Uranus in Aries – Brave New World

by Nick Owens, Agent 37

At 1:43 AM UTC on Friday 28 May 2010, Uranus moved into Aries.  Taking approximately 84 years to complete one revolution of the zodiac, Uranus last ingressed into the first zodiac sign on 1 April 1927, and remained there until 28 March 1935, when it finally moved into Taurus.  Although Uranus will station retrograde on 5 July 2010 at 0º35’ Aries and return to Pisces from 14 August 2010 until 12 March 2011, it will subsequently remain in Aries until 15 May 2018, when it moves into Taurus.

Being the first sign of the zodiac, Aries represents the spark of new life, the almost pre-conscious urge to act, the impulse to step forth and initiate a process.  It is about projection of will into the world, pushing forward with directed force, assertion of self against the surroundings.  Being of the cardinal mode (enterprising, initiating, action-oriented) and the fire element (spontaneity, intuition, imagination, future-oriented, concerned with possibilities, vivacious and lively), Aries is not interested in following others, in towing the line, in exercising care and patience; Aries acts directly, impulsively, simply, bluntly.  It is the very spirit of life, of animation, of movement, of impulse.

Uranus, being the planet that represents the human urge to transcend limitations – physical, psychological, emotional, technological – is generally regarded as a somewhat disruptive influence, associated with sudden shifts of perspective, flashes of deep insight, drastic changes, unexpected developments and rebelliousness.  It is associated with intense discharges of energy, electrical currents, lightning, epileptic seizures.  Uranus tends to the bizarre, eccentric, perverse, extreme.  Like Prometheus who stole the creative fire of the gods and gave it to humanity, the principle of Uranus is the creativity of the magus, the daring to see beyond the immediate or proximal appearances in order to envision the greater context, the pure objectivity of the best scientific endeavour, the refusal to accept ne plus ultra and the audacity to challenge orthodox ideology.

Politically, the period of the late 1920’s and the early 1930’s were characterised by bold advances by the parties of the far-right (Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, the southern US, etc.) in opposition to popular and widespread socialist and communist movements.  In the USSR, the communist forces showed no limits in their use of force to impose their sociopolitical vision.  Although many of the crises and wars directly resulting from these movements did not occur until the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, this period of Uranus in Aries was a time when previously inconceivable plans and ideas (because of their extreme nature) were put into action.  The early thirties witnessed the height of the activities of the Ku Klux Klan, the legalisation and promulgation of euthanasia and sterilisation for ‘non-pure’ or disabled or otherwise ‘socially undesirable’ people in Germany, but also, positively, the Salt March and Indian peaceful independence movement led by Gandhi, and the New Deal policies of Franklin D Roosevelt in the US.

In terms of humanitarian law and justice, the International Red Cross / Red Crescent was established in October 1928, with a mission to tend to the medical needs of casualties of war regardless of political / national identification, exemplifying the capacity to promote the highest principles of the human ethic in the midst of violence and combat.

This time saw the public demonstration of long-distance television transmission as well as colour television and the start of televised sporting and political events.  This is significant as Aries is particularly associated with the eyes and the visual sense.  Movie-theatres began to screen ‘talkies’, ending the era of silent movies, adding to the immediacy of the cinematic experience.  Air travel became widespread on an intercontinental basis, with several records set for first solo flights across oceans and continents.  Other inventions included the radiosonde, the cyclotron, and the rocket-powered aircraft.



Brave New World, Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novel about the future, widely seen as a reaction to the uncritical progressivism and self-centred culture of modernity, was published in 1931.  Flash Gordon, the original comic superhero, was first published in January 1934.  The Museum of Modern Art opened in New York in 1929, indicating the awareness of a major change of genre and context within the visual arts – this is arguably the most influential modern art museum in the world.  So, all up, this was a time of bold new ideas applied and enacted, sudden advances in speed of communication and transport, unfettered assumption of executive power, courageous challenge to existing authorities, identification with ‘fitness’, bravery, purity, success, advancement, unapologetic victory.

