Time Magazine published, December 7, its annual Person of the Year issue. This year it honors “The Silence Breakers”, in recognition of the women and men who have spoken out against sexual abuse and harassment. An avalanche of sexual abuse, harassment and assault reports has been unleashed since the October 5th New York Times investigative story. The story described sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein some dating back to the 1990s. On October 10, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie told the Times that they too had suffered unwanted sexual advances by Weinstein. Since these early October reports a huge number women and a few men have made public statements about their own sexual harassment and assault experiences.
In an interview on the Today Show following the Time article, Time Editor-in-Chief, Edward Felsenthal, said that “This is the fastest moving social change we have seen in decades and it began with individual acts of courage by hundreds of women and some men, who came forward to tell their own stories of sexual harassment and assault.”
I concur that the country is in the midst of a real shift in social relations, accompanied by political turmoil and with plenty of chaos, and distress. As an astrologer I immediately wondered what were the astrological alignments that correlated with all of this, particularly the sexual harassment reports. If, what we are witnessing is really such a dramatic social change as Mr. Felsenthal suggested, there should be some prominent astrological indicators to point to.
I could think of no better horoscope to begin my investigation with than October 5th chart, the date of the New York Times story on Harvey Weinstein.
At first glance this chart doesn’t appear to reveal anything that would suggest that a powerful shift in social relations is afoot. Significant historical events and trends are usually marked by close hard aspects involving the heavy outer planets, particularly conjunctions, but there are none here. However, if we take a little extra effort to study this chart in the context of recent planetary synodic cycles, an interesting picture comes into focus. I have identified four such alignments that I believe are significant:
- The Uranus, Pluto square.
- The Uranus, Neptune semi-square
- Pluto’s current transit of the Uranus – Neptune conjunction degree of 1992-1993.
- The Jupiter – Saturn, Mutation Conjunction in 2020, that shifts the conjunctions from the Earth triplicity to the Air triplicity.
These four alignments taken together, I believe, give a firm basis for asserting that a clear astrological correlation does exist with the current social and political upheavals. Further, that the astrological symbolism when successfully “de-coded’ will deepen and expand our understanding of current conditions – the why, where and when of the complete story.
The End of Patriarchy?
Before getting into the astrological dissection and analysis phase of this essay I want to first take a moment to touch on some of the history of the Women’s Movement. This is relevant because these sex abuse reports make more sense when studied within the context of the larger Women’s Movement that has been “gaining steam” particularly since the mid-1960s. Of course, even without recourse to astrology it is not too difficult to see that what is happening did not come out of nowhere. An astrological perspective however allows us to “connect the dots” more easily and perhaps project where this all might be going.
Let’s face it “men misbehaving” did not just start in the last 20 or 40 years, this sort of stuff , and much worse perhaps, has been going on from time immemorial. It is only because of the success of the Women’s Movement that today these women feel strong enough to come forward and tell their stories so that the world will have to hear them. In the past such things were not talked about, and if they were, not heard.
So, where does this section’s subject line: “The End of Patriarchy?” come from, and what does it mean? It comes from the title of a book by Claudio Naranjo. The complete title reads: “The End of Patriarchy and the Dawning of a Tri-une Society”. So what is patriarchy? You could describe it as fundamentally “our way of life’, the nature of our cultural values and norms. You have to go all the way back to the beginning of the Judeo-Christian tradition to find its roots. Its roots in the patriarchal God-image that has been the keystone of the male-domination of Western civilization, for eons.
It is therefore no surprise that most all of our major institutions have been started, owned and operated primarily by men and that “masculine” values and behaviors predominate in our world. By “Tri-une” Naranjo wisely recognizes that the “solution” to the problems of patriarchy, and the relations of the sexes is not to be found in going to the other polarity of extreme feminism, but instead by elevating a “third factor” which he calls filial – that is the paternal, maternal and the filial as an inseparable trinity.
The History of Feminism, Very Briefly
Mary Wollstonecraft published A Vindication of the Rights of Women, in 1792. It was the first book that could be called feminist. Wollstonecraft, an early feminist philosopher, was the mother of Mary Shelley the author of Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus, (1818), Wollstonecraft wrote that inadequate education and upbringing of women lead to their limited expectations in life and a self-image dictated by the male perspective of the patriarchal society.
