A New Perspective on the Uranus-Pluto Squares of 2012-2015
by Rick Levine
Come gather round people wherever you roam
And admit that the waters around you have grown…
We live in the mesocosm. Systems that are magnitudes of order smaller than our everyday reality exist in the microcosm. The macrocosm describes those systems that are magnitudes of order larger than our mesocosmic where we live, here in the middle ground. As astrologers, we adhere to the words on the Emerald Tablet ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus: “As below, so above; and as above so below”. The microcosm and macrocosm are one; it is only our perceptions from here in the mesocosm that set the micro- and macrocosms apart. They are one and the same, according to the Hermetic Tablet.
In these modern times, science has delved into the microcosm with great intensity, giving us quantum physics. We have learned about the mysteries of particle/wave duality. We know that subatomic particles travel as waves but are perceived as particles when we measure them. We are comfortable with this duality at the microcosmic level. When viewing the macrocosmic level we normally think of planets as points. We map them on a horoscope wheel. We calculate their positions to determine the exact moment of transiting aspects. But if we truly understand that above and below are one and the same, then we cannot shirk from the logical conclusion that, like microcosmic subatomic particles, planets are both particles (albeit it, very large ones) and waves. The particle/wave duality that exists in the quantum physical realm of the very small is reflected in the planetary realm of the very large. Unlike microcosmic electromagnetic waves that vibrate billions of times a second, the planetary waves are slower by many orders of magnitude. The lunar wave cycles at approximately thirteen cycles per year, Saturn cycles at about three cycles per century and Pluto at four cycles per millennium.
Planetary pairs, too, have their unique wave forms created by the repetition of their observable conjunction cycles. Themes of historical cycles conform to the resonance of these outer planet wave forms. We can easily see the recurrent themes of the Uranus-Pluto cycle from conjunction to opening square to opposition to closing square and back to conjunction. We are especially familiar with the thematic consistency between the Uranus-Pluto conjunctions of 1965-1966 and the Uranus-Pluto squares of 2012-2015. A few of the resurfacing issues are the redistribution of power and wealth, the rise of an active anti-war movement, increased passion in discussions over nationalism and anti-nationalism, gender and racial equality, environmentalism, and psychoactive drugs. With slow-moving outer transit cycles, the planets move slowly enough that the aspects hold a position over time. The aspect may be repeated several times over the period of years, giving faster moving inner planets time to trigger and re-trigger the longer-lasting aspect.
Synchronicity and diachronicity
In Cosmos and Psyche, Rick Tarnas introduces a uniquely astrological view to the concepts of synchronic and diachronic events. Many people are already familiar with synchronicity as described by psychologist Carl Jung, especially in his forward to the I Ching (Wilhem/Baynes translation, c.1950 by Princeton University Press) where he writes: “… a curious principle that I have termed synchronicity, a concept that formulates a point of view diametrically opposed to that of causality. Since the latter is a merely statistical truth and not absolute, it is a sort of working hypothesis of how events evolve one out of another, whereas synchronicity takes the coincidence of events in space and time as meaning something more than mere chance, namely, a peculiar interdependence of objective events among themselves as well as with the subjective (psychic) states of the observer or observers”. In other words, events may be connected by some principle other than causality. However, in order for something to quality as a synchronicity, the multiple events must occur at the same moment in time. The Greek prefix ‘syn’ means ‘together’ or ‘with’ and when combined with ‘chronic’, meaning ‘pertaining to time’ there must be simultaneity. Two synchronic events can be separated by space, but not by time. If there is an acausal connection between two events occurring at different times, they are diachronic, not synchronic.
Social unrest appears to increase in activity around the conjunctions of Uranus and Pluto. For example, social uprisings occurred in China (the Cultural Revolution) while student rebellion took place in major Western cities during the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of the mid-‘60s. This is an example of synchronicity. But when we observe the people’s revolutions throughout the major cities of Europe around the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of 1850-1851 and see their similarity to the collective impulses of 1965-1966, we are looking at a diachronic rather than synchronic event.
