Whose Revolution, Anyway?

Dear Friend and Reader:

This week as the Sun passed through the Jupiter-Uranus-Pluto T-square, the world moved and shook and many collective events contributed to the ongoing reshaping of society. We experienced a surge of the astrology that is shaping our time in history, defining the turning point we are coming through.

Photo by Charlie Lemay.

Before we go into the collective realm and consider some historic events, I have a personal thought — a suggestion for you to document where your own life is at right now, and also make a note of what you want, and what you want to change. I mean this in your own sphere of experience and what you would want to change in the world.

I’ve been describing how April 2014 represents the peak of 2012-era astrology. This will arrive as a series of events of which this week’s aspect pattern was but one. Each of these events represents a crux point that will include decisions, changes in your environment, rearrangements of relationships and potentially some forces that seem outside of your control.

Focus on your environment, your options and your power of decision. Decision, the power of choice, is the mechanism of freedom. Awareness of choice will make the difference between experiencing the developments of April’s astrology (or any astrology) as a function of fate or of free will.

The backdrop of the astrology is a T-square pattern involving Jupiter in Cancer, Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn. The pattern is now aligned to about two degrees. As you’ve read over the past couple of weeks, Mars retrograde in Libra is entering the pattern and will reach an exact alignment to the other three planets, completing a grand cross on April 23.

Here is what happened over the past few days. On Tuesday, April 1, the Sun in Aries made a square (90-degree aspect) to Jupiter in Cancer. On Wednesday, April 2, the Sun made a conjunction to Uranus in Aries. Then on Thursday, April 3, the Sun made a square to Pluto in Capricorn. Each of these alone is a significant event; that they happened within hours of one another multiplies that exponentially. [See charts for Ft. Hood and Supreme Court ruling side by side.]

When I say “the Sun” I really mean “the Sun and the Earth,” since the Sun does not actually orbit or change longitude; the Earth is doing the orbiting, and yet the Sun’s longitude is what appears to change in the astrology chart. So, said another way, the Earth has passed through the Jupiter-Uranus-Pluto configuration, in alignment with the Sun. (That, in turn, aligned with the United States’ natal Sun in Cancer in the chart for July 4, 1776.)

And it felt that way. News this week was dominated by a series of major earthquakes in Chile (and other notable seismic activity in the United States, including a rare quake warning issued in Los Angeles). American politics had a huge shakeup, in the form of Wednesday morning’s Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited spending by wealthy people on political campaigns.

Then later on Wednesday afternoon, as the Sun separated from Uranus and applied to Pluto, there was a second mass shooting at Fort Hood in Texas, killing four and injuring an additional 16 people — the latest example of The War Comes Home. The shooter was a soldier who had served in Iraq, was being treated for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and who then killed himself. If he was being treated for depression, I would like to know what mood-altering drugs he was on.

Military personnel wait for a press conference to begin at Fort Hood on April 2, 2014. Photo by Deborah Cannon.

In our age of consequences, this event is a consequence of the U.S. being at war for more than a decade and pushing many of our stressed-out, psychologically damaged veterans to extremes. A mass shooting is an example of a consequence that makes the news only because it’s so dramatic; the pain of mentally ill, homeless, unemployed, injured, sick, impoverished and anguished vets is, nearly all the time, a non-story.

From an astrological standpoint, what is interesting is that all of these events happened with the Sun within one degree of Uranus, which most astrologers would read as ‘expect the unexpected’. Earthquakes always come out of nowhere; mass shootings seem to, though we have indeed come to expect them.

Meanwhile, I had no idea the lawsuit that was decided Wednesday was even in the works. Obviously people who observe the Supreme Court more closely than I do knew about this, but I think it took most of us by surprise.

I would like to take a moment and describe some of the implications of the Supreme Court decision, on the case McCutcheon and the Republican National Committee v. the Federal Elections Commission.

In 2010, the Supreme Court determined that corporations have the same free speech rights as people, and free speech was defined as the right to spend unlimited money on elections. The court ruled that corporations, including unions, can donate unlimited amounts of money to political action committees (PACs or super PACs), which can then spend that money on advertising to influence campaigns.

As former MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann explained it in this chilling special comment on Jan. 21, 2010, “In short, there are now no checks on the ability of corporations or unions or other giant aggregations of power to decide our elections. None. They can spend all the money they want, and if they can spend all the money they want, they will, sooner or later, implant the legislators of their choice from president to head of the visiting nurse service.”

Wednesday, the court ruled that based on the same principle — money as an expression of free speech rights — the Federal Elections Commission has no right to cap the total spending on political campaigns by flesh and blood individuals. There is still a per-candidate limit, but there’s a loophole big enough to drive a campaign bus through. This ruling only increases the influence of money in politics, which is causing endless problems as it is.

