Hello again and welcome back to Journeys 🙂 . Today I am sharing a new article on the discovery and astrological principle of the planet Uranus. Follow me as I try to nail down the sky…
“Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.”
(Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, by Douglas Adams)
For Leonard Nimoy
What does the future hold for the human race? It is the morning of the 21st century and we stand upon not just one threshold that could change everything but upon scores of them, many of which could destroy us with rapid effect. Change is afoot, change greater in magnitude and scope than at any other time in our race memory. We are cast into a vortex, a maelstrom of rapid change that may take us anywhere and pull the rug from under our collective feet at any time. Today, the morning I began this writing, the Sun rose over a devastated Nepal shaken by a powerful earthquake that has left thousands of us dead or buried alive. Some of us, as I write this today, are still there in the rubble, not knowing if they are being rescued or if anyone else knows they are there, lying in the ground disorientated and bleeding while the tremors continue to shake. Last week those people had no idea this would be their lot. Today, right now, you are no different. None of us know if we will make it through today in one piece. None of us know what today will bring for the world or how it will touch us, and there are forces at work that seem destined to bring us chaos on an epic scale. We are doing a pretty good job of ignoring it, on the whole, but that cannot last.
We are faced with truly global concerns. Climate change and an increase of ‘natural disaster’ is something that will, if left unchecked, ultimately affect each and every one of us. It may not be an earthquake or a flood that we have to deal with, but none of us will be able to escape severe consequences if we continue on our present course. Climate change is a major player in your fate and the fate of everyone you know and how we choose to deal with it now is up to you and everyone else. Our choices or the lack of those choices will determine the viability of the life of our children and their children, and probably even of the entire human race. All of our choices, not just some of them. In fact, even choosing to have children or not is a critical part of this process. Think about that because you are among the first to shoulder that responsibility for a very long time, a time longer than the memory of the human race itself.
Yet climate change and all its associated issues and problems is just one front of extreme and rapid change that we are facing – there are many others. Artificial intelligence, spatial and dimensional exploration, contact with extraterrestrial life, genetics and quantum sciences, quantum computers, near infinite power generation, virtual reality, faster than light travel, teleportation, cybernetics, terraforming, personal flight and matter replication and creation are just some of the avenues making rapid inroads into our scientific paradigm of reality, any one of which not just could but would, must force a revolution of our culture and society and ultimately of the human condition and our sense of ourselves, and also potentially annihilate us and devastate our planet.
We are shouldered with hefty responsibilities and every choice we make is heavily karmic and unpredictable as a result. This is an entirely new situation for us, but we have brought it upon ourselves. We have never been able to resist opening the bottle or rubbing the magic lamp to see what comes out. We have always believed that there might be something magical in there that could solve all our problems instantly, and we have always been curious. Often the magic we have unleashed has acted the way we have hoped – it has improved our lives, granted our wishes, made new things possible, and this has spurred us on faster and faster. But sometimes entire demonic hordes have sprung fully formed from the void – threats like nuclear war and human-made plagues – and even when instead it was the good genie who suddenly arrived to change everything we have rarely been able or even willing to foresee the negative consequences that might arise from our wishes being granted, and even more rarely have we been keen to examine them before we pop the cork and quaff the potion. As a collective we generally embrace wondrous new technology and breakthroughs with enthusiasm, but today these advances have proceeded so far that they begin to raise ethical questions and existential threats as our responses collectively define what the human race will become and where it will end up. The toaster was an amazing invention but it did not raise questions about the role of humanity in the universe. Artificial intelligence will undoubtedly do so. Today, the questions we face as a result of our technological inventiveness are on a scale that dwarfs those of the generations who came before us because their consequences will define what it is to be human.
Amidst this seeming chaos and the pressure of needing to choose the right path we are feeling somewhat castrated and feel incapable of taking control over the wheel of this particular car. We are besieged with information but lack clarity and the situation seems inherently uncontrollable to us, the governments we elect do not seem to change the course, the religions we follow do not seem to change the course, the sciences and the arts do not change the course – nothing seems to be able to take the reigns of power and steer us away from the edges we see ourselves going over in the future. We look around for leadership to get us out of the messes we are all in but the leadership is part of what led us here. Meanwhile, the Doom Clock is perpetually stuck in the last 5 minutes of human history but inevitably ticks closer to The End as time passes and some of us are getting understandably very fed up with this whole situation and have taken to protest about it or to remove ourselves from ‘the grid’. What each of us shares in this is a helpless, nagging and incessant awareness that this must all be leading somewhere very dramatic and significant, but we have no idea what that will be.
This is the stage set for us by the planet Uranus, the subject of this message. It is the second in a series of articles titled ‘A Scorpio Mystery’, the first of which examined the astrology behind the discovery of Chiron. This lengthy writing will follow a similar pattern and begin to set out my understanding of the connection between the 4 charts introduced in ‘A Scorpio Mystery’. It will contain an account of the discovery of the planet Uranus, its naming, its mythology and properties, a discussion of its astrological principle and how that developed and a message passed to me while investigating the chart for the discovery of the planet Uranus. This message is about the nature of the human condition and the human spirit and how it can overcome the many challenges it has created for itself. However it is not an easy path and the problem is compounded by the fact that there are no definitive objectives. It is our task to literally conjure and summon the objectives, which is a major way in which astrological Saturn differs from astrological Uranus. There are also no singular, linear paths here either, only a multifaceted web of unending choices and alternatives to the path we are currently on, none of which hold all the solutions. Yet paradoxically all the solutions are waiting to be found, and find them we must, and can.
Imagine the world in which we have met and overcome all these challenges. Imagine that humanity, looking out upon its tomorrows. If you can imagine that today, you are sitting on the same side of the table as the Sky Father. He is waiting for us to remember him and his beloved, Earth Mother, and to lay out the feast for them. So we should begin.
We begin with a single extraordinary individual, this one:
Coelorum perrupit claustra.
(He broke through the barriers of the skies.)
Take a moment to really look at this portrait. Notice the impression it makes, the kind of person being expressed in the facial features, the posture, the soul behind the form and the general character of the man. What kind of human being is this? Every face tells a story, so what about this one? You cannot be wrong, the question is only what does the uniqueness of you perceive and sense in the uniqueness of him? I am going to be asking questions in this writing but I will not provide nor expect answers to some of them, these questions are for you to think over and come to your own conclusions, they are to prompt you in locating your own Uranian awareness. Just let whatever his appearance here has to say to you simply emerge without the need for information and before you read any further.
His name is Frederick William Herschel and he was born on November 15th 1738 in Hanover, Germany. His life story is an extremely apt illustration of the astrological nature of the planet he eventually discovered, Uranus, so it is worth sharing in some detail. Before we do that, however, it is worth looking at his chart and noting the fact that he was born with a Moon-Venus-Uranus conjunction in Capricorn, while Saturn and Uranus were in opposition (as well as Uranus and Neptune). I will be returning to these details later. We lack a birth time for this chart and the version below has been rectified by another astrologer, so please treat the houses/temples with caution (even though in my own view the time seems accurate enough). Even without the birth time, though, the details I have just mentioned remain true.
If he looks English to you it is because he left Germany at the age of 19 and moved to England where he lived out his life and made his mark on history. Most of the accounts of his life you will encounter do not make mention of his reasons for leaving because to some people they detract from the shine that the rest of his life story communicates. The man is practically a saint to astronomers (and with good reason). To me these early events are an important part of his story and go a long way towards establishing the kind of person he is.
Herschel was born into a talented musical family with 9 other siblings, four of whom died at a young age. He was closest of all to his younger sister and brother, Carolina (or ‘Lina’ as he affectionately called her) and Alexander, and was protective of Carolina throughout his life, perhaps because in 1760 Carolina (today referred to as Caroline) was struck with typhus, stunting her growth at four-foot three at the age of 10 and – in the eyes of her parents – stunting her marriage prospects even more severely. Herschel’s fondness for her may also have been because her desires and ambitions in life were held back by her mother, who distrusted the learning of anything other than household skills because she felt William would have returned home if he had received less education. These were commonly held attitudes at the time. Caroline wanted to learn and her father wanted it too, but her mother opposed the idea and thought it was best for her to train to be a house servant.
At the time that 10 year old Caroline was struck with typhus, however, Herschel was in his early 20s and had already moved to England where he could do little for her. This came about because in 1755 (at the age of 17), William and his older brother Jacob along with their father were members of the band of the Hanover Guards when the regiment was ordered to England (at the time, Hanover and Britain were united under the rule of King George II who was on the verge of the Seven Years’ War with France). The Hanover Guard were later called back to Hanover to defend it from the French and it is then that Herschel, an oboist, is involved in one of the strangest battles in history, the Battle of Hastenbeck, in which both commanders think they have lost and retreat at the same time before the French realise what is going on and claim the battlefield. There were about 4,000 causalities in this battle, which is considered light.
This was a dismal failure for the Hanoverian army and afterwards Jacob was dismissed from the Hanover Guard but William was not, and at this point he was (amidst considerable difficulty and claims of frail health) hurriedly packed off back to England by his family. He was therefore accused of desertion at the age of 19 and this is the reason that he came to settle in England. He was later pardoned of this charge by King George III.
In England he began to bloom and grow in popularity and status, a course which he stayed upon for the rest of his life. He had by now an intelligent grasp of the language, as well as Latin and French, practiced skill in playing the oboe, violin and organ and had almost certainly formed some connections from his previous visit. He also had an attitude of doing whatever needed to be done, an approach of buckling down to the task no matter how vast or time consuming and getting on with it. He had passion. This attitude was the driving force that gained him musical work and eventually turned him into a world famous discoverer.
