As I write this, Uranus and Pluto are in their respective corners, catching their breath between the fourth and fifth rounds in their duel of seven exact squares. They are big stars on the world's stage, and we have been riveted by their performance, even though we know there will be no ultimate winner — they seem more intent on which one can change our collective lives the most. Whatever the final outcome, the world will be changed forever in important ways. It's no surprise, then, that all I have read about this rare event has been written from a collective perspective.
Yet, these titans also live in the charts of each of us in very personal and unique ways, whether within or beyond collective events. To one degree or another, they are also revolutionizing and transforming our personal lives, and the effects will continue to unfold for years to come. Is there anything we can do to soften or mitigate their harsher effects on us personally? My answer is a qualified yes. I speak from personal experience, having been born during the last time Uranus and Pluto squared off in 1932–1934. I arrived when the middle of those squares was exact within one degree, and I have lived with that square every day for 81 years. (See Chart)
From my experience, it appears that the secret to a good outcome is in recognizing that something deep within you is seeking expression and to be open to what shows up with as little resistance as possible. Whatever manifests will give greater meaning to your entire chart and, therefore, to your life. To illustrate this, I have written five vignettes from my life, each representing a different response to what arose when the square was activated by a transit of Saturn or an outer planet — and the long-term results.
But first, some information about my chart: Uranus is in Aries/1st house, as it is currently; Pluto is in Cancer opposite its current position, and the Moon is in Capricorn creating a t-square. You would think that having Aries rising with a cardinal, angular t-square would completely overwhelm the rest of the chart, yet I was extremely shy early in my life and could only express the t-square within the confines of my home. That's because the chart has another strong configuration: the Sun, Mercury, and the North Node in Pisces/12th house opposing Neptune, Mars, and Jupiter in Virgo/6th house. Chart-ruler Mars is hemmed in between Jupiter and Neptune, the two rulers of Pisces. These, in turn, are in mutual reception with Mercury in Pisces, which is in a tight opposition to Mars.
The Sun pattern and the t-square have been competing for dominance all my life. In my younger years, the Sun pattern prevailed. At age 28, when my progressed Sun entered Aries, the t-square began to take charge. In later life, I have been seeking to keep them balanced. Each has had its own set of challenges and rewards.
The first story occurred when I was a child and resistance was futile. Also, my young age made change easier.
In the midsummer of 1945, as transiting Saturn approached natal Pluto, my whole world began to fall apart. I was a shy, very religious twelve-year-old who had completed seventh grade at a tiny, fundamentalist church school. My only classmate was an older, mentally slow boy, and the only girls near my age were two in the 8th grade who made my life miserable with their taunting. At home, things were different. It was a refuge from a mean, scary world. My dog, Zippy, was my constant companion and I felt that he completely understood me.
My troubles started when Zippy was hit and killed by a neighbor's car, leaving me devastated. A short time later, my parents announced that we would be moving to another city, and my 8th grade would be in a much larger school. I was aghast. I didn't know which was worse: losing the security of our home or dealing with a whole bunch of kids I didn't know. Visions of them pointing at me and ridiculing me filled my head. When I looked in the mirror, I saw ugly. I had a gap between my two front teeth, and I looked fat, despite my mom's protestations to the contrary.
The final straw came just before it was time for us to leave, when my parents told me they had business to attend to, and I would be living with my grandmother until they could follow in a few months. This was truly terrifying. I had never spent a night away from my parents, and everyone knew my grandmother was a difficult woman. Everything I had depended on for comfort and security was being ripped from me.
On the first day at the new school, in September 1945, transiting Saturn was exactly conjunct my Pluto. There were 41 kids in my class. Yikes! They all seemed to know each other, and because I had skipped a grade, they were all older than me. I just wanted to disappear. At lunchtime, I followed a couple of girls who, I sensed, were also shy and asked if I could eat with them. They said yes, to my grateful relief, so I made some friends.
When my parents arrived just before Christmas, they found a thoroughly transformed daughter. I was the girlfriend of the most popular boy in the class and part of the "in group." Life had become magical. For the first time, I began to cautiously express my Aries rising and the t-square away from my family. After two years, we moved back to our original home with my new self-image intact.
The conjunction of Uranus and Pluto in the 1960s landed on my Jupiter in Virgo/6th house, making aspects to my t-square. This time, I would welcome change and even instigate it. Although I knew nothing about astrology at the time, this transit gave me the opportunity to combine the sometimes competing patterns in my chart.
I remained deeply religious, which gave meaning to my Pisces Sun. The church was the foundation of my existence and defined who I was. Yet, by the time of this transit, other parts of my life had become distractions. I was 32 years old and living what many would consider a storybook life: married to a handsome dentist with a thriving practice, mother to three children, and leading an active social life. We frequently flew off in our airplane to places like Palm Springs for golf or Sun Valley for skiing (we were both licensed pilots).
