A sparky Spring

Yeah, I’ll say it sounds sparky. I was listening to the astrologers Rick Levine and Jeff Jawer a few evenings ago talking about the month of March. I always enjoy these guys, and find something to think about in their videos. In the Northern Hemisphere we usually think of Spring starting at the Spring Equinox, when the Sun enters the sign of Aries. The equinoxes are also considered to be powerful initiating points of magical currents within the year. Day equals night in duration, length of day and night are changing rapidly, and a shift is taking place. Pisces is a mutable sign, and when the Sun is going through it we are in something of a flux between Winter and Spring. In Aries, which is a cardinal sign, Winter is ended and Spring is initiated. This year the Sun goes into Aries about 11.20pm GMT on 20th March, so it’s on 20th or 21st March depending on where you are in the world. At the same time we are just about a day after the Full Moon, close enough to still be within its influence. Full Moon is a time when the “psychic gates” are open, and the current for certain kinds of magical and spiritual manifestation is at its highest. It is a time when our intentions can change things if they are clear enough, and when the channel to our higher self can be very strong if we have worked to make it clear. However, this Full Moon occurs at the very end of Pisces, so we’ll have to remember its inspirational quality when both it and the Sun change signs shortly afterwards. In addition to this, this year it’s also the time of the Sun’s yearly conjunction with Uranus, the planet of genius, revolution, truth, freedom, liberation and originality, all within the pioneer’s sign of Aries. Uranus went into Aries for its latest spell yesterday in fact. It spends about seven years in each sign on average, but may dip in and out of a sign at the beginning or end of these periods. This is a chart for the Spring Equinox (set up for London here, though the planets’ aspects to each other will be the same wherever you are). Click on the image for the full version with aspect list:

It’s a very close conjunction of Sun and Uranus, so their energies are strongly fused here. In Aries I’d associate this with enormous independence, originality and the primacy of individual authenticity, no matter what society might think of it – that kinda energy. You notice here as well the square from Pluto in Capricorn, a sign of established society, status and tradition, while Pluto is concerned with power, wealth, regeneration and elimination, the deepest sense of the life force, but also all the ways that it is used, owned and sold, and the eventual payment for changing or  not changing, for truly living, or not.

Pluto-Uranus aspects figure big in the shifting of how we live and how we can even think of living. These are not small, quick cycles of development that are over and done with in a few years, or one or two lifetimes. To understand this square aspect (of 90 degrees), which is an aspect of tension and testing of the interrelationship between the energies involved, we need to look back to the conjunction that preceded it, between Uranus and Pluto, in this case back in 1965.

The Uranus-Pluto conjunctions of 1965-66, in the sign of Virgo, are what “the sixties” as we came to know them hinged on in large part. The conjunction may not have been everything astrologically, but it was key to the shift in our sense of how we could live. Civil rights movements, the breakdown of the sense of a traditional order of society, protests and peace demonstrations, psychedelics that could dissolve or shatter psychic boundaries through ingesting a chemical, the emergence of popular ecological consciousness, sexual liberation, everyone-liberation, a world in the process of being inevitably remade. That was the conjunction, the emergence of whole new agendas of experience, life and history. And now it’s moved round to the square aspect, not the new emergence, but the testing of everything that emerged then, for it’s contradictions and failures, it’s sustainability, it’s capacity to grow through infancy, it’s worthiness of survival on the most basic counts, and it’s coherence and clarity of inner truth. This is something of a make or break time for the revolution in how we can live that emerged then; when it kicks in exactly I don’t know, sometime over the next five years I would think. With highly compelling astrological forces at work, we usually either manifest or respond to them consciously to the best of our ability, or we just get taken into them anyway.

One danger of this kind of time is fear of changes that are absolutely going to happen one way or another (resistance), or fatalism and abdication of conscious will. This is because we forget (or do not realize) just how deeply we are connected to the source of Life itself. Everyone, 100%, co-creators of our world, whether we are awake to it or not. And awakening is another thing associated with Uranus. In Aries it’s a very personal, individual awakening in potential, but both it and its denial come at a price (Pluto), a price that a traditional social order (Capricorn) may try to exact, but which it inevitably also pays itself.

Not that Uranus is the “good guy” and Pluto the “bad guy”, this is all a relationship between the two, and it definitely takes two to tango here. Uranian awakening can be selfish and extreme, even if it is concerned with truth, and Pluto is about life in the final analysis, just not the life we might have banked any illusions on. The combination of the two can get very cruel, but that’s not what it’s for.