For a period he is a productive musician, following the imprint of his family and of his chart (note that the Tail is in the 5th, with the rulers of the Tail, Saturn in Cancer and Uranus in Capricorn – the ancestral signs – being in the 10th and 4th temples). He makes an impression here too – he had become a keen mathematician from studying music and possessed a remarkable talent for playing that had been in his family for generations. Correspondence between him and his family is regular and warm, with news coming back of his appointments and success in music and his life in Bath. His father had a stroke in 1765 and died in 1767, and Caroline’s affection for William seems to increase after this, having transferred now wholly over to her brother. Five years later, in August of 1772, William arrives in Hanover to take her back to England with him. He liberates her from a dead end existence and opens up all the possibilities that were before now only available to him, and together with their brother Alexander (who had moved to live in England in 1770) the three embarked on a journey that would change the world. I think it is important to understand that everything proceeded from this family loss, that the success of this venture really depended on all three of them and that the discovery of Uranus would probably not have happened when it did if it were not for their combined efforts. The contribution Alexander made is so poorly documented that I could not even locate an image of him for this writing.
The venture was of course astronomy and it was primarily motivated by a simple but very human desire possessed by William – to see with his eyes all the things that science had said was there. This is important too, because he was not content to simply accept things at face value, he wanted to witness them for himself. He went further than this, though – he wanted to see better and farther than anyone else had before, and that meant he had to make his own telescopes, powerful ones. This is where the much understated help of Alexander came in, because between the two of them they ultimately produced over 400 telescopes, the lenses of which had to be hand polished to accurately exact curves, a task which they sometimes set themselves to for up to 16 hours at a time without break. William and Alexander made so many telescopes, of course, because they were of the finest craftsmanship and became very popular even before the famous discovery took place, and indeed without this instrumentation Herschel’s discovery would have been impossible.
Carolinas role was in the observational area. She became an accomplished astronomer in her own right, no mean feat for a woman in the 18th century, and was the first woman to be paid a salary for science at a time when some eminent men could not manage that. She wanted to be able to earn her own wage and pay her own way in life and so clearly this would have been an accomplishment she was proud of. She was, however, personally and reverently devoted to William and was heartbroken to eventually survive his death in 1822. She began to make observations of her own in 1782, at Williams suggestion, and contributed a great deal to his efforts to scan the entire heavens. Independent of him she discovered 8 comets, a companion galaxy to the Andromeda galaxy and catalogued many other galaxies and nebulae. She was no stranger to more painful work, either – she also spent many hours polishing lenses and mounting telescopes and recorded and organised many of her brother’s observations, at one point in 1783 getting caught on an iron hook and having to part with 2 ounces (60 grams) of flesh to win back her freedom.
William was also involved in the creation of the instruments and the observational practice, into which he poured intense energies, but his chief genius was in conjecture and interpretation. He himself “began to look at the planets and the stars” in May 1773. He began a comprehensive survey of the heavens (the first of repeated ones), often sneaking away from playing the harpsichord between Acts at the theatre to go outside and observe the night sky. He was carrying out his resolve to see everything for himself with a typical determination, close attention and thoroughness. The family had rented a Gregorian telescope from town and William used it not just for observation but for studying and experimenting with its construction. He immediately formed the idea that he needed a really big one – 18 or 20 feet long – and set about creating it. His first more conventionally sized telescope was completed in 1774, at the age of 36, and the music (at which he excelled, along with Alexander) was also still going on at this stage. Larger telescopes followed in 1775 (7 foot), 1777 (10 foot) and 1778 (a better 10 foot telescope), leading eventually to the 40 foot telescope constructed between 1785 and 1789, with which two moons of Saturn were discovered (Enceladus and Mimas).
On this point, before we move on to talk about his discovery of the planet Uranus it is worth pointing out the sheer scale and variety of his other accomplishments, achievements which really underscore the powerful importance of that conjunction of the Moon and Uranus in his chart (which produces a person with an endless inspiration and a multiplicity of inventive or new things to offer and often an insatiable scientific or technological curiosity). In the course of his life, William Herschel made the following additional contributions to humanity:
– The building of the largest telescope in the world for more than 50 years.
– The discovery that some stars are binary stars. This was the first demonstration of Newtonian gravitational laws outside of the solar system.
– The discovery of hundreds of new star systems including a galaxy in Aquarius.
– The discovery of the solar apex (the direction the Sun appears to be moving towards as it orbits the Galactic Centre).
– The discovery of Titania and Oberon, two moons of Uranus, as well as possibly first sighting the rings of Uranus (and describing their colour as red).
– The discovery of the peculiar motion of the Sun, an important contribution to stellar kinematics, the study of the motion of stars relative to the Sun.
– The discovery of over 2,500 new nebulae (many of which are galaxies) and star clusters. The first 1,000 discoveries were made in just 18 months.
– Invented the term ‘asteroid’ after the discovery of Pallas (by Heinrich Olbers) in 1802.
– The first description of different types of stellar spectra or starlight.
– The discovery that an unfilled telescope aperture could be used to obtain higher resolutions (which has been applied to the study of the information contained in electromagnetic waves and has become a fundamental tool of modern astronomy).
– The discovery, while observing the Sun, of infrared radiation and the fact that there are invisible regions of light (implemented today in many medical devices and in meteorology, communications, imaging, heating, art restoration and investigation and night vision equipment among many other things).
– The hypothesis that light and heat are part of the same spectrum, parts of which we see with our eyes while other parts we feel as heat on the skin (i.e. he foresaw the existence of the electromagnetic spectrum).
– He proposed that different colours of light had different effects in chemical reactions (he was again correct and this is now made use of in the taking of photographs).
– The discovery of Enceladus and Mimas, moons of Saturn.
– The measurement of the axial tilt of Mars and the discoveries that its polar ice caps are seasonally affected and that there is a very thin atmosphere present.
– The realisation that the solar system is moving through space.
– The realisation that the Milky Way galaxy is shaped like a disc.
– 24 symphonies and many concertos.
The list above is by no means complete; it is just the highlights of what he left behind him. On grounds of scale and size alone we could be justified in calling him the greatest discoverer in human history, but these contributions are also significant for their quality as well as their quantity. Lest we get too overly impressed by these achievements, however, its worth remembering that he also proposed many ideas that have been less well received – that there was life on the Moon akin to that found in the English countryside, that there were intelligent beings on Mars and all the planets of the solar system and that the interior of the Sun was also populated. In the 18th century the notion of an abundance of intelligent life in the solar system was apparently a fairly common view in the scientific community.
However the discovery for which Herschel becomes not just famous but perhaps even legendary is the discovery of Uranus in March of 1781. He did not immediately recognise it as a planet, thinking it to be a comet, but by 1783 was forced to officially admit that he had indeed discovered a new planet moving in front of the horns of Taurus.
The find changed his life in an instant and made him world famous overnight. Suddenly, everybody wanted to meet with him. You see, it may be hard for us today to grasp because we live in an era in which amazing discoveries are made regularly, but this was truly earth-shattering news because nobody in time immemorial had discovered a new planet. Herschel was the only one, and he changed the astronomy that had been traditional since before astronomical records began. The man was suddenly promethean, akin to Galileo, but whereas Galileo had effectively shattered a moral paradigm Herschel had suddenly shattered a scientific one, and a colossal one at that. The Earth suddenly had a mysterious new neighbour somewhere out there in the vast reaches of space beyond Saturn. Nobody today remembers the person/s that ‘discovered’ Saturn, if there ever were such an individual/s, the knowledge is just too ancient. That’s how huge this was, how huge Herschel suddenly became. The highest possible honours were heaped upon him –the Kings Astronomer, the Copley Medal, Fellow of the Royal Society – and he was compelled to focus the remainder of his life on astronomy (which he was passionate about anyway). Yet in all this lavish attention and meteoric rise he felt harassed, not puffed up, he continued to polish lenses despite frequent interruptions and needing to be at the whimsical beck and call of King George III (who had him moved to Windsor), and was constantly trying to politely give men of learning the slip so that he could check on progress with the furnace being built for his 30 foot reflector. His private passions had been interrupted, you see, and that is not a nice thing to do to a Scorpio.
Uranus was not initially named Uranus and it was not named by Herschel. He chose to name it Georgium Sidus, Latin for ‘Georges star’, to flatter his patron and aid people in remembering that it was discovered in the reign of King George III. But the French did not like this, and so eventually (after the name ‘Neptune’ had been put forward but failed to stick) the name Uranus was given to it by another well know astrologer, the German Johann Bode, well known for the Titius-Bode law, a mysterious algorithm that suggests there is a mathematical resonance at work in the structure of the solar system. This law, simply put, observes that the planets in the solar system are spaced according to a simple pattern of doubling numbers (3, 6, 12, 24, 48, 96, etc). In other words each planet is about twice as far away from the Sun as the previous planet in the order they appear outwards from the Sun. The distance to Uranus had been accurately predicted by this law, as had the position of Ceres in-between Mars and Jupiter where there was a ‘missing planet’ according to the number pattern. Those predicted gaps were now being filled and so Bode was ready to suggest that the new planet be named after the mythological ‘father’ of Saturn, Ouranos, just as Saturn had been named after the mythological ‘father’ of Jupiter. This was the first Greek god to present itself as a planet, the former ones being Roman. Interestingly, the name probably stuck because Bode drew support for his choice from another field when in 1789 chemist Martin Klaproth chose to name his newly discovered element uranium in support of Bodes proposal. So the establishment of the association of the planet Uranus with uranium came strangely enough before the establishment of the association of Uranus with its own name, and is an inherent part of that story. It was an association given through its own naming process via scientific tribute and the consequences of political rivalry between France and Britain and not by astrologers or their work. It is therefore a natural analogy that arose coincident with the emergence of the planet in our awareness and gave astrological Uranus a concrete place in the periodic table of chemical elements. A similar thing happened with Neptune (there is a Neptunium) and with Pluto and Plutonium, but Neptune’s discovery coincided with the emergence of the periodic table itself, as I will explain in the next article in this series. Crucially, though, all three of these materials are deadly radioactive substances for humans to handle. The same is not true of the substances associated with the more traditional planets.
