 9 to 11, the sun and Mercury will be directly squaring Saturn, and hopefully Saturn’s rigid, rule-bound approach will keep things on track.
One thing about November is that Mars will be retrograde all month, in the jittery, fast-talking sign Gemini. This can mean a lot of back-and-forth movement, and it can be hard to maintain a clear sense of purpose. It could be a month of all talk and no action, which kind of fits in with politicians campaigning and trying to come up with the right sound-bite. Mars retrograde can mean correcting past mistakes, however, and we can hope that the Election might do that. We have quite a few mistakes in Congress right now, like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz.
From November 15 to 22, however, Mars will be squaring Neptune in Pisces, and this could feel like wandering around in a fog. This is the time to be as alert as possible, because if there are going to be shenanigans related to the election, they could happen around this time. This could also be the time when we all decide that things have been just too tense, and we’re going to collapse, or just read some escapist fiction, or go to the movies.
The election and the eclipse season will be over by then. We will have weathered the dramatic configuration of Election Day, but the changes themselves still need to play themselves out. Whether we gained or lost, whether we’re crying or celebrating, we’ll need to look around, take stock of where we are, and carry on living our lives. Onward we all go, moving together through unfamiliar ground, through the heart of change.
There’s a place for old habits and patterns. They make for a smooth life, as your body remembers the way you did everything yesterday and automatically does it in the same way today. No decisions are made, no extra energy expended.
But when you move to a new place, you retrain yourself, and that’s what I’ve been doing. When I reach for a dishtowel, it’s in a different place. When I make myself a pot of tea, all the little gestures are slightly different, even if I end up with an identical brew. When I wake up in the middle of the night, it takes me a moment to remember where the bathroom is.
I’ve been relearning how to move through my daily life, in the two weeks that we’ve been in this new apartment. We’re in a more urban environment, leaving behind the whirr of lawn mowers and the snow drifts of the suburbs. I like it here, and I especially like living across the street from the library. I can practically hear the books speaking among themselves, murmuring their facts and fictions.
One thing that’s different about this place is the balance between light and darkness. On the west side of the apartment is a large bay window, and on a sunny afternoon, it sheds an intoxicating amount of light over the golden hardwood floor, stretching all the way through the living room to the kitchen. The light is so glorious that you just want to lap it up. We moved on a day warm enough to open the window, and we could hear the conversations of people in the street below. We felt plugged in to the life of this small city.
On the east side of the apartment is my study, and no sunlight reaches here. When I walk in in the morning, it’s a cave, and my computer screen is like a deep glossy well. I grope for the first lamp, and then walk through the room twisting switches of all sizes and shapes, making the light happen. Then I turn on the computer, and it bursts into color.
The front door is also on the east side of the apartment. This is apt, given that traditionally you enter a sacred circle in the east, the direction of new beginnings. From the door, especially in the afternoon, we walk towards the bright light of the west side window. This reminds me of the journey made by every human on this planet – to begin in the darkness of the womb and to move towards that famous tunnel of light. The setting sun symbolizes the end of life, something I’m comfortable with in my later years.
It figures that we would move into this place around the time of the fall equinox, and that the sun and Venus are now moving through Libra, the sign of the scales. (Next week, Mercury will also be in this sign.) This is the time when day and night are equals, when our consciousness strives for balance.
Libra’s opposite on the zodiacal wheel is Aries, and currently Jupiter is moving through the first degrees of Aries. The Aries/Libra axis is all about the delicate negotiations of relationships, the balance of interests between the Self and the Other. Aries represents the immediacy of the self, while Libra is all duality, about understanding other people.
The Aries imperative is to be clear about what’s meaningful to you. The Libra stance is to recognize that we all create meaning for each other, all the time. Aries, a fire sign, fights hard for independence, and can see Libra as too wishy-washy, too ready to see the other side of every question. Libra, an air sign, is the idealist, the peacemaker, and sometimes this can mean giving up personal power and privilege in order to share them with others.
So October is a significant month, when it comes to working out ways to live with each other. We are all somewhere on this track, moving from birth to death. We all carry a passionate spark of individuality, and we are also molded by the relationships around us. We can be both, just as this apartment contains both darkness and light.
