Transcript of Radio Show: 2020 to 2021 - A look back and a look ahead
I thought it would be helpful as 2020 winds down, to consider the major Astrological themes of this year and what lies ahead for 2021. There are always two major influences to consider in Mundane or Worldly Astrology, the general effects that hold for one and all on Earth which are indicated by the planetary alignments with one another in the heavens, what we call transits to transits. And secondly, we consider the planetary transits to the planets of a Natal chart that is of interest.
Transit to Transit 2020, Jupiter Conjunct Pluto
The most consequential Transit to Transit for 2020 was the alignment (Conjunction) of Jupiter with Pluto in Capricorn. Roughly every 12 years or so, Jupiter will “catch up” to the position of Pluto and form what is like a New Moon in their cycle of relationship. Jupiter holds the meanings and truths for us and indicates the potential for growth and expansion. Pluto, being the planet of Will and Sacred Space, holds for me as the Avatar of the fundamental driving force for Creation, Alchemy. Alchemy is the power of combinations, whether atoms with atoms, molecules with molecules, organisms with organisms, stars with stars. It is from these combinations, transformation, deaths, and rebirths, of evolutions and mutations, it is by this that the whole of Creation and everything and everyone in it becomes the many who form the One. At the highest, I consider Pluto to be the Avatar of the Will of God.
The meeting of Jupiter with Pluto indicated that this year would signal an ending (and a beginning) for us in the meanings/truths/science/beliefs about how we grow, how we die, and how we are to be reborn. Certainly, from the most basic conditions of our physical lives, of how we live for ourselves and with one another, 2020 was certainly a transformational year. I think we can all agree that there is no going back to our old lives and ways of living, and we are all trying to figure out what will be our “new normal”.
Transit to Transit 2021, Saturn Square Uranus
For 2021, the most significant transit to transit aspect will be Saturn Squaring Uranus. Their cycle of relationship, from Conjunction to Conjunction is 45 years, and in 2021 we are at their Waning Square. There are four critical moments in any planetary cycle pairing: Conjunction, Waxing Square, Opposition, and Waning Square and then back to their next Conjunction.
The current cycle of Saturn/Uranus began in 1988; they reached their waxing square in 1999-2000, and their opposition in 2008 to 2010, and now for 2021 their waning square. It is quite striking to me, that their previous waning squares, (as well as other critical cycle turnings), came during critical shifts for the world and the USA. Those previous moments like our own moment of the waning square were 1975-77 and 1930-31. Also, of note are the previous conjunctions or seed-moments which were, in addition to ours of 1988, those of 1942 and 1897. We would want to pay special attention to their periods of climax or revelation (by opposition) which were in 1918-20, 1965-67, and for our period 2008-10. What we need to understand or ask ourselves is this, “what is the message or meaning of their cycle of relationship, and what does this mean for us in 2021?”
Saturn and Uranus
Saturn is the Avatar of Reality, of Institutions and Traditions; it rules the status quo, the “tried and true”, what has been relied upon and proven to be necessary or useful. Uranus is the Avatar of Invention, it rules New Ideas and Independence; it works by stimulating Originality and Contrariness, by challenging the old with some new conceptual framework, idea, or technique. In a way, their cycle of relationship can be understood as the dynamic interplay of Order and Freedom, of Tradition versus Innovation, and when pushed to extremes, of being Reactionary versus Revolutionary. They are and should be understood like most planetary pairs as necessary to one another, for they each hold an aspect of truth that only becomes possible and fulfilled by combination with the other.
From Saturn’s “point of view”, what has worked is what one should hold to, it has proven to be the best or the only way to function in the real world. The counterpoint would be, just because it has worked, that does not mean it will continue to work, or that it could not be improved. Uranus would add, and you must remember this, whatever old technique, practice or tradition you follow, at some point it was an innovation, it was a discovery or realization that became afterwards a part of the tradition.
But equally, for Uranus’ part, just because you have found some new innovative way of being, or way of accomplishing some task or meeting your needs, that does not mean it is better than the old way. Many times, we will attempt a new approach or technique and later find the wisdom of the old way is, well, simply better.
