A group of therapists came together in Europe to participate in a ten-day workshop.
As was the custom, at the start of the gathering, the attendees gathered together in a circle to take make introductions and share a little about their practice and history.
About halfway into the process, a woman explained how she’d worked for years in a mental institution counseling dozens of patients each day. And then, after a pause, her face became grim. She continued:
One day while she was eating her lunch one of her clients committed suicide by jumping off the roof of the institute. The patient fell right past the therapist as she was eating her salad.
The woman’s breathing became rushed, she was crying and right on the verge of losing control.
But the leader of the workshop sensed that something was ‘off’ about the woman’s state; there was something not quite genuine about her demeanor. She was working herself into an agitated condition to alert her colleagues about the intensity she’d experienced throughout her career and how that intensity made her special.
At the end of her story she looked to the leader of the group for acknowledgment. And then everyone else in the circle turned and looked to the leader too. A concerned silence hovered in the air.
And then, after a pause, the leader shrugged his shoulders and announced:
“Okay. New rule. No jumping from the roof during lunch.”
The woman and all of the other participants in the circle burst into laughter.
You Didn’t Jump. So You’re Still Here!
I like this story as an allegory for looking back and reviewing the past seven years that accompanied the just-finished square between Uranus and Pluto; two of astrology’s most misunderstood and misinterpreted planets.
If you haven’t jumped off of a bridge yet, well, congratulations, you’ve passed a series of initiations that you were destined to encounter (should you consider your soul an agent of consciousness that traverses from life to life).
Your presence continues within the pulse of life. You’re still here and entwined with — and required to participate in — the incessant woof and warp of living.
This circle story also shows how we might expand beyond our pipsqueak sense of self, with its attendant stories and dramas that color and define us. The story also shows how the ordinary can shift to the extraordinary by involving humor as a transcendent ingredient. Life is tough, it sucks sometimes and then we laugh (or cry) and then we carry on.
I’ve written a lot about the alignment between Uranus and Pluto on this site, and discussed in detail some of the socio-cultural fallout with my colleague Jessica Murray. But now, as the final square clicks in and out of exactitude, I’m going to share some personal anecdotes, observations and insights with you.
Some Backstory First
Modern astrologers write from a Jungian perspective about the trio of planets that reside beyond Saturn (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto). Because those planets orbit the Sun at a glacial pace it’s easy to associate them with ‘collective’ time — cultural trends and geopolitical movements; or even the rise and fall of civilizations — when you consider Pluto’s 248-year orbit around the Sun.
But let’s not forget that cultures and civilizations are aggregates of individuals. Folks like you and me. And, should you be open to an atypical perspective, the outer planets also mark moments in life that deconstruct your conventional sense of self.
If you are committed to upholding the values and standards you inherited from your family, church or the various authority figures that influenced your life, well, it’s likely that your ability to find resonance with the outer planets hasn’t developed.
Many people do not ‘register’ the outer planets in a personal sense, in much the same way most people do not practice Zen or involve their lives with depth psychology or spiritual practices that unravel the dominance of the ego and its allegiance to the instincts. This isn’t a judgment, just an astrological statement of fact.
The dominate theme of my work with clients during the past seven years has involved the personal particulars of accommodating the acceleration of consciousness that’s symbolized by the Uranus Pluto square. An unrelenting pressure that feels (to those aforementioned instincts) like a battle to the death.
Here are some notes, observations and insights I’ve gleaned by tracking my own experience and that of my clients. Make what you will of this. Nothing is etched in stone.
Once again the cosmic gyre converges into the midpoint of the Uranus Pluto square. Astrologers have pondered this particular alignment — the very moment we’re living through — since the late 60s when the counterculture bloomed and generational divides quaked. Then, the two planets formed a conjunction; a confluence that planted a seed of sorts. Ideals of personal freedom (fueled by volatile social activism) pushed forward, touched the cultural imagination, but quickly quelled into the narcissistic sleep of the 70’s ‘me’ decade. What was missing back then is what we’re getting now. The dynamic of the square, a force that won’t be contained. Conjunctions set ideals, squares put them in motion.
Statistically this particular square is nearly unprecedented — meaning it is rare that two trans-Saturn planets connect by exact angle and then disconnect, reconnect, disconnect, reconnect so many times through their cycle. This is akin to someone scratching her fingernails down a blackboard and then doing it over and over again after you’ve asked her to stop. Take note: We have four more Uranus Pluto squares to live with between now and March of 2015. That’s a whole lot of scrapin’ going on.
Squares tease forth antagonistic forces from incompatible elements within the zodiac. Incompatible elements (in this case fire and earth) display — literally — as ignitions, explosions, sinkholes, and figuratively — well, that sinking feeling you get trying to balance your dwindling finances. Or maybe it’s the phone call from your son announcing his engagement to his boyfriend.
