I can hardly see the computer screen, because of the glare of the sun through the window. But I don’t want to draw the curtain. I need all this sunlight, to remind me that warmer weather lies ahead. I need it, to set the crystals on my desk on fire and to cast rainbows on the wall behind me. Sunlight is fuel, and for us here in the Northern Hemisphere, a little extra fuel can help a lot right now.
One thing I’m grateful about, right at the moment, is that we’re coming to the end of the tense and combative Uranus/Pluto square. This has been in orb – off and on, but mostly on – since June 2011. It doesn’t officially end – given a 2° orb - until March of 2016, but the last exact aspect has just passed, and it will never be at peak strength again. Now it just has to do some long, slow winding down.
But will it do it this month? No, not really. Even though it is generally becoming less powerful, it will be stimulated by the total lunar eclipse on April 4. The sun will conjunct Uranus, and Pluto will square both the sun and moon, so many the issues of the Uranus/Pluto square will be revisited all month. It’s as though we’re walking down a stormy road at night, and we have strokes of lightning to light our way. We have to keep jumping out of the way, but we are also dazzled by sudden bolts of enlightenment.
So what has this turbulent aspect brought us, through the last five years, and where are we now?
Uranus, the planet of sudden new beginnings, is in the most hot-blooded and impulsive of signs, Aries, and so there’s been an increase in revolutionary acts, audacious rebellions, and military maneuvers. Pluto in Capricorn holds an internal contradiction, since Pluto deals with deeper transformations and yet Capricorn is one of the most conservative signs in the zodiac. So Pluto upholds Capricorn values, but at the same time, breaks them down in order to change them on a deeper level.
How can you both uphold something and uproot it? Actually, this is the way it always works. Everything is changing – or you could say, evolving - and when you give attention to something, you accelerate the process of change. The deeper and more intrinsic the change, the longer it takes.
Capricorn institutions are well-established, one might even say hoary. Age gives respectability and authority. There are structures in place which make those in power feel comfortable. But everything breaks down in time, and all the Uranian threats to Capricorn institutions have accelerated that process.
But as we can see, it hasn’t been just an either/or proposition, with the hot-heads on one side and the establishment on the other. Sometimes it’s been that way. But we’ve also seen a hybrid spring up, with attributes both of Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn. This is the conservative radical.
Of course, this phenomenon is not new. Ronald Reagan was one of the founding fathers of this approach. But it’s really proliferated under the Uranus/Pluto square: groups that claim a conservative mantel, an allegiance to tradition, and yet are intent on redrawing the contours of the world, with lots of blood and artillery.
We see this in the Tea Party, which is rebelling against (mostly imagined) government oppression. Since this is a democracy, albeit a very imperfect one, this rebellion has ended up in a number of Tea Party activists having positions in Congress. That means if they do anything useful at all, they end up as the Government Oppressors, so they’ve been most forced to spend most of their time fuming, and trying to get rid of as many laws and regulations as possible.
This has been pretty frustrating for them, and they could use more fresh air. Hopefully they will be replaced soon, and they can spend their time practicing with their muskets, and telling tall tales of all the things they did in Congress.
We also see this phenomenon in the Arab world. Here we have people who have been fighting a battle over succession since the 7th century, and are still very wedded to the authority conveyed then. Here in the US, it’s hard to imagine traditions that old, or a sense of rightness that runs that deep. Taking those centuries of religious commitment, and driving them out into the world with bombs and guns, is the focus of several groups of conservative radicals.
In the end, you do have to follow the money, and the power is not in the past, but very much alive in the present. But these traditions are not just a pageant, but a real cry for some vanished authenticity. At the same time, there’s a violent rejection of the modern world, and this negation of present-day realities is what makes these conservative radicals dangerous to other human beings, not to mention the planet.
They can’t go back, but they can go backwards. We’ve seen it happen before. There’s always a Renaissance eventually, but it’s really a drag to have centuries of torture, plagues, and a lack of indoor plumbing before it comes around again.
But would all these shock troops exist, if established power wasn’t so deeply threatened, if it wasn’t breaking down? I don’t think so. Of course, many of these conservative radicals are well-funded by those firmly in power. But I would say that the establishment has never really had control of them, and that’s why there’s so much fighting going on these days. As I write this, the wars in the Arab world are shifting, growing, developing new branches, as oil-rich governments move to claim their authority over smaller militias.
Coming back to the U.S., the Uranus/Pluto square has also brought some radical action on the progressive side. There’s the Black Lives Matter movement, which carries the fifty-year-old mantel of the Civil Rights Movement, and so a claim to history. At the same time, it’s all about the need to make sure that the Movement doesn’t get calcified into a powerless monument, but rather is recognized as an unfinished work.
And then there was Occupy, which raised a lot of important class issues on a global level. The class structure underpins everything else, and so it will take a lot of work to have any progress at all in this area. But the Occupy people began by raising consciousness, and this is always the first step.
On the other hand, we in the gay and lesbian community have won enormous ground during this Uranus/Pluto square. As a lesbian, one of my biggest challenges now is getting used to using the word “wife” instead of “partner” or “lover” to describe the woman who’s been at my side for almost thirty years. I personally feel a much stronger sense of social support than I did five years ago.
Looking at the current situation in Indiana, I’m actually heartened. There was a time when there would’ve been no response to a law pitting right-wing Christians against gay people. And now there are a lot of people, all over the spectrum, in our corner. For once, the homophobes are on the defensive.
So a lot has changed during this period, and some momentum has been established in various areas. But there are still quite a few live wires out there, and we’ll have to be careful not to step on them during April. And there are some parts of the world which will see even more explosions.
The upcoming total lunar eclipse, which sets a tone for the next six months, is in Aries/Libra, the zodiacal axis that has to do with relationships. So although everyone’s needs are strong and immediate, we all need to learn more about negotiating. This is our work: to find a balance between our own urgent changes, and the rights and needs of others. As we do this, we give our own lives more meaning, and we learn, step by step, what it is to be peaceful. It may still be a while coming, but just like the buds of spring, it’s on the horizon.