But what about the planet he discovered – what is it like? Strange is perhaps the best word to describe it. Unlike Jupiter and Saturn, which are gas giants, Uranus is an ice giant, composed of heavier substances. This does not mean that it is now mainly formed of solid ice (although ice is present); instead it means that when the planet was formed its constituent parts are thought to have been ices rather than gases. The indications are now growing that ice planets are fairly common in our galaxy. But Uranus is strangely different for other reasons and there are many questions about it remaining and continuing to present puzzles, with no human probe currently on its way there so the chances of any further close inspection in the near future are zero to minimal. The most recent probe of the planet was the Voyager 2 mission which had its encounter in 1986 and there are no plans to launch a follow up on a journey that would take 12-13 years by current propulsion. So we are not likely to get much closer to this world for some time to come, and very shortly we will likely know more about Pluto.
One of the most striking properties of Uranus is the fact that its poles are roughly where the other planets have their equators, which means that it appears to roll around the Sun more like a ball than a spinning top. This odd motion causes its electromagnetic body – containing many charged particles, mainly protons and electrons – to spiral and corkscrew out into space rather than trail behind it like a tail. It also means that each of the poles spends half of the year in darkness and half in light, but the year on this planet is of course not the same length as an Earth year, because from this far away it takes 84 of those to go around the Sun. Thus, each pole is bathed in 42 ‘Earth years’ of light followed by 42 ‘Earth years’ of darkness. We don’t know why this is. The popular theory is that it was violently knocked during the formation of the solar system, but this theory has a flaw in that it stretches to explain why the major moons of Uranus are also similarly orientated.
This extremely unconventional axial tilt also means that there is a little confusion and controversy as to which pole is north and which is south, (although there is still an IAU standard in place that many astronomers use) and it also causes the seasons on Uranus to be markedly different to anywhere else in our system. We also do not understand why its equator is hotter even though both poles receive more energy than the equator does. We have learned that the centre of its magnetosphere is not located in the planets centre but shifted towards the southern pole by as much as a third of the planets radius. This causes wild fluctuations in the magnetosphere to be present and seems to be a feature of ice giant worlds (Neptune has a similar condition).
It also rotates on its axis in the opposite direction to Earth and most other planets in the solar system (Venus is another exception), taking about 17 hours to spin, and in the upper atmosphere there are strong winds in the clockwise direction of this rotation, except at the equator where they blow in reverse. The winds in the northern hemisphere have been observed reaching a velocity of 200 metres per second.
Of the giant sized planets in our family of planets this one is the smallest in terms of mass. It appears to be a pale blue, cloudy sphere about 4 times the size of the Earth with a system of rings and dozens of moons. The blue is created by the heavy methane in its atmosphere which absorbs the red light in the spectrum leaving only the blue to escape from below the cloud layer. The planet itself is thought to be composed of an icy mantle with an atmosphere of hydrogen and helium surrounding a relatively small inner core of silicate and iron-nickel. Due to the extreme high pressure the mantle is thought not to be like ice in the conventional sense but a more fluid substance with a high electrical conductivity, an ammonia ocean, and experiments in laboratories have indicated that the extreme temperatures and pressures involved cause the methane molecules to break up and the carbon to crystallise into diamonds which rain down like hailstones. Closer to the core the mantle is hypothesized to be composed of liquid diamond with ‘diamond-bergs’, features which may be involved in the eccentric axial tilt.
For practical proposes this means there is no solid surface to walk upon there. The hazy blue gases just gradually transmute into liquids and fluid ices, and the rocky inner core is too deep within the planet to be able to walk upon it and is not solid ground as we know it. You would also be crushed into diamonds should you drift in that deep. It is, essentially, a less physical place than our Earth. It is also ultra cold, with a recorded minimum temperature of -224° Celsius (Neptune is on average colder but does not reach the extremes of cold found on Uranus). If human beings do eventually move out this way it will probably be firstly to set up bases on the moons, with robots being sent to the surface of the planet.
These moons currently number 27 and are interspersed among the 13 known rings. They have been named after spirits, faeries, sprites and characters from the works of Shakespeare and Alexander Pope. The majority of the spirits whose names have been appropriated are Sylphs, beings of the Air Element, while many of the names drawn from Shakespeare are from the play ‘The Tempest’. We have divided the known moons into three groups consisting of 13 inner moons, 5 major moons and 9 irregular moons.
The inner moons are all placed inside the orbit of the major moon Miranda and of these the two innermost moons, Ophelia and Cordelia, act as ‘shepherd moons’ to the inner ring system. A shepherd moon is a moon that orbits around the outer edge of a ring system or in the gaps between them and through its gravity and other effects causes the curve of the ring to have more clearly and sharply defined edges, and also theoretically a certain colouring.
The 9 so called irregular moons (named for the irregularities in their orbits which suggest they are captured entities rather than moons formed on site) are far flung moons which lie beyond the major moon Oberon. The furthest of these moons so far discovered is called Ferdinand and it orbits the planet from about an average of 21 million kilometres away. There is every reason to expect further discoveries to be made from Earth based observations.
The 5 major moons which lie in the middle are named Titania, Oberon, Ariel, Umbriel and Miranda. Of these Titania is the largest moon of all, being about half the size of our own satellite. There are many good images of them now available and each of these moons has revealed interesting features. Titania is named after the Queen of the Faeries from ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’ and has fault lines which indicate it was geologically active in the past. Oberon is her husband and companion, and it too has fault lines but in addition is the most heavily cratered moon in the Uranian system and displays a four mile high mountain. Both of these moons probably harbour subsurface liquid oceans. Ariel is named after a sky and wind spirit and is the brightest moon with the youngest, least cratered surface with many ridged valleys and canyons, also likely to have been formed by some form of liquid emerging from the interior (but not water, more likely liquid ammonia or liquid methane). Umbriel is named after a spirit of shadow and dusk, and is the darkest moon of the system, the reasons for which are not known. It has an old and heavily cratered surface with no canyons (suggesting it has not been shaped on the surface by a liquid interior erupting) but sports a mysterious crater near the equator that displays a ring of light due to some kind of bright material contained within it. This is thought to be an impact deposit of some kind. Finally, Miranda (named after Prospero’s daughter in ‘The Tempest’), is unique among all the moons of the solar system because its surface appears to be a jumbled patchwork of terrain melted together. It is only 290 miles wide but has massive canyons 12 miles deep, some of which form into a massive V shape known as ‘the chevron’. Theories for this odd landscape include Miranda being shattered and reforming several times or being sculpted by surges of partially melted ice from within the interior.
The moons are in many ways related to the rings, since many of the rings are likely to be old, lost moons and some of the moons sweep up the dust and ice to create the rings. The rings are therefore created in large part by the moons and represent the past and future of these moons. The 13 rings of the Uranian system are also noteworthy in that they contain a stunningly beautiful and rare blue ring (there is another around Saturn) recently discovered at the outer edge, as well as the usual inner red ring with finer grey rings. The explanation for this colouring will probably be found on Enceladus and Mab, the two moons of Saturn and Uranus which shepherd their planets blue rings.
As can be seen from this short description this is a complex and possibly unstable system – the inner moons are continually perturbing one another, the irregular moons are in eccentric orbits and the major moons clearly interact with the parent planet in an unknown way, having their poles aligned to match it. There are no easy answers for astronomers in this system and it will take a Herculean effort to comprehend all of its complexities. It would not surprise me if in trying to understand the Uranian system we ended up rewiring many of our assumptions about astrophysics, especially electromagnetism and gravity, eventually revolutionising our thinking of space itself.
The astrology of this new planet took some time to emerge. The late 18th century does not leave us many examples of astrologers grappling with the meaning of a whole new planet. The association with uranium had already emerged, of course, and so there was a potential for interesting research into that connection, but as far as I am aware nobody took up that challenge. The reputation of astrology at this time was extremely poor, the practice being largely one of charlatans, and anybody who was treating it with more depth was tarnished with the same brush. This was an age in which rationalism and the Enlightenment along with questionable and lazy practices had weakened astrology considerably, with Voltaire telling us that no sensible person took it seriously. Essentially it had died out except for secret practices within groups like the Freemasons. The arrival of Uranus actually seems to have changed that but not instantly, as in the first half of the 1800s astrology grows in popularity again with the rise of Romanticism as a reaction to the Industrial Revolution. The connection between Aquarius and Uranus seems to have been definitively stated for the first time in this period, in a book by John Varley (a friend of William Blake) in 1828. His reasoning is not at all clear and seems to have been inspired by personal experience with the transits of ‘the Herschel planet’, which he found to have a connection to accidental happenstance, sudden and surprising events and upsets – his house caught fire and burned down as the new planet was crossing one of the angles of his chart, an unexpected event that thanks to astrology he was anticipating. It is also unclear why this association with Aquarius eventually stuck, but one theory is that this seemed reasonable to astrologers of the time because of the following scheme:
– Virgo was ruled by Mercury
– Libra was ruled by Venus (the next planet out from the Sun)
– Scorpio was ruled by Mars (the next planet out from the Sun)
– Sagittarius was ruled by Jupiter (the next planet out from the Sun)
– Capricorn was ruled by Saturn (the next planet out from the Sun)
– Therefore, the next planet out from the Sun should be the true ruler of Aquarius.
This was also probably a large reason as to why Neptune was assigned to Pisces, but by the time of dealing with Pluto this attribution pattern was dropped and instead of being given to Aries our thinking on Pluto settled into Scorpio because by its effects it seemed to have more affinity there. This is the reasoning of astrologer and historian Robert Hand, and human nature being what it is the process by which these things happened is probably more complicated than that, but if this is the main reasoning for the attribution of Uranus to Aquarius it is deeply flawed and arises from a decline in astrology of the usage of essential dignity and of planetary sect, i.e. of the impact and importance of the Fluids. The arrangement of the zodiacal rulerships (the core part of essential dignity) is not an arbitrary assignation but one with a clear and ancient philosophy, a wisdom that had already been largely stripped from astrology. However I do not question the affinity of Uranus with Aquarius at this point, even though some astrologers do, I am simply questioning the hasty and uninformed method by which it seems to have been arrived upon and the idea that this affinity amounts to a rulership. In my experience, it does not. I think we need new terminology to describe this new condition.
The important thing to note here, though, is that this attribution did not occur until 47 years after the discovery was made, and that progress made on investigating the astrological nature of this planet did not get into full swing until much later. Contrast this with today’s far more rapid pace of attributing qualities and significance to every new object turning up in the sky, often without empirical research.
