Outer Planet Transits
This chapter outlines how the slow moving outer planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, chart deep generational change. Chart, not cause. Planets do not affect us. They are cosmic energy centers that resonate to the same underlying spiritual reality we embody. Their astronomical characteristics symbolize our own collective potentials. Their trajectories through the zodiac portray how those possibilities have manifested through history.
These three planets were discovered in recent centuries with the aid of telescopes. Thus they portray emergent properties of modernity. They describe new dimensions of consciousness, and of power, generated by our accelerating social evolution and technological innovation over the last 250 years. Their long transits through specific energy zones (signs) indicate a strong correlation between planet/sign symbolism and actual events. Hopefully this will stimulate the reader to develop a sense of how astrology discerns meaningful patterns in history. While astrology cannot predict specific incidents it does project general trends. It demonstrates a consistent process with which we can consciously engage and co-create.
The planetary forces beyond Saturn's frontier of consciousness act in a fundamentally different way than the seven visible planets known since antiquity.1 These bodies are invisible to the naked eye,2 symbolically inaccessible to normal consciousness. They describe an underlying subconscious matrix as different from consensus reality as the subatomic quantum realm of physics is from the atomic matter of the cosmos. Quantum reality consists of probabilities rather than facts, flashing energies sparkling into and out of existence without distinct cause and effect. In the same way, our subconscious seems to function as a shimmering sea of images and impulses rather than a logical train of thought or consistent thread of emotion.
Unlike the discrete qualities of the classical planets (e.g. Mercury = mind, Venus = love, Mars = will, etc.) the outer planets act as various aspects of one force field. Just as a ray of light can diffract across a spectrum as various colors of one radiance, so these planetary bodies, spread out in space, provide differing perspectives on an overall collective energy.
The nature and relationship of their physical globes symbolically illustrates the idea that they display levels of one fluid flux rather than independent qualities. Uranus and Neptune are twins, with the same size and composition. However, Uranus spins at a right angle to Neptune. Together they form the vertical and horizontal arms of a cross, separated in space but linked in meaning. See diagram below. Neptune is abstract mental Uranus' dreamy, imaginative alter ego. These two planets act as the intellectual and emotional polarities of a single psychosocial energy, just as electricity (Uranus) and magnetism (Neptune) are of a unified physical force (electromagnetism).
Pluto not only orbits Sun, but Neptune as well, circling inside and outside of Neptune's path every 248 years. See'Pluto' diagram. Thus it is a moon of Neptune, as well as an independent factor in its own right. As a Neptunian satellite it depicts a cosmic memory, or karmic necessity, motivating Neptune's collective yearnings. Pluto's invisible instinct coalesces into Neptune's feeling fantasy. Pluto drives the dream, wills the wish, that flowers in Neptunian imagination. Ironically, when Neptune and Pluto move on opposite sides of Sun they are further apart, by far, than any other two planetary bodies. Yet they are also planet and moon, in as close an orbital embrace as any two planets can have.
All three of these planets function as a triple octave of one vibration in another dimension of consciousness. They also move on another timeline, with extended orbital periods that dwarf individual human experience. The classical planets all circle Sun many, or at least several, times in a normal human lifespan. The outer planets dance to a slower rhythm. Uranus takes 84 years to make one trip around Sun: the maximum length of time any human psyche can witness. Neptune, at 168 years, and Pluto, at 248 years, resonate to frequencies beyond a range we can fully experience. All of these planets point to generational and historical rhythms, a collective rather than an individual beat. They chart the long-term social cycles within which we live.
Just as a conscious ego navigates across a sea of unconscious passions so an individual life makes its way through the tides and trials of history. We each move within a herd. The outer planets track mass movements of people and group dynamics of societies just as mathematics tracks the statistical probabilities of quantum events.
One cannot predict how any given person will respond to these powers because individuals have free will. However, one can predict the general pattern of how large numbers of people will react to their invisible guidance. This is mediated through collective force fields, whether formal and structured, like nations, or informal and fluid, like public moods and fads. The mutation cycle of Jupiter and Saturn provides a context for actual events. (See 'Synods.') Their positions and aspect at any given time portrays specific situations. The outer planets orient us to the mysterious driving force behind those happenings, with its levels of accessible inspiration (Uranus), ineffable imagination (Neptune) and underlying will (Pluto).
1. Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn
2. Uranus is technically visible as a faint speck in a very clear sky. Yet, despite millennia of stargazing, it was not recognized as a planet until observed telescopically on March 13, 1781.
