Two days ago we entered a new phase in the main transit affecting the world, the square from Uranus to Pluto. Pluto was effectively standing still for a week or two, and then on Saturday he started to go backwards from 7 Capricorn, as Uranus continued to move forwards in early Aries. By early August they will be within a degree of an exact square to each other.
Pluto is the basic energy, the life-force, that keeps the planet going, and Uranus is disrupting this and taking it off in new directions. Pluto rules the economy (because it is so basic to our ability to live), and with Uranus challenging Pluto, it is hard to have continuity and steady development, which is what you need for a thriving economy. The last 3 Uranus-Pluto squares – the present day, the 1930s, and the mid-1870s – were all associated with long recessions, or depressions, depending on what you want to call them.
However, if e.g. sustainability is your criterion for the economy, then a downturn does not necessarily affect your basic measure of economic health: it may even heighten sustainability, and everyone might breathe a sigh of relief that resources are being used in a more balanced way, and there will be enough left for future generations. It would be an entirely different mindset that has a healthy feeling relationship with the planet, based on reciprocity. Another criterion for a healthy economy could be 'sufficiency'.
From the point of view of Uranus and Pluto, human affairs are not ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Their only concern is that humanity is always moving on to the next stage, and when you get a hard aspect between these 2 planets – every 35 years or so – then we are collectively pushed into a new era. The old era has reached a natural point of decay, whether we recognise it or not. You can see this process happening like clockwork, if you look back at the last 3 hard aspects: the present day square, the 60s conjunction, and the square of the early 30s.
The big question is that, since Uranus-Pluto change is in principle evolutionary, is there then necessarily some kind of collective progress going on? It is, I think, a comforting belief that gives meaning to suffering and the sense of participation in a sort of divine plan.
That said, Uranus and Pluto ARE evolutionary: put another way, life has a natural urge to advance, to become more complex and responsive. You see it with the development of species. And you see it on an individual level with people as they learn (by no means always) from experience and become more uniquely themselves, a species of one.
But humanity collectively is more problematic. The physical evolution of our species may or may not be happening, but that is not the issue. (It may however be that in some respects our brains are atrophying, in that we no longer need to respond so creatively to our immediate environment.) The issue is collective human consciousness. If you say it necessarily evolves over time, then you take individual choice away, because that is the nature of conscious evolution. Uranus and Pluto are only evolutionary if that is what we want. We can’t avoid their cycles of decay and renewal, life has to keep changing. And on a collective level, good choices will sometimes (all too rarely) be made. And whose consequences last for a limited period.
So we can say, with the current Uranus-Pluto square, that change and renewal are coming about. But you can’t second-guess the choices we will collectively make. During the last square, Germany and Japan made certain choices that led to WWII. Those countries moved towards becoming less conscious.
(By the way, some readers make the mistake that because I occasionally quote people like Plato, I must be learned. I'm not. My knowledge is very sketchy, and if you sit me down with a book that's at all academic, I switch off. I haven't got a clue, for example, what 'The Timaeus' is!)
With Uranus-Pluto, we know that big change is happening, and we can also describe the type of change. Pluto is the basic force of life that will, if we want it to, move us onto a more conscious level collectively. And Uranus is the great Disrupter and Progresser and Awakener that moves it all along, that facilitates the often sudden shift from one stage to the next, like a young bird cracking its shell.
With Uranus and Pluto now both moving into the square (from opposite directions), the speed of change will be intensified over the coming months. The necessary sense of crisis and instability that accompanies Uranus-Pluto will intensify.
We have already seen this instability and sense of crisis growing over the last couple of years – as Uranus and Pluto have come within range of each other – economically, politically and environmentally. Economically, we are a long way from being out of the woods, even though we continue to take hope from the latest sets of figures.
We can expect a highly polarised US Presidential Election campaign next year – and probably polarisation within the candidate selection race as well, particularly in the Republican Party, involving its right wing ‘Tea Party’ movement.
The crisis that doesn’t seem to interest voters much is the environment and our profligate use of her resources. I think the Pluto Discovery chart, which has Pluto at 17 Cancer, warns us of the Power (Pluto) of Nature (Cancer), which can be for us or against us. The first Pluto Opposition is in 5 years time, while Uranus-Pluto is still operative. So I expect this crisis to intensify.
The earth herself is the collective unconscious in its widest sense. She stores the imprint of the whole history of life. We are not separate from that, we are integral to the animus mundi. And there are profound patterns to life that we will never know: how can one small human consciousness ever know more than one small part of life? We sense this, and experience it as a profound mystery, the unknowability of life.
The problems we have created with the environment are incredibly difficult to solve, for we cannot easily conceive how 7 billion people could live in a sustainable way on the planet, even if countries co-operated, which they won’t. Neptune in Pisces represents the new dream of how we could do that; but it also represents the loss of the old dream, the sense of hopelessness even, that needs to come first. I think that sense of hopelessness is already there in the collective unconscious, but we are not admitting to it. Acknowledged, it is a good thing, it is soulful (Neptune). Alternative energy sources and ways of life remain the dream of a few.
The nuclear problem in Japan, occurring just as Neptune was about to enter Pisces, is synchronous. Nuclear energy still represents the dream of unlimited energy supplies, and while we have that dream, it is hard for an attitude of sustainable use of resources to come about.
Even if nuclear power isn’t terrible environmentally – I don’t think there is a clear answer here, and I don’t think dogmatism against nuclear power helps – it still represents an attitude of taking as much as we can from Nature without giving back.
So we get a total picture from the outer planets here: Uranus-Pluto describing an intensifying sense of crisis around the environment as Pluto moves towards its ‘natal’ opposition; and Neptune’s Ingress into Pisces representing a loss of faith in the stand-alone power of Science (Neptune in Aquarius); a collective sense of loss of vision and even despair as Neptune further establishes itself in Pisces; but also the distinct possibility of a new, more holistic vision as Neptune moves towards the end of Pisces and on into Aries in 12-15 years time. This will be the time when Pluto moves into Aquarius, when the shadow of Science will have to be faced.