We need to keep in mind, however, that while Uranus was in Aries during these years, it was forming its closing square to Pluto.  These squares were exact on 22 April 1932 (20º02’ Aries and Cancer), 2 September 1932 (22º55’ Aries and Cancer), 9 March 1933 (21º23’ Aries and Cancer), 5 November 1933 (24º44’ Aries and Cancer) and 18 January 1934 (23º35’ Aries and Cancer).  This may explain some of the focus of the fascist policies on race, genetic fitness and mythic nationalism, as our notions of our very origins, birth endowment and our biological provenance and how these can be feared or used as the currencies of great power transactions, are redolent of Pluto in Cancer.  The Uranus in Aries part of these squares seems to be more reflective of the unwillingness to see any appropriate boundary to these notions, the refusal to be bound by older or more traditional moral guides to how these issues should be treated, and more than this, a sense of impatience with imperfections, an impetuous arrogant will to ‘play God’ in determining who is fit and capable and who is useless, and to hasten such inevitable conflict as occurs between viability and non-viability (however these terms are to be defined).

And now Uranus is back in Aries, and this time it will again be squaring Pluto, although not exactly until 2012 (after which the aspect will perfect 7 times until 2015), which will be in Capricorn this time round, the opposite sign to Cancer.  The degrees of cardinal signs affected (namely Aries and Capricorn) will be from approximately 6º to 15º, somewhat earlier than the previous series of squares discussed above.  Where Pluto in Cancer showed us the horror of untramelled forces of racism and nationalism, and the tyranny that can exist within the notion of family, Pluto in Capricorn is exposing the nasty truths underlying the state, corporatism, and social, legal, political and religious institutions in general.

It will be interesting to see what new, bold, shocking visions of the world will be fought for in the coming decade:  will we see the courage to confront the major problems affecting the globe like pollution, resource depletion and inequality, climate change and militant corporatism, or will long-unquestioned limits to human endeavour in these areas be transgressed without restraint?  Perhaps we need to focus our minds on the best of Uranus (implacable principles, willingness to change deeply, even reverse direction, creative genius, humanism, rationalism, constant questioning and never accepting traditional answers) as well as the best of Aries (leadership, direction, bravery, honesty, spontaneity) to fashion principles that may be a guide to the turbulence of the years ahead.

This article was first published on 29 May 2010 at the old C*I*A – Zone X blog.

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Pluto in Capricorn

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Pluto in Capricorn – Institutional Reform

by Nick Owens, Agent 37 This article was first published on 11 April 2010 at the old C*I*A – Zone X blog. There is one over-riding change of consciousness that needs to occur in coming years, which perhaps contains all the others.  That change is a re-enchantment of the world. When we look to past periods […]

Corruption in High Places

This article was first published on 25 January 2010 at the old C*I*A – Zone X blog.

As 2010 gets underway, it is possible to see the political temperature rising as governments recognise that the governed are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the circumstances in which they are living.  As Pluto inches forward to 4 degrees of Capricorn, currently approaching its second exact square from Saturn (of three), measures are being taken of a most extraordinary kind to prevent any possibility of popular control of the unfolding of public events.  Pluto’s placement in Capricorn until 2023 is coinciding with increasingly authoritarian behaviour by the elites, as they struggle to maintain their positions of power.  Capricorn is symbolic of the public realm, and the desire to act in the public realm in order to achieve one’s vision of cosmic order.  Charles Carter wrote:

Capricorn is Cosmic Order and Justice, embodied in the truth that “As ye sow so shall ye reap.”  From this arises the virtue of respect for those worthy of respect and the faculty of appreciating the hierarchical ideal, by which the lesser always subserve the higher.  From this principle may come the delusion of formalism, or literalism, the belief that the form is greater than the spirit, the letter more important than the idea. (The Zodiac and the Soul (1968), by CEO Carter, Theosophical Publishing House, London.)

Pluto’s action in any sign is to expose its mode of functioning, or its characteristic themes, to the lowest common denominator;  to subject that sign’s essential meaning to the unforgiving and brutal forces of putrefaction and destruction, so that only the core truth remains, purefied of accumulated dross.  Authority, especially governmental authority, is now starting to struggle with the inevitable changes that are coming.  Increasingly desperate to maintain control, it is resorting to tactics that are as blatant as they are corrupt.

As Saturn transits through Libra (albeit now retrograding back into Virgo, in which it will stay between 8 April and 22 July 2010 before returning to Libra), our principles of natural and social justice are being tested.  They are being tested for their integrity, their inherent strength and capacity to endure.  What are the limits in Libran affairs?  How far can justice be stretched before it ceases to be just?  When is fair no longer fair?

