Of Uranus, Pluto and Fragile Revolutions

Dear Friend and Reader:

The developments of Arab Spring and the Uranus-Pluto square that precipitated it have taken another violent turn this week, as the Egyptian military killed more than 600 protesters and injured thousands in a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood. As we go to press, many sources are reporting that the standoffs may be escalating and that there is more bloodshed expected.

The New York Times from Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013. Children of the future will be curious what a newspaper looked like. Photo by Eric.

Egypt’s armed forces invaded two protest camps in Cairo early Wednesday morning, firing teargas and assault rifles into the Occupy-like villages that were created in support of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, who was forced from power in early July.

In addition, the military attacked mosques and churches, while protesters retaliated by burning down government buildings with Molotov cocktails.

Morsi became president after the Arab Spring protests of 2011 in what have been described as the first free elections in Egypt’s long history. After a year and three days in office, a combination of massive protests and military action forced Morsi from power six weeks ago in what was essentially a publicly supported military coup. That the U.S. government has been reluctant to call it that seems to involve Pres. Obama not wanting to lose what little influence he has with the Egyptian military.

As soon has he says the word “coup” he must cut aid to Egypt, which would also mean cutting off communication with its military leaders. Zbigniew Brzezinski, who served as national security advisor under Pres. Carter, said that Obama is also attempting to hedge his bets on who will get into power. He said it was more likely that the military would eventually settle down and be open to discussions than the Muslim Brotherhood would be.

Since Morsi was ousted on July 3, his supporters, organized by a political party called the Muslim Brotherhood, have held demonstrations and set up two camps in Cairo and in many other cities. The military moved against the camps across the country simultaneously. NBC News reported that the death toll was higher outside of Cairo than it was within the capital.

Egyptians walk among the burned remains of the Rabaah al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo, Egypt, August 15, 2013.

One reason why this is an unexpected and particularly tragic development is that the Egyptian military has, until now, shown significant restraint through many long phases of citizen protests and government transitions, and had the reputation of being on the side of the people. In many tense situations they seemed to demonstrate impeccable restraint; as Egypt has gone through its gyrations they seemed to be the most dependable and even-handed element of the equation.

But this seems to have been an illusion — the Egyptian military has long existed as a self-serving entity, out only for its own interests. For example, PBS reported from Cairo last year that, “Most analysts and retired officers here say that the military’s increasingly brutal show of force foreshadows the fact that it is not likely to give up executive power easily in large part because it seeks to hold on to its sprawling economic interests — that stretch from industry to hotels to supermarkets and huge real estate portfolios.”

Now the military has created a state of domestic warfare, and quite possibly precipitated a full-on civil war. It’s worth stating that pro-Morsi protesters were aware that sooner or later, if they did not negotiate, they would be attacked. They may have been the ones with the plan, even if the government seemed to lack one. But that would only work if the Islamic Brotherhood is offered wide-scale the public sympathy that it anticipated following the massacre.

Uranus, Pluto and Jupiter

In the background of all current world events is a long-standing aspect called the Uranus-Pluto square. This consists of Uranus in Aries square Pluto in Capricorn. Both are slow-moving planets, and their cycle lasts well over a century.

Time that the attack on protesters began, according to a report in Wednesday’s New York Times. Other sources are putting it at “first light,” which is imprecise and hours earlier.

Uranus and Pluto formed a conjunction in 1965-66, which like all aspects between these two planets has effects that fan out for a decade or more. In many ways we are still living with the effects of cultural and political events that took place during that era. Yet some of the most productive gains under a Uranus-Pluto aspect are also the most fragile. The spirit that initially supported them can be difficult or impossible to sustain for long.

Slow-moving aspects like this can lurk in the background, influencing both the historical process and our individual lives invisibly. Then when faster-moving planets enter the aspect pattern, we have clear experiences that make the effect obvious.

Currently, Jupiter in Cancer is square Uranus in Aries and opposite Pluto in Capricorn. (One way I describe this kind of pattern is to say that the planet is “moving through the Uranus-Pluto square.” I give another example in the SKY column, below. Venus has just ingressed Libra and we’re about to have a grand cross pattern involving Venus, Jupiter, Uranus and Pluto.)

