Saturn is the planet of our progress through the world. He operates more consciously and concretely than Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Saturn we can work with, whereas with the outer planets something entirely new and unpredictable is coming in, and the best we can do is just run with it. And trust.
Saturn returns to its natal position when we are 29-30. This is the Saturn Return, and it usually corresponds to some sort of stepping up of worldly responsibility, whether through promotion at work or getting married and having children. It can also be a confusing time, because Saturn is a planet of duties and expectations. So you may have spent your twenties living how you felt you ought to live, working 9 to 5 and trying to do what everyone else does. The Saturn Return can upset this, because it needs to be your Saturn that you are living, not someone else’s.
The Saturn Return, however, is not the first major Saturnian event of adult life. The first such event is when we leave home, leave college and start working and living in the world. Typically this would occur at the last Saturn square before the Return, at age 21-ish. At this age, it is dynamic and challenging. Or you may be 23/24, when there is a sextile of Saturn to natal Saturn. You are maybe not quite so driven, you take your time, you are maybe better qualified, and it is easier.
That’s all a bit schematic and I’m sure it’s never that cut and dried. But the point I’m coming to is that in our early 50s we have the Return of that first major Saturn event. We have completed a 30 year cycle of being in the world, and it is time to take stock.
In previous times, when people did not live so long, this Return would signal the beginning of the slope down to retirement, cemented further by the second actual Saturn Return in the late 50s.
But not now. In our early 50s we are still young enough to start over, building on our 30 years in the world. Being 53, I find myself pulled two ways. There is the old mind-set which says that all you can do is carry on with what you are doing and expect to slowly wind down. And that was quite reasonable in its day. And there is the new mind-set, which says it’s time for a new start. Which is what seems to be happening.
I don’t know how long we will continue to have such improved health and longevity in the West. But while we have, I think we need to view the early 50s as a time of new beginnings. You still have 3 decades ahead of you. The crises, the long slow changes of the 40s are over. Saturn opposite Saturn, Uranus opposite Uranus, Neptune square Neptune, Pluto square Pluto, even the Chiron Return are all done with.
The new start of the early 50s has very sure foundations, and reaches fruition at the second Saturn Return of the late 50s.
An example: Bill Gates left college in 1975, aged 20, and began working in the fledgling computer industry. 31 years later - one Saturn cycle - he announced he was leaving Microsoft to concentrate on his charitable work. His second Saturn Return is still a few years off.
Saturday, July 09, 2011
All this was going on while Pluto was in Sagittarius. Sagittarius is publishing and Pluto is dirty tricks and invasion of privacy.
The News of the World was first published 168 years ago, which looks to me like 2 cycles of Uranus. It does indeed have its 2nd Uranus return going on, and this cycle is associated with sudden disruptive events that change your life. The Uranus opposition, occurring aged 40-42, is famously associated with the mid-life crisis (I think actually it begins it, and that the ‘crisis’ continues until our mid to late forties, as Saturn, Neptune and Pluto also reach major points in their cycles.)
NewsCorp seems to have no values apart from the accumulation of power and money. British Prime Ministers have been well aware since Thatcher that you need the Murdoch press on board to win an election. NewsCorp was incorporated in New York on 12 Nov 2004, on a New Moon in Scorpio, with Mars conjunct South Node in Scorpio. Scorpio at its worst is about power for its own sake. So it is a very appropriate chart. Murdoch himself has Sun in Pisces, just in case there's anyone out there who thinks Pisces people are gentle, lovable Old Souls! Being the most collective of the signs, it can use the power of the collective more than any other sign, for better or for worse.
The NoW began in 1843 as it continued. It “was aimed directly at the newly literate working classes. It quickly established itself as a purveyor of titillation, shock and criminal news. Much of the source material came from coverage of vice prosecutions, including transcripts of police descriptions of alleged brothels, streetwalkers, and "immoral" women.” Then as now, the police were probably being paid by the newspaper.
If we see the Sun as the founder and owner of the paper, then the Moon is the people who read it: it is in Capricorn conjunct Saturn and square to Pluto. This is the secret of its success. The people were very conventional and restrained (Capricorn/Saturn/Victorian Era) and Pluto was the fascination with transgressive behaviour that such restraint produces. Now, under Pluto in Capricorn, popular disgust with its methods have brought about its closure.