Historically, Uranus Pluto signatures carve deep impressions into the Halls of Time. For instance, Columbus’ discovery of the New World occurred during a Uranus-Pluto square and the Reign of Terror, during the French Revolution, marked an opposition between the planets. Defining moments in history that are taught, years later, in history classes — those tumultuous markers that earmark progress at any price.
So. What about the current signs? My observations: We’re experiencing the Uranus Pluto square as a fascinating and freaky sort of Future Shock. Our moment in time is similar to the accelerated shifts in art and philosophy associated with the Renaissance. Hybrid innovation that made the Renaissance into a bright diadem — sparklingly amidst history’s dark annals.
But what took three centuries to unfold during the Renaissance is moving at an exponential rate during this century. With technology dominating every facet of life, we’re trapped in a dazzling quickening. A disorienting leap that’s left the elderly befuddled; clinging to nostalgic reveries of the past (“I no longer recognize my country!”) While those in their 20s — many of whom crawled directly from the womb and began typing on a computer — are clueless regarding the legacy they’ve inherited. Yesterday a client, born in the 80s, asked me who John F. Kennedy was. Read more
Zombie survival guides. Alien interventions. Super bugs. Reality show raptures. Economic cliffs. Anti-Christ-Palooza. Terrorists and Tiaras. Bit coin. Gold coins. Gluten. NSA. GMOs. Homo-trimony. The new Arcade Fire album.
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. But why such a narrow bandwidth? Where’s the bigger, wider picture? The range of other frequencies?
Scenarios of doom monopolize our inner landscape because speeding up to the end means a new beginning is just around the corner. That’s one theory. The catch of course is the way we resist other narratives. It’s critical now to think beyond the parameters of being a garden-variety human being. This is the nut of the ‘message’ from the ongoing, exact as of today, again, for the fourth (out of seven swipes) Uranus Pluto square.
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. The catch? You can’t cross the river in a boat and then take that boat with you as you explore the new world. It’s too cumbersome and defeats the purpose of surrender.
So we’re looping right now. Sort of like animals do before being eaten by a predator. You’ve probably seen shots like this on those nature shows you watched as a kid. The prey runs around and around in a circle, hysterical, 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.
As I’ve already mentioned, I associate this End of Days meme with the fourth swipe between Uranus and Pluto. The number four makes things sharply concrete; there’s less of a feeling for a creative outlet with four, like there is with the number three. Four is two plus two which feels like two sides against two other sides — the nature of two being opposition and discord. A doubling up of angst.
My 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 perception. This quickening happens via Aries. So the sense of urgency, to remove constraints, shackles, anything that limits freedom, imparts that time bomb feeling. Tick tock. Uranus becomes the hair shirt we’re wearing. It’s exciting to think about it except for one small impediment:
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, to our animal nature — our survival drive — is associated with annihilation of the former, and so, well, we balk and freeze and hover. And yet the worm hole beckons.
The cosmic gyre has finally converged into the crazy-bubble zone of the Uranus Pluto square. Astrologers have been yapping about this aspect, anticipating its alignment for decades and guess what? It’s finally here. The second of seven passes between the two titans began last week.
Here is some information to consider related to what I call astrological optimization: Ways in which you become a participant with this evolutionary event.
Get off of your ass and commence, continue or complete the big creative project you’ve been incubating for the past several years. To not engage will court difficulties. Why? Well that involves:
The rotting floorboards. This could mean that you’re (literally) running out of time (aging and nearing lift off), you feel like you’re running out of time (even though you’re young and just wasting time) or — congratulations — you’ve slipped completely off of the reality grid. You’re this generation’s new frontrunner!
The phone rang six times today. Everyone wanted to know the outcome of the election. Each caller explained how he couldn’t take one more minute of torment. I couldn’t blame him. Since when has a civic event ignited such fear, loathing and dread? Christ, I thought democracy was supposed to be sort of cool; and this feels more like a sickness of soul.
I’d decided last week to consciously minimize my obsessive tracking of the polls, the blogs, the posts and the predictions. I’d noted that my fervor was turning into a sort of masochistic dog treat. Like when a dog starts chewing on a bone so hard his gums begin to bleed and he thinks he’s getting more juice from the bone when really it’s just…
A lot of nothing.
And we want so badly for something right now. To appease, put in order, make the craziness subside. Ah, so maybe this election will finally ‘do it.’ Right?
I don’t think so
Ours is a hybrid condition presently. Not unique in history, but unique to us right here and now. In astrology it is the trans-personal planets — Uranus, Neptune and Pluto that mirror, like a full moon on the surface of a still lake at midnight, our generational and cultural shifts. This is the gift, you could say, of the outer planets and what they symbolize. Dane Rudhyar called them “ambassadors from another galaxy”, and I think this is an apt term. Read more