Dear Friend and Reader:
When The Beatles landed at the newly named John F. Kennedy Airport on Feb. 7, 1964, it was just 78 days after one of the most profound collective griefs in decades, one that unlike many before it was amplified by the power of television. The young president had been struck down in broad daylight in an American city, sending the Western world into shock.
The Beatles did not merely arrive; they stepped into a gaping void, a psychic and emotional cavern that had been violently ripped open like the president’s skull. With JFK’s death, the nation had lost it’s father and was still reeling with disorientation. Even people who detested him cried. The loss is palpable till this day.
The death of the president also meant there was a vacuum of male presence and leadership. Then a group of young men in their early 20s had unwittingly stepped up to the task, though I am sure this was not recognized for what it was at the time.
We cannot say what would have happened with The Beatles had JFK lived, whether they would have had the same impact or been received so passionately. We only know what actually happened.
When you consider the morbid scenes from that prior November, the presidential motorcade passing through Dealey Plaza, the unshakable Walter Cronkite crying on the air, Jackie Kennedy with her dress stained in her dead husband’s blood, Lyndon Johnson being sworn in aboard Air Force 1, the ambulance taking the president’s body to the morgue, the funeral procession with its riderless horse — it seems like a different universe from the screaming girls and clever lads taking questions from the press.
People huddled around their televisions watching Kennedy’s casket go by morphed into families clinging to their TVs as screaming teenagers stampeded through airport corridors and Ed Sullivan introduced The Beatles that Sunday night.
Indeed it was a different universe. Sometime during those 78 days, the Sixties had begun. That contrast of a collective wound and something to fill the void, or some element of healing, set a pattern and would repeat many times in this era.
Though the Sixties aspect, the Uranus-Pluto conjunction, would not make its first exact contact until October 1965, encounters between these two slow-moving, world-changing planets have a long warmup during which the most notable effects can be felt in advance.
If you want to understand the influence of this aspect, consider that The Beatles went from “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” to “I Am the Walrus” in a few short years.
The Sixties were a rough time in history. For many, it was an exciting time; for many others, painfully controversial, as many facets of the old order were stripped away and something else began to take their place. Many more people struggled to hold onto the familiar as everything seemed to change around them — not recognizing that the changes were within them as well.
The nascent Civil Rights movement, which had begun to make progress in the Fifties, had some successes and also came under ongoing violent attack, surveillance and infiltration.
At the same time, there were numerous artistic and technological breakthroughs, and many horrid political tragedies. It’s difficult to sum up an era that included the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King, Jr., the Vietnam War, the election of Richard Nixon, Woodstock, the Moon landing, protests on campuses across the nation and students murdered at Kent State.
From the Conjunction to the Square
Fifty years after The Beatles arrived, we are now at the next major meeting of Uranus and Pluto — the square. These two planets move so slowly that it’s taken them nearly half a century to go from their conjunction, the equivalent of the New Moon phase, to the square, the equivalent of their first quarter phase.
The first quarter is a major turning point in any planetary cycle, and also a time of structural change. It’s a time of re-evaluating events since the beginning of the cycle, though usually history moves so fast at the time of Uranus-Pluto events that you can have the feeling that there’s no time to think. What the Sixties and our era have in common is how easy it is to feel overwhelmed.
The square can have many properties similar to the conjunction, though of course it happens in a different historical context. The square also lasts longer. The conjunction had three exact contacts in 1965 and 1966. The square has seven exact contacts from spring 2012 through winter 2015. Both have a wide margin on either side.
We saw the early influence of the square with the Arab Spring movement, the public union protests in Wisconsin and then the global Occupy movement, all of which began and peaked in 2011. Those protests were suppressed by governments pretty effectively, and also by various chilling effect measures like discovering that the NSA is databasing everyone’s phone records, email and other communications.
Laws that define participation in the environmental movement as a form of terrorism are going to deter some people. So will mass arrests, pepper spray and the prospect of lifelong surveillance. It all adds up.
Though there are some similarities, I think there is one significant difference between the Sixties and today. In the Sixties, many people believed that change was possible, and moreover, that their personal actions could lead to progress — not merely to personal or corporate profit. There was widespread idealism in the air, despite the many terrible events that took place.
There was the sense that anything is possible. The craving for freedom first described in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road had become a sweeping social movement.
There was the feeling that if we don’t do something about this — that is, about whatever problem society is facing — nobody will. That value may not have saturated the culture, but there were plenty of people who felt that way, and they got a lot done. Out of the Uranus-Pluto conjunction era were born many movements that are still active today — anti-war, environmental, women’s liberation, gay rights, black power and others.