I think the way to approach the shadow side is not to have any idea of transforming it. Let it take care of itself. The only issue is being aware of it versus projecting it onto others.
Andy Coulson was the editor of the NoW at the time of the latest phone-hacking allegations, and he has been arrested. He was forced to resign in 2007 after the first bout of allegations (a royal phone-tapping scandal), and claimed he knew nothing about them. This was ludicrous, but he got away with it, and was appointed David Cameron’s main PR man 6 months later. The allegations continued, and 4 years later he resigned as Cameron’s PR man.
So what was Cameron thinking of? Of course Coulson knew what had been happening, he was the editor. He was lying, and being the paper it was, there would inevitably have been other dirty tricks, including phone-tapping, that hadn’t yet come out.
Cameron is a Libran, and his Venus at 7.33 Libra is exactly conjunct the Sun-Venus of the NoW. That is a very strong connection, with perhaps not enough space for reflection. Or a perception that your popular appeal (Venus in a politician) is inextricably tied to the NoW.
Libra, in its desire to create good relations, is often naïve about people. (Have you noticed that if you make a critical observation about someone to a Libran, they will instinctively defend them, and you end up feeling like the bad, ungenerous guy for having said something truthful!)
So Cameron is trying to have it both ways. Either Coulson had done nothing wrong, in which case he didn’t need a second chance. Or he had done something wrong, and on top of that was lying about it, so what was David Cameron thinking of?
I wonder how conscious Cameron is of his Mercury in Scorpio which, being in square to his natal Moon-Jupiter in Leo, can be tricksy and self-serving.
Cameron clearly thinks of himself and sincere and straightforward, but then how do we explain his behaviour over his personal passion, the National Health Service? Soon after the election, we were presented with plans to radically overhaul it, which he had previously concealed, presumably to get elected. Then the detailed plans were presented some months later, and they clearly hadn’t been thought through properly by Andrew Lansley, the Health Minister, and they came tumbling down. Firstly we have what I think was Cameron’s deviousness in keeping plans of this magnitude concealed. Mercury in Scorpio. And then he put too much trust in a minister to sort it all out. Sun and Venus in Libra.
People don’t usually have much wisdom unless they’ve been dismembered to some extent and had to rebuild themselves. This process makes them more who they authentically are, and less a product of their background and childhood fantasies (Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, wanted to be 'King of the World' as a child.) The trouble with politics is that you can’t do that. You always have to look good, and if you come apart, that is the end of your political career. This is why we had so much trouble with Tony Blair. He had his dismembering while he was Prime Minister, and the country had to suffer it. Unfortunately, he didn’t seem to learn much – he just turned increasingly to religion.
NewsCorp is facing a crunch point in its attempts to take full control of BskyB, the main satellite broadcaster in the UK. There is a lot of opposition to more Murdoch domination of the airwaves. It seems more than a coincidence that this crisis over the NoW, which brings into question Murdoch’s fitness as a broadcaster, should happen now.
Privacy (Pluto) versus institutions (Capricorn). This issue is also being thrashed out on Facebook and elsewhere on the net. As individuals, we are having to decide how much we want to reveal about ourselves, and to who, in a way that we’ve never had to previously. But the big companies such as Facebook and Google also have an interest in using our personal information, and regularly overstep boundaries unless specifically stopped from doing so. It is a new issue, and is set to continue for years as the internet continues to develop, and as Pluto moves steadily through Capricorn.
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
Modern knowledge is based on the application of reason to what are called facts. This knowledge is scientific – it is hard, it is objective and it is ‘out there.’ But as even science will sometimes admit, you cannot separate the observer from the observed. What is seen is profoundly influenced by the mind that is seeing.
And the mind thinks symbolically, whether it understands that or not. A scientific fact or theory may seem to be just that on paper. But if it is a significant fact or theory, then our mind does something else with it. That idea acquires power, it comes to stand for something. Even the term ‘significant’ shows this: something is significant because it signifies something, it stands for something. Or let’s say ‘important’ idea instead: well that means it has an import, it implies something beyond itself. Even the word ‘understand’ means to stand under, as if we are receiving wisdom from above.
Moreover, the universe is made up of invisible particles and packets of energy, whose nature and laws are fundamental to the world that humans live in and experience: does that not sound a bit like the world of the Greek gods, invisible controlling influences?
