“My bottom line — we are in a race between cooperation and catastrophe. This is a race that mankind must win.” –Sam Nunn, Former US Senator from Georgia
Greetings Space Cadets,
An auspicious planetary configuration in the sky is an apt metaphor for the state of our world which is deeply conflicted and uncoordinated. If at times it feels one step forward and two steps back that is not without merit as the process of development seems to be a chaotic one of punctuated equilibrium. That the sky is reflecting retrograde motion is one of those meaningful coincidences, it can certainly be used a symbolic catalyst to discuss the world trajectory and our place in it.
Uniquely there are six planets that are extent in retrograde motion or are imminent to stationing into apparent retrograde motion (planets don’t actually move in retrograde they just appear to from our vantage point on Earth). This is a usual cosmic event that said it is certainly notable in that it doesn’t happen very often. What’s more is that they represent important events happening in the geo-political sphere. With that in mind let’s have a deeper look:
Lexical Assault: Mercury Retrograde through Aries: April 14th-May 22nd
“I am an anarchist, Don’t know what I want, But I know how to get it” –The Sex Pistols
“Don’t blame Mercury, the Messenger of the Gods, love Him up. Send secret notes. Whisper tantalizing tales made from your deepest dreams to the stars. Pay for coffee for the dude behind you. Give a bow to all the things that tax you. Consider course correction. Review, rework, rewind, reconvene, reconcile, reorient, and RELAX. If this is the world’s edge, its probably ours too.” –Tami Urania Griffith
Mercury represents the human impulse to communicate and externalize the mind into the local environment. We are in an age where the local environment has come to encompass the area of an entire planet and vocalizations can whizz around the globe in seconds as bits and bytes. When Mercury goes retrograde through Aries these communiques can take on an air of aggression and become ransom demands for individual autonomy and liberty. We are certainly living through an era where that is plainly obvious.
Increasingly many individuals are waking up to the fact that politics as usual is simply no longer going to work in a world of converging crises and economic inequalities so vast that many are being left behind. What’s interesting is that the political race in the U.S. has taken on the dimension of firebrand platforms, bold statements and fighting words. What’s more is that both sides of the campaign for the Presidential seat stem from the same dissatisfaction with politics as usual (the downtown bullshit machine). It is without a doubt that during the period of this retrograde we will be witness to many more political gaffes and words which will ring with impact and have some fire behind them.
The blowhard campaign of Donald Trump has been very reminiscent of the shadow side of Mercury retrograde in that this politician has decided to create his fighting words pandering to lower base instincts, xenophobia, scapegoating and appealing to the lowest common denominator. On the other side of the spectrum Bernie Saunders has run a far more enlightened campaign, appealing to the better angels of our nature, at least as far as the political animal goes. He has certainly been producing fighting words but has been arguing for far more autonomy and liberty for a vaster majority of folks, especially appealing to the problems of massive wealth maldistribution. Finally we see the gaffe side of things in the campaigns of Hilary Clinton with her business as usual platform but stated vociferously to seem revolutionary and progressive (decidedly not). Further she is engaging is some of her characteristic pandering that goes as far back as the first Clinton campaign in 1992, while denying that she created any real change, her pandering only goes as far as it takes to land her in a position of power and then of course it is the same sad story line. This wont change much but it will give us all pause during this retrograde to really get under the message and figure out who really has the collective self interest at heart. The razors to be utilized during this is whether or not the policy positions will reflect the elucidation of autonomy and liberty and whether they will actually address the dire condition of the state of both the nation and the world.
A little more closer to home it is a good time to figure out ones personal stances around these issues and then to carefully review how those are being communicated. You want brevity with impact but avoid making them come out as demands as this will inspire conflict instead there needs to be an assertiveness behind them so these become directives that shift the conversation. The tendency is towards fighting words and ones that inspire aggression and defense, this stemming from the natural desire to assert individual autonomy and liberty in a social order which is continually chipping away at them through policy, economic oppression and social injustice.
