Past and Future Renaissance

The Triumph of Galatea, fresco by Raphael

The Triumph of Galatea, fresco by Raphael

Among the many radical astrological shifts coming in the next few years, perhaps the rarest and most important is that all three outer planets — Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto — will change signs within a few months. Taken individually, each sign change refers to a prominent shift in consciousness. Taken all together, we can scarcely imagine the scope of what is occurring, and it may take decades before we can look back and cognize the broader changes taking place.

Adding more depth and intrigue is that as these planets ingress into their new territories they will be aligned at important geometrical degrees. These particular alignments are referred to as "aspects of flow," meaning that the energies these planets represent are in harmony with each other rather than in conflict.

To throw in one more impressive factor, when Neptune re-enters Aries in 2026 it will be accompanied by Saturn, the two planets meeting at 0º Aries. This is a highly symbolic point as it is the first degree of the zodiac, corresponding with the Spring Equinox, the moment that represents the fate of the world for the year.

We are looking at an astounding confluence of astrological change and alignment within a very short time. This is both frightening and exciting to contemplate, and like all periods of major consciousness shift, such as the fall of Old Egypt, the European Renaissance, and the world wars of the 1900s, the birth of a new world entails some extent of destruction. The good news is that, due to the harmonized alignments of 2024-2028, we are looking at a more graceful and less destructive process that has a real potential to result in a more unified world.

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2023-2030: The Radical Era

There's no getting off the change bus.

American history is replete with era names that evoke strong impressions of the times: The Era of Good Feeling, the Era of Reform, the Progressive Era, etc. Each era is referring to a shift in the national consciousness, typically brought on by unexpected innovations in art, technology, politics, and wealth. A good illustrative example is the Progressive Era, from about 1900-1920, which brought us the FDA, monopoly breakups, the 19th Amendment codifying women's right to vote, and the National Park Service. Before 1900 such innovations would have been unthinkable. By the 1920s, they were woven into the fabric of the country.

We might also include eras of Industrial Revolution, such as the Third Industrial Revolution that began after World War II, with large scale investments by the government into technologies that eventually gave us the microchip, the PC, the internet, and the smartphone. These technologies would have seemed like miracles a few decades ago but are commonplace today.

As we enter the middle of the 2020s we are entering another era that will bring changes that today we can scarcely imagine, let alone believe could come to pass. I'm calling this period the Radical Era, partly in reference to political radicalism that has historically advocated for suffrage and equal rights for all, but also to evoke the radical changes that will be brought about by technology, politics, and culture between now and 2030.

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Pluto in Aquarius

King John extorted into signing the Magna Carta, the basis for eroding his and his heirs' divine rights.
Take that, royal bitches!

In 1297 the Magna Carta and its companion, the Forest Charter, were passed into English statutory law. The passage of these charters, which for the first time granted rights to people who were not royalty, has long been considered the foundation of today's liberal democracies.

During the 1530s - 1550s the Church of England was established to separate England from the papal authority of Rome, turning England Protestant. This was the heart of the Protestant Reformation, established by Martin Luther's rebellion against Catholic tradition based on the declaration that each individual receives God's grace through faith alone.

In September of 1787 the United States constitution was signed, the first Western government to organize around democratic principles guided by the declaration that all people are free by birthright. This was followed in 1789 by France's Declaration of the Rights of Man, establishing a basis for freedom for all citizens. Its companion, the Declaration of the Rights of Woman, was published in 1791. This was the heart of the Enlightenment, when kings and popes were stripped of their traditional autocratic powers, and superstition became superseded by science.

All of these historical periods refer to eras of revolutionary change that resulted in greater freedoms for common people. In each case, power traditionally concentrated at the top was theretofore distributed more evenly throughout the populace.

And each period occurred during a transit of Pluto through Aquarius.

A terse translation of Pluto (power) in Aquarius (humanity) is "power to the people". But what power, and to which people? Clearly, none of the events mentioned above resulted in anything close to an ideal society. Gross inequities across race, class, gender, and religion continue to this day. Yet we can clearly see that there is a progression of general social mobility across the centuries. We are all inheritors of the rights established from the Magna Carta to the U.S. Constitution, both of which were great and unlikely innovations of their time and have influenced the shape of political institutions around the world.

Pluto in Aquarius is an apt symbol for these events because it symbolizes the dissemination of power throughout a populace. Every time Pluto transits through Aquarius we see an increase in the enlightenment of sociopolitical policy grounded in values of individual liberty built upon what came before.

Pluto enters Aquarius again this year, on March 23rd, 2023, the first time since 1798. It will reverse course and regress into Capricorn in June, then will enter Aquarius again in January 2024 and transit there until 2044.

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Uranus-Pluto: The Next Phase

Ocean Whale by AstralSeed

Artwork by AstralSeed.

During the summer of 1851, an extremely rare conjunction of planets took place in the first 3 degrees of Taurus. On the very day that Mars joined Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto there, Harriet Beecher Stowe published the first in her popular series of articles that, a year later, became her nation-changing novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. That same year, Melville's classic tale of excessive ambition, Moby Dick, was also published.

