I’ll come back now to the US and what I think may be a looming political crisis.
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So the US is a couple of years behind Europe with the Uranus-Pluto square, as our Suns tend to be around 9 or 10 of the cardinals, whereas the US is at 13 degrees. So we are in the middle of our crisis now, an economic crisis that has political roots, in the sense of Europe having attempted monetary union without the necessary political union.
The US Uranus-Pluto is still a couple of years off peaking, but I think we had a strong indicator of what it could be about when America had its credit rating downgraded for the first time ever last year because the politicians couldn’t agree on a budget. The credit agencies weren’t saying we don’t trust your economy, they were saying we don’t trust your politicians to run the economy.
America had been there before many times with its budget, and under Clinton parts of the government had to shut down for a while because there was no money available to run them because Congress couldn’t agree on a budget.
But this time it was different. It happened during a major world economic crisis, and the difficulty in running America had only got worse since Clinton’s time. It was the outcome, if you like, of Uranus and Pluto hard aspecting the US MC, the standing of the US in the world. Pluto was finishing with the MC, Uranus was still active. But it was also a run-in to the Uranus-Pluto hard transit to the Sun in a couple of years.
I think the roots of the problem go back to the founding of the USA, and what I think of as a bit of a paranoid element in their system of government which is now being exposed. That paranoid element is their fear of dictatorships, arising out of their experience of being ruled from 3000 miles away. The early Americans set up such a strong system of checks and balances to stop their President becoming a dictator that it can be very hard for him to actually do his job.
I think this is expressed by the Sun in square to Saturn in the chart. It gives a fear of authority, which in a way was appropriate at the time, but a whole system that is founded on that is out of balance and will sooner or later be exposed by Pluto.
So you have this slightly crazy situation which occurs regularly where you have a President of one political persuasion, and one or both houses of Congress will be of the opposite persuasion. So to get any legislation through an incredible amount of horse-trading has to be done. There’s this saying that there are 2 things that you don’t want to know how they are made: laws and sausages. And in the 2nd half of a President’s 2nd term, you usually get a lame-duck President, who is unable to get any major legislation through. That is ¼ of the time he is President.
To function, the American system relies on each party being to some extent bi-partisan, willing to go along with the other party. But in recent decades the right-wing of the republican party seems to have become ever-more determined not to deal with the Democrats. Under Clinton, they seemed to be trying to make it as difficult as possible, even impossible, for him to be President. Going for him over a tawdry affair, while the whole world mocked.
And it happened again with Obama last summer. The House of representatives is now controlled by the Republicans, and they are again pushing their far-right agenda, and as under Clinton, they are prepared to bring America to its knees in order to get their way.
So what is interesting about this is that, in effect, a kind of dictatorship has been created, a dictatorship of the far right. In fleeing from dictatorship, another kind has been created.
The reason it is different now is because for the first time it has affected America’s economic standing, and this is as Uranus-Pluto comes up to hard-aspect its Sun-Saturn. In 2014 Uranus and Pluto will hard-aspect both the Sun and Saturn.
So that is extremely intense. America will be needing to re-examine its relationship with power and authority and leadership. If you have a leader, you have to give them the power to lead, and America doesn’t want to do that. President Kennedy famously bemoaned his lack of power compared to his opposite number in the USSR, Khrushchev.
America has never trusted its leaders – Sun square Saturn – and they have responded by being untrustworthy. That is why the US is so prone to conspiracy theories about dark government plots. Of course, some of them are probably for real, but a lot of them are fantasy, wish-fulfillment, they’re childish. When the US had 9/11, a large part of the population immediately assumed, and still assume, that it was a government plot. When we had our July bombings in the UK, the common assumption wasn’t that the government had done it.
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In the UK we have Sun in Capricorn square to Uranus. So we love authority and tradition – Capricorn – but we also rebel against it – Uranus. We look up to the Royal Family – Capricorn – but we also believe that no man is better than another – Uranus. We are contradictory, but I don’t think we have that same disempowerment around authority that the US has. For better or for worse, UK leaders are usually in a position to lead. They have to bring their party with them, and that can be hard enough, without having to persuade their opponents as well.
So a likely scenario in a couple of years, as Uranus-Pluto aspects the US Sun-Saturn, is that we will see a Democratic President blocked by Congress to such an extent that the country is yet again ungovernable, but it’s going to be a bigger crisis than before in some way or other. It may be a crisis in that people finally get sick of it and turn against the Tea Party. Or it may be a budget impasse with much bigger consequences for America’s world standing.
Whichever way, the problem seems to be rooted in this unease with authority – Sun square Saturn – that is self-fulfilling. And America is going to have to deal with that, at least to some extent. In a way, America is going to have to grow up.
When you have Sun square Saturn, it can be hard to feel at ease, you always have something to prove, and I think that also lies behind America’s great economic and military power, along with the expansiveness of natal Jupiter conjunct Sun. In a way this transit is telling America to become more at ease with itself. Sun square Saturn can achieve a lot, but it can also be very superficial, for it only values what can be measured, if you like it is the Protestant work ethic. In the US’ case, it could also be seen as the tension you get on the Capricorn-Cancer axis, with the Sun in Cancer and Saturn ruling Capricorn. Any axis has issues to work through, and with Capricorn-Cancer it is the values of the world vs the values of family and home, it is like Germany and Greece.
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Another factor for America under this transit is the rise of China.
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We’re not certain of the exact time for this chart, but it’s not far off, and we can see that China is currently in the thick of the Uranus-Pluto transit. Economically, I think the transit has been about China going from strength to strength. So far it has just been Pluto, which did an exact square last year. It has been about China, in literally the last few years coming from an economy smaller than the UK’s to being the world’s second largest economy. It has been an empowerment for China.
