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Uranus enters Aries

Japan disasterIt’s hard to imagine that anything could shift our focus from the stunning revolutions sweeping the Middle East and Africa last month. That was expansive Jupiter reaching zero Aries—raising courage and sending through this sensitive degree in the World’s chart the conviction that new worlds are possible. Just as we began to ask ourselves, when and where all this regime change would end, electrifying Uranus entered Aries. This sky lord creates new worlds too, but his action is sudden, violent, and disruptive. An earthquake measuring 8.9 (later elevated to 9) struck Japan, followed by a tsunami that erased whole villages from the landscape, killed tens of thousands and physically moved the Japanese coastline eight feet.

What happens at zero Aries happens to the world. We are all riveted on events in Japan, and through them, we are refocused—on our own vulnerabilities, the fragility of life on this planet, and the necessity of waking up to the needs of this time. Uranus is not just the Great Destroyer; he is the Great Awakener whose message now is clear: Pay Attention! Here is your opportunity to change the way we live on this planet!

There is much work to do. As I write this, four nuclear reactors damaged by the earthquake/tsunami are perilously close to meltdown, and two others are compromised. Thousands are homeless, Japan’s financial markets have already lost hundreds of billions of dollars, and reporters, international leaders, and people everywhere seem incapable of fully grasping what has happened and what might still happen. We are in shock. But we must not stay there.

Next year, Uranus will begin squaring  Pluto, an event that promises even greater global change. Things will get tougher, and how we handle that will largely be determined by how much we’ve awakened from this challenging point on. If you’re creative, organize your projects and get to work. If you’re emotional, send compassionate intentions to those around the world who are in distress. This moment is a tipping point. It’s not the last one, but let us make allies out of Jupiter and Uranus. Let’s rise up. Let’s realize that we are fully capable and compassionate—that we can meet our serious challenges with great energy and a powerful imagination.

The Gods Among Us

Like lucky paparazzi behind the hedges, we’ve been given plenty of god sightings these days. During exciting times—and these are such times—the archetypes walk more boldly among us, teaching or meddling, depending on the day or your point of view.

I never understood why ancient astrologers claimed Saturn was exalted in cooperative Libra. It seems like such a soft or even prissy sign in which to dress the master, but I’ve been schooled. Through events in Egypt (a Saturn-in-Libra nation), Saturn is showing us how to stand elegantly firm with dignified restraint. The thirty-something dissidents—many of whom have Saturn in Libra in their charts—gave us a vital, organized, disciplined, harmonious and successful demonstration of peace in a region that has too long carried the world’s projected shadow of violence. The world’s balance requires the nourishing imagery of Tahrir Square. Let’s remember this 2011 Saturn victory for Libra virtues like equality, justice, and peace.

The events in Egypt also demonstrate a fine way to approach and appease Saturn during his often-dreaded returns. Perhaps we wouldn’t have to dread them if, in whatever sign they occured, we strove to embody the best virtues of the sign. Egypt as a nation, the Mubarak regime, and the young dissidents are all going through their Saturn returns (it’s the first for the dissidents born when Mubarak came to power; it’s the second for the country). Mubarak’s regime is getting one of those crushing Saturn returns that compensates for getting too far out of balance, going beyond the limits of proper responsibility. Wael Ghonim—the Egyptian Google executive whose internet activism and imprisonment helped galvanize the demonstrations—expressed gratitude to the Mubarak regime for taking itself down through its own stupidity. That’s how most bad Saturn returns happen. Ghonim is also riding his Saturn Return, but he’s more receptive. Positive Libran virtues weave throughout his words and gestures, as when he forgave the ones who beat him because he understood how it looked from their eyes—they thought he was the bad guy. When they took his blindfold off, he kissed them. Now there’s an exalted Libra Saturn!

Of course it wasn’t Saturn alone who brought the revolution. Uranus and Jupiter, both fresh from squaring Egypt’s Sun and Jupiter squaring Mars, drove high energy, courage, and enthusiasm into Tahrir Square. But Pluto played an important role. Between the first demonstrations of the youth movement on April 6, 2008 and the revolution declared on January 25, 2011—Pluto opposed Egypt’s Mars five times. This transit is well known—and feared—for its violence and extreme power struggles. An astrologer might easily have predicted this would be when the powder keg would ignite. What happened is instructive. People began filming police brutality with cell phones and posting these videos on Facebook. It shocked the nation and helped it to gather its courage, so that when the first protestors began walking to the Square on January 25, they had gone beyond the barrier of fear. How succinctly this portrays the highest promise of a Pluto/Mars transit! What is underhanded will be exposed and what is disempowered will be transformed.

Of course not every moment was a victory. Resistance thugs appeared. People died. And on February 11, as Venus separated from her conjunction to Pluto, the CBS news correspondent Lara Logan was separated from her crew during the celebration of Mubarak stepping down. She was beaten and sexually assaulted by a mob until finally rescued by a group of women and soldiers. Like Perspehone abducted by Pluto, she has since disappeared. There are no statements from her family or her employer. What do we make of this? Though we might want the gods to be always on our side, we must suffer, respect, or stand in awe of their mysteries too. Perhaps it is a moment for those of us with Pluto/Venus contacts in our own charts to behold the loss of innocence in ourselves, to be the grieving Demeter, and perform the dance that eventually brings Persphone back as a queen.

Of course the gods are also brilliantly entertaining. When Sun and Mars conjoined in Pisces, they marched onto the world stage in the form of two colossal egos, driven mad by their own (drug-induced?) fantasies—Muamar Gaddafi in Libya and Charlie Sheen in Hollywood. Oh let’s personalize this lesson too! Pisces can dissolve us into higher realities, but if not adequately prepared, we might also fall down the rabbit holes of addiction, deception, illusion, manipulation, and victimization. It’s a good time to wonder: with what ego-serving delusions have we been fooling ourselves!?