Key Life Transits: Uranian Opposition
URANIAN opposition is a transit that occurs somewhere between the ages of 39 and 42, sometimes spanning the whole date range. The exact age depends on the time of year you were born, and the time in the Uranus cycle you were born. Also (as with all outer planet transits) it can start a little early or end a little later depending on the structure of your individual chart. The basic idea is that Uranus has an 84-year orbit. When it reaches the halfway mark, making an opposition to where it started, you get an astrological event that stirs the pot and pushes growth in a whole new way.
In a great many people’s lives, it has been a time of breakthrough, intellectual and creative peak, and truly starting to move energy in themselves and the world.
What exactly is the energy of Uranus? A contrast might help. We are familiar with the concept of Saturn, which is the planet of structure and form, both psychologically and physically. It generally represents stability and commitment, and the active process of building gradually.
Uranus is the energetic opposite. It’s about flow, inspiration, liberation, movement and going beyond the structures of the past. The two work together; a printed circuit or microchip is Saturn. The data streaming through it is Uranus.
When the Uranian opposition occurs, there is a polarity created, and it’s as if the energy flows from one side of the chart to the other; or, in reality, through one’s bio-psychic system. The results can range from breakdowns to breakthroughs. It can be a time of enormous inspiration, energy and the quest to have a much more interesting life. Creative surges are normal responses. Big changes are on the agenda. Adults in their 40s can feel the sex drive of a 19-year-old, and suddenly all the rules, reasons and notions of why one should be proper and suppressed fall apart.
Some people go through full-bore midlife crisis at this point; change is upon them and it seems impossible to handle. There can be a sense of losing control. Everything held together so long is experienced as inflexible, and there is the need to flex and bend.
The effect of the transit is colored by your own personal relationship between structure and energy. It tends to be easier for free spirits and more difficult for those who cling or hunker down. It definitely reaches an aspect of ourselves where we do not and cannot cling to much; all we can really do is ride the waves.
I think before going through the specifics of Uranus in Pisces opposing natal Uranus in Virgo, it would be a good idea to go over the basics of this planet, because the history gives lots of clues to the meaning. So, get ready for a short chapter on the discovery of Uranus.
Uranus in the History of Science
Uranus has the distinction of being the first planet discovered by science. It almost wasn’t. Nearly two centuries before, in 1612, Galileo was surveying the heavens with a telescope he made, saw something and recorded its position: a planet he mistook for a faint fixed star, which later turned out to be Neptune. He missed the discovery due mostly to the fact that Neptune had just stationed retrograde the day before he observed it, and was standing still relative to the Earth, seeming to be a fixed star. He observed it again the next year and did not record it as a planet. Even great minds sometimes have trouble thinking outside the bottle.
So, the first discovered planet got to be Uranus, when Sir William Herschel ‘officially’ recorded its position on March 13, 1781; unbeknownst to him, commencing a new era in the history of science in general, astronomy in particular, and by the way, astrology. Astrology never had to deal with the discovery of a new planet before and, in hindsight, it began to upset all the old rules; it broke the tradition open. This is what Uranus is about.
There had been many prediscovery sightings of Uranus. “The earliest recorded sighting was in 1690 when John Flamsteed catalogued it as 34 Tauri,” writes the ever-interesting Wikipedia. “Le Monnier observed it four times in 1750, twice in 1768, six times in 1769, and one last time in 1771. He was a victim of his own disorderliness: one of his observations was found consigned on a paper bag used to store hair powder.”
With Hershel’s discovery, modern planetary astronomy was born, and science reached one of its great thresholds. It was indeed a revolution in our understanding of our humble little solar system, which we never presumed went beyond what we could physically see and experience with the senses. The likes of Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo had helped us conceive of and then assemble the heliocentric model (Sun in the center, rather than the Church’s Earth in the center), often at great personal peril because they threatened official doctrine. But new planets? This was a new concept.
This development occurred in one of the transitional moments of modern science, at a time when concentrated work was taking place in mathematics and physics. And James Hutton, in a lecture in Edinburgh in 1785, considered the Earth as a single “superorganism,” essentially birthing Gaia theory.
The naming of the first planet was as chaotic as the discovery, with Georgium Sidus, Herschel, Minerva, Neptune, Astraea, Cybele and other names proposed. The German astrologer Johann Bode suggested the name Uranus, after the Greek sky god Urania. According to historical records, by 1827, the name Uranus, father of the Titans, was in common use.
Around the time Uranus was discovered, there was an era of important revolutions, particularly, the American Revolutionary War was near its end, and the French Revolution would take place in 1788-89. This was soon followed by an uprising of Ireland against England. Something called The Enlightenment was in the air: that is, the phase when rational thinking finally got the upper hand on hypocritical Roman Catholic dogma.
