The Last Century of History Flashes in Front of Our Eyes


The last century of history flashes in front of our eyes.

Ronald Reagan dies, at the same time the world commemorates the 60th anniversary of D-Day, all during the week of Venus's momentous transit across the Sun. And along with WWII remembrances of Pearl Harbor and the Nazis and Hiroshima, we watch a review of one historymaking figure's 93-year-long life, from Depression-era youth in the Midwest, through 'classic' Hollywood and the first celebrity-governorship of California, to a popular two-term presidency during the me-decade '80s. 'Reagan will be remembered for winning the Cold War,' we are instructed and repeatedly reminded, over the first new shots of Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev on American TV in years. Oddly, OJ Simpson is also everywhere, in multiple televised interviews and magazine spreads, for unrelated though synchronicitous reasons. (On the tenth anniversary of his ex-wife's murder, he has a new TV show in production copycatting MTV's Punk'd; instead of getting punk'd, victims gets 'juiced'. I hope it doesn't hurt.)

This cavalcade of recollections perfectly suits the current retrograde-Venus-in-Gemini period, as we reconsider the value of people and situations that have filled our lives. We recognize the fragmented moments of relationships and events that, when interwoven, comprise the fiber of each of our individual selves. Each fragment begets others. They recombine and replay themselves. There are so many different facets and details, links and connections, we can struggle to get track of them all. Sometimes we lose track only to regain it a couple dozen perspective shifts down the line.

Last week's funereal events coincided with the Venus transit, solidifying the notion that this rare astronomical occurrence heralds a momentous shift. We may adamantly disagree on Reagan's politics, but we unambiguously understand more than ever how significant he was. So many of his policy particularities birthed ripples that still strongly mark our lives twenty years later, for better or for worse. Reagan's death portends release and progress. We must say goodbye to move ahead.

As part of Venus's back-and-forth retrograde period, she opposes Pluto on three instances between May and July. To reap more than mere enjoyment from the flitting fragmented images parading across our vision, we reach deep into the complex emotions beneath each one, some accessing pain and, hopefully, the catharsis to follow. The dual-edged recognition is that we have both been here before and never been before. Iraq is and isn't Vietnam.

The end of the Vietnam War ('the one we lost') coincided with the height of the Watergate scandal in 1974-75, the last time that Saturn conjoined the Sun in the chart of the US (birthdate: Jul 4 1776). Saturn delivers sobering lessons by bringing awareness to limitations; when we stray beyond its strict disciplinary authority, we are harshly reined back into order. At the last Saturn-US Sun conjunction, our nation experienced collective grief at the loss of faith in our leader, while we learned that wealth and military might aren't always enough to impose our preferences on other groups of people.

Last Friday, the national day of mourning for Reagan's death, Saturn in Cancer returned to conjoin the US Sun again. We are at the same point in the Saturn-Sun cycle of national self-identity as in 1974-75, launching meditations (glowing and critical) on the role of the chief executive in the midst of a complicated war in which clear victory is difficult to envision. (What about Saudi Arabia?) Interestingly, only a few days later, Saturn also conjoins the Sun of President George W Bush (birthdate: Jul 6 1946), indicating the tough pressure he faces to mature and wise up, in light of challenges to his authority. With the country and the president's Suns so close together, the world's perceptions of both are integrally tied together. Saturn is the lord of karma, so for both the US and Bush, this is a moment of facing consequences, positive and negative, to previous actions.

Mars is alongside Saturn, also in Cancer. Among other things, Cancer is the sign connected to motherhood, which partly explains the emotional intuitiveness attributed to its watery domain. Even as the strongly Gemini influence has kept our hands busy and our minds reeling, we are also being instinctively drawn to act in protection of ourselves and loved ones, much as a mother would for a child. Similarly, on the political front, attentions return to the domestic sphere and the needs of the people to be nurtured on the teats of the motherland. Rhetoric doesn't always match emotional motivations, and as the tides turn away from an undeniably frenetic few weeks, we'll be better able to follow our guts rather than being garbled by the glut of gab.

Though Thursday's New Moon in Gemini reminds us that we're not completely through with the profusion of flying words that seek some enduring meaning, this week definitely marks an astrological changing of the guard. On Saturday, Mercury moves into Cancer, followed by the Sun on Sunday, marking Solstice and the beginning of summer. Spring's germinations now have time to quietly bask in the warm summer sun and develop into more.

By the end of this new Moon cycle, Venus will have returned to direct motion and Mars will have spent most of the month in Leo, both shifts lightening the mood and letting us feel greater faith in the ability to enjoy life.

And now that Reagan is safely interred under the ground in Simi Valley, he too will be able to enjoy whatever he is to enjoy… and, after this recent review of history, the rest of us can find out what happens next.