This naturally brings us to Mars
Uncivil Society: Mars Retrograde through Scorpio-Libra: February 7th-June 29th 2016
The status quo is disintegrating. We are not seeing the major changes yet but the social contract has been breached and all around we are seeing the cracks in the façade. Everything from poorly designed macro-economic policy which because it is inextricably linked to social structures is creating collective misery for the majority of us to the problems of structural racism, sexism, homophobia and widespread social injustice, in addition to ecological devastation, and the slow-moving apocalypse of Climate Change, the world is in active revolt. As evidence we are seeing deep polarization a decidedly Scorpio quality in its more sinister manifestations. In the US this has become very obvious in the extreme with groups as diverse as Black Lives Matter to its polar opposite the Tea Party all clamoring to make clear that the current state if affairs cannot simply stand any longer. (I make no bones about which side I fall on, in this case I am with BLM and its ilk). These extremes are demonstrable at the level of national politics with the very opposing campaigns of Bernie Saunders who is arguing for a change in the status-quo that makes oligarchs accountable and redistributes the resources of society more equitably to the platforms of Donald Trump which default to scapegoating, false nationalism, and xenophobic sentiment to bolster a dangerous backsliding into authoritarianism. What they all have in common is the recognition that things cannot stay the same, and there are machines that need interrupting.
A decidedly Scorpio tactic that has emerged is disruption, as it does what this Plutonic sign does best it penetrates to the structural foundations, to the wiring under the board, the initial conditions and then changes them, rewires them which produces profound transformations down river to in the system. In a word it puts a wrench in the gears and stops the machine. What’s more is that with the Libra influence it is does in the name of fairness and justice and the laying of a groundwork that creates a more civil society. We saw a poignant example of this from January 18th, 2016 (granted the retrograde was not occurring then, but it is an apt metaphor), with the Bay Bridge blockades conducted by BLM. What was so impactful about this action is that it disrupted daily life to bring attention to a salient issue in US culture and forced people to think about it because it disrupted their complacency and placed the issue solidly in their faces where it could not be ignored. That is the impetus behind a Mars retrograde period especially as it moves away from Scorpio and back into Libra, it calls for action around injustice and active destruction of elements within culture that are creating an uncivil society.
Politics as Unusual: Jupiter retrograde through Leo: October 12th, 2015-May 9th, 2016:
Undermine their pompous authority, reject their moral standards, make anarchy and disorder your trademarks. Cause as much chaos and disruption as possible but don’t let them take you alive!” Sid Vicious, The Sex Pistols
This is probably one of the more important symbol sets in our era, it is one that magnifies and makes highly visible the assault of authority against the masses. That much of the government, and other social institutions designed to serve the people have become profoundly out of touch with their immanent realities is hardly surprising. Much of this can be due to the fact that at least in the US we no longer have a structural democracy but instead have an oligarchy or rule by the economically privileged. It seems other nations are not immune as similar situations are arising in many places around the world, not to mention that western backed institutions keep economic stranglehold on nations around the world and allow the global elites to rule. That much if this is coming to light during this transit is important as these are things that deserve public attention.
It also represents our opportunity to begin to take back some of the liberty we have ceded to these elites and perhaps to chisel away at their hegemony. It is a time in which the world can wake up to the fact that money is an artificial construct, a false mechanism for ascertaining value, as there are truly things beyond monetary value, such as the integrity of planetary eco-systems, the land bases that underpin all economics, and the social connections that enrich human life. This transit re-orients our position, and reminds us that the elites that control us don’t have any real power unless we cooperate with their schemes. If there were to be an outright rebellion and a rejection of the systems they utilize to maintain their hegemony we would quickly see their influence over policy rapidly decline. This coming to light will hopefully take us out of complacency and instill a sense of personal responsibility for a new trajectory to get the world on and to make these elites realize they can’t have everything, and they are sharing a world with 7 billion of their fellows and we will not be cajoled, controlled, and patrolled into submission and that we too want the public common goods promised us in the social contract, also since the wealth of the world has been built off of our labor we should also benefit from it since we are its creators. Currently the wealth of the world is being concentrated into the hands not of those who did the work of creating it but those capable of exploiting it and funneling it to their benefit. This state of affairs cannot continue for much longer because of the social instability it causes not to mention that the economic foundations it is structured on are changing the planet into a region hostile to human and other life forms. In a word a new politics is rumbling on the horizon.
