We are currently witnessing a square of Uranus and Pluto; the last exact square was on March 16, 2015. Variants of this aspect have occurred before, and various commentators recognize this fact, even though they are unaware of the underlying astrology. During the Arab Spring, the various Occupy movements, the sit-ins in Wisconsin, several people compared those events to the Sixties, the unrest of the Thirties, the actions in the first part of the Twentieth Century, and even to the wave of revolutions that swept Europe in 1848. No one that I know of compared those events to the French Revolution or the English Civil War. And no one remembers the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. But all these have something in common. And then I heard Glen Greenwald – who helped release the Edward Snowden revelations – complain that the information released was known years before, but suddenly it became a topic of interest. And then he said that it was like “something in the ether changed”. And as we shall see, if not exactly something in the ether changed, something in the heavens changed.
Before this opening square of Uranus and Pluto, the last quadrature aspect of those two planets was in 1964, 1965, 1966. Those were the years it was exact, but of course the influence extended beyond those years. The first noticeable “Sixties” action that I have been able to find is the lunch counter sit-in at a Woolworth’s in Greensboro, North Carolina on February 1, 1960. Part of this lunch counter is in the Smithsonian. Lunch counter sit-ins had been done before, but this one was different. More people came to sit-in on following days. The idea spread and was practiced in other communities. In hindsight we can see this was the start of something big, and it is justly celebrated. Another event took place that year – the release of the movie Psycho. This was an unusual kind of a movie from a famous director – the main star appeared in her bra in the opening scenes, and this main star was killed well before the movie ended. These things were not done in mainstream movies, and suggested (again, hindsight is very helpful) that a major changes in the cinama of Hollywood was in the offing.
I could go on and on about the Uranus/Pluto nature of the Sixties, but the phrase has almost become a cliché, and many people either love or hate – neutral is hard to find – the decade. But the things that people either love or hate about the decade very well show the influence of Uranus and Pluto, so when you think of the two planets together, think of that decade.
The square of those two planets, the closing square before this conjunction, was in 1932, 1933, 1934. This was the depth of the Great Depression. In the United States, people were extremely upset, and we had a near Revolution that leaders were worried about. Huey Long was making waves in Louisiana. Roosevelt took office in the midst of this and was able to relieve some of the pressure and “save capitalism from itself”. Also in America there was another potential revolution that very few people know about. This is a fascist revolution that would replace the government of the United States. See, for example, The Plot to Seize the White House by Jules Archer (republished a few years ago as a paperback) and The Plots Against the President by Sally Denton. But in several European countries, things took a different course, with the rise of Hitler in Germany, Mussolini in Italy, and Franco in Spain. In the Soviet Union, Stalin gained power the same year the the Depression hit and Japan was invading China.
The opposition before this square took place in 1901 and 1902. Many events happened in this period before World War I, which has been discussed more in a previous post. The Progressive Movement in the United States, the formation of the International Workers of the World – Wobblies – the First Russian Revolution, which was not successful and led to the second, more well know revolution, and Gandhi’s development of non-violence, announced on September 11 in South Africa, were some of the appropriate events of this period. There was a rise in feminism at the time, and rebellions appear in several countries. The book Vertigo World by Phillip Blom outlines the changes that went on at this time. There were other important aspects at the same time, and as a result the changes in this period at the start of the Twentieth Century were quite complex. In the United States this decade saw the rise of the Progressive Movement, that claimed politicians such as Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright, and historians such as Charles Beard. Possibly the most important development in this period for the future of the world was the rise in popularity of the automobile, which has been developed several years earlier. Spurred by the availability of Henry Ford’s Model T – unveiled on October 1, 1908 – America started its continuing love affair with the automobile, but Europe, where the automobile was invented, had loved cars even earlier in the decade.
The square before this opposition was in 1876, 1877, 1878. The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 was the biggest labor action of that year. There was many other labor actions in these years, partly because the Panic of 1873, a major financial depression which may or may not have ended before the Panic of 1893 hit America. Even though this was called the Gilded Age for wealthy America, for most of the others – the 99% of that age – life was not so rosy.
The previous conjunction was in 1850, 1851, and 1852. Mostly famously, 1848 was known as the Year of Revolutions in Europe, in which almost all countries in Europe underwent revolutions, though most were short-lived. This was the year that a journalist named Karl Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto. In the United States there was the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention, which marks the first stage of feminism. There were revolutions in other countries around the world in the next few years. Hardly known by Americans, but extremely well known in China, was the Taiping Rebellion, which started in December 1850 and went on for almost fourteen years. The Taiping Rebellion is considered one of the most deadly violent events in history, with an estimated twenty to thirty million civilians killed.
The opposition before that was 1791 through 1795. This marked most famously the French Revolution, especially the Time of Terrors which occurred when the conjunction was most exact. There was also a rise of feminism, indicated by the publication of the book A Vindication of the Rights of Women by prominent feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, who is not as well known among among the general population as her novelist daughter, also named Mary.
The conjunction before that was 1709 and 1710. This marked the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution in England. The English restricted any release of the ideas that they developed into the outside world, so the Industrial Revolution did not exist elsewhere for almost 100 years. During this conjunction Thomas Newcomen developed the first steam engine, that was later refined by the more famous James Watt. Abraham Darby developed a way of making pig iron using coke (instead of charcoal), which paved the way for complicated machines.
The opposition before that 1648 and 1649, which saw the height of the English Civil War. Many radical groups formed at this time, such as the Ranters, the Diggers, and the Quakers. Elsewhere in Europe saw he end of the Thirty years War, a shockingly brutal war that lay waste to much of the continent, especially Germany, and marked the end of religious conflict that had grown out of the Reformation. This war ended with the Peace of Westphalia, whose notion of sovereign states has been a basis for international law in the centuries since. The organizational work for the Royal Society (of London) was done during this period, indicating that the Scientific Revolution was truly established.
The conjunction before that was in 1596, 1597, 1598. This marked the beginnings of the Scientific Revolution, with Kepler and Galileo introducing Copernicus’ theories to a Europe that hadn’t know of them, and Galileo using a telescope to lead to a new understanding of the solar system. Francis Bacon laid down the basics of Science, essentially advocating for what is now called the “scientific method”. This time also saw the height of drama in Elizabethan England with such writers as Shakespeare, Jonson, Marlowe, and Spenser. At this time people’s way of looking at the world changed, as shown in a recent book by Philip Bell titled Curiosity.
The conjunction before that was in 1454, 1455, and 1456. This saw the end of the medieval Hundred’s Year War between England and France, the beginning of the War of the Roses, a popular subject to Shakespeare and the first war of the modern era, the fall of the Byzantine Empire, which sent many Greek scholars to the West, and the publication of the 42-line Gutenberg Bible, which was the first major book printed in the West. It is hard to overestimate the importance that printing had to the developments of the next 500 years.
More details can be found in the book Cosmos and Psyche by Richard Tarnas, Section IV.