The Uranian connection with astrology is put forward in 1879 by Robert Cross writing as ‘Raphael’, and I think it is safe to assume that the connection with lightning and electricity are commonly held assumptions that stem from the mythological lore of Ouranos, who is a god of the sky and storms. The connection with madness and insanity may have emerged from ‘the madness of King George’, but I have found no evidence of that (however it is interesting to note that the parallels between the events of his life and the astrological nature of Uranus are very striking). Due to time constraints and a lack of research materials from the period concerned I have been unable to trace the development of other astrological associations made with Uranus and suspect that this will prove extremely difficult for researchers – for instance, it is unclear when the association with ground-breaking invention, madness or abnormality developed, or when it was first proposed that this planet inspired revolutions, although we clearly see these themes in the period surrounding the discovery with the American and French revolutions and advances in electric batteries and motors. This is a great pity as this is a pivotal moment in the history of astrology. It seems likely that some of the associations we have today have emerged from the mythology while others developed from observation of world events, but I suspect a vast number of them have just been plucked out of thin air and repeated until they were commonly accepted. I am not going to argue about the validity of any of these methods, I will leave that up to the reader to ponder upon, but I think it must be acknowledged that they are different sources and it must be considered what this means. It is not just a matter of the past but one for the future because today we have dozens of new objects to deal with. I would urge those of us involved in this kind of work to consider questions of approach like these, to take our time and to be open to sharing what we have while listening to what others have to contribute. It will not help us to be afraid of getting it wrong, but we also have to find ways to check our assertions before we make them and we have to keep them very flexible. In my view even today astrologers still have new things to learn about the planet Uranus, so the newer discoveries are even more unknown to us and will remain so for a very long time. Direct observation of slow moving objects like these takes time, and Magnetic conduction is one of the best tools to facilitate this process being sped up, but we must hold out for it to attain great clarity before settling on any hasty conclusions.
So we have three potential sources for the development of the astrological perspective on Uranus – significant world events (e.g. the spread of electrical devices and aviation following the discovery), mythology (i.e. the mythic significance of Ouranos and of sky gods) and (in theory at least) direct inspiration and observation (i.e. personal experiences of people pioneering the investigation of the new planet). Of these three the mythology is the first to make its impression, because the others only come after astrologers have had a chance to grapple with the placement of the new planet, and this did not take place until decades after the discovery.
The mythology connected to Uranus/Ouranos is not for the faint hearted and leads into extremely deep waters. It is a layered metaphor for evolution, history and occult teachings but it has been skewed and distorted by cultural interpretation over thousands of years and the form it arrives to us in now heavily cloaks its essential meaning. A large part of my early preparation for this writing has been meditating on how to strip the essential meaning of this tale out of the largely Greek distortions it has been put through, and (after some consultation with my own Uranus in Libra in the 9th temple) I realised my partnership with Greek mythology was the thing that had to go, and I went to a different culture to tell the tale, one whose mythology connected to this planet is purer and more balanced, but has significant enough similarities to the Greek Uranian mythology to be a working astrological parallel. So you will not be retold the patricidal tale of Cronos gelding his father and taking his place and then having the same thing done to him by Zeus. Instead the mythology I suggest you consider is the tale of Rangi and Papa, the primal couple of the Maori. As you read this tale I want you to hold three things in mind and note how it expresses and intertwines each of them in its essential meaning:
• The occult formation of the universe (i.e. The Creation).
• The evolution of life on the planet on a cosmic scale (including the emergence of human life after an environmental catastrophe and the time before that) as well as the relationship of humanity to the natural world.
• The interdependence of life and its inseparable nature.
It all begins in a tight loving embrace wherein everything is surrounded by darkness. All things are locked within this original cuddle and know only that they exist in darkness and where it comes from – the inseparable love between Papatuanuku the Earth Mother and Ranginui the Sky Father, the parents of all things. The beings held in this cosmic womb have a sense of ‘I’ and an awareness of other ‘I’s, but they know only darkness, no light, and they yearn for it to change. They are described as beings of divisions of time and form and as spirits of the void and night such as ‘the intense night’, ‘the deep night’, ‘the night of feeling’, ‘the night of turning towards the revealed world’, ‘the void in which nothing is possessed’ and ‘the space without boundaries’. They know multiplication because from within the embrace of the void further entities spawn – gods of winds and storms (the hermetic Air Element), gods of reptiles and fish (Water), forests and beasts (Earth), even of humans (Fire) – but none know the light and so nothing is manifest as none know what the difference between darkness and light is, but they burn to know. They are also described as being brothers, i.e. they are all male.
Eventually their yearning leads them to plot either to murder their parents or to separate them, and they agree to separate them. In the tale the spirit of forests and all that live in them (i.e. the primal Earth Element, the spirit of the land) is the one that suggests separation and the spirit of humans is the one that suggests murdering them, but it eventually agrees to the separation plan along with most of the others. The one who does not agree is the god of winds and storms, who is afraid his kingdom will be overthrown and is horrified by the thought of separating the two lovers. The plan will essentially leave all of the children clinging to the nurturance of the Earth Mother and alienated from the Sky Father, who will be held at a distance like a stranger. The god of winds and storms rebels against his siblings and refuses to help them.
One by one, the children push like eager to be born babies. First the god of cultivated food, then the god of fish and reptiles, the god of food that grows without cultivation and the god of humans all push and fail to separate the Earth and the Sky. They are simply not strong enough and they push in the wrong way. It is the god of forests, birds and insects (Earth) who has the power and the tactics to pry them apart. It tries not to push them apart by pushing upwards but instead lies down on its back to split them with a mighty cracking sound. There are anguished cries from Rangi and Papa that rend the universe into two and bring the light flooding into the world for the first time. In this way, darkness was made manifest and so was the light and in this moment all things that have been begotten but concealed in the void are known and revealed to one another simultaneously. Things are now able to take form and grow in the light.
At this stage the conflict initiated in the void escalates as the god of wind and storms flies into a rage at the pain inflicted on its parents and declares war on all of its siblings. He flees to comfort Sky Father where he adorns him with beautiful stars and the Lights to soothe his spurned splendor and after consultations he spawns an enormous brood including the four cardinal winds to assail his brothers with hurricanes and tempests, dark clouds, red clouds, swirling fiery black clouds, whirlwinds, squalls and bolts of lightning, naming them all. He smashes the forests of the forest god who proposed the separation, obliterating them by smiting great trees in sweeping blows. Then he lashes the ocean and the seas causing waves as high as giddying cliffs to pound the shores, and as consequence of this the land virtually disappears beneath the oceans and Earth Mother is completely awash in hailstorms and rains. The storm god watches his two brothers, lords of land and sea, flee in terror to their deepest realms.
The turbulent whirlpools he visits on ocean life cause the god of fish and the god of reptiles to part company, one fleeing to land, the other fleeing deeper into the seas. This desertion of some of the ocean gods children to live with the forest god causes an enmity between the gods of ocean and forest which sparks into a secondary conflict that has persisted ever since. The god of forests gives the god of human beings the gift of canoes and spears and nets with which to hunt the children of ocean as part of this conflict and the god of the ocean continually laps at the shores and floods it in retaliation.
The rage of the storm god did not abate here and he next sought out the gods of cultivated and uncultivated food, in other words of agriculture and wild food, but these children were so beloved by Earth Mother that she sweeps them up and hides them in a place where he cannot find them. Considering them vanquished anyway, he next hurls himself at the human god who calls on his brothers to help him but receives no answer to the summons. However the human god resists him so fiercely and so bravely that the wind gods rage abates itself and he becomes tranquil.
The human god allows itself to become quite impressed with itself at this feat, perhaps not realising that the god of winds was already exhausted. He now ponders killing (or taming) his brothers, who are not as fierce as he is and who were not as brave in the fight. As yet, death had no power over humans – this is the human spirit we are talking about here – and so it sets about warring upon its brothers, starting first with the forest because it had heard rumours that the ocean had been busy spawning numerous creatures that might injure it. So the spirit of humanity sets about collecting leaves and twisting them into nooses which it uses to trap the children of the forest god, with such great success that none of them can fly or move safely again. Next he turns his attention to the ocean god and fashions nets out of flax plants with which to capture all of its children and bring them ashore. Then he locates the two children that Earth Mother had hidden from the god of storms by recognising their leaves and digging them up from their hiding place in the ground. In this way he becomes the master of the god of the oceans, forests, and of cultivated and uncultivated foods, and he eats their children in revenge for his siblings leaving him to stand alone to face the god of storms. This act of devouring causes the god of humans to develop many names as he assumes the attributes of what he consumes, and so humanity becomes the conqueror of all its siblings but one – the god of storms whom he could not vanquish or summon and who assails him with rage even today across all terrain, sea or land. Humanity gives incantations to all of the creatures it has devoured so that they may become abundant and easily obtainable, and it creates incantations for itself to create wealth, health, food, mark the different stages of its life, appease the spirits, and do many other things. Its children multiply until we reach the present day, but the ancient original love between the Sky Father and the Earth Mother still persists and their yearnings for one another can be read by those who know the signs. Sometimes she gives out heaving sighs in the form of valley and woodland mists that float up to him, and sometimes he weeps his tears upon her and we call these dew drops and light rain. Sometimes, though, the movements are violent – the sky cracks open in heartbreak or the Earth shakes itself apart in grief and swallows humans in the struggle to be reunited with her lover.
The figure equivalent to the Greek Uranus in this story is Ranginui. In the Greek tale he comes every night to mate with Gaia but hates their offspring whom he imprisons in the Earth, where they cause her pain. This clearly shows the Greek agenda and why I have avoided the Greek version. However we must still remember that the planet is still named after the Greek version of this mythic figure (who shows up in numerous cultures with only slight variation) and not the Maori, even though their mythologies have a clear and direct resonance. The point I am making here is that when we assign mythological names to planets we assign two different but seemingly inseparable things, one is an essential meaning that the mythology represents, the other is many of the cultural values of particular interpretations of that myth, its significance. As astrologers it is vitally important for us to understand and recognise the difference between the two. Significance is a consequence of and emerges from essential meaning, and its form is that of symbolism, the script that astrologers must use. We all know this process when we try to interpret charts; we try to let the symbolism and its significance guide us to the essential meaning, its actual relevance in the persons or situations life, and this process is a decryption of the meaning that is encrypted but still clearly expressed at the symbolic level. This is why ‘Uranus is the planet of astrologers’.
