Saturn and Uranus, On the Ground

Goddamn well I declare! Have you seen the like?
Their walls are filled with cannonballs,
Their motto is ‘Don’t tread on me’
— Grateful Dead, Uncle John’s Band

Dear Planet Waves Subscriber:

I’ve been staying in Portland, Maine, for a couple of weeks. After enduring pouring down rain for just about the whole time (it was the rainiest March on record in Portland history), the clouds parted and on a beautiful April 1, Barack Obama showed up to stump for health care reform. So I postponed my day scheduled to write about Eris in the natal chart of MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow. She gave me her data last year, and I’ve been saving it for her birthday, which was the 1st; you will probably see that article next week. Instead, I went with my friend Amanda to drop in on the Saturn-Uranus opposition.

Flowers on the a barricade set up for Obama’s arrival in Portland, Maine. Photo by Eric Francis.

By that, I mean the cultural divide that has taken hold in the United States concurrent with the first exact opposition of Saturn (stability, structure, the order of reality) and Uranus (revolution, forwardthinking, invention), which was on Election Day 2008.

This aspect happens in a little cluster of events every 35 years, and we are toward the end of one of those clusters now. The synchronicity of the aspect forming exactly on Election Day characterized the vibe of the country perfectly: the outbreak of pluralism versus conservatism that characterized the campaign, and that we’re still seeing in the form of the Tea Party movement (vigorously anti-Obama) versus the health insurance reform advocates (generally, pro-Obama).

I was curious to mix myself up amongst the Teabaggers and hear firsthand what they had going on. It was an interesting mix of energies: first of all they were all ringing bells endlessly (loud ones, torturing dogs and other critters), which I discovered was about ‘letting freedom ring’. They recited the Pledge of Allegiance and sang “God Bless America.” Some of them were quite angry with an in-your-face kind of flair. Many were indeed associating health reform with tyranny and socialism but seemed to lack any historical context to make the assertion. Many were absolutely convinced that “the government had taken over one sixth of the economy.” Others objected to a compulsory purchase of health insurance, which takes place in a couple of years. Many were flying the Gadsden flag — DONT TREAD ON ME [sic].

There were religious overtones. I met a couple of ladies who said they were praying for the United States. I asked, “What about Canada?” to which they said, “We love Canada! We pray for Canada too!” And what about Mexico? “Oh yes we pray for Mexico!” And so on.

It was a pretty good crowd for a small town where Obama overwhelmingly took the 2008 election — about 200 on the Tea Party, bell-ringing side of the barricade, I would guess.

Happy kid with a peace sign on his shirt. Photo by Eric Francis.

The Obama supporters were behind another barricade at a right angle, on an adjoining street; there were fewer of them because most were queued up on line about half a mile long to see him speak (the room held about 3,000 and the rumor was that about 4,000 tickets were given out). There was a “thank you for health reform” faction and an immigration reform faction (racially diverse, making the Tea Party seem a bit Caucasian), organized by different progressive groups. The vibe was mellow; it was younger but still age diverse; there were lots of kids and the barricade blocking the intersection was decorated with flowers.

A few from either ‘side’ of the issues were mingling in one another’s territory. For a while, I wandered around with my digital recorder asking Teabaggers what they thought about car insurance, since in most states this is a mandatory purchase. I was disappointed to hear them say that driving isn’t really necessary and besides, it’s a privilege and not a right. You don’t have to have a car. (I was disappointed that this was their scripted comeback. In rural areas, that is a ridiculous notion. As far as I’m concerned, an authentic libertarian position is going to honor movement across the countryside as a fundamental right and object to mandatory car insurance as a penalty imposed before the fact. But I digress.) There is a lot of energy in the Tea Party movement, but it’s extremely chaotic. A lot of it feels like old anger that they are suddenly letting out now that Obama is president.

It’s tempting to think that because we have Saturn and Uranus facing off, and two ‘sides’ facing off, that it’s obvious which planet goes to which side of the issue. We might say that the side that wants to keep the status quo would be about Saturn and the one that wants reform would be Uranus.