In a single year these two literary firebrands stamped the world with the two primary themes that were to define the second half of the 19th century in America: The abolition of slavery and, less directly in Melville's case, the extreme rise of industrial capitalism.

While Mars and Saturn certainly play a role in understanding these themes and their place in this moment of history, it is the Uranus-Pluto cycle that speaks most directly. Uranus is connected with technology and social concerns. Pluto represents deeply hidden power and wealth. Whereas Uranus corresponds with sudden, explosive change, Pluto is akin to the compressed magma under a volcano, hidden from sight yet roiling with an unfathomable energy. Pluto's intense potency requires a catalyst to encourage its cathartic release and allow its hidden power to become incorporated on the surface. Uranus's sudden, electrifying strike often provides that catalyst. Like the coming eruptions of war and avarice hinted at by Uncle Tom and Moby Dick, Uranus and Pluto acting together give us a sense of an erupting volcano that forever transforms the face of the planet and even the fate of humanity itself.

As Uranus and Pluto come into significant alignment certain themes repeat themselves with impressive regularity. A prominent example in recent centuries is the emergence of industrial revolutions. Like the Uranus-Pluto trine (120º) of the 1760s/70s that kicked off the First Industrial Revolution, the Uranus-Pluto sextile (60º) of the early 1870s kicked off the Second Industrial Revolution. The following sextile almost 80 years later, the end of World War II, marks the beginning of the Third Industrial Revolution.

This is appropriate to the astrological symbolism: Uranus is specifically correlated with cultural revolutions along with new technologies and their dissemination throughout society. Pluto correlates with the deep underground power sources that fuel these technologies, be they coal, oil, or steam (or venture capital). The sextile and trine alignments typically give functional form to whatever is aligned, so that, in this case, the power inherent in the Plutonic energy is harnessed and utilized by the newly architected Uranian inventions.

Today, we are on the cusp of entering just such a period. The Uranus-Pluto trine of 2024-2030 will no doubt bring into the forefront new technologies that revolutionize travel, commerce, and energy, creating what is thought to become a Fourth Industrial Revolution.

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Wrapping up 2022: The Pressure Before Relief

U.S. Mid-Terms

Chart for the U.S. Mid-Term Elections

It's not surprising that the astrology for the US mid-term elections looks like a mess. Put less bluntly, the chart reflects an extremely tense moment that is going to permanently alter the course of events going forward. Featuring a Taurus Lunar Eclipse at square to Saturn and conjunct Uranus, the chart evokes a demand for change that will break and leave behind what we thought we knew about our place in the world and what our future might hold.

As dire as that sounds, it is not a prediction of doom. As always, eclipse charts represent an era, or a phase, a period of time that has been gradually building up to a moment of consciousness, where we finally realize some truth we can no longer ignore. There's no going back because, despite what we see in the world, the human soul abhors regression.

Correlated with the intense political polarization in the US today, as well as with events like the Covid pandemic and the January 6th insurrection, is the Saturn/Uranus square that began in 2020. I've written about this square before. It is associated with rebellions, failed incursions, and massive economic contractions. Despite how dire the crisis appears, it seems that, from a US perspective, whatever is novel and rebellious during a Saturn/Uranus square ends up failing to subsume democracy into its fold.

There are historical and astrological reasons for this. The prime astrological point is that, in the natal chart for the United States, Saturn and Uranus are in a harmonious trine aspect, with Saturn in exaltation. We are not destined for political failure but for eventual political integration. A functional democracy requires occasional crises that breakdown dysfunctional elements, making space to recreate itself based on what works. We see this breakdown/rebuild cycle occur with surprising consistency in coincidence with Saturn/Uranus transits. This particular square, lasting for only another few months, is no exception.

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History, Hope, and Handling These Times

For some time now there has been a crescendoing discussion around a global battle between democracy and autocracy. This battle has become crystallized in the form of the Ukraine war, where autocratic Russian oligarchs are violently asserting dominance over Ukrainian democracy. It is by no means the only arena where this ideological battle is being fought, but it is the most obvious and destructive.

Conflicts between concentrated governmental, military, or economic powers and a popular majority recur fairly consistently during periods when Saturn and Uranus are at square aspect (or right angle from our perspective on Earth). It is as if a societal breakdown is occurring in order to highlight major dysfunctional patterns that require dealing with. The abolition of slavery, the institution of banking protections, and the addressing of climate change are all examples of alterations to societal order in response to a crisis arising during Saturn-Uranus squares.

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Build Forward Better

Re-election Campaign Poster for FDR

Re-election Campaign Poster for FDR

In October of 1929 the New York Stock Exchange collapsed, occurring just after the collapse of the London Stock Exchange and marking the start of the Great Depression. At the time, Saturn was entering into a conflictual square with Uranus, as it was at the start of the Civil War, and as it is today. During each of these periods we see American democracy in peril, even outright attacked, as the country adjusts to fundamental changes to its political, economic, and social fabric. Yet despite the dangers, these periods also tend to trigger collective efforts that result in a more strongly reassembled democracy.