One day in late 1965, I was reading in the church paper about missionaries in Africa and found myself comparing their work to my own life of dinner parties, shopping, and planning the décor for the new, larger home we were about to build on wooded acreage. It was as if I woke up from a dream. I asked my husband, Bob, if he ever thought about being a missionary. He looked at me with surprise and replied, "Would you consider that?"
Within nine months, in September 1966 — when transiting Uranus was exactly conjunct my Jupiter (the planet of foreign travel in the house of service), transiting Neptune (my Sun's ruler) in Scorpio exactly sextiled it, and transiting Pluto was just 2 degrees away — we had sold almost everything we owned and were in the airport with our children, ready to depart for South Korea. The country was still very primitive then, and daily life was a challenge, but the rewards were great. Bob ran a dental clinic, and I co-founded an English language school where we brought bright college students from the United States to teach for a year. The Korean people were appreciative and delightful. I felt that I was making a difference and rarely missed what we supposedly gave up. As a bonus, we had many fun adventures, including travel through Southeast Asia.
In November 1972, a year and a half after returning home, as transiting Uranus opposed its natal position in my chart and formed a grand cross with the t-square, Bob told me he wanted to become an orthodontist and asked me if I would go back to work while he took the training. I did not resist. Eight months later, we had sold our home and his practice and moved once again. After we unpacked in our new home, a job as a junior accountant in a beautiful new hospital nearby seemed to serendipitously drop into my lap.
The day I started work, my Uranus opposition was again exact. I still knew nothing of astrology at the time, but even if I had, I could never have predicted what would happen. I almost immediately recognized that the hospital was in serious financial difficulty, and no one in the administration seemed to know what they were doing. It became my fervent mission to help save the hospital (all those 6th- and 12th-house planets!). My kids were in high school and quite self-sufficient, so I felt free to work long hours, month after month. It was a steep learning curve. But I was using my whole chart together for one goal, and it was exciting.
Rapid promotions came my way, although I didn't seek them. Less than two years later, I was offered the position of Chief Financial Officer. This was in the '70s when the phrase "breaking the glass ceiling" hadn't even been coined yet. I was elated, but I turned the job down because we would be moving away when Bob finished his training.
On the 4th of July, 1975, as transiting Saturn was conjoining Pluto and squaring Uranus, I received a huge shock: Bob announced he was leaving me for a 22-year-old woman, just half his age. I suppose I should have seen it coming. When we married, I was a sweet, compliant 1950s girl who just wanted to be a good wife and mother. But I had morphed into an executive with a stimulating career who took him for granted and was seldom at home. He was ripe for a midlife crisis. But at the time, none of that registered. We had been married 24 years. I never dreamed that something like this could happen. I felt betrayed and resisted mightily in any way I could. I would not acknowledge the depth of my pain, loneliness, and despair. I completely buried my anger (Capricorn Moon).
When I finally began to release my resistance to these repressed feelings, the gifts of the transit started to appear. I was able to accept the hospital CFO position. The hospital thrived, and it was fulfilling to see the results of all my work. Later, I would understand that Bob had given me the gift of freedom. He and his new wife went right back into the lifestyle that we had abandoned for mission service. It would have been difficult, if not impossible, for me to go backward. Also, I would never have had the heady experience of being completely independent, even buying a new home, something that was unusual for a woman born in 1933.
Three years later, in 1978, when Pluto in Libra began its long, slow transit of my t-square, tragedy struck. It was the beginning of the undoing of my biggest, most deep-seated resistance of all, the place in me where I had dug in my heels and thus required the most radical transformation.
My son, Brian, took his own life. We had adopted him when he was not quite two years old and deeply traumatized from severe abuse. He turned out to be handsome, with an exuberant personality, a brilliant mind, and very caring. Though he was hyperactive and difficult to raise, I became completely convinced that God had brought this exceptional child into my life so that I could prepare him for some great work. I was doubly convinced when, immediately after we got him, I was finally able to conceive after futilely trying for two years. If I had conceived earlier, Brian would not have come into our lives. It was God's will.
After his death, I kept my deepest feelings locked up inside me for well over a year until, one day while hurriedly writing an assignment for a church class, they broke loose and exploded. I not only felt the full onslaught of grief, I also (to my horror) found myself filled with rage at God. I had dedicated my life to Him and prayed for guidance about everything. I had prayed before marrying Bob and before adopting Brian. I had served Him in the mission field — and now this was my reward?
