“I want / to think again of dangerous and noble things / I want to be light and frolicsome / I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing / as though I had wings.”—Mary Oliver, Starlings In Winter
“What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an Angel!”—Shakespeare, Hamlet
It’s time for further archetypal exploration of the Uranus-Pluto squares! And by that I mean a really, really, really, really long article! The most recent square occurred on September 19, and the next one will be taking place on May 20, 2013. Even though that is still off in the distant future, the volatile, dynamic Uranus-Pluto energies with all of their complexities are simply part of life now, and will be into March of 2015. Let’s look at how we might wrestle with this intensity on an individual basis, remembering that the real changes taking place are occurring deep inside each of us. What might that look like?
HERE, THERE, and EVERYWHERE
To get us going, here are a couple of nuggets to consider about Uranus in Aries:
In late 1843, Uranus spent about eight months in Aries before dipping back into Pisces for a few weeks, during which time “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens was published, with its call to "Live in the past, the present, and the future!" The beloved novel also brought us the miserable, rigid Scrooge’s infamous encounters with the ghost-spirits of the past, the present, and the future. Then, a few months later in 1844, after Uranus had been back in Aries for a while, Samuel Morse sent the first official electrical telegram, a long-distance message transmitted non-physically. Curious! Uranus has an orbit of 84 years, and when Uranus returned to Aries approximately 84 years later, Philo Farnsworth transmitted the first images that would become television. Fast-forward (with emphasis on the fast) to present day, and we find ourselves immersed in a high-definition culture of iPads, Smart Phones, electronic tablets, and trillions upon trillions of text messages, voice messages, and instant messages—not to mention email messages! You can see the relatively short period of time (168 years) in which technology has completely altered reality, connecting us invisibly across the entire globe. These changes have a lot to do with the sense many people have that life has been speeding up for a while now. Behind this sense is Uranus, breaking tradition and cracking the well-worn concrete pavement of history wide open, inciting revolution to bring in new, fresh, original, “outside of the box” thinking.
One of Uranus’ main myths is that of Prometheus, the rebellious Titan who stole fire from Zeus, hid the fire inside a fennel stalk, and whisked it down to earth for the benefit of mankind, thus lighting the creative spark in humanity and giving us the ability to inspire, warm, and illuminate our lives and the lives of others. Quite the noble cause, eh? Prometheus, whose name means “forethought” (thinking before), also brought humanity science, culture, architecture, and cosmic knowledge (i. e., astronomy and astrology, and in the modern world, the technology that allows us to explore the cosmos). Where there is fire, there is light, and Uranus-Prometheus carries a bright light. Not surprisingly, Uranus was discovered during the Enlightenment period of Western history. Similarly to the nature of that time, Uranus widens our perspective in a flash of insight, allowing us to see much greater connections and potentials where previously we experienced a more limited perspective. This is the revolution of mind often associated with Uranus.
The tricky part—and it’s seriously tricky—is that while Prometheus’ name means “forethought” (“thinking before”)—forethought actually means more than just thinking ahead of time, planning ahead, or planning for the future. It also means the thought that came before. It means the first thought, the thinking that went on beforehand. Foresight doesn’t just mean looking into the future; it also means seeing into the past, what came before. Tricky! Ow! My brain hurts! See, Uranus just doesn’t care about the tiny little box we call “time and space.” It’s like how the Prologue of a book is always at the beginning of the book, even if you’re in the middle of reading the book, experiencing the story unfolding. At that point, the Prologue that was once a “forethought” now exists before everything you have since read. If this is confusing, it goes to show how Uranus does not deal with Time in the manner we are most accustomed to: as a long, linear line. Uranus gets the whole picture, all at once, without factoring in Time—no waiting. That’s why it’s called an “a-ha!” moment and not a “hang on, let me think about that for a while” series of moments. Many myths from ancient cultures suggest that our lives essentially have Prologues, that there is a first thought or image or pattern set out for us before we begin life, an image that captures the whole thing, all at once. Prior to your actual time-bound life, there is a pattern that came first. And if we’re talking about firsts, we might as well take a moment to talk about Aries!
Uranus is in the sign of Aries, which is ruled by Mars the God of War. As the first sign of the zodiac, Aries is about taking initiative, taking first steps, standing up and fighting, and being at the front of the line. And if you have a problem with that, we can just step outside and handle it man to man. In a deeper sense, Aries can be heard in the Def Leppard song “Animal,” in the lyrics “I gotta feel it in my blood... and I want, and I need, and I lust... animal.” Within Aries is this animal instinct, an instinct of the blood, often frowned upon and deemed “primitive” in our otherwise-sophisticated and seemingly-civilized culture, especially because it can be aggressive and violent. Aries is often considered impulsive, acting before thinking, and causing a lot of problems in that regard. This kind of talk came up after the fiery, destructive and rebellious riots in recent years in Canada and in London: people just weren’t thinking.