There are a lot of new beginnings in October, as we pass the autumn equinox, the halfway point of the zodiacal year. We’ve already seen a weather shift, with Hurricane Ian a glaring reminder of our mishandling of the relationship between land and water. We stole the land from the water, and the water’s way of regaining balance is to take the land back. Climate change is all about the earth’s efforts to re-establish equilibrium. When we go to extremes in our use of the planet’s resources, it has to go to extremes to counter us.
And yes, October means a new session of the Supreme Court. Libra is the sign of justice, but will justice prevail? We’ve already seen a Court hopelessly corrupted by McConnell’s dirty tricks, refusing to vote on a legitimate nominee during Obama’s tenure, and then rushing through much less legitimate judges during Trump’s tenure. Trump was a minority-rule president, as most of the last Republicans have been. And so, at this point, the current Supreme Court doesn’t represent the people. It represents the interests of the powerful few.
Voting itself is a very Libran concept. Imagine equitably counting the votes and then conforming to the will of the majority! Who thought of that? Shouldn’t we just have a free-for-all, and the last one standing gets to decide everything? There’s a large bloc that has always believed this. And there are many people who give lip service to democracy, but feel queasy at the idea of actually distributing power to the masses. But social imbalance is not sustainable, and sooner or later there is a mass effort to make things right.
It's the Libran way to fight for justice through voting, through the courts, through dialogue and persuasion, through community efforts. But if this doesn’t do the trick - well, by the end of the month, we’ll see the sun, Venus, Mercury and the lunar south node all in Scorpio. And Scorpio is not as polite a sign as Libra. It’s a sign of extremes. It’s not coincidental that this month ends with a holiday which involves dressing up as whatever you fear most.
Large, abrupt changes are disruptive, often violent, but they too are efforts to end imbalance. When the tipping point is reached, things fall. It’s natural and inevitable. So the question is – what can we do before we reach that point? There are still opportunities to retrain ourselves, mostly by seeing where the imbalance exists, talking about it, and sharing solutions.
So let’s appreciate the incremental but principled movements of Libra. The sign of balance is all about the energy that flows both ways, between darkness and light, night and day, law and liberty, self and other. Balance here doesn’t mean stagnation, but rather many small changes all the time, each change conscious of the others. It’s a gentle, responsive dance of opposites.
It's idealistic, I know, but that’s Libra for you. But it’s also true of astrology, a symbol system that’s full of oppositional patterns. We all feel these inner tensions between one thing and its opposite, and yet we’re breathing in and out, finding balance in each moment. We are darkness and we are light, and all we need to do is accept our shared humanity in this world of contrasts.
Things are taking shape, since the chaos of last month. It’s a new shape, but hey, I’m happy to see any shape at all.
My wife and I have found a new place to live, an apartment right on the town square, with good access to the library, grocery store, and a lot of little restaurants. We won’t have a yard anymore, and we won’t have to scrape ice off the car in the winter time, or keep up with the tall grass in the summer. I won’t have to feel guilty about not following through on vague gardening fantasies.
We are basically apartment dwellers who somehow got transplanted to a house for a decade. It was a good place to live while we were taking care of elders, but now we’re on our own. We don’t have pets. Not even house-plants. So a smaller space will suit us fine, and maybe down the line, we’ll get a fern or something. Something hardy.
So we move in a little over a week, and for now, we’re still in the old place. A lot of the furniture is gone. I tried to give my desk to Goodwill and they refused it, so I’m hoping the garbage guys will haul it away this morning. I’ve always liked that desk, which was actually a sturdy table with lots of room for a computer, monitor, keyboard, printer, pot of tea, and innumerable pens, crystals, and paperweights. I even liked the sexy nurse sticker permanently attached to one corner by whoever owned the table before me. But a smaller apartment needs a smaller desk.
Mercury is retrograding about five days before we move, and I know this is not optimum, and that there will probably be a few mix-ups and crossed wires. We’ve tried to think of everything that could go wrong, but hey, I know that’s impossible. We’ve hired movers to pack it all up and to take it across town, and then we’ll do the unpacking ourselves on the other end. This will be like reconstructing our lives, fitting together the jigsaw puzzle of objects in spaces, and this seems like a suitable retrograde activity.
Mercury will be retrograde almost all of September, so a lot of people will find themselves reprising old habits, trying to remember what used to work and what didn’t so much. Students will be back in school, wrapping their minds around dusty old study habits, while teachers get out their well-worked lesson plans. There is some comfort in old familiar forms, especially after these fearful, isolated pandemic years.
