On November 9, Neptune stations within a degree of the U.S. Moon. This will be the transit’s last hurrah. It is this conjunction that has shrouded the American populace in a fog of confusion and illusion for four years now.
Also in November, the “bipartisan commission” convenes in Washington that is slated to decide whether to proceed with $1.5 trillion worth of cuts (1) to hot-button social programs, among them Social Security.
Social security. We hear those two words so often that we have become habituated to their sound, but when we stop and think about them, they speak volumes. In the collective psyche, feelings of security are governed by the Moon.
The past several years of American politics have highlighted the most vulnerable and childlike layer of the group consciousness; the part that resides only inches away from sheer panic. Where social security is concerned, the fear is over about the prospect of not being taken care of when we grow old and dependent.
The Moon is a primitive energy. Under its four-year-long conjunction with Neptune, the U.S. group vibration has been reverberating, lowest-common-denominator-style, with anxiety and denial. Moon-Neptune is not a combination from which we expect clarity of thought.
Have you ever experienced the transit of Neptune conjunct, square or opposing your natal Moon? At its worst, it provokes a state of clueless impressionability, where we are maximally receptive to charlatanism and deception from those who would manipulate us through fear. In aspect, Neptune and the Moon can blind us to rational solutions that would otherwise arise, neatly and simply, from the circumstances right in front of our face.
Such as the fact that in a $15 trillion annual economy such as the USA, Medicare and Social Security could be solvent tomorrow if a few basic taxes were put in place (2). And that they could even be expanded to every man, woman and child in the country, if there were a redirection to these programs of the funds that now support military presences in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
It was right around the time Neptune made its first pass over the US Moon, in March 2009, that the tea party started to coalesce as a political force. Before then, it was a genuinely populist uprising. Its adherents came across as a bit loony (Neptune) with their paranoia about death panels and their eccentric headgear, but there was a spontaneity and visceral realness to this crowd.
Even more Neptunian was the way these self-styled protestors eluded definition. Before being wooed by the establishment, the tea party was a formless, leaderless reaction to the Wall Street meltdown and its subsequent bailouts. Vociferously against “government”—though not, apparently, for anarchy—they were all over the map with their grievances.
Then it came to pass that the tea party became a puppet movement for insiders like the Koch brothers and Fox News, who brought it into the Republican fold; and the rest is history.
Occupy Wall Street
Now that Neptune has retrograded back to within a degree of the U.S. Moon position, the Occupy Wall Street movement has erupted.
There are many stunning aspects in the OWS birth chart, the most telling being the opposition of transiting Mars to the US Pluto. On September 17, the day of the first encampment, the planet of anger and assertion was opposing the planet of raw financial power (Pluto in the US 2nd house).
With Neptune again so strong, we are not surprised by the formlessness and lack of singular focus expressed by the OWS. By contrast with the tea party, however, the multiplicity of this new movement’s grievances elicits only scorn from the corporate media (3).
Though one of has become the media’s darling and the other a burgeoning threat, both of these Neptune-on-the-Moon movements lack a laundry-list-style agenda. Their meaning and focus are diffuse and all-encompassing (Neptune), and they appeal to the public on a primal and instinctive level (Moon).
Throughout the first half of November, Mars will be within orb of an opposition to the U.S. Moon/Neptune conjunction. Mars, when frustrated, erupts in anger. When channeled creatively, it becomes bold assertion. On November 7, Mars will oppose stationary Neptune to the minute of arc. This gives us three volatile planets facing each other down.
Both the tea party folks and the OWS crowd are channeling the same archetypes; though the Moon-Neptune conjunction is stronger in the former, and the Longest Arm of the Cross is stronger in the latter. The first encampment in New York took place when Uranus and Pluto were less than two degrees from exactitude.
In stark contrast to the OWS folks, the tea partiers have crashed the gates of the political playing field, and have acquired enough mainstream legitimacy to be kingmakers in the coming elections. They are inside now, representing not a threat to the system, but the biggest threat to those who would change the system. It is from this standpoint that we need to understand what makes them tick.
From what we have seen of it so far, the tea party agenda is an expression of the juvenile, precognitive side of the national Moon. As a symbol, the Moon is selfish by definition: its whole world is bound up with security issues and domestic matters. We can see this expressed by the tea party platform, with its entitlement complex in regard to class privilege, its defensive political instincts, its self-protectiveness where social change is concerned and its emphasis on “family values” (which seem to refer exclusively to their own vision of family).