Look to current events to bear out the meaning of the Saturn-Pluto square this year.  Of course, events will also bear out the prevailing Saturn-Uranus opposition, the upcoming Jupiter-Uranus conjunction and a host of other important aspects, especially around and after the Cancer Solstice.  But it pays to examine the complex interference pattern of these major archetypal forces as they interact, and to do so slowly and carefully, teasing out the elements as they sweep over us.

Dr David Kelly was a British scientist and expert in weapons of mass destruction who advised the British government, prior to the start of the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in March 2003, that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction.  Some three months after the illegal invasion, the BBC reported that the government’s oft-quoted claim that Iraq was capable of launching weapons of mass destruction, that could reach Western countries, within 45 minutes of being ordered, was false, and it turned out that the BBC had relied on Dr Kelly’s opinion in compiling this report.  This caused a furore which resuled in a parliamentary inquiry, at which Dr Kelly was asked to give evidence.  The BBC maintained that a highly-placed member of the cabinet had knowingly inserted the 45-minute claim into the dossier that was used to convince parliament of the urgent need to invade Iraq, even though Dr Kelly and others had told the government that the claim was false.  Shortly after appearing at the parliamentary inquiry, Dr Kelly was found dead in a forest near his home.   A further inquiry, called the Hutton Inquiry, was formed to determine the circumstances surrounding his death.  The Hutton Inquiry concluded that Dr Kelly had killed himself, even though the evidence for this was practically  non-existent.

Now, as the Chilcot inquiry into the legality of the British involvement in the Iraq Invasion proceeds in London, the government has announced something truly extraordinary:  all details of Dr Kelly’s death, postmortem findings included, are to be classified for 70 years.  They will not be allowed to be known by the public until the 2070s!  Further details are available at www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23798597-70-year-gag-on-kelly-death-evidence.do.  This is the sort of desperation amongst the elite that is reflected in the current planetary placements.  We see the total abuse of authority and naked corruption of government (Pluto in Capricorn) as well as the testing of systems of justice required to maintain some basic fairness in the operation of social institutions (Saturn in Libra).  Clearly, there is something to hide here, and these actions are those of frightened people in high places.

Another example of this theme turning up in current events is the recent US Supreme Court decision on the ability of corporations to fund the campaign expenses of candidates for federal election in the US.  Up until now, it was regarded as unfair for corporations and unions to provide more than a small declared amount of funding for this purpose.  However, in this recent decision of the Supreme Court, which was a 5 to 4 majority decision, incredibly the opinion was voiced that corporations’ first-amendment free-speech rights were unfairly restricted by this previous limitation on their spending (as corporations are legally regarded as legal persons).  See www.miamiherald.com/news/politics/AP/story/1437674.html for more details.

Again we see the testing of basic principles of fairness (Saturn in Libra) at the same time as the transparent abuse of concentrated power in high places (Pluto in Capricorn).  As some commentators have put it, from now on, electoral candidates might as well be known as ‘the representative for McDonalds’ or ‘the representative for Halliburton’ as the implications of this ruling for any sort of fair democratic process at elections are enormous.

Developments like these two are troubling for anyone who is concerned about basic fairness and justice in the way our societies are governed.  Unfortunately further measures of this kind will continue to develop until people start to wake up to what principles of political justice are being destroyed in the interests of the elites who seek to dominate without restraint.  Change will not take place until we inform ourselves of what is taking place, and this is an active process of seeking out information, not relying on it being spoonfed to us by the corporate media conglomerates, whose interests lie in nothing beyond entertainment and distraction.

As Uranus and Jupiter move up to join the fray in the early degrees of cardinal signs, we may feel that things have a chance of getting better.  But this will only  be the start, and it will require very clear understanding of the battles that need to be fought and won, the modus operandi of the corrupt in positions of power, and clarity of purpose in terms of what it is that we want to envision in place of the current unjust regimes around the world.  As the cardinal climax approaches, it seems as though it will be like a gaetway of awareness through which we must pass before we can get to work with the tensions of the great Uranus-Pluto squares of the coming years, which will really be the grist to the mill of the current Pluto in Capricorn era.

