There was a period in 2008, when Barack Obama was campaigning to be the Democratic Presidential candidate, when you weren’t likely to get a good reception if you said anything critical of the man. He was sweeping people away on a wave of hope for a better world. One astrologer told me at the time that my Saturn in Sagittarius gave me a fear of faith, which was stopping me from seeing Obama as he really he was. (I’d say it gave me sense!)
I am not trying to say here whether or not I think Wikileaks is helpful. It is complicated, and how you view Wikileaks will probably determine whether or not you think he is a cultural hero. This time the relevant planet is Uranus, which natally squares Assange’s Sun and which is the planet of rebellion. (Chiron, which makes a t-square with the Sun and Uranus, gives him his victim/scapegoat status.)
The world is as it is because human nature is as it is. Why do we think that an Obama or an Assange can make it radically different? Why do we need the world to be radically different? I think that what happens in these situations is essentially a projection onto the world, and onto prominent individuals, of our own unrealised potential, or even our own dissatisfaction with ourselves.
To the extent that you feel the outer planets to be consciously operative in your own life, to that extent you won’t get carried away by these figures. It’s going to be a mixed thing for most of us. And what others are collectively feeling also affects us.
Say you find very appealing Julian Assange as a harbinger of revolutionary change. He may or may not be – that is beside the point. The real point is that deep appeal, which is like a gift in that it contains the potential for awakening. In this case, it is a call to live Uranus more fully. It is a call to allow a constant sense of progressive change into your life, to welcome the unexpected, and to be deeply unconcerned by what the neighbours think. Uranus breaks us away from convention. In its unsophisticated form we enjoy the breaking away, the rebellion, for its own sake, and maybe project it out onto the world. In its more developed form it enables us to progress our own lives, to have a deep sense of our own very individual life, unhindered by what others (family members!) may or may not think.
And say you find/found Barack Obama deeply appealing. He embodied the hope for a better world and a leader who could be completely trusted. OK, people were sick of George Bush and all he stood for and of course they wanted someone different and hoped Obama would be. But the feeling around Obama went much further than that, it was religious, it was numinous; for many, for a while at least, he could do no wrong. And in this sense he was a call to live Neptune more fully: a sense of being part of the ocean of life and a sense that life is always unfolding and that you are part of that and you can trust that process and that just being part of all that makes life meaningful and hopeful. Again, we may start with someone out there – and with Neptune in the 9th Obama carries the ‘spiritual teacher’ and ‘redeemer’ archetypes – but wisdom and compassion and trust in life are ultimately to be found within.
What about Pluto? I think this type of cultural figure is more obviously dark to start with. And we can look to our old friend George W Bush, who like Obama and Assange has the ability to stand for something. Bush has Pluto Rising. He came into his own once he had a clear enemy to focus on, which was firstly Al Qaeda and Bin Laden, and then Saddam Hussein. And he had much of America behind him, often in a very ignorant way – like the people who thought that Saddam was responsible for 9/11, which Bush was happy to let stand.
The real lesson here is to become conscious of our own darkness. What gives the game away is the sparse knowledge we often have of the people like Bin Laden to whom we attribute ‘bad’ qualities. Classically, the evil we associate with them is precisely what we are ashamed to admit about ourselves.
What is needed with Pluto is honesty and a lack of being judgemental of ourselves. There is nothing ‘wrong’ with being the way we are. We are what we are. It doesn’t of course mean we always have to act on it. And it doesn’t mean we can’t transform. But in a way the transformation isn’t up to us, with our limited human perspective and narrow sense of ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Our job is just to show up, and let Pluto take care of the transformation.
Sooner or later the public figures who carry the outer planet projections will let us down, and if we haven't spotted the projection before, that time of betrayal is also when we can learn. Or we can stay feeling betrayed, and carry on hating Neptunian Tony Blair or whichever figure it is.