There is nothing wrong with scientific ideas except the tendency to treat them literally. The reality ‘out there’ is only ever half the story, and literalism naively does not understand this.
Symbolic or mythological thinking takes both poles into account. It tells stories about events ‘out there’ but does not shy away from allowing the imagination to re-invent and contribute human meaning to those stories. Because the mind is just as much a part of the 'objective reality' as outer events are. And we mythologise anyway.
It is a matter of acknowledging how the mind works and responding appropriately. If you think you can pare away the contribution of the imagination and arrive at ‘fact’, then the imagination will creep up behind and bite you, turning you into a literalist fanatic, whether of a scientific or religious cast, and I don’t think they are that different.
And, to return to my original point, astrology and all divination systems work symbolically. Like all good symbols/myths, they connect ‘out there’ and ‘in here’. Astrology tells us meaningful stories about our life. To say you don’t believe in astrology is like saying you don’t believe praying to Vishnu works, or that neo- pagan ceremonies do not work.
If you're not aware that you think mythologically, then you can’t understand anything of importance. Truth has to consider both outer and inner, events and consciousness, and the imagination, which thinks in symbols, performs this function. The trick is to feel the power of symbols while not taking them literally. Feel the power of science and its ideas, even, but do not take them literally, as hard facts 'out there'.
So do I ‘believe’ in astrology? I wasn’t sure what I meant by the word believe, so I looked it up in the etymological dictionary, and it can be traced back to an ancient Germanic word ga-laubjan, to "hold dear, love”. I thought yes, that’s how I feel about astrology. On a bad day, when scientific literalism is pressing closely on me, I will tend to dismiss astrology. And I will look at it as belief in the modern sense of taking an idea to be literally true, a hard fact ‘out there’. And astrology is no more literally true than anything else. It is naive to think that astrology works by actual planetary energies influencing us, though it's quite a good story. Truth is never literal.
So I don’t ‘believe’ in astrology in the modern sense of the word believe. And if challenged about astrology, I would probably have to challenge the categories in which the other person thought, which is not an easy thing. It’s not a matter of blind belief versus experience, with astrology falling into the experience category. I loved astrology before I ever had the experience to know it worked. But that didn’t make my belief blind. It is that I was fortunate enough to have a connection to symbolic thinking and its power from a relatively young age, even though I didn’t know what it was and it took denial and many years to bring to fruition.
I don’t know if I could justify astrology to anyone else. The other day I was muttering about symbolic thinking to someone who was into Jesus, but I’m not sure it went anywhere, maybe because they took Jesus a bit too literally. To myself, it is feeling the power of the symbol that gives astrology its value. But that on its own is not enough. Hitler was a symbol that carried a lot of power for people, and still does. These are 2 different types of power, but they are both felt strongly. I know the difference, but I don’t know if I can describe it.
I think one way of looking at it is that the Hitler type symbol is experienced as external to oneself. It makes you feel stronger within, but the source is outside, and if you are used to knowing your own power (which usually takes many years), you can tell the difference. When the symbol is rigidly external (and God or Science can be experienced like this), then you feel empty within, and reliant on the literal reality of the external symbol. This is an insecure position, and to that extent leads to fanaticism. But the person in this position cannot usually see that this is what they are doing, as the surrender of authority tends to be deep and unconscious. It is the basis of religion.
And astrology can be religion just as easily. I haven’t been near the astrological ‘establishment’ for some years now. But it is divided up into authorities and wannabes and eternal disciples just like any religion, and I usually manage to say the wrong thing before too long when I’m around that sort of mindset. It’s usually in the form of someone who takes themselves and their own thinking far too seriously and who doesn’t like being contradicted!
So to conclude, the apparent paradox of astrology working when it 'shouldn't' is a fruitful one to consider. The answer, if there is one, definitely does not lie in answering the criticisms of science on its own terms, with its peculiar kind of demands for evidence. We can say from our own experience, empirically, that astrology works. But it also leads to a consideration of the very different type of thinking involved, mythological thinking. And that then leads round to the idea that ordinary thinking has a strong mythological element anyway; it is just that there is another current myth, the idea that reality can be fully described in rational terms, that confuses the issue. This is a myth both in the sense of being a falsehood, but also in the sense of an idea that has power over our minds. And I think it is the wrong sort of power.