Have you heard about the big, fat square taking shape, up in the sky? It’s the cardinal cross coming into its glory. The impact of this much-storied configuration upon the (Sibly) chart of the USA is especially dramatic. The American worldview is being throttled like an old shoe between a terrier’s teeth.
Living day-to-day as members of this group entity makes it hard to perceive just how enormous Uncle Sam’s changes have been; but the transits afoot can give us this perspective. Their symbolism tells us that certain dyed-in-the-wool American certitudes—ideas that we were brought up to think of as essential and eternal—have been shaken to the very core lately.
Since the cross began in 2008, the US public’s unquestioned belief in its political and socioeconomic systems (Pluto in Capricorn) has been dealt a series of fatal blows. The long-verboten P-word—plutocracy–has entered the national conversation. Gone is Uncle Sam’s historic self-image of being a proudly middle-class country, with a negligible slice of poor at the bottom and rich at the top. That picture has been replaced by a new meme: that of two stark numbers—1% and 99%—in a fight to the death.
For years now, astrologers have talked about the USA making radical moves forward (Uranus) during this period, and that these moves would be resisted tooth-and-nail. We have known for a long time that the efforts of moneyed agencies (Pluto) to oppose change (Uranus) would be every bit as extreme as the changes themselves.
Commonly Held Truths
I have outlined the four corners of the cross in 2014 here. Its Jupiter corner, which is exactly conjunct the US Sun this month, is drawing Americans’ attention to matters of knowledge and ignorance. Jupiter is about what we know—or think we know—and how we get our information. Americans, one in four of whom doesn’t know the Earth orbits the Sun, have a lot of catching up to do in the Jupiter arena.
Because the US Sun conjuncts Jupiter natally, this extraordinary transit is also America’s Jupiter return. And because that Sun-Jupiter squares Saturn natally, the cross is poking at a national sore spot (Saturn): our global reputation (Tenth House). The spotlight being cast on America’s education and information networks, formal and informal, has far-reaching implications for how the rest of the world sees us.
Jupiter is the planet of commonly held truths. In the modern world these are shaped not by religion or tribal dogma so much as by corporate agencies with a consumerist agenda. America’s understanding of life comes not from a pope or an ayatollah but from Verizon and Time Warner.
It was in postwar America that the modern face of propaganda was conceived, largely through the Machiavellian genius of Edward Bernays, coiner of the term public relations. In his masterful documentary “The Century of the Self,” Adam Curtis shows how psychology (Bernays was Freud’s American nephew) and social science were applied to the malleability of consumer desire and to winning elections. This film should be taught in every civics class.
By now it is popular culture, accessed through the ever-speedier language of tweets and texts, that by and large tells Americans what to believe. Film critic Mick LaSalle describes the strategy deployed by the American entertainment industry this way: “Just give people an emotional hook and a few nice-sounding arguments and count on their limited attention spans to do the rest.”
This is not to say that the old way—for example, having a theocratic dictator tell you what to think—is better or worse than the new way—living in the “happiness machine” of American consumer culture (1). It could be argued that any external agency that keeps us from cultivating our own unique worldview is an infringement on our Jupiterian birthright, and keeps us in a kind of arrested development.
But over-powerful agencies do try, through whatever means, to mold the mass mind. And while the present dominance/control structure holds sway, our goal should be to understand what’s happening. The more aware we are, the less likely we are to be manipulated.
The opposition of Pluto (corruption) in Capricorn (corporations) and Jupiter (knowledge and beliefs) on the US Sun is exposing these Orwellian tactics, and constitutes an important subplot of the cardinal cross: the reclamation of our independent moral intelligence from unscrupulous agencies.
The Kingdom of Ambitious Stupidity
As every school child knows, the founding fathers were very big on the idea of an informed electorate. I believe these extraordinary gentlemen were psychically accessing information about the new country’s karma, which made them presciently aware of the danger to this democracy of an unlearned, uninformed public. (“The Kingdom of Ambitious Stupidity”—see Note (2).)
Perhaps they even had astrological information about the nation’s problematic Jupiter (education)-Sun square Saturn, and Mercury-Pluto opposition (mind control). What is certain is that they emphasized again and again that the citizenry’s access to education and clean information was essential if the American Experiment was going to work.
Point of View
One example of the way information gets polluted in the American media is through unstated point of view. For example, the economy tends to be reported from the vantage point of Big Business rather than the populace at large.
When the Dow falls, the news may show images of anguished stockbrokers on the trading floor. We in the audience are presumably supposed to identify with those poor stressed-out Wall Street professionals.One can understand this presumption in the context of an audience watching a trader-protagonist in a movie, as in “The Wolf of Wall Street” (which I blog about here). But how odd it is, when you think about it, that the news programmers, too, would expect Main-Street viewers to identify with Wall Street’s perspective. Especially since 2008.
It is perhaps to be expected, in a capitalist country, that the general perspective would skew towards the big money-makers. But ordinary folks who consume the media need to factor this in.
Consider the way white-collar crime is presented in the media. Americans are cajoled into seeing even the most heinous acts as unfortunate, but acceptable—if the perp was a corporation. Tragic maybe, even infuriating, but fundamentally acceptable. By contrast, imagine the national uproar that would’ve ensued after the water poisoning of the water supply in West Virginia (Jan 2014), or the fatal gas pipeline fire in San Bruno, California (Sept 2010), had these events been chalked up to “terrorists” rather than utility companies.
In this regard, the threatened end of net neutrality should be of urgent concern to anybody and everybody who uses the Internet. But the mainstream newspaper where I live reported January’s court ruling (which I write about here in the most innocuous terms possible: as Verizon’s desire “to expand.” Of all the ways they could have described it, this word choice seems the most likely to discourage the reader’s understanding that our freedom of online access may soon be devastated.
To avoid getting snookered we need to pay attention to the linguistics (Mercury) of power (Pluto). In the business euphemism department, the young capitalists in Silicon Valley have enthusiastically embraced the well-worn playbook. Have you noticed the way companies like Lyft, Sidecar and AirB&B are calling themselves the new “sharing economy? ” I thought sharing was when you offered something for free.
To reclaim our Jupiter birthright, we need to make a clear distinction between what our culture says morality is, and what living through the center of our charts has led us to believe it is. If we were not socialized to accept our government’s definitions of right and wrong, what would our ethical common sense tell us?
Take the 12,000 troops our government wants to keep in Afghanistan, because the CIA doesn’t want to lose control of its drone bases. Instead of putting drones there to protect the troops, doesn’t it seem like we’re leaving troops there to protect the drones?
Jupiter in its highest expression is that inherent sense of integrity that bubbles up from deep within each of us. To the extent that we’re in touch with it, it inspires us to decide for ourselves where we stand on the important ethical questions of our society, in our faces every day during these years of the cardinal cross.
Whose “interests” are they talking about when they use the phrase “American interests?” Should the government protect corporations and regulate people, or the other way around? Should we sacrifice our freedom, our privacy, even our humanity, on the promise of safety?
(1) Curtis’ film shows President Herbert Hoover telling a group of advertising executives: “You have transformed people into constantly moving happiness machines that have become the key to economic progress.” Bernays’ ideas were soon to be adapted by political propagandists, including Joseph Goebbels.