First Things First
“You need to decide at some point in your life whether you are more in love with what you know or what you don’t know.” (1)
This is the first of three articles which unpack the seven year transit of Taurus by Uranus, ‘the change maker’. The aim is to look unflinchingly at the prospects which this transit holds for us. Being unflinching above all means remaining grounded and allowing the power of the moment to speak to us and flow through us.
With Uranus involved anything is possible. We can expect everything from revelation, inspiration and profound transformation to shock, trauma and extreme disruption so grounding also means acknowledging the objects of our fears without giving way to fear itself.
Taurus is the primary matrix here, Uranus the catalyst – it is our own experience and nature, who we really are at root, which makes the difference.
The nature of our insecurities and the power of ‘attachment’ are among the many things that Taurus can teach us. Through Taurus we learn how love and appreciation can give value to ‘the things’ of life, a primal lesson which helps us to ground in life and goes towards developing a worldly sense of self.
The true test of such value is in whether we are able to change our perspectives and sacrifice the objects of our desire for a higher set of priorities. Through Uranus such ‘values’ and the ability to love and appreciate in which they are founded are taken to another level, re-prioritised regardless our intent.
With Uranus it is not unusual for breakthrough to be accompanied by breakdown. This can arrive fully loaded and uncomfortably ‘up-close’, in fact, rarely with Uranus does the reality we breakthrough to resemble our expectations. But, while Uranus can truly show us what we are made of, it can also push us beyond our limitations and reveal aspects of ourselves which we did not know existed. Uranus challenges us to grow.
So what happens if we choose otherwise, to hunker down with what we already know, so to speak – where growth, or Uranus, is resisted or the need for growth not being met, oppression and depression will often enough flag up the imperative need for change and, until we do, we might well feel as though Saturn is weighing down on our lives.
In our times this test has begun to take on a particular shape.
Initially, Uranus is briefly visiting Taurus, giving us a taste of what is to come, before returning to Aries in November 2018 for five months. The brief reprise of the Aries transit provides an invaluable opportunity for a recap; Uranus then begins its uninterrupted seven year transit of Taurus in March 2019.
Bringing the potential for transformative experiences to the sphere of fixed earth this will be a transit of two distinct halves and the qualitative difference between these two periods is pronounced.
The first period is marked by a sustained square between Uranus and Saturn, the second by an equally sustained trine between Uranus and Pluto with Neptune sextile both at their midpoint.
We must go through the rigors of the square and learn as much as we can from the experiences it brings before we can truly make the most of the trine which follows.
We are looking ahead, into a period that begins in 2019 and extends through to 2026. Why does it matter now?
With Uranus in Taurus until November we are in a preliminary zone to Uranus transit proper and also have the opportunity to re-assess Uranus seven year transit through Aries; it will then be 76 years before Uranus visits the cardinal fire sign again – from this perspective alone this represents a unique moment in time which provides us with the opportunity to adjust our thinking, with at least some awareness of ‘what is coming’ to hand.
Consider how the world has changed in the last seven years.
It is a contemporary truism to say that much in the way modern humans run human and planetary affairs suffers from chronic short-termism – the world would look very different were this not the case. Much now rests upon humans ability to change this state of affairs.
If we took ‘the longer view’ more often, incorporating it into our choices and vision of the future could we have been better prepared for that period, made better choices, and if we could, would we be better prepared now for whats coming in the next seven years? These are small timescales, manageable but a microcosm of the longer view we should be taking. It is as if real foresight and preparation were alien to us.
As we enter the first phase of Uranus transit we might find ourselves confronted with the need to decide whether it is better to rely on tried and tested ways of meeting the challenge of these times, or to allow change itself to change us. If it hasn’t been registering on our personal radar already, the value of foresight and preparation will soon become more apparent.
The Saturn Uranus square however brings a deeper alchemy to Uranus transit of Taurus; we must also consider the problem of ‘the meeting and synthesis of disparate forces’, a truly Uranian paradox with, potentially, a surprisingly Saturnian outcome.
