18th Feb, 2009

The Recession

The Washington Post headline today screams like a blaring siren on a cold, dark night: Swift, Steep Downturn Crosses Globe. Indeed, the entire world economy seems to have fallen into the abyss. The larger view, in astrological terms, is described by the Saturn/Uranus opposition, repeating five times from late October 2008 through August 2010, and indicating a brutal clash between the old, rigid, and outworn patterns of the past and the pressing exigencies of a 21st Century, global economy. It is also described by the movement of mass consciousness, Pluto, from free-wheeling, unrestrained Sagittarius, where it lived from 1995 to 2008, to controlled, disciplined, and regulated Capricorn from late 2008 through 2023. While Uranus causes a sudden, often crisis-induced awakening to a new reality, rendering the past unexpectedly irrelevant, Pluto brings things to such a frenzied, exaggerated state that they implode, reborn into an entirely new form. Both of these processes describe what has been happening to the world’s financial underpinnings in the past few months as these planetary alignments take hold. Put another way, the Zeitgeist is now all about caution, careful planning, restraint, and regulation, but we are being repeatedly kicked in the teeth in order to realize it.

In addition to this “meta” perspective, astrology also helps us understand what is going on in individual countries, as well as in the lives of the individual citizens living within each nation. One interesting pattern on the national level is the pressure being put on Venus in the charts of the US, France, and Britian. (This pattern is likely more widespread, but I have not researched other national charts.) Venus is about comfort and peaceful, contented living. By extension, it also has to do with the banking industry, charities, the arts, and social connections. Its placement by sign and house, as well as a consideration of the houses it rules, will give further indication of its meaning in a particular chart. When transiting Pluto impacts Venus by conjunction or hard aspect, it gives a feeling of deep anxiety to an area that normally enjoys peace, financial comfort, and contentment. Moreover, it brings a sense of a desperate power struggle against an invisible but overwhelming force that seeks to engulf or destroy the contented Venusian lifestyle. This dynamic describes the impact of the financial meltdown today in the US, France, and Britain.

In the US chart, Venus is at 3Cancer06, opposed by transiting Pluto from late January to early May 2009, with Pluto’s station very close to an exact opposition and therefore extremely potent. This aspect will be re-energized when it crosses the opposition a second time in November and December 2009 and, finally, for the third crossing, from June through October 2010. These will be periods of extreme pressure and fear regarding the US capacity to maintain a comfortable standard of living for many of its citizens.

In the French chart (6/17/1789; Versailles; using noon), Venus is at 1Cancer17, also under pressure from a transiting Pluto opposition from late 2008 through October 2009. In addition, progressed Venus is conjunct progressed Saturn (20Pisces) from December 2008 through early 2010. Saturn’s influence in hard aspect or conjunction to Venus brings a feeling of contraction, loss, and burden. The combination of Pluto and Saturn impacting Venus suggests a very, very stressful economic period for France in 2009.

In both the French and the US charts, difficulties and hardship are likely to increase in November 2009 through mid-August 2010, when transiting Saturn in early Libra moves to square the French (1Cancer17) and US (3Cancer06) Venus positions. November, December 2009 and August 2010 are likely to be especially harsh with both transiting Saturn and transiting Pluto in hard aspect to natal Venus at the same time. (This will be the period of the very stressful Saturn/Pluto square.)

The British chart (1/1/1801; midnight; London) offers a slightly different picture, but again, it is Venus, the indicator of predictable enjoyment and contentment, that is under assault. Progressed Neptune (16Scorpio39) is in a multi-year station almost exactly square to natal Venus (16Aquarius32), the ruler of the Ascendant. This suggests a sense of erosion and confusion in recent years about the sense of British identity (Ascendant) and a vague sense of loss and confusion. This trend is exacerbated and laced with a feeling of fear and struggle from December 2008 through early August 2010 due to the minor hard aspects of both Saturn and Pluto impacting natal Venus intermittently during this period.

Taken altogether, these configurations suggest a worsening of the economic slump from November 2009 to August 2010 after what may be some false optimism between late May and mid-July 2009 (Jupiter/Neptune conjunction). It is possible we will be slowly on the road to recovery by 2011, but the increasingly volatile tension of the Uranus/Pluto square (2012 – 2015) that will impact the charts of numerous nations in the coming years is likely to create a gateway of further upheaval and transformation as we move to an ultimately more stable period later in the second decade of the 21st Century.

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