Astrological Musings — The Pulse of Life and the Astrological Cycles of Order and Disorder (October 29, 2023)
I thought it would be helpful after my last show to pull back once again and take in a larger perspective so that we might see how the planets are shaping and informing the circumstances of our past, present, and future. As you know by now, I find that what is most significant for our understanding of these influences is formed by two factors, the zodiacal positions of the major outer planets, combined with their intersecting series of alignments or aspects, and it this sign/aspect combination which shapes and forms the energies and influences in any particular period.
The dance of the planets, what we might also call the Pulse of Life, is formed on the deepest levels by Pluto, Neptune, and Uranus because they, both individually and through their combinations with one another, create the long wave influences that inform and shape the rise and fall of peoples, cultures, and civilizations throughout history. I will review where we are now as understood by this patternmaking today, but I also want to speak about another indicator that some mundane astrologers use to understand the tides of history over the centuries. I believe you may find the Cyclic Index intuitively instructive and helpful in understanding where we have come from and what may lie ahead for us all.
We begin, as usual, with the Long-Wave planets Pluto, Neptune, and Uranus, by looking at both their individual positions and by their cycles of relationship with one another. Pluto has begun the transition from the sign of Capricorn, (where it has been since 2008), into the sign of Aquarius where it will remain from 2024 to 2044. If we look at its previous passage in Aquarius from 1778-1798, we can certainly note that it was a very eventful time in the world indeed, encompassing in the Western hemisphere both the American and French Revolutions which led to the continental wide wars of Napoleon Bonaparte.
When we look at the past historical periods of Pluto in Capricorn, it consistently heralds the time when a particular institutional order for society, (the institutions of family, community, economic, and political), begin to fundamentally break down. Why is that? It is because these structures formed to meet human needs were established in the late 1700’s and 1800’s. This institutional order was made to fit and to meet the needs of that time. But now we and the world have changed so very much that these systems and structures can no longer meet our needs, they are inadequate. Sometimes it is they, and their products or services, that have become the very source of some of our problems today.
With the advent of Pluto in Aquarius, we might hope and believe that our world would move away from the turbulence of recent memory and back to a more integrative and peaceful time. But if history is any guide, we are probably going to be faced with some very great challenges indeed, just as our ancestors did in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. We do not merely emerge from a broken system into a fully functional paradigm of meaning and order.
Why? Because while it is certainly hard to maintain an orderly life as an institutional order unravels, and it is painful and hard to let go of what you knew and counted on…yes, it is hard to say goodbye. But if you think that the passing of an age takes fortitude and strength, I think we will find that a greater courage and vision will be needed to build our New World as Pluto moves into Aquarius. It is always harder to build than to destroy. But at least we can take comfort from the truth that we will be moving forward with the hope for a better tomorrow, and not living with regret for what is lost or escaping into delusions of a world that never was.
Meanwhile, Neptune is finishing its journey through Pisces, which is from 2011 to 2025-26, (with its previous passages being from 1848-1862 and 1685-1698, and the one I believe that is very much like our own, because it was also a time with Pluto in Capricorn, and that was 1521-1535). With Neptune in Pisces, the veil between our worlds and between one another has become so very permeable that we find ourselves in a veritable sea of illuminations and illusions, with visions of the greater community of spirit colliding with divisions formed by fears founded in half-truths and lies. What we will find is that as Neptune moves into Aries from 2026 to 2039, we will see a new vision of the world and of ourselves begin to unfold, as we move away from doubts into certainties, from a sea of confusion into a call to take up our mission to build the “new world”. And this will bring a welcome relief to many, but it is certainly not an indicator of “peace in our time”. No, the fight over the future will certainly break the old order and realign peoples and nations as it has done before, in fact as it did so in the previous periods of 1862-1875, during and after our Civil War, and from 1698-1712, which witnessed a European Wide War over the Spanish Succession, and from 1535-1548, with an existential struggle between the Catholic and Protestant orders in Europe, and again it is this period is the one most like our time when Pluto was in Aquarius as it will be now.
And thirdly, we have Uranus moving through the sign of Taurus now from 2018 to 2026, (with previous passages being 1935-1942 and 1851-1859), and it is historically significant that each of these Uranian passages, modulated through Taurus which is the sign of Value, accompanied major dislocations, disruptions, and upheavals for the experience of value in each of those periods (and I would certainly think we would all agree in our time too).