Another convincing example of astrological diachronicity can be seen with respect to the roughly thirty-three year Saturn-Pluto cycle with diachronic events occurring at the conjunctions and oppositions. The conflict between Palestine and Israel has spanned a very long period of time. Great Britain invaded and occupied Egypt in 1882 to protect its interest in the Suez Canal – just prior to a Saturn-Pluto conjunction. The First Zionist Congress was held in Switzerland in 1897 and the World Zionist Organization was established with the goal of creating a Jewish homeland around Jerusalem – just prior to a Saturn-Pluto opposition. Zionism has had ongoing significance at Saturn-Pluto conjunctions and oppositions leading up to the present day. The first Saturn-Pluto conjunction of the 20th century was exact on October 4, 1914. Only months before, the assassination of Duke Ferdinand precipitated the outbreak of the Great World War. Complicating the developing thread of Zionism and control of the Holy Land, the British promised Arab lands their independence from the Ottoman Empire in return for the Arabs’ support against the Turks and the Germans. The significance of these alliances became apparent at the following opposition in 1931 when Jewish Zionists were angered by England’s loyalty to Palestine (which was created along with Iraq, Iran as a fulfillment of England’s promise to the Arabs for their support in World War I). At the following Saturn-Pluto conjunction in 1947, martial law was declared in Jewish areas of Palestine because of their attacks on the British, who were still helping the Palestinians maintain their homeland. The British withdrew from Palestine. The United Nations adapted a plan to split Palestine into an Arab and Jewish state. Israel was established the following year and Palestine disappeared from the map.
A separate diachronic thread is seen in relation to India. In 1931, on the Indian subcontinent, Mahatma Gandhi led a march to sea to make the symbolic gesture of manufacturing salt, which had been outlawed by the British as part of their exercise of political control. The Saturn-Pluto conjunction on August 10, 1947 was just 5 days prior to the division of India and Pakistan and their independence from Great Britain. Over 400,000 people were slaughtered during the ensuring mass migrations of Hindus and Moslems into the newly created religious states. In 1947, Gandhi’s political and social movement resulted in India’s freedom. At the next conjunction in 1982, the movie Gandhi was released and his story and the story of India’s freedom became refreshed in our awareness.
Another way to see diachronicity in action is to observe a repeating cycles in an individual’s life. An 8-year old girl experiences a parental divorce when Saturn is transiting conjuncts her natal Moon. At age 22 when Saturn is opposing her natal Moon, a relationship ends and she experiences her first loss of serious love. A few years later she marries and has children. When she’s 36 years old she divorces as Saturn conjoins her Natal Moon. We often observe these kinds of cyclic events.
Diachronicity can also be seen during a planetary retrograde period, when a transit occurs multiple times within weeks or months. For example, a client experienced difficulties at work when transiting Saturn conjoined his natal Sun in the 10th House. He quit his job out of frustration when Saturn retrograded back over his Sun. Several months later, on the third and final pass of Saturn to his Sun, he received a better job offer that was more in line with his long term goals. These three separate events are also diachronically connected across time.
Cosmic feedback loops
The Pythagorean concept of the ‘Music of the Spheres’ is not a metaphor or an abstraction. Pythagoras demonstrated the vibratory nature of music, the harmonically resonant construction of the eight-note musical scale. Johannes Kepler also contributed to our understanding of music, yet both claimed that the planets played their own variety of music on the harp unstrung. It turns out Pythagoras and Kepler were correct. Understanding the particle/wave duality of the planets clearly leads to a concrete notion of planetary music that is generated at a very low frequency. Instead a note vibrating at 440 cycles per second (within the human hearing range), planetary music vibrates at cycles per year, century or millennium. We cannot hear this music with our ears, yet we seem to dance to it, nonetheless.
The widespread use of electronic amplification substantially changed the face of modern music. By using electronic circuitry to feed sound back on itself, we learned how to creatively us feedback to generate new sounds. Electronically amplified music sounds different than naturally acoustic music. Feedback creates amplification but can also create distortion. I propose that we now have technologies that are capturing the planetary energies and looping the intensity back on itself, creating a new phenomenon I am calling Cosmic Feedback Loops.
Due to technological extensions of man, the mass media of the 1960s and the digital social networking media of the 2010s have substantially changed the intensity of the impact of outer planet cycles. Diachronicity isn’t what it once was because the situation here on Earth has changed. Historically, a transit such as a Uranus-Pluto conjunction, square or opposition was experienced individually and locally, disconnected from the experiences of others. Many individuals might have had their charts activated by a particular aspect, but without telegraphs, telephones, radios, televisions and now the internet, there was no way for one person’s experience to be transferred to others in real time. Historically, multiple locations may have produced synchronic events, such as separate rebellions against different local rulers in Berlin and Paris and Prague.
