On The (UK/US) World Gone Wild

8.14.11


Since last I addressed you, the headlines have been ablaze with instability and unrest in the globe's two preeminent empire-building nations, the UK and the US.

That riots and financial panic were triggered by last week's cardinal T-square between Mars, Uranus and Pluto is not especially surprising from the archetypal vantage-point.

In my previous article, I described Mars's 'slippery shenanigans' from a more individual angle: the heightened chances for standoffs, flying sparks, power struggles. The same astro-influences obviously apply on the collective level too (for what is a 'collective' other than a bunch of individuals playing off each other)… which we can draw further insight on by gazing through our mundane-astrologer's lens, at the horoscopes of these two imperial states.

We don't have to go much deeper than the natal Sun placements of the UK and the US to immediately spy the biggest clue to what's going on. In looking at the UK, the two most commonly used birthdates for the country are Dec 25 1066 (the crowning of William the Conqueror) and Jan 1 1801 (the union of Great Britain and Ireland)—which, by beautiful coincidence, both feature the natal Sun in the 11th degree of Capricorn. For the US, the Jul 4 1776 date (when the Declaration of Independence was approved) yields a natal Sun in the 14th degree of Cancer. Not only is it interesting to note these two have natal Suns opposed to one another (which makes sense, as the US was founded in literal opposition to the UK), but both Suns are now at the early stage of being crunched by the still-mounting square between Uranus and Pluto.

If you haven't yet drilled into your brain the momentous importance of the Uranus-Pluto square, I suggest you do so. Without a doubt, this is generation-defining astrology we are witnessing… and I will be mentioning it over and over again (as I already have here, here and here, for instance) throughout the 2010s. Uranus the Great Disrupter-Awakener-Liberator will form the tense 90-degree angle with Pluto the Great Dominator-Destroyer-Transformer a total of seven times between 2012 and 2015. Hard Uranus-Pluto aspects are associated with cycles of periodic revolution, discord and societal reorientation. The last Uranus-Pluto square occurred during the first half of the 1930s—during the height of the Great Depression, and the subsequent developments leading up to the Second World War—while Uranus was in Aries, just as it is today, and Pluto in Cancer. Is it any wonder we keeping hearing references to this 'Great Depression' concept being thrown around?

This go-around, Pluto's traveling through Capricorn during his square with Uranus… a sign that explicitly directs our attention to systems of governance, authority and centralized economics. Another word that keeps popping up in the cultural ethers: Plutocracy, defined as 'rule by the wealthy'. We in the astro-know are perfectly aware of where that term derives—from Pluto, Roman god of the underworld, name borrowed from the Greek for 'god of wealth'. This etymological link yields us an 'a-ha' moment, making evident the connection between (1) accumulation of financial power and (2) a dark, deathly undercurrent.

In a plutocratic world (like the one we occupy), don't the wealthy derive their power via a shadowy, destructive dominance over the have-nots? Don't they profit off the deaths (metaphoric or literal) of their subjugated subjects? The Faustian bargain looms large over our collective conscience: Must we sell our souls to the underworld god for the privilege of amassing treasure? Pluto's transit through Capricorn (through 2025) aims to root out the complex answers to these questions—and not in an especially pleasant fashion.

Surely, these issues came into play in the UK riots, which were initially ignited in a popular protest against police violence… then fanned by the growing discontent of a youth population with diminishing access to jobs, social services or much foreseeable hope to pull themselves out of a dreary economic slump, all while their relations with authority (i.e., cops clamping down more tightly on the young and unemployed, esp. those of certain skin-tones) worsen. This is not a situation limited to Britain, of course, but arising elsewhere across the globe.