Cycles of Relationship
What is also very instructive and special about our time, and also significant in forming the Cyclic Index Indicator that we are going to examine next, is that we have had all three outer planets form their conjunctions with one another over the past century. That is all of them began a new cycle of relationship in the last 130 years or so.
The most important marker of periods roughly every 500 years is the Neptune/Pluto cycle. Their last conjunction took place in 1891-92 in Gemini, and it really is a better moment to mark the beginning of the so-called millennium than the year 2000. The previous conjunctions were 1398, which also heralded the start of Neptune/Pluto series of conjunctions in Gemini, whereas the previous conjunctions were in Taurus in 905, 411, then 84 BCE, and the “great one” of 578 BCE, which is when all three outer planets formed a grand triple conjunction in Taurus, and as I have noted before corresponded to the time of Confucius, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Zoroaster and Pythagoras and many others who “sowed the seeds” for the quickening of our civilization.
This is the fundamental cyclic relationship governing our history, the root cycle formed by the relationship between Spiritual Will (Pluto) and Unconditional Love (Neptune), or how the universal substance-energy which is the Divine Light or Love is shaped by the many hosts of willing beings in our solar system, and for us by we humans. Pluto brings about transformations for the very structuring of societies and cultures, and Neptune provides the dreams, visions and inspirations that are informing these transformations of the containers of reality shaped by Pluto.
Their cycle, like any cycle, will go through various stages from conjunction to the next conjunction, formed by the waxing semi-square, to the sextile (where we have been since the 1950’s) to the square, to the trine and finally to the opposition and then back again to the next conjunction. Perhaps in a later show, we can examine this series of aspects for the previous cycle from 1398 to 1891, and then compare it to our own so far, and also fold in the relevant cycle relationships of the next two pairs.
The second of the big three cycles begins at the conjunction of Uranus with Neptune, and their cycle is about 170 years. Their last conjunction was in 1993 in the sign of Capricorn. The previous conjunctions were 1821 also in Capricorn, 1650 in Sagittarius and 1478 in Scorpio. This is the cycle of relationship formed by the relationship between Freer Mind (Uranus) and Unconditional Love (Neptune), manifesting culturally and spiritually as the interweaving balance between Individuality and Communality. The combination of Uranus and Neptune reveals the ongoing dynamic relationship between Reason and Faith, Science and Spirituality, and one could see their dynamic dance as forming what we might call the worldview or paradigm (or paradigms) of an age. A new paradigm of meaning was formed and guided the world starting in 1821; that one has ended now and a new one is unfolding, and it is slowly revealing itself and becoming more evident now that we are 30 years from their last conjunction in 1993.
And then we have the third major cycle which begins at a Uranus/Pluto conjunction, and their cycle of relationship is on average about 125 years. Their most recent conjunction was in 1965-66 in Virgo. The previous conjunctions were 1850 in Aries, 1710 in Leo and 1598 in Aries. Their combination forms the relationship cycle between the Spiritual Will and Freer Mind, and we can see that in history it forms an indicator of a radical change, at times revolutionary or sometimes reactionary, and often both! Whereas the Neptune/Pluto combination provides the overall structuring and restructuring of a 500-year period, the Uranus/Pluto combination creates more bursts or breaks in the energy and form of a people or culture, whether that is being made by a new idea forcing its way into an old structure to break it apart, or by a reaction to new ideas that meets with the Will of the old regime as a counterrevolution with conservatism fighting to restore or maintain an old order.
Cyclic Indicator Index
Now after this review of the three outer planets and where we are now, I want to include this other technique for evaluating what we might call the balance of energies, of expansion and contraction, of greater integration or disintegration as shown by what is called the Cyclic Index Indicator.
What the Cyclic Indicator reveals is a general index of the state of planetary influences, and it is created by adding up each planet’s position relative to the others. What we do is add the degree separating each planet from another, 10 degrees, 90 degrees on up to 180 degrees, so that by this method we are getting a final summation number that shows how spread apart or close together the planets are from another.
For example, for the outermost planets, we take Uranus and see how many degrees it is from Neptune and note that, and then how many degrees from Pluto and then add that together to form one value. Then we do the same for the separation of Neptune to Pluto, and that becomes another number. We add those all together to get the complete Long-Wave Number for that moment.
Then we do the same for the three combinations of Saturn with Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Finally, we add Jupiter to the mix by determining how far it is from Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. What we have created by all those additions of the separations of planets to each other is what mundane astrologers call the Cyclic Index.