It is interesting to note that the publishing of “A Vindication of the Rights of Women” in 1792 correlated with the opposition of Uranus and Pluto (Uranus @ 21 Leo 40 and Pluto @ 21 Aquarius 48.
The political origin of feminism probably originated from philosophy of the Age of Enlightenment and its offspring, the French Revolution, which had the famous calling cry – “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity”
The earliest organized women’s movement convention in America was held in Seneca Falls, New York in July, 1848. An estimated 300 women and men attended the two-day event. The convention agreed on a “Declaration of Sentiments” which included a list of grievances, the major one demanded women’s right to vote. This convention was followed two weeks later by the Rochester Women’s Rights Convention. It was the first such convention to be chaired by a woman – thought to be a big deal at the time. There was a third convention in 1850, the Ohio Women’s Convention at Salem. It was the first statewide women’s convention for women’s rights. The first in a series of national women’s rights conventions was held in Worchester, Massachusetts, the next year.
The astrological correlation with this period was a rare, epochal triple conjunction of Saturn, Uranus and Pluto which occurred in the degree span from 28 Aries to 4 Taurus.
It was a very long slog from the days of these first women’s convention until women finally got the right to vote, granted by the 19th Amendment, signed on August 26, 1920.
This momentous event was summarized by Carrie Catt in a quote,” To get the word “male” in effect out of the Constitution cost the women of the country fifty-two years of pauseless campaign. During that time they were forced to conduct fifty-six campaigns of referenda to male voters; 480 campaigns to get State Legislatures to submit suffrage amendments to voters; 47 campaigns to get State Constitutional Conventions to write women’s suffrage rights into state constitutions; 277 campaigns to get state party conventions in included women’s suffrage rights in the planks of party platforms…”
A Look at the Astrology
Our current position, December, 2017, on history’s timeline finds us situated “under the influence” of two major planetary cyclical alignments: the Uranus – Pluto cycle and the Uranus – Neptune cycle. It is seldom noted in popular astrological today how exceptionally rare it is that two such outer planet conjunctions should occur within one century, only one is the norm. Only a Rip Van Winkle would not be aware that these are very strange times indeed, many have described as surreal. . If Rip was an astrologer, however, he perhaps would have some concrete data to support his intuitions.
A Primer on Planetary Cycles
Each planet as viewed from the Earth in the course of orbiting the sun will form a series of significant geometrical alignments with other planets in the solar system. The angular separation in degrees between the planet alignments are called aspects. Traditional astrology generally viewed the aspects of planets to be “frozen in time”. Dane Rudhyar, one of the most prominent astrologers of the last century, was a early exponent of a dynamic, holistic astrological perspective which interpreted a given aspect between planets not as an isolated event but as a part, or phase of, a whole cycle. From this point of view the beginning of a cycle, when two planets are together, in conjunction, is considered to be the “keynote”, the “seed”, that will color, influence, the entire cycle of the planets in all subsequent alignments as the planets move through the 360° of the circle.
The Conjunction and Opposition ( 180 °) represent the two critical/climax events of every planetary cycle. These aspects correlate with the New Moon and Full Moon phases of the solar/lunar cycle. The other major aspects are the Trine (120°), Square(90°) and Sextile (60°). There are several so-called “minor aspects” that can be as vital to an interpretation as the major aspects when found in tight orbs and connected in a significant pattern with other planets. The term “orb” refers to the degrees of deviation from exactness of an aspect. Seldom do you find two planets in an exact (partile) aspect, there will be a number of degrees/minutes more or less off the precise number of the aspect. The orb allowances preferred by astrologers varies, for this essay I allow an orb of 10° for major aspects, and 1.5° for minor aspects.