Synthesis is not impossible between these two planets, they are after all considered by many to be the co-rulers of Aquarius. Common ground between them reveals that there is, in fact, nothing covetous about astrological Saturn or Uranus. Both involve a stoic disregard for the sentimental, if through very diverse means. Theirs is a curiously abstracted world, for all its physicality and direct impact, and between these two planets a higher level of choice must be consciously resolved.
In synthesizing these common elements a startlingly clear qualitative picture of our future is revealed. As dispassionate as it appears, it seems our future has a clear cut if not razor sharp edge to it. We need to look carefully at this prospect and decide what it excludes that we regard as essential, priceless and most desired. To consider how these elements will be integrated by us into our future, and discern what shape their synthesis might take, is our responsibility.
Would that the choice between Saturn and Uranus were so clear cut. The square will pressure us, challenge us to choose first, ‘pushing our buttons’ in the process. True, one choice leads downward, towards the already manifest world, the other upwards towards a world about to come into being – but this is not unfamiliar territory as there are many times in our lives when we must choose between the security of the known, with all its comforts and seemingly life affirming affiliations, and the outright thrill, the life renewing charge of the unknown, its promise of risk and growth, its innate sense of adventure and discovery. At a micro level we may not even be aware of having chosen one way or the other.
Although Peterson, in the quote at the head of this article, gives the decision a somewhat heroic stature, it is not unusual for the unconscious to be the arbiter in this choice, or to be the place out of which synthesis arises, and Uranus can facilitate direct experience of unconscious content.
Interestingly, a comparison between the predominant relationship that humans now have with nature and that between humans and the unconscious reveals that, to a significant extent, they mirror each other. The contemporary caveat is that whereas the unconscious is the primary field out of which synthesis can emerge naturally, humans suffer the same sense of alienation towards both nature and the unconscious and do not easily identify with the unconscious and its creations. The reality of their existence, like much of nature, for all our knowledge and insight remain a mystery to us.
After millenia of divergence between the mind of nature and human consciousness humans have adjusted to an experience of life which inevitably revolves around the fact of separation and the experience of not knowing. We primarily compensate for the insecurity this evokes with ‘progress’, rather than integration. Technological progress has not only contributed to this state, it has been fueled by it, a vicious circle that has further divided the world, primarily in terms of those who have access to technology and those who don’t. Neither is this simply a reflection of uneven distribution of wealth and resources; much of the technology which arrives in the public arena has already been far surpassed outside of the public realms.
Identifying, perhaps out of need, more readily with Saturnian certainty, such divergence carries pathological weight and humans are, for the most part, in desperate need of reconciliation with the powers of nature. This is a need central to their own well-being, a healing process in which an approach towards synthesis between the unconscious and conscious self is sought, wholeness being symbolic of something resembling their reconciliation. At the core of this process, which we are all involved in, consciously or not, is reconciliation with the shadow, with rejected and denied aspects of ourselves.
In medicine work this is an essential step, intended as an empowering experience as it is a step which once taken remains to be taken, familiarity with our own shadow dynamics being essential to its empowering nature. Uranus again provides ample opportunity for us to develop the much needed familiarity.
Such synthesis does already exist, has been integrated into human culture before, and can yet be found, primarily at an individual level, but humans have lost claim to it as a species. The Uranus transit of Taurus brings a glimmer of hope for its recovery.
Peterson, however, wants us to make a conscious choice first and foremost, to let our passions speak reason, and in so doing, for us to sense the intelligence behind the life force, the direction in which it is flowing in within our lives. Although these are choices which are constantly present, he is suggesting that when pressured into awareness, as when Saturn and Uranus are at odds for example, these are decisions we come to at those critical junctures where we sense a certain irreversibility about the outcome of our choice. They mark watershed moments which affect our lives thereafter. This too reveals the quality of the moment we are now entering.
Lessons In Choice
This quality, of irreversibility, has been building since Uranus first met with Jupiter on the Aries cusp in 2010; coincident with the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, this was a time marked by a Uranus Saturn opposition. Something began to change then, as if a decision had been made somewhere outside of the human sphere – if a line had been crossed, this was its consequence.