What does this have to do with astrological Uranus? Everything! Because this planet is the one responsible for shattering the boundaries of perception that have clouded our view of essential meaning and delights in blasting our minds with the sudden shocking clarity of objective perception. Now we will see further, know more, go where none have dreamed we could go and discover things that have been long concealed from view. We will try to ‘eff the ineffable’ as barriers that seem to have been in place since time began crack apart like the primal couple and expose uncountable possibilities. For evidence of this, just look at the technological progress made since 1781. In case you hadn’t noticed, that was less than 250 years ago. Where do you think we will be in 250 years from now? It’s time to strap ourselves in because the ride is going to get very wild and surprising. We are suddenly children in the fairground who turn around and find their guardians are nowhere to be seen and all the rules are no longer applicable, rules that kept us safe but confined. This is the magic of Uranian power, the magic of the limitless Sky God who knows no boundaries. In consequence of this more boundless existence, we are confronted with jaw dropping power and the need to use it responsibly and not carelessly. That is one of the central issues this planet confronts us with and he has no answers for us because those answers would be definitions and rules that we would follow, which is counterproductive to exploring this new freedom. He expects is to conjure the answers for ourselves out of the infinite possibilities that he showers upon us. His gift is merely a glimpse of meaning, not its interpretation or its significance. It is up to us to figure out which toys to invent and why.
I am getting ahead of myself in typical Uranian fashion, though, and we should start looking at the discovery chart, because in investigating this new planet, aside from mythology, world events and direct observation over time, we also have this chart. As I have stated in my introduction to this series this chart is not a chart that pertains to the essential nature of the planet Uranus. It is not at the centre of this chart. What is at the centre of this chart? Ah, now that’s a really interesting question! As I explained in the previous article in this series it is the chart for the moment when the first human being realised that this new object was there, it is the moment when it entered the conscious awareness of our species via its mental awareness. It is a relationship chart where the relationship humanity has to this new entity is encoded because it sits in the centre of the chart.
That is very different to saying that it communicates the essential nature of the planet Uranus. Our relationship to the other people in our lives only tells us one part of their story and it is the same here. We must also remember that in this case the new planet was not initially recognised to be a planet by the first person to observe it, but this is less of a problem because we can expect this situation to show up in the chart itself, in the same way that you would expect the friendship of two happily married people who started out as friends to show up in the composite chart for the time and place they first meet. Still, it is important to bear all these things in mind as we try to decrypt the symbolism to reveal the essential meaning. The chart below is displaying mostly the significance to human beings of identifying the planet Uranus and not the essential meaning.
Note that we see an opposition between Saturn and Uranus, just as we did in the chart for Herschel. They are actually born under successive occurrences of this opposition. Remember the placement of Uranus with the Moon in his chart – crazy is the operative word here today, so could it have chosen him? Note also that Mercury is in opposition with Neptune, a classic astrological sign of misidentifying something, and that Uranus in the 8th is also suggestive of something being mysterious, cloaked or partly concealed but eventually coming to light (and it is square the Sun in Pisces, another signal that there is a lack of clarity as well as a highly evasive and difficult to pin down quality).
There are no parans from any stars to the newly discovered world, leaving us with less guidance to base our interpretation of its position on. In my experience a planet without any parans is more of a free agent and its issues are also more ‘up in the air’ and open to interpretation (by both astrologers and human beings). The Fluids of the chart place the Sun in a difficult position (with no ambient Electric Fluid around it in the sky) and it is without essential dignity. The Moon has strong support from the Magnetic Fluid but is also peregrine and in its Fall. Both Lights are angular, with the Sun only just in the 4th temple rather than the 5th and therefore of the two Lights the Moon assumes greater control over the chart. It also appears to play a role in what brings the matter to attention, as it is very close to the ascendent.
The most striking features of this chart are the two ‘T-squares’ involving both of the Lights (strangely reminding us of the odd axial tilt of the planet Uranus) which are composed of the oppositions between ruling planet Mars, Saturn and Uranus and their squares to the Sun in Pisces (which is a Reactive or Mutable T-square), and the intense Scorpio ascendant housing the Moon and Dragons Tail with their opposition with Chiron and squares to Pluto in Aquarius (which is a Fixed or Stable T-square). Uranus itself is placed in Gemini in the 8th temple and is involved with the Reactive T-square. What, if anything, does this symbolism say to you?
If I have lost you and you are wondering what a T-square is it’s basically an arrangement of planets that produces great tension and dynamic energy which needs to be released through a concerted effort of change, usually through a focal point. Ignoring this task leads to destructive potential emerging. In this case there are two focal points and they are the Sun in Pisces and Pluto in Aquarius. There are basically powerful tensions and polarities in the chart which cause these two things to be hanging in the balance, with both hugely destructive and hugely positive change potentially occurring around them. The immediate and obvious task to the trained astrologer is that of determining what these symbols identify as being held in the balance, what the consequences of them tipping either way are, how to curb any destructive leanings in the pattern already showing themselves and how to release the inherent tension of having to continually hold them in balance in a way which leads the entity concerned in a new and positive direction.
There are so many things that can be said not only about this chart but just about these two T-squares. They are a pattern that are pretty complicated and ‘knotty’ wherever they show up and the nature of the planets involved can make this easier or harder to handle. In this case they make it as hard as can really be imagined. The tensions expressed in the symbolism are volatile, intense and explosive, potentially very destructive but at the same time they offer a breakthrough or a series of them leading into a new paradigm. This is precisely the astrological relationship human beings have had with Uranus since its discovery. It is not the only way it could have gone, though. We could have uncovered the new planet at a different time which would have led us on a different path, and indeed we almost did, several times in the centuries before Herschel was born, but observers were foiled into thinking it a star, one being particularly unlucky because he observed it at its station.
So the overall impression of this chart is that it is not placid at all, the symbolism expresses something potentially dangerous and risky but ultimately it is a relationship that offers the possibility of casting off in a thunderous new direction. This is a breakthrough chart, the kind of chart you would expect for a paradigm altering event or a relationship that greatly challenges and forces radical adjustments to be made. Recall the focal point of this inquiry – the question of what is at the centre of the chart – and understand that this symbolism is talking about how the new planet will interact with us and is not about its true nature, although that will be present in its interaction with us.
On this point it is worth mentioning that the mythology of the Greek Uranus is a part of that interaction and this clearly expresses itself in the chart. The Reactive T-square is based out of the opposition between Uranus with Saturn, who carries the sickle with him that he uses to castrate Uranus – Mars. The placing and symbolism of the planets in the previous article in this series (on the discovery of Chiron) were also evocative of the mythology of the painful death of Chiron. This is because our mythologies are part of what is ‘embedded’ in the chart since our mythologies are part of our interaction and relationship with the worlds named after them, part of the significance we attach to them. Again, I suggest you consider the difference between essential meaning and significance and how our mythologies are woven from our perception of essential meaning in the universe.
The revolutionary concept that astrological Uranus is currently assailing our society with is that science and technology itself are mythological because they are ongoing tales woven from our perception of the significance of the essential meaning of the universe. Science and technological understanding evolve, which means they are also alive in the same sense that myths are also living things, and the rapid pace at which Uranus now causes technology and science to evolve is to facilitate our ability to grasp this reality. We are all recognising this piece by piece – today you may wake up to find that science has discovered that vitamin A, Dark Matter or chocolate are good for you, but tomorrow they could tell you they give you tumours, or, as Arthur C. Clark once put it “for every expert there is an equal and opposite expert”.
The fundamental shift in reality introduced by the presence of the planet Uranus is that we are waking up to the infinite and unending property of all things – the Sky – and the futility of trying to give it boundaries and borders. It is the Sky and cannot be divided, measured or fully quantified, and in this metaphor the Sky is the universe. This does not mean we should stop trying, It means we have to change our attitude and our motive in seeking out that which lies beyond the barriers. Radically.
In order for this to occur our perceived barriers need to be shattered, removed or passed beyond so that we can experience why and fathom how our attitude needs to be adjusted, being ‘past its sell-by date’. Yet we have collectively been living with Saturn as the ultimate authority for so long that we are mostly unwilling to go there – we are creatures of habit and comfort zones and often ‘going there’ implies or even requires that we have to give some of them up. So we need a push, sometimes a rude shove. And if that fails we may need an earthquake or a lightning storm to move us into a new paradigm. Essentially we oppose and resist radical change until (often under complaint) it is thrust upon us, and can do so even when it is urgently needed and necessary. It is the task of Uranus to decisively break that deadlock, if necessary by forcing needed change upon us. We cannot take control of the situation once that point is reached – at that point it has spiralled way beyond our control and we can only react to the changes that occur anyway. Our power is lost at that point, swept away by the winds. We have some power in shaping the overall direction of things before they reach that stage, but not after. Crucially, though, this power to shape the direction of events is not Saturnine, it is not causal in the way we are used to whereby we exert our will (Mars) together with effort and time (Saturn) to produce results while travelling in a straight line like an arrow. It is instead ‘tilted on its axis’ as a far more complicated, fluid and mutable process. With the Uranian paradigm our power is not in predicting the results of our actions but in being able to react spontaneously to whatever changes occur.