Today, cynicism has replaced idealism. The sensation that ‘we’re goin’ down’ has replaced ‘we can change the world’. I am aware that there are activists in our time working earnestly for change. What I object to is how little help they have, and how easy it is to dismiss their efforts as futile.
That so many people are overwhelmed is, I believe, the result of many factors. We know more than we did then — for example, about how serious the environmental situation is. What can anyone do, or think they can do, about a radioactive plume spilling out of a nuclear power plant in Japan, encompassing the north Pacific Ocean and spreading into all of its currents? What can we do about the tons and tons of plastic collecting in ocean gyres? Imagine trying to live without using plastic, no matter how much you want to.
What can we do about the rate at which fossil fuels are being extracted from the ground and injected into the atmosphere, trapping heat on the planet? What about all the methane being released from frozen reservoirs as the Arctic ice cap melts, doing far more damage than carbon?
How about politicians wasting time and resources trying to ban birth control and take away food stamps when the world is headed for a diversity of different brinks?
Every individual problem is overwhelming on its own, with 100 more like it right behind: GMO foods, the banks that get away with anything, billionaires by the million, chaos reigning in Iraq and Afghanistan and Syria and many, many other countries, an economy that is vacuuming wealth to the top faster than the Fed can print cash, people in massive debt from educations that are now worthless for getting a job, the cancer pandemic…and it goes on and on.
It’s amazing that anyone has the gumption to be able to confront the future at all, much less envision some great improvement that might happen. Many people are reduced to getting through the day. Many are reduced to doing whatever it takes to get by.
In this environment, you could describe cynicism as the more appropriate response than idealism, or hope, or faith. It’s hard to have faith when greed has gone from being a problem that some people had to the religion of the masses.
At the Uranus-Pluto conjunction, Bob Dylan came up to The Beatles’ hotel suite and encouraged them to do something relevant with their platform; to recognize that they could deliver a message.
They listened. Dylan may have been the single biggest moral and artistic influence on The Beatles.
It was Dylan, the visionary, who warned of “guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children” before anyone outside of Rand Corporation, the White House or the Foreign Relations Committee had heard of the Vietnam War.
Now at the Uranus-Pluto square, we have Bob Dylan doing a Chrysler advertisement on the Super Bowl. No doubt he rationalizes it on the basis of American pride, the theme of the ad. Would that be the same patriotism that was drummed up to start the past 10 wars?
This one-time passionate advocate for blacks and the poor, who has decried slave labor in Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan working for 30 cents a day, personally encouraged tens of millions of Americans watching the ad to “let Asia assemble your phone” — because they do it out of pride in their work.
Ask people why Dylan did the ad and they will probably say “he needed the money,” as if that’s a good reason for someone who has put out 35 studio albums and a heap of boxed sets. He can only top this one by going onto FOX News and encouraging us all to support the bombing of Iran.
The Common Ground of Pisces
Besides top-shelf Uranus-Pluto aspects, the astrology of our era has something else in common with the Sixties, which is Chiron in Pisces. This placement is a profound spiritual longing, which has many potential answers.
It is interesting that throughout the entire Uranus conjunct Pluto era of the Sixties and the current Uranus square Pluto era, Chiron is simultaneously in Pisces. The astronomical synchronicity involves Chiron’s 50-year cycle and the nearly 50 years it’s taken Uranus and Pluto to go from conjunction to square (0 degree relationship to 90-degree relationship).
Pisces, particularly with such a strong influence as Chiron, can be activated as a vast common ground, where people can discover how much they have in common, how much they can share and how much they can accomplish together.
I consider Chiron in Pisces The Beatles factor of the Sixties — the loving and spiritual element without which there would have been very little grounding or sense of purpose. It was not just The Beatles, but they personified it effectively, in a way that millions of people could relate to.
This can be expressed as well as related to or identified with — for example as art, music, community, intimacy and sex — among a million other friendly activities.
Yet Chiron in Pisces can also evoke a mystical longing that can be answered in toxic ways as well. The mystical longing is usually evoked by suppressing healthy expressions of emotion, passion, desire and creativity. People need to be people, which means we need to be together, feel together, do tribal things together and have collective experiences. When that natural instinct is suppressed, it expresses itself in many toxic ways.
One of them is rallying around the flag — a poisonous abstraction of the tribe. Another is worshipping a charismatic leader, which Dr. Wilhelm Reich identified as one of the key ingredients of a fascist takeover. Get people so desperate for sex and closeness, they will flock to a dangerous substitute, one that can destroy a society or a culture.
In our era, we are seeing the corporate form of this. It seems that every last thing is sponsored by a multinational or “nonprofit” corporation. Capitalism and greed are revered with religious fervor, and violating them can get someone branded a heretic or infidel. This common ground is becoming so crowded by corporate culture, I am surprised there aren’t Nike ads in yoga studios.
