One of the biggest shifts in the modern world, growing exponentially during the past year, has been the burgeoning potency of People Power. Of course, there have always been demonstrations, and sometimes even riots, to protest the unjust policies of the strong and well-connected. But these brief moments of citizen outrage only infrequently engendered real change. More commonly, a few paragraphs might be allotted in the local or even national newspapers, and then the story would vanish from the face of the Earth, as if it had never been.
With the advancements of recent communications technology, however, there has been a revolutionary tipping of the scales toward the masses, a sea-change in both reach and effectiveness when the many choose to push back against the agenda of the few. In numerous situations in the past year, twitter, Facebook, the blogs, and cable news were effectively harnessed by inspired citizens to generate huge protests of significant clout and duration. In the US, we have seen Bank of America back down from newly-instigated fees, Occupy Wall Street change the narrative about wealth in the country, hundreds of sponsors flee from Rush Limbaugh, recall elections take hold in Wisconsin, and, currently, a fury sweeping the nation that is forcing federal, state, and local investigations into the murder of Trayvon Martin. In Northern Africa and the Middle East, we have seen governments overthrown and dictators toppled because the people in those beleaguered nations were able to stay connected and support each other through twitter, cell phones, and Facebook. It seems clear that with these profound developments in social media and technology, the balance of power in our world will never be the same.
In astrology, Uranus is the planet of swift transformation, when a moment of awakening leads to an entirely new path forward. Traditionally, it is also known as the “higher octave of Mercury”, thus taking the realm of communication, Mercury’s domain, to the lightning speed of modern technology. Uranus, as the ruler of Aquarius, further signifies bringing diverse people together for a common purpose while based in the precepts of equality and freedom. It is not inconsequential that this planet was discovered in 1781, in synchronicity with the birth of the United States and the French Revolution.
Briefly, in the summer of 2010 and then fully as of March 2011, Uranus moved into Aries, the first sign of the zodiac. Thus began an entirely new 84-year cycle in how the Uranian energy would manifest, heralding a paradigm shift in the world of technology and communications and how people would work together for common cause.
But Uranus is not only in the early degrees of Aries. It is moving relentlessly into its first quarter square with Pluto, most potent from 2011 through 2015. This most recent chapter of the Uranus/Pluto cycle may be understood by a look back at its birth in the 1960’s, the time of the conjunction of these two behemoths and a period of great tumult and transformation throughout the world. In the US, this planetary configuration brought with it the Great Society of President Lyndon Johnson, which included the Voting Rights Act and other civil rights legislation, as well as the birth of Medicare and Medicaid. Also born under the umbrella of the 1960’s Uranus/Pluto conjunction was the Women’s Movement, including the first widespread use of birth control pills (originally approved in 1960) and, towards the end of this time of ferment, the legalization of abortion (Roe v. Wade 1973). The politicization of an entire generation due to the anti-Vietnam War Movement was additionally of great significance in that era.
Almost all of these issues are being revisited today, but with the benefit of nearly 50 years of societal evolution, as the Uranus/Pluto cycle now builds into the high tension of its first quarter square. The voting rights of minorities, students, and the elderly have been challenged in numerous states with new voting laws; conservative state governments have attempted to limit contraception and abortion; House Republican legislators have passed budgets that would greatly weaken, if not dismantle, Medicaid and Medicare as we know it; and most recently, the death of an innocent black teenager has sparked national outrage over racial profiling and callous police dismissiveness of the murder.
In every one of these circumstances, the equality and freedom-minded grass roots movements (Uranus), aided by the revolutionary advances in social media (Uranus in Aries), are vehemently pushing back against those who want to dominate and control (Pluto), using hidden reservoirs of money (Pluto), and often inspired by a fanatical agenda (Pluto). These and related stories will continue to swamp the national dialogue and create a massive public outcry during the coming four years as the epic struggle designated by the square between Uranus and Pluto continues to unfold.