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The Uranus-Pluto Factor



Since life right now is a bit like being at sea on a dark night, perhaps a few minutes with astrological navigation could be helpful.

I once asked a scientist if he was open to alternative ways of understanding the world. I think the drift was toward “No,” but that was months ago.

The world we live in seems to become steadily more unfamiliar. Almost daily people and institutions we respected and trusted are being revealed as unworthy. The democracy we have enshrined as the ideal form of government has ceased to function effectively here. Conflict worldwide reveals an extraordinary degree of personal hatred among countrymen. And the weather is also getting really weird.

I could go on of course, but that’s enough to make the point. We are losing our bearings, and the mind is eager for some way to anticipate what could happen next. This often results in a study of patterns, and that brings me to the subject of astrology.

Time and again, great and skeptical intellectuals have discovered that there does seem to be a connection between archetypal human experiences and certain planetary alignments. With that thought in mind, I recently interviewed Tom Brady, a respected astrologer in Santa Fe who has had a very active practice for twenty-five years.

Tom came to the practice as a skeptic and a philosopher with an advanced degree in the history of human consciousness. His skepticism having yielded to years of research, he speaks convincingly about the effect of the current alignment of planets Uranus and Pluto.

Each planet is associated with archetypal energies, and Uranus is all about twists and turns and unexpected changes. In our era, and with technology as the main driver, the rate of change seems to be increasing. Tom quotes architect Buckminster Fuller in describing it as “accelerating acceleration.”

Hurricane Time

The planet Pluto, which was discovered in only 1930, was named after the god of the underworld in Roman mythology. Its archetypal energy is powerful, destructive, and regenerative. Think death and rebirth, Tom advises. To be more specific, death of the old order is afoot.

We are currently under a configuration of Uranus and Pluto that occurs about every forty years. It creates the energy of “shocking transformation,” not only for the whole planet but also for every individual. The planets began to move toward this alignment in 2007, and it will endure through 2017.

The configuration creates “hurricane-like conditions,” Tom explains, so we are facing four more stormy years. He adds bluntly that what we do to address climate change now will determine whether humanity has a future. “It’s time to locate the lifeboats,” he says.

That’s the scary side of the astrological picture. However, Tom goes on to say that the Uranus-Pluto configuration will also support miraculous advances. We humans just have to decide what kind of shocking transformation we want to see and act to make that happen.

To get our bearings on this moment in history, it may be helpful to look at the previous configuration of Uranus and Pluto. It occurred in the 1960’s, and if anyone has ever felt that we have unfinished business with that time, astrologically speaking this is correct. The two episodes are part of a larger cycle that ends in 2047. A very big opportunity is at hand. If we miss it, we may be looking at devastating consequences by then.

But back to the sixties, a period of cultural change unlike any other in our history. We had sexual liberation, riots and protests, feminine and environmental activism, the Civil Rights Movement, the American Indian Movement, the first moon landing, the introduction of the first model of the personal computer, and the launching of the prototype for the Internet–among other things. It was a chaotic time and one that was also invigorating and liberating.

That kind of energy is afoot again with an additional edge in the idea of the last chance. Tom says that imminent weather catastrophes driven by climate change may actually be what we need to turn this decade of shocking transformation toward the positive. After all, nature is “the great equalizer,” he points out, and a hurricane will destroy a mansion as well as a trailer home. Catastrophe could serve both to wake up and unite the collective.

A further need, Tom asserts, is to cultivate human consciousness in a world dominated by digital technology. He counsels awareness and engagement with consciousness in general, and that can include the consciousness of the earth and all its creatures. Many are certainly embracing this path through the environmental movement and a growing interest in indigenous spirituality.

With regard to our intensifying obsession with the digital world, Tom warns that technology is changing us and quotes the poet William Blake: “They became what they beheld.” To create balance, we would be wise to define and cultivate the qualities that make us human. The chest tightens in concern over the young so engaged with the ubiquitous and ever more fascinating screens.

Tom’s concluding message was that this is a time of momentous change, and none of us will escape it either in our personal lives or as citizens of a world in turmoil. We all have to choose whether we will be swept along by whatever or commit to the kind of transformation we want to see. It would seem that anything is possible right now if we mobilize spiritually, stay in the moment, and make the kind of decisions hour by hour that will help shape a better reality.

That’s an inspiring challenge, and just this morning, I saw two stories in the newspaper that reminded me how this can work. One was about how the activist Pope Francis is cleaning up corruption in the Vatican bureaucracy and its bank. I hope he is having all his food tested, but what a brave and admirable undertaking.

Then there was another account of a trend noted in fast food drive-throughs in various places in the country, including Detroit. As an expression of goodwill in a depressing time, customers have begun paying for the purchases of the car behind them. This seems to be an example of “goodness gone viral,” as Catherine Hyde Ryan, author of Pay It Forward, put it. The idea is spreading. In Winnipeg, Manitoba, 228 consecutive cars paid it forward in one day.

Absolutely amazing. Maybe that’s the bright side of the Uranus-Pluto configuration manifesting. If so, this could be fun.



One Response to “The Uranus-Pluto Factor”

  1. Elizabeth Robechek

    Hey Ellen!

    Listened to my Tom B cd from a reading earlier in the year while driving to Ohio this past weekend and still find it right on and continuing to confirm what my life is about. Particularly, like the encouragement to lean into what makes us increasingly human.

    Have two proposals in to the American Public Garden Association for sessions at their annual meeting in Denver next June. Awaiting to see if the science of botanic gardens is ready for a spiritual infusion. Hope so. One session leans into how the garden is about relationship with nature (those intersecting stories I keep talking about) and the other session is about creating art from the heart! Encouraging visitors to botanic gardens to be offered an experience in retrieving their “abandoned inner artist”, in conjunction with the art exhibited in their garden programing.

    Will be looking for a book recommended by one of Bill Moyer’s recent guests…Sherry Turkle and her work, Alone Together, which speaks to how significantly all these wireless toys are actually changing us (not in a good way) as a species.