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Pluto in Capricorn – World Renewal

by Nick Owens, Agent 37

This article was first published on 31 January 2008 at the old C*I*A – Zone X blog.

The Pluto System

At 3:45am UTC on 26 January 2008, Pluto moved out of Sagittarius and into Capricorn.  It was last in Capricorn in the years 1762-1778, and last changed signs (from Scorpio to Sagittarius) in 1995.

I have cast a chart for the ingress moment with natural angles.  Notable patterns in this chart are:

(1) Jupiter-Saturn trine in earth

(2) Mercury-Neptune conjunction, trine Mars in air

(3) Stellium of Sun, Chiron, Neptune, Mercury (and North Node) in Aquarius

(4) Moon-Uranus opposition

Before trying to see what this may mean, let us first review previous ingress charts for Pluto and compare them to the events that took place in their aftermath.

The First of Pluto’s 3 Ingresses into Virgo in the late 1950s. 20 October 1956, 6:18am UTC. Unplaced Chart – Natural Houses

Pluto’s ingress into Virgo took place at 6:18am UTC on 20 October 1956.  Symbolizing the entire sixties generation, this chart shows a grand cross in fixed signs involving a Moon-Neptune opposition and a Chiron-Uranus opposition.  Mars is opposite Venus, and Saturn is exactly square Pluto.  This is suggestive of the ecological activism, esoteric mysticism and perhaps the strong desire for escape that fuelled the psychedelic movement throughout the decade.  The Mars-Venus opposition evokes a potent sexual tension throughout the period, and the square of Saturn to Pluto (especially with Saturn in Sagittarius) may represent the struggle for human rights and law reform.

The First of Pluto’s 2 Ingresses into Libra in the early 1970s. 5 October 1971, 6:18am UTC. Unplaced Chart – Natural Houses.

The Libra ingress took place at 6:18am UTC on 5 October 1971.  This chart is interesting because of the extraordinarily airy emphasis.  Libra itself contains a stellium of Pluto, Mercury, Sun, Uranus and Venus.  The close Sun-Uranus conjunction in Libra trines Mars in Aquarius, and Saturn in Gemini.  The Aries Moon opposes Venus, and the Jupiter-Neptune conjunction in early Sagittarius sextiles Pluto.  I see this as a sort of turning point or re-balancing of the power between opposing sides of conflict.  A fundamental will to restore fairness in all dealings between groups.  The seventies was a period notable for the rise of feminism and gay rights, as well as the advent of the most notable work of philosophy in the area of justice since the utilitarian writings of Mill:  John Rawls’ Justice as Fairness.  The swashbuckling escapades of space-age science-fiction as portrayed by the Star Wars series brought the real-world binary division of the Cold War into archetypal resonance with the imagery of two great powers battling for supremacy in the cosmos.  Despite the Libran penchant for peace, the Aquarian Mars trine Uranus, together with the Sun-Uranus conjunction, correlated with militancy amongst those who felt unfairly dealt with, whether they were nationalists in Northern Ireland, trade unionists in Britain or ideological radicals in South-East Asia and the Middle East.  The oil crises of 1973 and 1979 reinforced the reality of the way power could see-saw between different interests depending on their willingness to achieve a diplomatic compromise.

The First of Pluto’s 2 Ingresses into Scorpio in the mid-1980s. 5 November 1983, 9:18pm UTC. Unplaced Chart – Natural Houses.

Pluto entered Scorpio at 9:18pm UTC on 5 November 1983.  This chart also has a stellium, this time in Scorpio (Pluto, Saturn, Sun, Mercury and Moon).  Jupiter conjoins Uranus in Sagittarius, and a Mars-Venus conjunction in late Virgo squares Neptune.  The heavy Scorpio stellium at a new Moon was perhaps a warning of a new era in matters of sexual and financial exchange, one tinged with themes of responsibility and death of old ways.  AIDS and the transformation of attitudes to sexual behaviour that it brought in its wake, although first described in 1981, did not become a widespread epidemiological concern until around 1984.  A harder-edged, less forgiving approach to financial management in the business and corporate worlds became noticeable as market liberalisation and privatisation of state assets swept through western capiltalist economies, spearheaded by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.  A new level of development and popular availability of microcomputers took off in the early 1980s and was perhaps correlated with the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction, preset at this ingress.  The ideological struggle of the previous decades finally resolved itself in the death-throes of the communist states in Europe and the triumphant merging of the two alienated halves of the continent, as if in a chain of events in an unstoppable biological reflex.  By the time Pluto left Scorpio and entered Sagittarius in 1995, the political landscape was utterly transformed.

