20-Jan-2017, 16:40 UT/GMT
|Explanations of the symbols|
|Chart of the moment|
The deluded, death-defying regime change and expanding technological madness of the Sagittarius Pluto/Aquarius Uranus–Neptune times are ending in tears. The fallout will lead to a reassessment of science and the economy it has sired and served. Pluto enters Capricorn, and from election day in the U.S., November 4, 2008, five Saturn–Uranus oppositions build to a climax in July 2010 at the cardinal cusps of Aries–Libra, square Pluto in Capricorn. So, this change will be really radical. To avoid economic, planetary, and social disaster, we need another way of organising our affairs — nothing less than a new paradigm, based on a broader and deeper understanding of what constitutes scientific reality. Not for the first time, science will need to be reborn.
Hopefully, with modern access to information, radical change can take place this time without the brutality so often associated with change in the past. We need to see the futility of special interests based on greed and ignorance and, instead, use real astrology tools with selfless motivation. For astro-cycles offer insights that describe the true nature of things and understand timing. Used with compassion, astrology can play a vital role in a 21st-century paradigm. It can help us to identify genuine need and so establish sustainability at every level of existence.
Today is not the first time that the buildup to Pluto’s Capricorn ingress has seen a revolution caused by popular technological developments. The Graphic Ephemeris reveals the almost identical positions of the outer planets 500 years ago. As happened in the 15th–16th centuries, they all came together within one quadrant a few decades before the Pluto Capricorn ingress. So, then as now, people suffered from accepting change without weighing the consequences — but benefited because the new knowledge exposed the limitations and even the corruption of the status quo.
The corruption of the Roman Catholic Church’s sale of indulgences(1) — and the consequent fragmentation of Christendom — underlies much that happened during the 15th–16th centuries. Rational people today can only marvel with patronising wonder that their forebears could have been so naïve. Did people living then really believe that the purchase of a piece of paper, however well blessed, could put wrongdoings right and save them from the consequences of their actions? How superstitious! How primitive! Thank goodness we live in a sensible, rational society!
But wait a minute, look through 15th–16th-century eyes. At the beginning of the period, the authority and truth of the Roman Church were unassailable. It dominated Western European countries and all the lands they conquered. Priestly, monastic feudalism controlled the minds of largely illiterate populations. For them, the only wisdom was the scholarship and stories of the priests and monks. To challenge this was to challenge one’s very identity and survival in this life and the next.
To understand what it was like for people living then, imagine that the foundation of our 20th–21st-century society is being called into question. Imagine that it is suggested that material, mechanical, linear scientific explanations are not the sole truth and foundation of reality. See the dependence upon such knowledge and its experts as intimidation by fear. Imagine that the modern educational system deliberately limits study to the bare necessities to survive and battle for success in a mechanistic society. Imagine that, with the right education, emotional expression is not irrational and can be explained. Imagine that this could lead to kindness and cooperation but that our misguided education system blocks such a possibility.
Now, go further, as Martin Luther did with regard to the “assumed truth” of his day when he nailed up his 95 theses,(2) and ask whether the promises offered by modern science are incomplete at best and subject to corruption. Does the general public have a simplistic and incomplete view of science? Is it far less dependable than people believe? Could it ever provide a perfect and reliable society? Are not mechanical scientific societies just as problematic as those based on a notion of science that is more inclusive? Just as the Roman Church’s 16th-century claim to be the entire essential truth of Christianity was overstated, so what we consider to be science today is far from being complete. Add to this the promises and distortions of the media, the advertising industry, and the politicians that rule our lives using “the science” as their justification. Are such people, with their deceptively benign assumptions and veneers, who legislate and refuse us choice “for our own good,” any more than the instruments of a new Inquisition?
Put that together, and you may begin to understand and respect the difficulty of people living in the 15th–16th centuries. Indeed, you may even suspect that we are as gullible as they were. You may ask whether we are experiencing manipulation by scientistic “priests.” You may examine what they have to offer and decide that much of it is little more than the sale of 20th–21st-century indulgences.
