The Winner is Wednesday (or Was it Thursday?)


So the war started. Big surprise.

There's a part of me that wants to find something else to write about this week, that same part which desperately wishes for the TV networks to halt their foolish propagandic preemption of all regularly scheduled programming to bring us nonstop live coverage of the latest developments while actually offering little else than those same dazzling special-effects lights via nightview-cam that I remember from the last big war. Still I cannot avoid mention of the war, simply because I may disagree with it and/or already be tired of hearing about it, even as it's just the beginning. After all, it's what's happening—in the biggest sense of the phrase "what's happening"—and so we must engage with it: to help make sense of it, to calm our nerves, to vent our frustrations, to push our understanding, to heal our pain.

As a reputable and forthright astrologer, I must level with you about astrology and its relationship to all this war business. No matter when the combat actually broke out—and we'd all been waiting for it for months—we astrologers could easily have pointed out, after the fact, all the cosmic factors contributing to the fact that this (whenever this this happened to be) was the perfect, synchronicitous, makes-complete-sense, should-have-seen-it-coming moment, astrologically speaking, for war to break out.

Meanwhile, it would take a highly skilled, highly intuitive astrological expert on world affairs to, ahead of time, without classified information from the White House, pinpoint the exact date (or even a 2- or 3-day range) when war would break—though there are, in fact, a few of this sort of special individual who had such insights that Sept. 11, 2001, was to be a peculiarly harrowing day.

Whether I am someone so skilled and intuitive is made irrelevant by the fact that I don't use my astrology in this way, to attempt to predict the future or the precise timing of significant events, whether global or personal. I'm much more interested in general timing, in attributing meaning to phases rather than to any single given day—the latter which, for those so diligently minded, requires constant attention to the Moon's placement and to fleeting transits whose effects may last mere hours rather than weeks—so, in that regard, it matters less to me whether war broke out on Wednesday or Thursday. (Depends on your time zone, I guess.)

And, as I've continually reiterated here, I find astrology so very useful during and after an event, to provide a symbolic context for understanding what we are feeling as we feel it and in the immediate aftermath, as a coping mechanism.

Sure, astrology also helps one to be prepared—but this beforehand warning resides only in the realm of the hypothetical (i.e., what my Saturn return might feel like), where the actual manifestation of the planetary energies has yet to be determined ("oh, now I feel it!") and is still highly vulnerable to the influence of free will. Before the war, I may have refrained from predicting when exactly it would start out of (naïve?) hope that the millions of worldwide protesters could actually have prevented it altogether—and out of not wanting to energetically assist in its inevitability by assuming it to be inevitable. But in retrospect, it is certainly fair and indeed helpful to apply the astrological components of the moment to make sense of what they mean to us, now that war has happened.

All that said, war did break out at an interesting time, sandwiched between last Tuesday's Full Moon and last Thursday's entry of the Sun into Aries, which marks the beginning of the new astrological year (i.e., Spring Equinox). Its timing emphasizes this war as a potent symbol of both the end of something significant and the beginning of something else (not the most profound way of stating the obvious, I know, since every moment is both a beginning and an end), but, as we are still on the cusp of this transition, we don't yet know what either of the "something"s are.

Looking at this past Full Moon, the Sun in Pisces and the Moon in Virgo were forming a loose grand cross (four points, at the four ends of two perpendicular lines, making 90-degree angles to each other) to Saturn in opposition to Pluto. This, the last Full Moon of the zodiac year and in aspect to the finally-separating Saturn-Pluto opposition, gives us an indication of what we're leaving behind.

The Saturn-Pluto opposition, the single strongest astrological influence of the last two years, pitted the existing authorities and structures which represent the crystallized status quo (Saturn) against the deep dark will-to-power, that unavoidable drive to kill and destroy, or be killed and destroyed, so that transformed life can regenerate upon the ashes (Pluto). The opposition occurred across the Gemini-Sagittarius axis, highlighting the dichotomy between a relativist flattening of different viewpoints (Gemini) and the zealous quest for absolute single-minded truth (Sagittarius). (I leave it to you to apply these archetypal descriptions to particular events during this period in our personal and collective lives, lest I be forced to mention 9/11, again, as the most obvious example.)

As this Saturn-Pluto influence tapers off, we are witnessing the ultimate instance of structures being busted. The bearing walls are coming down. There is little doubt that the U.S. will emerge victorious in its conflict with Iraq—though this concept of "victory" is a short-term, limited-perspective one. In the course of this victory, the restraints (Saturn) against a fuller culmination of the power struggle (Pluto) are eliminated, clearing the way for fiercer, darker expressions, whether through upsurges in terrorism or a new global realization of the violent power underscoring American dominance (and a consequent global move toward dismantling it, led by, say, France and Germany and Russia and China). The way for something new.

Aries, the sign where both the Sun and Mercury currently reside, represents the physical push toward something new, usually associated with the first blossoming beginnings of spring. Aries is also, not coincidentally, ruled by Mars, the planet/god of war who moves ahead at all costs, conquering any obstacles blocking its self-expression. As one of the archetypal energies in every astrological chart, Mars—and its drive toward war and aggression—is a quintessential, unavoidable energy in the universe. Thus, while it would be politically polite for me to push for peace in every situation at all costs, I cannot lie and say I advocate this. I have experienced violence and aggression in myself, and not as an altogether-negative drive.

Just as a plant's first shoot must shove its way through its seed's hard outer coating, so too must we sometimes push to survive. I may not support the current war on Iraq, but you'd better believe that, if I had a child, I'd have no qualms about hurting or killing someone who seriously threatened his survival. Whether we support war with Iraq, we cannot deny that Aries/war energy envelopes us now. Even the marchers-for-peace are sufficiently angry to violently dismantle bystanders' cars standing in the way of their passions.

In conclusion, I must return our attention to the recent entrance of Uranus into Pisces, after a healthy eight-year-transit through Aquarius. As one of the bigger astrological events of 2003 (if not the biggest) occurred the same month as the start of a major war, I cannot avoid seeing the two together. Uranus brings massive, chaotic, revolutionary release. It recently left Aquarius, the sign of social groupings and communities, and entered the zodiac's final sign, Pisces, which symbolizes "the masses" in a more psychic, sympathetic, boundless way.

Uranus transiting Pisces is likely to address, through some sharp dramatic charge, the helplessly sacrificial feeling that we unified masses deal with when we give up our power to idealized higher sources—Saddam Hussein, the U.S. government, drug addiction, God. Every one of us in the U.S. is in the same boat as everyone in Iraq, confronting the consequences of decisions not made by us but supposedly made in our name. This week, as Venus moves into Pisces and conjunct Uranus, we are ripe to feel this interconnectedness as we psychically share each other's pain, right as we begin to get the first televised records of the devastation of individual lives—just like yours and mine—for the sake of… what, the protection of lives?