Keith Olbermann explaining the problems with the Citizens’ United case in his special comment of Jan. 21, 2010.

Unlike Citizens’ United, which was — somewhat shockingly — decided by a bipartisan majority, McCutcheon and RNC v. FECwas decided by the usual conservative majority — Justices Roberts, Kennedy, Alito, Scalia and Thomas.

I’m finding it entertaining (in that demented way) that the fact that the Republican National Committee was a plaintiff is being left out of the discussion, not even mentioned (that I have seen yet) on TV, including by some miracle on left-leaning MSNBC. The plaintiff is usually described as “an Alabama businessman.” Yet this case could not have happened without the resources and motivation of the RNC to drive it forward. It is a Republican idea to have unlimited money in elections be the law of the land.

In writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts professed, “There is no more basic right in our democracy than to participate in the election of our political leaders.”

I would say there is no more cynical statement he could make. Notice that he did not say “no more basic right than to vote.” That’s because there is no guaranteed right to vote — it is not, for example, in the Bill of Rights. It is an implied right, subject to no guarantees, many exceptions, and with no consistency between the states (except for voting age) and under constant attack.

Every day we live, assaults on voting grow more aggressive; state legislatures have passed (and continue to adopt) countless laws requiring voter ID (equivalent of a poll tax, or pay-to-vote scheme), limiting voting hours and locations (including blocking Sunday voting, a tradition among African-American churches), purging the voter rolls and many other dirty tricks — all of them waged by Republicans who know that limiting voter turnout helps their chances of getting elected.

Justice Stephen Breyer, writing a lengthy dissent that he read from the bench, said that the court’s ruling “eviscerates our nation’s campaign finance laws, leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve.”

In the majority decision, Chief Justice Roberts said that the only “compelling governmental interest” in this case was preventing corruption or the appearance of corruption — which he defined narrowly as a direct quid pro quo arrangement — that is, bribery.

Shaun McCutcheon sued the Federal Elections Commission, with a little help from the Republican National Committee. His motto is “Less government and more freedom,” which reminds me of the Mafia opposing “regulation” of its activities by the FBI.

But as Justice Stephens pointed out, it’s all subtler than that. Donors dumping millions of dollars into party and candidate war chests has an effect on policy.

One last point. Chief Justice Roberts seems to salute the flag and Article One of the Bill of Rights (the First Amendment) when he says, “Money in politics may at times seem repugnant to some, but so too does much of what the First Amendment so vigorously protects.” He cites Nazi rallies and flag burning as examples.

He does not mention that protesters are routinely arrested at demonstrations for no reason, funneled into “kettles” where they will get sprayed and arrested, kept in cages known as “Free Speech Areas” outside national political events, spied on and otherwise have their right to dissent chilled to the point of being frozen.

Yes, we are a great nation because we allow flag burning and Nazi rallies, but that is a ruse if we gas protesters and violently arrest reporters who are doing their jobs. It’s a ruse if the “right” to influence elections belongs solely to the wealthy and the largest business interests.

As Keith Olbermann said of Citizens’ United in his special comment, parsing the logic of the people who won the case, the reasoning being used is, “As a function of the First Amendment, you must allow for the raping and pillaging of the First Amendment by people who can buy the First Amendment.”

Granting rich people and corporations the right to buy millions of votes is not free speech. It’s fascism, using the purest definition of the word — the merging of state and corporate interests — and it’s time we understand that.

We know from history that Uranus-Pluto aspects like we are experiencing right now are revolutionary events. But as I have asked before, whose revolution?

If we want this to be our revolution, we need to commit to that. I don’t believe we need a revolution in the streets, throwing pavement stones at riot police. The revolution needs to begin with commitment to the truth, by which I mean commitment to real understanding.

NYPD uses pepper spray on protesters already contained in a ‘kettle’ during the Occupy movement of autumn 2011. This is not exactly encouraging of free speech or the right to dissent. Rather, the message is “protest and you will be tortured.” It’s much easier to write a check.

Our society has grown rotund and had its arteries clogged on hydrogenated fats, high fructose corn syrup and wheat gluten. We have also grown intellectually flabby, uncurious and worse, easily intimidated. Americans, as salty and gritty as they perceive themselves, have become an easy lot to con out of their common sense.

The revolution we need right now is one of passionate awareness, curiosity and the drive to gather and use knowledge. Gather and use, not just sit around all day and read and click.

There is a need for personal involvement and for leadership on the most basic community level. Even if it’s unpopular to push your friends, relatives and associates into awareness and action, that cannot stop you. When you look at the world, and at your life, and you consider the future that you want for the next generations — be they your children and grandchildren or those of your friends or those of distant posterity — ask yourself if you’re ready to give up.

