To Regulate, or Not To Regulate?


Though a Mercury retrograde is always likely to grab the headlines, let's not forget the real big news is still the oncoming Saturn-Uranus opposition.

I already introduced this mega-aspect to you a couple months ago, but you will hear much more about it over the next few years, as Saturn and Uranus remain within this opposition's orb of influence through mid-2011. And they enter that standard five-degree orb this week, folks.

The future we've both feared and eagerly anticipated (depending on how much a revolutionary you consider yourself), therefore, has officially arrived… and along with it, the sense we're now encountering a radically altered landscape never witnessed before, making us unsure of how best to proceed, meanwhile stirring mixed emotions about the inevitable farewell we must bid this closing period in history.

The last two moments in which we experienced this similarly full Saturn-Uranus awareness? (1) In 1918-1920, at the end of World War I, having experienced the shock of global warfare on such a bombastic scale… driven to rebuild 'normalcy' in the face of devastation… ushering in a decade of apparent American prosperity, yet imbalanced in its reach, sowing the seeds for the 1929 stock market crash… welcoming the freedoms of women to vote, while simultaneously attempting to enforce Puritanism with the national prohibition of alcohol, inadvertently spawning a seedy underbelly of organized crime. (2) In 1964-1966, as the Cold War and the Vietnam War grew tenser and messier, the US dealt with the assassination of its president… the traditional social fabric faced challenges from civil rights movements and a burgeoning counterculture… and the nation began to offer more social-assistance programs to its poor… all pointing toward a surge of so-called freedom for more people of different groups, at the same time putting government in a mixed-blessing role of both welfare provider and evil authoritarian.

Very perfunctory historical sketch, I know. But please don't focus on my facts, people—it's the feel I'm going for. Feel into those past two moments in recent US history. They mirror what we're now on the threshold of experiencing for ourselves. Just look at the 'American history' article on Wikipedia: It's conveniently divided into historical periods. One begins in 1918, at a Saturn-Uranus opposition. Another begins in 1964, at the next Saturn-Uranus opposition. It is not inconceivable that what we're currently witnessing—the banking collapse, the energy crisis, the unprecedented presidential election—will end up to be another marker-point where future historians draw a dividing line. (I'd actually bet money on it… 'After the Cold War: 1988-2010'.)

On the broadest level, the present debate surrounding how to understand and deal with the precarious economic situation perfectly parallels the counterbalancing qualities of Saturn and Uranus. The big question faced by those in charge: How much to regulate and 'bail out' from the centralized authority, vs. how much to allow the chaos of free-market principles to organically 'correct' itself? And astrologically, Saturn always represents the proverbial 'central authority', while Uranus is the unpredictability produced by the raw individualism and defiance of 'people power'.

Likewise, Saturn and Uranus also mirror the other thematic buzzwords being tossed around during the presidential campaign. Saturn is experience earned the hard way, through a trial-by-fire history of achievements and mistakes, which bestows a real-world wisdom one cannot learn through books or theories or sudden flashes of genius. Uranus is radical freshness, the electrifying pulse of innovation born from the need to try something different, once it appears those with experience have become blinded by the perspectives they've held for years. Saturn signifies tradition, a conservative approach that respects the sanctity of institutions upon which many folks' sense of stability rests. Uranus brings the change and, along with it, increased liberation for those who felt oppressed by such traditions… and what surely seems like anarchistic end-times to those plenty content with how things have always been.

In trying to wrap our heads around the state of American politics, then, it is crucial to understand that neither principle—Saturn's structural supremacy or Uranus's wild-west rebelliousness—should be allowed to unilaterally triumph at the expense of the other. Their opposition reveals the obvious pitfalls of both extremes to our immediate consciousness. The touchy challenge here is to balance between a reining-in and tightening-up of government's traditional role (Saturn) and an abrupt, dramatic reinvention of its practices to better support the needs of a changing populace (Uranus).

And let's be honest, balance isn't exactly our strong suit here in modern Western civilization. We like the total win… the 'with us or against us'… the black-and-white split-screen news analyses purporting to be 'fair' while both sides blatantly insinuate one is clearly right and the other wrong. But too much Saturn, and we will see our freedom-loving democracy reduced to an iron-fisted police state, more invested in security and stability than in the personal satisfaction of its average citizen. And too much Uranus, despite its appeal to the rabble-rousers (of which there are many), will lead to massive civil unrest in the streets—freedom, sure, but in a drastically unsafe and unlivable manner.

Likewise, we'd be foolish to assume (as many astro-pundits have) that Saturn equals Republican and Uranus equals Democrat… as that is too simplistic (and partisan) a take on a much deeper archetypal situation. While we might jump to the conclusion that Obama, with his multi-ethnic background and youthful appeal, is the Uranian, we must also remember he's the one with the more controlled demeanor and the policies that increase the role of government in our lives (see: health care; greater financial regulations). McCain, meanwhile, is attempting to straddle both sides by playing up his experience while borrowing Obama's mandate for 'change!' (And his shocking pick of Palin for VP surely appears far more Uranus than Saturn.) Yet, culturally speaking, this ticket certainly veers toward upholding tradition in the vein of Saturn.

Neither candidate owns the patent on either Saturn's or Uranus's best traits. Andwhoever wins will face the same opposition of the two—between preserving the status quo and injecting visionary change—in the task of leading this country.

No matter what happens, alas, history will be made. After all, we've got a new chapter to start writing—without a clear indication of where the story's headed next. Now, that's creativity for you…