Here’s a piece from Richard Tarnas’ Cosmos and Psyche, pp 482-3. It’s good stuff, albeit relentlessly profound and in need of a few jokes:
If we consider, then, the unfolding cycles of the 3 outermost planets – taking into account the current [sextile] alignment between Neptune and Pluto, the number of years since the most recent Neptune-Pluto conjunction a century ago, and the completion of the subsequent Uranus-Pluto and Uranus-Neptune conjunctions of the 1960s and 1990s respectively – our present moment in history is most comparable, astronomically, to the period exactly 500 years ago… that brought forth the birth of the modern self during the decades surrounding the year 1500. This too was an epoch of extraordinary turbulence and uncertainty, and also of great cultural creativity and dynamism. It was the moment of the High Renaissance of Leonardo and Michelangelo, Erasmus and Thomas More, in the immediate aftermath of Pico della Mirandola’s new vision of human possibility in the Oratio and Ficino’s Platonic Academy in Florence – a period shaped by the rapid spread of a powerful new medium of universal communication, the printed book; the first expeditions to a vast new world that, at enormous human and ecological cost, led to the opening of the global community to itself; and the immense spiritual and cosmological transformations, still unfolding, represented by Luther’s start of the Reformation and Copernicus’s conceiving of the heliocentric hypothesis.
Our postmodern age of ceaseless flux and irresolvable complexity, for all its metaphysical disorientation, and despite the collective entrancement induced by the mass media and corporate marketing, has nevertheless brought forth new conditions and possibilities that could prove invaluable for our future. As a result of the many extraordinary changes – cultural, psychological, spiritual – that have unfolded in the past half-century, the collective psyche has undergone a pervasive and in certain respects deeply benign transformation that cannot easily be measured and yet, for all its subtlety, is no less pregnant with historical significance. The rapid dissemination during this era of a fundamental new openness to the perspectives and realities of different cultures, eras, religions, races, classes, genders, sexual orientations, age groups, even different species and forms of life has been an essential characteristic of our time. It is perhaps not too much to say that, in this first decade of the new millennium, humanity has entered into a condition that is in some sense more globally united and interconnected, more sensitised to the experiences and suffering of others, in certain senses more spiritually awakened, more conscious of future alternative possibilities and ideals, more capable of collective healing and compassion, and, aided by technological advances in communications media, more able to think, feel and respond together in a spiritually evolved manner to the world’s swiftly changing realities than has ever before been possible.