The Conjunction and Opposition form the “axis” of a cycle, and the two intermediate 90°aspects, the squares, complete the four points of a quadrature pattern. These quadrature alignments provide the most important data in an astrological interpretation. Two planets in a 90°aspect signify highly charged, dynamic conditions, critical situations that demand decisive action. The square aspect usually coincide with fast moving events approaching a “state of critical mass” that require rapid response to successfully defuse
The Uranus-Pluto Cycle, the Key Cycle in the Women’s Movement
This cycle has been particularly dominate for an amazing number of years. The complete cycle of this pair averages about 127 years ( because of the high declination of the Pluto orbit its rate of motion varies depending on the part of the zodiac it is transiting). Consequently, only one Uranus-Pluto conjunction will occur in a century. The last conjunction of the pair spanned the years between 1961 and 1970, and in exact conjunction ( 1° orb) during 1965-66. The two have been in a square aspect since 2007, and in a exact square alignment 2012 – 2015. The square alignment will continue in effect until sometime in 2020 (just in time for the presidential election)
In Cosmos and Psyche, Intimations of a New World View, author Richard Tarnas identified the Uranus-Pluto cycle with two hundred-fifty years of the movements for women’s rights and femininism. He discovered that pivotal alignments/aspects ( conjunction , square and opposition) in the cycle correlated with four specific eras in the women’s rights movements.
The earliest signficant appearance of a women’s movement for recognition according to Tarnas could be seen during and following the French Revolutionary period of 1787-1798. In England a budding form of the movement was seen in the writing of Mary Wollstonecraft, as has been mentioned. These events took place during the Uranus-Pluto opposition that spanned that period.
The second major stage in the women’s movement arose during and following the Uranus-Pluto conjunction that spanned the years 1845-56. This period saw intense concentration of efforts on getting the right to vote for women.
The third major stage in the movement correlated with the Uranus-Pluto opposition of 1896-1907. With each stage there was exhibited a progressive increase in militancy and intensity of political actions and demonstrations. Some of the notable leaders during this period were Emmeline Pankhurst, Carrie Chapman Catt, Emma Goldman, Nannie Burrough, and Charlotte Perkins.
The fourth major stage of the women’s movement was in the decade of the Sixties which was dominated by Uranus and Pluto ( with a strong dose of an opposition by Saturn for several years) So, if you want to get a get feel for the Uranus and Pluto archetypal energies and influence, study the decade of the Sixties.
During the Sixties the word “revolution” was heard everywhere. There was a pervasive rebellion against the “Establishment”. It is interesting to note that Uranus and Pluto were in an opposition aspect during the French Revolution. The two periods are similar because both involved radical cultural change, social liberation movements, civil rights activity and women’s movements.
Within the span of the Uranus-Pluto conjunction The Pill was introduced ( July 1961 but only for female medical conditions). In 1972 contraceptives were made available for unmarried women for the first time. An Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was introduced in Congress for the first time in 1923, but had little traction. It was re-introduced in 1971 and it passed both houses of Congress and was submitted to the states for ratification. To date there have not been enough states ratifications to the amendment to permit it to be adopted into the Constitution
I think we get the picture from these examples of the Uranus-Pluto alignment and recognize how the ramifications of it continue to reverberate through our time. Next I want to look at the other major planetary cycle having a significant impact at this time on the world, the Uranus-Neptune cycle.
The Uranus-Neptune Cycle – a Resurgence
The second major planet cycle that I mentioned earlier is Uranus and Neptune. This pair forms a conjunction every 172 years, so it is longer than the Uranus- Pluto cycle. The conjunction of this current Uranus-Neptune cycle formed at 18-19 degrees in Capricorn from April 1992 to October 1993; using a 15° orb, the conjunction was effective during the years 1985-2001.
It should be noted that the “influence’ of a given planet pair’s cycle maintains its “archetypal presence” through its complete cycle (360°) thus until a subsequent conjunction forms to set the tone for a new cycle . This means that forces that emerge during the initiation of a cycle at conjunction do not suddenly cease after the conjunction is over but will continue to unfold in time through the cycle.
There are however waves “peaks and troughs” of intensity during a cycle that rise and fall with the changing alignments of the planets. Such a change in intensity is now being experienced because Uranus-Neptune are currently moving through a critical alignment, a semi-square.
An additional indicator that the Uranus-Neptune cycle was re-emerged in consciousness is by the fact that Pluto is now transiting the conjunction degrees, 18-19° Capricorn.