The remarkable similarity of the astro-cycles explains the historical similarities. Pluto entered Capricorn in October 1516. A year later, on October 31, 1517, Luther nailed his theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press in 1439, when Uranus was entering Gemini, triggered the rapid growth of printing throughout Europe.(3) This revolutionised ordinary people’s access to knowledge and ideas. In 1424, only 122 books were available in the Cambridge University Library, yet it is claimed that by 1509 — 60 years after the invention of the printing press(4) — the entire classical canon had been reprinted and widely promulgated throughout Europe.(5)
Computer technology and the Internet developed in a similar relationship to the astro-cycles of the 20th–21st centuries. The first general-purpose reprogrammable electronic computer was developed around 1943–46.(6) Uranus was in Gemini in 1941–48 and trined Neptune on the cusp of Libra in May 1943. The explosion of the World Wide Web accelerated during the mutual transits and mutual reception of Uranus and Neptune in Aquarius (and Pisces) between 1998 and 2008. As happened 500 years earlier, we have seen a rapid expansion in access to knowledge and mobility by ordinary people, which those in power have struggled to contain. The consequent outcome, when Pluto ingressed Capricorn in the early 16th century, may well be repeated in even more radical ways today.
The intense bunching of outer planets in the late 15th century, followed by the Sagittarian/Aquarian focus, symbolised massive voyages of discovery that circumnavigated the globe. Although only a few adventurers traveled the long distances, the outcome of this exploration affected the lives of millions all over the globe. Nowadays, with a similar bunching and Sagittarian/Aquarian focus, millions of people in more prosperous nations actually make journeys — and even more rely on cyberspace. Their experience of our 20th–21st-century global village leads to the questioning of assumed truth. Prosperous people have become used to buying food, clothing, and a whole mass of luxury electronic items from thousands of miles away. As a result, the suppliers in poorer countries, such as China, can now afford to buy the debt of prosperous countries.(7) Our financial experts reassure us, Ferengi-like,(8) that, provided trade expands and continues to be profitable, more and more people can join in the fun — all will be well and happy! Even when times are bad, it is only a matter of waiting for the economic cycle to change.
Unfortunately (or perhaps it is fortunate), there are deeper cycles than such mechanics of greed and envy. These are astro-cycles, which, when understood and followed, reflect the fundamental flow that enables everyone and everything to survive in a sustainable and balanced, give-and-take Universe. Saturn in Virgo has urged us to look critically at our structural systems. Jupiter in Capricorn has spurred on intense realism. With Pluto finally replacing it there, being practical, real, and right is a life-and-death question. Capricorn is the sign of the sensible and unyielding managing director of the Universe. Such wisdom sees and demands the restoration of what has been exploited and wasted. Recycling what we use and spreading wealth for mutual benefit may be the safest criteria upon which to base an economy. Pluto moves in a 246-year cycle. So, 2008 to 2024 corresponds to 1762–78 — the very early days of scientific materialism and the Industrial Revolution. Thus, now is a very good time to take stock of the benefits, disadvantages, and wrong assumptions behind what has happened between the 18th century and today.
Because we have so far failed to ask key questions about our assumptions, the “free market” economics of an “open” world economy hover on the brink of collapse. For all the difference in our environments and belief systems, are we not like our 15th–16th-century forebears, relying on the purchase of indulgences (the material products and empty reassurances of our “experts”) that cost the fruits of our endeavours and give us very little in return?
The realisation of the fallibility of the Roman Church was triggered and accelerated by Luther’s action just a year after Pluto entered Capricorn. This led to centuries of religious conflict that, in some parts of the Christian world, is only now being resolved. Not until 2008 did the Vatican consider the rehabilitation of Luther! Is there today a stirring of disquiet against our orthodoxy, our mechanistic paradigm? Are we beginning to question expertise that insists its science is the only way towards utopian reliability and yet contradicts itself by saying that its very discoveries are destroying our capacity to live comfortably on the planet? If so, we must wonder who will — within a year of Pluto’s November 2008 Capricorn ingress — nail a new “theses for today” to what “door” and in what form. Also, what will be the consequences during the years of Pluto’s transit through that sign?
A series of five Saturn oppositions to Uranus start at 18°57’ Virgo–Pisces on that key day of November 4, 2008 and complete on July 26, 2010 at 0°25’ across Aries–Libra in a cardinal t-square to Pluto in Capricorn. These years will trigger a radical question: What are genuine and usable scientific values? Engineering brilliance, consequent upon mechanical scientism,(9) has been the driving force behind two centuries of economic and social expansion. Aquarian values at their lowest and most self-centred level, plus a permissive Pluto in Sagittarius (1994–2008), have encouraged an exponential and irresponsibly dramatic expansion of electronic innovation. The past two decades have seen unsustainable excess. Having based financial policy on the economics of failing to rein in a runaway horse, we now face volatile commodity prices and the consequences of a desperate credit crisis due to greed-driven overexposure to risk. Pluto moving into Capricorn(10) and an opposition between the traditional and modern rulers of Aquarius is not only calling a halt to excess, but also bringing a deep re-examination of the way we evaluate our decisions.
