Thanking the Times


As Thanksgiving rolls around again here in the States, I'm moved to express my sincere gratitude for the cosmic luck that's enabled me to be alive during this very, er, interesting moment in history.

I mean no disrespect to the scores of individuals caught in the crossfire of societal transformation who continue to suffer, many from events largely out of their control. These times may be 'interesting', but they're also undeniably challenging.

I am grateful I have a warm, comfortable place to sleep each night and enough food to satiate my belly. Lots of folks have lost homes, jobs, benefits, the faithful trust in tomorrow's blessings that goads us to keep on goin' with optimism in our hearts. With much sensitivity to the anxiety and pain that go along with such losses, I dare to say these developments augur a deep-seated reorientation away from an appearance of abundance, unsustainable by our most recent practices—and toward a new cultural attitude on life that doesn't bank our future on borrowed resources and the illusion of widespread prosperity, beneath which the real reality makes a limited few very wealthy and the rest of us indentured servants.

Astrologically, we see these difficulties poignantly framed through multiple simultaneous hard aspects between outer planets—Saturn opposing Uranus, both Saturn and Uranus squaring Pluto, and, next year, Jupiter moving into conjunction with Uranus to also oppose Saturn and square Pluto. Without a doubt, this is the most forceful, pressurizing astrology the world has witnessed since the mid-1960s, when Uranus conjoined Pluto and both opposed Saturn. As such, this current historical period (which could be said to have begun in 2008) is the closest parallel to 'The Sixties' (now essentially a brand-name synonymous with 'revolutionary cultural change') we've yet seen… which also goes far in explaining why, to those most fearful of our social structures facing the massive push to evolve or crumble, it indeed feels like the sky is falling.

For many years in the recent past, it had seemed like the subversive spirit of the 1960s (which accomplished so much so fast before devolving into the disillusionment of the early-'70s) merely disappeared into the ethers, never to be heard from again. By all appearances, we integrated the '60s advances, then dug our heels in and nursed a pendulum swing back toward conservatism. But that subversive spirit didn't die. It simply reserved itself in latency, waiting for the right time to reemerge.

According to the astrological clock, that time has now come. Beginning last year, with Pluto's arrival in Capricorn and the first exact Saturn-Uranus opposition, the next evolutionary step in what was born during the 1960s has gradually begun to show its colors. A highly unstable but deeply necessary crisis-point has been reached, where things simply cannot proceed any further according to the existing attitudes and approaches. There is no choice but to spend the first half of this next decade (the 2010s) recreating our society, reintroducing reformist vocabulary from our previous episode of 'revolutionary cultural change' into today's vernacular. And as a natural side-effect, some of us will ache during the messy transitions.

We require the pressurizing challenges of these major hard aspects (like squares and oppositions) to jump-start us into action. Otherwise, we'd be just as happy not to struggle… to leave things the way they are as much as possible, so we can cruise along without care or worry, indulging our immediate cravings and not much else. Easy times (and too many easy astrological aspects) make us lazy, fat and unappreciative. We needn't put in much effort to wallow in the spoils of good fortune. Adversity, however, compels us to struggle and innovate. Friction heats things up. Conflict energizes new compromises. Getting caught between colliding drives and contrasting considerations forces us to find the workable balance… with a chance to finally achieve solutions that synthesize things which we previously in competition with each other.

When pinched from every end, as most folks are these days, we must confront the realization that many of us presently possess only a relatively narrow margin within which we can exercise control over our lives. As a staunch proponent of a 'free will' view of destiny, however, I place profound importance on that sliver of personal agency. Only when faced with the seemingly impossible task of passing an elephant through the eye of a needle do we ever bother to ponder what it takes to 'enter the kingdom of God'. On the other hand, when the whole world is a limitless all-you-can-eat buffet, we often end up desensitized to value through an excess of choices or sick and gassy from stuffing our faces and thanklessly leaving heaps of leftovers for the slop bucket.

Meanwhile, I continue to bear witness to an ever-quickening onslaught of technological inventions, media machinations, political propagandist productions, and symptoms of global climate change (among other things) that I cannot believe I'm seeing with my own two eyes. Some of it boggles the mind with its brilliance; some sickens the soul with its contemptuous cynicism.

Yet, when my days finally draw to a close, I'll be able to confidently declare that, during this life, I really saw something. It wasn't always pretty, but it was never boring. And I'll bet that, when all is said and done, this present period in history that's just now unfurling its banners will prove to comprise some of the least boring, most memorable moments I'll ever experience. For that, I'm grateful.

Further Reading:
Is Being Philosophical About Our Circumstances a Luxury or a Necessity? (Aquarius Papers)
Kids and Recession: Sometimes, You Just Have to Laugh (Huffington Post)