March 15th, 2017

Outer Planet Transits & Nostalgia for Samsara

“The earth is littered with the ruins of empires that believed they were eternal.” —Camille Paglia

Dead men walking. Women marching. Alternative facts. Reality show presidents. Anti-Christ-Palooza. Terrorists and Tiaras. Bitcoin. Gold coins. NSA. GMOs. WTF.

Signs, symbols, and Zeitgeist stingers. Time traveling omens from Armageddon are the stock and trade of our modern day narrative. The stories and anxieties we lay down and fret about until the Ambien kicks in.

Doom tales monopolize our inner landscape because speeding up to the end means a new beginning is just around the corner. Or over the cliff. That’s one theory. The catch, of course, is the way we resist other narratives. It’s wise now to think beyond the parameters of being a garden-variety human being.

This is the nut of the ‘message’ from the ongoing transits of Neptune and Pluto through the closing section of the zodiac, while Uranus in short fuse Aries keeps broadcasting, “Come on! Speed it up. (Or blow it up). Hurry! Go faster (and furiously.)”

When food, money, energy and optimism are scarce we become attached to whatever sort of hoard (be it our meager amount in savings or the way Plutocrats hog all the wealth and investments in their seemingly exempt world) we’ve come to associate with as a means to see us through to the new phase. Or at the meanest level, it’s outsiders who are closing in on our turf — and must be turned away.

So we’re looping right now. Sort of like the routine animals demonstrate before being eaten by a predator. You’ve probably seen videos like this on those nature shows you watch on Youtube. The prey runs around and around in a hysterical circle before the killing bite is administered by the predator. Right?

Our inner animal is a bit freaked. So, like your pet, you need to assure it all will be well. You’ll take care of things and keep the wolves away from the door. Do that for your inner critter, you’ll gain a lot of traction in the process.

The weirdness happens when we observe ourselves observing others and the world we coexist in. If we’re not dwelling on our own crisis of faith, then we want to read about it in the news or watch it in a sci-fi or horror film; a tacit way of confirming that everyone’s sort of fucked up at the same time.

Fact or fiction doesn’t matter — just that we’re seeing clearly that everything is caving in — that’s the essential ‘meaning’ behind the obsessive imagery we circulate and share and post and tweet about it — over and over and over. It’s the Hologram of the Season. The reality bite that keeps on biting.

My astrolger’s field notes show that Uranus is associated with time warping. A hybrid process of time speeding up, which means our subjective experience of time is altered and tweaked out — it kind of forces us to feel and peer into the future, despite our best efforts to avoid the unsavory. This quickening happens via Aries. So the sense of urgency, to remove constraints, shackles, anything that limits freedom, imparts a ticking time bomb feeling. Uranus becomes the hair shirt we’re wearing. It’s exciting to think about it except for one small impediment:

Pluto’s glacial transit through Capricorn. Pluto is akin to a black hole generator. When our awareness is touched by Pluto, nuclear fission occurs; meaning, we phase between one reality and another reality in such a way that forces us to leave the former reality and pop into the later reality which our survival instinct conflates with annihilation of the former, and so, well, we balk and freeze and hover. And yet the wormhole beckons. The way forward means living through a death state (Pluto) while galvanizing ideas heretofore unknown and untried (Uranus in Aries).

We might have New Age notions about surrendering or ‘letting go and letting god’ — but as my dad used to say: “Everyone wants to get to heaven but no one wants to die.” That sums up the Pluto part of the equation.

Wherever Pluto is transiting in the zodiac is where this old world/new world bardo establishes. In the sign Capricorn it means the reality matrix is split in two, so you have these gigantic gaps between extremes.

But the seeming polarities that divide reality into factions are thinning. This cosmic alchemy exposes rich to poor, hetero to homo, white to black, oppressor to oppressed and on and on. Pick a polarity, there are thousands, just know that the water has broken and we can’t push things back up into the birth canal.

Which is another way of acknowledging Neptune’s long transit through Pisces, in tandem with Pluto’s disintegrating effect on the reality matrix (Capricorn.) This is a long-term sequence that culminates in 2025. Neptune gestates it, Pluto cuts the cord and Uranus pops it out where everyone can see and be moved by it.

From the collective’s point of view, the signs Capricorn and Pisces correspond to the process of culmination and closure within a culture — so these themes are throbbing in both the neocortex (Uranus) and mammalian/reptilian (Pluto) parts of our brain.

Americans especially can not fathom that their position as a world power would, could, actually be falling apart. What do we do? Fall into the lure of what Buddhists call “nostalgia for samsara.” Dreams of America circa the 1980s. So, while half of the country is daydreaming (Neptune) about days gone by (Pisces), the other is heavily medicated on anti-depressants (or Adderall if you’re a Silicon Valley kid), also more Neptune in Pisces fallout.

But the Pluto and Neptune tranists through these closing sectors of the zodiac offer an opportunity to assume a cosmic point of view, that of The Witness. From that perspective, one acknowledges that civilizations rise and fall. It’s natural. Why would we think our culture should escape decline and decay? And why would we consider ourselves to be exempt from having to live through such a collapse? We aren’t. But again, that’s not the whole story.

In his lengthy conversation with the Jungian James Hillman, which was transcribed into the book We’ve Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy and the World’s Getting Worse, the writer Michael Ventura elaborated on the very moment we find ourselves in the middle of:

“A great culture, Western culture is dying. Or, to put it a little less darkly, it’s transforming such that you won’t be able to call it Western civilization anymore. Nobody knows what’s going to come. The New Agers think a marvelous period is about to dawn; the right and left each live in fear of the other ‘winning’ the transformation; which the technocrats think they’re going to reprogram humanity. In reality, it’s out of everyone’s control, and the very grasping to control it just increases the momentum and cost of the decline.”

Hillman’s advice: Celebrate the fallout. Get behind the death throes. Not in a morbid way but as a reality check. An acknowledgment and honoring. And then once you’ve done that get on with your living.

Wonders and beauty and art and healing and innovation and joy are born from crisis and decay and dissolution. We’re the only culture that doesn’t have a god like Shiva to celebrate and honor. Instead, we book appointments at botox clinics and put our parents into assisted living so as not to feel the burn.

But the psyche always compensates for denial — and thus our obsession with snake oil salesmen presidents, zombies, superheroes and resource-stealing immigrants. The imagery, the feeling, will find us out regardless our tactics for stealth and denial.

So embrace the notion of End of Days, not literally, but as a metaphor within the Zeitgeist. Of course the story never really ends, as Michael Mead writes in his fantastic book The World Behind the World:

“When people feel The End fast approaching, the beginning is also close at hand. The world, ever on the verge of explosion or collapse is also an eternal drama, a story being told from beginning to end, again and again. At the ‘end of the world as we know it’ the Unseen World waits to be found again.”


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