You can hear Aries, not surprisingly, in the song “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor. Aries is in the eye of that tiger, and it’s in “the thrill of the fight, rising up to the challenge” of its rivals. “Tiger, tiger, burning bright” wrote William Blake. Aries has this constant drive to survive, because it has only recently emerged as a separate force from the great, overwhelming, all-encompassing Piscean ocean into which emerging life can be so easily pulled back and washed away, its fire extinguished, all potential and promise gone to sleep among the fishes. Aries is the Pioneer in this regard, always stepping foot onto new shores, discovering new vistas and lands, pushing forward, fighting for survival. Aries is the Warrior, fighting on the side of life.
What does this mean, then, when Uranus is moving through Aries?
Uranus reveals greater connections (a huge picture-vision), yet the vitality of Aries is primarily concerned with being separate and individual. How does this work? Well, when we put these two seemingly-conflicted pieces together, Uranus in Aries is awakening the sense of separation within an even larger sense of connection, like in the way the phrase “six degrees of separation” describes just how connected everyone really is. This is the kind of connection that awakens with Uranus in Aries. This is the revolution of mind that Uranus invites now: I am separate and individual, and I am connected to the greater whole.
Let’s pull a small revolution now and apply Uranus to what I have already written about Aries. We can take the typical notion that Aries “acts before thinking,” turn it around, and ask: isn’t that called intuition? Who needs to think something through to make sense of it, when the intuitive hunch makes sense on its own, instantly? You get the intuition, and you act on it. Uranus in Aries. Similarly, the “animal instinct” turns into the instinctive anima, the soul. What was once considered primitive now becomes sophisticated in its own right, having made the move from ego-driven survival instincts into soul-based intuitive wisdom (the “sophia” of sophisticated means “wisdom”), wisdom rooted in timeless-eternity. Now we’re talking! The soul’s wisdom is rooted in a deep sense of each of us as individuals, connected with the original and individual purpose for which each of us came to life, the purpose that continues to animate our lives and be animated by life. Aries is the first step in the circle of life, and as ancient philosopher Plotinus said, “The soul moves in circles.” The revolution of Uranus in Aries is, by no small account, a revolution of the soul.
You can see some of this dazzling, mind-bending maneuvering of Uranus in the movie “Minority Report” with its vision of the future, its pre-cogs, and its Pre-Crime Unit founded on foresight, designed to stop criminals before they can even commit the criminal acts they will apparently commit. You can also see Prometheus in the movie “Prometheus” (couldn’t resist saying that!) in how any genuine, original progress is intimately linked with an origin, an original image. And you can see these sensibilities perhaps most clearly and radically in the Doctor Who episodes “The Girl In the Fireplace” and “Blink” which both fundamentally operate in a place of time-outside-of-Time and are mini revolutions in and of themselves. Watch them enough times and you’ll start to get the hang of it. Like I said, it’s tricky.
THE LAST FULL MEASURE
While Uranus in Aries inspires the new, Pluto in Capricorn expires the old. When Pluto moves through Capricorn, the traditional world structures can be remade. An old, confining and claustrophobic order can be replaced with something new. Pluto in Capricorn reveals the corruption within current systemic structures—the larger structures such as the government that hold our civilization in order, or the smaller structures of our own lives that keep us in order, such as our calendars and clocks. With both Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries, Time certainly seems to get the short end of the stick, doesn’t it?
You can see this Uranus-Pluto combination quite prominently in Pixar’s latest movie “Brave.” Imagine independent, fiery red-head Merida in the tight, tight, tight dress her mother (the Queen) required her to wear. Merida’s dress is a good example of Pluto in Capricorn, because the dress represents generations-old traditions reaching a point of necessary change. It’s not just the dress that didn’t fit Merida. It’s a whole way of life, and the whole structure of authority within which she was trying to simply be herself (like an Aries) and live the life she was born to live. Pluto in Capricorn takes those too-tight, too-restrictive structures (often called “tradition” when they fit well) and undresses them.
Remembering back to my earlier post about Pluto’s connection to the dead, Merida found her way to a new life by following the invisible guidance of her ancestors (in the form of will o’ wisps), the ones who came before. Which brings us, now, back to Abraham Lincoln.
THE BETTER ANGEL
If all of this jumping around is obnoxious, you’re getting a good taste of Uranus! With Uranus, Time stops being “back then” and “up ahead” and somehow it all merges into what is called “present time.” It’s there all at once. Remember “A Christmas Carol”? “Live in the past, the present, and the future!”
Here we might see Abraham Lincoln as a Ghost of Christmas Past, not to mention a Ghost of Christmas Future when the upcoming Steven Spielberg movie Lincoln opens. For the purposes of this article, what I find most fascinating about Lincoln as President of the United States of America is the scope of his vision, expressed in a most poetic manner, so as to include in his speeches phrases like “the better Angels of our nature” and “the mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land.” Angels and mysticism gave his vision profound depth and substance. It’s the same kind of vision that enriched the words of Joshua Chamberlain, enabling him to inspire disillusioned soldiers during the Civil War as if by magic and leave behind a legacy of breathtakingly dignified speeches that still inspire today. Lincoln and Chamberlain drew from the past, like artists envisioning the future with clear eyes on the present. If either of our main political contenders today spoke of Angels or mysticism, it would actually be difficult to take them seriously. Such is the extent to which mystical vision and language of the soul have been stripped from our culture. So, let’s bring it back (which is what Neptune in Pisces wants to do anyway).
