If you were looking for a nanny for your baby, and you had a chance to peek at the applicant’s charts while interviewing her for the job, wouldn’t you be pleased to see she had Cancer planets? Astrologers know this sign makes for great babysitters, geriatric nurses, dog walkers, houseplant-tenders… any activity where care is provided for living things who need help.
This is why it is so perversely fascinating that the USA, the group entity that celebrates its 235th Cancer birthday this July 4, is being condemned right now by some of its citizens for being a “nanny state.”
On the face of it, the complaint seems to reflect a disdain for freeloading. That is, Obama’s government is being accused of allowing and/or encouraging the adult public to act like feckless children. But there are layers of complexity here. I think the strong emotional charge behind this odd put-down has little to do with political, practical or financial policies, and everything to do with the kind of hidden feelings that can be revealed by looking at the astro-psychology of the US chart.
In the Sibly chart (for July 4, 1776, 5:10 pm Philadelphia, Pa), America’s Cancer Sun and Libra Saturn square each other (1). This pits the country’s essential purpose—feeding, sheltering and protecting—against its notions of authority and government.
Whenever a square aspect remains un-integrated, the ambivalence may result in a form of psychic projection. Those readers who have the Sun-Saturn square in their own charts may have noticed this split: Saturn can manifest as a disapproving and resistant force, an agency or person who comes down hard as a champion of self-sufficiency.
I propose that deep within the American group mind, there is a helpless child who can’t support itself, a frail old person who can’t get up, an invalid who needs help—from which the national Saturn struggles to distance itself as far away as it can.
This natal aspect helps us make sense of the otherwise astoundingly counter-intuitive “nanny state” epithet, which is being deployed as a tactic by (mostly affluent) politicians to rile up (mostly non-affluent) voters. Instead of being assured that each and every citizen deserves guaranteed compensations for their economic losses, angry voters are being cajoled to disdain the search for succor from government. Falling right into step with the propaganda, blue-collar Tea Bag folks seem to be identifying with unconscious Saturn (withholding) and Pluto (cruelty).
In an un-integrated Saturn square, one part of the self fears what another part represents; in this case, weakness and dependency.
The vulnerability theme is one of several themes the country is slated to go through during the Cardinal Cross years, between now and 2023. The financial theme is still big in the transit picture, with the Sibly Venus (values, money) and Jupiter (beliefs, credit), targeted when Wall Street took a dive, once again in the cross hairs. Uranus is hitting their midpoint exactly at its station on July 9th. Both material (Capricorn) and emotional (Cancer) security are huge issues right now, what with many Americans having been unemployed so long that they’ve just plain given up looking for work; while, at the very same time, the thin social services that once protected them in hard times are being taken away.
That square in the Sibly chart is our tip-off about why Americans are so sensitive to the presence and absence of government-maintained support systems (Saturn in the 10th, Cancer Sun), and these Cardinal transits are making painfully clear how vulnerable these support networks are. The country is in a Cancerian trauma.
More and more Americans are aware these days of what the very young, the very old and the infirm are aware of all the time: that human beings need support. How chillingly predictable it is that cuts to childcare and education are the first to be made as the social order breaks down. And as the plutocratic forces continue their onslaught on the most vulnerable among the population, we are seeing medical care for oldsters threatened in turn. House Republicans want to get rid of Medicare, replacing it with vouchers that would decrease the help seniors get while swelling insurance industry profits. (The irony is, of course, that if the USA were to extend Medicare instead of eliminating it, the quality of healthcare would go up, and the savings to the country would be immense (2).
Since 9/11 2001, the USA has seen an inordinate amount of focus on public safety as a propaganda device, with a corresponding decrease in public safety as a reality. The “Department of Homeland Security” (I cannot write this phrase without quotation marks; it still seems like something out of a wacky Orwellian parody) was born of fear. It wasn’t born out of the motivation to provide genuine protection for anybody. This is the shadow side of America’s Cancer Sun.
Anyone with Cancer strongly placed in their chart knows the vibrational difference between the creative side of Cancer and its reactive side. The former provides authentic protection in ways appropriate to context. The latter manipulates for its own purposes the human fear of being exposed to harm.
What would a highly functioning Cancer nation do, to offer genuine protection to its citizenry? It might build a well-supervised system of regulatory agencies, to prevent harm to the public before it happens.
The cry for regulation arose in a big way in the USA when the Enron scandal broke, around the same time as the twin towers went down in late 2001. Pluto was conjunct the Ascendant of the US chart during this period; this was the beginning of the group soul’s un-masking. It was the lack of regulation that allowed, first, Enron, and then, seven years later, the global financial disaster.
Regulations and safeguards are part of the web of protections that Cancerian nurturers weave around those they take care of. In Nature, these are instinctive; as when mother birds cover their babies’ bodies with their wings. In democratic nations, in theory, alert citizenries are supposed to elect representatives who make sure the government maintains and enforces such protections. Such as the kind of environmental regulations that would keep oil rigs from exploding in the ocean, preventing a disaster such as the BP DeepWater Horizon in April 2010.
How else might a well-functioning Cancerian native use its resources to protect those in its care? It might set up an agency to prevent pipeline blowouts in residential neighborhoods, of the kind that took place in San Bruno California (3). And nuclear reactor meltdowns.
What is keeping the USA from having such a system of regulation? Certainly not technological know-how.
The answer is summed up by this ugly fact that made its way out of the ghastly news from Japan in March: General Electric, the manufacturer of the Mark-1 boiling water reactors used in the devastated Fukushima Di-ichi plant, had marketed the reactor as being highly profitable because cheap to build.
Herein lies the key to the dysfunction of America’s Cancer pattern. As we approach the national Pluto Return in the US second house of money, we see signs everywhere that the profit motive in this country has gotten a tad out of hand.
This is not to demonize businesses. It is just that, as human beings and citizens, we should not forget that businesses are set up to try to make as big a profit as they can. It is extraordinarily naïve to imagine that capitalistic enterprises should police themselves out of the kindness of their hearts.
If we want to be a democracy, we need to act like one; and demand that these agencies be set up for the good of the public; and speak up for the members of that public who don’t speak up for themselves. Like a mother stands up for her very young children.
It is a principle of group charts that individual souls intentionally incarnate into certain collectives in order to learn particular lessons in common. We Americans would not have incarnated here unless we wanted to get in touch with the Cancerian values of shelter, nurture, and protection.
It’s only going to happen for the country when we get in touch with these values within ourselves.
1 I look at this chart in detail in my book, Soul-Sick Nation.
2 Obama’s proposal, to limit the amount seniors would receive for Medicare insurance, is less draconian but also fails to address the fact that rising medical costs have nothing to do with the federal program. They have to do with the unrestricted greed of Big Pharma and Big Insurance. In a profit-driven system, medical professionals make tons of money off of unnecessary tests, drugs and procedures; but no incentives exist to keep people healthy. For example, it’s estimated that 95% of back pain is best relieved by physical therapy, but there’s no money in physical therapy, so American patients are given big fancy MRIs and surgery instead.