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The Uranus/Pluto Square: Breakdown or Breakthrough
by Ray Grasse
Beginning in 2012 and triggering several times up through the year 2015, the slow-moving planets Uranus and Pluto will be forming a close relationship to one another, a 90-degree angle (or what astrologers call a "square"). This is an enormously significant pattern, involving two powerhouse planets. But if you were to go by some of the comments being made about it online these days, you'd almost get the feeling that we're entering a new dark age of sorts, characterized by economic collapse, social upheaval, and environmental disasters. Yowzer.
But is that the whole story? After all, history shows that even the most difficult planetary patterns have a silver lining of some sort. With that in mind I'd like to share a few thoughts about a few of the more positive outcomes that could attend this planetary combo in the period ahead.
A useful point of reference here would be the mid-1960s, when these two bodies interacted with each other in a previous tight configuration. That one became exact in 1965 and 1966, though as with all such patterns its influence could be felt for years on either side. There's no question that the 60's were a turbulent time of social change accompanied by mass protests and occasional riots in the streets, as well as growing fears over possible global conflicts between Russia and the U.S., among other things.
But having lived through that decade myself, I also know this was an extraordinarily exciting time in other ways, characterized by a sense of new beginnings and shattered boundaries, when new ideas and discoveries were emerging on various fronts. The Beatles and Bob Dylan recorded their greatest work exactly at the peak of this conjunction; the space race was expanding our horizons with the thrill of new worlds; television was awakening to its inventive possibilities with shows like "The Twilight Zone," "The Outer Limits," and "Star Trek"; cinema was experiencing important breakthroughs through pioneers like Stanley Kubrick or experimentalists Kenneth Anger and Stan Brakhage; and ordinary citizens were breaking free from traditional values in favor of more liberated perspectives--e.g., the civil rights movement, women's liberation, gay rights, and environmental causes. Last but not least, this was a time of awakening spiritual sensibilities when Westerners became aware more than ever before of the spiritual philosophies and methods of the East, due to the influence of figures like Alan Watts and the Beatles.
With all that in mind, it's likely that the next phase in the relationship between these planets could also witness important breakthroughs or experimentations in the arts, technology, religion, the arts, and astronomy. (Might this even be the time when we finally make open contact with extraterrestrial intelligences?) On the social front, there will no doubt be serious injustices for us to contend with--but remember, injustices often bring out the best in our more spiritually-inclined citizens. Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King Jr. wouldn't have tapped so deeply into their own moral bedrock had they lived in more tranquil and less troubled times, I suspect. By that same token, it's possible that our own era's burgeoning inequities could spur many of us to stand a bit taller than ever before. Extreme times force us to clarify what we stand for. On more than one occasion I've heard young people say they almost felt cheated by not having been alive during the comparatively exciting Sixties, when there were real causes to be fired up about. (Who can forget Abbie Hoffman's classic comment about Gen-Xrs that college campuses had become "hotbeds of rest"?) Well, the wheel's coming around again, and it looks like we're entering another time when there will be plenty for anyone to get fired up about.
In some ways, we could liken the effect of a planetary pattern like this to the build-up of subterranean lava domes associated with volcanoes. It's already starting to feel like that around the world, in terms of a growing sense that impending eruptions might be about to transform the global landscape (perhaps even literally, in the form of geological eruptions!). There are enormously powerful energies released by such patterns, but they're volatile and unpredictable. On the one hand they could trigger fiery conflicts between individuals, countries, religious groups, or competing social classes; but on the other hand, I'm reminded of the way some countries have learned to harness steam energy from volcanic vents towards peaceful ends--a useful analogy for how these planetary energies might likewise be channeled towards constructive outcomes, whether that be artistic and/literary creations, spiritual teachings, social reforms, or new inventions and discoveries.
One more thing. During the 1960's, the relationship between these two planets was a zero-degree alignment, what astrologers call a "conjunction," while the upcoming relationship will be a 90-degree pattern, or square. Symbolically understood, whatever seeds were planted during the conjunction phase will come to fruition during the square--which means that the next few years could witness a recapitulation of issues or trends first ignited during the 60's. And there are signs that's already happening. Besides the recent emergence of "people power" movements that uncannily echo those of the 60's, there are intriguing examples from the arts, too.
Tale the case of writer J.K. Rowling, who was born in 1965 right at the peak of the Uranus/Pluto conjunction. In the years since her birth, the Harry Potter series has had a enormous impact around the world through both books and films (and fittingly, the title character sports a very Uranian lightning bolt-shaped birthmark on his head!). But notice how this project has reached its climax with the completion of the last installment in the film series almost exactly as the square between Uranus and Pluto now draws near--a full (quarter) swing of the planetary arc, both for J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter mythology that was born with her. Similarly, the Wachowski siblings of "Matrix" fame were also born during the Uranus/Pluto conjunction of the mid-60s, and were responsible for the script and production of the film "V for Vendetta," based on Alan Moore's graphic novel of the same name. With its tale of revolutionary figures and people power, the movie premiered in 2006 precisely as transiting Uranus opposed the Uranus/Pluto conjunction point of 1965; and now, just as Uranus and Pluto are starting to square one another, we increasingly see the iconic mask of "V" worn by protesters on streets around the world. Recall the movie's tagline: "The people should not fear their government. The government should fear its people." Finally, the hugely popular "Star Trek" TV series began in 1966 and since then has undergone various incarnations both on TV and the silver screen; but after seemingly running out of steam several years back, it's recently experienced a resurrection with a rebooting of the film franchise by J.J. Abrams (with the next installment of the series tentatively slated for release in 2012)--this, too, just as Uranus now moves into a 90-degree angle with Pluto. So the seeds of the 60's are starting to bear fruit in some interesting ways.
The essential thing to keep in mind is that the outcome of this Uranus/Pluto pattern is not written in stone--we all have a say in the matter. Whatever the outcome, it's not likely to be boring, so we might as well enjoy the ride. As Bob Dylan once wrote (during the previous Uranus/Pluto period, in fact), "...keep your eyes wide, the chance won't come again."
© 2011 Ray Grasse
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About the Author
Ray Grasse is an astrologer, writer, and associate editor of The Mountain Astrologer magazine. Ray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Ray Grasse's website.