Saturn is about the established order, but it can bring a new order of reality. Uranus generally has no concept of an order at all; it wants change for the sake of change and sometimes chaos for the sake of chaos. That said, it’s often a strong force in the charts of new inventions. It’s true that the health reform movement is pushing for change, and that the Tea Party movement wants things to stay the same or go backwards. But if I had to assign the planets to the polarity based on an energy reading, the Tea Party would get Uranus and the reform movement would get Saturn. The signs fit, too — the idealism of Uranus in Pisces (get rid of the government) and the pragmatism of Saturn in Virgo (restructure a Virgo entity, the health establishment).

One sign in the Tea Bag party camp accusing Obama of being a tyrant. Another announces that Jesus is the lord. Photo by Amanda Painter.

Both planets are associated with Aquarius, the sign of community, groups and the ideas that shape society. Saturn is the traditional ruler of Aquarius and Uranus is the modern ruler. So it’s like we have these two images of Aquarius seeking one another out, confronting one another and perhaps exchanging some information. This is a series of five oppositions between Nov. 2008 and July 2010, so these two archetypes are doing a lot of talking. We have one coming up soon, on April 26 — the 4th of five*. It’s the last one across Saturn in Virgo and Uranus in Pisces; both planets are in the process of sign changes.

Now, planets in a powerful mutual aspect like this are going to influence every natal chart at the same time they’re influencing society. One way that astrology works is many individual changes adding up to collective change. The image is one of tension, of polarity, and of viewpoints both becoming distinct and trying to influence one another. This tension may be reflected in your life right now, potentially as situations you’ve been trying to reconcile or work out for a long time. With Saturn (often a key indicator of career) under some intense pressure from Uranus, many people are feeling clueless about what to do with their careers. And Saturn has a potent influence on relationships (which we experience as mental and social structures), which are getting stretched and pulled and compelled to update their files.

Whatever the situations this aspect signifies in your life, they seem to come to another peak in late April and then have a total change of tenor when the opposition changes signs in July, then begins to separate and move toward a conjunction coming up on June 28, 2032.

Anti-health care reform activist faces off with a guy challenging the notion that the health reform bill is socialism. Photo by Eric Francis.

I know this aspect doesn’t win any awards from Car & Driver for the smoothest ride or easiest handling, but it’s productive, mostly because it suggests real contact. And this bit about both planets representing Aquarius is worth noting: we have two facets of this crucial collective sign engaging one another. Ideas are clashing; versions of progress are clashing. There is a sense that the old order is rapidly aging — but not so much agreement on what the new order should be. Aquarius is basically putting up a mandate that says we have to work this out together, or as together as we can — there is always a minority interest in a ‘majority rules’ system.

Saturn also represents Capricorn, a sign associated with the established structures we live within, our past beliefs, our history, our parents and a diversity of boundary concepts. We are definitely trying to stretch something about our concepts, our ideas and how we function as part of society; this kind of potent opposition really is a portent of change, and we are witnessing some actual evidence of that. It just doesn’t look like change at the moment, or not everywhere: it looks a bit like chaos, discord and contention. As Sariel recently commented on the Planet Waves blog, progress often looks like decay until the last moment.

Within our private worlds and the confines of our minds, most of us will experience these changes passively; that is, we tend to play the hand we’re dealt in life rather than stack the deck. To me, the resounding message is that this really is the time for conscious reform, invention and a bit of revolution. More than anything we’re being called to have a vision for our lives — and those are muscles that we may really need to warm up, stretch and get in shape.

Yours & truly,
Eric Francis


By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

Truth is leaking out all over, revelations of the salacious, myth-busting kind. Of all the fascinating, eye-popping and gut-twisting developments out there, the one that intrigues and encourages me most is that “authority” — the kind that once called the shots now and forever — is faltering. Ultimately, public trust, a good PR firm and a cadre of true believers can’t compete with cold hard facts. One by one, icons of a fading age face their own version of Waterloo and unexpectedly find themselves on the defense.

Jesse James is starting to look like the new Tiger Woods, as stories are popping up revealing the biker king was unfaithful to wife Sandra Bullock more than once. Photo by Chris Pizzello, AP.

The public airing of racy sexting between Tiger Woods and his stable of women has impeded his return to family and corporate sponsorships. Bad Boy Jesse James broke the heart of our latest mythical ‘girl next door,’ Sandra Bullock, when his various mistresses came forward to reveal their tattoos and lovemaking details. Both men thus prove possession of a penis, a sexual appetite that transcends their marriage bed, and a general lack of discrimination, but revelations of their personal lives don’t impact us. Neither sought the public trust like John Edwards, who ran for president while leading a secret sex life, but their behavior belies standard mythologies such as “money will make you happy” and “marriage is forever.”