And if you’re not ready to give up, that means it’s time to commit. Yes, that means embarking on many steep learning curves and setting out on an uncertain course. There is a need, particularly in American society, to go beyond the superficial, beyond appearances and to give up our precious naivete about how the world works. And that can be painful.

Part of what people struggle with, or use as an excuse, is that they care and nobody else seems to. So what can they do alone? That is obviously not true. As the old saying goes, don’t mourn, organize.


Weekly Horoscope for Friday, April 4, 2014, #993 | By Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19) — If an involvement with someone you care about reaches a crux point over the next few days, the way to handle the matter is gently. The situation goes deeper than you think, and not every attribute of it directly involves your current relationship. Many tendencies going back to the earliest days of your life, and your earliest intimate relationships with lovers, are involved. You can avoid one error by imagining you will fix everything by fixing this one situation. I suggest that the most productive thing to do is observe. The planets are aligning in a way where what should be obvious will be obvious, if you’re paying attention. The core issue, as I see it, is the extent to which you invest your identity in another person when you’re in a relationship with them. As the month progresses, your desire to be independent is likely to press its way to the front of your mind. Yet the fears associated with this are likely to become obvious as well; you will need to address both.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — A maturity factor is being introduced into your life. It’s not the “act your age” kind of maturity. Rather, it’s more like “exist on the level of your true purpose, and strive every moment to fulfill that purpose.” The bottom line is being helpful all the time, and making sure that the right thing happens not just in your own life but, as best as you can facilitate, in the lives of the people around you. There is an element of submitting to the service, which is to say knowing how to be responsive to your environment. This is different from putting yourself first, even though you still have to take care of yourself. There are times when you will be called upon to put yourself second or last, and you’ll need to evaluate carefully whether that is actually appropriate. We live in a world where it’s easy to turn around and walk away, where it’s easy to take care of No. 1, and where plenty of conditioning encourages us to do so. You’re now getting information about looking right at the problem, asking for direct guidance what to do about it, and waiting for the response.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You may be feeling the need to take responsibility for your actions and your past decisions. You might be getting the message that if you don’t do so, you will be held accountable, and it’s better if you make the moves instead of someone else. The deeper issue, though, is about events set in motion long ago that are coming home now, and pressing you to own up for what has happened in the past. I believe that you will do this in time. I would also point out that the pressure you may be under now is exaggerated by your perceptions of how others might feel. Nobody ever really takes responsibility for something because someone else wants them to do it, which is why I suggest you set your intentions and then take your time. If you must invest your energy into something now, put it into listening, both to yourself and to others. Stating how you feel is less important than making sure you understand how others feel — and not feeling any special pressure to do something about it. This is not necessarily an easy position to hold, but I assure you there are a lot worse.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — If you’re feeling the urge to perform at your highest level, or to achieve something great, remember how much about this is a matter of inner focus and how little is a matter of appearance. Yes, there is some stagecraft to every dimension of success, even if you only have to keep it up for a half-hour meeting. True, there are times when you will need to dress the part. That’s not what I’m talking about, however. The world in its current form grossly overemphasizes image and false confidence and diminishes the value of what you need the most, which is the element of self-mastery. One aspect of this involves the way you relate to your talent — what you think it’s for; why you think you have it. The other aspect is emotional. They are related, because you will be limited in the use of your talent if you’re over-invested on an emotional level. Think of your talent as something that comes through you, for a purpose. Your role is to allow the flow of both talent and purpose, which usually involves getting out of your own way.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You need some new ideas, and your solar chart suggests that one place to look is old ideas that were forgotten, were not fully tested or never really given a chance. The byways of time are strewn with these abandoned concepts, well-thought-out solutions that were not applied to their corresponding problems, and lessons learned that were then set aside. If something has persisted, look for the lapses of awareness that may have led to that situation. You want to wake up before anyone else does. You want to be the one to take responsibility and solve any past issues before anyone else does, and you will need to be assertive. Meanwhile, back to my original premise of some of the best solutions having already been come up with — that is worth investigating and developing. Think of it like digging deeper in a mine to find the gold. Any time you’re confronted with a problem, before you try to solve it, ask yourself whether you’ve already solved it. When you need a new brilliant idea, ask yourself whether you’ve already come up with it.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Be mindful of the emotional reactions of others. Notice when you’re getting drawn in. This is easier said than done, particularly with the transits that your solar chart is taking right now. It’s difficult enough to maintain one’s individuality under the best circumstances in our society, when you’re confronted daily by so many forces telling you who and what you’re supposed to be. Your current charts have a potent emphasis on the emotional dimension of relationships. It’s not easy to distinguish your feelings from those of someone close to you. At the same time, there seems to be someone compelling in your environment with whom you identify closely — and that’s a temptation to ‘lose’ yourself in them. One solution to this puzzle is maintaining a high level of self-awareness and making decisions in every moment. Another potential is getting drawn all the way into the scenario, finding your way out, and evaluating what you learn. Question: how much time do you have on your hands?