Saturn and Uranus aspects are especially meaningful for the United States, in part because of those planets' associations with democratic ideals and the institutions that serve and enforce them, as well as scientific advances and technological inventions. Democracy in particular is an essential keyword of American rhetoric, as it is of the sign Aquarius, where the nation's Moon is placed, a sign governed specifically by the planets Saturn and Uranus. Most of America's greatest crises and greatest triumphs have occurred while these two planets were in strong aspect.

Moreover, Saturn and Uranus are at a trine aspect in the natal chart of the United States, suggesting what we have already seen many times since the country's founding, that no matter how serious the crisis, American democracy tends to emerge stronger as a result. It's as if each major crisis brings to light deeply dysfunctional patterns that force us as a country to deal with them, as far as we can. This leads to overall improvements that inch us toward a more functional democratic ideal, until the next Saturn-Uranus conflict.

The Great Depression offers us a paradigmatic glimpse: Incumbent president Herbert Hoover tried to recover the economy by cutting taxes and government programs, with the idea that the resulting concentration of wealth at the top would naturally distribute into the populace via charity and industrious job growth. He believed that private industry should remain unencumbered by government interference to handle the crisis.

Hoover's approach was a disaster. The situation only got worse as the American people spiraled further into poverty. Hoover's resulting unpopularity allowed a new visionary president to be elected, namely Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

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An Arc of Rebellion and Order

Sun poking through


When the first public Covid vaccines were being administered in December 2020, Jupiter was just reaching its conjunction with Saturn in Aquarius. Here we have a symbol of scientific breakthrough, of a collective effort to bring to everyone a humanitarian boon. This conjunction carries the hallmarks of the ancient interpretation of a major regime change, and during those weeks we saw that despite rabid attempts to hold on to power, the incumbent political party in the US was displaced. For many, a sense of optimism was brewing, that perhaps we could move past the traumatic events of 2020. Indeed, the popular hubbub around the 2020 Jupiter/Saturn conjunction echoed the celebratory acknowledgements of planetary alignments from ancient times.

That conjunction, however, was also at a square to Uranus, symbolizing a battle between factions of rebellion and the existing structures of authority. In the US this square was exemplified as Mars, planet of aggression and attack, reached conjunction to Uranus, planet of disruption and rebellion, both making an explosive square to Saturn, the planet of established authority, as the events of January 6th unfolded. From very early on, the year 2021 showed itself to be no less shocking than its predecessor.

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Lights in the Dark

Source unknown

Source unknown

Although Jupiter and Saturn are now transiting different signs they are still operating as two components of a centuries-long process that will redefine and rebuild our social and political institutions. With the emphasis on Aquarius, we are being driven to create a more humane and inclusive world. But this is not as simple of a goal as we might hope for. Like any ideal, it is fraught with challenging paradoxes and extant problems that seem insoluble. Striking at the heart of the Aquarian dilemma is the very definition of freedom and what it means to create a free society within a highly diverse and increasingly complex world.

Early in 2020, as Saturn was sandwiched between a conjunction with Pluto (concentration of authoritarian power) and 90º square to Uranus (populist uprisings against centralized authority), Covid came sweeping across the globe. Since then, many diverging and at times sharply conflicting social ideals have been pushed forward. Many purport to promote an ideal society free from tyranny and control, a utopia hamstrung by whoever constitutes the "other side". With Uranus in Taurus, there can be a literalization of social ideals, to the degree that if you do not agree with me, then you do not deserve to live, at which point the ideal has broken down into total dysfunction. The Saturn/Uranus square represents the great tension between these conflicting ideals, demanding that we release the literal forms and sort out what, at essence, defines freedom for us as a society. Racism, guns, voting, unions, infrastructure — all appropriate Saturn/Uranus topics, seen in past instances of Saturn/Uranus transits, moments that ask, as today: How do we structure our institutions to support both individual freedoms and responsibility to the greater whole?

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The New Progressive Era

Of all the questions which can come before this nation...there is none which compares in importance with the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us.

- Theodore Roosevelt, president during the Progressive Era of the early 1900s

Protest for unions

Activists for Women's Suffrage

Progressive Era (1896-1916) photos from the
Library of Congress

The tide is turning, if slowly and with great effort, towards a more socially progressed world. The reign of conservative leadership in recent years has reached its limit and is quickly losing steam. We find ourselves in a unique position, possibly feeling beaten down by recent events, possibly feeling hopeful for a future refreshed by the outing of corruption and the bonds of solidarity that have risen in response, while justified in holding real hopes for a positive reversal of fortune that uplifts and provides for the populace.

While the situation on Earth is never perfect, and we still have battles to fight and win, I believe we can expect some real reform via progressive policy over the coming years. The challenges we face today and soon to come present us with a direct opportunity to shore up the very framework of our society.

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