Students of astrology soon learn that the “water” poured down in the image of Aquarius is not liquid but the airy wisdom that pervades, refreshes, and so enables every aspect of universal understanding. The degenerate, low-level expression of this core image is the arrogant assumption of total authority from partial understanding. At the exalted, opposite extreme is the realisation that wisdom includes every person and every possible aspect of knowledge. Only with the latter comes the humility that enables true understanding. Without this understanding and without respect for every person and element of nature, we really know very little, however clever we think we are. Our scientific method enables us to “pick and mix” arbitrary collections of mechanical relationships. It is dangerously incomplete.
So, how do Saturn and Uranus fit into all this? Clearly, to be viable and stable, a genuine Saturnian structure needs to take account of everything. Yet, modern society’s scientistic model is far from such absolute truth, for it bases all decisions and actions on research that is constantly open to challenge. In medicine, a cure is tested and then used until further research finds a danger or a better method. In economic infrastructures, systems of transport, mining, and industry are assumed to be beneficial until enough alternative research shows this to be otherwise. If recent ecological concerns are well founded, the dangers are extreme. With economic self-interest so dominating our material society, counter-research may not be undertaken. In any event, this takes time. It is good to explore and discover new information and methods. To give the results of such piecemeal studies Saturnian absolute authority to rule our life is not only illogical, it could be lethal. The result is the very opposite of the consistent reliability we would expect from science. For all its claims to be the foundation of a stable process of discovery, scientism has created chaotic laissez-faire societies.
Such a view is not a Luddite rejection of modern technology. The past was not idyllic. Millions of our ancestors experienced agonising and disease-ridden lives of hard work and intolerance. We can thank modern science for longer life, comfort, the freedom to discover, and even the chance to be listened to. Yet, the dominance of modern technology has brought with it arrogance, not unlike the overreaching “certainty” of the 15th–16th-century Roman Church. That the Church brought scholarship did enhance the culture and give purpose to life. But the Church Fathers’ sheer central power led to hubris. Only they knew the truth of God’s word and how we should face His will. The 20th century adheres to a very different orthodoxy: scientific logic. This modern view holds that tight mechanical relationships are provable and should form the basis of all decisions. Emotional factors and intuition cannot be measured and so should play a much lesser role or can be ignored altogether. The 15th–16th-century spiritual oligarchy has been replaced by a 20th–21st-century secular oligarchy.
The late 17th-century decision to eject astrology from academia threw out the baby with the bathwater. This denied the emerging industrial societies a vital way of assessing spiritual, mental, and emotional behaviour. By labelling sensation as illogical, the highly influential German philosopher, Immanuel Kant, seemed to justify a moral vacuum. So, today, enormous mechanical power is arbitrarily administered by people of limited competence and doubtful motivation. We reject assessment by astrological insight and leave ethical and spiritual values to personal choice. The 19th-century class rule by privilege has been replaced by a meritocracy based upon short-term material “success,” which sees little or no need for ethical values. We have moved from the injustice of inherited power to spin-managed mob manipulation. Power has moved from unashamed, long-term, aristocratic self-interest to increasingly short-term irresponsibility. The result is cultural alienation amidst ecological and economic disaster.
Our great-grandparents would be open-mouthed with amazement at the consequences of our unbridled consumption. Economic ironies abound. Western colonists sold beads and alcohol to innocent natives and dominated them with superior firepower. In the 21st century, the emerging Asian industrial countries have been selling unnecessary clothing and electronic gadgets to Western countries. Then, by buying the debt that finances Western military adventures, they build up the power to dominate our economies. Meanwhile, Western banks flounder, desperately exposed to risk — due to largely unregulated Credit Default hedge-fund markets.(11)
In such critical conditions, fundamental questions need to be asked. Now that the cycle of Pluto is a conscious part of global understanding, let us hope that it will not take centuries for us to let go of our current attachment to a scientistic paradigm. For this paradigm is as simplistic in many ways as the 15th–16th-century Roman Church’s interpretation of Christianity. Now that we are consciously aware of Pluto (in spite of the IAU’s rather inept attempt to downgrade it), we can embrace it in Capricorn, handle the trauma, and welcome an enhanced paradigm. Certainly, for this paradigm to have any worth, the compassionate application of the wisdom of astrology should play a valuable part.
