A U G U S T 2 0 0 2 F E A T U R E A R T I C L E
by Maya del Mar
Corporations provide the matrix for our lives.
Our lives are shaped and governed by corporations. The consumer culture, the sea in which we live, is run by corporate image-making, advertising, and media control. Corporate values become cultural values. Corporate politics become government politics. Every area of our lives is fashioned by the dominant corporate culture.
The corporate movement grows implacably, like a giant amoeba, and threatens to take over the world, and destroy it in the process. As it grows, it shuts out democracy and effective decision-making. It is no wonder that people have quit voting and quit paying attention to civic life. We feel disempoweredand in many ways we are.
How can astrology shed light on this growth of corporate power?
All of the outer planetsPluto, Neptune, and Uranusshow long-term cycles, and evolutionary change. Jupiter, with a short 12-year cycle, refers to large groups (e.g., corporations) in particular. Saturn, with a 30-year cycle, refers to business, government, and social structure.
Scorpio is raw power, and it is merging resources, with money often the bottom line. Sagittarius is looking at the big picture and taking risks. Capricorn is the mountain goat, climbing to the top. These signs all figure strongly in corporate behavior.
Our culture is often considered materialistic. Earth signs in particular deal with concrete, tangible goods, including money, which represents goods.
The United States has a lucky chart.
The U.S. Declaration of Independence chart (7-4-1776, 5:10 p.m., Philadelphia) is blessed with a grand earth trine, which means material success comes easily to this nation.
Pluto, our power, is in Capricorn, the top of the heap of material powerthe Plutocrat. Neptune, the cosmic channel, is in the great goddess sign of Virgo, the Harvest Queen. Here she is a bridge between heaven and earth. And finally, Vesta, guardian of the hearth, including bank accounts, is in the very earthy sign of Taurus. (I picture the automobile as our secure home, with Vesta tending the fiery combustion at the center.)
The U.S. is uniquely empowered, by its nature, its historical connections with native Americans, and its chart energies, to bring visions of paradise to earth. We have the resources to enable us to develop models for harmonious, bountiful living.
However, this great gift of earth energy has been co-opted by corporations, and much of it transformed into toxins and garbage. The early idealistic political vision of Americans has been gradually subverted by the corporate bottom line of making profit for the corporation. Earth, tangible goods, is also the raw material of corporations.
The U.S. chart is also fortunate in having a Sagittarius Ascendant. This makes Jupiter the chart ruler, governing all U.S. expression of energy. Jupiter is the greater benefic, and shows good fortune and expansion. It is also especially associated with corporations (and old boys groups).
20-year Jupiter-Saturn cycles show the social-business character of our everyday lives.
Prior to the Civil War, corporations were regulated to be accountable to the public. Since the Civil War, laws have been shields for corporations. This relates to the character of the Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions.
Jupiter and Saturn have been discussed often in these pages. They have a 20-year cycle, and together they refer to the whole business-social approach to living of that 20-year period.
However, they have a larger elemental cycle. For about 200 years, their conjunctions are in the same element (fire, earth, air, or water). Thus, over a period of 800 years, we have practice dealing with all four elements. (Experience and history do count!)
For most of this nations history, we have had Jupiter and Saturn joining every 20 years in earth signs (marking "Tecumsehs curse," indicating presidential deaths in office). This earth phase really went into full gear in 1842, as the Civil War was building up. Earth is the crudest and the least visionary of the elements. It is earth that will go for the gun to settle an argument rather than use diplomacy.
All of us have been learning to use the earth element since 1842. And earth lessons are difficult. Their consequences can be stark and real.
We have just experienced our last Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in earth signs for the next 600 years, in May of 2000. This one was at 23 Taurus. Taurus is the most fixed, determined, and possessive of the earth signs. It is loathe to let go. The last conjunction in Taurus was in 1881, which began the "gilded age," the time of millionaires, consolidations, mansions, and high living. Corporations came into their own then.
Now we are closing the long earth cycle with Taurus. Will corporations extend their power, as they have in the past? Will we, the people, look at their excesses and corruption, and decide to take charge of them again? Will we reclaim democracy? Or will it be that the 200-year earth period was the time for corporations to grow into ruling the world?regardless of who and what gets hurt and destroyed?
This last Taurus conjunction in May 2000 ties in very nicely with the U.S. chart. It helps U.S. corporations move ahead with the steamroller effect until 2020, when we begin the air cycle in Aquarius. In the meantime we can begin to rebuild a democratic movement, and be ready to emerge with some sovereign infrastructure by 2020.
Taurus can be a greedy sign, and it will likely support greed for another decade or two. But the reign of earth will end, and its up to us to be prepared to set into motion an airy cycle of reason and discourse in 2020, as we begin a new 200-year cycle.
Corporations have had, in fact, double earth support for the last 200 years.
The Uranus-Neptune cycle, which lasts 171 years, relates especially to corporations, and to commerce in general. This cycle occurs (usually) twice in each sign, and then moves on to the next sign. It takes, then, about 4,000 years for Uranus-Neptune to move through all the signsto cover the zodiac, as it were.
Uranus and Neptune conjoined in earth sign Capricorn in 1821. Many Latin American states achieved their independence then, and in 1821 the Monroe Doctrine from the U.S. warned Europe to stay out of Latin America. This was like a precursor to the current proposed FTAAFree Trade Association of the Americas.
In 1993 Uranus and Neptune conjoined in earth sign Capricorn to begin a new 171-year cycle. NAFTA went into effect then, and GATT, the mother of all modern trade agreements, had its final signing in 1994. The stock market bubble began to expand about then, and fantasy became a big part of finance as mergers and layoffs became rampant.
This cycle will last until 2164, when Uranus and Neptune conjoin in Aquarius. Yes, Aquarius is coming. But first, in Capricorn, we need to learn to deal with the bounty of Mother Earth so that it serves all.
We have, then, work to do in coming to terms with our earth heritage. And corporations are in the forefront of this work and probably will continue to be. In these earth cycles, they can be particularly effective.
It is up to we the people to watchdog and control them, and perhaps to even change their mandates so that service to the general welfare becomes a priority.
Suddenly I am reminded of Ralph Naders work. This work, so important during these next 18 years, is exactly what he has been doing for 40 yearsprotecting consumers and the environment from corporate rape. Ralph Nader can serve as a constructive model.
Changing the direction of the mammoth corporate engine is a big job, but with will, intention and divine help, all is possible.
For more on the power of corporations, read Maya's book review this issue, Defying Corporations, Defining Democracy.