|The times they are a-changin’: Vietnam War protestors, October 21, 1967, Washington, D.C.|
The Uranus-Pluto conjunction of the 1960s irrevocably changed the notion of geographic separateness in major outer planet events. In the United States, the Vietnam War was in everyone’s living room every night. And the youth was listening to rock and roll. But the architectonic nature of music can’t be ignored, and the music was resonating the larger planetary rhythms. At the same time the nightly news of the major media was broadcasting the nationalistic party line, Bob Dylan was singing about the changing times, the Beatles were broadcasting the kaleidoscopic eyes of Lucy in the Sky, and the Jefferson Airplane was leading a generation down the rabbit hole to go ask Alice when she was ten feet tall. The most significant thing about all this is that it happened outside of the controlled media. Those in charge thought it was simply popular music. They had no idea it was the beat of tribal drums, a resonant hum creating a cosmic feedback loop that was amplifying the Uranus-Pluto conjunction so young people everywhere were entrained with one another. Young people living in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, London, El Paso and Brighton were all chanting the same songs—songs of Uranian revolution and Plutonic transformation. It was the first time in human history that an outer planet cycle was amplified by manmade global resonances. And while the establishment slept, unaware of what was happening, the power of the music lifted the 1960s into mythic proportions.
Now, as the Uranus-Pluto squares of 2012-2015 unfold, we are again experiencing Cosmic Feedback Loops, but this time at a higher order of magnitude. In the 1960s there were a few news networks. In the 2010s, nearly every person is a news network, broadcasting his or her point of view, using pocket-sized digital video recorders and cameras. YouTube is the new Columbia records, BBC and NBC. Facebook is the new New York Times.
Look Ma, no hierarchy!
Astrologers widely accept Pluto’s role in deconstruction. It’s the story of the Phoenix which arises from the ashes of the ruins of destruction. The key words here are ashes, ruins and destruction. The old must go before the new is born. Something must be deconstructed for something new to be constructed. The chrysalis is the deconstruction of the caterpillar. The compost pile is Pluto’s way of deconstructing living organic matter in order to transform it into food for the next generation. Nihilism is another form of Plutonic deconstruction. Nietzsche described nihilism as the natural devaluation of that which was most highly valued. Nihilism deconstructs whatever is on the top of the pile and sends it off to the compost bin for recycling. Radical theology nihilistically proclaimed, “God is dead!”
Pluto entered Capricorn in 2008 and remains there until 2023. As a cardinal sign, Capricorn is one of the four hinges of the material world. Etymologically, the word ‘cardinal’ was rooted in the old English word, henge or hinge. In this techno-crazy world of iPads and quantum computing, there’s nothing sexy about a door hinge. However, imagine living in a pre-hinged world. There were no doors or gates. The invention of the hinge was a profound breakthrough. It enabled humans to build walls that allowed for selective passage, without compromising the integrity of the structure of the wall. A cardinal sign is a hinge. Cardinality allows us to pass through a point without affecting the integrity of the point. Cardinal signs start new seasons. They initiate new experiences. They are hinged doors than change the landscape.
Aries is cardinal fire; it initiates change through action. Cancer is cardinal water, initiating change through emotional reaction. Libra is cardinal air, initiating change through the movement of thoughts. Capricorn is cardinal earth, initiating change by creating structure.
The Mountain Goat is known for its capability to scale great heights with infallible sure-footedness. It’s survival of the highest. Capricorns are ambitious because they accumulate power or wealth by climbing the ladder, by getting to the top. Success is defined by verticality; hence we have top dog and top gun. We even say that someone is “at the top of his game”. Top dominates bottom. Getting ahead means gaining authority and coming out on top. For Mountain Goats it’s all about hierarchy.
We’ve read descriptions of how Pluto’s visit to Capricorn will bring the decay of structures: governments, economic standards, and infrastructures like bridges and roads. However, I’d like to point out how Pluto’s transit through Capricorn is also deconstructing the very hierarchy of power, itself. Although the old structures still exert their control, there’s been a powerful shift. At one time there was only one reality. It was given by declaration by the King. In the Western world, the Church was top dog for centuries. With the Reformation came more points of view. But even the multiple interpretations of God’s word required a church or at least a book to make it real.
With the advent of print media, a printing press was required to make one’s point of view valid. It was Thomas Paine’s Common Sense that inspired the American colonies to put top dog King George in his place. Although there has always been rogue media, reality has largely been defined by those in power, those who controlled the hand-scribing monks, the printing presses, and later the radio and television stations.