Paramahamsa Nithyananda, a Hindu holy man with an international following of over two million, recently resigned after a videotape was aired on television showing him in bed with two women. Where did he go wrong? One too many partners? Two? Or the taping itself? Our expectations of ‘holiness’ don’t include multiple sex partners, secret lives, or cover-ups. Nithyananda’s credibility is shattered. The Swami has given up his many ashrams and spiritual centers, announcing that he will “live a life of spiritual seclusion, for some indefinite time.” A hundred years from now, we might all laugh it off, but today I think the holy man showed a bit of class, folding his tent and slipping away.

Not so the former Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, believed by traditional Catholics to be the incarnation of St. Peter. He is accused of covering up decades of sexual abuse of children while protecting their abusers within the confines of Canon Law. His supporters insist that no one feels the pain of the victims — hundreds of deaf children in Wisconsin, for instance, over which Benedict had direct responsibility — as much as this pope, while others say he should step down as Papal leader. This prospect is unthinkable to believers, despite a growing flood of accusations from Italy, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, the U.S. and Switzerland. With reports of tens of thousands of sexually abused children in Ireland alone, the number of those victimized worldwide by the priesthood is as staggering as the silence of the church. 

Over the last decade, the Vatican ignored early warnings of our own nation’s scandals, dismissed by the church as an example of American liberalism. Now, the magnitude of global scandals challenges the authority of the Papal See itself. The pope finds himself between the proverbial rock that represents his faith and the hard spot formed by centuries of institutionalized Catholicism. Bill Donohue, strident mouthpiece for the Catholic League, attempts to defend the pope by asserting the problem to be homosexuality, rather than pedophilia. Tell that to the little girl who was molested by a priest who was also her own father, who had assaulted her mother as a teen. It’s very difficult not to see this epidemic as totalitarian abuse of authority, preying upon the weakest members of the faithful.

Not limited to sexual themes, disturbing reports of internal religious violence are also coming to light. While reports of Scientology Chairman David Miscavige’s beating, kidnapping and enslavement of teens exhibit manifestly cultish behavior, what of German Bishop Walter Mixa, conservative ally of the pope, who has been accused of brutally beating orphaned girls in the ’70s and ’80s? And those who read about the brutal treatment of girls in Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries won’t question the details.

Theological absolutism spreads a big tent of authority that is self-protective, too often condoning bad behavior while ignoring its extremes. By promoting a higher standard, proclaiming moral certitude, and speaking for the Almighty, religious power has given itself a long way to fall. You can hear it screaming now, clinging to the crumbling edge of its institutionalized power base.

In America, religion is playing defense. No longer afraid of heaven or hell, we’re beginning to understand that when we glorify suffering as proof of faith, promote denial of human sexuality, and embrace a literal interpretation of stories written in antiquity, pain and violence will follow. As will zealots.

A case in point is the Hutaree Militia of Michigan, a.k.a. the Christian Warriors of the Apocalypse, arrested by the Feds this week for plotting an attack on police as minions of godless government. This small Christian militia planned their attack in preparation for the antichrist, in order to trigger “the end time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive.” Their intent to activate the rapture resembles Charlie Manson’s attempt to kick-start apocalyptic race war by writing incendiary messages in the blood of his victims. It also echoes the homegrown jihad of domestic terrorist, Tim McVeigh, in the Oklahoma City bombing.

While the press is loath to call this domestic terror, we all know it when we see it. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reports a startling 244% increase this year in hate groups and militias, considered the paramilitary arm of the Patriot movement. Many of these groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, operate under the guise of Christian organizations, disdaining any restraint by government or laws. Underscoring the magnitude of the social disconnect between mainstream citizens and the polarized right-wing, Tea Baggers consider the SPLC itself a left-wing hate group, targeting its members and spying on its activities. Can we assume that if the FBI keeps track of the Quakers’ peace activities, they will also keep an eye on the SPLC’s list of potentially violent extremists?

