In London, Big Ben went silent in 2017, and will remain so until at least 2021. In Paris, Notre Dame Cathedral has been partially burnt down. For both countries, national symbols have been damaged or suspended. In the UK, we have Brexit. In France, there is a level of protest unseen since the 60s. Both countries are subject to major Pluto transits - in the case of the UK, in opposition to the Moon (the people). In France, in opposition to the Moon-ruled Ascendant (using the horoscope that Nick Campion suggests.) For the UK, Pluto has finished his crossings, and it seems that Brexit as we knew it, that rude struggle between 2 opposing and equally matched forces in the population, is just about dead. The eventual outcome is far from clear, and will probably not be so until the autumn/winter, when both Pluto and Saturn move away definitively from their opposition to the UK Moon.
As for France, Pluto will be exactly opposing her Asc all of next year, so it would seem the protests are far from over. And with the burning of Notre Dame, that they go to the heart of who France is, just as Brexit does for the UK. But I don't know the ins and outs of French politics, so I will leave it there.
Next year's Saturn-Pluto conjunction will no doubt play a major part in giving new direction, a new story, for both countries.
Jung: “I have treated many hundreds of patients. Among those in the second half of life - that is to say, over 35 - there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life. It is safe to say that every one of them fell ill because he had lost that which the living religions of every age have given their followers, and none of them has really been healed who did not regain his religious outlook.”
This process of finding a 'religious' outlook in the second half of life is described by the series of outer planet transits that everyone has in their forties. It is a time when - archetypally - we move from the received and extraverted values of society to listening to the voice within. Of course, some of us may have done that from a much younger age, but there is usually still a struggle between who we feel we are expected to be, and the direction in which that mysterious voice within is taking us.
This period begins with Uranus opposition Uranus, which has the function of breaking up the landscape of the received values that have given us our sense of acceptance and identity, and opening up fissures, abysses that may be terrifying to peer into, but which reveal the voice of our deeper self that has always been there.
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Now the picture gets confusing as to what happens when. But it is often a long, confusing period anyway, because the paradigm shift, the re-orientation is so radical. For many of us, the period will have begun with Pluto square Pluto rather than the Uranus Opposition, because of Pluto's elliptical orbit; for anyone born now, the Pluto square will occur after all the other outer planet transits.
So it is best to see this period as a bunch of influences, and create a story dependent on the order in which they occurred for you. And put it all together as a Creation Myth, much as we can see the Big Bang as a creation myth described by the outer planets: Uranus lit the touch paper for this utterly unpredictable event, of everything suddenly coming out of nothing; Pluto was the enormous creative power in that tiny singularity; Neptune was the Primordial Imagination that contained the vision of a Universe; and Saturn put all the pieces together.
So we can see all these influences running alongside each other as we are born into the second half of life. Pluto square Pluto will be the time when we are made an offer we cannot refuse, of that seed of new and more authentic life that is trying to push through, and which can make us ill if we deny it; Neptune square Neptune is the whisper, the longing for the life we have always secretly wanted to lead, the magical thread of Self that has followed us since childhood; and Saturn opposite Saturn is a re-assessment in this reality of what has value for us, the perhaps painful realisation that what we had strived for over a long period now means little to us.
As we approach 50, the Chiron Return presents itself. Chiron, as the bridge to the outer planets, is telling us to listen to their drumbeat from now on, or our life will not work, it will be 'wounded'. Chiron is also a teacher, and having been through this long initiation, we will have learnt something important that we can impart.
The below chart for Northern Ireland (based on the UK 1922 chart, under which a separate Northern Ireland came into existence) was hugely sensitive to transits around the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. At the time, Neptune was conjoining the Midheaven and Pluto the Desc. It doesn't get stronger than that. At the moment, Neptune is squaring the NI Sun, and Pluto is opposite its Moon. So there is huge inner change going on, even though it looks outwardly the same. And these inner changes are setting the scene for Pluto crossing the Capricorn MC in a few years time. The emphasis with Angles, as our points of connection to the world, is outward. Capricorn concerns boundaries, and these were made more porous (with Eire) in 1998 as Neptune crossed. Pluto crossing (exactly in 2023) sounds to me like an irrevocable and permanent change. And Catholics could be in the majority as soon as 2021 (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-43823506) So this looks to me like a United Ireland sooner than we think, currently being energised by the issue around the Brexit backstop and the DUP fears around anything which might lead to unification. And then there is the EU. I use the EEC (see below) chart for when the organisation came into practical existence. For the people/individual countries (Moon), the EU is essentially a shared (8th House) economic (Taurus) institution. It is the political aims that have caused the problem, with their threat to national sovereignties. I am NOT criticising those aims, just trying to observe. In 2020, Uranus will conjoin the EU Moon. Brexit has electrified and unsettled EU countries, and this theme will continue for 2 more years. Uranus breaks up the landscape, the old certainties, allowing for deeper changes to follow in its wake. In 5 years time, Neptune will hard aspect all the Angles of the EU. You cannot hang on rigidly to old ways of doing things under Neptune, for they dissolve beneath your feet. It will be an issue of the soul (Neptune) of the EU and how it manifests practically (Angles). It seems to me that because the individual countries regard the union as essentially economic (Moon in Taurus in the 8th), we will see a dissolving, or a limit, to the aspiration for political union (which is unlimited, 'ever closer', in the founding document, the Treaty of Rome). This will allow the UK to normalise its relations to the EU, particularly as the hard border in Ireland will no longer be an issue, Ireland being in the process of re-uniting. The UK, as the 2nd biggest economy in the EU, and Germany's biggest EU trading partner, is too big too ignore. Historically, I think Brexit will be seen as the hugely disruptive event that triggered a limit to the EU's political aspirations, in the interests of economic partnerships.