It was the time of the Enlightenment. Here is the Wikipedia definition of that term:
“The Age of Enlightenment refers to the 18th century in European philosophy, and is often thought of as part of a larger period which includes the Age of Reason. The term also more specifically refers to a historical intellectual movement, “The Enlightenment.” This movement advocated rationality as a means to establish an authoritative system of ethics, aesthetics, and knowledge. The intellectual leaders of this movement regarded themselves as courageous and elite, and regarded their purpose as leading the world toward progress and out of a long period of doubtful tradition, full of irrationality, superstition, and tyranny (which they believed began during a historical period they called the “Dark Ages”). This movement also provided a framework for the American and French Revolutions, the Latin American independence movement, the Polish Constitution of May 3 as well as leading to the rise of capitalism and the birth of socialism. It is matched by the high baroque and classical eras in music, and the neo-classical period in the arts, and receives contemporary application in the unity of science movement which includes logical positivism.”
Uranus in Astrology
These circumstances all form a picture of what goes into the composition of a planet’s astrological meaning or ‘delineation’ and provide excellent imagery for Uranus. It is interesting to observe, in the first planet ever consciously delineated (or ‘defined’). In modern terms, Uranus is associated with all things scientific, innovative, inventive, advanced, revolutionary and most of all, sudden. Yet often the sudden developments of science and other fields come after many attempts, similar to the way Uranus was seen many times before it was suddenly discovered.
Because of an association with Aquarius that came in the early 19th century — and which is still questioned by some astrologers, precisely because it upsets the traditional system — the theme of groups is associated with Uranus, which seems to apply to this planet quite well.
Historian-astrologer Richard Tarnas (author of The Passion of the Western Mind) has proposed that this planet was really misnamed, since the general feeling and most of the themes are associated with a more appropriate mythological figure — Prometheus. He was the Greek god of foresight, most famous for both the creation of the human race (working with Pallas Athene) and stealing the fire of the gods and giving it to his beloved mankind. Science is a forward-thinking endeavor that really does feel like we’re using the fire of the gods, be it creativity, curiosity, or the releasing energy contained inside matter itself, which first happened using a metal called uranium.
And at Uranus opposition, the energy we contain is released. Either it will be expressed in some constructive way; it will knock down the structures that hold us back; or some combination of the two. In rare cases, the release of energy is totally suppressed, and there can consequences because natural development is thwarted.
I have noticed that this transit is often more of a celebration for women than it is for men. I would not offer this as a perpetual generalization, it’s just something I’ve noticed. In my experience, many women, after years of doing their duty, are starting to wake up and figure out that it’s actually their life, right around this age. With men, this revelation might typically happen even later, more like 50 (at the Chiron return). Men have the disadvantage of thinking it’s their life in the first place; it’s an extra level of deception to cut through.
At Uranus opposite Uranus, there can be the experience of connecting with one’s originality, and connecting with the impulse to freedom. With this can come a sense of inner power, or a sense of strength in one’s position in the world — and also a profound fear of these things.
In any case, the Uranian opposition is quite potentially the jolt that refreshes. Astrologers hear the stories of going back to college, of major career changes, of making the choice to cut loose and be free. Truly, sex is often a major driving force in this process. Sex changes everything, and the Uranian opposition is often a great time of sexual awakening. Sex leads to many other levels of awareness; the awakening can ripple through all levels of consciousness.
That is because sex is about energy, and the Uranian opposition is about energy. Uranian energy is kundalini, the Indian word for what other traditions call chi or orgone or vital force. The 180-degree aspect to its own natal position is a polarity and the energy can go reeling through one’s experience of life, and one’s physical body. Many people feel this as a kind of orgasmic power surge, as heat (often mistakenly confusing it with menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes), or just good old horny passion.
If you’re a woman feeling an unusual sexual drive, you may have to confront the idea that you’re a slut if you act on it. You may have to deal with your rigidity, and your impulse to be constrained. You may have to deal with the feeling that sexual power is somehow bad or destructive. You might notice that in theory you’re physically not the woman you once were, but now you want to be a woman for the first time. You might decide you don’t care about any of this and just go for it. Regarding women, there can also be two things related to child bearing: one is that the window of opportunity to do so has just about closed, and the meaning of sex definitely changes from reproduction to pleasure. The other is that, if you already have kids, they are getting to the point where they are more independent — and you’re starting to have more free time.
Uranus in Virgo: 1962 through 1969
Last week we covered the Pluto square of the Pluto in Virgo generation, from 1957 through 1972. Right in the middle of this rather noteworthy cycle of Pluto, Uranus came through Virgo and formed the first Uranus-Pluto conjunction since 1851. Uranus conjunct Pluto is an era-defining aspect. Though the astrology of every era is unique, the big defining aspects seem to happen about every 30 years or so (but thanks to new discoveries, we know about more of them).
