Shock to the American System


Thank you, Uranus, for popping the top off.

Not to say it didn't hurt like hell. For sure it does still. But we can't control any of that.

Heck, by definition, Uranus, you're all about that loss of control. Your spontaneous blasts unflinchingly catapult us into the vitality of the present moment. We're forced to leave behind how it's 'supposed' to be, to abandon tradition… leaving us no choice but to innovate. Since we cannot control you, we might as well thank you, or else we resist accepting reality.

We're also grateful to you, Uranus, for helping us break from our normal mode of looking, so we can see a larger picture, with fresher eyes. Especially here in the United States, where the perpetual unfolding of our Uranus cycle says so much about the mood of our country. Especially now, dwelling in the fallout of a catastrophic event of major national significance, one falling at such a significant point in the US Uranus cycle.

In last week's article, I detailed the involvement of Uranus in Hurricane Katrina's destructive impact, particularly with its exact conjunction to New Orleans's natal Pluto. I also pointed out Uranus's current position squaring where it was on Jul 4 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was signed and the US was born.

This Uranus square is hugely important for understanding the full symbolic weight of Hurricane Katrina in American history… an event which I believe will, due to the racial and economic implications of the government's poor handling of emergency efforts, prove to push us way beyond simply the practical concerns of rebuilding the Gulf Coast. Let me escort you on a little tour of Uranus's featured role in the US's past, to illustrate the pivotal place we now find ourselves in the development of American culture.

Uranus is key to interpreting the US's astrological profile, especially considering the nation's natal Moon (and South Node) in Aquarius, the sign ruled by Uranus. The Moon represents the country's unconscious emotions and instincts… and in Aquarius, signifies how the US handles its feelings with a cool-and-collected, intellectually fair demeanor. 'Everyone deserves the right to be his own independent individual… so long as he doesn't demand too much emotional involvement on the rest of our parts.'

Combine this with the US's predominant Cancerian energy—a blend like oil and water—and you can see why Americans are a sentimental Mom-and-apple-pie bunch (Cancer) and still can be known to turn off our syrupiness and abruptly switch to ideologically-based emotional detachment (Aquarius) on a dime, and why we invest so much effort in helping others gain freedom, but would rather not dirty our own hands with the sticky particulars.

Though there's no conclusive birth information for the US—who could possibly remember the exact time the Declaration was signed?—the three most widely-accepted Jul 4 1776 charts all feature Uranus at a key chart angle, which just goes to show astrologers pretty much agree how fundamental Uranus is to the American psyche.

Uranus's 84-year cycle, an indicator of phases in the revolutionary development of the US, reflects this collective temper. When Uranus returns to its natal position, the spirit of 'liberty and justice for all', which is imbedded in the original design, rises up again. Wherever stale entrenched status-quo-ness inhibits freedom, a breaking-free occurs and fresh liberation is reestablished.

Since 1776, Uranus has returned to its US natal position of 8 Gemini twice, and always at extraordinary moments in our annals: in 1860-61 and in 1944. At its first Uranus return in 1860-61, the US launched into its Civil War, the deadliest conflict in American history. At the second, World War II was in its final throes, and the US prepping for its decisive act of battle, the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan. You'd be hard-pressed to find two better benchmark dividers for splitting the American story into phases than the Civil War and World War II.

The last time Uranus was where it is now, at waning square (the final 90-degree angle in its 360-degree cycle) to its US natal position, was 1921-22, when nationwide Prohibition unfolded into a scene ripe with organized crime, corruption, and a violent alcohol-trafficking black market. That last Uranus cycle, which began in 1860-61, set a new tone for the role of federal government (in contrast to state governments) in regulating the lives of Americans, a primary issue in the civil war that subsequently broke out. By 1921, the Uranus square coincided with climactic development related to this issue, reflected in the brand-new execution of the two federal Constitutional Amendments—(1) the 18th, outlawing the 'manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors', and (2) the 19th, securing women the right to vote. With our impeccable hindsight, we see the latter as a triumph for human rights… and the former, an embarrassing national failure.

Here let me add mention of two synchronicities between that last waning Uranus square and this current one, too fascinating to leave out. (1) During 1921-22, construction was underway on New Orleans's Industrial Canal. When Uranus returned to where it was at the Canal's 'birth' time, it burst open in a rupture that flooded the city. (2) Also in 1921, modern Iraq was created when WWI British generals outlined its official borders, granting it independence. Iraq is also in the midst of its first Uranus return, reflected in its new US-sponsored government—linking the Iraq War and Hurricane Katrina together astrologically, and in setting a tone for the national mood.

The US's current Uranus cycle started in 1944, initiating an era as a 'superpower', with booming global economy and mighty freedom-shepherding military, pitted versus the Soviet Union and communism in a Cold War—one in which we're still participating. The first waxing square in 1963-64 saw JFK's assassination, and violent escalations of both the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War. At that time, our 'Camelot' fantasy shattered beyond reparation. Then, at the opposition in 1983, Cold War tensions intensified to their worst levels since… well, the 1960s, and a real threat of nuclear war reentered cultural consciousness as seen on TV's The Day After.

And now, we're at the 3rd-quarter Uranus square… three-fourths of the way to America's next phase, with whatever it brings, starting at our third Uranus return in 2027-28.

Obviously, since we're still creating destiny and living out events that will make up tomorrow's history, we have little perspective on what the Uranus square of 2005-06 will eventually mean for the US. But looking back over the last two Uranus squares, in 1921-22 and 1963-64, I believe we can expect another fracture between the dominant cultural mythos and the rumbling-into-consciousness rebelliousness of the people. It's not just a few levees in New Orleans that cracked to expose wide gaping holes.

The current Uranus square will likely rift the national psyche similarly to those of the most recent past: the unsquelchable collective will-to-drunkenness that exploded against Prohibition's legislated puritanism in the 1920s, and the idyllic promise of the Kennedy administration that split open into the disillusioned post-assassination tumult of the 1960s. And nothing less profound.

With a third and final peak of the US Uranus square ahead in Jan 06, the story holds another twist or turn up its proverbial sleeve before winding down.