There could be no greater sin than anger at God! In desperation, I tried to pray, but my prayers fell flat and seemed to mock me. Every time I went to church, I would start to cry — I, who prided myself on never crying — so, I stopped going. Nothing could assuage my guilt and suffering as I slid into a very dark night of the soul. I finally decided there was no God. All my efforts with Brian were for nothing. My whole life had no purpose. Once again, I closed down, but this time I did an even better job of walling off my feelings. Friends and family were baffled, alarmed, and hurt, but I hardly noticed.
As Pluto moved on, I continued to resist its message, just going through the motions of living. Finally, six years later, in late 1984, when transiting Pluto in Scorpio was trining my Pisces Sun, some of the seeds it had sown were able to put out a few shoots. I "accidentally" picked up a flier along with some business papers. The flier listed businesses for sale, and one caught my eye. (If you have been resisting the change you need to make and don't know what to do or how to proceed, watch for coincidences that catch your attention.) I ended up buying a small manufacturing business, leaving my job, family, friends, and a lover to move to a city where I didn't know a soul. I put all my energy into running and growing the business, which involved working with interior designers. While collaborating with them, I discovered my creative side, something I had no idea I possessed. I made a few friends but still harbored hidden anger. I kept depression at bay by working long hours.
After four years, the business was thriving, and I hired a woman, Rene, to help with the creative part of it. On her third day, she asked me if she could do my astrology chart. Inwardly, I groaned — she was a kook! But I gave her my data because I knew she was going to be a valuable employee. I wondered what kinds of bogus things she would predict for me.
Only later would I realize that she never did predict anything. Her reading took place in a noisy bar where her boyfriend was playing jazz piano. Over the din, she said a few things about me that seemed valid, but I attributed that to her having worked with me for a week by that point. Then she mentioned, casually, that I had a deep spiritual side. Despite my surroundings and my antipathy toward astrology, a chill went through me, and I immediately knew it was the truth, despite my having "killed" God. I shrugged off the deeper implications and focused on how she could get that information from all those squiggles and symbols on her paper, when all she had seen of me was a no-nonsense businesswoman. The next day, I went out and bought an astrology book, but it left me cold. It didn't explain the "why" of things, only the "what."
When I mentioned this to Rene, she suggested that I read a book on the Qabala Tree of Life. And so began an inquiry that has lasted longer than a quarter of a century. The Tree helped me to understand astrology at a deeper level than any book or class ever has. Also, as I learned more about astrology, it in turn gave me deeper insights into the symbolism of the Tree. My study abounded with wonderful Aha! moments. It also gently awakened in me a different kind of spirituality. I soon found friends who resonated with this new way of thinking and being. It felt as if a great weight had been lifted from me. (At the time, 1989, Uranus was on my Midheaven, and Neptune was trining its natal position.) My studies became much more important to me than my business. Two years later, at age 58, I sold it and retired. It was a financial sacrifice I've never regretted.
I also have no regrets about being raised in a fundamentalist church. It was perfect for me in my earlier life, and no doubt it can be perfect for some people their whole lives, but my chart required radical transformation. The only thing I would change would be to let go of resistance to whatever needed to emerge. I could have saved myself a lot of grief.
It took more than a dozen years for me to understand that my son Brian gave me a gift — when he shook the core of my life by taking his own — and this was perhaps the only way I could have broken through the self-righteousness of my absolute beliefs and let my soul fly free.
The last quarter century has been quieter, compared to the kind of dramatic events I have reported here, yet deeply fulfilling — with one exception: When Uranus and Neptune came together in 1993, applying to conjoin my Moon and triggering my t-square, I started seeing bright, flashing zigzag lights with my eyes closed, hearing loud zinging noises in my head, and experiencing other weird sensations that went on for more than a year. There were times I was terrified and thought I was dying, but then I'd remember what was going on in my chart and that kept me sane.
My natal t-square isn't finished with me yet. In July 2015, transiting Uranus will station on my natal Uranus within 10 minutes of arc, and in five years, at age 85–86, I'll experience Pluto opposite natal Pluto. The latter is something that, because of Pluto's elliptical orbit, is just recently happening to people who are still alive. My mother had hers in 2004 at age 99 and continued to thrive a few more years before declining and leaving us at 103. I'm hoping to be around to write about my Pluto opposition for The Mountain Astrologer!
Chart data and source:
Carolyn Allen, February 21, 1933; 8:00 a.m. CST; Joliet, IL, USA (41°N32', 88°W05'); AA: birth certificate.
First published in: The Mountain Astrologer, Dec/Jan 2014/15
Carolyn Allen lives in Rohnert Park, California, which is in the wine country 43 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. She is retired and presently writing a book on the Tree of Life that includes astrology. She can be reached by e-mail
© 2014 Carolyn Allen - first published by The Mountain Astrologer
22-May-2018, 22:27 UT/GMT
|Explanations of the symbols|
|Chart of the moment|