The rest of this chapter describes the historical circumstances of each outer planet transit through the zodiac over the last 150 years. Following are some speculations about what Uranus might symbolize over the next couple of decades:
A Preview of Coming Events
Uranus channels all three outer planets' energies into a cutting edge of long-term social and scientific change. A general overview of how these are likely to play out over the next generation follows (written in 2013):
Aries (2011-19): Initiation of a more socially equitable and ecologically sustainable economy after the near financial collapse immediately preceding. Failure to do so voluntarily will lead to breakdown and a forced restructuring under catastrophic circumstances.
The disintegration of an overgrown, debt-driven system (Neptune in Pisces) will generate a new hierarchy of social imperatives and institutions (Pluto in Capricorn).
Taurus (2019-26): A new economic order and its associated social values will visibly take shape simply because increasing stresses on the planet's environmental resources and social safety nets demands it. In this case astrological prediction simply confirms what common sense dictates. It could be an earth and people friendly utopia of solar power, organic agriculture, distributed learning, etc. Or it could be a science fiction nightmare of medicated zombies in a computerized police state.
Dissolution of the old order (Neptune in Pisces) will accompany the explicit emergence of a new governing structure (Pluto in Capricorn). The actual process and content of these changes may be positive or negative. However, the sheer momentum of an unsustainable mass society makes the latter more likely in the short term.
Gemini (2026-33): By now a new world order, positive or negative, will be materially established. This period should see a fundamental split, in fact a showdown, between two incompatible mindsets, ideologies, worldviews within that society. It will probably be over the appropriate use of technology, particularly biotechnology and genetic manipulation.
New ideals, or illusions, of collective identity will emerge (Neptune in Aries) as a coming Aquarian Age begins to manifest (Pluto in Aquarius).
The same general dynamic of initiation (Aries), manifestation (Taurus) and divisive choice (Gemini) seen in the social and political sphere will also occur in science and technology. These endeavors are particularly associated with Uranus.
In Aries Uranus will initiate pioneering breakthroughs based on previously deployed collective tools such as the International Space Station, Large Hadron Collider (atom smasher), Human Genome Project and Internet. Uranus in Taurus should ground these discoveries in applied technologies made available on a large social scale. Uranus in Gemini should bring stark choices around the options presented by their unprecedented powers.
Computers, the electronic brains enabling the technological explosion, will continue their exponential growth in speed and capability until 'Moore's Law' reaches its theoretical limit around the time Uranus enters Taurus. This is actually a rule of thumb stating that the number of transistors packed onto a given area of integrated circuit doubles every two years. It has consistently held true since the late 1950s and should do so until about 2020. Then, as transistor size approaches that of single atoms, this process will culminate and end. At that point it will become possible to implant these tiny sophisticated devices into the human nervous system, creating a man/machine hybrid. Whether or not to do so will almost certainly provoke a fundamental split in society as Uranus enters Gemini.
With Uranus in Aries the quest to understand life's genetic inheritance will become a willful attempt to control it. Gene-splicing tools are now widely available, online and even at the high school level.1 The urge to manipulate metabolism and create new life forms will be irresistible. We must play God because we can. Biomedical research will aggressively pursue life's secrets at the molecular level. And recombine them into artificial organs and organisms. It will be spurred by the excitement of fundamental discovery. And the aphrodisiac of power.
Few people realize how far such research has already gone (October 2016). For example, scientists can now grow human 'baby brains,' equivalent to that of a 9 week old fetus, in a petri dish. Skin cells are reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells, capable of generating any cell type. These are then manipulated to become 'cerebral organoids,' tiny brains with all the structures and genes of our organ of consciousness. They can be kept alive in a nutrient gel for up to a year. The next step will be to create a supporting mesh that can deliver nutrients and oxygen to an even larger version. Scientists confidently claim that these miniature brains are not conscious because they have no bodies. But of course they are bodies in and of themselves. Who knows what subjective experiences their inter-communicating neurons have? Who can doubt the Hellish nature of such experiments?
As Uranus enters Taurus (2019-26) the quest for a materialist explanation of, and control over, life may run up against the inherent physical realities of biology. We now know that the genetic code is not a 'Book of Life' narrating the assembly, structure and properties of organisms. Rather it is a database of protein-coding catalysts activated by a holistic cellular force field. Gene expression is not a linear deterministic process subject to unconstrained manipulation. Instead it responds to the electric aura and bio-chemical complexity of the entire cell.