The emotionalism of tea-partyism seems similarly lunar, in the sense of having something childlike about it. Perry, Palin, Bachman et al. have exhorted their fans to boldly self-express, and the fans are complying. We have seen bursts of petulant emotionalism which any good parent would chide her toddler for expressing in public (4).
Mars is the planet of self-assertion, self-importance and self- involvement. In the absence of self-awareness it tends to flare up extravagantly, especially when in a fire sign. The tea party’s championship of its own interests is likely to reach bold new heights when Mars in Leo opposes Neptune this month, and their behavior will be interesting to watch.
The country will get to decide what this group is really about. Are they a battle-ready social force, or just America’s inner side throwing a tantrum?
The tea party’s obsession with cutting taxes smacks of a peculiar kind of selfishness, the kind that children ideally outgrow. In youth, a certain amount of self-centeredness is developmentally appropriate; psychologists tell us that Other-orientation is something we learn as we age. With maturity we gain the capacity to understand that, for example, by contributing to a shared pool of resources we help those in need, right now, as well as helping ourselves, in future, when we are the ones in need.
The tea party seems to be made up of adults who didn’t get this memo. The focus is trained on a despised class of needy Others; a class they cannot imagine themselves being a part of. But you can’t help but wonder about the Rick Perry fans who were burned out of their homes in Texas this past summer, or flooded out by overflowing rivers in the South. You wonder whether they would go the distance and turn down federal funds in the face of these catastrophes. You wonder, moreover, what percentage of this crowd would turn up their noses at veterans’ benefits, the fastest growing entitlement program in the country (5).
A particularly ugly example of juvenile narcissism took place at CNN’s GOP debate just before the Equinox. After Wolf Blitzer asked Ron Paul “What do you tell a guy who is sick, goes into a coma and doesn’t have health insurance? Are you saying society should just let him die?”, several members of the crowd responded with a resounding “Yeah!”
Intellectually, too, there is a lack of responsibility here. And again, we’d give it a pass in the case of a kid who hadn’t gotten that far yet in History & Current Events class. But it is from grown-up voters that we are hearing notions that bear no relationship to actual ideas or circumstances (6).
The Real Revolutionaries
Occupy Wall Street is not inside the system; its platform is emphatically outside. It is a mostly young movement, which, like the Moon, is changing every day. It is not clear to what extent it will be responded to, reacted against or accommodated by the machinery of electoral politics in this country. Unlike the tea party, which arose before the Uranus-Pluto square (revolution, devolution) began in earnest, the OWS is a force of deep-structure change.
It was born of the square between two planets that are, by definition, outside the establishment and a signal of its demise.
(1) The focus of the committee is “deficit reduction,” which could theoretically include increasing the taxes of the wealthy and closing their tax loopholes. But at the moment the media seems to be strategically preparing the public for more cuts.
(2) Income disparity makes the country feel poorer than it really is. The OWS, with its tax-the-rich platform, is educating many Americans to the raw facts; such as that 400 American families now own more wealth than the rest of the population put together.
(3) As I argue elsewhere, this kneejerk critique is more of a reaction than a response, which makes it psychologically intriguing.
(4) I am reminded of something the film critic Mick LaSalle wrote recently:
I think we overvalue passionate feeling in this country as some form of cleansing sincerity. Feeling something has the sensation of actual knowledge, bypassing mental work, the necessity of thought and the application of reason, not to mention actual information. I think it is significant that among people suffering from dementia, the last thing to go is the ability to have a strident opinion.
(5) This fact is almost never mentioned in all the hue and cry about the government overspending, partly because vet benefits are, strategically, not counted with the rest of the Pentagon budget or war spending. But over the past decade, the Veterans Affairs budget increased 162%, to $127.7 billion per year. Contrast Social Security, which increased by only 61 percent. (Figures from Prof. Daniel Wirls, University of California at Santa Cruz.)
(6) The pinko-phobia of the tea party faithful—consider the slogans, “Can you see red yet?” and “Got socialism?”—seems to derive from equal parts ignorance and clinical paranoia. If challenged to name even one thriving, truly Communist state in the modern world, they would probably be hard pressed; even socialist parties—that is, those that are socialist in more than name—have disappeared from the face of modern politics. In the USA itself, which we are told is in such peril from the red menace, there has not been a socialist party with anything like serious numbers for more than a century.