If we had seen previous disasters connected with the power generation industry escalating we were still living very much under the shadow of Chernobyl. The human response to what was probably the worst disaster of its kind known of at that time, was to go for Saturnian ‘containment’; in the aftermath, acting as if our knowledge and an exclusion zone was sufficient, we carried on regardless.
At Chernobyl’s Saturn return, some 30 years on, ‘containment’ and the reliability our knowledge was showing its weakness. The concrete casing erected to enclose the stricken power plant was found to be decaying and it became obvious that a new solution would be needed. Once again, however, containment was chosen, and a new ‘improved’ metal shell was devised to attempt cutting the radioactive core of Chernobyl off from the outer world.
If present technology is the determining factor here, ironically it is the lack of Uranian inventiveness and insight that is lacking; a classic example of humans once again showing the limited degree to which they are capable of learning from history, and failing to see the elephant in the room, some would argue ‘deliberately’.
The sealing of fate, as it were, was determined even more indelibly so however when Uranus finally entered Aries for its seven year transit of the cardinal fire sign in March 2011. This time has been irrevocably forged within present and future human history, no less so than through the catastrophic meltdown at Fukushima.
A quarter of a Saturn cycle after the event, Fukushima’s devastating impact on the biosphere and human life is still denied for the most part – once again Saturnian thinking has prevailed, this time equivalent to containment of the ‘shocking truth’, truth which has Uranus written all over it. The radiation cannot be contained this time.
This time we saw Saturn oppose Jupiter, suitably mirroring the polarity of the dynamic surrounding Fukushima, and found Uranus squaring the Moon’s nodes, just as it is now doing.
At the time of Fukushima the north node was separating from Uranus; now they are converging, as are we with an inevitably transformative future. In fact, Uranus will meet with the lunar north node in the second decan of Taurus at the midpoint of its seven year transit. Humans are far from impervious to the realities reflected in this subtle astrological factor, however.
In our times we face, and know we face, a great need. If these are rapidly developing times, with focus split many ways, while some issues may appear forced the uncertainty of what each day will bring is considerably ramped up. When there are simple answers, quite often there are no simple pathways to realizing them, especially when dealing with ‘planet sized’ problems.
Which, we must ask, is being reflected most here, Uranus or Saturn, and which would help us most; while our decisions become more crucial, such a foretaste of their dynamic is invaluable to us.
We know that the scale of these problems can no longer be downplayed, or the decisions they demand of us deferred to some ‘more suitable’ time.
Peterson’s choice is similarly based on a such a need; the longer it is not met, the more imperative it becomes – not choosing Uranus does not avoid it, neither can we sidestep Saturn. The lesson that needs to be learned from history here is that ultimately not only are our choices partial when we do make them, but our methods of choosing are not up to the task.
Through making either/or choices we create an either/or world.
Uranus and Saturn do provide some insight here – even though the apparent irreconcilability between Saturn and Uranus can be answered in two very different ways, it too is always about letting go. On the one hand is letting go into sufficiency and security, on the other is letting go of sufficiency and security.
At first glance these appear to be very Taurean issues. If both involve a specious ‘freedom’, the chosen outcome of the one reflects a very ideologically grounded conservatism, almost the epitome of Saturn, while the other reflects an untethered and potentially evolutionary radicalism. In fact, Uranus was famously described by Jeffery Wolf Green as the planet associated with ‘freedom from the known’, and there-in lies one of the psychological and emotive underpinnings of these times.
Uranus will test our insecurities in all their forms through its transit of Taurus, and especially under the square with Saturn, until we allow the values which inform how we meet those insecurities to be determined anew.
It is, at base, a matter of learning respect, at its most fundamental level, not as it has been learned in the past, through force and threat, but, through deeper insight and understanding, the higher level of Taurean love and appreciation. A glimmer of Taurus opposing sign can be seen at work here, but, more on this further down the road.