But even with the Cosmic Feedback Loops created by the music of the ‘60s, they were hierarchical. A new music album by the Beatles or Bob Dylan was like reading the newspaper to the youth of those times. Everyone waited with baited breath to learn what was coming next. However potent those musical tribal drums were as they agitated and inspired and excited the youth of the ‘60s, the drums originated from the accepted musical gods and goddesses, those who had made it to the top of the pile. The information came from the top and was disseminated down to the masses.
|The times they are a-changin’ (again): protestors of the Bahraini uprising, February 2011|
Pluto in Capricorn is changing that forever. Anyone with a cellphone video recorder or camera has the capability of adding his or her buzz to the growing pile of buzzing energy. And the collective hum of the growing library of Uranus-Pluto moments are online and feeding back to the hungry masses who want to know what’s happening. And again, the old guard doesn’t quite know how to suppress this new wave of decentralized rebellion. It may be fighting back with everything it has, but its demise is already here.
The times they are a-changin’ (again)
The current Uranus-Pluto square phase was initiated on the day of the Uranus ingress into Aries, corresponding with the Fukushima earthquake, tsunami and nuclear compromise. Since then we have had a series of cultural outbreaks of social expression that began with the Arab Spring in the Mid-East and the Occupy Wall Street movement in the USA. We’ve seen a serious rebellions in many countries, some successful, some still in question, and some hopelessly futile. However, we cannot judge the overall character of this astrologically significant time in history any more than we could have predicted in 1966 the impact the ‘60s would have on world history. These squares are still unfolding and it may take years to put this all into perspective.
However, one thing is certain. We have a new phenomenon on our hands. Revolutions are taking place in the Twittersphere, on Facebook and on YouTube. People’s revolt’s today are being fed by the energy of previous social outbreaks. “If they could do it in Libya, we can do it here”. There are YouTube clips to watch that can’t keep the news from those who want it. And each new outbreak is revved up by all the other recent expressions because of the nature of the Cosmic Feedback Loops.
GPS and TPS
Maps that describe spatial relationships have been used for centuries to help people know where they are and where they are going. Now, Global Positioning Systems improve our capability to navigate through space. By utilizing digital technology and rapidly feeding back this geographical information on an individualized basis, this relatively new technology enables us to move around with greater efficiency than ever before.
Astrology is a technology that provides maps showing temporal rather than spatial relationships. A horoscope is a map of time rather than space. It doesn’t reveal where we are; it reveals when we are. It doesn’t reveal where we might go; it reveals when we might go. The proliferation of astrological information available on the Internet is also adding a new level of change into the mix. As we continue to develop systems of individualized astrology feedback, we will move toward TPS or ‘Temporal Positioning Systems’. By increasing individual awareness personal and global cycles, we also increase the ability for people’s actions to have enduring impact.
Bringing it all back home
Because of the near instantaneity of digital communication, sudden changes in social consciousness are becoming more possible—even likely. With the right emails, tweets and YouTube videos, it is possible for ideas of radical change to ‘go viral’. It’s easy to get discouraged when looking at the current state of humanity, but astrology may have a significant role to play in the unfolding global changes. More people than ever before are aware of the magical relationship between the planets and our affairs here on earth. And more astrologers than ever before are spreading the awareness of planetary cycles. But most of us will not be able to individually change things at the societal level. However, we can make changes at the individual level. And as our individual changes connect with others, the resonance creates larger and larger ripples.
It’s time for us to do our jobs. We need to continue our work in earnest, helping others clean up their lives. We need to continue the work by continuing to clean up our own lives. As astrologers, we can teach people about time. When we know where we are in the larger cycle, we have a better idea of what must be done. In Jung’s last book, The Undiscovered Self, he said that global issues won’t be solved by politicians and peace treaties. The salvation of the world will come from the salvation of the individuals living in it. It’s surely time to think cosmically and act locally.
First published in: The Astrological Journal, Jul/Aug 2014
Rick Levine is a Founding Trustee of Kepler College. He is the co-author (with Jeff Jawer) of the Your Astrology Guide series. His daily horoscopes are delivered via the internet to millions of readers daily. His DVD is Quantum Astrology: Science, Spirit, and Our Place in the Cycles of History. Rick is a computer wizard, a net-junkie, a photographer, a poet, and is rumored to have an advanced Intel microprocessor imbedded near his third eye.
© The Astrological Association of Great Britain 2014