What we must do, what we are doing constantly, is to hold the old and the new together, the tradition with the innovation, to integrate Saturn and Uranus; we must see the wisdom of holding and working them together always. What happens at these critical moments in their cycle is that this creative tension between the old way and the new way reaches a turning point for us.
2021, The Waning Square
2021 should hold some of the same core meanings as the previous waning squares, which were 1975-77 and 1930-31. But we need to understand the difference between waxing and waning squares. During the waxing square, which in our cycle was 1999-2000, we are in a time where we make a definitive, concrete choice between one way or another, we are faced with the challenge to cleave to one way and cut away the other, and by this we build upon the new beginning (which was in 1988 for this cycle). Now at the waning square, we are being asked to “let go and grow”, to realize that given the result of 2008-2010 when we were at the opposition, we must now see the whole cycle from the seed of 1988, to the square 1999-20 to that climax or outcome in 2008-10 and face the truth now about what we have learned.
What is possible (but by no means guaranteed) is that at the waning square we need to find a way to transcend the old polarities, to let go of the old framing of the challenges we face and the solutions we wield. Certainly, if we look to a previous waning square of 1930-31, we can see that the crisis of the Great Depression led to the attempts to fix a broken economic order by massive government intervention and guidance, it seemed we rose to the challenge.
But In 1975-77 at the next waning square, when we were faced with the aftereffects of the Vietnam War, and the unfunded mandates of the Great Society, the resulting stagnation of growth and inflation of prices, (called at the time Stagflation), combined with the scandals of Watergate, well it would seem as if we did not rise to the challenge as well then. Yes, there were some major reforms implemented with regards to campaign financing and government accountability. But the economic reforms needed to correct the growing imbalances from the 1960’s and early 1970’s were not implemented. I would argue that the crisis of the 30’s was better met than the crisis of the 70’s.
We should expect our challenge and crisis, for all squares present as some form of crisis, to be a moment of danger but equally of opportunity. The danger usually comes from failing to rise to the challenge that we face, and to hold to fear and retreat into the old ways and practices. If we instead see this as an opportunity, and that by reframing our questions we may find better solutions. Then we can rise above our cultural, political, and economic divisions and find our turning point to be more like the New Deal of the 1930’s and 1940’s.
Transit to USA 2020, Pluto Opposite Mercury
The major transit in the chart of the USA for 2020 was Pluto opposite Mercury, and I have written and spoken extensively about this. Here is some of what I said and wrote about this year:
The USA Pluto is opposite to Mercury, and Mercury rules a nation’s means of communication, like a being’s nervous system. It rules the thought-form patterns and the development (or lack) of intelligence. Each time Pluto has aligned with Mercury and then with itself in history, the USA has confronted the nature of how we value one another. The previous times in the late 1840s and into the 1850s witnessed the struggle over new states being allowed to enter as slave or free states; the 1930s with FDR and “The New Deal” in the attempt to provide some greater support to the general welfare after the Great Depression; and the 1980s and the Reagan revolution, which in the succeeding 40 years since then, has led to the most unequal distribution of wealth in the USA since the 1920s, a factor which had led to the Great Depression.
Now we are here in 2020, with Pluto opposite Mercury and Pluto returning to its Natal position too. The planets do not determine what will happen. We are the creators and instruments of Action and Will, and the content of what we made and the pain and joy we face is formed by us not the planets. They time the unfoldment of patterns, they guide our steps with meanings and underlying causality, but we choose well or poorly.
The choices made in the 1980s and beyond, within the economic structures themselves and within the legal and tax structures of government, led to the great divide we face between one another now. For example, from 1980 to 2020 the gross domestic product of the USA rose by 80% in 40 years, it almost doubled. But the way that growth was distributed was far less equal than the previous period from 1940 to 1980. In the last 40 years, the bottom 20% of the USA population gain 20% more wealth; the middle 40% gain 50% more wealth; but the top .01% gained 420% more in their wealth.
In terms of wealth distribution, the USA is one of the worst of all the so-called “advanced societies” and this inequality is even greater when distributed and defined by race and ethnicity. This is the principle reason why the USA has appalling life expectancies and health outcomes compared to much of the world.