Oh wait — there already are, on yoga mats, garments and bags. Next we will have advertisements telepathically broadcast into meditation.
What corporate authority can interfere with but not completely suppress is the authentic inner spiritual and creative calling. No matter how much the Merlins of advertising and branding and finance may strive to do so, they cannot entirely vanquish your humanity. That’s why they have to spend so much money trying to do so.
They can come close. You can be anesthetized into thinking you’re not who you are, for a while. You can be lured away from your humanity, conditioned what to think, distracted from your soul or consume alcohol and fast food until you’re semi-blotto — but you’re still human, because you possess the Inner Light, the inner connection to the same intelligence that orchestrates your DNA. You are, even if you forget. So you may as well remember.
Yes, remembering your humanity can be painful in such dehumanized times. One of the paradoxes of awakening is the encounter with how many other beings are struggling. As you improve your life, you have to figure out what to do with any potential guilt that you have it good and others do not.
If you pay attention, you will find some people who have their ideals intact. Be kind to them and keep them in your life. There is very little you can accomplish alone, though you are personally the starting point for everything that happens to you. You are the one thing that all your relations have in common.
Remember that, as the world seems to grow darker than we ever dreamed it could.
Weekly Horoscope for Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, #986 | By Eric Francis
Aries (March 20-April 19) — This is a visionary moment, though you may be experiencing it with anxiety in a way that you cannot describe. Perhaps this is coming across as a sense of hesitancy, uncertainty or a struggle making a decision that has no basis in physical reality. In truth there is more going on below the surface of your mind than on the surface level. However, in order to tune into that, and get the benefits, I suggest you take some time alone and do some soul searching. Your orientation on life has become even more external than usual in recent seasons. The real nourishment that you need, whether for success or happiness or intimacy, will come from your relationship to yourself. And from the look of your solar charts, that can be a compelling experience — richer and more wholesome than nearly any experience you can have with someone else, at least right now.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You may already be getting the message to get serious and focus on your work, and your highest goals. This is the time to put those together — to recognize the relationship between achievement, reputation and developing your competence. Those three factors will continue to add up to one thing: self-confidence. There are markers in your solar chart that you’re cultivating faith in yourself, though I’ve noticed this is something that needs to be claimed, taken possession of, and put to good use. You can ask yourself the question, “Were I more confident, what would I do?” Meanwhile, beware of social diversions this weekend. They are precisely that. Devote your time with friends to the ones who matter the most. ‘The crowd’ loves to waste its time — I suggest you make contact with someone, or with a few people, who you care about deeply. There is the potential for some profound honesty and emotional exchange.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Any real career is likely to be a story of two steps forward, one step back — though the good news is that there are more forward steps than backward ones. One brilliant detail about your astrology right now is that any setback has the potential for conversion into achieving something that seems impossible. Your charts look like you’re coming close to your dreams, but are not fully willing to take the plunge. Over the next few weeks, I suggest you consider what it would mean to dive into a goal so important, it may have stalked you since you were a child. Go back to that original notion of “what I want to be when I grow up,” the first one or two that you can remember. Then look around at the world today and see what needs you perceive that match with what you have to offer. Note, I am not talking about a five-minute think-over — more like a five-week investigation.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — There is an overwhelming amount of water energy in the sky right now, which means you’re right in your element. Remember that crabs live on the bottom, in the deeps of the ocean. You are less affected by what is going on with the other elements than they are by what is happening in the water signs. So as Mercury retrograde picks up momentum, you’re likely to be feeling more at home than many people around you. However, as Mercury retrogrades into Aquarius on Feb. 12, you have reason to pay close attention to joint financial matters. There is the potential for both confusion and for making mistakes in contractual issues. Therefore I suggest you follow the wise advice of “don’t sign, don’t buy, don’t commit” until after Mercury stations direct on Feb. 28. By that time you will know what you need to know — and there is plenty. String people along, call them up and talk about puppies or tell them your astrologer said to wait. Whatever it takes.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — The financial news I’ve related in the Cancer horoscope applies to you as well, only sooner rather than later. This is not a good time to be negotiating, but it’s a great time to figure out where people are coming from, what they have to offer and how you can mutually benefit. However, that information will come out in layers rather than all at once. People will tip their hand a little at a time, though you can be certain that you will find out what you need to know, under a couple of conditions. One is that you use your “sixth sense” or intuition — however you prefer to think about it. Most people feel the hankering of their intuition but few actually respond. I suggest you focus on careful listening — to yourself, and to others. People will give you the clues you need in order to understand their point of view. Indeed, most will state it outright, usually toward the beginning of any interchange; the question is whether you’re paying attention.