In most of my past writing on the Uranus-Pluto conjunction, I’ve treated these planets together. In this article, I’d like to first contrast them against one another, because I feel that the breakthrough energy of Uranus actually provides a significant alternative to the obsessive and often intractable qualities of Pluto.
Pluto pushes hard a certain service orientation that is quite natural to Virgo. Yet these qualities often seem to bring out or intensify an overdeveloped sense of responsibility; a level of submissiveness to the larger or supposedly greater purposes in life, and seem to subjugate some people to The Powers that Be, i.e., corporate America and its grand plan.
Uranus will have no part of this, if given half a chance to express itself, and Uranus always does. Uranus in Virgo represented radical, the forward-thinking element of the Sixties. This was an era with surges forward in nearly every discipline, from computers to art to rock music. Brief as it was, a mini-Renaissance occurred, which sent ripples of awakening around it in both time and space.
Whether you’re talking about the first generation of men to refuse to go to war; the birth of ecology and the widespread acceptance of feminism as a reality and not just a theory; whether you’re talking about Bob Dylan or the Beatles.
It may seem silly to generalize for an entire generation, but I’m going to state it as potential. This aspect makes available higher-level intelligence and progressive values on a mass scale. Yes, there is no underestimating the capacity of the human race to conk out on reality, but there really can be no underestimating the influence of Uranus conjunct Pluto.
The combination of two outer planets multiplies, rather than adds up, the effect. Pluto focuses the influence of Uranus, and provokes its action to a conscious, sentient level — not always a Pluto specialty. But this waking up aspect was assisted rather profoundly by the presence of Chiron in Pisces, which soon factors into our discussion of the Uranian opposition for this generation.
Basically, everyone born with the Uranus-Pluto conjunction in Virgo comes with Chiron in Pisces opposite the conjunction as standard equipment. There are a variety of optional models, but the basic structure is an opposition. Here is a friendly illustration, with a caption below.
This chart shows the basic architecture of all mid-1960s charts. Note that Uranus and Pluto are in an exact conjunction in Virgo. This is opposed by Chiron in Pisces. And the opposition is trined/sextiled by Neptune in Scorpio, providing what you could think of as a vent for the imagination. These four planets held this basic configuration all through the peak of the 1960s that forms the basic architecture of all 1960s charts.
Here are the epicenters of activity, the exact dates of the Uranus-Pluto conjunction: http://snipurl.com/msqn . Remember that this transit has effects spreading years in either direction.
So, now, add Uranus back into the equation. At the time of the Uranian opposition for this generation, Uranus makes a conjunction to Chiron in Pisces; an opposition to itself and to Pluto; and a trine to Neptune. It’s a complex transit that turns ON the entire astrology of the Sixties generation — and it is happening now.
Are those of this generation waking up? I’ll tell you — I don’t know. I can tell you that when the Uranus in Cancer and Uranus in Leo generations had their Uranian oppositions, they came pouring into my office in droves to have their charts read. And, for the most part, these are the generations that still come in for astrology sessions.
So who knows. Certainly, the potential for liberation is there, and it would be wise to have an astrologer who understands outer planets take a look. But there are many other forms of guidance available, and many opportunities to express freedom, to experiment, and to dare. Not in the future, but NOW.
“I don’t know how I do it to myself,” said a friend who is going through this transit, speaking of her life in her boring office. “All I know is there is a lot more to me than I have ever been able to express in life.”
I mean, it IS obvious.
Planet Waves Weekly by Eric Francis
Friday, Feb. 24, 2006 – Weekly horoscope No. 599
Happy Birthday Pisces!
Above all else, this is a year of surprises. True, your life has not exactly been boring the past couple of years, and part of what you will benefit from this year is all the developments of the recent past. You may feel like you’re having a second childhood, as people from prior eras in your life resurface, and you remember ideas that you wanted to pursue a long time ago. Surprisingly, you may find that they manifest before your eyes. But you may also discover that much of what you wanted in the past has given way to things you never would have imagined.
Aries (March 20-April 19)
There is a certain mystery factor working in a professional situation that seems to be developing rapidly — or at least more rapidly than before. This is a situation you may have thought stalled out months ago. It seemed incredibly promising at one point, and then like a lot of things in the physical world, went its own way. Or rather, it seemed to. In reality, much has been developing behind the scenes, and will soon emerge from behind the backdrop of your life. There is no need to push. Events will move pretty fast, and take you where you need to be.
Taurus (April 19-May 20)
Please don’t stay home this weekend, or through the early part of next week. Unless you are planning a social event in your house, make every possible effort to get into public and be around people you don’t necessarily know so well, but who make up a kind of community. There is a development in the works, an idea, a contact point or a sudden solution. It may involve simply meeting a whole new social network that opens up many possibilities for you, ones you would probably not have dreamed of. But they have been dreaming of you.