What we will find is that in periods of time when the overall spacing of the planets is growing, that they are each more spread apart from one another in the Zodiac, that those periods coincide with historical conditions that are more positive, more conducive to growth, more integrated with one another. And when the spread between all the outer planets is declining, we seem to move into historical periods of more disorder, of greater disintegration and loss.
Intuitively it makes sense, that when there are more points of connectivity that can inform and balance out one another, a greater potential for the integration of the whole is made possible. And when the planets “clump” together, there is a greater imbalance and lower level of integration and greater instability.
Let’s examine then what it shows for recent historical periods (and here I will just note the most significant events in any period), and then let us take a look at our own moment and what the Cyclic Index shows for our future. Historically, the index can reach its lowest levels when the planets are most concentrated or closer together (and therefore potentially more unstable), and this will happen when the three outer planets reach their conjunctions with one another. In fact, with two of those outer conjunctions occurring in the 1960’s and the 1990’s for us, this alone can account for how challenging our time has been. But the planets can also be spaced apart for some time, and then the index moves less up or down, and then it will eventually return to a more challenging period when they move closer to one another producing sharper swings in the index.
Cyclic Index Periods
Looking at the 20th century, the Cyclic Index had been climbing since the 1880’s and 1890’s, but turns downward from 1901 to 1907, then it rises again and then plummets downwards from 1913 to 1919, or the First World War.
It turns upwards until the late 1920’s, moves down into 1932 which saw the Great Depression, moves up somewhat until 1938-39, and then plummets down again, (and far worse than in 1913-1919), to reach a bottom point in 1944 where it begins to climb again. This is the period of World War II.
It turns down again in 1951-52, reaching the bottom around 1956. This is the Korean War and other Cold War clashes. It then rises from the mid 1950’s until around 1964-65, when it turns down again until 1970-71. This was the Vietnam War.
It rises up once more, then turns and plummets quite strongly from 1976 to 1983. This was the period characterized by both inflation and stagnation in the US economy, termed Stagflation, principally created in the real world by the unfunded debts of the Vietnam war and other political-economic struggles.
Then the index rose from 1983 to 1990, then it turned downward until 1997. Though the USA and much of the world was benefiting in the 1990’s from the end of the Cold War due to the collapse of the Soviet Union, throughout the world regions were facing disruption and chaos in such events as the First Gulf War, the wars in the former Yugoslavia, the Congo Wars, and many others.
The index turned upward around 1997-98 and continued to climb until 2003. This was the beginning of the War on Terror, with the overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the beginning of the Iraq War.
The index turned down again in 2003 until 2010. This period saw the Iraq war fuel a rise in Islamic terror driven by Sunni/Shite struggles for power, (which would eventually lead to the rise of ISIS), and the mortgage debt bubble bursting forcing the USA, (and the much of the world), into what many have called “the second great depression”.
The Index rose from 2010 through 2014, which saw the slow recovery of the USA economy but equally the rise of the Tea Party movement and a rising battle over the political structure in the USA between majoritarian versus minority control for the states and federal governmental structures.
The Index has fallen from 2014 to, well, to just now in 2023-24, as it has slowly begun to turn upwards at this point. As in the past, the turning upward of the index does not appear to be evident until a year or more afterwards, (just like when it turns downwards, it takes time for that to be fully appreciated as well).
The Index will continue upward from 2024-25 until 2030-31. Does this mean we can expect that our general conditions will improve? Though the Index is one among many factors to consider, we can at least hope that its general indication for the tenor of the times may promise an improving world condition over the next many years ahead.
Moreover, whereas earlier in the 1800’s and 1900’s there were larger swings in the index and deeper dips, the index is now moving into a more constrained up and down pattern as we move through the rest of the 21st century. Perhaps this too promises a stronger likelihood of integration and balance for the future.
But of course, these methods of trying to understand our world, as revealed by the individual planets, and by the planetary pairings, along with the Cyclic Index, do not and cannot reveal the content of our lives and the reality we face. That content, our lives, and our world is made by us, and what we create or destroy depends upon how we understand and respond to so many influences and energy-forms that we are experiencing and that we are also creating too.
If we choose the path of Light and Love, if we choose to understand, and forgive we can move forward, as we take and make the very best from these avatars of spirit that hold the story of Creation for us.
Let us live and learn to dedicate our lives to do what we came here to do, which is quite simply yet profoundly to do one thing, we came to learn how to be a better human, and how to live on this planet with understanding and love.