Friday, July 1, 2022

Land of the Free


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.