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You will need to play it cool with a partner, and not allow yourself to get caught in an emotional current that may have nothing to do with you. The question seems to be whether and how much you’re willing to be part of someone else’s delusion. You may have a clue that this is what’s going on, though till now you have not been able to do much about it. As the next few weeks progress, it will gradually become clearer what has been happening. The biggest trap remains trying to fix someone, or persuade them to your point of view. They will either come around to reality or not — the more vital matter for you is your own commitment to reality. At a certain point, logic and your own commitment to your healing will take over. You have been firm about this for a while; you get how important it is. Remind yourself again.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — The current astrological news involves Mercury retrograde, which may be making it more challenging than usual to keep your composure and your focus. However, for Libra, the more compelling factor in your solar chart takes place on March 1 — Mars stations retrograde in your sign. Retrogrades of Mars are among the most palpable. They can put even confident and decisive people into a state of limbo, because Mars is all about going for what you want. When retrograde in your sign, Mars will have the effect of putting you into contact with the aspect of yourself who desires and who chooses. If there is a healing crisis associated with this, it’s along the lines of being honest with yourself about your desire. It’s also about maintaining a steady keel when you have reasons to doubt — that is, not allowing your doubts to take over your whole mind. The next three weeks of Mercury retrograde will be excellent practice for the real adventure.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Scorpios are often regarded as the sign known for their intensity rather than for taking care of people. My take is that this involves the anxiety others experience when confronted by someone who compels them to feel something other than a sugar high. I want to propose that your presence is an actual source of nourishment and support, even if you make people uneasy sometimes. Or to refine that statement, you have the option to focus your presence and your influence in a wholly positive way, and you’re in a moment when the faint of heart are more receptive to you than they usually are. Don’t underestimate the extent to which you play into their fantasies and their desires. People often refuse to admit who and what they want, or worse, they’re afraid that actually having that experience will in some way change them. In honor of that, I suggest that you be open to what you want, and to having it, with full awareness that you will change for doing so.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — At this time in your life, the concept of fair exchange is a necessary ingredient in your growth and your happiness. Be aware what you can contribute to any situation — that is to say, without feeling exploited. Be aware of the people who give to you so generously. Be aware of their devotion to you. It may seem un-Sagittarian to openly express gratitude, but I assure you that it would merely stand as evidence that you are a conscious and magnanimous citizen rather than another of the blocks and stones we so often keep banging into. There is no situation in your life that feeds you that you don’t have the power to feed and support. Your own well-being, your sense of belonging and most of all your need for fairness depend on it. Without aiming to appeal to your self-interest, let me say this another way. Everyone benefits from your generosity, of heart, of soul, of your wisdom and your resources. You benefit by being reminded how much you have.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — You may be feeling like your mind is anything but clear, however, your astrology is saying you have an opening for something better than clarity, which is originality. The chaos that’s swarming around your thought process is a necessary ingredient of authentic creativity. Perhaps a musical metaphor will help. It’s necessary to learn scales and theory and be somewhat disciplined to be able to play an instrument. When it comes down to having your own ideas, improvising or letting your feelings out, you have to step outside those frameworks and embrace the unpredictable with a flexible state of mind. Current planetary movements may seem to be overdoing this a little, though think of what you’re doing as surfing rather than paddling around a heated swimming pool. Also I would note, you cannot actually drown in an idea, and if you find one that seems like it could do that, you can be sure it’s a pretty darned powerful concept.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — This would be a good time to avoid making decisions about money, including those about how you feel about your self-worth and the monetary value of your work. One thing about many, many Aquarians is an egalitarian spirit about money. This does not usually harmonize well with a world where the primary value seems to be greed. Indeed, in my short lifetime, I’ve seen greed go from a problem that some people have to a virtue to be aspired to. One productive thing you can do is remind yourself that you have an entirely different take on money than all of that. While you may not be ‘liberal’ on all issues, I am sure you’re firm on everyone having a right to food, shelter and pleasure. You don’t believe that others need to lose so that you can gain. Here is where you have a major advantage. Aquarius is one of the most structured signs, and wealth flows toward order and organization.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Do your best not to let anyone who seems thick or dull get on your nerves. Have some compassion for the fact that those who resist their own intelligence or intuition are out of their element with you. There is a slight conflict in that you are not thick, you value your own intelligence and you are ridiculously perceptive — therefore you notice the fact that so many people are walking around in a coma of denial. Here is the good news: You do have your influence on them, which is about as dramatic as layers of salt melting off of a deer lick (that’s a big block of salt people leave in their backyard in winter for deer). You may not see the block changing shape regularly but the deer notices that they are getting something good, which is also a vital nutrient. You may not notice people having radical revelations but you can trust that you’re having your influence, which will gradually get results in the form of having a deeper exchange with whoever is involved.