We’re asking a lot of questions these days, and some highly-placed people are speaking truth to power as well. It isn’t just religious patriarchy that’s wobbling: the intention and authority of Israel are being questioned for the first time in decades; the unfettered power of bankers, corporations and political parties is not only scrutinized but condemned. We’ve come to question not only the tone of the PR that engulfs us, but the behavior of those who pay for it. We’ve finally connected the dots between what we’re told and what these powerful entities do. The absolute authority of our unquestioned mythologies cannot withstand the barrage of potent questions aimed at them now. These questions and the resulting conversation they provoke would have been unthinkable ten years ago, or even five.

Our most important service to ourselves and our nation is to question what we see around us. I offer three links to articles written by women who ask such questions about the church: one is Maureen Dowd discussing the spin we’re hearing from the Vatican, another is Sinead O’Connor questioning the pope’s apology to Ireland, and the last is Sister Joan Chittister regarding the wisdom of blind obedience.

Like these outspoken women, we must challenge unquestioned authority wherever we find it.

Weekly Horoscope for Friday, April 2, 2010, #810 – BY ERIC FRANCIS

Aries Confidential

Most of what has held you back this year has been in the realm of relationships. Your desire nature is hot, and you’re pushing for more freedom, more experience, more creative risks. Your relationship circumstances, at the moment, seem to be presenting you with quite the opposite equation: for every one of those things you want, there is an equal and opposite reaction — and it must be frustrating. Think of it this way. At least you have something to push against. You have a structure that can serve as a container. I know it doesn’t feel that way now. Before long, you’re going to have some experiences as if that barrier is not there. Whatever reasons or circumstances you have encountered and have seen as a cause or an excuse will temporarily shift out of the way, and you will get a chance to experiment with your passion and your energy. Observe carefully what you do.

Taurus Confidential

Venus in your sign may feel like prying open a door. There is a sense of ease about this, and concurrently a sense of enforced growth, of necessity, of urgency that will build over the next few days. I would describe Venus square Mars, and trine Pluto, as an easy opportunity to do something challenging; to grow in a way that has perplexed or evaded you in the past. There is a spiritual component to this: that is to say, something that goes beyond the idea and reaches directly to the energy level, or to what may feel like the ‘nonphysical’. Of course this is all physical in this dimension, since it’s happening because for the moment we’ve taken up residence in bodies. Food remains a crucial theme — this goes for Taurus and all those with strong Taurus placements. Make your kitchen table into an altar. Plant seeds and gather flowers.

Gemini Confidential

I often think of the idea of Donald Shimoda (Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach) that we teach what we most need to learn. This is really one of the most pragmatic spiritual equations of all times. Teaching is learning; teaching is consolidating one’s knowledge; teaching is offering yourself as an example and then having to live up to that. Teaching is a demonstration of your values, which for you means exploring those values in realtime, demonstrating them and basically noticing both how far you’ve come and how far you have to go. Get used to it: there’s no such thing as a private life. It’s true that there are places within ourselves that we can’t reveal directly, but much of what we consider personal or introspective, we dramatize from moment to moment. The world is your reflecting pool.

Cancer Confidential

The price of success is faith in yourself. Okay does it really make sense to call that a price? Kind of, because it’s such an issue for so many people; it seems so hard won; and most of all we have to give up so much lack of faith and that, if you ask me, is what really constitutes the price. However, you’re getting to that point where success really is inevitable. You need to position yourself for it; and you need to get out of your own way. I don’t suggest striving or efforting any more than you have to, and as far as I can see there are always going to be alternatives and workarounds to stressing yourself out. Stress is not creative and creativity is the name of the tune these days. Borrowing from an old truism, don’t work hard — wake up.

Leo Confidential

Emphasize the visual. See your options, and illustrate your agreements. Draw diagrams; explain things in terms of color and texture rather than mere concepts. Explain things in terms of story; of narrative; of continuity of flow and more than anything, scenarios that are based on relationship. Remember this about all agreements: the contract has validity to the degree that both parties benefit. Acts of charity and altruism aside (and let’s be real, we do benefit from those), construct every story in such a way that the benefit is mutual and that each party profits from access to the other’s resources. This is not conceptual. It’s tangible, visible, real and most of all, reflective of an innovative approach. Where mutual profit is lacking, apply creativity: not liberally, specifically.

