Has there ever been a Summer Solstice this intense? With the first exactitude (1) of the Uranus-Pluto square at the midpoint of the year flanked by a host of extraordinary supporting transits, we have entered the hot zone.
This is a cosmic heat wave that’s been rising since 1966, when Uranus and Pluto conjoined in the sky. We’re now at the first quarter of the cycle that began way back then. With this historic transit as the backdrop, on June 4 the dream-weaving planet, Neptune, stations retrograde under a Full Moon… which happens to be an Eclipse. The next day is a rare occultation of Venus (there won’t be another until 2117) (2). Through June 8 the Sun-Venus conjunction will square volatile Mars.
Then, on June 24, five days after the New Moon and four days after the Sun crosses the Cancer threshold, Uranus and Pluto click into the first of their seven exact 90-degree angles: the first such spike in a long crescendo. At the same time, Jupiter, fresh from its ingress into Gemini, squares Neptune in Pisces. Four days after that, on June 29, the Sun reaches the degree of the Uranus-Pluto square (3), closing out the month with a bang.
Why do astrologers pay special attention to scenarios like these? In general, when transits come all stacked up this way they reinforce each other, creating a force field that squeezes events into being. But as sky watchers know, this is not just any old stack of pancakes. This is the longest arm of the Cardinal Cross, the series of world-altering formations that puts 2012 on the astrological map (4).
Observers of the global scene have been watching the approach of the Uranus-Pluto square very carefully, aware that certain hot spots on the world map will be hit hard.
Under the crosshairs are a number of European countries with January 1 birthdays (5), which put their Sun at 10 degrees Capricorn, two degrees shy of the June 24 exactitude. Capricorn is the sign most vulnerable of all to the Cardinal Cross. And as astrologer Adrian Duncan has pointed out, the chart of the Euro—the beleaguered currency itself —has the Sun placed here (6); as will come as no surprise to anyone who’s been watching the dramas taking place across the Atlantic. Pluto, the planet of death/rebirth, has been harrying that Sun for the past four years like dogs after the fox.
The economies of Greece, Ireland, Italy, Spain and Portugal have been careening in breakdown mode, with unemployment and immense debt threatening every aspect of their national infrastructure (Capricorn). France and the Netherlands are the most recent examples of EU countries whose economic woes have spread to the governmental level.
With the Euro on life support, some investors have fled to the US dollar. But no chart I have seen gets as potent a blow from current and upcoming transits as that of the USA (Sibly), whose own Sun-Saturn square joins with Uranus and Pluto to form a full Grand Cross, the most stressful configuration in astrology.
Uncle Sam is being hit right where it hurts. The aspect of its natal chart that receives the hit, Sun square Saturn, is associated by psychological astrologers with denial-buttressed self-doubt and inferiority complexes.
One sign of a major downgrade in America’s world status is the fevered rumor about the dollar being replaced by the yuan as the global standard (7). Obama’s discussions with the Chinese, intended to help Uncle Sam pay its out-of-control debt, may further strengthen the yuan’s primacy (8).
For its part, China, whose economy has quadrupled over the past ten years, is undergoing a global meaning shift that most Americans seem not to have integrated. (The China-bashing one hears in the mainstream media smacks of old-fashioned Cold War China-bashing; not yikes-we-could-actually-lose-the-superpower-crown China-bashing).
But geopolitical observers consider the rivalry between the USA and China to be one of the central dramas of our era. In breakneck industrialization mode, teeming with global consumers and possessed of virtually no debt, the immense Asian behemoth seems eager to accept the hyper-power baton from a beleaguered Uncle Sam.
Yet the transits suggest a more complicated picture. Under skies like these, the contest may have no winner. The chart for modern China (10-1-49, 3:15 pm Beijing) sustains a prolonged direct hit from the Uranus-Pluto square. The longest arm of the Cardinal Cross forms a T-square with China’s Libra cluster, with the Sun at the exact apex.
The economic model that China is following—which all modern civilizations have so far followed—presumes that growth is not merely part of the cycle, but its constant. In this view, growth is good, period, without qualification and without interruption. The USA, with Jupiter (increase, expansion) conjunct the Sun natally, epitomizes this philosophy. China is in fevered pursuit of the same brass ring.
The summer solstice transits indicate an extraordinary juncture point in time; a moment in history when a glimpse of the future is available. It is not that the transits promise to turn us into fortune-tellers; this isn’t about predicting specific events. It’s about discerning the meaning behind them.
(4) My new book, At the Crossroads, is a collection of essays on the years 2008-2023. Its title refers to the fact that the world has reached a point of definitive decision about our collective future.
(5) Both the horoscope commonly used for England (i.e. for William the Conqueror’s coronation on Dec 25, 1066), and the one for the U.K. (for the establishment of the U. K. of Great Britain and Ireland Jan.1st,1801) have Capricorn birthdays.
(8) See Dambisa Moro’s How the West Was Lost, in which a former Goldman Sachs economist predicts when China will surpass the US in GDP, leading to the “redback” renminbi replacing the greenback dollar.