Astrology is ruled by Uranus, and one reason for that is because astrology belongs on the unacceptable edge of modern culture. But not on the popular level, where astrology seems quite acceptable! : and that maybe illustrates Uranus' rulership of Aquarius, the common man/woman.
Within astrology, I'd say Uranus describes those with sympathies for conservative politics, as most astrologers seem to belong to the liberal consensus, to the extent that some even hold their noses around those of a different persuasion.
This is in the UK, at any rate. In the US, I've been surprised at how many astrologers get annoyed with me for criticising Donald Trump. That said, what I would go so far as to call the liberal prejudice dominates there too: hence the now infamous panel of reputable astrologers, 11 out of 12 of whom predicted Hilary Clinton would win the last election.
These astrologers were probably all pretty good on a technical level: this shows how much we need to purify our intentions, stand apart from worldly one-sidedness, before we attempt our sacred art. And, maybe, the degree to which this is not understood in modern astrology, even at a 'high' level. This 'hollow-bone' quality takes many years to forge, it is very different to technical competence, which is the easy bit.
I've just watched a great documentary series on netflix: Wild, Wild Country. It is the story of Rajneesh and his followers in Oregon in the 80s. A cult that went wrong, bigtime. They created a city in the wilderness, took over the local town, and ended up with a huge arsenal of weaponry; there were also incidents of poisoning and attempted murder against their enemies. Of which there were plenty. They attracted huge national opposition.
Fundamental to this story is the propensity that I think we all have, or have had, to idealise teachers. There is plenty of it in the shamanic world. And I think it is normal to do so. We come staggering along, maybe confident and competent in a worldly sense, but with little idea of who we are on a deeper level. That is not something we are taught :) And so we project all that good stuff onto a teacher. I think it is a natural process. A good teacher does not need those projections, and does not create a 2-way street, a kind of love-in if you like, with the pupil. All teachers will claim they don't want followers, but it can be hard to resist the flattery of people thinking you have the answers. I think it's very difficult for a teacher not to slide into this one, at least some of the time.
And I think a crucial point is finding that guide within ourselves. As I say, it is natural and necessary to seek it outside ourselves to start with. But then we have "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!" A friend was telling me how at a certain point in his life his spirit guides, who had always been there for him, refused to help, that there was an important decision he had to make on his own.
In my 20s and 30s I was around a Buddhist set-up, and all it was about fundamentally was me finding what I call my 'metaphysical autonomy'. Once that happened - and it was like a deep eruption after many years preparation - it was all over, and I was on my shamanic way :)
One of the main people they interviewed for the Rajneesh series was the guy who had been their lawyer. He must be about 70, and 'the Bhagwan' is long dead. But this guy is still under the spell. He still describes 'the Bhagwan' as 'the master of masters' - like, how can you know that? Another person they interviewed, who went to jail for attempted murder, has broken the spell, but it took many years. This process can take a long time, and it may never happen in someone's lifetime. And it may be incremental. Few people can admit to giving power away to a teacher; we think we are autonomous when we are not. It is seen as 'faith' to put the teacher's judgement before one's own, and arrogance to do otherwise.
And it is about knowing that we have all the guidance we need within. It is not something we can will into being, and it is easy to kid ourselves. It is a profound psycho-spiritual event that is like finding gold. And even then we can dip in and out of it. The path then becomes about allowing the gold to take root, to permeate our being.
It also then becomes possible to know the shadow. With the Rajneeshis, all goodness was projected onto 'the Bhagwan', and all evil was projected onto those who opposed them. This is no different to Nazi Germany, where Hitler carried the ideals, and the Jews carried the shadow. And the Bhagwan was also divided in this way: when his senior disciple left, he publicly rounded on her and denounced her. She was now the enemy. It was immediate.
|From The English Magic Tarot Deck|
And I think it works something like this: when you live from your inner sense of guidance, you have all you need. You're not needing to prove anything to the world or to other people. Or at least, not to the same degree. So we become able to admit to our own weaknesses and vulnerabilities, because doing so does not take anything away from who we are. In fact, there is a sense of it adding to who we are, but not in an ego sense.
The worldly path involves building a sense of ego, and this is seen as normal. It is why we admire people who are rich or famous or royal. Admit it: if a celebrity walked into the room, you'd feel differently to if a regular guy walked in. I know I would. And this way of seeing the world is often carried over into the 'spiritual' world, where people want to become a 'name'. It is certainly true of the shamanic world, where it has in places become normalised.
But it's all just vanity, and misses the point. When a Chippewa Cree teacher used to come and stay with me and run events, he refused this sort of self-promotion. He would limit himself to a factual description of his background and training, and didn't want himself put out on the internet. I can go with that. And the people still came.
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