All of this is present in the symbolism expressed by the T-squares, especially the opposition between Saturn/Mars and Uranus and the square between the Moon in Scorpio and Pluto in Aquarius. The Sun as the focal point of the Reactive T-square highlights a spot which is extremely impressionable and sensitive, prone to confusion and uncertainty, a lack of focus and a feeling of chaos, and where it is likely necessary to show greater compassion or to express compassion differently, while the Pluto focal point is volatile in a different way because its Aquarius background throws up intense and devouring but unexpected transformations. There is in both cases a sense of things hanging in the balance, and when those things are Sun and Pluto one immediately thinks of life and death situations. This overall sense of the chart being one of things where circumstances are at significant tipping points is underscored by the Dragon, the nodal axis, which clearly shows that the force that hangs in the balance most of all is the Plutonian one – total rebirth or utter destruction. That is the essential choice of these T-squares, to commit to a change of direction and a radical one at that or to proceed along a path towards continuous pressurisation and eventual self destruction. We can note the position of the planet Uranus itself in the 8th temple and see the same things.
The position of Uranus in Gemini in the chart is interesting because it is not only suggestive of mass transport, aviation and mass media but also of the role of communication and social contact, fields in which astrologers have noted the Uranian agenda to be very strong and influential. It is from the astrological nature of this planet that we have social media and mobile communications today. It may also be strongly connected with the spread of the motor car and any form of transport, whether it is information, substances or people, but the symbolism here is especially indicative of the relaying of information and people. There is also something hidden or sinister in the 8th temple placing, something that points to undercurrents, invisible forces and secretly negotiated contracts.
If we consider the houses or temples involved in the T-squares we can see pressures being applied to resources and the concept of possession (Mars conjunct Saturn in the 2nd), a symbolism that resonates with the problems of overpopulation and the un-sustainability of a lifestyle. The issues are about conservation of energy and the use of resources but deeper still they are about self esteem and self worth, establishing what is really valuable and striving hard to either make it last or make the most of it. If a person were to be at the centre of this chart most astrologers would be advising them to really take a long hard look at their true needs and what they have, and to try to put great effort into overcoming any greed or selfishness in the way they express what they want and how they use what they have been given. They would also be evaluating the frustration levels, depression and sense of futility present in the person’s life and trying to help them find ways to release those tensions. If such a person, no matter whether they were struggling with poverty or loaded with wealth, could make an ongoing effort to be efficient and prudent – never reckless – in their use of what they have and to overcome any sense of frustrated defeatism or futility, then there is every reason to believe that this will provide far more resources than they think it will and that they will discover things to look forward to (Sagittarius). Self discipline and self esteem are intertwined in the symbolism here, expressed as the necessity of cautiously constraining any wild rushing forward or gloominess and being rewarded with more space to roam and time to work with.
Critical to the Stable or Fixed T-square is the finding of a new direction in the way we witness the world and its events. Pluto in Aquarius in the 3rd speaks of the presence of communications devices which utterly transform our perception of the world around us and blow wide open the potential for our minds to encounter a seemingly endless variety of opinions and perspectives. The discovery of the planet Uranus with telescopes is evident in this symbolism (remember that telescopes also allow us to peer deeper into time as they reveal more of the past of the universe), as is the ‘space race’ and the advances in space exploration that have followed, including the search for extraterrestrial life – the ultimate exotic ‘other opinion’ on human life. The Uranian paradigm is strongly hinting at the arrival of either Artificial Intelligence or alien life able to communicate with us (or both) in this part of its discovery chart. Yet as I said earlier this is what is karmically in the balance here, Pluto being at the hinges of the Dragons nodes, so it is not altogether certain that we will get that far, or that it will be a positive encounter. Pluto in Aquarius in the 3rd is also eerily reminiscent of the surveillance state and the connection between nuclear and electrical power, as well as the complete and largely hidden transformation of our airwaves and atmosphere since the invention of radio amid the spread of wireless and satellite technology.
It is this Fixed or Stable T-square with Pluto at the focal point that seems the most significant feature of the chart to me. The Reactive or Mutable T-square has the Sun as its focal point and involves the ruler of the chart and the planet Uranus itself, but its symbolism is not connected to the angles of the chart (the Moon of the Stable T-square is at the ascendant) and its issues seem more to do with necessary sacrifices and losses or the need to focus on a crisis concerning what is really important or central to what is really happening (i.e. an identity crisis involving too much information or not enough, or the need to gain clarity and make flexible adaptations to the changing environment). In contrast, the Stable T-square displays a symbolism where the issues are more about survival and a crisis point being reached in which a seemingly complicated and unfathomable choice or decision boils down to extremes – resurrection leading to uncountable new possibilities or annihilation arising from multiple sources (Aquarius).
How does astrology advise dealing with these issues, avoiding the destructive and negative potential of these T-squares while creating the right environment for their positive potential to flourish? With a T-square pattern, the focal point which is held in the balance has to be positioned to be able to facilitate the release of the tensions generated by the opposition. Blocking the releases of these tensions through the focal points is what causes calamity. The tensions generated by the opposition forces need to find a regular way out through a dynamic activity and action involving the focal planet. The challenges are in finding a way to do so which is balanced and does not tip towards one or either side of the opposition that lies underneath the focal point. In simple terms, it often means finding a new way to express the focal point, one that requires us to act decisively and energetically without giving into any of the extremes that drive it. It instils and empowers flexibility, changes of direction, the breaking of deadlocks and the employment of radical new solutions, and its destructive potential emerges when we resist necessary change, give in to extremes of behavior or a siege mentality related to the focal planet, force our way onto the world in a way which is reckless and inconsiderate, make demands we cannot expect to be met or insist on stubborn brute tactics to get our way. In such cases, the negative potential of the T-square ultimately explodes in the face, taking all the positive potential with it.
In this case, ignoring the houses for the moment, the symbolism is that with the Sun in Pisces there needs to be a change in the expression of compassion and love, and possibly of the value of the imagination. This is a Watery change that is required, the chart itself showing a strong inclination to that Element. It is a change in the way the entity feels about itself. If we add in the temples, the 4th temple points towards the arena of family and home, the place of safety or roots, and so the Pisces Sun seems to be calling on a change of compassion towards family members and a change of attitude towards home, the place where this relationship exists, which is to say the Earth and the family of humanity and other creatures upon it. Its message is that to enhance the awareness we have of this newly discovered planet we need to reconnect with our humanity, our shared past and our home, and the way to do that is with compassion and imagination.
Additional to this a second significant shift is called for. With Pluto in Aquarius the change is not emotional but instead mental (Air), a change in thinking or the mind. There are strong and fixed but utterly uncountable different opinions being represented here, resulting in a logjam of ideas fighting for space. The change called for here is not even really a change – it is a total and complete transformation. The symbolism here calls for openness to transformation that is both revolutionary and far reaching, for a complete throwing out of the rot in thinking and rotten ideas. It also calls for the restraint of brilliant ideas that border on madness or suicide and an awareness of the hidden dangers of sudden inspiration and reactionary attitudes. The 3rd temple, as I have previously suggested, relates to the way we witness and think about the world and here the symbolism in the chart shows that the way we perceive and think about it is being put though massive and unpredictable changes, that it will need to in order to continue to exist. The suggestion is that there is a danger of conspiracies or paranoia about conspiracies derailing the transformative process, so the fatal flaw being highlighted is an obsessive or compulsive suspicion and lack of trust.
Perhaps, though, in the typical way of Pluto, there is something deeper and much darker being represented here and underlying this suspicion – a death wish. In the more esoteric interpretation of this chart there is an ingrained karmic habit for self destructive tendencies. It is in the Scorpio Moon and ascendant, the 8th temple position of Uranus, the Tail of the Dragon in Scorpio (in the 12th) and the squares from Pluto to both ends of this Dragon, including the Moon and Chiron. If this were the chart of a person, the Tail in Scorpio in the 12th might indicate someone who had lived and died a life outside of view and had met their possibly violent or suicidal end with strong intensely felt emotions and passions being left unresolved. It is somewhat resonant with the turbulent oceans and global flooding described in the mythology. With Pluto in a square to the Dragon what hangs in the balance karmically is the potential to either destroy everything or make it regenerate, which reinforces the message of the Scorpio Tail. The occult and esoteric symbolism here is really clearly talking about pain and death and suffering in a previous lifetime needing to be communicated and learned from so that an underlying self destructive capacity does not volcanically erupt and devour. What is the ‘pain and death from a previous lifetime’ in the case of this kind of chart? I feel that this is at least partly to do with the annihilation of aboriginal and tribal, nomadic culture by western civilisation and the guilt which is felt deeply buried in the human spirit as a result. I think we are talking about a former Uranian awareness that existed before the current one was born, before Uranus was even on the map, but which was extinguished with the arrival of this new world. I will return to this thought later.
The placement of Chiron at the Head of the Dragon is a critical clue to the path that the chart must take in order to positively transform all of this potential. In other words, the chart for the discovery of Uranus points to the (much later) discovery of Chiron as the solution to its problems and the way to evolve its esoteric potential. Chiron is the safe way to access the Uranian paradigm. Without his guidance our access to this kind of technological and mental breakthrough is dangerous and perverse because it is injured. This reflects his role as the orbital keeper and guide of the path between the former outermost planet, Saturn, and the newly discovered outermost planet, Uranus, the two planets he roams between. He is the shepherd that leads from the old paradigm to the new and allows them to transition and integrate safely. The message is clear – to avoid the way this relationship tends to blow up horrendously (because it did so previously and the habit for it is there) it needs to move towards the symbolism of Chiron and make transition from there. If you have read my previous writing, you will realise how much sense this makes, because Chiron is representative of healing. And where is this Chironic potential being focused? Onto Taurus, the sign of the Earth Mother and all of Her physical resources.
For me, the core message is clear – the discovery of the new planet ushers in an age of rapid and unexpected inventive and cognitive breakthroughs as the limitations of the previous paradigm are shattered and the only path to safely deploy the new paradigm is one which turns its attention to the state of the Earth and its healing. This is a task that can be accomplished through genuine compassion and the channelling of technological and scientific progress into regenerative and holistic solutions. It depends on us overthrowing our suspicion of one another, changing the way we use the Earths resources, and perhaps most importantly facing up to what we have done to our planet and committing to fix it (facing the pain so that we can get over ourselves and start restoring things). The discovery chart is clearly pointing to the need to face up to painful realities and to confront them before they cause even more catastrophic disaster. It is also promising us that if we meet these challenges we will be literally showered with blessings that have their own momentum.