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — You must be honest with yourself. That is the key. It’s the key because it’s so easy to be in denial right now. That denial can come in two forms: what you want, and what you’re angry about. They are likely to be related, so closely as to be the same thing. So if you notice yourself feeling anger, no matter how subtle, ask yourself what you want. If you notice yourself wanting something, notice how you feel about that fact. You may have emotions around a delay in gratification or fulfillment, or merely the lack of having your desires acknowledged. Yet your charts are clear that you are the one who has to do most of the noticing of your own inner reality. In this process it’s essential that you not try to wrap what you want around what someone else wants. You may need to ask yourself what you would do were someone else not in your life, or not exerting an influence over you. One last clue: you may be responding to a past influence, such as what that person three partners ago said. Who you are, and what you want now, are what counts.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Note the fear factor and the healing factor, and where they meet. Most of what needs healing involves — or is specifically — fear. Yet it’s difficult to see this when so many factors are designed to inflict fear in its many forms: ads designed to provoke insecurity about your self-image, earthquake warnings, economic threats and the usual litany of health-related ‘news’. In order to exist in any kind of balance, it’s necessary to consider your responses to all of those influences. Yet there is an inner scenario that you’re unraveling, something that is distinct and personal and that cannot be accounted for by any visible influence. To a greater extent than you may recognize, your fears surround abandonment and issues of fidelity in relationships. These can take many forms, morphing and disguising themselves — that is the speciality of fear. Rather than accept this theory, I suggest you test it out, and inquire when you are feeling some deep concern whether it involves abandonment or fidelity — whomever might be responsible.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — In any given situation, there are two basic patterns you can follow. The thing you need to know is that in following one of these patterns, the other one is likely to be concealed, reduced to a faint memory or not part of your awareness at all. If you manage to come back to your center (which may happen as a result of frustration), notice that you have another way to proceed. When you take that route, the prior, more frustrating one will seem not to exist, and for a while you will be able to proceed in a more productive way. Yet the real mission described by your astrology is integrating both of these modes. One might have logic dominating and the other emotion dominating. One might be based on facts and the other on intuition. In order to work at full strength, both sides of the equation need to be balanced. Both originate from you; both are rooted in what you already know and have considerable experience with. All you need is to be mindful of that fact.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — You are deep into a phase of enforced growth and changes, though you may not realize how much help you have. You seem to be feeling the pressure but not the support in your environment. True, Pluto in your sign is the original symbol of the lone wolf. Yet rather than feeling like it’s you against the world, I suggest you tune into the idea of you in cooperation with the world. If there is a disconnect, it’s emotional. Because other aspects of your astrology may have you feeling agitated and unstable, you may not notice the calmer, more consistent and friendlier influences in your surroundings. However, they are present, and willing to extend a helping hand if you would slow down and notice their presence. This will call for a change of emotional orientation on your part, which is so basic to the equation you can think of it as the whole purpose of being open to the love and kindness of others.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — You may feel like you’ve had a thorn taken out of your foot, though if so, I suggest you make it into a piece of jewelry and wear it around your neck as an amulet for a while. You are emerging from a long phase of your life when the theme of consequences has been predominant. There may be elements of this particular journey that you can trace back to early 2005. Looked at one way, the theme of this extended transit was ‘taking things personally’ — and in the process, learning how not to do so. You might say that events of this transit (which included Chiron and Nessus in your sign) tested the whole theory of Aquarian ‘detachment’, compelling you to see your personal investment in everything around you, and to figure out whether that investment was really appropriate. Themes of your sign usually associated with control have transformed into themes of accountability, which is of course much more productive. Now a new phase has begun, which in a sentence I would describe as understanding that your values really are the bottom line; and understanding further that to be meaningful, you must update and revise your values regularly.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — You are entering a phase of your life that I would describe as the era of Put Up With Nothing. Those with Pisces dominant in their charts are easy to transgress. Pisces is a soft sign, and it follows (or prefers to follow) different motives and guidelines than the rest of the world. This theme helps explain why artists and musicians are so often and so easily taken advantage of. Pushy people have an advantage over those who would prefer neither to push nor defend. You are now at a point of your maturity where that can, and must, come to an end. The time has arrived for you to be treated with some consistency, to have your values and intentions honored, and to be treated fairly. Yet here is the catch: you are the one who has to insist upon this. You are the one who has to set the boundary. You may have known this for a while, and may have avoided what is in the end a basic fact of life. Once you set the basic rules of play, and follow them, the next step is to get everyone around you to agree to them, which to you will feel like forcing yourself on them (it is not). And the bottom line is: put up with nothing.

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