Mercury In Leo: Helios' RoarJuly 2, 2011
July 11th-17th: The Satyr's Silver EyeJuly 12, 2011
Like individuals, nations have birthcharts which are responsive to transits. Also, like individuals, a little analysis of the birthchart and the transits to it can provide a tremendous amount of clarity about what, in fact, is going on.
The following piece highlights effects of several of the longer term factors affecting the U.S. right now. These include the current eclipse cycle, as well as the position, condition and configuration of Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. This is by no means intended to be exhaustive, but an introduction to “what the hell is going on with the U.S.?”
Eclipse Cycle: E Pluribus Unum, Please
The new eclipse cycle we entered fully this June is the Gemini-Sag one, which will run until November 2012. The action here is a pull away from multitudinous foreign conflicts and toward domestic affairs. This ball is already rolling, with Obama’s promises to bring troops home. We can expect similar announcements to follow around the Nov.-Dec. 2011 eclipses and then again around the next set of eclipses in 2012.
The withdrawal will no doubt be long, painful and slow, like extracting a barbed arrow from one’s shoulder. But frankly, the U.S. needs arrows in its quiver aplenty if it is to hit any of its targets. This movement toward military withdrawal is supported by Mars recent station retrograde in America’s progressed chart. Nonetheless, the eclipse cycle is only a year and a half of pull toward domestic affairs and away from foreign ones. It will oversee a reduction in involvement, but will certainly not overlook anything resembling a complete withdrawal.
This eclipse cycle also suggests trouble with allies. This became abundantly clear right before the first solar eclipse in Gemini, on June 1st with Pakistan’s value as an ally being called into question. We should see another installment in late Fall of this year, and scuffles with allies aplenty in June of 2012, when the final solar eclipse in Gemini is paired with Venus’ retrograde there.
The recent shift of the eclipse cycle to Gemini-Sagittarius has meaning, one of them being that we’ve left the Cancer-Capricorn one. On July 1st, 2011 we saw the last Cancer-Capricorn eclipse. This cycle is regularly correlated with bottoms in America’s housing market, with the July 2009-July 2011 Cancer-Capricorn cycle being no exception. That we have now exited this phase suggests we should start seeing a slow return of value and level of activity to home sales in the US. Nonetheless, the foreclosed properties that the banks will be trickling onto the market for the next few years will keep prices down and homebuilding at a minimum. Nonetheless, the only way for the housing market to recover is for these properties to enter and the exist the market. Any movement in this area is more likely to resemble a half-dead crawl than it will a glorious resurrection.
My take on it is that it won’t be until Jupiter makes his way into and through Cancer (Summer 2013-Summer2014) that we’ll start seeing serious signs of a real recovery in the US real estate market.
Saturn Return: The Balance
Like many 28-30 year olds and 57-59 year olds, the U.S. in the throes of a Saturn Return. But not its second and certainly not its first. This is actually Americas’ 8th Saturn return. Broadly speaking, Saturn returns, for both people and countries, are 2 ½ year “get your shit together” periods. Limitations become clearer and Necessity no longer waits patiently. To see what this generally means for the US, let’s examine the 3 Saturn Returns it had in the 20th century.
1922-1924 The US’ economy gets up off its ass for a decade of winning.
1951-53 The US’ economy gets up off its ass for a decade of winning.
1981-1983 The US’ economy gets up off its ass for a decade of winning.
Unless you have suffered serious brain damage, you may see a pattern emerging. When America hits its Saturn return, it usually reforms its economic policies and a cycle of prosperity follows. We can see the will for economic reform everywhere these days. In fact, it something that the Republicans, Democrats and Tea Party all agree on. Just not how.
As in previous installments in the Saturn cycle, the need and desire for economic reform is ubiquitous, but this time it’s just not happening. Why? Unlike the early 20’s, early 50’s and early 80’s, there’s a lot more going on that makes reform difficult, and, to a certain degree, ineffective. The U.S. has Pluto in Capricorn’s corporate takeover and global power shift to deal with, as well as Uranus in Aries’ radicalized dissent and coming info wars. The game of thrones is changing, and the old moves aren’t working so well on the new board. Nonetheless, there have been some reforms, and there will be more. But they are unlikely to be enough.
Uranus in Aries: Dissent and Cyber-Sorties
In March 2011, Uranus shifted decisively into Aries, where he’ll be until 2018. In Aries, Uranus pushes people to radicalize their personal power, stick it to the man, and use technology to fight battles. Many astrologers expected Uranus’ ingress into Aries to coincide with widespread protests, and the Arab Spring did not disappoint. For America, Uranus in Aries boils the Tea Party’s water and should continue to preside over heightened levels of dissent for much of the next decade, especially while it is square Pluto (2012-2015).
Uranus is always correlated with technology, it is interesting that the Arab Spring’s revolutions were enabled by the variety of new social media. The same can certainly be said of borderline radical groups in the U.S. But more than that, Uranus’ ingress into Aries has seen the dream of cyber war start to become a geopolitical reality. Wikilieaks was only the beginning. The great nations are currently stumbling over themselves to figure out how to defend themselves both from foreign powers and non-state groups such as Anonymous and Wikileaks. Corporations, the non-geographical nations of our day, are also working hard on the same. This conflict between state/corporate powers and independent, technologically empowered people will occur primrarily during Pluto-Uranus squares (2012-15). The likely result will be increased attempts to police the internet, and amplified resistance to the same. This tension will give birth to a slowly escalating cyber arms race as the internets infinite fields enter the world of geopolitical importance. William Gibson, here we come.