Jupiter, Uranus and Pluto in the Egypt massacre chart are in what is called a T-square — planets at three points of a square. Wherever it manifests, this can represent a high-tension situation that is aching for resolution. The involvement of Jupiter in Cancer implies something that will come home. Home can be wherever an event happens, but I am concerned that there will be an emotional impact of this event that has a chilling effect on protests everywhere.

It will be interesting to see what happens as Venus in Libra completes the grand cross during the next couple of weeks. Venus, the fastest-moving planet in the mix, could become a target — or it could be a catalyst that invokes the love of justice.

Two Other Aspect Patterns

Another aspect pattern in the chart is Mars in late Cancer square Eris in late Aries. The aspect is approaching its exact alignment, which happens Friday. Applying aspects have a sensation of imminence or pressure that is seeking a point of release.

Headless quartzite statue of King Amenesse in the Hypostyle Hall in the Temple of Karnak in Luxor. Photo by Sarite Sanders.

Mars and Eris can both have violent tendencies, though Mars usually works through direct aggression and Eris through what is sometimes called ‘passive’ aggression. That really means covert operations or a sneak attack of some kind. We saw both of these at work in the attacks on the Muslim Brotherhood protest camps.

The last aspect pattern involves the ascendant and its ruler, Mercury. The chart has Virgo rising, making Mercury one of the chart rulers. Mercury is in Leo, making a square to the lunar nodes.

Anything square the nodes describes the nature of the turning point, or the tipping point. Mercury in Leo can have an adolescent or petulant quality. The government seemed, at least, to understand that unless stopped, such protests could gather momentum. Yet there were obviously more mature ways that the government could have addressed what it perceived as the threat of the Muslim Brotherhood protests.

Mercury is making contact with many planets: it’s semi-sextile Jupiter, trine Uranus, quincunx Pluto, loosely square Saturn and quincunx Chiron. And as mentioned it’s square the nodes, tying all those points into one complex pattern that is still in the process of unfolding.

A report in Thursday’s New York Times suggested that the assault on the protesters was not fully thought through by the government. I’ve been going back and forth on whether I think it was or was not. By this, I mean that I am questioning whether the effect — whatever comes next — was indeed planned and intentional. The square of Mercury to the nodes to me describes an incomplete deliberation process. It doesn’t really make sense to turn Muslims into martyrs, particularly if there are a lot of them around.

Yet there are other elements in the chart that suggest a deep degree of secrecy or conspiracy, and hint at a story that we will not know the truth of for at least one year (that’s my reading of the Sun, Vesta and Ceres in Leo and in the 12th house). There is a lot happening that we cannot see, and that 12th in many ways seems to contain the true motive of the action.

Pyramid of Khafre, on the Giza Plateau on the edge of Cairo, with the Sphinx in the foreground. Photo by Sarite Sanders.

Chiron in Pisces for its part is right on the descendant. It’s setting — that is, on the 7th house cusp — exactly at the moment of the incident. I am having some difficulty putting this into words, but Chiron in Pisces is such a bold statement of empathy and compassion, a reminder that this whole scenario was not necessary.

Chiron in Pisces is also one of the most vivid illustrations of the interconnectedness of all things. It is suggesting that in true quantum style, every factor influences every other factor. Chiron in Pisces is a picture of holographic reality — and it boldly stands out in this chart. As I’ve mentioned before, Chiron was in Pisces through the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of the mid-1960s, and I believe that’s what provided the populist, inclusive, peace-and-love vibe of the era.

We need it now more than ever, given that the Uranus-Pluto square is in the cardinal signs Aries and Capricorn, which are considerably more assertive than where the Sixties conjunction took place — in Virgo.

As we continue to move through the Uranus-Pluto square, we need to wake up and remember this fact. We need to remember that all effects have causes and all actions have consequences, many of them ‘unexpected’ but still predictable if we pause and reflect for a moment.

Having studied the Uranus-Pluto cycle with some respect, I also know that whatever good emerges — the awakenings, the revolutions (whether of politics or of awareness) — it is all extremely fragile. They will need continual love and focus long after this aspect has passed, if we want to make any progress at all — if there’s to be any potential to rise up out of the darkness that is threatening to swallow the world.