The Politics Of Experience
Collectively, humans have shown that working with this dynamic of choice presents a major stumbling block; history, distant and recent, tells us that the mechanisms for expressing unified and liberating choice are either brutal, inadequate, blinkered by the demands of the moment or are simply overridden in time, even in revolutionary contexts. There are few exceptions but outcomes are short lived, easily upturned, and often enough are shown to have been underwritten by deception, the shadow side of the human predilection for storytelling, a predilection we have developed, curiously enough, as a way of being more deeply involved in the story of which we are already a part.
That the shadow should so readily enter here is indication of an open or at least ‘latent’ wound, primarily one connected with the delusional consequences of inner division, consequences connected directly with disempowerment and suppression of the free spirit and natural state of the soul.
In this time, and very much in this vein, the shadow can often be seen lurking beneath the agendas of globalism and extremist ideologies of the far left, and right, just as much as it can be seen in the past which surrounds the founding of constitutional rights and ‘the Republic’. The Uranian qualities of the libertarian mask all too often conceal the Saturnian authority of control and hierarchic intolerance.
Nothing, we should realize, is immune from the shadow, any more than it is from challenge or reform, but, in the human world the most powerful defense of values will always be found where individual liberty and choice is undermined in the process.
We should remind ourselves here that the rights of ‘personhood’ are now simultaneously being raised in defence of both Nature and Corporations, a simultaneity which very much fits the Uranus Saturn dynamic. We would also do well to remember that political democracy had its roots not in the casting of votes, but in the drawing of lots, a very Uranian means to deciding Saturnian ends. (2)
Individually, however, the personal power of choice, even under duress, remains. Even in democratic application, and even though it is equally open to falsehood, at an individual level such power of choice is also more readily informed by conscience and awareness. At the same time, whereas the crowd tends to embody consensus, the individual is a lightning conductor for inspiration and the unique.
Such is the nature of the human spirit; it is essentially Uranian by nature, and knows and carries within it the true meaning of freedom, transcending the Saturnian boundaries between death and life – it is no accident that, historically, it has been subject to heavy suppression and dis-empowerment; its innate power will always present a challenge to the status quo.
It is no accident either that Uranus and Saturn are so deeply connected with the changing of the Ages. The dynamic between individual and society will take on new forms and create new structures to abide in under the Aquarian template. Old ways will inevitably fall away in the process – the question here is how much will humans be able to let go into and integrate their own decisions within this process.
Saturn will be in Aquarius squaring Uranus in Taurus through the first half of Uranus transit. The future we can envision may well be limited by the extent to which we can envision it, but our ability to envision it will be dependent upon radical transformations that we will see within the earth sphere. (3)
As above so below, as within so without, risk is at the core of the choices we make and this psycho-emotive reality lives within us, we know it and feel it. It is one of Uranus calling cards.
Even though Uranus is antagonistic to Saturn’s stability, paradoxically the way through Uranus can in fact lead to stability, realised at a higher level; if the choice is left to spirit, it will always choose the path of ‘freedom’. Discovering the ‘how’ of this is a part of the gift these two planets offer at this time.
This will be the focus of the third part of Uranus in Taurus; however, before we go there we must take our diagnosis to where Uranus brings change to Earth itself, and an entirely different form of ‘freedom from the known’.
(1) Quote attributed to the psychologist Jordan Peterson
(2) The drawing of lots, or Sortition, was used to elect the public officials who served within the city states of ancient Greece. Its underlying rational was that it effected absolute equality through its process.
(3) Although I do not give much weight to the planetary rulership of signs in these articles, where it does make sense here is in considering the rulership of Taurus not through Venus but through Earth itself. I have borne this in mind throughout this interpretation; however, in the article following this short series I will be exploring one of the themes arising further, through an astrological example set by Venus which is particularly relevant to the Uranus transit of Taurus, namely ‘initiation and “the mysteries” ‘.
Top : “The Space Between” by Rob Purday, 2015
Second & Fourth : Butoh Theatre, Sankai Juku
Third : “Skeleton Woman And The Hunter“, an illustration
by Rob Purday & Nooshka Storm, 2012