Transcript of Radio Show – Uranus and Neptune, Freedom and Sacrifice
In Mundane or Worldly Astrology, we focus first upon the three outer planets as the Avatars or Instruments that provide illumination and guidance as to what is driving the story of human development. The content of each society, and the individual strengths and weaknesses that drive their story, are created by the choices made in the past and present by the people of that society. But the underlying rhythms and themes, the spiritual nature of the opportunities and challenges, the spiritual meanings in each period or epoch can be framed by the understanding of these interlacing orbits of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.
I have been writing and speaking and focusing upon the influence of Pluto for some time. But today I want to look at these other two, Uranus and Neptune, and look at their cycle of relationship by reviewing previous periods in history and comparing those to our time.
Uranus and Neptune
The Orbit of Uranus is roughly 84 years, and Neptune 164. Their cycle with one another, that is from one Conjunction of Uranus with Neptune to the next is about 170 years. As in any planetary pair, we not only consider the Conjunction as being significant, but we also look at the series of aspects from Conjunction to the next Conjunction, their cycling through how far along or apart they are from one another, much like the Sun/Moon cycle, as they go from a “New Moon” to an opposition or “Full Moon” and then back again to their next conjunction.
The conjunction, like a New Moon, is a time of “Seeding”, and releases a new quality or theme in Uranus and Neptune’s relationship to one another, which unfold and manifest over the next 170 years. That theme, as in all planetary pairs, will be structured and informed by the meanings of these two planets. I like to say, that Uranus and Neptune’s relationship illustrates one of the great spiritual truths and challenges we have faced throughout the centuries: How does any society, culture, economy, and political system structure the integral balance of Individuality (Uranus) and Communality (Neptune)?
History of Uranus/Neptune Conjunctions
Their last conjunction was 1993 and it released the seed for the next iteration of this integral balance. Historically, their conjunctions can be seen to frame the weaving and interplay that shapes societies. Those prior conjunctions were: 965, 1136, 1307, 1479, 1650, 1821 and ours in 1993. If we look to Europe, (though there are parallels to periods in Asia and Africa too), the first three could be seen as the beginning, middle and end of what we call the Middle Ages, then 1479 was the Renaissance and Reformation, and 1650 was the Enlightenment and Age of Reason, and 1821 (with the end of Bonaparte’s attempt to form an Empire of Europe), led to the 1800’s and 1900’s, to what we call the “Modern Age” of Liberal Democracy vs. Socialistic/Communistic formations of society, and that paradigm of order ended between 1989 to 1993.
The 1993 Conjunction
What our period is truly about, no one can say for certain, because we were still very much in the beginning or initial phase of the dream-seed that is emerging. But it is now, in 2016 through 2020, and maybe just a little beyond, that we are encountering the first major aspect in the Uranus/Neptune cycle, which is the SemiSquare or 45-degree aspect. Much like when a seed sprouts, there is no knowing what it can mean as it grows beneath the soil; but it is at this moment of the SemiSquare, when the sprout emerges above the ground, it is then, (or for us now) that we face our encounter with what it is or may be. However, just as much as we can get a glimpse of the future, we will also face our past.
This stage of the cycle is likened to a quickening or a spurring to development of the new impulse released by the seed; but it is equally the challenge thrown down by the past which often will resist this new form of being. It is, and we are in it now, a struggle between the future and the past. The movement towards the New meets the resistance of the Past. It is quite understandable, as some of this resistance will come from our inherent, natural uncertainty and hesitation, the caution anyone of us might feel when starting something new. But some of the resistance will be rooted in deeper fears, by the attachment to and fear of the loss of present advantages or privileges which the new way threatens.
The promise of a New World is taken up by some or by the many at the time of the seeding, in our case from 1993 to now; but the fear of loss held by the old reality and its beneficiaries is encountered most clearly at this turning now.
We need to remember, the New is but a dream, it comes from the Spirit within, it is subjective. Now those dreamers meet with the physical reality, with the objective reality of the world as it is; that means in many parts and places, the dreamers encounter those who not wish to change, they do not want to lose what they have, and there are also many who wish to retake what they feel they have already lost.