The last time that Uranus was in Aries was a time we have probably been thinking about but trying to avoid. The late 1920s to mid 1930s. This was also a time that included a Uranus-Pluto square as well, but from the other side of the mid 60s conjunction, travelling towards the end of one cycle, not as now travelling through the youth of a new one. This was the time of the Great Depression, and of the rise of fascism in Europe. This was heading for a widespread armed conflict that would have an enormous impact on changing what was seen as tenable, and what was seen as possible in the post war years, in the dusk of the old Uranus-Pluto era. That was the unconscious side of this time.

In some ways this shadow that lies over the approach to WWII tends to obscure whatever else might have been going on, and it is sobering to think of how much was lost through mass tragedy subsequently, but maybe therefore even more important that we appreciate what was also trying to manifest, at a time which in some senses can be seen as a mirror of our own (remembering that mirrors are also reverse images, even though they are reflective).

Artistic movements that rose to prominence during this period included Dada and Surrealism, while there were things like the Harlem Renaissance during the passage of Uranus through Aries. Blues also rose in popular awareness as music and was recorded. I came upon this page on The Songster Tradition covering pretty much the exact time frame of Uranus in Aries.

” The word ‘songster’ is meant to describe a performer who was mostly self-sufficient, spending his life performing music (much of which predated blues) in the South for whoever wanted to hear him.”

Which to me sounds like a vindication of what the creative spirit in people can achieve. At that time Pluto was in Cancer making its square aspect to Uranus in Aries, and while Cancer does not have the stratified and corporate, gritty quality of Capricorn, it is far more clannish and ethnic based. Whether with these influences or in spite of them, by this time black Americans were asserting a cultural flowering which could not be held back or denied, and which has shaped popular culture significantly well into the next Uranus-Pluto cycle. I think it’s worth remembering that.

There are many other developments, literary, occult, social activist throughout this time. Some of them may seem partly lost, but actually they weren’t. Their inheritance contributed to the rest of the twentieth century, and sometimes they proved to be “ahead of their time”, which is to say they were in their time, and the rest of the world would take years to catch up.

So if you get the Uranus-Pluto blues, just take a deep breath, and remember the blues. Remember Heisenberg publishing on the uncertainty principle, Flemming discovering penicillin,  the first talking pictures, the astronomical discovery of the expanding universe, Meher Baba and Gurdjieff. We do indeed live in a different time. We are not going to repeat the past. But if we have growing pains, don’t worry. Ease back, let go, be happy.

One other character from that time, who was certainly not appreciated in his own time, was Aleister Crowley. Both he and Gurjieff in various ways had teachings that brought in Uranus-Pluto themes. Crowley had some great advice on Uranus, whom he said in happier times had roamed the Earth as the god Pan. Crowley was aware of Uranus’ weakness in human terms, that its passion and purity and commitment could turn to cruelty and fanaticism, a real perversion of its purpose. The antidote to this he found in the mystical, universal love planet Neptune. These two needed each other for balance. Reason, tradition, sense, common humanity, none of these things can influence or put off the genius or madness of Uranus, just as nothing in the ordinary, common human realm can bring Neptune out of it’s oceanic visions or delusions. But being on each other’s spiritual level, they can temper and complement each other.

In the earlier Uranus in Aries period Neptune was mainly in Virgo (Leo at the beginning). For us now though, Neptune will be taking a dip into Pisces, it’s own sign, in April to August of this year, before going in for the long haul in 2012. Chiron also went into Pisces this year, and Chiron in Pisces is probably the element that gave the flower power, summer of love part of the sixties its unforgettable quality. Those two things, Neptune swimming in its own sign, and Chiron joining it in Pisces, give me a good feeling for a better expression of our Uranus-Pluto adolescence.

This coming Full Moon is also one of the closest to the Earth for quite a few years, being at lunar perigee. Just be good and clear in your intention, and make it a great one :0)

And just a little trick if you find yourself weirded out by the intensity of those big time planetary energies. The antidote is Saturn, planet of boundaries, our down home influence that draws the lines, tells you what the price is, what tradition says, and where the buck is gonna stop in terms of consensus reality. Nothing wrong with Saturn. If it all gets too much, Saturn is the kindly cop you can call to take you home, or at least to a tent away from the action. More of a steward than a cop, we spend half our lives trying to get around him, and half trying to find him again, until the day we can truly love ourselves, and love our Self.

And remember the sign that the mid sixties conjunction was in? Virgo. Earth, mutable earth, very adaptable, great on patterns and detail. And Earth itself. Our local holistic-cosmic system. Guidance system sorted.

Have a good Full Moon, and have a fine Spring Equinox.

Blessed Be.

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