Virgo Confidential

This whole thing about balancing the masculine and the feminine — it can come with a crisis, or what seems like one. If there was ever such a thing as an ‘identity crisis’, this is the real thing. An identity crisis involves either 1) discovering that you’ve changed and that you’re not who you were in the past or, more likely, 2) discovering who you are, which does not match with who you were told you were in the past. And the way things are going on the planet, and the way they’ve been going for a sodding long time, the underlying theme is gender identity. For a while, you will switch between one notion of yourself and another, back and forth, until you begin to reconcile the two. While you’re doing this, note what gender-based roles you ascribe to others. That will help you figure out what you’re trying to integrate yourself.

Libra Confidential

You may need to quickly seek another solution if someone close to you is being uncooperative. Note that you may think they are being stubborn, and you may be right. However, in the current situation, your values are the ones that are the sticking point; you are the one who could either reach a compromise, or make peace with the fact that you’re not going to compromise. Or, perhaps more accurately, that you are taking your time changing your mind about something. The next few days are an excellent time to pick up the pace on that project. What you resist will reveal something about you and how you see yourself. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but you’re attached to something about your public image and this is slowing you down. How others see you is their own business. Changing how you see yourself will change your life.

Scorpio Confidential

It’s more difficult for someone to adapt to your desires, intentions and goals than it is for you to adapt to theirs. If someone is making a fuss about this, trust that it’s accurate; that it’s meaningful. The idea is not for you to change, but rather to hold the door open for them to change. Here is a clue: A close partner seems to be in reaction to one thing about you — it looks like something in your outer life: some role, goal or objective. In fact, he or she is in crisis because you are in a process of changing your mind about yourself; you are revising ancient ways of thought, and this person knows that their role in your life has to change as long as you proceed on your current path. When you modernize your perspective, you will have no room for the old-fashioned jazz you’ve been putting up with.

Sagittarius Confidential

There is no need to chase an ideal. The way you’re headed, you’re going to catch up with it fairly soon, and you’ve got no need to knock yourself out trying. I mean, you can if you want to, but the benefit will be the same either way, and in fact you may miss some vital creative and leadership opportunities if you try to sprint. I suggest rather than engaging in any kind of competition, strive for comfort and cooperation. I don’t mean the laid-back and going nowhere kind of comfort, but rather a sense of ease with movement and trust that your many ideas will have a series of opportunities to manifest in the world. At the moment your astrology is in gradually developing mode; soon enough it will shift into spontaneous action mode, and I have every faith you will know when you’re getting that cue.

Capricorn Confidential

You seem to be in a struggle for balance. A lot of us are. At the moment, plenty is being demanded of you, and you have spent most of the past three or four months feeling like you’ve got the weight of world karma balanced on your head. You understand how much responsibility you have, for how many people, events and for something else you cannot describe. In fact, you are personally responding to a global call for ethical leadership. This kind of leadership requires that you be willing to change internally every time you take a stand in the world. However, that pressure is starting to back off and give you some relief. For a while, you have more space to lead your life your way. And you do have some personal changes on the horizon, for which you’re beholden to nobody but yourself.

Aquarius Confidential

An impossible situation is starting to seem like something else. Your mental outlook is beginning to improve. You seem convinced that real change is possible. I know this because I’m looking at several ‘minor’ points that most astrologers don’t bother with; they are indeed subtle points and are likely to be reflected in your life through the subtle points. Most of these involve the way that your state of mind influences the human dynamics of your world. In the day and age in which we are alive, one that is defined by energy, by nonphysical communication and by the law of attraction, our thoughts and feelings are just about the most vital navigation tool we have. Therefore, the first step is gaining some skill in the navigation of one’s own mind, and yes, this should be taught to small children as a simple concept. At the moment, for you, it’s going to be about that easy to learn.

Pisces Confidential

I assured you last week that you have all the evidence you need: evidence that you can actually shift your emotional pattern. Right now you’re under an illusion that everything in your life is bigger than it really is, which is designed to give you the opportunity to see what you’re dealing with. I sense you’re a bit intimidated by what seems like a state of excess, be it emoting, ambition, creative vision or desire to do what’s really right for you. There seem to be so many small matters; there is so much to negotiate, and everyone is demanding a fair deal, leaving you to wonder whether you’re getting anything of the kind. There is information in the planetary setup that develops over the next eight to 10 weeks, which suggests that many small issues (which look large now) are going to be resolved by a few simple, elegant innovations.

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