Besides this, we’re reprising an old aspect, one that was dominant in 2021 – Saturn’s square to Uranus. This aspect is especially complex because Saturn, planet of tradition, is in a progressive sign, and Uranus, planet of change, is in a sign that resists change. So you have turned-around situations like far-right people attacking cops and the FBI, and left-wing folks complaining about law-breakers and admiring Liz Cheney. And then of course there’s the whole bizarre process of trying to prosecute an ex-president for his crimes, something that feels a little slimy even when you know it’s completely justified.
There are hopeful ways to look at both these planets. Saturn’s passage through Aquarius does bring a sense of responsibility for the collective. The pandemic isolated us as individuals, but it also – again paradoxically – gave us a stronger sense of connection. We’ve all been part of an intense global event, and we learned to reach across the planet, talking to people who lived far away. All sorts of community practices and malpractices have been shared more widely, and this has led to a greater emphasis on diversity, equality and inclusion. Consciences have been stirred.
Uranus in Taurus has its own ways of breaking down the existing social order and moving us towards change. As an earth sign, it’s all about what’s real, what’s essential to continued life on this planet. Climate change is now accepted by everyone except those who are most imbedded in conspiracy cults. Recurring crises have made this clearer. One-third of Pakistan is under water, with all the sanitary problems this brings, and Jackson, Mississippi is dealing with the same problem. It’s all one world, and usually it’s the poorest who fall first. But meanwhile, California is phasing out gas-powered vehicles, and the price of solar energy is constantly dropping.
September gives us a chance to redo things, and to get them right this time. Mercury is retrograding in Libra, a sign that’s all about balance, equality and justice. This will give us all an opportunity to measure our practices against our ideals. At the same time, the sun in Virgo is meticulous, critical, always looking for specific ways to fix whatever is wrong. Around the fall equinox, the sun and Mercury switch signs, with the sun moving into Libra and Mercury retrograding back into Virgo. This maintains the same balance of air and earth, intellect and practicality.
Meanwhile, all month, Mars is in the air sign Gemini, a fast-moving and verbal sign. This keeps everybody running around in a distracted way, doing a million things, often all at the same time. I’m noticing this around here. My wife and I are constantly thinking of new things that we need to decide, discuss, or do, and this means frequent but rushed conversations. You can almost see the bullet points. In the middle of the night, I wake up thinking, “Should I write this down, or will I remember it in the morning?”
So for us, September is all about disassembly and reassembly. We take apart our lives, piece by piece, and then we put them back together in a different place. Knowing where we’re moving to, we can visualize all the elements of our daily existence sliding into their new slots. The tea pot will live there, the faceted crystal there. The question that comes up for me, more than any other, is, “Will it fit?”
September is an active month, but also a careful one. It takes time and attention to shift your life to a different place. But we are all always moving to different places. If you’re not moving, the river is. And in this new place, we all ask ourselves what will fit. Where do we put this ideal, and where do we put that practical consideration? Can they co-exist? What can we carry from our past to our future? What do we need to leave behind?
As a community, we answer these questions in different ways, and we jostle each other, as we insist on our own answers. But in the end, in the world we’re creating, there has to be room for all of us. We can leave behind fears, prejudices, assumptions, compulsions, and defenses, as we feel safe enough. But every human being has to fit.
Lately, I’ve been going through my stuff, in preparation for moving. My past life is sifting through my hands, and not only my own life, but the lives of parents and grandparents and even great-grandparents. I see their pictures, their diaries, their poetry, and the documents that mark important moments in their lives. Not only that, but I’ve got fifty years of my own journals.
It’s a little overwhelming. Everything around me has been overturned, re-positioned, spread out. And a lot of things have been thrown out. I threw out the workbooks from the German class I took more than a decade ago, deciding that I’ll never look at them again. I’m throwing out the Times Change reference books that I used every time I erected a natal chart, before I bought a computer program to do it for me, about twenty years ago. I’m tossing all the scrap paper that I’ve been saving, even though it’s only written on on one side, because I just don’t use that much paper any more.
While I’m at it, I should toss away all negative beliefs about change, and embrace Octavia Butler’s dictum, “The only lasting truth is Change. God is Change.”