What is the message of Uranus and Neptune for us now? It is what it has always been:
Message of Uranus/Neptune
Uranus rules “Individuality”; and it is the Avatar of the Higher or Freer Mind that forms one of the three aspects of Spirit. Neptune rules “Communality”; Neptune is the Avatar of the Energy-Form that holds the whole of Creation as One. The truth of Spirit is found by these two being held together, where the essence of the Individual is celebrated and made realizable by the support and the meaningfulness of being part of or one with the many. We are here to be an Individual; we are made of one another too. “I am that; I am”; but also, “I bow to the Divine within you too”.
The integral relationship between Uranus and Neptune illustrates the paradoxical truth behind the mystery of the Universe’s constitution. Everything, every speck and mote of Creation, every particle, every atom and molecule, and every “Being” in this Universe is an individual; each one is a unique instance or manifestation of spirit, formed and informed by what I call its own Quintessence, its essential identity or essence.
Yet, at the very same time, all of these “ones” are part of the One, and so they are fundamentally, essentially, and equally indivisible from one another. They are all part of the One Life, and the One Love that binds and holds all together. But how much of the Individuality manifests, and how much of the Communality shines through, that balance or imbalance between them, as we look at all the kingdoms of life, in the various life-forms and species of animate life, throughout the ages, we will see that there is an ever-shifting balance between these two principles, between the One and the many.
Individual vs. Community
For us humans, this tension between the Individual and their Community has waxed and waned within any culture or civilization as well as between them. For example, when we look at human forms of lifestyle or life ways, like the Hunter/Gatherer, of the Farmer/Craftsperson or in our society for example of Rural/Urban, we will see differing mixtures and balances of the relationship between how much freedom an individual has, and how much limitation of freedom they will experience as they sacrifice for and to their community.
The Whole or Community is essential for all human beings, for their shared sense of belonging to something larger and more encompassing, and so we yield some of our individual freedoms to the very source of our nature, because that very community provides the context of meanings, values and beliefs which form each individual in that community. You cannot have one without the other.
At various points in history, within any culture as well as between different cultures, there has been this reciprocal balance between the degree to which people are freer to express themselves as more individual, to differentiate themselves from their various groups, and times when the larger social order, (of family, community, ethnicity, and state) are able to more closely or narrowly define and often circumscribe that individual freedom.
It is how this balance is achieved and maintained, the extent to which there is a mutual benefit from one to the other, or times like our own which seems out of balance, that determine the degree to which balance of Individual Freedom and Communal Harmony does or does not prevail.
Remember, the time we are in is critical; it is when the emerging new theme released at the conjunction (or New Moon) in 1993 is encountering the countervailing forces of the past. It is very much a struggle between a new way of being confronting the fearful pulls and pushes of the old order trying to maintain or restore itself. This struggle between more individual freedom and more community or communal conformity will play out during the entire 170-year cycle again and again. But the greatest promise and the greatest threat is felt at these critical moments of choice. We are at such a time right now.
Whatever paradigm of order had prevailed from 1821 to the late 1980s, those major divisions gave way with a claim by some that “History is over”, with the so-called triumph of Liberal Democracy and the defeat of Communism. We must certainly see now, as we encounter the first turning from the seed that was planted in 1993, that we face the plain and undeniable truth that we are not done with history, nor she with us.
We are experiencing a worldwide upheaval, between the reemergence of Authoritarianism (not that it ever really went away), and the struggle of Liberal Democracies, which in many ways is just a continuation or a new formulation of the old battles, between and within, “the haves and the have nots”, between old and new elites, as the hope for the future for the vast majority of humanity seems to slip further away as they just try to survive.
The Present Crisis
In the North and the South, in the East and in the West, all lands and peoples are marked now by the Social Pandemic of the pathogens of extreme social schisms, of anarchic individualism and suffocating communalism, and these are signs that we are at this critical turning in the Cycle of Uranus and Neptune. The old model of balancing Individuality/Communality has broken down, and the yet to emerge Paradigm has not been clearly stated nor acted upon.
This world-wide confusion has produced a crisis of order and meaningfulness for the many who yearn for a life and world that is “Fair and Free”. Without a significant majority of people who hold to and act through an accepted integration of these two energy-forms, we are living through a period that is like an “in-between world”, where extremists are driving and dividing us further from one another.
