In the past couple of weeks since Charlottesville, our country has been confronted with the fact that white supremacy, Nazis, and the KKK are alive and thriving here. One has to have their head pretty far down in the sand not to see it. The groups that are marching at “Freedom Rallies” are not just a fringe element. Yes, they are a minority as compared to the rest of the population. But their existence should not be dismissed. They are not going away. These hateful groups are gaining momentum and power. And our president is helping them along with his words, his omission of words, and his actions.
It would be convenient to believe that if we just ignore the issue, it will go away eventually. But I don’t think that will work. Looking back at history, ignoring the growth of such movements has not worked out well.
I have been in dialogue with friends about this. One put forward this question to me and others: What do you see as your role in this? Meaning, how do I want to behave, and continue to behave, in light of what is unfolding? After some thought, I said that 1) My role is to continue to ask questions and to try to understand more about the experience of being a minority in this country. And 2) I want to own any racism that I have within me. Both of these require that I admit that I don’t know everything. I need to be willing to experience uncertainty. But even more challenging for me, I must confront the possibility of my own racism.
Most people do not consider themselves racists. And those of us who are liberal and generally peaceable folks believe we aren’t part of the problem. I was raised by liberal parents in California who had friends of different races and sexual preferences. I was told that I could be with or marry whomever I wanted to, regardless of race or gender. I was taught that we are all equal. There was no hate of any race or group in my upbringing. This doesn’t mean I'm better than anyone else; it’s just how I was raised. And I’m grateful for it.
But even though I think I am “clearly not a racist,” I admit that I am probably not my own best judge. It is never my intention to be harmful to someone else. But I have not lived the experience of a black person in the United States, nor will I ever have to. I have never been discriminated against because of my race. So, I know very little about what it’s like.
Therefore, I will continue to ask questions. And I will return to astrology as one powerful lens that helps me to find some kind of ground in all this. Astrology helps me in times of uncertainty to gain more understanding, and to see what unconscious material wants to be brought to consciousness at any given time -- for an individual, or for a nation.
Below I offer my take on the top three transits in the U.S. chart currently and looking ahead to 2018. For brevity’s sake, I have not included an exhaustive list of the transits but have selected those that stand out to me the most. As always, I do not predict what will happen. Rather, I will attempt to clarify what questions are on our collective plate and then to point to the individual work we can do to move forward.
Transiting Uranus Square the U.S. Mercury: Collective Shock
Uranus has been square the U.S. Mercury since 2016 and will continue through April of 2018, with one more close connection in January of 2018.
The U.S. Chart has Mercury in Cancer, retrograde. Mercury is about communication: the style of the national discourse as well as how we communicate with other countries. Cancer is a nostalgic sign rooted in tradition, concerned with the past, and focused on security. Uranus in Aries is a bold energy that awakens us to the fact that the security we have taken for granted is gone. We can no longer rely on a shared sense of history or even shared facts. With Uranus' connection to the U.S. Mercury, we are hearing things that we cannot ignore. Aries is about the expression of anger, and angry words are affecting our national psyche to the point where we feel collectively traumatized.
We are pushed to accept that the story we have written about our past is not the whole truth. Uranus, planet of revolution and sudden change, has dealt us with surprise after surprise ("President" Trump!?! Then, Nazis!) to the point where we can hardly take in all this new information. The word “WOW” has lost all meaning and does not come close to covering what unfolds day after day.
The individual work: Re-think the past. Don’t cling to old ideas out of need for security. Question assumptions. Let go of nostalgic notions.
Transiting Pluto Square the U.S. Saturn: Confronting the Past
Pluto has been squaring the U.S. Saturn since 2014, and will be winding up this transit by the end of 2017. We are in the last closest peak this September.
Saturn has to do with the nature of the country’s responsibilities and duties. Saturn placed in Libra, the sign of scales, points to the responsibility to create peace and justice for all citizens. This is in our national DNA. It is a vow that our forefathers made in the Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
But Saturn is the planet of “you reap what you sow,” and Pluto causes us to confront uncomfortable truths. So we are forced to (once again) consider the deep irony that throughout this country’s history, we have picked and chosen which people are deserving of these “unalienable rights.” We have only in the past 50 years made significant progress toward equality for men and women, sexual preference, and people of all races. And obviously, we still have a lot of work to do.
When Saturn is triggered, the nature of the work is to get out of our comfort zones, face reality, and take personal responsibility as best we can. Saturn is about maturing and growing up -- and a country can only do that by facing its shadow.
The individual work: Take responsibility for your actions. Own the mistakes of the past. Vow to do better moving forward.
Transiting Saturn Opposing the U.S. Venus-Jupiter: Responsible Use of Resources
Saturn will enter Capricorn on December 19th and will oppose the U.S. Venus and Jupiter conjunction in Cancer throughout the entirety of 2018.
The U.S. Venus-Jupiter conjunction in Cancer is linked to our national identity as a generous nation that wants to reach out and help other nations. We are known for our wealth and our high standard of living. We have been sought out as a land of financial opportunity for all. But this chart feature is also about our love of spending, consuming, and accruing wealth. Venus-Jupiter connections can show up as over-spending. There is an overwhelming amount of personal debt in this country, echoed by the national debt.
Saturn transits curb excesses. This Saturn transit occurs with Saturn in its own sign, Capricorn, making it extra potent. Saturn in Capricorn is about growing up, getting real, and being responsible. It is time to curb our excesses as a nation and to get responsible with our spending. Saturn wants Venus-Jupiter to step up to its highest potential and put resources where they can truly help people in need (Cancer energy). If the nation continues down the road of greed and excess, we will be met by a downturn in the economy -- as Saturn enforces its dictum, “you reap what you sow.”
The individual work: Take a realistic look at your relationship to money. Be aware of where there is waste. Look to support causes that help those less fortunate than you, with your money and/or your time.
I will follow up this article with a "Part 2" to this post down the road. My hope is that in addressing the individual work, we can each move toward more peace and tolerance. This is all that is within our control.