August is a month of change, because Uranus (planet of revolution) is conjunct the north lunar node, a karmic point. What this means is that we’ve reached some kind of inflection point. This conjunction happens about every fifteen years, and the last time it happened in Taurus was in 1855. That was the time when pro- and anti-slavery forces were battling it out in Kansas, and John Brown was active on the anti-slavery side. Civil war was brewing. People were reeling from the impact of the Fugitive Slave Law, and the Supreme Court was definitely not on the side of justice. There were still bloody wars against indigenous Americans as well. In India, anti-British resentment was building, and would erupt into a massive rebellion in a couple of years. The Crimean War broke out too, with the Siege of Sevastopol echoing the current war in Ukraine.
So there were tensions in 1855 which echo the tensions that we’re seeing today. Taurus is a fixed earth sign, and conflict happens because everybody is attached to their little piece of the earth, and to their religions and prejudices, and to the patterns and habits that they’ve developed over the years. When there’s pressure to change, there’s a struggle. It’s not easy; it takes work to look realistically at what has changed, and what needs to change, and to move on from there.
Currently in the US, we’re dealing with some neo-fascist forces. They keep springing up, like mold spots in a closed-up closet. Everything has to be taken out, cleaned off, and given a lot of air and light. Fascism only thrives in dank, oppressive conditions.
Mars is currently in Taurus, and it’s like an activation switch to that north node/Uranus conjunction. It sparks change, but because it’s in Taurus, the change has to be deep and wide, in order to hold its own against the resistance. But we’ve seen this in history many times. There’s progress, backlash, and more progress. We don’t step into the future, we stagger there.
This will be especially evident around August 4 to 10, when Mars squares Saturn, and we can expect quite a lot of drag. But mostly this month is full of movement. About halfway through August, Mars enters the zippy air sign Gemini, and so it escapes the gravitational pull of Saturn. It will be there throughout the winter. This is going to mean a lot more connecting, talking, thinking, reading, writing, driving, and zooming. An online existence is perfectly adapted to Mars in an air sign.
Air signs drift around, and don’t tend to put down roots. But on August 22, the sun will enter the earth sign Virgo, and that will help turn us back towards the earth, and to all the tasks that need to be done when summer ends. For me, my roots are still dangling in the air, as I whisk through papers, photos, books, and virtually everything I own. But maybe by then, my wife and I will have a sense of our next home. Maybe, instead of wiping dust off all these old possessions, I’ll be sweeping into a new space.
We were on vacation in Canada, Land of the Free, when we got the news that Roe vs Wade had been overturned. I’m being facetious about Canada, and my Canadian friends kept reminding me that it isn’t perfect there. But it would be nice to live in a country where a small group of religious conservatives are not the ones making the decisions about the intimate lives of all women.
The day after we got back to the US, I went to the doctor to get a mole removed. It was completely voluntary, and yet, as I walked to my car in the parking lot, I thought about how all medical procedures shock the body. No woman ever had an abortion because it was a fun way to spend an afternoon. Women have abortions because they can’t take care of a baby – emotionally, mentally, physically, or financially. Some women who desperately want children have abortions to save their own lives. Some women have abortions because they don’t want the child of a rapist or abuser.
None of these things matter to those five people on the Supreme Court, three of whom lied at their confirmation hearings. And one of whom is married to someone who tried to overthrow the government. They are fine with dictating the lives of women, while not doing anything to mitigate the burden of caring for the nation’s children. Other decisions they made during the final days of June made it more likely that people (all of whom are former embryos) will die from gun violence and air pollution.
And of course, as a Lesbian, all my civil rights are on the chopping block. The only thing we can be sure of is that, while Clarence Thomas is alive, they won’t repeal Loving vs. Virginia. But he’s already mentioned revisiting the verdicts that made gay sex legal, not to mention gay marriage.
Equally concerning, these are the people who will determine who retains power, if there are legal challenges to elections in the future. Why do we assume any of them have any allegiance to modern democratic ideals, given their arcane and often illogical interpretations of the Constitution? Strict “originalists” are all about returning to a time when only white landowners had rights.
So what’s going on astrologically? Why do we have this rogue Supreme Court, three of them nominated by the most corrupt president in history?
These are the last days of Pluto’s passage through Capricorn, and it’s also the time of the country’s first Pluto return. A Pluto cycle lasts 248 years, so this isn’t something that any individual experiences. We do have other hard Pluto transits, and they usually coincide with a deep transformation of some kind. This Pluto return signals a radical realignment of the country’s character, while at the same time, since Capricorn is a conservative sign, it’s also an effort to return us to older beliefs and judgments.
