Uranus-Pluto Square II: Different 'Revolutions', One Shared Experience


Though the dominating aspect between Uranus and Pluto clearly portends we're moving through a moment of revolutionary tumult, we shouldn't presume any universal definition of 'revolution'.

News of this now-peaking square is nothing new amongst astrologers, we who have been hyping up its society-remaking power for quite a while now.

Along with the descriptive hype, many of us also include specific endorsements of what the Uranus-Pluto square might—or should—deliver. And these are typically invested, consciously or not, with particular ideological inclinations.

I observe an unmistakable political preference within the astrological community, one which skews overwhelmingly to the liberal (i.e., Democratic and/or further to the left than that) end of the spectrum. I unapologetically implicate myself in that observation. At the same time, I strive to be both upfront about my stances (rather than trying to pass them off as 'truth') and open-minded enough to welcome those with differing beliefs to the table with me.

I am not critical of instilling astrological interpretations with an ideological bent, as long as we're not feigning an absence of one. (In fact, I am far more suspicious of astrologers who claim not to have some personal stake in how they practice, as objectivity seems to me to be a somewhat unattainable goal in interpretive work in general.) Yet, just because, for instance, the Occupy movement provides such an appealing example for liberal astrologers to point to as a revolutionary signpost for this Uranus-Pluto era, we mustn't overlook how the Tea Party movement reflects the same revolutionary verve. Both are tapped into the same Uranus-in-Aries populism, though one advocates for greater governmental intervention and the other less. And both have pitted themselves against perceived-to-be-degenerating Pluto-in-Capricorn institutions they seek to overhaul, whether greedy corporate capitalism or out-of-control spendthrift bureaucracy.

Those animated by this holy spirit of populist fervor share much in common, in terms of expressing an archetypal push to transform structures which have hit a critical point-of-no-return state in their development. Where they differ most? It boils down to what they've identified as the source of this excess, devolution or rot that demands transforming, and which tactics they'll choose to execute it.

In my last Uranus-Pluto article, I summed up my free-association ponderings of how we're now witnessing the clash between these two imposing planet-gods manifest by painting a picture of the stark image that had appeared in my mind: One privileged person holding a disproportionately vast amount of food in his hands, while masses of hungry individuals converge around him.

This symbolic portrait is, of course, strongly influenced by the intensifying public discussion about the growing chasm between the wealthy and everybody else (i.e., the 99%), governmental practices that help foster this unfair playing-field in business and politics, and the continued polarization between those who promote individual freedom at all costs ('damn libertarians!') and those who seek to strongly moderate it with equalizing social structures ('damn socialists!').

Following this post, I received a response from a reader I first became acquainted with a few years ago. From our limited acquaintance, I consider this reader to be a thoughtful individual, but one who obviously thinks differently than I about the issues I raised, as evidenced by the email I received:

While reading [your article], I had a similar thought to yours but with a twist. (The reflections in my mind point to a single stark image, an honest hard working person living a positive, self sustaining life while others play the victim & lazily mooch off of friends, family, or the government tit!) I know what category you and I fall into, but this idea doesn't seem to fit the mainstream narrative does it?

I agree this alternative image at least doesn't fit the mainstream astrological narrative put forth by my predominantly left-leaning colleagues... though its underlying sentiment of individualistic impatience with a system that's perceived to have broken down and/or to not be effectively working surely corresponds with the astrological symbolism as well as the image I offered.

In replying, then, it wouldn't serve my highest engagement with the revolutionary astrology to discount this reader's alternate take. I began: I can certainly see the value in your perspective on what I wrote. There are unquestionably some people who do not take the personal initiative to positively change their own life-circumstances, and instead look for salvation outside themselves... and that can be frustrating to those of us better equipped to handle our own life-business with the necessary self-possession. This Uranus-Pluto-square energy can definitely be read in a variety of ways, in terms of how the 'revolution' might—or should—manifest collectively.

However, most astrologers I know—perhaps because we regularly look at the birthcharts of a wide cross-section of individuals and deeply understand how each of us approaches the challenge of 'living a positive, self-sustaining life' from different levels of ability and advantage—would instinctively balk at such mention of an unnamed mass of lazy victim-playing moochers.

My reply continued: I make no effort to disguise the personal attitudinal biases I hold; I believe in certain values, and use my website as a vehicle to address those. One value I hold dear is that human beings are part of a social whole, indivisible from each other and our surroundings and all of existence... and that too much focus on individuality and freedom at the expense of collective well-being hurts all of us. I commend honest hard-working individuals who live a positive, self-sustaining life... and they should be proud of the wealth they are able to earn themselves from their own efforts. I also believe that wealth brings responsibility to do something positive with it that benefits the collective, beyond just suiting the wealthy individual's desires. I cannot think of a single spiritual tradition that does not uphold the value of helping others who are not as fortunate.

My intention was not to change this reader's mind, since most people form their beliefs based upon the experiences they have lived and how they've come to understand 'em, not because somebody else tells them what they should believe. Rather, it was perhaps to open our minds together so we might integrate both our viewpoints within some broader context, one that highlights our commonality even in light of obvious ideological differences, and to thus encourage mutually edifying discussion. After all, receiving this reader's feedback provoked me to think more deeply (instead of, say, to react defensively and/or shut down). The tone we use conveys whether our intent is combative or genuinely reflective.

Today's clashes between strikingly polarized ideologies are so obvious as to be impossible to ignore, and are only exacerbated by dominant media narratives that seek to keep us divided, to promote network ratings while preserving the ruling status-quo… while, in fact, we're sharing this same experience of existing in a world of widely heightened turbulence, in the midst of redefining our corrupted social structures. The progressive promise of expanded human rights for some (e.g., gay marriage, democracy in previously non-democratic states) represents a head-on threat to time-honored customs for others (e.g., the more traditionally religious, the beneficiaries of centralized authority). The evolution of an increasingly globalized economy brings tough times to one slice of the world's populace (who see their accustomed opportunities being outsourced or made technologically obsolete), while another slice, in emerging middle-class cultures outside the traditional 'First World', chomps at the bit for their chance to thrive and profit. All the while, accelerating changes to our climate and environment affect us on a community-by-community level, even as we sputter with how to re-create those pillars-of-industry that are the likely culprits, though we so deeply and habitually depend on them.

It's a lot we're dealing with right now, all of us together… and considering all the corresponding excitement, confusion and/or terror that's impacting the attitudes with which we advocate for our worldviews, we might extend an ear of compassion to each other if our communications have an unsettling, edgy ring to them. If at first we don't quite vibe with what somebody's saying, perhaps we can more effectively sympathize with how they may be feeling underneath—since it's probably not so altogether different from what we're feeling.

Further reading:
"Mayberry, R.I.P." by Frank Rich (New York Magazine online)