As Mars set off the Uranus-Pluto tension by square and opposition, respectively, the outbreak of riots in London reminds us the UK is on the path toward a Pluto conjunction to its natal Capricorn Sun, at the same time that Uranus squares it. These are two major radically disruptive and transformational transits to the nation's core-identity forming to exactitude simultaneously during 2013-14, though already on the cusp of entering an orb of noticeable influence. The last period in which Pluto conjoined England's natal Sun was 1765-1770, following on the heels of a Uranus square to the Sun in 1761-1764—the decade leading to the American Revolution, a populist pushback against centralized politico-economic power, and a pivotal point in the decline of the British Empire.

Britain's offspring, the US also suffered a headline-making shakeup under the effect of last week's Mars-Uranus-Pluto T-square… of a different breed, perhaps, but from the same root species of plutocratic rot. The protracted Washington debate over whether to raise the debt ceiling, which resulted in a last-minute deal— as Mars hovered in the critical last degree of Gemini, disposited by a stationary Mercury, hours from retrograding and in an obscuring opposition to Neptune—led to a downgrade in the US's credit rating by one of the leading agencies. Consequently, the markets saw an incredibly bumpy, unstable week: down huge amounts one day, back up the next, down, then up. Many are wondering if this is 'the beginning of the end' for American dominance over the global economy.

Last week's T-square hit the US chart right in the monetary heart: its natal conjunction of Venus (the planet that rules money) and an exalted Jupiter (which makes everything it touches bigger) in Cancer, an aspect that poignantly signifies the US's unprecedented material abundance. Mars was exactly conjoined the US's Venus/Jupiter this past week, while Pluto opposed and Uranus squared. The excesses of American economic policy are, right now as we speak, in the midst of their Uranus-Pluto overhaul.

Yet, in the politically-motivated focus on reducing the national deficit—by cutting social programs that benefit the wide slice of the populace currently in economic pain, rather than, say, raising taxes on the comfortably wealthy or reducing the bloated defense budget—leaders of both parties ignore the popular rallying-cry for governmental job-creation policies (a la FDR's New Deal initiatives, which date back to the prior Uranus-Pluto square period). Democrats and Republicans, one in the same in their disregard for the people, bowing to the rich. Plutocracy rears its ugly head again, so blatantly, as the US's natal Sun also prepares for its Uranus-Pluto pummeling.

While the US's natal Sun receives its exact hits from Uranus (by square) and Pluto (by opposition) a year later than the UK's, in 2014-15, these transits are further complicated by the fact that the US Sun is natally squared by its Saturn in Libra. The coming Uranus-Pluto square, thus, forms a perfect grand cross with America's natal Sun-Saturn square… which seems to indicate a tearing of the carefully constructed social compromises that hold the nation together. It's also worth pointing out, from this angle, that the US is currently enduring a Saturn return, a critical point at which limitations must be accepted and lessons learned—if a mature stability, as opposed to an entrenchment of worsening problems, is to be expected. It's the first Saturn return since 1981, the start of the Reagan era, and what was born then has now reached its maturation crisis. Economic policies launched at that time have resulted in lower taxes on the rich, a flat growth rate in lower- and middle-class wages, and the largest inequity in wealth between the withs and the withouts since (wait for it) the Great Depression.

I have no magic predictive answers to the huge societal questions poignantly exemplified by last week's events, which are merely one more episode in the increasingly dramatic story of this Uranus-Pluto epoch of revolution we're still just entering. We'd be na´ve to presume this isn't all leading toward something. We may be due for collective catharsis, but what are we as individuals to do in the face of it all?

We live for ourselves and others just as we'd most want our governing institutions to behave toward the people they govern. We seek to bank our personal gains in ways that minimize the painful costs to others and to our environment, confident there can be plenty for everyone without collateral damage. We speak up in the face of injustice, and we help those less fortunate than ourselves, to the best of our ability. We take direct responsibility when something isn't working, unafraid to admit our fallibility. This is no time for bowing to the greed and vanity of ego. If the ship goes down, we all go with it—and it won't matter how much money's in anybody's pockets during that long swim back to shore.

More reading:
What's happening with the London riots? (Mother Jones)
Tied to a drowning man (Al Jazeera English)