The First of Pluto’s 2 Ingresses into Sagittarius in the mid-1990s. 17 January 1995, 9:59am UTC. Unplaced Chart – Natural Houses.

Entering Sagittarius at 9:59am UTC on 17 January 1995, Pluto was in conjunction with Jupiter and Venus, and square Mars and Saturn.  The Sun was conjunct Uranus and Neptune and opposite the Moon.  Two major developments took place in the common understanding of power and the collective will during the Pluto in Sagittarius era.  Firstly, there was sense that moral hypocrisy had reached new levels.  Western political leaders developed a sense of incorrigible arrogance and infallible righteousness that persisted in the face of widespread popular knowledge of evidence that contradicted their claims.  Starting with the shenanigans surrounding the Clinton impeachment in the US, and continuing through the manifestly undemocratic 2000 US Presidential election, the inadequately invesitigated 9/11 events and the subsequent manufacture of lies and deceptions leading up to the invasion of Iraq, which still continues to this day, it was the sheer breathtaking scale of the audacity of judicial and political corruption that was suggestive of the workings of Pluto in Sagittarius.  I associate this development with the T-square involving Mars, Saturn and Jupiter-Pluto.
The second major development was the dawning understanding of the power of global networks, whether instantiated through the internet, the common atmospheric perturbations of climate change, or the giant casino of global capital exchange and speculation.  I associate this aspect with the Sun-Uranus-Neptune conjunction in late Capricorn.  The difficulty with such pan-global structures, or, moreover, their essential characteristic, is that they are decentralised, and therefore lack leadership or management hierarchies.  And it is precisely this idea that acts as a perfect segue into the Pluto in Capricorn era.

The First of Pluto’s 2 Ingresses into Capricorn in the late 2000s. 26 January 2008, 3:45am UTC. Unplaced Chart – Natural Houses.

For it is during the next 16 years that the reality of the pan-global networks and communities and interdependencies will no longer be doubted; not only will it be the everyday reality for everyone on the planet, it will require leadership and reponsibility to maintain it and to ensure its ongoing viability.  There will ensue a transformation of what it means to be in an executive position.  To lead will no longer be synonymous with capitalistic, exploitative and wasteful enterprise, for this notion of leadership dies with the deep acceptance of limits to our existence.  Rather, leadership will be more associated with the development of a sense of responsibility to contribute to the public good, but in a manner that is flexible to change, that is willing to forge new paths, to try alternative courses of action.  Pragmatic adoption of what works and what is sustainable will be the order of the day.  Older hierarchical structures depending solely on values of deference and respect of authority for authority’s sake will not survive, because they have become too crystallised to respond to the rapidity of the changes affecting our globalised systems.  Ultimately a new sense of personal autonomy and citizenship will emerge, one which may strip away the power of nationalism and tribalism, but promote the power of individual achievement, duty and reward.

I think the emphasis in both Capricorn and Aquarius bears out these themes.  The Jupiter-Saturn trine in earth is suggestive of future growth and prosperity being brought about by means of restriction or shrinkage, perhaps shortage.  The Mercury-Neptune conjunction in Aquarius is redolent of the new faith in collective problem-solving, but also perhaps the fraud and deception that may emerge in such global efforts as carbon-trading and emissions reduction.  Trine Mars, this Mercury may also symbolize a quantum leap in speed and complexity of communications, taking connectivity in the collective to a new level.With Venus conjunct Pluto, and Jupiter not far off, all in Capricorn, perhaps the most immediate and obvious issue for everyone in the next few years is the diminishing pool of wealth and resources available for the members of our species to survive.  Throughout the next 16 years, it is the duties that we individually shoulder towards our overpopulated and fouled environmental matrix, and the actions we take to discharge these, that will determine how we deal with the shifts of collective will during this time.

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Cycles of Pluto

Apparently the notion of a private group of men who benefit from the financing of whole nation-states was seen for the con that it is as far back as the days of the American Revolution.