Weekly Horoscope for Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, #962 | By Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19) — You are not as insecure as you think. But the question lately seems to be how to stop rattling your own cage, then reacting as if someone else is doing it. There is a friendly influence in your life at the moment, someone genuinely attracted to you and also sensitive to who you are. I suggest you treat this situation gently, with a spirit of appreciation and curiosity. It would be easy to look at these charts and advise you to tone yourself down — I am not saying that, however. What I am saying is pay attention to who this person is, how they feel and how they arrived where they are today. There’s part of your story being told by whoever this is, which is one reason why I suggest you listen carefully. The other reason is that opening your ears is the easiest way to open your heart, and if your heart is open, the people around you will feel more welcome, which is good for everyone.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You seem to be leaning on a mountain, hoping it will move. You are the one who needs to move or allow yourself to be moved, though it may seem as if everything will come unraveled if you do. Actually, this is an excellent time for you to address certain emotional subject matter you’ve avoided or forgotten about. The current conditions of the sky make this an ideal time to take some bold initiative on your healing process, particularly involving two vital subject areas: one is relationships. You seem ready to confront some dark idea you have in the approximate area of ‘need’ — being needy, others being needy, or so on (that one word being one of the worst contemporary insults). Second is work. It’s time for you to confront one particular fear associated with your talent in any form, and demonstrate that the fear or insecurity you experience points directly to a source of energy that you must take over and make your own.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — The topic you’re avoiding may be easier to write about. I was reminded of this in a conversation with a mom about how her daughter prefers to text to her about certain subject matter she would never speak out loud. There are certain circumstances when a face-to-face conversation is imperative. Writing allows a certain emotional distance, the ability to revise your ideas and to get your thoughts in order. It’s possible to take yourself through the evolution of your ideas as you go through a revision process. That in turn could make it easier to speak about something when the time comes. Now, here is the problem with writing: Unlike the spoken word, it lasts a while. It’s there for others to see. It might outlive you. It’s the record of what you think and know at a given time. As such, it serves as a form of your conscience. You might change your mind, but there would be less denying where you came from on the way to where you’re going. You might find this quality helpful right now, since these things matter.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Mars in your sign is acting like an irritant leading you to get a thicker skin and develop some resistance to the insults and injuries doled out so generously by the world. One potential problem with Mars in your sign (Cancer, in particular) — as you’ve no doubt noticed — is that it can come with a measure of defensiveness. Yet you can learn a lot from studying your responses to people and situations. These include what happens when you encounter authority, be it your own or that of someone else. You’re also in an extended moment of working out the specifics of whether and how you trust women. But there’s a bigger theme. To me, your charts look like a story of getting repeated shocks into understanding that your use of power must not be self-serving. It’s necessary to look after your own interests sufficiently to do what you have to do — but that’s different. Now more than ever, your credo must be: Serving the greatest good for all concerned.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — What is the secret you’re clinging to that you don’t want to reveal? It’s not as bad as you think. It may not even be your material that’s troubling you — it could be that of a relative who influenced you (such as with their ideas about marriage or the rules you supposedly have to follow in relationships). Those rules, guidelines or expectations have reached a practical limit. That limit can be a building block as effectively as it can be a limit. So the choice is yours, though clearly, some of the responsibility resides with a partner as well. One thing you may be coming up against is that person’s history of abuse. For a long time (since around 2005) they’ve been on a path of working that into a more evolved place, and it’s at the point where a spiritual solution is on the verge of possible. Still, there is one level of programming that seems to be taking its sweet time, and there are days you may have the feeling that it’s intractable. That, too, is not as bad as you think.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — It may seem impossible for you to describe your situation, though you’ll have clues coming in the form of your physical and mental health. The feelings, symptoms and conditions you may be experiencing relate directly to the material you’re trying to process. You do look a bit like the boa constrictor trying to digest an elephant. I would offer that whatever psychic material you’re working through is not entirely your own, or not yours at all. I don’t say this as a means of absolving your responsibility for dealing with it in some way. Rather, I offer this idea because it might provide you with the incentive to come up with a new strategy for how to do so, with this additional information. The fact that you’re the one facing the scenario gives you the choice for how to do so. You have figured out at least once, probably at least three times, that denial is not the answer — though it remains an appealing temptation. Events of the next few days will demonstrate clearly that there are much better options.