Doomsday Clock: Threats of Annihilation: Saturn in Retrograde through Ophiuchus-Scorpio: December 19th, 2015-August 31st, 2016
“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.”– 1 Corinthians 13:11
Saturn represents reality and the tangible world in the astrological lexicon. As it backtracks through Ophiuchus and ultimately Scorpio we are faced with the collective struggles of our species (Ophiuchus deals with deep mysteries and Scorpio handles collective power and shared resources). We are faced with the terror of existential threats and the fears of extinction and annihilation, all of which are the result of collective human actions and misuse of technology. Case in point one of our most powerful existing technologies is placing increasing stress on the peace-making process and also threatening mass destruction, that technology is nuclear weapons.
Threat from Existing Technology
Humans are like children with matches when it comes to nukes, we are being entrusted with a dangerous element that we don’t know how to use properly and hoping we don’t accidently burn the house down. Currently, this area has never been so volatile or complex, and even less straightforward than it was during the Cold War Era. There are nine nations with current nuclear capabilities, India, Pakistan, Russia, UK, USA, North Korea, Israel, France, and Iran, two of which acquired their nuclear materials illicitly. There are three primary concerns around this issue, accidental detonation, terrorism, and systems vulnerabilities. Another dimension are regional disputes that heighten the likelihood of a detonation, in particular there is a significant flash point brewing between India and Pakistan and the dispute over the Kashmir region which the two nations share a border with. It could escalate if there is a more extremist government installed in Pakistan.
The only sane approach is for the world to settle its enmities and dismantle its nuclear weapons capacity, as it is the only way to ensure that an intended or accidental incident does not occur. There is a historical precedent for disarmament as Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan relinquished nuclear arms they had inherited with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Further South Africa voluntarily dismantled it nuclear arms. The Iran deal brokered in late 2015 also set further precedence for disarming from this dangerous technology and repurposing it for peaceful uses such as medical imaging, energy, and astrophysics research.
Threat from Emerging Technology:
The other salient threat is from emerging technology of Artificial Intelligence, while the likelihood of Terminator style Skynet takeover is unlikely and far more insidious and seemingly innocent scenario could occur instead. Imagine if you will an AI is developed with the objective of converting everything it encounters into a paper clip, it does this by changing the atomic structure of matter using nano-technology to reconfigure atoms into a paper-clip. This AI continually learns and finds more efficient ways to make things into paper-clips what happens ultimately is that it figures out how to convert the entire planet into paper clips and then ultimately the sun and so on. In essence, it’s lights out for humanity and life on Earth. Thankfully there is someone working on this threat Nick Bostrom with the Future of Humanity Institute, he has managed to create a pledge that many tech heavy hitters have signed to carefully develop this technology to avoid existential threats and the general public is also invited to sign it as well.
The threat that dwarves them all: Climate Change
Climate Change represents the singularly biggest threat our species faces. What is most profound about it is that in our quest to make the world more human friendly we have ironically created the conditions to make the world more hostile to our flourishing. It is the work that will consume generations to come and we can’t afford to get it wrong. Consider this the heavy weight of reality calling for a massive change, because we better keep the average global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius of change or we will be deeply imperiled. This transit compels us to address existential threats and take the proactive and preventative approach, otherwise we are closer to midnight on the doomsday clock and one step further into our species endgame.
Existential Crises: Uranus retrograde through Pisces: April 11th-December 29th, 2016:
“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”- Albert Einstein
I would liken this transit to the myth of Prometheus rising up out of the clay, but instead of clay it is closer to him rising up out of the ocean. What is meant by this is that with this energy moving backwards through Pisces, it is likened to gestation, and the slow construction of new complex atom by atom (or perhaps being born in reverse) and in this case what is in development is the collective future of humanity. There are two sides to this, one which holds the promise of the future, technologies that will liberate humanity from many of its existential struggles, and yet on the other side of this those same technologies will cause social dislocations, wrenching structural changes and will also prompt economic transformations that many will work to oppose out of losing their hegemony. Further crises that are related to our tampering with the geo-chemistry of our planet are further forcing social upheavals, unexpected and far reaching changes that will have long-term implications and will effect the lives of millions all over Earth and the lives of those yet to be born. It is a collective crises that can only be solved with a unilateral approach and this is exactly the flavor of this retrograde.