We’ve seen this in many ways, as Pluto has moved towards this point. There’s been a certain fascination with our country’s origins. Even the success of a play like “Hamilton” could have foreshadowed this trend. Then, more recently, we have Prof. Kendi’s work, and The 1619 Project, by Nikole Hannah-Jones. More and more, people are recognizing that we need to tell the truth about the past, to examine our beginnings in a clear, unvarnished way. Advances in genealogy mean that some folks are suddenly learning that they have a mix of racial heritages.
All of this is about coming to terms with who we have been, as a country. There were some great ideas at our birth, such as the separation of church and state, but it’s also true that this country is based on fixed hierarchies having to do with race, gender and wealth. Slavery was already making people rich when the Articles of Confederation were signed, and compromises were put in place to keep Southern states happier. The three-fifths compromise is one of the most cynical ploys ever enshrined in a legal system. With this kind of toxic beginning, it’s no wonder that we had to fight a bloody war less than a century later, and that we’re still trying to hold the children of the Confederacy at bay.
This is the world that the Originalists on the Supreme Court want to return to. They can’t literally put Black people back in chains, or take the vote away from women, The Handmaid’s Tale notwithstanding. But they’re going to try to get as close to it as they can. Meanwhile, other people are fighting just as hard to define the country in a different way, calling out the injustices inherent in our beginnings.
So it’s a time for clarity. When a planet returns to its natal position, it’s a reckoning with some aspect of its basic character. This is that moment. Those of us who do not want to live in 1787 need to express our outrage. Luckily, that includes most of us. The right-wing nutjobs get a lot of press, but most people are actually fairly comfortable with diverse neighborhoods, gay family members, and a woman’s right to choose. It’s this Court that’s out of touch. This doesn’t mean that there’s no racism, homophobia or misogyny, but it does mean that these things are no longer as respectable as they used to be.
My prediction is that things will get very stormy, though, especially after Pluto goes into the idealistic, revolutionary sign Aquarius next year. It doesn’t really get settled in Aquarius until 2024, and then it stays there for the next twenty years, and there will be a lot of radical political action during that time. In addition, the country will experience its Uranus return in 2027. We were right in the middle of a Uranus return when the Southern states rebelled against the United States government in 1861. Do I think something like that could happen again? I do.
I recently read Hanya Yanagihara’s novel To Paradise, and the first part of it is an alternate history, in which there was no reconciliation after the South seceded from the Union. Rather, the Northern states enshrined more freedoms, while the South kept to the old toxic ways, living as two separate countries side by side. In some ways, this imaginative construction felt more real to me than many more factual historical novels.
Coming back to the world I actually live in, it’s easy to see that the Southern rebellion was never really quelled, especially when the US government refused to defend those newly freed from slavery, after the brief flourishing called Reconstruction. So, in a sense, we have been two different countries, living next door to each other and pulling the reins of power back and forth. Sometimes this makes for a bumpy ride, and sometimes we don’t move at all.
I recently read that the Texas Republican Party’s platform includes a referendum on seceding, so Texas may be a bellwether. So, yes, it’s possible that this Pluto return spells the beginning of the end of the United States, at least within its present borders. So you might as well go out there and set off some fireworks while you can!
Anyway, we won’t get any more bad news from the Supreme Court right away, since it’s out of session. And we saw Ketanji Jackson Brown sworn in, so there’s something to cheer about. She may be wishing she had stayed on a lower court where she could have more power!
The new moon on June 28 gives us a sense of what the next lunar cycle will be like, and with the sun and moon in Cancer, it looks like a pretty emotional time. Women are grieving, and telling their stories about crossroads in their lives, times when bodily autonomy meant everything to them. With Mars in the fiery sign Aries, squaring Pluto, there’s also a lot of anger, with women raging against this disempowerment. And the sun and moon square Jupiter, the planet which represents the legal system, so there may be a flurry of legislative and community efforts to repair the damage.
The full moon lets us know what is primed to grow during this lunar cycle, and here we have a conjunction between the moon and Pluto. So this will be a time when our awareness of our own power crystallizes. The moon represents women, and Pluto is all about deeper power. The Underground is a creature of Plutonian energies.
This is a survival issue, and we women see this clearly. It’s intimately tied into the basic identity of this country. Are we actually working to become the Land of the Free, a place where all people have choices about our life paths? A place where our social contract enhances our possibilities more than it limits us? We’re at a crossroads.