Astrology, despite its modern “pop psychology” status, is an ancient study, primarily of cycles, dating back in its origins to the times of early humans, who probably saw themselves as a mere specks on the backdrop of the incomprehensible world that they lived in. Marking these cycles was probably an effort to understand the world that they lived in, and a way of following what was happening, as they sought to find meaning in what might otherwise appear to be, a series of random events.
The outer planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, are, among other things, slow moving governors of the collective, their cycles speaking of the zeitgeist of the moment, the flavour of the times, and whose rhythms dictate the rise and fall of empires, the creation of political movements and the tidal idiosyncrasies of fashions and fads.
One of the most significant outer planet meetings in living memory, was, arguably, the conjunction of Uranus and Pluto in the mid 1960’s. These two planets recently came out of their waxing square phase, as they finally completed a long 7 year dance of exact squares, that has seen the global economy crash, nations fighting for independence, the rise of fascism, and “religious” war threatening many countries.
Prior to this conjunction in the 60’s, the last time these two planets met, was in 1851, with their “waxing square” occurring in the 1930’s……
The influences of Uranus and Pluto are not simple and clear-cut. During the Uranus-Pluto square of 1933-34, a pressing need to reactivate sagging economies after the worldwide crash of 1929 led in Germany to Hitler’s rise (he was seen at first as a reformer and national saviour) and in USA to Roosevelt’s New Deal (an enlightened move which actually gave background military-business interests an insidious leg-up)
Some facts that I found whilst researching 1851 was that The Great Exhibition was opened in what became known as the Crystal Palace. Constructed from a cast iron frame and glass it attracted six million people, equivalent to a third of the entire population of Great Britain between 1 May to 15 October 1851. Showing the best and most innovative that the empire had to offer, it also featured the first public conveniences in use in England. During the exhibition 827,280 visitors paid one penny each to use them which is where the saying “to spend a penny” comes from.
The New York Times was founded in this year, first published on September 18th, 1851, and some of the articles included were “Is Europe Ripe for Revolution?” & “Fugitive Slave Riots in Lancaster Co. Pa.” The 1850’s were as revolutionary for their time as the 60’s were…. Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species, putting forward the theory of evolution by natural selection in 1859 and Neanderthal fossils were discovered in Germany. Epidemiology also began when the source of an outbreak of cholera in London was traced to a contaminated water pump. Great strides were taken in the understanding of our world, and in it’s own way too this conjunction in Aries must have marked the beginning of a new cycle.
One amusing, but rather prophetic fact that I found was the following, …. The word girlfriend first appears in writing in 1855, with the word boyfriend following in 1856…….what a shy quiet whisper of the sexual revolution that followed with the next conjunction in the 1960’s!
There is a line from a song by the Doors, which comes to mind… “Break on through to the other side” which I feel encapsulates the energy of the 1960’s conjunction quite well, for I feel that above all, and in the spirit of all conjunctions, it was a time of new beginnings.
The energy of this powerful conjunction between two of the collective giants can be seen very much through the kinds of seemingly unimportant and perhaps apparently random events that occurred against the turbulent backdrop of Civil Rights, Assassinations and the grotesque horror of the Vietnam War. The hatred and fear of Communism, which had been part of American politics for several decades, found it’s bloodiest expression in this War. The fear of Communism, which was held as the antithesis of American individualism, triggered both this war and the difficulties that erupted during this time with it’s close neighbour Cuba.
New ideas and new beginnings were being born into this ferment, for as well as death, there was also a great deal of new life and one thing that permeates this particular period of history very strongly is protest. It seems to be a time when people felt that it was time to speak out strongly against what they saw as unfair, unjust and inhumane. The Vietnam War saw huge protest, that carried on right through the decade, throughout America and also in other countries, as people spoke out against the wisdom of America’s decision to fight a war on foreign soil, something that sadly is still happening today, although perhaps not for much longer. We see huge demonstrations in the USA, not only against the war, but as the civil rights movement comes to it’s height, as people of colour feel that it is the time to stand against the inequalities found in many parts of the USA. Innocent people lose their lives and Martin Luther King is assassinated, but still the protest continues, and eventually racial equality is brought in law to the entire USA. The racial question was not confined to the United States, for in Australia, Aborigines, who had not even been classed as fully human at some point in Australia’s history, were given full voting rights, which was a huge breakthrough for that countries history.
Student protests are big feature of this time, erupting in both North and South America, and also in Europe, as the rights of young people are brought to the fore on a global scale for perhaps the first time. Students in France managed to bring the country to the brink of Revolution, as their ideas captured the popular opinion. People were now ready to listen to the young on a large scale, “Youth Culture” had been born and appeared to go global, culminating in the Summer of Love, in 1967, an explosion of energy that literally “rocked the world”…. Things were never the same again.
Freedom and revolution were words that seemed to be repeated often, and freedom of information was something that I picked up on. The freedom of Information was brought into American Law, and also the Vatican abolished the list of banned books, which although it doesn’t seem too major, reflecting on the historical repercussions of book banning in a Catholic country such as Ireland, is actually huge.
One major new territory that was captured in this decade, was of course Space, with among other things the first space walk, the first view of Earth, and the first sight of the Dark side of the Moon, all achieved around the time of the conjunction. The first man to walk on the Moon did so in 1969, it was truly a period of immense breakthroughs.
In the month October 1965, Ian Brady was arrested for the brutal murder of a 17yr old man, and within weeks, bodies of children were discovered on the Yorkshire Moors, and Myra Hindly and himself were revealed as serial killers.
The peak moment for me though is the ephemeral… the energy of the Uranus Pluto conjunction must surely have been epitomized by a moment that will go down in British Television history. The first ever regeneration of Dr Who takes place as the face of William Hartnell morphs into that of Patrick Troughton, on the 29th October 1966.
Reflecting on events in the world there were a few happenings in the 60’s that stood out particularly to me, for their relevance in the recent past.
- In Libya, in 1969, Colonel Gadaffi came to power, a regime that has since crumbled, and Gadaffi himself has died.
- In Syria, after overthrowing the King, the Ba’at party come to power, the same regime that is still grasping hold of power there now, the sorry battle continues.
- In the USA in 1969, the Stonewall riots begin the Gay Rights movement in America, and this year the first openly gay leader of Ireland took office, what a breakthrough.
- The first message was sent via the forerunner of the Internet, and now, we are more connected than ever before….. the web is a global community that has exploded over the last 15 years.
- One other fact I noticed was that this was the time that they think that the first case of HIV was brought to the USA via Haiti from the Congo…. Perhaps they will find a cure in the next few years.
- On January the 2nd 1969, Rupert Murdoch bought the News of the World, which historically had always been a scandal sheet that relished in the communication of the lascivious and the shocking. This newspaper finally closed down in recent years amid huge scandal that has touched many of the respected establishments in the UK.
These occurrences reflect the stress of the waxing square, between these two planets, which has passed its exactitude now, but whose effects will be felt for many years to come.
My name is Joanna Grant, I am an Astrologer, Tarot Reader and Writer, who lives on the beautiful Beara Peninsula in the South West of Ireland. I can often be found at home, deep in arcane research, or practicing some new form of divination whilst burning the dinner! My children probably wish that I was “normal” but may well remember my eccentricities fondly when they come to face the challenges of their own paths. My long knowledge of Astrology leads and informs my practice, in offering guidance, empowerment and healing, helping others to lead a more authentic and magical life. You can read more about me here.
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