These upheavals and chaotic scenarios are selective pressures that are pushing humanity to gestate and midwife a phase state change in collective consciousness, which is to say we are being compelled to rise to a heightened state of consciousness. Uranus will provide a symbolic impetus by exposing further instabilities in our model of current consensus reality and encourage us to construct a model that reflects a changing in prevailing conditions. These upheavals are not designed to undercut us they are designed to shake us out of a collective complacency that is careening us off the precipice down the avenue of a possible mass extinction event or a collapse of civilization so extreme it will be centuries before we are capable of recovering it. This is serious business, and what it means is that since Humanity has declared themselves Gods, then we had better get very good at it.
Our technology must now be pressed into the service of preserving life and planetary life support systems and we must rise to a new consciousness that sees our planet as a vast conscious super-organism with a basic bio-chemical-physical metabolism and our species acting as the planets neurons, a kind of mammalian brain capable of being conscious of planetary cycles. Imagine if you will satellite arrays in space that monitor in real-time all of the geo-chemical cycles that we depend on for our survival sounds far-fetched? It’s not, it already exists and NASA has been utilizing it since the 1980’s when it was first conceived it is officially called the Earth Observing System (EOS). ESA (European Space Agency) has a similar program in place. Technology can be utilized to the benefit of all humanity and the community of life and that is what this transit is devoted to. It is about constructing a new reality that uses our genius to solve salient human problems and bring an end to collective suffering.
Visions of Eden: Neptune Retrograde through Aquarius: February 22, 2016-November 19th, 2016:
“Orbiting Earth in the spaceship, I saw how beautiful our planet is. People, let us preserve this beauty and increase this beauty, not destroy it! –Yuri Gagarin, Russian Cosmonaut, first man in Outer Space.
The crux of this transit is for a collective refinement to occur in which the sphere of our moral concern enlarges to encompass everyone and everything on the planet from every individual human to to the natural systems that envelope us all. This transit is in mutual reception to the Uranus in Pisces transit but unlike the former this one does not carry a shocking instability but instead a gentler more dissolving sense of being refined to an essence and of course it comes with a dose of inspiration and spirituality. There is a need to exercise caution here though as it can also carry the elixir of illusion. The reason why is that humanity finds itself suspended between an interesting paradox. Our global society is rapidly moving towards a post scarcity economics and at the same time racing against the clock of both climate change and ecological breaking point. In part a result of our current economic model and exacerbated by a dystopian and lopsided distribution problem. In a word it is a race between sustainability and breakdown.
The dream ultimately is that we move into a globally unified world. A world in which humanity engages in an unprecedented level of unilateral cooperation and that we act as a united front to solve some of our greatest existential threats. A condition in which we reach a level of scientific mastery where we can begin to exert some oversight over the natural and earthly conditions that shape our lives. A species no longer at war with itself unified by a common vision that respects human diversities, and ensures a leisurely life for all within an egalitarian social context (much as we had when we were hunter-gatherers). What’s more because we are dealing with Aquarius as the symbol cypher which means that it will be within a decidedly more secular context out of which this will emerge. Priests may be replaced by Scientists and technicians. The role once played by universal religions will now be filled by philosophy and spiritualities which deal less in myths and more in the physical realities as revealed by logical investigation.
The illusion aspect comes in when we recognize that because we are in a transition time between eras and to some extent astrological ages (with 2654 C.E. being the official maximum of the Age of Aquarius, which we are currently on the express way towards, so we are increasingly feeling its influence intensify). It is a slippery slope and if we don’t keep our wits about us and our feet firmly planted in reality it could easily slip from paradise to nightmare. We must continually address until it has been ameliorated satisfactorily the current and ongoing concentration of wealth into the hands of wealthy elites. This is a dangerous precedent that could threaten to descend most of us into a permanent state of material impoverishment if policies do not change to reflect a need to provide for everyone (universal basic income). We are also beset on all side by fractious divisions of religion, ideology, and social construct, including resource based wars, that we must address if we are to pass this gauntlet and establish ourselves in the Global Commons. There is a need to utilize this retrograde period to hammering out workable solutions to these great divides and of course these issues will consume us long after the retrograde it simply means we are thinking deeply about how to manifest the emerging spirituality of human unity.
