In practice, Pluto tends to be the planet most used to describe the times we live in. This is because until recently it was the outermost planet, and therefore had the strongest effect on a collective level. Pluto has of course been downgraded to a dwarf planet, but that hasn’t stopped astrologers treating him as a full planet. Which suggests we can do the same for Eris, another ‘dwarf planet’, larger than Pluto and with an orbital period of about 500 years, double that of Pluto.
So the Pluto period we are living in (which is just changing from Sagittarius to Capricorn) needs to be seen in the wider context of the Eris era that we are living in. Eris is the planet that has the most powerful effect on our times, and Pluto and Neptune and Uranus are subsets of this.
So far, so logical. But I’ve found it hard until now to get much of a handle on Eris in Aries, and I suspect others have as well. But if you bring in visual astrology, in which Eris is passing through the constellation Cetus, it becomes easier to unpack.
I’m covering ground I wrote about the other day in my last post on Eris (please read this first). But it occurred to me that this point about Eris being the most defining planet of our times needs emphasising, particularly as, through Cetus, it is possible to get more of a sense of her influence.
Eris averages about 40 years per sign. Her orbit is highly elliptical, so that she spends far longer in some signs than others. She is spending over 100 years in her present sign of Aries, so for our generation Eris is not really a personal planet. She moves much faster through some other signs, so Eris could be considered a personal planet for the people who live through those times. For us she is pretty much a planet belonging to mundane astrology (though as a static element in the natal chart she can be interesting, particularly for people who represent a collective in some way. Just forget the transits.)
In the same way that Eris mischievously threw an apple into the wedding feast, an event that eventually brought about the Trojan War, so we can see Eris as a catalyst, as small events leading to large results. But it is not just any old large result. With Eris being in Cetus, the monster of the deep, the results of Eris’s actions are to transform the collective, for better or for worse.
So 9/11, which occurred at 8.46am on 11 Sept 2001 in New York (with Mars appropriately on the bow of the Archer of Sagittarius), has Eris at 20 Aries square to the MC at 17 Cancer and opposite to the ASC at 14 Libra. (Hmm...New York is the Big Apple (Eris), just as it was the Twin Towers (Saturn in Gemini) that got hit.)
9/11 was a small event relative to what followed, if you look e.g. at the carnage in Iraq. And it deeply transformed the times we live in, collective consciousness went through a huge shift. Pluto in Sagittarius describes part of the nature of that shift: the bursting onto the world stage of religious fundamentalism, whether it was the nationalist Islamism of the Middle East, or the God-driven American desire to impose democracy on the rest of the world.
(Incidentally I tend to doubt conspiracy theories, but here was a real one: the American government’s successful conspiracy to persuade Americans that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11. It shows how unintelligent, and how easily manipulated, the Collective can become in times of crisis.)
The same was true of World War I. It completely changed the world, and was catalysed by the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand, with Eris opposite the ASC and square to the MC, just as with 9/11.
I think that Eris is very empowered being in both Aries and Cetus. Aries is a good sign for initiating ‘trouble’, and Cetus is the perfect constellation for a collective planet wishing to have an effect on a collective level.
Regardless of the specific nature of Eris, her current placement in Cetus (1930-2036) suggests that we are living through an era in which the Collective is all-important: there can be great and positive transformations on a collective level, and the worst excesses of the mob-mind (as we saw with both Japan and Germany soon after Eris entered Cetus).
So this is the wider, 100 year period we are living through: a time when the collective is very powerful, and humanity is going through some sort of journey in this respect. Add in Eris in Aries, and we have a period in which that collective journey is being continually stimulated by catalytic events which open everything up, bring about the best and worst of humanity, and through that enable us to understand ourselves.
Globalisation, which has intensified since the Uranus-Neptune conjunction of the early 1990s, and of course Pluto in Sag, is a key word here. On all sorts of levels, humanity is becoming like one big nation in the context of which we see our own local reality. This is very new, it has never happened before, and it is the journey that Eris in Cetus is taking us through. It is an unprecedented collective transformation, brought about by Eris at her most catalytic in Aries, and in possibly her most natural constellation (as the most collective planet) of Cetus.
So this is what Eris in Cetus is telling us. We’re now all in it together, whether we like it or not. Eris has been showing us since the 1930s how awful we can be together, but also what we can achieve. Look, for example, at the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, which was also described by the Pluto (empowerment) Uranus (radical ideas, progress) conjunction of the time. So again we can see the Uranus-Pluto conjunction taking place within the wider context of Eris and the long transformational collective journey she is taking us on.
Eris has taken us a long way since 1930. We have become increasingly aware of our collective nature in its heights and depths, and there are still 28 years to go till she leaves Cetus. So you can see why so many people have been talking for years about a coming collective shift in consciousness, about 2012, and so on.
I’ve always been a bit sceptical, I tend to think that transformation happens primarily on an individual level, and that you can’t place much faith in people behaving intelligently in large numbers.
But I think Eris is showing us, over a long period, that it doesn’t have to be like this; she is showing us a new vision (Aries) for our collective depths (Cetus), she is showing us how to work together. Which is timely, because without global co-operation in the coming decades, we will cease to flourish, our survival will be threatened. So it needs to be possible, it has to be possible, and Eris is showing us how.
Who knows, maybe Barack Obama is part of this new collective possibility? Because if it doesn’t happen in America, and soon, then it’s not going to. Being English, I back off with distaste from the religious zeal surrounding him. I don’t like it at all when he begins with “Good afternoon believers”. If he was English, I’d take it as irony. But Americans don’t do irony. And he is raising huge expectations in people. But his South Node conjoins the US Sibly Moon (the people) in Aquarius, and Neptune will soon pass over them. And his North Node conjoins the Royal Star Regulus. So something very strong is happening, and it would be strange if he didn’t end up as President one way or another. He is too inexperienced for anyone to be able to know whether he can deliver, whether he can work with Congress, people are having to hope here, which isn’t really what you want when electing a President. But a collective shift is urgently needed, and none of the other candidates seem to be offering it.