Gemini (May 20-June 21)
Mars is still newly enough arrived in your sign to be stirring the pot, and as it approaches, a square aspect to Uranus in Pisces is likely to trigger a burst of self-confidence that really gets you to push the envelope on a certain achievement you’re after. It is indeed all about confidence, which would be less of an issue for you if you directed your conquests outward and upward rather than inward. I am not suggesting that introspection is unwise or that self-awareness is not the key to life. I am saying that for a while, you’re free to take your ambitions out on the world, where they belong.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Relationships take two people. We all know that, but then when things don’t go the way we plan or want, we tend to blame ourselves, particularly those born under empathic signs such as yours. Then, when we are reminded about the aspect of life that involves cooperation, communication and some energy coming back, it’s like the lights come on. It appears that the energy is returning to a situation that has been slacking. And it would seem that you’re feeling unusually on edge, aware of the sharper side of your own emotions. Allow for the light; allow for the shadow; allow for the whole spectrum of feelings, and just be real.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
Both business and pleasure are due to pick up speed and intensity this week, and there are some surprises involved. They all involve contact with others, and what is different about the next few days is the quality of the energy, and the extent to which it can awaken you to a new aspect of yourself and your desire for life. As regards business, be open to new ideas that involve groups, teams or shared finances and resources. As for pleasure, stick to that one person who has been a dependable source for a long time — and if you don’t have someone like that in your life, reach out to one who you want or need most.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
There’s no use resisting the opportunity that’s rushing in your direction; the possibilities are too brilliant, the feeling too strong. You may feel you need to take things slowly, that is not exactly the way the Sun, the wind and the tide are going right now. And while it’s true that you can ride out this wave of energy, I doubt that’s what you really want to do. Events this week are like a portal to another place and time, entirely new dimensions of existence. Can you handle it? You may indeed need to jump over a kind of inner hurdle. So, jump.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
Pieces of yourself seem to be falling into place, and it appears that you feel more at home in the world every day. It’s been an odd couple of months, with the sense of being in your own space but not quite belonging; of being in the moment while at the same time caught in a world of the past. I can tell you’re getting beyond that strangeness, and as the aspects develop, you are reaching a greater level of comfort without falling into a ‘comfort zone’. Definitely stay on the move. Let your life develop. Right now, you have a lot better friends than complacency.
Scorpio (Oct. 23 – Nov. 22)
Keep trusting your brilliant idea. Do I write this every week? If not, I should, because you do indeed have something amazing developing, and you’re at your best when it comes to both deep thinking and practical application of notions too subtle for others to even notice. In about a week, you’ll encounter a review phase, where you can go over your notes, slides, files and diagrams and see what it all adds up to. If you haven’t set anything onto paper or into computer files, I suggest you get on the move, sooner rather than later. Claim your concept and get it going.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
Be cool, don’t push it, and be sensitive to your own energy. No doubt, you’re feeling a more enormous than usual sense of adventure. You may even feel like you’ve got a jet pack strapped onto your back. You may even be designing an electrical research laboratory in your basement and be intent on creating the solution to all the world’s energy problems. Whatever you do, pace yourself, and let your feelings lead the way — not your mind. You’re having some brilliant revelations, but the really good stuff is happening not where you can think about it, but where you can feel it.
Capricorn (Dec. 21 – Jan. 22)
You seem to be letting go of an old, sad story. I don’t think it’s dominated your life, but I can say for sure that it’s been lingering around the background and influencing your ideas about yourself. As this week develops, you may get a look at just how influential it’s really been behind the scenes, even though you may not have noticed. Let it go; let yourself go past this situation. You are not evading anything; rather, I am confident that what you have learned will take up permanent residence in your value system, and become a more positive influence than you imagine.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
You seem to have your attention divided between some very heavy responsibilities and a sense of what wild potential is possible. It may not be easy to balance this situation out. The answer will come, as always, through creativity. Being creative is not merely about art or music, though those are fun benefits. True creativity is the ability to solve problems and invent solutions; to get yourself beyond the contradictions of your existence and into a space where you can do your real work and express your real values. That moment is at hand, but you will need to do a small part and leave some space within yourself clear, and free of burdens.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Mean people make most of the noise — the ones who want to scare everyone and get their way. The loving people are usually too busy helping others, and they tend to speak second, and most softly because that is the language of love. I suggest you speak a little more boldly now; step out of the past; do something that may be really odd and step out of the rather intense expectations that you feel surround you and are influencing you. You are different, your life is different, and if you can embrace that with all your heart, just how true this is will appear before your eyes.