What Astrology Can Teach Us About 2016—and 2017
You might not think to connect the constellations and planets with the outcome of, say, an election, but it makes perfect sense to Dr. Jennifer Freed, a psychological astrologist in practice for the past thirty years. Her surprisingly practical wisdom from the cosmos is especially useful in the absence of pertinent advice and/or satisfactory explanations on a particular subject. (For instance, the insight of her recent piece on dealing with teenagers absolutely blew us away.)
So we turned to Freed for her perspective on the new political landscape. Here, she asks: What is the meaning of this, if any, on a cosmic level? And goes on to explain how the alignment of the planets—the pertinent ones are Pluto and Uranus, plus Neptune and Chiron in the sign of Pisces—applies to the current state of the world, as well as our own individual lives, right now.
Is the Sky Falling?
For many, the world seems to keep tipping upside-down: The vote for Brexit and for President-Elect Donald Trump seemed not only improbable, but unimaginable to half the populations of two countries. When cherished beliefs crash, we can rightfully ask: What is the meaning of this, if any, on a cosmic level?
To understand what may seem incomprehensible (or not, depending on your perspective), let’s look at the major planetary alignment we’ve been in since 2011 (it moves out of exerting influence in late spring 2017). The present transitory time is called the Pluto in Capricorn square Uranus in Aries cycle.
Astrological cycles are calculated mathematically by the geometric angles made between planets in the sky as they move across the heavens. Think of it like two gods or goddesses forced by circumstances to visit one another for a period of time. Depending on how they inherently get along, the visit could be quite pleasant and beneficial, or the visit could be riddled with tension and conflict. The six-year “visit” between Pluto and Uranus is defined by close and contentious contact, which has extremely high points of pressure as both planets are direct, retrograde, and stationary, working in a back-and-forth process within an exact 90-degree angle.
“Throughout recorded history, the interactions of Pluto and Uranus have corresponded to times of profound change: The last time they intersected this way was the 1960’s; before that, the 1930’s.”
The hard 90-degree angle of intersection between these two planets is symbolized by creativity, powerful tension, upheaval, and change. Throughout recorded history, the interactions of Pluto and Uranus have corresponded to times of profound change: The last time they intersected this way was the 1960’s; before that, the 1930’s.
The Pluto archetype is characterized by transformation and deconstruction of the old order. Symbolically, Pluto relates to death and rebirth. In mythology, Pluto is tied to the Greek goddess Persephone, the Sumerian queen Inanna, and the Hindu goddess Kali. In the sign of Capricorn (where Pluto currently resides), the planet represents an explosive pressure on collective rules, public institutions, and public figures.
The Uranus archetype is defined by rebellion and social change. Uranus is part of the myths of the great Sky God of Creation and the activist-awakener Prometheus. In the sign of Aries (where it currently resides), Uranus represents a focus on bold, pioneering, headstrong, and sometimes reckless and rash actions. Known as the divine rebel, Uranus signals both the humanitarian impulse for equality and freedom, and the raw, rebellious instinct to overturn conventions at any cost. The danger of Uranus unleashed—and unmediated by reason—is violence and egocentric rule.
The other important astrological influence that offers spiritual insight into our current state of affairs is the effect of Chiron (essentially a minor planet) and Neptune, which have been in the sign of Pisces since 2010 and 2012, respectively. Chiron, named after a Greek centaur, symbolizes the wounded healer, and in the sign of Pisces, it represents the spiritual truth that we are all ineffably wounded in our humanness, and that all humans share the suffering of this planet on a quantum level. In our respective bubbles, we forget that the apparent “other side” is feeling the exact opposite of us: When we make our progress, they feel devastated and abandoned. When they have their agendas confirmed, we feel shattered. Chiron, the healer, would remind us that no wound is more legitimate than another. From this perspective, a seemingly rapid overturning of liberal ideas can wake us up to some of our privileged or disconnected viewpoints that failed to encompass or truly understand the desperate suffering of those who have felt left behind as progressive agendas zoomed ahead over the last five years.
“Neptune in Pisces can lead us toward great denial, dissociation, and mass hysteria, or it can urge us toward the realization of spiritual unity, empathy, inspiration, and active kindness.”
The archetype Neptune symbolizes divine union at its highest level of expression, and a contagious mental and emotional madness at its lowest vibration. The sign of Pisces offers us different possible expressions of this energy, ranging from devotional compassion and altruism to nihilism and apathy, and downwards to addictions and delusional escapism. In other words: There are two manifestations of Neptune in Pisces, and they are akin to the flip-sides of a single coin. Neptune in Pisces can lead us toward great denial, dissociation, and mass hysteria, or it can urge us toward the realization of spiritual unity, empathy, inspiration, and active kindness.
Neptune is in Pisces until 2026, which gives us time and opportunity to transform the wedge between disparate ideologies into a commitment to begin to deeply understand one another. Neptune, the mythological Sea Trident God, and Pisces both represent the great waters: We can either swim together knowing our spiritual and karmic fates are intrinsically tied to one another, or we can keep swimming in opposing directions, causing tremendous sorrow to the soul of our world.
What decides whether the effect of a particular planet in a certain sign will be benevolent or harmful? The heavens do not pick sides. Astrologically speaking, we are in partnership with the divine, and ultimately, the manifestation of the archetypal energies of the planets is ours to decide.
“We are all the cause—and the effect—of our words, our actions, and more importantly, our inactions.”
We are all the cause—and the effect—of our words, our actions, and more importantly, our inactions. We must all ask ourselves: What did I do that brought us to this point? What did I not do, or say, that helped to create this current reality? If we are unhappy with the conditions we find ourselves in, we must then ask: What can I do now each day to take full responsibility for the world I want to live in and have our children grow up in?
By the spring of 2017, when the Pluto-Uranus cycle that began in 2011 wanes, we will face the consequences of the choices we made over the last six years. But what is crucial to remember is that we are active partners with the divine in the choices we make—we all have free will in the creation of the future. What will we choose? Furthering the insatiable will to power of the few and mighty, or increasing opportunities for all of us to be influential in designing our course forward? Promoting social and financial initiatives that close the gap between the haves and the have-nots, or escalating social and economic inequity? Fueling the atmosphere of hate and the intolerance for competing ideas, or fostering a climate of demonstrable empathy, which includes protecting the most vulnerable and targeted? Bolstering the militant, self-serving and rash tendencies of separatist factions, or elevating our investment in humanitarian causes?
One thing is for sure: All of us are going through this primal and disorienting challenge. We are indeed in great churning waters. It is our honor and our responsibility to be conscious and intentional with our deeds and our voices during this challenge. May we choose well for ourselves, and realize that our every effort is on behalf of generations to come.
Jennifer Freed, Ph.D., M.F.T. is a psychological astrologer who has been teaching and consulting worldwide for thirty years. Freed is also the executive director of AHA! which specializes in transforming schools and communities by focusing on peace-building peer-led initiatives.