In 1970, John Addey, the second president of the Astrological Association of Great Britain delivered a keynote speech in the United Kingdom. He titled it “Astrology Reborn.” The years that followed proved his title to be far from an empty claim. Decades of major advances in astrological scholarship and practise ensued, as well as the computer technologies that have accelerated these developments.
For a while, it was felt that astrology could reintegrate into and become a part of conventional modern academia. This has proved to be problematic — more a straightjacket experience of claustrophobia than a complementary relationship that enhances wisdom. The remarkable truth is that astrology is too large a concept. Its canvasses are too broad and deep to fit into the very limited partial “realities” of contemporary academic disciplines. The even more remarkable truth is that it is much easier to fit those academic disciplines into the framework of astrology and explain them there. What qualities are needed to be an astronomer, successful researcher, psychologist, detective, philosopher, artist, cook, caregiver, and so on? Would studies of genetics and the structure of the brain, in parallel with astrological cycles, enhance our understanding? Recent studies have suggested that astrological factors can assist successful in vitro fertilisation (IVF)(12) and explain certain kinds of murder.(13) It might even be possible to track the relationship between behaviour and astro-cycles by studying the archives of television reality shows!(14)
If all of this is true, we should be asking what great benefits could astrology bring to academia and our society, not what astrology has to do to prove its acceptability to science and academia. Equally important, in a world where intensive discoveries bring us ever closer to disaster, is the question: What does astrology have to offer to enhance, even rescue science from itself?
For science, the knowledge of all that is and how it interrelates, is a study of high, wondrous elegance. As such, it deserves more than to be hijacked by the limitations of crude exploitative mechanics. The first months of both 2008 and 2009 feature strong Capricorn/Aquarius stellia. In early 2009, the focus of the stellium moves from a Capricorn Jupiter (through 2008) to an Aquarian one. Hopefully, this will trigger opportunities for astrology to play its proper part in the restoration of genuine scientific advances in our world.
Reversing the 18th-century Kantian error that held sensation-determined behaviour to be illogical would repair a dangerous structural void in contemporary society. For there is logic in astrology, but it is of a very different kind. It may not be mechanical and linear, but it can describe and help us assess ourselves and our circumstances, and thus we can be just and appropriate in our actions.
Time to think the unthinkable! Consider the beneficial implications for society were such a seemingly impossible vision to become real. Below are some key points and illustrations that are explored in much more depth in my book, Astrology and Compassion: The Convenient Truth.
Still, such greater understanding and use of astrology will not produce an optimistic future on its own. Astrology describes universal archetypes that are clear enough to define but sufficiently flexible to permit a wide range of outcomes. Knowing the astrology of a person, event, or institution does not make us (or them) good or bad. However, it does reveal the kind of person or situation we are dealing with. It provides a valid language to use in assessment.
To use the language wisely, a second quality is needed: selfless compassion. A good astrologer uses the birth chart to see through the eyes of another person. The chart gives insight to “time travel,” to understand the nature of a particular date, time, and place. Good astrologers put their interests to one side, in order to see more clearly. When they do, they can only feel compassion for another person’s predicament. They can only be satisfied when the other person is satisfied — the other person’s satisfaction becomes the astrologer’s, too.
Seeing astrology in this way turns the present relationship between astrology and education in our schools and universities on its head. No longer would astrology be the “harmful and offensive” danger to young minds that it is seen to be by Ofcom, the British broadcasting regulator.15 Instead, astrology would become the key entry point to assess appropriate schooling for the child. By helping us to know each person’s individual differences, it could enable more positive relationships between peers, teachers, and parents. Being wiser about each other, we would have no need to raise our children to defend their corner in a world of conflict and danger. We would no longer assume that only a few can hope to triumph and that most face an uncertain future beyond their control. The heart principle underlying education would be to treat each other with respect — each of us has needs and ways that are familiar and acceptable. Educating our children like this initiates them into a secure and compassionate world.
Astrology itself, in all its contradictory forms, deserves respect. At the same time, it must be consistent within its own terms and uncompromisingly responsible — not claim to do what it cannot do. Astrologers should care for all people and circumstances in a way that enables the making of wise decisions.
A balanced paradigm would use astrology’s humane logic to discipline our increasing knowledge of material relationships. It would regenerate science and benefit everyone. Used with such compassion, astrology is indeed a Convenient Truth.
References and Notes:
1. An indulgence is given by the Church for the forgiveness of a sin that has already been committed and confessed to. In 1567, the Council of Trent severed any tie between the giving of money and the remission of sins. Prior to this, the two were more connected. It is even claimed that some of the finances that built St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome came from the sale of indulgences by the agents of Pope Leo X.
