Caution: World Currently Under Construction

Construction, WTC Site, New York. April 02.

(8.12.02) AS I'M SURE YOU ALL KNOW, we are coming up on the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 tragedies. I am acutely aware that my comments will add yet another voice to the media-fueled fanfare accompanying this anniversary—we can, no doubt, expect nonstop mention of 9-11 for the next several weeks—and yet I feel moved to mention it anyway because, well, it's pretty important. Now, after almost a year, we are finally getting some much needed distance and perspective from the events. And astrologically, we are also moving further away from the Saturn-Pluto opposition, that mega-aspect I've repeatedly mentioned as both symbol and indicator of the recent period of darkness. It's time to enter a new productive phase.

Saturn is the wise authoritarian, whose strict but ultimately loving lessons grant us the strength and knowledge to discipline ourselves. Saturn teaches hard work and limitations. As any creator of great enduring accomplishments learns, we must focus our energies and limit our experiences over long periods of time in order to achieve sustainable success. It hurts, yes, but it also grows us up into mature adults. Once we achieve, though, then we stabilize. We are apt to rest on the laurels of our successes, so that once-fresh work energy crystallizes into something solid, comfortable, and likely immobile.

But Pluto, upon contacting Saturn, will not allow these structures to indefinitely remain in their existing form. Pluto (ruler of those mysteriously penetrating Scorpios) is a force that slowly but intensely transforms things by plumbing their depths and upturning all the darkness until it is exposed. It brings death, an essential part of the cycle of life, so follows it with gorgeous rebirth. From last summer through now, the power of Pluto's opposition to Saturn shattered our stable life structures, insisting that we dwell on the painful truths that had remained submerged underneath. Is it any wonder that, on a macro level, this power manifested itself through the crumbling of large visible structures—the World Trade Center towers—which revealed a previously unexplored force of anti-American (anti-Western, anti-Judeo-Christian, anti-capitalist) sentiment that mightily underscored it?

An interesting side-note about those dark underlying repressed forces. When I attended grad school in New York City, I learned a little-known fact about what exists underneath the structures in lower Manhattan. In 1991, during excavations for construction of a new federal building, a large burial ground of African slaves, dating back to colonial times, was discovered beneath several blocks near City Hall, not far from the WTC site. (Click here to read more about the history of the Burial Ground. Click here for a map of the area.) I was not terribly surprised to find out that the financial and political structures of lower Manhattan were literally built upon the bones of tens of thousands of black slaves. After the discovery, considerable controversy ensued about what to do with the excavation site (the federal building was eventually built) and how to properly memorialize the slaves (still unresolved, as of this linked article eerily published on Sept. 10, 2001).

Memorial, WTC Site, New York. April 02.

On 9-11, I almost immediately linked the tragedy with the skeletons buried nearby, the bodies a concentration of subterranean energy turned dark by the erasure of their contributions to early American history. In fact, some of these remains were in limbo storage in one of the collapsed WTC buildings and just recently recovered from the rubble.

It is fitting that we are now beginning to debate what new structures will replace the destroyed twin towers on the WTC site. Saturn is moving safely past its Pluto opposition and approaching a trine (a 120° angle) with Uranus. Trines are easy-flowing concentrations of energy that foster growth through the removal of obstacles. Uranus, our solar system's eccentric revolutionary, offers dynamic and radical (though somewhat unsettling) change to whatever it contacts. When Saturn combines its disciplined efforts with Uranus's progressive dynamism, what we get is the potential for construction of new structures that push the current envelope and (hopefully) address previous deficiencies. The Saturn-trine-Uranus aspect reaches its first exact peak next week, but its influence is already in effect and will remain so until next summer. Saturn last trined Uranus in 1972-73, when the WTC towers were originally completed and dedicated as the tallest buildings in the world.

In our own lives, we now find ourselves harnessing the Saturn-Uranus trine and working toward the establishment of enduring forms that match our newly changed worldviews. Over the past year, where the Saturn-Pluto opposition fell in each of our lives, the destruction brought down a previously unexamined monolith of crystallized self—with its apathy and overfamiliarity—leaving us to tread through the rubble. I personally relate my difficult decision to leave a comfortable and successful job and pursue astrology full-time to this force, which refused to permit me to continue in a no-longer appropriate line of work past its prime. With Saturn moving into trine with Uranus, the grief dissipates and optimism enters, creating an environment ripe for focusing efforts on building the next levels of our dreams. I eagerly welcome "Phase Two" of my astrobarry venture, having already broken loose from my previous situation and stabilized, ready to move ahead full throttle.

As we venture forth toward the construction of new phases, new projects and new buildings, we realize that we can't replicate what previously existed. What once worked for us is no longer effective. That is why we challenge ourselves to take risks and push past our comfort levels, so that all our work will not be wasted on already obsolete concepts. Those responsible for rebuilding on the WTC site are already facing this challenge, as the debate rages on about how to balance commercial needs with respectful tribute to the dead. Regular old office skyscrapers simply won't do. The ashes of the victims, and the voices of their surviving loved ones, won't allow their dismissal. We might try such an absurd erasure, but likely they'd still make themselves known at a later time, rising from the ground like their African slave predecessors a couple blocks away.