When either of these energy-forms becomes imbalanced with the other, we either move towards extreme forms of independence, (and break our bonds of fellowship), or we bind ourselves into individuality-denying forms of communalism, (which can or will lead to the breakdown in the integrity of each member of the group). There is a need for Life, for Spirit to find itself by being One and True, but it also can only do this by being part of something greater, of belonging and being formed by something larger too. As I like to say, “We all want to be One of a Kind; but we also can only find our Meanings and Values by being part of some Kind”.
We are all individuals who are nested within greater and greater “wholes” or communities, from the family unit, to the immediate community, to the region, and state and nation, and ultimately the planet itself as our largest space of community. But the meanings and balance of the Individual and Community are in great peril at this time.
The cycle that began in 1993 has now reached a critical moment. It should be apparent and clear to many if not most people, that we are witnessing throughout the world this higher tension between Freedom and Communal life-ways, and it is ripping cultures, ethnicities, communities and even families into ever more fragmented relationships and groupings.
Freedom vs. Love
On the one hand, you could say that the Centripetal force of Freedom has become severely unbalanced in its integral relationship with the Centrifugal force of Love. The egoistic, narcissistic, and divisive energies appear ascendant; Love, sacrifice and communalism are in retreat. As they become unhinged or out of balance with one another, each seemingly devolves into a twisted or warped version of its higher nature.
Yet, it is equally true, that in such a time, as Freedom becomes ripped from shared affections, becoming selfish and nihilistic; then equally in response, the principle of Love becomes bounded by the fear of the unfamiliar, affections are narrowed and retreat inwardly, to the poisoned wells of tribal attachments and groupings based on Race, Ethnicity, Creed and Class. The true communal foundations of our common ancestry, that we all can trace our physical and spiritual roots to the same cause, this essential root of us all seems to devolve, and the Center that is the force that binds the entire universe, true spiritual Love, that love is lost as societies break apart into dissociations, made of fear-filled groupings, tribes formed upon fear, who look upon the “the other” as the carrier of darkness, blame and fear.
Yes, it seems all too clear today, that what we have experienced in the darkest parts of our history is crashing into us once again; fear and hatred are darkening our minds, hearts, and lives. If we were only to go by the news of this past week, we could conclude that the catabolic forces of fear and hatred are outpacing the one abiding, true and supreme force in this universe, which is Love.
But we cannot, nor should we ever retreat or succumb to fear. Why? Because, we can also find comfort and reassurance that we have faced such times before, and we did take steps to try and right the wrongs of the past, that we did face and accept both the beauty and the horror of how our story began.
Though our story claims we discovered a “virgin land”, this land was filled with the beauty of vibrant cultures and peoples, and they were exterminated. We were founded upon Genocide.
Though our founders wrote those immortal words, “…that all men are created equal”, more than half of them held fellow humans as property. We were founded upon Racism.
This country is being called to account, to answer the call of Spirit, where all creatures, great and small, where all of life on this planet is loved and held sacred; and we should treat any fellow human as who they are, a being who is equal to myself, a luminous spark of the divine.
We cannot escape our history, but we need to heal our broken minds and hearts. We need to re-build the stories we tell one another, of what our lives are for, why we are here, and what we hope to leave to those who come after. We are only here for such a very short time, and many lives are being lost or shortened because of the sins of the past which cast a dark shadow upon on our hearts and minds.
We can take inspiration from our heroes who rose to their challenge and look around to our present-day heroes risking their lives to save others. There is much to give us hope, but there is need on the part of each one of us to re-establish trust in one another; we need to build our greater faith on kindliness and loving deeds.
We can look for inspiration and guidance from one another, in the smaller and greater acts of individuals and their communities, who are putting aside their differences and weaving together a new compact, a fairer and more just society. We each have a vital stake in this, we each have many opportunities to help ourselves and one another. We should remember the spiritual truth that is held in our pledge to one another, and we should honor and remember our spiritual compact, which is inscribed upon the Great Seal of our national motto:
E Pluribus Unum—Out of Many One
The truth is in the stars; the truth is your heart.
You know what to do,
Love one another…
As we are watching the news and events of this time, and our hearts are deeply saddened by the suffering, we are equally inspired by the those who shine, who save and rescue and heal those who are in dire need, it is indeed so clear what is going on right now. We are being asked to choose where we stand in the halls and history of spirit.
Will we stand for love, will we stand for one another, will we reach across the divides that are there but need not be there?
We can and must when we understand that who I have before me is myself.