2. Martin Luther, a Franciscan monk who was driven by what he saw as the corruption accompanying the sale of indulgences in Germany, nailed his 95 theses to the doors of the Castle Church at Wittenberg on October 31, 1517. While specific to contemporary theological issues, the theses essentially challenged the absolute authority of the Holy See and questioned its integrity.
4. The first reference to Gutenberg’s printing method was in 1439, but the date of the first publication is often given as 1450.
5. See Note 3.
7. At the time of this writing, it is estimated that the Chinese own hundreds of billions of dollars of U.S. Treasury Bonds.
8. The Ferengi were fictional people characterised in later editions of the Star Trek television series; their society was based on ultra-capitalist principles, centred around the absolute goodness of profit.
9. Scientism is a fundamentalist belief that the only way to develop genuine understanding is by using what is known as the “Scientific Method.” In the 21st century, Scientific Method studies linear sequential relationships by means of piecemeal statistical experiments. From this amassed, ever-expanding body of information is deduced an ever-changing view of the nature of “truth.”
10. For an in-depth analysis of this projected economic re-examination, see Roy Gillett, Astrology and Compassion: The Convenient Truth, Kingshart Books, 2007, ch. 14, “A Key to Better Economic Planning.”
11. It became clear in October 2008 that banks throughout the world had allowed unbelievable debt risks to threaten their survival, through the buying and selling of high-risk loans and even accepting insurance on the default of such loans (known as “credit default swaps”) from people who had no interest in such defaults. In late September 2008, it was reported (on a reputable BBC newscast) that just two major British-based banks’ debt exposure was equal to four times the U.K. government’s annual expenditure. Worldwide, the risk of all banks was estimated to equal 62 trillion dollars, or $10,000 for every man, woman, and child on the planet.
12. Dr. Pat Harris, “The Application of Astrology to Health Psychology: astrological and psychological factors and fertility treatment outcome” (2005). (Access to this Ph.D. thesis should be available from 2009 at the British Library: www.bl.uk/britishthesis/)
13. Jan Ruis, Ph.D., “Statistical analysis of the birth charts of serial killers,” in Correlation, vol. 25 (2). Also, see a more limited study in Gillett, Astrology and Compassion, ch. 12, “Healing the Mind and Body.”
14. Ibid. (Gillett).
15. Ofcom regulates all communications in the United Kingdom. Its guidelines for television and radio broadcasting indicate kinds of broadcasts deemed to be “harmful and offensive.” Besides “suicide and gratuitous cruelty … violent, dangerous, or seriously antisocial behaviour … and methods of suicide and self-harm,” the list includes “demonstrations of exorcism, the occult, the paranormal, divination, or practices related to any of these that purport to be real.”
Science: Public Domain CC0, by markmags via pixabay.com
95 Theses: By Wittenberg: Melchior Lotter d.J., 1522 (Martin Luther) Cyberspace: Public Domain CC0, by bykst via pixabay.com
Aquarius: Public Domain CC0, by Peggy_Marco via pixabay.com
Immanuel Kant: By Gottlieb Doebler [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
John Addey: http://www.astro.com/astrowiki/de/John_Addey
Astrology and Compassion: The Convenient Truth: http://www.amazon.com/Astrology-Compassion-Convenient-Truth-Gillett
First published in: The Mountain Astrologer, Feb/Mar 2009
Roy Gillett combines 20 years in business and school teaching with 40 more as an astrologer and Buddhist. President of Britain’s Astrological Association and Chair Trustee of London’s Jamyang Buddhist Centre, he speaks for astrology on the media, organises and presents at international conferences, distributes astrology software, and writes a bimonthly mundane astrology column. He edited Andre Barbault’s The Value of Astrology (2014) and Planetary Cycles (2016). His own books are: Astrology and Compassion The Convenient Truth (2007), makes a powerful case for the central role of astrology in 21st-century ideas and society; Economy Ecology and Kindness (2009) and Reversing the Race to Global Destruction (due 2016) uses astrology to reveal the cause and suggest the cure to the failing contemporary world economy and its associated cultural assumptions. His Secret Language of Astrology is a deep, beautifully illustrated introduction for serious beginners.
Contacts: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org;
Web site: www.crucialastrotools.co.uk
© 2009 - Roy Gillett - published by The Mountain Astrologer
20-Jan-2017, 16:40 UT/GMT
|Explanations of the symbols|
|Chart of the moment|