Once again, here in 2020, we are being asked to look at how we treat the value of our nation, of how we care for the true wealth of the land, which is our people.
Now of course all that remains true to this day (and for all our days to come), but what you want to know is what is ahead for 2021.
Transit to USA 2021, Neptune Opposite Neptune, Neptune Square Mars
In some way, what is coming into focus in 2021 in the USA chart has been building up ever since Neptune entered its own sign of Pisces in 2010. One of the most distinctive features in the chart of the USA is Neptune placed high in the 9th house with the planet Mars 90 degrees away, squaring it from the 7th house. What does this indicate?
The planet Neptune rules the dreams and visions of an entity; Mars rules its desires and actions. The USA carries an energy-form that is characterized by holding to a belief or faith (Neptune) that it is on a special mission, formed into a dream of a more perfect order (Neptune in Virgo), that is guided by higher truths (Neptune in the 9th house). This influence shapes the USA’s desires/actions (Mars) as being guided by this vision, that what is “right action” for America is right Universally.
Unfortunately, this belief in our exceptional nature has led us to impose our truths (or half-truths) around the world, with the most recent disastrous results revealed in the interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other nations by our “war against terror”. We can and should lead by example, but we lose and destroy our very message, of “free self-determination” as a fundamental principle, when we seek to impose it by force of arms. This is a lesson we still face and have yet to master. The USA must learn to lead with deeper wisdom and greater humility.
In 2021, Neptune is aligning with our Neptune and Mars once again. If we look at the historical record of previous alignments, we can gain some insight into our own moment now.
Neptune’s Turning Points
Neptune’s orbit is about 163 years, and it will align with the USA Neptune and Mars every 40 years or so. The dates are: 1816-17, 1857-58, 1897-98, 1938-39, 1980-81, and now 2021-22. What we need to consider is the type of aspect being formed by Neptune to Neptune, and Neptune to Mars. The most significant alignments would be the opposition of Neptune to itself, and its return to its natal position. The first and only return to its natal position was 1938-39; and the two oppositions in USA history were 1857-58 and the upcoming opposition of 2021-22.
Astrologers consider any planetary return like a “New Moon”, a seeding of a new variation of the energy-form that Neptune holds in this case. That would mean that a new seed was planted during the presidency of FDR, with his efforts to restore the USA economy after the Great Depression, while he equally led the USA to prepare for the existential confrontation with the rise of Fascism in Europe and Asia in World War II.
Opposition of 1857-1858
The opposition should be understood as the revelation and outcome of that variation of expression from the first or natal imprinting and then any succeeding returns. The seed planted in 1776 of Neptune’s “Dream of America” became fully revealed in the first opposition (like a Full Moon) of 1857-58. I have written and spoken about this historic period several times, with reference to this Neptune alignment in the USA chart.
From Neptune’s embodiment of the dream of America in 1776, “That all men are created equal…”, a political-economic order was established by a very small number of white, property-owning men. For many of those men, they had secured their wealth through owning other humans as property. This political-economic order evolved into two ways of life, dividing into two very different societies and cultures which came to a climatic confrontation during the 1850’s over this question: Would the USA become a fully “free labor country” or a fully “slave labor country”?
The years prior to 1857-58 witnessed the growing power of the slaveholding states in the Congress and over the courts. The climax of their power was enshrined during 1857 by the Dred Scott decision in the Supreme Court, in which it determined that the law of the land would be that, “slaves and descendants of slaves were never nor would they ever be citizens, and that they would remain the permanent property of their masters”. The conflict was best summarized in 1858 in the famous Lincoln/Douglas debates. Lincoln spoke of this division of humans from one another in the country, between the slave states and the free states, in which he declared, “that a house divided from itself cannot stand”. He proposed that this division would be resolved one way or another, and that the US would either become a nation where in every state all humans would be free and equal or in every state there would be slavery and inequality.
Neptune Return 1938-1939, the Dream restated
In 2021 with the opposition of Neptune, just like it was in 1857-58 when the nation faced the final irreconcilable divisions and conflicts before the Civil War, we are experiencing the end result from the restatement of the Dream of America by FDR in the 1930’s. His New Deal was supposed to be a Fair Deal for all Americans, and equally his declaration for all humankind of the Four Freedoms for the world.