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — There are challenges that come with being oneself. While many influences tell us how wonderful it is to be authentic and in your integrity and all of that, few reveal what a pain in the ass it can be. If you’re ever wondering why authenticity is not more popular, that’s my theory — it’s not easy, and it comes at a cost. It is, however, considerably more convenient to be open and clear with the world voluntarily than it is to be so under some form of duress. I suggest you practice, which is to say, make a practice of full disclosure, and willingness to have the whole conversation. To do this, you’ll have to be willing to give up some aspect of your image, or self-image; the grit of reality and the polish of public relations do not mix well. The practice will serve you well. Over the next few weeks you will find yourself in situations compelling you to be increasingly real, with yourself and with others. It would be excellent if you were to emphasize that point as a matter of choice before you have to.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — There is no pre-existing belief system that just fits a person. Even if someone claims there is, it’s likely that they are making custom modifications, additions and/or granting themselves exceptions to the rules. This doesn’t mean that the world is ruled by anarchy, though it’s a common phobia that “without all these rigid laws and policies (most of them grounded in religion) the world would descend into chaos.” Actually, we could use a little more chaos rather than a little less. Most of the pain the world is in right now is due to an excess of order rather than of flexibility. You can afford to be less dogmatic and more creative about the ideas you depend on to run your life. The more pressure you put yourself under to believe something, or to comply with the beliefs of others, the more chaos you will create. I would remind you that ideas about sex and religion are a dangerous blend, and both have a way of being invisible. I suggest you open your eyes.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — If your desire nature or ability for exchanging love with others keeps getting caught in your security issues, you now have a welcome moment of relief. But you won’t be able to experience it until you dare to say or do something that you could not bring yourself to do in the past. What I’m suggesting is that you return to the scene of a boundary that you could not cross and see how it feels to be there and to consider going over it. This is better than being picked up and carried, or met at the gate by someone willing to hold your hand. The difference is that you get to be the one making the decisions, and you get to have the satisfaction of taking the risk successfully. This is a good time to question what you’re so worried about. I would propose that you’re more irked by the possibility of good things happening than you are about bad things.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Shadows may keep arising in your relationships — the feelings and perceptions you don’t want to be there but that somehow persist. This may be the thing that’s driving you to try to get control over that which ultimately cannot be controlled. As this goes on, you might discover that it gets harder to have a grip on your emotions or the feelings of others. I suggest that you engage directly with whatever you think is the thing you want to avoid the most. You may fear that you’re smaller than whatever it is you’re worried about, but you won’t know until you meet it in a conscious way. This doesn’t need to be a confrontation; it would be wise of you to approach from the edges and work your way into the subject matter gently but with some resolve. Remember that shadow is not a thing in itself; it’s the absence of light. The strongest light in the universe is that of awareness.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — You may feel like someone is trying to reveal the deepest flaws in your fears or sense of betrayal. Part of this sensation is an internal phenomenon. Something inside you, some set of conditions or the results of past experiences, is becoming undeniable, and you may feel like everyone else can see and feel your thoughts. This, in turn, could have you feeling a bit paranoid or edgy. When someone actually can perceive your situation clearly, that is likely to arrive with a sensation of strength, being willing to rise to a challenge, or as noticing someone is an example that you want to take on. You still may feel a bit nervous at the prospect. Yet that’s a different experience than the paranoia that your weaknesses will be revealed and taken advantage of. At this stage of your life, I would propose that you be honest about the issues you’re addressing, as well as their histories. You will feel better and safer for being known than for trying to conceal your reality.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Given the choice between focusing your energy on healing or pleasure, I suggest you opt for pleasure. It’s just as healing as anything else, especially now. Given the choice between taking on more responsibility or expressing yourself creatively, I suggest you go for passion rather than duty. Given the choice between taking care of yourself or others, take care of yourself first. Your sense of passion is, at least at the moment, closely tuned to or synchronized with the deeper levels of necessity than what you will encounter in the work-a-day world. You may need to guide yourself into that frame of reference, however, making a series of choices until you find an easy opening. This may take some gentle persistence but it’s easier than solving the Rubik’s Cube with your eyes open. In fact you are incredibly perceptive at the moment, and if you look through both your normal sense and your Piscean ‘extra’ senses, and have a good idea of what you want, you are very likely to find whatever that is.

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