The outlaws of the internet have long been referred to as pirates, and so perhaps it would be instructive to look to the dynamics that emerged when European powers plied the waves and pirates sliced between them. When the great maritime powers of the day understood that pirates could not be obliterated decisively, those same powers instead attempted to use them to their advantage. If you can’t beat’em, employ em. Pirates became privateers, paid by nations to harass their enemies, all the while flying the skull and cross bones of non-state combatants. This allowed countries to attack each other economically without declaring war. I ask you how long will it be before nations and corporations see the value of this strategy? As the info-battles get into fuller swing, some pirates will no doubt become privateer.
Neptune in Pisces: Other Worlds
Speaking of oceans, Neptune is in Pisces now. Although Neptune will retreat to airy Aquarius in August, 2011 the big blue planet will be back again come January, 2012 to stay in Pisces until 2024. Neptune’s return to Pisces, which we are only seeing hints of now, has several important repercussions.
There is only one precedent in US history for Neptune’s passage through Pisces, and that was between 1848-1862. Neptune is the planet of dreams, magic, compassion and delusion. The waves of the distant planet dissolve the veil between the visible and invisible as well as those that divide people.
Accordingly, 1848 saw the dream of gold emerge in California, kicking off the US’ push toward the great Pacific. But the gleaming spectre of wealth was not the only one that Neptune’s ingress summoned in the US- spiritualism, the practice of summoning the spirits of the dead for seances, is officially dated by many to have begun in 1848. As far as compassion goes, it was during the 1850’s that the abolitionist movement gained critical momentum and brought legislation to its side. The dissolution of boundaries is at the core of Neptune’s symbolism, and geographical boundaries are no exception. The 1850’s saw huge waves of immigrants come from Europe, particularly the Irish.
If we survey the terrain of America in 2011, we see a striking number of parallels. Seances may have been all the rage in the 1850’s, but these days its the same- though now our seances are televised. Ghost shows are all over the television, with multiple networks competing to field as much spooky footage as possible. The increasing open-ness to the “other side” extends beyond the occult, though. During the 1850’s church attendance in new, distinctly American forms of Christianity rose massively. Many historians consider this period to be one in which the US made the spiritual traditions it had inherited its own. This time we see a number of new practices and faiths rising to prominence, from Mormonism to the Neopagan cluster. Neptune’s time in Pisces will no doubt see these and other relative newcomers get a seat at the table of faiths, with the decisive breakthroughs coming while Saturn is Scorpio (Fall 2012-Fall 2015).
While the 1850’s had slavery as its social issue, right now the US has gay-marriage and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” It is interesting that last time Neptune was in Pisces, divisions over slavery contributed significantly to the civil war. I think it’s rather unlikely that it will involve armed forces, but these issues are already dividing states, making pre-existing divisions all the clearer.
The issue of geo-political boundaries in regard to immigrants is just as heated now as it was in the 1850’s. But instead of the Irish, this time it’s primarily the Mexicans who are fleeing adverse conditions in their homeland. The drama of immigration and integration will no doubt be as heartrending for the Latinos as it was for the Irish in mid 19th century America.
Finally, there is the goldrush. While 1848 announced the California dream of gold, America today has no parallel. Perhaps the US will discover a new cache of resources, or come to see its natural abundance in a new light. We’ll see.
Pluto Return- Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss
Pluto takes a long time to return to the same point in our sky. Around 250 years, in fact. And so, unlike the Saturn return, which most people live to see, no mere mortal breathes their way to a Pluto return. But countries do. America began its Pluto return in earnest on November of 2008, when Pluto ingressed into Capricorn, intending to stay until 2023.
Pluto’s return brings a nation’s dark secrets to light. Pluto in Capricorn reveals America’s hidden economic stratification, suppressed class conflict and hidden oligarchy (plutocracy). Corporate excess in the last decade has made it increasingly clear that the US is in not a level playing field. Class conflict is bubbling to the surface and the plutocracy is becoming clearer every day. Huge corporations have won the right to fund political candidates, keep the “little people” from suing them and treat their financial wounds with taxpayer cash.
These events are stirring dissent, no doubt, but much of the dissent (Tea Party) seems to have been effectively funneled into pro-corporate policies. This dissent will no doubt continue under the auspices of the Uranus-Pluto squares, and some victories won to stay the tide of Plutocracy. However, from a strictly astrological viewpoint, Pluto is in the superior position, and the dissent is not likely to reverse the direction things are moving. All in all, Pluto in Capricorn seems to be narrating the triumph of Corporate power over State power.
Astrologically, Pluto in Capricorn is one of the key factors in the ongoing depression afflicting the US economy. The small, dark dwarf planet as been opposing the US’ natal Venus and Jupiter in Cancer for the last several years. Collectively known as the Benefics, Venus and Jupiter represent the fortunate, luxurious, expansive and lucky powers in an entity’s chart. Their conjunction in Cancer is uber-benefic, and testifies to the great riches of the U.S. But Pluto’s opposition to them over the last few years has sent these happy powers to the underworld to languish since his ingress in late 2008.
Pluto is in the process of slowly departing from his opposition to the US’ benefic conjunction, but it will years before these fecund points are free of affliction. The economy will recover slowly and fitfully, unlikely to regain anything resembling vibrant health for years. Don’t believe the next round of recovery hype.
The preceding musings in no way represent a complete survey of America’s position. The history and destiny of a nation are quite beyond the power of a short article to enclose.
If you’re interested in the astrology of nations, I would recommend further reading. Ray Merriman is a financial astrologer with a host of articles on the cycles we’re a part of. Richard Tarnas’ “Cosmos and Psyche” is a remarkable guide to modern mundane cycles. I would also recommend Gary Caton’s article on the US in light of recent configurations. Please feel free to recommend links to other quality mundane articles!