For the new planet is Sky God, he embraces all possibility and all potential as equal and refreshes the Earth with dew and with rain, with refreshment from the urn of endless inspiration, and this means he can solve any problem, no matter how complicated. Necessity (Saturn) is no longer the mother of invention. This is what has been let out of the box – before, there have been problems we could not solve, things we could not do, places we could not go, people we could not be, worlds we could not see, realities we could not touch. They were held at bay by the back of Saturn, pressing down heavily upon him since time as we know it began, but now cracks have appeared in his wall and through it alien possibilities and things once thought impossible can be glimpsed beyond, floating in the void. He will not lay down his burden quickly; everything he does takes time, but the time has come for him to relax his grip on the rules that define what is and is not possible for human beings to experience and to let some of those things glimpsed in the outer limits into our reality through windows that open within our inner mind. In response it is now time for us to invoke the Rainmaker, to call upon our new wondermaker and draw down the possibilities that can refresh and heal our world and bring us together again. The technologies we are finding and seeking must become our edge in the endeavour to save our planet.
It may seem like a crazy question but this article is the place for them, so why should we do this? Why not trust that we will find a way off this one eventually and just give up on it? Well, a crazy question deserves a crazy answer, and astrology is for crazies who talk out of Uranus, right? (and don’t we all?). For one thing, the karmic interpretation of the discovery chart suggests we may have had this idea before – the 9th temple (going far away) is ruled by the Moon, which is with the Tail. The Scorpio theme of that Tail has already been explored, and suggests it did not end well. Additionally Uranus itself is in the 8th, which suggests that the strategy of running away from complex and traumatic situations has unforeseen and chaotic consequences. That is part of what its square with the Pisces Sun in the 4th symbolises.
This is speculative, however, and a better but even crazier answer to the question is this one: because we have to reunite Papa with Rangi. If we abandon Papatuanuku because she is dying and the gates to Ranginui have been thrown wide open, what does that say about us, who separated them in the first place? Is this the true human spirit, or a pretender? And how do we reunite Papa with Rangi, and what does that mean? Which is to say, what is the separation of the primal couple in the myth, the castration of the Greek Ouranos, and how can human beings have any role in its restoration, if indeed they are even meant to?
In my time exploring before I came to write this piece it suddenly became clear to me that this has to do with the way our minds particulate things and label them, in other words with the faculty of perception and the way our brains have been trained to go about it. The way we perceive things is ‘definitive’, it seeks to identify essential meaning by containing it within boundaries we call separate ideas when in reality those boundaries are artificial constructs. Our use of language is a major factor in this shaping of perception. For example, when I wake up in the morning my dog is often the first thing I see because she is directly in my face licking my nose. My brain sees ‘dog’ and it thinks ‘dog’, but ‘dog’ is just a word in the English language, a mental sound in my brain, it is not the thing that she is. It is a label that I have stuck onto her to help me make sense of my perceptions, nothing more, and it brings a sense of separate self or selves existing as well as an entire universe of significance – the significance I perceive in her. In this way our brains act of perception is a lightning fast flash of trillions of labels built up like Lego bricks in an instant. The fact that our brains do this is a Uranian capacity, while the labels themselves, the building blocks we base our perception of reality on, are Saturnine (the words and the languages are of Mercury, but the act of constructing and building up those concepts is Saturnine because it is a crystallising, limiting and confining of essential meaning).
Yet, in my groggy state as I wake to find puppy licking my face, there is a moment before my sleepy brain has a chance to summon up the concept let alone the word ‘dog’, and I am temporarily gelded of the ability to eff what is going on. With my brains perceptual labelling suspended it flounders, feeling bombarded by sudden stimuli, and I am just adrift in a situation I cannot properly make sense of. My brain quickly establishes an order over this chaos every morning (ok, not every morning!) even without me thinking about it, but in that moment my perception is free and sometimes, just sometimes, when I wake up more calmly, I can perceive her before my brain has a chance to fully awaken, and then I really see her. With practice it is even possible to train the brain to relinquish a substantial part of its perceptual labelling at will, so that you don’t have to rely on waking from sleep to experience it. What is happening here is that you are peeking behind the elaborate tapestry of significance that your mind has created to interpret and catalogue the essential meaning it encounters.
When we perceive something the training our brain has received causes it to evaluate all the Lego bricks that make up the thing we perceive to see how they fit together and what they mean. The overwhelmingly prevailing way for human beings to perceive the universe is by breaking everything up into smaller and smaller bits to see how they fit together. Human perception today is about looking into a thing deeper and deeper, seeing more and more of these parts, and trying to interpret them. It is how science assumes everything works or can be understood. Language, more specifically alphabetical language, is the basis of communication in this way of perceiving because it facilitates the identification of all the Lego bricks.
Language does not have to be strictly alphabetical, though, and indeed the older languages were not, they were instead more pictographic, like very early hieroglyphs and cuneiform and the rock paintings of aboriginal people, and these languages indicate a different path to understanding. Hebrew is an alphabetical language that seems to bridge the gap between these two modes of perception in language. In such languages concepts are not represented by letters but by symbols, and so the system is more open and less definitive, more expressive of essential meaning because the symbol is designed to depict the thing it represents, visually and energetically, and is not made of a sound composed of letters whose meaning depends on its specific arrangement against other sounds composed of letters. Each concept is expressed more symbolically than phonetically or grammatically, and the fact that we did transition as a species from labelling the world in this way to labelling it in an alphabetical way is an important shift we need to understand, because each is the product of a different way of perceiving, It shows their brains were wired differently to ours, and the difference was radical. It is worth considering that this radical shift occurred in our perception when alphabetic script emerged, and what that means.
This different way of perceiving was common and indeed universal all across the world for thousands of years leading up to the development of alphabetical language (which began in ancient Egypt). It is a way of perceiving and communicating that, instead of being dependent on describing a thing by reference to an intellectual cipher, visually depicts what it is. It is a way of perceiving that takes in the whole of a thing at once and does not arrive at its perception of the thing by words. It simply experiences it and shows what is experienced. There is no need for analytical judgment in this representation and indeed analytical judgment would impair the ability to perceive what is there because it would require us to focus on specific attributes of what we perceive, thereby excluding others. All we need do here is witness and not compute, and this witnessing is a fully open state that takes in not just what a thing looks like but how it moves, the thoughts that arrive when perceiving it, the feelings that it brings to light, and every detail of the sensual and psychic experience of what is in front of us. This allows the essential meaning to emerge unimpeded from within what we perceive, and we eff it even if we cannot ascribe words to what we eff.
To put it simply, look up at the night sky, what do you see? Hopefully you see some stars, but even if you don’t, take in any objects you do see. Look at them one at a time. Then, when you have done that, just stop looking at them and take in the entirety of the sky, all of it at once, for which you have to slightly relax your focus and stop trying to peer. You just look. At something far too big to see all at once. And your perception hovers and flounders and tries to grasp something, anything, that it can turn into a hook for its perception, a focal point. What you see is only faintly visible in a way similar to the way that Uranus only faintly appears in the night sky, hovering in and out of visual range. If you try to put words on what you experience, if you try to describe what it feels like to try and let your mind encompass the entire sky, you find you cannot do it because the mode of communication and perception you are using is unable to work – it can’t assemble a shape out of the Lego bricks. And yet the experience was there, in looking up at the entire sky in this way something was communicated, it is simply beyond words to fully describe, but you are aware that something is being perceived. If this is not what you experience, try it with the consideration that all of the stars are shining at different points in the history of the galaxy. If you can cram all of that in at once, please write to me!
The point here is that the pictographic method of describing the universe is akin to this – it is looking at the whole of the sky, not at the individual stars. It is later attempting to symbolise this direct experience of essential meaning with visual symbols. It experiences ‘the big picture’ and tries to symbolise it. It lets a thing be what it is first and foremost and makes analysis secondary, only to follow in reflection after the experience has had a chance to make its play. This is the total opposite to our way which tries to reveal the essential meaning by deconstructing a thing by looking at each part to see how it works.
So for me part of the meaning of the symbolism of the castration or separation in this planets mythology is this inability in human perception to directly perceive the essential meaning of the universe, to have to intellectually decipher experience before it can be understood and communicated. There are ‘dark clouds’, ‘boiling red clouds’, ‘squalls’, ‘whirlpools’ and ‘storms’ in the sky. I think this explains the connection between Mercury and Uranus that some astrologers have perceived – Mercury brings us to an alphabetic way of perceiving, whereas in more ancient times our way of perceiving was Uranian. We have exchanged the wisdom of one for the wisdom of the other and in the process forgotten the former wisdom. We need to bring it back. We must remember how to perceive the universe as a whole and not just perceive it as separate bits that fit together and add up to larger bits.
What else can be said about the Uranian way of perceiving? Too much to write about! That’s part of the point – it is beyond words. It reveals the consequences, for good or ill, which lie beyond those we can actually foresee. But perhaps one of the most important things it has shown me is about human beings. When we perceive one another without heavy interference from all those labels or the judgment, karma, and defining limitations, when we just look at one another, we see that basically we are all the same. We come away from the experience with the sense that are all in humanoid bodies and are basically the same creature, the human race. It doesn’t matter what skin colour you have or where you come from, who your family are or what you have done in the past or even whether you were cloned or born, you are a human being and this way of being is what you share in common with everyone else. None of us have any more or less of this, we only express more or less of it in our behaviour. The Uranian way of perceiving completely understands this and aspires to express it manifestly in its thinking and actions. It is the natural instinct within an individual species to be what it is (in the unique way it has to be that) and the recognition within that species of what it is that makes them what they are. In other words, the Uranian principle is that which makes humans aware of what it is to be human, dogs what it is to be dog and cats what it is to be cat, and it is the principle that causes them to strive to be that thing to the best of individual ability and in a way that no other cat or dog or human can do (because everything is unique).
