“Your ancestors called it magic, and you call it science. I come from a place where they are one and the same.”—Thor
In the spring of 2010, the planet Uranus moved into Aries for a brief time before stepping out in retrograde fashion until the spring of 2011. On March 11, 2011, Uranus moved into Aries for its full seven year engagement.
In astrology, the planet Uranus symbolizes all things non-traditional, progressive, unconventional, unpredictable, rebellious and revolutionary. Its impulse is toward freedom from the constraints, restraints, shackles and limits of the past. If you’re really into the established world, with its impeccable resume hard-earned over centuries and written in history books as-if-definitive, the world in which dues are paid and hard work rewarded above and beyond anything else, Uranus is an upset, a sudden shock to that system, a ghost in its tried-and-true, superbly reliable machinery.
EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED
Uranus was discovered in 1781 and can be connected with the Enlightenment period of western history—the Age of Reason—a time when rationality and scientific knowledge fascinated minds while philosophy expanded them, leading to unprecedented revolution in the world. Just over a century after Descartes declared, “I think, therefore I am,” reason and order took hold, thinking became intertwined with being, and intellectual pursuits to know and illuminate everything dominated western culture.
It’s important to note that Uranus is the first of the “invisible” planets to be discovered. To the naked eye, there is no such thing as Uranus. Uranus forced the invention of the telescope in order to be seen, to make its presence known. William Herschel invented his telescope and, poof!—like magic—an invisible world became visible. What was previously unseen became seen. This new visibility in our midst—a new way of seeing, a new consciousness—echoed the pursuit of the times. Uranus is often called the Awakener, a sentiment expressed in the words of Ben Franklin: “There will be sleeping enough in the grave.”
AS THE WORLD TURNS
The nature of revolution is to turn, and the discovery of Uranus occurred amidst other major turning points of world history as well—notably the American Revolution, and later the French Revolution, both of which fought to turn imaginings of a better world into a reality, again turning something invisible into something visible. Out with the old order; in with the new. In this manner, the United States formed and declared its independence from England and from the past.
Uranus’ discovery is linked to the discovery of electricity a couple of decades earlier, which allowed for the harnessing of new energy and light more brilliant and more sustainable than candle-light. (Less shadowy, too, which is more preferable for—ahem—Enlightenment.) This discovery was a revolution in itself, both literally: a re-volt of our ability to harness energy voltage; and figuratively: over time the literal power of horses that drove us became the metaphorical horsepower voltage of modern engines. Like a bolt of lightning that illuminates a dark sky in a flash, Uranus unites and connects everything together all at once. In that one instant you can see it all. “A-ha!” With the onset of the Industrial Age, the pace of life began to pick up, the rate of change began to increase, and rarely have things slowed down since.
One of Uranus’ myths is Prometheus, the rebel Titan most famous for his theft of fire from Zeus. Less known from the Prometheus myth is that he fashioned the human race out of clay.
Where water is the origin of all life as we know it, Prometheus might be seen representing something more specific to the human race in particular. If water is our origin, then Prometheus represents our originality. Humans are original, collectively, and each of us is an original, individually. What is the mysterious quality that distinguishes us from other life on earth? Some say it’s our type of consciousness. I don’t know. Do badgers have “A-ha!” moments? Can snakes play chess? Prometheus taught mankind the arts of writing, medicine and science, from which have come remarkable innovations—another trademark of Uranus, particularly relevant while Uranus is in Aries, the sign of the Pioneer. Innovation is in the air, even if it's in the invisible stages.
With all of this brilliance, Enlightenment, "a-ha!"-ing, originality and innovation going on, we seem to have the ingredients for a really amazingly smart person. Perhaps even a genius!
THE GENIUS ARCHETYPE
One of the archetypes of Uranus (and Aquarius) is the Genius. While astrologers talk about really smart people like Einstein, surely a genius, the original definition of “genius” in the dictionary to this day is “a guardian deity or spirit which watches over each person from birth.” This is a bit unusual if you’re hearing it for the first time, but it wasn’t unusual back in ancient Rome, where winged, invisible spirits thrived in a way that can boggle the enlightened and reasoned modern mind. Each person had his own genius, his own invisible spirit that contained the image of that person’s life as a whole—the image of his soul—and guided that person along the mysterious path of life which satisfied his own soul most. In Greece, they called this same spirit the daimon. The Arab culture called it the genie (what are your three wishes?).