And I think it’s also an illustrative case of why it can be hard to attach human values to Pluto transits. Is what is happening in China a good thing or not? It’s awful in some ways and good in others. But even those are just my value judgements, which are not part of Pluto’s world. Pluto is an empowerment rather than a death and maybe rebirth for China, because it has already created a sound base for economic growth. But that doesn’t make that economic growth a good or a bad thing.
Politically it may be interesting, for this chart has the Moon in Aquarius, and the progressed MC is about to enter Aquarius. And the natal Sun is square to Aquarius’ ruler, Uranus.
I think the Moon in Aquarius expresses the name ‘The People’s Republic’, the idealism under which the communist regime was founded. But Aquarius is also democracy, as is its ruler Uranus. So we have these 4 potentially democratic influences: Moon in Aquarius, Natal Sun square Uranus, Prog MC moving into Aquarius and transiting Uranus hard aspecting the Sun and sextiling the Moon. So politically there could be a lot of change in the coming few years.
But back to the USA. The Chinese Sun at 7 Libra conjoins the US Saturn and squares its Sun.
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So the newly empowered Chinese Sun is impacting on that American insecurity, it’s drive to be top dog – because Saturn likes to be pre-eminent. The Chinese Sun is also conjunct the US MC, its place in the world. So China is like a tank in the US front garden. What seems to characterise China’s rise is it seems to keep happening faster than we thought. China’s economy is now about 1/3 the size of the US economy. In 6 years time, as Uranus-Pluto finally start to put some distance between each other, we may be talking about an economy well over half the size of the US’s and closing fast.
America has got used to being the undisputed No 1 and to having its own way. The Uranus-Pluto transit will be signalling the beginning of the end of that period and a difficult adjustment for a country which, with Sun square Saturn, values itself one-sidedly in terms of its wealth and position.
Of course, all countries do that. But when you have Sun square Saturn, you can feel you are nothing without that position. So it is going to be a very difficult adjustment for America, and with Sun in Cancer, it is possible it may turn inwards. And this at the same time as its hallowed democratic system comes under pressure for change. So it’s like a change in the character of America that I think we will slowly see.
The Chinese Sun conjuncts the US Saturn and squares its Sun, while the Chinese Saturn squares the US Asc. A pronounced Saturn is what you look for in long-term relationships, it is the planet that binds and gives strong foundations. Mars and Venus are just there to start you off. And the US and China have the same Moon. So there is similarity there. But the Chinese Sun activates the US Saturn, the place where it doesn’t feel at ease with itself. The US tends to need an enemy to feel at ease, it has the Sun and Mars in the 7th, it projects its unease onto foreign peoples, whether it’s the USSR or Islamic terrorists. It’s that paranoid element again. So China would seem to be well-placed to take up this role for the US, and this demonization could be an outcome of Uranus-Pluto. At the same time, the US needs China economically, so it can’t afford to demonise her. But the US will still want to. It’ll be interesting to see how this one develops.
I think if we were to boil this Uranus-Pluto transit down to one issue, it would be the rise of China and the shift in the balance of power worldwide. This rise has already been indirectly responsible for the western debt crisis. The Chinese were saving lots of money due to their booming economy and lent it at low interest rates to the west, who borrowed too much and got into difficulties. Along with China, India and Brazil are also rising – just a few days ago, Brazil announced its economy had overtaken the UK economy as the 6th largest in the world. So the shift in the balance of power is not just China. It is a long-term trend, but this Uranus-Pluto seems to be a sort of tipping point, a change in the world order. And we still have 3 years of crossings to go.
The US has shown itself to be very sensitive to Uranus-Pluto. In 1878 there was an opening square with Uranus at 25 Leo and Pluto at 25 Taurus. It impacted the US Moon at 27 Aquarius. This saw the end of post civil war reconstruction and the start of the Jim Crow Laws in the South, which segregated black people and gave them an inferior status. So this was a disempowerment – Pluto – and a separation – Uranus for a large minority of the people –the Moon.
The opposition of 1901 at about 15 Gemini Sag runs along the US Asc/Desc, just like Saturn Pluto did at 9/11, and it also involved foreign affairs: the Descendant is foreign partners, and Sagittarius concerns foreign places. In this case it was the outcome of the Spanish-American War of 1898, in which America seized Spanish possessions in the Caribbean and the Pacific, and it led to the globally oriented American foreign policy that continues to the present day. So it was a turning outwards and an empowerment of US foreign policy.
Then there was the closing square of 1932-34 at 20 to 23 degrees of the cardinal signs. Uranus and Pluto were moving in on the US natal Pluto in the 2nd house at 27 Capricorn. Pluto is where we feel our power lies, even what we feel our survival depends upon, and in the 2nd house that is wealth. This was the time of the Great Depression and the New Deal.
The conjunction of the mid sixties was in middish Virgo, square to the US Asc and conjunct it’s Neptune. This was a time of protest and the enactment of civil rights legislation: that is the 9th House – the Law – and Neptune, rights for black people.
And now we have the square of 2012-15, which impacts on the Sun, the leader, and there is the first black President, political deadlock and the first ever credit downgrade.
A theme running through Uranus-Pluto and the USA is the changing fortunes of black people.
The conjunction of 1850 at 29 Aries was square the US natal Pluto. Pluto if you like is the shadow, and slavery and wealth were closely tied together in the US. Note Pluto in the 2nd House. Slavery was already a hugely divisive issue, and 1850 saw the Compromise of 1850, a series of bills which sorted the issue of slavery in the states recently taken from Mexico. It’s hard to untangle it all, but slavery was nevertheless centre stage and civil war was already a possibility.
Then there were the Jim Crow Laws of the opening square of 1878, the civil rights bills of the next conjunction of the 1960s, and the first black president under the current opening square.