The novel ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ by Robert Heinlein, in which participants of many different backgrounds are able to retire their differences while still respecting them and share in the Martian sacrament of sharing water, an apt metaphor that united both the Piscean and Aquarian ages together. We also still have to contend with the factions that are ultimately working against unification as their ideology only holds up with a divided humanity, and loses credibility in a world united and not polarized along ideological lines. In a word, in order for the dream to be viable and not merely a mirage we must deal with the hard edged and profound realities involved in birthing the dream to fruition, we cannot rely on vision alone, there is work to be done to prepare the world for its apotheosis and a transition into species adulthood. These fractious conflicts represent the growing pains of our uncertain collective adolescence, and only by resolving our internal struggles can we gain the integrity that defines maturity.
The Eleventh Hour: Global Initiation: Pluto Retrograde in Sagittarius: December 28th, 2015-September 26, 2016
“Politics and Religion are obsolete, the time has come for Science and Spirituality”-Arthur C. Clarke quoting Jawaharlal Nehru, who was paraphrasing Vinoba Bhave.
Pluto has been moving retrograde through Sagittarius for some time now and it speaks to very deep themes and specifically deals with a global initiation in which humanity is transitioning from a tumultuous and dangerous adolescence into a fully mature adult species. So many of our internal conflicts can stem from this and are further exacerbated by the selective pressure of Climate Change pushing us into the eleventh hour where we are toying with extinction, deciding between apocalypse or apotheosis. With Sagittarian symbol sets in the mix we are dealing with global scale (foreign lands, and long distances). This symbology is very fitting of our Era which is one in which we are driving massive changes in the planets geo-chemistry, transformations that may not favor our thriving if they move beyond a certain threshold. We will have reached our species adulthood when we are a species no longer at war with itself and we have unified into a truly planetized species where collective concern is synonymous with self-interest,. This period will be marked by scientific mastery and a period of experimentation and creative tension and flexibility.
The question is will we be doing it in a world of rapidly rising sea levels, chaotic climate, massive extinctions of flora and fauna, declining agricultural yields, constrained water supplies, unprecedented consumption, overpopulation, rapacious exploitation of dwindling resources and societal systems stretched to their fracture points. This is the most pressing issue of our times and of many generations to come, it will consume our minds, time, resources, technological prowess, and economic might. It is a transition that will require unprecedented unilateral cooperation and coordination if our species is to come out of it wearing the mantle of civilization. The Paris Climate Talks were just a glimpse to the multinational brokering that the future will be reckoning with, there will be many more summits like it ahead and we all need to be ready to make the difficult choices it will require so that we may pass through this evolutionary bottleneck.
The only pertinent question we should be asking ourselves in light of these selective pressures bearing down on us, in the most intimate level of our being is “if not me then whom? “. It is the most salient question because it implicates each of us individually in this collective maturation process and it makes us address the need to “put away childish things” (cyclical consumption, nuclear weapons, turning resources into garbage, and so on..). It gives us great power and responsibility to ask this question because if we are all individually responsible in some small or great way than we can begin to actually do something about the problem, it is the question that empowers us, makes the political personal, and becomes an imperative to our personal participation in this global transition, from insanity to sustainability.
The retrogrades occurring concurrently and superimposed certainly makes for a an intense period of reflection, review and revision. It is also an uncanny opportunity to craft a vision and course of action that will truly lead to a sustainable world future, and this review period is a great time to consider salient realities, critical factors and confounders that could derail the entire process. Like any technician it is a moment to go ver the experimental protocols and figure out what needs to be tweaked so ensure a successful result. While it is a time of frustration delays and tensions, ultimately it leads to a careful consideration of all the initial factors and to a prudent and deliberate trajectory that ensures maximum impact.
Keep feet on the ground and your eyes on the skies.
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