The reason this is the case is because as I stated earlier the essential meaning of the Uranian principle is that it is responsible for shattering the boundaries of perception that have clouded our view of essential meaning, and one of the first things that clears is our view of the essential meaning of ourselves, since within a species this is a universally recognisable aspect of essential meaning. We all know deep inside of us what it means to be a human being and more than that we all know what makes a ‘good human being’. It does not need to be taught (though it is educated) because it is an inner knowing that all species possess. It can help to think of it as the mind of the species. All animals and all planets in fact all living things sustained by the Earth except human beings have a very direct and instinctive awareness of this species mind, which I will call a type of collective awareness. It is a type of awareness that has been relegated in human beings by the supremacy of individual and personal awareness, but it is still there and represents a major barrier to our perception or reality. Thus, it has become the task of the Uranian principle to initiate us into this way of perceiving the universe again, and that is why it has a humanitarian agenda. It is leading us into a wilderness where we will grapple with questions about human nature and its role in the universe and challenges us to locate what it means to be human within us as well as in our activities and to communicate this to our world. It is leading us to a technologically assisted, fully interconnected, boundless state of human collective awareness. Only collectively can we solve the problems we have to solve, and the way we handle or ignore those problems will shape all of our lives.
How do we achieve this reunion of the Sky and the Earth within us, how do we begin to perceive the world around us and our humanity in a clear way again? We need to first look at what we have collectively become. Only in looking upon what we have become will we realise how far it is from who we want to be. There is always a phase of denial to go through in human nature when we do this, as most of us will recognise, because looking upon what we have become necessitates looking at the darker side that we tend to repress. Yet look upon it we must, as the Scorpio themes of the discovery chart indicate. We must be able to witness what we have done to our world on a huge scale because in seeing the intense effects of our actions we will understand that what is in jeopardy is bigger than us and this will hopefully correct our assumption that we are the most important thing at stake (Pluto in Aquarius in the 3rd). In other words, one thing I can perceive that will restore our humanity to our sight is the collective realisation that our survival is not as important as the survival of life on Earth, which many aspects of our being threaten. We must also not lose sight of the good we see in ourselves (a common trap for Scorpio/Pluto issues).
Clearly the way to achieve this is not just by gathering information and bearing witness en-masse to what is happening, but also through an internal shift of perception that stops us perceiving the world so selfishly and narrow-mindedly. So this is why there is proliferation of data communication and social media, as well as a restless spirit rebelling against the selfishness and chaos of human progress. At the same time though we run the risk of being overwhelmed with data and questions about how to interpret it, as well as a ‘blame game’ because we have this particular way of evaluating and perceiving the world that I have tried to describe. The Uranian perspective is that none are to blame and all are to blame. The Sky encompasses all things at once. We are all part of what all humans do and have done. Individuals only exemplify traits that are present within all of us and expressed to different degrees. It is a colder, more aloof perspective from the coldest planet in the solar system, far less impressed by personal achievements like your status in society and more swayed by what you have contributed to the larger whole of which you belong, the human race, and it is regardless of who you are personally i.e. your gender, skin colour, sexuality, culture, etc. This is a transition we have begun making but there is still a long way to go, we are still working on the early part of this agenda which has to do with equalising opportunities for people.
The coldness of the Uranian perspective can also be very shocking and abrasive. It follows a logical pathway but one too lightning fast to follow so it appears in a sudden flash like intuition. Often the situation leading up to this sudden moment of eureka is pressurised and so we can see this not as an entirely unexpected event but one in which the outcome or insight emerges unexpectedly. The situation has already been leading up to something; it was just not what we expected. Sometimes, though more rarely, the shock can be really shocking, being something you have no chance of foreseeing and coming completely out of the blue – a satellite lands on your house. Lightning strikes can cluster and become multiple lightning strikes or lightning storms just as easily with the Uranian principle in play. It dramatically escalates and accelerates things. It is also prone to idealism and extremes, especially over issues of freedom and independence, values which it holds in high esteem. These are some of the major dangers facing the emergence of a true human collective awareness – that it will not foster or prosper within a frigid and aloof environment, that pressures and ‘fault lines’ within it (like the fact that we put spinning satellites far above our heads which can drop bits anywhere at any time, rare though it may be) will emerge in unexpected and sudden ways and that its emphasis on freedoms can bring about its own undoing. These dangers are symbolised in the discovery chart by the 8th temple Uranus in Gemini, the Pluto in Aquarius squares and the troubled conjunction of Mars and Saturn in Sagittarius. The relationship depicted in the chart needs to heed the Venus in Pisces call (ruler of the Dragons Head) and allow its compassion and other more turbulent feelings (the challenged Sun in Pisces) to play a larger role than they currently do.
Over the years I have spent working with this planet while exploring the astrology of the charts of the people I have worked for it has led me to come upon numerous meditations, all of which have helped me to connect further with it. It is very generous in this respect, having an endless font of inspiration and knowledge to share. Most of these meditations have been specifically tailored to help me to connect with the Uranian principle, and are thus of an individual and personal nature. Some, however, have been of a more universal nature, and I have shared them with people I know. The exercises below are simple meditations that help to build the collective human awareness (which is the gateway that leads to the Uranian principle within us).
Throughout the day, anytime you feel inclined to do it, look around you at the faces of people nearby. Do not stare, but simply glance at the person long enough to think ‘hello, sister’ or ‘hello, brother’ before passing on to the next face. Do this for as long as you are able to. Realise in doing this that despite whatever you may personally feel or think about the people you see, they are still a part of the human race. In a crowded place where people pass by too quickly or their faces are too small to see simply use your mind to encompass a larger area and greet everyone in it all at once. Eventually, you may be able to extend this greeting to everyone on the surface of the planet, and those off it too. It is not important that you be able to do so, however. What is more important is that you begin to observe your state of awareness during this exercise and in particular how this state of awareness feels. It is also important that you understand that wherever and whenever you find this simple statement of fact difficult or encounter resistance to it, there is your individual work.
As an addition to this exercise next try the following. Find your connection to the human collective awareness as explained in the previous exercise. Then, let your mind consider the infinite realm of space that surrounds you. You and all of humanity are clinging to a blue-green sphere surrounded by interstellar space that stretches in every direction. This space is filled with stars, and they shine day or night. Let the imagination soar and encompass this reality –
Into the Atmosphere by Michael Shainblum
Then return to the human collective awareness. Consider how relatively small and insignificant it is in comparison yet how similar too, a vastly complex sea of endless variety and colour, all existing and moving together at the same time. Realise you and everyone else are part of both. Practice moving between the two states of awareness. This exercise helps to establish two things – an awareness of what human beings have in common and our location in space (Earth) and awareness of how different but alike everything is, including us.
Next, after spending some time with both of these exercises and becoming familiar with the different states of awareness they produce and how to combine them in your perception – i.e. you are able to hold onto both together at the same time to some degree – introduce a third and final concept. From your own place in the human collective awareness, i.e. as an individual human who is a part of the human race and not the whole human race, consider how your own perspective on humanity emerges, what it is, what makes it special and unique, different to everyone else. Look at what you feel about humanity and what you think about us, and realise that at some level you think this about yourself. Is that perspective primarily light or dark? Does it bring you shame or elation? Why? What can be done in your life to improve that situation? What does it teach you about what you want humanity to be, and how can you actually be part of that and help it take root in us right now? What can you lovingly contribute to the healing and making whole of the family of humanity that you have perceived?
The final exercise I have to share involves practicing holding onto all three concepts with your perception at once – the human collective awareness, the vastness of space and our place within it, and your individual, unique perspective on what you have to offer this reality. Just think of them one at a time, slowly, and move between them. Notice the infinite properties of each one, the endless invention and potential for difference within each. Consider from this perspective that there are other species living on the Earth alongside the human species (for this exercise define ‘species’ as literally everything non-human including rocks, clouds, concepts, etc.) and that the collective and individual awareness of all these things is different to the human awareness. Understand that all of these perspectives are not separate but exist simultaneously in time and are never static but continually dynamic and changing, and that all of these perspectives on what is happening are equally real and equally valid perspectives. This is the Uranian perspective. In this perspective nothing is coincidental or causal and everything is synchronous. No single perspective encompasses all of reality but all of reality is composed of all perspectives. However even though no single perspective encompasses all of reality it is capable of expanding its awareness to encompass the variety of perspectives that exist, because in reality it is all a single awareness perceiving itself in and through an infinite variety of continually changing forms. It simply organises itself into a human collective awareness, a bird awareness, a moon awareness, etc, each of which expresses the infinity of variation it belongs to by creating unique and individual expressions within that set. It is easier for a human being to relate to a human being than it is for a human being to relate to a rock, but not impossible. There is always some connection between things, all things, and this allows things that have been deemed unlikely or impossible to actually happen from time to time.
This is the final thought I have to share with you, that beyond our perspective on today, beyond the current perspective of humanity, there are countless other possibilities. The reality that we experience as a collective will be determined by our collective choices now. The future is in our grasp. From within the vast sky of possibilities that we have before us, with many more opening up at rapid paces, we can select a future for ourselves and the future of life on Earth as no others who have come before us. We have that freedom, and that terrible responsibility. If we can understand that there are no problems without solutions and that our own compassionate inventiveness is our greatest tool in finding them, if we turn all of our resources to a collective effort that benefits all of life on Earth, not just humanity and not just those alive today, I believe we will pass the critical tests that come with this new planet arriving in our skies and that the future will then be very bright indeed. In doing so we will have reconnected with Sky Father and been gifted with refreshing rains that nourish the planet – humanity will have become the Rainmaker by remembering what it means to be human.
Isn’t that what we have always wanted, anyway?
Sir William Herschel, His Life and Works, by Edward Singleton Holden
Alexander Herschel: the Forgotten Partner, by Michael Hoskin
How and why did Uranus become associated with Uranus? by Kim Farnell (http://www.skyscript.co.uk/ur_aq.html)
Polynesian Mythology & Ancient Traditional History of the New Zealanders by Sir George Gray
The Book of World Horoscopes (2004), by Nicholas Campion
The National Aeronautic and Space Administration
Solar System Visualizer (http://janus.astro.umd.edu/SolarSystems/)
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