Yes, it was after FDR and for many years thereafter, that the general growth in the prosperity of the United States was more fairly shared by the entire population, from the 1940’s into the 1970’s. It certainly was not perfect for all, but there was a general feeling that there was more equity, more balance and fairness in how we share in the values we create; and, because of this most parents were sure that their children would have a better life than they had had. The American Dream of self-determination and self-fulfillment was made possible and became more real for many.
But then it went all wrong, why? What changed? What happened to the Dream of America?
2021, Our Division
Though it would seem to many that we are divided by space, between the coasts and the heartland, between the urban and rural populations, I do not believe this fairly or accurately captures what is at the root of our divisions between one another. Just as our founding dichotomy of Slave and Free states led to the Civil War, our divide is between two differing versions of how we understand our value to one another, and how we share in our wealth. Today, we have a country that is divided into the very wealthy few, and then a shrinking upper and middle class, and finally the rest who are just struggling to survive.
Neptune Square, 1980-1981
It is important to note when the USA changed. I would point to the waxing square of Neptune, the turning point between 1938 and 2021, which was in 1980-81. And that is exactly when the growth of wealth for the people of the USA became divided and unfair. The distribution of the growth of wealth from 1940 to 1980 is starkly different than that from 1980 to 2020; really, it is of two quite different countries. The reason is that choices were made to turn away from fairness for the many, and to promote rampant self-interested beliefs and actions that led to selfishness, greed, and great wealth for the few.
Here is an interesting mathematical scenario: if you were to equally divide the USA national income and wealth, each household in the USA would earn about $140,000 a year and have a net worth of almost $1 million! Think about that; that is how unequal our system has become. And it is that gross imbalance which has formed and solidified our political and cultural divides.
We are confronted with a country that is deeply divided once again, that is fundamentally shaped by a variation of the same questions put before us in the 1850’s: Who is a citizen of this country; are we truly equal to one another; do we have an equal voice and opportunity to determine our future in a fully functioning democracy or not?
Democracy or not
The answer is of course is we do not have a truly functioning democracy. That is not possible when the wealth and power in the USA is in the hands of so few individuals and families. The USA is an Oligarchy, wherein great wealth bestows political control; it is a political and economic system ruled by Plutocrats. From a small group of white men of property in 1776, the USA in over 200 years has arrived at a place where the relatively few control much of the wealth that all Americans create.
We are divided because the American Dream of self-determination and self-fulfillment is increasingly unreachable for more and more Americans. Many parents today know that they have less than their parents, and they certainly fear that their children will have even less.
Love, the Path to Healing
To truly heal this divide in the USA, we must address the fundamental divide between one another. At its root, just as it was in the beginning of the Dream of America, we need to understand the essential value of one another in each other, we need to understand how we really create value.
The value of any human enterprise is made by the inherent value of each human which is brought to life and made manifest by our combinations with one another; it is by our collaborations and joint ventures, by our communities, fellowships and friendships, that we realize our value to one another and for another.
As I like to say, we would be nothing (for the most part) without one another. From Father/Mother, to Grandfather/Grandmother, to Sisters and Brothers, Friends, Colleagues and Loved Ones, we are all made by one another and our true value is completely intertwined, interdependent and bound to one another.
Our True Value
We owe our well-being, we have our value, from what we have made with one another and shared with one another. We are, as in everything in this Universe, made by and become what we are through the mystery of Alchemy; we are what we are through combining with one another in our sacred spaces of Union. We are indivisible from one another, and we must treat one another with love, respect, and honor.
We do not have a problem in creating value; we have a very real problem in sharing with one another.
We need to acknowledge this basic spiritual truth, that all our values are made by each other for one another.
If we are to meet our challenges, if we are to rise above the existential threat of Climate Change (which we created in our ignorance), if we are to create a fair, just and sustainable society, then we must make a sacred commitment to ensure that each and every person has an opportunity to fulfill their potential.
We must turn to one another, as we did over 200 years ago, and agree that “we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our Sacred Honor”.
This is the promise we made; this is the promise we must fulfill.