Imagine you’re a movie projectionist, watching, for the zillionth time, a corny movie with a stale old plot. Suddenly, it comes to a halt with a loud snap. The film in your old-fashioned reel projector has broken and is dangling onto the dusty floor. Your first impulse is to stare at it in panic, incredulous; to lament the damage, to fret over the interruption of your assignment and to worry about what your boss’s reaction will be. But you don’t indulge these thoughts. Instead, you feel a gleeful smile spread over your face. You pick a new movie and thread in the reel.
Such is the opportunity we find ourselves in this summer. There is radical change in the air; there is breakdown all around us. If we’re smart, we’ll take advantage of it.
The universe is bound and determined to instigate wild disruptions of our individual and collective habits. We can see this from what the planets are doing in the sky right now. What is not fated is how these disruptions will manifest. If we ourselves channel the energy, on purpose, with clarity and soul-intention, we can use our creative wills to steer the changes in life-affirming directions.
This July have we are being given the chance to play with powerful forces. But it’s just an opportunity, not a dictum: there’s no cosmic gun to our heads. We don’t have to get conscious and engage with the energy. Free will exists, after all: we can try to sit back and pretend we’re passive observers. But it won’t work very well. Our resistance to what’s trying to happen will create suffering.
The conscious path, by contrast, may involve pain (in the positive-Saturn sense, of painstaking effort), but it will not involve suffering. We can either keep watching the tired old movie that’s already in the projector, or we can thread in one of our own choosing. Taking up the mantle of conscious choice is well worth considering.
We are watching global events hurtle forward at mind-boggling speed. If it seems to you that things are literally moving at an accelerated pace, you’re not alone; time really is moving faster. (1) This speeding-up of reality is also clear in our personal lives (this is especially obvious right now with people whose charts contain planets in the early degrees of Cardinal signs). Personal dramas are more dramatic. The need to make critical decisions seems more urgent.
The key configuration in the sky this summer is the Grand Cross, the most stressful configuration in astrology. With Saturn, Uranus and Pluto in a T-square, and the quickly moving lights in Cancer supplying the fourth piece of the puzzle, the energy we are feeling is tense and insistent. We may miss the mellowness of previous summers; we may feel nostalgic for years past, when the world wasn’t being blindsided by critical issues peaking all at once, as it is now. But this summer’s stresses are exactly what humanity needs to motivate phenomenal bursts of growth.
The solar eclipse on July 11 puts the spotlight on Cancer, the sign of mothering, empathy, caring, and connectedness. On a personal level, it highlights the importance of simple kindness in our life. High-level Cancer inspires us to treat every sentient creature as if it was a treasured child of the universe. To relate in a Cancerian style is, at its best, to open our hearts towards every being as if they were as bonded to us as a treasured family member.
On a global level, the Cancer archetype is putting the emphasis on our connectedness with Mother Earth, whose ongoing defilement by the oil industry raises many troubling questions. Blaming the rapacious profiteers of Big Oil (Pluto in Capricorn is one corner of the Cross) is easy enough to do; as is pointing the finger at the corrupt government officials whose failure to protect our environment can be traced to deep-pocket corporations (Saturn square Pluto).
But the deeper we look at this spring and summer’s transits, the more likely we are to find our own oily footprints in the sand. There are many stories hidden within the chart of the Deep Water rig explosion on April 20, 2010 (2), as well as the charts of the transits during June, July and August, that suggest how ordinary people have accepted and maintained the ecological mess we find ourselves in.
For the USA, these changes are especially pointed. The T-square between Saturn, Pluto and Uranus—with Jupiter thrown in for good measure since early June, and Mars exacerbating the whole configuration in late July—has been hammering the Venus/Jupiter conjunction in the USA (Sibley) chart. This configuration pins down the issue of American values like a butterfly in a scrapbook.
Venus is the planet that asks: What do we value? Jupiter asks, What do we believe in? The devastation in the Gulf has America squirming over the contradictions inherent in the way we do business, both as producers and consumers. We are struggling to reconcile a national philosophy that purports to honor the interests of common welfare with an economy that bows unreservedly to the interests of business elites. We are struggling to reconcile our desire for cheap, accessible oil with the hideous ramifications of its extraction, transportation and combustion once converted to fuel. We are reluctantly facing up to the idiocy of risking the health and survival of life on the planet in order to support an energy infrastructure that is growing extinct. All this destruction for a product—oil—that will soon run out for good.
In addition to a crisis of values, the USA is in a crisis of intelligence; i.e. of information and its assimilation: Mercury. The New Moon on July 11 falls at the midpoint of an exact opposition to the Sibley Sun and Mercury. The timing here suggests that the four weeks that follow will be dominated by questions about the information Americans get and do not get, and how this information is assessed.
The many lies that BP told and is still telling the public about the spill, the cover-up operations BP launched that are now coming to light—propaganda which was repeated by the media—are collectively symbolic of this crisis of intelligence. It is a crisis that is thematic in the US chart, whose spine is a natal Mercury opposition. Moreover, transiting Mercury and Neptune oppose each other to the degree at the Full Moon of July 25.
We are being challenged to consider the implications of living in a world where official lying has become the norm. What does our tacit acceptance of this lying do to our personal integrity, and to our own psycho-spiritual growth? What toll does it take on our collective psyche? And what harm have our mass self-deceptions done to the planet we live on?
The Saturn corner of the Cross is demanding that we look at the lack of responsibility we have expressed towards Nature. With Uranus and Jupiter opposing Saturn, many people are feeling they must put themselves forward, in whatever way is natural and appropriate to our talents, and respond to the urgency in the air.
Mars conjoins Saturn at the Full Moon on July 25 and during the few days afterwards, bringing July to a close with a bang. Mars, the planet of bold, explicit action, will add an extra dose of militancy into the mix. This means that the movie we choose in our visualization should be an action movie, with a star—us—who meets with courage whatever comes to pass.
(1) Uranus, which defies our normal experience of time, is conjunct Jupiter right now, and both planets are opposed to Saturn, the planet of chronological time. Our perception of linear time is changing.
(2) For a detailed interpretation of the explosion chart, see “Disaster in Deep Water: The Astrological Message of the Gulf Coast Oil Crisis,” The Mountain Astrologer, August 2010 issue.