See, there’ something—a talent, a way of seeing or thinking, for example—that seems to distinguish our lives as ours. Something that connects you to your soul, and me to mine. What exactly drew Stephen King into the world of horror fiction, full of the mysteries of the invisible world, where his genius was revealed? What connected Julia Child with cooking, Mrs. Field with her cookies, Mr. Rogers with his Neighborhood, or Rubik with his Cube? How did Thomas Jefferson manage to write the Declaration of Independence? What inspired Brad Bird to pursue animation at age eleven, eventually bringing him to Walt Disney and Pixar to win Academy Awards for movies like Ratatouille?
Ratatouille is a terrific example of this Genius, as Remy the rat follows his own guardian Genius—the invisible spirit of the late Chef Gusteaux, who guides him along. As Remy follows his genius (his heightened senses and his passion for cooking), he somehow manages to find himself at the right place in the right time, sometimes against all odds. In doing so, he upset the old order and inspired profound change. Perhaps there’s something here of the fire stolen by Prometheus on behalf of humanity. Perhaps the invisible sparks of inspiration and passion that guide us into the unknown are the intuitions from our invisible Genius, if we dare listen. With Uranus in Aries the fiery spark is strong, and it requires action. This fire can infuse the lifeless clay matters of your life with the spark of inspiration or innovation.
With this approach to the Genius, the archetype takes on a much deeper meaning and becomes far more inclusive, as it now applies to every human being—each and every one of us—instead of just the really smart ones. Instead of, “Are you a genius?” the question becomes, “What is your genius?”
In the spirit of coming full circle, making a complete turn, a revolution, one definition of “angel” from the dictionary is “an attendant spirit or guardian.” Sound familiar? What the Romans called Genius, the Arabs called Genie, and the Greeks called Daimon, the Christian tradition calls a Guardian Angel. They are all one and the same. And it’s interesting to note that the origin of the Enlightenment is arguably the 17th-century cafés and coffeehouses that cropped up as gathering places for philosophical discussion, debate, and as general forums for the exchange of ideas. The earliest of these, founded in 1650, was a coffeehouse named, simply, “Angel.”
This particular Uranus in Aries is a powerful one, continuing a cycle of technological progress that started precisely two Uranus cycles ago, and has seen us move from the telegraph to the SmartPhone in only 168 years. Today’s world is profoundly more aware of its inter-connection than ever before, thanks to this technology.
Norse god Thor says to humans in the upcoming movie bearing his name, “Your ancestors called it magic, and you call it science. I come from a place where they are one and the same.” Truly, the genius behind our modern scientific and technological innovations may very well be the magical Genius of antiquity. Perhaps an invisible spirit led Herschel to his telescope, or guided Newton to sit under the particular apple that needed to fall at that particular moment on that particular day onto that particular head, or more recently directed the actions of Mark Zuckerberg that defied Newton’s gravity and allowed him to leap tall corporate buildings in a single bound to launch Facebook in the air above all of them.
In a scientific age such as ours, founded on the Age of Reason, to even consider the possibility of a Genius we must not let Uranus’ super-conscious flashes blind us to the fact that while everything may become illuminated, illumination isn’t everything. How many times have you done something completely unconsciously—inspired by who knows what—and the result was life-changing in the most magical and unpredictable way? Surprise! And how many times has your enlightened self undertaken the most conscious of tasks, only to see them crash on the floor like shattered glass? Surprise, surprise! See, of everything that Uranus awakens, your soul might just be the most reasonable to befriend, not because it provides you any guarantees in life (it doesn’t), but rather because it will ensure that you never quite know what’s going to happen next. Perhaps your Genius knows what’s most important for you and your place in the world, and with Uranus in Aries we can upset the old order by playing a brand new version of “follow the leader”: follow your Genius! - you might just be surprised.