We know this because 'specific' genes are routinely spliced into many protein-generating forms depending on cellular conditions. This is similar to the example in which the letters t-i-m-e can be rearranged to spell out words with completely different meanings: item, emit and mite.2 This four letter 'gene' does not simply mean the unidirectional flow of events from past to future; it can also mean a thing, an emanation or a tiny insect. Thus it cannot be effectively manipulated outside of its verbal context. Nor can biological genes. Furthermore the enhancement, suppression or distortion of any one gene affects others since all work together as a whole. Thus serious interference will disrupt the overall functioning of the cellular environment on which all of them depend.
Uranus in Taurus will probably bring an ability to substantially reconfigure the human genetic endowment. Life consists of an information web grounding vital energies. We will impose our own narrowly conceived patterns on its subtle organizing properties. There will be unintended consequences of enhancing certain functions at the cost of disrupting system coherence.3
By the time Uranus enters Gemini (2026-33) citizens of technologically advanced societies may face a defining choice of whether or not to accept genetic reprogramming. Some will see it as a promise, others as a threat. There are powerful intellectual arguments on both sides of the issue. This test will select for intuitive ability. Those who get it wrong will be biologically ruined by tampering with their own genomes. Or left behind by refusing to adapt to a genetically enriched society. Those who get it right will survive to seed the next generation.
The biotech approach rests on the proposition that consciousness emanates out of biological structure. Upgrading and fine tuning its physical source enhances psychological awareness and other functions. Another view asserts that body manifests the energy pattern of an incorporeal soul. Tinkering with its interdependent complexity distorts expression of this animating spiritual impulse.
These two claims are antithetical. The next few decades will reveal which is true…
With Uranus in Aries near-Earth space flight is privatizing while governments develop pioneering technologies to colonize Moon and Mars. As Uranus enters Taurus we will return to our Moon, this time to stay. But can humans survive in its weak gravity?4 We now know from experience with the International Space Station that even the most athletic person loses up to 15% of bone and muscle mass after just six months of weightlessness. It takes two or three years to recover bone density. Is it possible for humans to live long-term on low gravity Moon or Mars? If they adapt they can never return to Earth's crushing embrace. Will they be able to reproduce? If so, with what result?
Since the late 1950s we have lived with the sense that space is the final frontier; that the stars are our destiny. What would it mean if we discover that lack of gravity prevents colonization of the solar system? That we can visit but not stay? Current plans aim for a manned mission to Mars around 2030. During Uranus' transit of Gemini we should learn whether we can move off planet and thereby diversify as a species. Or whether we are biologically cut off from the heavens. In either case the answer will profoundly affect human identity.
These extrapolations of scientific discovery and technological application are almost certain to occur even if there is an apocalyptic interlude due to ecological or economic collapse. Technological societies will preserve their most valuable assets and skilled people in research institutes, universities and other advanced facilities and at the upper levels of government, industry and the military. Mega-death in a mass society would thin the herd but not stop the accelerating evolution at its cutting edge.
Uranus charts the emergence of challenges that are inevitable at this stage of development. Individuals can meet them with free will. Collective response is more determined, statistically based on group dynamics. An increasingly wired world in a post religious age is almost certain to embrace the enticing promises of technological salvation. People hardly ever reject new toys. Man will seek to become a consciously created work of his own hands rather than a child of the universe. Brain implants and genetically enhanced abilities will be promoted as the next natural step, just as the use of fire once was. Refusal to participate in such obvious benefits could become stigmatized, then punished, as prophesied so long ago. The mere fact of such unprecedented powers guarantees a spiritual crisis around their use.
When might such an apocalyptic period come? 'But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.'5 However, one can make an educated guess as to when a preparatory breakdown of the established order might begin. See 'A Mundane Prediction.'
1. For example: one can take a 3D printer, easily obtained online, and load it with four vials, each containing one of the four genetic nucleotides (A, G, T and C) ordered from a biological supply house. Insert a computer program that strings them together in any desired order. Inject the resulting gene into a cell nucleus, and then culture a whole bunch of them…
2. This example is taken from Dr. Barry Commoner's seminal article 'Unraveling the DNA Myth: the Spurious Foundations of Genetic Engineering,' published in Harper's magazine, February 2002.
3. When complex genomes disintegrate they break up into quasi-living genetic fragments called viruses. Those who violate the integrity of their own biochemical program may release an inner plague.
4. Moon's gravity = 17% of Earth's. Mars' = 38% of Earth's.
5. Matthew 24:36
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The next chapter, 'Mundane Considerations' examines how the astrology of collective events works through the interpretation of national charts.
'A Mundane Prediction' gives a specific example.
Finally, 'Precession' describes the nature and significance of Earth's 29,920 year long polar gyration, which defines the great ages of history.
Obviously these are vast topics. This book does not pretend to do them justice. Instead it outlines a symbolic technique by which one can contemplate their deeper meaning.