Archetypally speaking, what exactly might the better Angels of our nature be, and what does this have to do with astrology and Uranus?
A main albeit rarely discussed archetype of Uranus is the Angel archetype. Most typically this is referred to as the Genius archetype, though even then it’s not usually mentioned as an actual archetype. Talk of geniuses usually brings up Steve Jobs or Albert Einstein or a similar figure. But deep inside the roots of the word genius reside its true meaning: “a guardian deity or spirit which watches over each person from birth.” Genius isn’t about intelligence. Rather, it’s about the inborn gifts each human being possesses, gifts held within the original vision of each individual life, an original vision that contains the whole picture of one’s life in the form of a pattern or design or story or image (think, for example, of an astrological chart), and in its one-of-a-kind manner makes each of us an original. It’s not that I am a genius or you are a genius; rather, it’s about: what is your genius? What are you here to do? What are you here to contribute to life that nobody else can? These are perhaps some of the most important questions to consider at this time.
The Genius refers to your innate you-ness, and also to the invisible winged spirit guiding you along the way in life. The same notion was given the name daimon in Greek culture, genie in North African culture, and the Guardian Angel in Christian culture. Perhaps Abraham Lincoln knew something of this Angel when he appealed to the better Angels of our nature. See, to him it was natural; in our nature resides an Angel. It’s second-nature. What we refer to today as a genius and isolate to a few really smart individuals can really be applied as an Angel or a Genie or a Daimon to the greater whole and refers to all individuals.
Abraham Lincoln’s genius was (among many things) a vision of freedom. Decades later, General Patton’s genius was an absolute ruthless fortitude in bringing down Hitler. Seriously, could anyone else have done that? Steven Spielberg’s genius is movie-making. Barbra Streisand’s genius is her voice. It’s not really just one thing, though. The Angel watches over the whole of your life, guiding you along a path that is uniquely yours, designed and tailored to your genius. We see this in the story of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, or Nestor the Long-eared Christmas Donkey. We see it more recently in Ratatouille. Remy the Rat was a weirdo—a term often applied to Uranian people or Aquarians. If you research the word “weird” you’ll probably find it strangely becoming, because that’s what it means: becoming strange. And it ties in with everything I have been writing about here. Aquarian Charles Dickens’ genius was his writing, full of weird and unforgettable characters. And, last but not least for now, Samuel Morse’s genius was envisioning the invisible transmission of messages across time and space, wholly resonant of the original instant messengers themselves, the Angels—the carriers of intuitive guidance, leading us on our individual paths.
There is still so much to explore as time goes on, but for now we shall wrap this up, lest it carry on like the Civil War, much, much, much longer than anyone (including me) anticipated.
THE REBEL YELL
In her song “The Power of the Dream” Celine Dion sings, “Deep within each heart there lies a magic spark that lights the fire of our imagination.” This is the fire Prometheus stole. It’s the eternal flame of creativity and passion, the solar fire, the fire that lights up the human imagination, which in turn illuminates our lives. It is the fire of the human heart, the center of imagination, carried on the wings of love with its eternal connection to the spirit and soul. Yet, remember back to Part 1 of my post, and back to 1865 when, symbolically speaking, the heart lost the Civil War. We can see the remnants of that loss everywhere in our culture, from the loss of soul to the loss of basic rights and freedoms; from the crumbling of the education system to the absurd national debt; and from the antics on Wall Street to the length of the lines at every pharmacy—all turning the better angels of our creative nature into something far more destructive and some would even say demonic.
Back during the Civil War, the rebel yell was a battle cry used by the Southern Confederate soldiers. In his Pulitzer Prize-winning book “The Killer Angels” Michael Shaara describes it as “that ripply sound that raised the hair, that high thin scream from far away coming out of the mist unbodied and terrible, inhuman. The scream of a flood of charging men: the rebel yell.” Today, in 2012, the rebel yell of the solider has become the Rebel Yell of the Soul, waking us up to the eternal side of life as well as our unique, individual call to action. There is something inhuman in human nature, something miraculous and wonderful, a fierce force that fights and guides and guards and protects us as we proceed. If that was lost along with the heart a couple of centuries ago, be sure that it is calling again now, louder than ever. The seven Uranus-Pluto squares over the next three years bring to my mind the image of a defibrillator, with enough electrical voltage to re-awaken, resuscitate, and re-animate the lost, shattered and broken heart of our culture back into life. It will take a unique and original rebellion in which each brave individual can participate at any time, a risky rebellion of purpose—fighting to be who you were born to be—and most certainly backed by an army of Angels.