What Happened During These Two Significant Cycles
During the fourth phase of the feminist revolution of the 1960s ( the Uranus-Pluto conjunction) the major effort, push, was directed toward achieving empowerment and personal autonomy for women , across the total spectrum – political, economic and sexual. The powerful impulse of this alignment has continued during the half-century since the Sixties, but with a strong up-tick in power around 2007 as Uranus began to move into a square aspect with Pluto. Uranus by early 2020 will have moved out of orb of an effective square.
Some Keywords for Uranus and Pluto
Uranus’s keywords, to prime your imagination a little, include: disruptive, awakening, destabilizing, radical change, and more positively as progressive, innovative, original, creative and catalyzing new beginning. Uranus is “the archetypal planet” associated with things related to science and technology and intellectual brilliance. The discovery of the planet in 1781 occurred during the Enlightenment, the French and American Revolutions, the Industrial Revolution and the beginning of Romanticism movement; hence, you get the picture of where Uranus comes from.
Pluto’s archetypal nature can be described as: elemental, instinctual, anabolic, compelling, deeply intense and transformative. You will probably be more right than wrong to identify Pluto with raw power and things on a massive scale.
In combination Uranus-Pluto are an extremely volatile mix, the stuff that makes for volcanic eruptions that have effects in all areas of life on the planet, including the relations of men and women. In the 1960s during the height of the conjunction there were historic levels of social disturbance, rioting, burning of cities, etc. Things were not just hot in America but also in China. It was experiencing the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution that affected millions of people.
For a few words about Neptune. It is typically associated with the transcendent, spiritual, ideal, formless and imaginative aspects of life. It is also associated with movements for social, political and economic rights and equality. The time of its discovery 1846 coincided with the emergence of many movements devoted to such goals and aspirations. In the late 1840 great interest arose in various kinds of utopian communities, universalism and communist ideologies, as well as theosophy, mysticism and Eastern religions. Neptune is also the archetype of the oppressed, enslaved, aliens, immigrants, the excluded and women and children. Hence when Neptune is in ascendancy humanitarian concerns also surface and demand attention, as do issues related to women.
During the past few months the semi-square of Uranus-Neptune as tightened and closed, consequently feminist and sexuality issues have come to the fore. But feminism, or femininity is not actually limited to just matters on physical plane. When “the feminine archetype” arises it carries with it a greater appreciation for holistic values, intuition, mystical awareness, a capacity for nurturance, a love of nature and a desire for peaceful dialogue rather than competitive destruction. The feminine impulse draws together, relates one to another, in harmony, or seeks to at least.
The conjunction of Uranus-Pluto in the Sixties (1960-1972) marked one of the most significant moments in American history and brought enormous social change with reverberations that are still sensed and observed today. It was a watershed moment that separated one kind of cultural life from another. Its effects were very concrete and easily delineated.
The Uranus-Neptune conjunction (1985-2001) on the other hand has been much more subtle and difficult to describe. It has carries a feminine touch. But both alignments have been driven by Uranus, thus the pace of change, the shock of events and the relentless pressure to cope has not materially abated, just become less objectified, and gone underground into the collective/personal unconscious. It was therefore relatively easy in the Sixties to point out the “bad guys”, the state clearly what was happening and what must be done, what to believe, what the facts were, and who was in charge. That has all changed with the ascendancy of Neptune. Today we stand in total confusion, silently terrorized and paralyzed. Mr. Trump has stumbled upon the most succinct description of our times when he came up with the phrase “Fake News”. Here we are in a new world where each person, if they have the clout, can make up their on facts, live their secret fantasy. Indeed friends, we have fallen into the Rabbit Hole and haven’t hit bottom yet.
Baigent, Michael, Campion, Nicholas. 1984. Mundane Astrology, An Introduction to the Astrology of Nations. The Aquarian Press
Eisler, Riane. 1987. The Chalice The Blade. HarperSanFrancisco
Naranjo,Claudio. 1994. The End of Patriarchy and the Dawning of a Tri-une Society. Amber Lotus
Singer,June. 1977. Androgyny,Toward a New Theory of Sexuality. Anchor Books
Tarnas,Richard. 2006. Cosmos and Psyche, Intimations of a New World View.